Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Chekov's Olga Seregeyevna Prozoro and me. Remembering my father's last days.


Following up to yesterday's post, I will tell you that my father did not leave the hospital on the "Monday after Thanksgiving," as he had hoped to do, which is indicated in the audio playing during the video clip in that post. Instead he was still in the hospital on the "Monday after Thanksgiving" and declining quickly. He died a week after that Thanksgiving — November the 30th, fifteen years ago today at 7:35 AM, due to complications with septic shock.


The year he died, Thanksgiving Day was November 23rd. He had evidently recorded a tape (that is being played in the movie-clip in yesterday's post) on the eve of that Thanksgiving, November 22nd — the day Kennedy was assassinated thirty-two years prior — as I recalled in an earlier entry.

My father had been in the hospital due to consequences brought on by severe emphysema, which was caused by his intense Pall Mall cigarette smoking. Although he had quit smoking a few years prior to his death, his wife continued to smoke. He insisted her second hand-smoke did not bother him, and even through his wheezing, as he was declining severely in health, he joked that when he died, the tobacco industry would raise the price of cigarettes in a phenomenal way, saying they would begin to miss his revenue.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Monday after Thanksgiving


My father can be seen in this photograph playing the frying pan. His brothers are accompanying him with their instruments. Perhaps those earlier musical endeavors gave my father his apparent "love" for pop music. Most people when recalling my father's antics will remember him for having his own takes on "Top-40" music hits. For example, with the song, "I Never Promised You a Rose Garden," the lyrics go,"I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden . . ." but my father's take on it was,"I beg your pardon, I never farted in your rose garden . . ." 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Upcoming Feast Days: Chanukah & Advent Shattering Darkness Part Two: Advent


What I posted yesterday bears repeating especially since this is "part two" of that entry so to reiterate: "It is good to reflect on the symbols of light and hope that mark the Jewish Feast of Chanukah and the Christian Feast of Advent, a time when Jews and Christians use the symbols of candles and lights to shatter the winter darkness."

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Upcoming Feast Days: Chanukah & Advent Shattering Darkness Part One: Chanukah


It is good to reflect on the symbols of light and hope that mark the Jewish Feast of Chanukah and the Christian Feast of Advent, a time when "Jews and Christians use the symbols of candles and lights to shatter the winter darkness."

Friday, November 26, 2010

How was your Thanksgiving? — Blue Friday. "We all have our private hell . . ."


It is Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving when many people do their holiday shopping. As I ask various people, "How was your Thanksgiving?," some of the answers make me think it is really Blue Friday — as in feeling blue. An owner of a wine shop told me "at least mine wasn't with any family . . ."  These words prompted me to recall a Johnny Carson quote: "Thanksgiving is a time when you get together with family or friends that you usually see once a year and discover why you only see each other once a year."

Thursday, November 25, 2010

What Scarecrows Teach About Thanksgiving


I caught a glimpse of the scarecrows pictured above as they were relaxing. They had done their job for the year: watching the fields of crops that provide people everywhere with bountiful harvests at Thanksgiving and always. They are smart, these scarecrows; even though a famous one vowed that he "didn't have a brain." The scarecrows are smart because they know they need their 'comrades' to do a good job and to enjoy life, as these two appear to be doing.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Dagwood Bumstead goes the tech route!

Copyright 2010 by King Features Syndicate, Inc. World rights reserved.
Dagwood Bumstead, the "protagonist" of this comic strip, Blondie (which has appeared in newspapers since 1930) is continually evolving with the changing times and trends. Dagwood has always been open-minded. After all, Dagwood married Blondie when she was a "flapper-girl" which caused him to be disinherited from his upper-crust family, and as a result, he continues to work for a salary he finds to be insufficient at J.C. Dithers Construction Company. While Dagwood still has his long-established routine of long baths and midnight snacks, he is not set in his ways. Dagwood's personal telephone has been upgraded from "a candlestick style to a modern dial phone, to a touch-tone variety, and he currently uses a cell phone — something I've yet to do!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Coming Week: Recalling November 22nd

In a couple of days it will be November 22nd, a significant date in the minds of people of a certain age who will often recall what they were doing on that  particular day in 1963, when they first heard the news that President John F. Kennedy had been shot. In my case, I had stayed home from elementary school that day and was watching As the World Turns (ATWT) with my mother. My mother identified with Lisa, one of the main characters who was a divorcee. At that time, I did not know that my mother would become a divorcee, but I should have surmised this might happen, with all of the arguments that occurred between my mother and father.


Be that as it may, on November 22nd in 1963, my mother and I were watching ATWT,  and listening to the characters, Nancy and Grandpa, discuss their Thanksgiving plans —while my mother fretted about how we'd spend ours. Suddenly the television program was interrupted, with a special report that President John Fitzgerald Kennedy had been shot. From that point on the television would be filled with scenes from the motor-cade in which Kennedy had been riding, the subsequent shooting of his assumed assassin, Harvey Oswald, and of course the funeral. However, when I first heard the news on November 22nd 1963, I wondered what was happening at school. I was one of two students in my class of thirty pupils, whose parents did not support JFK. A few years prior, in 1960,  Kennedy had campaigned heavily in Carpentersville, the town in the Fox River Valley where I went to grade school, so I was well aware of my parents' political beliefs.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Voilà! It's Nouveau Beaujolais Day! Sarmentelles and Thanksgiving


During Thanksgiving time, I appreciate the shapes and textures of the gourds that enhance my urban garden's environment during this time of year, as seen in this photograph posted above of an assortment of gourds (from the greenmarket), which have been placed in an old wire "shopping basket" propped up against a planter and alongside my Juncus effusus (Juncaceae or Unicorn Soft Rush). The Juncus' playful spirally foliage is always a welcome texture in my garden (as seen below),



and texture is something I discussed in a previous post, Celebrating Texture . Meanwhile, as if giving a standing ovation to the beauty of November,  . . . my 'Tamuekyam's' leaves (seen below)


seem to know their textures and colors are much appreciated — especially at Thanksgiving. I referred to my Acer palmatum var. dissectum 'Tamukeyam' in  a previous post back in August when its leaves were burgundy, which was lovely too.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Turning the Tables in Garden Decor

Patricia Youngquist uses words and images to tell stories about her passions. Based in New York, she currently is authoring a series of nature books on birds of the city. Now in Apple’s iBooks store @ https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/words-in-our-beak/id1010889086?mt=11

The ability to define my goals in salient points does not come easily to me. It never has. I tend to view most matters in layers and get caught up in possibilities. As a young junior high-school student, I agonized over the standardized PSAT when it came to multiple choice questions. The traditional choices for those test questions was usually something like this: Sometimes option "a" but never option "b" when "e" and "f" are present. On one occasion, when I questioned the teacher about various scenarios (which were delaying me from being able to go on to the next page), I was put out in the hallway, with masking tape bound over my mouth, and told "when you are ready to stop asking questions and make a quick choice you, can come back to the classroom."

This problem of taking too much time to weigh the answers in multiple-choice test questions occurred in test-taking again, when I was in high-school and took the SAT. There was a test question about how many clothes-pins it would take to hang laundry on a clothes-line. I found myself thinking, 'hmmmm, that depends . . . is the clothing heavy jeans and towels, or is it something light such as under garments?' I lost all my test taking time on those types of test questions, and since SAT scores are based on time as well as knowledge.

Fortunately, I passed the SATs with a score high enough to get into college, and I used my layered thinking to my advantage, graduating from the university with honors. My graduating from college, and my deliberating over option A and option B in relation to test questions, was a number of years ago, but the inclination to consider various scenarios of a given issue still prevails. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Giving new Meaning to the Pet Rock: Portraits of Cats (With Rocks as the Canvas) As Noted by a Cool Cat


Hello there! Allow me to introduce myself, I am one of many rockin' cat rocks hand painted by an artist named Phyllis; to view others click here. We make great Chanukah gifts, stocking stuffers, or we are nice to give to your co-workers, friends or families at any time. 

You don't have to wait for a special occasion to let people know they mean something to you. As mentioned in a previous post, Helen (from Gifts by Helen) sells us cat rocks along with beautiful journals, photo albums and picture frames. We cat rocks are more fun then pet rocks if I do say so myself!

ANNOUNCEMENT: Helen, sole proprietor of Gifts by Helen, passed away in December of 2014, and at the time, I announced it on Facebook. Her business is closed. My entries about her will remain in honor of her legacy.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

"In war, there are no unwounded soldiers" Solemn Remembrances for Veterans Day and the Promise of the First Leaf

Because my blog is called, The Last Leaf Gardener, I have written about last leaves in previous posts including ones during January and March. However, this post begins with a first leaf - the first leaf on my Acer palmatum (a tree that I have in my urban garden)  to change color in honor of Autumn. Even though I recently blogged about November being a time to focus on garden textures that get overlooked by color, I am returning to color with this post. My Acer's golden tones can be seen (in the photograph posted below) in this single leaf peeking out from the green and cream colored hues of the Acer's other leaves.

Patricia Youngquist uses words and images to tell stories about her passions. Based in New York, she currently is authoring a series of nature books on birds of the city. Now in Apple’s iBooks store @ https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/words-in-our-beak/id1010889086?mt=11

My freedom to enjoy my 'Shigitatsu Sawa' leaf changing colors from a green with cream tones, to a golden with rosey tones, from the first leaf to all of its leaves, and then to create images celebrating it, is in part won by veterans who fought for  freedom in wars gone by.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Feature Film, Chariots of Fire Somewhat Reprised : The Wonder of Edison Pena


Just following up a bit on this past Saturday morning's post where I mentioned the New York City Marathon. On Marathon Eve (last Saturday night), fireworks dazzled the sky in Central Park, as they always do the night before the event. The photograph above, taken in Central Park, shows one of the fireworks which had a champagne bubbles quality. I am certain champagne was uncorked for various runners who completed the race, judging by the number of people I saw carrying bags bearing names of liquor stores.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Celebrating Texture

Patricia Youngquist uses words and images to tell stories about her passions. Based in New York, she currently is authoring a series of nature books on birds of the city. Now in Apple’s iBooks store @ https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/words-in-our-beak/id1010889086?mt=11

Since last Saturday's posting of honoring the days of November and beyond, I've been reminded that November is the month of remembrance that began with All Saints Day on November first. 

This feast day is followed by the solemn celebration of All Souls' Day on November second, and for the remaining days of November, special homages are made for all who have died. "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted," is a consolation of November. With it getting dark earlier due to going back to "standard" time, and the apparent focus on the dead, it is good to recall that November is a textured month, and so while people honor the dead during this time, it is also a month very much intended to remember the living.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Canopy of Actinda kolomikta and Actimidia (Kiwi Vines)

Patricia Youngquist uses words and images to tell stories about her passions. Based in New York, she currently is authoring a series of nature books on birds of the city. Now in Apple’s iBooks store @ https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/words-in-our-beak/id1010889086?mt=11

Here I am returning to my rooftop garden's color again after saying that it can cause me to overlook garden textures in a previous post. 

The canopy of golden leaves in the photograph posted above are from my Actinida kolonikta and Actimidia (Kiwi Vines).

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Nothing Small Minded about Small Business


Recently I read an article by Joanna Molloy and that articleSmall-business owners say their plans can't be confined by city's tiniest work spaces, has caused me to I post this as a follow-up. Molloy writes,"Big-box stores may be all the rage in suburbia, but in this recession some canny business people have been running what could best be described as thimble stores."