Sunday, April 15, 2012

My Recent Absence

I'm not really sure how to begin this post.  I guess I want to apologize for being absent from my blog and the gardening blogosphere for so long, but somehow that seems to me to be a bit arrogant, as if I'm expecting people to want to hear from me.

There's been a lot going on in my life in the past few months...some good, some not so good...that has consumed most of my time and energy.  But things have settled down somewhat and I hope to return to blogging a bit more regularly.

The good thing in my life recently is we are finishing up the building of our summer home on Howard Lake in Southwest Michigan and in a is beautiful!  We are so excited to be heading North for the summer!  In addition to being surrounded by family, it will be a wonderful escape from the brutal Texas heat.  And y'all know how much I griped about the heat last summer!  I plan to do a post on the Michigan summer home in the very near future.  But if anyone has built a home (especially remotely), you know how time consuming it can be.  We are in the final stages, but the devil is in the details.  Our closing date is set for April 27th!  I hope to get the post written and published before then.  And since we are leaving in May for Michigan, it is pointless for me to get a garden going so there's not much for me to blog about.  But I will post a few recipes from time to time.  Actually, I have two recipes that many of my friends on FaceBook have asked me to post.  So expect those soon.

Now for the not so good.  Late last fall one of my oldest and closest friends was diagnosed with Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer.  The type of cancer she has is very rare and very aggressive.  When she was diagnosed, it was all I could think about for weeks.  She has three children, two still living at home.  Here is this smart, energetic, feisty, independent, beautiful woman facing this terrible ordeal.  How does this happen to someone like her? I know, it happens all the time.  But it just hit so terribly close to home.  And to someone like her with a full, fun life and wonderful family.  The unfairness of it all hit me like a ton of bricks.

But for now, the worst is over.  She has been through six rounds of chemotherapy, a radical mastectomy and is now recovering and beginning to get her life back.  Next comes physical therapy to regain use and mobility of her arm and six weeks of intensive radiation.  After that, time will tell.

When she got sick, blogging was the furthest thing from my mind.  I tried to spend as much time with her as possible and to help out when and where I could.  But throughout this journey, she has remained positive, upbeat and always had a smile.  She is a fighter and was not going to take this thing lying down.  I was (still am) in awe of her attitude.  And believe me, I learned many things about life traveling this path.

I hope Spring finds each of you eagerly anticipating the coming gardening season.  I know for us in South Texas, we really didn't have much of a winter and summer began in March :/  It will be a welcome change to head North for this coming summer.

My best to each of you and happy gardening :)

This is a picture of an old (very old) oak tree that lives in the back yard of our ranch house.  She is the most beautiful tree I have ever seen and to me, she symbolizes strength, endurance, beauty and life itself.


  1. Oh, I am soooo happy that you are back! I want you to know that I had been checking the blog once a week to see when you were back! We make several of your recipes each month and I LOVE LOVE LOVE your cooking style!! So please keep giving some recipes even if you do relocate your garden. Plus you can have a garden up there right! Sorry to hear about your friend. Blogging isn't that important as a good friend but I am very thankful to hear from you! Great to hear from you!

    1. Thank you Kelsey! I sent you an email in response :) You are so sweet and it is so nice to hear from you! I hope to be back shortly.

  2. Welcome back, Diane, you've been missed. Wonderful that you'll get a break from the Texas heat. I look forward to a bit of a respite when you post from Michigan! Heartbreaking what your friend has endured but it sounds as though she is a beautifully strong woman and so blessed to have a friend like you to travel this path with her. I agree with Kelsey, post your yummy recipes if you can't get a garden going before leaving...they're delicious! <3

  3. Hi good to hear from you! Thank you for your comment and for visiting me :) It's been a roller coaster ride the last few months but I hope things settle down soon. I will be sure to keep posting photos and recipes of my peasant day-to-day cooking. I hope you are well and I look forward to more inspiring, thoughtful posts from you.

  4. Dear Diane: Wow. I did wonder about you and I missed your posts. Your friend is fortunate to have a dear friend like you. It probably means so much to her that you've spent time with her. Thoughts and prayers, and I'm thrilled that you're back to blogging. I am eagerly awaiting your posts from Michigan! I keep thinking how fun it would be to meet some of my blogging friends. I can't make it to the fling this year because my son graduates from college on May 19, but wouldn't it be fun to have a small group meeting in Chicago or something this summer? Take care, and welcome back!

  5. Hi good to hear from you :) When I saw your recent post, it really excited me about the new gardening experiences I'm in for when we head to Michigan for the summer! I would *love* to meet a small in Chicago this summer. I can hop on a train in K'zoo and be in Chicago in less than 3 hours! Thank you for your kind words, too :)

  6. I wondered where you were, too, but figured there was a reason you'd been away. I'm so glad to have you back!! I also thrilled you'll be gardening somewhere cooler than WhereEverYouAre, TX! Your summer last year was the worst! A plant that would do well in MI is astrantia. It's beautiful and grows well in moist sun/partial shade. Campanula and lilacs should thrive, too. Now you can have a colorful garden, too! Yay!!

  7. Hi Tammy! Good to hear from you :) I am very excited about spending the summer in Michigan! Browsing the nurseries last week in Portage made me so ready to get there and begin planting and learning about Northern plants! And yes, lilacs are DEFINITELY on my list! I grew up with them outside my back door and miss their sweet fragrance that is a sure sign of spring! I will check out astrantia and campanula as well. So nice to hear from you! :)