Fire Lily Poppa

Everyday Life, Food, Memories, Reading, Scenic Photography
Fire Lily 2019
Fire Lily 2019

I noticed this morning that the first “fire lily” finally opened, after budding for about a week. We planted these, oh it must have been, about 3 or more years ago. I don’t think when we first planted them what they would exactly turn out to be, but to say we are pleasantly surprised would be an understatement. Surrounded by the pale blue hydrangeas as a background also provides a nice touch, although to be honest, that was purely coincidence. Now I’m just waiting for the Star Gazer lilies to bloom out back.

We are finding out that redecorating is a lot of freaking work. I’m leaving most of that to the Ladydoc. Figuring out the rug and placement (it was a sight watching me carry a 10′ rolled up rug throughout the Home Depot I am sure, like a fireman carrying a hose to the fire), and figuring out what artworks and photos to hang. It’s currently sitting rolled up in the sitting room until we can get the rug pad (who knew we needed that?) I’m learning that there’s actually I don’t know about basic home decorating. I suppose it’s just a topic that I never really explored before, or maybe even cared about.

Just finished mowing the lawn (front and back) in between bouts of rainfall (it’s the kind of day that really annoys me, either rain or stay sunny, not this off and on bullcrap). Also dug out the edger and went to town with that too. Now I’m a sweaty mess so I’ll be headed for the shower soon. Just sitting here I can feel the beads of sweat trickle down my head and sides. I was hoping to maybe fire up the grill this afternoon but the skies are getting darker now so I may need to put that on hold until another day. In the meantime I finished Invisible Man (to be honest, I found it to be bit outside my understanding) but am looking forward to starting my next read, The Collected Schizophrenias. We actually know a woman who’s son appears to have this condition so it might be educational for me to learn about it a bit more.

Today’s also the 2nd year anniversary of Angel’s passing (a cat that was really special to us). I’ve written about her before but with the redesign of the site and starting over I’ll have to dig it up and repost and update it at another time. I want to mention that she and her brother are always and will always be in our hearts.

What is this little guy doing in the Raised Box!?

Later in the afternoon, after discovering this little guy in one of the raised boxes, we set about to make dinner for tonight. Earlier I had done up a tofu with pepper, zucchini and spinach dish for LDs lunches, but for tonight’s dinner it was some scallops and salmon done over with some Romano cheese, so as to be slightly cassarole-ish, and then with a side of sauteed broccoli. Not bad.

Memory Limit

Everyday Life, Memories

It seems to me these days that my brain has reached it’s memory limit. More specifically it’s short-term memory limit. Almost as though some older thoughts (possibly not that important) seem to get “overwritten” to make way for newer memories, that may or may not get overwritten themselves in the coming days or weeks.

Anyone else ever feel this way? I know it’s just a part of life. I need to remember that if I want to retain a memory, perhaps I’ll need to make it worth remembering. It will need to have some significance, thereby giving it a higher priority so as not to be marked for being overwritten.

What was I saying again?

Prepare Summer

Memories, Scenic Photography, Wildlife
A Mother Seal with her Baby
A Mother Seal with her Baby

Finally went ahead and got our plans ready for a summer getaway in a couple weeks. Planning and hoping to see more of the scenes like above when we boated out around Chatham and caught sight of seals just hanging around. Of course, nowadays, one must be wary of the sharks. Hoping to get more of the spectacular sunset shots that I’ve taken as well.

Truth is, it’s time for a getaway. Been jonesin for one, and to be honest, haven’t really taken much time off since last summer, so it’ll be nice to get in a change of scenery. In need of a break, the proposal finally went out yesterday so that’s a big weight off the shoulders, although there is a bit of anxiety in waiting to see if they go for it. Hopefully they will, it would just make everything easier for me. Time will tell! Also, the Ladydoc definitely needs some time away, dealing with all the stuff she has to deal with. In some ways, this first vacation couldn’t come at a better time.

In the meantime, we are finishing up getting the master bedroom back to normal after the renovation. It looks pretty sweet but it still needs an area rug (going for something contemporary and modern), we need to rehang up some of the artwork, looking at some new shades, etc. It’s getting there!

Summer Bunnies

Everyday Life, Scenic Photography, Wildlife
Proud Bunny

It may be me, but it seems like this summer there sure is a lot of rabbits running around. In fact, in our driveway in Somerville I see a baby bunny occasionally hopping around (so cute), which to me is somewhat amazing. Growing up we’d never see wildlife like that but now they are everywhere and appear to be thriving! I do remember having frogs and even a turtle once, although I’m also unsure of where those came from. You wouldn’t think they’d be able to survive in a concrete jungle but they do.

The wild bunnies have become a part of our lives. From thinking of them as being sent by loved ones from above to watch over us, to giving them names like “StreetWalker Bunny” for ones that hang along the street and “X Street Bunny” where X is the name of the street that they were seen at, to even changing the lyrics while singing the song Beach Baby from the group First Class (1974) in the jukebox to Beach Bunny. In their own way, they make sharing our lives with them a little richer. All I ask is that they stay out of the lettuce box, but the truth is, I don’t even mind that.

Sunday Routines

Everyday Life, Food, Memories
Not having a case of the Sunday Scaries

Today was somewhat of a typical Sunday, finished reading a book I’ve been cranking on (I love reading out back under this patio umbrella I got at Xmas Tree Shop), wrapped up some text on the proposal, pulled out the grill for future summer cooking, and spent some time down at the Sanctuary (Ladydoc has to get her goat brushing time in!). It really is a peaceful place. We managed to hit a Little Library on the way back to return some read books. Crap shoot on what you’ll find – I might read Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. I remember having to read it in high school but that was long ago, back then I didn’t want to read, and I retained practically nothing of it, so it might be good to reacquaint myself. I grabbed it anyways just in case.

One of our Sunday routines these days is the food prep for the week. I actually don’t mind doing the chopping and slicing of all the vegetables and fruits and such. Tonight we made salmon on top of a bed of lettuce from the garden, along with pieces of peach, watermelon, cucumber, tomato, and roasted corn with a balsamic glaze. Pretty easy to make actually, which I put together while also making LD’s go to dish of tofu with red peppers, zucchini and spinach for her lunches. Then after eating I had to go water all the plants, which actually takes quite a bit of time to give them all the attention they require. What can I say? I do it all! (not really). LD supervised while watching endless repeats of Beverly Hills 90210.

I feel Sundays these days pretty much move too fast. Before you know it it’s 8:53 pm and we’ll have to start getting ready for bed in order to get up early enough on Monday so as not to be late and let the realization set in that another week is on the horizon. When you feel the dread of this thought, is when the ‘Sunday Scaries’ set in. I used to get those all the time – then I got comfortable in my place and projects and it wasn’t bad for me. I think that’s why winning this proposal would be so important for me – it would give me a sense of security and allow me to continue to be my own boss. Losing it would mean having to find other stuff to do which possibly might not make me happy. I’ve come to realize I can’t really control what the future holds, so I’ll just do the best I can, put one foot before the other, say a little prayer, and get on with come what may. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself now.

Simple Saturday

Everyday Life, Gardening

Nice to have an afternoon where I could just sit out back and get to reading my latest book for a few hours – would love to finish it this weekend if at all possible. I am finding it to be a enjoyable read. We did have a massage earlier in the day, which was nice. Even had another friend come over during it but she didn’t stay long, which in a way was also nice. The timing of that getting over was good as my boss called a little while later wanting to go over some of the text of the proposal we’re working on. Basically my section is too long so I needed to pare it down some. But what do you get rid of? Don’t want to ax something that may be important. Well, I’ve come to the realization that we can only do the best that we can, if we lose this project, well, I’ll have to find something else to do, even if it is a bummer for me. I can only control what I can. Probably wouldn’t lose this job on anything I wrote anyway – most likely it would come down to cost – doesn’t everything?

Now I’m heating up some more panko chicken dinner for us, while the annoying neighbors kids next door keep screaming as they belly flop and splash into their pool.

While putzing around the yard I noticed and was pleased to see some of our pumpkins are starting to sprout from their seeds (Sean Connery’s progeny – Sean Connery being the name that the pumpkin had that the seeds came from – we didn’t come up with that, the steward of Sean did). I also noticed some strangely colored butterflies (but didn’t get a chance to see up close unfortunately) and even a hummingbird visiting the fuchsia! Maybe tomorrow I’ll be lucky enough to catch it again. Maybe I’ll finally pull the grill out too.

Grads to a New Career

Everyday Life, Food, Memories
Mortarboards and Tassels Sweets

Ugh… good night but probably drank a little too much. Anyways, on with the show. Our friends are in the process of getting out of their current careers and heading for a brand new direction – starting a gym of all things. The current fields they’re in either isn’t doing well in his case, and in her case she’s just fried, burnt out, and done and needs a change. Nice thing is, if it all works out it won’t be all that far from us – same town! Anyways, to celebrate this occasion of ‘graduating’ to the next challenge, LD themed the house party around graduation themes. There’s more to the reasoning but I’ll just leave it at that.

This is what we drank our spiked punch out of

It was a fun night, learned a lot of new things, and had a lot of laughs. We also made some turkey sliders with home cut potato fries and panko chicken, they brought a salad. Nothing too difficult. I think they had a good time.

From the ‘Where are they Now File?’

Everyday Life, Memories

The VP guy at my previous employer who had this certain accent so when he said “We need to focus” it sounded just like “We need to fuck us.”

And what happened to another guy named Richie? Not sure if that’s his real name, but it’s what everyone calls him. He always wore what appeared to be a firefighter’s jacket. He can’t be a real firefighter though. For one thing the patch isn’t on straight. I’m pretty sure the fire department uniform department would be up on something like that. He also doesn’t strike me as the courageous type. If he ever saw a fire he’d run like the hills, of that I’m pretty sure. I do miss when he had his scooter. He had this crazy looking helmet, all white with a dark face plate that covered his whole head, like some astronaut in a real bad cheesy sci-fi movie from the 1950s. I know he had a big crush on my sister but… no.

The girl in the old coffee shop, which no longer exists. The counter girl that was so unnerving to me. It wasn’t the one with the rose tattoo on her neck just below her left ear and the cute ass (also what happened to her?), but the little Indian girl, with the stud jewelry in her nose. What got to me was the way she spoke. As people waited in line and the next person up to be called, there it was. “Can I help you?” in some high pitched squeal. “Something to eat? Stretch that out as you say though – Somethiiiiing tooooo eeeeeeeeat???? Arrrgh. “You neeeeeed traaaay?” Also the pitch rose as the sentence came close to it’s climactic ending. It’s was an unnatural feeling to me, like nails against a chalkboard. Probably moved back home for all I know.

There’s the Diddler. So named because he always walks around with his hands in his front pockets loaded with jingling change. He always seemed like a lonely guy to me. We saw him not too long ago at the theater when I won two free tickets to see Jack Nicholson ‘s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. He appears to have a friend now. That makes me glad somehow. We all deserve some happiness.

Then there was the old woman I saw a couple of times in an Irish tavern called The Burren. I’m not sure why but I was having breakfast or brunch there one weekend years ago. I can distinctly remember her ordering pancakes and dark Guinness beer. This is at like 9 in the morning! She must have been in her late 80s. Anyways somehow she got to talking and wouldn’t stop saying how Jackie Onassis was one big no good whore. Maybe this woman knew JFK back in the day? Not sure what beef she had with the lady but she was adamant about it. She must be gone by now.

Oh, there are many more I wonder what fate befallen some of these folks. The ‘sheriff’ – some dude who thought he was a cop, except his police badge is something that a 6 year old boy would pick out of the toy section. Maybe he finally got busted for impersonating a police officer? Or ‘Elmer Flood’ – a guy who kind of looks and acts just like Elmer Fudd. Actually, still see him around occasionally walking by. The woman who resembled Lynda Carter who worked at the counter of the old Richdale’s next door to the pizza shop and was secretly(?) screwing the neighbor (who thought he looked like Elvis but I didn’t see it) around the corner in his driveway while his wife was cooking pasta upstairs, and if you happened to pass by and casually look over there you would’ve seen a sight. Elvis has left the building! Connie, the Irish lass who lived behind the pizza joint where she worked, and let us hang out one night. Years later I think she was dating one of my high school buddies but that’s long past. Dottie, with the glass eye, who at a dive called Sligo’s would pop it out and put in a glass with ice to freak everyone out.

What a bunch of characters. The best one though would have to be the guy with the goatee and glasses, just quietly looking around. He seemed like he was a normal, wicked-pissah cool guy, but who knows what he’s thinking.

Proposal Writing

Everyday Life

I haven’t had much time to update the blog because I’ve been involved in helping to write a proposal for a project we’d like to win that’s up for a recompete. Meetings and rewrites and trying to reword sentences that don’t sound like you just copied it out of the RFP, all while keeping things within a certain page count and making sure you hit all the points and how you’ll do the task. Thank God I’m not involved in the pricing and all that other stuff – just the technical details for me. I’m finding it rather difficult because I’m discovering that that kind of writing doesn’t appear to be in my wheelhouse. Still it was one of my goals for the year, mostly because I had to put something down that was different from the last few years. It’s good to grow a bit though. More importantly, is that I hope we win this project because it means a lot to me, and would really help me along moving forward. Cross your fingers for me!

Bit by the Garden Bug

Gardening, Memories
The Ladydoc's handiwork on display.

I never really considered myself a gardener. When I was younger I couldn’t have cared less. I can remember my grandmother yelling at me because my basketball (we had a hoop against the garage at the time) would inevitably bounce over and squash something that she had been growing. And I didn’t really seem all that bothered by it.

But then somewhere along the way I decided to try my hand at just growing some basil. Not sure when or how the idea took place, but I actually found myself liking to watch things grow.

Then the green thumb bug hit me. Little by little over time I would try my luck with various easy to grow herbs. I felt accomplished as these things grew and truth be told, I preferred the ones that basically grew themselves with little help from me.

I got to share my gardening with the Ladydoc. Just like me years before, she never really had a chance or a thought to grow anything. Probably felt didn’t have the knack or the time or the space. Come to find out, she discovered that she likes it now too. There’s something zen about working with the soil and communing with nature (does dirt have to be so dirty though?) We might not be the greatest at growing edibles but we’ve had some success. We really seem to hit the mark with flowers these days. We even increased our level of difficulty by trying to grow various species. Not all were successful, but the ones that have lasted have become established and are starting to fill in certain areas of the property. My original vision was just to have something pleasant to look at after coming home from a long day at work. Come to find out, the Ladydoc seems to have a knack for arranging all different species into various pots that give the place a feeling of being alive and all the colors of the rainbow. She really is the Container Gardening Queen. I’ve created a monster as she loves the more plants we get. We have plants in the ground, plants in raised beds, and plants in various pots about the decks.

It’s not perfect. I’m not very good at weeding and admittedly it’s that fact that I find the least enjoyable, as I’m sure most people do. Sometimes I don’t seem to water things enough. There’s the antics of squirrels and chipmunks. We decided not to use harsh chemicals because environmentalism and animals and all that. I think they seem to appreciate it as witnessed by the various creatures that pay us visits daily. Strangely, they don’t seem to go after the edibles in our raised boxes – not sure why, but pleased about that. I guess we came to some sort of agreement, you’ll all get other treats, just as long as you stay away from these – – Garden of Eden anyone?

It’s funny how the little things in life can give so much joy. I do enjoy the sense of accomplishment I get when we see a flower bloom finally after waiting a few months, and I suppose the bees and butterflies appreciate it too, and it’s great to see them flit about playfully. Lately we’re trying to grow pumpkin, along with the usual lettuce, tomatoes, squashes and herbs. The pots are filled with various perennials to last throughout the season. The funny thing is we never grow basil – Ladydoc doesn’t really like it. The herb that got me started in the first place.

I’m not sure where I was going with this entry. I just wanted to share the garden love and maybe be a little proud of our tiny piece of work in the grand scheme. It’s not much, but its ours, and I think it looks nice. I wanted to showcase some of the work that the Ladydoc has done, as the place really looks nicer than anything I could have put together. She’s become better at this than I ever was! And I’m glad I could share that interest of mine with her as well, and that she could run with it, and make it better and better, for ourselves and guests to see and enjoy, and forget our troubles for a little while.

Father’s Day

Memories

Those that know me best, know that I come from a one parent home, but that’s not exactly true. It is true that the man that was my biological father was absent for much of my life, but that’s not to say that I did not have a father growing up. That role would fall to my grandfather (on my mom’s side). He helped shape me to become the man that I am today.

I remember the little things he’d do for us growing up, food shopping, always getting a little goody or two for me to snack on during the week, he’d always get the noname stuff, working so hard all your life makes you come to respect that money doesn’t come easily. Listening to 80s Celtics games on the radio, him explaining to me things I’d ask about or did not understand. When I was little I guess I had a knack of bumping my head on the corners of the kitchen table, which were sharp right angles. He sanded them down to rounded edges so I wouldn’t hurt myself on them anymore. The times weren’t always fun and games though – if I needed discipline , he’d give it as well. There would be Friday nights when he’d take me down to the mall and we’d get a pizza. That’s what grandpa’s do.

He helped me with financial aid and times when I needed rides. I can still remember the time he tried to beat the Green E Line subway by gunning the KCar across the subway tracks and scared me half to death. He had a daredevil way about him. Looking back know I laugh at it. I miss that. In many ways he helped get me going and starting out on my own. He never helped me with any homework, but he taught me a lot of other things. And although he never openly showed us love, I knew in my heart of hearts that he did.

One of the saddest days of my life is when I saw him die. He had been suffering from congestive heart failure for a few years toward the end. He probably could have prolonged his life further I bet by not being so stubborn and doing what the doctor told him, but that wasn’t his way. I caught him a few times sneaking a cigarette by the side of the house, he had been a smoker since he was a teenager. Of course back then , he told me he took it up because my grandmother at the time had considered it “manly”. My, how the times have changed. His face always lit up when I visited him in the hospital when he saw me, even covered up by all those tubes and oxygen masks.

I can remember telling him “Thank You for everything!” as he looked at me with my tears streaming from my eyes, myself being unable or even unwilling to try to stop them. I can remember him looking up to the ceiling after that, all loaded up with morphene to ease his pain, and it looked like he was seeing something, and then he tensed up, and let out a sigh, kind of, and that was it. He was gone, but I think he didn’t really want to go, but I think he held on just long enough to see that we’d be alright and able to fly on our own now.

Even to this day, I can sense him watching over me, especially in the times when I feel I need him there, by my side, in spirit. That’s what grandpa’s do. That’s what father’s do.

So now today I am who I am thanks to his guiding hand. And I like to think he watches on me from above in all that I’ve accomplished and have yet to.

Job well done, “Dad”.

If Chipmunks Could Smile

Gardening, Memories, Wildlife

We saw a very strange and annoying yet somewhat cute sight this morning while looking out the back yard picture window. We have a strawberry plant that is producing quite nicely but it’s hung up on a planter hanging by a hook type setup.

chipmunk
The culprit , AKA “Chips”, seen in an earlier encounter.

Lo and behold, a chipmunk had somehow gone up the stairs and took a flying leap into the container and was gorging himself on the ripened strawberries thus far – a veritable fruit buffet of such delights that I don’t think a creature could ever be so happy as that chipmunk.

“No doubt to relish in the spoils of its labor”

We purposely did this and placed the setup as so as to make it difficult for this to happen. We tried to get a picture of the crime but the little bugger would hide underneath the canopy of strawberry leaves.

And then, without missing a step, it fell right out of the pot (looked upside down to me) and into the waiting arms of the buffeting hosta leaves, and then was gone, no doubt to relish in the spoils of its labor. It was kinda cute though seeing the head pop out from under the leaves, and did I see a smile on its lips?

Uhmmm…what?

Bicycling, GameTime, Reading

Well back from the bike ride! Some observations though, who put this ride together? I realized that there didn’t seem to be any theme to this ride. And also, who picked the route? It happened to go up to the highest hill in town – so steep I had to walk my bike up. Now I remember why I like the Cambridge ones better. Speaking of the bike, it performed great, so I’m very happy with that. Well anyway, there were photos taken – maybe I’ll be in one looking all haggard. We’ll see.

Currently on the reading docket: Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed. I’ve heard some good things about this book – hoping it’ll be an interesting read.

Also, not a weekend goes by that we don’t take a visit to Home Depot of Lowes for something. In the meantime if you’re looking for a good game try Blackened. It’s sort of like Sokoban but different. It took me a while to solve all the levels but I found them enjoyable.

Trying Out New Old Things

Bicycling, Everyday Life, Gardening

Let’s try to get caught up on a few things that have been going on since the last real update. In no particular order: Last weekend just browsing one of those Buy Nothing Facebook Groups I saw this bike available. So I threw my name into the hat, and wouldn’t you know I got picked!

So I went to meet the woman giving it away and came away with this sweet cruiser. A little banged up and serviceable. I spent part of last weekend fixing it up a bit, getting rid of some stuff she had on there that I didn’t want, such as a broken rear view mirror. Overall it seems to ride pretty well. I saw that Somerville is having a Bicycle Committee Community Bike Ride today so I’m going to go down there with the group and really give it a go. I think this will make a nice companion ride to my old mountain bike. Great to have options!

In other news, in case you were wondering, I did finally get the blade off the mower and installed the new one. Cuts really nice now, should be great going forward.

Speaking of moving forward, the Ladydoc finally decided to get some real home improvement work done over the last week. Namely, redoing the bedroom with newly painted walls, and finally removing the age old carpet which had great hardwoods underneath. They needed to be sanded and buffed and all that but they were in great shape to begin with. I guess being under that carpet so long preserved it! Apparently most of the house has these hardwoods but the previous owners covered much of it in carpeting, which naturally has been left, at least up until now. Also went down and got a new ceiling fan that’s made of brushed nickel and looks pretty cool. LED lights and all. Still need an electrician to come in and install a recessed light that LD wants over a chair in the room by the window to assist in reading.

In the plants realm, I did break down and buy and plant a new butterfly bush to replace the one out back with looked like it was regrowing and then suddenly went kaput. Not sure what happened there, although I think one night last winter when it got crazily cold may have put it over the edge. Otherwise, everything else seems to be blooming like crazy, especially the rose bushes, columbines, and clematis. Also the raised box vegetables are really starting to grow now. I love it when a plan all comes together!

What else? Well, last night while going out to dinner, we did see a red tailed hawk just sitting by the road. Majestic looking creature. Sadly, upon closer inspection he had what appeared to be a recently deceased baby bunny under his talons. He stayed there for quite a while as folks got out their cell phones and took some shots of him. We did too, until we saw what he had done. I know it’s nature and all but it kind of put a damper on it for us. What can I say? We’re a little sensitive.

And finally, speaking of dinners, I did get a chance to take my mom to a place called Earl’s in Assembly Square last weekend. I must say I was impressed with the decor of the place. (We had gone there after visiting my grandparent’s gravesite). Probably the most stunning thing about the visit though was our waitress who legit looked exactly like Jennifer Aniston. She said she gets that all the time and dresses more like her for Halloween. Well, if Jennifer ever needs a younger double, she’ll know where to look!

New Beginnings

Baby Robins, General Website, Wildlife

Hello Everyone! As you can see I’m in the process of doing a complete redesign. It’ll take me a little bit to get everything the way I want it, but bear with me. You may see things come and go as I experiment around. Overall, I think this is going to be a much better site that it was going forward, as well as being designed to display responsively on different devices, although curiously this particular post looks very different depending on device and browser. I prefer Chrome so that’s what it’ll look best in.