A Day for Remembering Mothers

Sun Lover, early double tulip

Mother’s Day has been hard since we unexpectedly lost my husband’s mother in 1984. It worsened when I lost my step-mother (the step-mother I liked) 30 years later. Since my Aunt who raised me, and in the space of 10 short years gifted me with a moral center, has passed (3 years ago) I have had a miserable time of this holiday. I never realized how much thought, love and appreciation went into preparing for Mother’s Day until I lost all focus of the day.

Some of us were blessed with good mothers, some of us were cursed with bad or indifferent mothers. Some of us lost our birth mothers before we knew them. Whichever your mother was to you, (somewhere in between?), whichever your mother was to you the relationship between mother and child is profoundly complex.

I vowed to be original content only on my blog but Mother’s Day is a day of loss for both of us here in the dunes. Jackie, The Baseball Bloggess, captured the feeling of it perfectly. (She’s gifted and works hard and more people should be reading her anyway.):


Me? The scar of loosing my ‘Mama’ is still white hot and I cannot talk of it. She loved my gardens. She would have loved this double tulip posted at the top of the thread. I would have sent her the same bulbs knowing full well they would not have made it to blossom in the front range of Colorado but that trying would have brought her joy.

Lens-Artist Challenge #146 Focusing On The Details

We had a much needed rain this morning. I love the details of the falling rain and the droplets on one of our Japanese Cherry trees.

Spring Rain on Japanese Cherry Tree

Last night was the first Wednesday Night race of the season. The skipper of Bad Dog was short two hands and a new recruit made a minor mistake so the spinnaker ended up in the water while rounding the mark.

I love the detail of the drops as they haul the jib out of the water:


“If thou of fortune be bereft,
and in thy store there be but left
two loaves, sell one, and with the
dole, buy hyacinths to feed thy

~ John Greenleaf Whittier

Yellow Hyacinth Gypsy Princess

If you don’t know the smell of a hyacinth it is unlike any other. I love it. One has to reach for the verbiage of a Vintner or Perfumer: “…green, flowery, bitterish with honey, spicy, with chocolate shades.” It is a sweet, complex scent.

The closest thing it reminds me of is when you make a true buttercream frosting. Sweet, rich, not too rich…but something good is about to happen.

I have a bank of them outside the bedroom window.

Hyacinths Purple and Pink Pearl

They come in delicious colors from the near ubiquitous Delft Blue:

Hyacinth Delft Blue with Yellow Mammoth Crocus

To shades of red, white, lavender and the Pink Pearl below.

Hyacinth Pink Pearl

Though I love the smell some find it cloying.

The sticks and branches in the shots? Deer deterrents. If you don’t cover the flowers something may eat them before they bloom. You and the Bumble Bees will miss out.

Daffodils and Hyacinth

Though fall planting of bulbs is best you can take grocery store or florist hyacinth flowers and put them in your gardens when they are done blooming inside. Let the green leaves grow and feed the wee beastie. It will faithfully return year after year.

Happy Monday~

Lens-Artist Challenge #145 Getting to Know You

I took this as a prompt to share ourselves with photos. It’s wordy. (I need the practice. To my credit there is one selfie.)

I have been called ‘singular’ in that while I sometimes tried to blend with others (hire me, pick me, cast me, like me), most of my life I have been indifferent to fitting in. Most of my life, no, I’m still here, ALL of my life, I have been too fascinated by, curious about, distracted by and geeked about, well, Lord help me, EVERYthing, that I’ve never cared much for social constructs. Eeeeeyeah..that caused problems…no..that still causes problems. Eh. We all cause the majority of our problems.

Here I am in 1988 at 31ish? Youth.

I Did Not ‘Do’ 80’s Hair or Makeup

There are many things I’ve loved and lost. I loved winter. Boy howdy, it does not love me back. It’s not that I cannot ski, sled or skate now, or that I’m old enough to hear the death knell of that icy front step, it’s that if I do not get enough sunlight my immune system views my eyes as suspect characters. I imagine it is all part of intelligent design but I’m not intelligent enough to understand why this particular design.

A Cautious Christmas 2010 Chicago

I loved my first career in the performing arts. After the first brain surgery I loved my second career in arts education. After the second brain surgery I learned to love other things.

I miss dancing. I miss acting, I miss playing bass, I miss singing, I miss teaching, I miss doing all those things professionally but I just plain miss the joy, peace, zen, it all, of all those things.

Your world and dreams get smaller. You learn to value other things. I am grateful there are a lot of other things.

I still participate in arts, mostly visual. I have sold photos in galleries and I enjoy community arts, public arts, just plain arts, national politics, history, oh, and a good baseball game. God Bless Baseball. Although all my plays have been set on their feet and seen performance I can honestly say some of them should never have left my laptop.

Partaking in a Community Arts Project

I think I was 50 when I said to myself, “Dayum, girl, what are you waiting for?! Yes, pro boogie boards are expensive but you’re never getting younger. Do it!”

I did it. I bought good boards and I had a couple of excellent summers carving waves. The memories are mine…for as long as I can hold on to them. Disability/Injury/Surgery kept me off Lake Michigan the past three summers. It will be summer again. I still have my boards.

I think I was 57 when I said to myself, “Dayum, girl, what are you waiting for?! Yes, you will look foolish. Yes, they want young, able bodied, MALE sailors, but if you want to learn sailing, eat your pride, curb your temper, hide your wit and just do it.”

I did it. I’m still learning. I will never stop learning. I will never know it all.

Driving the Bus During a Race

I love a good trip to an unknown city, alone or with others. But. At the end of the day if I can’t be in the woods by myself or on the beach by myself or on the water, or have a creative outlet, I will go stark raving mad. I have always needed my quiet time.

I love my husband. I love my brothers..my family..my excellent friends..my cats..my flowers…I love life. But I get so tired and that makes me cranky. God bless the people who just wait till I have rested and worked that snit right out.

The past couple years I have been taking a lot of selfies. It’s not vanity. I left vanity behind in the 90’s. Physics tell me I must add heat if I’m going to control entropy. As my body spins out of control it is a way to assure myself I’m still there, inside somewhere, dealing with entropy.

Hat Hair After an Outdoor Shoot

I love to mark the changes of the seasons as the Big Wheel turns. I love to celebrate the holidays of those seasons. I love to celebrate those holidays, sometimes by dressing up and getting silly because life is hard, baby, and none of us get out alive. The Big Wheel it turns with us and without us. Might as well get on and enjoy the ride.

This post is dedicated to my husband. I did volunteer work yesterday, organized volunteers, got it done but I overdid, got too tired to deal with pain and had a snit. He abides.

#Lens-Artists Challenge

Cutting Garden

A Freshly Picked Cup of Tulips

Daffodils come back year after year and, more or less, aren’t bothered by deer. It’s different for tulips.

It is such a struggle against the overpopulation of deer that I am not willing to put in the work to have a tulip garden here and so I put them instead in a cutting garden. This is my tomato garden, perfect for a temporary cutting garden. I won’t be able to set tomatoes out until late May/early June. Tulips will be spent by then so I’ll lift them out, give them away and work the soil afresh for tomatoes.

Tomato Garden as Cutting Garden

I buy tulips when they go on sale late in the fall. Because these will not be in a permanent garden I don’t worry that the bulbs have not had enough time to root before the ground freezes. It is hard on the bulb this way but it’s the only way I can have tulips.

This fringed tulip, Crystal Beauty, is one of three varieties I picked up late last fall.

Crystal Beauty Fringed Tulip

It’s best to cut the flowers in the morning while they are still in bud. I let these guys go too long. Oops. I also cut them in the afternoon. It’s all good in this best of all possible worlds.

Lens-Artists Challenge #144 Taking Off

This young woman was learning the sport of Kiteboarding. Here she is looking up at her huge ‘kite’, preparing to jump off a wave crest. If she took off correctly she could ‘fly’ over Muskegon Harbor. As a relative beginner she had never ‘caught air’ (or ‘flown’) before.

Taking Off

After a brief warm up she did it! Her first flight!


I am so proud of her. I don’t know her. But I do know what it’s like to have an emerging passion for something, a something that takes skill, practice and a modicum of bravery.

It was her first real ‘flight’. Kudos and all good things to her!



“‘She cried, ‘Cockles and Mussels, alive, alive, oh.'”

Cockle Shells on Beach Fence

I did a quick search on cockles so I’d have something relevant to share, you know, a little “Hmmm, that’s interesting.” blog fodder?

Cockle Shells on Beach Fence

You know what I found? A study from the National Institute of Health; Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh-The role of bivalve molluscs as transmission vehicles for human norovirus infections.

Having gotten sick once on bad oysters I know all about that. (I’m not going to stop eating raw oysters though.)

I’ve never eaten cockles.

These shells wash up on the beach with that hole in them. I’ve pondered that hole often. The hole is never any place else on the shell so I wonder if the shell is weakest there on the crown. Or, Did something break the shell to get to the meat? Most dead critter shells have bore holes in them. Cockles always look like they were cracked with a rock and the part from the hole is missing.

There is a zen to finding cockle shells, if they’re not holey, put them along your drive or in a garden, if they have that hole, bonus, string them up on twine, or, decorate a beach fence. You see cockles like this you know someone was blissed.

Cockle Shells St. George Island

It’s zen, like stacking rocks. There is no purpose to the action save to enjoy the beauty of the cockle and the beach.

Lens-Artist Challenge #143: Colorful Spring

The larger bulbs, tulips and daffodils, get all the acclaim but I love the ‘minor bulbs’ of Spring, small flowers that come earlier even as the snow is still on the ground, flowers such as the early crocus I posted last week. Snowdrops (Galanthus) are the earliest in my gardens. Unlike my loudly cheerful crocus they are elegantly understated shy white and green nodding drops of ‘snow’.

Snowdrops “Galanthus”

To have a good look at Snowdrops you have to lay on the ground and pick up the ‘bell’ to look up it’s skirt to see what’s going on. Difficult to do during what is essentially mud season. Two years ago I indulged and spent a little more for a double variety.

Double Snowdrop

These minor bulbs look great naturalized in the woods but I have them tucked in corners of gardens. Here is a shot, Mid-March, of my one dedicated snowdrop garden. Like I said, they’re small.

Snowdrop Garden by the Shed

A little bit later the blue bulbs come up. This is still before the big bulbs. Chionodoxia is usually blue (I had some pink. Lost to a move.) and goes by the name, ‘Glory of the Snow’ as it often appears when snow is still around.

Glory of the Snow, ‘Chionodoxia’

These bloom almost simultaneously with Siberian Squill ‘Scilla siberica’. I don’t know which I love more. Depends on which one I’m looking at. The Squill seem to be hardier and multiply well.

Siberian Squill “Scilla siberica”

I had my dwarf iris, handed down from Grandfather’s sister, in a huge planter that ran the length of the house. The planter was crumbling and we replaced it with a wheel chair ramp/deck and I moved my Great Auntie’s wee early iris to my ‘iris’ garden and it did not come up this year..so far. It grew from rhizomes. This little guy, Dwarf Iris ‘iris reticulata’, grew from a bulb. He’s new to me. I’m in love.

Dwarf Iris ‘iris reticulata’

This spring Anemone was here when I moved. It was a delightfully unexpected gift waiting for me in the grass near the garage our first spring behind the dune. It comes back every spring as it self seeds. Last year I thought I should ‘catch’ some in a pot so I don’t lose it. I don’t know nothing about anemones. I’ve tried to purposefully grow them before and failed. For one thing, their root looks rather like a small flake of something from the cat box and it’s hard to tell which way is up when you are planting in the fall. There are several varieties in a wide range of colors. I’m so happy with my serendipitous blue. This thing is small by the way, between quarter-fifty cent piece size.

Spring Anemone ‘Anemone blanda’

I’m going to end today with daffodils. I love the exuberance of daffodils. I have so many varieties that I have them growing from early March through early June. I can indulge because deer do not eat them.

Daffodil ‘Barret Browning’, yeah, I don’t know the Greek

I am a crazy gardener. I have had many people, friends, neighbors, strangers, come by and comment on my gardens. I have to be careful health wise; when things are bad I garden laying down. My flowers bring joy to so many and feed pollinators (Yes, I plan to work in some native early blooming bushes for host plants.).

Once sailing season starts though, the gardens manage on their own.

#Lens-Artists Challenge: #143

Question..don’t I have to add a pingback link to the Challenge host?

EDIT: I forgot a minor bulb; Puschkinia Libanotica, Russian Snowdrop. (I didn’t know it was called Russian Snowdrop. You learn something new everyday.) I love this little bulb because it is shot through with della robbia blue. For those not in love with Italian Rennaisance painting and terra cotta works it’s sky blue.

Puschkinia libanotica

Momentum of Existance

Between Heaven and Sea
The Momentum Of Existence
by Eric Nixon

Sometimes you don’t get a chance
To pause and rest
Even to just take it all in
Sometimes life just goes too fast
And if you halt, even for a moment
You could get rolled over
By the momentum of existence
So, push yourself and keep going
Because once you stop
You may not get started again
And if you need a breather
Do it after the big stuff is done –
I guarantee you the view
Will be a whole lot better
Carving Sunlight

I need a new lens, one that shoots in low light well. This is another stormy September day from 2020. The 30th I think. It was very dark yet things were back lit and happening quickly.

Harbor Lights

This kiteboarder surfed and flew til after sunset, which was spectacular. The heavens put on an epic show.

Day’s End

The light, waves, kiteboarder and photographer all left after dusk.

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