Monthly Archives: April 2012

Minnesota’s Got Talent

In updating my links page today, I decided that I wanted to share this in an actual blog post…

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I’m pretty sure that for the most part all mother’s are proud of their children and think that their kid is the absolute best, but mine really is!  😉

I am so inspired by my daughter.  She is exquisitely beautiful inside and out, and so very talented.  Even if I wasn’t her mom I would be a huge fan.  I can’t even begin to express how thankful I am to have her for my kid and how much I love her. ♥

We have always been very close and have been through a lot together.  I like to think I know her quite well, although I know there are some things she doesn’t share with me.  Despite my raving reviews here… she’s not perfect ~ none of us are, and every one of us would be embarrassed if everyone saw our flaws, but I truly think the world of her.  

In my own pursuit of creative expression, I am thrilled to see my daughter doing the same.  And in being her biggest fan, I’d like to share some of hers with you.  So if you’ll indulge me…

I’ll start with her music.

From the moment I found out I was pregnant, I began inundating her with music by playing instrumental and classical music to my tummy.  🙂  And from the day I brought her home from the hospital I would play it in her nursery whenever she went to bed or down for a nap.

Some of my most precious memories of her as a baby are of her waking up in the morning singing.  Not crying as most babies wake up, but singing.  Not anything intelligible of course, but as she got older she would wake up calling for me in sing song variations of “mommy” ~ omygosh so precious!  ♥

Growing up she was (and still is) terribly shy, so “outsiders” rarely heard her beautiful voice.  In 5th grade she somehow got the nerve to try out for a singing competition at school and won 2nd place!  Then the following year she won 1st place in that same competition.  In 8th grade she tried out for the Minnesota All-State Choir and got in!

But as the teen years go…  and maybe because of insecurities, she didn’t really put herself “out there” much through high school until her senior year when she wrote a song and performed it in front of the entire school ~ a terrifying and triumphant moment!

But singing wasn’t the only musical talent she developed over the years.  She began piano lessons in 2nd grade and almost immediately we noticed what an amazing ear she had.  She can listen to almost any piece of music and before long start plunking out the melody on the piano.  The winter before last, I bought her a violin for her birthday and even though she had never touched a stringed instrument or violin before, she was playing twinkle twinkle little star on it within minutes.  I don’t know… is that normal?

In saying all this… let me share her latest ~ and one of my favorites of her instrumental pieces.  It’s simple, and lovely, and makes me feel things as I listen to it…

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And this next one is of her singing an original piece that she wrote last spring.  We don’t have professional recording software so the sound quality isn’t top notch, and it may not be one of her best vocals, but beautiful just the same…

And I love the lyrics…

Here is a link to her YouTube channel.  She currently has several original pieces including a few covers of her singing other artist’s music.   :D   Check it out if you’d like.

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She hasn’t been doing a whole lot with her music recently though because lately she has been flexing her creative muscles in the ways of photography.  And doing it quite well I might add…

She not only has a good ear, but a good eye as well ~ literally.  This is a photo manipulation she did of her own eye, and “Eye” happen to think it’s pretty cool!

And here are a couple other of her most recent projects…

Here is a link to her deviantART gallery.  She has some very interesting and unique photos, as well as quite a few writings.  Yes, she’s a good writer too!

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Well thank you for letting me share (if not brag) a little about my daughter.  I am very proud of her talents and accomplishments in the way of artistic expression, and can’t wait to see where it all leads to next…

😀

Adventures in Gardening Part 11 ~ Darn Squirrels!

Don’t let this cuteness fool you ~ squirrels are pure evil!

Okay, I’ll admit… I may over exaggerating just a tad, and this is a really super cute photo of one (just look at its wittle questioning face ~ who me?  evil?  no, not little ol’ me, I’m innocent), but I’m not buying it.

I am not a fan of the squirrel.  I have nightmares about them, actually.  I know… squirrels?  Why would a person have nightmares about squirrels of all things?  Heck if I know… maybe I’m just mental.

When I was a little girl, my dad used to take me and my brother and sister to the park to feed the squirrels on Sunday afternoons.  It’s a very fond childhood memory of mine, so I have no idea where the nightmares stem from.

It’s a recurring nightmare where I am surrounded by dozens of creepy diabolical squirrels and I’m holding my dog; trying to protect him from them.  I’ve had several dogs over the years (all small breeds) and the dog I’m holding varies between them, as does the location where the event is happening, but it’s always the same …  scary freaky squirrels are trying to get my dog.  I seem to know this is a recurring thing because I always think to myself “Oh no, not again!”  Sounds dumb, but it’s seriously really terrifying.  Fortunately, they never succeed in their evil plot for world domination ~ er, I mean in their goal to get my dog, which must indicate something positive in the grand scheme in the dark reaches of my psyche.  I haven’t had the nightmare for quite a while, so that must be a good sign too.

But now I’m afraid these nightmares may take on a new dimension (in reality) because squirrels are digging in my garden!  When I went to check on the progress of my little seedlings the other day, I found several holes in various places throughout my garden, including finding one of my zucchini mounds ruined!  😦  Even though I didn’t catch the culprit in action, I know it’s a squirrel because last year when my brother was staying at my parent’s house, he had a squirrel that he was feeding on a regular basis while he sat out on their patio.  The dummy!

In all of my years of gardening I’ve never had a problem with squirrels before, so I’m kinda clueless as to what to do about it.  I went online this morning to find more information just in case this little wicked friend of my brother’s decides to make a regular habit of being a nuisance, but aside from chemicals and traps (neither of which appeal to me) it doesn’t sound like there is much you can do that will result in any great success.  Squirrels = pure evil…  like I said.

On a positive note…

I found that my lettuce seeds are sprouting!

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And my spinach were tall enough to be thinned so I now have 5 separate plants…

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I also found more peas sprouting ~ all 13 of them in fact!  Who says 13 is unlucky?  😉

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It may be silly, but I just find it really exciting to see all of these little greenies popping up! ♥   I’m still watching for my carrots and zucchini to come up ~ can’t wait!

And next week I can plant my cucumbers!

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“Mary Mary quite contrary how does your garden grow?”  Hopefully without an invasion of squirrels…

On The Street Where I Live

For the past couple of weeks, each time as I come and go from my apartment, I keep noticing how much I like the way this street lamp looks set against the blossoms of this tree, so this afternoon I decided to try and take a photo of it with my cell phone as I was leaving.

I know there is something to be said for the time of day, and lighting and such, as well as the quality of one’s camera when trying to capture a scene, but I can’t be bothered about all of that in my daily comings and goings ~ I just have to grab opportunities here and there as I go along.  So here’s how it turned out looking at around 1:00 this afternoon ~ and after I tweaked it a bit with some photo editing software…

I’m sure the little glowing ball smudge thingies are probably considered  a fault or mistake to do with the lighting or something, but I actually like the effect they add to the photo.  It’s all in the eye of the beholder right?

Heck, you might even be thinking “big deal… it’s a street lamp, and a tree… not exactly something to write about…” but I guess it’s the simple every day things that tend to float my boat.

You know the saying “take time to stop and smell the roses?”  Well, I take that to heart on a regular basis.  There is beauty all around us if we only pause long enough to notice it…

My Street 2

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Thoughts on Earth Day

I’ve realized a few things about myself over the years…

One of them being that I think I just very well may be a closet environmentalist.  I hate to use labels, but I don’t know how else to describe it.

Because today is Earth Day, I have spent the entire morning reading about Earth Day and watching nature related videos.  Funny thing is… I do this on somewhat of a regular basis ~ nature is something so inspiring to me, and it gives me a deep sense of awareness of things on so many different levels.

I’m not radical enough in my general personality to go out there and protest or hug trees or anything, but within my own self I do have a few strong feelings on matters of the environment…

I think people get sick of all the rhetoric.  On any subject actually.  And I think people have become cynical.  I also think that too often politics get in the way.

I questioned whether or not I should even engage in the subject of the day.  It’s a lot to sort through and people have so many differing opinions.  But if we could just lay aside opinions and politics, and practice some good old fashioned common sense… that would be so refreshing.

What it comes down to is this…

We are hurting the Earth.  And over time… it is possible to wreck it.  We have not been good stewards.  And we have to take steps (however small) and make changes in how we do things, or we will regret it.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this out (for all those who demand to see the scientific proof), and it’s not about which political party lines you fall within.  And before you are tempted to blow this off as something that doesn’t really affect you or really matter in the grand scheme of things for your life… you couldn’t be more wrong ~ this is about all of us, and this planet we call home.

Below is one of the videos I found while perusing the Internet this morning and is very nicely done.  The quote at the beginning teeters on some of that political rhetoric I mentioned, but still makes its point.  And I love Two Steps From Hell’s music!

I know… the end is somewhat anticlimactic with that Koala.  I mean… I like Koala’s just as much as the next person, but it’s not a particularly inspiring animal lol!

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This next one tells the basics about what Earth Day is, and the simple things we can do…

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I’d love to hear what your thoughts are about Earth Day…

Adventures in Gardening Part 10 ~ Signs of Life!

Soooo excited to find that some of my seeds are sprouting!

Look at my happy little broccoli’s!

They’re in a crowded little cluster here because they get planted in groups of 6 and then get thinned once they reach 2 inches high.

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My spinach is popping up too!

These are planted in groups of 3.

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Only found 1 of the 13 Peas I planted sprouting up so far, but it’s still early yet and I have no doubt they’ll all be popping up soon!

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After all of the excitement over seeing my newly planted seeds growing, my daughter and I went around my mom’s yard and snapped a few photos of the other various things we found growing too…

I don’t even remember how many years ago I planted these yellow tulips for my mom, but it’s so wonderful to find them still coming up every spring.

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Here is one of my most favorites ~Lily of the valley!  They are just starting to bloom…

My grandmother planted these along the side of the house when my mom was just a teenager, so these have been around for quite a while.  Last spring when my dad was in hospice at home, I would pick some of these every day and bring them in to him.  I can still picture him holding them up to his nose, closing his eyes, breathing in deeply, and enjoying their beautiful fragrance.  I miss you pops. ♥

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And of course I had to take yet even more photos of my mom’s Lilacs…

♥♥♥

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Later on, we took a drive over to my sis’s and found that the rhubarb growing in her yard was coming along nicely…

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And the strawberries are flowering as well…

We have plans to can some strawberry rhubarb jam as the strawberry growing season progresses.  It’s been a couple of years since I’ve canned so I’m pretty excited about it!

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I had this “grow” stone decorating my own garden for several years and passed it on to my mom for her garden when I moved.  I like to think of it as just giving the plants a little extra encouragement to GROW…

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How is your garden growing?

😀

Adventures in Gardening Part 9

Remember all that rain I mentioned in Rain Much?  that we had in the forecast?  Well, we ended up having tornadoes one day and SNOW the next!  Crazy huh?  Only in Minnesota…

It wasn’t raining or snowing or tornado-ing today, so I got out there and planted my zucchini, carrots, and lettuce!

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I planted 3 happy rows of carrots.  🙂

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And then made 5 little mounds for my zucchini.  With all the rain we’ve had it felt more like making mud pies with how wet the soil was. 😉

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I did end up deciding to plant my lettuce underneath the cucumber trellis and planted 8 of them.

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Once again I had the scent of my mom’s lilacs keeping me company while I was gardening.  Ohmygosh they just smell so unbelievably lovely!  I could smell them the instant I pulled into her driveway.  Have I mentioned how much I utterly adore them?!  ♥

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My mom’s cat was spying on me through the window the entire time.  Sorry Gus, I didn’t plant any catnip for ya.  😉

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I looked for signs of life from the broccoli, spinach, and peas I planted last week, but didn’t really expect to see any yet since they have anywhere from 5 -14 days listed on the seed packets for their “days to emerge.”  I can’t wait until the little green lifes start poking up through the dirt!

As I Awake

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I awake, remnants of a dream still lingering in my fuzzy mind.

Slowly my senses start to come alive.  I hear the splattering of gentle raindrops mingling with the song of birds drifting in through my open window.

I feel the softness of my sheets against my bare skin as I stir between them.

Even in these early stages of awakening somehow my cat senses it and begins meowing outside my bedroom door.

But my bed is warm and I am reluctant to leave its comfort to go open my door to allow her access.

Thoughts gradually increase as my mind becomes more awake.  I roll over and try to block them out.  Not yet wanting reality to invade this peaceful sleepiness.

I search for a fragment of that last dream I was having, but it has completely dissolved and retreated back into the depths of my subconscious.

The scent of wet earth mixed with spring blossoms fills my senses now, as the slightest wisp of a breeze blows lightly against my face.

For a brief moment I lay reveling in the joys of spring and the new life that it brings.

But reality is pressing in hard upon this early awakening bliss.  There is no escape from the dreadful thoughts of my circumstances that threaten to steal my peace.

Like a flood, all of my worries and hurts pour into my mind now.  I resist, but they are relentless in their pursuit of my undivided attention.

I am no longer aware of the gentle rain, the sweet bird songs have been silenced in my distress.  My bed is no longer comfortable, I toss about in discontent, becoming overwhelmed with emotion as each thought surfaces.

“God please help me” I whisper aloud.  I repeat it in my mind over and over.

So simple, so basic.  So… effective.  Little by little other thoughts begin trickling in, and with them… hope.  Relief.

I am aware once again of my cat meowing outside the door.  She is hungry and I realize… so am I.

I climb out of bed and open my door to grant her entrance.  She’s happy to see me.  As I go back to lay down, she follows me.

She makes herself comfortable upon my chest.   The softness of her fur, and the vibration of her purring deeply comforts me.

Together we lay, enjoying in each others affection.  With the sounds and smells of spring coming in through my open window.

We remain this way until my desire for coffee beckons me.  Unable to resist, I slide out from beneath the covers and slipping on a robe

start the day…

© Julie Rehnelt 2012

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Hmm… I seem to be in a sort of “poetry” type of writing mood.  If that’s what this even is?  Strange.  Just gotta go with these things when they come upon you though I guess…

Time to Let Go

Time to let go…

Cherished memories are tainted with revealed deceits

Our love was only an illusion

The broken pieces of my heart have turned to dust

They blow away in the breeze

I release them with a gasp

And sigh

Now they are free

Time to let go…

© Julie Rehnelt 2012

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Rain Much?

Sounds like the weather forecast will be raining on my gardening parade for the next several days.  It’s supposed to be raining for the next 4 days straight here with maybe 1 clear day and then 3 more days of rain.  At least my newly planted little broccoli, spinach, and pea seeds will be getting a good bath.  Hope they don’t drown!

Yesterday it was so beautiful out!  After I planted my peas, I did a little bit of other yard work at my mom’s too.  I cleared away some leaves around her hostas that are starting to poke up through the ground, and spread some fresh mulch around the perennial garden that I put in for her for Mother’s Day several years ago.

In knowing about all this rain in the forecast, I also had thoughts of mowing the grass, it’s reeeeally long, but it’s mostly my daughter’s job and I was busy doing other things.  Well, she wasn’t able to get to it and now I’m afraid that by the time it dries out enough to mow it’ll be so long that it will be like a jungle and we’ll have to whack through it with machetes.  😉

Oh well, rain is a part of spring and it brings life to the growing things.  Over the past couple of weeks I’ve noticed all sorts of beautiful growing things.  From the lilacs I mentioned in Gardening Adventures Part 8

To the gorgeous apple blossoms on my mom’s tree…

To the cheerful bright yellow dandelions growing in the cracks and crevasses of my sis’s patio.

(Dandelions get such a bad rap. 😦  Just for the record…  I happen to like them!)

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Anyway, with all this rain in the forecast I guess I’ll have to find some indoor activities to occupy myself with in the meantime.

Maybe I’ll finally go and see The Hunger Games.  🙂

Adventures in Gardening Part 8 ~ Let’s Plant!

Well, with the box all finished and now a trellis built all that is left to do is… PLANT!!!

But first a bit of planning was required and l should not be overly eager lest in my haste, I may find myself disappointed at the results.  So I spent a good hour or more sitting on the bench next to my garden drawing plans, reading seed packets, and contemplating the arrangement and combination of all the things I will be planting…

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It was beautiful sunny day and while I sat there soaking up the vitamin D, the lovely fragrance of my mom’s lilacs kept me company.  I L♥VE lilacs so much!

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After I came up with a general idea of where I wanted to place each plant that I would be growing, I decided the first thing I wanted to do with the actual bed was to break it down into sections to help me visualize things better.  I laid down some of that leftover lath to make a sort of grid. Each of the sections are roughly 2 x 2.  I don’t know if this is a normal thing to do or not, but I guess it’s how my brain operates best.  😉

Once I finish the majority of the planting I’ll pull these up…

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I always consider May 10th or so our last average frost date so I knew that according to the calender it would be time/safe to plant broccoli, spinach and peas this week.  So now it was finally time to plant something!  YAY!

You might not be able to tell by this photo, but look at how small these broccoli seeds are…

I’ve never really had much luck growing broccoli in the past, but I love eating it so much and wanted to give it another try.

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Next it was onto planting some spinach.  Yeah, Popsicle stick type stakes with the plant name written in black marker ~ not real fancy, but I’ll just be pulling these up once the plants start growing and toss them anyway, so I thought it best not to go to any great expense.  Believe me there are some pretty snazzy looking plant markers out there ~ aesthetically pleasing, yes, but in my budget this year, no…

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Gave my new little plantings a good mist of water, now the rest is up to them…

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I’ve been reading a lot about companion planting.  It’s all about growing certain things together that benefit each of them.  Spinach likes to grow near the cabbage family so I made the broccoli and spinach neighbors.  🙂

There are also certain “allies” plants have too, so I will be trying to leave open areas throughout the bed for planting some herbs and annuals that promote the health of the main vegetables that I’m growing.

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I am growing my peas in a separate pot outside of my main garden box.  I never remember reading before that peas need to be soaked for 12-24 hours prior to planting, but that is what the packet said, so I couldn’t plant my peas today.  😦  I did however get the pot ready and plan to pop them bad boys in tomorrow…

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