Thursday, Mar. 20, 2008
Dear Diary:

I have been reading it with the rapt adoration normally reserved for religious texts.

Although, honestly, I'm guessing most folks don't haul their religious texts into the bathroom with them when they're, uh, meditating on life.

Me? Apparently, I do.

I would, of course, be talking about The Lily Nook catalogue, which came to me via the kindness of Moose. Yes, one of my three loyal readers decided out of the blue to give me a gift certificate for ten lilies. Said certificate came with the actual Lily Nook catalogue.

Ah, it is one thing to look at lily images on a computer screen. It is a whole other thing to look at dazzlingly photographed lily images on glossy paper. This, this goes beyond plant porn into the sublime. This is as close to a religious experience as I come.

I've decided to make this year's salvo into the world o' lilies a swath of pink, white and burgundy. There are many other tempting colours in the catalogue, but they're colours I can achieve easily with other plants. I've winnowed my choices down and this weekend my neighbour and I will make our final selections and mail the order off.

Yes, I have been dithering for weeks over this. So much fun.

I've heard it said that gardening is the triumph of hope over experience. I think that's why it consumes me. I see the catalogues, the tee vee programs, the books, and I see endless possibilities.

Intellectually I know that a bazillion things stand between the perfection I see others achieve and what happens for me—too much rain, drought, bugs, varmints, unexpected frosts … oh, man, over the 30 years we've been here I've been pummelled by them all.

Every spring, though, I tell myself this year, this year will be different. This year all the stars will align—no unexpected frosts, perfect rainfall, no bugs, and a world free of everything from groundhogs to deer.

Shut up.

It could happen.

As I write this, it is snowing hard. We got another six inches of snow overnight and we could get two or three more inches before it's done. In theory this stumbling block towards spring should kill me, but I'm in my happy place right now, surrounded by my catalogues, garden sketches, ever swelling To Do list.

Even though I don't have anyone to work out with, I've found renewed joy at the gym because now I can see the point to it all again. Oh, I know the health benefits. Low blood pressure, low cholesterol, fabulous bone density, no more depression, and much more energy than I used to have. I know that. But it's all kind of intangible. I clocked the hours, did the workouts, but lots of days I was just gutting it out.

Getting back into gardening plans, though, that gives me definite goals. There are wheelbarrows of compost to be moved, rocks to be hauled, enormous clumps of plants to be dug out.

MUSCLES. MUST HAVE MUSCLES.

It makes it all so much simpler again.

There is one small cloud on the horizon, though. Through out all this I've been waging a small war with the spousal unit.

For a couple of years now I've been looking for the perfect reusable grocery bag. I hate the thought that I'm adding yet more plastic to the world each time I shop, but at the same time it's kind of hard to find decent reusable shopping bags.

The first ones I bought turned out to be too big. The bag people at my grocery store thought nothing of putting about 25 pounds of groceries in a bag. I'm strong, but when lifting two grocery bags means lifting 50 pounds something has to give.

Then I found the holy grail of grocery bags at a Loblaws store about 45 minutes from me. They were a bit larger than the standard plastic grocery bag, but not so large that the baggers could make it impossible to carry two with one hand.

The spousal unit whined unbelievably about the fact that I was paying a whole ninety nine cents EACH for these reusable grocery bags. He does fixate on the oddest things. So I rolled my eyes and limited myself to five of them.

Over the coming weeks I noticed that my lovely, perfect black reusable shopping bags were inexplicably disappearing. Where once I had five, I was down to two. I mentioned it to the spousal unit and he shamefacedly admitted that he had absconded with three of my bags. The bags he had whined about buying. One he was using as the perfect lunch bag. The other turned out to be the perfect container to transport his drywalling tools between jobs. The third was the perfect method to transport some of the tools for his compressor.

I gave him the Big Hairy Eyeball. I reminded him it was a 45 minute drive to get more of these bags, so it wasn't likely I'd be doing it again soon. PLUS, I remarked, it was his stinginess objections that had stopped me from buying the ten bags I wanted. He promised me that would be his last incursion into my beloved reusable shopping bags.

Liar, liar pants on fire.

Last week when I went to carry my reusable shopping bags down to the car so I could get groceries, I saw that the last two of the five perfect reusable shopping bags were gone.

I rounded up the usual suspect. Apparently there are yet more tools that can only be carried in the perfect reusable shopping bags. Marriage is not for the weak.

The universe has smiled upon me, though. Our local hardware store decided to stock reusable shopping bags. They are identical in size to the ones I loved, and even better they went on sale for $.79 cents. I bought the final five they had and ordered another five with a rain check. They are blue and quite distinct from the last batch of perfect reusable shopping bags.

I have solemnly told the spousal unit that if even one of these bags disappears, and I find it in his possession, He Is Dead To Me.

How long do you think he can resist?

--Marn

Mileage on the Marnometer: 134.11 miles.

Going Nowhere Collaboration

Goal for 2008: 500 miles


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