All Kinds Of Bunches

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks for me, starting in the dentist chair. The tooth had to go, and that part turned out surprisingly easy. In and out, over and done–including a bone graft deal. Huh, I thought, naively, no big.

The big, literally, came the following day when I woke up looking like I had a tennis ball tucked into my left cheek. Whoa! I’d done the whole ice, ibuprofen, soft food thing–and didn’t have much discomfort. Now I had a cheek the size of Kansas, and a book signing in a couple of days. Won’t that be interesting?

Still pretty bad the next morning, but by evening more like a good-sized plum in there. Now it’s the moist heat treatment.

Fortunately it shrank down to like a half golf ball by Saturday morning, and went down a little more by signing time. Good thing because it’s a big, bust out signing day. Here’s where a little theater training comes in handy. Doing photos with a swollen left jaw? Cheat out your right cheek.

Now I’ve got until Tuesday for it to go down more, we hope, before I go out in public again.

I’d been asked to give the commencement address for my alma mater–Montgomery Blair High school. As I did a million years ago, the class of 2018  graduates from the University of Maryland. Blair’s a big school, with a big graduating class, in fact, with close to 700 grads, the biggest in the state.

I’m so impressed with these young people, found myself amazed as their principal read off some of their accomplishments, the GPAs and academic achievements, the community involvement, the scholarships–one earned himself a full free ride to MIT. You have to be pretty damn smart and dedicated for that.

The principals — elementary, middle and high school — who oversaw the MBHS Class of 2018. Photo by LMR
Nora at the podium. Photo by LMR
On the big screen. Photo by LMR

I listened to the senior class president speak, saw her brains, her poise, her commitment.

I looked out at that sea of red gowns, white gowns–Blair’s colors–and saw the future. It looks good. If this class is representative, the future is in strong, creative hands.

Go, Blazers. You’re astounding.

Because the U of M is a good 90 minutes away–with traffic add an hour–Laura and I had the treat of staying at Jason’s and Kat’s the night before. I got to see the garden they’ve worked on, visit with their cats, have a lovely dinner (and get in a few rub the baby bumps!) and a solid night sleep before the event.

Then it’s back home and a few days of solid work–and back to workouts, which had been off the list.

And a happy, happy Saturday for me weeding, deadheading (pretty much off the list, too for awhile). I decided, since I felt all the way back to myself again, I’d take myself to my favorite nursery for some shade-loving, deer-resistant astilbes to finish off a couple areas. I also wanted one more hydrangea, and a few more annuals to fill things out some.

On the rise. Photo by Nora
Down the front hill Photo by Nora
Thriving pots. Photo by Nora
A spot of color. Photo by Nora.
Front patio pots. Photo by Nora.

Deer continue to be a problem, and I’ve caught them more than once just in the nick as they try to sneak down and snack on my plants. I will say Atticus–when he spots them–barks mightily, so that helps.

A truly lovely Saturday morning and afternoon for me.

I spent some of the late afternoon packing for our upcoming girl trip–for Kayla’s 16th birthday. A month early, but July’s as packed as June. I can’t believe my baby girl’s going to be 16, AND has her learner’s permit. She also made the all-county A team again for her distance running.

We leave in a couple days, then Kayla, Laura, Kat (and Laura’s daughter Clare who lives and works in NYC) will take the town. The first time I took Kayla on one of these NY trips, her biggest thrill was The American Girl Doll store. I can’t remember how many trips we ended up taking there.

This time it’s makeup, clothes, shoes–all of which I can get behind!

I took a quick walk around the garden–had to be quick as it started to rain–then began to pour. Things look good!

I’m going to finish packing for whole bunches of fun, then I hope to spend a couple hours repotting some of my pool house plants.

That’s a fine weekend for me. Hope you have one, too.


Note from Laura:  It’ll be our little secret that sometimes when I tell Nora I’m leaving her home, I actually poke through the gardens and take pictures .  Keep it between us, ok?

A peek through the branches. Photo by LMR
One of many happy toad houses. Photo by LMR
That face. Photo by LMR

27 thoughts on “All Kinds Of Bunches”

  1. I was so heartened by Nora’s comments about the graduates she encountered at her alma mater which affirms my strong hope for the future of our world that rests with these magnificent young adults as they move on with their lives. I hear so many gloom and doom comments from the older generations, but the outlook shines bright as those coming from high schools and colleges who have had a totally different experience in a system that would be very strange to my peers who are in the autumn of their lives.

  2. Read the commencement address and thought it was brilliant! Such a positive message! Applause applause!

    I found that hanging CD’s on branches…I used clear fishing line ,was a great deer deterrent. The causes them to twinkle and spin randomly which give the easily startled deer pause for thought. Just a suggestion,

  3. Sorry for the tooth problem. I read your commencement speech online and it was great. Congrats and happy birthday to Kayla. Have fun in NYC. See you in July. Safe travels.

  4. Must have been oral surgery week! I had a gum graft on Monday. Had planned to read “Shelter in Place” while I rested that afternoon, but my local store was sold out. 🙁

  5. Is there a link to Nora’s commencement speech? I’d like to read it.

    How did Kayla get to be 16? I remember when she was a twinkle in her grandma’s eye. How time flies. Congratulations on making the all county A team again! Happy Birthday a month early Kayla.

  6. First of all, I read your commencement address, since St. Martin’s Press was kind enough to publish it. All I remember from the address at mine was that it went on forever. Yours’ was short and sweet and very engaging. I’d remember that and hope some of those kids do, too, especially the part saying never give up. Well done. Glad you’re doing better. I’ve had any number of times in the dental chair, so I can SO relate. It’s a misery, no matter what face you put on it. I was on soup for days after having my wisdom teeth removed. I would imagine the graft is what caused the swelling, good that all is well now and you’re ready for NYC. I remember Kayla’s trip to the doll store, omg, we’re old – lol. Your gardens are beautiful and I’m in awe of your boundless energy! My small collection of pots and beds are tiny in comparison. Love all the color. Would love some of that rain, it’s hot, hot, hot lately and so early. Fires are starting already. Do more rain dances! Thanks again for sharing your life and fun.

    1. Paula, are you anywhere near the Durango Fire? I think they’re calling it 416? Take care out there & check in occasionally to let us know things are okay. We used to camp a lot in the Rockies when I was growing up & a lot north of Durango. From the sound of it, we might not recognize some of it now. Ah well, they’re a fact of nature; just not a popular one!

  7. I’m sorry to hear about your teeth. My husband & friend both had extractions, & bone grafts- but both of them were given antibiotics, & had no problem. Maybe NYC dentists do things differently. But here we don’t have space like you do- I’m in love w/your gardens. They are divine. I noticed the oval metal pan on your front patio- do you drill holes so the overflow water escapes?
    I have to thank you for your commencement address. My grandson & his new baby were with us for the weekend. I sent him your speech- it is perfect for him. He is in his mid 20’s, & anxious because he doesn’t like his job, & hasn’t found his passion yet. I read your speech, & emailed it to him right away- it was perfect for him. So thanks again- not just for your books, but for your wisdom.

  8. I can relate to the tooth problem, had to have a bone graft for implants, no fun.
    On a lighter note I just finished Shelter in Place, I cried, I prayed, I hoped everything would turn out ok, thank you for a memorable book. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone else.

  9. I commiserate with you on the tooth problem. I didn’t have any swelling that I know of but I did have a more involved procedure than it sounds like yours was. I had to have a dental implant put in. that was a three step procedure. Not fun.I’m glad for your sake that it got down to manageable size before you had to give your speech. Have fun in NYC.

  10. It’s too bad that the Quinn Brothers weren’t around to ummm….”Water the flowers” to help keep the deer away? ??????

  11. It’s too bad that at least one of the Quinn Brothers aren’t around to help ummmm….. “Water the lawn” to help keep the deer away? ??????

  12. Your gardens are so lovely. Looking forward to your upcoming NYC adventures.

  13. The gardens look wonderful. Here we are getting so much rain we’re having flooding issues. I have to leave extra early where I go because I have to take such a round about way that takes me 6 miles away and then drive back in. We have rain every day this week as well. Glad you had a great week with lots of gardening and garden fun. Hope the trip to NYC is twice as fun as you think it will be. Relax and enjoy and please keep us posted with lots of pictures of your adventures in the Big Apple! Off to get ready to watch the Tonys !

  14. The gardens look wonderful. Here we are getting so much rain we’re having flooding issues. I have to leave extra early where I go because I have to take such a round about way that takes me 6 miles away and then drive back in. We have rain every day this week as well. Glad you had a great week with lots of gardening and garden fun. Hope the trip to NYC is twice as fun as you think it will be. Relax and enjoy and please keep us posted with lots of pictures of your adventures in the Big Apple! Off to get ready to watch the Tonys !

  15. NYC is on my bucket list. Spent the cooler parts of the weekend working in my garden, high 90’s here in Northern Colorado…toasty. Re-reading the JD Robb series though I’m way ahead of Laura already. Loved ‘Shelter in Place’ it’ll join Obsession in my favorite goto pile. Have fun! Say hi to Roark and Eve!

  16. It’s heartening to read your positive comments about Blair’s students. As a teacher at Blair, I see their commitment not only to their own growth but also to the community at large. I was fortunate to be in the audience for your speech and it was spot on. Thank you so much for staying and greeting students as they received their diplomas —all 700+ of them!

  17. I’ve had loads of fun with the oral surgeon too with one front tooth. Went in for an implant and was told not enough bone for it! Finally after months of waiting got the implant and hopefully it settles down now. You’d think they’d find a better way! I’ve been dealing with wild strawberry taking over in my flower beds. Mulch helps somewhat but not enough. Anyone have suggestions? It’s truly invasive and I’ve been trying to do without using something like Preen. Great to hear about the graduating class, it’s so encouraging to see the next generation stepping out as adults.

  18. Awesome post Nora, you have really been busy. I am so envious of your gardens. Here in Texas it’s so hot and muggy that it fries everything.
    I love how you were able to be able to enjoy some baby bumps and kitty cats and manage a full night’s sleep. So sorry about the tooth ordeal. My son had one removed a few weeks ago. He was in the chair an hour and half. The root was way up in the sinus cavity. He was crying and my almost 30 year old son does not cry. The week before a piece of wood broke of a 2×4 and broke his safety glasses and landed in the eye so deep that the specialist couldn’t get it out for 5 days. So I understand how much discomfort you had. Very glad that the tooth is out. What may I ask is a bone graft?
    Atticus is super awesome barking at the deer. He’s doing his job to protect your gardens as much as possible.
    So sorry I am really chatty tonight. It’s lack of sleep. Insomnia strikes again.
    I can’t believe that Kayla is 16. Enjoy your time with her on your trip. xxx
    P.S. Laura your secret is safe with me. xxx

  19. Glad you got the tooth out, sad the swelling was so large. Loved all the garden pictures. The deer at my dad’s ate his tomato plants last year, so he moved them out of reach. St. Martin emailed your commencement speech. It was fabulous. I wish I had heard such a speech when I graduated high school (123 in the graduating class). Looking forward to your blog on Katy’s New York trip.

  20. I love the pictures of your flowers, plants, garden, etc… Beautiful! They remind me of my Aunt Frances,who had an amazing green thumb. I miss her lots, but it’s nice to have a rememberance. Have fun on the shopping trip!

  21. I was going to say you need to rest, to let your body catch up with what isn’t natural but off you go and I realize you are driven by a force that many of us can only dream of 😉
    Enjoy. Have Fun. Take care. And Happy Birthday to Kayla who has been a second youth for you and suiting you the best. In a family full of boys is good to be a little girl, and then a little woman, again through her eyes and living that you make yours too.

    Keep enjoying (and defeating some of) those Bunches you thrive in.

    (thank you LAURA!!!!! for the pics of Nora’s Statuary Art Garden… oh how I wish my dogs would allow some in mine 😉 what’s that woman statue story? It reminds me Chopin’s Grave at Père-Lachaise)

  22. Wow, 700+ graduates! My graduating class in 1973 was 69 students. Small school in SW Ohio. But my mother’s has me beat: very small school in western Kansas in 1953: 7 students: 6 girls & 1 boy. Very few students, esp. the guys, stayed after 16 back then. Instead, they got out & got to work on the farms, ranches, etc.

  23. Your weekly posts are always entertaining. Thanks for sharing these random windows into your world. And I’m glad the tooth issue has been resolved.

    Wisdom for the week: I’d rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.

    Drink more adult beverages and try not to work too hard. Cheers!

  24. I hope you called the dentist and she put you on antibiotics. If the tooth was infected and the socket not cleaned completely that could cause the swelling. Stick with some ibuprofen for a few days to help with the swelling. Wish you well loved shelter in place. But then again I love all you have written and have read them multiple times

  25. Laura, I’m sure Nora won’t mind – think of it as giving Atticus a hand keeping deer at bay. And, personally, I’m grateful. Love your pictures.

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