2011. WORD.

It’s January 1st, 2011.

It’s all about the resolutions:Winking smile Out with the old, in with the new; motivate, change, organize, fresh starts. Uh huh. Sure. It’s Saturday, and it’s January, and I have to go to work. (But, I do not need to unbury the car first.)

It may be more about the fact that tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, you will wake up like yesterday. There isn’t an on/off switch to change; the cats roam around the house, unaware of the portent of the calendar switch. Things usually don’t just change overnight. (Most change of the day/night variety is usually of the catastrophic kind anyway, and that seems a silly way to want to start a year.)

For the last few years, I have had a word of the year—does it get used enough? Do I live by it? Heck, do “I” even choose it? Could I, in mid-October, even tell you the word?  I am a member of an art quilt group; for the last week, it’s been all about the new word. And meanings attached—their own personal definition of the word, for their purposes—for the year.

I was reading their words, contemplating what would my word be. (Past words: Insight, Inclusive, Deliberate, Balance)

I loved some of their words. I thought of borrowing them, and giving them my own spin; heck, even swiping their own interpretations. However, another word forced itself into my consciousness. I can’t see how it is a word I can spend a year with, but on the other hand, I have spent my life with it.

No other word seems to be forthcoming, now that this word has settled: Weather.

  • Whether the weather be mild or whether the weather be not,
    Whether the weather be cold or whether the weather be hot,
    We’ll weather the weather whatever the weather,
    Whether we like it or not.
    Aleksandra Lachut
  • Sudden resolutions, like the sudden rise of mercury in a barometer, indicate little else than the variability of the weather. David Hare
  • A change in the weather is sufficient to recreate the world and ourselves. Marcel Proust
  • SunA friendship can weather most things and thrive in thin soil; but it needs a little mulch of letters and phone calls and small, silly presents every so often – just to save it from drying out completely.
    Pam Brown
  • Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky. Rabindranath Tagore
  • Walking through puddles is my favorite metaphor for life. Jessi Lane Adams
  • The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event.  You go to bed in one kind of a world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found?  J.B. Priestley
  • To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.  George Santayana
  • UmbrellaWeather is a great metaphor for life – sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad, and there’s nothing much you can do about it but carry an umbrella.  Terri Guillemets
  • Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it. Charles Dudley Warner
  • I get cold really quickly, but I don’t care. I like weather. I never understand why people move someplace so that they can avoid weather. Holly Hunter
  • I inherited that calm from my father, who was a farmer. You sow, you wait for good or bad weather, you harvest, but working is something you always need to do. Miguel Indurain
  • Storm cloudIf you send up a weather vane or put your thumb up in the air every time you want to do something different, to find out what people are going to think about it, you’re going to limit yourself. That’s a very strange way to live.  Jessye Norman
  • It is only in sorrow bad weather masters us; in joy we face the storm and defy it.  Amelia Barr
  • The true harvest of my life is intangible – a little star dust caught, a portion of the rainbow I have clutched. Henry David Thoreau
  • RainbowAnd when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow. G.K. Chesterton
  • Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.  John Ruskin
  • LightningNature is so powerful, so strong. Capturing its essence is not easy – your work becomes a dance with light and the weather. It takes you to a place within yourself.  Annie Leibovitz
  • I am a contradictory mess but I see it as my prerogative to change my mood like the weather.  Shirley Manson

How does this word become a theme for a year? Does it mean my photos, my quilting, will be more nature oriented? Or that simply I am to plod on, whenever I hit a bump in the road? Or is the word meant to be “Whether“?   Hmmmm…

In other news, resolutions:

Dad has the best of them, (stay out of the hospital, prepare for Christmas 2011) but mine are …

  • Focus on Friday—A photo a week, up on my photo blog, for conversation, critique and what-have-you.
  • Revisiting the 27-Thing Fling, the big de-cluttering attempt of 2010. I know some of you joined me. How did it go? Did you finish, stick with it?
  • Work on getting my photography out there! You can help—send people to my site, become a fan on facebook….
  • Finish some of those quilt projects I swore I would finish in 2010….

Yeah, that’s about it. Resolutions are tricky things, if you are not with them, you are against them….


I’m starting to have that fantasy again….

I’m starting to have the fantasy again. It’s a yearly thing, and probably should be filed under delusion, not fantasy, but I would hate to admit out loud that I’m delusional. (Get your mind out of the gutter, will you??! LOL)

It’s about the garden.

It’s a fantasy that will be dashed upon the rocks in oh, about 100 days, when summer settles in on a mid-May afternoon, and the temperature is about 103 and the humidity is hovering around there as well. The plants will be fading, I will be dripping, and the bubble of my dreams will pop in a shower of humid perspiration (sorry Grandma, but it’ll be WAY beyond ‘feeling the heat.’)

But today? Today, anything is possible!!! It’s 70 degrees, and I’ve been raking out the garden bed, examining my little plants, impressed that a few have managed to hang on despite the weather, the bad soil and my abject neglect since last summer when I gave it up for lost. Again.

Somewhat depressing that I have a harder time in Virginia than in New York City getting things to grow!

What more can be said? I wrote an essay, a LONG time back. It sums up my feelings almost exactly, so I will post it below.


The mailman has just departed. He brought me my Christmas bills, yes (thanks, Billy?) but at the bottom of the pile, I spy a gardening catalogue! The official harbinger of spring, long before Chuck looks for his shadow-possibly more exciting than the first catalog to promise delivery in time fro Christmas!

Right now, I live in an apartment. I have two sloping patches that are covered in blue stone-my garden. I tried to tell it so last year, but alas, it was like talking to a rock!

I have a tenacious foothold at the top of the slopes near the walls, but only because rainwater washes rocks away. (Of course, the significance WAS lost on me-plant and seeds get washed away as well)

But why is looking through this catalogue so gratifying? Eighty-three pages-no photos to distract me-just pages of illustrations and descriptions that can make me giddy. I don’t even care for squash, yet I feel compelled to read each of fourteen entries, to discover which would be  the most appropriate, to be aware of the idiosyncrasies of each genus.

I check off enough seeds to feed a small Island community, and decorate it as well, pages of everlastings, edibles, bouquets, fragrant blossoms to put my vegetable choices to shame!

I really hate to get dirt under my almost manicured nails, kneeling on rocky soil and wiping my face with the back of my hand, only to discover when I go into take a shower that I spoke to five neighbors with dirt under my eyes like a quarterback -one of them a cute guy no less!! But oh, the shower!

In my mind’s eye is my grandfather’s New Brighton yard. Looking out my bedroom window early on a weekend or after work on a weeknight, I can see Daddy Gus playing in his garden. The yard was a 1/3 acre, half of which was destined to be covered in ivy.

He was a big man, a suit and tie man. There he would be, on his knees, in a polo and old shoes. He got industrious and had decided to reclaim the yard for his garden. He had two long neat rows of strawberries, followed by two long neat rows of raspberries, and the rest-TOMATOES! (Is this a grandfather thing?)

Of course, by the time the house was sold, only the raspberries remained, victorious, with their long tangles branches spread out and everywhere. (Including across the street at the Nutt’s house, when Steve asked for some plants, and with Eithne, in her yard) There were so many raspberries that after a week, fresh on cereal and dessert, and pints of jam, we were only too glad to share them with the birds. Now, even the raspberries have been defeated; they gave way to a new patio and a dog walk. The owners do not know what they have lost.

Daffodils, and impatiens and tulips, roses and marigolds, geraniums ad infinitum, spread through the other three garden areas, in the front lawn and onto the flower boxes on the porch.

Grandma wanted nothing to do with this pastime-it was his and he was thoughtful enough to bring his muddy pants to the tailor.

His winter garden was his painting room-he stayed up nights painting flowers; the scent of those oil paints as old and as comforting to me as any. His garden was as mine is-the garden of dreams.

Each year I decide to admit defeat with my patch, and plant it with some wildflower used to growing from concrete. But then I see tulip leaves trying to find spring in my winter ‘yard’ and again I have the fever!

Quickly, to the catalogue! There is hope. However, flowers that thrived in concrete is not a category-those that decorate our roadsides, Queen Anne’s lace, day lilies, chicory, mallow, my personal favorite, violets. I haven’t the time, the money, or really the inclination to move all of those stones. So, I’ll work with and around them, and build a great big pile of full color gardening catalogs by the side of the couch to while away the blizzard we are sure to have in April.

Copyright, TRISH CASEY-GREEN. 1991

Well, the laugh is on me. Here in Virginia, we seem to measure snow by the amount of time it lasts on the ground. So far, it has snowed for 2 hours this year-longer by FAR than the last three years combined! Winter lasts for a short time. It WAS 13 degrees a few weeks back, but it doesn’t last. I saw forsythia blooming on branches back in November. My daffodils are pushing through the rock bed by the house, and the woodpecker has returned from wherever it is that he goes when he’s not here torturing me every morning, tapping on my bedroom walls.

And yet, my fantasy remains.


Originally uploaded by rteest42


well, yeah give this Yankee girl a good old fashioned blizzard any day of the week….

This is my little photoshopped image of the track as the tornado touched down on Monday, April 28, 2008. (click on image for enlarged view) I was in the M marked location, toward the back of the store, and the best description I could give would be it sounded as if some huge creature was being dragged across the roof, it’s claws digging into the roof. Not at all like any of the many bad thunder or wind sounds I’ve heard in the building.

We had no warning; considering no one was on break watching TV.

The first X on the lower left —that building had its roof cave in and debris (possibly an AC unit??) was tossed onto 95, along with some vehicles on 95 being involved…..

We were incredibly lucky. The A/C unit was ripped off its base and left a 4×8 hole in the roof. Other than that and some sign damage, minor cosmetic exterior damage, we were good. Then it went across the parking lot toward the water tower, damaging but not flipping a good 2 dozen or more cars, skipped just by the tower and hit across the street… there was much more damage there, cars flipped, roofs torn up, etc, and some injuries…then it went to the last X which is now a car dealership; it folded a few light poles and damaged cars there…then disappeared…

And all day yesterday I heard of how incredibly lucky we were…. how last time (15 years ago) before touching down and destroying the Walmart (the W on the map) how it leveled part of Historic olde towne Petersburg, and then leveled where M’s is currently, before getting to Wallyworld and killing 4 people….

This time, it seems as if Suffolk got the worst of the tornados…. but you know what?

I’m good. Really. More things to cross off my list of Experience before you die…

Been through a hurricane (isabelle), an earthquake, and now a tornado since I moved to VA—and Everyone is always carrying on about how I must be glad I moved from New York!!!

ETA— So, I got to work yesterday and everyone kept telling me how good I sounded on TV!!! –apparently my 911 call was played on channel 12 and 8 over and over…..Yikes…