Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Blue On Blue

Spring, right? I walked 15 minutes from the bus stop to the shop this morning and my ears were frozen. One of my coworkers picked me up and saved me the last 5 minutes of wind. I got a proper dressing down for not dressing properly. But who can tell what clothes to wear these days? Wellies, sneakers, flip flops or ballet flats? A coat or a little jacket? Wool or cotton? Well, in my khaki jacket, cotton sweater, t-shirt and ballet flats I got it all wrong. And I heard about it in English and Spanish.

But when I came home from work the wind was gentle, the skies were so blue, and the garden was haphaphappy. The first blossoms on the ornamental plum are open, the brunnera is flowering the muscari at the base of the crepe myrtle are up and starting to open. I should have fallen to my knees rejoicing and weeding, but after a garden tour, I pulled a chair into the sun and read my book. Ahhhh. Last day of March!

Monday, March 29, 2010

It Was All I Hope It Would Be

I had the nicest Sunday, minus the sun itself, but still.

We walked the Lab in the rain. She doesn't mind the weather, just trots on ahead and smiles.

We grocery shopped, good will hunted and scored these two pieces of stoneware. The little brown dish from West Germany maybe 70's? And this vase which finally encouraged me to get the flowers off the kitchen counter.

Then delicious housemade brautwurst sandwiches from The German Store covered in sauerkraut and mustard on chibatta rolls. I should have taken a picture, but my appetite got in the way of my camera.

There was a nap and reading and German girl made Pad Thai with beef for dinner.

We went to sleep with the windows open a crack and the sound of a gentle rain. I wish I could do it all over again.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Where The Wild Things Are

13 hours after arriving home the flowers, still tied with raffia, are sitting in a pitcher by the sink. While the rest of the house is rather bare, washing dishes seems like less of a chore. Happy Sunday.

Friday, March 26, 2010

An Orange Umbrella And Purple Lilacs

What was today's highlight? Was it when I decided to change my clothes at the last minute this morning and missed the bus? Or the 25 minutes I stood under my orange umbrella talking to myself and waiting for the next one to come?

Was it when my friend and coworker Betty said " I always say, Jane used to be funnier"? When I replied that I had never heard her say that so she said " I guess I say it to myself all the time". Who knew? So I fired her. Apparently that was funny.

So we laughed through the cold, wet day. Outside the fruit trees are blooming, inside we had lilacs and jasmine and dogwood from California. Pollen is running high and so were our spirits. It's spring.

And as the Lab is my witness, I'll try to be funnier. Jeesh.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Weeding Not Fretting

In an attempt to keep myself from turning on the tv and becoming enraged over whatever today's top news stories might be I:

Arrived home from work, let the dog out, threw my purse on the table, grabbed a spade and started digging out wild spring onions from my garden beds. Mind you I was still in my work clothes. Not fancy duds 'cause my job is a dirty one, but still.

Um, made a pasta salad, kind of rushing the season but it is warm out.

Read new postings on my favorite blogs ( congrats to Denise of Little Pheasant for yet one more rave write up), found a few new ones to excite my imagination. ghostly dreams and flower things being one of them. Great writing, beautiful flowers and photos and the coolest flower girl you'll ever see. Okay, I couldn't wait for you to go to her blog, I had to show the photo here!

Must not turn on tv, must not turn on tv, must not turn on tv.

Monday, March 22, 2010

On The Third Day Of Spring

What a difference a day makes. Saturday and Sunday I was wearing flip flops, today I'm in my wellies.

Sunday my little tulip plant had one perfect blossom, today all the flowers are open.

Sunday we were grilling, tonight I'm making meat loaf but with a french potato salad and I can make this why? Because my herbs are growing, I could quickly steam some little Yukon gold potatoes and toss them with a shallot, a few spring onions, fresh lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and some chives and thyme from the garden.

And the meat loaf, kind of a fancy recipe from the 72 Market Street. Restaurant

I don't make the accompanying sauce unless I'm at the beach on Fire Island and my friend Larry wants the whole shebang. For a week in paradise I'll cook anything you ask.

And though I know this isn't a political blog ,one more thing: on Sunday the health care reform bill passed, on Monday, my state Virginia threatened to sue the federal government over the health care reform bill????? What!!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

March 20th, 2010

On the first day of Spring, I worked, but i wore flip flops.

When I left the shop, I looked up and saw a tulip magnolia in bloom and pussy willow bursting open.

After work we grilled chicken kabobs and Irish bangers. We ate chocolate dipped fruit left over from German girl's birthday. And we slept with the windows open.

What did you do on the first day of spring?


Thursday, March 18, 2010

March Madness

What a crazy week. Starting with migraine Monday ( which continued into Tuesday till noon) blending into the National Museum Of Natural History"s dinner celebrating both their 100 year anniversary and the opening of their Hall Of Origins on Wednesday, ending with corned beef and cabbage at our friend Anne's (just a little extra jolt of sodium to further inflame the possibility of another migraine).

Now it's Thursday. I have a fresh pedicure, dinner cooked by German girl to look forward to and our one night of TV watching, oh and the New York Times home section.

I didn't get any fab shots at the museum, cause the caterer had set up 2 extra tables and I was so busy running round and round the rotunda counting tables and worrying where the 2 arrangements I didn't have would appear from, I kinda slacked on the photos.

Here's a shot of one of the centerpieces taken at work, a shot of the yummy looking menu ( Click on pic and drool) and of course a shot of the elephant (minus its tail). I had to run because the guests were arriving and I was also minus my tails.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Oh Snap!

I suppose I could be out in the garden this cool rainy day planting peas or some such spring vegetable. But I'm inside playing with my new camera!

The little Sony was getting very tired and refusing to focus. So on the months old suggestion of Marie from 66 Square Feet I went for a Canon Power Shot. I still point and click but the pictures are sharper , the colors brighter and there is less blurring.

So here are a few blossoms blooming around the house. Notice the cute little vase full of garden roses and ranunculus on the window sill, this was given to me last week full of daffodils. Another happy spring gift. Cuter than the leprechaun, eh? And hopefully you can see some branches from our pussy willow in the back yard. Gotta be careful with willow. Take a branch home, put it in water and it grows roots. Then you think, hey why not plant this? Several years later you have a willow tree blocking your access to your back yard. Buyer beware.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

I'm Late, I'm Late

I want my hour back! I woke at 7:30, a fine time to start a Sunday for myself and the cat. But it was really 8:30, hmmpt. Grey skies, drizzly but lots of green appearing in the garden. The cat went out, I made my espresso ,iced it , then sat down at the computer. And promptly lost another hour reading a funny blog I just found, or rather found me, called Sara In Le Petit Village.

So now I've lost 2 hours. Technically. But we're housebound today anyway. Sam, our 1993 Toyota pickup wouldn't start yesterday, too much rain? Which meant much neighborhood excitement at 8:50 am, as various neighbors popped out of their houses to offer us a ride to work or to see what all the noise was about. She (the truck) wouldn't start when tried at 7:00pm either.

Once again, neighbors came by, brought the Lab home for treats and gave us the funniest floral leprechaun ever.

Gotta go, cat's in and hungry, I hear the Lab waking up and I need a refill on my latte. I hope everyone has a lovely Sunday and if you find my *@&*ing hour, please send it back home.

German girl's sister Tini, also received a floral leprechaun today. So now I know of 3 in our hood. Feeling lucky.

Friday, March 12, 2010

A Study In Black And White

I'm giddy as a schoolgirl today. Though I have no idea what that saying means because I was rather sullen as a schoolgirl. Only giddy when I thought I was getting away with something. But I never did, get away with anything, I mean. I digress.

At 0'dark thirty this morning my boss,Marnie and I showed up at a hotel in D.C. to present our work to a room full of catering and conference sales people. We were stoked on Starbucks, well groomed for these 2 florists, and all went well. We got it. We're now one of 2 florists doing work for a big box hotel. Lots of work, lots of parties, lots of headaches, I'm sure. I hope we can remember the feelings of gratitude and sheer excitement that hit us when we got to the car. We love to work and we need the $$$$.

In celebration we went back to work, drank more coffee and produced a rather lovely party in blacks and whites , each encased in a different patterned milk glass vase. Florists, we celebrate differently, but no less wholeheartedly!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Six Degrees of Separation

We all know how it works in blogland. One blog leads to another then another and then you find the one. The one that you immediately identify with through the pictures and the prose.

Then you peruse their comments or their blog favorites and you find another. And from there, another.

So maybe once a week I'll show my new favorites. Ones that caused me to catch my breath. Ones that made me read deeper and deeper into old and then older posts.

Today it's A Rockridge Life. Its clean pages, full of BIG beautiful pictures of goats and flowers and flower arrangements and delicious food knocked my socks off. Why was I not slavishly following this blog?

After reading a comment posted by Helen, I followed her to lilacandlily a lovely British floral blog full of fanciful and charming creations.
I don't know where lilacandlily will lead me. But I can't wait. When the journey begins with forget me nots, goats and floral cupcakes you know it's going to be one delicious trip..

Photo courtesy of LilacAndLily

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Eat, Mix And Smile

We are huge fans of Thai, Vietnamese and Korean cooking around here. Though we cook these cuisines constantly, I don't often post about them because all my pictures look the same: Blue and white rice bowls, chopsticks and rice topped with___ or rice noodles topped with_____ then maybe an egg on top of _____.

But tonight we're having Bee Bim Bop, a Korean rice bowl that translates as mix-mix bowl and I feel it deserves a shout out. You can serve it with chicken or beef or just the egg if you are not a meat eater. It's simple, delicious and healthy.

I've used a pound of sirloin, thinly sliced against the grain. I marinate it in 5 tablespoons of soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of sesame oil, 3 thinly sliced scallions. 2 tablespoons of finely chopped garlic, 1 teaspoon of sugar and freshly ground black pepper.

While this sits, I cook some sticky rice in the rice cooker. Then I finely julienne 2 carrots, dice 2 zucchini, slice up a few mushrooms and clean a handful of spinach.

When rice is cooked, I quickly cook the vegetables separately in canola oil, removing each one when ready, After wilting the spinach I add the beef and stir fry. When beef is browned I pour the rest of the marinade in pan and reduce. A quick fry of one egg per person and it's ready to assemble.

Into the bowl goes the rice, A neat pile of zucchini, another of carrots, you get the idea. Meat in the middle and egg on top. Pour extra sauce in pan over top, a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds if available. I add a dollop of Vietnamese chile-garlic sauce, and then mix-mix and eat- eat.

You'll blow me kisses for this one.

Monday, March 8, 2010

I Gotta Wear Shades

I'm off. I've done my Monday morning chores. I almost has to blindfold myself to stay inside. Mopping floors and folding laundry seem particularly hard when the temperature is climbing and the sun shining.

Today is lunch with friends and then it's hair day. I'll be perfectly blonde, my friend Anne red as red can be. Then coffees and lots of Oscar gossip.

Hope the sun is shining wherever you are today. Here's a bowl of spring from the shop on Saturday. Loving that gerbera daisy.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

In Spring

Heaven is working in the garden. We raked and weeded and trimmed back and unearthed and pondered ."What is that plant, did we put it there?" We've concluded the squirrels did it. While we were snowed in cooking and reading and baking, the squirrels were hard at work rearranging the garden.

In spite of their best efforts the hellobores and snowdrops are blooming away. Peonies are thrusting up from the ground, the forsythia is covered in buds. And in spring , even a dandelion is beautiful.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Sunshine Nearly Always Makes Me High

7am this morning.

I knew today was going to be a good day.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Producto De Los Estados Unidos

The other 2 full time designers at our flower shop were born in Bolivia. One is a citizen, the other, Betty is a permanent legal resident. Today after work we came to my house and I helped her fill out her application for citizenship. I was honored.

I love them as sisters. I have learned so much from them both. How not to be a princess, how to view every job that comes along as worthwhile, not beneath me. They are both so talented and hardworking, I have come to understand there is nothing I can't ask them to do that I wouldn't do myself.

When I met Betty, she was working at the shop after school, cleaning buckets and the cooler and just making sense of the mess we made every day. After high school she began to work full time and we trained her to design. She is now a brilliant designer. She got married, had 2 beautiful boys. The 12 year old is a 4th year honor student ,the 8 year old has just been accepted into the young scholars program. She is a home owner, soccer mom, fighter for injustice . She taught me by example to stand up for my rights, make the tough phone calls, and set my boundaries. And we laugh daily , trade clothes, share lunches and plants from our gardens.

America is lucky to be getting such a strong woman as a citizen. I am very lucky to have her as a friend.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


We were slammed at work today. I don't know what this says about the economy is general, but when people are sending that many flowers on a Tuesday, things seem to be looking up. I'm setting up a new hotel account. A few years ago we might have turned our noses up at their budget. Now we're just grateful for their business. Maybe that's what this post is about: gratitude.

I have a little fat organic chicken roasting in the oven. My house was cleaned today. It isn't snowing (yet). I have a few vases of one of my favorite spring flowers sitting around the clean house. Fritillaria, sweetest little blossoms especially the checkered-lily. And a few more of red parrot tulips. I looked up the spelling of fritillaria in a beautiful old book called The Garden Encyclopedia. It was published in 1936. It's information is as pertinent today as it was then. My mother bought it at auction and I inherited it from her. I always inherited her love of cooking, gardening, auctions and yard sales and a rather sarcastic sense of humor. Thanks mom.

Yep, I'm pretty damn grateful.