Can You Find Balance in a Flip-Flop?

Wow, you all have been really patient this week.

We've tackled heavy subjects: abuse against women in the military, bias against female politicians and Brian's attempts to meditate his way to balance.

Clearly, we need a fun Friday.

And since it's almost summer, I thought flip-flops would be a good place to start.

Yes, I have found balance in a new pair of pink rubber sandals. They are called The Stash because they come with a secret pocket to hide your money and keys. Perfect for the beach and yoga. Maybe not for the office (but I may just try it). And the secret panel has a jagged hard plastic edge you could use as a weapon to fend off the guy in the next cubicle who gets too friendly on Fridays. Very Agent 99. Each pair comes with a B4BC (Boarding for Breast Cancer) self-exam instruction reminder, so I can feel healthy and empowered as well as chic. The only snag is the outrageous cost (much more than I'm paid for writing this column). But we're worth it. ... hee hee (I just had to give the trolls some fresh meat).

My daughter found balance in a Land's End towel. It cleverly folds up into a tote for her lunch and supplies for day camp. She doesn't have to stress over where her stuff is every day.

One of my friends found balance in a Mia Bossi diaper bag (on sale!) that looks like a sleek professional purse you'd find on Carrie Bradshaw's arm. Now she feels like a rising executive and a good mom at the same time.

What about you? What ridiculous or totally serious innovations bring you balance this summer? And although my examples cost money (and tend towards the lighter side of life) many balance-bringers cost nothing or close to it. A book that made you see life differently? A simplification of your routine? An unexpected insight? Spread the word.

Reminder: If you see Sex & The City: The Movie this weekend, Send me your review so I can include it in Monday's Top 10 Reactions To SATC.

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  May 30, 2008; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Free-for-All
Previous: The So-Called Ambition Gap | Next: Sex & The City Reviews

Add On Balance to Your Site
Keep up with the latest installments of On Balance with an easy-to-use widget. It's simple to add to your Web site, and it will update every time there's a new entry to On Balance.
Get This Widget >>


Please email us to report offensive comments.

Well, someone has to say it...first!

Umbrella drinks help me find balance, sometimes. Like last night when my youngest stupidly snuck up behind his friend who was swinging a baseball bat and took it to the eye.

There is no balance to found at midnight in an ER waiting to see the CT scans. He's fine. Nothing broken. Hopefully he's learned that physics wins, always, and that we tell them NOT to do this sort of thing for good reasons!

Happy Friday.


Posted by: Maryland Mother | May 30, 2008 7:09 AM

13. I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to the "person in charge", I will be facing a person of my gender.

Again, depends on the situation. Most of the school principals are female.

AB--Actually when the pay gets significantly larger (high school), there are more male principals. But in elementary schools, yes, there are a fair number of women who are the principal. Ditto for teachers. Not as many men teach in elementary schools. I suspect it has to do with money, but I don't know.

Anyone here in the know on that one?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2008 7:16 AM

After scrambling this spring to get our house in order, get the yard in order, plant a vegetable garden, nurse a sick husband, nurse a sick self, I'm finding solace if not balance in enjoying the sun on my back porch in the glorious pre-mosquito weather, with my new $1.99 pair of flip-flops and Fudgsicles. Lots and lots of Fudgsicles.

Posted by: PQ | May 30, 2008 7:19 AM

I doubt anything can top a Fudgsicle for balance in summer.

That and the smell of fresh cut grass.

Posted by: Leslie | May 30, 2008 7:31 AM

An absolute must for my "balance" is making time for a call to an old friend. I make this a "must" once a week. I try to treat it like exercise or sleep. It is hard to carve out 1/2 hour one evening a week but I feel great afterward.

After years of neglect due to family and work I am trying to cultivate and refresh old friendships. How nice to hear "it's been ages" and the final " was so good to hear from you". Good for my sanity, my heart and for my future when the kids are gone and I can actually travel to see these friends again or have them come to see us. Don't put it off and even if has been years it is worth reaching out a hand (or a phone call or an email) to people who were part of an earlier life.

Posted by: samclare | May 30, 2008 7:34 AM

Traditionally, I post my songs at noon but if I hear a public demand...

(To you nay sayers, it will be posted!)

Posted by: Songster | May 30, 2008 7:35 AM

I've always hated flip flops and any sandal with material that wedges between my big and second toes. A form of torture, for sure! For 40+ years I've been out of step with the rest of the world come summer time.

A friend recently convinced me to buy a pair of Reef sandals. My feet (and toes) feel great! Flipping and flopping around in my Reefs really brings me happiness ... go figure!

Posted by: Elaine | May 30, 2008 7:39 AM

The Stash is a Reef and I have to agree. Very thick soles, too.

Posted by: Leslie | May 30, 2008 7:41 AM

Go for it Songster!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2008 7:43 AM

Songster - bring it on.

I find no balance with my plants this year. The squirrels have torn up the ones on my deck and the deer eat the ones on the ground. Agree with the umbrella drinks - then I can pretend I still have something pretty to look at.

Posted by: KLKB SS MD | May 30, 2008 7:50 AM

The backstory here is that Leslie asked for a silly love song last week. Nothing was coming to me--that and the fact that I do have a real job--no stepping over Cheeto's on the floor of my parents' basement for me. Yesterday, Leslie mentions flip flops would be today's subject and it came to me.

I thank one of my female friends for help with this song. I know as much about women's shoes as a turtle does about bicycles.

Posted by: Songster | May 30, 2008 7:55 AM

To the tune of Paul McCartney's Silly Love Songs

You'd think that people would have had enough of silly top-ics.
But I look around me and Leslie says it isn't so.
Some days, Leslie wants to have a silly top-ic.
And what's wrong with that?
I'd like to know, cause there she goes again
She loves shoes, OB loves shoes,
You love shoes, I love shoes,
I can't explain all the shades that I need, say can't you see?
Ah, greens, blacks and pinks, yes more for me
Now can't you see,
What's wrong with that
I need to know, cause here I go again
OB loves shoes, We need shoes

Blahnik don't come in all sizes,
Some styles not in my size at all
I only know that when I'm in them
It isn't silly, no, it isn't silly, shoes aren't silly at all.

How can I tell you about my love for Manolo Blahnik
(I love shoes)
How can I tell you about my love for Manolo Blahnik
(You love shoes)
[repeat and fade]

Posted by: Songster | May 30, 2008 7:57 AM

I find no balance with my plants this year. The squirrels have torn up the ones on my deck and the deer eat the ones on the ground. Agree with the umbrella drinks - then I can pretend I still have something pretty to look at.

Posted by: KLKB SS MD | May 30, 2008 7:50 AM

How many umbrella drinks will it take? 2? 3? Apiece or do we split them? I can pretend right along with you!

By the way, I've discovered that deer will stay away if you use a few squirts of bobcat urine. I kid you not. Predator Pee is the web site.


Posted by: Maryland Mother | May 30, 2008 8:02 AM

I don't want to turn this into On Gardening but I would like to say that I tried a repellent (some kind of animal urine) which resulted in the deer lying down and eating the shrubbery - breakfast in bed for them. You do have to reapply every time it rains and once a week. And it smells horrible.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 30, 2008 8:11 AM

Thank you, Songster. I love it. And wouldn't you know, yesterday I heard the original on the radio as I was driving to get the kids.

First question for On Gardening posters -- please explain why this is an enjoyable pasttime. My mom and sis love it and I just don't get it. Don't you find gardening stressful? I am always afraid the stuff is going to die. And the one year I get it all the way I like -- well, that's stressful too because I know I'll never be able to repeat my success.

My big job today is that I have to change the frogs' water. It is so gross I will need a clothespin for my nose. One frog died earlier this week and the other frogs ATE HIM. Glad our six-year-old missed that episode.

Posted by: Leslie | May 30, 2008 8:23 AM

Thanks, Songster -- an excellent accompaniment to today's topic!

The only "stuff" I've found that I hope will help with balance is a new backpack for my girl's summer camp -- it has cool stuff like a plastic pocket for her wet bathing suits, exterior mesh pockets, and straps for a rolled-up towel at the bottom. It's also super lightweight so it will dry quickly, big enough for lunch and change of clothes, and has a fuscia and neon green flowery pattern that my girl adores. It will really help with daily camp management.

Otherwise, my current efforts toward balance are more along the lines of getting rid of stuff. A few weeks ago, we sent nine big bags of stuff to Goodwill. Sat. my neighborhood is having a garage sale to benefit the local community association, so we're sending over a bunch of other stuff that wouldn't fit in the car for the Goodwill trip (stuff like the baby swing). My (small) closet is no longer stuffed to the gills with stuff that doesn't fit, the 3rd-floor bedroom is now usable again, and eventually I might even be able to walk into the storage room!

The thing that would most help with balance right now is a babysitter. We had one who was great, and then she pretty much dropped off the face of the planet, so now we have to start over again. In the meantime, I'm seeing Ironman, Indy, SATC all out -- for the past year, we've had a steady sitter and no movies I was remotely interested in; now that there's a bunch of stuff I'm dying to see, I have no sitter. Dammit!

Posted by: Laura | May 30, 2008 8:26 AM

One frog died earlier this week and the other frogs ATE HIM. Glad our six-year-old missed that episode.

Posted by: Leslie | May 30, 2008 8:23 AM

Welcome to Animal Planet.

Chickens do the same thing, amongst other birds you wouldn't suspect.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2008 8:26 AM

Mice eat their young - I had one as a kid and hated her after I saw her eat a baby.

I don't like gardening for gardening's sake but I do like the look of some color on the deck and in the yard. Every year I try and every year I am defeated - even by plants the landscaper says are deer resistant - resistant being the operative word here.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 30, 2008 8:29 AM

Thanks Leslie, I actually finished the song last night. It must be FATE!

Thanks to you to Laura, keep those compliments coming!

The other song I though about was "These flips are made for walking, they'll flop all over you!"

(yet another friend suggested that one to me!)

Maybe I will think about that one a bit later.

Posted by: Songster | May 30, 2008 8:35 AM

love the flip line, songster.

and i hate all those frogs now. used to love them. darn cannibals.

Posted by: Leslie | May 30, 2008 8:37 AM

I have found balance in the fact that I am going to resign from my job in about 6 weeks. I'm going to start taking classes for my Master's and hang out with my kids and rid the house of clutter. And do a little part-time gig that I really like.

No one but family knows yet, so SHHHHH. :)

Posted by: WorkingMomX | May 30, 2008 8:41 AM

there is no better time to quit work than early summer. go for it. can't wait to hear how it all unfolds...we need every detail.

Posted by: Leslie | May 30, 2008 8:44 AM

"First question for On Gardening posters -- please explain why this is an enjoyable pasttime. My mom and sis love it and I just don't get it. Don't you find gardening stressful? I am always afraid the stuff is going to die. And the one year I get it all the way I like -- well, that's stressful too because I know I'll never be able to repeat my success.

My big job today is that I have to change the frogs' water. It is so gross I will need a clothespin for my nose. One frog died earlier this week and the other frogs ATE HIM. Glad our six-year-old missed that episode."

Leslie: best advice I can give on summer balance is to get rid of the dang frogs! My daughter got tadpoles for her 4th birthday, and we dealt with that vomit-inducing tank for 3 years before they both keeled over. Life is SO much better!

I am not the gardening guru, but might I suggest that perhaps you're being just a little to perfectionist/type A about it?? Maybe?? :-) Personally, I HATE the chore part of gardening. But I LOVE the berries -- when I think of summer, I think of strawberry pie, blackberry jam, blackberry/peach pie, etc. etc. etc. So basically, I go with easy-to-tend stuff that I love to eat -- blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries. Tomatoes? Nope -- tried last year for my husband, but they needed too much regular watering and staking, and just got the wilt anyway, so this year I planted a miniature one in a container on the deck and called it good.

It also helps if you expect failure. None of the four blueberry bushes we planted took. I could spend hours trying to figure out the problems -- soil? water? sunlight? -- or I could just let the blackberries take over that area. Guess which I chose? :-) Last year I didn't get a single strawberry, which really bummed me out, but that was offset by the bumper crop of blackberries (really, you pretty much can't kill a blackberry). Next year, we might even put up a low fence, so more berries go to us instead of the ever-larger bunny family we're apparently supporting.

Plus it helps if you really don't care much about what it looks like. For me, it's about the end result, not about having pretty flowers or perfectly-tended rows. So other than 15 minutes of weeding a week, my efforts tend to be more of the "how can I keep the blackberries from overrunning the strawberries?" variety.

Finally, child labor is an excellent way to minimize the hassle factor.

In short, to plagiarize moxiemom, to "enjoy" gardening, you just have to set the bar really low. :-)

Posted by: Laura | May 30, 2008 8:47 AM

MM, how did you get the bobcat to pea in the bottle?

Posted by: deer bitten | May 30, 2008 8:47 AM

deer bitten - you made me spew my water all over the keyboard!

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 30, 2008 8:50 AM

Do you mean snow peas, English peas or chick peas?

Posted by: to Deer Bitten | May 30, 2008 8:53 AM

This week I am finding balance in a 3 day week (holiday on Monday and regular every other Friday off - I even love y'all when I am at home). Love love Reef flip flops - no others will do for me. And nothing says summer to me like ice cream...

As for gardening, I think if you are naturally wired type A and a beginning gardener the perfectionist tendencies of your personality will outweigh the pleasures of getting something to grow. As in you zone in on your mistakes rather than relishing your successes. Not like I speak from experience or anything ;-)

As if I were approaching AB length post ;-) agree with samclare - phone calls with my lawyer friend in Miami and stay home dad friend in Portland really ground me.

Happy Friday and pass the umbrella drinks ...

Posted by: Product of a Working Mother | May 30, 2008 8:57 AM

Songster: great Friday morning opener!!! Thanks!!

I spent MONTHS making butter and salt free scrambled eggs every other day for a hamster so she wouldn't eat her babies (BTW, the pet store GUARANTEED that the two adults were both male when we bought them...when we reached critical mass with hamster babies, I brought the whole lot back to the store and personally handed the box to the store manager, and walked out.)

Anyone know how to get rid of voles? They are as bad as deer on my hostas, but way sneakier. I have tried: predator pee, a two inch layer of small, sharp stones around each plant, and getting a cat (who brings in two a day but still can't keep up).

Okay: balance. Two things--every Sunday morning I get up before the rest of the house, sit on the screened in porch and read the paper. Second: a pedicure. I don't know if it's the pampering, the leg/foot massage, or reading trashy magazines in the massaging chair, but when it's done I am a new person. My husband has even suggested going for one when I'm in a cranky mood. Can't talk him into doing it for me, though...

Posted by: wdc | May 30, 2008 8:58 AM

to deer bitten:
Whirled peas?

to wds:
I am with you on the pedicure. What is it about the trash mags that we are so attracted to?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 30, 2008 9:02 AM

I'm with Laura -- taking bags to Goodwill brings balance to my life! For instant summer relaxation though, I go for putting on my Teva's. Love Songster's latest!!
Given up on gardening -- gardens grow weeds much faster than flowers or vegetables and then they serve as nothing but a giant reproach, reminding me of my laziness in failing to tend them properly.

Posted by: anne | May 30, 2008 9:02 AM

For the record, the Songster owns 5 pair of shoes and 1 pair of flip flops. But outside of work, he really likes to go barefooted!

"These flips are made for flopping" is half way finished. Standby!

Posted by: Songster | May 30, 2008 9:08 AM

Klb, sometimes manners work - pretty, pretty, peas...

with whipped cream, nuts and a cherry on top!
pretty peas.

Posted by: deer bitten | May 30, 2008 9:16 AM

Laura - This is going to be my new mantra, for gardening, frog raising, marriage, parenthood, promotions, financial security, car maintenance and all interactions with other human beings:

"It also helps if you expect failure."

Love it, girl!

Posted by: Leslie | May 30, 2008 9:18 AM

Right now, any toy that occupies my one year old for more than 5 minutes provides heaven sent balance (or is that sanity?)!

(Warning: gardening tip) Place bars of deodorant soap around your plants (take the wrapping off first) to keep deer away.

Posted by: Ishgebibble | May 30, 2008 9:20 AM

I'm with Laura on gardening and low expectations! I only started gardening about 7 years ago (after spending my whole life hating the idea of taking care of a yard). My new (old) townhouse had a tiny front and back yard, both completely overrun by ivy and honeysuckle and other assorted weeds. I literally dug up every single one by hand (don't know what possessed me), and started plunking things into the clean slate that was left. Since I fully expected everything I planted to die, I wasn't disappointed when some did, but was over the moon when others survived. I now find gardening to be a big balance-bringing for me. AS someone whose mind is usually racing with a dozen things, I find that when I'm digging or planting or weeding, my mind is amazingly clear and relaxed.

In terms of floral success, I always stick to perennials. Annuals make me mad: why buy and plant a thing that'll just get tossed at the end of the season?

As Matt Groening (Simpsons creator) once said "If you keep your expectations tiny, you'll go through life without being so whiny." I'm trying to keep this in mind as I try veggie gardening for the first time seriously this year!

Posted by: PQ | May 30, 2008 9:23 AM

(trying to build anticipation and suspense here)

OK, "These Flips are made for Flopping" is written. Tune in at noon for it!

(yes Leslie, small, unmarked bills as usual. You know the address. Gotta' keep the posting count up!)

Posted by: Songster | May 30, 2008 9:32 AM

@ PQ

I LOVE the Groening quote. I will keep that in mind as I begin the process of moving in with my boyfriend. I also find that a pair of Teva flipflops put the heaven in heavenly for summertime, but I am intrigued by the Reefs. A friend has some, and I've never needed an excuse to buy shoes!

Posted by: canary28 | May 30, 2008 9:35 AM

Reefs rock but nothing beats barefoot.

Songster, when is the blessed event? Are you going to make us wait 'til noon?

Posted by: Leslie | May 30, 2008 9:43 AM

Now that I am down to a balcony I don't have much in the way of gardening tips.

This is the first summer (third in the condo) that I have planted anything on the balcony. I planted two different tomato plants and a long container of dahlias and marigolds. The StepS doesn't show much interest but the rest of us are interested. StepD is helping me water the plants and the honey reminds me to water the plants. Here is hoping that we get some tomatoes this summer.

Posted by: Billie_R | May 30, 2008 9:46 AM

Yes, Leslie, noon. You gotta' have some rules!

To 9:42,

Friday has always been fun day around here. How could I write silly shoe songs without it?

If you are that disappointed go back, read and comment on the very serious discussions that have been here this week.

Posted by: Songster | May 30, 2008 9:48 AM

Laura -- one more dead frog to report. the two remaining frogs now have clean water. hoping this will all be over in another week or so. cats are so much better!

Posted by: Leslie | May 30, 2008 9:53 AM

Never got into gardening. My mom loved it until her back was too bad to do it anymore. For me, I love taking a hot bath and reading women's magazines or non-fiction books. I cannot understand for the life of me why people like pedicures. I can't stand anyone touching my toes! I once did a full body massage that was so relaxing until she got to my feet and started pulling on my toes. I was gripping the table and grimacing just hoping it would be over soon. It was nothing but pure torture! I do love a great neck and scalp massage. It keeps things in balance for me-literally!

Posted by: FloridaChick | May 30, 2008 9:55 AM

Balance in life: my vegetable garden. Except when that groundhog gets in and eats the new baby cucumbers. Then I get unbalanced quickly. I'm gonna pluck every single hair from his furry little rear end one by one!

Balance in the office: the brand new USB Webcam Rocket Launcher! ( Rain destruction upon those who interrupt my productivity - or who interrupt my reading this and other blogs!

Balance in life - the Leatherman Surge. Fix any problem, anywhere anytime.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | May 30, 2008 9:58 AM

9:42 I hear that there is a open, half eaten bag of Cheetos in your parents' basement. Why don't you go look for it?

Posted by: I love that Cheesy Taste | May 30, 2008 9:58 AM

I've taken a long break from this blog, but it's a fun topic with which to return. I've been struggling this year with ill relatives in other states requiring travel, and lots of stress. The job is busy, the kids are really busy. But, school's out and it is summer time. My balance comes from exercise and it is just so much easier to get some in the summer. Cool mornings and earlier daylight make it easy to run. I love to bike and we've started swimming again (DH had a back issue in the middle of the family health emergencies and swimming is a good answer for him). So, I'm going for a mini-triathalon at the end of June. Balance, for me, comes from accomplishing something tangible when so many days it seems I don't make a dent in the "to-do" list.

My only gardening tip is to plant things that are indigenous and require little maintenance. We live in the high desert so low water, sun tolerant plants are the answer. I've found some pretty flowers that bloom all summer with only minimal watering. That makes it much less stressful.

Posted by: Stacey | May 30, 2008 10:02 AM

WOOHOOO!! After almost 2 years, I found something I have in common with Leslie! I don't get the gardening thing either, LOL. On the other hand, it brings peace to many a good friend, so bring on the On Gardening chatter.

WorkingMomX, congrats on the major, fun life change! In what are you getting your Masters?

"Most of the school principals are female." According to the National Center for Education Statistics, as of 2000, women represented 44% of public school principalships. This statistic is noteworthy because approximately 78% of public school teachers are women, e.g., the pool of principal candidates is female-heavy, but more than half of the principals remain male.

Posted by: MN | May 30, 2008 10:28 AM

Balance for me this Spring:

3. Rabbit fence around my veggies (jalepenos, tomatoes and brussels sprouts of all things!)

2. Lands End Beach backpacks for both kids (on overstocks no less!) mesh pockets, drain at the bottom, waterproof pockets, outside pockets and come with a frisbee and water bottle, whee!

1. *Great* High School Student (with license) to "sit" with my school-age child 3 days a week. They will go to the pool, and library and other activities while I work. They are both looking forward to it, and so am I!

Posted by: HM | May 30, 2008 10:29 AM

MN and Babysy1 -- Thanks for the stats on men/women in nursing and teaching. Very helpful...

Posted by: Leslie | May 30, 2008 10:34 AM

What helps me on balance? sense of humour. If I haven't chuckled in a few hours, I've either been asleep or I need to rebalance. Even if it is laughing at myself, a sense of humour keeps me slogging through the tough stuff. Laughing at myself was something I had to learn, but learn it I did.

Posted by: dotted | May 30, 2008 10:42 AM

My balance: taking 4 hours off from work yesterday to watch a day game which the Padres WON! Then spending the rest of the day in the hospital with a friend before her second cancer surgery. Why is this balance? It was a mitzvah (even from a Catholic), an act of kindness. Since I get paid to be kind and compassionate (even when I have to fake it) as a nurse, it is a double pleasure to be able to do it gratis.

Posted by: babsy1 | May 30, 2008 10:49 AM

Nongardeners, I don't have that gene either. The only posies in my vicinity are the ones I buy every week - that's as close to bobcat urine as I plan to get.

Posted by: babsy1 | May 30, 2008 10:51 AM


Apparently, you did see a rare thing as the Padres are .382 Ouch! Always glad to see a Ca. team win (except the Giants). But it is sweet that my Cubs are in first! (well, it is not June yet!)

After reading some comments today, I may have to re-institute the FQOTD.

Posted by: Fred | May 30, 2008 11:30 AM

Oh, and of course, I NEVER want to see the USC Trojans win at anything! Not even that job opening for Third Assistant Stable Hand.

Posted by: Fred | May 30, 2008 11:37 AM

Oh Fred, I'm used to disappointment from men, hence my obsession with baseball. The Padres are as predictable as the San Diego weather: every day you can expect sun, 72 degrees, bright blue sky, lovely breeze, and the Padres being the worst in the NL. Congratulations on the Cubs - but I suspect you're in for disappointment as well...

Posted by: babsy1 | May 30, 2008 11:39 AM

Oh Fred, I'm used to disappointment from men, hence my obsession with baseball. The Padres are as predictable as the San Diego weather: Sunny, 72 degrees, bright blue sky, lovely breeze, and the Padres are worst in the NL. Congratulations on the Cubs - but I suspect you're in for disappointment as well...

Posted by: babsy1 | May 30, 2008 11:39 AM

oops, too impatient, so I double-posted. Guess I need more balance time.

Posted by: babsy1 | May 30, 2008 11:41 AM


Yea just waiting for the June Swoon! But since the Los Angeles Dodgers are my second favorite team followed by the Anaheim Angels, I stand a decent chance of seeing one of my teams in the playoffs!

Have faith, I have been to Angels games back when they were 50 and 112!

Posted by: Fred | May 30, 2008 11:46 AM

LA????What is wrong with you? I do like the Angels though, and their ballpark rocks! As to stretches, I remember watching the Os when they were 0-for-April, and went to many, many, many Padres games when the attendance didn't break 10K. Hey, more room for me to stretch out!

Posted by: babsy1 | May 30, 2008 11:51 AM

Lived in LA county for quite a while. Dad use to take us to see the Dodgers a few times each season. And we always had Vin Scully (and Gary Owens) on the radio!

Posted by: Fred | May 30, 2008 11:57 AM

Here it is noon and here is the song to the tune of "These Boots are Made for Walking"

You keep saying that new shoes are something for me.
Something you call style, but confess.
You've bought me more clod hoppers, they're such a mess
and now someone else is gettin' shoes that look the best.

These flips are made for flopping, and that's just what they'll do
one of these days these flips are gonna flop all over you.

You keep buying, when you oughta stop tryin'
and you keep spendin' when you oughta not bet.
You keep samin' when you oughta be changin'.
Now a sense of style is what you don't have yet!

These flips are made for walking, and that's just what they'll do
one of these days these flops are gonna walk all over you.

You keep payin' where you shouldn't be payin'.
And you keep thinkin' that you'll "get it" yet!
Ha! I just found me a brand new shoe store yeah
and what the clerk knows, you ain't HAD time to learn yet.

These flips are made for flopping, and that's just what they'll do
one of these days these flips are gonna flop all over you.

Are you ready flips? Start flopping'!

Posted by: Songster | May 30, 2008 12:03 PM


I think in addition to low expectations, enjoying the physical labor of it is key. For whatever reason, yard work in general is very soothing to me. I like the quiet, I like being outside, I like doing something with my hands/body that allows my mind to kind of tune out, I like seeing an accomplishment at the end of the day, and I like the companionship of working alongside my husband and son. The work itself of pruning or digging or picking or whatever just seems to create a contemplative space for me, where my mind is free to wander and not to be in the linear, logical space it has to be in for my professional work. So for me, the success of the garden itself is almost secondary. It's great when we have tomatoes and sugar snap peas and pretty flowers, but it's just the icing for me.

Posted by: LizaBean | May 30, 2008 12:11 PM

LizaBean, what a lovely discourse on gardening. I get much the same feeling from knitting. Being able to sit and knit while talking to my friend yesterday was a comfort. And she found the movement of the needles and yarn fascinating, which helped her anxiety.

Posted by: babsy1 | May 30, 2008 12:27 PM

on gardening - lizabean said it pretty well. i will add, it's not necessarily low expectations but the idea of perfection that has to be tossed. you're not going to get perfection. it's just not possible to get perfection in the natural world. right now, my tomatoes have aphids on them. not a pretty sight but i'm not using pesticides yet. the 'maters don't seem to be stressed so i'm letting a few bugs pass. same with my flowers. i'm not ready to deadhead just because the flowers are spent, shivelled and ugly. that's part of the whole cycle of life thing that i find soothing.

Posted by: quark | May 30, 2008 12:37 PM

I'm flipping for that song!

babsy1: where in SD? I worked in RB for quite a few years.

Posted by: dotted | May 30, 2008 12:45 PM

Dotted: I work in La Jolla (best view in town) and have a condo in La Mesa. But I live at the ballpark. What did you do in RB?

Posted by: babsy1 | May 30, 2008 1:04 PM

Thanks, Babsy. I've always admired good knitters. My mom knits and sews beautifully, she actually sewed my wedding dress and it was gorgeous. I enjoy sewing but haven't developed the dedication and attention to detail that she has to really produce nice things. Halloween costumes, however, I am all over - who cares if that seam is straight for trick or treating, LOL.

Posted by: LizaBean | May 30, 2008 1:09 PM

I second lizabean and quark, gardenwise. i don't strive for perfection, nor to impress anyone but myself. (helps to live in a modest neighborhood of 60-yr-old houses with no crazy association rules!) I lost a handful of flowers that I planted last year during the drought, but the ones that survived--when they poked their little heads through the earth, i was SO thrilled! This year I've planted my first veggie seeds, and for some reason I had no faith that any of them would grow. Lo and behold, I have teeny little bean and pea and onion and lettuce and spinach plants! Every day I come home from work to see what they've done today, and have even been taking their pictures as they grow. There is something that is basically satisfying and magical at the same time about watching living things grow. I may only get one serving of salad out of the whole shootin' match, but I'm already satisfied.

Posted by: PQ | May 30, 2008 1:24 PM

LizaBean, when I was in grad school, I started making my own scrubs to avoid writing those pesky papers. Talk about easy - 4 seams and you're done! If you have any interest in knitting, you might want to try socks - they're quick, they're portable, they're incredibly easy. Best of all, you don't have to buy them ever again.

Posted by: babsy1 | May 30, 2008 1:31 PM

pq - you are so right about watching a miracle. to me nothing is more exciting than watching the plants that i planted last year reappear in the spring. i love bulbs.
i have blossoms on my 'maters and other veggies that i will watch with anticipation as they grow into something i can eat. while the anticipation of the eating is part of the excitement some of it is just watching the flower change & grow into something very different.

Posted by: quark | May 30, 2008 1:37 PM

These flips are made for flopping!

Has to be the best line you've come up with yet, Songster. I'm going to be singing it all afternoon.

I hate knitting, too. I am so happy for all of you On Gardening and On Knitting posters, but both are my idea of the seventh circle of hell...

My favorite knitting story is one night, eight years ago, Perry and I were sitting in a movie theatre in Minneapolis eagerly awaiting Traffic with Benecio del Toro. I heard a faint clicking behind me. It was a young woman knitting. The contrast between the movie and this 23-year-old granny-wanna-be behind me was priceless.

Posted by: Leslie | May 30, 2008 1:44 PM

Socks! I never would have thought of that. Perhaps I'll give it a whirl. My typical pattern is to start with something far too complicated for a beginner and then give up halfway when it's clearly not going to turn out well - maybe I should try a different approach, LOL.

Posted by: LizaBean | May 30, 2008 1:49 PM

Sorry, this is a long post - feel free to skip, except Leslie!
I started knitting when I was a child with a chronic illness. The medical care was not very advanced at the time, and I spent a great deal of time indoors. No one in my family knit. But I picked up a booklet at McCrory's Five & Ten, and taught myself.

Knitting has been a constant ever since. I knitted Barbie Doll clothes, I knitted blankets, I knitted sweaters. I knitted during college and nursing school, Desert Shield/Storm, and graduate school (twice). I knitted during Will, Jeff, Ken, Jeff (again), Tom, Jeff (again), David, Jeff (again, but never again). I knitted during baseball seasons and baseball strikes.

I think about the person I'm knitting the socks/sweater/blanket/hat/scarf for, and the pleasure it will give. I look for a color to soothe/stimulate/flatter/comfort. But the texture is key. Soft, warm, enveloping, consoling. I always have at least two projects going: a larger project which can only be worked on at home, and a smaller project, such as socks, which can be tucked into a tote bag and taken along with me. People watching is easier when my nose isn't buried in a paperback book.

When I pick up my needles and yarn, I feel a connection to the generations of women who had to make the garments and household items they needed. Knitting is less an economic necessity, and more a necessary pleasure for me. It balances my day. I knit early in the morning before work, and in the evening before bed. The rhythm of the needles, the movement of the yarn, the development of the pattern all soothe me. I get more pleasure out of my needlework than the person I give it to can ever experience.

Posted by: babsy1 | May 30, 2008 1:49 PM

quark--this is how crazy i am. i almost phoned my mother long-distance yesterday because my 4-in-tall pea plants are starting to grow tendrils! woo-hoo!

on a more serious note, the other thing that makes playing in the garden so special to me is that i feel like i'm communing with my father (far away) and both grandmothers (both passed away), gardeners all. every time i get my hands in the dirt, that smell of soil makes me think of Dad, and remember helping him (mostly by watching) in the garden when I was little.

Posted by: PQ | May 30, 2008 1:56 PM

babys1, Your description of what you get from knitting is so wonderful it almost makes me forget how much I personally hate knitting, LOL.

Maybe one issue with both your description and with LizaBean's description of gardening is that, when I'm home, my responsibilities for the kids, and our home life, generally, don't permit me to tune out. Ever. If I tried to garden, they'd (or DH'd) be interrupting me every 8 minutes for a phone call, or a snack, or a leaking water pipe, and preventing that zone-out opportunity. I'd like to have the opportunity to discover a hobby or two again which would allow me to as LizaBean says, "create a contemplative space", but it isn't happening at my house, in my life, at present. There's hope for the future. It will not involve weeding or clicking needles.

Posted by: MN | May 30, 2008 2:02 PM

If this becomes On Gardening you'll never get me to shut up.

For me, it's roses, first.

The potted one my mother gave me from the collection her uncle had at the nursing home - lots of problems with black spot and rust, but when I get a bloom, deep red, almost purple, and smelling heavenly - reminds me of family and childhood summers at the grandparents' dairy farm in TX.

The row of Royal Sunset climbers along the fence. This year they've finally decided that they like their home and they're going crazy, beating back the blackberries and penstamon that's been coming from the neighbor's yard and trying to take over mine. And again, that wonderful scent!

The Evelyn Brunner that I discovered when I first began working on taking back the yard from the neighbor's invaders after we bought the house. I thought there might be some sort of rose underneath all the blackberries and bermuda grass, and it's been so grateful and such a prolific bloomer since I rescued it. Standing inside my back porch in the evening, looking out at my yard, and the breezes carrying that light, sweet fragrance through the open windows.

Okay, I warned you that I'd get seriously long-winded on this topic. And I haven't gotten to the lilies, hibiscus, hydrangia, fuschia, lavender, or the herb garden (when DH cooks with fresh herbs - yummy, yummy!), or the fun of checking the veggies with younger son. He's getting seriously impatient for his Brussel sprouts to be ready for harvesting. It's his favorite vegetable, and home grown ought to taste even better than the store bought.

...and still there's so much I haven't mentioned. I want to see and smell and taste, and listen to the birds and insects, and feel the breeze through the Yule tree I planted our first year here, while I sit on the front porch swing sipping a beer and DH plays guitar.

Posted by: Sue | May 30, 2008 2:05 PM

Wow. Reading about those roses makes me wish I could enjoy gardening. As to the time to knit (or whatever), I find getting up a little earlier is an easy fix. Even if it's only 15 minutes, that's time just for me.

Posted by: babsy1 | May 30, 2008 2:09 PM

there are other gardeners in my family so in my monthly email updates i mention the garden; the height of the flowers & number of blossoms. pq, you are right about a feeling of connectedness. both of my parents are dead but i feel close to them when i garden. i love sitting outside saturday morning and looking at the flowers some dead, some dying and some blooming. that is peaceful. i fear that it won't last too much longer as the skeeters will drive me indoors.
i quilt so babsy1, i know where you are coming from with knitting. i use my scraps when i quilt so i remember the article of clothing that a certain piece came from. my first quilt was made the summer before i left for college. it is made up of all the scraps from the clothes i wore in jr high & high school. it is still very special to me. like you with knitting, color & design are important. it is a way to connect with the past & the future.

Posted by: quark | May 30, 2008 2:12 PM

babsy1: I did the UCSD thing. La Jolla is great. Did you know there used to be a horse riding farm on top of the cliffs over Blacks Beach, next to UCSD? Then HP at RB. Google Earth disturbs me with all the changes in my old stomping ground.

Posted by: dotted | May 30, 2008 2:31 PM

MM, how did you get the bobcat to pea in the bottle?

Posted by: deer bitten | May 30, 2008 8:47 AM

I have a pretty fair idea of how it's really collected, but I find it so much more amusing to think of people out in the woods, saying, "Here kitty, kitty, kitty!"

Posted by: Maryland Mother | May 30, 2008 2:48 PM

Fair warning, roses can be very challenging and frustrating to beginning gardeners. I haven't let 'Uncle Joseph's rose' die yet, but I do believe it's been suicidal ever since he passed and Mom and I picked up his treasures. Her roses from his collection seem to be very happy, though.

And I recommend cherry tomatoes for anyone who's new to vegetable gardening - they're easier than other tomato varieties. Mine keep reseeding themselves every year, and I don't bother trying to grow any others anymore. Another bonus with cherry tomatoes, is that kids will pick and eat them right off the vines. They're nearly as sweet as candy.

Okay, now I'll stop torturing the disinterested with my obsession.

Posted by: Sue | May 30, 2008 3:02 PM

Any of the gardeners here have any first-hand experience with the David Austin roses?

They are supposed to have the luscious scents of the old-fashioned roses, with the benefits of the hybrids.

It's become really difficult to find roses with SCENT anymore. Heck, it's tough to find watermelons with seeds. What's a watermelon without seeds to spit at your brothers and sisters? That's just wrong...

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2008 3:06 PM

"What's a watermelon without seeds to spit at your brothers and sisters?"

The quotes just keep coming today. I may have to have a multi tiered, special award ceremony today!

Posted by: Fred | May 30, 2008 3:17 PM

Can we steer this towards something else? I'm not begrudging the gardeners, but gardening has been the near exclusive topic of the posts for half the day! Maybe I'd like it more if it wasn't so hot outside and I end up looking like a tomato afterwards! What about trying something new? I spent last weekend at an amusement park and did one of those extreme drop rides for the first time. I didn't like it at all but it definitely made me forget about all the other things I normally stress about!

Posted by: No More Gardening | May 30, 2008 3:17 PM

The watermelon seed complaint was mine. I keep forgetting we're no longer automatically credited.

I like the amusement park in Altoona, PA.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | May 30, 2008 3:22 PM

Nice to see you MM. We have missed you!

Posted by: Fred | May 30, 2008 3:23 PM

I have found balance in a flip-flip, too. For me and my high arches, a leather Chaco flip-flop is the perfect shoe for summer. It is has a nice leather sole, straps and wonderful support - plus dressy enough to wear to the office occasionally.

Posted by: austex mom | May 30, 2008 3:29 PM

Okay, Babysy1, that's it -- I'm officially head over heels. That knitting story brought me to tears!!!! You should submit it to StylePlus or This I Believe. "This I Believe: Knitting Saved My Life. NOW I UNDERSTAND KNITTING!!!! Thank you.

Posted by: Leslie | May 30, 2008 3:30 PM

ok, no more gardening. i find my balance by physical activity like biking. i find it by being outside. sometimes i find it by being inside with a book.

Posted by: quark | May 30, 2008 3:34 PM

All this gardening goo has gotten me thinking about a woman I recently met who lives in Takoma Park, MD and writes a really great gardening blog with a bunch of other women.

It had some great name like "Crazy Gardening Ladies". Do you all know which one I mean? Do you have favorite gardening blogs?

Posted by: Leslie | May 30, 2008 3:39 PM

What a lovely compliment, Leslie. I do understand not liking knitting though. My sister loves stained glass, but knitting, not so much. And she managed to get me to do her sewing all the years we lived who's the smart one?
Dotted: I've been in SD for 13 years, and the changes in just that time have been astounding. But the weather and the Padres never change. The former is good, the latter, well, you know.

Posted by: babsy1 | May 30, 2008 3:41 PM

It is with a heavy heart that I regret to inform OB that Hula Girl will no longer be one of the prizes.

She use to find her balance by doing a Hula dance on the dashboard of the Creepy Van (tm). But, alas, she contracted that non-fatal but career ending disease of Hulaskirtitis. This ravenous fungus destroys grass skirts to such an extent that hula dancing can no longer be performed with proper decorum and modesty.

There is no cure for Hulaskirtitis but (faint) hope thru the Hulaskirtitis Foundation. Please send your non tax deductible donations care of Fred's Ferrari Fund.

To honor Hula Girl, I will have a special Shoeless edition of FQOTD today.

Posted by: Fred | May 30, 2008 3:45 PM

All this gardening goo has gotten me thinking about a woman I recently met who lives in Takoma Park, MD and writes a really great gardening blog with a bunch of other women.

It had some great name like "Crazy Gardening Ladies". Do you all know which one I mean? Do you have favorite gardening blogs?

Posted by: Leslie | May 30, 2008 3:39 PM

Mom may know which coloumn it is. Hell, she may even know who it is. The beauty of living there for decades. I'll ask her.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2008 3:47 PM

These flips are made for flopping...

Posted by: Leslie | May 30, 2008 3:52 PM

Balance can be found in riding. Or a good grooming session with one's horse. Or a friend's horse.

Otherwise, balance can be found in a double-scoop of ice cream at The Candy Bar. Alice! Save the raspberry moose tracks for ME!

Nice to see you MM. We have missed you!

Posted by: Fred | May 30, 2008 3:23 PM


Damn dust.


Posted by: Maryland Mother | May 30, 2008 3:52 PM

I think this should be the new On Balance passcode when we meet in public and don't want to reveal our identities...our own Agent 99 bywords: "These flips are made for flopping..."

Posted by: Leslie | May 30, 2008 3:55 PM

Fred, I mourn the demise of Hula Girl. But may I suggest: found a ceramic hula girl for my dad's dashboard. No grass skirt, ergo no Hulaskirtitis.

Posted by: Laura | May 30, 2008 3:55 PM

"These flips are made for flopping...

Posted by: Leslie | May 30, 2008 3:52 PM"

Leslie, are you politicking for Songster to receive an award in the Shoeless Hula Girl Special Edition of Fred's Quote of the Day? Huh?

Posted by: Fred | May 30, 2008 3:57 PM


How can you, in this time of my mourning, even suggest a FAKE Hula Girl? A real Hula Girl must sway at the hips and have a skirt for me to ...un nevermind!

I am currently looking for a new Hula Girl but just have not found the "right one".

If you sincerely want to help me in this time of my despair and misery, you can send a check to Fred's Ferrari Fund at....

Posted by: Fred | May 30, 2008 4:04 PM

Sorry that my obsession has unsettled some. And I'm keeping my promise - I know nothing about David Austin roses or about gardening blogs. Maybe I should look for one I can go monopolize, though. ;)

I love sewing. Never figured out knitting, though I've tried. Somehow, it's one of the few things that I could never quite "reverse engineer" to work with my left-handedness. I can crochet, though. I figured it out by holding up a Learn-How book to a mirror to reverse the illustrations. Too bad I couldn't get knitting the same way. I want to start quilting, too, maybe after the fall planting is done. (Oops!)

No flip-flops for me, only sandals with a band across my whole foot. Can't stand *anything* at all between my toes, ever. I stopped going barefoot in the summers when my parents got geese. There's nothing in the world more unpleasant than goose droppings squishing between the toes. At least the cow pies in the pasture were big enough to see, so I could avoid stepping in them.

Posted by: Sue | May 30, 2008 4:08 PM

Fred, I would never, ever suggest such a travesty. Did I neglect to mention that the version I got my dad did all the swaying, and did have a skirt? What WOULD be the point otherwise? It's just that the skirt was just in one piece, vs. individual fronds, and thus less susceptible to that dread disease (I think it was plastic, actually, not ceramic).

Sue, I'm with you: I've never been able to stand having something between my toes (too many bad beach blister memories). Which pretty much limits my shoe inventory, since about 98% of even nicer sandals seem to have that design. Sigh.

Posted by: Laura | May 30, 2008 4:15 PM

Oh, OK Laura, Yes that would be a minimally acceptable HG for the converted, reformed or post modernist HG aficionado.

Since I am a traditional or conservative HG aficionado, I must have individual fronds.

Posted by: Fred | May 30, 2008 4:23 PM

Ditto on the horror of thonged sandals - I hate the between-the-toes sensation, and the blisters! Fred, are there any Hula Boy statues? I think the search under the skirt would be much more interesting for me if I could be certain of finding buried treasure!

Posted by: babsy1 | May 30, 2008 4:36 PM

babsy1 - buried treasure? cracking up here.

Posted by: dotted | May 30, 2008 4:59 PM

sometimes the treasure is closer to the surface, which is a definite bonus...

Posted by: babsy1 | May 30, 2008 5:04 PM

Babsy1: the knitting story is familiar. My mother spent much of my childhood knitting, and would knit us sweaters all the time, she spent most evenings knitting, so we'd have many many sweaters she knit for us. We would go shopping together for yarn quite a bit.

As a kid, I tried to learn, but she didn't have much patience, and I bet, again, she saw it as something that none of us girls needed to know (her mom taught her to sew and knit, she would alter all my stuff, but she never taught us that either) - so I think she kind of discouraged me from learning.

Then one day, oddly, she stopped. I have no idea why, I guess I was in high school or something. It was very strange, and I'll never know why. We found some of her needles after she passed, and none of us really knew what to do with them (there was some crocheting stuff in there too). I gave them to a friend of mine who knits and crochets, otherwise, who knows what we would have done with them. It was so strange, as that is part of my memories of her - she would just be knitting in the evenings, every night, all the time.

Posted by: atlmom | May 30, 2008 5:20 PM

re: flip flops
HATE HATE HATE the between the toes thing. I don't understand it AT ALL. it's not that attractive, and it's SO uncomfortable.

I need specific things for my feet (bunions/wide feet) - discussed before - and so zappos has been a g-dsend, but I love them!

Posted by: atlmom | May 30, 2008 5:32 PM


Did you ask me a question? Huh? No, I did not think so!

Posted by: Fred | May 30, 2008 5:40 PM

Hula boy?


Wonder if I could figure out how to weave a grass skirt for DH.

Of course, that raises the question of how many beers he'd need to drink before I got him to wear it.

Posted by: Sue | May 30, 2008 5:54 PM


"Too bad Matt from Aberdeen is not here. Rather than your current footnotes, Matt could cite a footnote from Plato's The Republic!"

Posted by: Obscure you say? | May 29, 2008 2:24 PM

Not Plato's "Republic." Plato's "Alcibiades."

Whether to seek power for its own sake, or for the sake of doing good things for the City, is a debate as old as Plato's two "Alcibiades" dialogues. Socrates makes Alcibiades waver between whether he wants to be tyrant just so that he can live in luxury like the queens of Sparta and Persia, or so that he can do what is best for Athens.

Leslie recommends several books, so let me recommend the book where I read about Alcibiades' ambition::

"The Case for Greatness: Honorable Ambition and Its Critics," by Robert Faulkner (Yale University Press, 2007)

From the blurb on Yale's web site:

"The Case for Greatness is a spirited look at political ambition, good and bad, with particular attention to honorable ambition. Robert Faulkner contends that too many modern accounts of leadership slight such things as determination to excel, good judgment, justice, and a sense of honor--the very qualities that distinguish the truly great."

Prof. Faulkner doesn't talk about gender, but maybe many girls got their take on ambition from the second stanza of Emily Dickinson's "I'm Nobody":

"How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!:

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | May 30, 2008 5:54 PM

Welcome to The Shoeless Hula Girl Special Presentation of Fred's Quote of the Day.

Hula Girl Fronds Award to Laura

"Finally, child labor is an excellent way to minimize the hassle factor."

The We Are All Jealous Award to WorkingMomX

"...I am going to resign from my job..."

The Set, Love and Match Award to several contributors

"MM, how did you get the bobcat to pea in the bottle?"
"Do you mean snow peas, English peas or chick peas?"
"...have a pretty fair idea of how it's really collected, but I find it so much more amusing to think of people out in the woods, saying, "Here kitty, kitty, kitty!""

The Dead Frog Report Award to Leslie

The Having Sibling Means You Never Want to Say You Are Sorry Award to MM

"What's a watermelon without seeds to spit at your brothers and sisters? That's just wrong..."

The You Support Losers so You Must Be Losers Award to Fred & Babsy1

The Hula Girl is Shoeless Award to: Songster

(Two Awards)

The Grand Prize is a ride in the Creepy Van â„¢ sans Hula Girl. Y'all come down to New Orleans to collect; we will go out for shrimp po-boys.

Posted by: Fred | May 30, 2008 6:01 PM

And I was so hoping for my first honorable mention for either the goose-droppings between the toes, or the avoiding the cow pies.

Congrats to the winners!

Posted by: Sue | May 30, 2008 6:07 PM

And the special late entry award to Sue

"Of course, that raises the question of how many beers he'd need to drink before I got him to wear it."

Posted by: Fred | May 30, 2008 6:10 PM

I got here too late for the chat but have had a blast reading the great posts. My favorite one is, of course, how do you get the bobcat to pee in the bottle? I'm glad my cube-mates have left for the day. :) Now I'm out of here too. Thanks for a nice end to this week, everyone!

Posted by: Lynne | May 30, 2008 6:45 PM

WorkingmomX: if you're still here...

I'm loving not working, but still working out the kinks in being home. If only we coulda kept the au pair...;)

Posted by: atlmom | May 30, 2008 8:39 PM

@PoaWM: ah, you have unearthed the guilty secret of all knitters! It's a great excuse for not paying attention to yet another boring story about the adventures of cousins Ed and Edwina at the WalMart!

Posted by: babsy1 | May 30, 2008 9:08 PM

babys1 - yeah for knitting... to MN: while lovely and contemplative I also knit at family gatherings and manage to contribute to conversations and not go stir crazy. Uninterrupted is lovely, but it can be done with distraction.

Best knitting story ever - a cousin on the BF's side knits at almost all family gatherings (they are pretty gabby clan and there is an awful lot of sitting and talking). Last summer a 7 year second cousin said to her "you knit so you don't get bored don't you?" Out of the mouths of children...

Posted by: PoaWM | May 30, 2008 9:40 PM

Checking in after a night of partying and picking up DS from b-ball practice.

Love the poem, Matt, especially the frog mention. Very fine work.

And thank you, Fred, from the bottom of my heart for the Dead Frog award. I will treasure it eternally.

Posted by: Leslie | May 30, 2008 11:08 PM

Leslie, I don't find gardening stressful - it really does provide me balance. The balance is long- v. short-term project, slow- v. fast-paced activity. I don't actually worry about everything dying (though things do, sometimes) and I don't worry about repeating my success. The most important balance provided by gardening is that I don't have total control, or even the illusion of it. I'm a control freak who worries and stresses over my job and many other things. With gardening, I'm reminded that trying to pretend I'm in control is pointless; the weather will do whatever it does, climates change, some seeds won't germinate, not all plants survive identical transplant processes, and sometimes the gophers really will pull an entire corn stalk down into the earth just like in a Bugs Bunny cartoon.

Honestly, I credit gardening for helping me realize that even when I don't have control, things generally work out all right. In the garden I learned that life will happen, that I can guide it but not control it, that my activities help but aren't the only deciding factors in my success or failure and I think that's a pretty good definition of providing balance.

That said, sometimes I garden in flip-flops with an umbrella drink in reach ;-)

Posted by: esleigh | May 31, 2008 11:54 AM

Thanks, ESL!

All those reasons are why I have trouble with it. At the same time I think it's wonderful for all the reasons you describe!

Posted by: Leslie | May 31, 2008 12:43 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.


© 2007 The Washington Post Company