How does your garden grow…

One of the things that sold me on this apartment was the fact that the landlords allow each tenant to plant whatever they want in the little beds under their two front windows. I miss my plants from the old house, quite a bit actually. I sure couldn’t get out and dig like I used to but I still loved to putter around in the beds, trim and weed, learn what worked and what was a flop, or what would take off wildly all on it’s own without even being asked.

The soil in my new beds was lacking considerably in everything except for overuse. Just a few days ago someone brought in some new topsoil, which was wonderful. I added some compost to that and will continue to amend these beds as my garden grows and changes.

Here’s a picture of what the beds looked like last Wednesday.


Here’s how mine have changed in the last few days.

I’m taking these pictures with my phone and the sun obviously is not helping, and I am rather sadly lacking in skills when it comes to adjusting photo related things, so I have called on Google to help with some better pictures. I know that first photo looks sad. Those are heuchera, one of my favorites, as are the three bright green plants in the second picture.

Check this website.  Heuchera, or Coral Bells, are really all about the foliage, although the tiny flowers that grow from very thin stalks are quite nice. There are so many varieties. I got one of the lime ones listed on the website, and the three lonely ones are a variety that isn’t even listed there.

Any way, I don’t intend to leave those 3 all alone forever. I’ve ordered some dwarf English Lavender called Wee One, and also an amazingly brilliant perennial called Blanket Flower to go along side and behind the heuchera. They come in early October.

Behind those bright lime green heuchera are some Heliotrope and, my most exciting find, miniature Hosta’s!! They stay small, only getting to be about 12″ all around. The variety I got is called Blue Mouse Ears. Hosta’s are one of my favorite plants and I’ve had good luck with them, but the common type would take over the entire bed so I was thrilled to find these.

This project has been so much fun. Fingers crossed that they all make it through the winter and our rainy spring to come next year.


It was mid-afternoon and I was roaming through websites on the computer, looking for odds and ends like decor ideas and plants for my front flower beds.

The morning had been wonderful. My handy son-in-law, with my oldest daughter and the grand girls in tow, had come over to install my new window screens. Somewhere, in the process of just being around as living space for over 50 years, the screens had either disappeared from my front and bedroom windows, or perhaps they never existed in the first place. SIL picked right up on my desire to have open windows without bugs invading the indoors and went to work making screens for me. I am most pleased.

Anyway, as I was searching out ideas I heard a car door close outside, then a blonde head came into view in the corner of my dining room window. The next thing I knew, coming down the sidewalk towards my door was a face that I haven’t seen in about 2 years.

“Oh my god, Christine,” I shouted as I bolted toward the screen door. We hugged each other, and after a short (because you can cover my entire apartment in less than 1 minute) tour, I spent a few hours chatting with this wonderful lady. I worked with her at the Oral Surgery office and have only seen her sporadically since then.

She has followed my blog over the years, and we’ve been doing the “well we really need to get together” dance but then being awful about actually “getting together.”

I love that she took it upon herself to come exploring for my new home. She hasn’t changed a bit and I feel like our conversation picked up about where we left off the last time we were together. This had to be the best surprise I’ve had in a long time.

And Christine, when you read this just know that you made my day!


One Week

At this time last Saturday I was sitting at my dining table eating take-out pizza with Alison, surrounded by empty boxes, and some not-so-empty boxes.

Tonight I sat at my dining table with a russet potato that I baked, topped with butter, sour cream, and broccoli. I’m no longer surrounded by boxes, although I do have a strategic pile of Styrofoam waiting to make it’s way to my garbage can. I also have cardboard, but it’s hidden away in a bedroom corner. I filled the bin so full with all my 1st round boxes that the 2nd round of shipment boxes will have to be tossed gradually.

I’m waiting on two chairs: one for the desk and one that will become another seating option. After those arrive then I think I’m done, at least with the bigger items. Decor and pictures will come in time I think.

So how about some observations from my first week-

-The trains are constant, both freight and commuter. I noticed them a lot (because I’m literally 4 blocks from the station and rail line) the first few days. Now they aren’t so obvious. What is obvious though is the massive amount of people who commute from this station. Residential streets are crammed full of cars during the week. You have no sense of what this town is really like until the weekend comes.

-People are old here. I know no other way of expressing this fact than to be blunt. This place is one large retirement community with vintage charm to match the white hair, stooped bodies, and hesitatingly slow gaits of what I have to believe must be half of the population. I feel young in comparison.

-I miss dinner conversation. Now that’s ironic, since I barely ever spoke to my ex-husband, and definitely didn’t sit with him for dinner since…2012 or even longer. I’m very content typically, with being by myself, but there’s something to be said to having another human to speak with while you eat. I’m trying not to just take a plate and park in front of the computer. Music helps, but now that I actually like where I’m at and my life has taken a positive turn, it would be nice to share that with someone face to face.

-I made coffee in my own coffee pot today, for the first time since I moved in. It tasted amazing.

-I like my landlords, even though they forgot about me last Saturday and were almost an hour late meeting me here to give me the key. They have been overly helpful with a few issues that sprang up, and when I asked about my taking responsibility for putting screens on two windows that don’t have them they readily agreed, although that might have something to do with the fact that they don’t have to be the ones to accomplish the task. John, aka: Mr Landlord, even asked me to check to see if a local shopping center had any hula hoops today. I was shopping, he texted about something, I told him to go ahead with his plan and mentioned where I was. Up popped a request for hula hoops. They didn’t have any, but you better believe I’m pretty curious about his need for that item. I suspect it has something to do with upcoming vacation…

-I took a walk after dinner. It’s been over 90 degrees for days now, and with a bit cooler weather today I wanted to get out into the neighborhood. I would so buy a house here, although I imagine now is not the time, but I can dream. People walk here, people sit on their front porches here, people clear out of downtown early…very early. I turned at one point in my walk to come back home by way of Main Street. Only three cars passed me and I was literally the only living person on either side of the street for as far as I could see.

-I’m happy. Not like jump for joy, life is all roses and champagne and fireworks happy, but happy, and content. I live in an old building. I have a shower that you could scald yourself with if you’re not careful about how far you turn the handle. I have a kitchen sink that is the complete opposite of the shower. Oh, there’s hot water, but it takes forever to get hot, and then there’s no force or water pressure at all. So I adapt. I have an outlet in the bathroom that keeps turning itself off no matter what I plug into it. The fix is a work in progress, so I adapt. I have little counter space in my kitchen, but I’m only cooking for one so it’s not a big deal. I have my freedom, and my sanity and my self-worth. I won’t trade those for anything ever again.



It’s 10:30 PM.

I’m sitting in my new home writing this post. It’s been a long, long day, but I am home. I’ve heard trains going by off and on all day. I’ve heard the sound of doves calling from a huge old pine tree about 1/2 a block away.

I met my neighbor in Apt 4. He is a member of the city council. I did not meet, but saw my neighbors in the other two apartments. My landlords noted that Apartment 1 is a woman, a bit older than myself, who commutes by train north each day. She has a cat. I want to be friends with the cat. Apartment 2 is a Lebanese man who recently added a Brazilian girlfriend? to his home. I’ve also been told that he’s rather grumpy. The word curmudgeon would seem to fit. He doesn’t speak very nicely to his friend either, from some of the loud, rather commanding words that came through my open windows as I unpacked. I hear that he is moving, maybe. He’s been “moving” for about 3 months now. It’s a long story and one that will likely be an ongoing story.

This place is quirky. A mix of old with splashes of updates tossed in. For instance, the windows are all old, single pane types. The light fixtures in the dining area and kitchen are all retro-ish 1950’s style while the over-the-mirror light in the bathroom is exactly the same one I had in the home I just sold. The kitchen has new subway tiles but original cupboards. There is no carpet anywhere, only laminate–one style in the kitchen and bedroom, another throughout the living area and bathroom. Area rugs are on top of my shopping list, right after food. I think I have a few eggs, some OJ, a half jar of mayonnaise, a little wine, and two donuts left over from the coffee and donuts that Alison brought with her this morning. I literally have to start from scratch again, but I had a moment, in the midst of being sweaty and hot and tired where I stopped, looked at Alison and knew that this was right.

“This is really starting to feel like home,” I said, and I meant it. My welcome mat is on my doorstep, I am still surrounded by mostly empty boxes, I have a feeling that I’m going to be rearranging my cupboards a few times until I get them just right, but I feel as if I know this place if that makes sense. It feels like mine. It feels like home.


Closing Scene…

Open on a shot of a nondescript courtroom in Pierce County Washington.

A few dozen people sit on uncomfortable benches, waiting to stand before the court commissioner.

One by one each player is asked to come before the court, paperwork in-hand. Each scene unfolds with alarming regularity. Each player is found to have some issue or other that causes the commissioner to send them away to either fix or add to their pleadings.

Some are even told that their case will not be completed because they are too far off the mark with their attempts at supplying the correct legal documents. Some should clearly not even be in the courtroom.

The cameras, as they are lurking in every corner of the room, all pan towards me- The Petitioner in case 17-3-01458-2, Dissolution of Marriage. I begin to worry that after countless hours and checks and rechecks that I may have forgotten something, or left something out. I wait as each name is called, equally anxious to be done but also dreading that I may be one of those who is sent away with unfinished documents. My brain cannot grapple with the fact that I may have to return to this room another day.

My case is called, and like everyone before me I proceed through the swinging gate and step to the microphone in front of the clerk and commissioner.

“Please raise your right hand and repeat after me…”

“Right? Which one is my right?”

“State your name.”

“Already too many questions. Can’t he see that I don’t want to get sent away. Just sign      the papers, please”

Most of the rest is a blur. I was asked basic questions about the marriage. I was asked numerous questions (probably about 4 actually) about the division of assets. I was not scolded about my paperwork being messy or inaccurate. I was not sent from the room to add to or fix anything. I watched the clerk place a large letter G next to my name on her list. It only struck me later that she was signifying for her own notes that my decree had been granted.

Pan to the commissioner’s desk. One by one he signs off on all 5 documents that I had put in front of him. He announced his signature with each one, and as those before me had done, I politely said “Thank you, Your Honor.”

With the signing of the final decree it was announced to the room, “You are now divorced. Thank you and have a good weekend.”

The lights begin to dim as I collect my notebook and purse and move back through the swinging gate, already forgotten by the commissioner and those players still waiting for their turn in the spotlight. I exit the courtroom with the realization that I am now divorced.

And we close the scene at 10 AM July 21, 2017 on what was just over 34 years of marriage.


**This process was probably the most surreal experience I have ever had. The reality for me is that this entire marriage was truly over so long ago that this was a formality. The emotion levels of this process have come and gone, climbed up and down, and been a constant presence in my life for so long that earlier today, and even now almost 4 hours later, I feel emotionless. It is just another day and nothing feels any different. I wonder how long this will take to really sink in. Maybe when I move into my new apartment and can just sit, quietly and alone and reflect. Or maybe this is all there is. Maybe there will never be anymore to care about or reflect upon. Maybe I can just move ahead now because this is finally, unquestionably over.

Thank you all for reading, and supporting, and being willing to stick through this process with me.



Catching up

So the whole new home thing…it has to be the biggest encounter I have ever had with being in the right place at the right time. By chance I ran across the listing for this apartment just 2 hours after it went online. I viewed it the next day and had my application in that afternoon.

I grew up in what once was a small town. It grew and branched out into strip malls, and busy highways, and subdivision after endless subdivision. It was once rural enough that there is still a seemingly endless amount of farmland to be bought up and incorporated into more malls and subdivisions going in almost every direction.

The next town over is another story. Highways border the west, industrial complexes border the north, a large plateau borders the east and a river cuts off the south. This little town is isolated and unable to spread and that has been the saving grace for the place that is now my new home.

It’s called Sumner. It has one main street filled with little shops. It has one supermarket. It has places like Subway, and McDonalds, and more than one bank. Unfortunately it does not have cultural and ethnic diversity, as you will note by the statistics if you read the link, and that is, for me, a definite downside. I would describe Sumner as about 2 steps higher on the diverse communities scale than say, Mayberry.

It is, however, a place that I have long wanted to live in. It is quiet, quaint, and full of both historic homes and small town oddities and events. I just learned that it has been named the Rhubarb Pie Capital which is apparently why the streets were closed off and cars were everywhere when I drove through today.

My new apartment lies along Ryan Avenue, named for the man who originally platted the land. The streets in this area are tree lined, the canopies on the maples and oaks grown big enough to touch each other and keep the street in constant shade. I am in a 1959 four-plex, all brick. Brick homes, and these single-story, multi unit structures are a hallmark of the oldest areas of the town as they sit among the ramblers and Craftsmen and Victorians. I am two blocks from Main Street, and 1/2 a block from the police station. People walk everywhere. The neighbors cat wandered out to meet me on the day I signed my rental agreement. Finding a home was a big step. Finding the perfect home, in a place I never expected would be available to me, is amazing.