In that crazy beautiful golden-pink light of the evening in springtime, I went on a tulip crawl through my yard when I got home last night at 6:45 pm.
When you are cutting flowers to bring inside your house this gardening season let me give you a tip that I learned from my gardening mentor.
She always cuts lilac and forsythia and brings it inside her house. I don't have either of those plants but I do happen to have some lovely prunus cistena (purple leaf sand cherry) which when clipped and brought indoors will fill your home with the most wonderful fragrance in addition to being beautiful to look at. Thanks Mary Joan!
My part time research assistant was entertaining me with factual tid-bits the other night. Things like winter has exactly 88.994 days, Spring has 92.758 days, Summer has 93.651 days, and Autumn has 89.842 days. So naturally I asked him if he could find out why it is that the longest season seems like the shortest, and the shortest seemed like the longest, because that is what I would find interesting.
He's gonna get back to me on that one. I told him I would need him to be able to quote his sources.
I do not know who lives in this house, but I am pretty sure they will want to give me a key and access to that enticing space up there on top.
I think with a space like that I could turn day-dreaming into an art form. I could look out the windows and compose poetry. Or sit in a comfy chair with my feet up on a ledge and sip exotic drinks. Maybe sketch the roof tops of Lawrence. Come up with a plan for complete happiness. You get the idea.
Excerpt from conversation with Angie on the way to the grocery store yesterday:
Angie: you know I don't like to eat all the crust on my pizza but I don't throw it away. I cut it off and save it.
Angie: yes, and it'a a good thing. I am out of bread so I took the crusts out of my freezer this morning and ate them with my egg instead of toast.
Me: wow, I don't think I would have thought to do that.
Angie: good idea huh?
Angie likes coconut. She likes it a lot. Me too. I decided the other day since spring had sprung and all we should celebrate with some coconut bars. Giving thanks for the beginning of a new season and all. Sort of like how Thanksgiving comes before Christmas, shouldn't we give thanks before Easter too?
I must report back on this book. This one that I told you about two weeks ago.
The main character, Smithson Ide, is one of those persons you want to have as a friend. He views the world with an open curiosity. This non-judgemental perspective opens the door for experiences that might otherwise be missed. But don't make the mistake of calling him naive. If you can listen to this book - do so. It's read by the author and listening adds an extra layer of enjoyment on top of the story.
While I was returning it, I picked up my next books. As you can see Mulv Car (that's me) has 2 selections waiting. I'll be reading One Thousand White Women, and listening to 11/22/63. It might be just a wee bit until you hear my opinions. 11/22/63 is a long listen, 31 hours on 30 CD's. But I have it on the highest authority that it is not to be missed.
I did not walk on flower petals as I strolled to the altar 32 years ago.
But if I was going to do it all over again I would definately choose Magnolia blossoms. Magnolia blossoms with a little fresh mulch and maybe some decaying leaves thrown in for effect. If you are a gardener, you consider these scent of fresh mulch to be the perfume of the Gods.
Early tomorrow morning, at exactly 12:14 am Central Standard Time the Vernal Equinox will be arriving. There is a whole lot of science to this stuff. It has to do with the equator and astral projections and mathematical equations (I made most of that last sentence up). But the important part is this is the earliest Spring has arrived since 1896. In 1896 x-rays were invented and gold was discovered in the yukon. Who knows what marvelous things could happen in 2012 as a result of this early arrival.
These robin red breasts are ready for whatever is coming. They are hoping for some extra big and juicy worms. I am crossing my fingers for someone to come by and re-mulch the beds and cut back my penstemon digitalis.
I saw this girl in Denver last week. I chased after her shamelessly, trying to get a decent photo of her extremely cool shoes.
Would someone explain to me the lack of a St. Patrick's Day candy? Why hasn't Mars Incorporated put a leprechaun-ish twist on the always popular M&M and mixed together some lovely shades of green and marketed them? I guess they were waiting for me to tell them about it.
As it is, I have been forced to buy Andes Mints for the last 10 years or so to put in my shamrock basket. With a last name like Mulvenon (mull-van-un) you know we are celebrating over here on March 17th. Luckily I like Andes Mints. I know it says "after dinner" mints on the packaging but that's a lie. You can eat them early in the morning AND way into the night.
Will you look at what came in the mail today? Just when I said I was going to put my nose to the grindstone and complete all unfinished projects before starting on a new one.
I'm just going to look at it though. That's all. I am not going to cast on. I am not going to read and re-read the pattern. I am not going to make a swatch. Just looking is ok. It doesn't hurt to look.
Don't you think it's fun to get this in the mail? I like sitting down and dialing back the years to my different jobs and what I got paid.
My very first "real" job (not counting paper delivery, door-to-door magazine sales, and baby sitting) was as the folk choir director at Howard Air Force Base in the Panama Canal Zone. I got paid the whopping salary of $60 a month. It was 1975. I was 16 years old. My hair was long. I had the grooviest guitar in Central America. In my mind I was the next Joan Baez.
It is going to be 80 degrees here tomorrow. Eighty degrees on March 14th is crazy. But the trees and shrubs are busting out all over. Starting in the left upper corner and moving in a clockwise direction we have: clematis, red sunset maple, weeping cherry, and flowering plum.
Yes, the sweaters are being washed, laid flat to dry, and about to be put away for another year. As soon as I have them all dry and folded we'll have a freak cold snap that will last 2 weeks and necessitate me getting them back out again.
Dear Clark: Today I sat down to get the paperwork in order for the taxman.
It wasn't nearly as much fun as last year when you were here to check my addition and subtraction. I want you to know that I took frequent breaks just as you always suggested. I also recalled that "we're going to have a treat when this is done" expression you used to get on your face when I started to get annoyed with the whole thing.
There is a pan of rice pudding in the oven right now. As soon as it comes out I am going to go upstairs and look at every picture I have of you. Tonight Chris and I will tell each other all the best Clark stories. Like how you used to jump in the air and try to catch leaves, and about the time when you got stung by a bee and your eye was so swollen and we fretted and fretted about if we should take you to have it checked or not.
Lewis says he has some stories to tell too. Things you two did that we don't know about apparently. Hmmm, don't worry we'll take them all with a grain of salt.
I just got back from 4 days in Denver, Colorado. Unfortunately this is as close as I got to the mountains.
I saw a super hero trying to pass himself off as a palliative medicine doc. I wanted to tell him he forgot to take off his lightning bolt enblazoned body suit before he put on his regular clothes, but I just couldn't bring myself to.
Kauffman gardens is a good place to go to get yourself prepared for the beginning of the gardening season.
I hired a professional photographer to take some pictures of me when I wore my completed "class project" this week. Thanks Chris, the check is in the mail.
I am very happy with how this turned out. Everything is the right length and it fits like I thought it would. The collar lays down right and the bottom and the front edges don't roll up. Success!
Pattern: Kimono Cardigan by Dovetail designs
Yarn: Frog Tree Alpaca - Sport weight
This is an easy project and the yarn is a pleasure to work with. I used #6 Signature needles. Nice yarn + great needles = pure knitting joy.
On an outing to the plaza last weekend I went by Natasha's to see just what is so spectacular about a french macaron. You know, those brightly colored, hard looking round things with some kind of filling in the middle? I have tasted some home-made ones and had to admit they were nothing to sneeze at. But I felt I owed it to myself to try the "real" thing.
You simply can not prepare yourself for how delicious they are. The firm outer layer that immediately gives way to airy meringue and finally the creamy filling. Yumalicious! You no sooner take one bite and it's gone. Then you say, "I better try another one to be sure that wasn't a dream".
I recommend you buy an even half-dozen which they will package very nicely in this box. When you get home you will open it and feel like you have received something very special indeed. A gift to oneself is never a bad thing.
If you are going to boldly go where you have not gone before it's a good idea to go with someone fun AND reliable. Someone who says what they think, expects you to do the same, and doesn't get their bowels all in an uproar when things don't go just exactly right.
A person like Nancy. You've met her before. She's one of the quails. BUT what you don't know is that we have journeyed together into the world of nursing research. Our subject? Bullying in nursing. What we learned from our research and from hundreds of conversations with nurses about this topic has lit a fire under us. Enough of a fire to make us engage in some scholarly writing that has just been published.
I had Nancy sign this so when I pull it down off the shelf when I am 90 I will remember we both liked to write with colored pens. I don't know exactly where this whole research thing will take us. I do know that as 30 year veterans of the profession we are committed to doing our part to break that cycle of nurses "eating their young".
Here is a link if you want to read the article: Sadly Caught Up
We had some plumbing work that needed to be taken care of this week.
I know there are many women who are good at home-repair type things. I am not one of them. When Chris starts to act like he might need me to help with something like this I run to the basement and hide. Not only do I not like home-repair, I am NOT good at it. No siree. Not a handy bone in my body.
Luckily Lewis Mulvenon is generally available to handle any assistant to the handyman duties. As I was headed down the stairs to hide and he was running up to help, I instructed him not to laugh at that headlamp contraption thing Chris was wearing. Chris does not find it one bit amusing when I laugh about serious business.
March 5th is my brothers' birthday. That's him there on the end. Looking real cute in his bow tie. Always a snazzy dresser that one.
But these are a little different than the ones mom used to make. They have a hint of cinnamon and a rich chocolate ganache over the top. I made them for you brother. We ate them for you too. They were good. Really, really good. I put one in the freezer for you. It will be there when you come out to visit Angie next. I promise.
I finished The Monsters of Templeton last week. Loved the ending. Unexpected in a completely out of left field, yet totally right sort of way... which made me look more fondly on the book. It has been my "by the bed before I go to sleep" read for the last month and I would occasionally find myself skimming through the things that happened long ago, to get back to the storyline of the present day characters. Overall I liked it. If you get lost easily in a book and don't like jumping back and forth between characters and time frames it will not be for you.
Currently listening to The Memory of Running. Totally engrossing. I can't wait to get back in the car to catch the next installment. It's read perfectly by the author. Final judgement pending but I can't imagine it will by anything less than 2 thumbs up.
V is for Vengence is next in line for the drive time story hour. I am a huge Kinsey Millhone (main character in this alphabet series by Sue Grafton) and am ready to tag along on her next adventure.
Somehow the Edamame dip made it home with me from the library too. Have you tried it? It's made of soybeans. I eat it because it's good, but if I over indulge I tell myself it's ok since it's probably lowering my risk of osteoporosis as well as the incidence of hot flashes.
This past week I met some real Kansas men. They were not cowboys. They were not farmers. Just 2 brothers coming to see about their dad. Coming to find out what needed to be done. I was in their dad's room at the hospital when they arrived, the one in camouflage coveralls had worked the night shift, so the other in his John Deere hat did the driving.
We talked about how their dad was dying, and wanted to get home and see his dogs. Not a word did they say about their lack of training. It was just understood that what their dad wanted they would do. We talked about getting hospice set up for services and support. I asked if they had questions. The older brother took out his wallet and said "my Aunt wants to know this". He handed me a small piece of paper with these questions in neat cursive writing.
1. How much time does he have?
2. How can we make him comfortable?
3. What is the best way to get him home?
We talked about every one of the things on the list. I did not hem or haw, just gave them straight answers. No notes were taken. He tucked the list back in his wallet. Then they gathered themselves up and headed down the hall. Side by side. Two Kansas men. Going home to get things ready for dad.
When I walked out of work 2 nights ago I could smell the seasons change. Just at that instant. At 5:13 pm on Tuesday February 28th I mean. As I stepped outside I filled up my lungs with outside air and there it was. The moist air of a 59 degree day with rain on the way. That end of winter gray blowing off, the faint promise of mown grass coming down the pike. Which of course got me on a green tangent.