Tuesday, May 27, 2008

My New Favorite Tree


Years ago, when I was a student, during the most stressful (although happy) time in my life, I lived next door to a little house that had a beautiful tree in the front yard. Most of the year it just looked like any old tree, but in the spring, it burst into crazy fluffy pink blossoms.

Several years after I moved away, my husband was in the area again, and actually took a cutting of the tree (no, he did not ask the occupants of the house, but when I lived there it was a crowd of rugby players from new zealand, so we thought it probably wouldn't have been worth it.) But I couldn't get the cutting to root, so I gave up.

Last year I moved to my new house, and lo and behold, I have a new favorite tree! I don't know if it's the same type as my old favorite, but I love it. I think it's a cherry.

The more I think about it, the more I realize that maybe I can't call this my favorite tree; first of all, one of my children is calling it their own; but I myself also have a penchant for big old maples (with really fat trunks) standing in lawns near the road; they remind me of my grandparents' house; scrub pines, possibly the ugliest of all trees, remind me of childhood summers down the Cape; and then there's the Catalpa tree. I love those; the beans are so gross. Weeping willows: remind me of Boston in spring. So I am a tree hugger. Hmm. But this is my prettiest tree.
PS: I don't love all trees; I'm turned off to cedars ever since I had a cedar with a cedar apple rust: a giant orange fungus ball hanging from its branches. Yucko. Actually, kind of cool, once you figured out it wasn't aliens. (You can see one like it here.)
PPS: Wow, two blog days in a row!
PPPS: What's your favorite tree?

Monday, May 26, 2008

Long Weekend



Memorial Day takes the place of Decoration day, established during the Civil War, mainly by the Union states, set aside for the decoration of Civil War vets' graves. After World War I, the name was changed (some of the states that had been part of the confederacy were not acknowledging Decoration Day) and it became a national holiday honoring fallen soldiers of all wars.
It's a solemn purpose.
Thank God we have citizens brave enough to defend us and our freedom.


Memorial Day weekend here was busy. Friday night we had swimming lessons, then dinner out (a rarity in this family); Saturday was a trip to my parents' cottage to clean up and open up for the season; Sunday was an Easter Egg Hunt Brunch in the morning (yes, postponed,) and a neighborhood barbecue in the afternoon; and today was a family cookout at our house.
I only got to try one new recipe this weekend, which I found while reading SmittenKitchen.com; it's a great blog.
The Strawberry Tart, adapted from a recipe by Dorie Greenspan, is fantastic, and simple. I think that this may be my favorite tart crust yet, and the custard is so good! You can see the recipe here.
I'm going to do some emergency laundry now. I sort of forgot about work and school this week!

Monday, May 19, 2008

May 19th

I write this entry under duress, really; my husband has been harassing me about no entries for over two weeks. He hasn't been harassing me for two weeks; he harassed me today about the two week lag. I just don't have much to say. I thought about blogging about inappropriate-slash-socially unacceptable-backrubs last Thursday, but instead I called my sister and shouted and guffawed about that subject for about ten minutes on the ride home from the meeting at which said insult occurred, so that by the time I got home to the computer, I was all laughed out (and had finished with the post-creepiness shivers.)

Then I thought about blogging about the recent plants I bought, but I know how damn boring it all comes out on paper when I talk about gardening. So to really drive that point home...I did buy a couple blueberry bushes, a couple cranberry bushes, an elderberry bush, a couple Japanese hollies, and a bright orange azalea. So far I've planted the azalea. Everything else is still in the driveway. I did plant the rhubarb, the calla lillies, the peony, the glads, the dahlias, and the carrots. These guys were all seeds or bulbs or corms, so it's likely that nothing will grow, but it was fun to do the planting. And today I spent about an hour walking around the yard pruning things. THAT was fun. I don't know what it is about cutting things, but I love pruning, and I do enjoy cutting hair--my own, anybody's, really. See, but I'm digressing. And I'm not a hairdresser, by the way. Nor a barber.

So then I thought I should blog today and say Welcome Home to my brother-in-law who by now should just be getting home from India. Welcome home, brother-in-law! Woo-hoo! Home sweet home, right? Glad you're back in one piece.

And next I thought I should blog tomorrow and say happy birthday to my sis. Happy birthday little sis! I thought I'd utilize that do-it-ahead-of-time blog thing. Um, I haven't, but you likely won't read this until your birthday anyway. By the way, I'm going to say I'm a year younger that you from now on. And other little sis, I may say that I'm younger than you, too. Why not? I think most people will be too polite to disagree or otherwise comment. I just won't bring it up when you guys are around.

That's why I'm writing tonight. Not really my idea. But to those to whom it belongs, Welcome Home, Happy Birthday, Water the Plants, and Fine, are you Happy Now? (a wink , a smile, and good night!)

And Oh My, did you see Lester's no-hitter? Very very nice.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Feliz Cuatro de Mayo

Today is Mayo el cuatro. The fourth of May. It's Sunday, and we had some time today, more time than we've had in a long, long while. So we had cinco de Mayo today, since Monday, well, Mondays generally suck, to put it bluntly. No time for a relaxing dinner.
As I am far too lazy today to upload photos of any sort, there will be no images to accompany these words. I didn't have much to show, anyway-as it turns out, I am not much of a food photographer.
So this is what we had for dinner:

Mock strawberry margaritas: fresh strawberries, frozen limeade concentrate and sugar;
nachos and salsa: store-bought nachos; homemade tomato salsa, with tomatoes, cilantro, onions, radishes, habanero, a clove of garlic and a touch of salt;
fajitas: store bought tortillas; my husband's secret recipe grilled chicken breast, scallions, grilled onions, tomatoes, pepper jack, cheddar and mozzarella cheese. (Couldn't find any tomatillos, will have to wait until my own grow...)

dessert was meant to be grilled pineapple, but we were so full we postponed it. In fact, I had planned to make flan for tomorrow, but now I may be off the hook since the pineapple is left over. We'll see. Most of the family does not like flan, so it's hard to get too motivated.

And that's what we did today. Plus the shopping. Food shopping aside, it was fun-I bought a couple of blueberry bushes, one early season and one mid season, so we're not overrun with blueberries all at once, and two cranberry bushes. And I finally found some chicks and hens for the rocks in the yard. Tomorrow will be fruit planting day- I've got a peach tree to get into the ground, too. It's only about three or four feet tall, so I probably have to wait another year or two before I see my first peach, unless I plant it in the wrong place. Then it will be longer. The blueberry bushes have a bunch of the little bell shaped blossoms, though, so maybe...and the cranberry bushes have bright red cranberries on them, which confuses me as to the harvesting time for those guys. I'll have to look into it.

Shout out number two to brother in law in India--sorry there's so much talk of tomatoes today! Hope they're feeding you well. Now I'm off to watch Bobby Flay make blondies. Which makes me realize, I could use something a little sweet. Oh--I also made some Mexican Chocolate cupcakes yesterday. I used a basic butter/chocolate cake recipe and added a bit of cinnamon to the batter. For the frosting, I made a chocolate sour cream recipe, adding a bit more of cinnamon, and just a pinch of ancho powder. They're good. I had a couple today, but now I want something else. hmm. Must go search the pantry!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

My City

I was talking to one of the kids, saying how much I love the city. After going on and on about how great it is, the reply was, "It's just a city, though, right?"
Oh well. We'll have to take more trips in town to acquaint these guys with the place.

On the subject of cities, my brother in law is on his way (still--what a long trip!) to a big Indian city today. Shout out to you, B.I.L.! Hope the travel's okay. Shout out to sis, too. Okay, and other sis, and Ma, so no one is left out.

This is the island where the Mallard family takes up residence in Make Way for Ducklings.


The Swan Boats, open for the summer, now.

Not sure what this is. Probably has some importance--

It is Boston, after all.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Rambling

Well, I finally got on the treadmill and ran; and now I suspect I will be able to blog a bit more, mainly because I CAN'T MOVE! Good Lord, I'm in pain.

That's enough. Just wanted to get the complaint out. I'm not even expecting sympathy or anything, I know it's my own fault. But I did have that pneumonia last August (Last AUGUST) and then it was back to school and then the holidays and then the kids birthdays. But now beach season is looming so I'm back on the treadmill. At least I was yesterday. We'll see about the rest of my life.

Frankly I haven't had much desire to write here lately, since instead,I've been reading. I don't usually let myself read unless I'm up on my work reading, but I gave myself a break. I'm reading nothing very challenging, just murder mysteries and the like. My sister has started a book club and we're going to read Jane Austen; I've been trying to decide which of her books, though; I don't know, I've never read her before; I was thinking about Mansfield Park but then I read that it is her least-liked book (by the general public, I suppose,) so if you've got any input I'd love to hear from you.
In the time I haven't written, we had school vacation, and took a few fun day trips. We hit the nearby zoo and had a blast. The kids loved that there was a peacock just wandering around the place, jumping into other animals enclosures and strutting down the walkways. I myself get a little jiggy when the wild things are close by...
I think this guy felt the same way!



I like this picture. It seems a little unreal, a giraffe poking his head out of the barn.

That's all. Just some rambling ideas today. Happy weekend!

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