Saturday, May 22, 2010

Three Proverbs & One Student


JB's Collage made on the porch one fine day
with kj and Ms. Studio Lolo
1. When the cat's away the mice will play

Heehee :)

JB is in Colorado for a special week-plus vacation with her sister. I have not been alone for this long for quite a while. I'm not sure what will remain the same and what I might do differently. I won't need to keep things mutually neat and picked up so I wonder if I will or won't hang my clothes up, keep the kitchen free of dishes and clutter, put the papers and mail where they belong.
I wonder if I will plan time with friends or decide to keep my own quiet company.
I know I will care for Stella, who is slowly recovering from her surgery last week. I know I will visit my Mom, work in the yard, lay down mulch in some of the beds, plant the garden. I will write and blog. I will stay up late and get up early. I will as always savor my first cup of coffee. I will talk to myself. I will take long baths. I will watch the finale of "Lost" and "American Idol." I will work.
It's likely my routine probably won't change dramatically, but I think my rhythm will. What that will look like, I don't know. I will do what I do and not do what I don't do. I wonder if I will feel lonely. I know I will be happy to hear from JB, I am happy she is with her sister. And I am happy to get to know myself again in this solitary way.
2. Sticks and stones will break my bones
but words can never hurt me


Ugly. Depraved. Dysfunctional. And there have been more. These are words involving me from someone I loved and trusted. My friend told me this week she's surprised I'm still not over it. Maybe I should be surprised too. But these words still break skin, even now. I understand alot more than I did before, but I've come to realize much of this is beyond my scope. This level of distain is like expecting me to recognize a stop sign that is suddenly plaid and round instead of its customary color and shape. I think I am not capable of understanding because I've never experienced anything like this before, never felt vilified like this before. And because I can't imagine using words like this, even in an aftermath. They make me sad, and not just for me.

So it's going to take me a little time to catch up with this proverb.

3.Cultivate your own garden




I read Voltaire in college and understanding this phrase escaped me then. I just didn't get it. But I do now. "Cultivate your own garden" means focusing on making yourself better, rather than blaming others or trying to change them. It also means tending to what matters.
I like this metaphor.
Today I planted our tomatoes. I surrounded them with basil and marigolds as I have for as long as I have gardened, a protective shield to help them grow. I LOVE watching the garden grow. It's a miracle every time.

I think my joy is partially because the process is measurable, observable. Okay, sometimes weather and other conditions interfere but there is a step by step orderliness to gardening. Do this and this and you will, hopefully, be rewarded with that and that.

Isn't that a lot like life? There are no guarantees: and yes, weather and conditions interfere, but generally good choices lead to good consequences.

Too funny: maybe this week I'll reread some of my childhood fairy tales. I have a feeling there is wisdom in those too that I may have missed the first time!




  1. the first time mr t went away I baked a chicken and ate it all week. That was 35 years ago when I used to prepare dinner every night and picking on a chicken was luxury. now when he goes away (very infrequently) I revel in coffee in bed watching the morning news shows. Other than that, things stay pretty much the same but quieter.

    Cultivate your own garden. Good advice. Better advice would also be "words can never hurt me" (even tho they do)
    Ridiculous. Really. not nice words. Nope.

  2. Grieving has its own schedule. You heal in your own way and your own time. All the love and friends and gardening and art help. Plus, u know, there's always someone's dog.

  3. ARGH. Once again someone signed into their account on my computer and didn't log out and I didn't JIM is me.

    love mim

  4. Oh, Kj, enjoy your time alone, don't be lonely. I am a hermit and I never get lonely, but I know it is different for many people. and like secret agent woman says grieving has it's own schedule.
    Kisses to Stella.
    P.S. Have you used the bowl yet?

  5. Isn't it a truly sad thing that people can intentionally cut us so deeply with words? That they flail them as ancient knights did battle axes and massive swords which were forged to cut through armor and bone? That, for some unknown reason, they feel it is their DUTY to do this to other people deliberately???
    And I always am reminded of the *Judge not least ye be judged."
    Oh I have in my lifetime blown off at the mouth and then realized what came out; I ate copious quantities of poorly cooked crow, but I always apologized, even if I was unsure that I said anything, or if anything I said was taking out of turn.
    Now if I just could *cultivate my garden* and leave the manure of life in the compost pile.....
    Have fun Soul-Sister!!!

    P.S. I hope Emily can behave.....better stock up on the frozen peas. ;)

  6. Dear KJ, I love having a little time on my own once in awhile and finding out again what my very own rhythm is. Not for too long, but just for a little while..

    As to words, I think they can be truly hurtful. I am so very careful of what I say and whenever I am angry, I bite my tongue until the anger passed because I experienced words spoken in anger and don't ever want to do that to another person.

    But in the healing process, tending your garden can be a most wonderful tool! I love your garden - filled with possibilities!!

    Much love to you! Silke

  7. Get some borage to plant with the tomatoes. One or two plants would be enough and make sure to uproot them after harvesting. They are lovely, the bees love them, they help the tomatoes in one of those unfathomable ways of Nature but they are invasive as mosquitos if let be. They self sow. Enough said?

    I have never planted tomatoes without borage since a friend of ours who was a very experienced farmer taught me that little secret.

    And as far as words, they are written in the wind even tho they may not be in real life. I think that nanny's advice about the subject is still the best I have ever had: "consider the source".
    You should do that every time you are in throngs of remembering something so unpleasant. Don't learn to recognize them. The mind is a garden too, cultivate it for flowers not obnoxious weeds.

  8. Wow....what a fantastic post! And what wonderful comments! Jim is really Mim! (Mim, were you "Jim" on my blog today?)

    JB's collage.... I wondered if we would EVER get to see it - and I am so happy we is positively GORGEOUS!

    Allegra......she is back and blogging to YOU - KJ! That is a huge gift in itself!

    And....I know one thing you'd better be doing.....calling me on Sunday!!!!!!

    Love how your garden grows.... and so will you heart, as it recovers... something we (sadly) share.....but, I know we will get past it!!!!

    Love, Love, to you and Stella!

    ♥ Robin ♥

  9. I came back to add that JB's collage is beautiful! And happy to find out who in the heck jim was
    Lovely new header...

  10. What words would you use?

    You're too smart not to understand your own motivations. So throw her words out the door and into the compost pile. There are too many wonderful things in your life to waste energy on all that negativity.

    Stella adores you. Dogs are never wrong. And JB and your family, the people you help every week and all your followers think you are pretty grand. With all that positive energy AND homegrown tomatoes in your future, life is pretty damn good.

    Have a great time this week.


  11. A week of personal choices. Wow, how good is that. If I could just get a straight 24 hours I would be happy but Senior Management insists I have to constantly supervised to keep me out of trouble. Have a great week and remember that you are never really alone.

  12. Yes indeed, words can hurt. Intentional hurt is hard to get over, particularly for tender hearts that hate to cause hurt themselves.

    I remember being asked what super-power I would like to have ... quick as a flash my response was that I'd like the ability to undo ... to unsay ... to rewind and do stuff over, better.

    Funny thing is that saying hurtful things hurts the sayer too. Even though they don't always know it at the time.

    I didn't know that about marigolds and tomatoes or Allegra's advice about borage. Off to sort my tomatoes out properly now!

    Alone can be fun KJ, turn the music up, eat stuff JB wouldn't allow in the house. Hog the remote.

    xx Jos

  13. I must say....It sounds like a purely delightful week ahead for you! And the sun is rising...I will go savor MY first morning cup. And think of you!

  14. First of all, let me publicly say I'm sorry I said I was surprised it's taking you so long to get over. But in my defense I did admit to taking ten years to get over one of my relationships ;)
    I agree, everyone heals in their own way and their own time schedule.♥

    I adore time alone. I usually don't watch TV or talk much on the phone. I spend more time outside or making art or just, being.

    You know you'll have almost daily phonecalls from me. We usually have something to say or giggle about :)

    The garden is looking wonderful! I think Allegra had some pretty good advice for you about cultivating flowers and getting rid of obnoxious weeds. And yes, considering the source of the hurtful words.

    Have a gentle Sunday dear friend.

    love you,

  15. Oh what a nice solitary vacay....Just to be home alone. Everyone takes there own time to get over things in their life. Everyone who comes in to your life leaves some kind of imprint even if for only a moment. I love the quote aboute cultivating your own garden. Isnt that what life is? I think so, we weed out the bad and try to keep the good. Sometimes the weeds still get in, as long as we keep after them they wont over take the whole garden. I planted herbs yesterday and they are in my kitchen window. Gets very hot here so outside with no shade is not good. I love to watch them grow as I nurture them.

    Have a great week sweetie xoxoxoxxo

  16. Hey kj! I love this post. And may I go on the record as saying that when I was little, and someone said that stupid "Sticks and stones" thing, I had steam coming out of my ears, because I knew it was a lie. Words can hurt like Hell, and anyone with half a case of sensitivity knows that. On another, much more pleasant subject - I LOVE Jb's collage. It is so peaceful, and the colors just make me happy. And Allegra posted! That makes me even happier. :) Hang in there, my friend. With time comes a layer of protection from unpleasant memories, I believe. Besides, you have tomato plants to watch and lounging to do! Get with it!! xox Pam

  17. When I'm alone, I clean...and clean and clean. I love doing it, because it stays that way for the whole time I'm alone and I always feel so in control of my home and actually, my life, heh!

    I wonder how the person who said those words to you feels about them. It would be very difficult for me to say them and then not almost abase myself in apologies. Words like these stay embedded in the skin for a long time and do so much icky damage. I've always loved Judge not, lest ye be judged.

    And rereading fairy tales is a favourite with me...I once read them to my granddaughter, but that is not the same as gleaning the meanings of phrases and words just for myself. Those old tales are fabulous...I've been wanting to reread them for the longest time! I hope you read at least one or two during your alone time this weekend!

    Your garden looks bountiful and beautiful!....xoxoxo

  18. Hey, can I get in on this phone call thing? I'll be home all day Monday, painting, if you want to call...Hope you are having a wonderful Sunday. Play! xoxo

  19. jim, thank you for stopping by but why do i care that you baked a chicken? jim, i don't even know you and you are telling me you stay in bed watching the morning news. jeez, jim, i.....what?...who?......mim?.....
    mim, this is so cute. it made me laugh outloud, probably because i couldn't figure it out at first. HEEHEEE,an unintentional giggle.
    thanks for your support, mim. your last statement could be a six word saturday. and yes, i know. not nice. xoxox

    annie, the bowl is on the living room mantle to stare at with great joy. but it will soon make its way to the kitchen, and i wonder what will christian it? asparagus? brown rice? emily's jelly beans?
    thank you, dear friend. it is really stunning. and the color is totally zen beautiful. xoxox

    anne, how true, soul sister! i am well past the point where any of this should sting so much,i must have nerve endings for feelings. i'm happy i understand kindness, and i know you do too. ps i think emily may be on vacation too. it's been pretty quiet here since she broke the garage window pane and blamed stella. :)

    cs, thank you thank you. ah, that
    'someone's dog' was its own gift because it woke me up to what was real. cruelty can come in a candy wrapper... xoxo

    silke, you are a gentle kind soul. i see your comments here and other places and it's clear how thoughtful and gentle you are. you will be repaid for that in ways you may never imagine. i am very glad we've crossed paths, you and your fabulous women and yard and daniel and winslow and kitty whose name i cannot remember!

    allegra, thank you! you bet i will get some borage. i had to look it up and now i am excited to see those blue flowers! i always think of blue flowers as holy. thank you for your ongoing encouragement and enlightenment re: consider the source. where were you four years ago?! i could have benefited from your keen eye! xoxo

  20. hello robin, JB will be happy to see this compliment. she is very talented in many mediums. she seems to do collages of all kinds, including on old windows and in little picture frames. yes, we will talk! before the finale of 'lost'! and yes, how good to know allegra is back. xoxo

    hi annie, hee hee, i'll tell JB you too like her collage. i took the header photo two nights ago while driving on a back road to my friends' house. ♥

    linda, what words would i use? good question. well, i would have to say 'betrayal'. to me that is the worse of it. and sad, very sad. THANK YOU for a great pep talk!! to the point, true, helpful, BAM! it really is nice to know you are back. xoxo

    hello dx, thank you for your visit. i find your comment intriguing and i will stop by your place to say hello.

    jos, nice as always to hear your impressions and words. yes, words matter, so does kindness. i am SO glad i know that. i think i do a pretty good job these days of living that way. i know you do too. and i do know that noone could use words like this and not be affected themselves. that's actually part of the sadness i feel.. love to you, jos xoxo

    ah linda, where are you having that cup of coffee? is there a palm tree nearby? is there a gentle breeze, the sound of water in the background? you spin a special place, in colors and words!

  21. lo, you have listened to me and supported me for longer than a turtle race. i thank you so much. ♥ i am enjoying myself. i thought i would! of course, i have the delight of also enjoying punctuated phone calls to and from a special friend. and thank you, allegra! did you know she has recipes to squeal over too? :)

    my sweet friend sonia, i love your example of keeping weeds out of the garden. that is so true. your herb box must be so so great to watch and use!! there is something so important about doing and enjoying simple acts like that. xoxox!

    pam, may i thank you for being part of my layer of protection? haha! see, you have a role in my life now and you probably didn't even know! i hope you are having a super weekend. i know you have work, and i hope it is almost done done done. writers have to write!

    marion, you are such a special friend. i love you. i wonder how that person feels too, but there is nothing i can or should do. finally i know that much. i can just see you organizing your space to your liking! i think we should ALL read a fairy tale. Hey! there's fodder for a post! xoxo

    annie, i already thought of this!! shoot me an email with your #. i would love that. :)

  22. Hang in there, KJ. Life won't always be like this. Know you have friends here that care about you and love you. Do what YOU need to do to take care of yourself. Hugs!

  23. will do, sweet sophia. you too!!!

  24. look at all the wonderful people here. how did i get so lucky?

  25. Of course words do hurt, we remember them, they cut.

    how do we let go of the memory and echo of those words? Can you do it through a story?

    Interesting that in your sketch, when you hold the other person's hand, your heart is in your stomach. When you stand alone, your heart lifts.

    Cultivate your own garden. This is what Byron Katie is all about too I think. Said a bit more harshly perhaps.

    Whew. So glad to find out who Jim is as "he" (Mim I now know) wrote a comment on our book exchange blog as if he were a member and I had no idea who he was. :D

  26. ps I know you are writing about it in stories. What I mean is write a story with these two characters and have them say and do different things, kinder things, whatever it is you wish this other person would have said and done have yr fictional character say and do them. Sort of like going back into a scary dream and redoing it, changing the ending. Re:enter the story and change the ending.

  27. .

    me and this garden
    this garden and me
    they say it needs some weeding
    and i remember when all were just
    some seeds

    some i chose
    some came with the wind
    some rooted deep
    some happened to dry up

    some with a fruit
    some with flowers
    some fruitless but green
    some touching the sky
    some spreading on the ground

    i watch them all
    both green and dried
    growing up
    leaving their footprints
    on my heart


  28. First, apparently I am extremely dyslexic today...I thought you said you definitely were going to lay in a bed of mulch. I suggest alfalfa instead...a much more subtle scent, and if mixed with the scent of leather and horse, oh so yummy. Second, I need your photos to expand for my wrinkly old eyes. Are you growing BLUE tomatoes??? I love that shot but I CAN'T SEE. Which probably explains why my make up looks like Bobo did it. Enjoy your week of's necessary once in the while...alone in the quiet. **kisses** Deb

  29. I'm most happy that Stella is recovering. I'm VERY comfortable on my own. A little too much so frankly although there's usually someone online to play with! Sharp words will hurt kj, always. The thing is to know that they are misdirected. You know yourself better than anyone else. As for the garden . .mine needs a lot of cultivation . .metaphorically and physically. Enjoy your week of solitude and contemplation. Oh and I think Lost is on as I write, I'm waiting for my mate in Nevada to call and give me the lowdown once it's finished! Hehe.

  30. He....I was just about to comment here when yours came in. Are you still awake? I just got up :)

    Another beautiful day here.
    The sun is shining and my garden anmd patio are clean.

    Today I must start packing..... ;(

    Hope you will enjoy your time alone. So many choices of what to do. I would love to be alone. I love that about flying, being able to spend time alone . Here there are so many surrounding me I have to wait until they all do to sleep.

    Have a nice Sunday! But first sleep well dear!


  31. Ps forgot to say that I LOVE the collage JB made So perfect

  32. i hope you are having a wonderful, not missing jb too much, happy gardening time.
    i've always felt separations are good for everyone.
    and...heal heart, heal.
    ♥ lori