Monday, June 30, 2014

Because Futbol

I want to go to the gym but I don't feel I can leave the house until the France/Nigeria match is over.

I know Elle is taking a long "lunch" today and standing in a bar in DC screaming her substantial lungs out.

So the cats and I watch at home. They are napping, taking a break from their Rumspringa.

Which allows me a break from worry.

Between them and soccer I had to dash to the hairdresser last week. It's all turning me grey. Or at least it was.

Last night we had a birthday dinner for the French Girl. The usual suspects. But this time they carried gifts over with their beers.

And to their surprise were served glasses of pineapple gazpacho, garnished with finely chopped cucumbers, 3 colors of peppers, vidalia onion, cilantro and my first garden jalapeno.

Is it a shot someone wondered?

No, it's soup I said, try it. It went down so nicely on a hot Virginia night I forgot to get pictures.

But I got a shot of the annual shrimp boil.

And everyone whipped out their phones for a pic of the raspberry almond cake, served with whipped cream and more raspberries. These are my kind of people.

Bravo, Senorita Bravo.

There are still 3 pieces begging to be eaten.

But the match is over, France has won!  Happy Birthday mademoiselle from Le Bleu.

I'm off to the gym.

Can't wait for my afternoon (cake) coffee.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Oh What A Night

Picture me, if you will, in gym clothes, flipflops, a gardening glove on my right hand, carrying a broom, dustpan and two plastic bags.

I was headed outside to dispose of a gift from Lucy who just won't quit this week.

I heard voices from across the street and lured two neighbor, Rob and Carlos, over to help with the burial.

Amid merciless teasing, ( I did look a little eccentric ), they disposed. I proposed they stay a while. Soon we were joined by Elle and Vicky, the deceptively glamorous looking neighbor who can yield a sledge hammer as effortlessly as an eyeliner.

Above our laughter we heard screams from the backyard. This time Lucifer had a bunny. Lots of scrambling and shouting, bunny released, Lucy grounded.

20 minutes later I let her out. She made a beeline for a Queen Anne's lace where bunny was resting.

More shrieking, chasing, Rob leaping over pots and liriope effortlessly only to land on the borders edge,  the deeply edged border. He was up, he was down.  He was up again chasing the bunny down the street to safety. Lucy got another time out. Rob got a sprained ankle.

Thank God I specialize in ice bags. Drinking and story telling resumed. Lucy came out. Peace and laughter continued until I realized it was 11:00pm and I had to go to bed. Saturday is my Friday.

But first I had to round up the felines. Gus always falls for the laser toy and was triumphantly carried into the house.

Lucy was in the sky with diamonds, up on the roof. I raced inside to get my IPad and attempt to get a picture (of course), Rob, balanced on the thin stair railing and tried to lure her down with crunchies.

She took the treats then rolled around on the roof, flirting shamelessly.

We went to the back of the house, back to the front of the house,  to the back, to the front. Elle got a step stool, Vicky an 8"ft ladder and Carlos a spray bottle because he thought if he squirted her she'd come down. WHAT? Gus of course got out.

Finally Rob got up on the roof, handed her off to Elle who was now on the ladder, who handed her off to me. Elle chased Gus and brought him back inside.

It was midnight. Just another night on Ode Street. I fed the cats, bid everyone goodnight, washed my face and took a double dose of calcium.

This morning  the ice pack was lying on the table and a small feather drifted about the patio.

Those and the bags under my eyes were the only evidence of the night before.

Though I was asked to send thank you flowers.

From the bunny:

For the burial.
And for the roof rescue.
"As if."

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

All Quiet On The Eastern Front

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you..

You truly came through in my hour of need.

I love action suggestions and you gave them to me in spades.

I bought the Feliway spray.

I tried to model "calm behavior".

Though if the cats were truly influenced by me, they would get up every morning, strap tiny sponges to their paws and wash the kitchen floor. Maybe stand on their back paws and put a load of laundry in..

And they would certainly sweep up their own hair.

I rubbed Gus all over with crunchies. I wish you could have seen the look on his face when he started cleaning himself.

"Hey, I'm delicious" it said.

I got out their laser toy and we all had such fun playing with it, I now use it as a lure to get them back in the house at bedtime.

Lately this has also included laying a trail of crunchies from the front stoop into the living room.

But that's another story. And a girl's got to sleep, no judging.

By Monday morning I could feed them side by side again.  No more hissing, growling or aggressive behavior.

What an enormous relief for both  humans but especially Gus.

Of course now I have to make another appointment and get Lucy Lui to the vet on her own.  The Feliway spray suggests misting the carrier 20 minutes before attempting to load up the cat. I'm in with that.

Though I don't know if my poor traumatized girl will be. 

But right here, right now, peace and harmony reigns in the house.

Life is once again

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Trouble In Paradise

I don't mean to post bomb you but I have a disturbing situation here.

Yesterday GG came to take the cats and the Lab to the vet for their yearly check up.

She brought her sister's two cat carrying cage. Lucy was intrigued, wandering in and out at will.

Gus was AWOL but after several text back and forth and a phone call I directed her under my bed where he was found sleeping soundly.

She scooped him up and put him in the cage and then added Lucy. I don't know whether it was the smells of the other cats or the fear she was being kitnapped but she went ballistic on Gus.

GG got them both out, Lucy ran to my closet and freaked out every time GG came near her, spitting, growling and hissing.

Eventually GG left her home and took Gus and Nika to the Vet's.

They were both outside when I came home, Lucy was loving and sweet to both myself and GG but continued to growl and swipe at Gus who was all what up with Lucy?

This lasted all night, I had to feed them seperately and Gus spent the night with Elle except for a bried foray into my bed at 11:45 where Lucy found him and started a fight.

I kicked them both off the bed and everyone returned to their corners until this morning.

I hoped Lucy would be over it by today but there was a brief hisssy fit until I let the Guster out.

What to do? Any thoughts or suggestions? I know Lucy was scared out of her mind yesterday but why is she taking it out on her brother?

Will she get over it? Has anyone had an experience like this?

We're shattered here. Will peace return?

Ayyiyi. My babies.

Where has the love gone?

Friday, June 20, 2014

In Which I Try To Give As Good As I Get

Last weekend ,my neighbor's daughter Sherron turned 16.

Her mother gave her a "Sweet Chanel" party. Apparently it's a thing?

There were mocktails, mini sliders, the most delicious black and white cupcakes, baked by an 11th grader, with the Chanel logo in white piped on the black frosting.

So they turned your teeth black. A 16 year old can pull it off.

I offered to do the flowers and after token reluctance she accepted.

She brought me 7 ivy bowls, oplascent stones, a narrow black ribbon ,24 white roses of a dubious nature called Virginia and 10 stems of pretty white floribunda roses.

After placing stones in bowls, taping them with clear florists tape and adding the roses I got to the fun part, the icing on the cupcake if you will.

I wandered around the garden picking anything blooming in white or what I decided could pass for black.

I had "black" heuchera leaves and nigella pods, babies breath, nigella, argostema in white and I threw in some lambs ears because I could.

I tied the bowls with the sparkly black ribbon and ordered myself some Thai food.

Which burnt the hell out of my tongue but did not discolor it.
The party was held in Maryland so I missed the fun.
But they brought me back a cupcake and after Sunday lunch I divided it between 4 adults.
Verdict: melts in your mouth, and on your teeth.
Happy Birthday Sherron from your ghoulish looking neighbor.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A Work In Progress

I realize this could apply to almost any aspect of my life, but right now we're talking about the garden, the back berm to be precise.

If you've been reading me for any time at all you might recall I used to have eight 30' Leylands planted there.

They grew and grew and protected my delicate vision from the rather large hotel that looms over my tiny house. In front of the trees were some shrubs and bulbs, patches of liriope and a few struggling perennials. The berm didn't hold water too well.

Yes, there is an alley, and a row of townhouses and a street that physically separate me and the hotel, but the Leylands provided the all so important illusion of privacy.

Then came Hurricane Sandy and the first one fell.

The rest all listed to the right and were just waiting for one stiff  breeze to topple over. So down they went.

I had to wait till the following spring to get a 7ft fence built. Then I agonized over what to plant, where the $$$ would come from, how I would ever to be able to dig a hole in the unforgiving soil.

This spring my vision cleared and I got a helper. A man named Donald who lives in my 'hood and used to garden for a few clients. He told me he knew I wasn't rich and he wasn't looking to get rich off me, but he'd love to help.

So every other Sunday I have Donald come by and for not enough money, he's made last summer's dreams come true.

He moved the poor shrubs from the bottom of the berm where they grew all pitched forward as if begging for alms, up to the top in front of the fence. They are standing tall and proud. The choke cherry has suffered the greatest shock but I think she's gonna make it.

He moved plants under my deck that suddenly suffered from lack of shade. Dug up 2/3's of a patch of black eyed susans, moved 3 clumps to the back berm and I donated the rest to unsuspecting neighbors.

I dreamed of a cotinus and wondered about planting a curly willow that was  growing in a pot by my front door. They are both in place.

Now I'm mulched, the icing on the cake.

Dream it and it can happen.

Don't let me forget this. It may not happen as quickly as I want it to, but give time, time and miracles can happen.

Hell I waited 7 years for the climbing hydrangeas to get up to speed.

If you had asked me in February ,when I was hanging around with a cast on my arm, unable to even put toothpaste on my toothbrush what I thought the garden would look like this summer I would have cried, and did.

Oh me of little faith.

xo J

and many thanks to all of you who participated in or viewed FITH. It was a great party. July?

Monday, June 16, 2014

Flowers In The House Of Soccer: June 2014

The last two World Cups I watched with GG.

She loved her soccer but she wasn't crazy mad in love with soccer like Elle.

Thank God I got up early( like I have a choice with the cats wrestling on me at 5:30am), and got some flowers picked.

The rest of the day went by in a blur.

My neighbor's father had made a fast trip down from New Jersey to fix her electricity.

He made an early morning trip across the street to my house to replace some shingles on my roof.

Another neighbor brought over a dolly and hauled a tree stump that's been sitting in my driveway for 3 or 4 years waiting for a home, to a newly emptied spot in the back garden. It has been driving him mad for that long.

I lost a callicarpa last winter and I do not miss it, not one bit. It was too big for its space and was a constant source of visual annoyance to me.

Bye bye beauty bush, hello tree stump. My neighbor said it must be Jane Appreciation Day. Jane sure appreciated all the help.

We walked to the farmers market, I got my usual iced latte and a NYT ,then home to lunch, friends dropping by and some fast flower arranging.  Meanwhile soccer played on.

My favorite blue vase got an armload of oakleaf and lacecap hydrangea, a sweet shrub, fennel, lambs ears and Japanese clematis.  I got an earful of French expletives.

Earlier in the morning I had stuck some lavender, Queen Anne's lace, yarrow, lace cap hydranges, nigella, octopus plant  and petunias in a  jar of water to keep them fresh.

When I looked at it later it looked good to go to me. So I put the jar in a flower pot and watched a little more soccer.

Right at the start of the third game I decided I needed some flowers in the kitchen.

A fast run around the garden gave me a citrus splash. Marigolds, zinnas, dill, lemon thyme, sage, parsley and a squash blossom.

I was only outside for 5 minutes. Who knew I'd miss the first goal?

I hope you all found a minute to gather your rosebuds while you might.

And if you did, link us up and we'll be by to take a look.

And for those of you who don't have a blog or are "lazy bloggers", and I quote, let's hook up on Instagram?

Why not expand our horizons?

All in?

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

True Luxury

Picking your own salad from the garden moments before the skies open up.


Coming home to a post card from your oldest friend who still lives in Michigan on Lake Huron and referenced Bootsy Collins. Funkalicious.

 Threadbare flea market treasures.

./[p'; ( from Gus)

I went with 35.00 and spent 35.00. The rug was 7.00. Who could say no?
The print 5.00. A lovely soft burlap sack with drawstring, framed dried flower, a stoneware bowl from Bennington pottery and a funky Persian print tablecloth ( reference the 70's) rounded up the $$$.

This girl was on fire.

Another necessary luxury?

It's June. I see you what y'all are up to on Instagram.

Next Monday, the 16th, give it up.

Show the people what you got.

You know you want to.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

All Better Now

Grateful for:

Such a beautiful weekend that allowed me to be outside, nary a mosquito or any humidity in sight.

Friday night: Chicken sausage on the grill and a French potato salad ( thought apparently the French have never heard of such a thing). Tiny potatoes sliced still warm into a bath of olive oil, lemon juice, a dash of dijon and piles of herbs from the garden, salt and pepper, eaten immediately.

Saturday night: Grilled skirt steak marinated in olive oil, lime juice, heaps of garlic, a dash of soy sauce, a bit of cumin and those herbs again, eaten with tortillas and  tabbouleh.

Sunday: Walking to the farmers market with Elle, bringing back beautiful strawberry smelling strawberries and those golden beets. Stopping at the local coffee shop for a latte to go, picking up the Sunday Times and heading home where I remained for the rest of Sunday.

Pain free gardening, following the wedding on Instagram, gossiping with neighbors, freshly whipped cream for those strawberries, beet salad for dinner and a long hot bath.

 Monday: Lunch, shopping and a coffee with my Monday friends of 20 years. They have seen me through more relationships that I can bear to count, toasted me through early sobriety and have sewn, ironed and hung mirrors and curtains for me all those years.

Dinner: Turkey burgers on the grill and a long after dinner walk. Just pretend you have a dog is my new mantra.

I'm sorry, was I having a problem with life last week?

Zumba, the miracle cure.

P.S. the burning question, what color should I spray paint the bench? Moss green, a blue, black?

Help me out here folks.

xo J

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Delicious: It's What's For Dinner

After a day spent in the garden: dinner.

Baby spinach, roasted baby golden beets, pink grapefruit, honey goat cheese, pecans toasted with butter and honey and dressed with juice from the grapefruit, olive oli and garden mint.

Oh Baby.