A Study In Arrogance: When Coleus Becomes Political

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Trying to rid myself of the RNC’s frenetic vibes this week, I turned my attention to doing something productive.

I researched COLEUS.

I wanted to find out the names of the three varieties that are growing profusely in pots on our deck.

At the beginning of the summer I planted six different types of coleus in pots, but three died within weeks of planting.  So I thought that next year I’d plant more of the ones that grew, if I could figure out/remember the name of each type.

But, of course, in the process of my research I found more information about coleus than I’d anticipated.  Coleus has a long history.

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For instance, did you know:

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DSCN7638But my research, inspired by a desire to rise above politics, ended when I discovered the most ridiculously depressing fact about coleus.  You see, in the language of flowers coleus means: “How dare you address me that way?!”

That is, the plant means ARROGANCE.

And it was upon learning this that I found myself circling back to my thoughts about the Tangerine Tornado + the Nattering Nabobs of Negativity.  I couldn’t believe that I was researching a plant whose meaning embodied all that The Donald represents, when my goal was to avoid thinking or hearing on the news about his nonsense.

DSCN7639Yet here I was doing something good, trying to make the world a better place through learning, only to find myself tripped up by arrogance.

Now how defeating, and oddly metaphorical, is that?

What Ally Forgot: A Different Kind Of Book Review

• Introduction •

A few weeks ago Akilah at The Englishist wrote a post titled, Top Ten Books I Have No Recollection of Reading.”  Her point, which is excellent, is that we all read lots of books, but not all the books stick with us.

We forget about some books entirely– and only remember odd tidbits in other ones.

Inspired by Akilah I decided to figure out what books I’ve read, enjoyed enough to keep a copy around here, but now can’t tell you much of anything about the characters, the plot, the setting.

• My Top Five Books That I Have [Almost] No Recollection Of Reading •

1.  And Only To Deceive by Tasha Alexander  

I know that I read this book when it was cold outside because I remember looking at the cover and thinking how much warmer I’d be if I had on that red dress.  As for the story, couldn’t tell you a thing about it, but that dress…

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 2.  Dangled Carat by Hilary Grossman

Someone on Twitter suggested this book so I got a copy of it and read it.  My impression is that I thought the story was cute.  The only specific I remember is that there was something about grilling steaks [?] in it.  Must have been hungry when I read it.  

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3.  Then Again by Diane Keaton

I’ve enjoyed Diane Keaton’s work as an actress, so I bought this book hoping to learn about what makes her tick.  Apparently that didn’t happen because all I can tell you is that Diane’s mother was seriously ill.  There might have been more insight, but I’ll be darned if I know what it was.

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4.  The Buddha Walks Into A Bar: A Guide To Life by Lodro Rinzler

I bought this book at Anthropologie thinking that I could use some self-improvement, and with a title like this one, I’d find the meaning of life within the pages of this book.  No idea what this book was about, but the cover is cute.  So there’s that.

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5.  Four Souls by Louise Erdich

A few friends recommended this book to me.  There was a character with a French first name, and I remember thinking that there was a lot of history going on in this story.  Guess I forgot all the facts, just like I used to do immediately after taking any history test.

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• Some Fun Bookish Things To Do •

Want to laugh about books you don’t want to read? Go to Awful Library Books.

Want to learn about books you will want to read? Go to What Should I Read Next with Anne Bogel.

Want to read like an incoming freshman at Harvard? Go to Malia Obama’s Essential College Reading List.

Want to get a book reading list customized for you? Go to whichbook.

Want to keep up with books that aren’t popular? Go to The Neglected Books Page.

• Question of the Day •

What are you reading now?

Is it something that you think you’ll always remember reading?  Or is it a filler book, good in the moment, but destined to be on your very own Books I Have No Recollection of Reading List?

Antiques + Ghosts: There’s Something Off-Key Here

A real-life honest-to-goodness made-me-smile conversation…

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{ source }

~ ~ • ~ ~

“I ain’t afraid of no ghost.”

I met a friend for drinks and dinner.  She got talking about her part-time business, which is selling antiques.

She scouts around local Goodwills and garage sales, then takes her finds, tidies them up a bit, and puts them in a rented booth in an antique mall.  She’s done this for years, turning a modest profit on her efforts.

My friend told me that a ghost is now haunting her booth.  This ghost, who isn’t pleased with the way my friend is merchandising her hats and jewelry, moves items around within the booth.

And the ghost has gone so far as to break an item.  Bad ghost!

Come to find out this problem is part of dealing in antiques.  [Read more here.]  According to my friend you learn to accept the fact that as long as you have an item a ghost has attached itself to, you’re going to have difficulties.

Once the item is gone, either through a sale or by intentional destruction, the ghost leaves you alone.

The trick, of course, is figuring out which item is the one that has brought the ghost to your booth.

So far my friend has not been able to do this on her own, so she’s enlisted the help of other antique booth renters, asking them to keep an eye on her things, in case they see a ghost lurking about.

As one is wont to do, apparently, in antique malls.

Who knew?

~ ~ • ~ ~

An entertaining ditty for your listening pleasure!

Of Plans & Parsley Thwarted

“Hang on to your hat. Hang on to your hope. And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day.”

~ E. B. White

• • •

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Two parsley worms munching on my parsley.

Zen-Den and I took last week off to go on a staycation.

My plans for our staycation, which we scheduled last January, revolved around the idea that together we’d be able to do a long list of outside chores.  But the weather turned hot & muggy with rain so we weren’t able to do much outside.

Like I’d planned. Carefully.

At first the weather bummed me out, but after a rather stern Come-to-Jesus meeting with myself I managed to convince me that all was not lost.  That I’d adapt to this unfortunate turn in staycation weather with a revised plan and a hopeful heart.

Dammit.

• • •

So what did we do on our staycation?

Well, I’m glad you asked, my gentle readers.  We did boring things, mostly inside the house, that had needed to be done for a long time.  To wit:

  • we cleaned out more of the basement, taking 2 carloads of stuff to Goodwill;
  • we sorted through clothes closets and our garage, tossing out all sorts of junk;
  • we shredded documents from as far back as 1998;
  • we cleaned out both the refrigerator + freezer, going so far as to replace the water filter in the frig;
  • we installed the last 3 new outdoor lights, a project we began last fall, taking the old still useable lights to Habitat For Humanity;  and
  • we tried 2 new dessert recipes, Mexican Brownies & Apricot Clafouti.

We were productive and made yummy things to eat.

• • •

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One particularly hungry parsley worm followed the parsley stem to the end.

But much more was going on here than de-cluttering and dessert.

While we were working to make things less cluttered inside the house, two parsley worms set up residence in my herb pot, and decided to devour as much parsley as possible.

I’d be upset about this except that in light of all the current chaos and discord going on in the United States, their destruction seemed insignificant.

Charming, even.

Plus I know that if they eat enough now, they’ll be able to turn into Black Swallowtail Butterflies later in the summer.  And that kind of small hope, of transformation and growth, of plans succeeding, makes me think that tomorrow will be a better day.

For them.

For us.

For everyone.

• • •

Orange Sky At Night, Tomatoes Take Fright

A SHORT STORY

One day the Lady of the House carefully planted a few pots of herbs + one pot of small patio tomatoes.  There was joy in the land.

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The sky was blue above, forsooth.

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Cardinals, sitting in trees, shooketh their tail feathers.

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Cute garden tags proclaimed what was in each herb pot.

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However, one evening a magical thunderstorm rolled through the land turning the sky to a weird shade of orange, creating a beautiful unexpected rainbow.  Things had changed.

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At first, the Lady of the House was charmed by the rainbow, until she saw that the storm winds had snapped her tomato plant in two.  She was sad.

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But the Lady of the House, being ever hopeful and raised on fairy tales, put the little green tomatoes in a dish on the kitchen table near a sunny window.

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Where, alas & alack, despite the Lady of the House’s tender care, the little tomatoes remain green and inedible to this day.

THE END

A Recipe For A Heart-y Dinner, So To Speak

Do you want to be happier about where you are in life?

Then I recommend you read the following recipe which will quickly make you incredibly content to be living in the modern world.

The recipe is from The Something-Different Dish, by Marion Harris Neil, Cookery Editor of Ladies’ Home Journal and author of this cookbook, published in 1915, a mere 101 years ago.

[She also wrote The Story of Crisco around this time. But I digress…]

Please keep in mind that a respectable cookbook published this recipe because [presumably?] people were eating things like this.

That they made at home.

Not that long ago.

So considering this reality, might I suggest that when you start to feel down about your life here in 2016, you need to remember that things could be a lot worse.

You could be eating Love In Disguise for dinner tonight.  😉

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In Which A Doofus Makes Himself Known In The Colonoscopy Waiting Area

Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 7.11.17 AMAS IF MY LIFE is not exciting enough, I had the pleasure of escorting Zen-Den, at 6:00 a.m., to the hospital for a routine colonoscopy.

I don’t know if you’ve ever been the Colonoscopy Escort, but your duties are simple:

  1. Get the [snarly and grouchy] patient to hospital at assigned time.
  2. Wait by yourself in the Colonoscopy Waiting Area while patient is checked-in.
  3. When receptionist tells you it’s okay, go sit with the patient in Pre-Op Area until patient is rolled away for procedure.
  4. Go back out to Colonoscopy Waiting Area and wait.
  5. After procedure go sit with patient in Post-Op Area until he or she is released back into the wild.
  6. Take [ravenously hungry] patient home and feed + water him or her.

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AS PER DUTY #4 I was sitting in the Colonoscopy Waiting Area, playing games on my iPad, waiting, when the receptionist called out the name of someone’s Colonoscopy Escort.

No one in the waiting area responded.

She said the name again.

*crickets*

The receptionist got up from her desk and walked around the Colonoscopy Waiting Area, quietly asking each of us if we were this someone’s Colonoscopy Escort, until she eventually got to a 40-something man with his face buried in his laptop computer.

Standing directly in front of him she said his name again, loudly, and he finally looked up at her.

By now everyone in the Colonoscopy Waiting Area was staring at him, because human beings are nosy, and because waiting is boring so anything out of the ordinary is entertainment.

She told him he could go back and wait with the patient, DUTY #3, to which he said: “WHY THE HELL WOULD I WANT TO DO THAT?”

And immediately went back to looking at his laptop.

# # #

Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 5.06.03 PMTHE RECEPTIONIST WAS IRRITATED, but shrugged and went back to her desk.

However, the rest of us, the cooperative Colonoscopy Escorts, started sending hate glances toward this guy.  While an adorable 80-something lady with silver white hair went a step further by looking over the top of her bejeweled reading glasses, and loudly *tsking-tsking* in his general direction.

Somehow that particular sound got this guy’s attention and he looked up to see all of us glaring at him, shaking our heads at his obvious Colonoscopy Escort faux pas.

So with a noisy *sigh* he snapped his laptop shut and trudged over to the receptionist’s desk, ready to be taken to sit with someone who had the misfortune of knowing this man well enough to ask him to be his or her Colonoscopy Escort.

Can you even imagine?  0.o

{ Images |1| |2| |3| from Pixabay }