Friday, April 19, 2013

An Ode to Tulips

I know, I know, Odes are a form of poetry and have all kids of rules attached (thank you, Wikipedia), but I wanted to share a whole bunch of tulip pictures from my recent travels and it was a catchy title.

1. First, here is as good as it gets for tulips in my front yard:

Tulip bulbs age quickly, even with regular feeding, and need to be replaced almost yearly if you want a tulip full flower bed. The problem is, my flower bed is rather full in September and I can never remember where the blank spaces are that I could plant fresh bulbs. I've tried taking pictures in spring to document where all the bulbs are but then I can't find the pictures in the Fall when I need them. I've also tried the whole buy a pot of tulips and put the whole thing in a hole in the bed during the blooming season but those aged even faster (that is, when they came up the following year, they looked pathetic). So I've pretty much given up planting any new tulips in my front yard and instead enjoy the flowers of others with a less complicated life or who get paid to make the tulips look amazing.

2. On Thursday, my mother and I took a quick trip to Longwood Gardens. We got rained out after a couple of hours, but in the meantime, I got a few nice pictures:

I know, none of those are tulips. I did get one shot of a pretty tulip at Longwood, but because our weather in March was so cold, most of them aren't blooming yet. Here's the one I like:

My mother and I told ourselves we weren't going to take a zillion pictures in the orchid room this time. And we didn't; only about a dozen.

3. The reason there was no blog post last Friday was that Marshall and I left for our weekend away about 10 am. We spent a lovely weekend with cousins in Northern Virginia and did a few touristy things in the capital, like this:

It is a glorious show which I enjoyed thoroughly even though I'd seen most of the paintings before. We were there Friday afternoon and I could have happily gone back Saturday and Sunday, too.

Here's a tulip from outside the Natural History museum:

I really like the contrast with the ornamental cabbage.

4. And then on Saturday we walked through all the blooming flowers at the US Botanic Garden. Marshall uploaded all of our pictures to the same gallery, so I think some of these are due to his photographic skill, not mine.

5. Marshall spent a good part of the weekend trying to teach me how to use the camera on my phone, since it far exceeds our now-ancient hand-held camera that we bought when Alex was small. I'm getting better, but focus is still a challenge and it doesn't have a huge zooming capacity. But then, it's just a phone.

Here's some more pictures from the Botanic Garden:

Can you tell my favorite tulip color is orange?

6. We also made a stop at the Air & Space Museum. What I liked most was the rockets, like the V2 they have; it is terrifying to stand next to. But no Saturn V; that's in Florida at NASA. It's only when you stand underneath that massive rocket you realize, yet again, just how crazy those Apollo Astronauts were and how amazing their accomplishments were. If you haven't seen From the Earth to the Moon, rent it immediately! Or ask to borrow my copy.

Here's a few more photos for you:

7. If you missed all the drama at Conversion Diary, Jen had her baby a while back and although she was fine, her son was whisked off to the NICU and only just came home last night. So please keep praying for them. 7 Quick Takes is hosted at Camp Patton today.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Zombies Ate My Brain

1. So if there is any one theme for our Spring Break, it would be Plants vs. Zombies. I finally beat the game, thanks to advice from my niece, last Monday which has only increased the interest of my children in watching me play and trying their hand at some of the easier levels. Every time I think I can put it down, Alex hands it back to me and asks if he can sit with me and watch me play. So, really, I can count all those house I played this week as quality time, right?

2. We gave the kids cash for Easter and let them choose what to spend it on. Unsurprisingly, they requested we order The Big Green Guy (Alex) and Princess Leia Bird (Miranda). They arrived Wednesday. I think. Sometime during the week. And they continue to be played with and scattered all over the house, per usual.

3. I finished reading the last published World of the Lupi books by Eileen Wilks, Mortal Ties, on Wednesday. I now have to wait until August for the next book, Ritual Magic, like everyone else. But, helpfully, I found someone selling the first seven books on ebay for a decent price. They should be here in a few days, and I can read the whole series again. Yes, they really are that good.

4. On Good Friday we were invited to a lovely lunch with friends who are fostering the cutest puppy I've ever met. Seriously:

I keep telling myself we can't consider having a dog until next year. And I don't want to raise one from a puppy. But he is still sooooooooo cute.

5. Even though I'm still sleeping in my wool socks every night and all of our beds still have flannel sheets, spring seems to have arrived. So, yesterday I ordered 3 yards of mulch for my front flower bed and it was delivered this morning. I managed to spread half of it this afternoon, with some actual help from Miranda, and will work on the rest of it later in the week.

Here's the starting point.

Daddy helpfully showed Miranda how to handle the pitchfork and fill the wheelbarrow. She really did do it on her own.

The pile as it stands now.

So pleased to get the mulch down before the hostas start to come up, for the first time ever. Saves me a lot of hassle.

My weeding in the last few years has been rather lacking so I spent some time lying under the larger Japanese Maple, trying to dig up the grass that had grown up around the trunk. I made some progress, but lots left to do.

I refresh a few of my hyacinths every year but I think I'm giving up on tulips. The bulbs age so quickly and look pathetic as they age.

6. Since there was no real tennis to watch this week. I watched 9 episodes of Person of Interest to get caught up. Sarah Shahi was fantastic in "Relevance," but I've loved her since Life. She left me breathless in an episode entitled "Powerless." She deserves a regular gig.

I was trying to finish up Flashpoint (I've had the last 5 episodes waiting for me on the DVR for months) and I did fine until I got to "Fit for Duty." And I wept. And I wept. And I marveled again at the stupidity of cancelling such an excellent series. Ah, well. Hugh Dillion won't be wanting for work. But I still have the last 2 episodes to watch.

Justified has been the best thing on television this year and I'm trying to get my nerve up to watch the last 2 episodes.

7. I'm going to try to see G.I. Joe: Retaliation tomorrow night after Youth Group. Here's hoping.

And here's Jen. She's supposed to have her baby on Monday, so be praying for her.