The Minimalist Flower Garden

I love a beautiful garden. This one is still a work in progress.
2014-05-22 06.39.18

Since my priorities have been kids and work, work and kids for many years the minimalist philosophy has served me well in the gardening realms as well. My criteria for what goes into my flower garden are aesthetics and maintenance. In plain terms, do I like it? and will this plant thrive here with minimal encouragement from me?

2014-05-22 06.39.29

So, I generally stick with perennials that are hardy in zone 5. Nothing that is going to require more than watering in a drought.

clematis climbing up the support wire

clematis climbing up the support wire

I have this little meditation area that needs some love. I think I will plant purple cone flowers behind the stone bench.

2014-05-22 06.39.49


The Improve Troupe was hanging around the living room yesterday brainstorming and got to talking about what kind of superpowers they would like to have. Apparently, you can only have one. From my work station in the kitchen, I could hear them discuss their favorites: having fireballs shoot out from your hands, breathing underwater, super-human strength (and discussion if this included strong jumps, aka flying) and invisibility.

If I could have a superpower, the one I want is the ability to love my enemy.


After a long break, I am again dipping my toes into the dating pool. It feels a lot different this time. For one, my long blond hair is gone.

But mostly, if feels different because I am different on the inside.

Before, I was younger, discovering who I was. Now I know. I am a minimalist. I am a writer. I am a mother. I am a hospice nurse.

I don’t have any interest in being with a man who doesn’t respect the woman that I am. I’d rather be alone. I guess, I have gotten picky.

It’s about time.

Prom Clothes

My middle son is going to prom with his girlfriend this Saturday. Last year I learned (and choked on) the cost of renting a tux for the big event: about $200. I told him that I have no problem spending that amount of money for a suit, which he can wear indefinitely to graduations, funerals, job interviews, weddings, etc. But I just can’t make my fingers let go of that kind of money to rent a suit of clothes for a night.

This year, he is taking me up on my offer. We went to the menswear shop, found him a lovely charcoal grey suit.
2014-05-10 18.01.28

The menswear shop wanted to sell us a shirt, tie and cuff links that would match the girlfriend’s dress. [For the life of me, I do not understand this idea that the couple have to wear the same colors.] Son described the dress as “robin’s egg blue.” We bought a shirt, that needed cuff links, in that color. But I still wasn’t convinced about this plan. For one thing the shirt cost $94 and the cuff links were $40.

Anyway, we took the shirt to visit the dress, and they just could not get along. The dress was more of a cerulan blue. I was relieved. I practically ran back to the store the next day to return the shirt and cuff links. Then I strolled down the strip mall a short distance to one of my favorite discount stores: TJ Maxx and found a lovely white shirt for $13.99 and a tie that actually matches the dress for $12.99. Whew!


Saved $109 dollars, even if he never wears the tie again.


Being in balance is another way of saying enough. Having enough clothing, but not too much. Having fun and interesting activities, but not too many of them.

The thing about life is that it is constantly changing and the clothing that is needed for a college student is not the same clothing that is needed for a new job. The right amount of extracurricular activities for a high school student is not the same as for a single parent. So a life in balance looks less like this:

and more like this:

And if you lose your balance, you get back up on the board and try again. Right?

Is It Wrong To Love An Object?

2014-04-30 17.41.12

We have lived in this house for thirteen years now, longer than I have lived anyplace else. I have a lot of happy memories here: snuggling with the kids in bed on a Saturday morning, meeting the woman who would become my daughter-in-law for the first time, many family meals.

I love the Craftsman style details, the neighborhood, the central location.

This house is one of my 100 things. For now. But maybe what I feel for the house is not love, but deep affection, because I also see the house as an asset that I can sell to fund other needs and dreams.

When my daughter was having severe headaches with hearing loss and the MRI showed “brain spots” and I allowed my mind to go to a fearful place, I knew that I could sell the house and use the equity to fund time off work to care for her, if she needed surgery. [Not to worry, it turns out she was just allergic to church, or the chemicals that they used during a renovation. She still has “brain spots” but the neurosurgeon doesn’t know what they are.]

And now, when I let my dreams run free to a time when the nest is empty of children, I know that I do not want to spend my time taking care of this beautiful house that I am so fond of. I’m planning on selling it and using the money to fund a multi-year, cross-country trip.

But I do really, really like this house.