December 22, 2010

A Quick and Easy Holiday Centerpiece......From the Grocery Store

If you are not putting together a tricycle on Christmas Eve, or cooking your heart out like my sister-in-law, then please tune in to News Channel 4 at 4:30 this Friday.  We'll put together a fast and easy, last-minute holiday centerpiece with grocery and drugstore finds.  Hope you can join us.

December 21, 2010

New Moon

New Moon

Why does the new moon give anyone hope?
Nevertheless it does and always has for me
and likely does for that Mexican poet with no pesos,
maybe a couple of tortillas, chewing them while sitting
on a smooth rock beside a creek in the Sierra Madres
seeing the new moon tilted delicately away from Venus,
the faint silver light, the ever-so-small sliver
of white enamel rippling in the creek, the same moon,
he thinks, that soothed the Virgin in her great doubt
over the swollen belly beneath her breasts.
The fatherless son had two new moons in his forty days
in the wilderness, the second one telling him it was time
to become God and enter the beast of history.
This poet, though, ignores the sacraments of destiny
and only wants a poem to sing the liquid gift of the night.

Jim Harrison


Classen Grill and the Sugar Plum Fairy

You and I may have our Christmas trees up and our stockings hung and a batch of holiday fudge under our belts (literally and figuratively), but we both know that if one has children, Christmas doesn't really begin until the kids get home.

And if the kids are strapping young boys, err men, then that means food and lots of it.

So this weekend we headed to our traditional diner for lots of eggs and potatoes and sausage and bacon and coffee and fresh-squeezed orange juice, with some great green chili salsa and tortillas thrown in for good measure.

And because we were all in such good humor and because it was Christmas we found a parking place right up front and barely had to wait for a table.  Which NEVER happens on a Sunday morning at 10:30 much less at Christmas time.

Now under normal circumstances this happy sequence of events would have no down side to it whatsoever.  Except on this one day. I'd had just enough time to snap a couple of pictures and was hungrily headed to our table

when this PRECIOUS little Sugar Plum Fairy girl walked in and was soooo cute I could have just laid down and died.  She was maybe five, perfect ringlets of long black hair flowing down her back, held in place by a glittery silver headband, a sweet tiny little sweater     and the dearest plaid taffeta hoop skirt you've ever seen.  And I would have killed to take her picture for you, parents permitting, of course       but we were seated so fast it just didn't happen.

And when they were seated it was in another room, so I couldn't even steal surreptitious glances at the little darling and her equally cute younger brother.

Now this DOESN'T mean I wasn't enjoying the moment and my own darling boys (but darling in a much older and hairier way), because I was.  

We talked of school and friends and India and Russia and Hindi and the relative merits of red vs. green salsa and Christmas presents and my stupid camera.

Typical family breakfast banter.

But I couldn't get that sweet little girl out of my head.


Well, on the way out, I stopped at the Sugar Plum Fairy's table to say hello and tell her parents that they were the cutest things I'd seen all season and that they just made me want to melt to look at them.  

And I assured them that I had two cute boys of my own and that I wasn't a stalker.  And I didn't even ask to interrupt their breakfast to take a picture.

Well, sometimes a thing just sticks.  And the image of that girl and her beautiful little brother just kept hanging around in my head.

And then I found this.   The Sugar Plum fairy cum Halloween.

And that little light bulb just went BING!  And my heart went pitter pat and Merry Christmas to me.      Oh,  the wonders of the season.

From the P O T A G E R post  FALLING IN LOVE AGAIN .

December 19, 2010

A Season for Miracles

Yes, during this wondrous time of year, anything can happen.  If we just open our doubting minds to the  existence of modern day miracles, and our hearts and eyes to  the  possibility of the impossible made manifest,  magic CAN happen.  And in the Christmas season of 2010, it happened to me.

I got a manicure last Thursday  and  the polish STILL hasn't chipped

I know.  I know.  It's really hard to get your arms around   this one.

First, that I, a gardener, should even PRESUME to have an unblemished manicure.

(But it is, after all, the holiday season,    AND  winter.    And,  well, sometimes a garden girl just has to twist off when it's not the growing season and she doesn't have perpetually stained fingernails.)  So last Thursday, I went and got a manicure.  With a festive frosted polish in an OPI color I can't remember, but which looks just about like REVLON 745 'Frankly Scarlet', a very glittery and just-right-sparkly color that I've been using to make the manicure last.

Here, just see for yourself.  And can I just also say that it is very hard to take a picture of your own fingernails, but I did it for you. Without even chipping my polish.  Which, as I said, is a miracle given all of the cooking and dishwashing and potzing and shushing (as Bing would say,   errrr, sing) that I've also been doing. For my boys.

Because I am such a giver; it's just who I am.

What do you think?  Does it strike just the right merry note for the holiday season?

December 16, 2010

Gardening Gift Suggestions on News Channel 4

Attention all of you elves and elvettes out there.  If you need some gift suggestions for the gardeners in your life     

and if you can tear yourself away from your twelfth viewing of WHITE CHRISTMAS 

and if you're not stuck in traffic somewhere

and if you are not completely and thoroughly sick of the holiday season yet

then I enthusiastically urge you to watch me and Linda Cavanaugh this Friday on News Channel 4 at 4:30 to see some splendid gift recommendations for the gardeners and garden-lovers in your life.

Because as much as we love amaryllis

and we DO love amaryllis

sometimes we need to be a little more original

and spend a little more money

on those blistered, weather-defying, ever-optimistic

Oklahoma gardeners.

Thank you very much.

And may I ever so meekly ask a favor of you, sweet Reader?  If you like my little blog, would you please forward to someone else who might enjoy it.... or who just needs a little cheering up.....or who might want to know you're thinking of them?  Sometimes I feel like I'm preachin' to an empty church.  Thank you ever so much,  Linda. 

December 14, 2010

Sons and Christmas Corsages

What can I say?  On many fronts, my youngest son thinks I could have done a better job in the mothering department.  He regularly brings up the fact that his aunt, not his mother, had to teach him how to tie his shoes. That even though I did my tour as a room mother on more than one occasion, I did NOT like to be a driver for class field trips, and I NEVER, repeat NEVER, have the kind of food that teenagers such as himself like to eat.  He may appreciate my home-baked cookies, but laments their having to frequently be washed down with GOAT!  milk (i.e. SOY milk) when its refrigerator companion, skim, is all gone.

I plead guilty to the above charges.

But there aren't many moms, who given a forty-five minute window of time could pull together a homemade wrist corsage for that evening's Christmas dance because said son did not want to spend the requisite twenty to thirty dollars at a florist.  He just happened to know about my talent because I had made a spring version of a wrist corsage for his brother's senior prom.  

In case you are wondering how I managed to pull this off, given my many other maternal inadequacies, here's how:

Have on hand a box of OASIS Mini-Deco Holders (Oasis Floral Foam on a self-stick base, used to make small fresh flower arrangements) that are squirreled away in your basement somewhere.  Find them.  

They look like this:

Notice the little slits on the side that you can thread a ribbon through.

Assemble an assortment of clippings from your garden; in this case, arborvitae, nandina berries and foliage, a rose bud that has escaped frost, and some seeded eucalyptus berries (steal from a flower arrangement).

Hydrate the little dome of oasis and then let it drain.

Clip your green pretties to their desired length, then wrap them around in a circular fashion, or just stick little sprigs of foliage and berries into the foam in a pleasing way, securing with a straight pin if necessary.

Thread your ribbon of choice through the slits

and Voila!  You have a wrist corsage.

If you are lucky, you will also have stashed away a plastic sushi take-out container that is both functionally and visually appropriate (that IS why you kept it after all, right?  for a wrist corsage?)

After you have cleaned up all of your mess, your son will ask you to make another one for his friend.  Politely say not only no, but hell no.

Refrigerate until said son leaves which will be in about ten minutes.  Because he only told you about forty-five minutes ago, remember?

Remind him what an awesome mother you are and make him suffer through a few pictures at home, even though the official pictures are being taken at his date's house.
Remind him again what an awesome mother you are, tell him how handsome he looks, tell him to drive carefully (again) and then send him on his way.

Oh!  And the little dome also has adhesive on the back, so if you want to use it on a gift box, or anything else for that matter, it works just fine and looks ever so nice.  Like on this bamboo tea box I gave to Color Girl last spring.  Please note that because I was busy being an awesome mother, I did not have time to color my roots before this picture was taken.  I did, however, remember to color coordinate my coat to the blossoms (because I am kind of sick that way). 

December 11, 2010

Christmas at Vater Office Furniture

Okay, isn't this too damn cute? In case any of you were wondering what Husband did while I was working my little butt (how do you spell tush? toosh, tuche? tushe?; butt will just have to do) in the garden, well, he has a company that sells furniture and modular panel systems for offices.  It's much more exciting than it sounds.  Umm, maybe.     Or not.

Anyway, this is his logo for Christmas and I thought you would enjoy it.  SO MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM VATER OFFICE FURNITURE!

December 10, 2010

Time Out from Christmas

It's funny what a person remembers.  For many years my father developed and conducted training programs for people in the pharmaceutical industry.  Too many years ago to remember, he told me about something called The Zeigarnik Effect. I can hear him explaining it to me now.  "Skinny Linny",  he would say, the Zeigarnik Effect is when a person remembers an uncompleted task better than a completed one."  Do you know that all of these years have passed and this little nugget of information stuck, though, until now, I hadn't followed up on it to see if my memory was correct or I just made the concept up in my young little head.

All I know is that if I don't have closure on something it really bugs me. 

Well, my darlings, it IS a real phenomenon and it is why I have to take a time out from Christmas.  (Thank you Dad. You knew what you were talking about.  Still, trust but verify is my motto.)

The week before Thanksgiving (as usual) I planned to get all of my spring bulbs...the tulips, the narcissus, the muscari, and yes, the alliums in the ground.

Well, let's just say the alliums have been sitting in a basket in the garage taunting me and making me feel the full force of the Zeigarnik Effect since Thanksgiving.

And I can't go on like this.

I need completion.

I need a time out from Christmas and I need to get those unplanted alliums from  Van Engelen Bulbs in the ground.  Gladiators, and Globemasters and Giganteums.

You can see why I would be bereft if I didn't get them in the ground.

Yes,  I can hear you say, they certainly do make a statement.

 In the garden, or in a vase.

fresh or dried

Oops!  I forgot to buy some of the Schubertii ones.

But not to worry.  I'm not going to go all Zeigarniky on you.

December 8, 2010

Do You See What I See?

Please join me on News Channel 4 at 4:30 with Linda Cavanaugh tomorrow.   We'll be talking about the care of poinsettias and other holiday plants.

Hmm, do you think the deer on the left had a little too much Christmas grog?

December 7, 2010

Older and Wiser with Spode Christmas China

Now that I am one year older, I am also one year wiser.

Let me share some little pearls of Christmas wisdom with you.

Use your Spode (or whatever your Christmas pattern is, should you have one) ALL SEASON LONG.  I mean it.  Every day.  Is it worth all that trouble to dig it out of storage just for a couple of days?  Use those mugs every morning for your coffee or your kids hot chocolate.  And if one breaks, well, it breaks.

C'est la vie or carpe diem or whatever.  Enjoy what you have.  (Unless of course it can't go 
in the dishwasher.  That's a whole different ball game, for sure.  I may be wise, but I am not stupid.  Well, at least most of the time.)

Candy canes are much tastier in theory than in real life.  When was the last time you actually ATE a candy cane anyway?  First you have to remove that obnoxious shrink
wrap, always wondering if it is a leftover from last year or the year before that.  If you do decide to eat one,  it usually has a slight taste of cigarette ash on top of that peppermint flavor.  And yes they may be cute, but that is a visual thing, not a taste bud thing, and that doesn't count.

It is all right to watch WHITE CHRISTMAS as many times as you want in December.  And if you are doing dishes with your sisters and feel the urge to start singing the "Sisters, sisters, there were never such devoted sisters..." song, then a teaspoon makes a good mock microphone.  And it is okay, if you are like me and have more than two sisters participating.

No big beautiful car parked in front of your house with one of those red bows will ever match the thrill of that Lifesaver Book you got in the second grade as your gift in the student gift exchange.

December 6, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me

I will make this quick because I have to head off to my luxurious bath whilst Husband and Son take out the trash and do the recycling because I don't have to because it's my birthday.  And they had to get me my morning coffee and my afternoon tea and my nighttime water because I don't have to because it's my birthday.  And Husband had to clean up the kitchen and do the dishes and listen to MY station on the radio because it's my birthday.  

And Sunshine came by with some great fingerless gloves from J.Crew because I coveted hers and she has great taste and because it's my birthday.

And there was a time when I was one of ten kids and I didn't make a big deal out of its being December 6 and my birthday, but now I am older and wiser and I tell everyone that it is my birthday and to make a big deal out of it and so they do.  Make a big deal out of my birthday, that is.

So many thanks to everyone who wished me HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LINDA!!!!

And now I'll show you a couple of my really great birthday presents. LOOK at these beautiful embroidered towels Color Girl gave me from a shop in California.  She could hardly stand it the gift was so appropriate, and I could hardly stand it when I opened it.

I ask you.  Who enjoyed the gift more.  Me or Color Girl?

And Teacher Sis came by with my niece and gave me these FABULOUS garden wellies, because they know just what I like on my birthday.  And they wrapped it ever so wonderfully in a great burlap bag with coordinating yellow tissue in a hue of sulfur yellow that just matches a coat I got from Boden USA not on my birthday. (If you are not familiar with them, please check them out.  You'll be glad you did and will want birthday presents from them.)

And my brothers called and wished me a happy birthday and I talked to them in various dressing rooms of various clothing stores at the mall.  One per store.  Even though I hate it when I hear other people talking on their cell phones in dressing rooms (or bathrooms especially) but today I didn't care because it was me and it was my birthday.

And Husband is getting me a new dishwasher but I don't have a picture of it because I haven't picked it out yet.

Oh, and I almost forgot.  L'il Sis who is an important faculty member at Indiana University School of Nursing didn't get me a present but she did dedicate a lecture to me today.  On STD's.  She said that now every time her students think of STD's they will think of me.

Now isn't that special.  :)