Friday, September 30, 2011

Hot Enough For Ya?

What we have here, ladies and gentleman, is a situation.

We have a customer who is helping to plan a gala.  She wants to use her florist: us. The other two committee members want to use their florists.  Fair enough.

The very glamorous clothing designer who is the guest of honor has her own florist.  And he's a BIG guy from New York City.  You heard me right, the Big Apple.

DC doesn't want to pay his prices.  The designer doesn't want dreck on the tables.

So 3 of us have been selected to do a sample and send a picture to our local connection, who will send it on to the fashion designer who will then show it, to her florist and he will decide if any of the designs are acceptable. I asked my co worker betty to whip up a little something something.

Instructions: Red.

Ok, red gem stones, red lights, red amaryllis,  2 varieties of red garden roses, red chili peppers, red hydrangea.  Red enough for you?

Coming up this weekend: Platinum and Purple

Color makes the world go round.  The world go round., the world go round.....

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Healing Power Of A Garden

Tonight I was reading about gardens and thinking about gardens and fretting about my garden.

Because it's in that jungle like/ past it's prime/ hasn't been weeded for weeks/ rained on too much/  the moonflower is eating the boxwoods/ state it hits every September.

As much as I want to run outside with a flashlight and get to work right now, I'll bide my time till Sunday and pray it doesn't rain, though it's in the forecast.

My first post written two years in September dealt with this very topic: garden neglect.

I thought back to the fall of 2004 when I was a month or so into a big breakup.   After Labor Day I stopped gardening.  The cherry tomatoes hung on the plants, to be eaten by birds. Morning glories climbed up the gutter and onto the roof.  And the grass grew and grew.

I stayed focused on the interior of the house, had the kitchen painted pink (?), a burdensome island that took up 2/3s of the tiny room taken out and a new tile floor laid.

And I lost my appetite for food and for gardening.

Then suddenly it was October 31st, a warm sunny Sunday, and I woke up energized. I went outside and put my hands in the dirt for the first time in months.  And I cleaned beds and pulled down vines and mowed the lawn and ate the last of the cherry tomatoes.

And when I was done and the garden looked loved again, I took one of those showers you take after a day spent working outside.  You know the kind, where you feel sore and energized and calm all at the same time.  And you are sure water has never felt better and you have never been cleaner.

Then I got dressed and went out with a friend and ate a huge meal and then took my first salsa lesson.

The power of dirt and dancing.  Made a new woman out of me.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Flowers In The House ( Of Chaos)

Welcome.  Sorry you had to traipse through such tall grass to get inside.  Hope you stopped to pull a weed or two.  It doesn't stop raining/drizzling/thundering here.  Correction: it stopped today.

We have not only had a week of rain but a week of painting/plastering in the living/dining room/kitchen, replastering the ceiling and walls from the last week of rain.  Oh that was a tropical storm.

This has meant our little bedroom has held not only us, the Lab and the crazy cat (who now insists on sleeping on the bed with us), but 4 dining room chairs, a wingback chair, piles of books, plants, mirrors and artwork.

I now refer to myself as: 'Jane - formerly known as OCD'.

But this afternoon the sun peeked through and I sloshed around the garden gathering an armful of autumn bounty.


I filled an old crock with limelight hydrangeas, verbena bonariensis, black jack sedum, flowering Thai basil, pink sage, zinnas, and lengths of passion flower vine.

The kitchen got the expected mason jar full of unexpected loveliness.  Autumn blooming anemones, black and blue salvia, sedun autumn joy, chokecherry berries, the last of the shasta daisies and a touch of  chocolate eupatorium.

And on a shelf in the dining room, where we display my favorite green majolica plates and some Furstenberg German china from GG's family, one little cup with a white zinnia from my neighbor Nelda's garden.

 Sometime less is definitely more, no?

So that's my story.  And yours?  Invite us over and do tell.

Breaking News: Bornay has started posting BIG pictures of their incredible work, go immediately, well after you go to all of our houses, go to

Thursday, September 22, 2011

It's That Time Of The Month

Inspired by Shelley's dahlia post I was about to run outdoors and cut myself a big bouquet of what's blooming in the garden, mine and my neighbor Nelda's cause she's the one with the dahlias......when it started raining.

I attempt to bow to the Universe whenever possible, so I took a hint and let her dahlias be.

Luckily this exercise in futility reminded me that Monday is, could be, should be Flowers In The House.

August was a no go due to earthquakes and hurricanes but mainly vacation.

The only flowers that I have in my house of plasterwork/ painting/ furniture covered with a shroud-again, is a tiny vase of berries.

But I do work in a flower shop so  I can assuage my appetite with a bit of digital fall.

(I'm sorry Miss P., that is a gerbera daisy, but we have customers who can't live without them)

So give a shout out if you'd like to join in the fun on Monday.

And if you're new to us and our global floral chain here's a previous post to check .  Hope you'll invite us in to your home.  Be it autumn or spring in your neck of the woods, say welcome with flowers!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Very Merry Unbirthday To Us

 Sunday we trekked out to the farm for my birthday dinner.  By the time the actual day rolled around I was already fat and sassy. We had celebrated at work with lunch and a raspberry/ chocolate cake on Friday. Saturday night was dinner at the pink house starting with fried chicken and ending with a pumpkin pie.  Sunday breakfast was a meager helping of yogurt and granola and a rousing chorus of "Happy Birthday", the Lab thought the song was for her and was wound up beyond belief.

  Luckily, hiking the 5 acres of loveliness, accompanied by a Lab, a Dalmatian, 2 Maine coon cats, a pooping peacock or two and a gaggle of guinea hens walks off a bit of cake and allows you to build up an appetite for beef stew full of farm raised vegetables, salad greens tossed with a rainbow assortment of their cherry tomatoes, and some serious dinner rolls from the Amish market.

We should have done another 5 laps after dinner.

Thank you for the birthday wishes, both in the mail ( v. funny Mr. Rush, now GG keeps chanting the 'instructions") and via email.

Thanks to Geoff and Chuck for the delicious dinner and the honey from your hives, oh and the rose cutting. 

And special thanks to Sarah Margaret, hostess with the mostest.

Was it just a few days ago I was a year younger and several pounds lighter?
My, how time flies.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Guest Post from The Hai ( And The Case Of The Disappearing Photos)

I  just read this email from the Hai ( GG's father) and thought he might  be ready for his own blog.  I know I'm ready for a slice of his cake!

Hi all,

Hope everybody is doing fine, especially the expedition group in Germany........

Did something totally different today: backed my first plum cake/tart , using the 1,2,3 Mürbeteig recipe with slight modifications (8 ounces  sugar, 16 ounces butter, 24 ounces  flour, 2 egg yolks, vanilla extract, lemon juice), knead the dough, rested it for 45 minutes in the fridge, kneaded it again and rolled it out on the kitchen table covered with flour, put it into a sheet cake pan, gave it an extra roll, covered the dough with  one layer of plum slices, and backed it at 400 F for 40 minutes.  Looks and tastes delicious.....

Love to all of you .....


PS:  Guten Appetite 

Does he remember my birthday Is Sunday? 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Remember Me and You? I Do. I Think About You Day And Night.

 To Tini and Nirmal ( currently sleeping in Germany):  Hope your trip was uneventful and thank you for returning my books.  The Toss Of A Lemon, The Namesake and A Platter Of Figs, all mine.

When Will Jesus Bring The Pork Chops by George Carlin? Not likely. 
To the many bloggers who emailed me that blogger won't let them comment:  Thank you for letting me know I'm still in your orbit.

Shame on blogger.  I may have to send them the George Carlin book.
And for all of you who cared about the kitchen ceiling : We might have found the source. It was sealed yesterday.  But before we let our comrade Fidel, painter/ plastered extraordinaire back in the kitchen on Monday, we will do the hose test suggested by Connie of Hartwood Roses.

Thank you Connie.

Who needs a contractor when we have fellow bloggers?

Monday, September 12, 2011

On Weeds And Weddings And Wombs

 For the first time in forever I got to work in the garden. The weeds were my height so we could see eye to eye on many matters particularly regarding their removal. They had to go was the decision.  I only got to do 2 beds, but another day, another square foot of dirt. I'll be back were my parting words.

For the first time in forever I got to have lunch with the "crazies", my Monday pals Anne and Blaise. We ate Vietnamese, drank Starbucks, shopped for a dress for me to wear October 1st when I do the flowers and then attend the wedding of my friend Rina.  This will be her 4th marriage.  A triumph of hope over experience indeed. 

And does anybody remember the ex ( the nice one who fixes things, according to Marie) and his pregnant, vegetarian, midwife partner?

Irregardless, I am happy to announce that their baby girl, Nora Grace,  born on  September 10th.

Got your self another Virgo,eh Tony?  This one's your daughter and word on the street is she's got quite a pair of lungs. Love to the 3 of you and we can't wait to spoil, I mean meet the baby.

All this goodness has made me rather giddy and very hungry and a little teary eyed to be truthful.

It is a wonderful world isn't it?  Full of weddings and babies and old friends and new clothes and a full moon in Pisces.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Arlington, Virginia 9-11-11

When you live less than a mile from the Pentagon, and a block away from a large hotel, any thoughts of a quiet day of reflection on September 11th are are to be forgotten.

GG and I don't watch  much TV but we knew the president would be in the neighborhood and we could expect road closings, motorcades, helicopters above and all dogs on leash.

What we didn't expect were the sights we saw while walking the dog.

A motley crew of former Marines on motorcycles were following a fire truck down the hill as we reached the corner. They reached the parking lot before we did and began a laborious process of tying, unfolding and adjusting a very large flag to the ladder of truck no.5. After the ladder was straightened and the flag flew high above our heads, one of them broke into a beautiful acapella rendition of The Star Spangled Banner.

The Lab lay panting and GG and I stood listening . 

We walked down the hill  and as we came to our corner we say the hotel parking lot was full of vans and bicycles and police officers in riding gear. They were trying to catch a little shade and enjoy a beer.

They were the Tour De Force, and they had just ridden 290 miles to honor the day and raise money for the families of officers who are killed in the line of duty.

One told us they give $5,000.00 to each family.  It may not seem like much, he said, but when you consider there are 50 or 60 officers killed every year, it adds up.

It seems like a lot to me.  

I just want to thank the people who show up and do their thing.  They probably won't make it on TV, but I don't think that's their motivation. 

I think they show up because they care.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Warning: Not A Pretty Story ( Nor A Pretty Picture In The Bunch)

Starting Monday morning, the State of Virginia morphed into Washington State.  It rained day and night, night and day. And so on and so on until the end of the world or Friday afternoon.  Whichever came first.  I can't remember.

It sprinkled, it poured, it thundered, it lightening, it was cold, it was humid, it was sodden.

Our archenemy, The Hole, reappeared in the ceiling over the sink.  We had survived the earthquake and the hurricane.  But five straight days of rain?  No way baby, The Hole was back in town.

GG hooked up an assemblage of black garbage bag, blue dog ,er, walk bag, string and a tupperware container. ( And a pair of scissors to keep the string away from the windowsill)

This allowed the waterfall to drip gently down the string into the container avoiding huge outpourings of water splashing onto our wooden counter.

Well at least I think that was the point. GG certainly enjoyed its creation and I enjoyed the company in the kitchen while chopping numerous vegetables for fried rice.

Though the Lab can be counted on to be by my side for every stroke of my knife.

Hoping for a dry and beautiful early September weekend for all.

And let's all try to stop pissing off Mother Earth, yeah?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What We Ate

 In order to distract myself from the glaring fact that being back at work means working, I'm going to think about food.

I'm roasting a chicken and the house smells like home.  Last night we had the first soup of fall: white beans, kale, potatoes, turkey sausage, onions, carrots and garlic simmered in chicken stock and served with gratings of Parmesan.  Add in lashings of rain and high winds and a warm baguette.....oh what a night.

But what did we eat on vacation you ask? 

Food, glorious food, grilled, smoked and toasted.  Cape Cod with Susan and Gerry: pasta with shrimp, flank steak and my absolute favorite smoked chicken.  It was marinated overnight in a dry rub then smoked over apple wood. Must get recipe.

Connecticut: Ga-huge  lobsters served with melted garlic butter and a salad and eaten by candlelight.

Fire island?  Ribs and biscuits baked on the grill the first night. Next day lunch was our annual  Ricotta al Forna, recipe from Rogers and Gray's Italian Country Cook Book.

Fortunately we had no power so I was able to stand on the deck in the sunshine under a tangerine umbrella chopping herbs and grating cheese.

GG propped the pan up on a couple of bricks, pulled down the cover of the grill and it baked perfectly.

There was grilled rack of lamb for lunch on Friday and a blackberry crumble for dessert on Saturday.

 Many delicious reasons why you should only vacation with very close friends who love you regardless.  And why you should remember to pack a long shirt and a few sarongs as beach " coverups".

 To cover up from the sun and that small helping of salted caramel ice cream.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Goodnight Irene

We left paradise yesterday morning.  The sun was struggling to break through the clouds and we were wearing jeans and sweaters.  

We arrived home to a humid 90degree afternoon.  Ahhhh  Virginia.

 I need to unpack and reload but since I'm back at my own computer and can download pictures with complete and utter freedom, not worrying I'm going to crash GG's notebook, one post seems in order.  Yes?

Connecticut Saturday: a memorial bench at the harbor before Irene.

And after.

Monday when the winds had settled and the sun returned we were invited, er rather invited ourselves to a friend's house for a very cold shower.

She had been evacuated for the hurricane but when we showed up with towels and shampoo ( which I didn't use, no hair is so dirty as to need a freezing cold wash) all was perfectly serene and looking ready for a photo shoot.

I don't think Betsy owns a computer, has ever heard a blog or goes in much for decorating magazines, yet her home is a haven of beautiful vignettes composed of treasures, inherited, gifted and picked up on the beach or in the woods. Her personality is equally soothing, but you can coax a wicked giggle  or two out of her if you're lucky.

She had no power, so we picnicked on  Nutella sandwiches, sliced apples, tamari almonds and handfuls of red grapes.

It was truly the calm after the storm for us.  The lab napped in the sun, we talked about times old and new and then we carefully made our way home through the streets still filled with downed trees and power lines.

A haven is where the heart is. Thanks to Betsy and all the other people who opened and still are opening up their homes and hearts to those in need of a safe port.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Sweet September

     At 5:00PM on Wednesday electricity returned to Fire Island.  In exchange for the ability to do a load of laundry and blast a little samba music, our bright sky of stars dusted with the milky way went a little dimmer. 
The roar of the ocean is constant.

As the power returned so did the boats full of the boys of Fire Island Pines.  Some came with their wigs, some with their dogs and others with their "gaybies" (I stand corrected Steve, thank you for the proper spelling, still reeling about in amazement over the existenvce of the word itself )  They were followed by barges carrying cases of food and liquor, flowers and perennials in full bloom: all ready to be set in place for the long weekend.

The happiest faces I have ever seen are those jumping off the boat and into the arms of friends and lovers.

We don't want to think about the saddest faces yet.  We won't see/ be those till Sunday.
But as busy as this island will become by tonight, one can still be the only people at on the beach at twilight or early morning. 

Repeat after me: Heaven On Earth.  Say it again.  Breathe, release, smile all over your face.