Grooks

In 1966 Piet Hein published a little book of poetry entitled Grooks. It brought me cheer and challenge. The cover says he began” writing Grooks during Nazi occupation of Denmark. They were, quite literally, underground literature – Piet Hein was in hiding as as resistance leader. …they enabled Danes to talk to one another about what really mattered in a range just beyond German understanding and several octaves beyond Nazi sensitivities. “

A Maxim for Vikings

Here is a fact that should help you fight a bit longer.

Things that don’t actually kill you outright make you stronger.

Yes, that has challenged and comforted me through many, many years. Now I have passed my 71st birthday. We have a tiny (by comparison to past houses) front garden. Each spring at other locations I would participate in what I called “Death by Gardening,” cleaning up the flower beds and putting in a new perennial or two. Suffering the consequences for days and at times weeks afterward.

Bob had planted over 200 of my favorite daffodil bulbs at the last house. When we were packing last spring, I was lamenting leaving that glorious daffodil display. One friend bought me two pots of large daffodils to plant at our new house. I nurtured those bulbs through the spring and into the summer awaiting a flower bed. Another friend attended our open house and gifted us with a sack of daffodil bulbs and a sack of tulip bulbs.

Our weather went from summer hot (think 80s) to chilly (think 40s). For the last few days we have entertained 60 degrees. Twice I have gone out to plant a few bulbs. Whereas I used to spend 3 or 4 hours in the garden I am no longer able to do that due to fibromyalgia and arthritis. Now I might spend 45 minutes or so.

Here is the deal. When Ryan built this house, they delivered tons of huge gravel for the eventual driveway. First, the crane parked there to lift the walls and roof trusses into place and then the construction dumpster sat on it.

The rocks spread. Then the driveway and sidewalk were concreted and the rocks spread.

Rocks throughout the rain sitting on top of the clay

Then the grading machine came to shape the yard and the rocks spread. Our son advised adding inches of good topsoil to the garden area before they came to put in our plants and single tree. We did that with his help.

So now this old lady is out trying to plant flower bulbs. The soil and top layer of mulch have settled. The bulb digger is a handy gadget we have used for years.

Here is the current struggle. To plant the daffodil bulb at the suggested depth (about 6 inches), I twist the bulb digger to make a hole. Before I reach 6 inches deep the digger hits either clay or rock or BOTH. The clay is wet and will not drop out of the digger, so each attempt the clay must be removed with the dandelion remover. This is no longer a simple matter of place a few bulbs in the ground!

“Things that don’t actually kill you outright…” Make me ache and moan and groan the next day. Actually I was gasping for air and having trouble getting upright after planting, too.

What was I thinking? I have this gardening bug that makes me believe I am 27 instead of living into my 72nd year. I want to plant and grow things. I delight to see flowers blooming and bobbing in the breeze.

I must try to content myself with a few lovely daffodils and let go of the glories Bob planted for me in the past. I placed the clods of clay into a flexible tub. It was so heavy when I finished placing about 15 bulbs I could barely drag it to the sidewalk, much less dump it in the garbage can.

Weighty Clay Clods

Ryan homes has done nothing yet regarding the drainage problems in our backyard. I had hope for a perennial bed out there by now. The mums and aster from this fall will need to be thrown out as there is no place to put them in the ground for the winter.

“Make you stronger …” Maybe this yard will make me strong enough to embrace gracefully that I am no longer a strong young woman? The crocus bulbs are in. All the plants we brought with us are in the ground (thanks mostly to Bob and son Jeff). I will see if I have grown wiser when the new plants are available in the spring?

Wiser to embrace the blessings I have and release the ones that have passed as my younger years fade away. Oh Lord, You know how much help I need with this!

The grass withers, the flower fades;

    but the word of our God will stand forever.

Isaiah 40:8

New House, New Tree

We set up our old Christmas tree in the new house. It was too wide for the setting. Bob heard there could be an artificial Christmas tree shortage this year. So when he saw them at the hardware store he took me with him to choose one. I chose a pencil tree, known on the box as Sonoma Pine, seven foot.

It sat in the box in the garage for several weeks. Finally we decided we should set it up and be certain we liked it and it fit in the space. Mind you, my husband would be content with the photo of a Christmas tree instead of a real or artificial one. The idea of setting one up before November 15, before Thanksgiving even, has never occurred in our 51 years of marriage!

We unboxed it. The dog watched in the corner in fear. As we set it up the dog had left the room completely. We plugged it in. Looked pretty good! Well, if you have a tree set up and the ornaments are close at hand, why not decorate it? And so, we did! Just the two of us. The last few years Grand-kids had helped us decorate the tree. This year the two oldest ones are both holding down jobs and school. The youngest is 40 minutes away, one way. So we just did it.

The dog had returned to the room and was watching warily. It stumped me why she was so timid. Then I remembered the tree at the other house had been in the basement (more room for gifts and celebration space). She spent very little time near it.

We actually had fun together decorating it. After a while Bob took the job of putting hooks on ornaments while I placed them around the branches.

Yes, Charlie Brown and Snoopy on the floor for now.

I was remembering the angel Myrtle made me, the bell I crocheted like the ones Aunt Audrey made, ornaments the children and grandchildren made. Little treasures that make me smile. One ornament from Bob’s kindergarten class and the replica we made first year we were married. The yarn “snow queen”, Christmas mouse, stars to remember how His birth was announced in the heavens. The ornaments are just good for my soul. I am still debating whether to leave the angel on the top of the tree or replace her with a sparkly Gold crown I found to honor the King of Kings? There are quite a few angels on the tree.

We are accustomed to lights with many colors and this one is all white. We are unlikely to keep it lit every night until January first. Bob said he meant to get one with LED lights and this one is not. It is a joy to have it up as the time change brings sunset so much earlier.

New home, new tree and likely new traditions will be formed in however many year we have left. Bob says he is not paying for any 5 year magazine subscriptions as who knows if he will get them all read! Other age related comments have been bouncing around since our birthdays 3 weeks apart.

Father, You knew when to send Jesus.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:6-8

And Father, You also know how long we have left on this earth. Let us use that time to Your Glory, I pray.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

1 Corinthians 10:31

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Colossians 3:15-17

Our times are in Your hands. (Psalm 31:15a) Celebrate the gift of His life to you!

Dr. Fauci is Missing

I don’t know quite how to break this to you, so I will just say it outright. Dr. Fauci is missing.

During the height of the pandemic some of us had more ready cash than we were accustomed to having. Shopping in the local stores was reduced and most of us stayed in. In 2020 the State of Ohio (or someone) offered bobble-heads of Dr. Fauci and the Governor of Ohio, Mike De Wine. I have a friend who was 9 years old at the time and loved the Governor. I am married to a man of science (read employed 40 years in a hospital laboratory) and we like Dr. Fauci.

I figured the baseball guys have bobble-heads. I had never owned one, so why not? With my extra cash I purchased one the Governor for my friend and Dr. Fauci for us.

He adorned our dining room table for months. I was amused by his moving head. Carefully kept the materials he was packed in so when we wanted to store him it would be with care.

The nine year old loved his Governor De Wine bobble-head which he received for Christmas.

Then came the big house purchase and move. When it came time to pack Dr. Fauci I could not find his box. I searched and searched, but no luck. By then many boxes had been packed and sealed. I carefully wrapped him in tissue and bubble wrap, wanting to protect his bobbing mechanism.

Dr. Fauci is missing. We have emptied almost every single box. I now have the original box he arrived in. But Dr. Fauci is still missing!

Our man of science

Soon we will retrieve the Christmas decoration boxes from the storage bin we rent. Perhaps I put him in one of those? If not, I might have to purchase the new one they produced when he was named to the current President’s cabinet from Bobble head hall of fame.

We still believe in science over fiction. Vaccines save lives, as do boosters. Whether you understand his decision or not, please love your neighbor enough to get vaccinated.

I will let you know when we find him!

Stuck Stymied

I was pondering what to write for this weeks’ blog entries. I realized I was stuck. We went to a craft store in New Richmond called The Collective: Local Handcrafted Goods. I only purchased one small item. As we drove away I told Bob that seeing the creativity of all those artists (over 120 of them) I was stirred within me to capture my own creativity.

Then I remembered the “Just Look” observation from the morning. I grabbed the shopping bag from the store that was lined with white paper and began recording my “Just Look.”

21-9-20 One Leaf Falling ©Molly Lin Dutina
I saw a leaf fall
From high in the tree
It drifted down, down,
Down 85 feet
Reminding me soon
There will be millions of leaves on the ground
Wind and rain beating
Forcing them to the ground
Naked wood branches
Bearing testimony to
Endurance for decades

 

I was relieved and delighted to awaken that muse again. Then Monday morning came and writing time arrived. I typed up the poem from inside the paper bag. I hit a stone wall. Just nothing. no ideas to put on the computer screen. Nothing to share with you.

Except, as I stepped away from the computer and the day unfolded I realized I am just like that leaf in some ways. Yes, the seasons change and the difference in sunlight and water to the leaves make changes for the trees to drop them. We have moved. I have told people that for the most part we are unpacked.

Over this past weekend some things occurred that help me feel more settled. Bob got the bedroom TV hung on the wall, thus freeing up the surface of my bookcase for other items. He also hung my curio cabinets. I have a collection of miniature items from childhood into adulthood. I had not unpacked those as the cabinets need to be in place.

All Three
So many memories in one box!
And yes, there is room for a few more if they are tiny.

I had no idea how much I desired to see those items. There are still many drawers to be emptied and reorganization to take place after the move. With those tiny items up on the wall in cases I really do feel like I am home here. For me, those little things ‘bear testimony to endurance for decades.’

Who knew?

Wish I had Remembered a Camera!!

We had two open house parties this past week and I forgot to have a camera ready for either one of them! Drats.

The first was an open house Wednesday afternoon for my friends from the Union Township Crochet and Knit group. Following day after day of summer sweltering heat, we had a tremendous downpour right at party time. Most guests waited in their cars for the storm to abate. Even at that when they came in they were wading through the full gutters along the street. As usual, there was much laughter and sharing. After touring the house we settled down for a small lunch with Jimmy John’s third cut sandwiches, chips, cookies, lemonade, water or iced tea. No one drank coffee. We had fun opening our home and sharing with this joyful bunch!

Then on Sunday afternoon we had another larger group. We invited 37 and about 27 showed. This group was comprised of neighbors from our old address, friends from our church of the last ten years, people Bob used to work with and others who had not seen our home yet. It was a rowdy bunch. We had lemonade, tea, bottled water, cookies and York peppermint patties. Some folks stayed the whole 2 hours. Others came and went at their leisure.

The last half hour we were left with a table full of friends who are all strong Christians. About then I realized our friends who have an adult daughter who has been ill for over 16 months had not arrived. Someone mentioned the serious turn for the worse that her health had made. Another read a prayer request for her that had arrived in the last hour on their phone. I was stunned as if someone had slammed me against the wall. One person suggested we pray right then and there as a group on her behalf. And we did. One man mentioned how we could all go from rowdy laughter at one moment to solemn intercession the next. Such a clear example of the Christian life. I was so grateful to have all those sweet folks praying with us for her at that moment.

How fitting that this house that we believe belongs to God and is on loan to us, was suddenly transformed into a prayer altar on Mindy’s behalf. Please, please pray for Mindy, her husband and children, her parents and siblings. These folks are exhausted and in need of encouragement and prayers on their behalf.

So I have no photos to share with you, but hope from the words you get an idea of our week of celebration. I failed to put “No gifts” on the invitation and people brought gifts that about overwhelmed me. Bob is out buying thank you notes now. We are blessed beyond measure.

Hurricane Ida is supposed to bring rain to our part of Ohio this week. Though our hearts are heavy for the people on the Gulf coast, we are grateful Bob will not need to water the sod and plants. Weather will likely delay the start of our deck being built, but we can wait. Ryan homes is also supposed to begin digging a drainage ditch across three lots (ours included). Hopefully that will clear up the standing water and let us use all of our lot instead of avoiding the last 5 feet due to marshy soil.

Online I did find a photo of the Hallmark invitations we used!

Other House/This House

When we lived on Siesta Drive our large wind chimes, tuned musically, hung from a hook off the second story balcony. Even when we had constant wind, we rarely heard them. Now we have them on a “shepherds crook” in the back yard. We are enjoying their melody almost all the time!

Yep, that is temporary home for rain gauge!

At our other house we had the hummingbird feeder on the front porch. We often saw them through the living room windows or if we were sitting on the front porch. Now we have the feeder outside the office window. We tried it outside kitchen window but some sort of bees took over and would not let the hummers feed.

(Before tree was planted!)

Photos were taken through the screen, but those birds cheer me on while I write or sit here to pay the bills. Today I actually saw a male and a baby hummer on the feeder at the same time!

New house, new perspectives on old favorites. Bob hung a smaller wind chime just outside the office windows. When the one in the backyard is not ringing, the smaller one in the front yard often is! Cannot see it from indoors, but if the window is open can certainly hear it!

The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.

John 3:8 NIV

My Apologies

I have made some friends through this blog. And my dear friend, Dan, who led me to this site to begin with! They read my blog and I usually read theirs. My life was turned up side down with our move 2-1/2 months ago and most of my disciplines were “shot to hell” as my mother would say.

So I apologize to my friends whose blogs I have only rarely been reading. I finally decided the only way to get back in the pace of reading regularly was to not worry about the ones I have missed. The many, many that I have missed. I know you guys post regularly and I have been here schlepping boxes around and arranging the new household. Then pooping out in the recliner wondering where my energy went 😦 and how did I get this old?

So please allow me to begin again and take no offense at my absence. It was quite a challenge to get unpacked and settled. I think we finally might be rounding the last stretch. Just need a deck in the back yard now. Our first open house to welcome friends who have not seen our new digs is August 29th.

Blessings to all my fellow writers and bloggers. In Christ, Molly D.

We have plants!!

When we moved here in May we placed a special order for what plants we wanted in our front flower beds. The first order they brought to us was wrong so we sent it back. Then we had to wait for the sod to get established before they could being us the correct plants since they would bring mulch and drive over the yard to bring the plants with machines.

So we waited. And Miranda in the office went on vacation. And we waited and finally one day they brought the plants!

Oak tree looks a little tipsy, but it will get established.

The shrubs are butterfly bush (near door) and sweet viburnum (near corner of building). We asked for Vitex which is a native butterfly bush. Not certain they found one, but the shrubs are in now. The other plants in front bed we brought with us from the old house. Rose and ferns. Bought the rose blooming brightly below. It lived in a plastic bag for a couple months before getting planted in a 5 gallon bucket. There is also calla lily which began as a spring houseplant. I find it amazing that all these plants can be grown, transplanted, re-established and flourish in new surroundings.

The edge of the sidewalk has some iris from the other house, oregano and columbine plus new Astilbe which are not blooming. (Well, there is one dried flower on the Astilbe.) I will eventually put spring bulbs in there. The broad leaves are amaryllis which will be taken up in autumn, dried and re-potted for winter blooming. You can just see the stone that says Bob and Molly’s garden – a gift from friends. And, of course, little black fence to discourage the dog from wandering into or taking a shortcut through the flower beds!

On the corner is a purple hydrangea that was a housewarming gift, hosta from other house and the new small decorative grass.

Hosta and decorative grass repeat on other side of garage door. We are delighted. Just praying and wishing for rain. Soaked the tree once and will need to soak it again until it seems established.

Watched a sermon on being rooted in Christ. Wonder how long it takes an oak to be rooted on Platform Street?

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

Colossians 2:6-7 NIV

Lucky Explores Her New Yard

Now that the sod is established we have created two tie outs for Lucky, front and back. She cannot be in just a fence as she digs to escape. This morning while I was working to clean the front step, sidewalk and front door I tied her out front. She has been really good about staying out of the flower beds so far!

When I went to the garage to get the window cleaner I noticed she was jumping around nosing at something in the sod. Upon exploration it was a large crawdad!

Not my photo because no phone handy.

She was not liking that thing. I got the poop scoop and scooped him up. Took him to the water flowing along the side of the street. Guess the rains are bringing out every creature! Lucky went on exploring the yard, but seemed more wary than usual. I was delighted it was not a snake 😦 Yuck to snakes. I know they eat small rodents but they freak me out.

Her favorite yard thing seems to be eat a little grass “salad” and rest in the shade. That is a behavior improvement. A few weeks ago she did not seem to have the sense to get out of the sun, even when she was panting and obviously uncomfortable!

I went back to work on the entrance. Needed a little soil where it had washed away from a plant. Bent over to scoop some up and there was a toad! Oh glory! They eat lots of bugs. The one I saw was about 2-1/2 or 3 inches long. It was as black as the composted soil and manure. Wikipedia information digest says: “The color and pattern is somewhat variable, especially for the females. Skin color can change depending on habitat colors, humidity, stress, and temperature. Color changes range from yellow to brown to black, from solid colors to speckled.” There was a brown toad in my garden on Siesta. So glad to have this new friend!

In early spring I bought as inexpensive fragrant rose bush wrapped in paper and plastic, I moved it to this house that way. Following Jeff’s example, Bob drilled a few holes in a five gallon bucket for the new rose. In the bucket it leafed out, but some of the leaves did not survive. It sent up a few sturdy new shoots. We cut off the dead shoots and waited for sod and gardening area. Bob and Jeff planted it for me the weekend of July 10. This week I was delighted to look at the flowerbed and voila!

It obviously needs some rose food with bug resistance in it, but I am amazed it has made it this far! The other larger bush was bought here is five gallon bucket. This is it’s third home. And so fragrant! No Knock Out roses for me, thank you!

There is still a thick layer of mulch to go in the flower bed. Hopefully they will bring our shrubs, Astilbe and mulch soon!

Garage Door

The garage door has been making a clunking sound. It is a loud clunk as it rumbles up the tracks to the ceiling. We called the warranty people.

A young man come out to adjust and inspect it. The spring was too loose. The spring was too tight. (Oh my goodness that sounds like me!) He drilled, he adjusted, he finally was working to a point where Bob thought perhaps he had gotten in over his own head? The door was down and Bob needed it up to have enough light to work on his project.

Yes, way beyond me! A few days after he left Bob noticed there is a gap on the bottom of the door on one side only. Guess we need to call the company and have them out again? We do give thanks for repairmen who come to adjust things in the house, tweak this, seal that, etc.

It does not clunk anymore and that is a relief! Bob has worked without stopping the last nine weeks. We are very, very close to getting both cars in the garage! His workbench is filled. He hung the extra lighting over it, a nifty little LED unit that has a motion detector on it. When we walk into the garage it turns on! Our last door lift did that but our new one does not. Compared to the last house it will be tight with both cars in the garage since we have so much more in the garage sans basement! First world problem. We will make it work or get rid of more stuff.

Come winter we will be delighted to have the cars out of the weather!