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(c) 2013 Trina Lambert Planted by Woman.

(c) 2013 Trina Lambert
Planted by Woman.

Where has May gone? Well, I’ll tell you, I have spent much of May outside—it’s so good to be able to get out again, although I’m not that excited about weeding, pruning, and mowing. Thank goodness I can listen to books and music to get me through the less exciting stuff—yeah, I know, not very mindful, but I don’t think I’m quite ready to write “Zen and the Art of Lawn Work” as a follow-up to my “Zen and the Art of Snow Blowing” post.

My new neighbors have rarely seen me outside without headphones or ear buds—sheesh, am I becoming that remote person who disconnects from the world by using technology?

For the most part I’m just trying to con myself into doing what I consider boring work—hard to believe I come from long lines of farmers. I first started listening to books to get myself through organizing papers and doing my physical therapy exercise, so outside work is just one more place to use that tool. Since I spend most of my daytime hours alone, I have lots of time to think deep thoughts to myself anyway—a few hours listening to someone else’s thoughts doesn’t really inhibit my ability to formulate my own. I’ve never been a person who puts on music or the TV just to have background noise.

Our neighborhood can be pretty quiet on week day mornings and early afternoons, so it’s not as if I usually need to block out noise, unless someone’s using equipment my ears can’t stand, such as chainsaws, jackhammers, or leaf blowers. Still, I was really glad I was listening to a book without much outside sound interference when I realized I could still hear someone shouting—turns out some guy was just pontificating at great volume on his patio half a block away! Imagine if I hadn’t already been enjoying my book—planting my annuals would have been a lot less pleasant.

I really can plant annuals without needing to distract myself, but not so sure I would have weeded so thoroughly without a little help. This past weekend, I realized it would be folly to mow the grass before removing the weeds—no need to disburse any more weed seeds by mowing off the tops. By the time my story on the library’s Playaway system had ended, I was only about half done. As tempted as I was to run to the library for another book, I switched to the iPod instead to listen to some of my favorite “chore” tunes.

(c) 2013 Trina Lambert Planted by Nature.

(c) 2013 Trina Lambert
Planted by Nature.

Maybe I didn’t hear my son calling my name again and again. So what if he gave up, right? The dog and I were having a great time dancing to “Brick House” while pulling weeds. How did he know what song it was, you ask? Apparently, while he couldn’t hear the professional music, he could hear me singing along—really badly, no doubt. Guess I should be glad it wasn’t the new neighbors calling my name, right?

New plants are all planted, seeds are in the ground, perennials and self-seedings are waking up, and fewer weeds sprout in our green-for-now yard—the effects of the drought beat back for a few more weeks by a spring of moisture.

Now I can take my laptop outside to write—in silence. Or walk, run, or hike without any headphones. I may not always be mindful in whatever I do, but for the most part, I do have a mind full of my own words and songs. No, there are many outside activities I do that never require the distraction of someone else’s story or music. That’s just part of the real magic of May and the warmer months to come.

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(c) 2012 Trina Lambert
The recycling (R) and just a small portion of the trash (L) generated cleaning out our house!

Sometimes the half-empty glass is fuller than the one filled to the brim.

Can’t believe it’s been almost six weeks since I updated my blog, even though I did write a few things I never polished enough to post. The lack of writing has not been in vain as I (and my family members) have been really busy trying to get our house into a new normal condition. And if you work from home, you know who is the one most affected by the order—or lack thereof—within the home. In this house, that’s me!

Back to that theme of sometimes having to prune to grow—and that time is now, for various reasons, including Christiana’s leaving again for college, Jackson’s staying to study and work, and the necessity for some work throughout the whole house.

Today I want to focus on the little things, such as putting the outlet plates back on the walls, except with me, I can never stop with one little thing—which is a lot of why I don’t clean nearly enough. Because first the outlet plates need to be washed, but then how can I put them back on dirty walls?

But the big thing is we have freed this house from a whole lot of excess clutter and things we didn’t need or want anymore. DAV just picked up about six bags of usable items from our porch and I know when we start putting everything back, we’re going to have more to donate when ARC’s truck comes through our neighborhood next week. And then there are all the cardboard boxes and papers waiting for the recycling truck, as well as the bags out for the trash truck (which has not arrived—although I am nervous we’ve been skipped on this crucial pick-up date, I do possess a discount coupon for the local landfill and plan to use it, if necessary, because I cannot wait any longer to be free.)

Years ago our family business worked with a man we called our New Age CPA since he also wanted to become a healer. Richard talked a lot about the “bad chi” of clutter and I actually learned to trust him on that, although in my busy life, I didn’t do a great job of putting the knowledge into practice.

Well, Universe, we are ready for what comes next—out with the old (stuff) and in with a whole lot more room for new experiences and opportunities, but no more new stuff, thank you very much. We’ve taken our lifetime share of the landfill.

(c) 2011 Trina Lambert

Spent yesterday mostly away from the computer—does yard work count as an Artist’s Date a la Julia Cameron? Well, I suppose for some it counts as a joyful activity, too, but for me, the benefit in turning to a physical and/or “domestic” task is that non-mental activities often help me jumpstart my creative thinking again, plus the task accomplished often removes a mental obstacle. As for yard work, I like choosing my flowers and arranging them a whole lot more than I like working in the dirt.

However, I can’t really enjoy the more creative aspects of planting if all I see is chaos in the rest of our not-so-great outdoors. So first I was just going to mow the lawn, right? Well, as with many ADDers, momentum is my great friend. Mowing led me to see certain weeds in the grass that just had to go. And, then I needed to mow over by our trellis of “killer” climbing roses. Seriously, when the roses have not been pruned, walking in that area of the lawn reminds me of poor Snow White’s run through the forest. Just ask my husband—we both know what it’s like to have branches grabbing at us!

Can you say obsessed? First it seemed silly to work in the yard and then shower for Pilates—I was going to sweat there, too. Already dirty and sweaty, why not do more once I returned home? When you’re like me, if you’ve got a bee in your bonnet, you better just keep wearing that bonnet and let the bee sting you again! Sting while the stinging’s good. (Thank goodness my young neighbor has informed me that not all bees die after one sting—that makes this metaphor corny but possible.)

Weeding and pruning. Don’t know about you, but I am long overdue for those activities, especially since last year kept me from most yard work—and from moving forward in my own life.

Yesterday in Pilates, my instructor wanted us to do an activity—for the third week in a row because it’s her new personal favorite—that I don’t think is good for me or any of us with lower back problems—which is most of the class.

Well, I modified my form so much that the activity really didn’t seem that worthwhile—and others did the same. I don’t know about them, but I spent a couple thousand dollars (yeah, read that and weep), put in a lot of extra exercise, had to stop moving way too much, and had to prune too many activities out of my life to have anyone else’s personal favorite activity prune any more from me.

Still, with the energy I didn’t use for that particular move, I came home and attacked weeds and any dead branches. Last year’s forced inertia left the lawn overrun by the detritus of nature and the house with other people’s possessions, so unless I throw myself into pruning and weeding, I will continue to be stuck where I am.

Some things will never again grow in my garden and must be cut away—without mercy—to make space for new growth. And, whatever else is toxic cannot remain to choke out that growth.

My body aches today while scratches criss-cross my body from those thorns reaching to hold me back, but I couldn’t stop myself. I wasn’t going to leave any more dead wood on my trellis even as I recognized the utter hubris of plunging into the thorns time after time. Truth is, I don’t mind a little pain if it moves me forward instead of backwards.

To everything there is a season . . . and this is a whole new season for me, baby.

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