Retaining Wall Dream Come True

Four years ago my sisters and I went to my Mom's house for Mother's Day and planted a "Tea Garden" in one of her overgrown garden boxes. Here is a video we made that day as we got started.

Mothers' Day Garden from everyAugust on Vimeo.
It was a pretty big project that the Little Sister suggested and on the way home the Middle Sister suggested we go out once a month to help my Mom garden. She lives about an hour from us. That ritual started and we all called it DSA. Daughter Supported Agriculture. We would usually arrive about 7am and stay until 10 or 11. There were a few times when the Little Sister made us all breakfast while we worked (she was over gardening) or the time the Middle Sister and I stayed all day and talked my Mom into buying adirondack chairs and considering a fire pit in the yard.

My Mom had a number of "plans" for her yard and each time we went out she would have a new thing for us to do. Sometimes she surprised us by having the whole backyard cleared out, Or the time she tried to cut down the lemon and pomegranate trees. But at the end of the day there were always weeds and more to do.

I finally got to the point where I felt like we were going in circles. If she didn't move forward with some of her bigger garden plans we were just spinning our wheels. But we were spending time with my Mom, so I tried to just go with it. When people are ready, then they do things.

The Middle Sister and I headed out for DSA a few weeks ago and knew something was up as soon as we got there. The front yard had been cleared and something was going on. Below is a compilation of the videos we sent to the Little Sister throughout the day.

Daughter Supported Agriculture (DSA) September 2015 from everyAugust on Vimeo.

A RETAINING WALL! Can you believe it? Probably not as big a deal as it was to me, but I have been talking about this for years. My Mom had a specific idea of what she wanted and she got it.

A few explanations from the video:
  • My Mom loves "butterfly bush" and really wanted it and sage on the hill. That is what is planted there.
  • You can see the pomegranate tree in the background of a few of the shots. When we were kids we sold pomegranates to the neighbors and have recently started making pomegranate jelly with my Mom every year for Christmas. Some time in the last seven years she had the pomegranate tree cut down. To the ground, to be removed, but it came back and had branches everywhere. She is now working with an arborist to bring it back but the drought we have been having in California is not helping. The pomegranates from that tree were the best I have ever tasted. Cross your fingers it makes a full recovery.
  • There is also a grapefruit tree in the video and that tree can just go. As kids we had fresh squeezed grapefruit juice most mornings from this tree. The grapefruits were yellow and bitter. To this day I hate grapefruit juice.
  • The garden boxes (with the sweet potatoes) are newer garden boxes. My Mom had the old ones removed and we helped her make these ones gopher safe.
  • The "black widow" farm is a reference to us gardening one day and coming across a lot of black widows. We joked that my Mom was creating a Black Widow sanctuary.

We did actually garden this day and the ending shot shows some of the iris and other plants we transplanted in front of the first wall. The project isn't finished yet but it was a pleasant surprise and it makes it (hopefully) much easier to garden now because we are no longer fighting a losing battle with all the weeds.

Now I wonder if a fire pit really will be back there....


So busy!

Hi all! Last week was crazy. For me and a lot of people I talked to. On Tuesday I swore the next day had to be Friday. Ever have those weeks? Yep, me too.

I have a blog post I can't wait to share that is an update of my Mom's garden. The Middle Sister and I sent short videos to the Little Sister while we were there and I am working on putting those videos together for an update.

I am also training for a half marathon and DREAD running on Tuesday nights per the Nike+ coach program I am following. So much that I might add that as part of my running blog posts. It gets me down each Tuesday night.....

AND I just started a 200 hour Yoga Certification Program. My weekends and Monday nights are booked. Not to mention all the reading and homework. It is a 10 week program and I know I will make it, but treading water is kind of what I feel like I am doing right now.

Almost a little too much on my plate. I guess that is life sometimes...

I am trying to get back into "Grad School" mode so I can make the most of every moment when it comes to studying and fitting everything in. Samson (photo above) knew what was up as soon as I busted out the wine and popcorn, my stress / get it done foods.

I feel so busy, but I think I am just out of practice. I am hoping that this week (another busy one) get me back into the swing of things and I start swimming instead of just treading water.

Wish me luck!


Photos from Hawaii

California - Hawaii
Four nights
Hawaii - California

This last trip to Hawaii was a whirlwind. T and I returned for another change of command ceremony for his brother and could only squeeze four nights for this trip. We had one "free day" while his brother and family packed to move to Italy (yes we will be visiting them!) but we had a great trip. Here are a few photos from our adventure:

Our flight in. We flew Hawaiian Airlines and I was pretty happy with them. One of the few airlines with free food (breakfast on the flight) and a complimentary cocktail before we landed!

Next we ended up with this rental car as an upgrade when they didn't have the car we booked! Reserving through Costco got the second driver to be free...
We were picking up T's Aunt Rochelle and her flight was delayed so we got a plate lunch at Joe's Grill Express by the airport. You know it's good when the locals are lining up out the door!

Then we made it to our beach cottage on the military base that we shared with some childhood neighbors of T's. I know, right? Amazing. And our home for four nights. Last trip we stayed with his brother to help out but this trip the Aunt stayed with them as they tried to do everything for the change of command ceremony and pack! I think it was a gift to us because it was great to stay with the old neighbors (I met them once ten years ago) and wake up to the ocean every morning.
We still got to hangout with the family and meet Elliot the newest addition,
Photo by Kanan

And watch T and his niece have a blast.
Photo by Rochelle

There were a lot of events we attended for the change of command ceremony, and we had a good time.

Photo by Rochelle

Our trip home included an extra package as we are cat sitting once again while the family moves. Amelie will be hanging out with us for a bit....

I am not sure when we will return to Hawaii as we have always gone to visit T's family and now they have all moved away again. T used to live there and talks of returning one day. If we could have a cottage like the one we stayed in for those last four nights I might consider it! Until next time Hawaii, whenever that may be.... aloha....


Pearl Harbor Remembrance Tour

The Pearl Harbor Remembrance Tour was part of the VR-51 Change of Command festivities this time around and we were up early and on our way after a quick run for me. I was glad I looked this event up before we packed as there was a bit of a dress code for civilians and military personnel.

Please note the following:

1) Check in is at 8:30am at the COMPACFLT Boathouse.

2) Active duty military: uniform E-7 and above is Summer Whites

3) Civilian guests: Please ensure you are wearing appropriate attire. From the attached information flyer: "High heels, flip-flops of any kind, sandals without a back strap, short skirts, extremely inappropriate short shorts, cut offs, drug or alcohol related tops, and tank tops are NOT allowed. Sandals with back straps are accepted but not recommended. Comfortable closed-toe shoes are recommended."

We met everyone at the COMPACFLT Boathouse, down the road from the Arizona Memorial. We were told to be there by 8:30am and showed up at 8:15am. The event didn't start until 9am so we wandered a bit and I admired the knot board that someone had made. T and I were sharing a beach cottage on the military base with some neighbors from his childhood, Cathy and Bob. While we waited Cathy and I asked for a bit of line (rope) and mastered the Spanish Bowline after getting a lesson from the navy boatman and YouTube.

The Rememberence Tour started with a movie about Pearl Harbor and then moved into a small museum room with original photos. From there we boarded a small boat and toured Pearl Harbor (not this boat, but a boat next to it....).

Right about this time I was very glad I had read about the dress code. This event was a memorial of sorts and a history lesson. I like history and seeing all of Pearl Harbor up close was very moving. We toured battle ship row and stopped by the ex-battleship Utah that had capsized when hit by two torpedoes. The navy tour guide told us there were 64 soldiers and a baby girl buried on board. It turns out one of the soldiers had the ashes of his baby girl with him to scatter at sea when the boat was attacked and capsized. The tour guide said they now say, on the Utah is a baby girl guarded by 64 men.

You can see the part of the Utah in the photo below.

We continued up battleship row and each dock had the name of the boat that was docked there during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Eight battleships were attacked and four of them sunk. All but the Arizona were raised and returned to service during the war. The Arizona was attacked and sunk during Pearl Harbor having the greatest number of casulities at 1177 lives lost. It was decided to not raise the Arizona and instead a memorial was created to honor those who lost there lives during Pearl Harbor. The USS Arizona Memorial was our last stop on the Remembrance Tour.

Bob (T's old neighbor) was a marine who had served in Vietnam. He brought a flag to fly at the Arizona Memorial and T's brother helped him raise the colors.

I spent some time wandering the Arizona memorial and saying my silent thanks to all the service men and women who have served our country. I don't always agree with what the govenment does with them, but I am greatful to have the freedom and safety the military provides. The lives lost in the world's military chess game weigh heavily on me at times and this place brought those feelings to the top of my heart. It truelly was a Remembrance Tour and I felt honored to attend.