Birthday Terrarium

glass terrarium with air plants

My college roomie, Amy, sent me this classy terrarium from Gifted Glass Gardens for my birthday! It’s minimalist and exquisite at the same time, with black sand, preserved moss, Cholla wood, two air plants, a geode, and a chunk of pyrite.

Of course, all of the pieces came shipped in their own sealed bags or containers — thankfully, the terrarium came with assembly instructions and photos. It also came with care instructions for air plants, which I was also glad to see, as I didn’t realize air plants needed to be soaked in water weekly. That would explain why the one I had back in 2012 was so short-lived.

Thanks, Amy! You know me well. 🙂

Return of the #SchnuthSalonSelfie

It’s kind of a running joke with a few of my coworkers that I reinvent myself every few years.

Mostly, they’re referring to my hair.

After growing it out for a few years, I decided it was time to change it up. No more ponytails and hair clips; all I need now is a spray bottle and my fingers (and maybe a comb, if I’m feeling fancy).

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day: April 2021

Since last month’s Bloom Day, the hyacinths have come and gone, and the earliest of the daffodils have started to fade — including the gorgeous Apricot Whirl variety I planted in the fall, and the striking bi-color daffodil that I finally remembered to move from its out-of-the-way spot in the peony border to a more prominent place along the front walk.

This was the year that I finally got out at the right time and moved my daffs “in the green.” Some folks claim that daffodils can be fussy when it comes to springtime transplanting, and others see their relocated narcissi bloom just fine later that same spring. Thankfully, my experience was more of the latter kind, so I’m well on my way to having my garden path lined with inviting spring blooms!

Not all of the daffodils got re-homed; some of them were already in a perfect massed spot close to the road, where all the passersby can enjoy them.

The west-facing flowerbed that’s visible from the kitchen window is the one I refer to as the Early Spring Border. The grape hyacinth (muscari) and brunnera are just two reasons why. Earlier, there were dwarf reticulated irises, fragrant hyacinths, and a few daffodils; later on, there will be alliums and peonies and camassia.

My neighbor gifted me a pot of columbines a few years ago, and I never got around to getting it in the ground. It finally bloomed in purple and yellow this year, despite my benign neglect… and the strawberry plants that seem to have hitched a ride in the same container have started to spill out and spread into the border. I don’t really mind.

Finally, since the dogwood in the front garden is on its last legs, I decided to spare this redbud sapling that sprung up here a couple years back. We’ll need another tree here eventually, anyway, and clearly this redbud likes this spot.

Thanks as always to Carol Michel for hosting Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day on the 15th of each month! As Elizabeth Lawrence said, “We can have flowers nearly every month of the year.”

COVID Vacation and a Sad Kitty

I was more irritated than concerned when the school nurse called earlier this year. Every time Connor coughs too loudly within earshot of particular people, especially in this era of COVID, he gets sent home sick… and has to have a doctor’s note to return.

My third-grader with allergies got sent home from school because of a cough and runny nose.

I understand the need for precautions, but it doesn’t make the experience any less annoying. This time, I decided to be extra thorough. Not only did I take him to Urgent Care to get evaluated, but I also requested the molecular (PCR) COVID test required by the Health Department for him to return to school. Even though they diagnosed him with an ear infection, so he had an alternative diagnosis. Even though he tested negative with the rapid test. Just to cover all bases.

Our path down the COVID flowchart took an unexpected turn when the PCR test came back positive.

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Dear Connor: Year Nine-and-a-Half

I wouldn’t normally post a Dear Connor letter for your half-birthday… but I didn’t post one for your ninth birthday, and 2020 was definitely NOT a normal year, so I don’t want to just skip it.

I suspect that someday, when you’re older and you look back on being eight years old, Second Grade will seem like a big blur of video games and remote schooling, with the occasional, “Wait, that happened when I was eight, too?”

Photo: Connor and Grammy playing a card game in Florida

I can remember pretty clearly being eight and nine years old, and it’s weird thinking about how I perceived myself when I was your age, versus how I see you now. You have a lot of the same curiosity and know-it-all attitude as I did, but you’re way crazier and more outgoing.

In the fall, you took a test that qualified you for the gifted program at school. You said that the 90 minutes of testing was a “nightmare,” which amused the teacher who was administering the test. It was a standard, old-school Scantron multiple choice test… but you’re used to tests on the computer, and you’re NOT used to testing for a couple of hours straight.

Now that you’re in GATE, you wish you weren’t, and you want to quit. You see it as busywork that takes you away from the things you’d rather be doing, like being social with your classmates. Luckily, once you qualify, you’re never disqualified; even if we decide that the enrichment activities in the elementary grades aren’t for you, you’ll still be able to enroll in the accelerated classes later on — and that’s really what matters to me. I wish they offered accelerated classes in the elementary grades, like I had at your age, but the program is what it is.

You have a very defined hierarchy of Things You’d Rather Be Doing. Most of those involve television or video games. Eating is pretty far down the list, but riding bikes with Dad used to be on the list (until you wore out your training wheels).

Reading for pleasure is something you only do when you have no other options: before bed, or during your scheduled reading time in the afternoon. This is completely foreign to me, as I read voraciously when I was as a kid — to be fair, though, I did love going to my best friend’s house to play Atari, and I would have done more gaming if I’d had my own console.

I know I tell you this a lot, but I’m really proud of you. You’ve stuck with karate for 2½ years. You always want to make people laugh. You’re secure in who you are.

You’re still only 9½, of course, so you still have a lot of growing and maturing to do… but you’re pretty awesome, all things considered.

Wesley and Connor

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day: March 2021

Each year, this is when it begins.

Slowly but surely, the spring bulbs reach for the sun.

This year, in addition to the Reticulated Iris and the very beginnings of hyacinth buds, I also have cream-colored crocuses.

By the next Bloom Day, the daffodils and hyacinths will be in full force… but we mustn’t rush things.

Thanks as always to Carol Michel for hosting Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day on the 15th of each month! As Elizabeth Lawrence said, “We can have flowers nearly every month of the year.”

Spin Hook Kick!

Parents haven’t been allowed into the dojo during the pandemic; if we want to watch class, we watch over Facebook Live. Luckily, the camera was at just the right angle and Connor stood in the right line for me to screen-capture his spin hook kick today.