Sunday, June 29, 2008

A little fauna

I tried to take a picture of my dog watching me through the window, but the camera flash lit up the window screen.

Here he is looking at me through the screen door. Isn't that the sweetest face? He's such an affectionate, devoted dog. What a faithful companion.

More flora

The bloom of the French lavender. It's not fully in bloom yet.

The begonias with the blue lobelia are doing great. I love that red of the begonias, and the lobelia is overflowing so nicely.

The calla lily has grown its second bloom. The lobelia in this pot, which was pale blue and white, has not thrived (thriven?). The variegated leaf plants are doing okay. Some are bigger than others. I probably need to turn the pot 180 degrees so the smaller ones get the better light.

The fuchsias are growing and blooming. I need to fertilize. I am procrastinating it to a day when I have more energy to spare.

Garden growth

The spreading petunias have spread beyond what I imagined, even beyond what I hoped. Whoa, there. Whoa, now. Pretty though.

Heliotrope flourishing. We've had a couple hot days, and these thrive in the sun.

The contorted filbert and verbena. The little tree has such big leaves, you can hardly see the contorted branches.

The herb barrel. I put labels in the picture, which you can probably see if you click on it. Use your "back" button to come back to the blog.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Nifty Nephew

Speaking of sweethearts, here's one from our very own family, my nephew Zach.

Dinner with old friends

Tonight I joined some old friends in San Jose at the Hometown Buffet for dinner. We all met through our involvement with Friendship Agape Church some years ago. All the children in these pictures, except the eldest, were born since the last time I saw their parents.

It was great to see these dear people and their beautiful children. So great to see them enjoying family life. The kids were all just sweethearts.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

See the mockingbird

I was going to call this post "Listen to the mockingbird," which is the title of a song, and I have a film clip of the mockingbird that sings by my sister's house and it's singing. But I think the film clip is too big to upload, because I've tried and failed several times. Meanwhile, here's a picture of it.

I'm at my sister's house in San Jose, California. This is my little break reward for having completed the paralegal program at Whatcom Community College. Now next week I will start working full time as a legal assistant to an attorney in Bellingham. This week, I'm at my sister's house, taking it easy.

I once lived in San Jose. I moved from there to Lynden in November 1998. I remember because I vacated my apartment on October 31. That must have been a Saturday. The next day, a Sunday, I preached at the church I'd been a part of for 7 years, Friendship Agape Church. Then, Monday, my mom and I drove my car and my brother-in-law and dad drove a U-Haul, and I moved to Lynden.

Now it's 2008, almost 10 years later. I have been back to visit, but I think the last time must have been three or even four years ago. I don't know my way around as well anymore. I'm not exactly great at knowing where I'm going at the best of times. After years away, my old paths have faded from my mind. I don't have a memory like an elephant. I did manage to find my way to my sister's house. I kept seeing familiar street names and thinking, "I know there's a way I used to go on that street." But I reverted to the very first way I ever learned when I first moved here to San Jose.

How long ago was that? I think it was 1985. If I recall correctly, I lived in San Jose 1985-86, then Visalia, California 1986-87, then San Jose again 1987-98. Prior to moving to San Jose, I was in Grand Rapids, where I attended Calvin College. Now I have one niece who graduated from Calvin and another who starts there this fall, plus great-nieces and nephews and a new great on the way.

Today I watched "Stranger Than Fiction." The professor played by Dustin Hoffman said that tragedy and comedy are the two kinds of stories. Comedies are about the continuity of life, and tragedies are about the inevitability of death. As he put it, in a tragedy you die, in a comedy you get hitched. That really is the Greek concept of literature. Anyway, both are true. Looking back over those years since I moved to and from California, new lives have entered mine, in the forms of nephews, nieces, and greats, and one very significant life has departed from mine, my brothers. Inevitability and continuity.

For Christians, the continuity of life goes beyond new generations, though the creation of new life is a wonderful blessing, and the continuity of life means resurrection and re-creation.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Sad, sad the bitter tale

Well, yesterday a sad thing happened in Lynden, which was that a historic downtown building, Delft Square, formerly the Lynden Department Store, burned down. My grandpa worked at the Lynden Department Store for a while, and my uncle rebuilt it into Delft Square.

I saw the smoke yesterday when I was driving home from Bellingham on the Hannegan. First I thought it was steam from the Darigold milk drying plant, but that usually is white, and doesn't show up on a cloudy day like yesterday. This was dirty smoke, not steam. Then when I turned onto Front Street, I could see the fire trucks and the road blocks. I had to hurry home to go pick up my car from the shop and get ready for a class, so I couldn't gawk.

This evening, after I came home from my last class of my paralegal program (hooray!!), I took the time to drive by. Some of the windows that were broken have wood in them now. There still is a ladder truck. I gather the building is still hot and they are still spraying it down.

This evening the breaking news is that it seems two middle school aged boys started the fire. They have been arrested and will be charged. Sad for them and their families. I wonder if they are remorseful. I would imagine they are scared. And their parents must feel terrible.

A terrible thing for the business owners. I hope they are all able to restart. But how horrible to watch all your inventory get ruined, all the money, work, and time you've invested. And what a hassle to go through the insurance claim process and try to replace everything. And for the time it takes to go through all that, you're not making any money, so the loss just grows. As a former store owner, I can imagine how devastating it would be. I don't know if I would have had the heart to start over, but if someone's business were more prosperous than my store was, they might have more incentive.

Meanwhile, in my new line of work as legal assistant, tomorrow is a work day and I need some rest. How wonderful to know I don't have to make two commutes tomorrow or in the future. Thanks Whatcom Community College, for your paralegal program, but I must admit I'm glad to finish!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Lagging Lavender

Now, it's hard to tell in this picture, but the English lavender and the left is thin and droopy, but the one on the right is greener and stronger. I have six English lavender plants in all, and five seem to be doing very well, while this one suddenly started looking sick a couple days ago. I suspect some pest. Usually lavender are both pest and disease resistant. But slugs and snails are pretty prevalent around here.These are the French lavender, and again the one on the left is not as green and healthy as the one on the right. There are two potential reasons. One is different potting soils. Maybe the one on the left is not as good. The other is that I planted the one on the right in its pot either the day I got home or the next day, but then I was out of pots and it was another week before I bought a new one and planted the second French lavender. So maybe that extra week in the tiny nursery pot set it back a little.
If you click on these pictures, you can see them much bigger. Then use your browser's "back" button to come back to this page.

Flourishing Flowers

The Celebration Rose turns out to have these pretty flowers. This is my first year with this kind of plant. Here's a pretty burst of purple -- though the flash faded it out a bit -- heliotrope on the left and pansies on the right.
And some tiny flower buds on the fuschias.

Varied verbena

The verbena under the contorted filbert are all blooming nicely. One verbena plant turned out to have different colored blooms than the rest.
Kind of a cute touch, though unplanned.


The spreading petunias have done a great job spreading. So I told them, I said, "Good spreading, guys. Now the next thing is to start blooming."
So, they're working on it.