A Little Moment of Joy & Beauty

Swallowtail enjoying the tithonia

Some weeks I really, really need to look at flowers and butterflies and even the deer. Good grief, what is WRONG with some people????? There is so much happening with the renovation, which is very good news. But I’m sitting here listening to the new floor being installed upstairs. There is crashing and banging that happens after long interludes of quiet or fairly ‘gentle’ installation sounds. I don’t know what he is doing up there to make the house shake, but each time it happens I cringe. He’s working right over my head at the moment. You may remember the HVAC team was working in that room and stepped through the dining room ceiling. I hope my ceiling and my nerves survive today.

They have no fear. I walked out on my front porch and all they did was look at me. I am standing perhaps 10 yards from them at most, and they kept munching away. Nothing too precious growing there at this time.

This May Be The Right Path

I started trying to build a path along my deck last year. I wanted something that was “green” in the sense of allowing water to flow through, but stop weeds from coming up. My first attempt with burlap as the foundation was a failure. The next iteration was a bit better, but not really great. I used screen material and stepping stones. It did slow the weeds tremendously, but there were still weeds and it wasn’t all that comfortable for walking. I kept adding more and more stepping stones. No photos of all those interations because they just didn’t thrill me.

Tithonia (Mexican Sunflower) and a cosmos

I saw mats made of recycled plastic on Gardener’s Supply. They are semi-permeable and very tidy. They also cost much more than the screening and stepping stones. I bought a set to give them a try. Around the same time a friend of mine told me he’d used old roofing shingles as a path. It so happens I HAVE old roofing shingles from when they blew off during Hurricane Ida last year.

canna lily, butterfly weed, Bolton’s aster, cosmos

I made a patchwork path of stepping stones, rubber mats and roofing shingles. I decided to see which worked better for me. I made the mistake of asking my husband which he preferred. *grin* I was leaning towards the roofing shingles approach because that was much cheaper than the rubber mats, I liked the look, and they were flat. The stepping stones were the cheapest but they are not that comfortable for walking, leaves and other debris get trapped and I wasn’t loving the look. My husband preferred the rubber mats. Of course. Champagne & caviar taste for that one. 🙂 If you look carefully at the photos you can see that I did still use some of the roofing shingles in the narrow area by the lilac bush.

Bolton’s aster (False starwort)

I waited for the mats to go on sale and for me to have some disposable income. That all came together recently and I rebuilt the path. There are still some stepping stones nearby, and 3 slate panels but the majority of it is now recycled rubber. It really is much more comfortable for walking and there won’t be weeds. I used landscaping fabric staples to anchor the pads as well. The catalog/website show the mats as going down sooooo easily and smoothly. My path area is at a slant, full of roots and uneven in its width. I’m also a bit slow at unpacking things so the mats were curled for quite awhile. 🙂 Curling edges not only are tripping hazards but ruin the smooth look.

Great Lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica) new for me this year – it seems to be thriving despite the drought

I am still not happy with the path as it moves past the lilac bush. There are a LOT of large roots, with not much space between the roots. I have the slate panels there. I really love the slate panels – I have 2 others elsewhere. They’re not really meant for the way I’m using them – on uneven ground. So some of the slates have broken and some have become detached from the backing. I love how they look so I’m trying to figure out a way to level that area a bit without harming the roots. At the moment that area is probably the least safe part of the walk. Even if I put rubber mats there they will be uneven because of the roots.

In any case I’m done with the path for this year. Water gets through, weeds are blocked, no tripping on most of it, and I’ve lost interest. *grin* Now I need to take a look at the rest of the back area and see what needs attention there.

My Inner 6-Yr Old

“Resentment is like drinking poison and hoping it will kill someone else.”

Pink rose mallow

I’ve spent a lot of time in therapy in my life. I know it only harms me dwelling on hurts and grievances. I know that I need to recognize it, understand it, and move on. But very often my inner 6-year old takes over and refuses to let things go. Tonight is one of those nights.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail enjoying the zinnias

At my second professional corporate position, we had to do evaluations. This particular company had forms that were filled out by your peers, your clients, and your management. It was a way to get a more complete picture of how you worked and related to others. I was young. I was often emotional, defensive, wanting to be the best, never err, and win piles of praise. My father had talked to me about corporate life and appropriate behavior. I tried to live up to my daddy’s teachings. So you can imagine my absolute delight and astonishment when I got the results of my appraisal. “Takes criticism and feedback well.” Wow. Did I have them fooled. *grin* Because whenever I DID receive any “constructive criticism” while my demeanor stayed pleasant and professional inside my head I was screaming and raging. 🙂

Noticed this above my head one day as I put the top down on the convertible 🙂

I’m not all that much different all these years (decades) later. I attempt to be professional, gracious, considerate, calm. I don’t always manage the calm but I think I’m decent at the others. That means that I really really REALLY do NOT enjoy nor forget when I’m treated in ways that I feel are NOT professional nor courteous.

Black swallowtail enjoying the zinnias

In the last 2+ years I have transitioned some of the systems I support to a different team. Our first experience got off on the wrong foot, in my opinion. I know why, and I’m not sure that at their age and relative (compared to me) experience that I would not have done the same. From my perspective they decided that since the work was moving from my system to theirs, since the primary client said the current system stunk and they shouldn’t even look at it, they never approached me to discuss the migration. After they’d built a system and were ready for data is when they approached me. They talked down to me, they dismissed what I said, they “knew better” and it went on like that through the whole process. It wasn’t very pleasant for me but I did what needed to be done on my part because that constituted being professional and doing what was best for my client and employer.

white rose mallow

Unfortunately I needed to deal with the same team yet again the following year. I’d inherited a system I did NOT want to support, and we were moving it to their system. I was delighted and told them that repeatedly. This situation could not in any way be construed as me feeling deprived or resentful for “losing” a system. I couldn’t wait to be rid of it. 🙂 I was named the business owner for the migration effort as I had experience with the process, the clients and the business objective. Yet again I was treated with contempt and rudeness. Lest you think in this case I’m being overly sensitive, my manager set in on one call and was appalled at how I was treated. Daddy would have been proud of me. I stayed calm, stayed on topic, refused to be bullied.

zinnias and rudbeckia hortensia laciniata

Ultimately it came time to cutover from the old system (which we all loathed) to the new one. Unfortunately I did not feel that the new system could do all that the clients needed. It lacked key functionality. The new team wanted to release anyway. We had to present to management why I thought we could not release and they thought we could. Management sided with me. We stayed in development and we put out a great new system because that team really does do excellent work in an excellent tool.

swallowtail enjoying the mandevilla. incipient goldenrod in the foreground

Well here we are, months later. They are working on a project and lo and behold – they want to brainstorm with me. They need information about the process and tool I support. Being a professional of course I will…..

caged tithonia (Mexican sunflower). but at least it’s not part of the deer buffet

My inner 6-year old has begun screaming in my head. The heck I’m going to help!!!! So all of a sudden I’m NOT an idiot????? Because I’m the only one who knows this information and you NEED me? Because it’s been such a JOY to work with you in the past? You think I’m going to sit there and calmly teach you everything you’ve scorned for the last 2 years? You’ve made a dozen decisions on this already and “oh I forgot to tell you” and suddenly I’m part of the process??????

grape tomatoes and herbs and flowers in the rain

You see what I’m up against? I cannot get the 6-yr old to let it go. She’s giving me a headache. She’s enraged. She’s vindictive. She’s gloating. And yet we both know she’s NOT going to get her way. So she’s mad at me, too. Sigh. She and I go through this periodically – this bit where she is determined that THIS time we WILL do it HER way. (Yes, she talks in caps a lot – she’s very emotional.) Maybe giving her air time here will help. Although I’m not sure I let her vent enough up there. *grin*

orange gardenia

Okay, Daddy, I’m taking a big breath. I’m going to make you proud. If it kills me.

echinacea and rose mallow