Saturday, December 4, 2010

pottery and planned posts

A quick post without links -- then I must deal with some distractions this weekend.

First, a favorite potter in my blog roll, Good Elephant Pottery, will be at the Greenbelt Festival of Lights today and tomorrow. I just gave a set of her famous crab fossil coasters to a member of my family over the recent holiday.

A post on an opera company across the state line is still in the offing, and now I'd like to give notice that I've been in touch with an official closer to home about cultural amenities in Columbia Town Center's development plans. A post or series of posts on that subject is in my plans also.

See my preceding post for a list of December performances in the area with links.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

An Opera Cat's Birthday

Ollie is 10 years old this month. He was 2 when I adopted him, and his papers give his birth date as approximately October 28, 2000.

//As always, thanks for posting comments!//

Saturday, October 23, 2010

local color: sugar maples

The way the sunlight meets the sugar maples when they're in fall colors makes me so glad that I live in this area. They start out with that extraodinary tri-color phase: bands of leaves that seem to be furthest from exposure to the sun are still a lime green while the rest of the tree graduates through shades of orange or red. Eventually, the leaves become a solid blaze all over.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

"Kom wiz me to ze cat spa!"

Ollie is carrying on today as if nothing had been wrong. Yesterday was eventful after he had ingested some Dracaena plant and become extremely ill the day before. Thanks to the doctors and staff at Columbia Animal Hospital for making Ollie better again. As far as Ollie is concerned, the Hospital is his resort or spa (though he has let us know that he could do without those annoying thermometers).

(I don't have a camera right now. I've been posting pictures that are at least a year old, but they still show Ollie in typical moods and antics.)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Updates on Ollie

[One more update for today has been added at the bottom of this post.]

He's back at the Columbia Animal Hospital for more injections and an X-ray. This morning, he was going up to his food bowl and mouthing his food but dropping it like he couldn't eat. This is a cat with a weight problem, and he'd eat all the time if I let him. Some follow-up phone exchanges led to the strong suggestion by Columbia Animal Hospital's Dr. Tayman to bring Ollie back and leave him for more treatment today.

I hope to be able to pick Ollie up this evening.

Previous post has the details of my impulsive decision over the weekend to have houseplants and how Ollie got into the Dracaena.

At 8pm. I brought Ollie, #1 Opera Cat, home late this afternoon. They said at the Columbia Animal Hospital that he had started eating sooner than expected, but not much. They even skipped one of the planned procedures, so the total cost was less than this morning's estimate. X-ray didn't show any plant bits or other problems in his system. At home, he got very interested in a squirrel hanging around outside the patio sliders, but since then he's been mostly lying around and hasn't taken any food or water yet. He did come and sit next to me while I was having dinner. I think he's still recovering from the effects of the Dracaena and taking it easy.

I've had a couple of comments on Facebook. Thanks for reading this...I can hear him eating his proper food now...and he's on the move again!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Cats and Dragon Trees Don't Mix

Ollie, the cat whose image graces this blog, was very sick today. It's all my fault, too. Short story in a couple of words: New houseplants.

I once resolved never to bring real plants into the house with a cat after reading so much about illness brought on by chewing on poisonous plants. This weekend, though, I was out garden shopping and was distracted by a new shipment of pots along with the indoor plants on display at a garden center. So I came home with three new houseplants and carefully selected pots. After they were all put together and situated artfully around the house, I noticed how fascinated Ollie was with the long, blade-form leaves of the dragon tree (Dracaena marginata). I hoped to discourage him from messing with it and running the long leaves sensuously through his mouth, but when I came home today he had pulled it completely out of the pot. That was mildly funny, until I walked further into the house and noticed the vomit all over the place. Well, he at least had met me at the door as he usually does and was moving around all right, but when he went for some more food from his bowl he immediately threw up again. I don't know how much of the Dracaena he chewed, but it didn't look like it had sustained much damage after I returned it to its pot (and deposited it outside on the front patio).

As I went about cleaning up and discovering more episodes of vomiting -- sometimes food, sometimes just fluid -- I decided I'd better take Ollie to the vet just to be sure he was okay. Columbia Animal Hospital gave him an anti-vomiting injection and some subcutaneous nutritional fluid and plenty of the love that makes him actually enjoy going to the vet. They also called a couple of poison control centers to track down symptoms and treatment for the ingested plant species. The doctor could have berated me for being so careless with new plants, but maybe she understood that I already felt foolish enough. Ollie came home this evening with a new hump over one front shoulder -- a "backpack of fluids", as they called it at the vet.

I checked the book I should have checked before purchasing plants, my copy of the Humane Society's "Complete Guide to Cat Care". Dracaena, all species, was indicated on the list of dangerous plants. Also chrysanthemum, and my new indoor garden included an indoor annual chrysanthemum, although I've had one of those in the house before and Ollie never bothered it. No listing for jade plant, or jade tree, the third plant among my purchases. The book also urges the would-be cat-and-plant lover to beware of whatever the place of purchase might have sprayed on a plant. So no more indoor gardening for Ollie and me.

Ollie was lively enough at the vet, charming them as usual and exploring the examination room. He's curled up on the cat pad beside me now, waiting for me to get off this damned computer. I can't give him any food tonight and will try just a small amount on him tomorrow morning. No more dragon trees, Ollie. We found out why they're called that.

Saturday, September 4, 2010


A few recordings new and old on my stereo lately...

~ "Evocation": soprano Sandrine Piau and pianist Susan Manoff in songs by Chausson, Strauss, Debussy, Zemlinsky, Koechlin and Schoenberg (Naive, 2007)
~ Stephen Hough talks about "The Real Chopin" on the July 2007 Gramophone magazine CD.
~ Chopin: Ballades, Mazurkas, Polonaises. Piotr Anderszewski plays. (Virgin Classics, 2003)
~ Chopin: The Piano Sonatas, 5 Etudes, 4 Mazurkas. Leif Ove Andsnes plays. (Virgin Classics, 1992)
~ Sir John Eliot Gardiner talks about "The Real Bach" on the June 2007 Gramophone CD.
~ J. S. Bach: Inventionen und Sinfonien; Franzosische Suite V. Till Fellner plays. (ECM, 2009)
~ "New York Variations": Stephen Hough plays piano works by Copland, Corigliano, Ben Weber and George Tsontakis (Hyperion, MCMXCVIII, probably 1998)

Friday, August 27, 2010

on a break ~~ Ollie on top of everything

I seem to be in the middle of another blogging break. Meanwhile, feel free to explore the links in the margin or the labels at the bottom of the page, and enjoy this candidate for

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Someone is taking great photographs of a great county.

Thanks to HowChow again for an occasional look at what's going on outside the restaurants he visits. An anonymous blogger has been running HoCo360, a beautiful photography blog about Howard County, Maryland. Here is HoCo360's extraordinary portrait of a young cellist.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Garden Spots

To be a list of public gardens and garden-like areas in the region and garden resources. (To go to the main blog page, click on the blog title at the top of this page.)

~~Around Columbia and Howard County, Maryland~~

Howard County Bird Club
Howard County Conservancy
Howard County Master Gardeners -- University of Maryland extension program
Oakland Manor, Columbia Town Center -- The preserved manor house serves as our community center, so scenic in the middle of its hilltop garden.
Robinson Foundation and Robinson Nature Center
Symphony Woods, Columbia Town Center -- The plans look great, but try to see this lovely wooded park before they develop it.
Whipps Garden Cemetery, Ellicott City

Near Oakland Manor and Symphony Woods: The paths around Lake Kittamaqundi and Wilde Lake provide for long strolls or jogs through garden spots and wooded areas. The office building designed by Frank Gehry earlier in his career overlooking Lake Kittamaqundi (or just "the Lake") looks like Columbia's answer to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

Commercial Establishments: River Hill Garden Center ... Sun Nurseries

~~The Greater Baltimore-Washington, DC, Area and Maryland~~

Brookside Gardens, Montgomery County
Cylburn Arboretum, Baltimore
Rawlings Conservatory and Botanic Gardens, Baltimore
Smithsonian Gardens -- gardens of the Smithsonian Institute around the National Mall
United States Botanic Garden -- on the National Mall, near the Capitol
United States National Arboretum

~~Further Afield~~

Asheville, North Carolina:
Botanical Gardens at Asheville -- native plants of the Southern Appalachian Mountains
North Carolina Arboretum
WhiteGate Inn -- just a personal favorite among Asheville's many attractive lodging options. The WhiteGate's garden is an inspiration and education in itself.


Home and Garden Information Center -- University of Maryland extension program

I hope to include links to upstate New York garden spots eventually. Until then, the upstate NY label at the bottom of this post will take you to relevant photos and links. The Asheville label also features photos.