La Kid’s currently dining at the Kennedy Center with Jimmy Kimmel, Steve Carell, and Jon Stewart at the …

… dinner before tomorrow’s ceremony awarding Stewart the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. The whole thing’s vegan. She snapped a pic of the first course:

If you build a forest of dead limbs…

… they will come.

‘The sunlight on the garden…
… Hardens and grows cold. / We cannot cage the minute /Within its nets of gold.”

Spring, UD‘s garden.

Dog rushes to join us on our nightly…

… “perimeter walk,” when Les UDs walk the length and breadth of their property. This often coincides with sunset, but this evening was so beautiful that we took our walk early.

The main thing I wanted to say about this image is that you’ve GOT to imagine the sweet powerful aroma coming off those white viburnum flowers. It says here that the scent is a “sweet, rich, spicy vanilla,” which sounds about right. There’s something of chai tea to it.

Statue with Easter adornments…

… at Quiet Waters Park, along Maryland’s South River. Site of today’s walk.

While we were away…

… a bird (probably a wren or a cardinal) decided to start its nest in our just-bought, obviously too natural, front door wreath. Really hoping our return will decide it against continuing the construction, or we will have to use our back doors to avoid disturbing things.

‘I’ve arrived [at] my own lazy gardening philosophy: Try your best to reciprocate the contempt and indifference that nature has for you. When your bougainvilleas refuse to offer up their blooms despite your halfhearted efforts, regard them with the same mild, healthy disdain that you reserve for things that disappoint you, but are not really your problem.’

With the spring come all the paeans to the spring, especially to the spring garden; and while UD – an enthusiastic gardener – likes to read all the regeneration-swoons, she’s also partial to the Bronx cheers — like the above comment from a New York Times writer. Or, you know, the famous first lines of The Waste Land, etc.

I mean, who has not watched Prince Charles sidle among his manure stocks and kind of wanted him to say “Mind you, it’s all rather a stinking bloody mess.”

Here are Mr UD and the dog enjoying our just-mulched layout.

UD’s hometown featured in the Washington Post.

First it makes it sound utopian; then it announces there are no houses for sale.

The Colors of Ukraine …

… adorn UD‘s house.
‘Supermassive black holes will smash into each other and warp space and time, scientists warn’

The dog was asleep on a chair, Mr UD was stepping into the shower, La Kid was waking up in her room at the celebrity-packed Four Seasons Surfside Miami… In short, all was well, when UD spied this headline and anxiously stopped Mr UD in his tracks.

Space and time are warping, she said.

He did one of his patented haughty dismissive gestures that so annoy UD.

Space and time, he said, I’m sorry to tell you, have been warping for approximately thirteen billion years.

So why is it a big banner headline this time?

I don’t know. Don’t worry.

It won’t affect regular deliveries of my Harney and Sons Paris? I know this sounds like a provincial concern…

No.

Spring in UD’s Woods.

Who knows what the rest of February will bring. Today, though, it’s spring.

La Kid‘s in Miami, at the Four Seasons Surfside, and just had lunch near Kanye West’s table.

Scrabble with UD’s sister Barbara yesterday.

We’re fierce. We both scored in the 400’s, and, despite a few points difference, we called it a tie.

Beautiful Morning with Zen Dog.

A gift from my sister.

For a dead wintry garden, this doesn’t look half bad.

And it’s warm out there.

Once again, UD is called upon to defend l’honneur of her hometown, Bethesda, Maryland.

In an essay about how he’s downsizing, minimizing, buddhizing, living more modestly, happily, mindfully and meaningfully, Arthur Brooks writes this:

We’d moved two years before, from Bethesda, Maryland, a power suburb of Washington, D.C., to a small town outside Boston. I’d resigned from a chief-executive position to teach and write, trading away virtually all day-to-day contact with political and business elites—and was quickly forgotten by most. I hadn’t hidden the reason for the move, and my family was fully behind it: I was taking my own advice, published in these pages three years ago, to find a new kind of success and a deeper kind of happiness.

See how he starts with UD’s ‘thesda? See that? Good move, because nothing’s quicker shorthand for wealth, power, and prestige obsessed than ‘thesda.

And l’il ol’ Needham! (Needham’s where he lives now.) Thready needy little Needham, inelite downpowered Needham!

********************

The graphic ‘thesda/Needham contrast jumps out at you in the raw numbers, a disjunction in human fates that instantly brought to UD’s mind Engels’ Condition of the Working Class in England:

Estimated 2007 median income for a family in Needham: $144,042

Estimated 2007 median income for a family in Bethesda: $168,385

And not only that!

Needham and Edgartown [will now] join Nantucket, Chilmark, Weston, Aquinnah, Wellesley, Dover, Newton, Vineyard Haven, Belmont, Brookline, Lexington, Winchester, and Lincoln [as places that] Zillow defines [as] “$1 million cities” [–] those with a typical home value of at least $1 million.

As he huddles in his Harvard office (Brooks is at Harvard), far from America’s elites, then shuffles back to his humble hamlet, Brooks can take comfort in the knowledge that he has decisively traded in grasping predatory ‘thesda for a kinder gentler world.

Yikes. While working on a longish post, I’ve been watching a golden eagle…

attack, kill, and dine on a rabbit in my backyard.

Once again, yikes.

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