Tuesday, May 31, 2011

In Spring A Woman's Fancy Turns To Thoughts Of.......

Today a coworker asked if today was the last day of May.  When I replied yes she asked , then is tomorrow the first day of July? 

Yes, yes it is, I said.  With temperatures hitting 95 and humidity close to 70%, I think she's right.  We'll be skipping June  this year and heading right on to the 4th of July.  

 Yesterday's shopping list included such delicacies as  sparkling water, more water, bags of limes and lemons, a cantaloupe, a pineapple, yogurt, mozzarella cheese and tomatoes and bug repellent. A few cold cuts, bread and did I say sparking water?  Oh and blueberries, avocados and beer and sunscreen.  Apparently we're going to picnic ourselves through the heat.

 If I had known we'd be missing a month I would have grabbed some sparklers, marshmallows and graham crackers. 

Do I get to skip a mortgage payment too? 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

These Mean Streets

Remember our friends across the street who put their house on the market?  Unfortunately for them it hasn't sold but occasionally they get feedback from the realtor.  My favorite was one looker who pronounced: (quote) It's a screwed up house, on a screwed up street, in a screwed up neighborhood. (End Quote)

Do you think he noticed that I managed to grow the tiniest radish in history?

 Do you think he was threatened by my post about the thorns in the prickly pear cactus, now blooming beautifully, but full of weeds?

 Or do you think he snuck over to my next door neighbor Nelda's house and saw what happened when she innocently planted her split leaf philodendron in the ground?

(Who knew?!?  Did you know?  What the heck is it?)

Half of the screwed up street was up early this morning, everyone working away in their crazy gardens, growing miniature vegetables, weapons of thumb destruction and (what?).

That's our neighborhood.  Love us or leave us.  It's a one way street; our way or the highway.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Spring Into Summer

 Spring did not heed my call, so we have surrendered to our early summer.  You can't fight temperatures in the
90's with words alone.

 We're drinking glass after glass of  lemonade. Air conditioners and fans are running.  Flimsy peasant blouses and shorts are the clothing choices and pedicures are de rigueur.  I have a strict no necklace policy going on, rings and bracelets are the only jewelry I can abide.

I'm making salads, GG is grilling, the cat has moved back into her summer house, which is a cave in the boxwoods.  The Lab is just lying about, dazed by the heat, rousing herself only for dinner ( hers or ours) and a walk.  Oh, and the mailman of course.  It's never too hot to give the mailman hell.

The city is emptying out for  the long weekend, and though I work as usual this Saturday I declare this coming Monday, the last of the month, a blog holiday also.  So we'll put off Flowers In The House until the following week.
I intend to spend every minute the humidity allows outside, gardening, eating, and hanging with my homies in the hood.  And eating more grilled corn.

What are your plans?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Taking Back the Garden

May has whizzed on by.  While we were being all busy the garden was madly blooming away. Our neighbors were dropping by to trade a rose from their garden for a peony from ours, vases were filled with the strong scents of spring. The days were rainy and sunny simultaneously. And then whoosh, away went the peonies and the lilac and all the lovely iris and in came the weeds and the aphids and the deadly blackspot and the 88 degree days.  Hold on Spring, give us a moment to catch up here.

 Monday we had a whole day of nothing but time.  Time to weed and mulch and go to a garden center and buy vegetables and herbs and a few new perennials.

The peach tree bed, recently known as the dead peach tree bed is renewed. The dead wood  is gone and  planted alongside the lavender and iris and roses are tomatoes and peppers and eggplant.  Now we cross our fingers and wait and water.

Tuesday while I was working GG whipped the lawn into shape, edged the beds and planted the herbs.

Even as I am writing this new weeds are poking up through the mulch and the grass is growing.  

But when I walked outside at 7:00 am this morning the garden was more than ready for her close up. 

So I obliged. She's also available for autographs if you want to come by.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Morning After

A quiet group of 5 gathered at our table for late breakfast, early lunch today.

We were tired.  Hostessing, in my case, charming 35 near strangers, in the Hai's case and cooking and chatting and cleaning up at at midnight in all of our cases took its toll.

But we rallied one last time to come together and toast the graduate, roast ourselves and just be together.

I had not one minute to take even one photo.  The Hai got over 400 , so surely he'll let me poach one or two.  But everything was delicious and thanks to all your input I streamlined the menu and added a hearty ratatouille for the vegetarians.

There was plenty of desserts, enough that if a few of you had dropped by we could have offered you a homemade cupcake.

In lieu of  last night I give you this morning.  The last of the salmon, the ripest of the tomatoes. the freshest bread and the most delicious berries.

Do I always seem to sign off with " time for a nap"?

Because it is definitely, time for a nap.

xo Jane

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Scenes From A Graduation

If I wasn't working so hard in the kitchen, I'd be able to show you a few pictures from Thursday.  But, alas, I'm chopping and sauteeing, slicing and dicing and don't have a moment to spare.

But if I did, I'd be able to show you a tall blonde with a newly acquired BS.

Who was suddenly beseiged by papparazzi.

Swept off to dinner by a mysterious man with a German accent.

Who insisted on the truffled cheese fries to start, along with several other deadly sins.

And aided and abetted by two attractive accomplices,

led us straight through the rich entrees to much not needed desserts.

Where I fought not to eat any of the toffee ice cream or the chocolate cakes, but lost the battle.

There was talk of accompanying them back to "their place" for several botles of champagne.

But here the graduate and myself begged off and drove home to walk the dog and fall into deep sleep.

Only to awake the following morning and wonder if it was all but a dream.

If I had a minute to spare this is just how I would tell the story.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Food For Thought

Working on the food for GG's party Saturday night.  I'm thinking 30 people, there may be more.  Perhaps half are vegetarians, the others are devoted carnivores. Hunters+gatherers=a hard menu to plan.

This is what I've got so far:

Marinated, grilled flank steak

Grilled German sausages.

Smoked salmon ( smoked by the Hai, GG's father)

German potato salad

French lentil and rice salad with feta cheese.

Pasta salad with artichokes, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, toasted pine nuts, red onion and herbs/ or Dan Dan Noodles ( with scallions, soy sauce, peanut butter, chili paste and toasted peanuts)?

Assorted cheeses and breads

A BIG green salad

Thoughts? Prayers? Suggestions?

The good news: we're having the party at a friend's house so no one need worry about that kitchen ceiling that still needs to be plastered, the lawn that is knee deep in clover or the back deck that looks like it has escaped being painted AGAIN this spring.  When it's us vs the grapevine, we always lose!

Audience participation please.  Rate menu please: Yum, pretty tasty or no thanks not enough options.

P.S. I'm trying to get Marie from 66 square feet to  come down for the party.  Throw in a yes for that too will you?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Day The Earth Stood Still

Sunday was a  nothing doing, doing nothing day.  Janet and Steve would be proud of me.  After a morning spent cleaning and doing laundry,  I stopped.  Doing.  Anything.

I read outside at the table, ignoring the weeds and the unshaven lawn.  I drank fresh lemonade and read some more.  I came inside, flopped down on the couch next to the sleeping dog, and kept reading. Then I made some espresso, iced it up with milk, went back to the garden and finished my book.  Maybe there was a nap....

GG is studying.  She has three days of finals starting Monday, Then she graduates on Thursday. ( picture me jumping up and down here)

We are conserving our energy.  GG's father hits town this week, trailing in his wake: loaves of bread, sausages, salmon he smoked himself, bottles of red wine, miles of camera paraphernalia, and what ever new music he had discovered.  The joint will be jumping and as always we will disappoint him by going to bed just about the time he wants to go out and dance. He is much younger than we are.

We'll have dinner en famille on Thursday, then a party for friends and family on Saturday night.

This is going to be a very good week.  Stay tuned.

xo Jane

Saturday, May 14, 2011

While I Wandered Lonely

I have 15 minutes to write this.  Showers and dog walking and work beckon.

But we've been apart so long.  By Friday morning I had given up and rushed off to attend my first meeting of BA, Bloggers Anonymous.  I met many local bloggers there, some famous, many unknown like myself.  But we all had a commonality, we couldn't post, comment, or even write future posts.  We seemed doomed to a life of reading only.  Reading and keeping our thoughts to ourselves.  I shudder even now to think of the pain I heard expressed there.

I arrived at work feeling hopeful the problem would be resolved.  I was not to know, because in my absence our driver had decided to clean up the computer and managed to unload some security virus that kept us from logging in all day.  Perhaps he works for Google on the side.

After work there was only time for a brief garden walk , even the plants seemed dark and moody. A quick change of clothes and we were off to a birthday party for a 5 year old.  Pretty Pretty Princess and Princess Yahtzee, glitter paper and chocolate cake can only help so much though.

But this morning I awoke to find you all here where you belong with new pictures and stories.  My heart and mind are at rest.

My 15 minutes of fame are up now.  I'll be back to visit after 6:00, please keep everything running in my absence, K?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The 5 Commandments

Thou shall not covet thy neighbor's poppies, or columbine or peonies.

Thou shall not try to pull a dandelion out from the middle of a prickly pear cactus no matter how irritating it is to look at.  A handful of cactus needles is ultimately more irritating.

Thou shall not attempt to move 3 small pots of cacti outside at the same time.  And if one must, thou shall not try to get the needles out of your thumb with your teeth.  Because then they may lodge in your tongue.

Thou shall always have a good pair of tweezers close at hand. 

Clearly thou should not do anything but sleep,read and eat for the 2 days immediately following a work binge.


Sunday, May 8, 2011

We Climbed Every Mountain

How tired?  Too tired to feel my legs last night.

How busy?  So busy that by 11:00am, the idea of an annual post holiday staff flogging had taken hold in Gwen's and my mind and we laughed till we cried.  Unfortunately, (or not), everyone worked so hard, we couldn't decide on a victim. Though when I put The Sound Of Music CD on so the designers could yodel along to The Lonely Goatherd, I was undoubtedly a contender.

My favorite moment: when GG called for help from the front of the store.  When I asked what they needed I thought she said lemonade.  In disbelief, I echoed lemonade? We had just done a Starbucks run...but it turned out they needed lemon leaves.  Ah.  This played out in front of about 30 customers.  Then of course we all wanted lemonade.  Such is the life of a florist during a major holiday.

Everyone is awake now and we are about to go out and gambol in the garden. There will be mowing and weeding and watering and sowing.  And then a big collapse and napping. 

Happy Mothers Day to all.  May your heart be filled with the sound of music and your peonies burst open in triumphant beauty.

P.S. I understand from friends that Miss P.'s charming guest post did not show up on their blog lists.  I know not why, but this was unhappy making news.  If you didn't get to read it do so immediately:)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Hands Across The Water

Was the royal wedding just a week today?  Did you think the excitement from across the pond was over? Fear not, have I got  treat for you!  The lovely Miss Pickering from swinging England has written a  guest post just for us.   So read and enjoy and think of England for god's sake, don't think of me running around the flower shop with what GG calls "crazy lady in the bus station eyes".  Cheers! (and Thank you Oh Lovely One)

"Write about tea, an English tea with a posy of flowers" she said

So here i am guest blogging about tea. An honour if ever there was one. Jane's blog is not only informative, gardening tips and tales of countless husbands, but a community, where we all come to hear tales, and give our tuppence worth in the comments. I shall endeavour not to upset the applecart. 

So tea, all English people drink tea, and gin, and occasionally water.  I have 4 varieties of tea, 6 of gin. I like a strong blend in the morning, and an Earl Grey in the afternoon, gin thereafter. The green tea is not mine, i don't know where it came from. Odd. 

Always make tea in a pot, leaf or bag, one per person and one for the pot. Pour into fine bone china, and add milk or lemon. Never put the milk in first, and never add milk to Earl Grey, your card will be marked, and you won't be invited to the next ball.

It is a legal requirement to have cake with tea, i favour a scone with clotted cream and roasted rhubarb. Do you have clotted cream in America? It is a very rich thick cream with a crust on top, your arteries fur up as you eat it, but oh my it is an exquisite pleasure. If you are having a fancy tea, you might have several varieties of cake and cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off. Claridges  http://www.claridges.co.uk/london-mayfair-afternoon-tea.aspx   do it so well, it would be rude not to go if you were ever in town. 

One might also arrange some activities a game of bridge, a tinkle on the piano, wink at Mr. Darcy in his breeches, or arrange an assignation with him under the rose arbour.

Naturally it will all be served in the presence of a posy cut from your garden.


In reality of course, we English all drink cappuccinos in paper cups, just like on Sex and the City.