Monday, December 31, 2012

Flowers in the House!

It's Monday.

It's New Year's Eve!

And, it's Flowers in the House!
These will go on the dining room table, but don't photograph well against the cherry wood.

Three reasons to celebrate today.  Sadly, nothing really blooming in the yard - altho the hellebores are trying hard and will join us in a few days.  Maybe a camellia or two, as well. 
A new vase for Christmas - you'll see lots of it in the spring, I think.

So, it's purchased poseys for me - mini-carnations in the most shocking purple and a bit of white stuff, plus the obligatory rosemary from the garden.
On the coffee table with a mirror underneath for tonight.

I do like a little bling for New Year's Eve, so have mixed silver and purple balls (not even left over from Christmas, but purchased for NYE several years ago).

Bowls of balls - just wherever!

If you haven't already been over to visit our Hostess, Jane, please hop over there and see who else is joining the party today.  It promises to be Small, but Charming!
And, Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas, One and All!

Wishing each and every one of you the Merriest of Christmases, or just the most perfect possible day with family and friends - whatever you wish!
Thank you for visiting with me this year, especially this past three months when I have lurked more than sharing.  Your good thoughts and wishes were really helpful and I have missed communicating with you. 

Hope 2013 will a wonderful year for us all and that we will finally find lasting Peace in our world!

Love to you, All! 
Peace and Joy.

Monday, December 24, 2012

(Unauthorized) Flowers in the House

Near the top of my list of things I love at Christmas is the table: making an arrangement, deciding just how I want to set it and all that good stuff. 

This year there will be five of us: our friend from South Africa who has joined us for many years and a happy new addition.  One of the Lebanese teens we sponsored for immigration to the U.S. is all grown up and married.  He and his new bride will join us for their first "American" Christmas.  His parents are visiting family in Lebanon this year and his brothers are with family in other cities, so they will enlarge our circle this year.

I hope Jane will forgive me for sharing flowers on "her day", but I know she is working today and doesn't have time or energy to host a flower party this month.
She would be proud of me, tho, that I filled both containers with water and oasis last night and let them sit and soak.  Although I purchased the flowers in a ready-chosen bunch, I did gather the greens from the yard:  'Otto Lueken' myrtle, rosemary and some 'Blue Rug' juniper that grows as a ground cover by the door. (I cleverly used it to cover the oasis in the sides of glass bowl.)

When I got the greens in, I wanted to stop.  
I loved how they looked and didn't want to tackle the challenge of adding the flowers.  But I am glad that I did.  Here are the finished products.  The tall one (at the top) for the buffet in a milk glass compote that I bought recently just for this purpose.
And Mother's gorgeous glass dish.  A wedding gift to my parents during WWII that has survived children, moves and many Christmases.  One of my favorite things!  And, just think ... we only have to be good for one more night!


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Wednesday Workday!

Back in the garden at last!  I was beginning to doubt that I would see this day.  While still under the one-pound rule (I can't lift more than one pound in my right hand!), I was able to cut some greenery and make an arrangement for the foot of the steps.
At the Sackler Gallery on Sunday we saw lovely urns filled with pine, bittersweet and dried stems.  They lined the sides of the parterre and were quite uniform and formal. I really loved them and wanted to do something similar for the house - since we are having guests for Christmas dinner this year.
A foraging trip into the woods behind our neighbor's house produced cedar, which I augmented with euonymous from the hedge, stems of Harry Lauter's walking stick, dried sedum heads, rosemary and nandina berries.  My arrangement is more natural than the inspiration, but fits better with our more laid back home and style.
With Mitchell to move the finished product into place, we are officially decorated outside. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Guest Garden in D.C.

So, who dashes off to Washington (the D.C. one) without charging her camera?  Apparently ... I do!

We took advantage of a Groupon to hop a train to D.C. on Saturday to see the decorations and just get away for a few minutes.  Having lived there many years ago, it is still one of our favorite cities - and we know how to get around!  We like to go a couple of times a year - if we can - to see what's new in the museums.
This time we targeted the U.S. Botanic Garden, which we had never visited.  I thought it would be a nice, quiet oasis in the winter.  And, I was partly right.
I loved this pale pink one that was growing "wild" - not part of the display of potted varieties.
The poinsettias were abundant and wonderful, as were the orchids, but that was all that was naturally blooming.  My favorite part was actually a display of giant aluminum flowers and plants.  Clearly designed for the children, there was no good explanation of what the "meaning" of the exhibit was, but they had gathered herbs and spices at kid-level to demonstrate natural flavorings and smells, and we enjoyed it a lot.
There was also a train exhibit that had attracted hundreds of parents and children - so much for the quiet part of our plan.  We did not stand in line for the trains, but did enjoy the miniature replicas of many government buildings.
The best thing of all, tho, was a huge bed of yellow iris in full bloom - on December 15th.  Did I mention that I forgot to charge my camera?  You'll have to use your imagination!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Joys of the Season

A Night at the Botanical Garden!
We took advantage of the warm weather to tour "GardenLights" at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.  They do a lovely light display every year from Thanksgiving thru New Years Day. 
This year's theme is oriental.  In the conservatory they have a wonderful tree decorated in soft pastel colors,  a model train with oriental villages and a darling little cottage. 
If the tree is not the star, then the chandelier of origami swans must be.
On a whim we slipped into the restaurant and had dinner surrounded by dark trees and tiny lights.  It was a magical evening!

Sadly, the photos don't do it justice.  You will have to take my word for the magic!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Sunday This and That...

It's been a weird couple of months - as you know - but I have declared it time to get back to normal, well nearly normal.

This - New Traditions:
You may remember that the Christmas season speaks volumes to the child in me, i.e., I adore it all - the flowers, the gifts, the wrappings, the music, the food, the tree.  Name it and I love it.  But circumstances change and sometimes one must start some new traditions. 

We have lovely plans for Christmas dinner  Our friend from South Africa has joined us for several years and will be here again, as well as a young couple from Lebanon.  He has been a family friend for years, but she is his brand new bride.  With both families currently in Lebanon, they will come to dinner with us.  (Hope we don't ruin them forever for American Christmases.  They are Druze, so we have no idea what they expect.)  Mitchell will do most of the cooking, but he says he will allow me to make a pie and season the pork roast.

With the addition of the harp, we no longer have a place for the "big" Christmas tree.  It always went here:
So, I went out and bought a table-top variety this year.  Put on the traditional tree-trimming music and went to town today and now we do have a small tree.  It will have to do for a few years, until I can downsize my office and share it as a music room/office with Mitchell.
Because I was a bit bummed at the pitiful smaller than normal tree, I decided that I need to make a special effort this year to find other little things that make me happy this season. So the next few weeks I hope to share some things that I find interesting or fun this season.  I promise to carry my camera all the time to capture them.

That - It's my Blogaversary!

When I pulled up this screen I saw that this is my 400th post.  Thank you for hanging in and reading the drivel.  Thanks so much for your support of the past several years, and especially the past two months.   Wish I had planned a big party for us, but as part of my decision to get back to normal, here is a commitment to post at least twice a week.

Report from Beowulf*

Rehab is going very well according to Beowulf, my physical therapist.  Actually, I can see tiny gains every day.  I finally got to the painful part last week but, thanks to miracle of good drugs, even that is bearable. I have nearly 100% of the motion back (passively) and am working on active motion.  That means that Beowulf can get my arm all the way up to 170 degrees and external rotation to about 80 degrees  (I need 180 and 90, respectively.)  I can now reach forward and use a mouse, but can't pick up that cup of tea sitting next to me.  I have no strength at all and they want to keep it that way for another month.  By January I think things may actually start getting normal again.

* You remember Beowulf ... from English lit.  "When that Apryl in its sura sota, the drought of March has pierced to the roote, and bathed every vein in sweet liquor" or some such ...  He was the hero of the middle English epic poem who ripped off Grendel's arm in battle and won the day.   Call me Grendel.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Feeling Thankful

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite celebration.  Even as a child i realized that it carried none of the angst of Christmas; that it was all about family.  Usually that meant just the four of us, but now and then the Grandparents would make the long drive to join us.

By college, my "family" grew to include the family of my BFF Elizabeth, who would whisk me off to Maryland to share the weekend with her exxuberant Italian family!  A weekend when gnocci and lasagna shared top billing with Tom.  (Telling you this requires me to explain that i went to college in a time when flying home for a four-day weekend was too expensive, and college girls did not have their own cars!)

As a young adult i seldom got to my nuclear family's for Thanksgiving, but those were the years whan "family" meant those who were not traveling.  You've been to those dinner - the ones where everyone brings a dish and someone else who doesn't have plans.  Those dinners where five people bring green bean casserole.  Those years when family swells to include lots of new folks - some of whom you may not know well or see again.  But still , family for one warm afternoon of football and dinner.

For the past 10 - 12 years Thanksgiving for us has been a trip to Hilton Head Island- initially to play tennis, but in recent years to share with our extended family.  Yesterday we were thinking of all the good times we have had here...  the year that James and Vandy came all the way from Albuquerque, and the times that Abbe and her husband have spent couple of days with us on their way to Florida to see their grandchildren.  And, the years that Elizabeth and Chuck have come up from Florida - recreating my college memories.  Or,recent visits with Dora and the Colonel, who last year introduced us to his project of documenting grave yards..

This year our family is spread to the winds with Elizabeth in Seattle meeting her new granddaughter, Abbe already in Florida, and Dora welcoming that handsome new son-in-law for the weekend.  So, we will celebrate small today, but drive to my brother's tomorrow for the weekend.

The rest of my family will be here today, too.  My blogger family.  And for all of you i give big thanks.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The General Welfare

In case you are looking for a way to help, here are some things we learned from Isabel:

1 - volunteer.  The red cross needs all the able-bodied folks they can get, especially with local knowledge.  They send in great organizers, but need troops.  If you live in the area and have some time, this is a great way to help.

2 - volunteer.  The food kitchens will be rolling in any minute now.  The various state Baptist conventions do a terrific job of providing hot meals, but they may need extra hands to cook, clean and deliver.  Local churches and agencies will need help, as will individual families.  You may be able to donate goods and food to these local groups for direct distribution.

Don't live in the area?

3 - give.  As much as you might want to collect "stuff", you need a distribution system.  in these early days, they need money more.  Our first choice is the Baptists.  Its the Home Mission Board - to pay for all that food.  They get good marks for low admin costs and using all the money for relief.  They even pay the credit card charge themselves rather than taking it out of the donation.  (We aren't Baptists.)  To donate go here.

Also the Lutherans.  They do a good job of getting the right stuff to the right place.  (Not Lutheran either.)

There are plenty of other good places to give .. Google "hurricane sandy relief fund" for lots of places that are collecting.  Just be sure to check that they don't take too much for admin.  You can check for information.  i've linked to their sandy page.

This is going to take a long time and a lot of dollars.  This will take a huge village. we can be part of it.

Monday, October 29, 2012

FITH - a small cheat

Cutting stems left handed is nearly as difficult as writing, altho am improving at both.

Before sandy sends her worst to us i cut everything thats in bloom - well, not the chrşysanthemums - which should be fine.  So, i have a few dahlias, zinnias, scabiosa, and the energizer bunny of the garden ... my aunts mini roses.*    The cheat is that i cut them midweek.

Thanks to Jane for hosting FITH.  Stop over and she who else is expecting you today!

*Dont think ive really talked about aunt agnes.  She loved plants and digging in the dirt.  She never had a planned "garden", but rather plants she loved planted ... wherever!  My love of digging in the dirt absolutely came from agnes.  
The bunny in my garden is standing in a way she so often stood that i see her whenever i see it - including when i view this blog.  The mini-rose came from her yard at virginia beach.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Hoist by my own petard ...

So.  Have been planning a post for today.  Idea in mind.  (Er.. where else?)  Thougts startingto come together... and then i took my first trip to the PT guy.

A bit of background...
Monday - back to work.  Sling in my way so i took it off.
Tuesday -dumped the sling entirely

Wednesday - quit sleeping upright in the recliner and moved back to bed.

Thursday - smacked bt pt - back to sling 24/7, limited use of keyboard.  ( this is all my left index finger - caps and punctuation are too much trouble.

So i shall hang out another week, lurking on your blogs and longing to be participating.

Miss you.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Best Husband Ever

Mitchell has stepped up and grabbed that partnership thing and i couldn't havedone this without him.

This morning he took off the big bulky bandages, scratched all the itchy places, washed and lotioned my shoulder and helped me into real clothes!  I'm a person again.

This is definitely doable.

I know.  It will get worse when i start PT, but for now i am healing, sleeping, and eating pretty normally.
Thanks for all the encouragement.

(And,see how well ikeyboard left-handed!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

recouperating - day .5

  1. Home safely and thinking straight finally.  Lovely designer sling.  Good drugs.  Going to bed soon.  No pictures today.  Sorry.
3Thanks for the support.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wednesday Workday

It's been a lovely few days.  Crisp, cooler fall days (that means low 70's in these parts) with cooler nights (mid-60's) with a few high 80's thrown in to remind me of June.  Today was a smorgasbord of fall weather.  Gentle rain fell for a couple of hours before dawn, only to make way for fog that hung heavy on the shrubs after sun-up.  On the neighborhood pond it looked like the fog was being carried across by the geese.  Later it was sunny and balmy, before the heavier rains came near sunset. With the ground already softened, we should benefit from most of the downfall.

In the garden, the proper fall blooms are competing with the last of summer blooms.
This begonia planted itself and then suddenly appeared in September.  Seriously, it appeared in this pot!
While the coleus has spent the summer under a tree out of the shade, but is ready to brighten up the deck now.
The last of the verbena (Homestead Purple) is competing with the first asters (name unknown).
Overall, the garden is ready for winter - nearly a month early.  Having a deadline to get it done has really been good for me.  I like the feeling of being in control and not having a lot hanging over me and fretting about finding the time.
Oh, and about that deadline ... I'm taking some time off from the blog (well, at least the writing part) as well as from work and sadly from about everything else!  Tomorrow I am having a rotator cuff repair.  Aargh!  The surgery is not a big deal, but I will be without the use on my right arm for four to six months.  Yes, months!  I should have my hand back in a couple of weeks and be able to keyboard in three or fewer.  Altho I am hopelessly right-handed, I can follow you on my tablet and navigate that with my left hand, so I will be reading and watching.  Think of me as a friendly stalker and I will see you before the end of the month! 

You know where to find me.  I'll be on the bench. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Wednesday Workday

It's all about redistribution this week.  No, not that kind.  We are friends and friends don't talk politics this time of year!

No, redistribution of my garden's assets.  I have pulled up acres of weeds so the good perennials can redistribute themselves into larger spaces.
I have redistributed the dirt that drifted over the summer into the iris.  The cutting garden could use some additional soil, so I had plenty to put there.

I redistributed about five cubic yards of decomposable weeds, overgrown perennials and stuff I pulled up to the compost pile.

Mitchell will soon use the chipper/shreader to redistribute the pile of sticks and branches on the left side into a new base so we can turn the pile.  I estimate that there are 18 inches of good dirt under the right hand pile!
And, finally, I redistributed many blossoms into the house to enjoy. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Flowers in the House - September Edition!

Mother Nature gave me a bounty this month - one I did not expect.  The cooler temperatures and plenty of recent rain really have caused the garden to perk up for one last flush of summer color as the fall blooms start coming, too. 
For the dining room table:
The first (and perhaps last) dahlia of the season, cone flowers, two sedums (sedi?), garden phlox, and Lady's Mantle, with a few vitex leaves thrown in for good measure.

For the coffee table the last (maybe not!) of the mini-roses.
And, a bonus bunch for my chairside table - the last of the Shasta Daisies, and a handful of zinnias.
I couldn't be happier!
If you haven't already been, there .... please hop over to Jane's house (SmallButCharming) and see what else is showing up today.  Our friends in the Southern Hemisphere should be starting to have spring flowers, you know.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Fall's on the Way

A bit of web for you ...

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Guest Garden in Williamsburg

Mitchell and I have spent the past week hanging out in Williamsburg with three of my best friends from college - Elizabeth, Abby and Dora, and their husbands when they wanted to join the fun!  It was a heavenly R & R for me.  Good food, catching up on the news, a wine tasting (of course), a bit of shopping, and a lovely concert.
Elizabeth's husband is an excellent drummer and they journey nearly every year to Williamsburg so he can attend a week of "adult band camp" that ends with a concert by the Williamsburg Consort.  It leaves her pretty much alone in a hotel or wandering by herself for five days, so we decided to piggy back a week of vacation and play, too.  Dora and Abby live in Williamsburg, so the rest of was easy.
But what caught my eye and I wanted to share with you was a darling kitchen garden - literally! - outside the kitchen of a lovely little Thai restaurant.
At the back door of the restaurant and surrounded by parking spaces is a lovingly attended herb garden.  It is filled with basil "bushes" and unknown - but I will bet firey hot - peppers, lemon grass and even two persimmon trees - one full of green persimmons.  A passing "regular" told me in all seriousness that they are the best persimmons in town ("Even better than mine", he said enviously. "I don't know what she does differently.")  There are tomatoes tucked here and there and roses around the edges.
When we arrived a lady was cutting a handful of peppers and other seasonings, and when we left a second was doing the same.  I couldn't help but think that the women and cooks who lived here in Colonial Times, would be very happy to know the Thai ladies are continuing the kitchen garden tradition.

Lunch was good, too!