darkemeralds: Healing hands with white, blue and violet rays of light (Healing)
It's gonna be a long road. At 61, I accept that I won't see the end of it, or a return to "the way things were".

Which is all the more reason to remember that every day is precious, I am not unlimited, I must give my best work to the Resistance as best I can, and that means taking a breath, and a walk, and a moment to recognize that there is still beauty and hope in the world.
Gray cat foot standing among early green daffodil spears in the leaf-litter of winter
Graydie and the daffodils. January 30 2017
darkemeralds: Naked woman on a bike, caption "I don't care, I'm still free" (Bike Freedom)
*taps mic*

*peers out past the lights into the auditorium*

Is this thing on?

*clears throat*

I have missed personal blogging! My online life has dwindled to Twitter (@darkemeralds), where I get all my news, including fandom news. I think I'd like to expand back onto the internet again. Maybe.

Dipping a toe back in )

Okay, not exactly a mic drop. Just life. What's new with you?
darkemeralds: Roses and the caption "Cultivated" (Gardening)
[personal profile] roseambr and I went to Portland Nursery today. It's within five miles of my house, but it's not a place I go on my own anymore because there isn't a lot of nursery stock a person can get home on a bike--at least, not on a bike without a trailer.

Plants and stuff )
darkemeralds: Photo of an empty room with caption "Imagine an Empty Room" (Decluttering)
Today my new door is due to arrive, and this evening I get my new mattress.

Door and mattress. I remember a day when I wouldn't have considered either of these things as exciting as I do today, but here's the thing. There's been a sheet of plywood screwed to the back door frame for weeks, and if I want to use my refurbished back yard--which I do--I have to go out the front door and around the house (through amazingly recurrent spiderwebs) carrying my computer, my iced beverage and my phone. Decency demands, incidentally, that I be dressed before I do this.

So by Saturday I hope to be able to rise from the supportive and yet yielding splendor of my memory-foam-enhanced bower, drop the coffee beans on the floor if I want to and be able to reach down and pick them up, and then, coffee drink in hand and possibly still wearing my bathrobe, exit privately to the umbrella'ed table next to the gently plashing rehabbed home-made water feature in my charming outdoor living space, and there be the Queen of All I Survey.

And not a moment too soon, either, because even more importantly, my lovely guests [personal profile] kis and Mr Kis will be able to enjoy the same during their visit, which is less than four weeks away! Eeeee!

Back yard

Aug. 8th, 2010 06:25 pm
darkemeralds: Photo of an empty room with caption "Imagine an Empty Room" (Decluttering)
After today, the only thing lacking for me to be able to go from my kitchen through a clean, tidy, non-leaking mudroom into a well-groomed and attractive outdoor living room in the back yard is the door itself.

All But Door )

A neighborhood landscape company did a lot of the heavy lifting, and there's still some planting to go (jasmine is proposed as a vining cover for the lattice, and I could probably still spend a small fortune in brightly colored annuals and make the space into a parade float) but mostly, it's done, and as soon as I have my damn door I'll be able to proceed directly from coffee-pot to outdoor table on the few weekend mornings I've got left before autumn sets in.
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
I got an estimate this morning on Project Mudroom: The Continuation. And it was an estimate I could actually live with.

Project Empty Phase II.i Mudroom Continued, Section B Paragraph 6 (c) The Back Yard )


Jun. 12th, 2010 04:10 pm
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
What a day! What a day!

The sun came out. The temperature rose. I feel fantastic.

Summer! )

Laundry's on the line and drying fast. My sister's honeybees are buzzing. I'm heading back out now for seven more sets of flowers. Man, *these are the good old days.
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
A fleeting moment of Pacific Northwest summer this year was surrounded on the mid-June and mid-August sides by cool, cloudy, rainy days, and now it seems that fall is here. It was 57 degrees in my bedroom when I woke up this morning. Already time to start closing the windows.

From four seeds that a friend of my mother's brought from New Zealand a couple of months ago, a single heirloom nasturtium has managed to bloom at last.

I took a picture of it last night. )
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
Three words of advice for gardeners everywhere: Never. Plant. Bamboo.

I just hacked my way through about a mile of Phyllostachys nigra that escaped its inpenetrable barrier when I wasn't looking over the last coupla years lately. My forearms are bleeding with the papercut-like lashes of bamboo foliage. My loppers (I call 'em Cindy) are dull. My back yard is heaped with debris. And I'm only about half done.

On the plus side, I think I found the source of the Congo.
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
(Cross-posted at La Vida Locavore.)

Back in April I planted some potatoes.

They duly came up and filled the container with a riot of green, leafy plants, which I fed a diet of dishwater and what sunshine may come when the Pacific Northwest is having One of Those Summers.

Today, a couple of the plant-tops were yellowing and pretty well finished, so I dug down and lo! Spuds.

Just like at the grocery store, only smaller. And fresher. )

I call it a win. A tiny, tasty triumph.
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
This long Memorial Day weekend has been mostly about food. Well, okay, food and "Due South." And massive life changes.

My nephew and I made ice cream yesterday for his 12th birthday party. He couldn't decide on a flavor, so we made all three: chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla.

In the past few days I've cooked several other things that I would never have thought of as "homemade": pork jiaozi (a huge production number, but fun); steamed baozi with sweet red bean paste (I still haven't got them quite right--they're tough instead of cloud-like); pita bread (not a PITA at all to make) and hummus.

I mention all this because it's part of a change in my life, and today, in talking with [livejournal.com profile] roseambr, I became conscious of just how massive that change has been.

Kind of a Project Empty update )

This weekend I realized that the journey that began with clearing a shelf in my living room has carried me into a whole new country. I barely know who the hell I am anymore.

But whoever I am, I'm in pretty good form, and I kick the ass of who I used to be, six ways to Sunday without breaking a sweat.

So, yay.
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
Just about a month ago, I overcame a significant prejudice* and dipped my toe into the uncharted waters of urban farming.

Well, the Yukon gold potatoes that I chopped into chunks and buried in a container on April 13 have sprouted and, as of Wednesday, sent six or seven tiny glossy green leaves up into the sunshine.

Potatoes. That was gonna be it. Fun, easy, everyone loves to eat 'em, not a big commitment.


Monday I dug up a weedy portion of my neglected garden and bought lima bean, acorn squash and zucchini seeds. Today I planted two dozen or so sweet Spanish onions. Tomorrow? Extend my drip irrigation system--which I've neglected for two years--to the vegetable patch.

Next year? I shudder to think.

*Prejudice in the form of: "Why would I come home from a day in the office doing one job to take up the job of farmer in the evenings of the hottest and most unpleasant time of year, when I can go to the grocery store and buy what few vegetables I bother eating?"

Farmer Em

Apr. 13th, 2008 02:13 pm
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
Back in January when inspiration from a little feng shui book by Karen Kingston prompted me to clear out my house a bit, I had an idea that there might be some outcomes beyond household tidiness.

What I absolutely didn't foresee was that one of them would be me growing my own potatoes.

Really, really unintended consequences. )
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
I've been working hard over the past year or so on making meaningful inner changes. A critical job problem and some other trials and losses led to a few rounds with serious depression, at the nadir of which my inner voice delivered an ultimatum: "Do something about it or die."

Some stuff I've done. )

No, "there isn't any there there". I still live in the same tiny house. I still drive the same car. I'm still single, I'm still over 50, and I struggle with almost all the same issues as before. Recovering from depression, damn it, isn't a magic cure for other things.

But I'll say this for it: every hour that I live in the light rather than in the darkness is an hour of real life, an hour in which I can create or do or be something that I had no strength for in the past. I may never accomplish another meritorious thing in this life, but I got across the river.

"That's not much."

"It's enough."
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
After two years of neglect and disuse, my poor little back yard is in sorry shape. I let it get so bad that I couldn't face it. Finally a couple of weeks ago, my sister came over and did a bunch of clearing for me (I really do have the coolest family). That seemed to unblock the qi, and I've since been restoring the space, bit by bit, to the secret haven of shade and greenery that it was when I built it.

A focal point of the back garden is a fountain. I tipped it on its side to avoid ice damage in the winter (two winters ago, I think...). It's concrete and weighs about 200 pounds, but it's also cantilevered and tippy and needs to be perfectly balanced.

Well, I finally got out there set it up again. Twice. The first time, I got it going only to realize that its spot in the garden was no longer level, and the pump was shot. I took it all apart again, replaced the pump, re-sealed the hole where the cord comes out, leveled and reinforced the ground, scrubbed the basin, washed each of the hundreds of decorative rocks that fill the basin, and finally set it upright, put water in it, and flipped the switch.

It looks really pretty. )

Next up: Clean the patio table and chairs and eat some dinner out here, to the sound of the bubbling fountain.
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
It doesn't feel like Christmas. My family and I have agreed to limit gift-giving, so I've had almost no exposure to holiday retail--though I did brave Trader Joe's this morning for some cookie ingredients. In my new job, a disparate team of employees and consultants banded together just a few weeks ago for a one-year project, and nobody has had the time or the familiarity for an office party.

There's no space in my living room for a Christmas tree. I have lights up around my porch already, all year long. And the weather is just gray and rainy. And besides, I've been arm-wrestling with demons for possession of my soul fighting depression for a while, and the whole Christmas thing has seemed a bit...extraneous.

But lo! (I can say "lo" because it's Christmas Eve) there are signs of victory. I went to the nearly-deserted Portland Nursery yesterday with my sis and bought trees!

I haven't had the slightest interest in my garden for well over a year, and if you'd asked me in the last few months, I'd've said, "Screw it. Tear it out and put in lawn and barkdust," so this urge to buy trees seemed like a return to the land of the living-on-earth.

And what's more, today I planted them. I got out there between rain showers in my grubby clothes and bandanna and the ugliest shoes ever to attract spiders in a shed over long periods of disuse, and I played in the mud.

I planted a persimmon and an apricot. Tall sticks, the both of them, but with little bud nodules all up and down their twigs, and the promise of round orange fruits some summer--this coming one, or the one after.

Afterwards, with compost and bark dust layered around, and the mud sprayed off my shovel, and the buckets put away and the plant tags saved (Prunus armeniaca, Diospyros kaki), I came in and threw my muddy clothes into the washer. I love that part. I showered, had a cup of tea, and then set about baking cookies.

To all my LJ friends, the joy of the season and a wish for peace and tranquility in the new year.
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
My life is pretty good. Apart from a stubborn ton bit of excess weight and the occasional court summons, not much troubles the tranquil surface of Lake DarkEm. I can't complain. But, as Joe Walsh says, sometimes I still do.

Wherein forgiveness is called for but is hard to conjure up. )

In much nicer news, I got to meet [livejournal.com profile] skripka and [livejournal.com profile] blueraccoon today, and see [livejournal.com profile] inalasahl and [livejournal.com profile] llaras again when they all came over to my house for a mini-shindig. What a fine group of women! They got to meet Monsoon and the Bathtub of Resuscitation. There was chocolate, and the ritual consumption of tea, and some little clippy koala bears (thank you, Skripka!). Then we all went to eat at a neighborhood restaurant that I like. There was lots of good fandom and personal talk, some lovely food, and a really amazing crême brulée flavored with Earl Gray tea.

Sekrit messaj to shindig gals )

Then, to round out my day and soften my horticultural sorrow, I dragged my sis off to see Brokeback Mountain.

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