It’s been a couple months since I moved back into my little home in Tempe. Friends and family walked on egg shells for the first few weeks. I could tell they were being gentle with my heart, trying to carefully ask the obvious: was it weird?
Yes. It was a bit strange to be back in this place, a home I bought a decade ago. It was odd to have Nelson, here, in a home where I long avoided getting a dog because of the small space. And it felt peculiar to be single, sleeping in the middle of the bed.
This house has some ghosts, but they are kept at bay by the tidal wave of good memories I felt opening the front door for the first time in years. How many meals have I served from that tiny kitchen? Hundreds, easily. The patio, with worn furniture long since needed replacement, has hosted birthday parties, garden parties, bridal showers, baby showers and an HOA-illegal bbq or four. The walls were once turquoise and my grandma’s hide-a-bed was the first couch.
Today, the bones of this place are the same, just a decade older. There is some wear and tear, but also the inherent sense of home you cannot buy, found in the creak of the front door, the chickens singing across the way and ever-present basketball game happening at the neighborhood park.
I have my own ghosts — memories I don’t want to unpack, and some regrets too. Don’t we all? But more than anything, I am relieved, thankful to be living here, in my own space that I figured out a way to maintain. I feel good about who I am, the work I am doing, and the life I am leading for the first time in far too long.
And if it took moving so many times to find Nelson, the journey was well worth it.
It’s nice to be home.
Old McDonley’s farm is coming along. The tomatoes are green and growing like weeds. The squash are blossoming in giant beautiful orange blooms. I’ve noticed more bees and hummingbirds hanging around lately.
Also, my favorite plant whisperer was here this weekend to provide ample advice. Let’s just say the harvest is going to be a wild success. And I need to stop watering the squash plants top-down. Squash leaves no likey water.
Finny. That’s who.
The Finny/Donk 2014 weekend was delightful. Lots of sun, pool time, reading, gabbing, brunching, street tacos and laughing. Nelson adores his Auntie Jess and was rather confused this morning when she wasn’t around to “face cuddle” him. And yes, I’ve said it before but you cannot be too grateful for great friends. This friendship is about as sweet (and spicy and spunky and loud and profane and funny) as they come.
Love you, Finnberg. Come back soon.
Things are happening in the garden. Really, really good things. (And some bad. But mostly good!) Remember how I lost those plants to the mean dogs next door? Well, they did produce four small green tomatoes this week.
More importantly, I made my first batch of homegrown basil pesto this week and it was fantastic. And! The squash are happening!
And thank goodness Finny is on her way to Fenix because the same darn fungus that killed all of my squash in Golden last year is showing up on my leaves this year, 1100 miles south!
Any other gardeners seeing this? ARG. I will not use Monsanto-sponsored anything in this garden. Give me your best organic solutions please.
My friend Tony owns a hot sauce company and let me tell you — the stuff will haunt you. It is so hot and so delicious, if you are anything like me — you’ll want it on just about everything.
He is also a former Marine, a chef, and a giant softy. He wouldn’t want that last part on the Interwebs, but let me tell you — this man has a heart of gold. Also, he loves animals, especially his vizla puppies.
His birthday was last month and with everything else going on, I didn’t get him a gift in time. So, what do you give a man who prides himself on his culinary skills and his love of bacon?
And a custom apron:
Chalk it up to moving or hoarding cleaning supplies — either way, I ended up with too much of everything under the kitchen sink. Following Jen’s advice to remove, minimize and wipe everything down before replacing, this job was quick and fulfilling:
I am beginning to remember how living in less than 1000 square feet means nesting bowls, suitcases, etc., whenever possible and never having duplicates open at the same time. And when in doubt, add yellow shelf paper. It makes any job seem happy.
Cooked brunch for some friends this weekend. A glimpse:
Grapefruit mimosas, pesto feta quiche, almond banana bread, berries, sausage links, French press coffee, patio, 70 degree weather, children and puppy dogs.
Not a bad way to spend a day.
One Community is a monthly photo project in which participants photograph their homes and communities with a theme in mind. The theme varies by month. The goal is to both showcase similarities and differences in our communities worldwide – and bring us all closer together in understanding through art.
Each month, one of the hosts picks four words for us to interpret through photographs of what we see around us in our daily lives.
The Rules: Post one or more photos interpreting the words for the month, and add your blog post to the link-up. Please include a link back to the link-up post on your One Community post, and take a look at some of the other links and comment on them.
This month’s words, selected by Rebekah are: spring, flowers, purple and rise.
These orchids were blooming in a medical office in Dallas. I visited it this week for work and asked the practice manager how in the world she got a grocery store orchid to bloom in huge bows of blossoms.
“I read the directions.”
One of my favorite books remains The Orchid Thief. The associated film, Adaptation, is brilliant if you’ve read the book. Also — this glorious bloom embodies spring flower, purple and the rising of the season.
Want to contribute next month? Sue has selected the following four words for May: five, mother, recipe, remember. We post on the 5th of each month. Play on, playa’.
Nelson and I spent a lot of time walking these days. We often cruise around Tempe Town Lake in the mornings, or another park nearby.
The sunrises this time of year are glorious. The weather is brisk enough to still need a lightweight jacket. The bunnies come out, foraging the desert plants around the edges of the lake — giving poor Nelson a heart attack. And there are lots of birds.
I don’t know a thing about birds other than I’m guessing this buddy wasn’t hanging out in dry Tempe before the lake was filled. He and his friends are so pretty. They swoop (with several other specie of large bird) in the morning, picking up their breakfast from the slow swimmers in the water.
If you spend any time at the lake, you’ve likely seen the die off of fish in the last two weeks. A City of Tempe parks person (not Leslie Knope, sadly) let me know that they just stocked the lake for fishing and the stock bins were too full. There was some shock to the fish and they expect the die off to stop in the next week.
And that’s your daily update from Tempe. You’re welcome. Carry on, adventurers!
I may have a vintage linens problem. (Vintage linens is code for old sheets, but “old sheets” sounds creepy. Right?) They are soft and the designs are fun and the quality just seems so much better.
Also,when I can find embroidered linens in good shape, I think of the time the person must have spent on that item and that I’d be a fool to pass up the history.
As such, I may need better storage. Or more beds.
Also — to be honest, I should probably stop saying I don’t collect things.
I do. Old Sheets. And they are glorious!