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2010-02-07 - 3:50 a.m.

...yes, I'm alive. and awake...

I'm experiencing my twice-yearly insomnia tonight. After tossing for a while, then finishing my 600-page book, and then tossing some more, I came downstairs. I thought it was a far better choice than surrendering to the night demons who make me think that my life is coming to an end. More generally, my late night anxiety centers around my career screeching to a halt. So rather than listen to the brakes on the tarmac, I came downstairs to work on a lecture. I'm making a cup of tea so I thought I'd spend a few minutes here with my dear neglected diary.

It's February, and apart from a few entries about my trip to China, I cannot even remember what I've written about last in this diary. I do know that I'm off on a conference trip in about 11 days, to present two talks and two poster. I'm insane. Between teaching, my students, and my committees, I've got loads to do between now and then. I'll take a deep breath and keep my head down, and I'm sure that SOMETHING will get done.

I wonder if part of my insomnia came from a bit of aching in my joints. Susi, K and I took full advantage of the sunny, 16-deg (C) weather yesterday. I went on my first planting streak of the season, raking out dead leaves, transplanting box shrubs, and putting down ground cover. I am thrilled that about 1/3 of the bulbs that I planted are well on their way up. A crocus popped through and is the first bloom in the garden this year. It looks like some gorgeous hyacinths are on the way as well.

I love this garden. And I have grand visions for it. (And with that statement I immediately think of what K would say: "if you are seeing visions then you should lie down until they pass."). But since K is upstairs and I am downstairs, I'll continue with the vision.

Number 1. Dig up the ugly ass cedars. Not all cedars have ugly asses. But Puh-lease. Our garden is the size of a hand towel. Is there REALLY a need for FORTY cedar trees?? As a first step towards de-cedaring, we took photographs and posted them on craigslist. Once the first ones are gone, I'm primed and ready to plant my northern blueberry in the sunny NW corner.

Number 2. Find more native flowering plants. And their names. And plant them. I've already started this with ground cover. (Although if you told me that they were Syracusian Double Mottled Winterwort, I'd believe you - I have NO IDEA what this stuff is). I've put in a couple of grasses and some pretty white and purply flowering things with lovely green and white leaves. Now that I know that those beautiful pink flowering bushy things are called Heather..I think that I'll try to locate some. Life should have flowers. Really, my absurd ignorance of botany has led to my classifying plants into the categories of "Daisies" and "Not Daisies," but so far I've been pretty good at keeping the "Not Daisies" alive. (I don't own any Daisies, and therefore have no way of judging my potential success with them).

Number 3. Achieving a bi-level effect. Our garden sits in a little trough, and we have sloping, exposed soil on two sides just below the god-awful cedars. Once the cedars are gone, we will have god-awful erosion unless something is done about it. Last week, my vision of the terraces appeared. It must have happened when I was reading that journal entry about the Loess Plateau. Once the cedars are history, I'll work on putting in a wood or stone wall that will level out the planting area. Instead of cedars, I'm thinking letting the hydrangeas and the lavender thrive, and maybe putting in a massive rosemary. In my vision the blooming heather is drooped artistically over the flat stones of the wall.

Number 2b. Should have thought of this sooner: find someone who knows how the hell to build a stone wall in a garden. Employ.

Number 4. Schedule visits to massage and physical therapists to fix broken back from massive planting action.

K just woke up and is probably wondering where I am (downstairs on the sofa, laptop across my knees, tea by my side). Think I'll use that as a sign that it is time to move on. Who knows - maybe I'll give shut-eye another chance.... toodles.

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