dual personalities

Tag: flowers

Let angels prostrate fall

Well, it has been rainy and rather bleak here in flyover country for several days. But as William Law said, “He who complains of the weather–complains of the God who ordains the weather!”

The highlight of my quiet weekend was driving a bunch of boxes to the recycling center. (Okay, we also got some frozen custard.) Woohoo. The boy came over on Sunday afternoon for a brief parley which is always a treat. The good news is that he reopened his store yesterday, but we probably won’t see him for awhile.

Screen Shot 2020-05-18 at 3.56.52 PMI watched The Green Mile (1999) about the mysterious goings on in a prison in 1935. It was as good as I remembered it. One of Tom Hanks’s best.

Screen Shot 2020-05-18 at 4.07.50 PMIt is over three hours long, but I can’t think of anything I would cut. So if you have three hours, I recommend it. I read the book by Stephen King back in the day and it is good too.

A fellow fan emailed me the sad news that Ken Osmond had died. You remember Ken–he played Eddie Haskell, Wally Cleaver’s super polite-with-parents but a jerk-to-his-little brother-Beaver friend. Quel icon.

Rest in peace, Ken. You nailed it. And those 18 years as a real-life motorcycle cop were impressive too.

On the horticultural front, the iris this year have been insane.


And don’t the new pillows (with thistles!) that daughter #2 gave me for my birthday spruce up the Florida room nicely?


“Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night.”
–  Rainer Maria Rilke

Have a good week! Shop local and small!

They neither toil nor spin

It is daylily season in our flyover town.



As you know, I love them and their heat-loving generosity of spirit. We have had a very long wet, fairly cool spring but the lilies seem to have adjusted. They just go with the flow and fill in and keep going.

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O men of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.

34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day. (Matthew 6:25-34

Here are some pics from a friend’s blog. He has a much more diverse display than we do.

IMG_4862.jpgIMG_4850.jpgIMG_1850.jpgIMG_1849.jpgBut any way you slice ’em, they’re great!

(And let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day!)

Iris time



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Van Gogh

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Ogata Korin (18th century)


YOSHIMOTO (吉本月荘 Japanese, 1881-1936)

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HIROSHIGE: “Summer in an Iris Garden”

 “Drab and colorless as her existence would seem to have been, Mrs. Harris had always felt a craving for beauty and color and which up to this moment had manifested itself in a love for flowers….

Outside the windows of her basement flat were two window boxes of geraniums, her favorite flower, and inside, wherever there was room, there was a little pot containing a geranium struggling desperately to conquer its environment, or a single hyacinth or tulip, bought from a barrow for a hard-earned shilling.

Then too, the people for whom she worked would sometimes present her with the leavings of their cut flowers which in their wilted state she would take home and try to nurse back to health, and once in a while, particularly in the spring, she would buy herself a little box of pansies, primroses or anemones. As long as she had flowers Mrs. Harris had no serious complaints concerning the life she led. They were her escape from the somber stone desert in which she lived. These bright flashes of color satisfied her. They were something to return to in the evening, something to wake up to in the morning.”

–Paul Gallico, Mrs. ‘Arris Goes to Paris

June continues to bust out all over

We have enjoyed a really nice June in our flyover state–relatively cool and lots of rain. This is certainly not always the case! So it is good to take a moment and think about how nice it is.

The grass looks great and has not started to burn up yet.


The flowers are happy.



And the tiger lilies are starting to pop!


We can enjoy open toe espadrilles


and more hours of daylight. Lately it has been cool enough to actually work in the yard after dinner.

And here’s a fun fact: The Horse Soldiers (1959) was released to movie theaters 55 years ago yesterday.


This is one of my favorite John Ford movies. It’s the one where a Union Cavalry outfit sets out from northern Mississippi and rides several hundred miles behind confederate lines in April 1863 to destroy a rail/supply center. Based on a true story, the raid was as successful as it was daring, and remarkably bloodless. The Horse Soldiers was filmed on location in Natchitoches Parish Louisiana along the banks of Cane River Lake and in and around Natchez, Mississippi. The locations give it a real sense of place and authenticity that Civil War movies don’t always have. The plantation house, for instance, where Towers’ character lives, is a real antebellum house and not Tara.

William Holden plays a doctor who immediately comes into conflict with the commander of the mission (John Wayne). The officers are overheard discussing their secret plan by a clever southern belle (Constance Towers) who must then be taken along to assure her silence. Holden is a great foil for Wayne, who, in my opinion, gives one of his best performances. He has a couple of really memorable scenes, such as the one where he explains to Hannah Hunter why he hates doctors. Nobody could break whiskey glasses like John Wayne.


It should also be noted that the Duke is very sexy in this movie and the sophisticated William Holden never has a chance with the leading lady.

The main female character is also a refreshingly good one. She has some depth–she is smart and spunky and well-played by Towers.

The Horse Soldiers also includes a large number of great Ford character actors–from Anna Lee to Hoot Gibson, Strother Martin, Denver Pyle, Ken Curtis, Hank Worden, and even the always bizarre O.Z. Whitehead–all playing clearly defined people.


These characters are but one aspect that sets apart Ford’s films from the vast majority of run-of-the-mill movies made over the years. But this aspect is huge. All the minor characters have a line or two and all are memorable.


You remember them all: the officers, including Major Gray, an actor quoting Tennyson (“Blow, bugle, blow”) and Colonel Secord, almost a senator (“This would look great on my record”), as well as the enlisted men (“You told us it was all right as long as we could see the top of her head.”), the deserters (“We’re confederate, but we ain’t hostile–honest”) to Lukey, Hannah’s devoted slave (“Contraband? That’s me, ain’t it?”). The Horse Soldiers also includes the leg-amputating scene with Bing Russell (Kurt’s father) which traumatized me as a child.


Anyway, The Horse Soldiers is my Friday movie pick. Sure, it’s another reminder that they don’t make ’em like this anymore, but c’est la vie.

And that’s my opinion from the blue, blue sky


“I felt once more how simple and frugal a thing is happiness: a glass of wine, a roast chestnut, a wretched little brazier, the sound of the sea. Nothing else.”  

–Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek

For, lo, the winter is past

The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land…





Song of Solomon 2:12

Things are looking up in our flyover yard. And about time. Phew.

The man in the arena


On this day in 1910, former President Theodore Roosevelt made a speech on the subject of “Citizenship in a Republic”  at the Sorbonne in Paris. One notable passage on page seven of the 35-page speech is referred to as “The Man in the Arena.”

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

These are good words to remember from our most active and hard-working president!


So did you take my advice and watch Stagecoach last night? I was feeling a little  very down in the dumps because daughter #1 had returned to NYC that morning, so I knew it would be just the ticket to put me back on track. And it was.

It’s amazing how a little bit of sagebrush drama,

Annex - Wayne, John (Stagecoach)_04

exquisitely told by the master of the genre,


with a generous dose of this guy


in the part that blew open his career can do that. It is such a great movie with such finely drawn characters.

And have I mentioned that the OM gave me this for my birthday?


Yes, #22…


Life is good, right?


Okay so I like the strong silent type. I get it. The man in the arena.

I know a hawk from a handsaw.

I probably sound like a broken record, but, gee, the weather has been great this summer in our flyover state! We are used to hot summers and really hot Augusts. Last year our summer was just the pitts–weeks of over 100-degree temperatures and no rain.

But this summer the flowers are still blooming.

In front of the local P.O.

In front of the local P.O.

The crepe myrtle shrubs, always a hardy and long-lasting perennial around here, have been stupendous.

crepe myrtle


I was able to take a walk in the middle of the afternoon to take these pictures–unheard of!


I walked past this house up the street from ours, which my children affectionately dubbed the “Adams Family House” years ago.

Adams house

Unfortunately it is going to be torn down now and 4 mini-mansions will be built on its grounds. They are in the process of clearing out all the landscaping now. “Progress” can be so sad.

Anyway, the coolest thing that happened this weekend was that a red-tailed hawk landed outside my window on a low hanging branch of the tree in front of our house. I did not have my camera or cell phone on hand. Bah humbug. But it was cool indeed.

Someone else's photo of a red-tailed hawk

Someone else’s photo of a red-tailed hawk

I am a big fan of raptors and to see one up close and personal is a real treat. Red-tailed hawks are great-looking birds and they do their job keeping the rodent population down around here. Also they look like they wear little pants.

How was your weekend?

Vintage picture Tuesday

“Flowers have an expression of countenance as much as men and animals. Some seem to smile; some have a sad expression; some are pensive and diffident; others again are plain, honest and upright, like the broad-faced sunflower and the hollyhock.”

–Henry Ward Beecher


Here is a picture of our grandmother Mira Sargent about a hundred years ago in her father’s yard in Worcester, MA. How about those hollyhocks?! As my children know, I have always wanted to grow hollyhocks in my own yard, but have never been able to do so. What was the Sargent’s secret?!

You can see it in the trees; You can smell it in the breeze

June is bustin’ out all over!


Look around! Look around! Look around!

The feelin’ is gettin’ so intense,
That the young Virginia creepers
Hev been huggin’ the bejeepers
Outa all the mornin’ glories on the fence!

This may be true in New England, where Carousel takes place, but sadly, things have been bustin’ out all over our flyover state for a month already. Indeed, everything starts to droop here in June. The peonies have gone by as have the irises. They were lovely.

We put off as long as we can turning on the old AC, but finally the heat gets to be too much for us, and we seal off the house. Sigh. It won’t be long now.

Oh well. I have a new calendar page for the new month–with sparkly fishes!


I have roses inside.


And roses outside.





It was June, and the world smelled of roses. The sunshine was like powdered gold over the grassy hillside. (Maud Hart Lovelace, Betsy-Tacy and Tib, 1941)

Have a good weekend! A dear friend is visiting our flyover town from the east coast this weekend and my old man is celebrating his 40th high school reunion, so this introvert will be working overtime.

Happy Birthday to Clint Eastwood who turns 83 today! I do not think I own one of his movies (except a VHS copy of Paint Your Wagon!), but if I did, I’d watch one! Here he is singing “I Talk to the Trees”. I spent a good deal of 8th grade daydreaming about him. Can you blame me?