Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Domestic Pleasures

As the days get shorter, our nights get quieter.

We are no longer sitting outside soaking up the last ray of sunlight ,chatting to any neighbor who wanders by; we're inside sitting in pools of lamplight.

GG is working on her personal statement for medical school applications and I'm alternating between reading and teaching myself to crochet.

Many granny squares are crocheted, only to be unraveled and begun again.

I don't seem to understand how to finish off a row by connecting to the 3rd stitch of my first chain3. Could someone come over and show me?

I  didn't know I had this much patience. 

  I didn't know the Lab did either.

 But, rest assured, neither of us possess a bottomless supple of said virtue.

Sometimes a woman needs a room, or a bed, of her own.

And if she can't have that, she'll take a walk.

 But not before I thank everyone who participated in FITH.

Whether the flowers were in your house or at a friends, whether they were actual blossoms or an animal named Blossom, whether the flowers were in a vase in your house or still growing in your garden outside your house, it was all good. 

I know it takes a bit of planning, but it is very appreciated over my way. So thank you again.

And now: the walk!

xo jane

Monday, September 24, 2012

Flowers In The Autumnal House: September 2012

What a weekend, blue skies, puffy clouds, red quinoa and black bean salad, coffee with a stranger and now FITH.

It was difficult actually getting out and in the door to get the flowers.  Both the front and back doors are zealously guarded by a kitten just waiting for anyone to open a door a 1/4 of an inch.  Then zoom out the door and a merry chase begins.

GG is better at blocking. She used to be a goalie she likes to tell Gus, he won't get by her.

I didn't play soccer so the only thing I can block is an unwanted phone call. But if/when he gets out I can follow the big fluffy tail through the garden and then pounce.

Today I followed the tail and clipped some September blossoms, then combined them with a few stems of garden roses and snowberries from the shop.

The sedum, hydrangea, yarrow, fennel, bits of herbs and foliage are ours.

As is the kitten.

( GG says Lucy looks photoshopped in, rest assured I don't know how to do that)

The bedroom got a jug filled with that beautifuly scented white iris, verbena, mandevilla vine, lysimachia, echinacea, asclepias, hardy begonia and more herbs and berries.

I'm pretty sure you know these arrangements didn't go together as easily as usual.  There were kittens on the counter, knocking leaves and flowers on the floor, tasting things that weren't good and rushing into the back room to wash the  bad taste down with water. Phew.

The sweet potato I had found starting to bud a few weeks ago and had placed in a jar on the kitchen windowsill now resides on a high shelf in the loo.

They haven't found it here. 


Once the counter was cleaned off and the floor swept clean of their mess I got to gather up the leftovers and make my favorite kind of arrangement, a nosegay.

And on the coffee table sits a packed pot of roses, hydrangea and berries from a coworker for my birthday.

Both Lucy and I love to look at it. Gus loves to pull the berries off and knock them around the floor.

We are all very tired from our day in the yard and are going to bed now. 

Hope to see you all bright and early.

If you hear a knock at the door and a meow or two, let us in.  We're here for the party.

And we ain't leaving till you throw us out.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Collect Call From Ms. Crankypants

Talk about Mercury in retrograde.  Or how a Virgo's birthday week comes to a close.....

I wrote a post, it didn't post.

My phone has claimed it has no service though I've been able to use computers, both at home and at work today.

I'm afraid I've missed my chance to meet Becca.

 I've been slightly at odds with my coworkers, at least in my head.
And the guy at the hardware store asked me if the young girl I ride around with is my daughter.  Happy Birthday to me.

 Just call me Ms. Crankypants.

And then accept an invitation to join in Monday for a party in the house.  With flowers and such. FITH, we call it.

For those of you who are new I'll give you a gander at July's.

Nice, no?

So all you have to do is put some flowers or leaves or berries in a vase. If you live in a climate where spring is in the works maybe show us a pot of blooming bulbs.

Then you come over and link up.  We go to your house, you come to ours.

It's a global flower chain.

World peace, one blossom at a time.

And the birthday?  Wonderful. The best yet.  Except for the hardware incident ;-)


xo Jane

Monday, September 17, 2012

A Day In The Country

I took all your suggestions to heart and we left our garden buzzing with bees and full of weeds and fled south to Charlottsville again.

This time we explored Monticello, home of Thomas Jefferson, plantsman extraordinaire.

Dogs are allowed on the property so the Lab came with.  I wondered if we would ever reach the top of the mountain, our pace was tree by tree, sniff by sniff, step by step.

 We paused a moment  in our climb by the family graveyard, still in use today, sniff, sniff. And then there we were at the top, surrounded by hedgerows of fig trees, acres of orchards, vineyards, vegetable gardens, herbs, flowers and purple mountain majesty.

And was I secretly delighted  to see Mr. Jefferson's vegetable garden looking as shabby as my own?

You know it.

We packed a picnic and brought a bag of dog treats.  We may have snacked on a fig, some grapes and a raspberry or two from the estate, unless this information would get us in trouble in which case we ate only our picnic.

We fell in love with a snail plant.

And of course the impeccable symmetry that is Monticello.

We were reluctant to leave but we had friends waiting a few miles away with their own garden, a dinner with  vegetables and pork from their CSA share and stories to tell.

We'll be back. It's my kind of town.

xo jane

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Politics And Prose

I was going to write a sensible post.  One with a beginning, middle and end, a theme.

But it's early Saturday morning and I'm trying to protect the sleepers, GG and the Lab, from the very awake, uber playful kittens.

When I hear the triumphant ring of metal on porcelain, I jump out of my chair and rush to the bathroom to grab the metal bathtub drain away from them and stick it in the medicine chest.  This allows them time to make a grab for the reading glasses I am carrying. All is fair game in kitten soccer.

The bathtub is their favorite arena. Toys can't get lost as they seem to in the living room.  Our rugs have suspicious bumps under them.  They do like to knock the bathmat into the tub with them.  Good for time outs I presume.

The Lab has just come out of the bedroom,stared at the kittens resignedly and collapsed in a heap on the rug with a big sigh.

I hope she isn't lying on a bottle cap or a ball.

My original point was this: I love the safe space you/me/we have created here on the web.

As the world swirls around us in a blur or violence and downright stupidity: as womens' rights are slowly stripped away from us in the very state I live in, my blog list is a mini vacation.

Fennel seeds and rose gardens, camping trips, pot o fleurs, crabapple syrups boiling away on the stove, all this has slowed down my pulse and put a smile on my lips.

Thank you all for time well spent shooting photos,editing and posting them, taking time to gather up the words to express an idea or paint a picture of your world.

Thank you all for spreading grace and beauty about so freely.  Hoping for nothing but the occasional comment, an acknowledgement, a "I get you".

Now back to the real world (that clearly includes a garden clean up). -:)

xo Jane


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Message In A Bottle

Such a sad turn of events these last few days.

I offer up a bit of happiness and hope for the future: the next generation.

We're sorry the world is so messed up Mr. Baby.

Hopefully we'll fix things up a bit before we hand it over to you.

We might learn that just because we can do something doesn't mean that we should do it.

Freedom comes with responsibilities.

Love, Your Aunts

Monday, September 10, 2012

Sugar Town

Yesterday I started  with a new trainer at the gym. Andrew left town, moved back to Chicago. Many thanks to my little buddy.  I was training twice a week and my  low monthly payments were only covering once a week so by last March  my sessions were so far ahead of my payments, my account was frozen. While I  continued to pay  I  couldn't sign in with my thumb print thus giving the trainer a receipt for payment.  This didn't bother Andrew one little bit.  He continued to train me weekly until he left in July.  You sir, are a scholar and a gentleman, or a wrestler and a gym rat.  Whatever, I thank you.

Krista, my new torturer trainer started me off with a strength test. I tend to rise to most occasions so I gave the strength test my all and am pretty sure I will not be able to use my quads to rise from this chair when I'm done. Hence the length of this post.

Help! I've sat down and I can't get up.

Here's the interesting part.  We were discussing my weight gain from non smoking.  We covered the energy/calories I burn/ the foods I eat ( which I consider pretty damn healthy)and have decided a 10 pound weight loss would keep me strong but allow me to feel  toned and comfortable in my skin again.

She asks if the weight is localized and I say of course, it's widened my waist and gone to my belly.

She says to cut way down on my sugar.  I'm like what sugar?  I'm not a junk/ processed food eater.  Sure I have a bit of dark chocolate here and a couple of pieces of fresh fruit a day but extra sugar? No way.
But I do drink a hell of a lot of skim lattes and now I know skim milk has 12 grams of sugar in a cup, at least the one in my fridge from Trader Joe's does. Starbucks clocks an iced grande skim latte at 10 grams of sugar. 

Clearly something has to give .  Jeeze, no booze for 20 some years, no smokes for 10 months and now I have to cut down on my lattes?

I ask you what do I get from all this give?

A healthier, longer life?  Okay.  Good trade. I will keep you posted as the adventure continues.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Report From The Trenches

There's a customer who comes into the shop on Saturday morning after yoga and buys a bunch of flowers.

She takes her time, browsing, chatting, picking this flower for its color, that for its scent, this one for its lack of toxicity for animals. She has 3 rescue cats, two male, one female, about 8 months old. Todays bouquet began with hyacinths.

It has only been the last 2 weeks I have overheard her conversation and been drawn out into the front of the shop to talk to her.  About cats.  Dear God.

She's very funny and we laugh long and loudly at the foibles of one another's kittens.  My co-workers roll their eyes at one another. I should be embarrassed but I'm not.  The cats bring so much pleasure and so little sleep I am totally lacking in shame over wearing my heart on my sleeve.

Monday they are off to the vet for their surgeries. Two kittens are enough. I asked my new friend if Gus will calm down a wee bit after losing his manhood.

She assured me he will not.  Hers,she said, strutted back into the house as if they had never left and nothing had been done to them.  Full of piss and vinegar she said.


Good, I said weakly.

8 hours sleep, who needs it?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Ah, The Good Life...

A bowl of shrimp.

Some kale salad.

A bottle of beer.

A good nights sleep.

Monday, September 3, 2012

A Little Touch Of Paradise

Picture us, if you will, riding along in a little black pickup truck, windows down, Lab practically in my lap, listening to country music; off to visit Geoff and Chuck on the farm. Just turn right off  Hideout Lane and you're there.  Open the gate, drive under Tibetan banners past a sign that reads " War Is Not The Answer" and get ready to marvel.

We had never visited this time of year when gardens and gardeners are exhausted from months of heat and drought.
But these boys aren't just gardeners they're magicians.  What once was the duck house, is now a rain forest.

David is awash in a sea of begonia grandis.

The pump house is covered with trumpet vine and surrounded by dahlias.

And butterflies graze on an all you can eat buffet.

The Lab is in her glory.  The kittens had to stay home and watch the house.

While she and GG reveled in the wide open spaces.

And the quiet moments.

All too soon day was over, dinner eaten, the truck repacked with us and 2 pounds of honey from their bees and we retraced our steps.

Down the lane, through the gate, onto the highway and home to the kittens.