Archive for April, 2009

Cosmetic Surgery

18 April 2009

I do this every year.  Well, one year my husband did it instead.  We remove 90-95% of the rose biomass in the front garden, going from this:


to this:


in the space of an hour.

I like this task.  It is one of the very few gardening tasks I actually enjoy.  I get to do it standing up.  It doesn’t take long.  The results are immediately obvious.  It keeps my mind active as I make multiple decisions on where to cut with the following goals in mind:

  • make the canes shorter than waist height
  • keep the plant “airy” without a lot of center growth and without criss-crossing canes
  • remove diseased bits
  • guide each plant to grow in preferred directions (i.e. up and sideways, not out over the driveways on either side)
  • leave a few leaves so the plants can still get energy from the sun

It’ll seem like no time between now and when the roses are once more taller than me.

Cheer Up!

14 April 2009

There are lots of good things in the world, so despite the fact that I have grades due this week (and I’m not done grading, duh) and it is cold and rainy and I keep feeling chills and my lesson plans were made all topsy-turvy for a day (it’s only Tuesday, it’s only Tuesday, deep breath), THERE ARE REASONS TO SMILE AND BE HAPPY!

1) My highly intelligent husband who blew the GMAT exam out of the water last year was accepted into the graduate program of his choice, to start this fall.  And his work will pay for it!  Yay!  Plus he will still be earning a salary!  Double Yay!

2) I discovered yummy ice-cream sandwiches at the H-mart that contain vanilla ice cream and red bean paste (yum, red bean paste!) and while I don’t have any left the photo still makes me smile because they are shaped like FISH!


3) A friend of mine from college has the most amazing Easter resurrection video on her blog today, that DEFINITELY makes me smile!

4) There is more than enough chocolate, tea, and cheese in my house to get me through this week of getting grades completed.

5) Rainbows!  Rainbows are happy!


I’m sure there is more but I can’t think of what else will make me smile right now…I think it is time for some tea!  And then grading!

Make it yourself

12 April 2009

Today I published my first instructable, on how to make rubber stamps!  Check it out at this link:

I had to make a new stamp for the 4th marking period so I could stamp homework tomorrow, so I was not actually procrastinating by working on this project…not really, anyway.




11 April 2009

Every year, Subaru sponsors a cherry-blossom festival in Philadelphia.  Jenny invited me to join her and her brother, sister-in-law, and two nephews in enjoying Sakura Sunday, in Fairmount Park.  Since I am trying to learn Japanese, it seemed like an excellent idea, and fortuitously it was a beautiful day and the beginning of Spring Break, so I felt no pressure and had no agenda.  Whee!

Jenny and I stopped at the H-mart to pick up some sesame- and nut-free snacks (one of her nephews has allergies) and some green tea, and parked a pleasant walk away from the festivities.  We found a place to park our picnic supplies, and had time to enjoy some drumming by the Swarthmore College taiko drummers and some dancers doing traditional dances before taking the tour of the Japanese House, Shofuso.


It is especially nice to see these things with Jenny, who has lived in Japan and knows Japanese and about the culture.  She was able to explain that the artist who painted the sliding screen-walls of Shofuso, Hiroshi Senju,  lives part time in New York and part time in Tokyo and painted the screens with a sort of spraypainting technique.  Also, the pond in the garden is in the shape of the kanji for “heart” (you can’t tell that from my photos, though—see my flickr set) and the roof is thatched in an old technique that is dying out even in Japan.

After lunch, I wandered around the festival and caught a glimpse of the Cherry Blossom Queen (Erisa Kazui, in the US to visit Philadelphia’s and Washington DC’s cherry blossom festivals).  I entered a drawing to win a trip to Japan (I won a t-shirt, which I have not received yet), looked over the go games, the carp windsock making table (nobody over the age of 8 seemed to be participating, so I just watched), and the origami tables.  In addition, I found out that the “Dr. Robot” sumo robot wrestling people do children’s parties and school visits, and took some pictures of the calligraphy.  I also bought some kimono fabric: two swatches of silk and one of cotton.


Sakura Sunday was an ideal way to kick off my break, which started out fairly productively (I sewed, I accomplished some schoolwork and some housework, I bought a Japanese textbook (again with help from Jenny, THANK YOU!), but which has since tapered off into procrastination.  Ah well, I will remember the fun I had as I sit at my desk trying to finish up the grading I left for the last day of vacation.


I have no idea

9 April 2009

How long has it been since I last colored eggs for Easter?  Probably at least 25 years, at a guess.  Last night I did the silk-tie thing since I’m on break, it was on the internet, and thanks to Marisa I had a use for 8 eggs.  I blew the insides of the eggs out before dyeing them, since I want these to be permanent (at least until they get accidentally sat on or whatever), and that was a challenge since I’ve never done that before.  But it worked: one hole in each end, swish the pin around a bunch, then blow until the insides are no longer inside.