Sakura Season

I heard at work that NJ has more cherry trees than Washington D.C., and they are prettier. Having been to D.C. during cherry blossom season, not sure I agree with that, but the blooms at Branch Brook Park near Newark sure are pretty.

The place was pretty packed owing to Easter Sunday–everybody seemed to bring a picnic basket. The blooms were coming down from peak–recent rains and winds seemed to have de-petaled about half of the delicate flowers. But the park’s variety worked in its favor as there were still plenty of cherry blossoms to go around. You had your standard round five-petals, but then tiny, silvery-pink stars; thick, almost magenta clusters, and bright white ones.

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Family Trip: Lavender Trail

Coming back from the park, we discovered that there is a lavender trail on the way back to the city. Similar to wine trails, there are bunch of little lavender farms dotting the highway and they vary in size and how slick they have the tourist catering done. The first one we saw wasn’t that great, but the second was pretty good:

The things I do for kitty…

…are ridiculous, I know.

There’s a cherry tree in my neighborhood, and it’s beautiful. I pass by it every time I run, so today I picked up a few of the lovely blooms that had fallen to enjoy back home. The melon was predictably curious, but as a precaution I looked up cherry blossoms online…to find they may cause cyanide poisoning.

Ok, so its may rather than will, and kitty would probably have to eat a lot, but I’m even more paranoid about the fuzzy’s safety than my own and yanked the flowers out of his mouth (he was not pleased). There isn’t anywhere else in my apartment that kitty can’t get to so…into the fridge they go.

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Sigh. It’s a good thing he is so cute.

New York Kitties!

Like Justtwomorethings said, she came to visit me last weekend. Aside from Sleepy Hollow, we also spent some time in NYC. While Justtwomorethings got a haircut, I wandered around. And found…kitties!

(I really don’t know why she was so surprised. People ought to expect this from me by now)

The first kitty was a pretty little tortie. It was a tiny thing between kitten and adulthood, and clearly on a mission–it trotted up to us, fuzzed my hand, and then darted off in search of food, playthings, or both too quickly for me to snap a pic.

The next one was more accommodating. A spice shop near the hair salon had a handsome cow-spotted male (appropriately named Myrrh) sitting in the window. He took some time out from his staring contest with the dog outside to love on me a bit.

The final one wasn’t nearly so friendly, but just as handsome. His name was Oreo and he lived in community garden a couple blocks over. Oreo was profoundly unhappy that day because his favorite gardener hadn’t come because she was recuperating from a fall. In typical kitty fashion, he proclaimed his frustration loudly. Still cute though.

Rhode Island Flower Show 2014

Lately the weather’s been nothing but snow, snow, and snow, with the occasional slightly warmer day so the snow can melt and then freeze into treacherous road ice overnight.  To cheer up a bit, I bought myself a ticket to the Rhode Island Flower Show in Providence, figuring that at least I could get some new flowers (I had to junk a couple in the move last fall).

I was…underwhelmed by the show.  The “vintage” theme seemed to be an excuse to combine the show with vintage autos and broaden the appeal, but I’m not a vintage auto type.  As for the flowers, since the show was held in a convention center, you ended up walking around in a large room between piles of mulch on concrete, with poor overhead lights.  Some of the poor plants were wilting as you watched, and the lack of ventilation meant that the smell was–odd and definitely unappealing.  And the displays had a very unironic 1950s take on “vintage,” complete with some faceless mannequins necking in the back of an auto in one display (which I did not photograph because it gave off a creepy voyeuristic/night of the living mannequins vibe, and I don’t need that living on my phone for even a couple minutes).  Still, there were a couple neat bits.  Also, live chickens:

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The show also had an interesting section devoted to incorporating flowers into art, although its decidedly abstract tone clashed with the overall 1920s/1950s vibe.

Lastly, the market stalls were weird (five different dip mix hawkers) to sad (only three to four garden stalls in the whole thing, with little more than pansies and African violets).  I suppose my flowers will have to wait till actual spring.

May Flowers bring…More Flowers?

My backyard is pretty awesome–save for all the mosquitos who are treating me like a buffet these days. I posted some pics of the pretty blooms here, but here’s some more.

I don’t know what this tree is, but the flowers smell heavenly. Sort of a rich, sweet vanilla-y perfume that gets blown around the entire yard. The flowers–mostly white, but with fine streaks of purple in the center–are rather heavy and prone to being swept off in a light breeze.

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My little flower patch under my front window is also doing pretty well, though I did lose two plants to the invading army of weeds. It’s a constant battle to balance the nice way they fill in the blank spots with green while also not letting them gets so overgrown they choke out the plants.


And finally a pic of the kitty. I pay extra in rent so my neighbor does all the mowing, but he got lazy last month and let the grass get ridiculous. Mango had a ball pretending he was a mini tiger in the jungle.

Memorial Day

I love three-day weekends. They allow me to get close to 100% of the things I plan to do done vs. my usual 50%, so I always feel like I accomplished something. This weekend I planned on a mega cleanout of the duplex: wiping down all surfaces, mopping (well Swiffer-ing) the floors, vacuuming, doing 2 loads of laundry, and washing the litter mat and litter box. I also was able to restock on cat food (and people food), visit the library and, most importantly, catch up on sleep. I even got myself some flowers.

The one wrinkle is that the kitty managed to slip out the door without his leash Sunday evening and I had to chase him all over creation. He managed to climb two trees at one point, causing me to get all scraped up climbing after him.


I did catch the naughty creature, but still was not happy with him for his general lack of sympathy to my cursing and blood loss. So yesterday I made him dress up for our fallen soldiers in retaliation. I keep telling Mango if he will just accept how cute he looks in a tie I can’t use it against him anymore, but he doesn’t listen…

April Showers bring May Flowers

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Literally, as there was a ton of flooding last month and this month is bursting with blooms. I love spring here, it almost makes up for the slog of the winter months. In my backyard there are two (two!) huge lilacs, one purple and one white, as well as several patches of lovely violets and assorted other wildflowers. Pity the kitty is color-blind and can’t see all that I can…

Prettifying the Rental

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The front of my rental looks rather sad (and weedy), so I decided to fancy it up a bit. After arming myself with a list of plants that would not harm the kitty if he decides to nosh on it, an admittedly frequent phenom, I headed to the local plant center to buy up some cheap flats of annuals–I decided on petunias and verbena. I think that it looks pretty good… even the kitty seems to think so.