Basking in the Glow of a Golden Celebration

Fading summer flowers,
and long past their days of glorious blooming,
signaled that the last days of summer had truly arrived.

Are these flowers a metaphor for the weekend?
I wondered as I hurried out of the house and headed off for a weekend
 with my high school girlfriends.

Long in the planning, the weekend celebration of our
70th birthdays
had finally arrived.
I had dubbed this celebration:
Our Senior Trip.

At age seventy, some may think my girlfriends and I had reached an age beyond the blooming days of youth where there is not much to celebrate.
In our hearts we are still young girls,
we have somehow reached the entry year to our eighth decade.

We came together 
to bask 
in the glory of reaching a milestone that none of knew could be so rewarding.

  1. lie exposed to warmth and light, typically from the sun, for relaxation and pleasure
    revel in and make the most of (something pleasing).*

The Trip to the Celebration

A few of us decided to make the trip from the Colorado Front Range of the Rockies
to the Western Slope of Colorado
via the train.
The train left Denver at 8:05 a.m. for a five hour and forty-eight minute trip
through the Colorado Mountains.
I had not taken this particular train route since my sophomore year in college.
That was fifty years ago.
The entire trip promised to be a nostalgic one for me.

Jim got up early and drove me to Denver where I met up with the other six girls traveling by train.  
We were all very excited.

This railroader's daughter loves a train ride.

As the train wove its way up and over the mountains, a metaphor to describe the weekend began to take shape in my mind:

All is golden.

My History with the Group

I had the good fortune to join the Girls of '63 when I first attended Pueblo East High School during my freshman year in high school.  Pueblo East was a brand new high school in 1959 when my father, an agent for the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad, was transferred from Colorado Springs to Pueblo. I was a very frightened fifteen year old, naive and quite young looking for my age, when I was uprooted from my junior high and transplanted to the high school setting in November of '59.  I had lived in the same house all of my life before that move.  I had known my classmates since kindergarten.

When I walked through those doors of East High, I had no idea that I would make some the most important friendships of my life in the three years I proudly wore gold and white and cheered for the Eagles.  Immediately, the girls from my class began to make me feel welcome by inviting me to school events, or seeking me out to sit with the girls at lunch.  Soon I was attending sleepovers where we laughed all night and told each other stories about our lives.

One of the girls from this group introduced me to my husband.  Her sixteenth birthday(click to read this story.) was our first date.  Now, all these years later, she would be my roommate for our 70th birthday celebration.  

Twenty-two of us gathered to celebrate our 70th birthdays together in the beautiful Glenwood Springs, Colorado.  Yes, much has changed over the years, but in so many ways, nothing has changed.  Those friendships deeply rooted in our youth have flourished over the years as some have gathered quarterly for over twenty-five years.  We missed those who could not attend dearly and thought of them often.

It was my good fortune to join the lunch group about six years ago when I finally connected with some of the stalwarts of the group and learned of the next gathering.  I learned the truth of this quote below the first time I attended one of the lunches.  

This quote also came to mind so often during the weekend:
Your heart and my heart are very old friends.
~ Hafiz

The Celebration

We came together to celebrate attaining the age of seventy.  
We came together to celebrate friendship, 
our histories, 
our loyalty to each other, 
and each individual person.  

We came together to remember those we have lost.

 We shared stories of our lives while we have been living life.

We laughed.
We cried.

We came together to affirm our love for each other.  
We came together to express our support for each other as we move towards the future.

We are our own unique group of Golden Girls.

Here are some photos from our glorious birthday party:

We arrived at the beautiful old railroad station in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.  Our first task was to determine just how we would cross the river to our lodge on the other side.
We navigated the long pedestrian bridge and made it to our destination.
No taxi for us!

We all stayed at the Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge. We had free access to the hot springs pool and a free fabulous breakfast at the hot springs every morning.  Our rooms were wonderful.  We even were able to have a large ballroom for our birthday dinner on Saturday night.  Our fabulous planner, a Glenwood Springs resident with great connections, JG (In the flowered top) made all arrangements for us.  She did an outstanding job.  She is a party planner extraordinaire.  I also think she is  the original Energizer Bunny.  Where does this girl get her energy?

Our Party Planner

The first night, we donned our Girls of '63 shirts for group photos that were taken by a professional photographer.  The poor woman charged with taking our photos must have felt like she was herding cats.  She had excellent "classroom management skills."  Many photos were taken.We had groups that included all those whom had attended kindergarten through graduation together.  I think about nine or ten of the girls were in this group.  That alone is an amazing thing.  About five or six of us joined the Class of '63 during high school.  I alone, did not graduate with the group because my father was transferred to Leadville, Colorado just before my senior year.  

After photos, we walked through town to go to a vaudeville show which was excellent and exceeded all expectations for entertainment for the evening.  As we walked through town we garnered quite a few reactions.  "Hey, were you all born in '63?"  I said I'd take someone believing we all were 63.  A passenger in a passing car built our egos with a whistle.  (Hey, it's been a long time since we've had a guy whistle at us.)

Saturday night we had our big birthday dinner.  So many did so much work to get everything ready, but JG outdid herself.  A florist by trade, she made our table centerpieces and dressed the tables in our school colors of gold and white.  Yearbooks and memory books were on each table.  We had individual table place markers with a picture from our high school yearbook.  SP made each of us a rose bookmark.  JG made the fabulous birthday cake.  

A history of our group was read by PS.  As is our tradition, we raised our margaritas as a toast to those we have lost too soon.  We wept as a list of all of the fallen Eagles from our class was read.  Too many are gone too soon.  A few of the girls went to great effort to set up a tree with photos of all of our fallen Eagles.

The weekend was all about friendship.
I have the best girlfriends.
I am so blessed.
My Girlfriends
Pure Gold
Some of my readers have remarked that they are amazed that this group has met on a consistent basis.  Truly, it is a remarkable feat in this day and age to have a group stay so connected for all these years. We owe PS for the gift of this group.  She is our organizer.  She keeps us together by setting the dates for our meetings in advance.  Those who can come to events, do so.  Those who can't come try to attend the next one.

The hostess for each gathering usually has a co-hostess who serves as a backup hostess just in case of emergency.  The hostess provides the main dish.  PS makes sure we have desserts, salads, and sides assigned to all attending. She even maintains a group photo album that includes a group photo from every gathering since the very first one.  PS had the vision of a 70th birthday party, and we actually made it a reality!  Thank you, PS!
PS reading the history of our group
The setting for the celebration could not have been better.  We had access to the healing waters of the Glenwood Springs Hot Springs for three glorious days.  The warm natural springs provided just the right place for bonding again with each other.  One day, I'm sure we spent at least three hours in the afternoon just standing in a large circle in the water, or sitting on sides with our feet soaking in the warm water, talking.  Yes, there was a lot of talking, talking, talking, and much laughter.  We cried a bit.  We marveled at the stories of our lives.  We were astounded that we actually had these hours together for such deep, reflective, sharing.  
The setting
DC & KM friends for 65 years

I felt younger and healthier after a weekend of soaking in the healing waters for hours on end.  Was this place the fountain of youth?  I remember looking up at the beautiful Colorado blue sky, feeling the warmth of the sun on my shoulders, and gazing into the beautiful lined faces and sparkling eyes of my lifelong friends and thinking that life just doesn't get much better than this.

Too soon, it was time to go home. 

Throughout the weekend, we shared hugs, 
held hands, 
promised to be there to end.
DDI commented that next great challenge as a group would be loss of hearing.
Yes, we had a hard time hearing at times.
That is the reality of celebrating 70!

We had soaked up rays of sun and healing waters.
We relaxed and experienced great pleasure.

We reveled in, and
 made the most of
celebrating our 70th birthdays.

We basked in the warmth of our golden friendships.


A Saturday Morning on the Cusp of Autumn

it's been in the air.
I sense a meteorological shift that I usually don't feel this early in the year at this altitude.

Some mornings or evenings, the air is so cool and crisp, I think I am again living in the mountains.
"Close enough," I think to myself.
While I don't live in the mountains,
I live in the next best place:  in a valley that begins at the foothills of the Front Range of Colorado.

Hints of atmospheric changes surround me.

  Fresh cool air soothes me as I fall asleep at night.
The sounds  of the six o'clock bells from the church at
 Mount St. Francis,  
carried a mile down the valley to my house by gentle valley breezes, 
awaken me each morning at 6:00 as they drift into an open bedroom window.

For many school has begun.
Autumn is on its way.

We are on the cusp of autumn.




a point that marks the beginning of a change
a point of transition: turning point, edge, verge

Transition is never an easy thing for me.
I've never been able to transition from one point of time to another easily.
I stay firmly planted in the time in which I find myself,
even as I wish to transition to another time.
I'm in no hurry to transition to autumn.

I recognize that the days and nights are changing.
Another season will soon draw to an end, and we will be entering another one.

Today, a Saturday on the cusp of autumn,
wishing to hang on to the few summer days we have left,
I ask my husband if he would like to go to the 

It is no secret that I love going to the Margarita at Pine Creek.
It is only two miles from my house.
One of my favorite summertime things to do is to have breakfast outside on one of the patios for this restaurant on a Saturday.
It is unbelievable that today is the first time this year we have attended the Farmers' Market held here.

It is windy when we arrive.
We both are hungry, so we decide to eat before we shop for produce.
Jim knows what I love to eat on these special Saturday mornings:  artichoke and feta egg puffs.
"Of course I will also share some coffee cake with you." I say to him with a smile.
The coffee cake is also one of my favorite things.

He orders my breakfast treat as I search for a table in the shade.
Tables are hard to find.
Tables in the shade are even harder to find.
I find us a place just as the wind really begins to kick-up.
One of the helpers comes over to the table and takes down the umbrella that provides shade.
She says, "This wind is making this table a dangerous place with the umbrella up.  If you want shade, you may go into the lower patio."

Usually, I would want to be where the action is among all the other folks who are enjoying the ambiance of The Margarita.
Today, there is no live band, so I really am quite happy about going to the patio where there is shade and no other people.

In this quiet and sheltered place,
one of my favorite places to be,
a place where I have memories of meals shared with loved ones and dear friends,
I am able to eat, reflect, and takes photos without any distractions.

I find a table under a rustic canopy made of native tree branches.

I admire the unique designs of the building that houses the main restaurant.
"I love this place."
I think to myself,
These summer Saturday mornings are nearly gone for this year; enjoy the gift of today in this place.

I admire the ponderosa pine that gives us additional shelter from the sun.
The wind has stopped.
"Look at the size of that ponderosa," I say to Jim.
I wonder how long it has been in this spot.

Gazing at the tree, and the perfect setting for a table,
I remember playing under a favorite tree during the carefree days of childhood.
 Inspired by the stories about pioneers and native American Indians,
my cousins, sister and I would build make-believe tepees under pine trees.
We would pretend we lived in the wild and lived under trees.
We would sweep pine needles into a pile, cover them with doll blankets and put our "babies" to bed.

I notice a delphinium planted in a pot and placed next to our table.
Note to self:  Next year think outside the box.  
Plant a delphinium in a pot on the porch where the deer can't get it.  
Sometimes we must look at things with a new slant 
if the way we have always done things is no longer working. 

After I have eaten, I go exploring with my iPhone camera.

I've been on the patio before, but it was always filled with people.
I'm excited to find all the great spots where great food can be enjoyed during lunch and dinner.

Nasturtiums growing in boxes create a nice background for this spot.

I've never seen this area before.

I guess the funkiness of design is what always fascinates me about The Margarita at Pine Creek.
Everywhere I looks, I see small touches that add to whimsical charm of this place.
See the dog footprints in the cement.
I love that.

We lingered at our table under the trees enjoying the surroundings and the beauty of the day.
A unique circumstance of a gust of wind had allowed us to have this private place to enjoy our breakfast today.
It was the perfect place to enjoy a late summer Saturday.

Too soon, I remember we came for produce,
so we made our way to the Farmers' Market in the area just below our quiet place of retreat.

The harvest is another reminder that summer is nearly over.
Autumn can't be far off.


a noun: person, place or thing

Cusp - a place

Like it our not, summer is drawing to a close.
We are on the cusp of autumn.

This is a time of transition.
What will the next season bring?

On Seventy ~ Reflections on Becoming a Septuagenarian

Last year about this time, a dear friend and I met to write.  We spoke of our upcoming seventieth birthdays.  We thought we should take the year to reflect on the milestone event that would soon be upon us.  What lessons would we learn as we approached the eighth decade of our lives?  What, if anything, could we learn about life before we became septuagenarians?

Having read many of May Sarton's journals over the years, I went in search of her book At Seventy: A Journal.  I knew I had read it before, but found I had gotten rid of it when we moved.  So, off to the library I went to find it for a re-reading.  Interestingly, I found little insight in this particular journal.  She did determine that during her seventieth year, she would journal for one entire year.  I thought I might try to do better than that.  I toyed with the idea of writing fifteen minutes a day for one year.  

We are now twenty-one days since my seventieth birthday.  Needless to say, I have not written everyday.  I have however had some reflections on reaching this milestone in life.

In At Seventy: A Journal,Sarton wrote, 
How is seventy different from sixty-five?  I don't see much difference, except that time accelerates.  The days go past with frightening rapidity, and so do the years.  It is plain that I am not ready for old age!  But then time does not stand still for old age I fear.  On the contrary, from all reports, it simply flies away, and that is what I am beginning to notice.  

Did her words ring true?
Is seventy different than sixty-five?
I thought I might take a look back.
What was my sixtieth birthday like?
Wow, talk about time accelerating.
My grandchildren were not teenagers when I was sixty.
Time simply flies away...
Mason was six and Hannah and Atticus were two.
I could hold the two younger ones in my arms.  Now they are all taller than I am.
I ventured up on the trampoline the day I turned sixty, just to see if I could still jump.
I could.
It is plain that I am not ready for old age! 
60th birthday
I was excited to turn sixty-five.
Having officially retired at age sixty-one, I was still working until sixty-five for insurance benefits.
At sixty-five, my medicare coverage kicked in and I was thrilled.
I felt good.
I was healthy.
True retirement was something I was looking forward to with great anticipation.
I had much I wanted to accomplish.
On the day of my sixty-fifth birthday, my high school girl friends gathered at my home.
It was a planned gathering that happened to occur on my birthday.
Here are some photos from that day.

The group photo, my photo at age sixty-five, and a few of the girls.

One cannot reflect upon reaching the eighth decade of life without remembering that dear ones have been lost along the way.
On that day of my sixty-fifth birthday, we could not know that
before the year was out, my girlfriends and I would lose Judy, our dearly loved classmate.
She had been fighting cancer, but she was well and looked so good that day.
In the photos above, she is sitting in the place of honor, the gold chair. 
Sadly, she did not reach the milestone the rest of reach this year of becoming

I also lost my dear daughter during my sixty-fith year.
She died three months after my birthday.
For half a decade, I have learned the meaning of bereavement.

At seventy, I am much different than I was at sixty-five. 

Mark Twain shared his wisdom at seventy:

I have achieved my seventy years in the usual way, by sticking strictly to a scheme of life which would kill anybody else....I will offer here, as a sound maxim, this: That we can't reach old age by another man's road.
Mark Twain

My life was pretty simple in many ways until I hit sixty-five.
It was filled with some sorrow and disappointments, but mostly, I was quite pleased with the path my life had taken.
My children were grown and it seemed they had launched successfully.
I had just retired from a profession for which I still held great passion.
I thought I would continue to teach some, write some, travel some, and garden a lot.
Grief took away many of those plans.
In the past five years, I think I have come to think more deeply about what is most important in my life.
Also, I refuse to believe that just because I am seventy, I am old.

I prefer the following quote over Mark Twain's.

The first forty years of our life give the text, the next thirty furnish the commentary upon it, which enables us rightly to understand the true meaning and connection of the text with its moral and its beauties. 

The commentary on my first forty years won't be recorded here. 
(Let out a sigh of relief for that!)

At forty, would I ever believe I would be where I am today?
No, never in my wildest dreams would I have known what was in my future.
That is a good thing.
Along with the loss that I have suffered, I've know great joy.
I have been richly blessed.

As I reach seventy, I've learned I have treasures I always longed for when I was younger.

Today, I will touch on several treasures that only get better with age.

The Treasure of Friendship

There is great beauty in sharing the lives of those I knew before I knew much about life.
I made wonderful friends when I was a young, very naive teenager.
Now, the great gift of life is that I get to enter the eighth decade of my life with these dear women.
They gathered at my home last weekend.

Every time we get together, we hug on each other like long lost friends.
We laugh.
We share our stories.
We poke fun.
We encourage.
We know what we have is precious and rare.
We celebrate each other and the group.

This time we had several with us whom either have never joined us before, or live far away.
We have 50 years to catch up on with these few.
Kathy and Elaine, seen over the ham I cooked,
came early to sweep my doorway, 
set up tables,
keep me calm and focused,
and show me they are there to remember what I forgot.
We held a planning meeting so we could plan our big
Seventieth Birthday Party
that will be held in September.
We will go to Glenwood Springs, Colorado for three days of celebration.
I call our trip that we are planning 
Our Senior Trip.
The ladies heard of room rates, things to do, and dinner plans as we held our
Senior Meeting
in my living room.
Did I hear someone is bringing a case of white wine?
Someone else is bringing a case of red wine?
Watch out.
The true golden girls are getting ready to celebrate.

The Treasure of a Loving Husband

When my milestone birthday was drawing near, I knew I wanted to celebrate it in a special way.
I didn't want a party.
Who wants to clean the house?
My birthday falls on February 28, so it is not a good time for the children to come from out of state.
They have jobs and kids that keep them busy in February.
The weather is unpredictable.
Instead of a party, we decided we would go to Florida to celebrate my birthday.

I've known my husband as long as I've known the girlfriends whom I just wrote about.
Just like the laughter and the memories that I share with them, I share such wonderful memories of days gone by with my husband.
He has been that one that has always been there for me.
Even when I was a young woman, I knew the young man I first dated fifty-four years ago this week would make me laugh.
I knew he would always show me respect.
I knew he was one I could easily honor and respect.
I knew he would be a gentle, kind, understanding companion.
I knew he would give me a good life.
I just didn't marry this dear man until I was forty-seven years old.
Sometimes, youth makes one stupid.
Sometimes we get wiser with age.
At least, this man, the one I love, and I got together in the end.

Never would I have believed back in those days that at 70 Jim would be at my side.
Never in my wildest dreams did I believe that.
Thankfully, he is here with me.
At sixty-five, when my life turned upside down, he was there.

At seventy, we acted like a couple of kids at Disney's Magic Kingdom.
We walked around wide eyed and forgot that our bodies were aging.
We laughed ourselves silly on rides that we maybe shouldn't have ridden.
Thankfully, neither of us had a heart attack.
Jim took a selfie of us just before we went for one of those crazy rides.

On Valentine's Day, two weeks before I turned seventy, my love and I walked on Daytona Beach. 
Now here's something to celebrate:
We both are septuagenarians,
but we still love to have those romantic moments on the beach.

We met as teenagers, and we get to enter the last years of our lives together.
Life doesn't get any better than this.
A Valentine's Day Kiss
I'm learning this at seventy:

The older the fiddle, the sweeter the tune.
Irish Saying

Aging in Place

Mother and I take time for a photograph
as we visited a peach orchard in Grand Junction

This weekend while I was visiting my mother in Grand Junction, Colorado, I learned a new term when I read an article on aging in a special section of the Daily Sentinel.  The term "aging in place" is one I had somehow missed reading about, or hearing about, before I read this particular article.  "Wow," I think to myself, how did I miss seeing this term before?  Since learning this new term, I learned it is the name of an organization and that there is a web site by the same name.

So what does this term mean?  According to the home page of this term means the following:  "Aging in place” refers to living where you have lived for years, typically not in a health care environment, using products, services, and conveniences which allow you to remain home as circumstances change. In other words, you continue to live in the home of your choice safely and independently as you get older."

Now, just because I hadn't heard the term, it doesn't mean I was well aware of the concept and its implications to all of us as we get older.  My mother is 95 years old and she has been aging in the same place where she currently lives for over 30 years.  She and my father moved to the Western Slope of Colorado in the 70's.  They loved the place and decided it would be where they would stay even after my father retired.  This decision was certainly theirs to make, but the decision has meant that they have never lived near their children and grandchildren.  As my parents aged, and after my father passed away, the decision of aging in place has meant that it is a challenge to visit the place where my parents chose to live so many years ago.

My husband and I also live a distance from all our children.  While I'm not always happy with this fact, I am mostly happy with where we live.  I am not ready or willing to move for a number of reasons.

For the past few years, my daughters in particular have made comments to me such as, "Why do you need this big house?  Why do you need this big yard?  There are only two of you.  You don't need this house anymore.  Why don't you move closer to your kids?  Why do you have to live so far away?"  I find myself feeling a bit entrenched.  I feel that I must go on the defensive.  "Yes, we need this house.  We like to get away from each other.  Its big enough to allow this."  The rebuttal, "Really.  You each need your own office.  Why?  Neither of you are even working anymore.  It is silly that you each have a big office."  I dig in my heels.  "I'm not giving up my office, and I sure as @#)) am not sharing one with Jim."  I realize that I am starting my own argument for "aging in place."  I realize that I am having the same discussions with my children that I wanted to have with my parents.  I come from the generation where we didn't question our parents decisions quite so much as my children seem to do today.

As I said before, my mother is 95.  She doesn't seem that old.  She just still seems like my mom.  I see my own aging.  I see that she is getting shorter and shorter.  I see that she takes a cane when she leaves the house, but she is still just as sharp as she ever was.  She doesn't miss a thing.  She is up on everything.  She takes care of her house and cooks her meals.  She laughs at a good joke.  She even still wear shorts!  (And her legs and feet still look pretty darn good  She is proud to note that she doesn't have old lady feet.)  To me, she seems ageless.  

But on the other hand, she has aged.  She will age again this coming year.  Aging in place means that decisions still must be made so that one has the support need to accomplish this decision well.  

I'm still wrestling with what that means for my mother and her wish to stay where she lives, and what that means for my husband and myself as we choose to live where we do as we age.  I was deeply moved by a post that Jim Burke had on his blog today.  Jim Burke, my guru on how to teach English well, spoke of giving permission today in his blog where he is writing about "senior moments."  

We, my children, my mother, and my husband and I are all moving in a continuum of life.  We are all in different seasons.  We can't make decisions for each other.  We must give each other, and ourselves, permission to listen to each other.  This keeps us from becoming entrenched, alone, stuck in place.    

 "We must give ourselves permission to look for and listen to those who know the territory ahead, whose voices can assure us we will make it through to the other side of this season where the days fall like leaves too many to catch. We must give ourselves permission to still listen to ourselves and to live out all those stories we have told but not yet lived."  Jim Burke

On this, the last day of August, I am very aware of the seasons and passing from one season to the next.  

I recognize that I am moving, have been moving,  into the autumn of my life while I watch my mother in the winter of her life.  I hope we can learn from each other.  

Spring Chicks No Longer

We haven't been real productive during our spring break.  Both my husband and I are lamenting heavily that we have to return to work next week.  We really do miss our retirement life and schedule.  Also, I think we were both really shocked at how tired we were and how much we needed a break.  Working everyday is taking a toil on us.  I only have about a month to go while he has two months to go.  We don't want to count the days, but are certainly tempted.

One thing is for sure:  we are not as young as we used to be.

Early in the week, I had an appointment with a physical medicine and rehabilitation doctor in Colorado Springs.  Last month, an MRI confirmed that I have stenosis in the neck.  This is what causes the severe shoulder pain and numbness in my left arm that I have suffered from so much in the past six months.  I already have been diagnosed with stenosis in the lower spine.  I have chronic problems with my sciatica which can cause me to suffer from numbness in my left leg and foot.

The doctor said I could go in for an injection in the lower back to relieve the inflammation, and I scheduled it for today.  I then chickened out.  I guess the whole idea of having to go to a surgery center for the injection, and prepare as if I were having surgery freaked me out.  I decided to go with chiropractic and massage for a while longer to see if that helps.

I've had a flare up of my hip problems since break began.  Most likely it is due to my leaning over from the waist and cutting back my lavender plants.  I had a massage yesterday, but didn't get much relief.  I have a chiropractic appointment on Monday.  Hopefully, this will give me some relief.

The doctor also prescribed a Saunders Cervical Home Trac for my neck problems.  Have any of you ever used this device?  If it gives me relief, I guess I am willing to give it a try.

The diagnosis of stenosis has set me back some because I have been suffering from its effects off and on for quite some time now.  I hate to be physically limited.  I also hate to take the anti-inflammatory pills because they are so hard on my stomach.  I do get relief from doing Pilates, so I will get back to doing that on a regular basis again.

In the meantime, this afternoon,  Jim and I went out and got started with our yard clean up.  I felt just fine while I worked.  I didn't have any pain at all.  Now, I am really suffering.

These photos were taken last year, but we did the exact same clean-up this year.  I got things done earlier this year.  I have not yet cut back the roses.  It is too early.   My daffodils are just beginning to bloom, and so far, the grape hyacinths have not yet bloomed.

I need to get rid of the lavender in the bed in the center of my front side yard.  (see photo below)  It is taking over the bed.  Lavender works better as a hedge.  I have a hedge of lavender between my yard and the house next door.  I am working on a hedge of it to line the backyard walk.

These are one of my favorite garden tools.  They are razor sharp and are just great for sniping back the lavender in the spring.  They also are really wonderful for harvesting lavender.

I also get frustrated with the grape hyacinths.  They also take over a flower bed.  I have dug them out, pulled them out, and then dug them out again.  I swear they are like gray hair.  You pull one out, and ten come back in the space you tried to pull out.  Do any of you also fight these little purple flowers from taking over a flower bed?