terracotta gardens

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

tangled, lush & hidden

I tease MLou. I tell her 29 Black Street is my Grey Gardens. I actually haven't seen the HBO movie or the earlier documentary about the two Edies (Big Edie & Little Edie). I just know snippets of the story. How the Beales, mother & daughter, didn't want to leave their big old grey manse even though the upkeep and maintenance of the house far exceeded any ability or affordability on their part. Kinda crazy women living in their own rich imaginary world. A world which seemed to them, completely safe, secure, & comforting. Sounds idyllic to me. MLou reminds me that water poured through a hole in their roof, raccoons were living in a guest room and the two Edies went hungry much of the time. Oh.

It's hard for me to imagine leaving my terra cotta gardens because I can't yet picture myself any other place and I have tried. But at the same time painting rooms, worrying about endless necessary repairs, attempts at jungle taming, the cost of heating an old draughty house - all constant requirements, and all things I don't enjoy doing nor can I afford most of it. Even if I could afford to hire someone to help, handy men are virtually extinct in these parts. I've spent all my life fixin' places up ... I'm tired of doing it and doing it mostly by myself. I need to move, I have to move and I don't want to move ... how's that for a can of worms ?

My personal cavalry arrives tomorrow - my guardian angel, fairy godmother, best friend and her kind, sweet husband L. who's also really smart - he's a Geophysicist and I like saying that ! scientists are my rock stars (I've been saving up all my big science questions for him in a separate jar - the science jar). We (yep that would be the royal we) are putting a new beautiful chocolaty brown, wide plank, laminate floor throughout my expansive downstairs - living room/dinging room and kitchen. Those creamy almond walls are goin' be singin'. It's all MLou's doing, she's just taken this life of mine by the hand and said come on you - we're goin' this way. I like her an awful lot so it's been hard for me to keep diggin my heels in - although I know she would beg to differ and tell you that there's been plenty O' heel diggin on my part. Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

I have a ton of design work here at the teak topped desk - work life and personal life are colliding with a bang for a week or so - this is part of what has made me feel so anxious (in truth I'm anxious, on some level, all the time). I can handle mild multi tasking, but I am a perfectionist (and not at all proud of it, in fact my goal is to eventually shake that handle) and I need time and space and my plan and the planets to all be lined up just so to complete any given task the way Mama sees fit. Don't go throwin' no wrenches in my carefully thought out regimented plan(s) and for damn sure don't go making me rush ... not to mention ...

What will those home reno elves eat ? what about their guest room preparations ? what about the scaredy cat animals who live here like Winnie, Gus & Bleet and that darn chop saw ? What about the fireworks ? (they hate them it scares them) What if one of them escapes in fear ? What if I never find them again? What about all my design projects ? What if my brain goes dead ? What if I never have another great creative idea ? ever ? did I mention what will I cook ? what will we eat ?
oh oh, can you hear them ? the alarms are goin' off. The circuits are goin' to blow. Run !!!!!

Anyone who knows Anxiety on a personal basis knows it's like finding yourself suddenly on an eight lane freeway going way faster then you ever thought you could or ever wanted to and you can't see any exits. It's why a lot of people drink and take drugs, I foolishly gave both up years ago. It makes you feel tired & exhausted - for years I've had an expression - take a trip and never leave the farm.
I used to think it was funny, but not so much anymore.

Turns out Mama's wound pretty tight (at times she says in her defense)
More true confessions from Terra Cotta Gardens


  1. Beautiful photos. I can see why you love the place. I like the face-on photo of Bleet coming through the "jungle".
    It sounds like your MLou is a bit like my "Randee/Darla".
    Scientists are my rock stars, too! I love delving into their fascinating work.

  2. Big Edie and Little Edie - it's quite the documentary that one. Once you've seen it, it really does stay in your mind. Your photos are beautiful Susan. My parents are weighing up the "fors and againsts with selling"... not easy.I think though practicality is a big, big issue.Big decisions, small steps. xxx

  3. OMG!!! Bleet is a HUGE, Texas-sized fine strappin' boy, now!!!! Somehow I always thought that cat was petite and delicate...probably from your artwork! But lifesize he is quite the looker! If we lived close, my Kitty-Baby who is his identical twin would, I have no doubt, be courtin' his affections! You have such an ambitious few days planned...it is going to be just wonderful to make your way through to the other side. You will love your new floor and your new walls, inspite of all the work! Everything will fall into place, you will see. Can't wait to see the BEFORE & AFTER shots! Keeping you ALL in my prayers!



  4. Hey Vicki best loved cheerleader from Dallas Texas - that's why I call him my big fat black velvet chiclet - he weighs a ton but he hardly eats - it's a tres slow metabolism we're sure. He's very sweet and also very weird (eccentric) and afraid of his own shadow. Many thanks for all of the ongoing love & support. Much love from tout la Gang right back at ya !!! (and "all" of your big Gang

  5. Hmm, you're doing floors, I'm doing roofs. Both scary. Billy the roofer has just been round and estimated the amount of work (and money!) needed to get my roof ready for sale. For years I've had a little savings stash that I laughingly called My Roof Or Operation Fund. Let's hope I don't need an operation, ever!

    Lovely lovely garden......

  6. You don't do the pantyhose thing.....do you?

  7. Hey Sweet Susan! Grey Gardens was a great film! Your house and garden are SOOOOOO DEVINE !
    I blogged about OUR Fruit/ Chili Sauce today! That stuff is devine too! Love to all the les gang and the 29 Blackstreet House! I love it!

  8. B Shamu you mean the pantyhose pulled up over the crimp knit flares ... right up high over the boobies ... and you're saying ...
    what ??

    and Carol I'm coming right over now for Fruit Chili Sauce and puppies !

  9. and follow me on tweeter ...

    every one of my surrounding neighbours (all men) are all out mowing their lawns - NOW ! together ! at the same time - a cacophony of spewing loud engine noises. Heaven forbid that someone's lawn be a tiny bit longer than someone else's on our big day tomorrow - Canada Day. Mama hates to close the windows, she's much rather curse them under her breath. Sigh

  10. Trust me. Having seen both the Grey Gardens documentary and movie, Black Street is Eden in comparison! I could never get over imagining the smell! To me, the photos of your place look like the very essence of Summer!

  11. I adore your tangled, viney, romantic #29.

  12. Careful now, you don't want any of that American Crazy wiping off on you or before you know it you'll be buying the full season of the NJ Housewives off of Itunes.

  13. LOVE your tangled garden. love love love. It's so dang-blasted hard to leave a place that you love as much as you love 29. I had to do that, too, and I cried buckets. It's just awful hard, and there is no way around it. Plow through to the other side! Wishing you a wonderful Canada Day. I hope the mowing stops soon. :)

  14. first the photos are all wonderful. i so love visiting your terra cotta gardens. second, yes, i've known the kind of anxiety you are speaking of and it is quite debilitating. i feel for you and am sending you gentle calming breezes that you may relax and find solace in not worrying (too much)!

    take care and love to all!

  15. Lovely, lovely home. I'll be back to tour some more...

    Thank you for feeding my senses a treat with my coffee~~~

  16. Just breathe.............
    I always forget to breathe when I'm anxious :)

    Love, love Terra Cotta Gardens ♥

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