My Means To My End

I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions. For me, they create too much pressure — and within a week, they’ll be in the trash heap and I’ll be spending the rest of the year beating myself up because I didn’t go to the gym or lose weight or learn a new craft.  Besides, in my world, each day gives us a chance to get a fresh start — hence, the sunrise photo at the top of this post.

This year, though, is different.

Orchid, close-up.

Maybe it’s because it’s a new year and a new decade. Maybe it’s because Joe and I just saw the dermatologist and had a few things cut off and set out for biopsy. Maybe it’s because tomorrow is my first stress test since arriving in Florida, and I just passed the one-year anniversary of the placement of my 14th coronary stent. Maybe it’s because the older I get, the more stories I hear about friends, family, and random people suddenly dying from either an illness or an accident. Maybe it’s because the older I get, the more I worry about the end . . . my end.

I apologize if all of this seems morbid — and I’ve tried to soften it with photos of flowers currently blooming in my garden — but this end-of-my-days stuff has been tapping me on my shoulder for some time now. I, however, chose to ignore it — until today.

The remains of a Bromeliad flower.

Let’s face it — death is a fact of life. Just look at all of the plants that you and I have loved over the years — and how many of them have died. Perennials and trees give us years — even decades or more of enjoyment — but pity the poor annuals. To paraphrase from Carol Burnett, “It seems they just got started and before you know it, comes the time we have to say so long.”

It’s the same thing with people. The older we get, the more we realize how quickly time passes. I recently watched a series, The Movies That Made Us, on Netflix. It looks at what happened behind the scenes at the some of the most iconic movies ever made. When a friend first told me about the series, I thought how interesting to hear all about Sunset Boulevard and other classics from the ‘30s, ‘40s, and ‘50s.

Instead, the series focused on films from the ’80s! The first episode was about Dirty Dancing. Excuse me, but when did Dirty Dancing become 33 years old? It feels as if I saw it yesterday! Could 33 years truly feel like yesterday? Am I so old that moments in my life are considered “iconic”?

Light Bulb Clerondenrum.

Joe and I have made plans for our passing — wills and DNRs and healthcare proxies and all that. I, though, have not made any arrangements for my digital life — my Nitty Gritty Dirt Man existence. That’s all changing in 2020.

For starters, I’m investigating each of my social media platforms for their “death” information. WordPress, which hosts this blog, appears to have the most comprehensive policy — including information on how to make someone else an admin on my site and how WP can work with the designated survivor to either transfer the site to another owner or make it private.


Facebook and Twitter, meanwhile, are vying for second place — although FB has a slight edge. Simply click on the question mark in the upper right corner of the page and type in “death.” There will be a list of topics, including creating a legacy contact and memorializing the FB account of the deceased. Twitter has a similar search area, but the information feels a bit less complete than FB.

In my brief research, LinkedIn appears to need some work in the area.

Gout Plant.

There’s also my own plan. My hope is that Joe will be outlive me, and it’s for him that I am making a spreadsheet with all of my NGDM and personal social media accounts, as well as the password for each of them. I’m also going to type out step-by-step instructions on how to post what is the most difficult part of this process.

I’m going to write my own farewell post to you. After all, you are a large part of this blogging process and of gardening. Your support and encouragement and smiles are often more rewarding than a seed successfully sprouted.  Once written, it will remain as a draft — hopefully for a very long time — and Joe will simply have to open the admin page and hit publish.

Yesterday, Today, & Tomorrow.

As I write this, I’m suddenly realizing there’s always the possibility Joe will pre-decease me (although, I don’t really see that happening since I have more health issues) or that we will both go at the same time. In either case, I’m going to have to choose a digital executor or . . .

. . . accept that at some point, it’s all ashes to ashes, bytes to bytes.

And The One Lovely Blog Award Goes To . . .


Streaked Sphinx Moth

I was as surprised by the emailed notice as I was by the mysterious moth resting on the edge of a terra cotta strawberry pot. My blog was nominated for The One Lovely Blog Award.

I know blog awards receive mixed reactions. Some people love ‘em; some people don’t. Some see them as an honor; others see them as a chore.

Personally, this particular nomination could not have come at a better time.

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Bloomin’ Update 53: New Year, New Look, New Plants



It’s been some time since I posted a “Bloomin’ Update,” because — well — I had nothing bloomin’ in my garden because I didn’t have a garden in zone 10.

But as 2014 changed into 2015, so too did the garden change. Where there was once only lawn, there are now beds. Where there are beds, there are now plants and pots and paths. (Speaking of paths, I’ll describe the path I took to create this garden in a future post.)

With all of the changes happening around me, I decided to make some changes to this blog. For a while, I’ve considered purchasing my own domain — which I have now done. It’s official, I am now Nitty Gritty Dirt Man dot com.

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A Gardening Life Remembered

Lee May April 15, 1941 - December 3, 2014

Lee May
April 15, 1941 – December 3, 2014

When I started this blog, the first piece of advice I received was to find other blogs that I admired, blogs that I thought would appeal to the readers I hoped to attract. After scrolling through blog after blog, I found one that stood out from the rest.

It was classic and classy, well-written, witty, and wise.

It was Lee May’s Gardening Life.

I left a comment immediately and added the site to my newly learned term: a blogroll. For some time, Lee May’s Gardening Life was the only blog listed on that roll.

It had been a long time since I had written. Prior to blogging and prior to my life as a school social worker, I had been a journalist — but that was a long ago chapter in my life. So when Lee — a much-respected journalist — replied that he liked my writing, he provided water to my young sprouting blog and to my soul.

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When The Fog Rolls In — And Out

Foggy Night

There’s no other way to describe my brain during these frigid January days than this photo of a foggy, foggy night.  I admit when I first saw the lights beaming through the misty mid-winter air, I thought of a scene from “The X-Files” — you know, an alien spacecraft had landed just on the other side of the trees behind my house.

But the more I stared at the photo, the more I thought about the tangled thoughts and clouded emotions and glimmers of light in my head.  There’s a lot happening up there, and very often it’s difficult to make sense or to accept what it all is.

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2013 In Review & Auld Lang Syne (Mairi Campbell)

I know I said I would see all of you in 2014 — and it may already be that in some parts of the world — but I wanted to share this post, compiled by the stats helper monkeys.  It’s the annual report for this blog and the data is fascinating — from a listing of the most popular posts to the most frequent commenters to the global location of commenters.

Not only do I thank the statisticians for keeping this info, but I also thank all of you — because without you, there would be no statistics to keep.

Following the stats are my plans for 2014 and one more tune to end the year.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 41,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 15 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Plans for 2014

I’m not one for resolutions — they don’t last very long — so I’ll stick with a to-do list.   Here are a few highlights:

  • I’m currently compiling the posts from this blog into a book.  My dilemma is which self-publishing platform to use.  It’s a bit overwhelming.  So far, I’m debating using Smashwords or publishing straight to Amazon, where a book could be distributed to Kindle or print-on-demand.  There’s also Blurb, which creates coffee table books.  If anyone out there as any experiences/opinions/ideas — I would love some guidance.
  • I was also nominated for a blogging award, and the acceptance post is on its way.  As with many of these awards, there’s a place for seven random facts about me — so if there’s anything you would like to know about me, please leave a question and I’ll choose some of those (or at least those that I can answer).

The Tune

Just when you thought I had exhausted the December with yule tunes, I had to share one more — one of the most beautiful renditions of “Auld Lang Syne” I’ve ever heard.  This is Mairi Campbell.

Happy New Year!