Got some Common Plantain out of the back yard today. I had understood that I should get the young leaves, and that if I got the older leaves I would have to blanch them.

I thought I got young leaves, but they were still pretty tough! They didn't taste bad mixed in with other greens in the salad, but were a bit tough to chew.

Horror Flick Weekend

I've rented a couple of horror flicks this weekend.

The Conjuring was surprisingly scary. It's basically a re-telling of the story that was the base for The Amityville Horror, but The Conjuring more suspenseful.

Half-way through the movie, I put it on pause and came downstairs and took some "horror" flick pictures--

Oculus was less enjoyable to me because there was more gore, what with all the blood from the mouths, chewing glass and all.

At the river tonight

I was on the south bank of the river tonight, over in Manchester. The trail to what will be a walking-biking bridge seems to be cleared all the way to the river's edge at this point.

And some pictures from the back yard from lately --

Last night at the family visitation, I was asked to be a pallbearer for the older friend that died. I've been a pallbearer many times (1st time in ELEMENTARY school!).

I had not been to a Greek Orthodox funeral before -- 1/2 English, 1/2 Greek. Long service. I did like that time at the end where they gave time for everyone in the audience to come up and pay final respects.

The worse part about bearing the pall today was the heavy rain combined with the steps getting out of the Orthodox Cathedral. There were 3 steps, then 3 or 4 more -- beating rain, heavy casket, flowers on top sliding all around.

Ἅγιος ὁ Θεός, Ἅγιος ἰσχυρός, Ἅγιος ἀθάνατος, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς.

Sleep is not...

Sleep is not, death is not;
Who seem to die live.
House you were born in,
Friends of your spring-time,
Old man and young maid,
Day's toil and it's guerdon,
They are all vanishing,
Fleeing to fables,
Cannot be moored.

(IX. Illusions, Ralph Waldo Emerson)

An older friend died this week. She was a good person, a vibrant personality. And she had done a lot for other people during her time.

Life ends. And we remember the people who touched us during our life. I think that is the best way to honor someone -- to remember them.

I'm not sad - although I cared about what was happening in her life, we were not close. It seemed the right time for her to pass -- nobody can live forever.

Watching the end of her life just makes me think and breathe deeply.

I got the quote above from Emerson from a book I'm reading: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.

More about the book after I finish it.

I claim the right

....We flood the whole system with adrenin. It's the complete physiological equivalent of fear and rage. All the tonic effects of murdering Desdemona and being murdered by Othello, without any of the inconveniences."

"But I like the inconveniences."

"We don't," said the Controller. "We prefer to do things comfortably."

"But I don't want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin."

"In fact," said Mustapha Mond, "you're claiming the right to be unhappy."

"All right then," said the Savage defiantly, "I'm claiming the right to be unhappy."

"Not to mention the right to grow old and ugly and impotent; the right to have syphilis and cancer; the right to have too little to eat; the right to be lousy; the right to live in constant apprehension of what may happen to-morrow; the right to catch typhoid; the right to be tortured by unspeakable pains of every kind." There was a long silence.

"I claim them all," said the Savage at last.

It's gonna be a Brave New World in a couple weeks -- or at least the opposite of the Brave New World... :)


Had fun last night doing a Rosé wine crawl with some friends. I got in bed pretty late -- I actually don't know where the time went. It started at 5:30, and I know we walked from place to place and had wine, then had pizza for dinner after, and then I did some stuff when I got home...but I didn't actually get into bed until around 1:30AM -- I can't quite account for all that time!

Needless to say, tired at work today!

No pics from last night, but here are some I've taken lately --

Fique Tranquilo....

I was having trouble sleeping the other night. I think I was just too hot (and I am too cheap to turn on the AC just yet...) And I think the pollen was bothering me.

My mind was on total churn mode.

I was reviewing in my head my "pile o' cash" for the Sabbatical*3 I am undertaking, wondering if it is enough for what I want to do, and what Plan B and Plan C is...Also thinking about other hamster wheel mind. What do the Buddhist texts call it...Monkey Mind?

I ordered a t-shirt to wear my last day at work with the Brazilian phrase Fique tranquilo... -- stay calm. Evidently, Brazilians say this when they have a spot of bad luck -- miss a bus? Fique tranquilo, another will come. Spill coffee on your blouse before an interview? Fique tranquilo, you'll impress them anyway. That sort of thing.

I am continuing yard work to save as many perennials up front as I can. Some of the peonies up front weren't blooming anymore. I think part of it was that they needed to be divided. As I'm digging them up, they are sort of dividing themselves, as they fall apart. I will tell ya -- if these peonies survive and bloom next year, I'm gonna have one helluva peony show!

The bigger plant in the middle is a rose, and the rocks surround some strawberry plants, but every other planted item in this picture is a peony!

River Song

Even though my foot was still all bruised up and swollen from twisting it Saturday, I went down to near the river on Sunday. I was close enough to hear the rapids -- to hear the river sing.

I have known that I love the sound of the rapids for a long time, but I didn't have a word for it. At the risk of re-telling someone else's story, I have a word now for my love of the sound of the rapids.

A few months ago for work I visited one of the stores, and the store manager talked about one of his ancestors being of Native American descent...and how she was forcibly re-located to one of the reservations, away from where her people had been born and lived.

Her tribe had the idea that the river they lived near 'sang'. They believed there was a woman in the river who sang.

In the reservation where she was forced to live -- many, many hundreds of miles from her home -- there were no rivers that sang. She listened to each river, but they were silent.

So she walked home, on foot, nearly 1000 miles back to where she was born -- to be near the river where the woman of the river sang to her tribe.

I get that.

Family time

I am very proud of my niece who graduated from university yesterday. It's been a hard thing for her -- working nearly full time the entire time she has been in school. Having to deal with a couple of different car issues But she handled it - which impresses me a lot!

I do have to say, it was a long day. It started in the dark for me because it was an early graduation, and it is hours away from here.

Unfortunately, as I was leaving for the last time, hands full, and having turned off the back light, I couldn't see well and twisted my ankle. I thought I was already down on the patio, but I was indeed still on the last step of the deck!

Graduation was very long, and I stood most of the time in the shade, both to keep cool and also because I thought I could get a photo. No photos during the ceremony, but the pics below were taken afterwards, after we ate lunch.

Brasil or Bust!

I have decided to take some time off from working again...I did this once -- the Sabbatical in 2007 when I traveled to Europe and Arizona. And I did it again in 2008, when I took some time off and when O and I were together. I consider these times to be little 'mini' retirements -- traveling while I am still healthy and capable of doing so.

I've decided to do it again, and I have given my notice at work. My first destination will be Brazil in the next few months, and it's high time I did some more planning around that trip!

This is República on the 2 Reais bill -


Last January, a couple of cars had an accident near my house, sending 1 car careening into my front yard. The car took out a lot of my landscaping, including the hedges that had given me a lot of privacy ever since I bought my house --

It took FOREVER to get their insurance to pay. In the meantime, I got a friends to recommend a landscape designer and also a landscaper. The designer did her work, and now it's almost time for the landscaper to do his.

I have spent DAYS now clearing English Ivy from a side bed in order to save as many of the perennials from the front yard as I can before the front yard is leveled to make way for the new design. This is the side bed -- with me, frantically just digging holes and popping perennials in them. I still have plants to save, so hopefully I get to those before the landscaper arrives.

I don't really feel like digging up all the old Azaleas up there (and don't think I'll have time), so I cut a few branches from my favorite Azaleas to see if I can get them to root --


A dream on the set of another dream

I've noted before that I sometimes have repeating dreams. I had a dream the other night that was odd because it was not a repeat...except it was set on the same "set" as another dream.

The "set" was the same as this dream -- large house on a hill, long road. In this case, the dream started in the house, I ended up outside on the road. And instead of vamps in this dream, it was ghosts -- not of anyone in particular...just "scary" things.

I don't remember a lot of details -- I just think it's odd that the "set" for this dream was the same as one of my repeating dreams, like my mind just needed a set, and pulled a stock version.



Oi...sometimes I can escape Spring allergy symptoms, but not this year! I have been coughing and stopped up. Last night I woke up IN THE MIDDLE OF a coughing fit..I was like, omg, what is happening, I just woke up!

Home today from work, and I haven't been taking many are a couple of selfies from earlier in the week. I took a picture a year or 2 ago of my eye that I really liked. This one is okay -- I do like the reflection of the sky, but otherwise, just an okay picture.

I like this one better -- I like that it is grainy and out of focus. And I like my expression...
Time and tide way for no one...some decisions made and some life changes coming...

And in the meantime, I have to get over this cold caused by Spring pollen...and what is up with the 40 degree weather in April??

Dinner with Deege, his partner and a friend couple nights ago was enjoyable. Hadn't seen him in a while, and it was nice to see him wearing something from his birthday gift (I got him a Birchbox for Men subscription for 3 months) he was wearing a bison wrist wrap that came in the 1st box.

As for are a couple of me playing with multiple exposures (I really like ghostly images)..

And more colored pencils...I decided the 1st looked like a pencil conspiracy, and then I had to gather up the pencils to stop the conspiracy...

Some bloom pictures from the yard --

Walking around VCU the other day --

And the pictures that go along with the title of the post --

Workaround the yard weekend

It was good to get out in the yard weeding on intent had been to seal the deck, but since it rained Friday night, the deck had water standing on it Saturday morning, so I postponed that until Sunday. Sadly about 1.5 hours after I finished on Sunday, it began to rain...and it's still raining, so I guess I'll have to re-apply the sealant once the weather clears.

P and I did make it out for coffee and chocolates (I had a coupon for 12 from a local chocolate shop, so we each got to keep 6 and avoid the temptation of eating all 12).

Been out taking some pictures lately -- here, I took the big red dog out for a walk :)

Here I was stuck at home, taking pictures of wall decor. I call this wall hanging 'Bernard' --

And some Spring pics!

Crystal Ball pics -

Down to the river the other day --

Continuing along the lines of eating what's in my back yard, I found this recipe (actually recipes) for making Candied Violets -- I chose to use the dip in sugar water approach. Easy.

I have TONS of wild violets in the yard -- some consider them weeds, but I like the flowers! And the leaves are green, so what more would I ask? I don't use chemicals in the yard, so everything back there is up for consideration as food :)

(IMPORTANT NOTE -- these are wild violets, NOT the African violets that you buy at the florist. I believe African violets are poisonous. Here's a post here to help you identify. I think wild violets are pretty edible -- leaves, flowers, etc.)

Flowers collected, rinsed in a collander, and then drying on paper towels --

The recipe called for 'caster sugar,' which evidently is finer than granulated, but not so fine as powdered sugar. I hate to buy special ingredients, so I decided to grind granulated sugar up in my mortar and pestle.

Recipe called for almond extract which I had in the cabinet. It also suggested rosewater would work well, but I did not have that.

I like the licorice taste of anise, so I ground up a few seeds as well as an extra ingredient --

An essential element of any cooking adventure -- this is for the cook, not this recipe :)

Sugar, water, almond extract, and ground anise heating on low on the stove, until the sugar dissoves --

I did not have any tweezers (as the recipe called for) which I would have wanted to use in the kitchen, so I used kitchen tongs to dip the flowers into the sugar solution. Surprisingly, I did not have any wax paper in the cabinet, so I subbed parchment paper. Here are the flowers placed on parchment after being dipped and sprinkled with the 'caster' sugar --

I hate to waste food, so I decided to dump some pecans in the sugar solution. I put it in the fridge to eat later --

So...what did the violets taste like?

They were pretty good -- I mean, it's hard to go wrong with sugar, right? I guess they are sort of Victorian candy. They had a bit of a green taste since they were flowers straight from the yard. But good -- I'd do again if I needed flowers for decoration.

Fun little project, and I suspect that if you have young kids, they'd love to help with this!


Celtic Knot

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May 2015


In order to be effective truth must penetrate like an arrow — and that is likely to hurt.

-Wei Wu Wei

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