happily covered with dirt

Normally I would look at a long holiday weekend as a chance to catch up with some work. But not this time. I did get some work done, but my goal was to take it easy and just do what I felt like doing and seeing how long I actually slept over three days—you know, go to bed when really tired, get up when my eyes open and my body says, “get up.” To find out how long I really need each night.

Eight hours. That’s how long I sleep naturally. Three nights in a row, eight hours each night almost to the minute. So now I know: that’s what I need in order to feel functional.

Today I spent a couple of hours getting things into pots and hellebores into the ground. I’ve had no luck with hellebores until this summer—I hope they survive the winter—that will be the true test of luck, to see them bloom in early spring.

Things are lush this year. The mimosa we planted a couple of years ago, maybe three years ago, that wasn’t much more than a tall stick has grown beautifully and is even blooming this year:

mimosa blooming july 6 2008 by lee fleming thompson
mimosa blooming, © 2008 lee fleming thompson (click to enlarge)

The garden in the middle of the yard is going crazy. We planted a clematis a couple of years ago and it is blooming this year—I wish I remembered which clematis it is, but it’s pretty growing around the rosa rugosa (beach rose). I would like to train it to go more toward the center of the trellis, but don’t have the kevlar gardening gloves I need to deal with the wicked thorns on the beach rose:

clematis and rosa rugosa june 6, 2008 by lee fleming thompson

We planted tomatoes, peppers, basil, and a cucumber vine before we left, and those, too, are doing pretty well (even though we didn’t get any tomatoes by July 4th, as promised by Burpee):

tomatoes, peppers, cucumber vine, basil

Ginger went out with me so she could play keep-away with her frisbee. She still hasn’t figured out that she gets to run more if she’ll just give the damn frisbee (or ball) back to us instead of making us either chase her or try to outsmart her to get it back to throw it again. She’s a goofus. The prednisone seems to have knocked the swelling out of her lymph nodes again and she’s been pretty perky for the most part ...

ginger with her frisbee, june 6 2008 by lee fleming thompson
ginger with her frisbee (click to enlarge)

... except for the fireworks, of course. She’s had three terrible evenings, and tonight wasn’t so hot either. Here she is looking very worried as she just heard a small firecracker go off in one of the neighbor’s yard—ready to bolt to the back door and beg to be let in the house if she heard another one:

ginger worried about firecrackers, july 6, 2008, lee fleming thompson
oh no! not those again! (click to enlarge)

I managed to get covered in dirt this afternoon, planting the hellebores I mentioned, and putting together some pots of rosemary and basil and marigolds. Stanley put in a new peony, a coral-colored one. I noticed an astilbe I planted a couple of years ago is finally growing, and some of the plants I put in the shade garden are starting to show signs of life. I’m trying to grow shade plants that like dry shade that are not hosta—though it looks like I may have to break down and put in some hosta as well. I’m not particularly fond of hosta, but I’d rather look at those (this is the view out my office window) than bittersweet-choked burning bushes. And I wish there was an easy way to get rid of bittersweet—I wonder if somebody could figure out a way to make biofuel out of that stuff; that would be one way to get rid of it.

I’ve been thinking too much lately. My sister asked if I were worried about developing frontotemporal dementia like my mother and her mother. I kind of brushed off the question, telling her that what I’m trying to do is get everything in order so that if I do get it, I won’t be a such burden on Stanley (and if I don’t get it, well, we’ll be in a good spot to enjoy retirement) but other than that, I’m not worrying about it.

And I’m not really worrying about it, but I’ve become almost obsessed with learning about it and paying a lot of attention to how the caregivers in the FTD Forum are doing and what’s happening with their FTD loved ones, and I am worrying a lot about Dad. My mother let her worry about getting FTD like her mother did ruin a great many years of her life, and it did her no good at all. I don’t want to miss living life now to worry about the future. I decided the best thing I could do was get as healthy as I can and do what I can to stave off developing dementia, if it ever happens. So I’ve been working on that.

But it is bothering me a lot, the grief, the long goodbye, I think, more than anything, and that, coupled with Ginger’s cancer and some health problems that people I love have, has pushed me into this place where I feel like I’m sort of underwater, and it’s interfering a lot with being able to get things done. I’m not immobile, but I’m not okay, either. I’m not sure what to do about it. I’ll talk to Stanley about it and see what he says. But right now, I’m going to bed, would like to get to sleep before it starts getting light out for a change. Especially since I can’t get my eight hours in tomorrow by sleeping until past noon—the holiday weekend is over, alas.

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