I Love a Picnic

Look at that: just flipped over another month on the calendars. Goodbye April, you with your wild ride of weather. The merrie old month of May has arrived! And we welcome thee!

May usually means the first iris blooms, the first flush of roses, and pollen. Lots and lots of pollen. Ah choo! No disappointment on any of those counts around here. The rain this past week helped wash away the top layer, but everything still has a fine yellow dusting. Allegra-D anyone? 



I took this picture of the purple irises (names unknown) along the front walk (with the last of the flowers on the dogwood in the background), and both the Beverly Sills and the Rock Star iris are in bloom at the mailbox. The heirloom bronze iris (the ones I treasure because my cousin Betty Jean gave us the original rhizomes, years ago) have started to put on a show in the Way Back, and we had our first rose to bloom in the Rose Garden this morning: one of the white 'Susan Ellis-Williams' English shrub roses from David Austin...which, according to my Garden Journal, was the first to bloom last year, too.

May is also the month of picnics, in my mind. While we have enjoyed our share of lavish Mother's Day feasts, my fondest memories are of the picnics in the park: fried chicken, cole slaw, potato salad, rolls, deviled eggs (ok, so I'm the only family member left to like that last one...;-)...all served on a red-checked tablecloth. 

The very first 'second Sunday in May' that I spent as a mother included a picnic at Shelby Farms in Cordova, TN; and, if being a first-time Mom wasn't memorable enough, that was the very same day that Baby M...all of 7 months old at the time...took her very first steps! And she hasn't stopped moving yet...pah-dum-pum...;-)

So, I have this image of love and warmth and good vibes when I think of picnics...and I try to plan one at every opportunity. Like, when we were driving back to NC from (no longer 'Baby') M's house in Louisville. It was a clean-out-the-refrigerator-before-the-movers-come mentality that prompted me to make thick ham-and-cheese sandwiches on honey-wheat bread and to pack chilled, diced pear fruit cups. Wouldn't this be the ideal time to have a picnic? Stopped at a rest area, while the dogs rested in the shade of a nearby tree?

The dogs. The five dogs. Sometimes I can be so silly. 

Stopping at a rest area with five dogs was difficult in the best of circumstances. They all wanted to vault out of the vehicle at the same time...kind of like circus clowns from a VW..., and we learned the hard way that we had to leave them leashed together to keep them from making a mad dash when the door was opened. Of course, the tangle of tethers was worse than when some of my knitting projects get jumbled in their pouches. Good grief!

Once released, none wanted to TCB when they were supposed to. Way too many new and intriguing smells to be investigated. So each 15-minute break turned into a half-hour (minimum) halt.  And my idyllic idea of a refreshing and relaxing picnic along the way? Pish tosh! We were otherwise occupied in trying to cajole the canines to p-o-t-t-y. Found ourselves fortunate if we could eat & drive...making those delightful pear cups totally impractical, since you need a spoon to consume. Forget the tablecloth!

Ah well, we made it. Arrived alive, although it took 10.5 hours for the 8-hour drive. All are in residence at Casa 3917, and after an initial digestive woe or two, settling in for the duration. And how long might that be, several have asked?

Who knows? As then-candidate Clinton said: "it's the economy..." Missy M is working hard to get her house and property in perfect order to sell quickly, but there is only so much that is within her control. She cannot control the economy. She has to be in ATL to start her new job a week from Monday, so she made her lists and checked them twice. Interviewed candidates for realtors, moving companies, and service providers over the past week, while divvying up her possessions into To Move To GA, To Donate, To Keep To Stage This House (putting blue painters' tape Xs on the stuff that was staying off the truck — as you can see in the bottom picture below), To Send To NC, and To Toss. She's had the movers in yesterday and today (see photo below); carpet cleaners, painter, and Merry Maids are coming in early next week; and she will stage her house and make her decision about realtors, so they can plant a For Sale sign in her yard...and she can bury St. Joseph under the sign*...before she heads her Honda toward the highway.




Meanwhile, we will keep her fur-babies happy here. Just as a reminder, she provided a refuge to our three Bassets (as well as Nana) during our last move from MO to NC: from Thanksgiving to July 4th. We owe her big-time, and it's our pleasure to take this worry off her mind. That's what families do, right?

Since May is such a busy month here at home, we probably won't feel too tied down. We have a lengthy To Do List for our own property, including some catch-up gardening chores. Our first Grasshopper game is tonight, and we will enjoy the nice weather (for a welcome change), the fireworks, and our time together. Next, I am attending the NC State Master Gardeners Conference in Winston-Salem next week, serving as a Tour Guide on Monday, and will then be helping get ready for the annual Guilford County EMGV Passalong Plant Sale next weekend. 

I'm looking forward to my return to business-as-usual in the Land of the Sighted after my one-month follow up with my eye surgeon. He is pleased with his work, has taken me off all eye drops, and wants to see me in six months. I, while also being pleased with his work, still await seeing clearly. I am happy to report that the headaches have stopped (thank heaven), the floaters have either reabsorbed or been assimilated by my brain (either way, result is the same: I don't notice them much anymore), and my depth perception is slowly returning to normal (although you might not know that by watching me walk). My left pupil still appears to have "a sluggish response," to quote the Dr. (who continues to quote the four-to-SIX week recovery timeframe.) I should see (pun intended) some more improvement in the pupil (and consequently, in vision clarity) after stopping the steroid drops...and when my new lenses come in next week. 

I think I'll begin planning our Memorial Day picnic. Missy M will be here then (unless her house sells in the interim, and she has to hot-foot it back to KY...oh, wouldn't that be wonderful?!). To simplify it, we will probably picnic in our own back yard, with dogs as guests instead of ants. Still I think I'll pull out that red-checked tablecloth. 

Another fine memory in the making.

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*About "Burying St. Joseph": chuckle if you will, but many realtors swear by St. Joseph's ability to help sell your house. Read more about it here: 
http://saint-josephstatue.com/Where_to_bury_a_St_Joseph_statue.html

Did make me wonder, though, if the Realtor shares commission with St. J? Just sayin'...

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