June 17, 2016

Not As Busy As A Bee

Bumble bee on purple salvia from trowelandpaintbrush.blogspot.ca

The bees are absolutely in love with the salvia in my garden. I don't remember planting this particular salvia where it is. Tall salvia at the very front of a flower bed? Hmmm. I constructed a Dr. Seuss-type rhyme it in my head.

I did not plant them there at all. 
I'd never plant something there so tall.

But the salvia is there and the bees loves it and that makes me happy.

So the bees have been busy but I haven't, at least not in a normal way. The past month has been a bit odd.

In mid-May, I injured my neck while pruning the sides of the tall cedars that surround our garden. It seemed like a normal strain at first but then, a week later, I woke up with neck spasms which I had never experienced before and don't wish on anyone. If I needed a reminder of the neck's function, I had it. It's involved in most every movement. I couldn't drink a glass of water, look down to to gauge my steps on the stairs or do pretty much anything else without triggering a painful spasm. Within a two-hour period, I had forty spasms. I saw a doctor and after two days of medication, the spasms disappeared. Unfortunately, the ongoing stiffness and occasional pain didn't.

In late May, Chloé was sick for over a week with a bad virus. That was worrisome. She missed a week of school and two final exams. We were very relieved when she finally started to feel better.

The week after Chloé was sick, I had to have an unexpected biopsy. I am happy to say that the biopsy results came back negative although my brain has taken several days to regain its focus. Oh stress, you are powerful!

My neck? Well, it's much better than it was but still not normal. It makes me feel grumpy and frustrated. I am going to see a physical therapist on Monday. I realize how much I took it for granted as now I am very conscious of its movement.

Bumble bee with pollen sacs flying towards purple salvia. Photo by Kathleen Maunder (trowelandpaintbrush.blogspot.ca)

I didn't paint for four weeks. I've been on social media only in a sporadic way. Partly because of my neck. Partly because I had lost my focus with everything else going on. I've done bits of things. Bits of gardening. Bits of computer work. Bits of admin work on my shop. I've missed things. I'm sorry.

Yesterday, I realized that this whole not painting thing was not going to solve itself. I just had to start painting again--maybe in shorter sessions. Then I couldn't decide what to paint. It's amazing how not painting for a while can do a number on your head, or at least mine. I start to feel like I can't paint. So I decided to work on an unfinished painting of irises that had been waiting in my drawer. It felt really good to have a paintbrush in my hand again. I've always loved irises so this is the perfect subject to ease me back into my painting routine. And guess what? I still can paint!

Iris watercolor painting in progress by Kathleen Maunder (trowelandpaintbrush.blogspot.ca)

All of this is not to complain, just to explain and share. I look forward to painting, posting and participating more in the weeks ahead! Here's a little poem in honour of my busy garden friends.

The Bee
by Arthur Guiterman

Little chemic-artisan,
Doing work no other can,
Deep in dewy nectaries,
Petal-walled refectories- 
Apple-blossom, columbine,
Rose and lily, all are thine,
Yet, though oft thy weight they bear,
Dost thou know how they are fair?
Thine are sun and Summer breeze- 
Hast thou aught of joy in these?

Pollen-yellow dumbledore,
Leave thy clovers tumbled o'er!
What's a lily? What's a rose?
Down the golden lane he goes,
Drowsing forth a prosy song,
'Honey! Honey!' all day long,
Wasting life's diviner sweet,
Hiving food for drones to eat.
Oh, thou silly, silly bee!
Idle here and learn of me! 

🐝  🐝  🐝  🐝  🐝


  1. It sure does sound like you've been through the ringer! Glad to hear things are beginning to look up for you. I can relate to the injury and realizing just how much you don't think about simple movements until they are restricted. Hope you have a great weekend.

    1. Thanks, Lori! It was a good weekend. My youngest daughter had her high school graduation ceremony. I hope you had a good weekend too.

  2. Hope you can get back to near normal soon, the little things can be so debilitating and it's exasperating too, our bodies are so complex and amazing, take care. Good to see the lovely irises they are beautiful in your painting and real life, such a lovely flower. x

    1. Thanks so much for the good wishes and the comments on my painting, Julie! I agree completely about our bodies being complex and amazing and we take them for granted far too often.

  3. Oh Kathleen, I am really sorry to read that ! May & June have been pretty busy for a different reason, and my mind was a bit elsewhere.
    I hope your neck will be back to itself with the help of the therapist. What a scare about the biopsy, you must have gotten so worried. (geez !!!)
    Let's hope for an eventless summer for you all, healthy, happy & simple.
    xoxo take good care !

    1. Hi Sonia--I know you are going through big changes although I haven't been able to read your most recent posts. I hope to catch up soon. I did leave a comment on your June 3rd post the day that you posted it although there was some sort of glitch as it didn't show up. Yes, waiting for the biopsy results was very scary. It was a big relief to learn it was negative. I saw the physio-therapist for the first time last night and think he is going to be able to help me improve things. Good luck with everything on your plate! xo

  4. Kathleen, I went back to read your previous post, and see now the start of this. I was very ill when you posted, 3 1/2 weeks with on again, off again terrible stomach pain and bathroom issues; tests (all negative), trying various drugs (they did not help), etc. So frustrating. One important thing my husband and I learned was to ALWAYS buy trip insurance for things like: non-refundable tours.
    I thank you for this post, too, as I can also relate to the worry and stress of feeling like you cannot do your art anymore. I love to do all kinds of arts and crafts, and I have clients that look forward to new ornaments in my shop every year to add to their collections. But after not making any for so long since before Christmas), and then being sick, I did not feel the ideas coming, and when I first started again, things were tough to get going. Soon, though, I got a rhythm going, and new ornaments are in the works. Whew! So glad things are getting better for you, too! Hugs! Nancy


Thanks so much for taking the time to visit my blog and to leave me a comment. I love reading them. -- Kathleen

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