Thursday, August 08, 2002

Yesterday the men rolled out carpets of deep green grass. In short time our yard was verdant, lush and inviting. Alex watched the whole process and he prepared and planted a grassy field for his chickens, so everyone is enjoying the new yard.

Later I joined the landscapers in planting Lirope muscari, impatiens, Sweet William, vincas, callas and ferns. They thought a homeowner on her hands and knees in the garden was a novelty. I could never imagine not touching the dirt, digging holes, tucking in flowers and shrubs. I needed a lot of help to build the canvas, but no one has to apply the paint for me.

They planted 4 carrotwood trees in the back, and one camphor, and in the front is the mulberry, an ornamental plum, and a loquat. Down the driveway are the citrus, including the delicious blood orange specially delivered by Janice, Maddie, Nate, Lydia and Chip, their puppy. And along the corral side is a Santa Rosa plum, red Fuji apple, Washington navel and a Kadota fig.

Today came my moment of weakness; actually it lasted about 1/2 an hour. Nacho was lamenting the lack of plants to place around the tree, so I volunteered to go forth and return with some Mondo grass, and 2 bags of silica for Victor. To make a short story long...I had to call Victor from the Nursery and ask him to meet me with his truck! We loaded a carrotwood, a magnolia, a crape myrtle with lavender blossoms, seven blue hibiscus, more Tara's Pink, and a 15 gallon Mulberry for the lower slope before the corral. Plus other stuff; I think you get the idea. If it seems like a lot (it is,) remember that we are distributing all of this over 2 acres; two empty acres.

I am running around today; outside to help plant, back inside to feed Max, out again to confer with the tile setters working on the pool, inside to record music for the party, out to clear junk off the porch and find WD40, back in to feed Max again. In anticipation of the party, I am trying to clean the house and make it snap, but I also have to keep 3 boys entertained and comfortable, so...well, so I'm busy.

I am tired. And I am happy. There are moments when the stress is a bit much, but then I pause and reflect on the source. This life is too good and full, to complain about. I have the profound blessings of resources, choices, friends, family and the grace to recognize the incalculable worth of all of this. I enjoy my privileges with gratitude, awe and humility. It's good to be tired.

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Tuesday, August 06, 2002

My elation radiates from my soul to my toes, and to the ends of my being. The trees are here. And the callas, blue hibiscus, and Lirope muscari, the cuphea and flowering maple are all here. We have Tibouchina, box leaf euonymus, and Anisodontea Tara's Pink. And plum, apple, blood orange, carrot wood, camphor and Feijoa. And finally, we chose a tree for the 'island' in front of the house; a big, shady mulberry. I chose Juniper conferta Blue Pacific to frame the stone path to the top of the slope, and also a climbing rose for the chickens' new fenced yard. Morning glories will be planted on the fence, and New Zealand tea trees will fill in spaces along the road above the pool.

Even staggered about the yard, in boxes and black plastic pots, the green is so soothing and fresh. What a treat it has been to witness this process; the property was so neglected and forlorn, empty and dry. And now we are seeing it blossom and bloom. It will be a wonderful transformation. I stood under the mulberry tree, the first shade this yard has known from a tree, and it felt sweet. There is a breeze rustling the leaves. The leaves are lobed and serrated and ribbed. The trunk is smooth, and the canopy spreads out, like an umbrella. I can see many good life moments under this tree.

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Sunday, August 04, 2002

It is time for a pool update. Not the neighbor's pool, which is nice, but our pool in progress. We have coping; the bricks that trim the perimeter of the pool. Tomorrow I think they will return to grout the bricks and then set the tiles at the water line. It looks pretty, even in this incomplete stage. Well, that is it. There is no set completion date; bummer it won't be this weekend. But we are close. And it is still hot. Do not lose faith. Go to Target. Goggles, ear plugs, floaties and trunks are on sale now!

Last week Nacho and Victor amended and tilled all around the house. This is very exciting stuff. It smells like expectation. It looks like anticipation. It is irrigated, graded, drained, fertilized and raked. Sod comes on Wednesday! And trees and shrubs come even sooner than that, which implies Tuesday, or even Monday, which means tomorrow! This is awesome, even though they are still asking me if I want azaleas or Queen palms (I love nearly all plants, but I don't need them all to be in our yard.) Nacho told Victor, "She doesn't like normal plants." Actually, I don't like the plants you would normally see in every southern California apartment complex; been there, done that. But, I digress. This will be a very fun week. Busy and fun.

The fun revolves around more than our yard; it includes all the preparations for Grandma's 80th birthday celebration. Beto and his daughter, Aurora, are flying in from Guadalajara tomorrow. And other family will be coming from Colorado, Santa Cruz and Lompoc, and my Mom is here from Oregon. Thursday we are going out to dinner. Friday we are grilling and having a casual evening. And then Saturday is when we have the big deal. There will be a big lunch, and a small band, and big desserts, and a small dinner, and a little dancing, and 'stuff.' Mom and I were working on logistics (how many chairs, tables, cakes etc.) and with a sly wink, Grandma said, "I just want to know; where are we going to put all of my presents?" Details are always so important.

Yesterday we celebrated Max's 4th birthday. It was a simple party, but full of joy. Good friends were on hand, and we played in to the night. He is our youngest child, and there have been some incidences that have tested our spirits and challenged our expectations. I am grateful for his health and his words and his skills and his affection. It is not enough to be happy for his ten toes and thick head of hair, because, sometimes, fate can erase the very things that we come to expect when our children are born healthy and full of promise. Last year our lives were shaken by an allergic reaction Max experienced and by the realization of all we stood to lose. Sometimes we lose a treasure, and if we find it again, it is even more dear. This birthday was more than a celebration of an older boy; we celebrated his expressions, and his hugs, the way he greets each new day, his drawings and songs, the way he calls "hey, brothers!" and his audacious persistence. The joy has no words. The gratitude is constant.

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Fiesta Update #7

Okay, I think it's only fair to suggest wearing a hat, as a fashion statement, as well as for shade. I have a cowboy hat that I favor. Geoff wears a sort of rugged, Aussie number. For at least the first hour, at the house, we may still be subject to bright and hot sunlight.

I had planned to write considerably more, but John, the neighbor, just came to the front door and insists that we "should come swimming." He has a rather commanding presence, and we like to be considerate of our neighbors, so I think we should go swimming.

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