Monthly Archives: May 2008

of things that bloom

Springtime along the Front Range is never less than amusing, although this year didn’t seem to have quite the same kick as usual. Yes, we had an 80-degree day followed immediately by snow, but we only had one of those. And where is my rainy season, when it rains every single afternoon from 3:00 to 3:15?

My narcissi came up a month or so ago, followed in short order by my tulips. They’re not spreading as rapidly (or at all) as I would have hoped, but the few flowers that peek up bring me great joy. There should be irises (iri?) in there as well, but nothing is happening along that front so far this year.

And then there’s the peony. I have always loved peonies. Near my last apartment in Boulder, there was a gentleman who carefully tended a yard full of different varieties of peonies. I commented on them once as I strolled by, and he was so pleased that I even recognized them. I guess they’re not as common out here as they are in New Jersey. When Chris bought his little house in north Denver, I immediately planted two peonies to flank the front walkway. I never saw them grow to full force, though he told me they were pretty amazing in time. When I bought my own place in 2003, I planted a peony in a little garden bed I made by the front stoop. Though it had buds on it when I planted it, the shock of replanting, and so late in the season, pretty much took care of stunting its growth that year. The following year, its first in its new location, the plant did not bloom. This is not unusual for a peony. When spring rolled around again, I had a small, raised bed built around the plot I had originally planted. The peony came up, but again, no blooms. Curious. In the fall, I planted bulbs. Spring of 2006 brought me bulbed flowers and peony leaves, but once again, no buds. I did some research online and decided that the raised bed meant that the peony was now planted too deeply in the soil. However, digging it up meant disturbing the bulbs. I decided to leave things be while I figured out how best to handle it. Which meant, for me, not really handling it at all. 2007 brought me peony leaves once more, but now they taunted me, begging me to get off my lazy ass and do something about raising the plant. I still didn’t do it. 2008 came and with it the aforementioned narcissi and tulips, and also the peony leaves once more. I was happy to see them, but also grimaced at the thought of neglecting the problem yet again.

And then…

I noticed…

A bud! A tiny, round, peony flower bud! In time, it has grown larger, though still tightly packed with the petals that will (hopefully) blossom into a beautiful, extravagant bloom. Ants, as per tradition, have also discovered the bud, and are having a grand time marching around it and performing their pollination-for-food dealio. It’s only one bud, on a plant that should support many more, but still, I am overjoyed.

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under gardening, springtime

Frequent Flier Miles

First, a thank-you to the surprising number of peeps who poked around my blog during this past week, even though I wasn’t writing anything. I had a friend in town, and set blogging by the wayside in favor of late-night talks and far too little coffee. ACTUAL reality, folks. It’s the wave of the future.

Back to our regularly scheduled program:

I have a bunch of frequent flier miles. Some here, some there, some with airlines I don’t even fly. United, Frontier, Continental, Midwest, Northwest, whoever Hilton is hooked up with, and wherever I can transfer AmEx points. Not enough to fly to a friend’s wedding in Mexico, but enough to visit a different friend in Minneapolis. That is, I could redeem the miles if the dates I wanted to travel (a weekend in the middle of July) weren’t blacked out. I have been gathering miles for years, because I can’t actually use them. Is there a trick to it?

Okay, okay, I didn’t mean to leave you all in the dark. Back to the beginning: My pal Nick was visiting, and we went to a car show where we met the guy who owns a Cadillac known as Batmobile with which I am familiar, played mini-golf (see above), watched a DVD, and hung out with friends. We ate some, we drank some, we drove around some. I introduced Nick to egg creams at brunch one morning. That right there means I did a good job as hostess.

6 Comments

Filed under friends, vacation

Let’s Get Ready To Rum-bowl!

The Saints and Pinners kicked off our new bowling season tonight, and although we tried to bowl poorly enough to score ourselves some nice, high handicaps… we all did pretty well. Surprisingly well, considering that none of us have lifted a ball in probably three months. Of course, we still have room for improvement. It’s my goal to get my average up around 150 this season (yeah, I know that “real” bowlers scoff at that, but I started bowling this time last year around a 92, so I had a ways to go). I think I averaged around a 112 tonight. [Ed. Note: Turned out to be a 118] I’m not sure what the handicap will bring me up to; I’ll find out next week when all of our rankings are tallied.

Saints and Pinners: We will all suck together.

That’s a team, man. ;)

2 Comments

Filed under bowling

Two Hours Dicking Around In Beaver

I made a whole mess of dice bracelets when I was getting amped up for VLV11. Drilled all the dice, strung them together, put them up on my etsy storefront

There was one color combo that I really, really liked. Red, with black spacer dice. I decided to take it out of the store and keep it for myself. But, since I had already posted it, I gave it a day. ONE day, and then I’d take it down.

It sold.

Well, okay, that is kind of the point of me, you know, selling them. Fine, I’ll go to my local supply store and buy more of those dice. The fancy, translucent ones. And I’ll make myself a new one, just for me. Red, with black spacers.

My supply store is sold out.

I go back every now and then to check, but they don’t know when (if) they’ll get those fancy dice back in. I make more of the “regular” white dice variety. Which are precisely not flying off the virtual shelves of my store.

I bring my store stock with me to Las Vegas, so my friends and I always have bracelets to coordinate with our outfits. I see a vendor there, selling nearly-identical bracelets for twice the price. Personally, I like mine a little better, because I use mini-dice in between the standard game-play dice, and his just have regular ol’ beads. But I don’t have a vendor booth at VLV, nor do I want to (and be trapped in a booth all day and night, instead of out playing), and I doubt I’d make much money selling $7 bracelets anyway. Coincidentally, a couple of my gals buy from me the bracelets they’d been borrowing. I feel a little funny taking money from friends, but the bracelets do cost me materials and time, so I guess I’d better get used to it.

Waiting for the hotel shuttle one evening, a woman in line asks Alison where she got her bracelet. She indicates me, I pass along my card, a conversation ensues. Eventually, nothing comes of it.

A few weeks later, I get an email. It’s the woman from the shuttle line. She’s still thinking about Alison’s bracelet, and wants to know if I have an online store or anything. Well, yes, as a matter of fact, I do. I invite her to have a look, and to ask me if there’s anything she has in mind but doesn’t see. She takes a good look around, even into my sold listings…

She wants the red one.

I checked my local store again: no go. I’ve looked around online before, but now I make a real effort: There are plenty of translucent red dice to be found, but the price point makes it impossible to string an affordable bracelet from them. Unless I buy a block of TWO HUNDRED. Which, with shipping, is a little more than I’d been paying at my local supplier, but still within the realm of a $7 bracelet. Except that these dice don’t have the rounded corners that I like to use. For some reason, I can only find those in blocks that cost twice the price. And so the search continues…

About the title: My pal Nick is driving out from California to visit, and while he was plotting out a route to take, I suggested that he spend the night in Beaver, Utah. Because, you know, that would be funny. To spend the night in Beaver. Ha ha. Anyway, he wound up choosing a different stop along the highway, but I asked him to think of me and laugh heartily when he eventually drives through Beaver. Maybe stop for a coffee or something. He replied with a hypothetical, “Sorry I’m late, but I spent two hours dicking around in Beaver.” … Okay, maybe you had to be there. And also, to have developed the tasteful sense of humor of a 15-year-old boy. But I thought it was hysterical.

4 Comments

Filed under friends, jewelry, Viva Las Vegas

Another New Start

I have registered a new domain. I expect it will take me about ten months to get around to doing anything about it… like, say, redirecting this blog there. Tiddleywink is really my business name, and it gets confusing on my end to be running a personal blog under that moniker. Not that I’m doing much of anything else over at tiddleywink.com, but I still don’t want to share the space. Besides, the new name (should I ever get around to using it) will be easier to spell.

Off topic: My topical brush with fame. You may have heard of Iron Man, current smash blockbuster hit. And you may already be familiar with Terrence Howard, the actor who plays Jim Rhodes in that film. Well, Mr. Howard spent some time as an engineering student at Pratt during my stint there, and while I have no recollection of him, my (fantastically talented) friend Jason assures me that we all ran in the same social circle. I don’t recall hanging with any of the engineering students, but I trust Jason. Sorry that I don’t remember you, Terrence. Congrats on your successful acting career.

2 Comments

Filed under blogging, friends

Weddings and funerals

The last time I saw my cousin and his wife may very well have been at their wedding. Seven years later, for a funeral of sorts. And that’s just crazy. I love my cousin. I even like New Jersey. Most of the trouble is the flights… four hours to get there, a two hour time shift… Day One is blown from the get-go. Day Last is similar. So four days is kind of the minimum. But then… I want to see my sister. My cousin. My uncle and grandmother. Manhattan. Ikea. Now I’m spending a week couch-surfing through New Jersey, and hello? That is NOT a relaxing vacation.

My last trip to NJ, in October, was spent in Brigantine, near Atlantic City. Lovely, but not “home.” My cousin lives near Sussex, which is about an hour northwest from where I grew up. Geologically and topographically, though, it looks a lot like home. Rolling hills, rock outcroppings, canopies of trees. Considerably more wild turkeys running through the yard than I remember, though. :)

Click on the photo for more:

5 Comments

Filed under family, food

Gravy fries and diner pie!

I may have perhaps possibly mentioned that I’ve been slightly dreading this trip to New Jersey. While I very much look forward to catching up with family, I don’t much enjoy slipping into my role of “mediator” trying to keep the peace between, well, my mom and anyone my mom is mad at.

And I hate flying Continental. Which once again, failed to fail to disappoint. Trapped in the plane, with the seatbelt light on, for TWO HOURS before finally taking off this morning… ugh. No place (that I could find) on their web site where I could request a vegetarian snack, though my mom pointed out that the “beef and swiss” sandwich sure didn’t taste like beef…

But okay, my point is this: what I’d forgotten, in my tenseness, about New Jersey. That it is filled WITH DINERS.

Let me say that again, out loud: DINERS.

Say it with me: DINERS.

DINERS!

We sat in our booth, surrounded by chrome and rockface a la Garden State Brickface (And Stucco), and I stared, wide-eyed, at the menu so full of choices (meatloaf! stuffed grape leaves! monte cristo!) plus all of the “specials” tucked into their pocketed sleeves (THREE sleeves!) and finally chose a Happy Waitress with GRAVY fries. Nomnomnom. Mom had a patty melt, Jahn had a pastrami reuben, little Troy had chicken fingers. All with creamy cole slaw and a pickle. We split a slice of chocolate cream pie for dessert. Shortbread crust. Approximately four feet of whipped cream on top, coated in a melted-then-cooled chocolate armor. Oh yeah, that’s what I’m talking about.

I have been promised bagels and lox for brekkie tomorrow, and TAYLOR FRIGGIN’ HAM for brekkie on another day. Ooooh, maybe I can buy Jahn and Cindy’s leftover Taylor ham from them, and bring it home. Unless we have time to stop at a ShopRite or PathMark on the way to the airport. Which would seem slightly less crazy than me shopping out of my cousin’s fridge. Oh, right, and there’s the whole “I’m vegetarianish” thing. But it’s TAYLOR HAM!!! Some vegetarians are done in by bacon… I’m done in by pork roll.

Also: The first photo I took on this trip was of the rust hole on my cousin’s truck’s running board. Rust! I remember rust! Jahn thought it was an odd subject for a photo, then remembered who he was dealing with.

And as for family… My mom has not yet been exposed to the potentially threatening family members. My cousin is a hoot. His wife is sweet, too, though I’ve barely gotten to know her over the years. Today was the first time I met their kids, who definitely have mixed feelings about me. I just don’t exude “kid friendly” even when I try. Also, my aunt is here, whom I don’t believe I’ve seen in probably 25 (or more) years. Oddly, she looks exactly the same. I, on the other hand, am taller. :) At some point tomorrow, I’ll have to point out to her that one of the rings I’m wearing, which I wear every single day and even sleep and shower in, was a gift from her nearly 30 years ago. (Have I ever mentioned my freakishly small hands? Like a child’s?) Anyway, she says that the only part of me she recognizes is my smile. I bet if I put my hair in pigtails, and brush my bangs to the side… and maybe put on a velour shirt and start singing, “My brother threw up on my stuffed toy bunny, now you may laugh but it really isn’t funny” … then it would all fall into place for her.

A fresh report, and photos, after the weekend is over.

2 Comments

Filed under diner pie, family, food