Monday, June 24, 2013

Balcony Garden 2013: Bad Luck Balcony

I love succulents. These two are doing really well on my balcony. The hanging one I bought at a plant sale last fall and it's wintered on my windowsill. It loves it outside though! The little red flowers hang down about a foot!



For the second year in a row, my balcony garden is a bit of a failure. I thought the shallow planter my dad made that I added to my balcony wouldn't drain well and would get swampy. The opposite has happened - it's so shallow the plants drink up the water so quickly that on hot days I have to water twice so everything doesn't wilt! The violas are doing well, they spring back if they wilt and are generally filling up their row colourfully.

The second row however, as you can see in the photo, is dead. This was my basil - my favourite part of the garden. We've mostly had rainy, grey, and cold days this June. Apparently that's not optimal growing conditions for baby basil. I picked what I could before the stalks turned brown and got 5 servings of pesto out of it. Some of the little plants are starting to come up again, and I planted seed, so we'll see how it goes. I wont be eating basil all summer though, unless I remember to go get another taller starter plant (and even then, I don't have any pots to plant it in!).

The last two rows are mostly a failure too. The spinach, lettuce, radish and chard are growing fine - but those f-ing leaf miners have gotten into my leaves again!! The same thing happened last year: leaf miners destroyed all my green eating veggies in 2012. I don't know how/why it's happened again. I used different containers, different seeds and different soil - or did I? I got my soil from my parents garden, and my mom had leaf miner trouble last year. How did those little buggers survive the winter?? Where do they come from?? I've got more seed but there's no point planting more. And I can't even eat anything because the little plants don't get big enough to eat before the buggers destroy them. Grr.

They seem to be leaving the radish leaves alone. The plan is to pull up a radish to see if it's growing, then to pull up the chard and plant radishes there too. Maybe I'll get something out of it. I'm going to pull up the lettuce and spinach and plant more flowers in there I guess. Or maybe I'll plant some cat grass.



My zucchini is growing awesome though! This one got to about a foot long. I ate it on my pizza for dinner tonight. Yum! Both plants are going to yield a lot of zucchini this year - if I can keep them alive!

This is from inside - my spider plant has sent off a baby!

Book Review: Winter/Summer Sport Poems

Month two of book club - the first meeting was fun so I figure I'll stick with it for awhile. Except we 'randomly' picked poetry for June's genre. I hate poetry. I'm just not that...deep. It took me awhile to find an acceptable book, and in the end I ended up with two! I thought maybe I'd read children's poems, or teen poetry, or something humorous, but went with sport poems with an interesting reason d'ĂȘtre behind them,

June 2013: Poetry

Winter Sport: Poems
By Priscila Uppal
118 pages

Summer Sport: Poems
By Priscila Uppal
147 pages

I love the winter Olympics. I pretty much love every sport. During that month I am glued to my tv cheering for Canada. My favourite sports are in the winter Olympics - curling and hockey, but I'll watch anything on ice or snow. Priscila Uppal was asked to be the "poet-in-residence" for Canadian Athletes Now during the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games held in Vancouver (and Arctic Games too). She tried to mesh and mingle sport and art by writing two poems a day. I figured even I could enjoy winter sport poems!

And I sort of enjoyed the book. Well, I sort of enjoyed some of the poems anyways. I found it easy to understand the content as I am familiar with most of the sports. For that reason the curling ones were cute (especially 'Curler Wanted Ad' - see below). I also thought 'Speed Skating Love Poem' was hilarious, and 'Canada Is The Hockey Ward" (both the Men's and Women's versions) were clever as she interwove athletes names into the verses. Some poems were about or for specific athletes, some about the experience of the games, but most about the sports themselves.

Uppal continued her position for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in London, so I figured I should read those too. I didn't enjoy this book nearly as much since I'm not a huge fan of the summer games or actually many of the sports even. She also included poems written during the Rogers Cup of Tennis, and I don't really like tennis at all. In the end, this book was pretty much lost on me.

That last sentence sums it up I guess - poetry is lost on me. I'm sure there is beauty and meaning hidden within the words, but...I just don't get it. I don't even really care for lyrics to be honest, I prefer the music and actually prefer songs that are instrumental or sung in other languages in English. In the end reading both of Uppal's sport poem books wasn't a complete waste of time, as I thought there were a few gems within, but I'd rather watch the action on tv.


Curler Want Ad
By Priscila Uppal

I'm looking for a man.
Actually, I'm looking for four:

Must know how to slide in slow-motion,
hit and roll with the punches, move from a kneeling
to standing position in seconds, play the nose slide, and be handy
with hammers and brooms.

Must be commitment driven and future-oriented.
A planner and strategize. Must be able to eye distances
think fast on your feet, and be willing to stand guard.

Will forgive lateness, as long as you hurry,
or hurry hard. Put your best foot forward.
Try not to bang heads or be distracted by
Norwegian clown pants.
Should own black gloves.
Could be bald, as long as you have MoJo.

Absolutely must not be afraid to walk on thin ice,
or to push your weight around.

To become my vice-skip, push the button.

If we decide to go our separate ways,
I promise no fights splitting the house.
It's all part of the bonspiel of life.

But let's do our best
to sweep all the sad bits under the rug
and make love from end to end to end of the earth.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Librarian Dance Party: The Playlist

Last night was Librarian Dance Party.

A couple times a year, a group of librarians at the research university across the river rent the top floor of an old bar, plug in some laser lights, hook up an ipod dongle to speakers and the rest of the librarians in the city pay $5 to get it. Then we dance the night away.


First, it's fun to see librarians from various types of libraries and institutions come together to hang out in a non work context. Libraryland is a small world and it's nice to catch up with people I don't get to see very often. Second, it's fun to hang out with my coworkers in a non work context. Third, I'm a dancing fool. I don't drink and I suck at making small talk so I love to dance!

The music is provided by whoever attends. People make 10-15 minute playlists and sign up to get in the playlist line when they arrive. This is kinda cool because the music is always a surprise - you never know what's going to come next. And if the first song is a gooder, you know the next 15 minutes will be super fun. However, sometimes the playlists are not dancing fool fun. I think sometimes people load their list with 'cool' music, but forget the whole point is to dance! Or maybe it's just me. I don't care what the music is or what era it comes from or if I've never heard the song before - if it's danceable I'll dance to it. I'm no DJ, but I always have a playlist in my head. I'd never bring a playlist to the party though - I would be too worried about clearing the dance floor if people hated the songs I chose!

So that's why I'm going to share my Librarian Dance Party playlist here! Let the judging commence!

Voila, my Librarian Dance Party Playlist!!

It's Like That - RUN-DMC vs. Jason Nevins

Rockafeller Skank by Fatboy Slim

Pretty Fly for a White Guy - The Offspring

Tubthumping - Chumbawamba

Obviously I'm still stuck in the 90s. Playlists aren't anonymous, they announce names when they call up the next playlist. If it was anonymous, I'd replace Chumbawamba with this song...

Everybody  (Backstreet's Back) - Backstreet Boys

Aw screw it, if I ever get the courage up to sign up my playlist we're going to dance to the Backstreet Boys.

Don't judge a dancing fool!