Friday, March 30, 2012

The Good The Bad And The Smart Phone

God, I haven't been here in so long.  This has been a busy week.  I didn't even have time to put up a 10Things List and  they're so good they're burning a hole in my pocket.  Next week.

I was bursting with news to tell but got to reading all your posts that I have missed out on and I remember why I love blogging.

Not to rehash my life over and over but to dive into yours for a change of perspective.  Refreshing.

Denise of ChezDanisse had this to say about the importance of electronics in her life.  And I sit here nodding my head in agreement as I clutch my new smart phone in my right hand.

I was rather enjoying my 6 year old clamshell phone with no whistles or bows.  But it was unable to hold a full charge for more than 8 hours.  And I had to beg people not to send me pics over the phone cause they all looked like postage stamps.  Cancelled postage stamps. I was about to duct tape a pair of reading glasses to it when the back fell off and broke. Yesterday.

Clenching my teeth, I entered the mall.

Two hours and a good chunk of tax return dollars later I stepped out of the mall fully accessorized and  "technically' able to make a call, send a text, take a picture, read my blog, find a restaurant or respond to an email from a bride.

So far I've jumped into the sky whenever I've heard the new ring....what the hell is that I wonder....turned off the internet, cause wouldn't I rather look out the window of the bus at spring and eavesdrop on people's conversations then read my emails?  Wouldn't I rather saunter down the street stopping to smell the daffodils? Hell yeah.

However, I just answered a call and after I took a minute to play around and found the book icon. A gentle touch and I was able to download  Wuthering Heights.  Does this mean I will never be without reading material again?  Never have to sit in a car while GG runs into the bank or the grocery store fiddling my thumbs?  I'm offered Bronte?  Sold.

As God is my witness this is one smart phone. 

Now if I can just learn to use it.....

Monday, March 26, 2012

Flowers In The Post Apocalyptic House

Sunday brunch.  Spinach and asparagus strata, oven baked french toast with wild blueberries.  Ripe tomatoes and avocados, a big bowl of fragrant strawberries, and runny and or smelly cheeses.

8 adults, 2 seventy pound Labs, 1 baby and flowers in the house.  In the very small house.

Who said we can't do it all?  Not me.

After a week of May temperatures our garden and neighborhood are full of April flowers. In March.

"Found while walking": local lilac just on the verge of full blown fragrance.

This is when you wish you had the scratch and sniff app, no?

And from the backyard, 3 weeks early, Korean spice viburnum.  The stuff dreams are made of.

Local cherry, the last of, our own mini Cherry Blossom festival.

The sweetest of the sweet, muscari, hellebore and brunnera, aka false forget me not.

I don't think anyone at brunch looked up and saw this vase full.  All eyes were on their plates or the baby.  mostly the baby :-) 

So until now this was my little secret.

And one more  flower, a perfect camellia bloom picked just before the rains came.  

Wow, is this what happens when the world is about to end and seasons collide?

What's in your house and garden?  Any tomatoes yet?

xo Jane

P.S. Sorry, I had to whip Mr. Linkey into shape here.  Let's try this again.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

10 Things I Can't Live Without: BowStreetFlowers

I'm quite sure that to know Shelley of Bow Street Flowers is to love her. She's talented, funny and kind.  A charming shop filled with sunlight and bunnies, flowers and beautiful arrangements only adds to her allure.
She appears to have mentored many designers and whether they've  gone on to open their own business or gone back to school, they stay in touch, read her blog religiously and come back to help her out whenever possible. 
I was delighted to get her list and even more thrilled to get her pictures.  We all know about Joe her wonderful husband.  What we didn't know was how good looking Joe is.  
And Blossom, the dog. Look at that face.  Though he has a few bad habits you'll read about below you'll forget what Shelley says as soon as you see that face. Thief, what?
I've loved getting to know Shelley via our blogs and our many emails.  Maybe next summer on the Cape?

Too many wonderful people and other things, but today, these are the
Ten things I can't live without:

Joe, who made it possible for me to own Bow Street Flowers, who does the laundry, cooks many dinners, cleans the house when I can't, makes me laugh, and welcomes all the dogs we've had in our lives, even when he swears we can't afford any more.

Dogs. I love their sloppy faces, the smell of their fur, their goofy antics, their barks, their greediness. Blossom is devoted to Joe and barely greets me when I come home. He's a whiner, a thief, and a pest, but I love the rosy glow around his nose when he sleeps, his slow, even breathing, and the rare occasion when he cuddles up against me in bed on cold Sunday mornings. And yes, Joe, there's another dog in the wings....I wonder who it will be?

Flowers, growing or cut. This is a love affair that will never die.

The spicy fragrance of carnations. I wear Dianthus perfume by Etro.

Cashmere in the winter: at seven dollars each, cashmere at the Goodwill is a luxury I can afford. On cold days, I bundle up in layers of it, rather than wear a heavy, bulky coat.

Peets coffee. Strong, fragrant, coffee -coffee. My morning worship.

My pottery classes. In three years I haven't made much progress, but those three hours a week clear my head of everything but clay.

Some people can't live without catsup or marmite. I can't live without lemons.
Hot lemon water in the winter, lemon on my salad, my pasta, my rice, my broccoli.

Albarino. I love it, it loves me back. A happy wine.

My best friend, Antonet. Although she lives in California, she is with me every day.

PBS. What would I do without Rick Steves, The News Hour, Downton Abbey, Antiques Roadshow, Nova, Frontline, Sherlock Holmes, etc.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Rumor Has It

Did I tell you we babysit on Wednesday nights now?  We get Emil and his dog Balu.  So that gives us 2 labs, 1 baby and various friends and neighbors who drop by to worship visit with the little prince.  I find myself turning into a court jester in my constant attempts to amuse him. There may be better things than making a baby laugh but I either gave them up years ago or I haven't found them yet.

So far this week we've had GG's birthday on  Monday, babysitting tonight, zumba tomorrow and then The Hai and his new GF hit town on Friday.  Let the games begin.

And I'm hoping to put up a new 10 things list tomorrow if a certain someone sends me her pictures.  Oh and then I believe next Monday is  Flowers In The House.  You can of course do flowers and babies in the house if you like but it was suggested to me last month it might be over the top....whatever.

Am I forgetting anything, anyone?

 I know, am I the last person out there to love this blog?

So get your motors running, head out to the garden you might even have a few stems to bring indoors.  If not, hit up your local  florist. It's tulip time.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Lost and Found

Lost, in the weeds.
When winter jumps into spring and spring bleeds into summer all in the space of two weeks this gardener is a goner.

Before I had time to pick up a pair of shears or a lopper, everything grew and grew. And I mean everything: roses, hydrangeas, tulips already blooming, daffodils long gone but oh the weeds.

They are tall and green and covered with flowers, I pull, the pollen leaps and the lab and I sneeze. Synchronized sneezing.  Watch for it at this summers' Olympics.

And what's been found you may wonder besides a pile of work and some beautiful blossoms?

Old friends.  The friends of my 20's.  There was an article last Thursday in the NYT about a clothing designer named Douglas Ferguson. 

He and I and a third friend, Renee had what R. refers to as a "fortunate youth".  I just found her last night via the power of social media. She's living the life I would have imagined for her, a house, a same sex spouse, 4 cats, too many books and much music.  The other option, in my mind, would have been a hermetic existence on a houseboat in Paris. With the books, music and Gauloises of course.

She has a beautiful laugh.

And Douglas?  Since we've parted ways he's studied in Rome, had 3 of his Goddess dresses exibited at the Met in 2003 as part of a costume exhibit and appears to charmed his way into a circle of people that included Diana Vreeland and Patricia Fields.

His life too seems a perfect fit.

He says we're all a part of Indra's net.  After looking it up I have to agree.

And I feel like this age might also be looked upon as fortunate.

Enough philosophy, the garden is calling.  I have pansies to be planted.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

10 Things I Can't Live Without: Petals In Prose

 Oh God I am such a sap. I have waited until it was time to post this list before I read it because I knew it would make me tear up. And it has.

This is my friend Cammie. Long before there was a dashing blonde South African husband, 2 beautiful blonde children and a flower farm, there was me and Cammie in a flower shop.

Where I helped teach her to design, she helped teach me to take life a little easier.  We traded books and laughs and inspiration.  When I reached the end of a job and gave a sigh of relief, Cammie was standing on her toes and seeking a new horizon ahead.  Cammie was endlessly creative and brave, and still is today.

Skip over to her blog, Petals in Prose, and below you'll find a list of her ten cherished things.

And, finally, here's me giving her a big hug and kiss.  Love you Cammie. Thank you


When Jane asked me to do a list of 10 things, one of the first things I thought I couldn't live without was…..people like Jane.  But first, I need to tell you about my camera.

Photography practice with a poppy.

10. Two Christmases ago my husband said he would give me a camera for Christmas.  That was before he knew what I wanted. Two Christmases later, I unwrapped my favorite new friend, a Canon EOC Rebel T2i.  We are still getting to know each other but the love affair is intoxicating.  


9. My bees (and their flower friends).  The year I had little Lola we got our first hive of bees.  She and her brother are growing up with them and their excitement watching the little buzzers fly into the hive with their "pollen suitcases" has become one of the great lessons of my life...a minimum of 50% of fear appears to be "taught"....the other 50% may or may not be a necessary life skill.  Cover me in bees anyday, fear never.

Lola handing me my favorite flower.

8. Dandelions.  My life is effectively all about flowers and I cherish it...but since I was tiny I have loved the dandelion.  Collecting them, making necklaces with them, tucking one behind my ear.  The bees love them, Lola and Dirt Dog relish blowing about the pollen, and at the end of the day they remind is everywhere.

7. Inspiring people.  I could write the whole list about them.   Authors, musicians, friends, family, my 98 year-old grandmother, and yes, are on this list.  They open doors, they beckon you through barriers, they sow seeds.

6. Projects.  I love a project.  My life can be detailed into 3-6 month projects on which I work furiously then set off to the wind. (which reminds me, I really, really want to create a sand mandala someday.....anyone game? Big project.  Huge.)

5. This quote by T.S.Eliot, "I have measured out my life in coffee spoons" (from The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock), which I was reading in the 10th grade when I was desperately in love with a senior boy.  I read the line over and over and in a sudden fit of inspiration, changed it to, "I will NOT measure out my life in coffee spoons!"  I jumped up, ran to the phone, dialed his number and asked him to go fishing with me.  Nothing came of the boy but the moment was life changing.  I have repeated that quote like a mantra over and over again at every great crossroads in my life.

4. Profanity.  I don't typically use it, but I love listening to it.  Not the mean kind.  The boldly, wildly, effusively expressive kind. 

3. My girls.  Do I need to explain?  My girls….my “need a talk, need a laugh, need a “hell yeah” anytime, anyday, anywhere no contract necessary…girls.” 

2. A rock in the shower.  Literally.  I live on a cut-flower farm now but for many years I lived in tiny apartments with windowless bathrooms.  I made a point to always have a rock in the shower to remind me of how fresh the water in a waterfall feels.  

1. Have I finished my countdown? I have so many loves but it comes down to this...the real loves of my life are right here, sleeping in their beds, covered in favorite blankets and surrounded by miniature tractors and excavators, handmade flower fairies and stuffed dolphins.  They may be drooling, snoring, or dreaming about the day they raise the roof with their garage-rock-band….but they are my family and I wouldn’t trade them for all the great finds at the flea market….not even a macro lens for my new camera (wish list 2013).

Monday, March 12, 2012

Shot Shot Shot Shot Shot

I couldn't resist a few pictures from this Sunday's offering at Trader Joe's.  A pre St. Patrick's Day shot containing ice cream, Irish Creme and Guinness.( I stand corrected it was Guinness OR Irish Creme as ever Steve is right.)

This was far more popular that last week's yogurt dip. The "bar" ista was happy.

GG , er the customers were happy.
 See the boom box?  Last week it was "New York, New York".  This week?  Changing Your Demeanour"

I don't drink but I do dance. Thank God I was the one with the camera.

And the Peony tulip?  How did it grow?

As of yesterday it opened  to a full five inches of ruffled beauty.

Let's see anything else?

Oh God the cat.  The cat on the box who moved to the closet who slept on the boots who slept on the sweater who moved to the kitchen and now sleeps on the throw rug in front of the sink.

This makes dish washing a wee bit tricky....any suggestions?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

That Was Then

Thinking of my friend Julia today.  Her birthday was March 7th.  We have been friends since high school.

So very different.  She has always been conservative with money.  I swear she still has dollars in the bank from our first jobs together.  I bet I still owe her some bucks that I 'borrowed" back then.  Trust me she will know.

She has never married, well one common law in Colorado years ago.  Me? Many.  A hopeless romantic and serial bride.

Julia?  Almost a luddite. No computer, only got a cell phone a few years ago, still has a dial phone at home.
She would no more read this blog than I would go raise a barn.  I'm actually more like to participate in a barn raising.

She has composted almost since birth and has never let a empty yogurt container go unused. I don't think she has ever thrown out a scrap of food.  She has even traveled to visit me, from Michigan, with a sack full of leftovers.

She has a very difficult time "letting go" of both memories and things that evoke memories.  This can be a problem as it may take 5 years to sort through the possessions of a dead parent.  It can also be a blessing for me as she has kept various things of mine over the years that she feared I would move on and dispose of.

I was an only child and both my parents are dead.  Julia is the repository of my history.  As I am of hers.

I could make her laugh till she cried.   We spent hours pouring over fashion magazines, smoked our first joint together, lost our virginity within hours of one another.

Hmm, guess I wasn't an only child after all.  

And it sounds like a trip to Michigan should be in the offing this summer.

Seize the hour. Enjoy the light.

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Flowers That Bloom In The Spring

Tra La.

It's not often ( insert never) that I skip home from work on Friday with a handful of fragrant flowers, immediately run the vacuum, pop said flowers in bottles and take pictures of them.  And then write a post about it!

I think the approaching spring has worked some magic on my psyche.

And the amazing flowers we got in this week from California have just added to the charm.

We deal with a wholesaler in San Francisco called Brannan Street.  Our salesperson is Anne.

The plan is as follows: once a week, Anne selects the newest, coolest stems and plants from her stock and ships them to us Fed Ex.

Every Thursday we get a mystery box full of flowers just that much bigger and brighter than what we find on the East Coast. Her handwriting is another mystery so we're not always sure what we have but we know we love it.

Because I'm such a team player I always offer to take some home in order to test their longevity.  I'm helpful that way.

This week? Unbelievably fragrant gardenia blossoms on a very long stem with lots of glossy green leaves. Sigh.

A beautiful French tulip we call a peony tulip.  You can only imagine how many layers of petals are curled up in here. I will take another picture when it's fully open

And one light pink garden rose that comes with no name and not too much of a scent but what a perfect color and shape.

 If anyone has the actual names of these shout em out.  If not, just relax and enjoy them as I do.

Here's hoping you all relax and enjoy an early spring weekend and an extra hour of light.

xo Jane

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Most Wonderful Thing About Tigger....

The mysteries of babies run deep.  What are they saying? Is it really a,e,i,o,u?  Can vowels be learned at 10 weeks?

And what sea entity do the constant drifting movements of a baby's hands and feet remind me of?

Sea weed?  Sea anemones?  Squid?

Or are they homeboy hand movements?  Have I sung I'm Sexy And I Know It to him too many times?

While GG and I were homeboy sitting, letting mama hit the gym, my friend Rachel over in England was setting up 10.

10 things she can't live without.  You will love them.  Rachel has a blog full of dogs and cats and her beautiful new house, country walks, fresh baked scones and a garden in the making.  She has a lovely son, loyal friends and a very wry sense of humor.  When I do my Grand Tour I hope to drop by her house for a brisk walk and a cream tea. Maybe a slice of cake too.  Apparently a long brisk walk is called for.

I'm going to link you up with her and then go take a peek in the bedroom.

Do you think he's awake yet?

Does this mean that every time we babysit Mr. Baby is gong to get a post?

What do you think?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Nobody Knows But Me

Overheard at Trader Joes' today.

Salesman pushing his yogurt/cilantro dip: "Try This"

Customer #1 "I can't, I'm allergic to cilantro".

Customer #2 " I don't do dairy".


Ah, us.

And the opening salvo in a 2 week long obsession with all things green:  we dye our rivers and our hair, we paint our faces and our streets,we wear "Everybody Loves An Irish Girl" shirt and  listen to The Chieftains.

Erin Go Bragh.

You heard it here first....

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Love Among The Stacks

Good morning, this is a pre shower post so please excuse my scrawl.

Pigtown Design has announced that today is World Book Day.  This is my kind of holiday,  And an excuse to pay homage to my Grandmother.

Nanny, as she was know, was Irish by birth. She married another Irishman, Sullivan by name and immigrated to Canada. 

By the time I had been acquired, or rather became aware, she was living with us in Michigan.

She was the soul of patience, a rare quality in my house.

She taught me two things when I was three.  One was to crochet, the other to read.

I lost the crocheting early on but the ability to lose myself in a book has stayed with me for many decades.

I learned to cook, garden, travel, spell and cast a spell from books.

When I moved into my house in 2001 the first thing we did  was build bookcases around the window in the dining room.  It is a given someone will jump up during a dinner party to find the name/picture of a plant or an ingredient in a dish.

Why do I love blogs so much?  For the pictures of course but mostly for the tales, the way you all use words to pull me into your worlds, and open my eyes and mind to other possibilities.

Just like books do.

So Happy World Book Day, let's all crack a spine together in celebration!