How I spent my summer vacation. . .

by Carolyn Thomas    ♥   @HeartSisters

.                                        2007:  My Kiftsgate rambling rose in glorious bloom!

For the first time in 14 years, I took a wee summer break from writing my weekly Heart Sisters posts, and started a small temporary site, The Novice Rose Gardener, in the spring of 2022 – mostly to track my new obsession/adventure:  trying to grow balcony roses. I truly believed this learning experience would bring me joy ( I LOVE LOVE LOVE roses!) – but, just like in real life, I learned that it’s far more about managing expectations. My adventure can now best be described as a horticultural roller coaster!  By the way, to my readers who have been asking when or if I’ll be getting back to writing those Sunday morning blog posts about women’s heart health: I’m unable to say quite yet.  Meanwhile, you can find links to my list of all 900+ articles here.  And for all of you who happen to love roses – or roller coasters – I’m archiving my balcony rose posts, starting here with the first essay:

1.  Right Rose, Right Place – March

My only experience with choosing and planting roses (as opposed to moving into a home that already had roses in the garden) was back in the late 90s when I read an article about an amazingly fast-growing rose called Kiftsgate.  The article said:            .

Continue reading “How I spent my summer vacation. . .”

Balcony roses: my late summer review

It’s been quite the summer, hasn’t it? For me, it’s meant spending lots of precious time with two charmers I’m madly in love with: my darling grandkids are 7-year old Everly Rose and 16-month old Baby Zack. (Grandchildren – I highly recommend them!)   It’s also meant the exhaustion of trying to stay cool during our unprecedented heat waves here on the west coast (as you know, high temperatures can be brutally hard on heart patients).  And it’s meant countless hours out on my little balcony, immersed in a new obsession that’s turned into a complicated late-COVID project for me:  learning how to grow roses in pots.   Continue reading “Balcony roses: my late summer review”

Writing about hearts – and now roses

by Carolyn Thomas

Regular Heart Sisters blog readers may have recently noticed that the Sunday morning blog posts I’ve been publishing here since 2009 have slowed down.  Well, not just slowed. They’ve stopped. With spring in the air and my new balcony rose garden on my mind, I’m taking a summer break from writing about women’s hearts. Instead, I’m pulling on my gardening gloves and exploring my latest infatuation: is it possible to grow roses in pots out on a balcony?          

And like many writers, the urge to document my summer adventure has turned into a little blog. It’s called The Novice Rose Gardener.  For quite a while, I’ve felt the need to write about the things in life that bring me PURE JOY.  In the final paragraphs of my last published blog post here, for example, I hinted that I needed a wee break to do just that. Although I’ve been an avid gardener here on the west coast for decades, I’ve never been tempted to grow roses – however lovely the photo on the rose tag may be – mostly because of their nasty reputation: high maintenance, short blooming season, black spot, powdery mildew, aphids.  No thanks!

But – something wonderful happened last summer.        .     Continue reading “Writing about hearts – and now roses”

Heart Month awareness: doing the same thing, yet expecting different results

by Carolyn Thomas   ♥   @HeartSisters

February is our shortest month of the year and also the month officially acknowledged almost everywhere as Heart Health Awareness Month. Then we all turn the calendar page and glide over to March, the official month of Liver Health Awareness, Disability Awareness, Ovarian Cancer Awareness, Red Cross Awareness worldwide – and many other causes. My niggling question remains: do these assorted official days/weeks/months of awareness-raising actually help to raise awareness out there?  Continue reading “Heart Month awareness: doing the same thing, yet expecting different results”

10 years after my mother’s death

                “The Perogy Pinchers” ~ Lesley Lorenz *

by Carolyn Thomas   ♥  @HeartSisters

It will be ten years ago tomorrow that, after hearing the news on the phone, I re-read the chapter called When Your Mother Dies, in Rona Maynard’s wonderful book, My Mother’s Daughter:

“Baby showers herald the transition to motherhood. Roses, greeting cards and invitations to brunch celebrate mothers every May. Yet, despite our culture’s motherhood mystique, no rituals mark the psychological journey we daughters begin when our mothers die.”     Continue reading “10 years after my mother’s death”

Bucket Lists: do heart patients need them?

by Carolyn Thomas   ♥  @HeartSisters

Since my heart attack in 2008, I’ve been asked on occasion by friends and family (and even people who barely know me) if I now have a “Bucket List” – that Hollywood invention of the wonderful list of important-sounding things we must do before we kick the bucket. Nothing like a medical crisis, it seems, to remind us that life is short, and to shock us into re-examining our priority lists before we head off to that great Coronary Care Unit in the sky. Continue reading “Bucket Lists: do heart patients need them?”