The Livin’ is Easy

Summertime. Finally. Seems like June was either rainy or 90 plus degrees worth of misery. Now that July is rolling along, things are more even. Hot days, and the nights are cool enough to leave the windows open and sleep under just a cotton sheet.

I’ve been sidelined with a few days worth of Epstein Barr Virus, which means things dragged to a halt and left me smack dab in the middle of a lot of undone projects. Which is maybe a good thing. The first time I had Epstein Barr, I was really down for the count. I was off work for months and sleeping up to 22 hours a day, and life just flowed around me. Doing anything exhausted me. A trip to the grocery was like contemplating Everest sans sherpas. I had to have Mr. GG or the Baby come out and carry the grocery bags in. I could not be counted on to get anything done. I had to put Mr. GG in charge of the tax return, which meant he hired an accountant which proved MUCH easier, and we have had our taxes done ever since. I lost all control of life, and had to let people do things for me (and couldn’t bitch when they were not done MY way). It is not easy to accept help when you are the one who has been in charge forever. I used to sit on a wooden bench by our irrigation ditch and watch the ducklings puddle around, then I would go back inside and fall asleep. The only thing that made a difference was injecting myself in the thigh with Kutapressin, a dark fluid made from pig livers, which was just totally disgusting. But I learned to do it. Eventually, things got better, but it was a frightening and humbling experience, and an intense course in attitude adjustment. I came out the other side with a new sense of gratitude.

I learned not to overdo things, because an afternoon of weeding could put me in limbo for the next couple of days. It’s been years since that first attack of EBV, and I have slowed way down. If I have to do heavy lifting or a lot of manual labor, I build up to it, and usually things work out fine. Every now and then, though, I have a little relapse and then I am on a forced time out, because I forgot to pace myself. By now, I am pretty sure that I will never be old or wise enough to know better.

I probably did myself in this week by clearing oak brush, and hauling branches and weeds. This summer I tore up part of the front yard, and replaced the ugly shrubs with a flower and vegetable garden. I have squash and cucumbers and pole beans. I have eggplant, peppers and tomatoes, dill, nasturtiums, zinnias, castor beans, rosemary, sage and marigolds. Roses and lambs ear. Kale and Bok Choi. Crambe cordifolia and hollyhocks and tiger lilies. Just to mention a few of the garden contents. My favorite thing is a tomato tree with 4 upside down tomatoes growing from the hangers. I searched high and low on the internet until I found a source for currant tomatoes. Tiny little globes that hang in trusses, and are the size of a raisin or a fat blueberry. These deliver the most intense tomato flavor, and so far only a few ripen each day. Just enough eat out of hand while contemplating the number of pepper blossoms, and pulling up a few bindweed starts.

Anyway, since I have been on zombie/coma status for a few days, I have spent a lot of time on the back patio. And found out it is a little slice of heaven. Early this summer I bought a 9 foot umbrella (20 bucks, Tuesday Morning), and when the mosquitoes arrived because I have a huge pot full of water plants and a small fountain pump (Lowes), I bought a net that drapes over the umbrella and zips closed (Improvements catalog). I hung a bunch of my paper lanterns in the trees around the umbrella, and it is wonderful sitting out there in the dusk. My stands of foxglove are about bloomed out, but my climbing petunias, mignonette, white heliotrope and white phlox are blooming, and evenings are a perfumed delight when a breeze wafts those scents around.

My kitchen is a mess. Let’s not discuss the state of the floor. I haven’t been cooking, so a whole bunch of healthy fruits and vegetables are turning to mush in the fridge. The mosaic tabletop I am making for Mr. GG’s sister is lying on the kitchen table with glue and Fiesta ware plates cluttering up the surface. Laundry? Yeah, right. When taking a shower requires all your energy, laundry drops way down on the priority list.

So I have mostly been sitting on the patio, listening to the hummingbirds fight over the three feeders, the splash of the fountain, the cats rustling through weeds (so far this month the score is Cats: 6, Mice: 0). I have been re-reading old paperbacks cause I am too tired to go to the Library or the used book store. And you know what? It has been great. My friend comes over every evening and we sit in the dark, drinking ice tea, and discuss whatever comes up – our daughters, the horror of trying on swimsuits, gossip, books, trivia… it is enough just to sit in the dark, and listen to night sounds and make desultory conversation. Life is good. If only there were lightening bugs in Utah, I think life would be perfect. Yay, summertime.

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