A poorly organized overview of things, recently: 

Good Sign, the new doggie day care in our neighborhood, and their sign featuring a Max and an almost Watson

Bad Sign, the G train circle has been painted over. It’s going to be five sad weeks of sad commuting.

Summer Fridays are the best ever. I could really use some Fall, Winter, and Spring Fridays, too. This was Elena’s last full weekend in NY, so we filled it with John Luther Adams’ Sila: The Breath of the World at Lincoln Center + Red Farm + unpictured cream puffs and unpictured bagel sandwiches + The Frick + Ladurée. Also, rambling with Watson, and alternating between The Fosters and Inside Amy Schumer (less jarring than you would think). A quality oh, wow, New York City is amazing! sort of weekend. 

And suddenly, it’s August. 

The most difficult part of Watson’s transition from New Mexico Adventure Dog to New York City Dog has been the loss of off-leash running-about-like-a-fool time. The parks of full of squirrels, feral cats hide under every car, and the streets are a buffet of pizza crusts, chicken bones, and melting ice cream cones. And yet, the leash. Always, always with the leash! 

I’ve known about off-leash hours at Central Park for some time, but living in Bushwick means having to wake up by at least by 7am on a weekend morning to get there on time. I love Watson, but that is a seriously tough sell. 

Finally, though, the guilt got to be too much. On a hazy Saturday morning, I dragged myself out of bed and dumped us both onto the train. It was so, so, worth it. 

Watson was the happiest I’ve seen him since moving here. The whole park was like a magical wonderland. Dogs everywhere, all perfectly behaved. Dogs everywhere!! All shapes, sizes, and colors. Herds of dogs standing about, dogs chasing frisbees, dogs running through the paths, the grass. It was like all of my “I wish dogs” dreams came true. 

This is going to be a thing. 

"…describing Mr. Hanick as a contemporary-music champion can suggest that he is a specialist rather than a connected young artist with a natural curiosity about new music. Besides, during a typical season Mr. Hanick plays Mozart, Schumann, Debussy and such. The technical refinement, color, crispness and wondrous variety of articulation he brought to the contemporary fare played on this occasion would benefit works by any master."

— “A Youthful Vigor, Flowing Through to His Fingertips,” Anthony Tommasini 

THIS REVIEW. IS BANANAS. I am bursting with pride and happiness for Conor. Way to Piano, Hanick. Way. to. piano. 

The first and mostly only thing I want to talk about when people start a conversation about The Goldfinch is how Popchik the puppy lives to eat bacon sandwiches in his twilight years. 

Relatedly, I just found Does the Dog Die. This is an important website. 

Garden update: 

  • Blush on the peppers — next year, I’m growing nothing but peppers
  • Tomatoes that never make it indoors, because they’re eaten by the handful on the balcony
  • Speaking of tomatoes, I can finally see the Blondkopfchen earning their name (Little Blonde Girl). The branches are glowing masses of flowers. Will they all turn into fruit? 
  • Cucumbers are slowing down, but new fruits are still showing up daily.
  • Sunflower seeds are slowly ripening 
  • Replanting lettuce and kale

This view! Sharing tomatoes with Watson in the summer sun is my happiest place. I recently bought an extravagant candle that smells like tomatoes; I’m going to hoard it until the winter, when I’ll light it to remind myself that summer always returns. 

Eating the summer!

Thank you for visiting, bee. This is my biggest sunflower; its seeds will be saved for next year. 

Growing up in a giant state (CA) and then living in roughly-the-middle of bigger states (IL and NM), the idea of popping over to Philadelphia for a meeting remains novel and exciting.

Last week, Taylor & Francis sponsored a focus group on social media in libraries; two others were held in India and the UK. Comments from the focus group will inform what is likely to be a helpful white paper, given the very cool librarians who were present in Philadelphia. 

Harvesting tomatoes, chard, cucumbers, and broccoli rabe. 

Saving pesto, making refrigerator pickles. 

Weekend activities: 

  • Sybarite5 in Bryant Park (Dogs allowed at the concert, but not on the lawn. Oops! We are still learning the rules).
  • Elena and I JOURNEYED to The Cloisters, where we considered medicinal herbs, unicorn imagery, and buttresses. We also shared disdain for 20-something young men who feel entitled to mansplain to the docent with more years of experience than he has life. GROAN. 
  • Squirrel chasing, couch reading. 

Garden update: 

For all that is going poorly, there’s lots going well, too!

  • Cucumber count is at 8
  • Biggest sunflower has bloomed, and smaller plants will likely soon follow
  • Stressed as the plant may be from wind and sun, the Sweet 100 tomatoes are starting to change colors. 
  • The Blondkopfchen plants are sturdy, leafy, and the picture of health. I wonder if this had to do with starting them from seed? Or the container? It may also be that these plants went out weeks after the others. Next year, I will be much more conservative about frost dates.
  • New flowers! Cornflowers and scarlet runner bean flower buds. 
  • Boisterous pepper plant and basil. If I remember to pick up a lemon on my way home, I’ll cut back the basil to make pesto to freeze. 

Pictures of Watson sent to Conor while he is in Santa Barbara.

Garden update:

Four seasons in, and I am still very much a novice gardener. I am slow to notice warning signs, and make lots of mistakes — some of which I should be able to correct, while others get filed under “notes for next year.” 

  • Bolting lettuce. Too much sun, too little water, eaten by birds. For now, I’ve replanted and moved one of the boxes to reduce bird access. For next year, I will either give them their own self-watering container, or skip lettuce. 
  • Browning basil.Too crowded, sun scorching, not enough water. For now, I’ve pulled the plant. Its leafier, happier brother is in a self-watering container, and provides all of our household basil needs. 
  • Kale. I thoughtlessly planted the kale on the wrong side of the container. So, the cucumber leaves grew over the kale, cutting off sun access. Further, the vines strangled the plants, and now it’s an aphid magnet. For now, I’ll leave it in with hopes that the aphids stay there and leave the other plants alone. For next year, I’ll give them more room and a fighting chance. 
  • Leaf curl and browning leaves on tomatoes. Elaine from Bucolic Bushwick has been generous with her advice, and I’m grateful to have her blog as a resource. She suggested some shade for the stressed out tomatoes. For now, I’ve moved the tomatoes into the shady lettuce spot. For next year, I’ll provide more robust support against wind.
  • Carrot flowers. Planted too early, and didn’t thin out enough. For now, I’ve replanted all the carrots. For next year, look into shorter, stubbier varieties. 
  • Birds eating flowers. I think bird nets over everything sort of defeats the purpose of growing flowers, but these little plants never had a chance. I’m not sure what I’ll do next year. 
  • Corn. Too much wind, too little water, too little space. After some great growth, the corn is faltering. For now, I’m waiting to see if they’ll gain any more height. 

The sky is falling (in the best way)!