Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sunday, November 30, 2008


Somewhere there are more pictures, hopefully those people will send them to me and I can update. Meanwhile: the turkey, before I learned that the real brine recipe called for 7 cloves, not 7 tablespoons of cloves:

And Enzo, proudly wearing his finisher's medal after the turkey trot.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

a bit of an autumn revival

As Enzo shows you, things have greened up quite a bit (and my intention was to get him with the hibiscus, still going strong). Ok, most of the greenery is because the grass is REALLY long, and the pictures are missing the bald spots. But somehow, the garden has a second wind. Sure, there's a lot of dead stuff, but there's a bunch that's just coming into its own right now too.

I planted these guys a month ago, don't even remember what they are, an annual I picked up at Shannon to perk up the peony bed. They had buds at the time, but took a month to open.
And then of course the Anenomes, which are still going full force, dotted with those red little guys, still going strong.
On a different note, for a couple months, this big tall guy has been growing in one of the pots. I wasn't worried about him as he was so contained, but wondered what he'd turn into.
The first shot is from early September, but now he's bloomed! Looks like some kind of aster maybe? I see it everywhere (in the weedy sense), but maybe we should say "wildflower." I say welcome.

And I'll finish with a totally gratuitous picture of Cyrus. He'd had a rough night with a head cold.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

right plant wrong spot

Experts advise me that this guy is a weed. But I like him. So I'm not pulling yet.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Last year something happened and they never actually bloomed. This year, they've had buds for about two weeks now, and I've been waiting patiently. Finally, they're blooming

Enzo and his chain tattoo

Poor guy shared the back of the car with my bike. This is not a new thing, but Enzo's never ended up on the wrong side of the struggle before. Think he knows? He won't even look at me. Yeah, he knows. That was before his bath. And I wish the chain tattoos I regularly get on my leg came off as easily as his came off his fur.

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Last year there was amaranth everywhere. It was really cool, but seriously, it was everywhere. By the end of the summer I was really sick of it. This year I didn't plant any. But some came back anyway.

Growing from the cracks in the sidewalk or patches of dirt on the concrete. Suddenly. One day seedlings, the next, six feet tall.

In the case of the front area, it's growing out of the broken pipe that's apparantly some kind of sewer vent. It makes Steve crazy that this thing is growing out of there. But it's huge and I love it. Nature, claiming its bit of the city back. The roots are shallow and I'm sure the next "tropical storm" will just knock it over. And that will be the end of that.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

can't win with the lawn

I am not a lawn person, really I'm not. Really. But this is annoying.

Last year the lawn went balding too -- it was really bad. So we turned it over in the spring, added compost, replanted, the whole kit and caboodle. And yet, once again:
There are differences. It is in a slightly different spot. And it's a good month and a half earlier -- the balding happened in late October last year -- I have a picture from late September and all is verdant. But I can't help but think it's the same problem. What am I doing wrong? If it was the whole lawn I'd say more water, or not enough sun. But it's not the sunniest part of the lawn, and not the shadiest either. And it's not like half gets more water than the other half. I thought maybe it was where Enzo pees (and there are definitely dead spots in those areas), but it's a bit too spread out for that.


I'm trying to overseed right now, and I added a little fertilizer and a sprinkle of compost for, well, I don't really know why, I guess I figured it couldn't hurt. Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

what a mess

No E., I'm not talking about my hair. Although I could be.

The garden. It needed some serious cleanup. I recall this happening last year too -- sometime in August, I totally losing momentum on my little patch of green. In any case, here's the tragedy, my good friends the cosmos, leggy and straggly and just all over the place, those cool little red guys, like their "bad friend" aiding and abetting. And the Peonies, developing the mildew I'm now used to this time of year:

Here's the after. Everyone trimmed back and tied up. Radically. Peonies completely cut back. It's kind of stark now, but I know it's just plain going to be good for everyone. Not that there still isn't a lot of fixing up to do, but at least it doesn't look like it just got out of bed.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Steed!

At long last, the Steed is home. I mean, the bike itself has a new home now, but my brother in law Jeff made a frame (welded steel!) of the amazing portrait by Elizabeth Zechel, and my sister hand-carried it from California after many months of nagging (thanks Eliza!).

Ode to the Steed

The Steed is a solid friend -- not a nimble bike, but an indestructible heavy protector. Safe for potholes. We spent 2000-2006 together, the longest I've ever owned a bike, let alone a bike in NYC. It became mine for $40 at someone's stoop sale -- she threw in a pair of shoes with the deal. When the steed and I lived in Greenpoint, the bridges were my main commute, and the steed got me home safely after many a late night downtown. I used to hang my groceries from the Busy Bee off the handlebars and I'd carry all however many pounds up three flights of stairs to my fourth floor walkup. When I trained for my first marathon, the Steed and I would ride to Central Park so I could do my long runs. When I worked at Human Rights Watch, the Steed was always parked out front of the Empire State Building. When I was in grad school, it was always chained to other bikes at John Jay. When I started at JackRabbit, it was always locked to the bus stop post out front of the Brooklyn store. We rode together downtown on 9/11 to try to be useful. When I met Steve (my husband), the Steed was parked downstairs. It survived many a harsh winter, and hot summer, and never complained about the elements. Almost every part on it that could be stolen was (wheels, seatpost, chain, even the pedals), hence the thief-deterring paint job, worn to shiny on the top tube by the kryptonite chain.

Eventually, the seatpost ended up fusing to the frame -- bad for me, because it was just a little bit the wrong height. The steed helped me train for my first triathlon -- we did our laps of Prospect Park, and no matter how heavy, it is a fast bike, and we not only kept up with the training group, we were always at the front of the pack. When I got my road bike, I felt a little bit like the girl who dumped the guy next door for the quarterback when prom-time came around. And the Steed did not take well sharing me with my speedy Felt. It lashed out and hurt me, first by gauging a hole in my leg where the bolt for the seatpost had been while I was training for the tri, then by tightening up my hip flexors on my commute from Sunset Park, the primary suspect in turning my hamstring tendons to hamburger meat. That was when I decided the Steed had to find a new home, and it was heartbreaking. I contemplated donating it to be a ghost bike (the white bikes that are monuments to victims of NYC bike fatalities), but then Terry needed a commuter bike, and that seemed like a better solution. Now the steed gets to ride the speed bumps on the Williamsburg Bridge once again. But with this portrait, it will be with me forever.

The steed now hangs on the living room wall, above the computer where I'm tying right now. Here it is in situ:

Sunday, August 3, 2008

More of Maine

The first thought that went through my mind when I woke up and looked out the window was "you've got to be kidding me." We arrived as it was getting dark, and so my first view of the house was when I opened my eyes and looked out the window to this:

My boys, and that view.
We got to hang out with Cyrus.

Enzo city dog turned water pup. Fetching sticks. Wet dogs don't get to go into the house.

We went to nearby Blue Hill for a little hike, and got stuck in the blueberry fields. Al made pancakes with our booty. And pie.

Enzo found a favorite spot under one of the trees on the cliff. Dug himself a little nest, and this is where he hung out most of the time.

Sunset at high tide.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Dunham's point, Deer Isle, Maine

I'm not kidding. That was Tuesday. More to come.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Off to Maine!

What could be more American? Load up the car, let's go!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Dining Room Table

Yes I did have a good race, thank you.
But here's what's really important:

Steve built us a dining room table!!!

The top is a piece of galvanized sheet metal from the shop. The base is original wood salvaged from the house. It's beautiful.
Enzo is really tired. Manhattan wears him down. Doesn't it all of us?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Sunflowers, part I

Back in April, I planted a whole packet of sunflower seeds. Maybe it was too early, maybe I mistook the seedlings for weeds, but in any case, only two of the initial planting survived, and they are now blooming. They're really tall. The one above goes above the chain link fence -- it's growing out of a cement block. I planted more seeds a while ago, and have tons of little sunflower plants now, figuring the same timeline, I guess they'll bloom late this summer.

This guy below just kills me -- it's growing out of a crack between the brick patio and the chain link in the back, by the ugly fence. Not quite as hardy, it's still doing a lot better than some of the seedlings that were planted in nice rich soil with plenty of space. Go figure.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

making me happy

The garden is in full swing and it makes me happy.
The echinacea are tireless. Pictures don't do justice to the orange centers, contrasted against purple petals...

In front, the hydrangeas are full-force, and you can see a little bit of the planter heaven that is now over in that part of the world.

And there's the "fence cover" flower box, which I'm really proud of myself for. It does a nice job of patching the "hole" where there are no vines in the fence, a little visual interest, and a nice mix of spiky upright stuff (I am loving the red pom pom guys), and then gazania and little daisy guys too.

Monday, July 14, 2008

window progress

Because my not-so-anonymous sister (Hi Liza!) is always bugging me about house progress, now that I have some to report, I thought I better post some pics.

Our future bedroom was once a kitchen. The windows were bricked up to counter height, and the project of the moment is to restore them to their original size. Our buddy and contractor Steve Creighton (aka Whippet) helped out, since we don't know what we're doing here.

We had to take out the old brick. That was fun. I even got to swing the rubber mallet.
And Whippet and his guy Ray took care of the brick that was falling out, sagging, and generally making the space the right size. Steve built the framing thingy, and I tried my best to stay out of the way. The garden needed to be weeded anyway.
Ta Da!
There's still waterproofing and finishing to do, and obviously we've got a lot of cleanup to do. But holy cow, what a difference.
Here's the new view from the bedroom window. This is what I'm going to wake up to!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

neighbors being neighborly

This is long overdue.

A few weeks ago, a neighbor (in the loose sense of the word) found that post on the vandal who terrorized our stoop, and offered some planters she no longer needed. And people say that New Yorkers aren't generous. I jumped on the opportunity, and went out to Shannon Florist and gobbled up some annuals. The front yard is now amazing. I still think I need to reorganize a bit, and now even though I finally got batteries for the camera, the pictures didn't come out so great. But watch this space.

In other neighbor news, one of the women who lives next door gave Steve some cactii. And me some forget-me-not seeds, which I'll plant later for next spring.
I love Brooklyn.

Friday, June 20, 2008

tale of two hydrangeas

The flowers gracing the tables at our wedding were potted hydrangeas (blue).
Afterwards, we gave some to special guests, and planted the rest at home. The ones in the shade never came back, but the ones in the sun get bigger and better every year. Boy, do they like a lot of water.
In the front they're in a planter, and pink.
In the back, they're in the ground, and they're blue. Apparently this has to do with the acidity of the soil. I'm just happy that they're alive, and while I always thought I'd prefer them blue, the pink ones make me kind of happy too.