Wednesday, July 3, 2013


Sweet days of summer
the jasmine's in bloom
July is dressed up
and playing her tune...

                   - Seals and Crofts

I am so glad June is over. June is my least favorite month. It's unrelentingly hot, dry and dusty. I don't like summer very much to begin with, but June makes me feel like it's going to be summer for the rest of my life. Then July comes and brings with it the "monsoon" season: the time when our weather becomes more unstable and there is a chance of thunderstorms almost every afternoon and evening. We're already having some and it has been wonderful. I sit in my family room, with windows facing north and east, toward the mountain, and watch the storms roll in. Sometimes they come over the mountain and the rain curtain begins sweeping toward us, filling the entire vista with light gray, the color of distant sheets of rain. Other times, it seems like a small, black cloud is sitting directly over our house while the sun shines all around. Those are rainbow-making storms.

We need a huge amount of rain in order to make a dent in our severe drought conditions but every little bit counts. Meanwhile, new plants are blooming, especially in the backyard. Roses of Sharon are about to burst into bloom. The seeds we planted in the spring have finally flowered, for the most part; I was beginning to worry, frankly. The sunflowers are taller than me, the flowers soon to open. The trumpet vine, which grows up the front of the house and across the vigas of the courtyard, is in full bloom now; the flowers are not beautiful, in my opinion. They're garishly colored, fleshy and prone to being eaten by bugs. But they are so prolific, I feel like I'm entering a tropical rainforest when I step out the front door.


We're at the halfway point of summer vacation. Six weeks behind us and six more weeks to go. Twelve weeks of "vacation". Monday morning was rough. I had errands to do, including items to return at Walmart. Even under the best conditions, a trip to Walmart is a trial. Add two cantankerous, willful little kids and it becomes an ordeal. It was not a good trip. Nobody's behavior was especially commendable, including my own. By afternoon, we had mostly redeemed ourselves. We listened to our book on CD (finishing it, actually; I picked up a new one at the library to start today) and the small Bears decided they wanted to build a "house" for themselves, using couch cushions, blankets, pillows and such. They sat inside with various stuffed toys and dolls and played with lacing cards. 

They were so peaceful that I decided to sit down with my stashbuster project, which is eating up yarn nicely. I haven't been crocheting during the day very much this summer, I've just felt restless with it. I wait until evening when I can put something mindless on TV and zone out, zipping up and down the rows making hdc stitch after hdc stitch after hdc stitch (I didn't even count my chains when I started this project, I just held it across my lap in the car - I was crocheting while the Bear drove on our vacation - and said, "Eh, looks like it's big enough").

I also turned on one of my favorite Pandora stations, "Singer-Songwriter Essentials." This station is so relaxing and I listen to it almost every day. They play the likes of Elton John, Simon and Garfunkel, Carole King, James Taylor and many others. Jim Croce! Nothing soothes a tired, aggravated family like the music of Jim Croce. The clouds built up while we listened/played/crocheted and we ended up with a nice half-hour rainstorm. Soon, I started working on dinner - spaghetti with basil pesto and a dollop of ricotta on each portion, to stir in - and the Bear came home and relieved me after dinner. I went to the library by myself after we'd tucked in the GB and he got the LB to bed without me. I picked up some books which I had placed on hold and enjoyed the quiet of the library. Then I came home and sat outside on the back patio with the Bear while another rain shower passed through. The breeze was cool and fresh and our flowering herbs scented the air. I relaxed.

In the morning, the GB spent a few hours at her grandparents' house and the LB and I stayed home, playing several rounds of Uno and hanging out. After awhile, it was clear that he missed his little sister, which warmed my heart. He was delighted to see her when she was delivered home, not least because she came bearing sugar cookies she had baked with Grandma.


Have you seen these? I'm very excited about the impending arrival of the Royal Baby (and I've been a Diana-phile from my earliest memories), but I had to laugh at this designer's website and her products.


  1. Happy July, Jennifer! Your garden looks blooming! I hope one day I can have a more established garden, it is such hard work! When my older two are separated, they always want each other, it is the nicest thing, isn't it?! And when they are together they start to bicker! I remember when I was in the states, I lost my husband in Walmart, it took so long to find him! It's so big compared to our supermarkets over here. I hope July is wonderful for you.:) x

  2. I'll be happy to take your trumpet vine off your hands! I've wanted one for years. They are such a classic farm vine. You have such a nice yard! How nice that the grandparents take the kids and bake cookies with them. Lucky you! We're having a big 4th of July party tomorrow!!
    . : .
    __________ '. : .'
    / /\__.__ '.:.' . HAPPY 4th of JULY!
    \_________ \/ . .':'. .
    .' : '.
    ' : '

  3. I'm with you with hot weather, but that's us Brits for you. Never satisfied. Moaning about the incessant rain and cold. Moaning about the heat. The weather can't win in the UK whatever it decides to do!

    I loved looking at your photographs of all your plants. You have some beauties. And we've all been there with cantankerous kids and grown ups, wrapped up with chores and trips and ticking off to do lists. I remember groccery shopping when Alfie was quite small. He had a huge tantrum, I forget why, and I spent the whole shop with him slung over my shoulder, thrashing and screaming. I got a few second looks that day!

    Enjoy your evenings sat in the cool air. I shall think of you as I do the same here.

    Leanne xx

  4. Beautifully written post again Jennifer - I did so enjoy reading it and looking through your lovely pics. I also wanted to say congratulations on your six-months-blogging! Time goes so quickly and blogging is such a lovely way to keep track of daily happenings, as well as sharing with like-minded folks. I love the interaction with blogging community and thank you so much for your input!
    Joy x

  5. I'd like to be sitting with you to watch the sky cloud over and see the sheets of rain fall. I'd like to be in a "rainbow-making storm". I'd love to be walking among the flowers in your garden! A blanket of humid, warm air is smothering our home and our plants are desperately thirsty. Even sitting down to craft is uncomfortable. You have a wonderful July and I'll be back often to live in your world:)
    Handmade Cuties

  6. Where do you live? I'm sorry to hear about the drought and I'm gald that you mentioned it - it's an important reminder for people like me who don't have to worry about that stuff in my area. I LOVE your photo - I can't believe that you blog has only been around for six-months? I so enjoy coming here. Wishing you a beautiful July :)

  7. Things haven't been much better here in Colorado where we're living as well and I'm praying for rain. It's so dry that they've cancelled our fireworks for the 4th July because of the fires. Those are some beautiful photos that you took. Thank you for sharing them with us. :)

  8. What a lovely, well-written story, made me soooo relaxed!
    I would love to sit thru a storm with you...I LOVE IT!!!
    Love that morning glory with the praying mantis on it...COOL!!!

    Enjoy the rest of your day...
    We have Vivian for the evening...shhhh! just got her to sleep!! ha!

    Linda :o)

  9. I agree with Linda - your blog is very relaxing to read. One of my favorite shows to watch is Barefoot Contessa. I could watch her cook all day... she is very calming. Your garden looks very lovely! And I also enjoy reading the magazine Sunset... I just received this issue a few days ago. Happy July 4th!!

  10. Jennifer, great post. I too find that summer is my least favorite out of the seasons, I love Autumn. Your pictures are just so lovely.~

  11. Lovely post and lovely photos too.
    M x

  12. Hi Jennifer,Happy rainy season!!!!I know exactly what it's like to have dry and dusty weather!!!Nice to have some time by yourself!!!

  13. you have a great blog ^ ^
    you want to follow each other?
    follow me and let me know with a comment
    and follow you too :))


  14. My sympathies on your Walmart experience. I hardly ever go to Walmart, but needed to last week to buy some plastic storage bins. When I got home I discovered the under the bed bins didn't fit under the bed, so gritted my teeth and went back to the store to return them. It was all I could do to make it through the ordeal, and that was without children along. :-)

    I'm glad you have so any things blooming, and I hope you get the rain you need to recover from the drought..

  15. What a lovely post- really enjoyed reading about your days. The flowers in the garden look great and the bee photo is cute. Hope the weather is good for you. Happy 4th of July:)

  16. Sounds like a long holiday 12 weeks, my sons on 3 weeks winter holidays now and we looking for things to do. Sounds like a nice way to spend an evening sitting outside in the warmth.

  17. Such a nice insight into the rhythms of your days. I can understand how you are sick of the hot weather. It's a novelty here when it's really hot but I can see how you'd quickly tire of the heat when it lasts for weeks and weeks. I hope you enjoyed your 4th of July celebrations. x


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