May 29, 2010


Here's the backstory:

Over a year ago, Mr. D's school sent the second graders home with saplings on Earth Day. It was a nice idea, but the tiny trees weren't actually all that sturdy, and almost every one of them died. Including Mr. D's. He was heartbroken, and we headed out to our favorite local nursery in hopes of learning more about how to properly raise a tree.

While walking around the grounds, Mr. D spotted a tree whose beauty went straight to his heart. "No, sweetie," we said, "that's a full grown tree. There's no way we could even fit that tree in our yard, let alone pay for it."

"Maybe they have a smaller one," he said hopefully.

And sure enough, there was a smaller tree - albeit still quite large - and it was a variety whose elongated shape would mean that we might be able to squeeze it onto our little tenth of an acre lot.

Still, there was the money question.

"Buddy," we said, "grown trees are expensive. You have to pay the nursery for all those years of caring for the tree. If we got a tree this big, it would mean that would have to be your birthday present. And probably your Christmas present, too." (We thought this might be a step on the way to moving his sights down to an even younger, smaller tree.)

But by now Mr. D had learned enough about this particular kind of tree that his heart was made up. (Ask him to extol the finer qualities of the columnar hornbeam to you sometime. But only if you have plenty of time.) So we asked them to save the tree, and started saving our pennies.

Hornbeams are best transplanted in the spring. Mr. D's birthday (on which he took his friends for a hike in the woods) came and went, as did Christmas. This past week, our side yard was the site of an impressive and long-awaited transplant operation.

These pictures don't do it justice. But the tree will be there for a long time. You could come see for yourself.

May 25, 2010

(Photo via Beppie K on Flickr)

rainy day movie:
we talk of the book, missing
what they left out

(Cross-posted at Spring.)

May 14, 2010


I don't wear makeup.

Never have. (Except for that one misguided Junior Miss moment, and a few incidental turns on stage.)

That's me last night, sitting in bed and reading Shamim Sarif's terrific Despite the Falling Snow.

I don't know how I ended up with such a deeply rooted resistance to mainstream culture. But I'm glad for it.

I know that many women are happy with their makeup and the way it makes them feel as they move through the world. It's their choice, and fine by me.

But there are SO many things I'd rather be doing with the time (and money) that a makeup routine would take. So my choice is to walk through the world "as is."

May 10, 2010

Happy Mothers

Every year, The College of New Jersey brings in a new set of student pianos for their undergraduates, leaving them with the challenge of "passing along" a group of one-year-old pianos. As a former employee, I am on several TCNJ mailing lists, and every year I get a flyer about the on-campus piano sale. This year we made an appointment to check out the pianos. We didn't say a word to Mr. D, who was in any case out of town helping his cousins with their Strut Your Mutt event.

Here's how it works. You can make an appointment to go in before the sale is open to the general public. The selection is limited, but prices are discounted from what you'd pay for a brand-new version of the same piano, and you get the original warranty. There was no hard sell. If you see a piano you like and commit to buying it, they tuck a little red tag into the keys to let other folks know that it's already spoken for.

So yesterday,
we did a little re-arranging in our dining room.

And you know what?
Nothing makes Mothers' Day sweeter
than a deliriously happy boy!

(This photo was taken
when he first laid eyes on the new addition,
mere moments
after he returned
from his Maryland adventures.)

May 09, 2010

Blueberry Muffin (and other songs)

Most springs find us heading down to Baltimore
for the amazing Kinetic Sculpture Race.
This was the scene at which the now-infamous
"Blueberry Muffin Song" was first performed.
(You kind of had to be there.)

The weekend was a terrific chance for some quality cousin time.
(Who says kids today don't know how to share?)

This float, which went into the water as a caterpillar
and came out as a butterfly,
got a huge appreciative roar from the crowd
when they figured out that the metamorphosis
was going to take place.

The fearless frog pictured above
won a "Golden Flipper" award for this spectacular
water "fail"... which was paradoxically
also a big crowd-pleaser.

And C & D had front row seats at the sand pit!

(Thank you, citizens of Baltimore and the AVAM,
for this annual celebration of
exuberant creativity & ingenuity.)