14 June 2021


After two days in a deck chair reading and dozing, aka the weekend, I went into full holiday mode and power washed the side patio. Now I am properly wrecked and it's not even midday. I still have another seven days, two of which will be spent preparing and recovering from a full gastro-/colonoscopy on Thursday. I know how to have fun.

the bird bath is hidden behind the poppy

Seriously, it's gorgeous outside. This is the time of year I love most, just before the real heat, when the wind is balmy with the aroma of the philadelphus and cheddar pinks blossoms, when robins and finches fight in the bird bath and warblers sing in the early mornings, when once again without fail, the first tomatoes taste like heaven and we sift carefully through the wild strawberry plants underneath the hazel bush. Tiny wild strawberries are the diamonds of fruit.

philadelphus taking over from the clematis


cheddar pinks

Anyway, just a few things that crowd my mind. 

On the importance of getting two vaccine shots (full article, click here):

A likely explanation for the high rate of Covid-19 among the recent vaccinees is an individual overestimation of the protective effect that occurs shortly after receiving the first dose. Weary from a year into the pandemic, the recently vaccinated ... may have exhibited a less defensive behavior towards becoming infected after the first dose, falsely assuming they are already protected. For example, they may have been less vigilant ... when socializing ... This may have led not only to an overall increased individual risk of symptomatic Covid-19 ..., but also to an increased risk of onward transmissions.

Making all members of the public aware that full protection will not be in effect until after the vaccination schedule of the administered Covid-19 vaccine has been completed is also essential to prevent public doubts about these vaccines' extremely high efficacy, to combat novel “variants of concern” and therefore to unveil their full potential in preventing deaths, and ending the pandemic.


Also, completely different subject:

To join in the company of women, to be adults, we grow through a period of proudly boasting of having survived our own mother's indifference, anger, overpowering love, the burden of her pain, her tendency to drink or teetotal, her warmth or coldness, praise or criticism, sexual confusion or embarrassing clarity. It isn't enough that she sweat, labored, bore her daughters howling or under total anesthesia or both. No. She must be responsible for our psychic weaknesses the rest of her life. It is alright to feel kinship with your father, to forgive. We all know that. But your mother is held to a standard so exacting that it has no principles. She simply must be to blame.
Louise Erdrich (The Painted Drum, 2005)


  1. Your garden is looking amazing. We have those same "cheddar pinks," though I didn't know they were called that. (I've just been calling them dianthus.)

  2. That quote from "The Painted Drum" reminds me of my daughter and myself. I'll have to find that book to read.

    Your garden is gorgeous.

    Hope the colonoscopy and gastroscopy go well, or as well as they can. I find it's the prep that kills me.

  3. Your garden is a thing of wonder and beauty.
    Good luck with the medical tests.
    Not sure what to think about the quote from Louise Erdrich. I mostly agree with her but then again, there are plenty of testimonials from people who give all credit for whatever strength and goodness they possess to their mothers as well.
    It is all quite complicated.

  4. The garden that you and R share is something like a mandala to me. Colorful, intricate, so alive with wild unpredictable details.

    I've just read a book of poems by our Washington State poet laureate, Rena Priest, who is a Lummi tribal member. Her collection of poems titled Patriarchy Blue is "dedicated to the subterranean homesick matriarchy."

    "... Here is a deer with a velvet hide
    who asks of me with his mind,
    “Indian poems? Why you no write?”
    Here is a sacred prayer at sunrise.
    Here are two eagles in flight.
    And here is my forgiveness ..."

    The quote from The Painted Drum stirs up plenty of emotion in me this morning. Coincidentally, I've just finished watching "A Thousand Acres" twice, the second time with commentary. One of the daughters says before dying that she has not forgiven the unforgivable. She is talking about her father. Coincidentally or not, the thousand acres that has been in her father's family for three generations is land stolen from the Dakota Sioux. Sherman Alexie looks at forgiving fathers in the film "Smoke Signals."

    After my mother died, I was became painfully aware of how my father had treated my mother because I became the target of the dark side he had hid from everyone else throughout his life. Everyone thought he was a saint. Now I see the pattern of intergeneration trauma in both my mother and my father. The generations of secrets and double lives going back to Europe for centuries, time out of mind. At the end of "A Thousand Acres," the middle sister who is dying says that she doesn't want the trauma to be passed on to her daughters, the next generation. That is a hope that doesn't die. It is easier to forgive my mother than to forgive my father, but neither comes easily. A work in progress. Maybe that's what my mandalas are. The evolution of forgiveness.

    Sending love.

  5. Your garden is beautiful, and your description of this time of summer is so lovely. I can almost hear the bird calls, smell the fragrance of the flowers, taste that first tomato.
    I hope all goes well with your colonoscopy. Take care there, Sabine.

  6. I know what you mean, your favorite time in the garden which is lovely. that time has passed now in mine and we jumped straight to high summer. and the daylilies are not blooming, well, a few varieties but not as profusely as they ordinarily do. I guess the Deep Freeze is responsible for that.

    my neighbor friends who had not rushed out to get vaccinated have finally done so, both shots. I quit pressing her about it when she said that asking when you are going to get the jab has become the new when are you going to have children question so I was happy to hear they finally did it.

    like Ms Moon, I too hear people who love their mothers, are/were very close to them. of course that was/is not my reality. I don't recall ever 'forgiving' my mother for her faults and traits. it was who she was. when I finally realized I would not get from her what I needed I quit expecting to ever get it. she loved men and boys, disliked women and girls. I detached from her. she was my parent, nothing more. my father was the kind of man who lectured instead of conversed. I detached from him too. then he had a stroke which changed his personality and he was easier to be around, he sort of became more real. he treated me badly for a number of years during my late teens and early 20s. I doubt I forgave him for those years but I did move on. I don't blame either of them for any of my 'psychic weaknesses'. my sister and I will compare stories now and then of growing up. They treated her pretty shabbily too, but the son, well, the sun rose and set on him.

  7. Strangely, I blame my mother for nothing. She sometimes failed me but I never doubted her intention toward me to be loving. I had a therapist once who tried to turn me against my mother while giving my father a pass for the same decisions they made jointly with regard to me. I left that therapist. She couldn't separate her story from mine.

  8. I just downloaded Louise Erdrich's Plague of Doves, and I'm enjoying it immensely. I had previously read "The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse: A Novel." I found it magical and memorable, but hard reading. I had a hard time keeping all the relationships clear in my mind. I bitched and moaned all the way through it. However, it has stayed with me in a way many other novels don't. I'm looking forward to reading The Painted Drum. As for the garden - so pretty. I always like to see red and purple together in a spring garden.

    1. It helps to google "louise erdrich characters family tree" and look at the images.

    2. And this: https://www.readerguidetolouiseerdrich.com/index.php/the-plague-of-doves/

  9. Gorgeous garden Sabine.

    As for the reading, I find it difficult to blame my mother for anything. Now, bearing the burden of her pain rings true but mostly because she was so wounded by my father’s abandonment that we felt the need to try to “fix” her pain. We all know how well trying to fix other people works.

  10. Nah, it's like escaping total immersion in a Baptist Church baptism. And I should know. It hung over me like a flock of wasps until I realised I had passed the age at which one had to accept whatever adults prescribed. My grandpa was a Baptist Minister. He had a club foot and the total immersions he masterminded drew crowds - all waiting for it to go pear-shaped as he slipslid on the white tiles. God intervened before he could practice on me and he was, as the saying goes, translated into glory. I still wonder whether - had it happened - it would have stuck.