Sunday, April 30, 2006

Joanne's Orchids

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These are my older sister, Joanne's Orchids. She's an orchid pro. I am an orchid killer, or in the Latin, Orchidous Murderous. Orchids have complicated system of nomenclature. Genus, species, I get. But then it gets into varieties, cultivator varieties, hybridized varieties, capital letter Orchids, names in quotations, even Royally registered orchids. That's a lot of name for such a simple and beautiful flower. An orchid, by any other incredibly complicated name, is still an orchid.
Found this site for growing tips and variety names.
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Moms Gone Wild

I'm an absolute crazy person! I got a tattoo today! My son and I have matching pirate skull & crossbones ones!

OK, I admit it...they're temporary ones from the McDonald's Pirates of the Caribbean Happy Meal. I'm afraid of needles...what can I tell ya. Wimp!

Who knows, maybe I'll try henna next time. A henna Johnny Depp... ;-)

Check it out!

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Friday, April 28, 2006

New York Botanical Gardens

Greenhouse domes
NY Botanical Gardens
Bronx, NY

Visted the NY Botanical Gardens last spring on a day much like today. Blue, cloudless skies, just a slight chill in the air when the wind blows. Perfect for a visit to the garden. Not so much for taking pictures, but well worth the drive and the guilt from avoiding house chores.

Their site has a "what's on now" page that tells you what's in bloom when. Today's beauties are flowering cherries, tulips and lilacs. There's also an iris show in the Conservatory. Iris in the Conservatory with a garden shovel!!

The cafe there has lots of healthy choices and a shady outside seating area with a view of, what else, flowering gardens.

This slideshow is from last year, but I suspect they're in full spring bloom down there right now.

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Pecking Order

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New York Aquarium

Visited the New York Aquarium in Brooklyn recently with the family. The light drizzle for most of the day didn't dampen the fun and the small crowds actually made for quite an intimate experience.

The NY Aquarium, for its size, packs in a lot of wildlife in a little space. My husband quipped, "They're like real New Yorkers: crowded." As it should be, I guess, located just a short drive (in miles, not time in traffic) from downtown NYC. The animals didn't seem to mind the crowding or the crowds.

Harbor seals smooched with kids at poolside, walruses went eye to eye with squealing toddlers through the glass beneath their sea homes, and one energetic harbor seal entertained a bunch of us whirling and twirling while a boy spun his yellow jacket on the viewing glass. He spun it to the right, the seal spun to the right. He dragged it up and down, the sea lion's head followed it up and down. Great interactive event and it was all unchoreographed.

I am told by a rep from the Aquarium via email that the baby harbor seal in the video is named "Finnius" and he's on loan from the Bronx Zoo while his exhibit is refurbished. She said his old home at the Zoo doesn't have a viewing tank, so it's all still new to him. He seemed to like the kids, though.

It's oriented sideways, unfortunately. If you can figure out how to make it upright, give me a holler in comments. = )

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Sunday, April 23, 2006

Morse House Trails

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Shed Tulips, in my shade

Hiked the trails of the Morse Estate in Poughkeepsie, NY today. Cloudless, sunny skies at noontime. Perfect recipe for over-exposed, brassy photos. ;-) It was a good hike anyway. Here's a few things I saw on the way. Didn't see much of the Hudson River from my trail, one of eleven trails covering three miles of the estate.

Much of my trail was heavily forested with a few handmade bridges crossing trickling runoff streams. Saw lots of low-growing flora, baby ferns, swamp weeds and wildlife. Snapped a shot of a cardinal and saw many squirrels. Something creeped into the nook of a rotting log. I didn't investigate.

Ran out of lunch time, so I didn't make it the whole loop. The return walk uphill was good enough exercise though. And a walk in the woods, however brief, is always a good thing.

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Tree Roots
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ground flora

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Handmade bench with a view

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Field trip

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Pet cemetery

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Lecture in Wine Country

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Ok, it's not really wine country. It's a lecture hall in upstate New York. Another shot from around the CIA campus in Hyde Park. This is the Danny Kaye Theatre (yes, that Danny Kaye).

Obviously, the thought of wine country distracted me, but not these chef students (and one chef, note the banded collar). While I was getting lost in the one-dimensional vineyard, they were listening to a visiting Chef from Louisiana. I paid attention to his lecture, I swear. Particularly when they passed samples of his gumbo. I have a challenging job, I know.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


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Anton Plaza
Culinary Institute of America
Hyde Park, NY

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Pretty In Pink

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Pretty In Pink
Having trouble staying inside on these lovely spring days. Hard to adjust to the cubicle life after ten years as a free roaming stay-at-home mom. The paycheck helps. Ok, so does the free lunch.
Lots of visitors to the Culinary Institute of America come the warmer weather. This little girl was happy with her drink and a close view of the fountains on the plaza.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Lines & Light

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Anton Plaza
Culinary Institute of America

Sunday, April 16, 2006

On A Clear Day...

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You can see a hell of a lot...if you're on top of the Empire State Building, that is.
Looking northeast from the observation deck on the Empire State Building. My first time up there.
When people tell you, "It's windy," what they really mean is, "It's so windy, you think you'll get launched off the building!" Wicked winds. The kind that makes all your pictures blurry because you've never taken pictures in hurricane force winds before. The kind that makes your hair fling in your face so you're blurry in the photos and you resemble Cousin It.
Well worth the hour+ wait and serpentine lines (and crazy photo sales-guys) to get up there. Can't believe I never did it before.
Go. Bring a camera and an anchor and stay awhile on top of the city.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Happy Easter!

Modern Eggs

Taking a mini-vacation this week. Back on Easter Sunday. Happy Easter and Passover!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Planting Pansies

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Peek-a-boo Pansies

Garden notes:

- Divided and replanted daylilies and irises
- Started new bed behind new shed
- Moved raspberry bushes to new, more spacious location outside veggie garden
- Plucked raspberry bush prickers from gloveless hands
- Turned over vegetable garden
- Trimmed rose bushes
- Raked and weeded bed near the dogwood
- Planted pansies and violas
- Spread milorganite everywhere

Notes for next week:

- See what the deer ate from this week
- Spread manure in veggie garden
- Add soil to bed by the pool
- Visit garden center and behold lovely perennials
- Buy new garden gloves for future raspberry bush moves
- Maybe start snow peas
- Consider moving the pussy willow bush to sunnier location

Nothing brings me more peace than gardening. Not reading, not sleeping, not eating.

I'd put it very near the joy of taking care of my precious, little children.

There's something about helping things grow that gives me peace of mind. While I was turning over my garden, the neighbor's teenager came out and started his go-cart. It's a terribly noisy, rattling machine that huffs and coughs as it zooms around the yard. The chain clanks. The motor hesitates. The wheels go bump over rocks.

On any normal day, I'd be creasing my brow, whispering choice adjectives for him and his vehicle and the parents who let him ride on the street (after he crashed, helmetless, into my neighbor's mailbox and the cablebox). I'd be considering calling the police if he so much as takes one turn on my yard.

Today, though, while turning over my vegetable garden, it didn't bother me. I was far closer to the noise, and I wasn't irritated like I normally am. No reaching for the phone. No clenched fist or furrowed brow.

Maybe it was the methodic way I was turning over the bed that made me calm. One pitchfork dug in, an extra shove with my foot, then up and over. Next square foot. Over and over until the end of the row, then start a new one. My garden is about 6'x15'. The whole process takes under a half an hour. Vrroooom his go-cart whizzed by. Me with my head down, feet in the soil, sun on my face. My mind was on growing.

There are people in the world who nurture things and make things grow. And there are people who don't. I am a grower. A happy grower.

As my husband and I worked in our yard, a shale-filled, tree-covered acre, I noticed the mark of our efforts over the past twelve years. The daffodils blooming on the hill and in the gardens, more in number than when we moved in. The roses throwing up shoots, the lilies already green and hostas poking up through the dirt. The azaleas and rhododendrons are getting ready to bloom. The hyacinths are fully bloomed and fragrant beneath my kitchen window.

I've shared my yellow primrose with two neighbors. I hope they took to their shadier yards. I've shared my hostas and irises with neighbors down the other street. They've shared different varieties back to me.

The lilac bush, a Mother's Day gift from the kids, is now four feet tall after only two years. I think I'll get flowers from it this year. Right in time for Mother's Day, I bet. A bit of nature for the nurturer. I can't think of a better gift.

Can't wait 'til planting date!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Glory of the Snow

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Glory of the Snow
Chionodoxa luciliae

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Opening Day tomorrow!

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Let's go Mets!

Spring Ahead