31 May 2007

it started with flowers

this is the tiny vase of spring flowers in the bathroom. the same vase that accidently got hit this morning while i was washing my face. the vase with the small amount of the water that spilled all over the counter. the water that got hurriedly sopped up by the closest towel. the very towel that accidently swiped at my pearl earrings sitting on the counter and sent one careening into the sink and down the drain. the drain with the pipes under the sink that i had to figure out how to open. the pipes that finally pulled apart and sent trapped water gushing all over the floor of the bathroom cabinet. the bathroom cabinet that had soooo much stuff in it. the stuff that i totally ignored because i needed to find my earring! the earring that i did finally manage to retrieve. thank goodness.

30 May 2007


this flower is called a none-so-pretty. thats the name that was told to me over a decade ago when i transplanted a small patch from the out-of-state yard of a friend of a friend. up close its actually sort of a plain flower. but they grow naturally in clumps and look like a beautiful swath of cerise on the banking for about a week in spring. and every year they get cut down when theyre at their loveliest. the annual none-so-pretty purge. because if they dont the flowers will die and produce pepper-fine seeds that blow on the wind and produce even more none-so-pretties the following year. and theyll grow everywhere. and after a few years of this it gets to be not-so-pretty any more. this i know from experience.

29 May 2007

fair warning

in a perfect world snakes would carry flags. those big penant kinds that used to bob around off the backs of bicycles. with big tall poles so you could see them coming as they wind their way through the grass. and then they wouldnt scare the dickens out of you when you accidently got close to them.

28 May 2007

black flies no more

another bug-free weekend in the garden thanks to my new citronella bracelets! an added bonus - they glow in the dark! i so wanted a picture of them glowing. but try as i might i could not capture it.

27 May 2007

a child's garden

for the last several years ive pretty much ignored the garden. plants bloom i cut flowers i half-heartedly weed. other than windowbox petunias and a few herbs in pots, i havent planted much new in a long time. but this year as i clean things up as i divide and rearrange plants its all with a new little person in mind. some little someone who will need flowers to smell and touch and pick. an engaging place for a grandchild to learn about nature and growing things. so i plant fragrant lavender and wooly lambs' ears and exotic clematis. lemon balm and mints to smell and make sun tea with. another bleeding heart for the beautiful shape. in two more summers this child will be old enough to delight in a garden. im hoping by then mine will be enchanting.

one more

this ones a swallowtail. im pretty sure. it flew right in front of me as i came from the garden camera in hand. it was just begging to be photographed.

26 May 2007


lilacs bring out butterflies too! this taken early morning just as the sunlight was reaching the lilac bush. is it a painted lady? could it be a red admiral? sadly i dont study these creatures enough to know for certain.

the trouble with lilacs

lilacs are in full bloom now. big heavy purple or white heads droop gracefully off tall bushes with a scent is so strong you can smell them coming down the street. lilacs bring out bees and even hummingbirds. they provide all kinds of centerpieces and floral arrangements and fill the house with their sweet fragrance. but they dont last long inside losing their shape and laying over the sides of the vase like deflated purple balloons. they go by quickly on the bush too - and then drop their tiny dried florets all over the newly laid mulch. soon dead skeletal heads remain atop the bushes and when the leaves fall in autumn, they protude into the grey winter sky. spring growth does a poor job of covering last years remains. so my advice to you is to pick as many lilacs as you can in may while they bloom. theyll never be as good as they are right now.

24 May 2007


last night i went to the car wash carrying only two twenty dollar bills. not very smart as you shall see. the first of the bills went to the $10 car wash. in goes the twenty dollar bill, out comes ten gold sacagawea one dollar coins. this was no surprise its happened before with my usual eight dollar wash. and i dont mind - i use the coins at drive thrus for coffee. after the wash i manuever around the side of the building to the vacuum section. one dollar for four minutes. so i insert sacagawea in the slot and she doesnt budge. i force it and jiggle it and meet with continued resistance. so i climb the vacuum pedestal to read the notice by the slot - quarters only. no problem. theres a change machine over by the armour-all wipes and the thirsty polishing cloths. but the change machine takes only bills not coin. after much muttering and cussing i deposit my second twenty and receive in change eighty (80!) quarters, eight of which are used for the vacuum. anybody need change for the laundry?


about a year ago i rented the entire first season of the tv show Lost. i watched it in about week, three episodes a night. then i took another week and watched the entire second season online. and got totally hooked. so wednesday nights this season have found me glued to the tube at 10 watching the third season. tonight was the two hour season finale. ive been waiting for this for days now and even quit the red sox-yankees game in the fifth to watch it. i cried when charlie drowned (as desmond predicted he would), was delighted to see hurley become an unlikely hero, and was shocked to be looking at jacks future when i thought it was his past. other than possible summer reruns the show is over for now. until february. thats a long time to wait. for the next nine months on wednesday nights i think i may be lost without lost.

22 May 2007


when i was about eleven i went to camp kirby for a week, with the girl scouts i believe. while i was there i caught a salamander that looked just like this one recently spotted in the yard. now that im an adult, i think it might be a newt but at the time it was a salamander. and his name was kirby. i kept him in the cabin, i smuggled him home somehow, and he lived in a shallow dish on top of the old upright piano. but not for long. one day i decided he must need water and i poured it on. kirby did a quick panicked dance then froze in place. dead. in my minds eye i can still picture it happening. other than mosquitos on extremities or flies on the walls, its the only thing ive ever killed.

21 May 2007

apple blossom time

a shot of the crab apple in the yard. the one planted during the wedding weekend last fall. not only did it make it through the winter its in bloom. and quite beautiful.

such a deal

ive had my eye on this box since march. its been sitting in a crowded antique store under a table and behind a headboard. ive stopped to just look at it several times and have thought about buying it for months. obviously i dont make purchases like this lightly. but today i offered the woman what i thought was a reasonable place to begin the dealing. and she just said "sold". she never even haggled, never dickered, never negotiated. so now i wonder if its worth what i paid for it. i hope so because i sure do love it.

19 May 2007

extreme serendipity

while most of the posts to this blog relate to things that somehow tickle or delight me (like the squinty faces on these posies), there are not many that are truly, in my mind, serendipitous. but something occurred this week and, after initial disbelief, i cant stop thinking about it. heres what happened. i was looking at the website of an online database of information that changes daily. activities, sites of interest, what happened in history on that day, word of the day, stuff like that. after i checked the present day info i clicked over to my birthday and started reading about the events of that day. now i happen to have a long-standing affinity for quotes, so i of course clicked on the quote of the day. and what appeared was one of my all time favorite quotations - the one ive had on the sidebar of this blog for so long, about the world being full of magical things. yeah, that one at the top right just above my profile. turns out the author and i not only share the same outlook on the world, we share the same birthday. and how serendipitous is that?

18 May 2007


in mid may just as the lilac buds begin to swell, i hang orange slices on the tree just outside the window. baltimore orioles feed on this fruit and now is when they return to our area. but the only baltimore orioles ive seen so far have been the ones in uniform during last weeks red sox games. that is until today. as i was leaving hand on the doorknob the orange movement in the lilac caught my eye. and there he was - enjoying a lovely lunch that just matched his striking color.

17 May 2007


the semester has ended and i need to get grades posted this week. assessing final projects, averaging semester grades, trying to be firm but fair. its a huge task for me. so ive been quite busy. no time for the fun of blogging. sob.

14 May 2007

in the knick of time

night before last i was at a take-out place waiting for my lobster roll and diet pepsi when i turned to face the setting sun and found it brilliantly illuminating the seed pods on this tree at the far end of the parking lot. and did i have my good camera with me? noooo. so i grabbed the point-and-shoot and shot like mad to take advantage of the fading light. between the pixel size and the digital zoom, i managed to capture this. pretty nifty little camera, huh?

13 May 2007

for all mothers

and for mothers-to-be. I heard this poem on npr this week. its pretty funny - but the message is lasting.

"The Lanyard"
by Billy Collins

The other day as I was ricocheting slowly
off the pale blue walls of this room,
bouncing from typewriter to piano,
from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
I found myself in the L section of the dictionary
where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.

No cookie nibbled by a French novelist
could send one more suddenly into the past --
a past where I sat at a workbench at a camp
by a deep Adirondack lake
learning how to braid thin plastic strips
into a lanyard, a gift for my mother.

I had never seen anyone use a lanyard
or wear one, if that’s what you did with them,
but that did not keep me from crossing
strand over strand again and again
until I had made a boxy
red and white lanyard for my mother.

She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
and I gave her a lanyard.
She nursed me in many a sickroom,
lifted teaspoons of medicine to my lips,
set cold face-cloths on my forehead,
and then led me out into the airy light

and taught me to walk and swim,
and I, in turn, presented her with a lanyard.
Here are thousands of meals, she said,
and here is clothing and a good education.
And here is your lanyard, I replied,
which I made with a little help from a counselor.

Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
strong legs, bones and teeth,
and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,
and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp.
And here, I wish to say to her now,
is a smaller gift--not the archaic truth

that you can never repay your mother,
but the rueful admission that when she took
the two-tone lanyard from my hands,
I was as sure as a boy could be
that this useless, worthless thing I wove
out of boredom would be enough to make us even.

the trio

in woods and in fields ferns slowly unroll up from the ground in may. there are special ferns out there called fiddleheads that can be sauteed lightly in butter and eaten. i dont think these are the right ones though. they all look like the head of a fiddle to me.

11 May 2007

more money

on the wooded perimeter of the yard grows this lunaria. actually it was planted about a decade ago and has been long gone. or so i thought. here stands a solitary plant already in bloom. its a biennial so last year there were no flowers on the plant and this year its growing cycle will cease. but as it gets older it will form next years seeds in papery thin shiny silver dollar sized seed pods. they look like coins. thats why its called money plant. why its also referred to as honesty i have no idea. honestly.

10 May 2007


im not a big fan of change. it can weigh you down. you can feel its presence wherever you are and in whatever you do. and no matter how you rearrange the things around it you still know it there. given my druthers i leave change behind. its just too cumbersome for me.

daffodils in & out

so i stand corrected (actually i sit corrected). all those daffodil bulbs i planted last fall are coming up after all. here the tiny volunteers from the compost pile on the windowsill - just outside a sea of yellow blooms.

08 May 2007

rest in peace

today the cat died. he was very old very unsteady and very scrawny. he was diabetic and he may have been deaf. he slept under the woodstove and drove me crazy crying for food. he was always underfoot and it was only a matter of time before i tripped over him. and he hadnt caught a mouse in years. but he was always at the door when i came in. always at the side of the bed in the morning when i woke up. always ready to rub and purr like a kitten when he was petted. he was a pretty good cat. rip kitsa.

07 May 2007

spring shower

a party this afternoon showered the girl and her soon to be baby with presents advice and well-wishes. the theme for the entire event was sweet peas - as in new baby as in flowers as in scents. i volunteered to make the favors - sweet pea scented candles in glass holders wrapped with ribbon and embellished with a baby charm. how charming.

06 May 2007


with gas prices on the rise my days of joy riding may soon be over. regardless this morning a friend and i took off for parts unknown and traveled roads never before taken. a lovely ride with old houses and architecture and even a garage sale. a high point was coming upon this covered bridge and snapping pictures all the way through to the other side.

05 May 2007

this buds for you

heres a lilac beginning to leaf out. and i have nothing prosaic or poetic to say about it. i just really love this photo.

03 May 2007

sympathy and more

today i had to shop for a sympathy card for a family who lost a baby. it was so difficult. i cant imagine how devastated they all must be. the thoughts and questions that must go through their minds. what words, what image, what poor sentiment could ever begin to ease the burden of such tragedy? i cannot conceive of such a loss.

02 May 2007


forsythia is now in bloom. from a distance, the shrubbery looks like a beautiful cloud of sunny yellow. up close its not so pretty. just a bunch of funny little simple flowers running up and down a bumpy branch. it gets worse. when the flowers begin to go by green leaves appear and the plant is two-toned for a while. and finally it becomes an often scraggly plain old green bush for the rest of the summer. i could never understand the appeal of it - with the possible exception of these few glorious weeks in may.

01 May 2007

may day

the first day of may. used to be that on this day kids would make those paper cone baskets and fill them with tissue paper and pipe cleaner flowers and hang them on doorknobs of loved ones and neighbors. there were those complicated may pole dances with the streamers. but now all may day is is the first day of may. and rabbit rabbit for luck.

'tis (not) the season

i am of the fervent belief that anyone who has christmas decorations still on public display after ash wednesday should be heavily fined (double the fine for icicle lights) and made to consume all thats left of last years fruitcake. what do you think?