Friday, February 27, 2015

In Bloom

Finally blooming, my fancy amaryllis from White Flower Farm. This one is named 'Picotee,' with pure white petals and a chartreuse throat,  and I love the delicate penciled red edge. I planted it in early December and the tags said it takes from 8 to 10 weeks to bloom, so I guess it wasn't such a slow-poke,  just right on schedule. I kind of like the white flower instead of the usual red or pink, especially for February blooming. It's a pretty one, don't you think?

And just for fun, here's a picture of a big tub of amaryllis I saw at Terrain in Pennsylvania in December. I would have loved to see these massed bulbs in bloom--talk about wow!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

'The Snowman'

Eyvind Earle print via Pinterest

The Snowman
by Wallace Stevens

One must have a mind of winter 
To regard the frost and the boughs 
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow; 

And have been cold a long time 
To behold the junipers shagged with ice, 
The spruces rough in the distant glitter 

Of the January sun; and not to think 
Of any misery in the sound of the wind, 
In the sound of a few leaves, 

Which is the sound of the land 
Full of the same wind 
That is blowing in the same bare place 

For the listener, who listens in the snow, 
And, nothing himself, beholds 
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Books On My Nightstand

  • Nora Webster, by Colm Tóibin. I'm a fan of Colm Tóibin and this is his latest.
  • Fear the Darkness, by Becky Mastermind. What's next for retired FBI agent Brigid Quinn?
  • The Girl on The Train, by Paula Hawkins. I'm reading this now and it's good!
  • Adultery, by Paulo Coelho. Good reviews.
  • Fingersmith, by Sarah Waters. Next book club pick, by the author of The Paying Guests (so good).
  • The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo. Time to tidy up, right up my alley.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Flower Paintings~~Charles Courtney Curran

'Pink Roses'

One benefit of being snowed in over the weekend was looking at pretty things on Pinterest and  discovering these flower paintings by American artist Charles Courtney Curran (1861-1942). I was not familiar with him, but he grew up in Sandusky, Ohio and many of his paintings were painted on the shores of Lake Erie. He is best known for his lush paintings of flowers, young women, and children and his use of natural light.  I am always looking around for old pictures of flowers, and especially of old fashioned flowers, like peonies and hollyhocks, and I thought they were so pretty.

'Among the Hollyhocks'

'The Peonies'

'Lady with a Bouquet'


'Golden Glow'
'Among the Roses'
'Woman with Rhododendrons'

All photos via Pinterest.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Bitter Cold

It is 2 degrees this morning as I sit here with my cup of tea. I just peaked my head outside and yes, it feels really really cold.  And more snow is coming tomorrow! I thought we could all use a pop of color this morning. Spring and summer will come!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Rage Against the Dying

I just recently discovered this author thanks to my friend JoAnn who recommended this book.  This is a first novel, and the author was an editor of forensics textbooks written for medical examiners and law enforcement, so she knows the details of crime. The main character is 59-year old Brigid Quinn,  a former FBI agent, who has spent her career chasing serial killers and sexual predators and has seen and done a lot of bad things. She's had to retire from the FBI for vague reasons (maybe killing an unarmed person?) and now finds herself unexpectedly and happily married for the first time to a former Catholic priest and philosophy professor (who knows nothing of her past career).  When a serial killer she has been chasing for many years crosses her path again, she can't help but get involved in the case again  and nearly loses everything. The story is good, and Brigid is a great and appealing character, strong and gutsy, with flaws that only make her more appealing.  I really enjoyed the book and am looking forward to reading the next one, Fear the Darkness, newly released.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

'Ten Thousand Flowers'

(Photo by JoAnn)

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn,
a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter.
If your mind isn’t clouded by unnecessary things,
this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men (1183-1260), Chinese poet

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Winter Garden

Photo courtesy of my pal JoAnn

"Most people, early in November, take last looks at their gardens, are then prepared to ignore them until the spring.  I am quite sure that a garden doesn't like to be ignored like this.  It doesn't like to be covered in dust sheets, as though it were an old room which you had shut up during the winter.  Especially since a garden knows how gay and delightful it can be, even in the very frozen heart of the winter, if you only give it a chance."
-  Beverley Nichols

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Fun Times in North Carolina

I drove down to Pinehurst, NC last week to meet two of my dear friends from high school, Kathy and Mika, for a few days of fun.  We don't see each other very much, because we live in Cleveland, Boston, and Virginia, but we stay in touch. We last got together about five years ago for a whirlwind weekend in New York City, and had such a good time, I can't believe it's taken us this long to get together again.  We were delayed a day because Mika couldn't get out of snowy Boston, and poor Kathy had a broken foot, but that didn't stop us from having a great time. Lots of talking and laughing and drinking wine, good meals, a wine tasting with chocolates at a local wine shop, and visits to lots of the local potteries.  Who knew there were so many potters in that part of North Carolina?

Mika and Kath


After a few days with the girlfriends, I drove about two hours west to Charlotte, to see Julia and Hampton for the weekend.  It was a gorgeous weekend, sunny and warm (70 degrees!), and so we spent most of Saturday walking around town and around their neighborhood. They live right next to a great park, and it was so nice to see so many people out and about. We even walked to dinner and Uber-ed home (my first Uber ride!). And I was so excited to see one of these Free Little Libraries in the neighborhood. People can build one of these little boxes and put it in their yards, and then anyone can borrow and leave books inside. Such a great idea. I drove home on Sunday, and back to winter.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Inside Greens

My garden life in the winter is pretty much focused on my houseplants and flowering winter bulbs. I'm happy to report my slow-poke amaryllis is finally growing and even the one I found hidden in the basement is starting to sprout green leaves. My big bowl of paperwhites are fading, but they have provided a cheery and fragrant presence during the dreary month of January. I like to have some sweet smelling plants in the winter, and I'm happy I brought inside my scented geranium from the summer. It's doing really well, and I will be able to take some cuttings in the spring for new plants.  

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

A Moment of Sunshine

Yesterday afternoon around 4:30 the sun came streaming through my living room windows and it felt so good. It didn't last very long, but it has been so gray and cold and dreary around here that the sunshine felt like a dream. I know we don't have all the snow that my family is having in Ohio and in New York, so I really can't complain, but oh, it was nice to see that light.