Saturday, July 28, 2007

Some lilies to consider

Consider the lilies, how they toil not and neither do they spin, yet King Solomon in all his glory was not clothed as fine as these...

I'm toiling slightly at work, and found this blog with lilies that will help illustrate that verse.
(Be sure to scroll down until you see the pictures, although the list of lily names is pretty cool too.)

What a visual feast.
(And a cat at the end to boot.)

The blogger is a Master Gardener; something I had considered becoming at one point in my life when I had over 300 varieties of plants in my garden. Master Gardening is a program where you study for about a year, and do a lot of volunteer work too. After that, Master Gardeners go around creating gardens that are amazing, and giving advice because they really do know all about soil and pests and blooming cycles and all that stuff.

I've thought about it for awhile, and decided what I really want now is a friend who is a Master Gardener. I want her to be available solve all my gardening problems, but mostly I just want to go hang out in her garden, sipping ice tea and wearing a wide brim hat, enjoying the fruit of all her hard work.

I want her to cut arm fulls of flowers for me to take home, bags of fresh picked vegetables, and slips of all her interesting plants for me to put into my garden.

You see, back in San Diego, when I had a garden with 300 kinds of plants, dozens of roses, every kind of mint known to man, camellias and violets, succulents and hundreds of bulbs, vegetables and herbs and a lathe house of ferns, I actually would invite my friends over for glasses of ice tea, and supplied them with big brimmed hats for strolling in the garden.
I would end the visit clipping huge bouquets for them to take home, along with fresh herbs and lettuce for salad, and a slip or seeds to try in their own garden.

Most of my friends had lawn. Maybe a pot or two of flowers by the back door. Maybe a struggling rose bush, or a few daisies clumping in the corner. They all thought my garden was amazing.

When I knew we would be moving in a year, I video taped my garden each week or so, so I could go visit my garden again in each season after we moved. On tape I can once again see the breezy poppies with a cat napping, roses unfurling, Jasmina billowing over the lathe house, the peach tree with peaches swelling to the size of soft balls, then the leaves turning golden, framed by the window of my weaving studio, through which I would watch golden sunsets. Bare grey branches that then sugared with pink blossoms...the peach tree alone would have marked the seasons in the season less environment of Southern California.

I dug and watered, planted and pruned. I asked for gardening soil for my birthday and Christmas to amend the sandy hard soil in our area. Bernie built the hard scape of bricks, I reclaimed area by area until a walk in the garden was a ramble worthy of a guide.

I loved it.
It was a lot of work.
Only another gardener can appreciate how hard it is to make a garden beautiful

I have books written by gardeners from many centuries. I'm sure if I could resurrect them all, and dress them in modern clothes, they would immediately launch into gardening discussions, and it would be difficult to discern what era they had gardened in.

Texas gardening baffles me though. Heavy clay soil is unwelcoming, the heat and bugs repel me. I've gone on a few garden tours, and for the most part I am underwhelmed after my experience on the coast. Here I plant a few pots, and one bed. The rest of my garden gets just an occasional plant tucked in from time to time, with just a swift shovelling in and a "good luck" wish for care.

Do I miss gardening as I did in San Diego?
A little.
If I was to return, I would do as one San Diego Master Gardener did.
She bought property, built a solid wall around the garden six feet high.
Then she had all the soil hauled out of her yard, scraped the dirt down 18 inches. Then refilled the yard with the most excellent soil she could buy, a full 24 inches of it.
She had the walk ways put in, and watering system.

After that, she planted her garden.
And what a garden it was.

I from time to time see it in gardening magazines, and smile, having seen the slide show of how the garden was created from beginning to end.

Yes I want garden again.
But I'd rather have a gardening friend who would share her garden with me.
I'd even be willing to come help from time to time, and to fully appreciate what gifts she was giving me when she clipped a flower for my pleasure, or harvested bounty for my table.
Those gifts are more than what I would carry, those gifts are time and money, sweat and sore backs, broken nails, and inspiration.
A store bought flower is often thought to express love.
A flower from a garden is an expression of one's life pour out in love.

Right now, I'm thinking I would really rather be a Master Naturalist.
They study for a year, and volunteer to lead walks through the forests and streams, around lakes and the sea shore.

They stop and point out birds, and plants, insects and reptiles.
"Oh look! A blue tailed skink!"
"A hermit crab hiding in sea lettuce!"
"The dragon fly verses a damsel fly: Let me show you the difference.."

SOOOOO much less heavy lifting.
SOOOOO much easier on the check book.
SOOOOO few problems to address (ever actually gone into your garden and not pulled at least one weed? Thought not!)

I'm thinking of Mrs. Snodgrass again, my old Bluebird leader.
I am sure she didn't have a garden.
Yet she share with me a garden called "Everywhere I Go."
I see it everytime I see a wild flower in bloom

So there you have it.
That's what I'm thinking about doing.
Finding a friend who is a Master Gardener, and *maybe* becoming a Master Naturalist.


(If you didn't have a chance earlier, and you happen to like daffodils, check her side bar to daffodils. Heck, check her side bar everything. I would PAY money to be her friend!)

Friday, July 27, 2007

More garden visitors

After weeks of rain, we finally had a dry day, and Tiggie went out to observe the garden.

The coleus is growing fast, and the colors are just gorgeous.
Looking out at the scene, it is hard to remember that cats do not see color.
Tiggie sat and sat there for the longest time.
It took me a few minutes, but it finally dawned on me:
Tiggie was posing.
So of course I went and got the camera right away to capture the colorful scene.
You are right Tiggie; it really is a perfect backdrop for a picture of a faithful orange cat.

That night, both boys were pacing around the back door, stretching their noses to leave nose prints on the glass. I finally got up to check out what the big deal was.
It was a frog, clinging to the french door's glass pane.
No wonder the boys were so excited!

Froggie apparently believes he should just come as he is when dropping by for a visit.

Love those googly eyes!

Froggie sure is tiny.
It has been raining so much here lately, and has been so warm and humid that Bernie says outside smells like a frog's underarm.
I guess I should of at least tried to see if that was an accurate statement; personally I have never sniffed a frog's arm pit.
But it wouldn't surprise me to learn that somewhere along the line there was group of little boys with a frog and a little time on their hands....

I'm just sucker for any lime green critter: Anole lizards, tiny grass snakes, insects, tropical birds, fish, turtles, and frogs.
I wonder if there is any other species that I am leaving out.

After I took his close-up, Froggie hopped over to the window screen.

Hey, where'd the frog go?
He was here, just a minute ago...what happened????

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Millinery: Marie shares some treasures

Marie is a one of my dear friends in Houston. We met in millinery class back in 2001, and have been involved in the Houston Hat Net together since then, and avidly swap emails saying "Look at this one!" about great hat finds on eBay and on the Internet in general.

The funny thing about our millinery class; there were two law librarians (I was one) and two legal secretaries (Kate and Marie), a rather unlikely coincidence professionally. Maybe dealing with lawyers had put enough pressure on us that we just ran amok after the work day was done, via hat obsession.

Marie is moving and has decided to "de-acquisitioning" some of her hats that are just too tiny for her to wear.
Since daughter LauraRN has a 21 inch head size, and I know of others who also have petite noggins, I volunteered to take a few off of those tiny sized hats off Marie's hands, with the promise I would do my best to try to find them good home.

Marie is a typical hat fancier, that is to say she has a modest collection of around two hundred hats. As long as she was bringing over the tiny sized hats, she decided to also bring along a few treasure from her collection for me to enjoy seeing as well.

We trooped in the boxes and set them on the dining table, and started to unbox them.

This hat belonged to her mother, who had a very tiny head. "Joan" can't model it properly with her curls, it is a cloche felt that is designed to be pulled all the way down. I love the emerald green and royal blue combo, and the diamond self trim and wave design just is too cute! I think it is very early 1950 take on the 1920's cloche, but I will count on Marie correcting me in the comments if I am wrong.

Marie has a thing for feather hats. That is a rather sad way to be, if you live in Houston, as there is nothing warmer than a feather hat, and Houston has very, very few days when that much warmth is enjoyable.

The feather pattern on this hat was simply luscious!

I think this would look much better on a dark haired person, or even white haired.
Lately I have taken a fancy to pointed topped hats, but this hat really doesn't work too well on me. Marie keeps the feather hats just to enjoy their beauty.
They are incredibly beautiful up close.
Now here's an interesting hat, worthy of loads of millinery discussion.
Not only is it made from two different colors of Swiss braid, it actually is two hats. The white on the inside is the secondary hat.....

... which does not show on the outside.
Added to that quirkiness, we both have a hard time agreeing that a straw hat should be trimmed with velvet.
Velvet just is wrong in summer, yet often you do see velvet ribbons on straw hats.
Dramatic hat though!

I wish I could of figured out a way to photographed this one differently. The braid weave on the brim is open. Pink and black, the white squares are where you can see through to the tile floor.
A very pretty hat on; I love straws that leave shadow patterns on the face when worn in light sunlight.

A stunner! Usually feather hats are browns and rusts, or dyed a vibrant color. This one had white feathers, with natural pheasant color accent
The side view of the white feather hat was cute too.
I really wish everyone could see it up close. It really was remarkable.
How fun is this hat! Marie got it at her first Victorian Elegance show. Totally impractical to wear ...or maybe not. I can imagine a red suit with black trim, and this hat. A curvy suit.

It's a clip on hat. A figure eight design of wire clamps the hat to the head, one circle is on the back part of the top of the skull, the other circle on the front top of the skull, the tension between the two circles gently clamps the hat to the head, in a manner that is remarkably comfortable, sort of like a clam shell.
The V shape of the ribbon would hang upside down on the back of the head.
Darn it, now I want the Houston Hat Net to dream up an occasion where SOMEONE would actually wear this hat!

Here's the tip of another feather hat. In the 1950-1960 feather hats were very popular. I remember my mom wearing them, and my great aunt made one for her using the feathers from a pheasant that my dad had hunted. I still have those hats, the feathers were glued on to the hat base one by one. The top designers of the day did it that way, today feather hats are mostly made using feather pads, which are feathers attached to scrim, and then the scrim is attached to the base hat.

After we looked and marveled and discussed the hats at length, we shared a slice of Rhubarb bread, and Italian Pink Grapefruit Soda, and just got a little caught up with our lives.

Someday, after Marie settles into her new digs, I hope she invites me over for more show and tell from her hat trove.
If she does, you can be sure I will be sharing the experience via pictures with you.

Do you own any hats that you would want to share with friends?
Post one on your blog, and share your hat story.
Let me know so I can credit you and send folks over your way.
Hey everyone, it's a virtual hat party!

More fun at the library

From email:

DS (discussion item) – Library Marketing – counseling poster -

Campus Counseling has recently unveiled a poster campaign that we could imitate: “Why go to the Library?” followed by a list of reasons that would appeal to the students.

I thought about it for a minute and came up with these items to help draw students to the library. Lots of students already come for these reasons, I think it is time we go ahead and put the facts into a poster so everyone will know.

“Why go to the Library?”

To borrow pencil/pen
To have Librarian do your citation work
To check email
To scan pictures to email home
To catch up on Myspace
To eat
To sleep
To have sex

Did I miss anything?

Oh yeah…now I remember:

9. To talk on the phone

Work emails are usually dry little things. Ever so often though, a humdinger makes it through.

Like this one for instance:

From: Comstone
Sent: Thursday, June 07, 2007 4:41 PM
Subject: Food in the library

Something needs to be done about all these visitors eating in the library. I realize that the library is supposed to be open to the public, but the public is coming in with a complete disregard for the learning environment. I'm sitting here right now while a non-student (it's obvious) has come in and is eating an apple -- an apple -- while others are trying to study.

Signs, verbal messages as visitors enter, Storm Troopers, something.

From: Jill
Sent: Tuesday, June 12, 2007 1:56

Subject: Food in the library

I think that is awful. If we just could get a nice collection of condiments on lazy susans in each work area, the students wouldn’t have to be reduced to just crunching apples while they study. Remember, we are here to serve the student’s needs.
If we have a nice selection of condiments to choose from, student might start bringing in fabulous entrees, and perhaps even be willing to share.
Let’s form a committee to decide what kinds of condiments should be included, and get a consensus on how hot the hot sauce ought to be.

Another thought would be to have the library and food service do a joint venture….a few books in the cafeteria, and few steam tables in the library. We already have a microwave in the back, wouldn’t a steam table be nice too?


And maybe just for effect also run video tapes of “Hell’s Kitchen” or maybe Food TV ?

As I type this, two Spanish speaking ladies are sitting in chairs next to our large floor model beach ball sized lighted globe, beaming as they look at the world together, not saying a word.

Vicarious vacation? About to magically transport? Like feeling God-like??

I had to know.

Turns out they were looking at the globe to see where their relative currently was, somewhere in the Mediterranean Sea.

Ah. Now I get it.

Just looking at the place on the globe where she is makes them feel closer to her.

Now more relatives have arrived, including a child who has decided that pounding on the lighted globe is fun.

If there is a huge earthquake and tidal wave in the Mediterranean Sea tonight, I am so gonna freak out.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Getting to Know Laura

Yesterday for my daughter Laura's 29th birthday I posted a tribute to her.
I included pictures of her life; pictures that made me smile and rejoice in the years we have had together.
I celebrated her!
I wanted everyone to have a chance to get to know her.
Picasa/Blogger apparently didn't feel the same way...most all of the pictures that I posted about her disappeared.

Rather than attempt to re-post them, I am just going to link this post to a web album about Laura.

Click here to get to know Laura via a slide show.

You can also get to know her through reading her blog: It's Good To Be Me.
If you would like, drop on by her site and read how she celebrated her birthday.
Some celebration, wait till you see the pictures on her blog of her sky diving!

But if you are in a can get a sense of who Laura is by listening to her theme song, entitled "Laura" from the movie of the same title.

Frank Sinatra sang the song "Laura"; at one time it was rather famous.
Occasionally when people meet my daughter, they start singing the song to her
She likes that.

But she has a favorite version of the song.
You can hear it played here.

Maybe one day Laura will dance to this song at her wedding.
It will be so like her, I'm sure everyone will cry with joy.

(Or something like that...)

It is a lovely song, just like Laura.
But if you don't listen all the way to the end...well, you will miss knowing the real Laura that I love.

Laura is a face in the misty light
Footsteps that you hear down the hall
The laugh that floats on a summer night
That you can never quite recall
And you see Laura on a train that is passing through
Those eyes how familiar they seem
She gave your very first kiss to you
That was Laura, but she's only a dream.

Happy Birthday Week Laura!