Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Little Sunshine Makes All the Difference

Is there anything more contented than a cat sleeping in the sun?

Yesterday, it was sunny!! On a Saturday!!! I can't remember the last time this happened, but it's been weeks. The cats and I spent some quality time sitting on the swing in the backyard, soaking up sun like lizards. I did a bit of long-postponed garden clean-up and found quite a bit of new growth coming up. The only bulb actually blooming is the small snowdrop below. I planted 50 of these, and so far this is the only one to make an appearance. The drifts of snowdrops in my neighbor's yard are mocking me.

50 bulbs, one flower. I blame the squirrels.

I saw dozens of snowdrops, along with purple and yellow crocus and a yellow primrose on my walk to the library. The daphne and camellias have buds about to pop open. Spring really is on its way. I need to get my peas (both sweet for flowers and shelling for eating) planted soon.

There was baking, too. The regular weekly loaf of bread and a loaf on banana bread on Saturday (half off over-ripe banana at the grocery is a great excuse for banana bread), and today, these sinfully delicious  whole lemon bars, so called because you puree a whole lemon for the filling. Extra lemony goodness!

Tomorrow I turn 50, which quite frankly I never thought would happen. I struggled with the black dog of depression for many years, and when I was in my 20s I was sure it would defeat me. Thanks to my friends, my siblings, my shrink, and Celexa, I've made it to the half century mark. I'm living in a beautiful place, have a dream job working with antiquarian books and medieval manuscripts, and most miraculously of all, I'm married to a beautiful man who loves me and accepts me as I am, warts, depression, and all. I will not be one of those women who won't admit her age--I want to shout it from the rooftops, because I'm so grateful for making it this far.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Spot of Bother

So far, 2011 has not been a good year. Family emergencies and illnesses, unexpected travel, large unplanned expenses--it's been a recipe for major stress and depression. At the end of this month, my husband leaves for two months abroad (for work). And in just over a week, I turn fifty. All I can say is, "Bartender! Another round!"

Daffodils by the front steps

Fortunately, little bulbs are beginning to poke their heads up in the garden, promising spring just around the corner. Meanwhile, the rain continues to keep me indoors (November through April showers bring May flowers!) so I've been sorting through closets, chests, and cabinets looking for garage sale material, should we ever have a sunny Saturday.

Books have been treasured companions and welcome respite from life's trouble these past weeks. I've particularly enjoyed Debo Mitford Devonshire's Wait for me!, which I won in a drawing at Stuck in a Book---thanks, Simon! I love the cover shot of the 90-year-old duchess holding two of her beloved hens. As always, I find enormous comfort in mysteries, preferably psychological thrillers. Andrew Taylor's Roth Trilogy was a fascinating series tracing the making of a psychopath.

There has also been baking--brownies, scones, banana bread. I continue to bake a loaf of no-knead bread every weekend. The budget will be a bit tight with just one income for the next couple of months, so I've been adding to my repertoire of inexpensive vegetarian recipes. I've been trying to be a more mindful consumer, so this will be a very good exercise.