Tuesday, June 30, 2009

no cherries this year

Last year our cherry tree produced something like 10 gallons of juicy, sweet, dark red cherries. We gave them away to everyone we knew because there were too many to eat. And then, tragically, a tree trimmer guy "topped off" instead of "shaped up" the tree, leaving it butchered and ugly. I was devastated and thought it wouldn't come back. But it has! Here it is now--full and pretty, albeit with 15 feet of height taken off. But as a result of last year's butchering, we didn't get any cherries this year. We'll see what happens next year!

Monday, June 29, 2009

how my garden grows

It's been a month since I planted my perennial garden, and it's grown like crazy. Some things got a lot bigger than I thought they would. Others didn't get so big. So I think it looks a little shaggy, a little not-quite-pulled-together. I think I have to readjust and move stuff around, but I'm not sure how yet. Still, it's green, shady, and private. The cats and I love it!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

kitty sweethearts

Grubbleand Little Ma'am (reformed feral and outside cat who claims me as her person)are long-time sweethearts.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

dogwood in bloom

My new Kousa Dogwood bloomed, but just at the very top and not many blooms. The blooms are pretty and have already lasted about a month though. I'm hoping the whole tree blooms next year.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

purple fountain grass

On the deck: purple fountain glass with flower spikes and creeping jenny.

and here's keeya

I can't get a good picture of my fourth foster Keeya--she's always moving. She's very gentle and affectionate--might be good with kids. She adores being petted. When I'm not petting her, she's happy to lay at my feet. She's smart too. She's nursing a cold but will be ready for adoption in a few weeks.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

meet the new kitties: lolly, rascal & bernie

The Animal Rescue League is completely full, so I'm fostering some sick kitties for them. They'll be ready for adoption in just a few weeks.

Lolly was brought in as a stray with four kittens. Sadly, all of them died. She is extremely affectionate and loves to be petted. She also loves to play and "talks" to the string when she plays with it. She's awesome!Rascal is a beautiful buff-colored kitten (not sure of sex but likely male) with blue eyes. He is full of piss and vinegar! He runs around playing like a nut and gives funny kitten growls at the other cats and even his toys. He purrs when you snuggle him and pet him though. Bernie has already taken over my heart! He's an adolescent kitten, maybe 10 to 12 weeks, extremely skinny and in his very cute awkward stage--all legs, tail, and ears! He's a playful kitten, but he's also a loverboy. As soon as I come into his room, he jumps up on my lap, puts his paws on my shoulder, and give me hugs and kisses. I am in love.

Keeya is a beautiful gray and white girl. She's also very affectionate and extremely gentle. She is camera shy, so her photo isn't available yet, but she's a beauty, a total purr machine, and intelligent.

If you've thought about getting a pet, please consider adopting, especially now when the shelters are full of cats and kittens. These four are all a delight, but there are many more wonderful cats and dogs that need homes.

Monday, June 22, 2009

june birthdays

Happy birthday to...

Darcey! I've now been friends with Darcey for 22 years, since freshman year in high school. Check out her blog.
Harrison! My nephew turned 11. Here he's dressed up in Dave's Devo costume. Harrison is a lot like me: loves cats and very silly.

first day of bus-bike combo commute

My parking permit at work was approved, but I canceled it. Following my resolution to take my bike on the bus in the morning and bike home after work, I started today after getting a new helmet and a tune-up from Dave.

Dave and I also did a test run on Saturday--biking from our house to my office in Oakland and back. I have to admit that the trip up Polish Hill wasn't as bad as I thought it would be! The return trip down through Polish Hill was pretty fun.

The hardest parts of my first day--figuring out how to use the bus bike racks and the bike racks in our garage--are over. Now I'm looking forward to a fun ride home!

Have you considered biking or taking public transportation even one day of the week? Visit Bike Pittsburgh's site to learn about their Car-Free Fridays program.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

my favorite prague picture

Nun going into the Church of Sts Peter and Paul in Vysehrad. And that concludes my Prague pictures!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


On our last night in Prague, we walked through Smichov, the neighborhood along the riverfront south of Mala Strana. At that point, I was a little tired of taking pictures of buildings...this is the result.On the way back to our apartment after dinner in Smichov: the Nove Mesto riverfront and Prague Castle at dusk.

Monday, June 15, 2009


Still have some more Prague pictures to post. These are from a walk to Vysehrad, promoted in our guidebook as "Prague's other castle." It had a really cool neogothic cathedral, a late 19th century cemetery, a walkway around the castle wall with sweeping views of the city, and a big green park. The guidebook described the park as being full of women pushing baby carriages and couples canoodling, and that was true! There were also some young guys throwing around (mostly incorrectly) a football. The best part: few tourists. We walked back to our place through Nove Mesto (New Town).

The view of Vysehrad from the Nove Mesto riverfront.
Church of Sts Peter and Paul.
In the park.
In the cemetery.
View of Prague Castle from the Vysehrad castle wall.
View from the Vysehrad castle wall.
In Nove Mesto.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

happy to be home

I'm home from Prague! It feels so, so good to be back to the house that I love so much, to be greeted by Grubble running down the stairs making his little "irk?"-ing noises, and to see what's thrived (spiderswort, lamb's ear, and purple coneflower) and died (tickweed, ghost fern) in the garden. After the cats all came down and sniffed my suitcase for a few minutes, we all went outside so I could see the garden. The weeds! How did all those weeds grow in two weeks? Five minutes after I got home after 14 hours of travel and being away for two weeks, I was weeding the garden.

Dave had cleaned the house, which I was delighted about since it's so nice to come home to a clean house. This morning it was nice that the sun didn't rise at 4:30/5 like it did in Prague (because of the latitude difference.) And in general I was just happy to be back in Pittsburgh, which was in the news a lot while I was gone with the #1 Most Livable City rating by The Economist and the Penguins winning the Stanley Cup. However, I agree 100% with this opinion piece in the Post-Gazette about balancing all the recent accolades Pittsburgh's been getting with the need to continue to "seek the inspired leadership" and change the "political shenanigans of a one-party town."

Today, we walked over to the Arts Festival--it was the last day. The Gay Pride Festival and a Pirates game were also going on, so Downtown was packed! It was hot and sunny, which felt nice because it's been cool in Prague. Happy to be home.

A giant squid was part of the exhibit in gallery at 937 Liberty Ave.
Robot by Toby Atticus Fraley, from Washington PA. He had a booth in the artists' marketplace, and we bought a really cool clock with a honey bear dressed up as a bird. Sounds strange, but it's cool. I really like his stuff in general--check it out. At Point State Park for the Arts Festival.
Clouds over Downtown.