Thursday, February 23, 2017

Seduced by Pink Light

These warm and cloudy days create a world of pink light between 5:15 and 6:15 p.m. "Pink light" is a woo-woo thing you imagine when you want to send people long-distance love and protection. Always enraptured and outdoors to see it, I was seduced into thinking about spring and summer. Before I knew it, I was:
  1. finding the gardening gloves and the trowel.
  2. raking and weeding, and saying hello to worms.
  3. fertilizing and then paving a small area with old shingles to smother the grass and weeds to prepare the earth for planting.
  4. at Lowe's buying seeds (hard to find!) for collards and turnips, two hardy vegetables that my bunnies and deer won't eat. And buying a garden hose.
  5. contemplating the Totally Tomatoes catalog and circling about 20 different tomatoes I want to grow, to be narrowed down to two with three plants each. (Totally Tomatoes sells both seeds and plants.)
This is either patently insane behavior or it's human. Thanks to the wildlife, of the tomatoes borne on these plants I will probably actually get to eat only one or two. I'm not a gardener. I'm kind of a make-believe gardener. That is okay. It's the journey, not the destination. . .

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Inauguration Store

Happened to be in the Baltimore airport where an Inauguration Store (remember, it's not far from D.C.) sold clothing with slogans including this sweatshirt ($27.99) at 50 percent off. I pitied the sweatshirt. I could have bought a pink tee that said, "I Suffered for Eight Years of Obama, Now You Can Suffer Eight Years of Trump" but resisted the temptation, even at 50 percent off. I don't have the nerve to wear it sarcastically. I believe America will be great again, because all around me are people stunned into political activity.

I went to a conference where I missed and longed for my quiet stone porch and the signs of spring. The ocean was right outside the door. No interest. Thinking only of spring in Missouri.

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Pantry and Its Discontents

Always wanted one and can't believe I haven't shown it to you in all these years: the pantry. It's a miserable little closet vacuumed out now and then, scrubbed and dusted I think only once in 15 years and I made somebody else do it, and only items in glass, armor-like plastic, or metal are shelved there because paper towels and napkins, and even newspaper used as shelf liners got shredded into mouse nests. (Never, ever say to me, "Poor little mousie.") There's also some extra flour in big tough plastic 5-gallon jugs that used to hold Demetrius's protein powder, but I bet you are looking at my liquor shelf.

In early 2012 I drank my first martini in Florida sitting at a bar packed with people age 80 and older at happy hour, and I told the lady next to me it was my first martini and she yelled, "Hey, it's her first martini!" and everybody hooted and hollered and toasted me like it was 1929, and I was so thrilled with how drunk I got that when I returned to Missourah I threw a martini party. I taped some martini recipes down on the table, bought an aluminum shaker and went to a liquor superstore, my first, to hunt all the ingredients--I'd heard of vermouth but didn't know exactly what it was, nor "simple syrup" either--got olives, lemons, tons of ice and had the party, and haven't made myself a martini since.

Then I bought some Missourah bourbon after I got a free sample that really sent my head to Mars. I read about how fun it was to drink bourbon with a boyfriend but my boyfriend at the time did not drink hard stuff and to this day I have the two bourbon-type glasses I stole from his kitchen thinking how romantic it would be to drink bourbon with him, and haven't had another drop. I also keep a half-bottle of Johnny Walker Red somebody gave me to take home after a party, Sobieski Polish vodka, Ketel One for the vodka martinis I never make, some flavored vodkas (because I drank them in Poland; lemon vodka in my freezer; a whole bottle of Polish caramel vodka I bought in Chicago; what was I thinking?), Serbian slivovitz (plum brandy; equivalent of moonshine; I am the only one of my friends able to drink it) and J&B, my favorite scotch because of how it takes the edge off and makes me hear violins, and I keep saying "tomorrow I'll have a drink and watch a movie," but I never do have that drink because I don't sleep well after evening drinks and tomorrow, always, I have to get up early, exercise, work and so on. And I drink best with others.

What are the all the beans and tomatoes for? Emergencies. Also have stuff in there I don't know what to do with, like a jar of red Russian caviar. Maybe I'll open it and see what happens.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Northward Migration

Lady Flicker, Wikimedia Commons
Yellow-Shafted Flickers stop here for suet in late January and early February, flying from southern Texas and northern Mexico to their summer breeding grounds in Canada. I watch them compete with the lordly Pileated Woodpecker for the same suet cake. The much larger Pileated who lives here year-round flaps his wings and waves them away, but the flickers are clever, and they simply wait beneath the suet cage for pieces that fly down to the leaf carpet while the bigger bird drills and gobbles his share. The Flicker is the only woodpecker who will eat from the ground.

Yellow-Shafted are the easterners, and Red-Shafted are the
westerners. They are in my view the most elegantly clothed of all the migrating birds. Wish they lived here all year round. The goldfinches at the seed feeder are still their winter olive green but now with a mention of yellow. The smaller picture shows a little Downy Woodpecker, in a flutter of striped wings, boldly trying to nip the suet while the male Pileated clings to the suet cage with his big crusty feet, and I decided after trying hard and getting no decent photos that this is the year (after 15 years) to set up a bird camera with remote shutter control to capture not only their individual beauty but their interactions.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Alternative Facts

Planted the amaryllis my neighbor gave me for Christmas, using nice potting soil to encourage it. And the bulb sat with its one yellow shoot pointing up, forever, for a month. Not growing or greening. The shoot's tip was dry and brown so I figured I killed it, or a mouse gnawed it, or it was a dud--the rare, one-in-every-10,000 dud amaryllis bulb (I am so centrally important to the universe that rare things happen to me).

The only direct sunlight in winter is in the morning, in the guest room/office, and I tried giving it light. At first I thought I was imagining it, but the yellow blade turned spring-green and grew. Temperatures rose into the 50s outside (global warming is a Chinese rumor to trick the United States out of manufacturing) and I sat it on the porch in a sunny spot on warm days and a blossom end formed and swelled into a pod. Up against a light you can see a shadow developing inside. This morning one side of the pod was split open about an inch. I peeked, trying to see what color bloom it has in there, but I'll have to wait.

P.S. Recently it was my birthday. Several people thought to give me crayons, coloring books, and toys. ("Divine is so lonely or crazy she needs these to fill her time.") Actually I see more people than ever and am working on the greatest project of my life, and so are you, and the amaryllis is an object lesson.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

A Day in Franklin County Missouri

U.S. Senator Roy Blunt's "mobile office" hour for Franklin County was at Sullivan City Hall today. The room was filled (photo shows one-half of the room); about 50 people. We took turns talking one-on-one in a small room with the Senator's aide, a young woman who took notes about our concerns--5 minutes maximum.

Some people wanted the aide to come out and listen to us all, town-hall style, but "it doesn't work that way" and instead we each chose one issue to discuss with her and took our turns in line. I discussed with her the Affordable Care Act repeal (a done deal, I'm sure) and replacement (where is it?) and the fact that some rural Missourians this year had only one ACA plan to choose from, and we of Missouri are waiting for Senator Blunt (Republican) to do the ACA one better. Surely he can do better. Or the Republican Party told us so anyway. Meanwhile the people waiting made a video to send the Senator. Each attendee who wanted to stood up and spoke for up to one minute about the political issue that concerned him or her the most. Very eloquent people and an invigorating hour. BTW, Senator Blunt does not do town hall meetings. At all.

Thinking all the way about how much I love Missouri, I then drove to Washington MO and deli lunch at Farm to You: roast beef and cheddar on rye, sweet-potato salad and a Million Dollar Orange soda, and took a photo of a beautiful Missouri scene, but understanding better now that Missouri is its people.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Good Things About the Dead of Winter

  • No bugs.
  • No bug bites.
  • Everyone else is flabby too.
  • Heating pad for car seat.
  • Tired of chocolate.
  • No garden worries.
  • Lengthening days.
  • Hats to cover up unwashed or unstyled hair, parkas to cover unwashed and unironed clothes, etc.
  • Big thick anorak-style hoodies with agricultural logos.
  • Sitting in the rocking chair staring into space is okay.
  • Hands encircling warm cups of coffee or tea.
  • Citrus.
  • Having trails all to yourself.
  • No waiting at the pedicurist.
  • People bake.
  • Soups.
  • No bell-ringers.
  • Everyone buys lotto tickets without shame.
  • No one is on your case to go out and have fun.