Everything’s Coming Up Roses

It took several weeks, but my allergies seem to have finally abated. Thank God. I’m not sure how much more I could have taken. Funny thing is, our yard is still in bloom with something new every day. It’s fun to see what sprouts up next, and now that some of the early blooms have died off in tandem with my allergies, I’m starting to narrow down just exactly who is the culprit. As of now, the flowering pear trees are my prime suspect, but I guess I’ll just have to wait and see how the rest of the spring plays out.

In the meantime, it was nice to head outside for a little while today to take pictures of some of the new flowers without my head exploding. There is literally something blooming in just about every inch of our yard, and even though I’ve been too busy to even think about planting a garden this year, it looks as though we just might have a bumper crop of rhubarb, peaches, and grapes.

I can’t even tell you how ridiculously excited I am about the peaches and grapes! ūüôā

So, for your viewing pleasure, here are a few of the newest blooms I found today…

Dear Allergies, You Suck.

Dear Allergies,

You suck.

There I said it. No more beating around the bush. I’ve spent the last couple weeks trying to be nice, giving you the benefit of the doubt. You know, the whole, “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all” routine.

My parents raised a polite girl, but even I’ve got my limits.

See, here’s the thing. I’m an outdoor girl. Always have been. I’d much rather be hanging outside, enjoying the sun and the wind on my face than stuck indoors any day of the week. Yet here I am, holed up in my living room, afraid to step out the front door if I haven’t taken my daily Zyrtec, and even then I’m still sometimes overcome by a sudden violent sneezing fit, like today, when I nearly blew my left eyeball right out of my skull.

No joke people. It still feels a little bigger than my right one.

Plus, I’m a big fan of breathing, especially breathing through my nose. Yet you have effectively closed my sinuses up so tight that I’m not even sure there’s enough room¬†in my head for my brain anymore.

Told you I wasn’t kidding about that eye.

I’ve taken to doing a saltwater nasal rinse at least three times a day and sleeping with a Breathe Right strip on my nose. (Somebody cue “Sexy and I Know It”. It’s my new theme song).

My 2-year-old thinks it’s hilarious when I start sneezing and can’t stop. She follows me around the house fake sneezing and laughing and requesting her own Kleenex to mock blow her nose while I blow give gallons of mucus out of mine. Let me tell you, it’s real fun when we’re outside and she makes fun of me in public. I’m sure the neighbors are starting to think we’re doing some sort of mother-daughter slapstick comedy routine.

But here’s the thing, I can’t hide away the house, not when the sun is shining and the¬†world is so alive and beautiful right outside my door. We’ve got peonies that will be blooming soon…

And some teeny tiny grapes growing on our vines, which I am ridiculously excited about…

White and purple lilacs blooming in every part of the yard and perfuming the air…

And the beautiful purplish blue carpet of Aubrieta flowers growing at the base of the large tree in our front yard.

So, dear allergies, I just wanted to take a moment to tell you, politely, to go fuck yourself. You might think you’re winning the battle, but believe me, I will win the war.


Lori Romano

Something In My Yard Is Out To Get Me

Something in my yard is out to get me.

I sneezed over 78 times today. After that, I lost count. And leave it to my 2-year-old to laugh and make fun of me, running around the house and mimicking me while I’m in the midst of a violent sneezing fit. Little turd.

Apparently, I’m allergic to something. Bad part is, I don’t even know where to begin. It’s like a game of nature-themed Clue outside right now, trying to figure out who’s the culprit. In my yard alone there are over¬†ten varieties of tulips,¬†seven varieties of daffodils,¬†eight varieties of roses, handrangeas, various ornamental grasses, a peach tree, a magnolia tree,¬†a lilac bush, grape vines, ornamental pear blossoms, and several dozen other plants and assorted foliage that I can’t even begin to identify. Hell, the only reason I knew the items on the list above is because the former owners left¬†behind a list of some of the things they planted.

And right now, everything is blooming.

I didn’t always have allergies. Growing up, I never remember having any issues. Except for the occasional cold or flu, and one bout of mono that landed me in the hospital for three days the summer before my sophomore year of high school, I was a pretty healthy kid. I never even had the chicken pox!

It wasn’t until my college years that I began to suffer seasonal allergies.¬†Just about the time that the prettiest flowers started blossoming, my sinuses would revolt and close up tighter than a Venus Flytrap. Boy, I tell ya, there‚Äôs nothing sexier than a girl whose face is perpetually damp from the steady flow of liquid draining from both eyes and nostrils. Add a layer of redness¬†around the nose, bloodshot eyes, and enough phlegm to fill a small bathtub¬†and I start looking like one of the animated corpses from The Walking Dead.

I¬†thought it must be something on the East coast–some sort of tree or flower that I just wasn’t used to, sending my sinuses into overdrive–but even now, after moving to Arizona and settling back in Nebraska, the allergies return like clockwork every spring.

Damn you beautiful foliage! I love you, but my clogged head hates you. Can’t we strike a truce?

Until then, I’ll pop a Zyrtec (no more make-me-jittery-and-keep-me-all-night-clenching-my-teeth-ClaritinD for me thanks), and pray that I can make it through another spring without sneezing so hard I pop a blood vessel.

Wish me luck.

In A Gadda Da Vida

When Steven and I bought our new house¬†in December, we knew the biggest challenge was going to be our big yard.¬†¬†Judging by the landscaped flower beds and pots and trellises and trees and shrubs in just about every corner, nook, and cranny, we guessed that we might be getting in a little over our heads. I mean, neither one of us knows what to do with something like this…

Honestly, our first thought would be just to mow it all down and try to bag up the mess but we’re pretty sure there are a whole lot of plants and flowers buried under here, not to mention what appears to be a wagon wheel covered with brush and a thick layer of dead leaves.

Sadly, neither of us is much of a gardener. We know next to nothing about plants and trees and landscaping, and I doubt either one of us could correctly identify a weed if we actually saw one (with the exception of dandelions. Come on, we’re not complete flora morons). So, we figured we’d just start slow, raking and bagging as much as possible, to see what we could unearth. Of course, that prompted Steven to head directly to Lowe’s to buy some fancy gas-powered leaf sucker/blower/mulcher machine, which he was having fun with, right up until he realized that the amount of leaves we’d already raked into piles would keep him busy sucking and mulching until spring of 2013.

So, we both rolled up our sleeves and started raking and bagging the old fashioned way, and I have to say, we’ve made some pretty decent progress so far.

Here’s a bit of the front yard…

And the north side yard…

And the back yard and south side yard…

We still have quite a bit to go, but it’s amazing how quickly everything is blooming now that all the dead brush is being cleared away. We’ve got some new buds sprouting on the peach tree…

And trees and shrubs beginning to show their first signs of green…

We’ve got brightly-colored flowers beginning to bloom all around the yard…

And just look at what a difference a few days of warm sunshine can make. I took this first shot on Tuesday, March 6…

And this shot of the same tree on March 12…

I’ve gotta admit, it’s sort of fun stepping outside each morning and being surprised by something new and beautiful each time. And now that we’ve spent the past few days out in the yard clearing away the mountains of piled up fall leaves and seeing the first flowers of the season beginning to bloom, we’re getting sort of anxious to see what the rest of the spring and summer have in store for us. We know that we may not decide to keep it all (or be able to keep up with it all), but¬†we figure after a season or two of seeing how things grow, we might be able to get a handle on it.

After three days of hard work and we’ve only begun to scratch the surface. At this point, the only thing we’re really bummed about is that we didn’t buy stock in biodegradable Lawn and Leaf Bags before we began…

You Should Smell Like Dirt

“In the¬†spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” -Margaret Atwood


I’ve always been an¬†“outdoor girl”. Staying cooped up inside for very long tends to make me a little crazy. I need sunshine and fresh air. I need to feel the wind on my face. And to be quite honest, I need a little dirt on my hands. It makes me feel alive and grounded and connected to something¬†bigger than myself.

When Steven and I moved into our new house¬†in December, one of the things we were most excited about was¬†the big chunk of property it was sitting on. We pictured ourselves¬†barbecuing on the patio, hanging out on the front porch swing, and chasing¬†Cadence and Electra around the yard.¬†And now that the weather is finally warming up, we’re really¬†getting a chance to enjoy it. It¬†felt so good today to hang outside with my two favorite girls, working in the yard, soaking up the sun,¬†enjoying the beautiful day.

Of course you know I brought the camera.

Every day, we see something new blooming…

And I couldn’t help but to snap a few (um…a lot) of photos of Electra lounging on the front porch. There’s just something about a hound on a porch…

And Miss Cadence was very excited to wear the new pair of shades her Grandma Jayne bought for her. I might be biased, but I think she looks like a rock star. ūüôā

And I love that I was able to catch her faker faker bellyacher drama queen pout on film today. Makes me laugh every time.

So tell me, what are you enjoying this spring?

Spring Has Sprung

Even if the winter has been exceptionally mild, dropping just one heavy snowfall and a couple of week of consecutively frigid temperatures, the coming of spring always seems to make you feel a little better. The days get a little longer. The sun shines a little brighter. And the world around you seems to come a little more into focus when bright new life begins to push its way through the dead brown blanket of winter.

We caught our first glimpse last week, when temperatures climbed to 70 on Tuesday. And even if¬†old Mother Nature decides to throw us a curveball in the shape of a freak¬†late season¬†snowstorm, I think it’s safe to say that spring has officially sprung.

I don’t know about you, but I am sure ready. And with a big yard full of mystery plants and flowers (because, let’s face it, to a black thumb gardener like me, they are all a mystery), I’m excited to see what our new home will look like once everything begins to bloom. Here are the first of the season. And believe me, there are many more to come…

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