Sunday, February 28, 2010

On Epsom Salts and Coffee Grounds

My gardenia has suddenly sprung a few yellowed leaves and since it is a nice big bushy specimen with lots of nice buds, I decided to care and Google it.

Digression. Isn't it wonderful that you can now ask a question of Google in any peculiarly phrased way you wish,  misspellings included, and come up with a few thousand...theories, if not correct answers? I'm sometimes curious about the people who torture the phrasing of their questions in the same way that I do. I'm sometimes curious about the people who even ask the same questions that I do. What (frequently) demented path led them to wonder what they're wondering and was it similar to mine? End digression.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Mine! Goes the Greedy Id!

The screen door that separates my office from the conservatory is purely decorative. A beautiful Victorian piece with  scallops and circles and cut-outs that resemble dunce caps laid sideways, it was something my prince found and fitted to the doorway of what was once an open upstairs porch.

The little glassed room that replaced the porch has doors and a skylight, both fitted with screens for the bugs. So the one inside is entirely useless.

But I love to see the plants through it. Particularly in the morning, when I walk into the office with my coffee and there's this perfect green world floating there, sunny like no other place in the house, flower filled and sweetly scented with jasmine and gardenia and -- right now, a stand of paperwhite narcissus.

Mine! Goes my greedy id. Mine! Mine! And I open the door and go out to sniff this and that and pinch off a yellowed leaf and note that ther gerbera is returning from a near death experience and has three fat buds coiled near its base and ready to burst. And I sit in my Alice chair and drink my coffee...

The richness of this experience, of course, depends on the door. Like opening one of those gold Godiva boxes what do they call them (she scurries to open another internet window)? Ah yes, a ballotin.

And yet, last fall this delight of my life was nearly destroyed, How? The prince of course.

Oh! The drums go bang and the cymbals clang,

"It's me," I said, halting in the Home Depot exit as sirens blared around me.

"I know," the chubby security guard replied. "May I see your receipt?"

"It's me," I said again, digging in the plastic bag for the receipt for the little bottle of Schultzes I'd bought for my starving plants.

"I know," he said again, looking at me in bovine placidity.

A man in Ralph Lauren casual, carrying a small bag of his own, tries to pass.

"Sir," said the guard, "Could I see your receipt?"

"It's me," I said, yet again.

"I KNOW," he said, leaning heavily on the KNOW, as the siren continued its shriek.

"Not him, ME. I keep setting off alarms, see? Operation...heart... metal bit...scalpel left-in maybe? Do you want to see the scar?"

"Hmmm," he said thoughtfully, then whisked his hand at us both in dismissal, "Just get away from the alarm, will ya?"

And I slithered out the door behind the bewildered man who'd stumbled into my latest dragnet.

Watering with Maggie

Still here, same day as before, still fussing over the conservatory plants. But less morbidly, lest you're thinking of calling for the wacky wagon.

Plants on the floor, I've found, fare better than those on hooks, largely because they're a pain in the ass to water.

This is particularly true of the mandevilla, which is pink, if i recall correctly. It hasn't bloomed for me in years -- though it throws shoots about with some vigor.  Probably it's my fault, treating it like the poor second cousin  of an air fern, giving it a couple of inches of soil in my favorite hanging pot with its two peeping monkeys.


I have been rearranging the plants in my little conservatory, moving the Meyer lemon and the gardenia into stronger sun; in the midst our February blizzards, both set buds. There is a metaphor here and perhaps if I blather on long enough I will figure it out.

I'm often a dullard when it comes to seeing the obvious, which is why I never tested well. I suppose. Multiple choice was a particular issue, when the clever testers selected a definition for a wrong word that could be correct IF...What is an orange colored fruit, they might ask. And then they'd give me the choice of an orange, a lemon and a tangerine. And I'd get caught between the orange and the tangerine, both are orange, yes? Fret , fret, they're trying to trick me, and I'd take my number 10 or 6 or 4 (what was the number of those pencils? And why did it HAVE to be that number) and blacken the little box beside tangerine really, really hard. Scritch scritch scritch.

I always fell for it. That IF thing, leaving me hovering indecisively only to pounce on precisely the wrong thing in frustration.  

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