Sunday, November 27, 2011
All winter long and as soon as they are available I buy potted hyacinth bulbs at the grocery store. White. All shades of pink. All shades of mauve and blue and purple. From January through April, there are generally hyacinths in my house. Sometimes a single bulb, often a pot of three bulbs, occasionally one of the large pots of five or more bulbs. It always amazes me that buying potted bulbs during the winter months is no more expensive than buying naked bulbs in the fall for direct planting into the garden.
Don't much care for the standard "Christmas" plants -- poinsettias in particular leave me cold, whether traditional red or the newer white, pink and marbled types. They last for ever, they can't with reasonable effort be brought back to rebloom, they silently reproach me if I throw them out . . . Cyclamen are a bit better (glorious butterfly shape hovering above the elegant foliage) but like poinsettias have no scent. Azaleas ditto.
Whereas the hyacinths (like the narcissus I potted up last weekend, which are growing half an inch every day) help me "set out to meet the spring". And smell glorious, scenting the whole house. And each floret is such a beautiful shape . . . remember "hyacinthine curls" on Roman Republican portrait busts? The only disadvantage of hyacinths has been their tendency to flop over, top heavy . . . but the newer cultivars seem to have that problem solved. And (unlike some contemporary rose variants, which have focused on repeat blooming at the expense of perfume) without any loss of scent or shape or colour.
Once my hyacinths have bloomed and faded week by winter week, I cut off the spent flower heads and water copiously, leaving the foliage which will renew the bulb's vigour, then put the pot down in our cool, damp Victorian basement. And forget about them, until late November.
So yesterday was the day. Hyacinth harvest. I fetched them all up, two green garbage bags full of pots and soil and dehydrated foliage. And took them out to the garden for planting.
Almost every bulb was showing signs of life: heavy, solid, sturdy ivory sprouts. I simply cleared away enough leaves in the flower bed to dig a hole, inserted the bulbs at the same depth, then recovered with leaf mulch.
We have lived here for some 25 years -- and there are hundreds of hyacinth bulbs from winter after winter of kitchen table fragrance, blooming and reblooming year after year. Squirrels leave the hyacinths alone -- tulips are the preferred munch, and that's why I don't have many of those. Squirrels simply won't accept my tacit deal -- chestnuts and walnuts for them, bulbs for me. If the squirrels don't eat the tulips bulbs within days of my planting them, they will eat the flowers as soon as they appear in the spring. I've given up on tulips.
Which is OK, actually: hyacinths smell better anyhow.
Winter: bring it on! I've recycled my hyacinths. They're promising me that spring will come.
Saturday, November 26, 2011
Hmmm. That middle number four is persistent despite diligent tracking. And persistent "Becking": e.g. "hunger is not an emergency"; "eat sitting down".
The balance beam scales at the gym do give me my middle number 3.
And my digital scales at home "flicker" exasperatingly on middle number 3.
But (after months and months over the summer of 138) those home scales (my "home truth") are now persistently settling on middle number 4. Grrrrr.
I am not giving up, however. Not. Giving. Up. The home scales will have to give up. And give me middle number 3. Perhaps when we have some snow and I can get out to x country ski.
Meanwhile, in "other numbers", my contemporary clothes in size 10 are really too large.
Almost all my contemporary clothes in size 8 are also really too large.
It's my contemporary clothes in size 6 which are just right. Navy pant suit. Dark green pant suit. Black leather pencil skirt. Calvin Klein grey jeans. Calvin Klein camel cord jeans. Black Not My Daughter's jeans. Sixes. And (despite the middle number 4) that's my size. My contemporary size.
However, yesterday I was wearing a vintage camel hair suit -- personal vintage, pricey when purchased some 28 or thirty years ago. A classic inverted pleat A-line skirt with a very fitted waist band and a very fitted jacket that has some interesting lapel and pocket button detailing: I've always loved it. However, it was a size 14 when I bought it. I probably weighed about 150 when I bought it. And right now (10 pounds lighter) the skirt has never fit me better through the waist: nice relaxed fit with no pinching. Ditto a very lovely vintage olive mid-calf wool skirt with stitched down pleats. Prestige British label. It's a 14. I wear it often with a contemporary olive and rust tweed fitted jacket: size 6.
DH's sizes don't vary, whether vintage or contemporary. He's a tall slim guy, careful with his clothes, prefers classic styles, size vents etc. : and he also still wears some suits that he's had for years. For him, what was a 34" waist then is a 34" waist now. A 16" neck 36" arm length shirt then is a 16/36" now.
OK. Men get "truth in labelling". Women not so much.
They're messing with our minds, ladies! Gendered size creep is creepy . . . . pure and simple. Yes it is!!
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Many of you will know and love Leonard Cohen's iconic "Anthem": (Forget your perfect offering, There is a crack/a crack in everything . . . )
And so you may also enjoy his newest single, Show Me the Place, which comes from a November-darkish place of submission and yearning . . . nevertheless still struggling and still optimistic.
So here's the link: sing it ,Leonard!!
I'll help you "roll away the stone" in reciprocity for the many times you've helped me do just the same . . .
And yeah, the narcisus are about half an inch taller this morning, getting greener by the minute.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
I planted my narcissus on Sunday, and already the bulbs are beginning to sprout and turn green.
They are so eager to grow.
And remind me: I should be too!!
Sunday, November 20, 2011
And days no promise bring
When every cloud is weary
Set out to meet the spring
When every cloud is weary
Set out to meet the spring!
This is a round we sang at Girl Guides.
And: dawns are dark and dreary here now, absolutely.
The light box helps! The gym helps! Thinking about my son coming home for Christmas helps! Watching Charlie chase squirrels through the back yard helps (grrrrrrrr, grrrrrr: fierce!) Flowers on the kitchen table help: I've got white carnations (they smell the best, clove-spicy) with some elegant branches of pine clipped from the back yard.
Singing helps! (OK, it helps me: but given the way I sing, maybe others not so much. I'll confine it to the shower . . . after my workout, maybe).
Chicken barley soup with lots of mushrooms helps.
Logs for the fireplace help.
That "set out to meet the spring" part? I'm thinking, today's a great day to start a pot of narcissus bulbs on the kitchen window sill: they should be in bloom by Christmas . . .
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