Thursday, July 2, 2020

Farm and Garden Report - July 2, and a quote du jour from Keats

Here are sweet peas, on tip-toe for a flight:
With wings of gentle flush o’er delicate white,
And taper fingers catching at all things,
To bind them all about with tiny rings.

This is a snippet from John Keats' poem called I Stood Tip-Toe Upon A Little Hill.

I've read that he was the first to call Lathyrus odoratus by the name sweet peas. 

In the morning, still in my nightgown, putting on my rubber boots and going out to the garden to pick sweet peas makes me feel like a queen. We've had spotty luck with growing them so this year I bought plants from White Flower Farm. They are doing wonderfully. I've picked bouquet after bouquet. 


And here they are in the garden - in the support, though I think we went overboard. They aren't going to grow that tall!


Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Never Have I Ever - on Netflix


You probably know that mostly (almost always) I watch British television, and that my love for it started when I was a young one, with Forsyte Saga and Family At War and Peter Wimsey and on and on. And that love has never dimmed. But I have watched American TV and enjoyed it. Grey’s for a while, Bones - every episode, Rizzoli & Isles, Grace and Frankie, and others. I watched the first season of This Is Us, but honestly I couldn't stay with a show in which Milo Ventimiglia dies? Really?

When I first read of a new series created by Mindy Kaling about an Indian American teen in California, I thought, no I knew, it would be for me. And it is. I love Never Have I Ever. It is one of the best teen shows I’ve ever seen. In fact, the only other one close to it would be My So-Called Life

The title is part of the name of each episode. Never Have I Ever … felt super Indian; been a big, fat liar; pissed off everyone I know. The shows are excellent, and I don’t say that too often. Devi is a fifteen-year-old living in the San Fernando Valley, wanting the things we all want as teens - to be popular, to have a boyfriend, to fit in. She is a really smart kid, with two close girlfriends. But to most of the school she is only known as the girl whose father died, and who became paralyzed for a time. The writing is warm and witty. The characters are real people for whom the viewer truly cares. There is a brilliant touch of a narration by John McEnroe. And best of all, for me, there is a big multi-cultural cast. It makes me so happy to see all colors and persuasions of people in a television show. I love this show, as did my almost thirty-eight-year-old daughter. I can’t recommend it highly enough. The first season (and I hope there will be more) is on Netflix.

There is an excellent review of the show you may read here.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

5:44pm EDT

It's summer!

"If spring is all about looking forward, and autumn about dying back, summer surely is the present moment: a long, hot now that marks the sultry climax of the year."

from the introduction to
Summer 
An anthology for the changing seasons
Edited by Melissa Harrison

Friday, June 19, 2020

Vera Lynn's death

Not many 103-year-olds write a magazine article, but Vera  Lynn did! In the May issue of The Oldie, she had a two-page piece on the 75th anniversary of VE Day. She began it with wonderfully encouraging words to this 72-year-old. 
 I'll never forget the 50th-anniversary VE celebration at Hyde Park and Buckingham Palace in May 1995 - the last time I sang in public, aged just 78. I was a mere septuagenarian back then - still in my prime!
"Just 78" will keep my spirits up for a long time!!

During the Second World War, Vera Lynn kept spirits up both for the soldiers and the people at home.
Then, in September 1939, the month the war began, I recorded We'll Meet Again, which topped the hit parade. My life was never quite the same again. As soon as I heard the song, I sensed there was something special about it. It was perfect for the times - and it's still my favourite of all the songs I've sung. Everybody hoped they would see their sweetheart again when the war was over and the boys were back home. 
I bought an album from iTunes years ago called The Very Best of Vera Lynn. 49 songs, two hours and thirty-five minutes! I have listened to it quite a few times, and her heart is so much in the songs. I wrote here about it when it first came out.

This was put up by The Guardian on the day she died.



You may read her obituary here.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Today's songs - Louis Armstrong/"Black and Blue" and Sam Cooke/"A Change Is Gonna Come"

I listen to WWOZ in New Orleans most mornings for a couple hours, and I've heard these two songs several times during the past few weeks.

Louis Armstrong doing "Black and Blue". The DJs never call him Louie, always Louis.



"Black & Blue"

Cold empty bed, springs hard as lead
Feels like ol' Ned wished I was dead
What did I do to be so black and blue

Even the mouse ran from my house
They laugh at you and scorn you too
What did I do to be so black and blue

I'm white inside but that don't help my case
'Cause I can't hide what is in my face

How would it end, ain't got a friend
My only sin is in my skin
What did I do to be so black and blue

How would it end, ain't got a friend
My only sin is in my skin
What did I do to be so black and blue

"Black and Blue" was composed by Fats Waller with lyrics by Harry Brooks and also by Andy Razaf in 1929. I looked up Ol' Ned and found that it is an old-fashioned euphemism for the devil.

And Sam Cooke singing "A Change Is Gonna Come" which he wrote in 1964.



"A Change Is Gonna Come"

I was born by the river in a little tent
Oh, and just like the river I've been running ever since

It's been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change gon' come, oh yes, it will

It's been too hard living, but I'm afraid to die
'Cause I don't know what's up there beyond the sky

It's been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change gon' come, oh yes, it will

I go to the movie and I go downtown
Somebody keep telling me don't hang around

It's been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change gon' come, oh yes, it will

Then I go to my brother
And I say, "Brother, help me please"
But he winds up knockin' me
Back down on my knees

There've been times that I thought I couldn't last for long
But now I think I'm able to carry on

It's been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change gon' come, oh yes, it will

Monday, June 8, 2020

Today's song - Wonderful World/Elvis

My community radio station offers a program on Monday mornings from 10-11 called The Mop Tops and The King. It is broadcast all over the world. Here is the website. The title refers to the Beatles and Elvis.

This morning I heard an Elvis song I had never heard before. It is from the movie Live a Little, Love a Little. I'd love to have put up a video of just the man singing it, but all I could find was a movie clip. Still, fun to see Elvis driving around.

I was so taken by the song, perhaps in part because it is a reminder that there still is beauty in the world when horrible and stressful things are going on. The song was written and the movie released in 1968, itself not an easy year by any means.



Song written by Guy Fletcher and Doug Flett

"Wonderful World"

This is a wonderful day
It's as bright as a day's ever been
There is a big yellow sun looking down
On a wonderful scene

Up in the blue sky birds fly
And sing our cares away
And out of each throat each note
Greets a wonderful day

There is the sound of a symphony
Carried along on the breeze
Even the flowers are swaying in time
With the leaves on the trees

Heaven is found right here on the earth
It surrounds us in the wonderful things all around
In this wonderful wonderful
Wonderful wonderful world

This is a wonderful day
It's as bright as a day's ever been
There is a big yellow sun looking down
On a wonderful scene

Heaven is found right here on the earth
It surrounds us in the wonderful things all around
In this wonderful wonderful
Wonderful wonderful world
Wonderful world, this wonderful world
Wonderful world, this wonderful world
Wonderful world, this wonderful world

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Today's song/video - Hands/Jewel




"Hands"


If I could tell the world just one thing
It would be that we're all OK
And not to worry 'cause worry is wasteful
And useless in times like these
I won't be made useless
I won't be idle with despair
I will gather myself around my faith
For light does the darkness most fear
My hands are small, I know
But they're not yours, they are my own
But they're not yours, they are my own
And I am never broken
Poverty stole your golden shoes
It didn't steal your laughter
And heartache came to visit me
But I knew it wasn't ever after
We'll fight, not out of spite
For someone must stand up for what's right
'Cause where there's a man who has no voice
There ours shall go singing
My hands are small I know
But they're not yours, they are my own
But they're not yours, they are my own
I am never broken
In the end only kindness matters
In the end only kindness matters
I will get down on my knees, and I will pray
I will get down on my knees, and I will pray
I will get down on my knees, and I will pray
My hands are small I know
But they're not yours, they are my own
But they're not yours, they are my own
And I am never broken
My hands are small I know
But they're not yours, they are my own
But they're not yours, they are my own
And I am never broken
We are never broken
We are God's eyes
God's hands
God's mind
We are God's eyes
God's hands
God's heart
We are God's eyes
God's hands
God's eyes
We are God's hands
We are God's hands