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RENT: No Day But Today

RENT: No Day But Today


It’s hard to say exactly when I became a RENThead (dedicated fan of the Broadway show RENT, similar to Deadheads, people that followed around the Grateful Dead). I know that I heard the Original Broadway Cast (OBC) recording first and loved the music. I also recalled reading about people that called themselves “RENTheads” that camped out for a lottery to try for $20 tickets


Anthony Rapp as Hedwig

before each show.

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Urban Decay?

The other day when I came home from work, I was relieved to hear the tapping of a woodpecker. I was glad that the insect-eating bird had decided to stay in the area, considering that my neighbors had cut down three of the prime habitat dead trees in the alley behind my house in Pittsburgh.

Dead trees, better known as “snag” trees, are not all that common in the city, because the general public consensus is that if a tree is dead, it is unsightly and unattractive and should not be left standing. But in an alley, where they can do no harm and offer the benefit of wildlife habitat, it was sad for me to see snag trees lost.

Welcome, Spring

Photo by GW

Photo by GW

                          Spring finally arrived today at 7:44 a.m.

A Garden Witches’ Herbal

The first installment of “A Garden Witches’ Herbal,” on Basil is below. It originally was published in an employee newsletter about 8 years ago in similar form. I enjoyed writing these pieces then and will bring them back here. There are several more, such as Lavender and Rosemary that will be coming soon. I will also be adding more herbs to the collection from my presentations that I either do not have enough time to cover fully or do not have the opportunity to cover for one reason or another.

All of the herbal resources will be provided as a separate page for easy reference.

A Garden Witches’ Herbal: Basil


Garden Witch Photo

Garden Witch Photo

Basil (Ocimum basilicum)

There are over 60 species of Basil (Ocimum spp.), which have various culinary and miscellaneous uses. Basil folklore is often contradictory, depending on which geographic or cultural information is consulted. Even the origin of the name of basil has been disputed since ancient times. The Greek word “baslikon” means “kingly” or “king” and basil is sometimes referred to as the “king of herbs.” The ancient Greeks believed that only the king could harvest basil from the royal garden. The French call basil “herbe royale,” while the Latin word “ocimum” is from the Greek, translated to “the sense of being able to enjoy the fragrance.” To illustrate the contradictions associated with basil, it is said to symbolize hatred, love, good wishes, warm friendship, wealth, poverty, and good luck.


Looking Out the Window

Looking Out the Window in the Local Area:We finally have some spring bulbs making their early appearances:



On March 3, Snowdrops started blooming in the GW’s garden in the City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County

   Siberian Iris, Photo by Brian Dunst

On March 8, Siberian Iris began blooming in South Strabane, Washington County.  Thanks to Brian Dunst for contributing the photo.




Crocus, Photo by GW

On March 9, Crocus started blooming in Imperial, Allegheny County, and on March 12, they began blooming in the GW’s garden.

A Starter Garden

a-starter-gardenA Starter Garden: The Guide for the Horticulturally Hapless” was written by Cheryl Merser in the early 1990’s documenting her first two years of beginning a new garden in Sag Harbor, New York.

This is a great book for those who are ready to “turn a yard into a garden,” as Mercer appropriately puts it. Mercer presents the three basic questions that each aspiring gardener should ask themselves before they even get their hands dirty – how much: time, effort and money can I put into this? She wisely advises “Become something of a garden pest yourself; immerse yourself in the world of gardening before you cultivate your own.”

Cool Quotes

Some quotes are just too good to keep to yourself, which is why they are repeated so often.  Here are some of my personal favorites:

No day but today.
   –  Jonathan Larson, from RENT

If you’re going through hell, keep going.
   – Winston Churchill

Everything happens for a reason.
   – American Proverb

The best way out is always through.
   – Robert Frost

Acquiring a dog may be the only opportunity a human has to choose a relative.
   – Mordecai Siegal

Some days, you’re the dog, some days you’re the hydrant.
   – Anonymous

About the Poet’s Corner:   A friend of mine in college who writes under the name of A. Vauxhall, used to contribute poetry, satire, book and record reviews to an Erie magazine called “The Plain Brown Wrapper.” We have kept in touch, and her writings now arrive through my email inbox, and with her approval, we are now sharing them here with you.

I Knew a Man

I knew a man
  he hurt me so
From my thoughts
  he will not go
The truth will out
  so they say
By his side
  I could not stay
No lost sleep
  of me he does not think
No thoughts of me
  not even of our severed link.

                        A. Vauxhall 1/09