All posts by Lillian Connelly

The Seedlings Have Sprouted

The seedlings have sprouted.

We planted the seeds for our annual garden and the heirloom tomato and basil seeds have sprouted. We have had limited success with our New Mexico gardening due to various problems. The first year we were living in a very dry, hot part of the state and didn’t provide enough shade or water so our plants did not produce much. That was the year of the $25 tomato. The next year the birds descended on the greenery and munched away at the plants. The following year we covered the garden with netting, but the rabbits found access underneath it. Then there was the year all we could grow was squash, squash and more squash. Last year, after a move, we had beautiful black soil and ideal humidity, but the deer jumped the fence and devoured entire plants, roots and all. We built a taller fence and hopefully this year we will have victory! Keep your fingers crossed, my friends. I am desperate to eat a ripe…anything!


The seedlings have sprouted.
Look at those innocent seedlings …they don’t have a fighting chance!

The seedlings have sprouted. Will I keep them alive or will they meet their demise? What kind of gardening mishaps have you had?

Calling The Plumber Just Might Save Your Marriage

Save your marriage by knowing when to give in! Advice I like to give, but seldom take. I hope you enjoy my tale. I’m not sure any other story sums up my marriage this beautifully (yes, I am laughing on the inside).

We had a pipe burst last year, yes, I said LAST year. The cold was so terribly cold last February that pipes were bursting all over town. We tried to fix it ourselves, more than twice, but it still leaked.

This might be a good time to fill you in on some personal history. My husband is not a fix-it-guy. He is more of a call-and-pay-someone-else-to-fix-it-type. I, however, come from a long, long, stubborn line of get out the tool box and fix-it-yourself-types. I am sure by now you can see where this is headed!

save your marriage

So, first we cut the pipe and capped it off. Shortly after we realized that the pipe we just capped not only provided water to an outside faucet, but also to our second bathroom. We went back to the hardware store for new parts, uncapped the pipe and reattached it to the pipe that was now sticking out of the ground. We turned the water on and presto the bathroom sink was running again. We buried the pipe and felt pretty smug about our accomplishment. A few weeks later, however, we noticed the ground above where we had fixed the pipe seemed considerably damp compared to the area surrounding it. At first we talked about how it had rained recently and then very deliberately buried our Ostrich heads in the proverbial sand.

When the water stain began to spread across the ground and luscious green grass began sprouting up around the faucet (and above the broken pipe) we could no longer ignore the fact that we had completely failed in our endeavors. My husband, being much more of a realist than I, suggested we call a plumber. I decided it would be too expensive so I demanded we dig the pipe up (and by “me” I really meant “him”). So, out he went and dug up the pipe. I tried to be encouraging. I said things like, “We can do this!” and “It’s not that hard to do.” Then we both stared at the leaking pipe. We were in the middle of moving into a new house so we just turned the water off and left. That was last April.

We spent last weekend attempting to repair the pipe again. Special glue was purchased. It claimed to be able to bond even the wettest of PVC pipes together. We applied the glue and waited the allotted two hours and still, it leaked. It not only leaked, it sprayed water into the air. We discussed and argued about what to do next. Maybe the pipe was metric and we needed couplings from Mexico instead of the 1/2 inch pieces we were using. By this time we were invested in the project both emotionally and financially. I decided it was time to call a plumber, but my husband said, “I should be able to do this” and “I’m not giving up now!” So, there he stood, knee deep in mud sawing at the pipe. We argued more about which piece of pipe went where and the best way to connect it all together. A weekend without water can wreak havoc on any marriage! Grumpy, we both went to bed tossing and turning. We were angry with each other and at the pipe gods.

Finally, the next morning, my husband reported that he was not a plumber. We quickly called one and begged for service. The plumber arrived and fixed the leaky pipe in less than 15 minutes. Then he replaced the leaky faucet in the kitchen. It was a miracle! We were leak free and flush with running water in less than thirty minutes. We couldn’t stop smiling and congratulating each other on a job well done.

The moral of the story is calling the plumber just might save your marriage.

Responding To Criticism: Out of All of the Art on Exhibit Yours has the Nicest Frames

It wasn’t necessarily an insult, but at the same time I wasn’t sure what it was supposed to mean. I’d just spent hours, days, even months completing five pieces of art work for the library. I matted and framed each one all by myself. What a labor of love! The library had accepted my work and hung it on the wall. There I was, admiring the efforts of the participating local artists, when out of the blue the librarian assistant gushed, “Out of all of the art on exhibit yours has the nicest frames.” Of course, being the polite person that I am, I thanked him for the compliment. I smiled, I laughed, I made small talk, but for the rest of the day I wondered what that statement said about my work. What did it mean to have the nicest frames? What about the paintings inside the frames? What did this say about me as an artist?

Responding to criticism about your art.

Criticism can be difficult to hear directly and also when it is given completely unintentionally. Sometimes, after careful consideration, criticism can be dismissed, but in this situation something about what the librarian assistant said rang true. I needed to reevaluate what I was doing and consciously look at my work with an objective eye. This is such an important skill to master. It’s helpful in so many life areas. It’s the only way to transform from acceptable to excellent. I can be a good mother, wife, friend, painter or citizen but how do I become an exceptional one? We are all works in progress striving for excellence. These brief encounters with people can give us insight into our own human development. We are given the opportunity to ask ourselves what next and then make some goals. I started learning new techniques and purchased better materials to work with. My paintings are making progress and my skills are improving. I am taking some risks and giving myself higher expectations. I haven’t yet  achieved all I hope to achieve in painting or in life, but at this point it looks like I might be on my way to becoming an excellent framer.

Responding to criticism can be difficult in any type of work. Do you have any tips you’d like to share? Please leave a comment below. It doesn’t have to be art related, turning criticism into an opportunity for growth is a universal challenge!