Newburyport, MA

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Business took my husband and I to Newburyport, MA, a place that we haven’t been back to since the late 1990’s. It has changed, but just a little bit, it got busier, otherwise it is still the quaint small town near the water with charming storefronts and lovely little restaurants featuring seafood and other New England fare.

We stayed at the Clark Currier Inn, if you ever find yourself in Newburyport, do stop in and stay the night. The Innn is the quintessential New England Inn, full of hospitality and kindness. When I walked inside I was made welcome as soon as the proprietor saw me and he showed me the entire first floor where we had our room, the Clark Room, and the open drawing room, the dining room and the breakfast room. I fell in love with the place.

   

  

  I found the entire house to be a treasure and I will be sure to go to TripAdvisor and write a great review for them.  We also found a great local restaurant called the Park Lunch on Merrimac Street  and I had the best fried shrimp that I have ever had in my life. They were lightly battered, but that wasn’t the  winning point, the shrimp themselves made it so memorable, they were fried to perfection, not overdone in the least, they still had that firm bite which is always indicative of a perfectly sauteed shrimp, I had never experienced that with fried shrip before and having done so last night, has spoiled me forever with fried shrimp.

This little overnight trip to a lovely small town in MA was just what I needed to lift the grey feeling from deep within, I feel so much better now.

Searching for happy thoughts

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My husband shared this gorgeous shot of the East River he took from midway on the 59th Street Bridge as he was walking across it yesterday late afternoon. Twenty five years ago, I had often made that walk across the East River via the bridge and it is quite the hike, but it was so worth it, between the views and endorphins generated by brisk walking, I always felt great afterwards.

Have you ever woken up to feelings of deep sadness? Today is one of those days, so I pulled up the lilac picture and shared the beautiful picture that my husband shared along with the brilliant song created and sung by Simon and Garfunkel. Anything to push my sad fog off and nourish the optimism seeds that forever lie in my psyche, I hate when they go dormant on me. The key is to actively find things that redirect the negative energy and transform it into positive, aromatherapy is a great way to shake up the chemical balance of the brain, I can’t wait to bury my nose in a bush or two.

I suppose if happiness and optimism were easy, they would’t be so great and if you do not experience sadness, you cannot appreciate happiness, at least that is what I am tellling myself today.

Tomorrow is another day!  

Taking my backyard with me on my travels

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Our backyard is finally looking alive and thriving. It doesn’t look the same as last year which is fine, some things have gone and others aren’t responding as quickly, but that is to be expected. I still cannot get over how much of an impact two brutal winters can have on otherwise hearty plants.

   
     

Writing and posting picture of my gardens helps with all of the traveling that my husband and I do, when I look at my pictures, it feels like I have a piece of home with me. It also brings to mind all of the enjoyment that our backyard brings to the kids and the dogs. Lulu has discovered the freedom of the outside and you can’t keep her inside nowadays, she knows to push against the screen door with her nose and boom she is outside with Jack fast on her heels.

Our son vacuumed the pool and even took a dip yesterday, the water is still cold, but he said it felt great since he had gone for a run. I am sure that our daughter will be in the pool eventually, once she has enough time off from work. She is a trooper working two jobs, I am very proud of her. I am proud of both of my children, they are so helpful with whatever we ask of them. They are both good eggs.

Mountain Bluet the non fussy self-seeding perennial 

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I don’t remember if I bought my Mountain Bluet just because I loved its distinctive look or if I also liked the fact that it was a self-seeder; either way, I started with one and now I have four, not all laid out in a clump, but parsed here and there which is fine. I like surprises from the plant world as long as they are manageable, I should say.

  
This perennial has been with me for at least five years now if not longer. I worry that it may be getting choked by the Vinca, I am going to have to rein the Vinca somehow, it is way too happy in this spot. I have forgotten this plant’s name, next week when I go perennial shopping, I will be on the lookout for another one because I simply love its delicate petals and the color is too precious.

  
This is the first bloom from the newest batch of rhododendron that I bought two years ago, they are tiny rhodies and to see one of them produce a blossom is very exciting, I had forgotten the color, thank goodness I love purple. Do you see all of the tiny wild strawberries all around the rhododendron? I have an explosion of wild strawberry plants all along the side of the fence next to the pool, the birds are going to have a feast when they ripen.

  
I think that these are called starbursts, if I remember correctly I got these bulbs from one of my niece’s fundraising drives a few years back. I remember planting them, just not when exactly. It is extraordinary how memories get so fuzzy over time, but every now and again I can get a flash that is so clear and sharp, it feels as if it had happened just yesterday. Memories are weird that way.

  
Finally my last remaining Jack in the Pulpit; I had dozens of them just three years ago, not just black ones, but white ones as well and this is the only surviving one. I think that our new winters have done them in, just like so many of my hostas, it is sad. I hope that this one hangs on, I love its unique look.

So far things are progressing slowly in the garden which is fine by me, I am not in any hurry.

Mad Max: Fury Road: a movie review

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We were only three to go see this movie, our daughter had to work and honestly I wasn’t all that excited to see it, though my husband and our son were enthusiastic about George Miller’s latest incarnation of his Mad Max universe. I remember seeing the original years ago and it left me cold and disgusted by humanity’s descent into barbarism. I wasn’t looking forward to seeing much of the same. This time out however George Miller made a different type of movie, the setting was the same, but the players occupied different roles.

I had read articles referencing Men Rights Groups calling for an international boycott of this movie on the grounds that it betrays the original vision and unfairly villainizes manhood. Before seeing the movie, I had seen the trailers and based on those, I couldn’t understand why these Men Rights Groups felt persecuted. However, having now seen the movie, I really don’t understand why they felt men unjustly portrayed. This movie was all about control and power, the main villain had all of the power and megalomanically exerted his control over everything and everyone. What gave him his power? Water ownership. What did he control? Water, food, women and all of the other types of property including mother’s milk. The drama that drove the entire movie was a human rights issue, precisely women saying that they were not property, they were not to be owned by anyone, not to be used as brood mares or breastmilk factory farms and their attempt to reclaim something that should be inherently theirs without question.

There is nothing controversial about human rights, every man, woman and child should be the recipient of their own rights. In a brave new world it would be a non-issue, sadly we are in the 21st century and we still have slavery, indentured servitude and inequities across the board. I find it sad that while watching Mad Max, I was thinking of Boko Haram, child sex trade trafficking, women disenfranchized in many places as well as other minorities. When are we going to evolve on a global scale and put these dark realities a thing of the past? 

Working my garden

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This is a taste of what June will look like for parts of my garden. The Rhododendron offered its first bloom and so has the Iris, it is a study in violet so far. Since the weather has been exceptionally wonderful, at least for me, mid sixties with even cooler nights, the Lilacs have had a longer staying power which is a real treat. I still walk up to them and bury my nose in their tiny petals, inhale and linger with their lovely scent all around me.

I have been busy planting a few herbs that we purchased yesterday after the movie; rosemary, dill, thyme, oregano and mint. I made major dents with my pruning shears on the quince bushes in the back and a few other bushes that I don’t know their names but I know that they need to be kept in check because otherwise they grow way out of control. Lastly I am weeding all around the pool to tidy it up because it always looks nicer when it is groomed.

I am getting tired, but it is a good tired, the kind that gives you a great night’s sleep. 

Tomorrowland:a movie review

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My husband and I went to see Tomorrowland today and somehow it filled a need beyond what other movies usually do, it filled us with hope for the future. Lately movies have gravitated towards the dystopic and this movie veered a sharp aboutface away from despair and paved a road to hope. It did make sure to communicate that despite the hope, it was going to be tough and long work, but for those willing to do the work, there was nothing to stop them except despair.

The message I received loud and clear was that my voice, my thoughts and my feelings mattered and as long as I let hope determine my course of action, my future or the planet’s future doesn’t need to be bleak. The movie was all about how we are allowing our planet to go to waste to our sole detriment, we forget that we need the planet, the planet doesn’t need us, if each and every one of us did our best to honor our planet, the world would be a much different place.

I don’t want to give away any of the plot because like all good stories, there are many layers and I hope that all of my friends go and see this movie to find out for themselves.

George Clooney was just great as a cantankerous, hurt-filled man. As I watched his performance, I forgot about George the movie star, he was Frank Walker, a genius who felt betrayed and alone in this world. The two young actresses Britt Richardson and Raffey Cassidy who played Casey Newton and Athena respectively were wonderful with their portrayals. These young ladies were the faces of hope thoughout the movie and it was so delightful to watch.

I hope that this movie makes a ton of money so that Hollywood will be inclined to make more of this hopeful movies in the future.

Hooray, my lilies survived the turmoil!

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Yesterday when my mother and I came back from our mini walking tour, I stopped short at the bottom of my mother’s stoop because out of the corner of my eye, I spied evidence of lilies, which in all honesty should not have been there, because the professional landscaper from last year had “stripped the soil of all previous inhabitants” and replaced everything with all new plants. Those lilies had been a Mother’s Day Gift and I was a little sad to see them go without ever once seeing them in bloom. Mother Nature apparently decided otherwise and my lily bulbs surivived the turmoil and clung to life as stubbornly as possible. They stayed exactly where I had planted them last May, I am so excited to see them in bloom in a few weeks, partly because I have forgotten what color I chose and also because I think that it is so cool that they hung in there despite all the odds against their survival.

Aside from the “discarded” plants determination to not go quietly into the night, I think that the professional landscaper did a very nice job and my mother’s garden is very elegant and beautiful. I am happy with the results and so is she.

   

  

New York under grey skies

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Today I spent the day with my mother, we went out to lunch to celebrate her birthday early. We even splurged and had dessert, two of them! We shared a coffee flan topped with a creme chantilly, I am not a fan of coffee in desserts, but this was delicious, creamy with an intense coffee flavor, which I really enjoyed, the whipped cream was icing on the cake if you will. The other dessert was simply decadence with a capital D, it was a banana tarte tatin with a salted caramel sauce, walnut nougatine and cinnamon ice cream, it was so sinfully wonderful, the cinnamon ice cream was the key to the success of this dessert, its cold and cinnamon bite cut through the inherent sweetness of the caramel, it was to die for, I have to confess.

So after all of this sweetness, what did we do? We went walking for hours and hours, we both enjoyed the walk, it took us right to the Hudson River and the Intrepid.

   
     

   
     

   
         

There is something so magnificent about the Intrepid and today with the grey skies, I felt that my pictures reflect the somber and contemplative feel of their subject. I can’t help but feel how apropos it is that the Intrepid had been converted into a museum instead of being consigned to a scrapyard or sunk down into the deep, lost to us forever. I believe that history is one of our most valuable possessions and the famous saying “those who don’t know their history are destined to repeat it” should be heeded and exercised if only for our own good.

The skyline was an interesting mixture of blue, white and grey which made for great pictures. My feet are tired, so are my mother’s, we are both resting our feet up in the air as I type. According to my mother’s fitness app, we walked 16,000 steps or about 6.2 miles, I would say that our desserts hae been walked off, wouldn’t you?

Boston at lunchtime

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What a day it was in Boston, simply glorious, everyone was scurrying about going for lunch or waiting on line at food trucks and then taking their lunch to the greenery. I waited on my own line at the MonoGoose and ordered my favorite sandwich, the bahn mih, a vietnamese sandwich with grilled pork and I sat down on a rock and ate it surrounded by many like-minded people.

The views by the water, I thought were lovely, so that was why I took the photos, especially the skyline.

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