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Happy Summer!

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It’s been a bit over two months since my last post, but I’m inspired to catch up-mostly because my dear friend and loyal reader said she missed it and today is her birthday, so here you go Perri! As a present to you I will be self centered and write all about my life ūüôā I think I will work backwards with the last few days. (*edit: it’s two days since I started this, so no longer her birthday, but there you go.)
Yesterday late afternoon I was thinking about the two fresh apricots I had bought and some leftover toasted almonds on my counter. I thought, “hmm…I bet that Thin Pear Tart I sometimes make in the winter would be a quick and tasty dessert with fresh apricots, and I even have the 2oz cream cheese necessary for the dough.” I easily whipped up the dough (this really is a quick and easy thing) and then saw that the apricots had rotted. No matter-the NJ blueberries are showing up at store and I had a few tasty pints in the fridge. I scattered blueberries across the top, baked, and voila!
Now, what else? Since that last post we’ve had Paul’s birthday

Father’s Day (I don’t have any cute pics of Paul and his human children, so here’s a very sweet picture of Paul and the kitty who adores him.)

The Last Day of School. ¬†This is such a crazy event for me still and the whole last month of school felt so exciting and like we were barreling towards summer. I will really miss some of the students and it made me feel so good when many of them told me that they would miss me (our 5th graders are moving up to middle school.) I may have been even more excited than the kids for school to end. This was my first full year of teaching and hooray! I made it!! I like my job a lot, but was definitely ready for some resting and recharging, looking forward to plenty of time in the hammock and plenty of reading. [School got out June 23, today is July 4th, and I’ve read 7 books so far.]

Since summer has begun we haven’t done much of anything: reading, relaxing, kids playing with friends. I did sign up for tennis lessons through the rec dept. and am doing that with friends. We’ve only had 2 lessons so far, but I think we’re doing great! I even got together this morning just to play with someone. I know I’ll be even better when I can actually run to the ball. Presently I’m plagued by a painful knee situation. After being troubled by it for weeks I did go to the dr. and unfortunately the treatment is one of those slow and steady “do this exercise every day” things. It’s been a week and today it hurt all day long. Which is a total drag and makes me cranky.
I hosted a luau themed bunco, which was an excuse to make pina coladas and pull out a bunch of “tropical” recipes.

The main thing I’ve been itching to do since school let out is get into some sewing projects. I really do miss having the time to quilt or embroider (yes, I could do it in the evening, but I’m usually just needing to lie down in front of the tv), which is my creative outlet.I am hoping to make 2 quilts this summer. One is a giant pinwheel, which I got the pattern out of a book a long time ago. My pinwheel will be green and white, and I bought all the fabrics a couple months ago. I cut out the squares of green, but neglected to buy the background fabric, which I’ll be doing later this week.(*done! and I bought a hot pink for the binding, which will be a perfect accent.) The second is something I started a long time ago and then somewhat recently made a plan for. Like the pinwheel quilt it is all triangles (not my best shape-let’s see how many points line up!) and I bought the fabrics a few months ago. I sorted out the triangles today and made 5 blocks. I have a lot of pieces and have decided to NOT lay out the whole thing at once, but rather create a lot of blocks and then decide how they will be put together. My general guideline is that the center is a pair of peachy/coral and a pair of mushroom/taupe and the outer triangles are in the green/blue collection. But the pairs don’t necessarily have to match. I’m not even sure if it will all be put together just block after block after block, or if I’ll separate the blocks into concentric squares. I love all the fabrics I chose for it.

Finally, here’s a darling dishtowel I started, oh, years? ago. This was a set of retro style embroidery transfers, and I put this on a vintage style dishtowel. I think I got both at Walmart on the cheap. When I didn’t have a bigger project at our stitchathons I just worked idly on this. I basically forgot about it and came across it a couple of days ago noting that I only had the text left. What was I waiting for? Not only is it cute, but it would also be an adorable background for freshly baked bread that I’m taking a picture of for IG!

In the coop our numbers have continued to dwindle. A small sad flock remains. However! A hen finally went broody and last week chicks hatched. But it was a difficult week, there were deaths, and there is just one little chick. Let’s cross our fingers it grows up to be a hen, not a rooster. *update: the chick died yesterday. I found it lying on its side, dead. What gives? did a big chicken step on it? Not only that, but this morning it looked like something scratched up the dirt outside the coop gate. And the mother is missing. We are down to 4 hens and 3 roosters.

Willow just had her second anniversary of coming to us. Boy has she grown! We are so lucky to have her-she really is a marvelous dog.

In other dog news, my mom got a new dog! His name is Harry and he is adorable.
And today (2 days ago) is Blackie, our only remaining guinea pig, ‘s birthday. She is 5. I guess she’s at the far end of a guinea pig’s life span, but she still seems pretty spry. She even accommodated me for this birthday photo op.

We are not doing any vegetable gardening this year, save for lettuce and cilantro in a pot. Our peach tree is loaded with peaches and we hope at least a few will be edible. For the first time EVER the sad apple tree has apples on it- 3!

The flowers are in mad bloom and there are so many lovely colors everywhere. The coneflower has spread even more, making the front garden look almost cottage gardeny-just what I’ve always wanted. I’ve noticed that coneflower is also very popular with many different insects and butterflies and moths, so that’s good.

And, of course, peony season was tremendous and beautiful.

And as I type this we are getting ready to celebrate Clark’s birthday–#12! He is now officially taller than me by 1 1/2″. ¬†Ok, that was also a couple days ago. The day was celebrated with many special meals and some fun at the arcade.

 

I think I’ve gotten some photo organization under control and hopefully will do more posts this summer that aren’t so long and rambling, but perhaps focused on one thing at a time. With that in mind-time to start sewing! (Of course it poured rain all morning and I cozied up with a book. Now the sun is out and it’s gorgeous and I probably SHOULD be doing outdoors things.)

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Breaks, Birthdays, Etc.

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It’s been two month since my last post, but I’m only focusing on a 2 week period here-spring break! My birthday! But I will give a quick follow up, to that last post about Sweetie. She’s been back for 2 months, put some weight on (but us not overweight like before) and all is usual. Except…Liesl went through a period of hissing and scratching at her. Also, where Sweetie was a food hog before, causing Liesl to leave whenever she went near the food dishes, Liesl stands her ground now while Sweetie sits and watches. ¬†All that nasty behavior seemed to have tapered off and I was delighted to see them both on my bed the other day (though nowhere near each other.) But when Sweetie came closer to her and I was petting them both, Liesl hit her on the head and then left. So I guess she’s got some unresolved issues still.
Running atop the jetty
We had a terrific and relaxing spring break a couple weeks ago. Boy, I could not wait for it. We didn’t plan a big trip or anything like that, but it was as least as long as our Christmas break, and more relaxing because there was not much to do. I feel refueled and ready to make it through the rest of the school year. Paul took the week off as well. On one lovely day we went to Bethlehem and enjoyed no festivals or events-just a relaxing brunch, hanging out in the bookstore, getting an ice cream on the Lehigh campus, and a stroll along Steel Stacks.Steel Stacks

On another gorgeous day we headed to the beach.Low tideThere were lots of people there! It was a very warm 80 degrees that day-except at the beach it was pretty chilly and everyone had to wrap up. Little Mermaid
On the jettyOther days the kids played with friends, we puttered in the yards, ran leisurely errands together, and so on. ¬†The end of the week was a much anticipated concert-The Decemberists at the Fillmore. I have been looking forward to this concert since it was announced and was really excited. I love the band and we saw them 2 years ago at the Academy of Music. A great show, but that venue, while gorgeous and acoustically terrific, is hard to let loose in. The show was packed and there were, apparently, giants standing in our way, but it was still great. I was super excited that they played two songs I did not expect to hear (one of them I never thought they’d play but really wished it would be a concert song and I couldn’t believe it when it started.) It was awesome. A less awesome thing happened driving home on 95. A car came up behind us and on the left and sideswiped us. At 65 mph and then drove off. It was pretty scary and the entire side of the car is dented, scratched, and covered with their dumbass tire marks. And the mirror was torn off. I’m very grateful we weren’t hurt and the car still runs, but I’m pissed off that some asshole did that and we are the ones paying for repairs and left with a shitty looking car. (ten ¬†scowly face emojis here.)
The vacation ended with a lovely Easter at my aunt Margaret’s. The kids took the canoe and rowboat out on their pond and I went for a row, too. It was so nice. RowingFor dessert I made a coconut cake that was really good. A very light and silky batter baked in a 9×13 pan, then soaked in a syrup overnight, then topped with whipped cream. Then it’s sprinkled with coconut on top and I decided to make mine in big flower shapes.Coconut CakeAnother thing we seemingly spent the entire vacation doing was reorganizing the basement and cleaning up our room by switching winter and spring clothes. One tiny and immensely satisfying part of that was sorting and storing in a new way all my cookie cutters. So I used a giant copper flower cutter to provide my coconut outline (which I was able to quickly and easily retrieve!)
For our own breakfast I baked a coffeecake that was a braided apricot nut bread. It came out great!The Easter Braid
And then it was back to school, but the very next day was…my birthday! One of my most favorite days of the year! I had a great day starting with some marvelous cards and to-be-opened right then gifts. Paul got me the cutest, well, we can’t figure out what they are officially called. I had requested them. Those old-fashioned things you pin on a cardigan with a little chain in between? Cardigan clips? Sweater pins? Whatever, he got some adorable ones and I loved wearing one that very day. In the evening we had a great dinner. I had specifically requested (demanded) that this year my kids get on board with making me a homemade cake. I didn’t care if it was sloppy or came out poorly, I wanted something lovingly made just for me by them. This seemed to cause of lot of fretfulness and to my surprise they each made a cake. And each was wonderful.Happy Birthday to meMy mom joined us and it was ¬†wonderful birthday.

Now, two other things. The first is very terrible–two nights ago we had the dreaded tragedy of a fox in the chicken coop. A bad combination of opening the gate and letting everyone out for the afternoon and then not locking them up. Usually if we forget to lock them up it’s actually not a big deal because the gate is always securely closed. But this time the gate was open. Out of our 17 birds, it took 8. Worst of all-only 2 were roosters. And the ones it took were our favorites-the two little emus, Baddie, and Tree Bird. Baddie and Tree Bird were the matched Mille Fleur pair we received as day old chicks 5 years ago (five years! They had nice long lives.) Baddie was a real jerk, for sure, but we had a soft spot for him. In his older age and diminished position in the pecking order, he rarely was feisty any more (though he had attacked me just a few days ago.) But Tree Bird. Oh, we adored her. She is the hen who was Gordon’s special friend. Here they were the week before: A mixed up coop¬†He’s going to be very sad that she’s gone. She was super sweet and we’ll miss her. Tree BIrd's last photoshootSo now we are down to 9: 6 hens, 3 roosters. We could get chicks, but I think instead we should just see if anyone goes broody and let them.

In better news all the flowering bulbs and trees are looking great, the lilacs smell wonderful, the maple tree leaves have just come in, looking all yellow green, and it’s a pretty beautiful time of year.Double Ruffle

Snow Day!

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Snow Day!This week we had our first, and likely last, snow day of the year. It was so strange because Wednesday was incredibly unseasonably warm (62 degrees in February?!) but we knew snow would be starting overnight and the temperature plummeting 30 degrees. We were all thrilled to have the snow day announced even before it started snowing so we could turn off our alarms and sleep in. This is probably the first snow day I didn’t feel the need to go outside and actively enjoy the snow. Instead it was all about being cozy and doing all cozy snow day things crammed into one day. And that, of course, involved many special snow day meals. It all began with blondies made the night before. For Christmas Paul got this enormous bar of milk chocolate from Trader Joe’s. Truly enormous. Pounds worth. I shaved off some of it and folded it into the batter and oh my, it was perfect.
Snow Day Menu
Snow Day breakfast begins with an option of ice cream, a fun tradition from our friends. I didn’t want any, but both Clark and Tabby had some. Atop their delicious homemade waffles.
Snow Day Menu
Afternoon saw a favorite winter special lunch/snack that I haven’t done yet this year (even though this item requires planning in the summer and canning of the salsa.)–Nachos. A great big tray of them.
Snow Day Menu
And for dinner we had homemade pizza, including one big one made with homemade meatballs which had been in the freezer tantalizing labeled “homemade meatballs in pizza sauce-put on pizza.” Basically, opening up the freezer and seeing that bag so often made me want to make that.

It was a double feature day-Groundhog Day and Iron Man, both of which were well received by the kids. They were really delighted with Groundhog Day, which pleased me very much because I love that movie and hadn’t seen it in a long time.

I also read a book, which was wonderful, and it felt great to just spend the morning on the couch in my pajamas reading it right through to the end.

All in all, it was a wonderful snow day!

In other news: our new furnace installation is almost done and PSEG has connected us to the gas line (two days of digging because apparently everything is solid shale.) We have not had heat (from a furnace) at all this winter, making do with our extremely hard working fireplace/blower. For the most part it has kept us plenty warm, but I can’t wait to be able to just turn on the heat.

In saddest news (this is called burying the lead because I didn’t want to do a whole post about it), our darling cat Sweetie is gone. I can’t say died because we don’t know what happened to her. She was just missing. We’re assuming she stepped outside (our front door doesn’t have a good latch and there’d been a lot of going in and out with firewood) and the door closed behind her and she was frightened and darted off. Two people in the neighborhood said she saw her, but we haven’t. We’ve done everything you do to get a lost indoor cat back, but to no avail. (I still can’t believe we couldn’t trap her in the havahart with enticing wet cat food–we did end up trapping the neighbor’s barn cat both in there and in our garage.) I know everyone thought Sweetie was our unfriendly cat, but she was extremely affectionate and loving with Paul and me. Her purr was so noisy and enthusiastic, she loved being brushed and petted, and although the love was not completely returned, she adored Liesl.2016-12-21-22-18-38 I hope with all my heart that I’m proven wrong and get to write some amazing story of her return weeks after vanishing, but I don’t really think that’s going to happen.

In other animal news our flock has a dangerously and annoyingly large number of roosters in it. SEVEN. Seven! It was six, but get this-some jerk snuck a rooster into our coop when we weren’t home! That was not cool to make it be our problem. He is extremely handsome and seems happy to be with us (he’s the big white one),The Chicken Apartment¬†but the days are getting longer, spring is coming, and the young roosters are getting randy, which means fighting.
The Flock
This past week I celebrated my first anniversary at work. It’s been quite a year of changes, adjustment, good days, and bad days. It was a pretty fast year, I have to say, and I’m still so happy to be there.
Sugar cookies

A Baker’s Dozen

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Last post the chick count was up to 6, which was just crazy. The morning of our vacation (Thursday) we found this little guy:2016-08-04 10.34.23

adorable! A half a dozen darling chicks. We left on our trip, with the animals in the capable hands of a local girl who also has chickens. Though we’d intended to clean out the nests for her we just left them alone with instructions to not gather any eggs and not worry.

To our surprise, on Monday (yesterday) she texted to say that more chicks hatched and there were now…..TWELVE BABY CHICKS! Yep, in our absence (and free of our meddling) six more chicks hatched. I couldn’t wait to get home and see them. This morning (Tuesday) I went to see them and there they all were. Some 5 days old with little wings, and some clearly only 1 or 2 days old. Amazingly they were all mingled together under sort of watchful eyes of two (three?) moms.

2016-08-09 08.37.52

 

2016-08-09 13.18.08

When I opened the door to the henhouse I discovered, in the empty nest, what looked like a wet, dead chick. But I saw a tiny breath in it. And seeing a hen in the next nest felt it was a worth a shot to pick it up and stick it under her. A few hours later it was dry and fluffy, though not especially strong looking. And locking up the chickens tonight I found it dead on the floor. Unlucky #13. But……..unbelievably……under that hen? A brand new peeping chick! I just saw it! Looking very sprightly. ¬†So, that brings the total to 13 baby chicks. And let’s hope that’s it.¬†And that they’re not all roosters. Speaking of roosters, I’m thinking that the incredible rise in the fertility in the coop is due to the new rooster who took over this winter. He’s evidently a much more effective, well, you know.
The twelve chicks and two mothers have all squeezed into one of the outdoor nesting boxes to sleep tonight. I can’t imagine they will all fit in there longer than another few days at most.

At¬†the beginning of May we had 13 adult chickens. Now we have 13 adults, 7 adolescents, and 13 babies, for a total of 33. That’s a rather dramatic increase!

What’s New in the Coop?

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When last you saw our chicks they were adorable little fluffballs, peeping and following their multiple moms around. Now, at almost 8 weeks old, they are a pack of sort-of-ugly little birds that look like velociraptors (maybe it’s too much Jurassic Park, but that’s always what I think of when I seem them flocking around on their big scaly legs.) Some of these chicks are going to be prettier chickens than others. The moms are done with all the babies. Sadly, this leaves the single baby a little lonely. The group of 7 want nothing to do with her, and she does try to still stay with her mom who, if not exactly going out of her way to see the little one, isn’t actually mean to her. The 7 sleep together every night in the little nesting boxes, which is very cute. All in a heap, still. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed for no roosters.Sorority House//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsThey also run around freely outside because they can fit through the fence. They are very dumb, though, and often can’t find their way back in (and it’s also a tight fit now.) I’m pleased to report that while Willow will look at them she doesn’t chase them. What a good girl ūüôā
Who's an adorable doggie?//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
We’ve noticed that part of our grape vines are suddenly decimated. What could be getting them so high up? Mystery solved:
The mystery of the disappearing grape leaves//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
We’ve just had the summer solstice-it’s peak laying time. Between 7 and 8 eggs daily, which frankly is an awful lot. The fridge is full, they are always on the counter, and we’ve run out of egg cartons. Yikes! I should probably hang out a shingle again, but it seems easier to hand them out to friends and have Paul bring them to work. Time for omelettes, custards, angel food cake, quiche, and curd!

Here a chick, there a chick

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Last¬†week saw a trifecta of excitement: Mother’s Day, Paul’s Birthday, and baby chicks hatching! The weekend kicked off with the first peep heard late on Thursday, the first chick viewed on Friday morning, and by Sunday afternoon the chicks were out and about in the sunshine. How many chicks? SEVEN. The most we’ve ever had at a time before was 3 (not counting the mail order chicks), so this was pretty exciting. As usual, there was a lot of drama and a lot of mamas. There are 3 hens that are taking on the mothering duties, with all 7 chicks responding to all three. There is a lead mother, though-the small black hen who was the one who went broody first. Babies #6 and 7 seemed to come out of nowhere and due to their surprise appearance in the henhouse after the moms and chicks were on the ground, we were able to pick them up. Meanwhile, another hen patiently sat on her eggs and this weekend she hatched out one. She doesn’t seem eager to get up, but I know the chick is in there because I saw it walking around her. I think it may be just the one. Here’s a progression of the weekend of chicks:
The first chick//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
Popping over to visit the other mother//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
Suprise, #6! This one got left behind the door of the henhouse when everyone else got down on the ground. We scooped er up, took a picture and then added her to the group.//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
All 7 out and about//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
Tucked under mom's wing//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Mother’s Day and Paul’s birthday fell on the same Sunday, as they do from time to time. I really wanted to make the day more about him than me, though. We had a delicious French toast casserole for brunch with presents for both of us, followed by Sunday afternoon Pokemon club for Paul and Clark while I baked the birthday cake. Paul chose the cake components from two different recipes in the same book: a vanilla bean cream cake with a caramel nut topping. The batter for this vanilla cake was the silkiest lightest thing I’ve ever tasted. And the baked texture was incredible. A very fine soft crumb. Flecked with vanilla and nutmeg it had a delicate spice. The gooey caramel top was texturally an odd combo, but tastewise a sensation. The birthday cake and dinner were met with great approval.
Happy Birthday, Paul//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
Meanwhile, on that same special day I was trying to finish up the final assignment for the course I’m taking (which counted for 40% of my grade!) I was up until all hours toiling away and consequently was exhausted by Tuesday. But I’m happy to say I got a terrific score on it and got an A for the class. Hooray for me! I’m relieved to have that first class done with. Graduate school¬†now is definitely a different experience than doing it when I was 25. I was very happy this weekend to just enjoy doing stuff with friends and family.

April, Come She Will

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In all the years I’ve been doing this blog this is the first time I haven’t written about a birthday right when it happened. When last I checked in we’d just finished a fun week of spring break including Easter. And here we are now with all of April to catch up on. April is one of my favorite months simply because it includes my birthday. Paul always jokes that my birthday ends up lasting at least a week, and I guess that’s a little true. There was my real birthday, which, since it was a work day, we celebrated by going out to eat at a casual place that is always too crowded on weekends. We had amazing cake at home. 2016-04-19 20.18.25And trampolining2016-04-19_07-56-50//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
And wonderful presents! This year most of my gifts were games, and we had a great time playing a new one called Dixit and another one called Pick a Pig, and a nostalgic-to-me, Rummikub (my best friend and I used to play it a lot at sleepovers). Also, one we haven’t even tried yet. We’ve had a big influx of new games in the household lately, which I love, though I wish we played them more often. Another night we had a special dinner at my mom’s house and my aunt joined us, which was lovely. Sisters//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsAnd finally, there was the dinner out with my girlfriends, which is always marvelous. All in all, a great celebration!

April 28 was a huge day and much circled on the calendar. First, it was Take Your Child to Work Day. When Clark was in kindergarten he got to go with Paul because Paul was at a public library. Since then there really hasn’t been an opportunity for either of our kids to participate in this, but now that I’m working and at a place that is ok with people participating, Tabby got to come with me. (Since I am a school librarian at Clark’s school he already comes to work with me every day.) Take Your Child to Work DayShe had a great time, especially since it gave her a nice preview of where she’ll be going to school in a couple of years. Crazily, the same day I also had two big work things going on-my first formal observation and a presentation I gave to teachers. Both went great! But all of that was just filling time until the big reason for all the excitement… Pearl Jam.
You may recall me mentioning in the past that there were 3 bands I wanted to see before I (or they) die-Neil Young, The Decemberists, and Pearl Jam. Last April we saw the Decemberists, and have now twice seen Neil Young. When PJ announced a new tour and tickets going on sale in January, we were wildly excited and made plans to get tickets no matter what the cost. After a very tense process we managed to procure two seats for the 28th. No choice of seats-you get what you get. And we got seats described as “obstructed view, behind the stage.” That did not sound promising, but I didn’t care because we’d be there and hearing the music live and that’s what counted.
So we got to Wells Fargo Center, parked no problem, and stood on a long line just to get inside. We found our way to our seats and guess what? They were great! Behind the stage, yes, but there was nothing obstructing the view-the stage was fully open. ¬†And we were really really close! Pearl JamAnd could see the band when they walked off the stage. I’m just going to paste here now the lengthy email I sent my friends the following morning:
Pearl Jam
….There were the big screens so if the cameras were showing the guys faces and you wanted to see that you could look there. Eddie was really mindful of his fans behind him and to the sides, though, and often turned around. And then (the guy in our row tipped us off this would happen) near the end of the show they uncovered a small drum set facing us, and they completely turned around and played a whole song just facing us–Elderly Lady Behind A Counter, amazing. Unexpectedly it was also really cool to have the same view as the band-we could clearly see at least half of the people on the floor, and really clearly see all the front row folks and thus any of Eddies’ interactions with them (sharing his bottle of wine, standing amongst them, etc.)

Second, the music. You know how before a show you make a mental list of what songs you most hope to hear? and then you think about realistically which ones they might play? they played almost every song on my mental list. And they were INCREDIBLE. They sounded fantastic and the set list was just beyond. They exploded out with Once as their opener. And then I think the third song was one I really wanted to hear (and was pretty confident they would play) called Mind Your Manners, and it was so hard rocking that I just went berserk. Then a couple songs later they played Wishlist, which was my #1 hope and I didn’t think they’d play and it was so overhwelming that I basically kept crying. For real. I felt like I was in the song. They played for about 3 hours, maybe a little more. They took a couple little breaks and, much like Neil Young, sometimes you’d think, wow that must be the end and then they’d take a song and jam for 10 minutes with it. Which they did with the last song I was holding out hope they’d play, Rearview Mirror, and it was just amazing. So, the music was phenomenal. they played a bunch of stuff from 10.

Pearl Jam

Third, the feeling. They were playing at the arena in Philly (wells fargo center, formerly the Spectrum) so that’s a big venue, but it felt like they were playing in a club. Interacting with the audience,and you could tell that 25 years in it they still love playing together. Eddie seems like not just an amazing musician, but also a pretty nice guy–acknowledging people who were holding up things, saying “Happy Birthday” and pointing at a kid with his dad holding up a sign that said “13th birthday” right in the middle of a song, doing a special thing for a make a wish type kid that they put up on the screen and he sang a song for (who didn’t have a tear in their eye when they saw that kid and his mom?); tossing out tambourines to the crowd; and the last few songs the lights were up so you could really see everyone and it felt like a giant party.

Fourth, a bit more on #3, with regard to the wedding. Wedding? Yes, after the first break Eddie came out and said he’d just found out that a couple had come to the show and gotten married during it. He looked around for their suite and it was right above us way up high, in a box. the camera viewed it on the screen. You could tell the people in there didn’t know they were going to be acknowledged. the bridge and groom came to the edge and Eddie said nice things to them and that he was going to play a romantic song just for them. Then he sat on a stool and played acoustic a Tom Waits song that was beautiful. Eddie Vedder sang their wedding song. I mean, really. The bridge and groom cried and were beside themselves. It was fantastic.

Odds n’ ends: we were talking the other day about who still smokes? Pearl Jam fans, that’s who. SO SMOKY outside the arena. I haven’t seen that many people smoking since I don’t know when.
Saw an elderly lady (white hair) wearing a sleeveless Social Distortion/Pearl Jam concert t with autographs, and her old lady bare arms were fully covered in tattoos.
When we got to our seat we made friends with a guy who admired my Neil Young concert shirt and talked to him. He is seeing PJ 4x on this tour and had already seen them twice. Then the next people who showed up were a guy who was bringing his son with him, and it was his son’s first concert. They were adorable and both wearing t-shirts that said “It doesn’t get Eddie Vedder than this”. The crowd was, overall, really great.
To sum up: it was the best concert of my life and all I could have hoped for and more.
And here’s Paul’s report on it:¬†https://ijustreadaboutthat.wordpress.com/2016/04/29/pearl-jam-wells-fargo-center-philadelphia-pa-april-28-2016/
What else has gone on in April? Well, nothing with regard to the garden. We’d better figure out our plan pretty fast. We are trying very hard to grow grass in all the bare patches in our yard, so at least we’re working on that. Everything is looking very lush and green and beautiful as the leaves are almost fully open on the maple, and the Japanese maple is fully opened.
It’s broody hen time and we’ve got the usual shenanigans of taking over nests. The one nest (with too many eggs in it) has been sat on steadily for 2 weeks, so we’re looking forward to hatching day next Friday.
It was a wonderful April!