Friday, May 31, 2019


This was our sky the other night -- Creamsicle-orange, with a milky texture. It was very weird. A few minutes after I took this picture it began raining, so there was some surreal combination of sunset and clouds going on.

Yesterday was better at work. The problem kid finally, FINALLY paid for his lost book, so his account is now settled. (This may seem like a small thing but it resolves an issue that's been hanging over my head for months.) Overall I wasn't nearly as grumpy. I was just having a bad day on Wednesday.

While walking Olga the other day I found this bag propped against a rubbish bin with some boxes and other items. It was stuffed full of '70s-era papers. I took it home so I could photograph it -- when I was growing up in Florida I used to see straw bags like this all the time, from Jamaica or the Bahamas or elsewhere in the Caribbean. Everyone's grandmother had one. It made me quite nostalgic.

Remember those old "Make it Jamaica" tourism commercials? Prompted by this bag, that tune has been running through my head for days now.

Anyway, the paperwork was a mishmash of old bills and early '70s report cards for a couple of miscreant boys who weren't doing very well in school, and unfortunately, the bag itself was deteriorating, the handle tattered. After I took this picture I carried it all back to the bin where I found it.

I spent two hours in the garden last night, mowing and weeding. I try not to weed too much, because all that weedy undergrowth is good for bugs and other critters, but things can't be allowed to get too out of hand. When I'm having trouble finding our plants in the thicket, I know it's time!

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Overdue Book Blues

The other day I walked up the alley next to our house and found the wild foxglove in fine form, next to our unused barbecue grill and some extra rubbish bins. We almost never even enter this part of the yard, so it's always a special surprise to find such a beautiful plant, growing all on its own. There's barely any soil -- just a crack in the pavement -- but a foxglove has appeared here almost every year since we moved in.

It's only Thursday, and I didn't even work Monday, but this already feels like the longest week in the year. At work, literally everything is making me cranky.

For one thing, all the kids are doing projects and papers and they're coming in a steady stream to my desk to borrow computer chargers. The monotony of checking out computer chargers makes me crazy. I really can't explain why, but it does. Sometimes the same kids come back twice in one day, and I have to bite my tongue to keep from challenging them about whether they really need to charge their computer again so soon and WHY DON'T THEY JUST BRING THEIR OWN CHARGER TO SCHOOL?!?!

I realize this is completely irrational because I'm paid to check out chargers along with books. Chargers are just so boring, and because the kids can't keep them out overnight, there's a lot of churn. And I suppose, to me, they seem symptomatic of the younger generation's sad technology dependence and obsession.

It's also the time of year when I'm trying to get all our materials back, and this always seems like a Herculean task. I've set the computer to send daily e-mails about overdue books -- and pretty much everything is overdue at this point -- but a lot of students don't even read their e-mail. So I also have to lock down everyone's library account -- no summer checkouts until they've brought back their stuff. Coercion, basically. (We don't charge overdue fees.)

The fifth and sixth graders are away on school trips, so yesterday I combed through their classrooms and lockers and I found four armloads of books, all overdue. One of them was months overdue, and had been the subject of discussion between me and the kid in question. WHY ON EARTH, if it was in his locker, DIDN'T HE JUST BRING IT BACK TO ME RIGHT AWAY?!?!

Another kid still has a book that was due in January. He doesn't know where it is. His account has been suspended for months and I have been in back-and-forth communication with the parents to get the problem resolved. Problem is, nothing happens. I suspect the parents are trying to get him to pay for it himself, but honestly, I just need a solution. I am running out of time.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again -- librarians have a reputation for being cranky, and I completely understand why. It's because people just don't do what they're supposed to do. Perhaps it's quixotic to even expect it. Humans are messy by nature.

On the plus side, I had a high schooler come to me yesterday looking for book recommendations for summer reading. That almost never happens. He went away with four books, a few classics and a few lighter reads, and that made me feel helpful, at least.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019


This is my Olga contact sheet.

Remember contact sheets? Back when photographers used film, they'd develop the film and then print the whole roll by laying the negative strips on photographic paper and exposing the paper to light. That way they could get a quick look at all their shots, and they could tell which ones were worth printing larger.

Obviously, these shots were taken digitally. But when I put them into iPhoto I couldn't help but notice the similarity to a contact sheet.

As you can tell, I was taking pictures of the back of Olga's head. I love the way her lopsided ears look from behind. Which frames would you print? I like the second-to-last one, but unfortunately it's blurry, so that one's out.

I finally went with number 7:

You can tell she's a goofball, just by the set of her ears.

Speaking of photos, I hit the 30,000-photo mark on Flickr yesterday. It's kind of insane, isn't it? To think that since 2006, when I joined Flickr, I've uploaded 30,000 pictures. If I didn't tag and organize them online, I couldn't keep track of them all.

And speaking of heads, I found this doodle on the sidewalk next to a trash can in West Hampstead. What do you think is going on here? Are these real people? Friends? Relatives? Convicts? A short story is begging to be written. That guy at the top either has two black eyes or some serious eyeliner.

I had a new celebrity sighting yesterday morning! He was having a chat with one of our famous neighbors at the neighbor's front garden gate. A bit of excitement for an otherwise uneventful day. (Follow the links for identities -- I try not to blog names so I don't wind up on the celebs' Google news feeds.)

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Rousting Snails in East London

Dave's co-worker Lisa and her boyfriend Xan just moved into a new house in Bethnal Green, East London. (Well, new to them -- the house itself is very old, a historically listed townhouse on a street dating from the early 1800s.) They have a little garden in the back, which they found wildly overgrown. We went over yesterday to help them wrestle it into shape.

They'd done a lot of work already, pulling out gigantic, alien-looking weeds as tall as I am (six feet) and mowing the grass. They already had a big mound of garden waste waiting to be taken away by the council. We added to the mound, clearing the rest of the space and planting some new plants, and disturbing the peaceful, shady rest of about four thousand snails.

At first I was a bit jealous, because their garden is south-facing and gets really good sun.

But as we worked everything began to feel a little parched. I brought Lisa some of the plants I grew from seed -- a dahlia, three hollyhocks, a burdock and an honesty plant -- and we put everything but the dahlia in the ground. The poor things just looked so small and unsheltered amid all that unrelenting sunshine! Their garden has no tree cover, which makes a big difference.

After we worked a while, we all went to a nearby vegan cafe for a late lunch. We talked about the recent EU elections and what they mean -- they weren't the complete populist rout some of us feared, but the major parties did poorly. I'm not at all surprised, since Labour and the Conservatives both have made a complete hash out of the nation and its future over the past few years.

Earlier in the afternoon, Dave got a kick out of Xan's use of the word "shambolic" -- a British adjective meaning a complete mess. Xan was talking about their preparations for our visit being "shambolic" because they didn't get their barbecue grill assembled. It's a good word, isn't it? We should all use it more. It seems especially applicable to Brexit.

Anyway, after our afternoon of work, Dave and I came home to the comparative cool dampness of our big, shady garden. I don't want to curse our luck, but we realized how good we have it. Lisa and Xan's garden will be fine in a year or two, when things have had a chance to mature, but it's hard to beat the welcoming space we have.

(Photos: These chairs were on Lisa and Xan's back deck when they moved in. Needless to say, they bought new garden furniture!)

Monday, May 27, 2019

One Big Leaf

I couldn't endure another day without taking the dog on a lengthy adventure, so yesterday she and I went to the Heath. Unlike last weekend, she seemed more energetic, so we stuck to our regular route and even walked a bit longer than usual.

The sun poured down on the trees over our heads, illuminating the leaves. Don't those branches (above) look a bit like the veins in a leaf? It's almost as if all those little leaves came together to form one big leaf. Which I guess sort of is what happens.

Remember the irises in the pond on Sandy Heath? A few months ago they were just sprouting, but now they're in bloom. Bees were buzzing in and out of their yellow throats.

Some rhododendrons were blooming nearby. I think these are a different variety from the ones that appeared a few months ago, though they're in roughly the same place.

The fields were full of buttercups.

Olga didn't have fun at all, as you can see! She's been pretty much passed out ever since we got home. Even now, she's lying by my feet, snoring away.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

My Imaginary Beret

I put the pedal to the metal and pushed myself to finish "Prozac Nation" yesterday. I got a bit bogged down in it last week. Somewhere around 120 pages in, it started to seem very long. At first I felt sympathy for Elizabeth Wurtzel, who faced some dramatic family challenges not of her own making. But eventually she came to seem like one of those friends we all had in high school or college who could only talk about themselves and their problems. You just want to say, "Get out of your own head!"

Of course, she probably would have agreed with that advice. The problem was, she couldn't.

I'm not sure the book gives us a fully rounded picture of her life at the time. While it dwells on her problems, her substance abuse and her breakdowns and her truncated relationships and crazy ranting, it never really explains her successes. She wound up at Harvard and then managed to stay there, even designing a special curriculum so she could take classes and simultaneously live in London (!). She got a summer job at the Dallas Morning News, where she evidently pleased her editors enough that they wanted her back the next year -- even though she failed to file at least a couple of her stories. She wrote an essay about her father and it wound up published in Seventeen magazine. Who is this woman? How was she so connected? She must have been doing something right.

At one point, she said she comes from a family of people who communicate too much -- who never stop talking. That's what it felt like reading the book. It was relentless. Or, as characterized by the New York Times writer who read it for the paper's Generation X project recently, "exhausting."

Anyway, I powered through the book, and I did some minor stuff around the house -- laundry, plant-watering, that kind of thing.

I was trying to take it easy all day, owing to my bout of post-viral fatigue, but I felt guilty for not exercising the dog. So in the afternoon I took her to Fortune Green and the cemetery.

At the park I was throwing her tennis ball when a little boy, about seven or eight years old, came up and asked if he could pet her. I said sure, but of course, Olga was indifferent. She just wanted the ball.

He proceeded to ask all sorts of questions about where she came from and her name and whether she knew any tricks, and I was thinking, "Kid, didn't you get the 'Stranger Danger' memo?" But I answered him, and showed him Olga's ability to sit on command and present her paws for a shake, and even let him throw the ball for her.

"Are you French?" he asked me at one point.

Why do people in England think I'm French?

Anyway, he ran off as quickly as he appeared, yelling "Bye!" I have no idea where his adults were.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

A Little of Everything

Well, I survived yesterday at work. And as you can tell (by my posting at 9 a.m.) I slept in this morning, which felt pretty amazing and very necessary. So begins my plan for a weekend of rest!

You probably saw the news that Theresa May is stepping down at the beginning of June. It looks like Boris Johnson may be the UK's next prime minister, although the jury's still out on that. I have conflicted feelings about Johnson. Superficially he resembles Donald Trump in his blustery blond buffoonery, but he's much smarter and considerably more capable than Trump. I don't agree with all his politics, particularly with regard to leaving the EU, but he might not be a complete disaster as a leader. I don't see any other likely options.

I will always feel a bit sorry for May. She got dealt a bad hand and Brexit basically consumed her. She's not blameless -- she made some truly terrible decisions, mainly the snap election that cost the Tories their majority in Parliament not too long ago -- but I admire her for sticking to her guns and trying to make her Brexit plan work. The fact is, Parliament can't agree on a plan because there's no consensus on what the UK wants from Brexit.

I saw this critter on the bird feeder Thursday evening. I don't know how he got up there, considering the feeder is hanging from a pole, and there's no way he climbed that pole. I'm thinking he jumped from a nearby bush or tree, which is pretty resourceful. We've seen him jump from the feeder to a bush, so I suppose there's no reason he couldn't do the reverse.

Remember how a squirrel ravaged our sage plant and broke off its flower stalks? Well, Dave put the largest stalk in some water on the kitchen windowsill, and it has continued living and growing there -- and a few days ago it bloomed! I'm surprised it had the energy after having been broken off the main plant. Impressive!

We got word a few days ago that my step-grandmother died in Florida. She was one day shy of 96 years old. It's sad news, but no one can say she didn't have a long life, and she'd been in ill health for some time. I mainly saw her at family dinners and events, where she was a jocular presence, always laughing and telling stories about her childhood in Arkansas and her life as a military wife with seven kids.

Not long ago she gave me this Roseville art pottery bowl in the "Donatello" pattern, from the 1920s. She knew I had a couple of other Roseville vases from my maternal grandmother, so she thought it would go well with those. It's nice to have a keepsake from her. I won't be able to get back to Florida for the funeral, but I'll miss her just the same.

(Top photo: A phone repairman (I think?) in our neighborhood. No, that's not my shadow on the ground. It's from a stoplight.)

Friday, May 24, 2019


Dear God, will this week ever end?! I'm still struggling with some secondary health complaints related to my fever on Monday and Tuesday, mainly fatigue. I need a few days to rest. Fortunately we're going into a three-day weekend so I'll have a chance -- assuming I survive work today!

Some of you asked about Dave and Olga. Dave's health has been looking up the last few days -- he's supposed to begin new medication next week -- and Olga was OK until this morning, when her stomach began gurgling again. (No doubt she ate more sticks on yesterday's walk. She'll be fine.)

The roses in our garden are almost all blooming. We've seen a flower on nearly every bush. These are just a few of them.

I never thought of myself as a rose person, but having these bushes (all already in place when we moved in) has been surprisingly enjoyable. They're dependable and tough, and they don't require a great deal of care -- just an annual pruning and occasional feeding.

Dave and I were sitting in the living room yesterday evening, looking out at the garden and all the shimmering insects flying in the summery air, and it struck me again how pleasant England can be. (When it's not cold and raining.) Our high temperatures today will be around 72º F. And those insects I mentioned? None of them bite or sting -- at least, not without provocation. So unlike my native Florida! It still blows my mind to live in a place where we don't need screens on the windows.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Strolling in a Field of Purple

I've been meaning to take a picture of these two little garden statues at a flat down the street for days and days. I'm glad I finally remembered yesterday to keep my camera with me. Don't you love that campanula? We had one many years ago on our balcony in Notting Hill, but it rarely if ever looked this good.

I was back at work yesterday, cajoling overdue books from kids (we have just a few weeks of school left!) and rearranging our travel section. I went through that section about four years ago and ordered updated travel guides, but of course that was four years ago -- now some of the older ones I kept are really old. Yesterday I discarded four guides to Italy from 2010 and 2011. Another update is needed, I think.

I also got rid of some big coffee table books that people gave us over the years. They never got used. No one wants to check out a 20-pound, 30-year-old pictorial book about Melbourne or Boston -- not when current pictures are available online. I think coffee table books in general aren't very practical for a library.

Speaking of books, I thought you might want to see what John's memorial looks like now. Many more people have left flowers and notes about how they met him, the kind words and experiences they shared, that kind of thing. Apparently he was known to some as "Spider," perhaps because of his tattoos, one of which was a spider web. (Or did he get the tattoo because of his nickname?)

I liked this photo that someone left of him and Sugar.

And speaking of staffies, here's what's going on in our own house at the moment:

Someone's being a pillow hog!

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Wild Kingdom

Well, I seem to be on the mend. My fever was way down yesterday, even without aspirin -- it only got to about 99.2º F in the late afternoon, when fevers are usually at their highest, and that's not even really a fever. I also felt much better. I was able to read and spend some time outside, as opposed to Monday, when I could only lie on the sofa and watch back-to-back movies ("The Core," "Moonstruck" and "Working Girl.")

I also ate both lunch (peanut butter sandwich) and dinner (rice and scrambled eggs), in addition to my normal morning cereal. So today I'm headed back to work.

What a peculiar little virus. A roaring fever for one day, no other symptoms to speak of, and then BOOM -- gone.

We had a bit of excitement in the morning when I found this creature (above) crawling across my blanket on the sofa. You can't tell from the photo, but it's ENORMOUS, at least as British spiders go. Probably two or three inches long. I'm not an arachnophobe but it gave even me the willies.

Dave and I picked up the entire blanket and shook it outside, depositing the rather stunned spider in the garden. I think it's a wolf spider, and although I wouldn't want to harm it, I also don't want to live with it. Hopefully we haven't consigned it to death in the cruel outdoors, but after all, that's where it belongs.

And then, a few hours later, I was reading on the sofa when I heard a persistent buzzing. This usually means a bee is trapped behind a window in our house somewhere, so I got up to find it and free it. Instead, I found these two bees, locked either in passionate embrace or mortal combat, on our back patio. I tend to think it was the former -- I watched them for a while and then, when I went out a few minutes later, they were separated but lying near each other. When I moved closer, they both flew away, clutching tiny cigarettes.

Bee mating is not something I understand -- I thought there was a queen involved? And the male bee dies afterwards? Maybe that larger bee above is a queen. I have no idea.

(Top photo: Our shirts drying in the bedroom. A lot of my clothes do tend toward the blue end of the spectrum.)

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Surprise Party Flu

Well, we are a barrel of laughs around here.

Remember that surprise birthday party we went to on Saturday, where the guest of honor was sick? Well, I think I've come down with whatever she had.

I felt OK when I first got up yesterday morning, but then, while walking the dog, I felt my stomach do a little flip that definitely didn't seem right. I ate breakfast and walked to work as usual, but by the time I got there, I was feeling tingly and achy, and it just got worse and worse. Finally, at the demand of my co-workers, I went home just before lunchtime. I spent yesterday afternoon inert on the couch with a fever that reached almost 102º F.

Of course, I have no way of knowing whether this is due to the surprise party. It might be something totally unrelated. Maybe I would have gotten sick anyway.

To make things even more interesting, Dave started feeling ill on Sunday night -- more of his Crohn's-related intestinal complaints, or so we think. So we're both flat-out on our backs and staying home from work.

Even Olga is sick! I think she ate sticks on her walk yesterday. Her belly is gurgling away. We're a mess!

In other news, as I was walking along Abbey Road yesterday morning, I passed a trash bin outside an apartment complex that was smoking. It looked to me like a cardboard box in the bin was doing a slow burn. No one was around, so I wasn't sure what to do. It looked like a very minor fire, but I didn't want to leave it entirely unchecked. So I called the Fire Department and reported it. The dispatcher said they'd check it out, and I didn't wait around to see what happened.

I was shocked to learn that John, the guy who sells books outside the Thameslink train station in West Hampstead, apparently died on Sunday morning. There's an article in the paper about him -- no cause was specified but it's not thought to have been suspicious.

It must have happened very suddenly -- his stall is still set up, where people have left flowers and candles in memoriam.

I photographed John a couple of times and he was always a friendly guy. Now, at least, he has joined his beloved three-legged dog Sugar, who died last year and who has her own memorial plaque above his book stall.

John was a nice guy, but he'd obviously lived a rough life. I usually waved to him across the street while walking to the tube, and I sometimes stopped and bought a book or gave him a bit of money. (He'd ask if he was really broke.) I confess I also avoided looking his way occasionally, because I didn't want to give him something every time. Which was probably a shitty thing to do. After Sugar died, he gave me her leash and collar for Olga.

Once he passed me on the street and called out "Monsieur! Monsieur!" I thought, "Does John think I'm French?!" Maybe my American accent was as bewildering to him as his Glaswegian was to me. Anyway, West Hampstead won't seem the same without John, a true local character.

(Top photo: A quiet square in Mayfair.)

Monday, May 20, 2019

There Goes a Tenner

I took Olga to the Heath yesterday. I can definitely tell she's getting older. Not too many years ago she would drag me there. I could barely walk through the streets of Hampstead fast enough to keep up with her. Now she takes her time, sniffing all along the way, and her stamina isn't what it was. I shortened the walk a bit yesterday, spending more time in the woods (which she loves because that's where the squirrels are) and skipping Parliament Hill and some of the more open spaces. She didn't seem to mind at all.

This may be the new normal. She was two or three years old when we got her at the beginning of 2013, so now she's at least eight. Time waits for no staffy.

We saw this European Union flag flying from someone's balcony in Hampstead -- a little pro-EU message as Britain heads into European elections. Why are we having EU elections, you may ask, when we're about to leave the EU? A valid question. Basically it was a requirement for staying in a little longer to get our ducks in a row before we depart. (I say "our" even though I personally can't vote here in the UK -- not yet, anyway.)

It seems the danger in these elections is that voters may send a bunch of far-right politicians to the European Parliament, politicians who are openly hostile to the EU, thereby continuing to dismantle it from within. Britain is certainly guilty of that, having sent Nigel Farage back time and again. God forbid we should actually try to make the system work. I'm sure Russia has its sticky fingers in these races.

But on a positive note, look at what I found lying on the ground on the Heath! Now that's a good day.

It reminded me of the Kate Bush song "There Goes a Tenner," about a gaggle of criminals blowing up a safe. The crime goes wrong and money is left scattered at the scene.

I planted a few more seedlings yesterday, and we're going to give some others to our friend Lisa, who just got a new apartment with a garden. Slowly but surely I'm working my way through all of them. I'm not sure what to do with the four dahlias I have -- they're in smallish pots, where they obviously can't stay, but they get devoured by slugs in the garden. (As we know from prior experience!) Guess I need bigger pots to keep them on the patio.

I'm reading Elizabeth Wurtzel's book "Prozac Nation." I remember all the clamor when it came out 25 years ago (!) but I never read it, and when I found a copy in the library I thought I'd give it a try. She strikes me as bright but awfully self-involved, which I seem to remember is the main criticism of the book. The New York Times recently did a series of articles about Generation X, looking back at some of the forces that shaped our culture, and this tome was mentioned. Even though I'm just barely an Xer (having been born in 1966, two years after the Boomer generation ended) I suppose I ought to have some familiarity with it, right?

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Surprise, Surprise!

Dave and I went to a surprise birthday party yesterday for our friend Sally, who I met many years ago through blogging. She was turning 60, and her husband and daughter pulled together this event, inviting friends from far and wide to their home near Greenwich. Her father came up from Sussex, a school chum came from Newcastle, there were little kids and friends of friends and lots of food and an elaborate cake. Sally was none the wiser.

Dave and I brought prosecco and flowers and cheese and crackers and I took Sally a few hollyhock and honesty seedlings from the garden.

But alas, the surprise was on us, because Sally hadn't been feeling well all week and yesterday her cold turned into something hideous that robbed her of her voice, required painkillers and confined her to bed. The poor thing! What an awful situation. She came down and said hello to us very briefly, in her bathrobe, and then disappeared back upstairs. We never saw her again, even when we left after a few hours, and only later that afternoon did Mike (her husband) text to say they'd gone to the A&E at the local hospital -- the equivalent of the emergency room! I don't yet have an update for what happened after that, but I felt so bad both for Sally and for Mike and their daughter, having put so much work into the party.

Dave and I looked around her garden while we were at her house, and wouldn't you know it, she already has a ton of both hollyhocks and honesty. Oh well. As I told Mike, maybe some new plants will boost the genetic health and diversity of what they've already got!

Here's their cat Logan, defending their garden. Logan was not in favor of that whole party plan.

Anyway, after Dave and I came home, I took a nap and read. Later we had a friend from work over to watch the Eurovision Song Contest. As you may remember, this has become an annual ritual with us -- watching (and mocking) the glittery sequins and over-the-top performances. This year's contest was pretty tame, overall. The Netherlands won with a song that didn't impress me all that much. I much more enjoyed Norway's clubby dance anthem and Sweden's catchy tune. I also liked Azerbaijan and Estonia. The most bizarre entry was undoubtedly Australia -- not bad, but so, so weird.

Apparently the rule at Eurovision is that you need to be either a cute young guy or a shiny, maquillaged diva -- or some combination of the two -- in order to compete. This is no doubt because Eurovision is the gayest thing on TV.

And poor Madonna! She gave a performance in which she proved that she can no longer sing. I can't even find it on YouTube. Yikes.

(Top photo: Fallen geranium petals in our garden.)

Saturday, May 18, 2019

The Latest iPhone Lineup

Here are some random iPhone pictures from the last week or two. First, Olga posing in front of an impressive California lilac near our flat. Dave has said he wants one of these bushes, but they get awfully big and after all, our garden is only rented. We can enjoy them on the street!

A closed flower shop near the Kilburn tube station. Someone's been spraying bizarre graffiti about "Black Mass" (whatever that is) around the neighborhood.

Here's some happier graffiti. This mural has been up for years and until recently was completely obstructed by shrubbery. Now someone's cleaned out the bushes and we can see that it says "Music is Life" and features a DJ working a couple of turntables. Hampstead School is also mentioned -- it's nearby. Maybe whoever painted this was a student?

One of my neighbors has a little statue on her garden wall of two snuggly frogs. I doubt frogs behave quite like this in the wild. Olga was completely uninterested.

According to Google translate, this means "The Flying Fryers." I think it's a band.

An elaborate (and probably incredibly expensive) oriental rug in the window of a gallery on Piccadilly. Kind of dreamy with the reflections!

Some chalk graffiti in front of the Hotel Intercontinental -- "No more melting the poles." I'm not sure what a cat (tiger?) has to do with it, but hey, I'm in total agreement.

And finally, a sticker I found on a light pole near school. Someone's being provocative!

Friday, May 17, 2019

First Rose, and Other Garden Updates

Just a little gardening news today, to take our minds off worldly concerns -- which is what a garden is for, right?

First, a picture of the pink persicaria flowers reflected in a glass tabletop in our living room. That's the Chinese lantern plant just behind it -- even though it's out of focus, you can see how bushy and vigorous it is!

As I was mowing the lawn last night, I noticed this little plant at the edge of one of our flower beds. I think it's a poppy. What it's doing there, I'm not sure -- it may have come over on its own from Mrs. Kravitz, because she has purple poppies in her yard. If that's what it is, I'm glad to have it!

I planted some poppy seeds in other parts of the garden, but they're a different variety and some of those have sprouted too. So hopefully we'll have a few different colors of poppies later in the season.

Our first rose has appeared, one of the nondescript pink ones. (As you can see, there are several more coming right behind it.)

And the biggest garden story of the day -- our passion flower vine is NOT DEAD! Remember how I severely cut it back last winter? It seemed utterly lifeless and we'd given up on it -- we even seriously considered dumping the pot and starting over -- but yesterday I found little green sprouts emerging. Whew! I am so relieved. I like that plant and I felt guilty for my radical pruning job. It may not bloom this year, but that's fine -- now it's only a matter of time.

Time heals everything! (Isn't that a song?)