Friday, May 27, 2005

Rainbows and beginnings

I worked at a bar mitzvah tonight, the third one in as many months. Nice families, good kids. I don't mind the work as much when the people are nice. Earlier, the boy's father had told me that things were chaotic at the house...the daughter had shoe issues, the wife was questioning the pink dress choice and there was a watermelon making a mess in the kitchen. They had picked blue and orange decorations, but were clearly a Yankee family. He also told me that he had to clear a branch of an enormous tree had fallen into the parking lot the day before. All these things stayed in my mind, I guess. And, as is the case lately, I was actually paying attention.

I got my prep work done pretty fast, so I sat outside with my book and cup of coffee, the voices of the people singing in the Temple provided a nice background. I looked up to check out that broken tree when I spotted a magnificent rainbow, best I've ever seen...complete arch all across the sky! I couldn't stand that I was the only one seeing this rainbow, so to the first person who I saw in the parking lot (an elder of the church, apparently), I yelled, "LOOK! A rainbow!!!!" He wasn't as impressed as I was, obviously, but as an elder would, always thinking, challenging, teaching...he instead tried to think of the Jewish word for rainbow. He came up with a German one instead..."Regenbogen." Ok, fine, but isn't that the coolest rainbow?!!! He looked quickly and went inside. Maybe he had seen enough rainbows.

In the Bible, God used the rainbow as a symbol that the Biblical Flood was over and that God had forgiven His people. I thought that maybe this rainbow was meant for the boy's bar mitzvah. I wrote this poem for him while I was waiting for folks to come down to eat. I thought that he should've known it was there, even though he missed seeing it. Maybe the poem will be his remembrance of it. He liked it, as did his parents, and a few other guests.

For Alex

The evening storm passed
Cleared by a family of the faithful
Singing songs of centuries
Ancient voices carried aloft
Rustling the leaves of the elder maple tree
Still standing tall near the door
Stalwart usher of the Temple Color Guard
Behold! A brilliant rainbow
Blue and orange and pink
Reached over your House today!
End to end, I saw
A perfect slice of sweet, summer watermelon
Arched high in the clouds
God’s holding onto it, I think
His own “golden arches”
“billions and billions served”
Today, it was for you.

Friday, May 20, 2005

PhotoFriday challenge: green

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My hostas

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Farmer's best friend

Was just driving back from the market and saw this dog tied to an old farm truck. He was so happy to have company under that shady tree, but I couldn't stay and play. The kids' bus was on the way. He sat nice for the photo though.

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Sunday, May 15, 2005

Silent Saturday in Lagrange

On any other normal Saturday in Lagrange, people approaching the Stringham Road soccer fields would be greeted by the noise of hundreds of parents and spectators cheering (and sometime shouting) on the sidelines. But not on this, the first Saturday of play in the Lagrange In-House Soccer Program. The Club participated in “Silent Saturday,” a day of voluntary peace and quiet at the games.

It’s not uncommon to see, and hear, enthusiastic parents screaming and noisily cajoling their kids from the sidelines. But when you add up a pair of shouting parents for each child on the team, and sometimes grandparents and siblings, across 25 fields, what you get is more like deafening, high-pitched insanity. So for this one “Silent Saturday,” all spectators and coaches of the soccer matches were asked to keep quiet. Yelling, howling, whistling and other noises directed at the players were not allowed. Polite clapping at the end of the quarters was allowed as was applause for the whole team after a goal was scored.

Cheers and jeers alike were virtually silenced throughout the day. The occasional outburst by an enthusiastic parent or coach was greeted with polite reminders by the referees of the voluntary silence. Ken Naktavicius’ son, Nicholas, plays in the 6-year old league. After accidently cheering his son he said, “Oops! Do I get a timeout for that?”

He added his thoughts on “Silent Saturday” saying, “It teaches kids to communicate with each other, team companionship and how to think on their own.” He added that he thought it was a good idea for one day, “But they do need the coaches comments to help them improve when they play. Especially in the 6-year old league.”

After recent outbreaks of violence at children’s sporting events, mostly by overzealous parents, the Club thought it would be a gentle reminder to everyone about what was important. At the beginning of the year, coaches also distribute “codes of behavior” for the children and spectators as an effort to discourage unsportsmanlike behavior. One coach said, "We distribute them, whether or not they read them is something else entirely."

Ellen Ramey of Lagrangeville added, jokingly, “The coaches should be able to say something, especially if they are headed toward the wrong goal!” Her daughter Sarah (5) and son Ben (9) both play in the Lagrange League. “It’s a good idea,” she said, “It encourages you to focus on the kids and helps them have control over their own game and sometimes it gets so loud, the kids can’t hear the coaches. I think it’s good!”
Ramey, a 5th-grade teacher in Pawling, said, “It puts the focus on the team rather than individual players and their skills.”
“Next Saturday, of course,” Ramey adds, “things will be back to normal but maybe a bit quieter…hopefully.”
For more information about Lagrange Soccer, visit their website at

Friday, May 13, 2005

Photo Friday: space

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blue sky over Noxon Road farm

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Sharing another photoblog

I found this great photographer's site on John Perkinson's flower photos can be found in his FLOG. He also has a daily photo, various photo projects in addition to the FLOG. He shoots a lot of dusk to dawn stuff so his colors are intense.

My photos are taken mostly in the daytime. After the kids have gone off to school and before they get back. That makes for a lot of bright light shots. One of these weekends, I hope to get up early (ha!) and stay out late (woo!) to get some differently-lighted pics.

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Cultural kids

Last night, my son's school had its third grade open house and curriculum fair. The kids have been studying different cultures around the world, one country per class. My son's class studied Mexico and the others studied China and Brazil.

The dances were taught to them by Livia Vanaver of Vanaver Caravan, a dance company in New Paltz, NY. The children learned the songs and dance steps in only three short weeks. It was a terrific show and my only complaint was that I couldn't jump up and join in! They even had costumes from the different cultures. Just a wonderfully produced event, start to finish.

At the end, all three classes joined in for a kind of "we are the world" kids song. Too cute.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Oh land o' blooms

I love when a plant that you've completely forgotten about just pops up in your garden! I usually give weeds a pass in early spring, since I'm not great at identifying weeds from perennials yet. I let this one go because I thought maybe it was something I had planted last year, and it was! Purple phlox! I don't remember planting this where it is, so maybe I shifted dirt around and inadvertently relocated it. That and I added another four feet to this border last fall, so maybe it just seems like it moved.

Added a peonie, too, Sarah Burnhardt. Lovely pink doubles. This plant came with one bud and I think that's all she'll give this year. It's a lovely one though.

Also one close-up of the Mother's Day roses I received. These actually smell good, too! Not bad for a supermarket bunch! ;-)

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Sunday, May 08, 2005

Happy Mother's Day!

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Friday, May 06, 2005

Photo Friday: action

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2004 NY Empire State Games, Ithaca, NY

Thursday, May 05, 2005

New gardens

We've lived in this house for twelve years. I've had a veggie garden all twelve. Even the spring that I ruptured my achilles, I paid a neighbor's son to come over and till. He tilled and then said, "Mrs. T, I did what you said then I stomped it down real nice for you, all ready to plant!" Well intentioned city boy, he was. I saw him pulling a weed in his mother's garden today. At least, I think it was a weed. Nice boy.

The weeds got out of control a bit that year until I bought my very first hoe, a wonderful tool for the bending-challenged gardener. This year, though, I'm intact (mostly) and I've got my tools ready and waiting for the passing of that frost date!

When you garden in Lagrangeville, you don't bring a shovel, you bring a pick axe. Under the two generous inches of top soil is a bed of shale. I'm on pick axe number two in this house. Nothing quite resembles the sound of a pick axe hitting rock. *ka-ting!!!!** I'm convinced that the folks who said you should wear safety goggles while doing yardwork were from Lagrange. The last pick axe tip that shattered missed my shoulder by a few inches. The pitchfork was the next wary volunteer. It seemed to handle the rocks better than the axe and I applied less than tool-shattering pressure this time.

So when I say, "I added another 5' x 8' to my vegetable garden this year," that's a big deal. My neighbor even honked at me in what could only be considered a jubilant rally cry of support for my attack of the rocky earth! She, too, is a frustrated Lagrangeville gardener. "Raised beds," she tells me, "raised beds!" That's too easy. That's giving in! Maybe it's just pride, but I can't let a piece of rock defeat me. If I can move a rock and make something grow, then somehow, in some very small way, I've overcome. I've won.

I just finished turning over the new bed and it's got me thinking longingly of my own soft, rockless bed. Hard labor is good for the soul, not the back. But while my muscles are crying, my heart is content. I'm thinking longingly about the juicy slices of Big Boy tomatoes in my August BLT's and the sweet strawberries (already blooming) ripe in June (if the birds don't beat me to them) and cool lettuces and beans all summer. This will be the year I plant the pumpkins and the rows of corn and the eggplant! All in that little 5' x 8' space! Ok, maybe I'll just add a few more tomato plants. Until next year when I get a new pick axe.

This is the evening primrose from the perennial bed I planted last fall. I left a few of the boulders that I unearthed in the garden. They make for an interesting backdrop for the flowers. That and they were too heavy to move. You have to choose your battles.

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Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Still just a kitten

Shadow...stalking me from beneath the Japanese maple. He's about 12 years old now and he's still as playful as ever. He goes for walks with us when we walk to the end of our street and back with the kids...I'd swear he was a dog sometimes. Naps a bit more now than he used to, but still looks great.

He was an orphan when my friend found him and his three siblings in the neck of an old oak tree, his mother killed by a car not far up the street. They kept them in a laundry basket lined with newspapers until they were big enough to be given away. To this day, he will choose a pile of scattered newspapers to sleep on over any bedding we'd purchase at a pet store. He'd rather be near us rather than sitting on our laps, a product of his never having known the comfort of his mother, I've decided. We picked him, the runt of the litter, because of his cute little face. He's still cute, our little Shadow.

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The last daffodil picture for this spring, I promise. These are some kind of double-daffodil that I planted last fall. I was so sick of not having tulips in my yard that I went out looking for the most exotic looking daffodils I could find. These were pretty white with the yellow center and the clustered cup. It's been such a perfect spring this year. No droughts, no damaging storms *knocks wood.* I can't remember the garden looking so green and the flowers lasting so long. Maybe I'm just paying attention again.

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Monday, May 02, 2005

More from the Morse House

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Sunday, May 01, 2005

Locust Grove

Visited Locust Grove, the Samuel Morse Historic site, on Friday. The site features gardens, trails and an historic mansion. I just did a walk around the gardens on this particular day. I've never been one for mansion visits. The gardens are lovely in the spring, but I suspect they are more geared toward the summer garden. Can't wait to get back there and walk the three miles of trails near the Hudson River.

me on the sprawling porch
overlooking the Hudson