Sunday, March 30, 2008

6 Ribbons

After four days, the New England Masters Short Course Yards Championships for 2008 are over.

My Results and Ribbons

The full results and meet summary, etc can be found here:

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Drumroll, Please

We performed Mahora at Northeastern University
Trying to look fierce
(This photo was taken by a friend of a classmate)

It wasn't my best performance, but I got through it, and I thought the group sounded great as a whole.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Crocuses at Home

The first crocus in my yard appeared on Easter Sunday (March 23). This is the same clump today:

Crocus 'Prins Claus'

I think the clump that came up first (above) was the clump I planted a year earlier. I planted a lot more last fall, but they seem to be ever so slightly behind the original clump.

Some really delightful yellow crocuses have appeared as well:

Crocus chrysanthus 'Goldilocks' (planted last fall)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

President Obama

I've wanted him to be president ever since I read this book:

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

This Fragile Shell

One of my first clients just informed me that she has a brain tumor. I don't know how worried to be yet. She will almost certainly be having surgery to remove it, but I don't know much detail. The good news is that it is an answer to the question of why she's been suffering from eye pain for a long time.

Still, it is another reminder of the ephemeral nature of life.

I've had a few too many reminders of this sort lately.

Last spring, one of my Mother's first cousins died of cancer. I'm still sorry that I didn't go to her funeral, though that would have meant flying across the country.

In early July, Matt's Great Aunt Carolyn died. Loosing her was like loosing a grandparent again (I have none left). The following Monday (July 9), I had to go get her cat (Cally). I hadn't really felt her loss yet, but when I saw the sign on her door "My Cat Cally lives here, do not leave door open" I completely broke down. I sat there crying in her room, surrounded by all the things I'd helped Matt's parents move in for her. Cally was very upset and hid from me, but I took her home.

One week later, one of my clients died of a heart attack at age 54. His wife asked me to feed their cat while she rushed straight from work to the hospital. I got the news that he was dead just after arriving at his house. I had to tell another cat that she'd lost a human...

It was all too much for me... and it didn't stop there...

In the fall, I started this blog because I was trying to figure out how to get a very old friend's e-mail address. I wanted to e-mail her because I read on her blog that she had lost her best friend (who I had also known). I was hoping that since she had a blogger blog, if I did too, maybe Blogger would let me see her address. That was silly and didn't work, but I did find another way to e-mail her.

Why haven't I mentioned all this before? Perhaps because it affected me too deeply. I'm trying to focus on all the things I want to do in life. I love gardening, I love my cats, and I love drumming. I want to change the world.

I can do a lot, but I can't bring any of them back.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Grand Opening

I stopped to check on some clients' properties today:

Crocus 'Prins Claus' (planted last fall)

Yellow Crocus (I don't think I planted this one)

Monday, March 10, 2008

A Real Drum

Matt and I bought a real drum.
It arrived today!

Our Taiko

Katy's Conference

Meanwhile, my little sister, Katy, attended...

The Third National Summit on Equitable Development, Social Justice, and Smart Growth.

There she met Wendell Pierce, who plays Det. William 'Bunk' Moreland on HBO's The Wire.
I'll come back soon and add more about why he was there.

Katy and Wendell Pierce

Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Radical Landscape

I spent much of the last few days at the Ecological Landscaping Association's Winter Conference.

Thursday was all about Permaculture. The concept is that we can grow food in our yards through a permanent agriculture, wherein we would plant trees, shrubs, and perennial plants that produce edible parts. In particular, permaculture strives to mimic natural ecological systems so that we don't need much in the way of external inputs. That way we can produce very local food with very little environmental impact. I am planning to try to incorporate this into my ornamental designs in the near future.

Friday, I attended several interesting lectures, including a lecture by Richard B. Primack of Boston University who shared his recent research. His goal was to find out if global warming is affecting plants and animals in Massachusetts. Using plants in both Boston and Concord, MA he has been able to compare the flowering times of many plant species in recent years with historical records. He had some very clear evidence that global warming is already having an impact on our local flora.

The highlight of Friday was the keynote address given by Dr. John Todd, a biologist/ecologist/ecological designer who has developed several interesting alternative technologies. In particular, he's known for the creation of "living machines" which use living organisms to treat contaminated waste water.

Saturday was also a good day, and included the most curious of the lectures I attended. Will Bonsall of the Scatterseed Project discussed something he called veganic farming. It is basically a step beyond veganism combined with organic farming. Basically his idea is that one should maintain soil fertility without animal manures, but rather by sustainably harvesting fertility from forests. Fascinating, but I'm not quite ready to go this far.

I'll add more on Saturday here later.

Addendum: On Friday night, after the keynote, I joined two of my new comrades for a drink in a local bar (The Salty Dog). We three certainly felt like fish out of water (or more like plants between paving stones). We'd been spending the whole day thinking about how to save the world with landscaping, and then we went to a bar where... well, the rest of the patrons were certainly not thinking about the world. Their main concern was earning free drinks.

I was more interested in finding out if I had the right stuff to be a cowgirl.
Yup, that's me on a mechanical bull.