Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Continuing Thirst

A few months ago, T and I watched Idiocracy, a movie she had been quoting for many months before that.  The film is funny; it is also an alarming dystopia rife with commentary about how idiotic our nation has become.  Among other things, Idiocracy predicts that in our future we'll exchange water for Gatorade, persuaded of its hydrating superiority.  Throughout the movie, the earth is dry and parched and crops have quit growing because of our national preference for Gatorade over of water.  When the film's protagonist incredulously suggests that water would be better for the crops the universal response is an assertion that should sound alarmingly familiar to us, "Gatorade has electrolytes."

I have to confess that I found this part of the film more than a little unsettling.  Though we haven't yet adopted Gatorade sprinklers for our drought-stricken fields, we do pour the stuff down our kids' throats, pushed to do so by giant corporations and their advertisements which imply that dehydration and electrolyte loss is a persistent danger for active Americans.  I've never been a fan of the stuff and though the rest of his nutritional habits are dreadful, I have JT kept free of from Gatorade-America.  When my kid is playing outside or sweating in his catcher's gear, I give him water.  And now I've got science on my side.  

I can't say that I'm surprised to learn that America has a sports drink industrial complex.  I can say that it may very well be a sign of our coming apocalypse.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Vocabulary with T: Befouled

It wouldn't feel right to end the month without a little vocabulary from T to make July complete.  This month's word is one of the first I added to my vocab with T list and it's grown to be a favorite of mine: befouled.

Strictly speaking, T didn't invent the word befouled.  It's in her deployment of befouled that she has painted it with a glory befouled couldn't have otherwise dreamt of.    Messes in T's world aren't average, they are befouled.  Bathrooms in public places are often declared befouled (and let's be honest, they are often befouled).  My cats befoul things.  Her much-adored sugar glider,  Zip, has been accused of befouling his cage.  The boy's playroom?  Befouled.

One thing is certain….when befouled is deployed there can be little confusion about how T feels about the mess at hand.   Sure, befouled is a tad dramatic.  But it gets the point across, doesn't it?

Sunday, July 29, 2012

It's a Seasonal Thing

Last week, I picked my first two garden tomatoes.  But for the possum, I would have enjoyed some earlier in the summer.   I'm still fighting off wildlife garden poachers but that's not the point of this post, which is really about the taste of home-grown tomatoes and the fulfillment of one of my favorite summer traditions: the first BLT of the season.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Making My House a Home

Though JT lives with me full-time, he sees his other mom every other weekend and on the occasional afternoon.  Those breaks in our life together are tolerable and, after 6 years of this arrangement, I've come to expect them.  But twice a year, he's away from home for a whole week.  I wonder if I will ever get used to that.

I help him pack his things, I assure him that he will have a good time, I dearly hope that he doesn't miss me.  But my house is a little quieter in his absence and my days lack the anchor of a child.  It feels like a void; a sore spot in my daily existence.  I fill the time and keep busy; there are plenty of things I can get done, of course.  That I have no choice in this arrangement is also worth noting.  I don't like it but I can't change it so I try my level best not to be sucked down into the grief of what-might-have-beens.  Instead, I concentrate on being grateful for the fact that he lives with me for the other 50 weeks of the year.  The sure knowledge that my house is his home is a comfort.

Still, my house doesn't quite feel like home without the boy in the mix.  He returns this morning, and then we head west in a few days.  He'll be off for a second week with his other mom in August and I'll face that week when it happens.  Today, I'm just glad to have my boy back where he belongs.  

Friday, July 27, 2012

Falling Short

Over the week that I was camping, I read a NY Times front page story about two women named Jessica and Chris.  Both are working moms employed as childcare workers in middle America.  The story was billed as a tale of the troubles of single moms and in many respects, it was about how hard it is to be a single working mom.  Fair enough, it is hard to be a single mom.  

The comparison between Jessica, a single mom of three children and Chris, a married mom with two kids, was really about how awesome it is to be Chris, a woman with a working husband and the family income that comes from that relationship.  Jessica, divorced and with a slacker ex who pays no child support, is not as well off as Chris.  Duh.  The story's author, Jason DeParle, posited that the difference between the two women was a husband.  With apologies to Chris's husband Kevin, who sounds like a nice man and a decent dad, I don't think that the author really understood the crux of the distinction between the two women.    So let me clear it up, Mr. DeParle.  The difference, pal, isn't just a husband.  The difference is about decent wages for women, decent schools and support services for families, and about what matters in a nation who cares a hell of a lot about the 1% but not much for the 34% of us who are raising children as single mamas.

I found the story deeply affecting, if only because the frailty and anxiety of being a single mom are feelings deeply familiar to me.  Unlike single mom Jessica, who earns less that $26,000 a year, I make more money and have had the support of my family in my journey to make it on my own (so, really, I'm not on my own at all).  And it doesn't take a rocket scientist to conclude that a woman with nine years of higher education is likely to be better off than a woman with just two years of college under her belt.  Even so, I know how long Jessica's days are; I know how vulnerable she feels.

In her response to the Times' article, Katha Pollitt sums up the distinctions between the women far better than I can.  You should read Pollitt's entire response.  I did and I can't stop getting this part out of my head:

"Her son [Jessica's] has Asperger’s—where are the programs for him? Kids’ extracurriculars and camps cost too much for her, although we know they help learning and development—why aren’t they free? If she leaves her too-expensive neighborhood, her kids will be in a worse school—why? Believe it or not, most Western industrialized countries do a far better job than we do of giving kids a decent childhood and of sustaining their mother too. It does not have to be that if you can’t afford to live in the right neighborhood, your children get a bad education. That is a social and political decision that we have made.

And then there is Jessica’s job. Although she earned a degree from community college and is a highly regarded employee, she is still on an hourly wage of only $12.35. She punches in and out, and she gets no paid days off—even when she was recovering from an operation for cervical cancer. When she took a day off to chaperon a school field day, she lost a day’s pay. Message to Anne-Marie Slaughter: this is how we treat “family balance” in the regular world of work, and this is how we treat skilled, experienced management-level employees in the childcare field. Taking care of children is women’s work, after all, and women are supposed to have Kevins, not family-size paychecks. Why does it seem like a reasonable policy suggestion to tell Jessica she needs a husband, and pie in the sky to say she needs a union? Or a national day care system like the one in France, where teachers are well-paid, with benefits?

Jessica Schairer is doing the best she can. In fact, she is pretty heroic. It’s the rest of us that are falling short."

It must be noted that Pollitt does a terrific job of summing up her anger about the situation of America's single moms without ever losing her head.  I'm afraid that I can't be that decent.  It makes me so fucking angry to hear that rich people need tax cuts; that we needn't raise the minimum wage, that poor folks should just get a job to have healthcare, that we can't possibly curb military spending even though 20% of American children live in poverty.  Why can't all American families be sure of access to quality childcare and after-school activities for our children, decent healthcare, and paid sick leave?  Maybe throw in a little paid vacation time? Is that really too much to ask?

America, it's time for some class warfare.  I'd be happy to lead the charge.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Salad Days

When I'm camping, there are a few key life items that I come to miss: two-ply toilet paper, a bathroom just five steps from my bed, said bed being sand-free…..all of these inconveniences are well-worth the pleasure of sleeping out in the woods.  In terms of food, I am a bang-up camp cook and there are plenty of terrific restaurants around us.  Nonetheless, salad served with homemade salad dressing is probably the thing I miss the most.  I took care of that upon  my return.  It was tasty.
The salad dressing is a staple at my house: homemade blue cheese.  You should make some at once.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


When T and I were in Frenchtown a few weeks back, we took a stroll through some garden sculpture shops and found this must-have garden statue:
I am currently sorting out how to fit this in with my garden.  

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Keen Style

In 2006, on our first camping trip with the R-K family, I admired their awesome Keen sandals.  By the end of the trip, JT and I had scored pairs for ourselves.  Since then, Keen sandals have been a staple in our camp packing list.  I am a Keen devotee for daily life as well, but it's at camp that the Keen shoes really deliver.  They are comfortable, sturdy (good for bike riding and walking in the piney woods), and waterproof.  When we get home from camp, I toss them in the dishwasher and they are right as rain afterward.

When I say these sandals are durable, I mean it.  In 2009, we took a group Keen sandals photo shot. 
This year, we did it again. The boys have new pairs, but that's only because their feet are growing.  S and I are wearing the same pair we had on in 2009 and this year TR got in on the photo action.  If these sandals could talk, they'd report on a whole lot of summer adventures. 
That's happy!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Real Life Texts with KO: Climate Change edition

The backstory: After some very hot miserable days here, Friday July 20 provided a wet, cool respite from the heat.  My sister is in Las Vegas, where I was sure the weather wasn't quite so nice.  So I texted her to rub it in.

Me:  It's 65 degrees here and I just grabbed a long sleeve shirt. Remind me of this day the next time I complain about Jersey.

KO:  Fuck you. I'm at the Hoover Dam where there is little shade and it's 100+.

Me: Get in the water you idiot.

KO: Think they frown on that.

Me:  Desperate times call for desperate measures.

There can be little question that we are related, no?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Best Laid Plans

Most summers, I plant an excess of zinnia seeds so that I can enjoy abundant bouquets in the late summer months.  This year, I planted some extra gladioli bulbs to join the zinnias (because, as Winston Churchill once noted, "nothing succeeds like excess.").  I had figured on the glads blooming in mid to late July.

But gardening is all about planning and patience and then rolling with the punches when the unexpected emerges.  This season's unexpected was a whole lot of early warmth.  The gladioli bulbs didn't wait to bloom according to my schedule.  Instead, they set to flowering in late June and early July.  Most of the glad flowers came and went while I was camping.  

I did catch two flowers before I left town and since I'm in it for the bouquets, I went right ahead and picked those stems.  Then I added a hydrangea bloom and enjoyed a lovely summer bouquet.
The zinnias are coming along and I expect an abundance of flowers in the weeks ahead.  Internet, you know what that means…bouquet pictures.

Friday, July 20, 2012

I Grow Weary

Each morning in the summer, I stumble downstairs and turn on the coffeepot and the radio.  This morning, I did as usual and then stood dumbfounded in my kitchen as NPR explained the details about yet another public shooting spree.  By mid-morning, as details of the shooting continued to unfold, word came out that the Obama campaign had pulled its negative ads off the airwaves in Colorado.  The Romney campaign cancelled some interviews.  Both the president and the Republican candidate released statements to express their shock and horror, condemn the violence, and call for prayers for the victims and their families.  On Twitter, some folks whom I respect reminded us that the tragedy should not be politicized.

I don't agree.  In fact, I don't see that we have any choice but to politicize this incident.  Every few months, our nation wakes up to some kind of horrible public shooting.  Columbine.  Virginia Tech.  Gabby Giffords.  Texas.  Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  And these high-profile incidents are just the tip of the violent, bloody iceberg that is guns in America.

While we politely wring our hands and condemn the violence, the NRA tells us that "guns don't kill people, people kill people."  Bullshit.  Just…..fuck that.  After the shootings at Columbine, I remember thinking to myself, "well, now people's minds will begin to change."  Now I realize that I was being ridiculously naive.  We have gotten to a point in this nation where almost no elected official will call for a renewal on the ban on automatic assault weapons that expired in 2004, for pete's sake.  How dare we have the gall to act surprised when someone who is troubled and mentally ill grabs up a handful of guns and randomly shoots into a crowd.  Of course this is what happens when guns are so easily acquired.

The second amendment provides for the right to bear arms in order to serve in a well-regulated militia.  Shooting into a crowded movie theatre is nowhere near participation in a well-regulated militia.  It's time to say that out loud; to shout it from the rooftops.  America, we have a problem with guns and violence.  And when we have social problems, the answers can be found in political solutions.  The folks at  the Brady Campaign know this; they've known it for years and they have some ideas about action we can take.  The rest of us should stop being so ignorant and start to explore some solutions.

Update: Mother Jones has an article about the number of times these kind of shootings have occurred in the United States.  It's chilling and you can read it here.

21.6 miles!

One of the traditions we enjoy on our annual camping trip with the R-K family is bike riding.  For the first few years of our trip, the boys rode on trailer bikes that the grown-ups pulled along behind our bikes.  In this fashion, we could take some longer rides with the children quite literally in tow.  As the boys got older, they rode their own bikes around camp and on the bunny trail near our camp.  

For the past two years, we've planned a day to make the trip from a beach forest out to Herring Cove on paved bike trails.  Some of the trail covers fairly steep hilly dunes and the ride (and the trip back) is a tad over 6 miles.  With popsicles at the mid-point, the ride always felt like an accomplishment.

But the logistics of getting the bikes to and from the trailhead are a challenge and all of us are capable of riding more than 6 miles.  So when TR proposed that we ride  our bikes to the Cove and back we enthusiastically agreed.  We planned breaks along the way.  Then we packed up swimsuits and water bottles and TR led us out on a bike ride adventure that helped avoid steep hills and busy highways.  

We set off from our campsite to a bakery in North Truro for breakfast.  
Then we rode 6 miles on a highway along the beach, with a break or two for water.  The scenery on this road is familiar and riding by on bikes gave us that much more time to appreciate the view. 
The road took us by our favorite bay beach, just on the southern end of Provincetown. 
From there, we rode through town, and along the shore to Herring Cove for our traditional popsicle break with a view of the Atlantic thrown in for free. 
That brought us to a familiar path and we took the trail across the dunes to the shady pine forest.  Coming down the hill into the shade was one of the highlights of the ride.  It's one of my favorite views and the feel of the wind and smell of the air just make it that much sweeter.  We took a nice rest in the shade and then set off back to town for lunch at a deli on the east end. 
Once through town, we stopped at our favorite bay beach, hid behind towels to put on our swimsuits, and then enjoyed the water. 
The ride back to camp was another 5 miles, part of it on a trail we ride all the time.  Years ago, S named it Bunny O'Clock because we often see bunnies in the hedge along the path.  We did see one bunny that day but she was gone before I could make her picture.  In total, the day's bike ride was a journey of 21.6 miles and well-worth the quarter showers we all enjoyed at the end of the ride.  Now that's happy.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Real Life Conversations with JT: Oh No You Didn't edition

The backstory: We rent bikes when we camp out on the Cape and this year, after we picked up the bikes, we rode them back to our campsite in the company of Miss S, who also had a bike to pick up.  The ride is about 6 miles and features some hills.

JT:  Am I the only one of us who didn't have to downshift my bike to get up that hill?

Mama:  Are you the only one of us who hasn't given birth?

JT:  Point taken, Mama.

I believe the proper phrase for this exchange is game, set, match.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Tweets That Weren't

We are back from our annual camping trip, a trip that features a computer-free lifestyle.  That meant no tweets for the past 10 days, which helps to explain that strange sense of peace you've been enjoying.  But your respite is up, Internet.  I'm back.  More to the point, I kept a list of things I would have tweeted if I wasn't lolling about in the woods.  

1.  I cannot take seriously a man wearing a visor.

2.  To the man in P'town driving the ancient Ford Taurus w/ the thumping bass: Sir, that's not making you as sexually attractive as you think.

3.  Sure, judge me for wearing my niteshirt to the restroom in the morning, kid. But remember that I wasn't the one wearing lilac crocs.

4.  Something about camping in the woods makes me think that applying deodorant constitutes quality personal grooming.

5.  You're driving a giant Mercedes SUV…put on a shirt, damnit.

6.  Cost of a campsite for the night: $35. JT, announcing, "we smell bad" in the tent at the end of the day: priceless.

I slept in a sand-free bed last night, just steps from a bathroom featuring air conditioning and a flush toilet.  Today, I'll dig out from the mountain of sandy laundry in my basement, pet some cats of my acquaintance, and download my pictures from camp.  Despite the fact that it's Africa-hot around here, I am happy to be home. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

I Guess You Could

T has a phrase that she deploys when someone has done something mildly stupid.  She's gives a sly sidelong glance and then she slowly drawls, "Well, I guess you could."  The phrase and the phrasing says it all.

Last week, as JT and I were collecting camping supplies, we came across this small mess on the aisles of our local Walmart.  
From the looks of things, the spill had been there for a while and this was the agreed-upon solution to the spill.  JT and I took a look and then we both proclaimed, "well, I guess you could."

Friday, July 13, 2012

Dear Reader

As a parent, I've done my level best to keep my mind on one goal for raising JT: I want him to be happy.  In the process, I've kept in mind the fact that happiness comes in many different flavors and that it's something we each must make for ourselves.  So I try not to cast his world in terms of the things that make me happy and instead focus on helping JT to find his own way to happiness.  That's a hard goal to achieve, but I try.

Books make me happy and I was eager to introduce reading to my boy.  I really hoped JT would come to enjoy reading as much as I do.  I loved books for the worlds they gave me entrance to, for the friends I made in the pages and the places the plot lines would take me.  At various times in my life, books provided a kind of solace and comfort that I couldn't find anywhere else.  Between the ideas and the imagination, reading meant the world to me.  And I wanted to give that world to JT.

Books and magazines are always around our house.  In fact, I was late to the hospital for his birth (he needed to be induced) because I stopped by the bookstore on the way.  I read to him all the time when he was a baby and I didn't restrict the reading to children's books.  I quickly realized that he would let me read my books if he could be held and hear my voice.  So I held him and read him Jane Austen's Emma when he was three months old.  Every night, I tucked him in with a few stories.  As he got older, we switched to chapter books and in this manner I was able to read him some of my youthful favorites. 

He mastered reading by the time he was seven and began to immerse himself in books of his own choosing.  By the time he was ten, I'd been replaced as his nightly bedtime reader.  Most nights, he tucks into bed each night with a book to keep him company.

And so I've got myself a reader, one who is excited by the world of his books.  Often, he re-creates the stories when he plays outside.  We talk about the ideas that stories inspire for him.  Four weeks in to the summer, he's finished seven books and has his eye on a half dozen more.
Tiger and Lucy are as thrilled as I am about this development.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


In case I haven't made this clear, I wish to state for the record that I adore my son, the charming JT.  It goes without saying that I find him to be the smartest, most attractive, most capable child around.  It is perhaps likely that I feel this way because I am his Mama.  Or perhaps it's because of his obvious superiority to every other child in the universe.  It's hard to be sure. Either way, my kid is the best.

Of course, it has occurred to me that we all feel this way about our children.  In a recent post at her blog Mom 101, Liz Gumbinner addresses this very issue and I found her thoughts interesting.  I would add that  in our desire to ensure that our children have perfect, happy lives and are never once scarred by adversity or failure, let alone imperfection, we may not be serving them well.  I see this everywhere and the most recent example hits a little too close to home.

JT's school has asked us to send word of any of our children's summer accomplishments.  To which I can only say Oh.my.word.  Asking a bunch of folks whose kids attend prep school to brag about their precious snowflakes children?  Really?  Who thought that was a good idea?

I run a low tech childhood and summer is where we truly achieve greatness.  The sort wherein hair goes unwashed and pajamas are worn all day.  Sure, books are read.  Math puzzles are solved.  History is discussed.  Science happens.  Blah, blah, blah.  But, really, there's a whole lot of nothing scheduled into our casual, relaxed, lazy days.  "Accomplishments"? Not so much.

Still, I'd hate for JT to be left out of the parental bragfest, so I'm going to devote some time to making his picture while he catches bugs.  Because that kid is a champion bug catcher.  I'd venture to say that no other kid in the 7th grade is nearly as accomplished at slaying flies and mosquitos or catching lightening bugs.  It's his special and unique talent and I intend to brag it up.

Monday, July 09, 2012


Since he was 6 years old, JT and I have headed to Cape Cod in July.  We camp (outside! in a tent!) and relax with our friends the R-K family, enjoying the outdoors and the pleasures of an unplugged life.  It is a much-anticipated trip and JT's favorite part of the summer.  The supplies have been stacked up in the living room for the past week as we prepare for our adventure.  
This morning we loaded the last of our stuff into the car (no one wants to be without Cheetohs out in the wild, 4 miles from a grocery store) and we are headed north.  Posting will be a bit lighter while we ride our bikes, dip our toes in the ocean, and explore our favorite spots in the piney forest.   Ahhhh, summer.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Summer Bouquet

Between the zinnias seedlings and the gladioli bulbs, I've got some great prospects for late July bouquets.  But I want flowers now and so earlier this week I went ahead and picked a lovely dark purple hydrangea blossom.
I added some of the lighter purple hosta flowers to one of my favorite vases: a Mason jar.  Then I set it on the table and I've been admiring it ever since.  Bouquets of garden flowers are one of the great pleasures of my summer.  What makes your summer happy?

Friday, July 06, 2012

Food Friday: Buttermilk Lemon Cookies

It's been a while since I had a Food Friday posting but inspiration struck this week, so Food Friday is back.  I had some people over on Monday and I served iced tea, lemonade, and cookies.  There was simple syrup on hand for those who like their tea sweetened and I wanted a cookie that would go nicely with sweet tea.

I set out looking for an old-fashioned cakey cookie; one that isn't too sweet.  At Epicurious, I found a recipe from Gourmet for buttermilk cookies.  I adapted the recipe to suit my own evil purposes and behold: Buttermilk Lemon Cookies.
They are easy to make and the recipe makes 4 dozen, so you'll have enough to share, if you are so inclined.

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 sticks butter, softened (I use salted butter)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup well-shaken buttermilk

For glaze 
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
3 tablespoons well-shaken buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 teaspoons lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. 

Whisk together flour, zest, baking soda, and salt. 

Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl in mixer until pale and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in vanilla. Mix in flour mixture and buttermilk alternately in batches.  Dough should be smooth; add a bit more flour to ensure consistency if necessary. 

Drop level tablespoons of dough about 1 1/2 inches apart onto baking sheets. Bake on rack in middle of the oven.  Bake one cookie sheet at a  time to ensure even cooking, until cookie edges are golden, 12 to 15 minutes per batch. Cool cookies on sheets 1 minute, then transfer cookies to racks. 

To glaze the cookies, whisk together all glaze ingredients and brush on to the top of the warm cookies. 

Let stand until cookies are completely cooled and glaze is set.  

Hint:   You could substitute lime zest and juice for the lemon and then you'd have Buttermilk Lime Cookies.  Either way, they taste awesome with some sweet tea.

Thursday, July 05, 2012


Several weeks back, I scored some geraniums from Home Depot in a weak moment of flower desire.  I was charmed by the coral color and planted them in a pot out front.  Since then they have just gone to town in a fit of blooming excess.  The vibrant color has remained and they make me smile every day.
That's happy!

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Independence Day?

In preparation for our annual camping trip, I confirmed our bike reservations yesterday.  To do so, I needed to measure JT's height.  Last year, I reserved a bike for a 4 foot 11 inch kid.  This year, I needed a bike for a kid who is 5 foot 3 inches tall.

I am 5" 3'.  Gulp.

This has occurred despite the fact that the boy lets not a single vegetable pass by his lips (and, as I frequently explain to him, ketchup does not count as a veg).  It's an ice cream, chip, and cookie-fueled development, all this height.  He's not a boy nearly as much as he's a young man. 
Good golly.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

The Garden Bounty Begins

All of this heat has at least one side effect.  Once I add water, the garden is literally growing before my eyes.  The pea harvest has begun.  I picked a few earlier last week.
On Saturday afternoon, T and I carried the produce basket to the garden to pick some more.
We shelled them.
Then we steamed them lickety split and served them up with pulled pork, bread and butter pickles and potato salad.
Summer tastes awesome.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Sweet Heart

I am not the fancy jewelry type.  I am the handmade, Etsy type, a fact T clearly took note of when we started spending time together.  Last weekend, we spent a few days at a bed and breakfast in western New Jersey, noodling around and enjoying one another's company.  On Saturday morning, she gave me a charming blue box that she made herself.
Inside the origami box was a sweet silver ring with a tiny silver heart.  It's a lovely gift and that it came in such a carefully constructed box made it even better.  I wear it with a heart filled with love and the sense of a future with more of the same.
That's happy!

Sunday, July 01, 2012

July 1: Front Yard Flowerbed

If I were a better gardener, I'd have gotten out to weed this flowerbed in preparation for the 1st of the month photo.  Alas, it's way to hot for me to be weeding, a chore I don't always enjoy when the weather is perfect.  Plus, I'd hate to present an idealized version of life here at Sassafras House, which does in fact feature weeds in the flowerbeds.  It's been unusually hot and things are starting to show a bit of summer wear.  Even so, the flowerbed is still pretty lush.
The white blooms are on a rose of Sharon tree that usually blooms in August.  The early spring and the early summer heat have clearly had an effect on things and we've got flower blooms a month early.
The hostas have also bloomed a little earlier than usual, once again thanks to the early summer.
The glads are coming along and should give me some nice flower stalks within the next month.  I'll have to trim up the hedges and rose of Sharon before winter, lest I be in danger of running a Boo Radley operation around here.  Still, in both the morning sun and the evening twilight, this is one my favorite spots to admire.