Posts Tagged ‘gardening’

The Summer 2013 To-Do List

Happy Summer Solstice! My whole thing lately is trying to make summer feel like vacation when I was a kid, when I had a huge, beautifully aimless stretch of time to do whatever I wanted. “Whatever” then meant taking lots of naps, playing outside, reading for hours. Starting a lemonade stand, cutting up catalogs to make “special picture books,” recording songs off the weekly top 40 show and making up dances to them, classes and lessons at the Y — all mundane yet gloriously chilled-out childhood summer things. You could sort of just exist and enjoy life in a more sensory, visceral way. You didn’t feel a pressure to make time feel anything more than what it was. Summer then was just freaking fun, and fun is definitely something I’m into these days.

Of course, I’m a grown-up now and that (sadly) means I have to work. And so far this June has been full of all kinds of social obligations, too, everything from birthdays to recitals to weddings to out-of-town visitors. I’m down with that, but it’s not exactly the leisurely aimless vacation feeling, you know, especially for a highly sensitive true-blue introvert like myself. I’m so out of practice in being social. Plus, it’s the weeks before my birthday, which have always been peculiarly tiring for me; I call it “twelfth-house time,” because astrologically, the sun is in the 12th house in a chart, being all hermetic and introspective and chilled-out. But I’m looking at the rest of the season and I’m getting my plan together and keeping my game tight, and this is what I want to do with the rest of the season.

Ride Horses

So, yes, I periodically talk about horses. And it’s been hard, because for a long while, I lived in places where riding was mucho, mucho expensive — talking like $100-150 an hour expensive for a private session or lesson. But now I live in a place where it’s not, and when it gets nice out, I take advantage!

Riding is pretty much my jam. It is by far the most peaceful, relaxing, Zen-communing thing I do. It makes me feel both gentle and fierce inside. Plus, it works your core in way less of a neurotic way than Pilates. Plus you get to hang out with beauties like this sweet lady:

I’ve been riding every week since late spring, and it is kind of the best thing I’ve done for myself. For the horse-curious, I ride both English and Western. I am not a fancy dressage person or a hunter/jumper; I really just want to pleasure-ride, do a little flatwork and hacking. Trails are my aim, just me, a horse, some forest or fields and a horizon in front of me. Bliss.

Lounging Poolside

I was slightly scandalized recently to find out that the pool I went to as a kid — the one where my parents would drop us off every Saturday afternoon for hours on end — was the place where gay men in my city went to hook up with other gay men. I mean, whatever, people do what they do — I was just surprised that I was a kid and SO OBLIVIOUS to the party in the changing room! These days, my gym has a pool that is pretty ace, and I like to go there just to sit in my swimsuit and read books. I knew I grew up the day I realized I was fond of adult swim, because then there’s no little monkey grabbing onto me randomly when I do venture into the water — I’m like the type of person that kids love to climb on. Maybe I look more like a jungle gym than I think.


What to Do With the Remains Of Spring?

I cannot believe it is almost June. Almost halfway through the year! Time: flying by, a whir of days, activity, thoughts, runs in the park, buying groceries, playing auntie, petting tiny Shetland ponies, writing and revising and proofing and re-proofing and re-re-proofing. Time seeps away; time piles up. I can’t keep track sometimes, no matter how much I journal, Instagram, meditate.

This year I want to remember that summer is a time to slow down. Springtime has been so busy: I’ve been gearing up to publish my collection of essays soon, and while I thought this would be a quick, easy project, it has not. I’m embarrassed at my naivete, actually! But the long-winding journey is ending soon, and soon I will hold a final proof in my hand, and soon I will approve it, and soon it will be done, done, done and out, out, out and hopefully some of you will read it and it will live a long, thriving life as a book in the world! I’m so excited, nervous and relieved. Relieved, like a thing that has been clogging up my master to-do list will finally be cleared off. Relieved, because my inner sense of integrity and honor and keeping my own word to myself will be appeased. Relieved, because now I have time to work on new things! But in a nice, slow, leisurely way. Not in a push-push-push, striving kind of manner, but one where I take pleasure in seeing ideas unfurl into concrete shapes, and savor the twists and turns. Summer is savor, and I can’t wait. Here is how I’m inching into the season, while winding down the spring.


My Life in Pictures: January 2013

I have a Flickr account and an one as well, but sometimes it’s nice to pull together stuff in one central place. For one thing, it’s like making a small treasure trove for myself. I hope in future years, I’ll tool around in my own blog and enjoy seeing these bits and pieces of the past. And even now, it helps me remember the small details and textures I want to soak in: little adventures, more epic ones, lyrical details that don’t seem so until much later. My little experiments in homemaking and adventures in DIY fashion styling seem so ordinary now, but who knows — I may look upon them with an odd tenderness in years forward.

A Home is A Home is a Home

I don’t live in a Design Sponge-worthy kind of apartment, but that doesn’t mean I don’t take great pleasure in it. After years of dark New York apartments, it has loads of light — I wake up in the morning and the sun is streaming through the windows and it makes me happy.

It’s slowly filling with artwork. Nothing special, but it’s all personal, made by my friends or it makes me feel serene and peaceful and calm. A home takes awhile to come together, but when it does, all the effort is worth it.


Flowers and planes

A riot of leavesPurple

This past weekend I did two things that I’ve never done before: I went to a garden fair, and then I went to an air show. (I also partied with a bunch of three-year-olds, but I do that on a semi-regular basis as an auntie.)

Both were experiences that I perhaps would’ve never chosen for myself in my past NYC city girl life. But I’m in the great vast stretches of the Midwest for much of the summer till this fall and winter. And lately I’ve been keen on seeing and doing things outside my usual purview, even if they’re slightly odd or unlikely. The unlikelier, the better, I say!

HyacinthsSuch sweet blossoms

I have to confess, though, that I actually really wanted to go to the garden fair. Maybe it’s because I started growing forget-me-nots, or maybe it’s because I really like learning the names of trees as part of my summer to-do list, or maybe it’s because I have such fond memories of visiting my local arboretum, where it was held at.

But the garden fair was such a lovely event, despite the relentless sunshine and 90-degree heat! One thing that’s so nice about garden shows: they smell wonderful. All those columbines, begonias, lilies, irises, roses, herbs, lavendar, verbena…my nose was in pure, magical heaven. Colors are just so pure when they’re on flowers.

So pretty-pretty.Lilies. #30daysofcreativity

And there’s something about plants and flowers that puts everyone in a good mood; I loved listening to all the older ladies chat with one another, sharing the fact that the herbs guy was selling real patchouli plant, or how succulents were selling for $8 a flat at a booth nearby.

Later I wandered in the arboretum, admiring the landscaping and all the trees, dreaming about what trees or bushes I’d plant if I had an estate of my own. That’s the thing about plants, trees and flowers: they kind of alter your sense of time. It’s amazing to me that someone can create a landscape, and perhaps not even live to see its full flowering, since trees can take so long to mature.

Always trees and sky.Taking refuge from the heat.

The next day I went to my hometown’s air show at the local airport. It’s one of those things where people hang out, eat hot dogs and sweet potato fries and brats and watch aviation demonstrations. Not my usual thing, and I wasn’t going to go at first, but I was curious about what it would be like on an airfield. They had giant planes dotting the airfield, and people gathered under the wings, escaping the hot, hot sun in the shade, as we sat and watched planes do all kinds of tricks in the sky above us.

Some were genuinely astonishing — one plane had a man that stood on its wing as it was up in the air, looping and flying about. But in another way, the show was a strange show of military strength and might, with parachuting demonstrations from the Navy, Army and Marines, and fighter jets from the Air Force making the air vibrate with their noise, dropping “bombs” that sent up huge plumes of smoke into the relentlessly sunny air. For a moment, I thought that this is what people hear and see when they’re being bombed. It truly was awe-inspiring, though — awe in the true sense of the word, of inspiring fear.


On the lighter side: here’s a bit from the birthday party with 3-year-olds!