09.30.2016

Not Writing Here

This is my favorite place to write. Unfortunately, I am not there.

Soon I will be chatting with my mechanic and paying a huge amount. Then I will do laundry. Then I will sweep the kitchen floor because not even I can ignore it anymore.

And who put all that junk in my garage?

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09.30.2016

A Delicious Interview with Chef Didier Quemener

Hello everyone!

Today I’m interviewing Chef Didier Quemener. He lives in Paris, France.

I know, I know, you want to go to France and eat scrumptious food! So do I!

Didier is the first cook book author I have featured here. Why him? Because his recipes are delicious and I love to eat. I am good at eating, not so good at cooking, but Didier has assured me that I can change. Not so sure about that, but I am sure that if you make his recipes from his new book, Chef Q In Paris, you will be delighted.

Didier, tell us about yourself. We need to know the man behind the stove and the spices and the sauces. When did you decide to become a chef?  What were the events in your life that led you to this career?

I actually studied literature at the Sorbonne—but my friends used to tell me that I should open a restaurant! I’ve always enjoyed cooking, but as you can imagine, there is a big difference between cooking for your family and friends, and doing it professionally. I lived in the United States for a few years, working in management for a translation company, and when I moved back to Paris, it was difficult to get a job. It was my wife’s idea to pursue a culinary career. She’s always been of great support, and I felt that making this dream come true would be a tribute to her Italian family, especially after all I learned in the kitchen from her mother and grandmother!

I have always heard that training to become a chef is rigorous and difficult, often dealing with rigorous and difficult chefs. Is that true? What was cooking school like for you? 

Pastry at Ecole Ritz Escoffier in Paris and countless hours, working harder and harder, alone in my kitchen! Just like numerous self-taught chefs (Chef Guy Martin, Chocolate Master Jacques Genin to name a few), you have to work extremely hard in order to achieve a proper level of skills in this field.

As I mention in the cookbook, the basics came from my grandmother, then I traveled and learned from other passionate cooks and chefs in the UK, China, US, and across Europe. I learned everything I know about Italian cuisine from my wife’s grandmother, who made her own pasta, sausage etc.

Training to be a chef is indeed tough because the hours are long, and it is also extremely physical. When you’re in a cooking class, you are in competition with the other students and with yourself. You must excel all the time. There will always be another apprentice who will do better. There is always a bigger fish, as we say. New techniques, news methods, new challenges… You do not get bored.

So yes, your mentors are rigorous and sometime difficult, but it is understandable: They expect the best of you. After all, you are entering one of the most stimulating and rewarding of worlds.

Now that I teach classes as well, I try to remember that we are also very lucky to do something that we love, and that one of our missions is to spread our passion.

You mentioned your grandmother and her impact on your love of cooking. What else did you learn from her? I would love to hear her secrets for excellent cooking.

It is actually pretty simple: One of the most important things she taught me is to be patient! Whether she was making patés, tarts, or beef Bourguignon, there would be no shortcuts. Cooking takes as much time as it takes love.

Your grandmother sounds like a very smart woman.

Tell us a little more about your upbringing and your childhood in the French countryside. I really want to go and hang out in the French countryside, so let me live vicariously through your answer.

I was born in the countryside to the east of Paris and was raised in a small village, which at the time represented fewer than 2,000 inhabitants. As a child, my world was made of wheat, corn and sunflower fields, farms, cows and horses, etc. I was pretty much living in this beautiful fairyland postcard-like place—but under the close surveillance of everyone around me. Why? Because my mother worked at the city hall. Therefore, she knew the entire village and so did my grandparents (my grandmother did daycare in her home for the children of the village). You can imagine my daily life as a kid: Whatever I did, wherever I went, I was never incognito.

After school, I would go straight to my grandparents’ farm, would bake and cook, and the same goes for school vacation. On the weekends, Sunday lunches would be typically French: Family and friends gathering, eating from 1 to 5 p.m., taking a two-hour break and then starting over again until bedtime… Good times!

To me, cooking can be difficult and I burn things. Last Thanksgiving the fire alarms went off twice because of teeny, tiny fires I accidentally set. For Christmas my brother, a fire fighter, gave me a new fire extinguisher. He thinks he’s funny. Anyhow.

Why do you love cooking so much? What makes it such a serious/fun/happy/fulfilling endeavor for you?

Cooking is always a new experience, even when you are making the same dish several times.

And believe it or not, to me it’s the best anti-stress. If I’m tired, I cook. If I have a free weekend at home, I cook. If I do not cook, I’m thinking of new recipes to develop… Kind of an obsession.

Where do you work now? What do you like most about being a chef and what is challenging?

Outside of my private clients, market tours and assignments with my chef mates in Paris (or wherever a mission pops up), I teach at The Michel Roux Jr Cookery School in London.

Being a chef is reinventing yourself every day. I particularly enjoy the fast pace of the job, the opportunity to often be exposed to new products I can cook with, and of course, sharing my love for this profession with people! In terms of challenges, it is not rare that something does not go exactly as planned in the kitchen (produce, staff, equipment, etc.). So even when everything seems smooth and going according to the schedule, you are constantly on the lookout for a potential grain of sand in the gears. Troubleshooting is part of the job.

What are the rules in a kitchen at work in terms of how people work together? For example, everyone has their own job in the kitchen, correct? My job, of course, would be eating.

We all have different responsibilities, and organization is the key word. Everyone knows what she/he is supposed to do at the moment it must be done. If one person forgets that, then things can quickly turn to chaos, and the result in the dish could be disastrous!

What is the atmosphere in a kitchen like? Tense? Rushed? Interesting? 

Strict. We are all having fun, but when it’s rush hour, there is no time for jokes. No one should run around or panic. We are all here to work together and help each other. It is a real team effort that could become magical if we all play the same game. Of course, it is stressful at times, and pressure is constant: The more pressure, the merrier for me! I love the feeling of knowing that you need to get everything done perfectly all the time, over and over again.

You said that fresh ingredients must be used.  What are your other rules for cooking? 

I’ll make a short list for you:

1) Always wash your hands before touching anything.

That may sound simple, but believe me, it is not…

 

2) Sharpen your knives.

Nothing more annoying than cooking at a friend’s place with knives that do not cut.

 

3) Know your pans.

Certain pans were made for certain types of cooking: Do not get confused.

 

4) Clean as you go.

If your counter top is a mess after 10 minutes of cooking, that will show in the dish, because sooner or later, you will add or mix the wrong ingredients together.

 

5) Easy with the seasoning.

You are not on a TV show where seasonings might be tossed on a little too liberally to get the point across. And you are not on a plane where meals need extra seasoning because of the altitude. Season during cooking, but be careful and precise.

 

6) Taste as you go.

Impossible to cook properly if you do not taste, even if you know the recipe by heart and have made it a million times.

 

7) Less is more.

Use as few ingredients as possible, only adding more ingredients when needed. Excellence is often in simplicity.

 

8) Texture rhymes with flavor.

Play on the different contrasts to create more interesting dishes.

 

9) Do not get distracted.

Keep an eye on what’s going on in the kitchen. In the cooking world, an extra 10 seconds could definitely ruin a recipe.

 

10) No salt on the table, just pepper.
Check seasoning (salt and pepper) before serving, but do not let your guests put their hands on the salt. By default, they will always add more salt before even tasting their dish.

I love soup. I could eat it all day. What are your three favorite soup recipes? What about dessert? And your three favorite main courses?

Ha, tough one! Okay, let’s try to answer (my responses could change a week from now since I’m eternally curious when it comes to discovering new recipes):

Soups:

Thai (I love them all!)

Fish & shellfish soup (memories of going fishing and crabbing when I was a teenager and then making the best soups with our treasures!)

Jerusalem artichoke velouté with roasted chestnuts (I know, it’s rather specific)

 

Main courses:

Duck (in any form!)

My wife’s grandmother’s Italian meatballs and tomato sauce (actually, nothing beats that as it would be my last meal on Earth if I had to choose!)

Veggie stir-fry (I love the texture of fresh, crunchy veggies)

 

Desserts:

The Opéra cake (layers of Joconde cake (almond sponge cake) soaked in coffee syrup, layered with ganache and coffee buttercream, and covered in a chocolate glaze)

The Paris-Brest (choux pastry with a praline flavored diplomat cream)

Tarte Bourdaloue (pâte brisée for the dough, and almond powder, cream, eggs, sugar and pears for the filling)

If you could have only five spices, which ones would you take?

Smoked paprika

Nutmeg

Sichuan pepper

Black lava salt

Tonka beans

A Recipe from Didier…

After Summer “Healthy” Soup

Here’s an easy and tasty recipe to offer you some moral support as the summer days become a distant memory. If you’ve worked hard the previous months (or not!) to stay in shape in between two sessions of sun-tanning on the beach, this recipe will make sure that your efforts were not vain.

And in the case you were spoiled during vacation season and so was your stomach (maybe a bit too much as a matter of fact!), it is time to get back to business. This quick soup, loaded with greens, will energize your body and give you the extra boost required for the busy weeks of fall!

Serving: 4

Ready in: 30 minutes

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, chopped

½ onion, chopped

2 cups chicken broth (low sodium variety)

2 cups celery root chopped into 1 inch cubes

1½ cups Idaho potatoes chopped into 1 inch cubes

1 cup baby spinach

1 cup Boston lettuce leaves

6 cucumber slices (¼ inch size)

1 teaspoon coarse salt

Pepper to taste

 

Preparation:

In a casserole pan on medium heat, add olive oil, chopped garlic, and onion.

Let cook for 5 minutes, stirring a few times.

Add celery root, potatoes, washed lettuce and cucumber slices. Cover with chicken broth.

Add coarse salt and bring to a boil.

Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes.

In the meantime, rinse baby spinach under water, pat dry. Set leaves aside.

Mix vegetables in casserole pan thoroughly with a handheld mixer.

Add baby spinach and give a few spins of handheld mixer (just to cut the spinach roughly).

Serve hot.

Cheers!

A glass of water after finishing your bowl… It’s diet time!

 

Didier’s tips:

Add a tablespoon of almonds in each bowl for crunchiness!

 

LINKS

Cookbook: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01KTA8818

Site:

www.chefqparis.com

Twitter:

@ChefQParis

The Michel Roux Jr Cookery School:

https://www.cactuskitchens.co.uk/

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09.29.2016

Come And Visit With Me At Powell’s (Please!)

Hello all!

I will be chatting about my new novel, The Language of Sisters, at the Cedar Hills, Beaverton, Oregon, Powell’s on Monday, October 3rd at 7:00. I PROMISE I will not yak on and on. (Did I spell ‘yak’ right?) I will attempt to think of something entertaining to say. Please come – love to see you.

 

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09.15.2016

How Much Of Your Book Is True?

Hello everyone,

Today I’m handing my blog over to author Brandi Megan Granett.  She’s an excellent writer and a regular contributor to Huffington Post. Most importantly, if you need a tin can shot straight off a tree stump with an arrow, she’s your gal. Brandi is an archer and bows and arrows are her thing.

In this blog, Brandi is addressing the question I get all the time, which is, “How much of your book is true?”

So, friends, here is Brandi to talk about her latest novel, Triple Love Score, truth, fiction, her real life, romance, and Scrabble.

 

How Much of Your Book Is True?

by Brandi Megan Granett

When Triple Love Score, my first “romance” novel made the rounds to book bloggers and interviews, one question kept popping up in my inbox:  is any of this book true?  While Miranda’s journey to find out what she really wants echoes my own, her finding internet fame with a Scrabble board and seducing a man or two along the way, isn’t my story.  Her story though was born out of my own love story, and my desire to create something that reflected the choices I found myself able to make after a rough divorce as I stood the precipice of a fairy tale happy ending.

My feelings about fairy tales could be called mixed at best.  I am a sucker for fancy dresses and love the fairy godmother’s magical wisdom.  But the whole love at first sight concept rubs me raw.  What if you miss it, you know, turn head slightly to the left or look over Prince Charming’s shoulder instead.  And what do you really know at first sight anyway?

I met my ultimate prince charming one night at a going-off-to-college party for a friend.  I found Avram in the kitchen making chicken Parmesan at midnight at the behest of a stoner friend eager for a midnight snack.  We bonded over burnt chicken and dirty dishes, our mutual sobriety despite our “animal house” surroundings, and the strong, yet opposing, religious faiths our families raised us in.  When I returned to college, I mailed him a recipe for blueberry muffins in the care of my best girlfriend from high school.  When I never heard back, I didn’t think much of it. How many nineteen year olds, even dorky sober ones, had pen pals before the internet?

We caught back up with each other the following year at a house Avram shared with my best girlfriend and another roommate, a hot guy with long curly dark hair.  We reconnected over a love of food and writing; I marveled at my luck at finding this interesting person again.

Later that night, my girlfriend slipped off with another guy into the bedroom I was supposed to share with her, leaving me no place to sleep as their place didn’t even contain a couch or a carpet on the floor.  When the rest of the group broke up for the night, it wasn’t Avram who offered me a space in his bed, but the attractive and somewhat brooding roommate did—the offer being one of only things he said to me that night aside from a nodded hello.

In the year prior, my dorky, sober self gave way to some traditional college impulses.  I found the whole package alluring.

“Sure,” I said to the hot guy.

So began the triumvirate that shaped life: my future husband, my new best friend, and me.  I could have sex with the hot, complicated guy and hang out with the sober, nice guy—a pattern that lasted for the next nineteen years.

Once, a woman at a party leaned in close and asked, “Are you all just friends, or is it something more interesting?”

“It’s not like that,” I said.

“Oh,” she said with a tone of disappointment before turning back to her Pinot Gris.

Soon after, we agreed to call ourselves siblings to thwart any misguided rumors we didn’t want to explain to my seven year old.

The next Christmas, Avram gave me a bracelet marked, my sister, my friend.

I cried at the sentiment; genetics aside, the description fit.

After hearing about our friendship, my therapist asked whether there was ever any spark between Avram and me.  “Do you hold hands? Anything?”

“No,” I said shaking my head, “Nothing.”  I told her about a recent archery tournament.  My score plunged dramatically, and I dissolved into a puddle of tears and frustration.  I collapsed against Avram for a hug.   His whole body went rigid; he patted my back awkwardly.  It felt like hugging a board.  A friendly board, but a board nonetheless.  No chemistry, no spark, nothing that hinted at romantic love.

Things with the hot complicated guy didn’t really get any better.  He stayed hot and complicated.  We argued. We got married.  We argued. We had a baby.  We argued.  She grew.  We argued.  After so many years and a bunch of counseling, I realized that hot and complicated didn’t always work for a marriage.

I asked for a divorce.

When I told Avram, he didn’t believe me at first.  He offered the same old protest: “But he loves you.”

“Maybe. But it isn’t enough.  It isn’t like this.”

I gestured to the space between us.  While devoid of chemistry, that space radiated love.  During my pregnancy when the doctors ordered bed rest, Avram took off from work and sat at the end of my bed, keeping me company while assuring me the baby would be fine.  He laughed at my jokes and read the stories I wrote.  After I hurt myself playing soccer, he took to coming to my games to make sure I was okay, and because I played soccer with reckless abandon, he more than once took me to the hospital the day after.  When I took Statistics, he ordered the textbook and tried to work along side me to cheer me on.  When I took up archery, he practiced right along side me.

I looked at him that night and saw all of these connections between us.  All of this love between us.  A light bulb moment—all of those things meant love.  The actual every day work of love, not the fireworks fairy tales teach us to expect. And with a flash, I understood I wanted this love, even if our lack of chemistry meant we would live like old cat ladies together.  The together mattered more than any sparks.

“What are you going to do after I’m divorced?” I asked him.  “Are you going to step up or just hope the next guy is as accommodating as the last one?”

“No,” he said.  “Things don’t work like that.” Then he left.

The next day we argued—our first and only time—back and forth via email.  Like many of our conversations, the argument debated a metaphor about writing.

“Maybe we can write a new story.  Maybe we can have a happy ending,” I protested.

“We can’t risk this,” he said.  “You’re my best friend.  And life isn’t a fairy tale.”

But then night came, and exhausted, I shut down the computer believing that maybe he was right; fairy tales didn’t happen in real life.

In the morning, I found this in my inbox, “Life, especially the life we choose, evolves, changes, picks-up new chapters, retells old stories, but it doesn’t have an ending – we’re living it.  The story is about the journey. The story highlights humanity.  Friendship, addiction, adversity, courage, growth, drive, cowardice, pain, song, laughter, silliness, happiness but mainly love. I love the heroine, and I love the story.”

It would be easy to rue the time we spent as only friends as wasted or lost, but doing so would invalidate some pretty wonderful things like my lovely daughter and all the amazing things we did share in our friendship.  I could try to re-write this story as something else, as a fairy tale where dark forces kept us from finding true love, but that wouldn’t be true either.  As much as the love we’ve found feels like something out of a story, I don’t want it to be the kind from a fairy tale.  No offense to love at first sight, but there’s something to be said for taking the long way around.

So I turned to fiction to capture these feelings, the emotional echo behind my own story through Miranda’s in Triple Love Score.  And I hope this answers the question about how much of my novel is true.  In some ways, none of it is true.  And in other ways, it all is.

 

From Cathy Lamb…

A passage I loved that Brandi wrote:

I am filled with a passionate desire to share one key idea with the world.  This idea is that thoughts are things.  The very stuff we fill our minds with spills out and fills our worlds.  By learning what we are thinking and where those thoughts come from, we can change our experiences within the world.

One way to make this happen is to study and revise the stories we tell ourselves.  Just as we can examine a story or film and suss out the meaning behind it, we can do the same for our internal stories.  Once we have experience something, it lives on in us, influencing us, and how we perceive the world as a form of a story.  We can stop being just characters in those stories and become their authors.

Visit with Brandi –

Brandi’s website:  http://www.brandigranett.com/#home
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09.14.2016

Come And Visit With Me

Come and visit with me! I will be at Powell’s Books in Cedar Hills, in Beaverton, Oregon, on Monday, October 3 at 7:00 chatting about my new book, “The Language of Sisters.” Would love to see you there, of course. I PROMISE I will not drone on. It’ll be shortish and I’ll try to think of something entertaining to say.

I will also be at Jan’s Paperbacks on Saturday, October 8th at 1:00 chatting about – ta da! – the same book. Aloha Villa Shopping Center, 18095 SW Tualatin Valley Hwy, Beaverton, OR 97006. If you would like to order a signed and personalized copy of my book from Jan’s, here are the details.http://janspaperbacks.com/node/409

Hope to see you all, I really do. Cheers.

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09.13.2016

Win 32 Books With Liz and Lisa

Liz Clark Fenton and Lisa Steinke Dannenfeldt THANK YOU for including my novel, The Language of Sisters, which almost drove me straight out of my own bleepin’ mind when I was writing it, on your Best Books list. It’s an honor to be here. Me and my odd imagination thank you for it.

READERS, copy and paste the link to enter a contest to WIN all 32 books on the list.

http://www.lizandlisa.com/blog/2016/9/best-books-of-the-month-september-edition

 

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09.12.2016

A Dating Daughter And A Vampire

There are some things you just cannot be prepared for as a parent. The other day Rebel Dancing Daughter said to me, “Mom, how would you feel if I started dating a vampire?”

Sigh. Well, gee whiz. I don’t know. Protect your neck? Stay away from Transylvania? They’re rather pale, are you sure?

Where was the answer to this question in all the parenting books I read?

 

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09.12.2016

Giveaway – The Language of Sisters and Henry’s Sisters

Fun giveaway through my publishing house, Kensington Publishing, in New York City if you’d like to enter.

Copy and paste this link, log into facebook     http://kensingtonbooks.tumblr.com/cathylamb

The Language of Sisters, Henry’s Sisters, and three vases.

Cheers and good luck!

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09.08.2016

Henry’s Sisters, On Sale, Cheap and Sweet

Greetings, all!

Henry’s Sisters is now out in mass market paperback. So cheap, on sale, $4.58. The kindle edition is also on sale, only $4.99. Yet again, cheap.

Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/Henrys-Sisters-Cathy-Lamb/dp/1496707842/ref=tmm_mmp_title_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

Here’s an excerpt, written from the point of view of Isabelle Bommarito, who truly has some issues:

I grabbed my lighter with the red handle from the kitchen, lighter fluid, a water bottle, my lacy bra and thong, and opened the French doors to my balcony. The wind and rain hit like a mini hurricane, my braids whipping around my cheeks.

One part of my balcony is covered, so it was still dry. I put the bra and thong in the usual corner on top of a few straggly, burned pieces of material from another forgettable night on a wooden plan and flicked the lighter on. The bra and thong smoked and blackened and wiggled and fizzled and flamed.

When they were cremated, I doused them with water from the water bottle. No sense burning down the apartment building. That would be bad.

I settled into a metal chair in the uncovered section of my balcony, the rain sluicing off my naked body, and gazed at the sky scrapers, wondering how many of those busy, brain – fried, robotic people were staring at me.

Working in a skyscraper was another way of dying early, my younger sister, Janie, would say. “It’s like the elevators are taking you up to hell.”

Right out of college she got a job as a copywriter for a big company on the twenty ninth floor of a skyscraper in Los Angeles and lasted two months before her weasely, squirmy boss found the first chapter of her first thriller on her desk.

The murderer is a copywriter for a big company on the twenty ninth floor of a skyscraper in Los Angeles. In the opening paragraphs she graphically describes murdering her supercilious, condescending, snobby boss who makes her feel about the size of a slug and how his body ends up in a trash compactor, his legs spread like a pickled chicken, one shoe off, one red high heel squished on the other foot.

That was the murderer’s calling card.

No one reports his extended absence, including his wife, because people hate him as they would hate a gang of worms in their coffee.

Janie was fired that day, even though she protested her innocence. That afternoon she sat down and wrote the rest of the story, nonstop, for three months. When she emerged from her apartment, she’d lost twenty pounds, was pale white, and muttering.

At four months she had her first book contract. When the book was published, she sent it to her ex boss and wrote, “Thanks, dickhead! With love, Janie Bommarito,” on the inside cover.

It became a best seller.

She became a recluse because she is obsessive and compulsive and needs to indulge all her odd habits privately.

The recluse had received a flowery lemon – smelling pink letter, too. So had Cecilia, whose brain connects with mine.

The rain splattered down on me, the wind twirly whirled, and I raised the Kahlua bottle to my lips again. “I love Kahlua,” I said out loud as I watched the water river down my body, creating a little pool in the area of my crotch where my legs crossed. I flicked the rain away with my hand, watched it pool again, flicked it.

This entertained me for a while. Off in the distance I saw a streak of lightning, bright and dangerous.

It reminded me of the time when my sisters and I ran through a lightning storm to find Henry in a tree.

I laughed, even though that night had not been funny. It had been hideous. It had started with a pole dance and ended with squishy white walls.

I laughed again, head thrown back, until I cried, my hot tears running down my face off my chin, onto my boobs, and down my stomach. They landed in the pool between my legs and I flicked the rain and tear mixture away again. The tears kept coming and I could feel the darkness, darkness so familiar to me, edging its way back in like a liquid nightmare.

I did not want to deal with the pink letter that smelled of her flowery, lemony perfume.

 

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09.06.2016

Gardening, Stress, And A Delphinium

I woke up yesterday and decided that I should plant 400 bulbs to make myself feel better. I needed to feel better.

I planted daffodils. Red and yellow tulips. Two frothy blue flowers.

And crocuses. I love crocuses because when they pop up I know that winter is ending.

It was me and the dirt and the sun and my 400 bulbs.

I planted most of them in the backyard as I’ve added a ton of dirt to a newly cut border.

This summer gardening fever hit hard, the Garden Nerd in me cackled her way out, and I bought a red camellia, two magnolia trees (one died. Waaaa!), blue delphinium, soft pink hydrangeas, a cherry tree, and a bunch of flowering plants that I bought on the side of the road in the country for three bucks.

I didn’t know what they were, I bought them anyhow. Mystery plants.

Gardening takes my stress away. There is something about being covered in dirt, digging a hole with a shovel, and planting something that you know will grow that is soothing and comforting.

Gardening makes my life better, and so often I cannot make anything better.

Sometimes my problems can be fixed, resolved, eliminated, healed.

And sometimes it’s just a matter of living with them the best I can.

Sometimes I cannot write. I don’t have writer’s block exactly, but the words on the page are such crap I wonder why I don’t quit. Or I can’t get a character to move. Or I’m burned out and frazzled.

Sometimes life gets too stressful. Stressful enough that getting enough air down my lungs becomes a challenge. Negative enough to make me want to move to Montana and call it a day.

But a garden…now I can make that better. I can fix it.

In an hour, weeds can be picked and an area that wasn’t pretty is now pretty.

In half a day pots can be filled with geraniums, Alyssum, petunias, impatiens.

In a full day a new border can be dug, dirt dumped, arching trees and purple butterfly bushes added.

I can see improvement. I can take something dull and brown and fill it with delicate fuchsias, spiky ferns, and a gentle red rose.

I have so much more work to do in my garden, in my tiny patch of Earth. In fact, on the left side of my house I simply dumped part of a dump truck full of bark dust down to smother those incessant, pesky weeds.

But one day I want to build a patio and trellis so I can watch the sunset because I truly think that sunsets are a daily, shining gift and I too often miss out on that gift.

One day I want to cut out a curving design in the center of my grass so I can plant a pink tulip tree and add purple sage, blazing stars, hostas, and black eyed Susans.

One day I want to transform a stark corner with a wire fence around it into a book reading area.

But, for now, I’m delighted.

I have planted 400 bulbs.

I cannot wait for spring so I can see them again

 

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Cathy Lamb
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