hot town, summer in the city

Well, we’re into the dog days of August here and it’s not even August yet!  Sigh.

However, there is one thing that keeps my spirits up when everyone is frazzled, grumbling, pushing and shoving in the downtown streets trying to get as soon as possible into their air conditioned office.

Yup, you guessed it – flowers!

As you can see, here in Toronto they grow them to match the fire hydrants!  Well, sometimes they do, anyway.  Other times, no – but they’re still pretty, eh?

This, I think, is my favourite colour ever.  Hot coral flowers!!

But then I see more of this lovely buttercup yellow…

…but then I see loveliness like this and I start getting very, very confused.

It’s sensory overload, really…

I can’t decide which pink I like better, the one above, or this one:

… and then there is the glorious red of these (poisonous, I think, though) berries!

And I would be remiss if I didn’t show you some of my favourites – the humble sunflowers!

I also loved this little carpet of flowers here…

…which look like this closer up!

Now, you know I love vibrant colours, but even white looks good at this time of year…

And I guess that we have the blasted heat to thank for all of this fabulous bounty.  So, I’ll just have to suck it up and get used to it.

And anyway, at least it still gets cooler in the evenings…

This tree, by the way, was at least six feet away from the lamppost last year.  I find it fascinating how the leaves gravitate toward the light.  In this weather, I must confess that I prefer the dark.  Oh well.  Good thing I live next to a forest and all!

A very happy and colourful Tuesday to you!

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Five Ways to Combat Your Fear of the Demon Weed

No, not that kind of weed.

Get your mind out of the gutter!!! Anyway, it’s (still) illegal.

What I was actually referring to is the kind that pops up in yards and gardens all over the place at this time of year, striking fear and loathing into the hearts of gardeners everywhere.

An example: the dreaded and much-maligned dandelion.

Now, my thumb is not green but black – must be all that tar in the smokes. All this to say, I have no clue about gardening. But I do think that dandelions are quite pretty:

See? What’s wrong with them? They’re bright and cheery. And they’re free, and they don’t take any work to maintain. So what’s the big deal?

Still not convinced? Well, maybe my five tips on combatting the affliction of weed hatred will convince you.

1. Start eating the leaves.

Yes, you can eat dandelion greens. My great grandmother did it for years – and she even drank the water they were boiled in (the appearance of which any smoker who has tried that time honoured quit smoking tip “empty your ashtray into a jar, fill with water, let marinate one week then keep bringing it out and looking at it when you’re jonesing for a smoke” will recognise). And, she lived to be 107! (well, I exaggerate a bit. But she was very old when she died).

I’ve also seen dandelion greens at the supermarket in certain ethnic neighbourhoods from time to time Even some of the top chefs have picked up on this dandelion trick and are serving dandelion salad. So, if they can serve it, so can you, right?

As for prep tips, don’t ask me. I wouldn’t touch them with a bargepole. But, as they are extremely healthy, you really should try some yourselves. I’m thinking about your best interests here.

2. Look for comparisons between other “real” plants that you have to pay for and tend.

If you do this, it may well be that you will stop seeing the necessity of shelling out your hard-earned bucks at the flower centre. Here’s an example:

I mean, do you see any difference, really? If anything, the dandelions are nicer looking because they don’t have those big ugly fuzzy brown spots in the middle!

3. Hunt down artistic depictions of the weed.

And yes, people do honour dread weeds such as the dandelion in art. Here are two examples.

This piece by Ann Beckley is called “Dandelion Lace:

Don’t you love the dandelion etching on the side?

And this piece is Myrna Oostrom is simply called “Dandelions”

Wow. I wish I could paint like that.

Anyway, works of art like these are important in that they help to remove the stigma of weed-dom.

4. Make a pros and cons list.

I have a deep dark secret to confess: I am a huge fan of pros and cons lists. Having said that, I’m not going to list the “cons” of letting weeds flourish here because you already know all of those. Here are some pros:

  • You don’t have to break your back any more doing all that weeding.
  • You can save all that money you spend every year on plants which end up dying half the time anyway when there is some freak snowstorm in June.
  • Got any neighbours you can’t stand? Letting your yard grow over with wees provided great fodder to piss them off.
  • Alternatively, having problems coming up with social chit chat with the neighbours? Let your yard grow over with weeds, then you can casually ask them how they cope with weeds in their yard. I imagine that this is good for hours of pleasantries.
  • You will have lots of extra time for fun things… such as knitting, for example.

Which leads us to the fifth and final tip…

5. Check out yarn inspirations.

There are even knitting yarns named after weeds. And let me tell you, fondling a skein of Handmaiden Dandelion sea silk could probably change your mind about a whole lot of things:

For some reason, I haven’t quite managed to get my hot little mitts on any of this glorious stuff yet. But, after all, it is PayDay tomorrow!

Here’s a little challenge for you. Below is a photo of more Handmaiden colourways.

Tell me which one is named after a (sort of) weed – and provide the name. I’ll post the link to the answers here tomorrow. Hint – each colourway has one word in the name only.

See, weeds can be fun. Go forth and let them multiply, I exhort you!

Happy Weednesday Wednesday!

tempting the Photo Gods

Well, the other day I got bored at work had some free time. So, naturally, I decided to mess around with all the photos I published here the other day, using the free photo morphing program in Flickr.

Here are my favourites.

Hey, do you think that this is what acid rain causes? Hmm.

Now for a diptych (big word, eh!):

As you can tell, I really like that radioactive blue colour. And what about electric blue?

Pretty cool, eh?

However, I think I’ve pissed off the Photo Gods. Here is the only non-blurry photo I’ve managed to take of Sherwood thus far.

Now, when I’m working on this project, I can’t stop thinking about this guy:

…which inevitably leads me to thinking about this guy, Dennis Moore:

Dennis Moore, Dennis Moore
Galloping through the sward
Dennis Moore, Dennis Moore
And his horse Concorde
He steals from the rich
And gives to the poor
Mr. Moore, Mr. Moore, Mr. Moore….

Dennis Moore, Dennis Moore
Dum dum dum the night
Dennis Moore, Dennis Moore
Dum de dum dum plight
He steals dum dum dum
And dum dum dum dee
Dennis dum, Dennis dee, dum dum dum.

(By the way, I do hope you didn’t click the link above, as this tune will probably be with you for the entire weekend. Yes, it’s one of those.)

I wonder where all these guys disappeared to who used to steal from the rich and give to the poor, anyway. They certainly didn’t end up in Parliament!!

On that happy note, let me bid you a fond farewell, gentle readers, and a happy weekend!

Regards,

Maid Marian

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a snapshot of Brouhaha history

Cleaning can be fun! I came across these old photos in the storage locker… maybe fun only for me, really, now that I think of it. However, I do love the old European photographs.

(I don’t really have any progress on Icarus to show you, which is why you get to see old family pics instead. Managed a big four rows on the second chart last evening… after more tinking. This seems to be my “How to Knit Backwards” project. I suspect I’m getting a bit bored with it, which is usually when I start to make stupid mistakes. Oh well. Hopefully I’ll manage to make some project over the weekend…).

This is an old photo of my father’s family. Very old. My father is the little boy sitting on the guy’s knee on the right, as befitted his vaunted status of Only Son In The Greek Family:

And here is the engagement photo of his parents. It is one of my favourite photos, and I have a copy hanging in my office. I’m named after one of them.

Now, have you ever noticed in old photos that the people never, ever smile? They always seem to look as though they’ve just come from a funeral. I mean, they were getting engaged!!! Was it such a bad idea?

Maybe it’s just a 20th vs 21st century thing. I mean, the only time I’ve looked like this in a photo was when I had last to get my picture taken for my passport:

Enough said.

Then again, maybe the grandparents were just posing for some joint passport photo or other! And yes, such a thing does exist, although in early Canada days apparently the guy got to stand alone. Check this out:

A separate space for “wife” (and by association, kids)? How interesting. We’ve certainly come a long way although you’ve got to love the hat my great grandmother is wearing, don’t you? (The little girl is my mother’s mother. She is still living and is in her 90s.)

Then again, this photo was taken a very long time ago. Here’s the proof:

God Save the Queen! And this is the piece of paper which made my great grandfather a British subject:

(or was it a Canadian citizen?!? I’m so confused…)

And now for another deadpan “happy occasion” photo…

This is a wedding photo taken at my mother’s parents’ wedding. The guy standing behind the bride is my grandfather, in case you were wondering.

This is him having a good time with the boys well before the wedding (he’s the guy with the goofy straw hat):

Finally some people are smiling!!! And here is a photo of the one of the restaurants he owned in Kingston, where I grew up. This one was called the Superior.

I kind of miss those grandiose old names that they used to give restaurants. “Denny’s”, “Kelsey’s” “The Keg” just don’t cut it, somehow. If I’m ever fool enough to actually own my own restaurant, I’m going to name it the Fabulous. You heard it here first…

And finally some cute kiddie photos (I know you’ve all been waiting for those!). First, here is proof that the Brouhaha predilection for goofy hats has been passed down through the centuries:

My father and his sister. And until I saw this photo, I never knew they had Shriners in Greece!

(This is one of the first photos that came up when I googled “Shriner photos”. Seriously. I don’t get it… can anyone explain this to me?)

And here is a collage of photos of my mother that I made some time back.

I bet you didn’t realise that I was related to Shirley Temple! This is where I get all my yarn money from – royalties.

And finally, yours truly, back in the day before I developed an arbitrary hatred of pigeons…

Well, time to get off to work now. It’s meant to be 23C today and I would like nothing better than to stay home and knit on the balcony hit a patio sit at my desk and slog through a memo, really.

Happy weekend!