Saturday, May 31, 2008

Back from a whirlwind trip to Belgium, I'm completely exhausted. We tried Belgian waffles, beer, and chocolates. To tell the truth, of those three I liked the beer the best, and I'm not even a beer drinker. We went to an art museum in Bruges, had a look around a fruit and flower market, and nearly got run over by several bicycles over the course of four days; there were a Lot of Bicycles. We found out at the end of our trip that you can borrow a bicycle for free at the town where we stayed. If we ever go back I'll want to try it. I took some pictures but only got one picture taken of me. As we were walking along a residential area in Bruges, I took notice of some of the doors that we passed and took a few pictures to show my mother; I thought she might like to see the handle in the center of the door. It was only by chance that I happened to see this particular one with the door above. I have no idea why there is a door above. It was obviously not built with a balcony, and both doors are much smaller and more old-fashioned than the one next to them. I also took several photos of the churches we visited. I'm not sure why, but a lot of my pictures turned out a bit blurry. I think that since the resolution was so high it was extremely motion sensitive. I got some decent photos, regardless.

It rained a lot while we were gone and all my new plants grew about six inches in those four days. My bulb irises are all in flower, as are some of my roses, my montana clematis, and lupins. It's a good time for flower arranging. Two of my favorite bouquet fillers are simply weeds that grow everywhere: daisies and cow parsley. I did three arrangements for the house today and then Partner said, "Can I pick one too?" He filled my lovely green jug with red peonies and purple lupin. I think he used the Golden Ratio when arranging it: it looks really simple and nice. I kind of try for the Ratio in my artistic efforts (especially photos), though it doesn't seem to appear much in my flower arrangements.

I made myself a pair of pyjama pants recently with some material I had lying around. I've got a matching top to finish as well. I was thinking I might do a little embroidery on the top, though I haven't decided what. It's a plain white cotton camisole with red gingham straps and edging. The bottoms are the same white cotton with gingham patchwork panels going up the outside of each leg. I thought I might make Partner a similar pair but maybe without the patchwork. Or maybe with. He told me I ought to wear them to his Grateful Dead tribute concert next month. Maybe he secretly cherishes the notion of dressing like a hip'n'happenin'hippie. I have a block of corduroy patchwork I made back in the day when I was a trendy hippie, but even then I never wore patchwork trousies. The block is leftover from a shoulder bag.

Complete Belgium photos:

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Some of those seedlings have been transplanted and are happy in the ground. The runner beans fiercely love their new bamboo canes. A dahlia and a zinnia both got torn stems and needed emergency reconstructive surgery using medical tape; both are recovering. The snails really like zinnias and cosmos, but I think most of them are ok. And somehow snails invaded the greenhouse to eat holes in my basil. I have no idea how they climbed the rungs. I did find a big snail caught between the bars of the barbecue out back. It's just a thin metal grill really--no way a snail could slime its way on. I think a bird dropped it from above. We do have snail-eating thrushes who come all the time and tap tap tap on the snails' doors. Then I find empty shells on the patio and feel all warm inside. When I catch them I just step on them. My gramma used to salt them, but I think that's unnecessarily cruel. Just get it over quickly.

Partner and I are going to Belgium next week. I don't know much about this country other than they have two languages, don't have strict laws governing the ingredients in beer, and have a yearly Formula One race. But Partner really likes it there, and I'm looking forward to seeing Hieronymus Bosch paintings.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

I got myself a bit of a sunburn yesterday while gardening. All my seedlings need to go in, but my spring bulbs aren't even finished yet. So a few key beds are still unavailable and my seedlings are languishing in my greenhouse. While tidying up some beds earlier in the week, I discovered one of my shrubs had propagated itself by layer which means a branch resting on the ground grew roots. There were two of these new shrubs so I was happy to move them to an empty shady corner. I don't even know what kind of shrub it is, other than it is evergreen and has tiny pink flowers. I also found that a few delphiniums that I planted last year did not in fact drown as I had thought.

We saw A Midsummer Night's Dream, an opera by Benjamin Britten. Talk about cool. Who knew that an opera could be funny? And have appeal to children? Or that counter-tenors could have major roles? The music was really weird, the set design and costumes were really weird, the lighting was really weird. But weird as in weird and wonderful rather than weird and wrong. I've never had so much fun at an opera. We saw Don Giovanni a while back, also sung in English, but it was a bit ho-hum and the end was dreadfully anti-climactic. In Amadeus, the staged bit of Don Giovanni ends with the don being confronted with his sins and facing an eternity of torment--a suitably dark ending with him plunging into the pit. In actuality, it ends with the cast singing a sickeningly chirpy little number about sinners burning in hell. A Midsummer Night's Dream was so much better than Swan Lake, I thought, even though of course they are two different genres and even musical periods. I always considered that I preferred Romantic era music above all else, but I have decided Tchaikowsky, at least, is boring. Bring on the utter weirdness of the Twentieth Century.