Like lipstick on an Akita…

When it comes to beauty in the garden it’s truly all about the garden and not the gardener.  Especially after attempting to move five yards of topsoil before the last rain,  at least that’s the story a ‘friend’ told me.  Maybe it’s the memories of Glamour ‘do’s and don’ts’ or the popular definition of crazy  which would be doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. I’m not sure what drives the desire but I do know that I’ve always wondered who got the job of naming all those lipsticks and nail polishes.  On that note my tip for the day is dark polish on a short nail.  I’m partial to greens, browns, red in December and purples.  Recently I’ve also been drawn towards the turquoise blue that appears to be the color du jour but the purchase has not been made.  My current favorite polish is Essie’s ‘Smokin’ Hot’ a Paynes grey purple.  The bliss of a dark color is that it always hides the dirt that lingers under one’s nails.  This works for the staining that happens during the grape sorting portion of wine harvest as well.

Essie's 'Smokin' Hot' Nail Lacquer

If I were in charge and yes I often picture life that way even though more often that’s not the case I would have chosen ‘Helleborus’ as the name. ‘Smokin’ Hot’ is a bit tired.   As these blooms age (this one is showing a bit pink) there is more of a smoky purple tint.

Helleborus bloom

Welcome 2012…

While I don’t think it’s an auspicious start that any of us can now be detained as a potential terrorist,  thankfully when it comes to the garden things are both more and less complicated.   At least it’s a context that’s familiar and generally not threatening.  This year I hope to reach the bottom of one of my compost piles, hunt down those deep crabgrass roots once and for all (yeah, right), grow a few more edibles, revive my broken and wonky drip system, and catch some rainwater if it ever rains.  That and more travel to view the efforts of others.    Whatever the state or size, may your garden reach its own perfect equilibrium of imperfection in the coming year.

What's in bloom January 1, 2011

Tutti Frutti…

Lucky Peach Issue #2

Wandering Kinokuniya bookstore in theory shopping for others (tis the season) I discovered ‘Lucky Peach’ a quarterly food and writing publication.  Attractively matte, this could be pretentious second issue is a McSweeney’s collaboration with chef David Chang  (yes of Momofuko fame), writer Peter Meehan and the production company responsible for ‘Anthony Bourdain:No Reservations’.  I know this now thanks to Google the verb.

My reaction has been one of infatuation. Based on the $58.00 asking price for copies of Issue #1 listed on Amazon I’m not alone.  A subscription costs $28.00 and yes, I’m going to.   Quirky, arty, high and low food culture, food photography, recipes, commentary, and travel all with a hearty helping of humor makes for a good read, one to keep out of the recycling for the time being.  My of the moment favorite portion of the current issue is a page of artist designed ‘fruit stickers’ just waiting to be used.  I both want to hoard and share them.  Easing into the sharing thing with a visual or two, keeping the sticker for the time being.

 

For more about ‘Lucky Peach’  here’s a link to an article from The Atlantic.   http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2011/06/2011s-best-new-food-magazine-david-changs-lucky-peach/240804/

 

Whatever you may call it…

Happy Thanksgiving, Turkey Day, Indigenous People’s Day however you may like to refer to it may the day be filled with warmth, good company, painless travel and cheer.

And, much as I’m attached to words,

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

John F. Kennedy

You can’t unscramble an egg. American proverb

“The mission of Lan Su Chinese Garden is to cultivate an oasis of tranquil beauty and harmony to inspire, engage and educate our global community in the appreciation of a richly authentic Chinese culture.”

That is what the website states.  It was ten minutes before the heavily carved wooden door was swung open as I joined the migration of the other,  all female, bermuda length short wearing expectant visitors, cameras in hand to the garden.  In a decade the Satyricon Nightclub ( legend has it that Kurt met Courtney there) was replaced by  mornings and greenery.  I learned this trip that the club only closed last Fall, the building slated for demolition.  Old Town used to be desolate and this particular morning felt earlier because it was only a mix of tourists and homeless individuals stirring.  This was an oasis of green, full city block, skyscrapers filtering over the top of trees, spurts of street noise patched in.

Portland's Chinese Garden

hints of the city to the left

life beyond the wall

Portland's Chinese Garden

tea for one

Another day at the office…

These folks didn’t brown bag their nectar and pollen, they’re lunching out.   After reading through the material on The Great Sunflower Project’s site I’ve been paying closer attention to the population in my own yard.  http://www.greatsunflower.org/four-easy-steps-participate

 

Little shop of horrors…

These two images, seemingly disparate are linked in my mind.  Analyze that one.

I’ve been hiding out from the midday temperatures by revisiting my carnivorous plant obsession.  That and Henry and I have joined the YMCA.  Yes, like the song.  I think I’m going to like it as apposed to the fancy pants gym whose membership I just dropped. I popped in yesterday for my ‘orientation’ which essentially was a workout lite.  While nodding my head and half listening a senior who I’m guessing was in his late 70’s clambered onto the machine next to me.  His skinny legs were incased in the requisite ribbed white knee socks, there were violently colored golf shorts and a nondescript oversized t-shirt.  “This is my favorite machine, I highly recommend it.  It’s going to give me smaller buns.”  was addressed in my direction.  All that came out of my mouth was “I’ll keep that in mind.”   On that note I really do think it’s going to work for us.

rosetted Sundew or Drosera spatulata "Frazier Island"

Henry in I believe 2004

In all fairness…

I didn’t last very long at the Marin County Fair.  The heat, dust, odd array of snake oil and plastic for sale left me wilted.  Wandering through the art exhibit and sitting with Henry while he scarfed down something resembling nachos was almost it.  The people watching is excellent although I was having trouble moving the brain cells away from the visual of our collective obesity.  My fixation, my bad.

All of the 4H exhibits are excellent.  Kids with ernest expression and green kerchief  exhibit their prize animals that always go by first name.

I very much want one of these.

that will do pig

 

And a couple of these.

bleet

Flakes, Bizarres and Piccotees…

Flakes and Bizarres has me squirming as it could possibly be descriptive of my sporadic dating life.  When one adds in Piccotees we are talking about Dianthus or carnation varietals.  This is a relief because I’m not quite ready to write that other blog entry.  Carnations have a bad reputation and I don’t mean the naughty, slightly wild good kind of bad reputation.  I’m in agreement when confronted with the my man has enough testosterone to send flowers to, note the white carnation head on that beer.

yes, you really can order this online

Santa Venetia Middle School memories also surfaced of the long stem red and white variety.  Valentine’s Day, a fundraiser for something, the popular kids could and did send the other popular kids a single carnation which naturally would be delivered during class.  While I had ingenuity to end up in the director’s office of Marin Ballet for tormenting my best friend’s twin sister I had not thought to coordinate with her on the sending of said long stem beauties to each other thus in a round about way raising our social status.   Note, my second best friend at the time was the school librarian.

And if that’s not enough Katy Perry when embarking on her World Tour 2011 said “no carnations” when it came to her requested pink dressing room decor.

The point of delving into all of the above is that I adore old fashioned varietals of Dianthus so named by the Greek botanist Theophrastus.  I like to visualize him strolling through a fragrant garden wrapped in  his toga,  Crocs on his feet.  They were made of leather in those days.  It felt like a forever wait to see my Chomley Farran bloom.  Really just over a year ago not realizing that I was at the rare plant table I picked up three of those plants, parted with $38.85 plus tax and went home to bide my time.

your man, my man Theophrastus

The Chomley Farran falls under the varietal Bizarre and according to Annie’s Annuals they were popular during the 1700’s – 1800’s.  More currently, perhaps something to do with the floral industry carnations have been assigned symbolic value.  A mixed hue carnation has associations with unrequited love.  They are a bi-color smoky lavender with streaks of hot pink with a faint spicy clove scent.  Don’t take my word for it, see for yourself.

Dianthus coryophyllus or Chomley Farran

I’m having fun with them as a cut flower.  Annie’s website currently says that this plant is not available but I do know that they have other varietals that I will soon be adding to my garden.

Solstice on ya…

I feel safe in making the gross generalization that the days of yore, the ones where our survival as a parasitic species was circled round the wagons of sensitivity to the cycles of mother nature are behind us.  There’s the notion that our cells come full circle every seven years which begs the question on a cyclical basis, “Who am I?” when doing the bundled like a burrito, or strewn like the contents of a handbag morning wakeup, alarm or no alarm.

Yesterday was hot, as in first stroll to the community pool, fry an egg on the sidewalk debate hot.  I’ve never tried it, the egg bit but there’s not a shortage.  Ended up sitting in the darkness of a friend’s backyard around a blazing fire pit one beer in.   The highlight according to Henry being the spray of gasoline needed to start the fire.  I missed that.  There was something comforting about the warmth and light coming off the fire and the warmth of the day still in the air and on my back.   Marshmallows were on fire, chocolate was exchanged, texting, conversations about Facebook passwords, jokes about condoms but that’s a thirteen year old’s prerogative.  As convoluted as its become, new self or not I vote for the cellular memory of something ancient.