May 2008

Monthly Archive

WordPress is FIVE!

Posted by on 27 May 2008 | Tagged as: Uncategorized

Happy Birthday, WordPress — and thanks for the great blog resources!

[Go here for the official WordPress site.]

Indiana Jones

Posted by on 24 May 2008 | Tagged as: review, Uncategorized

Well, I was worried about whether this movie would work. After all, Harrison Ford is the same generation as my parents!

Some of the reviews I read seemed to pan the movie. Others enjoyed it.

We took our children and one of their friends yesterday. It was a lovely evening!

They DID have a lot of action scenes, but they didn’t try to pretend he was a buff young man. Some of the stunts were designed to show how old he was.

Let’s talk dialog: I can’t pretend that dialog is EVER one of the strong suits of the screenwriters in this franchise. Still, it followed comfortable patterns and some of the one-liners were right on the mark! Will it be considered great literature in generations to come?

No, but let’s talk about the purposes of this movie: To showcase characters that people have come to love. To bring the storyline (such as it was) along into the future, keeping the characters in the same age-progression as the actors. There were two they brought back in particular: Ford and (one other I shan’t mention due to its spoiler status)… A couple of surprise twists to the plot, kept the primary purpose of this movie in the forefront: ACTION.

It wasn’t non-stop, but it was so engaging that for two hours we weren’t really in the theater, we were so engaged we didn’t notice time passing.

Which makes this film perfect for summer. And later with hot cider and popcorn, perfect for long winter afternoons when it’s too nasty to go outside.

Today in the Garden…

Posted by on 21 May 2008 | Tagged as: Gardens and Life, Uncategorized

When I woke up this morning (I slept in — luxury!), I noticed there were white spots all over the medlar. Sure enough, it’s in bloom all of a sudden!

the medlar in may

And the snowball bush has REAL snowballs again (though still a bit green).

a snowball in may

And the viburnum my neighbor planted in the gap in our hedgerow:

another viburnum

And the other white-blooming shrub today is the bridalveil spirea in the back. You can see it next to my Lucky boy for scale. This is the first year it has done so well.

bridal veil spirea

The pretty orange cream-sicle poppy is also blooming now, but I didn’t get a good pic when the light was right. Will have to try again soon. It blooms from now until frost!

Something Pretty Mid-week

Posted by on 20 May 2008 | Tagged as: Gardens and Life, hope, Uncategorized

This is the tulip that I accidentally knocked off its stem last week. I put it on the kitchen windowsill, and it really brightens the space. The pretty blue dolphin is a box the elder stidkid made me last year.

a pretty reminder of the outside

And a somber note, the nectarine’s leaves were truly shriveled and it just looked sick. So Tom put it out of its misery this past weekend. I am very sad, but rather than have the virus spread to the still-okay peach, I thought it best to cut it now. It’s much too late in the season to try to spray for control, and since the entire tree was involved (last year it was just “most” of the tree) I couldn’t just cut the affected branches or collect the few affected leaves (as I did with the peach last year).

I wrote a poem in its honor today:

The Nectarine

The nectarine is dead,
Only five years old.

I mourn
the loss of fruit
that never came this year – or last –
the leaves that shriveled in the spring
and fell in the summer.

I mourn the pretty pink flowers
that won’t bloom again
the sweet, round,
warm fruit that sunripened and
juices running down the chin,
forgotten

Gone.

The nectarine is down, waiting for final disposition
the trunk for a table leg, the branches
infected all
cannot be used

they must be tossed aside
like used tissues,
waiting for pickup
on garbage day.

The nectarine is dead
and already I have

a different tree to plant, a hope

for blossoms, fruit and shade

in years to come.

Yup, Spring!

Posted by on 16 May 2008 | Tagged as: friends, garden, Gardens and Life, Uncategorized

The termites are flying. Big, ungainly, black, ant-like, winged reminders of the real rulers of the earth.

I don’t mind them any more, but when I was a child, I was quite “freaked out” the first time I saw them. They mean SPRING is really here — life is looking for places to appear, the world is healing rifts and making new places

I had the budgie outside for about an hour just now — it is sunny, but in the way that includes the high-cirrus clouds, the wispy ones that come when it’s humid. Which it is today. Very sunny.
The current humidity outside is 59%. It’s about 25 C… 77 F. Which is not as hot as they said it might be. I think the clouds helped deflect some of that heat back into space.

And I just came in from walking around the yard. As I expected, the nectarine’s leaves are completely shriveled already. I will have to cut it down this year. Maybe this weekend. Next weekend at the latest… Which makes me sad. I really like that tree. The remaining peach tree, however, appears healthy at the moment.

Other sights around the yard… the cherry tree in FULL bloom. Here are just the branches. I really hope the bees are out and about this weekend!

The late-blooming tulips in full glory, one on top of the mound (its twin is near the rather sad little mulberry, no pic today) and two gorgeous purple and white near the roses…

A yellow iris. Apparently the only one that will bloom this year. Will need to investigate to see what happened to the others.

a lone sentinel by the pond

The lilacs — light purple and the tall, dark purple one, and yes — they smell wonderful!

Daisies along the driveway…

The hosta at the north end of the house, a lasting reminder of my friend and neighbor who died a couple weeks ago. He brought me several wheel-barrow loads of plants as he divided them the first year we lived here. Thank you again, Murray.

The rose he gave me at the same time, I call it Lois’s Rose (I don’t know its real name) in honor of his wife who died just a few months after we moved in, is not blooming yet — not even budding, but I love the way the leaves come in a deep, almost-purple burgundy and change gradually to a lovely dark green with red veins.

leaves of red and green

Finally, the little garden that I hope I can get the elder stidkid to weed tomorrow. I took a separate pic of the lovely “ragged robin” my mother in law gave me a few years ago. It is a spectacular plant. More so, when you can actually see it (If you are the first person to tell me where it is in the pic of the whole garden, I will make a stepping-stone with your name for my garden and post a pic in this blog) ! I do love the forget-me-nots in this bed, too.

That’s it for today… will be picking up kids for a shopping trip into town, and dinner at a restaurant. Too hot to cook!

addendum, 20 May:

the “Ragged Robin” is a “Lychnis flos-cuculi“, related to the rose campion, and apparently highly invasive in the right locations and conditions. Thanks “FMitch” of Babbleland who ID’d it for me!

My brilliant kids… and their great performance!

Posted by on 13 May 2008 | Tagged as: Uncategorized

Okay, proud mama moment… this is one of the songs the kids played last Saturday at the local school’s Spring Swing. Sorry about the picture quality, and the sound isn’t that great either, because the battery on the video camera went dead and I finished recording the concert on my little Photosmart camera. Unfortunately, in the strange light, I didn’t get a good still shot of the kids!

This piece is called “Woodchopper’s Ball” by Joe Bishop and Woody Herman. I only have a partial recording, the one that is full-length is too big to upload. But it’s a good one. There are people talking in the background, which is fine, since this is “cabaret” style: dancing and dessert!

This is one of the highlights of my year!

More Garden Pics

Posted by on 13 May 2008 | Tagged as: Gardens and Life, Uncategorized

These were actually taken the day after the tree pics, but I am only just getting them pulled together!

It has been a busy week (again).

These first two are the pretty Lewisia in the stidkid’s rock garden. Later in the year, they stop blooming and the plants in the cement blocks begin.

And this one shows the bluebells and sweet woodruff that are just behind the rock garden. I love how they look together!

Garden update

Posted by on 07 May 2008 | Tagged as: garden, Gardens and Life, good things, Uncategorized

I want to boast about the later-blooming fruit trees: cherry (might actually produce enough for a pie this year), pear, apple and nectarine (though not much hope for fruit there… it has peach-leaf curl). Here are a couple pics of the blossoms. You can tell the family resemblance, I think!

The pear blossoms on the stidkid\'s tree...Apple blossoms on the other stidkid\'s tree
One of my Asian pears, this one so far un-nibbled! From the top: the european pear (it’s a 3-in-1, no idea which this is), an apple (a 4-in-1, same story), and an Asian pear, I think this is the Ichiban. The cherry is too tall for me to get a good picture without a ladder… but still rather spindly with only a central leader and two side shoots.

As I walked back toward the house, I saw that my favorite poppy, the one I like to call “orange cream-sicle” is about to bloom! you can see it just to the right of the deep red primroses, to the left of a lupine that will need to be pulled.

The poppy is well hidden in all the green!

Closer to the house, the lilacs are about to burst into full color once again. The white elderberries behind them (actually growing up in the middle of a large filbert bush) look spectacular this year!

Purple lilacs, white elderberries -- spring party!

A couple more “beauty spots” in my yard: the japanese double golden kerria… eventually the suckering action will cause it to look like a huge shrub, but you can see it’s actually just canes with blossoms going up the sides. The second picture is a close-up of the blooms, and you can see how the chestnut’s bark is peeling, just as it’s supposed to!

the lovely arch of the kerria canes
golden blooms, against grey bark and blue skies

Finally, as I re-entered the house, this is what the strawberry pot looks like: strawberries around the base (they wouldn’t grow in the pot) and assorted herbs in the planter: thyme, chives, tarragon and marjoram. YUM!

The pot by the front door, filled with herbs.

Spring may really be here now!

It’s about time!

Color Update

Posted by on 06 May 2008 | Tagged as: Uncategorized

Okay, since I was home sick today anyway (stay back, you really don’t want this virus)…

Here is a slightly updated look. On my browser, the light green and pink on the side works well with the new pink (I did change it a bit to make it less peachy-orange) of the header. I also changed the link and heading color from a dark peachy-pink to green. I like the way it reflects a more spring-time color palette.

If it doesn’t look good on your browser, please let me know.

And if you like, you can try contacting me through a new page I set up at a new idea for people who want, or want to extend, a web presence: stidmama at yougler… and let me know how that works for you also!

What is wrong with people?

Posted by on 06 May 2008 | Tagged as: caring, citizenship, editorial, Giving, hope, Making a Difference, parenting, poverty, social justice, Uncategorized

TOO MANY people these days are afraid to get involved. Too many people suspect things are not right in various places and don’t investigate further, don’t ask authorities to check, don’t keep an eye out to verify or disprove suspicions.

The rest of this is an emotional rant… read on if you dare!

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