I Call It Keeping My Sanity – Guest Post by Karin Tabke

I am so pleased to welcome good friend Karin Tabke to our home on the web. Karin has a new collection out, THE CHRONICLES OF KATRINA….a very sexy read! And so much fun. Look for purchase links for Chronicles at the end of the post. Take it away, Karin!

Hubby calls it expensive.  I’m talking about my hobbies over the years.  I’ve dabbled in my fair share.  Horses and showing, shooting and hunting, fishing, sailing, starting businesses, selling businesses, showing my dog, raising snakes and iguanas, refinishing stuff, ceramics, flower arranging, growing roses, culinary classes, gardening, showing my dog again, training my dog to track, yadda yadda yadda, the list goes on.

It drives my husband crazy. I jump feet first into whatever it is at the moment that captures my fancy and immerse myself until I have mastered it or in some cases, just become bored by it all. But for me, there is always something exciting around the corner.  I am always involved in something. I can’t not be.

A few years ago I made the decision to re-populate my backyard with an abundance of flowering containers and flower beds.  I’ve only had moderate luck growing things. Stuff dies on me.  Usually because I forget to water it. Or move it out of the sun. Basically, I have never possessed a green thumb. But when I decided to redo my garden, I also made the decision to educate myself and make the commitment to actually care for the flora.

My kids and hubby shook their heads.  “You kill everything, mom!”

I’d show them.  And I did. I researched everything. I love research.  And I paid attention to those flowers. I gave them what they needed, not what I thought they wanted.  Despite my best intentions, and due diligence, I lost about half of my plants and flowers that first year.  But the following spring I was ready to give it another go, and by the time early summer rolled around, my garden was Home and Garden cover worthy. It gave me great satisfaction to stand out front in the mornings with a cup of coffee and gloat as I gazed upon my luscious begonias, fat purple hydrangeas, and velvety lilies. I did the same out back, but with more reason to smile. My bougainvilleas were two stories tall and in constant righteous bloom.  My angel’s trumpet was glorious. My containers of impatients, dahlias, and daisies overfloweth.  It was amazing to behold.  And I did it.  But I had help. My father-in-law.  Dad and I spent hours and hours selecting the right plants, soil and fertilizer. But when dad passed away that summer, my garden died with him. I didn’t care about the flowers. I didn’t care about much of anything.

The following spring, I had no urge to plant.  Not one seed. Not one bloom. So, I didn’t.  The left overs from the previous year barely eeked out an existence in my yard. But by fall, I realized I missed my garden. I missed my quiet time. I missed spending that time with myself. And by its pathetic appearance, my garden missed me too. But it was too late to plant.  So I stared planning for this spring.  I’ve mapped out where my container veggie garden is going. I’ve begun to collect begonia and dahlia bulbs. I’m picking up a half a dozen half wine barrels next week for my tomatoes and dwarf lemon tree. But my prize project this spring is to populate the area around my koi pond with orchids.

I have become obsessed with orchids.  It started a few years ago in Kauai.  There’s this great little place called Orchid Alley in Kapa’a. I just knew as I talked to the grower that my climate would be perfect for many types of orchids.  I visualized my yard bursting with exotic fragrant blooms!

Hubby saw the glint in my eyes and my brain cells smoking as I mentally planned it all.  He shook his head and put his hands up.  “No! You’re not doing this again.”

I think that’s what he said. I wasn’t paying attention.  Since that trip to Kauai I have become obsessed with learning everything I can about orchids.  So far so good.  I’ve only lost a few (over loving not neglect)

Where I live, Spring has sprung.  My cymbidiums are getting ready to bloom, as well as my dendrobiums.

I find great solace in caring for those lovelies.  It isn’t hard either.  In fact, orchids are not only hardy plants but relatively easy to care for and maintain.  It’s just knowing what they want.  Their likes and dislikes, and respecting it.  Just like in any relationship.

The View from My Kitchen

The View from My Kitchen

And while my husband continues to roll his eyes, he doesn’t get on my case about the time and money spent.  My orchids keep me occupied. They make me happy. I can clear my head when I tend my plants.  I work out plot points, character issues.  Gardening gives me peace.  It zenifies my world.  In so doing, it makes life for those around me livable.

I realized that I have always had some outlet, something that was just mine.  Something that challenged me, and gave me a great sense of accomplishment when I rose to the challenge and mastered it.  I’m not sure which part of the process I like better: the journey or the goal. I think it’s a combination of both: the journey and finally after hard work arriving at the destination.

What about you?  Do you have a hobby you’re passionate about?

Cyndi again….I KNOW you want to stalk, er, follow Karin in the net! Here’s how…

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For more information on The Chronicles of Katrina, click HERE