Stop. Breathe. Look. Breathe.

Stop. Breathe. Look. Breathe.  Sounds like some yoga exercise, doesn’t it?  But, according to a yoga  friend the whole point of yoga is arriving at that sort of state (and I have to admit that the breathing part of yoga really does settle me down AND loosens my limbs – so who knows).

Howevah! this particular iteration of it is about how I am managing my garden during this quarantine.  A bit of backstory: this is the least-planned garden in my history of gardening and garden design.  The house was, at first, a rental – but was so rundown that it made better sense to either buy it or move elsewhere (the owner was reluctant to reimburse El O for any repairs over X dollars – the bathroom was STUNNING in its dilapidation – I remember hearing this ‘creeeaak!  CRAAAACK! BOOM!’ one day and looked into the bathroom to find that the crappy little vanity had simply ..EXPLODED!! leaving the sink (blessed be) attached to the wall)….. but I digress…

We need a fragrance called Stoned Toad — notes of damp earth, pine, leather, green grass, maybe a dab of patchouli…

There was no garden.  1/3 acre of weedy lawn was pretty much it. Because we had Rottweilers the size of a small hatchback, a fence became imperative.  From the fence sprang the Long Border, then the original kitchen garden (still a patchwork of heavy lifting from when our well-meaning but drunk neighbor tilled the grass into the soil.  sigh), then all the fits and starts as I slowly started to create the garden as it exists today – very much a higgledy-piggledy affair.

The pandemic really altered my work day (all my customers are freaked and they hate everything right now) – so I decided to make the garden my work day;  6-7 I do Real Work stuff, then I work in the garden until noon, etc… just like a regular job.

Wow!  Who knew I had such a mess in this 1/3 acre!? But!!!  Whilst doing all this filthy, backbreaking work I’ve had plenty of time to muse.  No self-reflection because NO! so when I start to think about Paths Not Taken, etc, I quickly GTFOT and move into Muse Mode.  And… seeee?  I’ll bet you thought I was going to take you on some transcendental WhatMyGardenHasTaughtMe journey!  Psych!  LOL!  We are NOT going there. Nope.  Not today, Satan!!!  But in case you want to know – it’s teaching me that the world has a lot of bindweed – and ALL of it is in my garden!

So.  Here’s what the past few days/weeks/years.. I don’t even know what day it is today. Is it Mother’s Day?  A lot of people are hanging up flowering baskets… um… people?  You do know we’re expecting frigid temps from Thursday on… right?  Don’t let this 70F spell fool you – it’s barely May – plenty of time for Father Frost to murder that tomato..why are you planting TOMATOES?  In early May?  In Illinois?!

But I digress. Again.  Here’s my musings.

  1. Masks & makeup. We’re under a mask order – totally fine with me (if I get sick there’s nobody who can manage The Girl, so I need to stay healthy).  But I’ve noticed that when I prep to show my mug to the world, I do a much lighter version of the regular:  brows, liner, a touch of mascara (it’s Kroger – don’t need much, right?).  But then?  Then… I go hard in the lip paint.  Primer.  Liner.  Lipstick.  ………. and then I put on a mask!  Please tell me I’m not the only lunatic out there, prettifying lips that NO ONE WILL SEE!
  2. Google Shame.  Omg.  When did THIS start?  So (blushing here) – I confess to… erm… cyberogling an old flame.  This isn’t one of those ‘couldawouldashoulda’ situations – he was a jackass and probably still is and I have no interest in revisiting that trainwreck.. but!   when I’m bored I like the little shimmy of a quick visual.  So… okay.. maybe once every 2 months or so I’ll grab a martini, go on the Goog  and some photos will pop up – I’ll ogle .. 5 minutes?… and then I’m done.  Excepppppt!  NOW GOOGLE HAS DECIDED TO TELL ME THAT I HAVE a) visited this site X times in the past year or, in the passive-aggressive way of my mother, say ‘you have visited this site several times‘.  Really, Goog?  You have to ogle-shame a gal?  I thought ogling was the whole point of a search engine!  Ogling and self-denial.  That’s why Floyd made Google in the first place!
  3. Yeah.  Like y’all haven’t ever done it.  Riiiiight.  LOL!
  4. Here’s my Year 10 musing:  why do I not write down when I germinate/plant/transplant stuff?  Because I am possibly the worst note-taker in the garden world, I have to wait for things to come up and IDENTIFY THEMSELVES before I can proceed with any further action.  I always think I will remember – and I am always wrong.  I nearly dug up some Eryngium.. that I just planted last week!  I gotta get a grip.  I haz the notepad.  I even haz the phone (with notepad).  What I lack is any sense whatsoever.
  5. Last one:  Diorella.  Why do I always forget to wear Diorella.  It’s a lovely floral chypre, with that nice whack of oakmoss that just hollers SPRING!, undercut with that vaguely fabulous hint of rotting meat…  and it’s by the magnificent Eddie R!  What more could a gal want?  Well… maybe to remember to spritz it on?  I’ve worn it two days in a row -and I could happily wear it for quite some time to come… if I can remember to actually spray the damb thing!  Patty’s Poll?  I lied.  My perfume-wearing is nearly nonexistent right now.  Sigh.

So.  What’s up with you guys?  I know this is still stressful times but !!!  at least in the construction industry, things are starting to move forward, albeit sluggishly, like a toad’s first Spring steps — have you ever seen a toad coming out of hibernation?  It’s both charming – and hysterical.  What takes them 3 seconds in July takes them 3 minutes (or more) in April.  Around now I’m always careful to watch where I step  – they are in the lawn, stoned AF and can’t get out of the way.   Tell me a funny!  Or a ridiculousy!  Or any combo!  Just please tell me you aren’t driving around in a drop-top (with the top dropped) wearing a mask (like the guy I saw on the freeway last week.  And thank you, Floyd, for that one!)

  • Kathleen says:

    I love wearing lipstick, my pale coloring demands it. I don’t mind wearing a mask at all, except for missing lip color. And the other thing that makes me sad about masks is that we can’t see the smiles. I enjoy smiling at people while out and about, and seeing their smiles. Missing that.
    You smell amazing in Diorella! xx

  • Maggiecat says:

    I just want to chime in to say I wear lipstick under my mask and a nice lab tech whom I was seeing for blood tests (routine, nothing interesting) said she did too. I also wore a bright red pill is today as I sat alone in front of my computer with not even a Zoom call in sight. So there.

  • Ariel says:

    I haven’t heard of Diorella…added to the “must sample” list! I started by basil far, far, far too early this year. I just keep moving it in and out of the house (if I can bother to remember) and hoping that some kind of tendril will poke out. Hello? Basil? Please? One of these days I will build myself a greenhouse and not play this game. And heck with the “roads not taken…” line of thinking. Way more fun to consider the shenanigans of the future. And yes, I also wear lipstick under my mask. At the very beginning of March, I decided I wanted to try wearing lipstick again and ordered some. Not letting those colors go to waste! Good luck with the bindweed and everything else.

  • Dina C. says:

    On a recent day when it was finally not rainy I did a bunch of yard work in my small front and backyards. We live in a rowhouse, so there isn’t a lot of property, but it still takes hours to whip it into order. Had to rake dead leaves out from the garden beds, prune and trim things, etc. I planted 2 English lavenders and 1 Salvia that had been languishing in my kitchen waiting for transplantation. They’re looking rather grim. I also scattered some seeds around in the tilled earth. Notice how I didn’t bother to start them off in SOLO cups the way you do. I don’t give them very good odds of growing! Haha. For Mother’s Day I asked for two bare-root dwarf rose bushes from David Austin. They are supposed to be highly fragrant kinds!! For those, I will be much more careful and follow directions on planting to give them the best chance of success. I love Diorella; years ago I was gifted a little bottle of vintage parfum and enjoyed using it until it was gone. You smell great Anita!

    • Musette says:

      I do, don’t I? (blushes). Diorella really is one of those ‘wtheck? why am I not wearing MORE of this?’ scents.

      Austins aren’t much more trouble than any other rose – what’s your zone? If you’re above Zone 5 or 6, you’re golden (unless you’re plagued by Japanese Beetles, as we are)… you should be able to enjoy them for many, many years to come – and the forms and scents are incredible!


      • Dina C. says:

        I’m in zone seven, and I haven’t seen Japanese Beetles around here in several years. But shhhh, we seem to be in a year of plagues. Maybe those are next along with the Murder Hornets! 😀

  • rosarita313 says:

    Always enjoy your musings Ms A, esp involving your garden. Other than Zoom meetings I have given up wearing makeup for the mask duration. I miss lipstick and earrings! but since I’m only going for provisions weekly and the post office biweekly and seeing my mother, it’s amazing how fast I can get out of the house without makeup. I don’t mind the mask although it’s harder to breathe while wearing one. There are a lot of things that are falling into the category I Can’t be Bothered….even perfume sometimes.

    • Musette says:

      Hey, babysnakes! I know just how you feel (I’ve taken a pass on the PO, though – they are not sanitizing a damb thing and I’ve seen more people in there, hacking up a lung (and you can only fit 3 people in there at a time anyway, so it’s pretty ‘close’, y’know?)
      I Can’t Be Bothered… ho yus! Don’t EVEN get me started 😉


  • Cinnamon says:

    My house-house garden is a reasonable size, though not a third of an acre. Right now, it’s doing whatever it pleases because I doubt the builders give it a second thought except as a place to store stuff (though the steels are inside, thank goodness). I cleaned up the rental garden (small but nicely formed) and put in nasturtium and tuberose and will just have to wait and see if anything decides to grow. Only Dior I ever wore was Diorissimo. Now, I could use a decant of that I think…

    • Musette says:

      Builders and gardens are not a good mix – but once they’re gone it’ll be surprising to find that nearly everything will bounce back. As my friend H is wont to say ‘Nature is not designed to fail’.

      and I’ve never met the nasturtium that was disinclined to grow – so you’re good to go, there!


  • Patty says:

    Google guilty. I NEVER do this, but now it feels like I need to peruse my life, and then someone mentions a name, and I have to Look ’em up, see where they are, feel thankful that was one mistake I didn’t make in some more permanent way – like I normally did! – and then roll through some fun memories. I think you always hold some feeling for the people you loved – no matter how it turned out. It’s not current or messy, it’s just an old connection that still has a nerve that is alive running to it.

    My garden is a big old glorious mess! Rain, rain and more rain. I get out, do some work, and the rains start again, and I’m back to weeing. I hate bind weed with the hate of a thousand suns. I get very angry when I’m pulling it up out of everywhere! Does it start growing in February? how did it get this kind of head start on me? About time to put some great seeds in the ground, marigolds and sunflowers, etc.

    • Musette says:

      yeah, I’m with you on the relative harmlessness of a quick visual roll through some memories – which is why I don’t appreciate Google telling me that I’ve already done it . That’s some Skynet foolishness right there…

      Bindweed is one of those things that I lie in wait for – then I gennnnntly unwind it from whatever support its little cobra-headed self is twining on…. and I gennnnnntly pull it… I once pulled nearly 10 feet! of bindweed. Oh, so satisfying!


  • VerbenaLuvvr says:

    My latitude is much further north from yours and I know better than to plant anything outside before at least May 15, but this year I could not help myself. I trawled the nurseries the last two weekends and purchased many annual flowers plus two large blooming patio tomatoes, all of which I put in giant planters that I drag in and out of my garage every night. I don’t care–their fragrance and cheerful blossoms have been the saving grace for my sanity and give me hope and joy. Also I put in a fair number of perennials and offer this helpful tip for owners of dogs that love to dig, and mine have always been attracted to the smell of potting soil–powdered cayenne pepper. Get the big cheap cooking spice containers and sprinkle liberally, it won’t hurt the plants but does a great job deterring animals.

    • Musette says:

      I think you have the right idea – you have your plants but you haven’t lost your mind and actually planted them in the ground (like some lunatics over by me). I also love the idea of cayenne – dog noses are so sensitive, they will pick up that acrid smell and (should) decide to go elsewhere. Luckily TG is not a digger – she is more likely to pull something out of the burn pile (or compost heap) and eat it. xoxoxo

  • March says:

    Hehe we talked about this but I am still wearing a full-on lip under my mask– hey, I’ve gone out! Whether I’m walking to the grocery or driving somewhere, there’s about 10 minutes when it’s not covered up, and I would feel absolutely naked without it. But I am glad I got very dark-colored masks because no doubt they have lipstick stains on them. Mwah!

    • Musette says:

      I’m with you!!! it does feel … weird.. to go lipless. So I don’t. But when I do slip on the mask, it does feel… weird. Lots of weird! 😉 xoxox

  • Portia says:

    Diorella! Sigh!

  • Bee says:

    I have started wearing a mask on my weekly visit to the outside world and it is sad. I bought a nice handmade one from ebay after thinking of making my own for about 5 minutes. (lol) But I have abandoned lipstick and I am grieving for it. Lipstick has always been my cheap pick me up purchase. ( I have a huge number of them) It’s the thing that has always made me feel more presentable. I have let my hair go white over the last few years, stopped wearing high heels and given up contact lenses, false eyelashes and other glamorous things but still had my bright red lip. It pains me to have to let that go. What will I do now? More eye makeup? Forehead adornment? I’m really hoping masks don’t become a permanent feature of modern life but if they do I hope they become beautiful as well as practical.

    • Musette says:

      Here’s hoping that, sooner rather than later, we get to the point where the masks are no longer needed. I am ALL about the mask right now, though. xoxox

  • HeidiC says:

    Love your musings, Musette! And yes — Diorella! How could I forget that one! I love green chypres this time of year. Or any time of year, but especially spring. I was scraping and repainting the window frames outside, and was quite fetching in my paint-spattered gear and liberally sprayed with AG’s Songes. Lots of honey- and bumblebees about, but no stoned toads.

    • Musette says:

      OMG! that’s my next job! And yes, doesn’t it feel weirdly lovely to wear a real blockbuster whilst doing some manual labor? I perversely wear Amouage Beloved (one of my most elegant scents) to dig potato trenches and paint windowsills. It keeps me juuuust enough off-balance to make the whole experience interesting! xoxoxo

  • Pam says:

    Love hearing about your gardening, Musette! I’m gardening too, but not on the scale you are. My irises are in bloom and they are gorgeous. We are past our last frost date, so I’ve sowed the zinnias. Here’s hoping my doggie doesn’t dig up the freshly planted seeds to make a dog bed like she did last Spring.

    • Musette says:

      I have one early iris blooming – wish I could remember where I got this one (pale lavender/grey with a cute lilac beard) – the rest are taking their sweet time. and OMG! get a piece of chicken wire to cover those zinnia seeds! I would be SO irritated, hence the chicken wire 😉


  • Tara C says:

    Well, things were looking up here too, until they announced more snow at the end of this week in Quebec. WTF. So I’m putting off that trip to Home Depot to get flowers. My ass hurts so much from sitting around my apartment, the dog and I are both feeling desperate, but it’s just as much a function of the weather as the virus. Still wearing my winter scents, with an occasional foray into iris or orange blossom. Praying for a speedy end to winter and lockdown!

    • Musette says:

      It’s a good thing Quebec is so beautiful – because y’all and Spring are NOT always on good terms. But you do have Jardins de Quatre-Vents, which is worth all the weird weather!!! And poutine. And Armand Gamache. And…. well, pretty much everything else! xoxoxo