Thursday, May 29, 2008
Sunday, May 25, 2008
So, the Surfrider Foundation, once again deciding to be a totally badass organization decided to have a contest asking people to list their top ten summer tunes. The prize is free tickets to the upcoming Jack Johnson tour so I figured I'd be a good sport and play along. Hey, I always like making new playlists. If only the kids today knew about the glory of the mixed cassette tape. Ah, those were the days. Maybe you got the Memorex tapes with the multi-colors that you could write on with a Sharpie, or as the girls preferred, the glitter pen! If it was a mix you really thought was awesome then maybe you splurged and spent the extra few bucks for the Maxell blank tapes, charcoal gray with white labels. One tape, 110 minutes? ...aww yeah! That was some pre-"drag-n-drop" magic.
In any event, I put together a little sampling of sensational tunes for summer sun adventures. Enjoi.
(not necessarily in order)
1) The Hook - Stephen Malkmus
2) Center of Gravity - Yo La Tengo
3) Ventura Highway - America
4) Surfer Girl - Beach Boys
5) Show the World - Apples in Stereo
6) Deadbeat Club - The B-52s
7) Holes to Heaven - Jack Johnson
8) Driving on 9 - The Breeders
9) Curly Locks - Junior Byles
10) That's the Way of the World - Earth, Wind and Fire
Monday, May 19, 2008
After seven days of work I've made it successfully to a day off. And as I've said in the past I'm not strictly devote to one faith, but the phrase "Thank God" sure does flow pretty easy off the tongue. Gym felt good this morning. The Ipod shuffle on the stereo is treating me well. I've made a list of all the things I'd love to do today, and it now sits in the kitchen a couple rooms away. And I sit here, rather motionless, and slightly dewildered. Not sure where to begin I guess. Sort of like when you go shopping only to arrive at the destination, become completely overwhelmed at all the selection, and instantly feel as if you have no idea what your taste is or mission was in the first place. And not that sitting here enjoying the peace and quiet isn't very nice, but it seems like I ought to be capitalizing more on this day off.
Luckily the last seven weren't nothing but work. There was a birthday thrown in there, on Tuesday the 13th to be exact. It was a great day. I had to work but I made sure that I was nowhere near the office. Instead I made my office for the day three different gardens in Brooklyn. It was a beautiful day and zipping around in the new wheels checking on the gardens and cleaning them up all by myself felt centering and calming. Between two of the gardens in Bushwick is situated my brothers house so I stopped in to see Frosty and Ea. Miss Ea had a stuffed up nose and was being quite the little fusser. Her adorable expressions ranging from bliss to misery in a single moment had Frosty and I laughing away. Ea was clearly not as amused, and made no hesitation to exercise her lungs and let us know. We walked the house up and down and over again.
Eventually the gardens looked good enough that I could walk away for the day and I retreated home to find my love with her notebooks studying for finals to happen the next day. Beside her two wrapped packages sat on the coffee table. Funny how a little gift wrap can bring on such a smile. We transitioned from work to play and resumed our perch on the couch. I wasted no time. The paper torn my hands stopped and my eyes grew, large. "Are you serious?" I pondered aloud. I don't remember, but I bet a deep belly laugh followed. I was 100% surprised and very psyched. At 31 I finally got my first Nintendo! How perfectly ridiculous. But, I am still smiling. Exactly what I wanted, even though I had never realized it. I had played Wii a few times before and not a surprise I loved it. Then one night Juan had a party (shh, don't tell the bosses) at his new office and my love got her first dose. I take it she thought it was pretty fun too. Found a used one around the corner. Genius.
Inevitably someone would ask me if I felt older. I think it was my mom. I was pruning back some spirea shrubs that had gotten too shaded out by a stand of amazing birch trees. Aside from the present waiting on the coffee table, I was having a rather grown-up day so I said "I guess so". It was my kind of day, typical but comfortable. Interesting to think about it that way. No shots at midnight or plans to get wasted, just a delish dinner up at Fatty's courtesy of my sweetie. I was active and outside and enjoying the world around me, enjoying my lists and challenges and goals for the day, knowing full well that a comfy home and relaxed evening await, not to mention the best hugs in the world. No push for cake or candles, just good conversations and run-ins with friends. A flurry of text messages and voicemail from those that rock. The retreat to comfy pants. The sighs of relief. I guess I am getting older. But, I couldn't ask for my life to be much better so I'll take the extra digit and perhaps some newfound wisdom.
A card came in the mail today. A sweet note from my girlfriend's mom and a treat of some cashable currency. Perhaps I'll take that walk to the plant shop after all. Leave that list on the table for a little while more. Hell, I'll have another day in a week or so. Thank you to all of my friends and family and loved ones for your extraordinary gifts and blessings. So we're now officially in our thirties, so be it. It's all about being a kid at heart, right?!?
Mmm, soft serve!
Sunday, May 11, 2008
It’s Mother’s Day in
Walking to the gym this morning the sidewalk in front of the florist was overflowing with potted houseplants, perennials, and small shrubs. It took me a minute in my pre-coffee haze, but the unprepared fathers buzzing around helped me to catch on. A man leading with his large belly was cutting off the older Latin man trying help him with his morning purchase. “No, you don’t tell me what I want” he barked, “I tell you what I want”. My pace didn’t slow, but I was reminded how much happier I am now that I don’t do retail any more, especially on holidays such as these. Be nice to your mother but be a rude bastard to everyone else on the way to her house? Oh, sure, that makes perfect sense. I’m sure she’d be very proud. But then again, perhaps in part it’s those people for whom we have created national holidays like this, or at least created all the ridiculous hype. Those unfortunate souls who don’t appreciate the matriarchs in their family enough the rest of the year that then they have to scramble and try to make up for it come some random Sunday in May. You know, we all come from a mother, every single person on this planet. And I’m not saying that everyone has the best relationship with their mother, but in the end you got to realize that all you got is family. I hope that we don’t need to have a national holiday to be reminded of that. Shouldn’t this be a time of celebration and love and gathering, and not scrambling to make up or make due or make right in lieu of 11 months and 29 days of not doing what you are supposed to as a good kid? But, then again, I guess my situation is not normal, and I forget that.
I am a very fortunate person in that I have a wonderful relationship with my family. My parents and I are buddies, always have been, always will be. As we all age we only seem to relate better to each other and get closer sharing our different adventures, our hopes and fears, our stories that make us who we are. So I don’t often think much of this day. I mean, sure, I called my mom. If I hadn’t I’d be fucked with a layer of guilt so thick I might not be able to breath otherwise. She has a gift that way. The thing is, I talk to my mom a lot. So yeah, I called when I got home from the gym. Mom was going to take Nanny out for a drive of the north shore. My grandmother on my mother’s side lives with my parents for most of year now during the warmer months due to it being cooler up here compared to
My parents and both sets of grandparents were always around. Family dinners and get-togethers were main staples growing up. In summer we would go out on Pop-pop’s boat or go fishing out at little Albert’s. My friend Rory would come over to play on Sundays especially, hoping that Grandma Feleppa was making her infamous homemade pasta, meatballs, and sauce, which of course took all day to prepare. So as we all got older and as my grandparents health deteriorated, my parents only did what was natural. They all stepped up and took care of their folks as they hope their kids will take care of them. My aunt took in and cared for my grandmother when she had cancer. I think I was 12 when Florence Pizzi Feleppa passed away. To this day I don’t know anyone’s meatballs that compare. My grandfather, Doc, would end up coming to stay with my parents when he became ill three or four years later. He passed away right before Christmas in the downstairs of our house on Indian Wells. Pop-pop passed one of the following falls and the service was small. We stood in the gray morning and smelled the salt spray off the Long Island Sound. That was the first time “Amazing Grace” made me weep. I can’t imagine how tough it must be to be alone after so many years of being with the one you love most. But, like I said, Nanny’s a fighter. She has great-grandchildren to watch grow up, she has her own stories to share, and she’s not stopping any time soon if she can help it.
I was glad to hear they were going for a drive today. My mom doesn’t take enough days off for herself and Nanny always loves to see the old stomping ground so I was glad the day provided the perfect window of opportunity. My dad wasn’t so sure about being stuck in the car all afternoon but I told him to take his camera along and shoot some pics and that that would be fun for him. He appreciated the suggestion and said he would. I felt bad that I wasn’t there to join them, but all us kids went out last weekend and had a hell of a time catching up, eating and drinking up a storm, and turning into total mushes staring in amazement at beautiful little Ea Mimm. We’ll get out there again soon.
My mom strayed from her mother’s house to find herself and establish her own identity. I did the same, as did my brother, as will our kids years from now, much to our dismay I’m sure. But we all come back. How can you not? Remember, we all have a mother after all. And even though we might think the apple falls far from the tree, we know deep down it really doesn’t. My mom is just as much of a workaholic as my grandmother. Coming to my own 31st Birthday I can’t deny any longer that I am a workaholic just like my mother before me, and her mother before her. And even though we get crazy with our lives, we realize the strength and fortitude that comes from a good family, and we force ourselves to slow down and enjoy that peace and comfort, even if only for an afternoon drive.
Happy Mother’s Day, moms, you deserve this and every other day in your honor.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Arisaema triphyllum is commonly called Jack-in-the-pulpit. I found this picture last night which I took just two years ago when I lived up in Massachusetts. Jack-in-the-pulpit is a northeastern native perennial, a member of the Arum family, Araceae. If you are lucky, you find these little guys in natural woods with good high, dappled shade. Their flowers are undoubtedly bizarre, and pretty wild in their design. Most people can miss the flowers since they come out in early May, often under a trifoliate leaf that many mistake for poison ivy. Then later in the summer when the pollinated flowers mature to a cluster of bright orange-red berries, people can't believe their eyes. But don't touch the clusters of berries. Supposedly they can irritate the hell out of your skin.
After all the rain we got yesterday I bet the woods are very busy today.
Friday, May 9, 2008
Monday, May 5, 2008
Sunday, May 4, 2008
Back to the rhodies, they had been pruned up enough that you could just barely stand beneath them. It just looked like a space that totally invited a little seating area or maybe even a well crafted table that could fit within the legs of the rhododendron. That is, if this were in a home garden and not a cemetery.
I'm not entirely sure what this is leafing out but thought it looked amazing. In fact, I would love to know but these were the only shots I took. These were taken in Amagansett, in the cemetery on Windmill Lane, Sunday, May 4th, 2008.
Friday, May 2, 2008
Then there are a lot of great new cultivars that growers are developing. Many still need to be tested for years to make sure they hold up as well as the original, in terms of size, durability, winter hardiness, etc. Above is an Echinacea called 'Sunrise' and below a beautiful reddish orange 'Sundown'.
Happy Friday y'all!