A random hollyhock has appeared in my garden. Actually, after a little pondering, I’m fairly sure I’ve been weeding those out aggressively for the past four years. It is in the middle of the patch where the rose once reigned supreme, so I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, but it’s just so random!

In other news, the clematis has commenced its yearly march to take over the cable and electrical systems. I’m going to need to get down there tomorrow and try to train it back. Which is a shame, because it seems so lush.

Both the zinnias and coreopsis are blooming, both a nice sign of the late garden. I’ve only recently begun to appreciate zinnias. My father has long adored them, but they come in the kinds of colors I don’t usually gravitate towards. However, it’s hard to beat something that loves getting cut and will reward you by blooming even more when you do it. And they sure do last a long way into fall. I bought a whole flat of State Fair zinnias this year, and planted them along the back of the garden. They’re actually a bit bigger than the ones I’m used to, and the mix has yellow, which I’d never seen before. I’ve got three blooming right now, but a whole bunch more buds are developing. It’s definitely summer now.



I spent most of this weekend down in MA. The main purpose of the trip was a surprise party for my friend L, who is moving down to TX for grad school in about a week. She had managed to figure out that something was going on, but was completely surprised by how many people we’d managed to get to the party, so that was a lot of fun. BF took all of today off, and I didn’t have to go to work until 12, so we were able to stay late last night, hanging out, chowing on Chinese food, and generally shooting the breeze. It was an absolute blast, and a good send off for L, who I’m going to miss terribly!

On Saturday, we attempted to get into the Kendall Square Theater in Cambridge to see the Fall, but the Force clearly wasn’t with us in that attempt, so instead we ended up wandering around Harvard Square for a while. (It used to be a lot more fun. There just aren’t that many stores down there that particularly interest me anymore.) On our way out of town, we stopped at Penzeys Spices. BF has been looking for Schzewan peppercorns for a while, and I’ve been wanting to check out a bunch of their spice blends without having to pay shipping. After that, we got in a Trader Joe’s trip. (Yep, I yawn at Harvard Square, but squee over the food stores. I’m getting oooold 😉 That was punctuated by a Brigham’s frappe. Just a good day all around.

On Sunday before the party, as a distraction, we stopped at the Nashoba Winery. I can now say that our wine cupboard is full, the apples are well on their way, and raspberry flowers are really cool!

It was pretty weird driving back this morning, knowing I’d have to head into work pretty much as soon as we hit the house. Fortunately, the afternoon flew by, and I now only have three days left to work. I love holiday weekends!!


I had a good movie weekend. On Friday night, spur of the moment, we decided to go see Wanted. I really enjoyed it. I’m told if you’re a fan of the original graphic novel, you may not like what they’ve done with the story, but I thought it worked. James McAvoy was great (and pulls off a good American accent), and was fairly easy on the eyes. I could tell the frat boys in the audience (probably 75% of the theater) really enjoyed watching Angelia Jolie, and I did like her character. She ended up going in a direction I wasn’t quite expecting. My one little quibble was with the director’s love affair with the slow motion shot. It worked with the bullets. Not so much with the loving detail of James McAvoy getting the living daylights beat out of him.

The other movie we saw was Wall-E. I can’t even begin to describe how much I loved this movie. Everyone should go see it. It may very well be my favorite Pixar movie. And I’m saying this about a movie with absolutely no dialogue for the first 45 minutes, that was really a love story about robots. It was just perfect. Wall-E and Eve had one of the sweetest relationships I’ve ever seen. Since the BF doesn’t read this blog, I can freely confess to getting a little teary at a certain part near the end. I love, love, love, love this movie. Totally didn’t expect to, having seen barely anything about the movie beforehand (not sure how I managed that), but I was completely blown away. The short before the movie was great too. Absolutely hilarious. I just can’t wait until this comes out on DVD. Actually, I might even consider seeing it again. Totally worth the 10 dollar Boston area ticket price.

Odd and the Frost Giants – Neil Gaiman

This is a lovely little book with a charming coming of age story set in the world of Norse Mythology. Odd is a crippled boy who falls into the company of the gods Odin, Thor and Loki, and is able to help them regain Asgard from a frost giant who had overpowered and thrown the gods out to Midgard.

The book is currently only available in Britain (it was a World Reading Day selection), and I snagged it from It only costs a pound, so when you include shipping, it doesn’t seem quite as expensive as it could be. I definitely do hope they make it more widely available to American audiences. I think it would well received.

I’m a follower, yet again

I broke down and joined a sock club – the Three Irish Girls Sock Yarnistas club. I had to. All their yarns have Irish themed names. I’ve only toned down my everything Irish obsession because of my inability to do Irish Gaelic classes. And the yarns are so pretty, with such an interesting variety of base yarns. (Granted, I wish their Megan colorway weren’t quite so, well, pink, but I’ll live 😉

I got in late enough this month that I actually have to wait until August to get my first shipment. This is probably a good thing, as it should give me plenty of time to finish my Embossed Leaves socks, the Mother’s Day Nutkins (though I’m just about ready to start the heel on sock number 2 for those ones), and the socks I’m planning on making for my friend L out of Socks that Rock Raven Clan Valkyrie yarn. Not that finishing socks is a requirement for joining the club, but it’ll make me feel better, since I’ll then only have a mere eight skeins of sock yarn left in my stash…

Idylls of the King – Alfred, Lord Tennyson

de13848dd6b927f5935414e5741434f414f4141Read for the TBR 2008 Reading Challenge

I’ve been hung up a bit on my TBR Challenge reading, because I’ve been totally hung up trying to get through the Idylls of the King. I picked this up back in the days when I was reading anything Arthurian that I could get my hands on (about a decade ago). It’s sat on my shelf because unlike pretty much all of the other Athuriana I’ve read, it’s poetry. As I’ve mentioned before, I have problems getting through poetry. I’d actually rather go back and read Le Morte d’Arthur than have to read this again. Nothing against the book, just a measure of my own inadequacies in poetry appreciation.

I wanted to read this because I’d seen that it’s considered to have formed the basis for many of the modern interpretations of Arthur. (I think, since it’s been a while since I read anything Arthurian extensively, and I don’t have the time or energy to track down my sources.) There is certainly a feeling that Arthur is almost Christ-like in the story, that he can do no wrong. Guinevere is pretty much seen as evil incarnate. (Lancelot seems to come out of that relationship on a slightly less evil footing. Terribly unfair, really.) The treatment of Tristram and Isolt is particularly moralizing.

I probably enjoyed the story of Merlin and Vivien the most, partially because it’s there. That’s one relationship I’d like to see more written about. There are certainly some stories out there, but no where as much as the Arthur/Guinevere/Lancelot spread, for instance. (The interaction between the Merlins and Ladies of the Lake in The Mists of Avalon is probably the most satisfying treatment I’ve seen, but I’d like more.) Tennyson’s version is an interesting reflection on the power of youth on age.

Do I recommend this book? Yes, because I’m a terrible judge of anything venturing into the poetry genre, and cannot be trusted to adequately rate such things. I did after all, have to bribe myself to finish the book by not allowing myself to start the newest Darkover book until I was done. I can only hang my head in shame and hope the poetry gods forgive me.

Gisland Farm – Falmouth, ME

Today, my mother and I took a lovely (if a little hazy) trip to Gilsland Farm, which is the headquarters for the Maine Audubon Society. I had no idea that it also has some lovely walking trails along the Presumpscot River estuary. We managed to hit it as the fog was rolling in (actually, the fog hit the second we arrived at the Route 1 bridge into Falmouth), and it was just about the perfect temperature for walking. They have a nice mix of woods and fields. I’m definitely interested in heading back in the Fall to see what kind of wild flowers are blooming in the field. As it was, there was plenty of wild phlox, vetch, wild rose, what appeared to be wild morning glory, buttercups and a number of various white flowers I can’t put a name to. The smell was amazing.

Now, the main reason we went was to see the peonies. The farm was apparently a peony farm before it was donated to the Audubon. What were the peony fields are now partially covered by woods, but they’ve replanted a number of plants in a formal garden near the Environmental Center:

There’s also a patch in the field not far from the center that’s a bit more wild in setting. Between those two gardens are the woods where there are various peonies among the other undergrowth. It’s a really cool sight, and the smell over in this area is also amazing.

Here’s a sampling of the overabundance of pictures of the flowers I managed to take:

The farm also supports a community garden. Unlike the gardens in Portland (or so my mother tells me), they’re allowed to plant perennials in these beds, so there are a number of flowers among the vegetables. The garden also looks out over the estuary (the third shot above in this entry), so it’s a lovely place to wonder.

There were at least half a dozen woodchucks wondering around while we were there, happily within ten feet of people. They’re clearly living in the lap of luxury.

We stopped for ice cream on the way home, at a stand that was recently remodeled, and now sells Smiling Hill Farm ice cream. As we were sitting there, the haze (which had crept into Portland by that time) thickened, and we heard thunder, just at the perfect time to not ruin the afternoon. It was quite the storm for a little while there. I’m actually still hearing a bit of thunder in the distance, but at 4:30, the sky is starting to lighten up a bit, and it no longer looks like dusk out there. I do love a good thunder storm, so it was a nice way to end up the weekend.

Knitting Notes

Nutkin sock number 1 is done. I even managed to do the short row toe using the actual pattern method, instead of resorting back to the wrap instructions I’d had to use for the heel. I did have a few too many stitches when I was done, but it was nothing I couldn’t decrease into submission, and the toe looks perfectly normal. Here’s hoping the short rows go better on the second sock.

I also cast on the Icarus shawl, about a week ago, but it only just finally got to the point where it looks like something might just possibly be going on. I’m a little stalled out at the moment because I need to enlarge the pattern (I was faking my way through with the reduced size in the book, but it’s getting to a place where that’s not working so well right now.)

I’ve pretty much picked out my next two sock projects, so I’m hoping I can blaze my way through the second Nutkin this week so I can move on to something else. The actual Nutkin pattern sections go pretty fast, if I can just get through the heel and toe quickly.

Weekend – MA & RI

Now that Blogger has apparently decided it likes photos again, I can talk about my weekend. I went to down to MA to spend the weekend with a very good friend of mine who is about to leave for the wilds of Texas to get her Master’s. It was a great weekend. We managed ice cream on Friday at one of the extremely hopping local places (looks like Little League and Soccer had both just gotten out).

The next day, we headed down to RI, and spent the day hanging out at the family beach house. It was absolutely lovely out. The ocean water felt like lake water (well, at lower tide at least. There was definitely a little kick to it later). There are baby red wing blackbirds and grackles all over the place near the house, so the whole place was alive with bird song.

On Sunday, we managed a marathon shopping trip at the Wrentham outlets. I think I’m actually set for summer clothes now, which is a pretty good accomplishment.
It was really a lovely weekend, and it was pretty hard to drag my butt into work on Monday. Fortunately, things are interesting enough with the new job that I got over that pretty quickly.