so on the first day of autumn

How I spent my equinox.
I wore my brown boots. I started to break in new shoes. I finished a wool scarf, this one, finally.
an aside for knitters:
Seriously it's just silly that it took me so long to finish this. The chill of equinox got me going and it worked out pretty well. Long enough to wear my preferred way and very cozy. One skein was plenty, I have leftovers. But why did I wait so long???

I had a leisurely brunch with a friend. I rode my bike, I worked on my recent creative wind up to Nanowrimo. [how are you getting ready for nano?] I sat by the waterfall[s] in the garden and enjoyed the sun.

That evening I was out with my wife to have dinner down by the river and take in a show. Poor Ellis had lost her voice shortly before the show, it made for a very interesting evening, I think for all of us, and I certainly appreciate her telling us that it didn't actually hurt because it sounded painful at times. It was cool though to hear familiar songs in a new way and the set seemed different because of her 'new' deep voice. I hope she heals quickly. I will always remember her graciousness and ease during a frustrating situation when I have forgotten other shows when all was 'perfect'.

At some point during the night I dreamed that my wife and I were shopping for dining room tables, that was a weird one. All in all a lovely start to autumn and I hope all are having a great weekend. xo

autumnal equinox 2011

It's late this year but summer is now officially over and my favorite season is starting. We are having a mild day here with a bit of a nip in the air. I am enjoying a day off although I had a rocky start due to some vile pizza at work yesterday.

Creativity and biking are in full flow and I feel fruitful and mellow myself. A few trees are starting to turn and the squirrels are ripping down my neighbors' sunflowers and stealing all the tomatoes they can get their paws on, naughty beasts. It's all good and I am grateful.

Now for gardening wrap up #6.

fourth bed NW, the good:
Many different varieties of lavender, french, english, cynthia johnson. All doing well neither the extreme heat/humidity of July nor the drought of August seemed to bother them. Huge transplanted oregano plants also did well as did both varieties of parsley. The subtle shades of the icelandic poppies were a delight.

fourth bed NW, the bad:
Of all the african daisies these orange ones really hated the heat, even their foliage crisped up. They are finally recovering now even though september is almost over. The poppies didn't make it although I coddled them a lot. Perhaps they were just in the wrong location?

I have loved my new herb garden and I am really happy that we made it this summer. There have been many butterflies and dragonflies in the yard this year so it seems our little ecosystem is doing well. It will be fun to dream about the beds this winter and make plans for the spring.

As we move into the next season I wish all a fruitful harvest of whatever you nutured. peace

lots of labyrinths and 5th garden reflection '11

Saturday morning I had the wonderful opportunity to go out to paths of peace and wander the many labyrinths. There are 15 out there but I only managed to walk 7. Such an incredible creative charge from all of it along with one very stiff ankle.

The morning set me up for the planning meeting that afternoon for the 2012 annual international gathering that will be here in WI. It also gave me a creative push for a workshop idea which I am really looking forward to developing for next year.

Third Bed, NE, the good:
The scented geranium was a joy with its variegated leaves. The two colors of osterspernum worked together, the plummy purple in particular seemed so happy. My big experiment of the Cynthia Johnson lavender are in this and the 4th bed outlining the main entrance. They grew well and I am hoping they are will be as perennial as the claims, I can't wait to see them next summer as well.

Third bed, NE, the bad:
Borage, it was a mistake to plant it on the edge near the sidewalk, it attracted tons of bees. Also I just didn't really like it that much, I don't think I will have it next year. Again those calendula needed constant dead-heading, that got to be too much really and then they just looked ratty.

Overall in this bed some things were great and some just eh. I thought of it as my carnival bed it was jumping with so many bright colours.

yeah music and 4th garden reflection '11

Lots of stuff going on = less blogging time.

So lots of upcoming music this autumn and I am looking forward to it. Last Friday I went out with a friend to see Tret Fure at a nearby coffee shop. It was very small and intimate. For me she is one of those performers I enjoy live but their recordings don't really do it for me so I was happy to get the chance to see her again.

It is so fun to see these women performing who started so long ago in the 70s and early 80s I think. I love being reminded of the strong generations of women before us. Beautiful.

Second bed, SW, the good:

Sorrel, I have already waxed lyrical about it here. My tarragon transplanted successfully. The calendula planted here and in bed 3 were cheerfully orange and the summer savory delicate and pretty.

Second bed, SW, the bad:

Those pink carnations with no scent, so disappointing. The calendula need to be dead-headed daily so I am on the fence if I will have those again. The lovage stayed at about 1 foot not the 4 I was told so the background against the fence was never there. Though it is celery like it is too bitter to eat raw, but I am hoping cooked it will work.

change of seasons and third garden reflection '11

Highs in the '90s Monday then today I woke up to temps in the 40s. Before work I was wearing my leather jacket and it felt good. Amazing change. Although equinox is still 9 days away we are getting a pre-autumnal taste. For me it felt great. Like a vigorous refreshing scrub from the wind, it seemed that both my mind and body woke up in a new tingling way. I hope even the summer lovers can enjoy it a bit.

Still lots of sunshine and no rain. Watering happening again today for the plants that most need it. This brings me to my garden notes. Probably because I am a number geek I numbered the four corner beds and that is how I refer to them.

First bed SE, the good:

I had the last minute idea to plant mostly white flowers in this bed and I liked the effect. I will probably do that again. The white osteospermum stopped blooming in the heat of July but the leaves stayed richly green. The yellow of the dill in the background made the cool whites pop a bit more. The white dianthus flourished which is a first for me. I grew chervil for the first time ever and loved it a lot. I don't think it comes back up here so I will be planting it again next year for sure.

First bed SE, the bad:
The scentless dianthus, I hope to find scented next year. The white geraniums were just eh. Need to plant more coriander. Both the dill and coriander need fencing or twine to encourage them from flopping over. The basil that is planted on the edge of each of the four beds grew well, but only one of the 16 plants grew into the globe that as it was advertised...

Enjoyed this bed all in all, attractive and not too much work...

second garden reflection '11

Since the herb garden has been the big new thing this year I am going to organize my notes on it for 5 posts, bed by bed.

Center Bed, the good:
The white climbing rose we transplanted to the center of the center. It loves it's new home and I have been training it up the obelisk. It is gorgeous right now and enjoying a vigorous autumn bloom. All the boxwood I have planted are alive [even the one that was severely munched] and growing, they are the beginning of the miniature hedge that will echo the brick outline of the center bed, I hope they all make it through the winter. Will use more 'rabbit scram' on them. The two english thyme [creeping] are wonderful with a great lemony scent. They have grown well. The sweet alyssum I planted as an annual filler [due to the small box plants] have done well and been a cheerful purple note of colour. They were planted on a extremely hot day, I wasn't sure they would make it but they did!

Center Bed, the bad:
Those Japanese beetles. I spent a lot of time picking them off the rose. They seemed to love it as much as me. Now I need to figure out how to find and kill their larvae this autumn so that it isn't worse next year! I wish I remembered the name of the rose. :( The obelisk may be a bit too short, it's only 5 feet tall. The bunny that ignored all the spinach and greens in the garden and munched my boxwood. Bad bunny! I am a bit disappointed that the thyme which had great variegated leaves when I bought it turned a bright emerald green. Perhaps that is typical for thyme?

no rain and first garden reflection '11

It's been a long time since we have rain, at least it seems long.

Of course all I need to do is compare it to TX or OK and then I realize a couple of weeks or so is nothing. It does seem strange though, after all the rain and rain and rain to be dealing with some fairly severe dryness. When I did some watering today I almost felt like the plants were both happy and rolling their eyes 'geesh, she finally noticed we're dehydrated'.

Anyway I hope they are happy now. I was the mosquito's dinner tonight but if my plants are happy I am as well.

First Garden Reflection:

As I watered I thought more about my garden and realized that there is a lot I would like to remember about this year so I better start making notes.

The good: My new garden seat that my wife built. I love it more than I can say. And the cheap yellow cushion I found for it has been comfortable. The shelf for my drink was an awesome addition. I hope I get many weeks of sitting on it this autumn. The new chocolate vine is doing well. It did not bloom this year but as it is a perennial I am not too concerned about that. I look forward to seeing what it does next year. The transplanted clematis is doing well also.

The bad: The snail vine. I now know there are two 'snail vines' but the one that is also called the corkscrew vine is the one with the great scent and I do not have that one. I have the one with purple flowers that attracts ants. Luckily this is a tropical vine and will die off this winter. I will not plant this again.

As always gardens are a learning experience.

so if it's not an iPad

Wonder no more. It's a MacBook Air 11.

Although it's been a long time the only computers that I have ever owned, not given to me by work, have been Apples.

First impressions in the first 24 hours: I like it. Easy to use, my fingers only took about 15 minutes to get used to the Mac OS again.

Nice keyboard, nice screen. Freakishly light. Dainty even. I am rather afraid I could accidentally harm it. I need a nice padded sleeve. I look forward to traveling with it.

I wonder how I'll do without the optical drive, probably fine... or else a super drive is in my future.

It's rather freeing after 7+ years to have my own computer again. I'll have to check in after a month or so. I am certainly ready for nanowrimo this year.

so I brought one home

So for the first time since 2003 I am typing on my very own personal computer. The last Mac I bought sometime in the 90's....could it have been a performa? Or did I get one after that? I can't even remember.

I have incredible computer patience, I don't like to upgrade often in home computers... And then in 2003 I decided that my work laptop was more than adequate and I used that for almost everything. It was so much less work although I did miss my Mac OS.

In 2007 my wife shared her elderly laptop with me and I started writing a lot more and it worked fine, until it died a buggy death earlier this year.

Meanwhile all the light portable pads and notebooks were coming out. I did look at the iPad a bit but quickly realized that it didn't do what I wanted, It would irritate me for all the same reasons an iPhone would [which is why I don't have either] but the door to having my own computer was opened.

Then today, a good 18 months later, I have brought one home. Any guesses? It feels indulgent to be buying something like this just for me but so far so good. I think we will be happy together. I can't wait to schedule more writing time and find a nice sleeve for this baby

Here's to many productive years and projects!

memories of India

Yesterday I needed two things. Distraction from all the itching and rice. I wasn't feeling very clever though, it felt like I had used all available brain cells on my work during the day.
[I did have a killer office day though]

Suddenly I remembered this article about BZA India's Kitchen and we hopped in the car and went.

Their food was wonderful and really transplanted me back to Hyderabad. Their portions and hearts are large, their prices and menu choices small. We had the lamb biryani and the butter chicken which were absolutely wonderful. The potato samosas were loaded with different veggies and also superb. The mango lassi and bread were average.

One of the soothing things about this place was it's focus, it is not the same as most other twin cities Indian restaurants. It serves up about a dozen entrees and does them well. But they don't do everything and that is a strength. If we lived in the neighborhood I could see us going there a few times a month, it was that good.

We will certainly go back when we are in the mood for that food again. It's a lovely little place.

The weather was brilliant

My extremely itchy case of poison ivy has delayed this party report. But I have been thinking happily about the party since Sunday night.

The weather, so brilliant for the party. It was such a delight for me to have so many friends in my garden enjoying it. As an added bonus my street was closed due to construction all weekend long. But since it was the weekend there wasn't any work being done. This made parking more of a challenge but the eerie quiet of the street was a precious thing. There should have been a huge block party up and down the street to take advantage of it.

There were occasional clouds scudding across the sky so I did keep the food inside and that worked fine. There was a breeze and the insects were not troublesome.

Some food notes:
~I made way too much chicken salad, but that meant I had plenty for my work potluck on Tuesday.
~After making my regular rather chunky chicken salad I pulsed it in the food processor a bit to make it more of a spread, this kept the sandwich together nicely.
~Not sure still if I liked the cucumber-mint-feta sandwiches enough to do again.
~The scones were fabulous, one per was plenty.
~Next time don't think I'll make deviled eggs the day ahead.
~I like how the chocolate souffle cupcakes turned out.

Since it was lovely summer weather the iced Lady Londonderry Tea was wildly popular. That is by far my favorite tea to ice. I have been drinking it for years. I also made Chai, which one can drink hot or cold and we had some fruit juices and fizzy water. If there was any downside it was my new tea pot did not get used since most people were drinking cool drinks.

It made me realize that I need to invite people over to tea much more often. This may be a new goal. I love our garden and terrace so much! I do feel lucky. I was reminded of the stunning weather there was for my wedding shower, some of the best weather of 2007, my best friend's birthday is a powerful charm.

Happy September everyone. They are saying this is probably the last 90+ day of the year. Autumn is one it's way!!