St Vincent (Day??)

I have to tell you, I was beginning to have issues with this cruise.  Did you ever see that old film “If It’s Tuesday It Must Be Belgium”?  It’s about a bus tour in Europe that sees like 10 countries in 7 days (or something silly like that).  Well, that is how I was feeling and I was beginning to feel a bit of resentment.  When I would go ashore there was a ton of shopping – duty free is the flavor of the month.  Diamonds and other gems, not my cup of tea nor do I associate these types of goods with the Caribbean.  So, I was feeling very dissatisfied.

Yesterday I went ashore like the good little cruise-taker.  Walked through a spate of duty free shops and stood in line for the bus to downtown.  And I didn’t want to go.  I really didn’t want to see one more shop with a silk-screen print, another bottle of perfume, another bottle of booze, another designer purse.  And I thought to myself, “so, what do you want to do”?  And I decided what I really wanted was to go back on the boat and spend the day on my balcony watching the ocean, knitting and reading.  So I did – and it was one of the best days ever!

Last night the sun set was amazing…


Today I’d booked a trip to the botanical garden on St Vincent.  It is the oldest botanical garden in the Caribbean and I love gardens.  So at 9am I was on the bus ready for the tour.  It was a small garden and as a flower lover I was disappointed since the majority of this garden is trees.  And it wasn’t what I was anticipating.  But our guide works full time for the forest ministry, and does tours on the weekends, and was full of information.  Not only about the trees and the plants but of the island history as well.  Then we set off for a second garden.

Traffic wasn’t bad, and it was interesting looking out at the sights…


And after winding our way over some mountains we arrived at the second garden.  This one had been privately owned by a Welsh man who bought the disused land in 1991 and turned it into the tropical oasis of today – 7 1/2 acres of lush, tropical gardens.




And tonight I shall sleep wonderfully!

Good bye old life, hello new life

Today I’m saying good-bye to my old life and welcoming my new one.

We arrived at our new home-town safely on Friday evening.  We have spent the weekend trying to keep cool – the temps have been around 115 (give or take a few degrees) and because it’s the desert, hardly any humidity.  This is such a change from the last several years where we lived in places where the humidity was much higher.  Tomorrow I re-join the work force.  Mixed feelings for sure!

The day we left Illinois was a bit sad.  Before leaving I did a walk around and it seemed like the garden was in bloom just to say “good bye”.

My pretty white zinnias,


the luscious tomatoes,


my favorite, raspberries (which were not supposed to fruit until next year),


the wonderful black currants,


delicious zucchinis,


the bright glads and


my beautiful, little roses.


But it was time to go.  Truck was loaded and trailer was packed, so off we went.  It only took the first night at the hotel for me to learn to park where I could get myself out!


And this is my friend’s house.  She has graciously opened up her home for us to stay in until we can find our own place.  It’s good to have friends!


And it’s off to work in the morning!

Beautiful days

Last night I was on my new porch and was watching the hawks soar.  I grabbed my camera and snapped a few.  I had the 24-70mm lens so they aren’t up-close-and-personal, and you’re looking around the electrical wire, but they were gorgeous anyway:


Here’s another, which I cropped;


And here’s my wonderful porch.  Care to join me for a morning cappuccino?  


And after coffee you can check out my garden!


What a weekend we had. Ms C developed a tooth ache, and try as we might, dental care is not to be had on weekends. The few places that advertised emergency treatment, and that responded to phone calls, indicated they didn’t see people on the weekend and if the pain got too bad to go to the ER for an injection to deal with the pain. So, with OTC meds she made it though until this morning when we were able to get her to a dentist in her university town. Not good – tomorrow she goes in for a root canal. 🙁 And we need a consult for impacted wisdom teeth (all 4). Someone is going to have a sore mouth – and with finals next week too! Altho they did say they didn’t think the wisdom teeth would need to be removed just yet.

I’m working on getting the garden in, which I know I will love (one day) but just now I’m beginning to wonder what on earth possessed me to create such a huge garden! This is new to me (especially this are) so I started several seeds indoors based on a last frost date of 17 Apr. The frost date was pretty accurate, BUT the earth was too wet to put anything in. I was finally able to put them in on Saturday, but I’d already lost many of my seedlings and I’m not sure that the others are going to make it. (Naturally my neighbor’s tomatoes are stellar, he didn’t start his seeds as early as I did…) Today I looked at my hot peppers and the leaves have turned white on several of them. Don’t have any clue as to what that is about.

Did you ever watch that movie “Overboard” with Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell? In one scene she becomes overwhelmed and just starts saying bub-bub-bub over and over again. Since retirement I’ve felt that way on numerous occasions. But today I got to live another scene from that movie. Near the beginning Kurt is taking Goldie home and she’s riding in the back of a pickup truck and swallows a bug (gag). Well, I wasn’t in the back of a pickup truck but I while I was working in the garden I must have had my mouth open because a bug flew right in. YUCK! And I couldn’t even spit it out. Double yuck. I’ve had it will protein – I’m going to become a vegetarian. I believe that bugs know if you are a vegetarian, and if you are one they won’t fly into your mouth. (And if you know different, don’t bother to even tell me!)

Inside maintenance

This morning I was reading Patti’s blog and she was saying that she’s doing some inside maintenance – new window treatments, new rug, rearrangement of furniture – you know the drill. And as I was reading her post, I found myself listening to the quiet that is the way of life in the country. There is absolutely NO sound of traffic. I can hear birds (and bugs), and the sounds that young limbs make when the squirrel jumps off and the limb springs back. Looking out of my window the trees have burst to life with beautiful foliage, still that almost lime-green of new growth but darkening a bit every day.

The mid-west is being hit by some major storms and there are flood warnings through our county and the surrounding ones. We aren’t in any danger as we sit up, but I am amazed by Mother Nature. Last week we had flood warnings (and flood it did!) yet we had clear, beautiful skies and not a drop of rain that day. So why did we have flood warnings? To the north (different states) they had bad weather and the Illinois River was being deluged by the additional water. The result was that it flooded here. Hum. Yet another example of the rippling effects that one occurrence has on another. It reminds me that we need to strive to live a life where we do not cause damage. You never know what ripple your action (physical action/inaction, a kind or unkind deed, a soft word or a harsh one) may cause to something or someone far, far away. It is a reminder that we have a great responsibility to humanity to tread lightly and lovingly.

And as I sit here enjoying my peace and quiet and the sounds that are from nature I don’t even mind that the skies are grey and that the sun will not be joining us until Saturday at the earliest. Never mind that the ground covering which I call “lawn” is 6-8 inches tall and needs a hair cut. Never mind that the garden, beautifully tilled and plowed, now will have to be reworked before planting.

Today I will focus on my inside maintenance. I need to do photography work, I feel the need to rearrange some furniture, my desk area is in desperate need of a good tidy and better arrangement. There is soup to be made – I want to do the cooking for the weekend so that we can enjoy kicking back and relaxing. (Ms C’s finals are the week after next and she needs to chill.)

And through these physical inside maintenance chores I believe that my soul/spirit will be re-energized.

Today and tomorrow I will focus on maintenance – in side my home and in the place where my spirit lives.

And to share with you, some photos of the outside I took this morning (outdoor maintenance list!)…

the waiting-to-be-planted garden

the waiting-to-be-planted garden

the waiting-to-be-power-washed north side

the waiting-to-be-power-washed north side

view from my desk

view from my desk

part of the waiting-to-be-mowed lawn

part of the waiting-to-be-mowed lawn