Gardener’s Diary

I finally cleaned out the flower boxes that were inundated with the results of the “mystery” seeds: a weedy, horrible mess.
Picked up 10 6-packs of annuals at a 2 for 1 sale: purple salvia, cream-colored marigolds, portulaca and a few orange and yellow zinnias.
There were enough plants to spread over 4 flower boxes, and the difference is night and day. Unfortunately, my poor nasturtiums had pretty much been choked to death, and I managed to pull up a morning glory plant by the roots.
What a disaster, but the porch looks 100% better now.
The tomatoes are doing fine. Fingers crossed.
It’s much more comfortable tonight than it has been. Last night I tried doing without the air conditioner and ended up waking up around 2:30 in the morning. Turned the ac on and got several more hours of sleep. The forecast is for dryer air, with the humidity returning later in the week.

Busy Saturday

Yesterday was hot and humid, and I counted 10 tiny tomatoes on the plants in the back yard.
After weeding and watering the container gardens, I went to BJs for a cake and a duck. The cake was our dessert contribution to the family reunion that afternoon, a combination homage to the reunion and to Bob’s birthday. The duck was for CM.
There was barely time to change and head north to Plymouth. I was lucky, managed to dodge traffic both going and returning. There were many horror stories about 2 and 3 hour drives from north and west of Boston.

Continue reading Busy Saturday


Having your first MRI at age 61 is a little like getting your tonsils out when you’re an adult, an otherwise predictable life experience deferred. It turns out that several friends have had this expensive ($1,500 per scan) but generally non-invasive procedure, and at much younger ages than I.
My turn finally took place last night at Shields MRI of Cape Cod, in West Yarmouth.

Continue reading MRI

A Special Day

Robert Andrew is 12 today, and I was thinking about the day he was born and his various adventures and misadventures since.
He’s a fabulous child.
Tomorrow, there’s going to be an extended reunion of Bis Nonna’s relatives, so we’ll get to honor Bob with a cake and maybe a present or two.
As for today: while birthdays tend to be low-key events at his house, I hear there are festivities planned, partly because of the insistence of one of his friends.
So, happy birthday to Bob, and wishes that his last year before becoming a teenager will be a full and happy one.

One Perfect Summer Day

The grandsons slept over on Friday night so we could watch the fireworks across the street, and then spent Saturday with friends next door.
Fortunately, the humidity that’s been plaguing us disappeared, so it was a good time for us and our friends to visit the County Fair on Saturday morning.
The boys got to go on rides, play the carnival games (they won inflatable bats and a “hammer”, which they allowed me to keep as an office joke) and pick out souvenirs.

Continue reading One Perfect Summer Day

Harry Potter

I think it’s great that a single mother on the dole became a billionaire through that most unlikely of means, the writing of children’s books.
It’s also great that the Harry Potter series is not patronizing or sweet and that magic, not moralizing, is its theme.
I’m happy that the Harry Potter books “encourage children to read” and delighted that they irritate the Religious Wrong.
Further, I commend the town of Sandwich for celebrating the release of the last book with a day’s worth of events, starting at 10 am and ending, of course, at midnight.
Given all of this, I’m ashamed to admit that I haven’t read more than one or maybe two of the Potter books all the way through.
The basic plotline – Harry’s nefarious enemies threaten his life, but nevertheless, Harry saves the day and learns a little more about his past as a result – bored me after a while.
I also became bored after about book three with the introduction of yet more predictably weird characters, especially the non-human ones, and the predictable deux-ex-machina solutions to Harry’s problems: a potion that lets him breathe under water, a device that lets one go backwards in time, etc. Not to disrespect J.K. Rowling, but Disney, not to mention the brothers Grimm, came up with a similar formula a long time ago.
In the future, though, it’ll be interesting to see if the children who grew up with these books consider them merely entertaining or among those rare written works which can actually be life-altering.
It’s beyond my imagination to envision how this could be, but in the world of Harry Potter, anything is possible.

Binsey Poplars

Gerard Manley Hopkins – Binsey Poplars (felled 1879)
My aspens dear, whose airy cages quelled,
Quelled or quenched in leaves the leaping sun,
All felled, felled, are all felled;
Of a fresh and following folded rank
Not spared, not one
That dandled a sandalled
Shadow that swam or sank
On meadow and river and wind-wandering weed-winding bank.
O if we but knew what we do
When we delve or hew