Hollyhocks and Haircuts

Our parking lot gardens are blooming!

Seven or eight years ago, someone bought a hollyhock for the parking lot gardens. The original hollyhock was planted right in the middle of the parking lot without any nearby structures. Our original hollyhock has been joined by many new friends. Other years, I have pulled out seedlings but this year, I have done less community gardening while concentrating my energies on our own balcony. It is amazing how our hollyhocks have changed colour!

The original plant was a medium pink.

Time marches on during pandemic times. My social bubble is quite small. My husband has been ill for two years with sinus infection/allergy/breathing issues. Depressed and without energy, he sits in the recliner almost the whole day. My daughter is working for a union of whom 90% have been laid off or terminated. Employed in hotels, airports, college cafeterias, the workers will soon have exhausted their recall period and may not receive severance. The third person in my bubble is a friend
whose husband has terminal cancer.

Unhappy times are part of life. No one passes through life without sadness. We can find beauty in the world around us and appreciate those pleasures that we can enjoy. Last week, I had my first haircut since February.
after my haircut

Have you ever bought something after reading a blog? I have read The Vivienne Files for years.
I love playing with accessories to make new outfits. When Janice showed how to base a capsule wardrobe on a bracelet, I was excited. Right now, pinks and mauves are my accent colours. I ordered a bracelet from Fierce Lynx Designs, a small New Brunswick company. My bracelet, Lilac Dreams, is sold out but there are many other bracelets in colours to suit any wardrobe.

I can wear my bracelet with summer pink/mauve or with grey/teal in fall.

I've been reading a lot. Friday, I'll be picking up my August choices from Hager Books. Once again, I've chosen 3 fiction and a nonfiction book. Of the books that I have read lately, I would recommend
Circe by Madeline Miller and Washington Black by Esi Edugyan. Circe, the enchantress who Odysseus visits on her island, is presented from a feminist point of view. Nymphs and lesser goddesses were exploited by gods and mortals. Small wonder, Circe transformed shipwrecked sailors 
into pigs! Washington Black is the tale of a Barbados sugar plantation slave who travels to the Canadian North, to London and finally to Africa in search of natural specimens and a missing friend.
There's lots of travel in my reading if not in my life right now.

I am enjoying my tidy desk.

It is almost the August long weekend. We have very sunny warm weather right now.  Tomorrow, I will go to pick up those new books. Happy week-end!


  1. You look lovely with your longer hair. These are hard times for so many people. Staying positive can be difficult when loved ones are suffering. I'm enjoying the sunny warm weather. Those hollyhocks are wonderful - it's so interesting how plants cross breed and change colour. I have a white rose planted next to a dark pink one and once in awhile a few white petals turn out pink! Enjoy those new books.

    1. Thank you. There are so many unexpected beauties in the natural world. I watch the flowers every day and marvel over the changes.

    2. You have captured those hollyhocks beautifully. The pink one looks like crepe paper with the light coming through the petals. And YOU look lovely! I do love that shade of pink lipstick on you...it sets off your hair and face.

      There always seems to be bittersweet in life.... the good and beautiful mingling with the hard and painful. My own life is sweet and good these days, and I never want to take for granted the beauty and pleasure I have in this moment. But my heart pangs for those whose lives are so much reduced due to illness and/or pandemic induced issues. And I whisper a little prayer that folks will have the grace to face their situations, that they will catch sight of something that fills them with courage and comfort and hope.

      Wishing you a beautiful day.
      Brenda xo

      PS. You had asked me some weeks ago how I was enjoying Penelope Lively's 'Life in the Garden'. I just finished it this week. It was a full book with so many lovely things to think about and read. I've starred and underlined many lines. And, I've 'met' all kinds of new-to-me people, authors, books that had me scurrying to find some of them. I was especially interested to learn about Czech gardener/writer Karel Capek and his book The Gardener's Year (1929). He seemed quite a witty fellow, and I laughed so hard at his account of wrestling with the common garden hose. Oh yes, how often has my own hose twisted around my feet. And his book is available for purchase, even after all these years. Lucky me! :)


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