Archive for May, 2012

In Time

I’ve been on a book buying diet, restricting my appetite for books, books, and more books, trying to use the library as much as possible. Of course, this holds its own temptations. I currently have seven books from three separate libraries lolling about, taking up room on the night stand and the back seat of the car. I always travel with a book. One never knows when a freight train will roll by.

With all the books at my disposal, I was in a bit of a quandary this weekend over what to read next. Does this ever happen to you, where nothing on the pile you so carefully acquired calls out? I kept picking up books and putting them down, frustrated at having some time to read and not finding quite what I wanted. I finally settled on a book I bought last summer for $1 in a book sale bin. April in Paris by Michael Wallner. It is another page turner in spite of its uncomfortable subject matter and after just finishing Sarah’s Key.

One thing led to another today as I pottered about here on the computer, deleting bookmarks no longer relevant, which is how I came across this YouTube video from the television series, The Twilight Zone. Did you ever watch the Twilight Zone? It was often frightening to me as a child and I still remember many of the episodes. There it was, bookmarked for some reason I no longer recall, waiting to be opened, reminding me to savor whatever time I have to read a book.

This one was featured on another blog some time ago. I can’t remember where I saw it, so, if it was yours, I hope you don’t mind me using it here. 


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Today is a federal holiday in the United States. Memorial Day. Dating back to customs following the Civil War of decorating the graves of fallen soldiers, it was originally called Decoration Day and slowly, over time and years and wars, became a national day of remembering.

I remember my childhood, all of us packed into a car, driving to Elmwood Cemetery, putting flowers on my grandfather’s grave, playing as children do around the old headstones, all the little American flags at the section a little further away where the soldiers were buried, and then the sudden round of a twenty-one gun salute.

It is right to remember those who sacrificed their lives for their countrymen.

Those of you in other lands across the oceans and hemispheres have similar days for honoring your fallen men and women. Though each country calls such an occasion a different name under a different flag, it is the act of  honoring those who have fallen that holds a universal meaning.

This song is from the Ken Burns/PBS production of The War. It came to mind today and I  would like to share it with you now.

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The second garden we visited on last Sunday’s Open Days was a mass of color and texture, ponds and walkways. Peonies danced with roses and the poppies were showing off in a profusion of riotous blooms.

In among the flowers, glass artwork caught the sun.

This one brought to mind, for me, Dr. Seuss.

A new use for an old bird cage.

A clambering noise from the pond drew us in, with this fellow making the most racket, as his friends sat or swam nearby.

Of course, I couldn’t resist the clematis now, could I?

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The Garden Conservancy Open Days take place all over the United States throughout the growing season and affords an opportunity to visit private gardens, often of historical interest and always of horticultural interest. From small gardens to acreage in country and city estates, these are living lessons in gardening, horticulture, landscape design, and the flora and fauna of our country’s many regions, topography, climates, and cultures. They are always inspiring and I post about them frequently here on the Cutoff.

To my readers here on the home front, I encourage you to check out the schedule here and to visit when there is an Open Day near you or when you are traveling. The $5 entry fee goes directly to the Garden Conservancy. Trust me, it is well worth the $5.

To my readers in other countries, I encourage you to explore similar programs where you live. I know that Great Britain has similar days and has led in this movement to open up private holdings for the benefit of all to see, and I’m sure most of you have similar opportunities.

I’d also like to encourage you, wherever you are, to participate in local garden walks in your town or a neighboring one has such an event. They are tremendous opportunities to see what is growing in your town or area, be inspired and perhaps become motivated to garden if you don’t already. They usually financially benefit local endeavors, while bringing to all pride of place.

Last Sunday, Tom and I visited two of the four open gardens featured. The pictures above were from a glorious garden in Bartlett. I hope you enjoy some of them and that you take some time out this weekend or next month or whenever to see what grows in your area.

Here I am, being silly . . .

. . .  and here is Tom, always looking at the design elements.

I will post the second garden in the next post and hope you will walk with me a bit longer along this one.

See you soon in the next garden.

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Two women talking in the garden section of Home Depot.

They were perusing the plants when one said to the other,

“I have chlamydia.”

 “I think you mean clematis.”

 “I’ve cut my chlamydia down three times already and it keeps coming back”.

We had a good laugh.


The first time when the conversation was repeated to me.

The second when we sat down in the arbor and there, poking through the lattice, was my clematis, about to bloom.

 I had cut down – once.

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First of May

The Bee Gees are more readily known for their disco days; Jive Talking, Staying Alive, upbeat tunes and dancing. Some of us remember them first as pop singers with more folksy lyrics and, to be honest, it took a bit of time to get used to their new sound in the seventies. One of the first songs I remember hearing from the Bee Gees was First of May. I was dating a tall, handsome, art major at the time and he thought I might like to hear it.

 I dated that tall, handsome art major for a long time. We married in May. May 20, to be exact. The day Robin Gibb died.

I thought some of you might remember  First of May, and others might appreciate another musical side of the Brothers Gibb.

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Shortly before our wedding, a shower was had by a friend and bridesmaid, Marlene. Beautifully wrapped boxes were opened and gifts were accepted with gratitude as we anticipated our life together. In the midst of it all at Marlene’s house, a kitten appeared. A darling Calico full of energy and life, rubbing the ankles of those in attendance and otherwise stealing the show. I remembered the kitten as I read Dee’s blog, complete with an excerpt from her newly published book, The Twelve Habits of Highly Successful Cats and Their Humans. The kitten, you see, turned out to be one of our wedding gifts from the hostess, Marlene.

It was 39 years ago that we were gifted that kitten. We named her Zoe, the Greek word for life, as we began our life together.

Zoe was a character of a cat. She didn’t purr, but she loved Greek Kalamata olives and, strangely, Ben Gay. Sore back muscles got a second kneading by Zoe whenever the Ben Gay ointment came out. Imagine, a Calico cat on a very sore back in purr-less ecstasy over someone’s aching muscles?

Zoe really loved us as much we loved her, but she was, shall I say particular with her attentions to others. Our niece Heather, just learning to speak at the time of Zoe’s appearance, would respond when asked after the litany of questions we ask toddlers about animal sounds, “What does Zoe say, Heather?”. Heather would smile  sweetly and say “hisssss”.

Thanks, Dee, for the reminder of such a thoughtful and wonderful gift and joy of life our Zoe brought, and for the announcement of your new book, a companion to your first, all of which you, dear reader,  can find out about here.

The serendipity of Dee’s post and the reminder of Zoe is that Tom and I just celebrated our 39th anniversary this past Sunday. I don’t know where the last 39 years have gone, but I’m so grateful and blessed to have shared them with Tom for so long.

We spent the day in our typically nature kind of way, touring Garden Conservancy Open Day estates, visiting an organic farm, and eating at one of our favorite Francesca restaurants, La Sorella de Francesca in Naperville. We were seated at a window spot we especially like and each of our meals was delicious after a long, busy, inspiring – and very hot day.

The flowers on the ledge outside our window were so lovely, I decided to take a picture, and found my Tom in the reflection as well. I love these moments in life, don’t you?


To life!

(click onto the picture to find Tom)

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