Tuesday, July 13, 2010


I have been watching some lilies in our backyard that were planted by the previous owners with impatience for months now. I found the beginnings of some day lilies in the far corner of the yard early this spring while taking Harper potty. At first I wasn't even sure the plants were flowers but as I kept watching them grow I knew that they were going to be some kind of day lily. Next I wasn't sure if they would bloom. They're just stuck off in a corner, almost like somebody threw them there and forgot about them.

Then they started to develop buds and I just had to be patient. Well last week they started blooming. They are a beautiful deep dark red, very pretty and unusual I think.

The lilies are in the flower bed where the strawberries, peonies and clematis are planted. We put in an arbor so that the clematis have something to climb upon, once I figured out what they were! I knew what the lilies were, but not what color they would be or how big they would get. There are two different types of lily plants. One type is a reasonable size, about a foot and a half tall. The other lily plants just kept getting taller and taller - they are REALLY tall, maybe 4 feet! And they have had buds on them getting bigger and bigger for weeks now. Well two of the buds on the smaller lily plants blossomed today and wow, they are just gorgeous! White, with a yellow interior and bright orange pistils. I'm very impressed. I wonder what the flowers on the other lily plants will look like. They're going to bloom any day now!

There are bunches of blooms on the lily plants in the arbor bed. When they all start blooming it will really be something. There are a few more lily plants in the front flower bed too. That bed is a bit of a mess. I've let some things grow because I wasn't sure if they were flowers or weeds. Some things are flowers for sure, others have turned out to be GIANT weeds that I will need to destroy, but I'll wait until the first frost helps me out.

This year I'm mostly thinking about what additional flower beds I want to put in. I think I want to build a flower bed where the red day lilies are in the corner. I can put a nice bush and more day lilies there; that would look great! The front will be a work in progress for a long time I'm sure. I will just keep putting in more plants and getting rid of the ones I don't want. And I want to add another type of clematis to the arbor bed. The ones that are there are very early-blooming; I'd like to have another type that blooms later on in the summer.

Along the patio I now have a couple of nice flower beds with daisies and one with herbs. For new flower beds I think these look really nice.

I just love having a yard to play in again!

Monday, July 5, 2010

I don’t know why it’s been so hard to make myself write a new post on my blog. There’s been plenty of things going on around here…but I think the problem is something that Gail of Clay and Limestone has often expressed…I’d much rather be out DOING something in this beautiful New England summer weather, than writing about it! I even have trouble bothering to take pictures when I’m out and about!

It’s just so NICE here right now, and it’s been a very long time since we’ve lived somewhere where the weather was great in the summer time. Hong Kong was beautiful, since the pollution clears up in the summer, but it’s hot, humid and it rains frequently (an understatement if I’ve ever heard one). With advance apologies to my Texas friends, summer in Texas sucks. It’s hot, hot, HOT, hot. Too hot to go outside. Plants wilt, people hide. I don’t miss it at all.

But New England in the summer…oh my, let me just babble here for a moment. Yes, it gets warm, but they don’t know what hot means up here. In fact I think this week we’re having a heat wave, since the temperatures are going into the 90’s for several days straight, but that’s unusual. Normally the highs are in the 80’s, and in the morning the temperatures are in the 50’s and 60’s! Heavenly.

Next, everything blooms and grows like crazy. My flowers are happy. My garden is relatively happy, considering the lousy soil. Wildflowers are growing in profusion. We have blackberries and blueberries growing right on our property, and the farm stands provide everything else. I’m even going to take a class on making jams and jellies next week, in order to do something with all of our bounty.

Third, there is so much to do. When we go into Boston the city is transformed. Everyone is out, eating in sidewalk cafes, playing in the parks, riding bikes, boating, just enjoying the sunshine. This time of year Boston is beautiful, very different from the grey frigid city of this winter.

The New Hampshire beaches are only 40 minutes away. We’ve gone a couple of times now and the only problem is that everyone loves to go to the beach this time of year, so we have to figure out the best place and best time to go to avoid the crowds. Also no dogs are allowed on the beaches in the summer, except before 9am and after 7pm, so most of the time poor Harper gets left behind.

If we don’t want to go to the city or to the beach there is always northern New Hampshire and Maine, only a few hours away. We’re going to Maine in a couple of weeks so I’ll report about that experience then.

The only drawback we’ve found so far is that yes indeed it does get buggy this time of year in the north. Mosquitoes, black flies and noseeums can make life miserable. I’ve been attacked by the flies while running and it’s no fun! Fortunately we have a screened gazebo now, so we can still enjoy the outdoors.

And yes, last week I did take my sailing class. It was good, very good! I’m a more knowledgeable sailor now, although I’m still nervous when the wind gets strong. But at least I have a better idea of what I should do. I can actually help around the boat now. I can tack (turning while going upwind), gybe (turning while going downwind), help rig the boat (but I get confused), sail out of a mooring field and sail back into one too. I need more practice but with Lee around I’m sure I’ll get plenty!

At some point almost every day this summer I have found myself thinking “oh, it’s almost mid-July (or the end of June, or mid-June)! This summer is going so fast! It’s so wonderful…please slow down. I don’t want it to end.” This feels like a turning point in my life, somehow. I’ve spent so much time wishing for things to hurry up and get to the next thing, whatever it might be. It feels strange but good to be so content with NOW to want things to slow down. The one thing that’s consistent though is that I’m still dissatisfied with how time moves. Too slow, too fast, it’s always something!

This post was written a month ago, during our vacation to Barcelona.

A couple of days ago, right around the corner from our apartment here in Barcelona there was a small demonstration; no more than a couple of thousand people at most (I'm not good at estimating crowds). It was in support of the Palestinians...I think maybe because of that Turkish ship with the people that were in support of Gaza that the Israeli's shot at...their chants and most of their signs were in Spanish of course so it was hard to tell.

It was interesting and a little disturbing too. There were signs with the Israeli flag set equal to the swastika (* = x), etc. They stopped at the corner and threw paint the color of the Palestinian flag at a building there. The building had a blue flag with a circle of yellow stars outside it which I discovered is the flag of the European Union. We asked the people we rented this apartment from if they knew why the demonstrators chose that particular building and even they weren’t sure.

I took a bunch of pictures and even a short video. I stood on one of the beautiful benches in front of Casa Milla, the Guadi apartment building, to take them.

I just found myself thinking that you'd never see this sort of demonstration in the US, and the reason that you DO see it in Europe is that there is such a small Jewish presence here, since it was basically destroyed 60 years ago...so there's nobody really to advocate for the Jews anymore. No matter how I feel about Israeli politics I found myself angered by this demonstration, since it managed to simplify a complicated situation and make it sound like it’s entirely the Israeli’s fault.

In the US I tend to differentiate between THE Jews (which includes me) and The Israeli Government, with whose policies and actions as a left-leaning political person I sometimes disagree. But this demonstration, in spite of the fact that I might have actually agreed with them on some points, felt a little scary. I just hate it when people equate things with the Nazis when that doesn't make sense. Cambodia's killing fields, yes. North Korea, yes. But the Israeli position on the West Bank, no matter how annoying I find it, no! And Obama...? Please! You know what I mean. Such equations trivialize what the Nazi’s did and gives undue weight to perceived injustices that don’t involve the organized and state-run murder of an entire people.

I wrote this when we first came back from Barcelona, and I hesitated then and now to post it, for fear of upsetting some of my relatives. But what the heck…it certainly was a significant event in our vacation, so it seems a little strange to be hiding it. So…here goes…


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