Wednesday, February 23, 2011

In case you thought I was kidding

I told you I had some work to do. The good news is, the first wave of hanging baskets is planted and growing along nicely. It would help if we had some more sunshine--apparently, though, the universe is intent on continuing this little experiment called: How Pasty Can Y'all Get?, keeping all its golden glow for the beautiful people on the coasts. This is Middle America, and we here are resigned to suffer, ever stoic. And pasty.

This shot was taken on a rare, cloudless afternoon, though, and I confess, for a while there it became so warm I had to go all Scarlett O'Hara on everybody's A's, removing all superfluous clothing and fanning myself for dramatic effect. This strategy (I employ it often) also involves panting whenever my husband is within earshot in the hopes that he might send me home, ever-concerned for my physical state. Oddly, this did not go as well as I'd thought it might, even with my feigned fainting dead away on the stacks of packaged potting soil.

For a theatre director, there are times when he is utterly unappreciative of my stagecraft. 

He is a good delegator, though, a quality I do not take for granted. Ever. His solution to my faux-heat-stroke? Cool off in the plastic-washing tank--perfect! We recycle a good bit of our used plastic containers by rinsing them in a very diluted disinfectant, then reusing them for this-year's plants. There are two "wet" cycles in this process; the wash and the rinse. And boy, did it ever feel nice to stick my entire arms in the wash tank. Sort of like running your wrists under water on a summer day, have you ever done that? Except I went in up to the shoulder and would have stuck in my whole head were it not for the flotilla of soil particles ready to attack at a moment's notice. 

For a couple minutes during my "dip", I started to think that what if, during the retrieval of plastic containers from the tank, I encountered a non-plastic object, say, something furry? It was one of those times when you know you must, for everyone's well-being, strike the thought from your head and meditate on lollipops or Care Bears or something, lest you flat out lose your mind, but for the life of me,  I was stricken. The only thing that distracted me even a little bit were daydreams of this hat, which I've tried on twice at Nordstrom but can't justify buying. I need it, though, don't you think? To keep the wrinkles and cancer-causing UV-rays at bay? Well, unless it goes on sale or somebody (anyone?) buys me a birthday present, I will have to settle for conjugal tryings-on whenever I'm in the Nordy's (a.k.a. Hat Prison) neighborhood. Maybe next time I'm there I'll wear a dress I've made from curtains, and see if I can get the hat to loan me some money. Ha!

**This might be the third or fourth Gone With The Wind reference in my blog history. What does it mean? I offer no explanations other than this: the first time I watched the movie, my mother was giving me a home-perm while I sat on a kitchen stool with my eyes glued to the television, in awe of the epic romance between Rhett and Scarlett. And, Oh, Ashley! I wonder if the chemicals played some role in permanently embedding GWTW references in the part of my brain that stores long-term memory? Do you think this theory could this be proven with a simple CT-Scan? Hmmm.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

About a bird

I've decided to start twittering. Or is it tweeting? Using twitter? Whatever. Mostly it's because I want to work on being more succinctly witty, but really so I can round out my calendar, which between me and my husband includes directing a middle-school production of Willy Wonka and creating 900 hanging baskets next week. Spotty, right? Like, maybe it's time to re-up your candystriping contract, log some more volunteer hours or something is what you're saying? I hear you. Enter Twitter; you can follow me here and feel better about my schedule in the process: I am now spread sufficiently thin.

Speaking of little blue birds, there's a little something I've been over-thinking lately. It's my go-to, dead-of-night piece of anxiety rawhide. The worry chew-toy I refuse to put down, no matter how many sheep I count or to what great lengths I extend the fantasy that if I move a single muscle the Gestapo will find me in my hiding place. Please tell me that you use this technique in battling your own insomnia? Holding as still as humanly possible under threat of being discovered in your annex? No? Well fine, then. You all just go on being normal while I admit my idiosyncrasies in embarrassing detail on the internet.

This is important, though--a couple of moves back, while all our worldly goods were in storage and we were in that awful limbo, I started to get really anxious about some of the more precious things I either a) hadn't packed myself, b) didn't remember packing at all, or c) knew I had packed but forgotten where, etc. You know, the kind of questions that cannot be resolved across 500 miles. I'd lie awake pondering their whereabouts, then in the morning poll my husband. Did he think they were still there? Of course he did. Did he think that I'd be able to find them again someday or were they gone forever? Of course you'll find them, he said. I suffered quietly through my uncertainty, trusting eventually that when things were shaken out and sifted, I'd find what I was looking for. It was a blind faith, really, based on no solid evidence whatsoever. Just hope: there could be no other possible outcome.

Of course, I didn't know that my belongings were being plundered by mice this entire time, did I?

Still, even after I found out about the raping and pillaging at the hands of angry rodents,  I somehow thought there were things of mine that wouldn't be touched, among them:

my Allison Krauss cd
my vintage opal cocktail ring
and, mostly:
my tiny ceramic bird. It was speckled, and blue, and had been broken in every single move, no matter how well-wrapped. I can't remember where I got it, just that it sat on the window-sill of every house we've lived in, having been glued together-what, like...four times? Maybe five? In the words of that darling childrens'-book character Eloise, it was my mostly companion.

See, when you move so much, there is so much re-imagining of your life that takes place. You are always packing or unpacking, whether in your mind or in the light of day, trying to make where you are feel like home. And sometimes it doesn't. For me, it often didn't-that's why I loved this bird. In the first few days of settling in to any new space, Joshua would present it, freshly repaired, to me, and we would place it in a spot where we could see it daily.  It was familiar; constant. It sounds cliche: pieced-together bluebird as metaphor for life? My heart?

Is it lost forever? We've been in our latest place now since July, and I've just about given up. There is nowhere left to look, and a million places to look. I hate to think it got thrown out by mistake in all the post-mouse cleanup, and I'm not spiritually elevated enough to get any joy from imagining one of my grandchildren finding it in the dump someday in a my-heart-will-go-on sort-of scenario. I want it now. After all the ground we've covered---literal and figurative--it seems absurd that we'd lose something so essential, especially when you consider how many worthless trinkets survived the passage with nary a scratch.  Take, for instance, my collection of paper cocktail umbrellas. They're just fine.

This whole situation makes me feel just like a kid. Maybe I should make a lost poster like my son once did for a wayward stuffed animal and hang it up in the unlikely event of a sighting? Bluebird, I am sending out an S.O.S right now. Won't you come home?

*I wrote this a week ago-and so far, I've tweeted once, but the plays were performed and the first round of flowers is almost completely planted. My bird is still out there somewhere.  For now, I am only mildly appeased by this other bird, which is sweet but also slightly taxiderm-ish due to its real feathers. Ew?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Don't Misunderestimate* me....

When I say there was a mess up in here. 

'Cause I was more than serious. Why, I ask you, did I think the days of sinus infection/Snowpocalypse would be perfect for doing some light "organizing"? Yeah, there wasn't a whole lot of follow-through on that project, hence the Rubbermaid bins strewn hither and yon. I call fever-induced over-confidence.

Thankfully, yesterday, I was able to get things under control. Question: do you think we could all four of us survive in this one room? This way, it would feel like our house was REALLY clean and sanctuary-like. I suppose we could munch on that overgrown jade plant that needs repotting anyway. Kind of a two-birds-with-one-stone thing. You think?

On second thought, I think I'll do my best to keep everyone out. 
Except the hubs, of course; he is kind of cute.

And now, on to the rest of the house. See you in a couple of years!

*Not a word, George.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Today a madman came to my door. I wasn't sure what he wanted and was hesitant to open it-I do so loathe solicitors, but what could he be peddling, I thought? Sunglasses designed to wear over one's hat? Spray-on beard snow? Was he only pretending to sell fancy track suits in order to get a glimpse of my Goodwill nightgown? Only a certifiably insane person would dare to commit such heinous acts in the dead of winter. It reminded me of someone I know....oh yes, my husband, whose claim to fame in certain Atlanta circles is having been seen running in a hurricane.

Speaking of hurricanes, what the h happened to my house while we were busy being sick and having snow days? I can't believe it had the nerve to get messy again. I turn my back for two weeks, and just like that, what do you know, I have to dust again. Can't a girl catch a break?

As soon as I've finished picking up the pieces from this latest calamity, I'll be back with some juicy bits of prose for your reading pleasure, all of them mostly true. Until then, I encourage you all to be vigilant: you never know who's going to show up at your door, wanting to be let in.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

It's like Buttah

I'll begin with this: I know that for many of you out there, when I say "Justin", you say "Timberlake", which makes perfect sense, given the teen dream-turned-leading-man's chops. He's funny, he can sing, and--let's face it, he's a dish. But pretend for a moment that 'N Sync never happened. Imagine, if you dare, that Sexy never got brought back-could there be room for another Justin in your life?

I think yes. Enter Justin's Nut Butter. Have you tried it? You can get it lots of places, and you should because it's exquisite. Plain and simple. Think small-batch peanut, almond, and hazelnut butters made with the highest quality natural and organic ingredients. Available in individual "squeeze" packets, and in jars so you can go to town on your favorite flavor with a spoon, or, I suppose, spread on a sandwich if you've any self-control.

In our house, we fancy Justin's Maple Almond most of all--it is perfectly (not too) sweet, with a luxurious texture, and bits of sea salt throughout. I started with squeeze-packs but moved on to buying jars-which, it should be said, are not in the price range of conventional peanut butters--in fact, the average cost of a jar of Justin's is around $9.95. But before y'all go running for the familiar hills of Jif and Skippy, let me ask you something: aren't some products worth more? Especially one that is so thoughtfully prepared and delicious? Buy a squeeze pack if you need proof-but trust me: it won't be long before you're kneading and squeezing your way to the full-size version.

Last Monday was National Peanut Butter Day, and to celebrate, the people of Justin's posted a contest on their Official Facebook Page, inviting fans to describe "the most creative way they've eaten Justin's this week". Well, naturally, I entered, and......guess what? I won! My prize was a 4-pack of Justin's and it was truly like a little Fed-Exed manna from heaven. Not only was I able to try a new flavor or two, but my pantry was fortified for the re-creation of the sandwich I'd made that was, apparently, the most creative use of Justin's.

Isn't it fun to be rewarded for really loving something? Thanks, Justin's! I pinky swear you're the only Justin in my life. So what if you can't rock a denim tuxedo/raging falsetto like that other guy--you make a mean nut butter and have yet to cause a wardrobe malfunction--unless you count having to loosen my belt after tossing back too many of these bad boys:

New Wave Fluffernutter
Take two slices homemade challah
Spread one side with Justin's
On the other side a schmear of honey and fig goat cheese (or Marshmallow Fluff if you're a purist) 
Add thinly-sliced banana
Drizzle with honey
Put the halves together
Toast in a buttery skillet
Sprinkle with sea salt and demerara sugar
Totally Elvis-worthy, don't you think?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Guess what? 
Chicken Butt. 
Sorry, it's just that I am really bored. Stuck in the middle of the Snowpocalypse/Ice Infestation and with some sort of horrific illness to boot. The kind of sick where nothing sounds appealing except the delivery of a Craftmatic Adjustable bed with a side of trashy magazines, which I'd only barely read in a semi-conscious stupor. The gossip, the fashion don'ts, the little snippets of non-useful information...they're so delicious in times like these. And a remote-control bed is always in fashion, right? Especially when there's a hot broad in it who hasn't brushed her teeth in a few days.

Last night, during the second round of freezing rain was when we lost this whole gigantic part of our tree. I was languishing in my non-adjustable bed when I heard things sliding and popping and cracking and having watched just a wee bit of the movie Signs in the afternoon, I was fairly certain the aliens were coming. I had to put my pillow over my head to wait it out till morning. Quite fitfully, I might add.

Well, shoot. Boo on this whole week that was sposed (I'm sick, just let me spell it like that) to be uber-productive. I only have another 10 days or so before I'm in the greenhouse planting every day, and I had some big things I wanted to accomplish, including lose 10 pounds. Now how can I be expected to accomplish any of this in the face of inclement weather and illness? I guess the one good thing to come out of these recent events is how easy it is to moonwalk on one's driveway, what with all the ice,  and if you're into that sort of thing. Which--who wouldn't be?

I've just received word from the family room that the littlest of us is sick, too. She is now prostrate on the mid-century Naugahyde mewing for new episodes of Max and Ruby, so thank you Jesus that the power did not go out. Because Lord knows I am not even remotely up to any style of parenting today other than 100% passive. Please tell me y'all have been there.