Monthly Archives: April 2013

Signs of Life

Guess where I am right now?  Oh… just OUTSIDE!  Hey, this is a big deal, up until just the other day, we’ve been buried under snow here it seems like for freaking ever!  But not anymore, it’s an absolutely gorgeous morning and I’m writing this from the patio.  I’m really distracted at the moment though because  I can hear a Goldfinch singing somewhere close by and I’m trying to see where it is.  I’ve got my camera armed and ready in case it comes this way.  I adore Goldfinches, they’re so bright and cute, and sing such a sweet little melody.  I’m hearing a literal symphony of various bird songs right now actually, and it’s beautiful!  There’s one I can’t identify, so I’ll have to set out on a mission later to find out what kind of bird it is.  I’ve been an avid bird watcher for many years so it’s surprising and interesting to me that I come across one near my own backyard that I don’t recognize the song of.

I can also hear my kitty singing a sad lament just inside the back door.  She’s used to me having my morning coffee and writing in my room where she can be near me.  Poor thing sounds really distressed.  With no claws, she’s strictly an indoor cat, but I do have a little leash that I could put on her so she could come out here with me some mornings.  I’ll have to look into that for the future, it’s hard to concentrate with her in there crying.

Look at this cute picture I took of her the other day.  She looked so adorable laying there napping, I just had to take her picture.  But I accidentally woke her.  Oops.  😉


Imagine this sweet little creature crying by the door and you’d have a hard time concentrating too.  She’s sooo cute.  ♥


Okay, so now if I can get passed all of these distractions.

Wait, just one more, my coffee cup is empty…

Yesterday morning I came outside to have my coffee as well and it was so wonderful.  Of course, first I had to drag one of the big heavy wrought iron patio chairs out of storage from the garage so I’d have somewhere to sit, but after that I just sat out here and relished being outdoors after being cooped up inside for so many months.  I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m so very thankful for my five senses, every one of them is in complete overdrive right now and I’m loving it!

After I’d finished my coffee I set out on an adventure to investigate for signs of life around here.  I mean in the way of the green and growing things.  It’s really something how much a person can miss the color green.  My gardeners heart has been longing for it for quite some time now, and it’s such a relief to finally find some.

This may not look like much of a big deal to anyone else, but it is to me.  Look… GREEN GRASS!


Yes, I took a picture of it, and I’m sure I looked pretty silly crawling around on the ground doing so too.  😉  I know I may sound a bit overly excited (about grass, of all things), but maybe if we approached more of these simple things in life with more of a sense of wonder, we just might find ourselves being happier people.  I know it’s that way for me.


I also found a few other little ‘lifes’ poking out from the ground.

Such as these Lily of the Valley that my Grandma planted next to this house over 70 years ago…


These too, may not look like much right now, and they were so small it was hard to photograph them, but once they fill in, they’ll completely smother one half of the side of the house, and omygosh it’s so gorgeous!


Lily of the Valley have always been one of my favorite flowers, with their delicate little white bells and their amazing fragrance, but these particular ones are even more precious to me because my Grandma planted them.  I never knew her, she died when I was just a few months old, but a part of her still remains in these lovely flowers she planted all those years ago.  I’m sure she never imagined that her Granddaughter and even her Great Granddaughter (my Daughter) would be here in the future enjoying them.  ♥

Just goes to show… we never know all the ways in which our lives may touch future generations, do we?   We can only hope to leave something beautiful behind…

I never knew when I put in the flower bed here for my Mom on a Mother’s Day over 15 years ago that I would be back living here one day and enjoying it as my own right along with her.  As I sat here yesterday I was acutely aware of that fact.  It’s quite an amazing thing to be able to look back and see how certain things we did in the past can become a part of our future.  The “seeds” we sow and the things we “plant” as we go along our way in life truly are important in the grand scheme of it all.

Sounds like maybe some of the “Signs of Life” I discovered yesterday were more than just the green and growing things I found ay?  I like when that happens.  😀

One of the other green things I found coming back to life were the Sedum that I planted for my mom in that flower bed all those years ago.  They too were still so tiny that I had a hard time getting a decent picture, but I bet with the gorgeous weather this weekend they’ll be shooting up much more here really soon.



And I also found some random bulbs that I don’t remember what they are sprouting up, it’ll be a fun surprise to find out.



Well, with my coffee now drained, I find my laptop battery is too, so I guess that’s all for now.  It’s really amazing what nice weather can do to lift ones spirits and it’s so wonderful to see all these signs of life around me.

I’m excited to be able to start planting soon.


~Gardening is my therapy~

Wintry Spring Morning

I woke up this morning blinded by the light that was coming in through my windows.  My bedroom windows face east so as the sun comes up, its light shines in.  But this sunrise was different.  We had yet another winter storm here late yesterday.  It’s become funny to me now, it’s just so ridiculous to be having this much snow in April.  When the first one hit I was really disappointed because I’m so very anxious to get out in my garden, but now… several winter storms later…

“I throw my hands up in the air sometimes saying ayo, gotta let go.”  😉

And this morning… even with as badly as I want it to be spring, there was simply no denying how absolutely beautiful the snow was.  Especially against the pastel blue of the morning sky.  Ah so very pretty!   ♥   And the reason the light coming in was so blinding was because the branches of the tree outside my window were sparkling!  It had snowed, but we also had some freezing rain so the branches were a combination of snow and ice, and they were glistening in the sunlight!  It almost looked like special effects, it was really quite magical!

I wish I could have taken a photo of the beautiful sight of it all, but not only would my camera never have done it justice, but I also woke up this morning with an upset stomach and wasn’t feeling up for doing much, so I just laid there and enjoyed gazing at it until I felt well enough to get up.

Once I was feeling a little better, I did try and take a few photos, but the lighting was quite a bit different by then, so it’s not anywhere near the same as what I woke up to.  Still kinda pretty though…




I also took some pictures of the little birdies trying to get breakfast at my suet feeder.  You can tell this pair of sparrows were looking at it trying to figure it out…



I think the birds are a bit hard-up for food with all this snow because I even saw a male cardinal trying to eat from it, and they don’t typically feed at suet feeders.  I didn’t catch a picture of him though.

But a while later I did happen to get a picture of a woodpecker that stopped by.  He checked out my suet feeder, but quickly realized he was a bit too large for it.  He was very striking looking and this photo doesn’t do him justice, but I was lucky to catch a shot of him at all because he only stopped by for a few brief moments.



As I write this, much of the snow from the morning has already melted, and I heard the temps this weekend could reach the 70’s.  So maybe this will finally be the last we’ll see of winter.  Gosh, I sure the heck hope so!  But it was really lovely this morning…

EDIT:  I recently discovered that the bird in the above photo is not a woodpecker, but is actually a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.

Earth Day

I shared this video last year in Thoughts on Earth Day, and thought I would again.  We sure have a beautiful place to live, and share it with so many amazing and wonderful creatures. ♥

Lets do what we can to try and take better care of it…



Misadventures and Mixed Pleasures in Wallpaper Removal

The other day, without too much forethought or preparation I went in to test an area of the peeling wallpaper in the upstairs bathroom.  Although I had only intended on testing a small area, I ended up doing one whole entire wall (albeit a very small “whole entire wall,” but a whole wall just the same ;)).   Call me weird, but there’s just something about peeling and picking in general that tends to fascinate me, and once I got going I couldn’t seem to stop myself.

Because the top layer of the wallpaper was already peeling so badly, it came off without much effort (that was the fun part), but the backing… a whole other story.  And the worst part is… whoever installed the wallpaper  (37 years ago) did not prep/prime the wall underneath, so as I attempted to remove the backing of the wallpaper, some of the surface of the drywall peeled off right along with it.  This is bad.  Bad, bad, bad.

I am so disappointed about that because it means that I’m going to have to try and figure out how to repair the drywall, and I have no idea how to do that.  I mean, I can spackle nail holes and slight imperfections reasonably well in preparation for painting, but mudding drywall (which I believe this is going to require) = no clue.  Yeah, not feeling particularly confident there.  At all.

But I’m going to try not fret about that right now, because I’m actually rather enjoying this process.  It’s a bit hard on me, I have bad knees and standing for any length of time really takes its toll on me, so I have to pace myself and just do small amounts at a time, but while I was working, I had a really good mind-set.

Not only did it just feel good to peel stuff, but there was also something that felt very renewing about getting rid of that old, cracked, and decrepit top layer of wallpaper, scraping away the more than slightly resistant backing, and then just getting underneath it all to the foundation of the wall.

<insert life lessons type of metaphor here>

Also, while I worked, the birds were twittering away in the lilac bush outside the windows, and singing me a sweet symphony with their cheerful little chirping sounds.  It was lovely and made my heart feel light.  ♥

When I was able to peel myself away from my peeling, I went and grabbed my camera to see if I could catch a picture of them, and I found that the lilac bush has buds on it!  Yay, finally!



Yes.. there is hope ~ SPRING is coming!  🙂


And I did catch a shot of a little sparrow looking warily at me.  I think I interrupted its singing performance…



Okay, so back to the wallpaper…

Afterwards, I went online to read up a bit and watched numerous “how to” videos on wallpaper removal, and I’ve decided to go out today and get some chemical wallpaper removal stuff.  I really don’t like using chemicals.  I prefer using more natural methods of doing things, but I think it may help me get the rest of this done more effectively.  I’m just going to get a small amount and test it out to see how it works.  I also have the removal of the downstairs bathroom and the kitchen wallpaper looming ahead of me at some point in the future, and I really need to find the most efficient way to do this.

Here is the one photo that was taken of my wallpaper removal misadventures. My daughter came in and snapped this as I was nearing the finishing line removing what was remaining on my “whole entire wall” that I did.  😉



And look what was just below me underneath that window as I worked…  my little garden box.  Doesn’t look like much, still all covered in snow.  😦


But… the lilacs are budding and eventually the temps will be rising, so hopefully I’ll be digging around in you soon little garden.  ♥

Gotta take care of this wallpaper first, anyway…



Play Me

Every morning I wake up with a song playing inside my head.  It’s always really random, sometimes it will be something I’ve been listening to a lot recently, and other times it could be a song I haven’t heard in ages.  I’m not sure if the dream I’m having right before I wake up is behind it or what, but it’s really interesting every morning to hear what my brain wakes me up with.

This morning it was…

I absolutely love this song, but I haven’t listened to it in a while as makes me feel a bit melancholy.  It has some very happy feelings attached to it, but also makes me feel sad at the same time.  I’m not sure why I woke up with it playing in my head this morning, but it put in me in a bit of a “mood.”  That’s the thing about music, it has such a powerful influence on ones mood.  Music also seems to have the magical ability to bring you right back to a particular time or place in your life.  It’s amazing really, all the memories and the emotions attached to those memories can be so vivid.  Certain smells can do that to me too sometimes.


Anyway, I don’t know anyone else who wakes up every morning with music playing in their head, and it makes me curious as to why I do, but in the end I just chalk it up to one more thing about me that’s kinda weird.

I do love music though.  All sorts.  The only genres I don’t care for are rap and screamo, and I can only take country music in very small doses.  When listening to music, usually it’s the lyrics that affect me the most, but I love instrumental music equally as well, so lyrics aren’t the only determining factor.  Different music speaks to me at different times.  I would have an extremely difficult time trying to pick just one favorite style of music, band, or song, but I must say that the sound of an acoustic guitar is probably the sound that is most near and dear to my heart.  And now to get to the point of this post…

Many times while I’m listening to certain styles of music that have a strong acoustic guitar emphasis, I will hear this little quiet voice whispering to me that I need get back to playing my own guitar.

I got my guitar from an old boyfriend over 20 years ago, and immediately after receiving it I eagerly enrolled in classes and began learning how to play, it felt so unbelievably amazing to make music come from my fingertips!  I never really got that good at it, but I loved it.

Unfortunately, in the years since that time, my guitar has mostly sat untouched, collecting dust off in a corner somewhere.  Sometimes life dictates to us which things we have the time and energy for, and playing my guitar wasn’t one of them.  I always intended to get back to it, but never did.

Shortly after my divorce when my entire life began to become redefined, interestingly, wanting to play my guitar again was one of the things that I found was at the heart of me.  There’s something deep down inside of me that I can’t quite explain that feels so strongly about playing guitar.  And to write songs.  At a time when everything else in my life was up in the air, learning to play my guitar again seemed like such an insignificant thing care about or pursue.  Finding a job and figuring out a career path should be at the top of the priority list.  But with my sensing no direction to take in that regard, I just had to follow what other leadings that I did sense, even the small and seemingly insignificant ones.

So I began taking steps toward attending to my poor neglected guitar.  I got her all cleaned up and repaired her long since broken tuning peg, bought some new strings, and a new electronic tuning gadget.  But after all that, I found that I didn’t remember even one stinkin’ chord, so I went out and bought a lesson book that came with a DVD to try and refresh myself.

But sadly, when I finally sat down and got to it, I discovered that age had now somewhat limited my fingers/wrist’s flexibility and I couldn’t comfortably reach around the neck to push down hard enough on the strings to play the chords.  All that came out was a horrible buzzing sound.  I kept at it for several days, but finding it too difficult, frustrating, and painful, I gave up on it in a fit of tears.  Of course I knew that I had other emotions going on that were playing into it all and were making me feel even more exasperated, but I had lost heart and gave up.

But I can’t seem to escape the drawing, the deep longing and desire to play my guitar.  And every time I hear certain music or sometimes when I’m just thinking about my life, I feel so strongly like it’s something I’m supposed to be doing.  So I’m going to give it another go.

Amidst all of the remodeling projects and things to do in and around my mom’s house, job searching, gardening, writing, trying to mend my broken heart, and just trying to figure out my life, I’m going start playing my guitar again.  And I’m going to try really hard to not give up this time because it’s been made pretty clear to me time and time again when I listen to that quiet whisper deep down inside of me, that it’s something I’m supposed to do.

I think I might go out and buy her a new stand.


Or maybe a new case would be best.  Can you say… achoo!?  Sad.  And embarrassing, but I really hate dusting, what can I say?  😉


Okay girl, I’ll try and play you again.  ♥  And maybe we’ll make some beautiful music together.  Now lets get you dusted off…


Adventures in Gardening Part 8 ~ Let’s Plant!

As I sit and look out the window at the snow globe of a world happening outside today, I thought I would share what I was doing on this same day last year…  planting the first of my vegetable seeds in my new raised bed. 

And the lilacs were in full bloom.  *Sigh*



Ramblings From Jewels

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…


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!


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…

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Winter and the Spring Flower Show ✿

Boy I tell ya, winter just won’t let up.  It’s April already for crying out loud, hardly the time of year for the winter storm warning that’s in our forecast!  There is 8 – 12 inches of snow expected the last I heard…

A friend posted this on Facebook and I thought it was hilarious, if not a bit overly violent.  But seriously, we are really, really, really feeling done with winter here.


Poor little snowman.  😉

On the bright side… at least it will melt rather quickly, right?  I hope so anyway.


Also on the bright side, there is a lovely Spring Flower Show going on right now at the Como Park Conservatory.  I know I’ve mentioned it before, but the conservatory really is wonderful, and I’m so thankful to have a place like that to go to that is so nearby.

Here are a few of the photos I took while I was there.  For some reason a lot of them turned out looking a bit overexposed, but they’re still pretty.  And such a bright, colorful sight to see amidst this relentless winter weather…







Ah sooo lovely, and it smelled amazing!


If you’re in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, I highly recommend that you pay a visit to the 2013 Spring Flower Show at the Como Park Conservatory going on through April 28th, it’s the perfect antidote to get you through until spring finally arrives.

And will also help save the lives of countless innocent snowmen.  😉


Hang in there my fellow Minnesotans, it may not look like it outside right now, but as surely as the sun rises and sets ~ spring is coming…

I Have Chickadees

A few little feathered friends have finally found their way to the new suet feeder that I wrote about in “Sometimes You Just Have to Wing It” that I put up outside my bedroom window.

I’ve noticed a few sparrows pecking at it from to time, but it’s the cute little Chickadees that are coming to it that I’m really pleased about.  It’s been hard to catch a picture of them though because they are such busy little things, so quick and flitting about, plus they always seem to feed off of the opposite side of the feeder, but I have managed to catch a few photos.

Here’s one nibbling from my feeder.  See how he’s trying to be all sneaky-like over on the other side?


And here are a couple of shots I caught of one as it briefly paused on some nearby branches…



They’re so cute!  Thanks for sitting still long enough for me to take your picture, little guy.


I really do love little Chickadees, I just think they’re so adorable.  They make such sweet little cheerful sounds and I’m so glad to have them coming to my feeder so I can enjoy watching them from my window.

Here are a couple of videos of their adorableness that I found on YouTube for you to enjoy…

And this one is of their pretty little “sweetie” call.


Funny thing… as I was going through and watching/listening to those chickadee videos, both of my cats started anxiously looking out the window for birds.  Then one laid on the back of the couch behind me while the other sat on the arm of the couch next to me and watched the videos with me on my laptop.  Yeah, that’s how I spend my evenings ~ watching bird videos on YouTube with my cats.  😉

And speaking of my cats, I happened to snap this shot of my bright eyed cat Sugar the other day while she was sitting on the windowsill looking out intently at the birds.


Gosh she’s pretty!


She has also been having little stare down competitions through the window with my little squirrel who lives in my tree.  I’m very proud of him because he hasn’t been bothering my suet feeder at all, he just sits inside his hole and looks out curiously at me.


He’s so freaking cute!  I’m really becoming quite fond of him.  Please stay out of my garden this summer though, okay little squirrel?


Hopefully as time passes, more and more birds will come and eat from my feeder.  I do so enjoy watching them.  And so do my cats.  😉



My heart sways like a pendulum

endlessly swinging back and forth

conflicting emotions at either end





Time passes, things change

but also stay the same.


A battle constantly waging

thoughts continuously at war





Time passes, things change

but also stay the same.


So weary of this struggle

the pendulum’s unending swing

forever existing just outside of the threshold of relief





Time passes, things change

but also stay the same.


© Julie Rehnelt 2013

What’s Bloomin’?

Well, while things are still looking pretty barren outdoors here in Minnesota, my spring bulbs are blooming quite happily indoors in their little grow pot.

I absolutely adore this lovely combination of pastel colors.



And this pink Hyacinth not only looks beautiful, but smells really wonderful too.



These little Grape Hyacinth are just beginning to bloom.  I think they’re so cute and weird looking.  I was experimenting a bit and trying to do something different with the lighting in this photo.  I’m not so sure I like how it turned out, but I do like the little light bubble thingies that showed up in it.  🙂



The Tulips are just starting to bloom as well.  Their red color doesn’t seem to quite go with the rest of the pastel hues blooming in my grow pot, but they sure provide a pretty and bright contrast.



The Crocuses are pretty and bright too.  And purpley.  🙂



And I find the little mini daffodils to be so very sweet and cheery.



My little grow pot is constantly changing every day and I’ve really been enjoying watching all of the various plants in it grow and develop.  It’s helped appease my spring fever a bit, as well as aided in brightening my mood when I’ve been feeling low.  I do so love pretty little growing things.  ♥


What’s bloomin’ where you are?