Monday, July 29, 2013

Standing Ovations

What is a true standing ovation?  To answer that question, let's look at what is not.  What is not a true standing ovation is when, during a curtain call of a performance, a few people, or maybe just one row of people, decide to stand while they applaud, and because they're blocking the view of those behind them, then those behind them are compelled to stand, and then it all becomes a chain reaction as more rows join in and then people on the sides are prompted as well, somehow feeling obligated, especially after such effort is put forth in the production by the cast and crew.

This past weekend I was happy to be part of a true standing ovation at American Players Theatre in Spring Green, WI.  We watched an amazing performance of Hamlet where every nuance of Shakespeare's tragedy was eked out by the actors, the relationships between the characters were honed—their conflicts or fondness for each other.

I had seen Hamlet several times in the past, performed by Theatre de la Jeune Lune, Theatre in the Round Players, and Century College, but this one was by far the best.  I was drawn in by Hamlet's grief and the confusion of his drive for revenge; I was disturbed by Ophelia's madness; I became sympathetic to Gertrude, Hamlet's mother, yet, wondered about her involvement in her late husband's death.  I saw the complexity of Claudius, Hamlet's uncle, usually portrayed as a villain, but coming to grips and praying for forgiveness for the murdering his brother. 

When the play ended, and then came the curtain call, the whole audience stood, almost all at the same time, feeling compelled regardless of who was around them.

For each of us, it was like a personal journey.  Something about the performance touched each individual to the core or spoke to a universal truth or dug up some raw emotion that had been dormant.  Wow. 


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Exploring a Bit of the Windy City - Part 2

What would Chicago be without all the different restaurants and dining experiences?  Being gluten, dairy and egg free is always a challenge, but I did find some great options in the downtown area.

Yes, I can find Chipotle all over the Twin Cities and P.F. Chang's in Edina, MN, but when you're getting off a plane, taking the "L" to the hotel, and getting settled in for a few days, it's nice to be able to find a reliable chain restaurant for the first day and/or evening.

For lunch we went to the nearby Chipotle and I always get the chicken burrito bowl with black beans, everything but cheese and sour cream and a healthy dollop of guacamole. They now have a brown rice option, although I like their lime cilantro rice.  I've never asked about the chips, but I never seem to have a problem with them. 



P.F. Chang's is one of our favorites and it has an extensive gluten free menu and helpful waitstaff.  The lettuce wraps are great.  I've also had the Pepper Steak and the Street Noodles.  When the food is served, all gluten free items come on plates with the PF Chang's logo.




Mity Nice is located north of the Chicago River in the Miracle Mile shopping area.  I ordered a hefty bacon hamburger on a gluten free bun which seems rather boring but not if you're used to going bun-less all the time.




Hub 51
A trendy bar-type place that had some unique options.  We ordered sushi and the Brussels Sprouts salad with almonds, dates, mustard vinaigrette, (hold the Manchego cheese).  Neither of us used to be fond of Brussels Sprouts until we learned how to roast the farm fresh ones.



       


Rosebud Trattoria - Note:  This place has been recently relocated.  The food here is great.  It reminded me of a Mom & Pop Italian place that had been around forever.  The walls were decorated with autographed pictures of famous people who had dined there.  I ordered gluten free penne pasta with sausage, aspargas, and red sauce along with a salad.  The salad never came, but I had plenty with just the pasta dish.  The staff was very willing to accommodate my needs.

The Daily Habit

A special drink from Argo Tea paired with a Swirlz Cupcake.  Pictured here is a Red Velvet Chocolate cupcake with a Red Tea Latte.

Swirlz are gourmet cupcakes found exclusively at the Chicago Whole Foods.  The goal of this company is to make people smile, and that, they do well.  Cupcakes are a rare pleasure in the gluten free/dairy free/egg free diet, and these ones are a delicate balance of cake, a swirl of light frosting (very addicting) and a small second dollop of a different frosting flavor.  As my niece would say:  To. Die. For. 



Argo Tea locations are sprinkled throughout the downtown area.  They have hot and cold tea lattes in different flavors and you can get them made with soy or almond milk if you want.  They also have two gluten free menu items called teapot grains which have grains, beans and vegetables.




Other places we didn't get a chance to try:

Hannah's Bretzel's - gluten and dairy free bread contains eggs; open for lunch only
Mezza Mediterranean Grill - open for lunch only
RPM Italian Restaurant - too long of a wait.
Sweetwater Tavern and Grill

Worth Mentioning:

Ben Pao - a great Chinese restaurant, but unfortunately, they've closed.  We didn't eat here on this trip, but ordered take-out another time when we were in Chicago. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Exploring a Bit of the Windy City - Part 1

The thing about doing a month-long blog challenge in July is that I get to catch up on some of the things that happened earlier this year...

It seemed a little odd to take a trip to Chicago in early March, but we decided to take a few days and travel to the Windy City.  We enjoy riding the "L" and not having to rent a car.  Along the streets stores and shops appear in unexpected places - a well-known restaurant or retail store may be on the second floor of a hotel building. 

Shopping on State Street

I was in the market for a ball gown and decided to try the bigger versions of my favorite Minnesota stores:  Nordstrom's Rack, Macy's, Burlington Coat Company, T.J. Maxx.  Did not find what I was looking for. 

Sightseeing

Field Museum of Natural History

Easy to spend a whole day here.
The Willis Tower



103rd Floor Sky Deck












 





I had visited Chicago and the Sears Tower (now called the Willis Tower) when I was in high school.  I even did a 4-H photography project on the subject.  It was great to visit again and note the changes:  You couldn't just buy your ticket and go up in the elevator.  You had to go through security and get checked.  Also, the observation deck now has outcroppings or alcoves where you can step in and be surrounded on 3 sides, top and bottom by glass so you feel like you're stepping out of a window.  It took a bit of courage to step into one of these and look down at the ground 103 floors below.  I tried standing on one foot, and it was tricky to keep my balance.


Union Station


Of course we love trains and depots, and in high school I remember traveling by Amtrak (leave the Twin Cities at midnight and arrive in Chicago by 7 or 8 a.m.) and lugging my suitcase through this depot.  Most of the passenger traffic now takes place below ground.

To be continued...





Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Baseball and Art in the Moment

Ok, I don't know a thing about sports.  I don't follow the games or the players, and I don't keep track of how many hits, home runs, touchdowns or goals an all-star player might have.

But I saw this picture and thought it was the neatest example of Art in the Moment.

Torii Hunter's famous catch in 2002
photo credit - The Bleacher Report

I love the movement and the lines of the players' bodies juxtaposed with the lines of the mural.  The human bodies look like they're interacting with the painted ones.  There is movement from the lower right corner to the extended gloved hand in the upper left and then the extended arm of the upper mural brings you across the center and to the right.  It's like a great piece of choreography.  (There are other photographs of this catch where the mural images appear closer to the players, as though supporting or lifting them, and it reminds me of contact improvisation.)

You couldn't have planned this picture for a photo shoot.  It just happened, and the photographer caught it beautifully.  You can duplicate the picture, but it would be almost impossible to duplicate the moment the art was created.

I know this was an historic event for Torii Hunter (as well as Barry Bonds), but for those of us who are more visually or kinesthetically inclined, this is like a piece of eye candy that makes your whole body gasp in response.

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Show Must Go On

The weather this weekend was great for performing in the outdoor dance concert at the Rose Garden.  (See Outdoor Dance.)  In the years that I've either attended or been in the show, there has been one day that usually gets rained out.  This year, it rained in the middle of the night, and by evening the next day we were able to dance on relatively dry ground.

Whenever you're involved in a live performance, it's good to be prepared as much as possible because many things can go wrong.  From prop malfunctions to missing costume pieces to traffic delays, anything has the possibility to throw you off your game (which provides rich fodder for lots of good memories and back stage stories to talk about later!)

This time when I performed, I was relatively well prepared.  I had my costume in place a week beforehand; I checked my music, brought an extra CD, arrived early to beat rush hour traffic and tried to stay well hydrated.  The first night everything went smoothly.  We had an audience of over 400, a light breeze tempered the humidity, and the mosquitoes stayed at bay. 

The second night, I stepped out in the space in front of family, friends, and peers to do my solo.  I was about two verses into my piece when the music began cutting in and out.  I've had this happen before, and in those tense moments you have to decide how you want to handle the situation.  Should you stop and have the tech crew start the music over?  Or should you keep going and hope the problem gets resolved quickly?

The thing I've learned from hanging around theatre groups is that "The show must go on."  The play or performance or dance becomes what it is in that moment whether you have a broken prop, a ripped costume, a forgotten line, or a missed entrance.

So, that's what I did.  At first I was a bit lost trying to locate my musical cues, but once I found my place, I moved through the breaks of silence and released my four-minute dance into the space, letting it become a new, organic piece of art that will be remembered for a long time.

I found out later that the problem was not with the music but with the sound levels.  If the volume was too high, it put too much load on the speakers and they'd cut out. 

After the show I received a lot of great feedback about my dancing, how beautiful it was, how well I dealt with the problem, how I kept going, how I stayed focused and didn't get ruffled.

Was I disappointed?  Yes, a bit.  My hope was to share the theme and story of the dance, not show people my ability as a performer - to keep going no matter what happens.  But maybe that's what the audience needed to see on that second night.  So much of life is about following through, overcoming obstacles and trusting God even when things are falling apart.

Maybe it's not about the stories we're trying to tell, but about the stories that we become and the hope that they offer.

For this, I was created.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Duluth - Old Favorites and New Discoveries

When I was younger I didn't care much for regular routines.  Get up in the morning, get dressed - wear the required school uniform or the standard business attire, go to work or school for a set number of hours, come home, do homework or house stuff, go to bed and do it again the next day.

As my diet and schedule have become more erratic in recent years, I've found that having something predictable has been rather enjoyable.

One of things we like to do every year is go for a weekend in Duluth.  "Why Duluth?" someone once asked me.  "Why not some place more exciting?"

Duluth is easy.  I don't have to think so hard about what I'm going to be doing or where I'm going to be eating. We stay at the same place every year, do the same things, and go to the same restaurants because they can accommodate my food allergies. We see the same sights because that's what we like to do when we're there. 

The thing about routines and habits is that they are restful, and there are no expectations so that when something unusual or slightly different happens, it becomes a bit of a high point.

Take, for example, the drive up I-35.  Same towns and landmarks, but this time we saw an unusual bit of roadkill.  Along the road there was a raccoon lying on its side, all four limbs extended — as though rigor mortis had set in even before the critter had gotten hit by a vehicle. Roadkill?  No. We both decided that it was probably a kid's toy that had been lost or dropped from a car window.  We're still enjoying that little episode.

We went to our favorite restaurants again - Duluth Grill and Va Bene Caffé, but a new one for us was the Lake Ave. Grill.  We had been there years ago for lunch, and I'm not sure why we haven't gone there more recently, but we noticed they had some gluten free meals on the menu and they were more than willing to work with me for my other food allergies.  I had the deconstructed fish and chips - a healthy version of the old favorite made with pan fried whitefish dipped in rice flour.  There were oven roasted potatoes and I also had a side salad. 

We went to the Duluth Grill for lunch one day and had BLTs - mine in a teff wrapper. We noticed that all the wait staff had T-shirts that said "Veggies fresh from our parking lot."  When we asked about the T-shirts, the manager came over and talked to us.  He told us about the gardens they had been installing along the edges of the parking lot where they were growing herbs, vegetables and tons of rhubarb.  On the roof they had five bee hives, out the back they were planning to build an orchard, and at his house he had a fish tank.  Amazing!  Home grown food to serve in the restaurant.  You can read more about the details in this article from the Duluth News Tribune.


Along with walks by the lake, downtown shopping, and a trip to the Maritime Museum, we also went to the Great Lakes Aquarium.  We hadn't been there before because there had always been other things to do.  I especially liked the Masters of Disguise exhibit that explored how creatures can hide in their natural environments.

And of course we visited our favorite shops in Canal Park as well as the Fitger's building:   The Blue Lake Gallery, Two & Company, Waters of Superior, Northern Waters Smokehaus, and Blue Heron Gifts to name a few. What was new for us was the Duluth Kitchen Company in the Fitger's mall. A big store full of kitchen gadgets and appliances, and across the hallway, the marketplace sample shop with opportunities to taste oils, sauces, vinegars, and jams.  When asked, I was given a special container of gluten free crackers for my tastings.


All in all, a very relaxing and fun trip!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Outdoor Dance

Tomorrow and Saturday I'll be dancing in the Dances at the Lakes Festival.  Now in its 12th year, the Christopher Watson Dance Company presents this concert each year which showcases both professional and student dance artists in a free outdoor community event.

I've danced in this show before.  The "stage" is the grassy area near the Lake Harriet Rose Garden between the two fountains.

Performing a piece outdoors is quite an experience.  With the audience on three sides and the sky as your ceiling, your most grand and dramatic movements can feel like a quiet conversation on a busy city sidewalk.  However, even with the distractions and disorientation, the value of the dances are not diminished.  What I enjoy most is that the concert combines art with nature and brings all levels and styles of dance into the community.  It's an event that you won't want to miss!  (Details below.)

"So It Goes"
Christopher Watson Dance Company


"The Kitchen Sink"
Anda Flamenco
photo by Anne Schley, Highwood Studios

"Shining Point"
Ray Terrill Dance Group
photo by Anne Schley, Highwood Studios
"The Guineé Faré"
Voice of Culture Drum and Dance

"Snapshots"
Kinetic Evolutions



Twelfth Annual Dances at the Lakes Festival
presented by the Christopher Watson Dance Company
Friday & Saturday, July 12 & 13
7:30 pm
FREE

 Join us for free dance concert held in the grassy area between the fountains at the Lake Harriet Rose Garden. Bring a lawn chair or blanket and some snacks or a picnic dinner and settle in to experience a diverse evening of art in the outdoors.

Featured performers: 

Amy Slater—Madison, WI & Stacy Pottinger—Milwaukee, WI
Anda Flamenco, Minneapolis—Kristina de Sacramento, Artistic Director (Fri. only)
Carol Oyanagi, Minneapolis
Christopher Watson Dance Company, Minneapolis
Dennis Yelkin, St. Louis Park, MN
Eclectic Edge Ensemble, Minneapolis—Karis Sloss, Artistic Director (Sat. only)
Kinetic Evolutions, Minneapolis—Sarah LaRose-Holland, Artistic Director
Oyin Dance Collective, Minneapolis
Ray Terrill Dance Group, St. Paul
Ressl Dance!, Long Beach, CA—Doris Ressl, Artistic Director
Young Dance, Minneapolis—Gretchen Pick, Artistic Director (Sat. only)
Youth Dance Ensemble, Burnsville—Dixie Rairamo, Artistic Director

This activity is made possible, in part, through sponsorship by the Linden Hills Neighborhood Council. Additional funding was provided by generous individual donors to the Christopher Watson Dance Company.

The Rose Garden is located at Lyndale Park Gardens, 4124 Roseway Road, Minneapolis 55409. Go to the following Mapquest URL to locate the Rose Garden: http://www.mapquest.com/maps?city=Minneapolis&state=MN&address=4124+Roseway+Rd&zipcode=55409&country=US&latitude=44.927775&longitude=-93.296245&geocode=ADDRESS
 

For more information, go to:  christopherwatsondance.org
Call; 612.670.0839 or email; cwdc1991@gmail.com


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Legacy of the Palm Plant

The year was 1994.  We were at the MN State Fair a few days after we had returned from our honeymoon.

Just for fun we decided to buy a stick-like thing at the Bazaar that would grow into a palm plant.  "Just put the non-painted end in water for a few weeks and then plant it in soil," they told us, pointing to the palms around in the booth at various stages of growth.  Since I'm not a green thumb, I thought anything that easy would at least be worth a try.

So, we went home and put it in water.  I was thinking it would immediately grow leaves like the plants I had seen in the Bazaar booth, but after three weeks it still looked like a stick to me.  My spouse, however, pointed out the two or three tiny green buds beginning to sprout from the sides of the stalk.

So, we planted it.  A year later it was a couple feet tall.  Another year and it was halfway to our ceiling.  We bought bigger and bigger pots.  Soon it had two spindly stalks reaching up to the ceiling of our house.

Every so often, right around Thanksgiving, the palm would bloom and grow blossoms of tiny white flowers that sent a nice fragrance throughout the house for about two weeks.  One time the scent was so strong we had to put the plant in the bathroom because our company had inhalant allergies!

Palm Plant 2009




Fragrant white flowers

The palm did well for many years.  The problem was that it wasn't strong enough to stand up on its own.  It was using the wall as a support, and if we pulled it away from the wall it would probably topple over.  We tried turning the plant gradually so that it would maybe lean the other way, but the plant started curling downward towards the sunlight.  It lost a lot of its leaves, and the greenest part at the top developed a very distinctive kink.

In 2011 I'd had enough.  It was a tough decision but I performed "surgery" on the palm.  (Yes, I take full responsibility for decimating the plant, the palm we had bought a week after our wedding.)  I chopped it into the two different stalks, aerated the soil, and planted the green top by itself in a different pot.  I was hoping the two stalks would start over and grow again but they didn't.  I didn't expect the small green top to survive, but it did.  It did more than survive; it thrived! 

Palm - July 2011







July 2011













New Growth - July 2011






























The new growth at the base of the trunk grew up under the crooked piece and actually supported it.  I thought of the plant as a metaphor for my life at that time:  My life can get bent out of shape sometimes; God prunes away the dead leaves to make room for new growth and supports the core of what he intends to remain.

By October the plant was flourishing again and looked very healthy.


This lasted for another two years, and then, for some reason, the plant started looking really sickly again.  All its leaves turned brown and hung limp.  We figured it was because the roots of the plant had wound around themselves and couldn't really grow any further.  And I'm sure there was some root rot.

Was this the end of our palm?  We thought about getting a new plant; instead we decided to trim everything away and start over, breaking up the soil around the root ball and planting new soil around it so it could hopefully expand once again.

This is our palm today.  Pretty pathetic looking...



...but on closer inspection, new tiny green buds are visible.  The plant lives on... and the story continues!

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Shape of a Face - Part II

In my previous post, The Shape of a Face, I had mentioned that I tend to remember peoples' faces and details about their lives. What I didn't mention was that people don't usually remember me.

Being an introvert I sort of expect this.  I don't go out of my way to stand out in a crowd or be the life of a party.  Once in a while it bothers me, especially when I actually know a person's name and worked with them in the past on some long-term project.  But for the most part I've enjoyed the gift of being anonymous. I look a lot different than I did when I was younger and I'd rather not be remembered from my elementary school years as the brainy kid with buck teeth and gangly limbs; or from high school as the girl with the bad haircuts; or in more recent years, the passive aggressive woman who usually seems fine, but who can surprise you when her mood decides to swing in the other direction.  

There was one time I was working at a retail software store and an older gentleman came in. I think he just wanted someone to tell him that he really didn't need to buy the new version of Windows which was a big deal at the time.  He bought the program anyway, but returned it the next day because it made his system run slow. 

Several years later I was working at another company and went to their holiday party.  That same man was at my table.  He didn't work for my company but had been invited by one of the VPs.  When I saw him, I remembered butting heads with him years earlier, but I said, "Have you ever shopped at XYZ software?  I remember you as one of my customers."

He was so impressed that I remembered him, (and of course I didn't remind him of the details of our first exchange).  We had a good conversation and before he left for the evening he made it a point to say goodbye to me.

When stuff like this happens I feel like a spy or secret agent - making observations and collecting details that can turn situations into more positive experiences.  There's also something very satisfying about being anonymous, especially in the world of Facebook, Twitter and daily blogging.  Hopefully, I can keep special parts of my life hidden so they can be brought out later as tools for change.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Finding "Trouble" in My Life

This is a reprint of a story published in 2001 by Story House Coffee located in Portland, Oregon.  They paid me a small, but fair amount, gave me a free can of their organic coffee and printed the story on one of their coffee can labels. 

-->

            "You can keep the cat," Mark encouraged. 
            “I don’t know,” I said.
            Normally, I would have enjoyed owning a cat.  But I had just moved into a one-bedroom apartment and it was my first time without roommates.  Though I eventually wanted to get a cat, I wasn’t quite ready to share my space with anyone, not even a small, furry friend. 
            "What's his name?" I asked Mark.
            "Theodore."
            "The Odor?" I mused, placing the accent on the second syllable.
            "Umm . . . yeah, that is kind of a problem," he said.
            Mark was in desperate need of a new home for Theodore.  He already owned a gray tabby named Zachary who stayed home alone while Mark worked long hours as a medical intern.  Mark had assumed the friendly, orange Theodore would be the perfect companion for his first cat.  

            Zachary, however, did not appreciate the newcomer.  On rare occasions when Mark was home, he was privy to growling matches as the cats kept a wary distance from one other.  After one particularly long day Mark came home to find tufts of gray and orange fur all over his apartment accompanied by the strong smell of urine. 
           I had agreed to take care of Theodore for a week while Mark was on vacation, but after that, Theodore had to go.
            Mark handed me the orange tabby.  “So, if you like him, you can keep him,” he said. My landlady is getting angry about The Odor, and my roommate, Doug, isn’t too happy either.”
            "By the way," I asked before Mark left me with my new charge, "was his name always Theodore?"
            After a slight hesitation, Mark said, "No.  It used to be Trouble."
            “I see.”
            Theodore's previous name seemed very appropriate as he, in one day, took over my apartment.  Nothing was sacred.  My pile of newspapers on the floor flew in every direction as he repeated dashed across the living room. House plants became afternoon snacks.  Fallen objects became new toys.  And the borrowed couch from my sister became a scratching post. 
            I had no privacy.  Like a dog, he followed me from room to room and insisted on participating in my every activity.  If I tried to read, he would jump on top of the book.  If I had a glass of water he would explore it with an inquisitive paw.  If I tried to eat something, he’d want a sample, pushing his cold, wet nose into my face to catch the crumbs.  When I took a shower, he sat on the tub wall and cried until I got out. 
            At night he finally settled down.  With his internal motor geared down to constant purr, he stretched out, full length, thoroughly pleased that he no longer had to compete with another cat.  He must have been very lonely at Mark’s place, I thought, feeling sorry for him as he lulled me to sleep.
            My sympathy lasted only until the next morning when, at 5:00 A.M, he woke up, literally bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, requesting food.  He performed his morning routine like a bad comedy act.  For an opener, he’d wiggle his way up to my head and meow incessantly in my ear.  Then, he'd flick his tail in my face to make sure I was really awake.  At first, I thought this was an unintended flick of the tail, but after a few days, I actually anticipated the tail flick, catching it in my half-awake stupor to avoid a mouthful of fur.  He knew exactly what he was doing!  In the end, I’d stumble to the kitchen and that’s when the joke was on me when I found his bowl, full of food from the night before! 
            “What is your problem?” I’d yell.  Then, I’d stir the food with my finger, and only then would he eat it and stop bothering me.
            The week came and went, and Mark stopped by.  "So, how was The Odor?"
            "He drove me crazy all week,” I said.
            "Should I take him home?" 
            "Oh, I don't know."
            So, he stayed.  I figured I’d keep him a little while longer because I knew he wouldn't be welcome at his other home.  I got used to having him around, even though I still wondered why I tolerated him.  The bag of cat food Mark had supplied soon ran out.  Dry cat food became a new item on my grocery list.  I moved my plants to the upper shelves of my bookcases, out of reach.  It was like having a child in the house.  I also picked up a small scratching post at a Woolworth’s closeout sale.  It didn’t cost much, and it would save the couch.  When I brought it home, Theodore pounced on it, somehow knowing that it was his.  And through it all, I remained confident that this was all temporary until we found him a new owner.
            Mark's roommate Doug stopped by to visit.  "Hey, I know you,” he said, sitting next to the cat on the couch.  “Boy, have you mellowed out!"  Theodore responded in typical fashion, rolling from side to side, and then turning a somersault under his hand.  "What a nice cat you turned out to be!" 
            I made no comment.
            Several months later, Mark called again.  "So, how’s Theodore, or should I say Trouble?" he asked.
            "Oh, you mean ‘Baby’? He’s fine,”  I said as I watched my “kid” enjoying some of his new toys.
            "You know,” said Mark for the last time, “you can keep the cat."

Friday, July 5, 2013

Non-Green Thumb Gardening

I have a sister who does landscape architecture.  I have 2 other sisters that own and tend farms.  And then the others — sisters-in-law, brothers, nieces and nephews have houses with large outdoor gardens, but somehow I did not inherit the family green thumb.

I have killed cacti before that have been in my care.  And those air plants that don't need watering—they just will not cooperate for me.  Sometimes my best attempts to grow things come from the sprouted onions and potatoes in my bottom kitchen drawer that I salvage, put in a pot and surround with dirt.  Hey, if they want to grow under my care, why shouldn't I encourage them?

We live in a town house and don't have a yard; however, every year I put together a ramshackle deck garden and have become quite proud of my meager results. 

We received a few herbs from our farm share box and they're doing ok.  The mint especially seemed to enjoy the wet weather.

Mint
Assorted herbs and the second version of a shamrock plant from friends (bottom L)









 Anaheim peppers

 






My lopsided citronella plant.  I got a slip from Trotters several years ago.  It's a resilient plant which is just what I need.












 




Morning Glory in the early shadows.


My two tomato plants.  Last year my tomatoes became squirrel snacks until I sprinkled them with cayenne.  I had no trouble after that.

I have no idea what this one is.  This pot used to be a compost pile - everything from apple seeds to mango pits to potato and carrot peelings.  When I took it out after it had been wintered, there were several nice shoots coming up from the soil so I left them alone.  Readers and green thumbs, can you identify this plant?