Slow and Steady

Today’s #bloganuary prompt asks about my preferred mode of travel.

Truthfully, my preferred mode of travel is by foot and my favorite place for my feet to take me is upstairs to my favorite reading chair or outside to the garden.

Now lest you think that I am a bit agoraphobic, I will tell you that this isn’t true. I have seen 33 of our beautiful United States, 10 Caribbean islands and 9 European countries, as well as a couple of countries in Central and South America. I have traveled a bit.

But traveling, no matter the method, gives me a migraine headache. Even getting in my own car a driving myself, I will get a migraine. I am famous for saying, “I love to travel but I hate to get there, ” and this was before air travel became the combat sport that it sometimes seems to be.

So lately, just a nice walk with the dog is about as exciting as I like it. She can get pretty excited about things, I can enjoy nature and we’re both happy.

Spendthrift

Today’s #bloganuary prompt asks how I would spend a billion US dollars.

So the first thing to get out of the way is that I guess we don’t get to keep it for retirement. Sigh.

I wonder if we could invest and spend the interest so that it might stand a chance of doing greater good? That would be my first choice.

As for where and how? I would have to think about that, never having had vast sums of money to throw at causes I cared about.

I would like to try to spend it on causes that help people help themselves–there are places that drill wells in water scarce regions, places that help families buy livestock for farming, but I need to see if they do in fact help.

There are also so many places–including in our country–without access to good medical care. Could I help? That might suck my billion right up.

And children in our country are hungry. Again, could I help? If kids are hungry, they can’t learn or grow, they get sick–maybe that’s where the money goes.

Let me have that billion. I have a whole bunch of ways to give it away!

Pushmepullyah

Today’s #bloganury prompt asks about the most challenging chore.

Pushmepullyou (which is spelled wrong above in the title) is a two-headed camel in the Dr. Doolittle series from the 1960s.

What does this have to do with challenging chores? Well my most challenging chore is vacuuming, which is pushing a machine forward and pulling it back, hundreds of times in repetition. Vacuuming is the “pushmepullyou” of chores.

It’s not that I hate the chore. It’s just that it aggravates a lower back injury from years ago. And for something that I have to do frequently, this is unfortunate.

So I do a series of strength training exercises every day just to function and garden (and vacuum).

At least I enjoy the gardening part.

The Ladder

Today’s #bloganuary prompt asks how you define success.

You can see that I have titled my post “the ladder. ” That’s probably a little misleading, certainly in my case.

I do think that when I was younger–and to a lesser extent even now–I define success from so-called career titles. But what’s interesting is how those titles have changed.

My very first “serious ” career was a legal career and to this day I still use my education quite a bit although I don’t practice law anymore. I rarely, if ever, mention it in passing. Whole groups of people don’t even know that I am a lawyer and that’s fine.

Then I left law to write, speak and work in retail horticulture. I did that full time for 8 years. I loved it, but the Spoiler wanted me around on weekends and retail doesn’t permit that.

So I got an office job. I still write and speak about gardening but my work is now Monday-Friday. And just this past weekend, I found myself arguing vehemently that I had to find time to do something during the week and not on the weekends because I didn’t want to take the time away from my husband on the weekend. I ended the conversation with the words “remember, marriage is a vocation too.”

So it’s interesting that I am apparently protecting that–and even thinking about it as a quasi-duty.

So success? For me it is not monetary in any way. It is more about peace and happiness at home. Not everyone has that luxury, I realize.

Characters

Today’s #bloganuary prompt asks if a book changed my life.

So for a change, I will do a bit of a variation on this theme and say that it wasn’t a book, per se, but a genre, that helped, or influenced my life, and that genre was fiction.

Last year I read 135 books according to Goodreads (where I keep track just so I don’t mistakenly buy the same book twice. I do read a lot of library books, clearly, with that sort of number!)

The vast majority of those books were fiction and most were nothing special. Many were best-selling novels.

It will come as no surprise to you to hear that the Spoiler is scornful of fiction. He doesn’t think educated people read it.

He has no idea of its value! I can’t begin to enumerate what I have learned from “mere” fiction. But the most important thing I have learned is people skills.

Even the Spoiler could use those!

Christmas Snow

Today’s #bloganuary prompt asks about the most memorable gift we have received.

I have been blessed by many memorable gifts but in this instance I want to remember a gift of a memory.

It was the first Christmas that I spent in Connecticut instead of returning to my family in New Jersey (who needless to say, weren’t too happy). I spent it with the man who went on to become my husband, aka The Spoiler, for those familiar with his gardening exploits.

On Christmas eve we went to his church service, which was Lessons and Carols. We got out of the service and it was snowing! What a gift!

It continued to snow into the night so that we had snow for Christmas morning as well.

For those of you used to hearing me refer to Connecticut as “the frozen north,” you may find it odd to know that snow on Christmas is actually pretty rare here. It regularly snows before Christmas but it is almost always gone by Christmas day.

So to have snow on Christmas eve and day was truly a gift and a memorable one.

Stirring the Pot

Today’s #bloganuary prompt asks how far back in my family tree can I go?

I suspect that I truly am the last person on the planet NOT curious about this. I will explain.

My sister is the genealogist for the maternal side of our family. I don’t exactly know how many generations she has gone back. The last time she, my Mom and I were all together she was going over what she had to get my Mom to supply details. It was amazing what was there, but since she was concentrating on relatively recent things, there weren’t too many “generations ” in there. On the maternal side, I am guessing that we have at least 6 or 8 generations but since I don’t care, I could be sorely underestimating.

On my Dad’s side, we have 14 generations and they are all here in my computer somewhere. A cousin is the genealogy buff on his side, bless her. Have I looked at it, even the part that pertains to me? Um, no. I am more interested in plant breeding than people, I guess.

And one final note: a work colleague just had some of her family get DNA tests for Christmas, hence the title of my post. All of a sudden, unknown people are popping up, as she describes it, “like whack a mole.”

You couldn’t pay me untold sums to do something like that!

Lost Creativity

Today’s #bloganuary prompt is to write a short story or poem about rain.

Interestingly enough I wrote short fiction up until my early 40s–mainly for my own enjoyment. Then I took a couple of online classes about a discipline called haibun, which combines short non-fiction with haiku.

So that’s what I will try here.

They say that the sun may come out today. They said that yesterday too, and yet it rained again. It has been raining since New Year’s day–six days of rain and counting.

The clouds loose their moisture

Fat, wet drops hang from every branch

At least it isn’t snow.

Telling the Tale

Today’s #bloganuary prompt asks “why do you write?”

Anyone who has been a regular visitor to Gardendaze over the last month or so knows that I have been uncommonly quiet. Normally I write regularly–or at least I post 3 times a week. Not so this past month or so.

Have I run out of things to say? About gardening and house plants? How could that happen?

I did do a brief post about life getting complicated once in mid-December or so, just to let everyone know that I was okay.

So why do I write? I write when I have something to say about plants and gardening and lately when I have the time to post about it.

I hope that I will be able to get back on track after #bloganuary ends.

Joy for the World

Today’s #bloganuary prompt is “what brings you joy?”

It’s an interesting question and apparently WordPress isn’t the only one asking. I have been reading a lot lately about happiness and joy and so that has made me think about those things in my own life.

Of course these are sort of elusive concepts and what brings me joy may not bring joy to someone else.

But if I had to say that something did, it’s going to be one of my hobbies, either gardening or singing.

And each of those hobbies “gives back,” in a sense. My gardens are organic and are designed, as much as possible, for pollinators and birds. So while I get tremendous pleasure from my hobby, I hope that I am also helping wildlife and nature too.

As for singing, I am an amateur singer in my church choir. But I love to sing. It completely makes me forget about everything else while I am doing it and I immerse myself in the music. So that brings me great joy.

I am presuming that my very minor part, combined with the effort of my choir members, is bringing joy to our congregation because attendance has increased recently. So that’s nice. But of course that’s not why we do it.

Still, joy for the world!