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Gwin Mitchell Paden Think you are a good speller? Check out this quiz

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Gwin Paden

Posted: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 12:00 am

Easter and hail! Who knew? The weather has driven most of us crazy, but the garden has come through! Now the white dogwood in front of the kitchen window is a lacy curtain framing a view of purple wallflowers, bluebells, red and pink azaleas, and a yellow euryops.

Last week, in between rain showers, Gardener John and I sojourned to the garden where he did major work digging up and transplanting several sizable nandinas and some ferns, and tearing up old bushes that had decided to leave this world. Now there is a clear vista from the back of the house to the back southwest corner so all the azaleas in that whole area can be seen. I like the way my azaleas bloom-enough at one time to make a display, but not all at once, so there is always a new one to admire.

There some holes left in which to plant more azaleas; there are already two bright red ones waiting and two to be moved-when things dry out a bit.

I’m looking for answers to a major problem: there are so many tree roots and so much shade in the back of the house that the lawn is fast disappearing. When summer heats up, there is just dirt in many places.

What to plant? I don’t really want to use brick (too expensive!) or field stones or Astroturf (way too expensive!), and whatever goes in has to be walked on and have garden chairs set on. Send rescue missions to my email at the end of this column, please!


Promised Don Phillips that I would mention that schedules of the Giants’ games are available at Phillips Farms/Michael David Winery. Going out there to get one is a really good excuse to eat a great lunch or breakfast (Micaela is baking cinnamon buns now!), and/or to taste some really good wines. Can’t lose for winning in this case.

And on the subject of food, two new little places have come to Lakewood Plaza area. In the northwest block, where Subway is and Alebrije’s used to be, is Bamboo Basil Noodles and Grill, with Vietnamese food. Have to get there soon. And already have had a great sandwich from Gourmet Bread Bowl, located next to the mall where Blasting Blenders used to be. They have done a great job in redecorating. Only problem is that the “music” being spread through the mall is too loud for decent conversation. Not the restaurant’s fault.

Met the owners of Alebrije’s, now downtown, at lunch at DeGrande’s the other day. They were running around doing errands at some distance from their own eatery. The same day, we had a great conversation with three delightful ladies who were helping a friend think up one name that would encompass her several types of businesses. Couldn’t resist joining in!

My husband and I have also had some brief but interesting conversations with three sophomore boys from Lodi High who are interested in history and other mind-stimulating subjects. It’s so great to see young ones actually speaking to each other face to face, not chattering shallow nonsense via some electronic gadget. This has been at the House of Coffees, of course. High school kids are around there a lot when school lets out and they generally behave quite well.


Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts and I seldom agree in our political views, but he had a really good piece of writing in a March editorial:  “Meantime, we failed right, left, and sideways, as jobs went away and money grew tight, as horizons receded and hope shriveled down to a wrinkled shell of itself, and people who had never asked for that much to begin with ... found their aspirations padlocked behind them, their dreams set out at the curb ... .”

When I was going back in my files to dig out facts about the beginning of the Lodi Arts Commission, I came across a lot of other interesting miscellany, including an article by Phil Bookman, executive editor of the then Stockton Record (yes, I reported for that paper, too, at one time), written in 1981 and regretting the proper use of spelling and grammar even as far back as that. Here we are, twenty-some years later: have we improved? I think not. Here are some words given in a spelling test from a Richmond, Va. paper. Which are misspelled? Answers in next column!

Architectural, carburator, temperature, enviornment, siezure,  occasion, questionaire, superintendant, accommodation, miscellaneous, alright, guage, attorneys, and sheriff. And no fair using Spell Check!                        

And one to end with: Why did the bacon laugh? Because the egg cracked a yolk.   

Gwin Paden can be reached at

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