very cool gardening thing: historic blue garden restored

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Imagine an amazing blue garden. Once one existed. Now once again, it is a reality.

The photos in this post was sent to me by my high school classmate from Shipley, Tina Rovito Bemis. She and her husband own a plant nursery in Massachusetts called Bemis Farms Nursery.

Tina is always doing cool gardening stuff, but yesterday she went to a reception in Newport, Rhode Island celebrating the restoration of an amazing and historically important garden.

Tina played a part in the restoration of this cool blue piece of history. Tina grew 1500 of the blue plants used in the complete restoration of the Blue Garden at Beacon Hill House, Newport, RI. This garden was designed a century ago by Frederick Olmsted, Jr.

Tina was commissioned to grow these blue plants by the property’s new owner, Main Liner and Philadelphian, Dodo Hamilton. Unbelievably this amazing undertaking of historic preservation and restoration was met with some controversy in Newport, Rhode Island. Fortunately it all worked itself out and the garden was restored.

As a gardener I am in awe of majestic gardens such as these. I am so proud of my friend for being part of it!

Tina was kind enough to share all of the photos!

Enjoy the view!
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mind meandering

DSC_4228As I begin this post it has no title.  It is just one of those things I woke up a few hours ago thinking about, so here we are.

I was wondering if as we age we give ourselves permission to be more our true or authentic selves?

Maybe I will just call this post what it is: a flowing stream of consciousness.

Yesterday I was thinking about high school.  I wasn’t part of any special clique, I had friends in all groups.  But I do remember the very real high school pressure to belong to one group or the other. To me, it never felt quite right, so I floated.

I remember girls and guys I knew even back then, and even in a private school, being bullied by their peers in different groups.  Like a very preppy and civilized Jets vs. Sharks.

To this day the memories are so strong for some of these people that they never even come back for reunions.  I work on my reunions so  I think about this stuff when we are planning parties. The funny thing is I realized years ago again how these people who were pack leaders and bullies don’t really matter and never really did.  As a matter of fact when these former pack leaders do show up at reunions I marvel at how little they have changed and it always strikes me as a little bit sad.

DSC_0137It sounds kooky to think that as adults we still can judge from the vantage point of our younger selves, but I have had other friends who also work on their reunions say the same things as me.  As a matter of fact I remember once friend who planned her reunion being all worried about this one group of girls coming to her home as she was hosting the reunion party.  And she has this awesome house and a terrific family of her own and has accomplished so much.  Yet all these years later she was still worried at first until she realized she didn’t have to measure up in their eyes then or now.

What I have noticed is for every stage of life, there are people like that.  Unhappy, malcontented people who essentially seem to like to make people unhappy and/or sit and judge with a misplaced sense of entitlement or superiority.  My ex and some of his siblings are in that category. I am sure they hate being mentioned in my writing (and I have no clue as to why they still follow me) , but they were part of my life experience. And I have never said they were horrible people 24/7 because they weren’t.  There was always just this hum about them, running underneath.

I will admit I never got to know most of these siblings particularly well.  I was never allowed to by my ex, so it was an observer’s existence for me.  In the early years when I would try to get to know them as in call to say hello, or send an e-mail I was always met with an angry wall of “Why are you contacting them? ” so eventually I stopped.  It was funny spending 8 1/2 years with people as “family” with restrictions. What was even more strange, knowing myself, is that became normal to me.

If these people had stayed in my life or I in theirs, I would have ended up an angry and bitterly unhappy person at a minimum.  I didn’t realize any of this until I was out and he had left.  Then, all of a sudden one day a few weeks after he was gone, when I really wasn’t thinking about it, life was better and I could breathe. My point in all this is I had know idea until I was out how much these people had changed me. How I had allowed myself to be changed, as in molded.  This was the first time I had pretty much denied who I was for the trade-off of “fitting in”.  I learned by almost losing myself how bad that is. It’s a crazy realization.

DSC_4249I have noticed that as I get older and water continues to seek its own level, that these unhappy and malcontented types still sort of bunch up together. It is as if they know subconsciously as individuals their weaknesses and ill humor towards others won’t be tolerated.  Maybe it is a pack mentality of sorts?

There is this one group of women, whom I actually don’t know so I can’t say as I understand what is so awful in their lives that they have to be so miserable, yet they are.  They literally meet for tea and scones.  It seems so civilized and sweet and country folksy, only what it is no better than a gossip club.  They rip people up one side and down the other (myself included which is so funny because they have never met me and don’t know me, it’s because I am a blogger and shock and horrors different from them), and for what?  What does it gain them in the end? Nothing.

There was a group like this in my Main Line neighborhood growing up.  The leader kept binoculars on her kitchen windowsill. Her house was up on a hill so with a good pair of binoculars she could check out everyone around her.  If there was a strange car in your driveway, the phone would literally ring and it would be her inquiring as to who was visiting you and why.

The leader and ladies would literally meet once a week with a brown bag lunch.  They would report on the happenings and transgressions and presumed transgressions of the neighbors. They actually called themselves a gossip club, amusingly enough.  It gained them nothing, either.  At first they were sort of feared, eventually they were just ignored.

I guess it just fascinates me that as we age and become more comfortable with who we are, the more people feel the need to question that from the outside.  And sometimes these people don’t necessarily have a strong voice, but they have a loud voice that at first gives the presumption of authority, but eventually all realize they are just loud and self-important. Not truly strong beings to be either feared or emulated.  It gets to a point where you have to stop and turn and think about who are these people and do we really care what they think in the big picture?

The answer isn’t necessarily simple because as human beings it is human nature to want to belong.  But what you realize as you get older is you don’t actually have to belong where you think you do and you will find plenty of people who are happy to know you just as you are.

DSC_4302What I have realized about myself is that over the years I have suffered collateral damage emotionally.  I think we all do indeed suffer emotional damage that to an extent.  It is what you do with that experience that matters.  Do you let it sour you, or do you look at it for what it is: life experience and learn and move forward?

Life is a gift.  If we are alive and kicking, why can’t that fuel happiness?  I guess at the end of the day I will never understand the truly miserable.  It must be sad and exhausting to be them.

Be true to yourself. Or learn to one baby step at a time. People are just people at the end of the day and as adults we can freely choose who it is we wish to be around.

Be happy and learn to breathe freely.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

life’s circles

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I read this quote once:


“No matter the deviation, all things come full circle. You begin and end your journey in the same place, but with a different set of eyes.”

I don’t remember who said the above quote, I wrote it down on the corner of a notebook a couple of years ago.

When people say life comes full circle, it’s because it’s true. Not all the time, and not to everyone, but it happens.

The fabric of life is different for everyone, but there are things that connect us to one and other. Where we live, where we grew up, where we went to school created the formative life threads we all have. Then we add to the threads based on life experience as we get older.

Life has cycles, and people enter and leave our lives. But with the cycles, I find the circles. Coming back to what you are from. I have terrific friends, and a lot of them are friends I have had since I was a small child and since I was a teenager.

My mother’s mother always said you come back to what you are from. I don’t think she was referring to a physical place, I think she is referring to people in our lives.

I was talking to one of my friends from the way back time machine of high school today, Karen. She lives out of state now, so playing catch up today was a marathon call. She is one of these people whom I have always loved speaking with because she has always been very real. We have gone from being teenagers to middle-aged women and wow, where did all the years go? One minute we are like 18 and well…now we are 50. Yet I love talking to her now as much as I did then.

Time flies.

Don’t misunderstand me, I love meeting new people. But there is always something to be said about the comfortable long term friendships of life. As much as time flies, life has these circles and if you are lucky you still have these people in your life. And it’s comforting because these are the people who know you best.

Thanks for stopping by.

buy fresh, buy local, cook deliciously

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Sundays invariably become a cooking day for me. I often get things lined up for the week ahead. Today I made another batch of fresh Gazpacho and put a small beef roast and chicken breasts into marinades for cooking over the next couple of days.

I toss the meat and chicken into their own (as in individual) ziplock bags with either a homemade or semi-homemade marinade which includes fresh herbs out of my garden, garlic cloves peeled and sliced.

Marinades are easy. There are tons of recipes out there, or you can use a prepared one and tweak it. I like Stubb’s marinades and Pete’s Produce has their own line of marinades too which are very good, and KC Masterpiece has a couple which aren’t bad. I seem unable to use these marinades on their own, I tweak them to what I want. I never add more salt, but I might add herbs, spices, lemon juice, lime juice, fresh ginger, and so on.

We buy our meat and poultry from a local Chester County butcher who in turn buys from a lot of local farms. We use Worrell’s Butcher Shop on King Street in Malvern (Borough). You can’t beat the quality, and truthfully their prices are competitive with supermarket chains. If you have never tried them, you should. They will prepare custom freezer orders for customers too.

Since I have moved to Chester County I have made an effort to source our food locally. I love the East Goshen Farmers Market and West Chester Growers Market, but am becoming increasingly fond of Pete’s Produce on 926 because they pull in from a bunch of local farms, including for dairy products. Also on my list is Sugartown Strawberries and Strattons’ Wynnorr Farm. Also to be included in the rave category is the Phoenixville Farmers Market.

The locavore movement is continuing to grow in this country and there is more than a little truth in local food is better on so many levels. In Chester County we are lucky to have so many farms and farmers markets, so why not support the local farm economy?

Buy fresh, buy local, cook deliciously.

Thanks for stopping by!

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