Monday, March 31, 2008

What's in bloom

...not much.

It's still pretty brown and gray around here.

But -

The snowdrops are coming along.
Galanthus woronowii

And one I'd forgotten about

Winter aconite
Eranthis cilicica
Where are the other 10 bulbs I planted?
These two tiny blooms are all by themselves!

Here's another that surprises me each year -
they come up after the snowdrops
and are just barely starting to bloom.

White scilla (they're actually very pale blue)
Alba Scilla

The pansies survived the snow last week.

Still on the lookout for our crocuses.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Other Man

In the spirit of the current political climate in this country,
I think I need to come clean about

The Other Man.

(But I have decided I will not hold a press conference.)

We have a handyman.

I'm crazy about him.

He can do almost anything
but won't do certain things,
like clean the gutters on the second story,
start before 9 a.m.,
or work past 4 p.m.

Front door wouldn't latch.
Now it does.
But what's that white stuff on the knob?!

He also sometimes leaves a bit of a mess.
But not too much of one.

Master bath doorknob
had been spontaneously falling off
for several years.
Two previous handymen were not successful in the repair.
Under Ralph's guidance, I bought some new old parts at a salvage place.
I think the fix is going to work this time.

He is competent, practical, cheerful, funny, and very talkative.
He retired early from corporate life
and does this for fun,
while his younger wife continues her teaching career.

The door to the attic never had a complete door knob set.
Why? I don't know.

Now it does. Yay!

I like him so much that I recommended him to my parents.
Now they are crazy about him, too.
And he about them.

Cleaned out the dryer vent to keep us from catching on fire.

He says my parents are so nice
that he wants to move in with them.
(Which makes me a tiny bit jealous
that he doesn't want to move in with us.)

New cordless vacuum came with a charger
that didn't fit where the old one did.
Could I have taken care of this myself?
Did I want to?

G used to be our handyman. He could do almost anything, too.
He's been very tolerant of having another man in our life.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Earth Hour 2008




Earth Hour Tonight!

Earth Hour was started last year in Sydney, Australia
by the World Wildlife Fund
to raise awareness of climate change.

This year, a bunch more cities have signed up,
including Chicago,
so we're getting a lot of coverage on our local news.

It would be fun to be in a spot
where we could see the lights
in so many buildings in the city
go out at 8 p.m.

But driving there would kind of defeat the purpose
of raising awareness of responsible use of limited resources,
and anyway, G wouldn't think it was fun.

We'll be turning our lights out tonight at 8:00.
And back on at 9:00.

But I'm sure the television will be left on.

Friday, March 28, 2008


Anne of Happy to be here tagged me for a 4 x 4 meme. (My first meme!)

4 jobs I've held: Toy catalog stapler/stuffer/address labeler (8th grade during the pre-Christmas season, for our local toy store - it paid more than babysitting); front desk clerk at a lake resort (on summer break from university - the twin brothers who managed the place were both having extramarital affairs, so the gossip was pretty unbelievable. My grandmother couldn't wait for me to get home with the latest.); product development for a meat processor (where we had a lot of Polish and Mexican immigrants and I learned to say useful things like "Working tomorrow!" and "Merry Christmas!" in new languages. Also tasted guacamole for the first time at the employee Christmas party.); technical director for worldwide accounts at a food ingredient company (many WONDERFUL and some HORRIBLE experiences. The wonderful included getting to work with my counterparts at most of our 20 international locations and meeting my husband; the horrible included being on a project with the project manager from hell.)

4 shows I watch: Law and Order (the original and Criminal Intent, but not SVU - I can't handle the descriptions of the crimes. With the original, the crime is committed before the show starts - a good thing.); The Closer (really like this. Wish it were on more.); The Colbert Report (must get the news somewhere); can't think of another one that I really like, though I certainly watch more television than this.

4 places I've been: The Netherlands (birthplace of husband - we usually go once a year to see his daughters and grandkids and other friends); Haiti (my first international business trip); Australia (one of my favorite places); England (another of my favorite places).

4 foods I like: Ack! Only four? This is hard. Chocolate. Raspberries. Mangoes. Buttered popcorn (not movie popcorn, not microwave bagged popcorn, but real popcorn with freshly melted butter on it). Pesto (I'm sorry - I couldn't stop myself.)

And now, to tag 4 people and hope they don't mind. Alice at The Magpie Files, Angie at Children in the Corn, Ali at Domesticali, and Mary at Blue Mountains Mary. (If you don't feel like doing this, no worries.)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Victory Liberty Garden

I recently joined a local organic gardening group, spurred into action by Angie's challenge.

At one of the group's meetings, Victoria Nowicki, an enthusiastic and experienced organic gardener, was the speaker. Vicki and her husband Ron of The Land Office have been gardening organically for nearly thirty years and are involved in landscape design and construction.

Before her presentation on seed starting, Vicki shared some thoughts on the revival of the World War II Victory Garden movement.

She thinks the resurgence in home gardening is wonderful ("people growing their own food at home has always been the goal of the club") - but would love to see us transform it into a Liberty Garden movement. She just wrote an article for the club newsletter, outlining her reasons.

I like the idea of a fresh start on an old idea, with a name targeted to this time in our history.

But no matter what we call it, I'm glad for Angie's inspiration. (And I finally got my seeds ordered, Angie!)

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Bought some pansies a few days ago.

Today we have beautiful sunshine and
temperatures in the 40's.

Eat, drink, and plant pansies,

for tomorrow we have 3-6 inches of snow predicted.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

First Signs

The very first flowers
we get in our garden in the spring
are snowdrops.
Four years ago they appeared on March 1st.
I've been checking every day or two
for the last three weeks.
And today - ta da!

You would think that now I would be satisfied.
But no.
Now I will be obsessed with finding the first crocuses.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Misheard, Misread

G: What's the plan for today?

Me: After lunch, we're going to the Y.

G's eyebrows go up.
A look of incredulity fills his face.

I can hear it already:
the protests,
the "I don't feel good"s,
the "Why do we have to"s.
I'm already mentally framing my sharp retort.

G: We're going to Hawaii?

Sunday, March 16, 2008


During the Palm Sunday service this morning,
we sang one of my favorite hymns.
The music is Thomas Tallis' The Third Tune.

Ralph Vaughn Williams
wrote an absolutely stunning,
achingly beautiful
piece of music
based on this tune.
It is called
Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis.

The first time I heard it,
I was driving home from work.
I had to pull over and stop the car.

If you have a few minutes, please listen.

Can't Sleep

Can't sleep.
So get up and do something.

Make soup.
Potato with fresh dill

Experiment with savory muffin recipe.
Zucchini / pumpkin basil. Passable.

Feel better.
Time to get up!

Friday, March 14, 2008


Some mornings I put Quincy in bed with us for a little while.

It helps G start the day with a more cheerful attitude.
Having his wife in bed with him doesn't seem to have the same effect.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Charlie Corpuscle Says

A poster at the blood center said
less than 5%
of the US population
donates blood.

It's really pretty easy.

Friday, March 7, 2008

A Stitch in -- whatever

I ordered new sweatpants for G online.
They are unexpectedly long.
There must be some very tall XL guys out there.

Getting him to try them on so I could mark the hem
proved more difficult than I expected.
Whenever I was ready, he was not.
And whenever ... well, you know.
(It's not like we have such high-powered lives.)

Finally this morning, our planets aligned.

And since they aligned,
I also had him try on the sleep pants I gave him for Christmas,
which had a similar issue.
(It's March already? How the time does fly!)

And last, the repair of a well-loved sweatshirt.
It has a silkscreened painting of my parents' old summer cottage.
(My parents had one made for each family member.)
But the neck and cuffs frayed like crazy.
I've never seen a sweatshirt wear so badly.
(Note to self: Don't buy Lee brand sweatshirts.)

G was very pleased.
He'd been waiting about two years for this repair.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Red Sky at Night

Sometimes letting the dog out
reveals wonderful things
that might otherwise escape notice.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

84, Charing Cross Road

Each time I read a post from a blogger wondering what those outside of Blogland think of having blogger friends one has never met, I think of this wonderful little book.

In 1949, Helene Hanff was a writer in New York with little money and with "an antiquarian taste in books." She read an ad in a New York paper for Marks & Company, a London bookseller of rare and secondhand books, and wrote to them asking if they could find some out of print books for her, as the prices in the New York market were beyond her budget.

With that first letter began a twenty year correspondence of witty and endearing letters between Ms. Hanff and the employees of the book shop. The collection of letters was published in 1970, and a movie was made in 1987. (I just looked up the movie, which I saw on an overseas flight back then. I remembered it had Anne Bancroft in it, but I see now that it also had Anthony Hopkins and Judi Dench.)

Helene and the shop employees, primarily Frank Doel, wrote and sent gifts for twenty years, never having met or even spoken by phone.

Sounds familiar, doesn't it? I'm very thankful we have this medium to make new friends - you are so dear to me!