Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Dollar Tree, Gladiolas, and Wild Geese

This past Sunday, I went to lunch with my older son, Trevor. We went to a Chinese buffet, sort of a tradition with us going back many years. We had a nice visit, talking about his new position with an emerging company that offers him an opportunity to combine his many skills and talents. And, they love his sense of humor. Even a look can bring on the laughter, plus he has a gift for impersonation that's uncanny.

After lunch, we were standing out in the parking lot, talking, when I noticed that next door to the restaurant was a dollar store, the Dollar Tree, to be exact. I've not done much shopping at dollar stores, except for a few Christmas's ago, when I suggested we all go to the dollar store of our choice and buy each other almost-useful  doo-dads and keep the budget to no more than $15 per person. I thought it would be fun, but it didn't go over real big and had few participants. I hadn't been back to a dollar store since. So, Trevor's suggestion that we go check it out seemed like a good one. We agreed to keep our expenditures to about  $10 each, just to see what we could get in that range.

When we got inside, I went ga-ga over all the possibilities.  And each only $1!  A true dollar store. Then, Trev went into some schtick around shopping at the dollar store and I couldn't stop laughing. Not many things would be more self-diminishing than peeing my pants in a dollar store. So, I managed to pull myself together and we went about selecting our merchandise. We each ended up, at Trev's fine suggestion, with a little LED light for our computers. Just plug it into a port and voila!  It bends over and lights up your keyboard!

Alrighty then.

We ended up only slightly over budget. I couldn't live without  $11 of stuff. Trevor racked up a  $14 bill. And we had a ton of fun.

Meanwhile, back at the homestead, I have new flowers blooming. Cosmos, gladiolas and zinnias.

Oh, and this lily lives right inside my garden gate.

Winter squash are setting on the vine, cabbages firming up nicely, cucumbers and onions for my salads, and new potatoes that are absolutely yummy. My neighbors were on vacation recently and offered produce from their own garden, such as broccoli and peas, to round out my slim pickins' and make use of their bounty while they were away. They had nasturtiums for salads, which I'd never tried before. Not only were they beautiful to look at, but very edible. Add some bread from the Farmer's Market, dipped in olive oil, and it made a fine lunch. I served it in a bowl made by my potter friend, Theo, from Green River Pottery, in Santa Fe. It was almost too pretty to eat.


A small flock of Canada geese just flew overhead, honking as they went. Now I have to go to my bookshelf and share with you a poem by Mary Oliver.

Here it is:

"Wild Geese."

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
      love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

~ Mary Oliver

The photographs are mine.


  1. That salad is almost too good to eat, I've always wanted to eat nasturtiums, but never have, I love those old fashioned flowers. the colors in your garden are so vibrant, they almost don't look real. sounds like a fun visit with your son, I like browsing in dollar stores, never know what unique item I might find there.

  2. What splendid colours of all those flowers in your garden and the salad with nasturtium, the warm colours of late summer and beginning of autumn. And the beautiful poem about the wild geese, there's something mysterious about wild geese when they fly above your head in that fine shape of a W.

    It was fun to read about your shopping with your son. We've got some shops here called "Tiger" (with a certain small price: 10 kroner = a coin, a tiny bit more than one dollar) and I can find all kind of things there and go absolutely berserk!
    Grethe ´)

  3. Ooh what a wonderful post! ...and that salad! My granddaughter and I have the Chinese buffet tradition too. We go there every time she comes over for a visit. She's only 10 and I hope we keep this tradition up for a long, long time.

  4. I love the budget story. We do the same thing for xmas and set a limit. It was getting so bad that if you did not spend $100.00 on each kid they were not happy (nieces and nephews that is). Every year in august our town has gargage sales (i mean like every house in our town) and what we do since our kids are young is buy clothes from those sales for the year ahead. We make out like bandits because our kids are younger and most of that stuff is only worn 1 time or the tags are still on them. I use to be real bad with money but now if I dont need it I dont shop. My kids love garage sales and dollar stores. When I was growing up we use to have a "Dime store" our town. Many things / especially candy was a this day many people remember the people who ran it because they actually cared about people and kids.

  5. Linda: Yes, the colors are so vibrant they do look unreal. I also have purple zinnias that are just as colorful. It's like the grand finale of fireworks here in my garden, mostly gold and purple. I forgot to mention the pink and purple flox....

    Grethe: I'm glad to know you have an equivalent in the Tiger stores. The economy here has caused a real surge in these stores and a brisk business.I had to force myself to put a few things back, to stay near our designated budget. That was part of the fun, deciding what stayed and what went home with us.

    Lynn: It's nice to have these times with certain traditions intact. I , too, hope yours continues for a very long time.

    Black Widow: I've been inspired by your own posts of finding ways to live with simplicity. It's at the heart of finding new ways of being in this world, that's healthier for us and for the planet. Thank you for reading and commenting

  6. Oh but this is such a serene post, Teresa. Beautiful, just beautiful. I could have crawled through the internet and nibbled on your salad. I love nasturtiums. Started with my youngest sister, when she was a kid and planted them for a school project. To make her happy we put them on a salad (like the teacher said we could do) and voila, true love.

    But your garden is a masterpiece. Love the colors, the bright happy feeling that reaches for the sun. And fun, fun at the dollar're right, hard to stick to budget!

    If you have time, please click over to follower Andrea Pearson Books. She's got a unique clip of Hotel California (one of the all-time greats, I think) you're gonna love. XX, K.

  7. Hi Kittie! Nice to hear from you. I listened and they are two very talented young men. Isn't it wonderful how the internet is introducing people from all over the world? It really is a global community. I love the photos you posted from your European trip. Just lovely. Hugs, T

  8. The salad looks delicious and you photographed it perfectly! Great story about your shopping tour of the Dollar Store. How about some pictures of your treasures? Mary Oliver is a fine poet, isn't she? We should add poetry to all of our posts. Read your comment on my blog about returning to SF this fall...I am green with envy. I probably should move there, but I'd miss water and greenery too much, methinks.

  9. Kate: to reiterate my comment on your blog: My trip to Santa Fe will be a visit only. I call Minnesota home now, but Santa Fe is sort of like a "second home," and probably always will be.

  10. Wonderful post. First of all, the release of finding simple, gratifying purchases at the dollar store. Then making that salad with nasturtiums! Looks scrumptious.

    "the world offers itself to your imagination,.." Beautiful poem, too.

  11. Hi Teresa,
    I just added you to my blog roll as well. All the best.

  12. Whee, what a salad! Did it taste as good as it looks?
    We have those stores in The Netherlands too, but the price has gone up. You could now call them $2 dollar stores.. haha.
    Love the poem!!
    Here summer has returned for a couple of days, it almost seemed to be autumn already. But now we have a nice 25C with a breeze and the butterflies are back too!

  13. Paul: Thank you for your comments. The salad was, indeed, scrumptious. I am enjoying your blog. Your current post is a topic I've given some "thought" to, but not too much :)

    Monique: It's starting to feel a bit like autumn here, as well. That's my favorite time of year, so it feels nice.

  14. MY fav $ store treat: giant box of Hot Tamale candy!
    Glad you got to hang with your "issue".

  15. Ooooh, Hot Tamales. They were under consideration, but left behind in the budget shortfall. It's good to have fun sons.

  16. Another fabulous post, and I nearly missed it somehow! I'd forgotten about nasturtiums...must grow some next summer. They make salads so much fun! Loved your story about the Dollar Tree, too, and how much you and your son enjoyed it.

  17. Nancy, thank you! Yes, the flowers were divine.

  18. Teresa,
    I am a new follower. Enjoyed your blog and the post on Dollar store shopping and your flower garden. I used to live in Minnesota, actually grew up there. If you tire of the Dollar Store, you always have the Mall of America. Ha
    wanna buy a duck

  19. Manzanita! I visited your blog and what fun you're having! Love what you "named" it, too. Thanks for reading and commenting. I look forward to sharing our stories.