zirconium: black pearl pepper plant at Cheekwood (black pearl pepper)
It's been a while since my last spell of quality time with the tomato plants. This morning I reached for the scissors and twine. The vine I'd draped over the bookshelves had dropped to the floor, so I hauled it back up and this time used Jane Austen (a gift from my big brother) to anchor into place.

Jane Austen, tomato vine anchor

Jane Austen, tomato vine anchor

Jane Austen, tomato vine anchor

I did sneak in a bit of pruning two nights ago, with one cutting going into a pot outside:


There was a vine I'd mentally consigned to the compost pile earlier in the week, but when I took a closer look at it, there were two tiny green tomatoes on it. So -- as with so many other things these days -- I'll wait and see.

not yet ready to compost

not yet ready to compost


Sep. 5th, 2015 08:04 pm
zirconium: medical instruments @High Point Doll Museum (medical instruments (miniature))
Some of the trees in my yard are already shifting from green to brown. I'm heading in the other direction, but first I'm going to enjoy a day or two between the bleaching and the dyeing:

between the bleach and the blue between the bleach and the blue

In the meantime, fresh balloonflowers are keeping company with those gone to seed...

balloonflowers balloonflowers
zirconium: black pearl pepper plant at Cheekwood (black pearl pepper)
Phew. Intense week. I was tempted to blow off the pear-cinnamon Bavarian cream I'm attempting for a party, but yep, the instructions said it would need to be in the fridge overnight, so I eventually rode a second wind to the whisk and the stove:

Bavarian cream

Beyond that, though, all I was good for was some tidying up of the indoor tomato plants. I find them endlessly entertaining, though, even when I'm not stone tired. That the vines hold yellow blossoms, green fruit, and red fruit all at the same time is part of the fun.

tomato plant tomato plant tomato plant
zirconium: photo of cupcake from Sweet 16th, Nashville (crackacino cupcake)
Tomorrow my week goes from 5 mph back to 90, but today I went to the dentist and the watch repairman and one of the international markets on Nolensville Road, where I picked up bok choy and Taiwanese sausages and rice sticks:

from K&S (Nolensville Rd.)

I also harvested the radishes that looked ready:


My love went riding around this past weekend, and came back to me with a flower:

from my sugah
zirconium: snapshot of my healthiest hollyhock plant (French hollyhock)
Today's subject line comes from Sam Anderson's piece in the NYT Magazine on blind contour drawing:

It turns out that the world, on close examination, is gloriously strange. Things are lumpier and hairier than we have been led to believe. . . . Sleeve wrinkles can be as beautiful as the most exotic flower. Every object (book, pencil, glove, banana) is in fact a bewildering universe of lines.

Today has been a letting-my-brain-regrow day, what with logging over sixty hours of work this week between the day job and a side project. There have been some weird-even-for-me meals, what with the piling up of dishes and deferring of grocery shopping and miscalculating of minutes left in my lunch break: today's mint-chard-miso soup was a result of me shredding the greens and herbs for a salad on Thursday, realizing I had to returning to the office before I'd finished assembling the salad, and then coming home to a frozen slab of leaves because I'd neglected to wrap the plate in plastic wrap before shoving it into the fridge. Oops.

I was stone tired all this morning, so for breakfast and lunch I supplemented the leftovers with runny fufu:


For dessert, some jello I'd made with agar-agar I'd bought as a prop for my Heartbreak Happy Hour performance back in February:

Filipino agar-agar bar agar-agar dessert cups

For dinner, I might roast a chicken. But the BYM is frolicking with goats today, so maybe I'll just make another mint-chard salad and do the rest of the dishes and trim dead leaves from the tomato jungle:

tomato plant

Without the cooking and cleaning and contemplation, there would not be the stamina for helping with the constructing and chronicling of more glamorous events and exhibitions:

The Frist Center at night
zirconium: snapshot of my healthiest hollyhock plant (French hollyhock)
So. During the past fortnight, the too-short tomato cuttings grew roots after all:

tomato cuttings tomato cutting

Even so, some of them look a shade too sickly -- leaves too translucent -- to survive much longer. But I have plenty of pots on hand, so I planted them all this evening:

transplanted tomato cuttings

The sun shone steady and strong through sporadic showers of rain as I sat on my porch. That was a treat.
zirconium: me @Niki de St Phalle's Firebird (firebird)
The BYM and I went to see Dior and I tonight, and there's a scene where a techie setting up for a show on top of an A-frame ladder moves it along the pipe he's at not by climbing down and shifting it, but rocking it to the next spot.

Sensible members of the audience: *sharp intake of breath*
Me: Oh yeah, my pals in college would do that.

And apparently I'm not alone in finding Pieter Mulier "magnetic."

tomato plant

There are around two dozen flowers on my tomato plants right now. Few have been ripening into fruit -- the vines need more tending and troubleshooting than I've been able to provide. Even so, I'm enjoying how tall they've grown since September, and the scent of the leaves, and the prospect of a few bites:

tomato plant

It turns out the cuttings in my spice jars are too short to expect anything from (though they too are still green and fragrant), but the one in the champagne glass is ready for its own pot:

tomato cutting
zirconium: snapshot of oysters enjoyed in Charleston (oysters)
As I reminded/reassured a friend this morning, I celebrate my birthday from May 9 through May 8 each year. Still, I enjoyed the fact that the actual day was on a weekend this year. I woke up early enough to head to a yoga class...

happy 45th to me

... and treated myself to good coffee at Sweet 16th and new shoes at Cumberland Transit. There was a raft of chores that couldn't be put off, but there were also flowers from my big brother...

birthday bouquet

... and greetings from my little brother (along with news of the latest marathon he completed, this time at Big Sur), and lovely notes and cards and presents from other people dear to me, including more flowers in the trunk of a vintage car (in an e-card sent by an aunt from her hospital bed. I am related to very determined people).

The Japanese cloth on the table above was delivered to me as the wrapper around Ray Marshall's Paper Blossoms: A Book of Beautiful Bouquets for the Table.

Blackberries and raspberries were on sale at the supermarket, so for tea, I rinsed some of those, and made edamame-wasabi dip to pair with tortilla chips. For dinner, another friend grilled turkey burgers and corn; we brought prosecco and Cheerwine and other beverages.

I was glad that it was not an official party, as I was fading before 9 p.m. I took two naps today, too. That felt glorious.

There are yellow flowers in the pop-up book, and also on the tomato vines and the rogue rosebush.

tomato plant

the rogue rosebush is again in bloom

I finally transplanted last fall's rose seeds from my meat drawer to a propagation tray. It is likely too late and too hot for them to flourish. Nevertheless, I shall water them for a while and see what turns up.
zirconium: tulip in my front yard, April 2014 (tulip)
hello, tomato plant ...

remaining indoors

how you like it here
inside my house
with the lily and the peppers
and long sips of water
with occasional shots
of tea and coffee

so do I
oh so do I

Prompted by April Moon 15 Day 13
zirconium: me @Niki de St Phalle's Firebird (firebird)

As do all other weeks, this week has had its share of derps and dammits and disgusting nightmares (trashed-to-the-rims bathrooms to clean -- thanks, Subconscious of Zero Subtlety). But, as with all weeks, there have been pleasures and blessings, including:

  • Iced tea and a Kentucky Hot Brown at Madeline.

  • Sanjay Patel's Ramayana: Divine Loophole. (The link will take you to an entry at Book Scribbles, where Jen posted some photographs from the book, including the bears and vanaras building a bridge rock by rock.)

  • My friend Knight won Gannett's Innovator of the Year Award.

  • She and several other Nashvillians invite you to Girls To The Moon, a one-day "campference" this September for girls (ages 8–13) and their parents/caregivers.

  • My mama pepper seems to be enjoying its new pot. (Now to cover it and all the other plants properly before this weekend's cold snap...)
  • zirconium: tulip in my front yard, April 2014 (tulip)
    Paperwork and housework call. But I didn't go home right after church, for there were orchids to ogle:

    Shih Hua Girl "Stones River"

    orchid display Cattleya intermedia

    Taida Little Green orchid

    And also small statues in bamboo gardens...

    bamboo garden, Cheekwood

    ... and daffodils on display, including one named Trigonometry:

    Trigonometry daffodil

    More snapshots here
    zirconium: snapshot of my healthiest hollyhock plant (French hollyhock)
    [Subject line from Swinburne's "March: An Ode," via Dawn Potter]

    [Speaking of Ms. Potter, I read Galway Kinnell's "For Robert Frost" during lunch two days ago. It begins, "Why do you talk so much / Robert Frost?"]

    There is paperwork that must be conquered, but the sun was shining, so there was snipping and lugging and sowing. Four cubic feet of garden soil (plus maybe another half-foot left over from the fall) doesn't go all that far, but it made for a solid start. I transplanted my mama Christmas pepper plant (the one that spawned these) and spice-jar tomato seedling into larger planters, and sowed the following:

  • Evergreen scallions (seeds from Hudson Valley Seed Library, via All Seasons)

  • Hungarian breadseed poppies (Renee's Garden, via [I think] the now-shuttered Worm's Way Nashville) -- I've never gotten these past seedling stage, but maybe third time + larger pot will translate into success

  • chives (Plantation Products quarter packet, via Nashville Public Library Seed Exchange)

  • Jade Gem lettuce (Renee's Garden, via Worm's Way St. Louis, source of the terrific tomato plants)

  • petite marigolds (Ferry-Morse, via NPL Seed Exchange)

  • Grand Rapids lettuce (Bean Acres Seeds, eBay)

  • Rainbow radishes (Seeds of Change, Turnip Truck)

  • arugula (Seeds of Change)

  • Dainty Marietta French marigolds (seeds harvested from last fall's blooms, which were from a 2013 eBay purchase)

  • Now I am chilling out with a tumbler of Pisco Capel and a library copy of Soul Food Love. I am boiling rice in chicken broth for the dog (who was trying her darnedest earlier to hoover up the soil that didn't make it into the pots), and later I will cook shrimp grits for the BYM.
    zirconium: photo of Greek style coffee, Larnaca, October 2011 (coffee in Cyprus)
    In the library, not quite ripe enough to harvest...

    tomato plant

    tomato plant

    In the kitchen, more than ready for a new container...

    tomato plant
    zirconium: snapshot of cookie cutter star from sorghum marshmallow making (Default)
    [Subject line from Chuck Berry's Memphis, Tennessee]

    Presley poodles
    Poodles at Graceland

    I'd like to be in Memphis. Or Morocco. Or Monterrey. Or Miami. Or Monticello. Or messing around my yard. But here in my kitchen is a pretty good place to be as well. The BYM and the dog were in here earlier, the tomato cuttings aren't dead yet, and I have poured for myself a glass of the wine [personal profile] dichroic sent in December, to go with the edamame-wasabi dip I just made.

    I am frustrated about a number of things, including not yet feeling well enough to sing or to resume practicing yoga, but happy happenings have been in abundance as well. The client to whom I delivered a commission this past Sunday was very pleased with it. ("We definitely got our money's worth.") I fashioned a pin for a friend while at the easel.

    The Poetry Storehouse now has audio for my poems "Novecento," "Schrodinger's Top Hat," "Even an Empty Life Can Hold Water," and "Lining Up." At Autumn Sky Poetry, Christine Klocek-Lim published my sestina "O Clouds Unfold" (which may look familiar to some of you, as I posted the first draft here just under a year ago). First Class accepted a poem.

    The lily in the bathroom has put forth new shoots. A longtime friend got married. My honorary mama celebrated her eighty-something-eth birthday. Mary sent a sprig from Wilbur's "Black Birch in Winter."

    And now I must turn back to paperwork and work-work.
    zirconium: photo of squeezy Buddha on cell phone, next to a coffee mug (buddha and cocoa)
    Published last week: my little poem about Hari-Kuyo, a festival that honors broken needles. [bio]

    Seen on yesterday's walk (several blocks apart):

    East Nashville

    East Nashville
    zirconium: mirliton = grinning squash from NOLA (mirliton)
    So, those tomato cuttings from October? They're still doing well -- so much that I spent part of my Saturday sanitizing stakes to bring inside, as the vines had become too long and heavy to creep up the wall without help:

    indoor garden

    There are also two generations of Christmas pepper plants in that corner (transplanting the trio of seedlings I hadn't placed among friends was another finally-got-to item on the list). I gave up on the pot of thyme.
    I chucked a couple of bulbs into the compost pail and sliced open a third.

    The scent of the tomato plants intensifies as they are handled. It was strong enough to disturb the BYM, on the other side of the wall.

    tomato blossom
    zirconium: sculpture of owl at Cheekwood, Nashville (Cheekwood owl)
    I wasn't expecting to like this show much (it's at Cheekwood through January 4), but there are some great pieces in it that I'd like to see again, time permitting. I'll dig up the rest of my notes later, but the one I'm enthralled with is Jacob Lawrence's The 1920s . . . The Migrants Arrive and Cast Their Ballots.

    In the meantime, one of the guards at the entrance to the Color Garden has some backup now:

    on guard at Cheekwood

    Cheekwood caution
    zirconium: snapshot of cookie cutter star from sorghum marshmallow making (Default)
    Some of our friends make a point of getting together every year at a local hotel bar in our holiday finest. (This year the organizer showed up in a tiara given to him by a former Miss Tennessee Earth. Sparkling leaves, y'all.)

    While gifts are not required, producing them is part of the pleasure. Last year I made salted caramels. Earlier this summer, the BYM's face lit up when I dreamed aloud of giving Christmas pepper plants.

    So, since then, there's been the tending of a tray of seedlings. There's been the collecting of brown paper bags. And last night there was a flurry of snipping and banding and ribboning before we headed to Mason's:

    wrapping up a long-term project... wrapping up a long-term project...

    I wasn't kidding about the Christmas Hello Kitty ribbon wrapping up a long-term project...

    Part of the fun of the holidays is the dressing up, which for me often involves celebrating the victory of thrift-shop finds in tandem with treasures from friends and family. Last night I wore a gown from Goodwill, an anklet from eBay, earrings [identity profile] xanthophyllippa.livejournal.com made for me, a ring from the BYM's grandmother, and a shawl from [identity profile] qrssama.livejournal.com. It's been a week where health and scheduling glitches put several crimps into my social life (this stupid cough. I'm obviously well enough to work long hours -- one colleague asked me if I was hiding a cot in my office, having seen me after 6 p.m. the night before and before 8 a.m. the next morning -- but lozenges give me an upset stomach, and hacking all the way through a friend's highlight reel would have been So Not On, so that was one of the events I had to bail on. Argh!) -- so it was especially nice to put on physical reminders of connections past and present.

    Another friend is a professional decorator, and we happened to be seated near a tree she had decked out for the holidays. Isn't it beautiful?

    At Mason's
    zirconium: sunflower core against the sky (sunflower sentinel)
    Cox Arboretum
    Cox Arboretum, Dayton, Ohio, August

    While the knives seek the pumpkins
    the fish glides along.

    aging zinnia zinnia
    Nashville, October

    Who will tell the zinnias
    it's long past Labor Day?

    A fun thing: last week, a verse I wrote was selected for Pilgrims' Stride, and today the verse to follow it was picked. The most fun part seeing the sixty-some directions people pursued...

    A frustrating thing: local businesses failing to return phone calls.

    Today's work will include: mixing ink and cutting paper.

    Today's cooking will include: Greek cinnamon chicken. Maybe. The recipe looked like just the thing when I was reading it in bed last night, but we have neither bay leaves nor dry white wine in the house, nor (uncharacteristically) onions (not counting the scant quarter-cup in my freezer). Hmmm.
    zirconium: black pearl pepper plant at Cheekwood (black pearl pepper)
    Christmas pepper

    Sometimes, when a pepper seedling emerges, the husk that covered the seed remains attached for a while.

    In this case, the seed came from what I now think of as the mama plant, which I've featured in this journal now and then. That plant now seems well on its way to producing its second crop of the year:


    In the meantime, I roasted store-bought peppers this afternoon (with an eye toward maybe making soup with the a can of evaporated milk now past its best-by date), since I had the oven going anyway, for pot roast (with onion, daikon, and potatoes, seasoned with rosemary and thyme from my garden). One of the recipes I looked at called for red wine, so I opened a nice bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon/Malbec (Dos Fincas 2012) a friend had contributed to a party I hosted back in May. I prepared green beans as well, which meant the dog was practically leaping with joy, as she loves to hoover up the tips.

    Middle Tennessee was under a tornado watch most of the evening. I am kicking myself a tiny little bit for not making "The Hugo" (a variation of the Dark and Stormy, by the Lee Bros.) to complement the occasion, but not really, what with working on a submission through half of the night and on someone else's manuscript much of the day. Some other time ...


    zirconium: snapshot of cookie cutter star from sorghum marshmallow making (Default)

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