nikkipolani

fff may 20

Posted in five faves friday by nikkipolani on May 20, 2016


Redouté roses from late April. Alas, the roses above were among the last of the spring flush. Roomie and I did carve out a few hours to trim and tidy and lop out dead canes.

Is it Friday already? Great! Let’s link up with Susanne’s Five Faves.

1. This week (today, in fact) begins my company’s “summer hours”. From now until mid-September, our Fridays end a few hours earlier. I’ve never worked anywhere that had this summer perk.

2. My parents traveled last weekend and I’m so glad they made it through the airports without any catastrophic delays (like many who missed their flights due to excessively long waits for security check).

3. Roomie got a swish new phone to replace her ancient one, but there were a few tricky steps. Thankfully, I’d ordered everything ahead (new cables, chargers, plugs), had read some of the instructions in advanced, and had terrific on-line-chat-help at the time of activation.

4. When I started at the new job last October, I was plunged into a complicated project organized chiefly by a fellow in our Mississippi office. After months in this now-almost-finally-finished project, he came out to California to conduct some training. I had no idea what he looked like, so when a colleague introduced us, it was as though we were long lost friends. I may have to adopt him.

5. The ladies at my church chose Bunco for a game night when we could gather for some fun. I’d never played the game and was a bit daunted by the instructions, but it didn’t take long to enjoy it and meet new friends, too.

Hope your weekend is full of good things.

fff may 13

Posted in five faves friday by nikkipolani on May 13, 2016


A whirlwind week with farewell lunches, visiting colleagues, trips to the airport, impromptu dinners, early morning conference calls (I think it was a record: USA, Germany, India, UK, China, and Australia). Sometimes it’s like that. Perfect for stopping to catch my breath with Five Faves.

1. A lovely Mother’s Day celebration with my family. My Mom had recently mastered a new recipe (osso buco) and she insisted on making it for us. And then we had a technical support session afterwards — isn’t there always one when one generation meets up with another? My brother taught Mom how to take a timed selfie.

2. Roomie’s nephew had struggled with a required calculus course that he needed to graduate. With his wedding coming up late this summer and a new job to start, he was really anxious to pass the class this time (this would be his third time through). When he did, there was great rejoicing.

3. It’s gardenia season! Actually, I’ve no idea when these temperamental shrubs decide to bloom, but a bowl of them (from a neighbor’s garden) have been perfuming the living and dining rooms for the whole week.

4. I was already pleased when a co-worker introduced me to a sort-of-close-to-work Vietnamese restaurant with good phở, but my eyes lit up when I saw a plate of traditional rice-paper-wrapped egg rolls being delivered to someone else’s table. This week, we trooped out there and I was not disappointed – perfectly crackly crunchy outside and nicely seasoned inside.

5. Though roses have finished (and are in dire need of deadheading), the star jasmine, alstroemerias, geraniums, and iochroma are peaking. Aren’t we so blessed with God’s creativity?

other rose lovers

Posted in cat's meow, companions, rosy things by nikkipolani on May 9, 2016

Y’all knew cats ate roses, right? I mean, if you’ve been around here long, you’ve seen this:


Minou likes pink petals


but he loves yellow roses


Sammy has usually absconded when spilled vases are discovered or tabletops strewn with flowers pulled out, but I’ll bet these teeth marks will match up with her dental records


Emmaline, on the other hand, prefers setting her teeth on prickly rose canes


Surely you remember this?


George, as you know, prefers tape

But I bet you didn’t know squirrels eat roses, too.  I was working at the computer when I heard a chatter out the window that looks out onto the backyard. We often get squirrels jumping from tree to tree to utility cables as they played or chased or did their squirrely thing. As I glanced around, I distinctly saw a squirrel on the block wall reaching forward to grab a Colonial White bloom and eat it.  Of course, he’d stopped munching by the time I grabbed my camera, but he hadn’t gone very far away.


Those single white blooms are those of clematis Huldine; the squirrel ignored them.

Sammy had caught sight of him and locked on while he lowered his tail and looked down cooly at her, settling in to see who would blink first. I’ve highlighted their contest in the image below.

The next day, we had some friends from church over for lunch on the patio. Something red in the trees caught my eye — it was a red petal being carried up into the slender branches of the nearby pittosporum tree.

Roomie could hardly believe me, but she soon got her own squirrel-eating-rose sighting. She caught this one (the same one?) twirling acrobatically across springy tree branches, hanging by his back feet while he stretched up-side-down for the pink petals of Monsieur Tillier.

There you have it, friends. Squirrels love roses, too.

fff may 6

Posted in five faves friday by nikkipolani on May 6, 2016

Happy Friday, friends, the first of this month of May. Let’s see what’s been collected for the week’s five faves.

1. I wasn’t sure I was up to having guests to lunch after being a week away, but an easy menu was chosen for our meal after church (BBQ chicken, Spanish tortilla, roasted baby bells, tomato cucumber corn salad, cookies). We all had such a lovely time on the patio enjoying beautiful weather, getting to know each other. These were new friends roomie and I had just met and they are delightful.

2. One of the best compliments I received was when one of the guests said she knew she was in safe hands coming to our place for lunch. She is gluten-intolerant, too, as well as many other grains. So she was relieved to know she’d be able to eat safely.

3. The bouquet at the top of this post graced our table — roses that are rarely picked for the vase were at the perfect stage. That pink one is Jubilee Celebration, the white polyantha, Swany, at the back is has done well for the first time ever, and one of the loveliest of fragrances is Buff Beauty — the pale tangerine colored ones. Hard to believe we’re nearing the end of the spring rose flush.

4. On my first morning returning to the work routine, after feeding the cats, I had dressed and was double-checking my schedule on the cell phone when I noticed it must still be on Chicago time: 4:09. Then I realized it was California time. I’d forgotten to reset my alarm clock from the previous Monday when I had to catch an early shuttle to the airport. Well, I went ahead to work and got a really good start to the pile that awaited.

5. Some answered prayers this week:  after herculean efforts to ready her home, a dear friend put her house up for sale and got an acceptable offer within three days; another friend in a work crisis prayed for God’s guidance on how to resolve and was obedient — and successful.

Enjoy your weekend!

more huntington

Posted in outings by nikkipolani on May 3, 2016

During our few hours at the Huntington Library and Gardens (they’re only open to the public from noon until 4:30), we spent a good bit in the color-saturated rose gardens. Then we headed to the Chinese Garden where trees and shrubs had matured since their planting back nearly ten years before. It’s reportedly one of the largest traditional Chinese gardens outside China.

We parked ourselves on a bench near the lake to do a bit of people-watching. The jasmine-like scent of Japanese mock orange (Pittosporum tobira) wafted by as though on cue — the garden is aptly named the Garden of Flowing Fragrance.

Ducks and geese were also enjoying the lake, floating nonchalantly by brilliant water lilies.

The afternoon had warmed up quite a bit and we found ourselves lulled into sitting in the cool enjoying the harmonious surroundings, breathing in fragrant breezes, reading books we’d brought. There are a couple of interesting links here and here about the collaboration of the Huntington and Chinese landscapers and artisans. This map shows how the garden is laid out.

Intricate pathway pavings and artful windows are only a few of the features that capture the eye.

Isn’t that perfect for a quiet reading spot? And when we walked by, there was a woman doing just that.

As we exited the garden, we heard people exclaiming over this bush. I didn’t get an ID, but I think these are Itoh peonies, one of the few varieties that can be grown in Southern California.

And this ends our visit to the Huntington, this spring 2016.

fff april 29

Posted in five faves friday, outings by nikkipolani on April 29, 2016

Goodness, the last Friday of my favorite month has arrived. And I’m still in Chicago on a week-long business trip, returning home about the time you’ll be reading this — a wonderful time to remember God’s blessings and provision for the week.

1. After an uneventful flight, I was surprised by how sunny and warm Chicago was — sunshine and low 80s. I also got to try Uber for the first time and had an interesting driver of Guatemalan origin, but 40-year Chicagoan.

2. Spring has definitely sprung here, with tulips brightening sidewalk gardens and ornamental pear blossoms in full array. There were artfully planted blue hydrangeas and golden pansies and daffodils, too.

3. I’m so thankful for pleasant and funny and professional and commiserating and helpful co-workers. About 40 of us gathered from all over and sometimes it felt like I’ve been at camp all week. For our first event together, we met on the 17th floor rooftop garden of our hotel with a most spectacular view of the city (at the top of this post, and below). As you can see, dark clouds were rolling in and stayed for most of the week. But that first day was perfect for a stroll in the city and a rooftop event.

4. Since we stayed right downtown, everything was within easy walking distance — a double bonus: getting in a brisk walk after sitting in meetings and picking up items missed in one’s packing.

5. One of our group activities was packing sack lunches for the homeless at the local Salvation Army Harbor Light Center which helps people overcome addictions and provides rehabilitation treatment as well as housing. Some of us were in a fast-paced production-line making sandwiches and packing fruit, juice, chips, and cookies while others made salads for the evening meal. What a great way to build camaraderie and teamwork while supporting this community.

Being away for so long means there’s a bit of a pile up in my in-box, but the experience was well worth it. Hope yours was a good week, too.  Happy weekend!

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