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Lots of stuff has gone on since my last post. Heck, two seasons have come and gone. Fall was short and winter has been a bummer. Looking forward to spring arriving ASAP.

Until next time, here’s a video I made of my fish. Cute, aren’t they? Just got their tank cleaned.

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You say Tomayto and I say Tomahto, let’s just say we have a whole lot of both.

Our lovely little garden we put in this May, which started out like this:

with tiny little seedling plants we purchased from Russo’s in Watertown (excellent plant selection and the best quality produce and value anywhere. Period.) and a few seeds.

I am amazed at how, with some water and nurturing and bucket-fulls of patience, we now have a fully grown and fruitfully producing garden. Here’s an aerial view:

And an inside view:

We have tomatoes of various kinds, eggplants, squash, and cucumbers, as well as lettuce, carrots, green peppers, yellow peppers, cubaneles, and hot peppers. All of this with parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme (and basil, chives, and lavender) means we’ve been eating very, very well this summer.

We’ve come a long way from our pot garden adventures. Pot gardening was fun but we were limited by the pot size and the plants just couldn’t get that big before getting root bound, which meant the fruit harvest was minimal.

Now we have tomato plants that are growing every-which-way. We have one plant that created six separate different vines that each needed their own stake. Some of the plants are as tall as me:

We are especially grateful to our wonderful neighbors/landlords who allowed us to dig out some nasty vine-y roses and overgrown weeds on the side of the house and lay out a thoughtful garden plot that has surpassed our expectations for growth and produce.

We are also very proud to boast that this garden is nearly all organically grown. I say nearly because we’re not sure if the seedlings we purchased were organically wrought. But all of the soil, compost additives, and fertilizers were organic mixtures (Coast of Maine, mostly, and we highly recommend). Maybe next year we can shoot for 100% by keeping some of our seeds or purchasing organic seedlings and seeds.

The tomatoes, I must say, are the best I’ve ever eaten. We grew some that are as big around as a softball, and some tiny little cherries. We have an heirloom plant that produces pink tomatoes that when cut up look like watermelon and taste perfectly tomato-y. We eat them in salads and sandwiches, or just halve them up with salt and pepper and bite into them like an apple.

I’ll leave you with photos of a few of our harvests.

Jealous? Don’t be. Come on over. We have plenty to share.

Today, I think, was the true start of summer. For starters it was the most glorious day. Full sun and a slight breeze, blue skies. It was warm and not too humid. We Bostonians and Cantabrigians have made it through the annual epic commencement season (Harvard exercises were Wednesday and Thursday) and so the city and Harvard Square, abuzz for the past few weeks with pomp and circumstance, are now saying “¡adios!” to the student crowds and welcoming, well, sort of, the throngs of tourists.

Walking through The Square today were crowds of people—mostly tourists but some lingering students and families—girls in sun dresses, boys in shorts, a snaking line outside the froyo spot, every Starbucks order “iced”, and generally a sense of freedom and excitement. Freedom from books and classes and excitement for what lay ahead. I couldn’t help but hum “Schoooooool’s. Out. For. The summer!” Too bad we’ll work through summer. But even at the office today we didn’t get mail, which, for a finance office, means a small moment of peace and quiet.

Tonight we spent some time tending the garden, pulling a few weeds, aerating the strawberries and planting a few more peppers. Then Mark lit up the grill and made us our first summer feast: burgers, brats, potatoes, and salad. Sooooo yummy.

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And since it was such a nice evening, we brought our food and cold drinks out front to the stoop. With plates on our knees we dined al fresco

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Our entertainment was, as on every night, a little league baseball game. Tonight we cheered on the Rockies v. Red Sox. Mark provided color commentary and I root-root-rooted for the big hits. There was some impressive pitching and fielding, and nice hits sent batters around the bases.

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At one point the game was interrupted by a baby running through the outfield, but security (his mom) intervened and the game went on. The cricketers waited in the outfield with their bats and wickets for the game to end and, and when it had finished and the baseballers cleared the field, they set up the pitch for a late match before the sun dipped below the hills and the twilight turned too dark. There are no lights on this field (and that is probably a good thing).

We love our little community here in Coolidge Square, Watertown. So much going on—people out and about, families of all shapes and sizes and nationalities. Dogs of every kind. Guys of every age and background playing pickup games of B-Ball. A little park with swings, Armenian markets, a diner, and a local pizzeria/fishfry/soft serve joint, all visible or a stone’s throw from our stoop. The view from where we sit—our cheap seats—is pretty great. Can’t wait for more nights like this. I’ll never want summer to end.

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I went home this weekend, to to be with my family and to see friends. I needed a mini-break, as they say in England. A small vay-cay. Some R&R.

I traveled home to remember what wide-open spaces look like when you’re driving on a lonely highway and you can see that point way out in the distance where the earth meets the sky.

And to remember what the cool, clear, fresh air smells like, almost minty and piny and cold in your lungs, but then warm. Spring in Wyoming means five different weather patterns in four hours—pouring rain, gale-force winds, blizzard snow (it didn’t stick, but it came down with a fury), beaming sun, and sad grumpy drear.

It felt good to be there, surrounded by things I know, people I love, small moments here and there that reminded me where I came from and why I am who I am.

I am eternally grateful, and immensely blessed.

But on my way back, I caught myself saying I was going home. “Oh, it will be good to be back home,” I said. But hadn’t I just come from home? Is Massachusetts now my home (say it ain’t so!)? Can I have two homes? Or three? Or four? Not actual buildings, but spaces—or feelings of all-is-ok-ness, one-ness, whole-ness. Is that what I meant by “going home”?

What is home? Where is it? Or who?

Before leaving for college, my parents told me no matter where I roamed, Wyoming would always be my home—Wyoming, my native land of the vast sky and big prairie. Snow in all seasons and drive-up liquor stores. Fly-fishermen and eagles on fence-posts. Mountains, streams, and antelope. I left Wyoming to see something new, to go someplace with “less dirt”. To widen my mind and my purview.

When I got to Mount Holyoke, home was where my bed was—

every year in a different place on campus, each room a special place for me and my thoughts, my books, my music. I felt good there, like I belonged. Like I was intrinsically connected to the place and the people there with me, those who came before me, and those who would come after me. Each year was new and different.

shannie, 1st year roommate. we broke the light. thelma & me.

But every late August, when I stepped back on campus, I felt like I was right where I needed to be. Soon I’d see my friends and we’d fall right back where we left off the previous year. It was a place of shared experiences, of self-seeking, of togetherness.

Then during the summer I went back to “home-home” as I called it. Back again to Wyoming, to my family, my room, my bed, my dogs.

My first job out of college was really when I first set up my own space that was really and truly mine, my new apartment. My walls, my kitchen, my art space.

And now Mark and I have a home here, in Watertown,

with our dog, our bed, our pictures.

I’m at home with Mark, in his hug. With his laugh and warm smile.

We feel good here, all together, “at home” in our 1200 square feet of room, and beyond that space the life we’ve shaped with one another.

All of this, and yet still I’m not certain. What IS home?

Is it a warm blanket? a friendly hug? where your family lives? where everyone knows your name? Could be… Surely it isn’t only the things around you, in your life, or the space they fill. Is it the people? Or is it just where you are, in that moment? And there, could it be many places?

Perhaps the answer is that home is where you are, where I am, where we are together, and that home will be ever-changing, ever-moving, because life is ever-changing, ever-moving. And in that movement will always be a constant space where we feel good, we feel like our true selves, we feel like we’re whole. And all those spaces will always be there, waiting for us.

I feel good knowing this. I feel calm. I feel at ease.

Welcome to all our lovely new subscribers! And thanks for stopping by. We’re so glad to have you here.

A very special welcome to reader Amy, who wins our snail mail note writing grab bag for being our 5th Subscriber. Seeing as Amy is a writer, I do believe this grab bag may be right up her alley.

Also, boo. Boo to this stupid weather. If you’re on the East Coast today, you’re probably experiencing some nasty sort of spring storm. Just west of here they’re getting up to a foot of snow. Yuck. We’ll get about 2 inches of rain. But I heard there were tornadoes in Florida? Be safe, Floridians!

It’s March 31. What happened to March going out like a lamb? I think it came in like some sort of dolt cow and is going out like a raging bull.

I made this springy Etsy treasury listing a few weeks back that was purely wishful thinking, but I think it still applies, sadly.

O spring! Come soon, please, and rescue us from this droll weary gray world.

 

 

Here’s a representative photo of our winter — Anna in her new Andy Carroll Liverpool jersey and scarf on a Sunday morning with a plate full of just-out-of-the-oven scones! We’ve been doing this every weekend that Liverpool is on Fox Soccer Channel or ESPN (the games tend to start nice and early Boston time).

Just doesn’t get much better than this! (I think this was from the day when our Reds knocked off Chelsea — it REALLY doesn’t get much better than that… especially this season)

I haven’t written in ages! I’m terrible. I’m the worst ever. I say this every time, too. But really I think this must be the longest time without a post. Three months? Bennett! Bad! BAD!

Last time I wrote it was almost Christmas. Now it’s almost Easter… well, almost. We’ve seen a whole season come and go and not a post on anything. Not a one about being tired of snow (And lots of snow did we have – holy cow! Something like 39 inches?) or exploring new places (the Art & Architecture Tour at the Boston Public Library is a hidden gem). No news on our Year of Bread baking challenge (Did you know we haven’t bought bread in THREE MONTHS!? We’ve baked every bit of bread we’ve eaten this winter!) All this including the sad fact that we’ve had zero giveaways, and NO pictures of Gordon. Sad face.

And I wish I could write more today but I have to-dos and projects I’ve been putting off and MUST get to them. I know, I know. You may say, “Isn’t this a project you’ve been putting off?” and yes, it most certainly is and I feel terribly about it. Not just because I’ve been neglecting the blog and my readers, but in the spirit of full disclosure, I’ve been putting it (and my other to-dos and projects) off because I’ve been a lazy bear. Very lazy. Winter got me bad and I’ve just been a bum. Watched too much TV, and really, it’s all been filth. I am no better for it. Shame on me. Shame on me and the time I’ve wasted.

But don’t you worry. It’s spring! The sun is out longer and fills me with all kinds of happiness and spirit and inspiration. I’ll be back and better than ever very soon, with lots of newsy posts chock full of happy happiness, food making, artsy fartsy goodness, and all other things LPE.

So until then, I leave you with two things:

1. A picture of Gordon – because that’s why you drop by LPE, right? To see Gordon’s sweet cheeks, and NOT because every time I write a new post and hit PUBLISH a little link pops up on Facebook and Twitter and that urge to click on a link comes over you and you click without thinking.

NO, you come here of your own volition, I know it.

And 2:

A giveaway!!! I will send a snail mail grab bag—colorful pens, lovely papers, envelopes, blank note cards, stickers, etc.—to the fifth new person to subscribe to LPE. Just hit “L.P.E. to Y.O.U.” on the left hand side ← over there and enter your email address. When we post, which is hopefully, and fingers CROSSED, oftener than not, you’ll get a little PING! Note: You can unsubscribe at any time (but I hope you don’t!) by clicking “manage” under L.P.E. to Y.O.U. Believe me, knowing I have subscribers who are expecting things of me will keep me motivated, so this is a win-win in many ways.

Wahey! We’re (nearly) back!

It’s a tree full of fond memories–ornaments given lovingly by mummys and daddies, grammas and grandpas, aunties and uncles and dear dear friends. Some hand made in grade school or purchased on vacations both nearby and far far away. Some old and some new. Our life on a tree. Beautiful.

Thanks to everyone for these submissions! The judges have met, and the winner is…

Reader Cathy!

We loved how her haiku seemed to fit with this spiral-covered buddy. He seems like an artsy type who just wants to be free and creative and can’t be caged in.

We will get this in the mail soon. There will be many more opportunities for readers to win hand-crafted stuff, so keep checking back.

Today is National Elephant Appreciation Day.  Is it REALLY?  Google it. Yes. It is (thanks Mom for the link! – if NPR says it’s such a day, then it must be true) and we’re celebrating here at L.P.E.

Apparently some guy was so especially enamored with the giant beasts that he began collecting all sorts of elephant things:  shirts, figurines, pens, hats, costumes, etc.  And then one particular day (September 22, I suppose) in 1996, he decided, “Well, hey.  I like elephants so much, I am going to declare it National Elephant Appreciation Day.” And so he did.  I’m not making this up. Perhaps paraphrasing the story a bit, but seriously.  The story is true!

And so, in honor our very own Le Petit Éléphant and to celebrate his very special day, we’ve dressed him up and given him some sass and are giving a print of him away to a lucky reader.

Doesn’t he look spiffy?

To win Mr. L.P.E. all dressed up in his green swirly suit, write us an Elephant Haiku in the comments.  We’ll choose a winner, who will receive the above print (on beautiful aquarelle 14olb watercolor paper, printed and marked in hues and tints of green watercolor marker).  Once we’ve chosen a winner, we’ll (well, I will) write your Haiku underneath here:

in similarly spiffy caligraphic fontiness, and send it straight to you.

Quite an easy way to win a prize, don’t you think?

Happy National Elephant Day, everyone!

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