Monday, October 27, 2014

Planting Bulbs

I'm so proud of myself, I got some bulbs planted before November! Usually it's Thanksgiving when I get them in the ground (if I'm lucky), more often they get thrown out in March. I don't have a lot of space left for daffodils, but this spring I noticed that there was room between my emerging anemones. The anemones come on slowly and it seems like a perfect spot to plant bulbs.  They should bloom before the anemones get very big, and then the anemones should hide that annoying daffodil foliage. In theory this sounds good, we will see how it works out.

I planted some tulips too, this pretty 'Apricot Beauty' variety, below. The daffodils were a mix that I picked up at Merrifield.

It's also time for some amaryllis care. I  brought in my amaryllis last week, which had been spending the summer outside in a corner of my garden.  I brought it into the garage for a few days and then will put in a dark corner of the basement for a month or so. Another amaryllis was snatched by a squirrel I think, so that pot was empty. I have been looking for a new amaryllis to order this year, and I think I'm going to get 'Picotee' from White Flower Farm--crisp white petals, with edges finely bordered in rich red. I better order soon, though, as they sold out last year.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Astonish Me

I really liked this book about the intense world of ballet and a young ballerina in NYC, Joan Joyce,  who is a good but not great dancer who will probably never be good enough to leave the corps de ballet. While dancing in Paris,  Joan falls madly in love with a young Russian dancer Arslan Rusakov (probably modeled after Mikhail Baryshnikov) who she eventually helps defect to the United States. As his fame grows,  he quickly loses interest in Joan (who is not 'good enough'), and she realizes she is never going to be a prima ballerina.  She decides to leave New York and marries an old friend, moves to California, raises a son, and teaches ballet to a new generation of young hopefuls. No surprise when her son Harry develops into a promising ballet dancer himself, a real protégé, and brings Joan back into her old world of ballet, and inevitably back to Arslan, and her old friend Elaine.  Set in New York, Paris, and California, this is a story of ballet, but also of relationships, family, and truth.

Very well written, and with a cast of interesting characters,   Astonish Me shows the many facets of professional ballet--the nature of  talent, the idea of 'perfection,'  the decisions dancers must make, and the inexplicable hold ballet holds over them throughout their lives.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Apples and Pumpkins

We had a beautiful fall weekend here in Virginia. I didn't have to work on Saturday, which always feels so luxurious to have the whole weekend to do what I want. I spent a lot of time outside in the garden, beginning the fall cleanup chores...raking leaves out of the garden,  emptying a few pots of annuals, cutting back some perennials, starting to pull zinnias.  I cleaned out my little mailbox bed and planted some fall pansies and ornamental kale and cabbages. Put pumpkins on the front steps.  On Saturday we drove out to Thurmont, Md. to get pumpkins and apples. There is a great orchard there that we like where you can get a great variety of apples and apple cider. Of course we also got an apple pie to take to our friends' house for dinner that night, and some apple cider doughnuts. And really, is there anything better than apple cider doughnuts??

I bought a basket of Staymans to make applesauce, and maybe an apple pie too. Or maybe apple dumplings, a fav from my childhood.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Books On My Nightstand

So many good books to read in October. Here's what I'm reading this month.

  • The Heist, by Daniel Silva. Newest thriller with super spy and art restorer Gabriel Allon.
  • Personal, by Lee Child. Jack is back.
  • The Long Way Home, by Louise Penny. Chief Inspector Gamache is retired...really?
  • The Paying Guests, by Sarah Waters. Great reviews.
  • The Children Act, by Ian McEwan. Looking forward to reading McEwan's newest. 
  • Sheltering Rain, by JoJo Moyes. First novel by the author of Me Before You, and One Plus One, both of which I liked. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


by Linda Pastan

Every garden dreams
of being Eden: rosebushes
or wildflowers, it hardly matters
as long as the hum of bees
remains peaceable and the door
to the grave stays hidden
beneath a swath of grass.
In the cooling afternoon
each flower relaxes
on its pedestal of stem,
and the gardener too dreams,
under a tree weighted
each fall with apples

Monday, October 6, 2014

Wedding Weekend in DC

We went to a beautiful wedding this weekend in Washington, DC. Julia's best friend and college roommate was married on Saturday and it was one of the most beautiful and thoughtful weddings I have ever been to. Every detail was perfect, and they even got the weather perfect as well. They have a wonderful family and the love was everywhere.  We were so happy to be included in their happy day and it was fun to see Julia and Melissa,  still such good friends all these years later.  Lots of memories this night.

The reception was held at the top of the Hay Adams Hotel, right by the White House, and the views had everyone in awe.  This was the view from the dining room and the dance floor. The dining room was incredible, with two really long tables the length of the room, set all in white and crystal, with beautiful white flowers and tall candles,  so sparkly and magical, and the Washington skyline all lit up behind us. It was beyond gorgeous. There was even a moon.

The maid of honor looked beautiful!

Detail of the back of the dress, so pretty.

Happy faces! As you can imagine, everyone was taking pictures with this view. What a night.

Friday, October 3, 2014


By Mary Oliver
Today I’m flying low and I’m
not saying a word.
I’m letting all the voodoos of ambition sleep.
The world goes on as it must,
the bees in the garden rumbling a little,
the fish leaping, the gnats getting eaten.
And so forth.
But I’m taking the day off.
Quiet as a feather.
I hardly move though really I’m traveling
a terrific distance.
Stillness. One of the doors
into the temple.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

More Maine

Lobster traps

A few more pictures from Maine...lobstering, hikes in Acadia, a boat trip to Little Cranberry Island.

Harbor at Little Cranberry Island

Lobstering at Little Cranberry Island
Passing by Bear Island

Northeast Harbor

Hike to the top of Beech Mountain

Beech Mountain

Beech Mountain

Somes Sound

Hiking Acadia

Acadia, near Jordan Pond

Carriage Road near Jordan Pond

Carriage Road near Jordan Pond

Carriage Road, Acadia

Trail markers on carriage roads

Colorful lobster buoys