Saturday, May 31, 2014

Saturday Farmer's Market - Happy Easter!?



Created by Heather at Capricious Reader, and now hosted by Chris at Stuff as Dreams are Made on.

Happy Easter Everyone!
(from my Lily, anyway)









"Savage
Beauty"














This formidable weed has sharp barbs along all its edges and fiberglass like hairs all over the face of its leaves.

But the flower is a lovely purple.






Savages
- Brooke Moran

I am lost and afraid.
my world has come to rain.
it is bitter and cold.
I have a sore soul.
Things have been forgotten and left behind.
The world in and out is in an ugly binde.
There are things people just shouldn't know.
And if its okay for me to say I think I rather have the right to say
that history has been blown away.
We are savages to our own kind, even it does not show
The mirror is quite a foe.
It doesn't let you see everything. What happened to our insides?
I'm affraid its only for the best.
Because as we know it, nothing will rest.

UPDATE from Last Week:

* We've been eating our Peas pretty much off the vine. I bring in a bunch, par boil, ice them, and we eat them like M&Ms. There won't be any preserved and we are coming to the end of the season for them, but they were a hit.

* I need to get more Lettuce in the ground. I've been neglecting my staggered planting times and we've eaten nearly all I had planted.

* My Tomato plants are getting big. I plucked the first blooms off of all of them already. (This reroutes the nutrients to the bush and makes it stronger and able to bear more fruit.) I can't believe I planted four bushes. I must have lost my mind. I had two last year that supplied my husband and I, my daughter's family, and some of the neighbors. The area around them is badly in need of weeding right now too. It never ends . . .

* Plum tree:

The larger of the two Plum trees, which gave us the delicious fruit last year, is so heavy with fruit this year it bent in half.

We had to use ropes, supports, and the fence to hold it up straight, and we lost quite a lot of fruit in the process (there's still quite a lot, though).

I still have to make some supports for a few of the individual branches. They'll be easy, 6' long 1x1s with two nails in the top forming a kind of 'v' will push the branches up without harming them. That's the way my Grandfather did it.
 
One of the Pluot trees is leaning badly, but will be much easier to straighten.






Baby Pomegranates













 Baby Navel Oranges













 




The largest of the four Sunflowers is about eight feet tall.














The Morning Glories are filling in, but my trellis is obviously too short.







BOOK REVIEWS. Sort Of.


Gone, Baby, Gone (audiobook) - Dennis Lehane

"Kids forgive, they don't judge, they turn the other cheek, and what do they get for it?"

Lehane takes on his darkest subject matter yet - and with gusto. This one is as well crafted and driving as the previous, and as always, not for the squeamish.




The Narrows (ebook) - Michael Connelly

"I knew I would be more comfortable studying the blood and madness of some other person and time"

Suicides that turn out to be murders ... a murder that just may be ...

It can be so rough when the murderer knows all the ways to evade capture, because he used to be in charge of the pursuit.


Prayers for Rain (ebook) - Dennis Lehane

"Nobody's ever liked me," Devin said, "but most of them are scared of me, so that's just as good. You, on the other hand, are a renowned cream puff."

Lehane's novels are always relentless, and this one is no exception. But after the last one (Gone, Baby, Gone) he seems to have let up just a bit (but not that much).



Moonlight Mile (ebook) - Dennis Lehane

"All the stuff our fathers took for granted as long as you worked hard, the great safety net and the fair wage and the gold watch at the end of it all? That's all gone around here, my friend."

The danger is closer to home than ever, forcing some realizations and a few hard choices. Oh yeah, and murder and stuff.

I hope that wasn't too spoilery.

The Closers (ebook) - Michael Connelly

"Without a doubt," Pratt said, "this squad is the most noble place in the building. A city that forgets its murder victims is a city lost. This is where we don't forget. We're like the guys they bring in in the bottom of the ninth inning to win or lose the game. The closers. If we can't do it, nobody can. If we blow it, the game is over because we're the last resort. Yes, we're outnumbered. We've got eight-thousand open-unsolveds since nineteen-sixty. But we are undaunted. Even if this whole unit clears only one case a month—just twelve a year—we are doing something. We're the closers, baby. If you're in homicide, this is the place to be."

Harry left the police department for three years, but now he's back as the world's oldest rookie.

He has matured a bit, and learned that he has to level with his partner. But as the saying goes, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Echo Park (ebook) - Michael Connelly

"As the ascended, the Hollywood sign atop Mt. Lee was directly in view through the windshield. It had been put up on the next ridge more than eighty years ago to advertise the Hollywood Land real estate development at the top of beechwood. The sign was eventually shortened and now advertised a state of mind more than anything else."

They say it's best to be careful which dog you feed. Is it too late for Harry Bosch to heed that advice?

The Big Sleep (audiobook) - Raymond Chandler

"Being a copper I like to see the law win. I'd like to see the flashy well-dressed mugs like Eddie Mars spoiling their manicures in the rock quarry at Folsom, alongside of the poor little slum-bred guys that got knocked over on their first caper amd never had a break since. That's what I'd like. You and me both lived too long to think I'm likely to see it happen. Not in this town, not in any town half this size, in any part of this wide, green and beautiful U.S.A. We just don't run our country that way."

When I ran across this title I thought it would be great to revisit some of the original noir that inspired many of my favorite authors. I was wrong.

I guess I no longer have much tolerance for the misogyny, bigotry, general disrespect for mental health issues, along with profound misunderstanding of many medical issues, that pack this novel.

These aren't plot points to be dealt with, they are personality traits - of the hero. I got real tired of Marlow smacking a woman (any woman) because she was hysterical (of course) at least once a chapter.

Am I being too sensitive?

The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald

"The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly."

I read this book because it was the only one of "America's Top 10 Favorite Books for 2014" that I hadn't read.

I had never been drawn to the story because the main characters all seemed quite self obsessed. It turns out I was right. I really ended up despising these people.

I admit though, the guy could write.

On the bright side, I can now say that I have read all 10 of the books on the 2014 list of America's favorites.

Double, Double (ebook) - Ellery Queen

"There are always," said Ellery, "two possibilities."

When it comes to outside the 'coffin' thinking, Ellery Queen has always been one of the best.

I had an idea who the murder was, but I couldn't make the facts as I saw them fit my supposition. As it turned out, I was right, but for the wrong reasons. Go figure.

The Missing Madonna - Sister Carol O'Marie

"Born with the gift of laughter, and the sense that the world was mad."

Sisters Mary Helen and Eileen are back at it. Having sent my kids to a parochial grade school, I understand the discomfiture of the detectives they end up 'assisting,' but they may as well give up and accept the inevitable.

Nuns are made of iron, at least the nuns that I knew, iron and compassion.


Murder in Ordinary Time - Sister Carol Anne O'Marie

"Of course I will, dear," Mary Helen said.
And at the time she said it, she really meant it.

Mothers and their children are at the core of this entry of the Sister Mary Helen series, in their manifestly different incarnations.

And the old girl just can't stay out of trouble.


The Wife, The Maid, and the Mistress (audiobook) - Ariel Lawhon

"She bristled at this but hid her frustration behind a cool smile. "It’s inevitable, you know, women in politics."

The story not only moves between the three narratives, but back and forth in time, and can be occasionally disorienting.

The mystery spans more than thirty years and traces the characters involved in depth, but offers few surprises. Well, alright. There are a few surprises.

Butcher's Hill (audiobook) - Laura Lippman  

'"You made his day," the doorman said. 
"By taking his soda and scaring him with my dog?"
"By letting him do something for someone else. Nobody wants to be on the end of the receiving line all the time, you know. Howard smuggles bread out of here every day, just so he can feed birds, just so somebody will need him."
 
Sure enough, Tess saw him standing in the middle of a flock of birds as she turned east on Bank Street. The pigeons and seagulls circled close to him, but he wasn't scared, she could tell. He cooed at them in their own language, crumbling the slices of bread and tossing them into the air like bright white pieces of confetti.'

Tess is getting better at what she does, and this is good because things are not as simple as they seem,  and they are getting worse.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Poetry Is a Sickness

- Ed Bok Lee
 
You write not what you want,
but what flaws flower from rust

You want to write about the universe,
how the stars are really tiny palpitating ancestor hearts
watching over us

and instead what you get on the page
is that car crash on Fourth and Broadway—
the wails of the girlfriend or widow,
her long lamentation so sensuous
in terrible harmony with sirens in the distance

Poetry is a sickness

You want to write about Adoration,
the glistening sweat on your honey's chest
in which you've tasted the sun's caress,
and instead what you get
is a poem about the first of four times
your mother and father split up

Want to write about the perfection of God
and end up with just another story
of a uniquely lonely childhood

If I had a dime for every happy poem I wrote
I'd be dead

Want to write about the war, oppression, injustice,
and look here, see, what got left behind
when all the sand and dust cleared
is the puke-green carpet in the Harbor Lights Salvation Army treatment center
A skinny Native girl no older than seventeen
braids the reddish hair
of her little four- or five-year-old Down's Syndrome daughter

Outside, no blinking stars
No holy kiss's approach
Only a vague antiseptic odor and Christian crest on the wall staring back at you

I didn't say all this to that dude who sent me his poems
from prison

You want everyone to feel empowered
Want them to believe there is beauty locked in amber
inside each of us, and you chip away at that shit
one word at a time
You stampede with verbs, nouns, and scalpel adjectives
Middle-finger your literalist boss
Blow grocery cash on library fines
Sprain your left knee loading pallets all day for Labor Ready
You live in an attic for nine years
You go bankrupt
You smoke too much


Drink too much
Alienate family and friends
Say yes, poetry is a sickness, but fuck it
Do it long enough, and I promise like an anti-superhero
your secret power will become loss

Loss like only old people must know
when the last red maple on the block goes

and the drizzle turns to snow

Maybe the best poem is always the one you shouldn't have written

The ghazal that bled your index finger
Or caused your sister to reject your calls for a year
The sonnet that made the woman you loved fear
That slam poem you're still paying for
The triolet that smiled to violate you
through both ears

But Poet, Sucker, Fool
It's your job
to find meaning in all this because
you are delusional enough to believe
that, yes, poetry is a sickness,
but somehow if you can just scrape together enough beauty and truth

to recall, yes, that Broadway car crash was fucked up,
but the way the rain fell to wash away the blood
not ten minutes after the ambulance left
was gorgeous

Or how maybe your mother and father would sometimes scream,
but also wrapped never-before-seen tropical
fruit for one another every Xmas Eve

How in the morning before opting out I watched
that tiny Native girl fumbling
to braid her own and her now-
snoring mother's long black hair
together
                   in a single cornrow—

If I can just always squiggle
down like this:
                                even half as much
as what I'd otherwise need
to forget

maybe these scales
really will one day tip
to find each flaw that made us

Exquisite

from Whorled. Copyright 2011. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Cadenza

- Meena Alexander
 
I watch your hands at the keyboard
Making music, one hand with a tiny jot,
A birthmark I think where finger bone
Joins palm, mark of the fish,
Living thing in search of a watering
Hole set in a walled garden,
Or in a field with all the fences torn:
Where I hear your father cry into the wind
That beats against stones in a small town
Where you were born; its cornfields
Skyward pointing, never sown, never
To be reaped, flagrant, immortal.

from: Quickly Changing River. Copyright 2008.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Mentor, Role Model, Uplifting voice: You Will Be Missed By So Many, Miss Angelou . . . Rest In Peace

 
The fact that the adult American Negro female emerges a formidable character is often met with amazement, distaste and even belligerence. It is seldom accepted as an inevitable outcome of the struggle won by survivors, and deserves respect if not enthusiastic acceptance.
My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.


Well done, Miss Maya.
Well done.
 

And Still I Rise

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

From: And Still I Rise. Copyright 1978. 

Quote of the Day II



"The best teachers are those who show you where to look, 
but don't tell you what to see."
- Alexandra K. Trenfor

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Quote of the Day


[A]ttention should be paid to the fact that when Edward Snowden dumped the government’s huge vault of secret spying onto the floor of our collective consciousness, Amazon.com reported that sales of Orwell’s “1984” shot through the ceiling – at one point, a 9000 percent increase. 
 

Dream Song 1

 
Huffy Henry hid    the day,
unappeasable Henry sulked.
I see his point,—a trying to put things over.
It was the thought that they thought
they could do it made Henry wicked & away.
But he should have come out and talked.

All the world like a woolen lover
once did seem on Henry’s side.
Then came a departure.
Thereafter nothing fell out as it might or ought.
I don’t see how Henry, pried 
open for all the world to see, survived.

What he has now to say is a long 
wonder the world can bear & be.
Once in a sycamore I was glad
all at the top, and I sang.
Hard on the land wears the strong sea
and empty grows every bed.

from: The Dream Songs. Copyright 1959.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Kilt Monday!


'Cause let's face it,
Mondays can be so rough, hard, difficult.


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Quote of the Day


Science is a very human form of knowledge. We are always at the brink of the known; we always feel forward for what is to be hoped. Every judgment in science stands on the edge of error and is personal. Science is a tribute to what we can know although we are fallible…

We have to cure ourselves of the itch for absolute knowledge and power. We have to close the distance between the push-button order and the human act. We have to touch people.

- Jacob Bronowski, The Ascent of Man.
 

My Plan for the Day. Yours?



Saturday, May 24, 2014

Saturday Farmer's Market - Good Morning Glories!



Created by Heather at Capricious Reader, and now hosted by Chris at Stuff as Dreams are Made on.






This is the first bloom on the Morning Glory vines. There are a lot of little buds, but this one is way ahead.

I went out at 6:30 Thursday morning to water and it looked like this (at left). By 8:30 it was wide awake (above).





 Look! The Easter Lily!








Another batch of Dutch Iris showed up. 
And beautifully, I might add.







Lavender and California Poppies make a lovely combination, and the bees are ecstatic!


In Flanders Fields
- John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.







Bees politely visit the other flowers, but they swarm the Lavender.

I like to think I'm doing my part to fight the colony collapse disorder that threatens not just them, but us as well.
















I don't know what these are,
but they're cute.
















The Portulaca are starting to fill in.










Our property borders the flood control channel at the back, and against our fence on the wash side is an ancient plum tree. It suffered from the same invasive marauder that killed our trees and we thought it was dead also.

But look. It's not only alive. It's in fruit!

I think these are actually prune plums, if there is such a difference. They are sweet but small and not very juicy.











More Portulaca






My Sweety brought some decorations for Mother's Day.















They're 
everywhere!






Friday, May 23, 2014

The Cabbage

- Ruth Stone

You have rented an apartment.
You come to this enclosure with physical relief,
your heavy body climbing the stairs in the dark,
the hall bulb burned out, the landlord
of Greek extraction and possibly a fatalist.
In the apartment leaning against one wall,
your daughter's painting of a large frilled cabbage
against a dark sky with pinpoints of stars.
The eager vegetable, opening itself
as if to eat the air, or speak in cabbage
language of the meanings within meanings;
while the points of stars hide their massive
violence in the dark upper half of the painting.
You can live with this.


from: In the Next Galaxy. Copyright 2004.

This is Actually the East Wall of My Living Room. Honest.



Thursday, May 22, 2014

Six!!!

Have a shiny birthday.


Counting

- Douglas Goetsch

I'd walk close to buildings counting
bricks, run my finger in the grout
till it grew hot and numb. Bricks
in a row, rows on a floor, multiply
floors, buildings, blocks in the city.
I knew there were numbers for everything--
tires piled in mountains at the dump,
cars on the interstate to Maine,
pine needles blanketing the shoulder of the road,
bubbles in my white summer spit.
I dreamed of counting the galaxies
of freckles on Laura MacNally,
touching each one--she loves me,
she loves me not--right on up her leg,
my pulse beating away at the sea
wall of my skin, my breath
inhaling odd, exhaling even.

To know certain numbers
would be like standing next to God,
a counting God, too busy
to stop for war or famine.
I'd go out under the night sky
to search for Him up there:
God counting, next to Orion
drawing his bow. I'd seen
an orthodox Jew on the subway,
bobbing into the black volume
in his palms, mouthing words
with fury and precision, a single
drop of spittle at the center
of his lip catching the other lip
and stretching like silk thread.
At night I dreamed a constant stream
of numbers shooting past my eyes so fast
all I could do was whisper as they
came. I'd wake up reading the red
flesh of my lids, my tongue
flapping like ticker tape.
I come from a family of counters;
my brother had 41 cavities in 20 teeth
and he told everyone he met;
Grandpa figured his compound
daily interest in the den, at dusk,
the lights turned off, the ice
crackling in his bourbon; my father
hunched over his desk working
overtime for the insurance company,
using numbers to predict
when men were going to die.

When I saw the tenth digit added
to the giant odometer in Times Square
tracking world population, I wondered
what it would take for those wheels
to stop and reverse. What monsoon
or earthquake could fill graves faster
than babies wriggled out of wombs?
Those vast cemeteries in Queens--
white tablets lined up like dominoes
running over hills in perfect rows--
which was higher, the number
of the living or the dead? Was it
true, what a teacher had said:
get everyone in China to stand on a bucket,
jump at exactly the same time
and it'd knock us out of orbit?
You wouldn't need everyone,
just enough, the right number,
and if you knew that number
you could point to a skinny
copper-colored kid and say
You're the one, you can send us flying.
That's all any child wants: to count.
That's all I wanted to be, the millionth
customer, the billionth burger sold, the one
with the foul ball, waving for TV.


from: Nobody's Hell. Copyright 1999.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

America's Top 10 Favorite Books for 2014 . . .

The New Republic's Chloe Schama shared the Harris poll results, and has a few interesting observations, one of which is that Atlas Shrugged has finally fallen off the list.
 
2014
1) The Bible
2) Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
3) Harry Potter (series) by J.K. Rowling
4) The Lord of the Rings (series) by J.R.R. Tolkien
5) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
6) Moby Dick by Herman Melville
7) The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
8) Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
9) The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
10) The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald


I've read nine of the ten books. Not being a Fitzgerald fan, I've resisted Gatsby all these years. But suddenly, I feel compelled . . .
What is your all time favorite book? 

I've read many wonderful books over the years (and some not so wonderful), but the one that still stands out easily as my favorite is Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Kilt Monday!


'Cause let's face it,
Mondays can be so rough, hard, difficult.


Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Bedroom

- Paula Bohince

Sheets boiled with lavender, the hard bed.
Handmade eye pillow filled with Great Northerns.
Cactus to the ceiling, orange corsages.
No embarrassment, a calm
that is the opposite of ambition, I think.
Mind like a diary unlocked on the dresser, pages lifting in breeze.
Like those vivid flowers.
Amethyst on a chain: external heart.
Heirlooms in a shallow basket I can look at
without regret, or regard and weep, kneeling, beside.
A water glass, my eyeglasses, arms open
in a waiting embrace. Sleeping on my husband's chest,
his undershirt dryer-warm, arresting as a cloud
in a black-and-white photograph.


from: The Children. Copyright 2012.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

What? Another Birthday?



Well, have a happy one.

Saturday Farmer's Market - My Friends Are Back!



Created by Heather at Capricious Reader, and now hosted by Chris at Stuff as Dreams are Made on.


Anna's Hummingbird


Lesser Goldfinch


(I blew the hummingbird picture up a bit too much so it's a little blurry. 
Sorry, I've only just started using the image software.)

 

One of my Birthday Roses . . .

You've probably noticed that most of my roses seem to be either white or yellow.

My favorite flower is the yellow rose, so I have them in several different hues.

And white flowers seem to glow in the dark and light up the garden at night, so I have several white Florabundas that do just that.





 


The first Cucumber of the year.

This little guy measures about four inches. I thought these compact ones would make good pickles.












There are plenty more on the way, and the vines aren't even three feet long yet.














 Pansies 
(still)
















 Yellow Floribunda













 Snow Peas
&
Bush Peas
(Just a handful)









 


Something is wrong with my Sweet Red Pepper, and I don't think it's going to make it.

The other two pepper plants are doing fine so I have no idea what the problem is.









 Fortnight Lily
 (I always called them the parking lot Iris, because it's hard to find a parking lot without them.)













The ever intrepid Marigold














One of my newly planted rose bushes. It has been very windy and the little petals are being knocked around.












Easter Lily
(Still running late)