summer

WHITE HYDRANGEA AND MAYBE PINK CRAPE MYRTLE ??

White flowers are always a challenge for me. When these snow-white Hydrangea threw down the gauntlet, I fought back with my Panasonic Lumix DMC ZS-25.

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Maybe I’ve finally got it?

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It turned out the Crape Myrtle was even more of a challenge.

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It turns out, these huge puffy flowers are hard to get in focus, especially from the long distance I was forced (by fences) to work from.

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THE LAST CHINESE LILY

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I planted a lot of them. In yellow, scarlet, orange, purple. After several bad winters and a few years of partial neglect, followed by complete neglect, there is exactly one Chinese lily remaining. it is deep pink. And obviously very hardy.

My last red lily

My last red lily

 

IT’S ONLY A PAPER MOON, ELLA FITZGERALD

Musical Marker – We all have songs that remind us of specific periods and events in our lives. Twenty years from now, which song will remind you of the summer of 2014?


It’s been a long time since I followed pop music. For a long time, when it was all rap and hip-hop, I didn’t like it and didn’t listen to it. Now, to a large extent, I’ve gone back to listening to the music I grew up with.

Classical music. Beethoven. Mozart. And the romantics — Chopin. Bach. We do listen to some golden oldies from our younger days too. Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and the Beatles. Folk, some country. Quite a mix, really.

But nothing will connect me to this time and place except one song. It has — quite out of the blue — become a symbol of this warm, bright summer. I’ve used it twice in posts and I’ll put it here, just once more with the lyrics.

There is something about the words that seem to target my reality. Maybe it will touch your, too.


 

It’s Only A Paper Moon

Say, it’s only a paper moon
Sailing over a cardboard sea
But it wouldn’t be make-believe
If you believed in me

Yes, it’s only a canvas sky
Hanging over a muslin tree
But it wouldn’t be make-believe
If you believed in me

Without your love
It’s a honky-tonk parade
Without your love
It’s a melody played in a penny arcade

It’s a Barnum and Bailey world
Just as phony as it can be
But it wouldn’t be make-believe
If you believed in me

Say, it’s only a paper moon
Sailing over a cardboard sea
But it wouldn’t be make-believe
If you believed in me

Yes, it’s only a canvas sky
Hanging over a muslin tree
But it wouldn’t be make-believe
If you believed in me

Without your love
It’s a honky-tonk parade
Without your love
It’s a melody played in a penny arcade

It’s a Barnum and Bailey world
Just as phony as it can be
But it wouldn’t be make-believe
If you believed in me

It’s phony it’s plain to see
How happy I would be
If you believed in me.

Songwriters
KAMMERMEIER, ARNO / HAYO, PETER / MERZIGER, WALTER

Published by
Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, EMI Music Publishing, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., S.A. MUSIC, NEXT DECADE ENTERTAINMENT,INC.

 

FIRE AND SUMMERTIME – CEE’S FUN FOTO CHALLENGE

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Fire or Season of Summer

It’s been a warm, dry season so far and we are now deep into the summer season. No fires though, unless you count the ones we build for our own enjoyment. I’m hoping it stays that way. Mill fires in particular have been huge in the valley.

When Bernat Mills burned down 5 years ago (is it 6 now?), it took every firefighter in the valley more than 2 weeks to put it out. Even after that, it continued to smolder for months.

Those old wooden mills are always at risk of fire, though since Bernat Mills, there hasn’t been another and that’s a good thing.

FLORAL ANTI-DEPRESSANT

It must be a thing with hospitals. They always have lovely gardens. Is it to keep we, the patients, from suffering depression?

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They no longer paint waiting rooms in drab colors. Now they are bright. Because the Dana-Farber is a cancer facility, the gardens are especially bright, the waiting rooms especially cheery.

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Welcome to the garden. I sure hope they can find a vein today.

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As always, I had my Panasonic Lumix DMC ZS-25 with me. I’m a bit in love with my little camera.

 

A HOSPITAL GARDEN

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It was time for my six-month cancer checkup, just a week after my three-month cardio checkup. Do I know how to have fun or what?

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Luckily, I had my handy-dandy Panasonic Lumix DMC ZS-25 in my bag … and the hospital garden is in full bloom.

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It features some interesting, unique combinations of plantings.

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WHAT MAKES A DAISY LAZY?

My daisies appear as energetic as any other flowers, so I feel they have gotten an unfair reputation based on simple rhyming.

Considering the battle my daisies had to fight to survive in our untended garden, I think they deserve a medal for valor!

BIRCH TREES AND GREEN LEAVES

More pictures from an afternoon along the creek. Birch trees and water flowers. A bright blue sky and deep green leaves. July in the valley.

MID SUMMER FULL TILT BOOGIE

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The garden is full of lilies and roses. We even have a couple of daisies. Pink and dark red fairy roses are heavy on the bushes.

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This is it, the peak of the season. The spider wort (there isn’t much of it this year, but there are a few stems showing buds) is almost ready to flower.

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This is as good as it will be all season and I have photographic proof!

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If you look carefully, you can see the huge dead rose-bush under the day lilies which are a bit flat from the heavy rains the other day.

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A RIOT OF GREEN

We scooted over to our little piece of river yesterday.

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These were all taken on the banks of Aldrich Creek. It runs parallel the street on which we live.

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This little park is in Burriville, just over the Rhode Island border.

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A pretty piece of waterway and right now, it’s a riot of green.

SONGS OF SUMMER – RICHARD PASCHALL

The Top 10 of a Musical Genius

From the time the Beach Boys hit the surf and the top of the charts in the 1960’s, Brian Wilson has been considered a musical genius. His prolific song-writing propelled the careers of the original “Boys.” Their music remains wildly popular to this day.

Wilson was not just trying to crank out rock and rolls songs for public consumption. He was trying to create a new sound, the “California” sound of blended harmonies and instruments. His obsessive work in the studio while seeking a certain type of perfection, was both his strength and ultimately his weakness.

Today Brian is again touring, writing and producing. His opinions on music are held in high esteem by song writers everywhere.  Many, including Paul McCartney, Bono, James Webb (American songwriter), and Rolling Stone Magazine, consider Wilson’s “God Only Knows” among the best songs of all time.

So when Brian offers an opinion regarding rock and roll music, it usually garners some attention.  Recently he gave us a top ten list of his favorite songs of summer.  To no one’s surprise, a couple of Beach Boys’ songs made the list, but there are also a few interesting choices:

1. Hot Fun In The Summertime: Sly and the Family Stone
2. In The Summer Time: Mungo Jerry
3. I Get Around: The Beach Boys
4. Be My Baby: The Ronettes
5. California Girls: The Beach Boys
6. Give Me Some Lovin': Spencer Davis Group
7. Hey Jude: The Beatles
8. Honky Tonk Women: The Rolling Stones
9. My Obsession: The Rolling Stones
10. Mony Mony: Tommy James and the Shondells

I don’t know how some of these songs were chosen for a summertime list, but it is Brian’s list so he can do as he pleases.  I am happy to modify it a bit and you can follow with your own list in the comments if you are so inclined. First of all, any song I have to go find because I never heard of it needs to go.

“My Obsession” by the Rolling Stones is an early hit that really offers little in the way of music and lyrics.  It is certainly forgettable in every way and a surprise on any list provided by Wilson.  Of course, we all have early rock favorites that will probably sound weird to anyone else.  So, I am kicking that one off the list and replacing it with one of the Beach Boys’ top hits of all time, Little Surfer Girl.

Next I have to replace the over done Hey Jude. While McCartney still uses this epic to kill 10 minutes of every concert, I think it is time to retire it. Seriously, have you seen any performance of McCartney, live or on television, that did not contain an overblown version of this hit?  I can not associate it with summer anyway, so I am replacing it with “Summer in the City” by the Lovin’ Spoonful.  It is true that every oldies station will play the heck out of this song from now until Labor Day, but I never tire of it. That’s my standard.

I like “Honky Tonk Woman” and “Mony, Mony” but let’s replace them with Summer hits.  Add Jan and Dean’s number one hit from 1963, “Surf City.”  With a similar sound to the Beach Boys, Jan and Dean successfully rode the airwaves on their musical surfboards for a number of years, cashing in on the California style rock.  Another song I’m adding is “Saturday in the Park.” by Chicago — if for no other reason than to include a song from one of my all-time favorite bands.

When I discovered Billboard’s list of the Top 30 Summer Songs I see there are a few more that could go on my list.  That would also include more by the masters of their style, the Beach Boys.  Go forth and create your own list and enjoy the sounds of summer.

THE UNTENDED GARDEN ENDURES

More from our untended garden. It’s amazing how lovely it is without any human intervention. It’s also pretty good at defending itself. The hedge roses have lethal thorns and they have spread to the point of having taken over the area.

We aren’t sure how we can even remove the one bush that died during the winter because the thorns are no less vicious in death than they were in life. Those little hedge roses are as friendly as barbed wire.

They resemble nothing so much as beautiful, rose-scented barbed wire. These are  planted on estates to protect areas from animal and human invaders. Highly effective. They don’t merely grab. They tear through gloves, sleeves and jeans. One would need body armor to approach those wicked thorns without getting cut.

Yet they look so lovely and smell like heaven. There’s a metaphor there.

OUT MY BACK DOOR

This is my summer view. I watch the seasons through my back door. I see the buds opening in spring, the snow pile up in winter, leaves drift to the deck in fall. In summer, I love seeing my flowers and the deep green of the woods.

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It gives new meaning to the words “picture window.”

Nice to have a beautiful place to set my eyes as I get a cup of coffee and give the dogs their morning share of biscuits.

And now, a word from Credence Clearwater Revival.

BRIGHT KITCHEN MORNING – WHERE LIFE BEGINS

Rare Medium — Describe a typical day in your life in a form or in a medium you’ve rarely — if ever – used before. If you’re a photoblogger, write a poem. If you’re a poet, write an open letter. If you’re a travel blogger, write a rant.

I use every form on this site. From bad poetry to music, to videos, photography and all kinds of prose — you’ll find it here on Serendipity. So today, photographs are the medium of choice because as it happens, I have a few special ones clamoring to be seen.


Days typically are mostly errands, writing, reading. Retirement is like that. But all of them start in the kitchen. Every day of the week, in all four seasons … life begins in the kitchen.

I’m forever complaining about my kitchen. It’s old, needs remodeling. Too small. Not enough cabinet space (is there ever?) and pathetic counter space.

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But I also love it, especially first thing in the morning when the sun comes streaming in.

kitchen morning lightThis time of year, light beckons: “Come out, come out and play!” And sometimes, we do.

Whatever needs doing, whatever is on the schedule — whether it’s a trip to the grocery store or the doctor, or we’ve planned an excursion to a beauty spot to capture some pictures — it starts here.