Bloom where you are planted

At the Manor, there are 48 suites with two or one-bedrooms and bachelor suits. Most of the people who live here are immigrants from the Chez Republic, Bosnia, India, Ireland, Iran, Korea, Japan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Sweden, Yugoslavia and other countries that I can’t think of.

I am one of them.

Bee Home

The Birdhouse took over by bees.

Now, we are citizens of Canada. We made The Manor our home.

“O Canada, our home and native land” is the first line of our National Anthem.

Rock Garden

Front entrance rock garden.

The residents here are lovely, approachable and pleasant. We enjoy chatting from the balcony, window or entranceway as I potter around the garden. I must admit the garden is an icebreaker for many, even from passersby.

Flowers from the Garden

Bloom where you are planted.

One of the tenants took up photography and had a field day taking macro shots of all the flowers in the garden. The end product was framed and gifted to our lovely manager of the building.

When I cut flowers from my hard-earned gardening, these go to the manager as well.

Our Doors

Our Doors.

From single to couple to third-generation residency, I’ve witnessed them. Most of these people love to have their family around living in the same roof. It’s good to see a couple having a child or two and be able to bring a surviving parent to add the responsibility of taking care of their children.

Of course, I get to play with the children when they were younger in the garden.

Lucy and Grace

The Blue Room

Kindness plays a big important role in living in this community. If you are unkind, who else will help you but your neighbour?

I must admit I find myself special because the manager allowed me to paint my suite when I had one of my episodes on mental breakdown. The activity kept my focus away from living in my head.

The end result was brilliant.

Pistachio green paint in the living room, kitchen and hallway. A hint of a rose colour for the bathroom.  Skyblue for my bedroom to calm me down.

Oh, these little things, I am grateful.

I’m in the garden

garden

“I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes. ~ e.e. cummings

How much nature do you need?  For me, I need it!

When I am not working, I spend most of my time in nature.  Being in nature makes me happier, healthier and peaceful. Nature can be just our backyard.  One can spend the entire weekend gardening getting my hands dirty.  And that’s exactly what I did this past long weekend.

David Suzuki suggests that we take the nature challenge by going outside to:

  • smell the flowers
  • find the bug
  • fly a kite
  • write and sketch in the park
  • identify the trees
  • birding
  • listen to the wind
  • skip some stones
  • get my feet wet
  • take photos

And much more.

More than likely, I will be spending more time outside and it will take me away from WordPress.  So my friends, if you don’t hear from me, I’m in the garden.

Thanks be to the earthworms.

I must have been a Buddhist in my previous life. For the life of me, I cannot harm any insect as I gain consciousness that they are sentient beings, too, just like me.  For one, they are the best gardener.  They toil the earth and that’s all they do.  A single act that causes the garden to flourish.  So, when I see an earthworm that lost its way, I make sure that I move it to the earth and grassy spot where it can burrow itself into the ground.z worm

Aren’t you glad at least that the earthworms
Under the grass are ignorant, as they eat the earth,
Of the good they confer on us, that their silence
Isn’t a silent reproof for our bad manners,
Our never casting earthward a crumb of thanks
For their keeping the soil from packing so tight
That no root, however determined, could pierce it? 
Imagine if they suspected how much we owe them,
How the weight of our debt would crush us
Even if they enjoyed keeping the grass alive,
The garden flowers and vegetables, the clover,
And wanted nothing that we could give them,
Not even the merest nod of acknowledgment.
A debt to angels would be easy in comparison,
Bright, weightless creatures of cloud, who serve
An even brighter and lighter master. 
Lucky for us they don’t know what they’re doing,
These puny anonymous creatures of dark and damp
Who eat simply to live, with no more sense of mission
Than nature feels in providing for our survival.
Better save our gratitude for a friend
Who gives us more than we can give in return
And never hints she’s waiting for reciprocity.
 
Worms by Carl Deniss

Garden of Daily Living

gardening 101

 

How To Plant Your Garden

 

First, you  Come to the garden alone,
While the dew is still on the roses….

FOR THE GARDEN OF YOUR DAILY LIVING,
PLANT THREE ROWS OF PEAS:

1. Peace of mind
2. Peace of heart
3. Peace of soul

 PLANT FOUR ROWS OF SQUASH:

1. Squash gossip
2. Squash indifference
3. Squash grumbling
4. Squash selfishness


PLANT FOUR ROWS OF LETTUCE:


1. Lettuce be faithful

2. Lettuce be kind
3. Lettuce be patient
4. Lettuce really love one another

NO GARDEN IS WITHOUT TURNIPS:

1. Turnip for meetings
2. Turnip for service
3. Turnip to help one another


TO CONCLUDE OUR GARDEN WE MUST HAVE THYME:

1. Thyme for each other
2. Thyme for family
3. Thyme for friends

WATER FREELY WITH PATIENCE AND   CULTIVATE WITH LOVE. THERE IS MUCH FRUIT IN YOUR GARDEN BECAUSE YOU REAP WHAT   YOU SOW.  

Source:  e-mail author unknown

Today is now Yesterday

The vines are starting
To look very wiry
Choking the other plants. 
The blossoms are going to seeds
Bees are sucking the very
Last drop of nectar.
Assessing the garden
Spring and summer plants
Are looking tired.
The shrubs are overgrown
Leaves are falling
Sign of fall coming.
What choice do I have
On this matter
But to do garden work
I rolled over under the bush
To trim the under brush
It wasn’t a good idea.
I forgot to harvest the strawberries
Therefore, I cannot bring
The sweet wine I promised.
I know I have other things to do
With mind focused on gardening
Nothing else mattered
Working hard made me hungry
I feasted on Chinese food
No time to cook supper.
I am sure the this body
Will be feeling today
The aches and pain.
Who cares.
I had the joy
That is mine 
Yesterday of “Today”
 
Related link:  “Today”

Plant your own Garden, Decorate Your Own Soul

Do you ever read Ann Landers?  She is gone now and I miss reading her newspaper column. I must say I enjoy reading the Dear Ann Lander section.  Some of her articles I cut and pasted them on the inside door of my dresser so that when I open the door, the first thing I see are the articles not the clothes. 
This poem was published in one of her articles. 
After a while you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul,
And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning
And company doesn’t mean security,
And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts
And presents aren’t promises,
And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes open
With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child,
And you learn to build all your roads on today,
Because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans,
And futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.
After a while you learn
That even sunshine burns if you get too much.
So you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul,
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure…
That you really are strong,
And you really do have worth.
And you learn and learn…
With every goodbye you learn.
Author: Veronica A. Shoffstall
 

Sweet Woodruff to the Rescue

Every year, I tell myself I will slow down in gardening.  But one cannot help it because the birds need feeding.  Aside from that, there is a menagerie of animals that come and go in our backyard. 
When I started gardening in this complex, the owner does not want to invest any money on the surrounding area.  Looking down from the balcony for the longest time is a sorry sight.  One day, Father Winter came and destroyed the hedging.  Needless to say, the owner must cut down most of the shrubs.  When it was cleared cut, it left an ugly dry arid patch all over the place.  It was worse. 
How do I remedy this?  What would grow on this god forsaken piece of land?  Finally, I told the manager that I will start gardening.  Poppies were the best plant to regenerate the earth.  That’s all I grew, poppies.  After a couple of years, the earthworms came back.  Then I became ambitious.  I planted and I planted and I planted from seedlings to bulbs to shrubs.  It was beautiful. 
Ambition can trigger negative emotions from others I found out. 
There is someone who has light fingers and heavy hands.  Flowers in bloom were being dead headed and broken branches.  It hurts to see plants being desecrated when they took every ounce of their energy to bring joy to the world.  For goodness sake, they are harmless.  
How do I beat this murderous scum of the earth?  Sweet woodruff to the rescue.  I planted them all over the place.  This is one tough plant;  the more it’s dead headed, the vigorous it will grow. 
Sweet Woodruff
Okay, murderer, whoever you are, knock yourself out.
Meditation:
The master was known to favor action over withdrawal. But he always insisted on “Enlightened” action. 
The disciples wanted to know what “Enlightened” meant. Did it mean “right-intentioned”? 
“Oh no,” said the Master. “Think how right-intentioned the monkey is when he lifts a fish from the river to save it from the watery grave.” ~ Anthony de Mello, S.J.
MORSEL: The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes. ~ Marcel Proust

I am Life

Have you been told to get a life?  And how do you respond to that? 
It’s an asinine statement!  How do you get a life?  My response is: 
 
I AM LIFE. 
I breathe life and I exhale life.  What I breathe out is food for the plants.
I take care of two unwanted cats and looked for the owners of cats I found.
I provided bird houses for Finches and Chickadees to raise their family.
I grew vegetables for others’ nourishment.
I planted flowering plants for birds, bees, butterflies and other winged insects. 
I AM LIFE. 
I cared for children with AIDs
I volunteered at the hospice.
I thought students with learning disabilities to read.
I raised funds for non-profit organizations.
I fostered children. 
I AM LIFE. 
I make an honest living.
I help people who are in dire need.
I support the education system.
I became a Big Sister.
I bowled for Big Brothers. 
I AM LIFE. 
I help strangers that sustained an injury.
I cleaned up old folks apartments.
I entertained the lonely dwellers in our building.
I urge people to grow anything on their balcony.
I saved life of a hummingbird, lady bug, baby turtles. 
And, then some…. 
Now, ask me again to get a life.
With all due respect, let me ask you, what kind of life do you live?

What’s Up?

Before Up, there must be down.  What I mean by down is a position not in the negative sense. 
Starting a rainy Vancouver day, which is nothing unusual, this is how the Canadian flag flies and the Sun came up, the Canadian Flag is up and flying proudly. 

 What are up on this picture are crystals, colourful balls, stalk of bamboo plant and a bird house. 
Crystals, birdhouse, bamboo, colourful balls

Crystals, birdhouse, bamboo, colourful balls

 The crystals reflect a million and one playful prisms up on the ceiling as well as down on the carpet.  Lucy as playful as ever chases the light while Maurice hides because he cannot stand being teased. 

The colour balls represent the planets in the constellation that glows in the dark.  I still have yet to put it up properly.  On the wall is a shadow of the bamboo plant.

 The bird house is a place for Finches and chickadees.  It is a safe place to grow up for two generations of Finches, total 8 baby birds.  One baby finch was born up there so far.  There is also a nectar feeder hanging up on the balcony ceiling for the Hummingbird while Lucy watches intently.  Maurice is a gentle soul that leaves the bird alone.

I am up here in my balcony looking down the garden.
Garden taken up from the balcony

Garden taken up from the balcony

I was up to having fun when I posted this: How’s your mental state?  So, what’s up with you?
 
Related link:  April 19, 2013 Weekly Photo Challenge: Up

Comings and Goings of March 29, 2013

It started with an early phone call from Room 203; she wanted to visit and it’s only 9 a.m.  Still in her pajamas with coffee, cheese and crackers, as well as her cat Riley, I let her in. 
This is the first time Riley is visiting my place and he is very scarred.  Have you ever heard scared cat cry?  It’s  blood curling cry.  Maurice and Lucy were scared and went into hiding.  So did Riley.  By the time they left is was close to noon. 
Next, I went next door, Room 307 to ask her to make me real coffee.  I supplied her with a Starbucks coffee grind.  Life is good with real coffee.  I took some pictures of her potted plants. 
It is now 1 pm and time to visit Mother.  She’s resting just down the road.  I picked some narcissus, fern, sage, rosemary and yellow flowering branches from my garden to bring to Mother. 

The road where Mother is resting is downhill.  Going downhill sure beats uphill.  I’ll worry about that later. 
It’s a busy day mostly for Chinese family.  They sure know how to party with their dearly departed.  I laid a few flowers for this young man, this is the first time I’ve heard of bullying, year 2000,  the same year Mother died.  Mother’s site sure looks pretty with the bouquet I placed on her gravesite. 
Then I visited the pond with a lonesome drake, a couple of turtles and plenty of fishes. 
See that building on top, I live across that.  See that 45 degree road, that’s the hill to get back home which is not a problem if only I am 13 years younger. 
I came across with a worm.  Then, I took refuge underneath a tree and scared the living daylight out of me, an evil thing lurking above.  Sakura is in full bloom and then life is a bowl of ???.   But look, I found a $10 gift certificate, my lucky day.
Finally, I’m home.  That’s the yellow flowering bush.  The baby artichokes are waiting for me to cook.  By the look of the size of the artichoke, even though I bought two dozens, I will still be hungry.  Thank goodness, Room 307 came over for tea with Polish salad. 

The salad was my dinner.  As for the artichokes, it ended up in the garbage.  
Life is grand.
 
 

WPC Lunchtime: Meatless Friday

I always pack my lunch.  Being Friday and feasting on a meatless Friday due to Lent season, the menu is: 
Sautéed mushroom and  canned salmon topped with shallots and garlic
Rice for a little bit of carbohydrates
Cut fresh pineapple
Ambrosia apple to cleanse my palate 
Walla:  Lunch fit for a Princess. 

 Having a brain freeze all day, I did not eat lunch.  I had a couple of oranges instead and went out for a walk.  Should it have been a sunny day, this is my favorite place to eat lunch; with nature. 

 Escargot anyone?
WPC Lunch Mar 15, 2013

 Needless to say, I had my lunch for supper.

DP: TIME CAPSULE – SURPISE ME.

The year is drawing to a close. What would you put in a 2012 time capsule?

Aaah…. Panic, aaah!  Not enough time; that’s only 21 days from now.  I need more time and notice.  Can we change that to the year 2013, please, Mr. Michelle, please?  OK, fine.

Let me see what I can gather in my treasure chest and a gold mine of ideas.  Think, thank, thonk.  Thonk, it is.

What I can see in my kitchen is a clear plastic bottle of pop, that’s good enough for a time capsule.  In the pantry are dry goods; too big for the pop bottle.  How about catching a genie and imprison it in the bottle.  Be serious, now, thonk!  Oh, a bag. What’s in this bag?  Checking, more bags within the bags, checking the bags within the bags, more bags.  Gosh, I am such a pack rat.  But look what’s in the bags; small plastic bags of seeds.  YES, seeds.  They will fit in the capsule.  Oh, this is so exciting.

Opsey, no name on the seeds.  Well, that would be part of the fun.

These seeds came from my garden, collected them from the community gardens, from friends and families, from travels while on the pilgrim.  They are seeds of flowers, vegetables, and trees.  They are small things that will fit in the bottle, and I will leave instructions on what to do with them by following just six simple steps.

  1. Earth (garden soil in a pot or any vacant land will do)
  2. Bury the seeds on the earth (not all at once, space them out)
  3. Water (don’t drown the seeds)
  4. Lots of light and warm temperature
  5. Nurture it with love and patience
  6. Relax and wait for the seeds to sprout.

The time capsule will be sealed with a kiss, a prayer and a hope that it will be found by someone who will plant the seeds and eventually create a garden, just like mine.  A garden that will attract little creatures like hummingbirds, butterflies, dragonflies.  A garden where one can only be, to pray, be thankful and be grateful to Our God, whomever you may conceive Him to be.

Holy Garden

Holy Garden

Once this is done, I will go the beach of English Bay, throw the time capsule in the waters, watch the waves carry the capsules into open waters and whisper Bon Voyage.

One Minute Meditation

The disciple asked for a word of wisdom.
Said the Master, “Go sit within your cell and your cell will teach you wisdom.”
“But I have no cell.  I am no monk.”
“Of course you have a cell.  Look within.” – Anthony de Mello, SJ

MORSEL:    Seek refuge in the attitude of detachment, and you will amass the
wealth of spiritual awareness. Those who are motivated only by the desire for
the fruits of action are miserable, for they are always anxious about
the results of what they do.    –Bhagavad Gita 2:49-50