31 May 2009

Wild Strawberries

This morning my dad took the kids exploring in his neighborhood. They came back with wild strawberries the size of pencil erasers. Paltry, I though, and gladly boasted that the strawberry weeds in my yard grow much bigger that that.


Later on we had fun picking wild weed berries together. The girls asked if they could try them--take a taste. Sure, I said, but I reminded them that wild strawberries don't taste like much. They kind of taste like water. But the girls would not be dissuaded and after sampling our crop declared that they really liked them. Maybe it was the novelty of being able to eat something right out of the back yard or maybe they actually did like them.

30 May 2009

Mint beats Lambs Ear

Earlier in the spring I took a lot of pictures of the thriving lambs ear.

I wanted to capture how very furry it is, and that was when I realized how hard it is to take a crisp image of an inherently fuzzy object.

Last year our back flowerbed was overgrown with mint. In a sneaky land-grab maneuver, the mint had claimed territory from the rose, cone flower, lambs ear, and another plant that I don't know the name of. Here's a picture of the nameless thing.

Let me know if you recognize it. In case it helps you identify it; the leaves are thick and leathery, a paler green than the grass. I believe it will have pinkish blossoms later in the summer. This year the plant has grown into a mound about 2' high and wide. That's a lot bigger than it got last year when the mint was choking it and everything else.

While the mint maintained its stranglehold on the back flowerbed, all of its neighbors suffered. You'd expect nothing else of the rose and cone flower. They just lie down and take it. But lambs ear? It too is known to be invasive and tenacious. It can get out of hand and take over a garden, but lambs ear doesn't hold a candle to mint. Nope. It didn't stand a chance.

But ultimately the mint didn't stand a chance either. It had to contend against me. At about this time last year I decimated our mint crop. Three healthy patches of mint survived my pruning.

It was too late in the year for this measure to make a meaningful difference for the other plants. But this year my imposed restriction of the mint's territory has made a world of difference. Everything is blooming bigger and better, and I keep a watchful eye lest the mint revive its dreams of unchecked expansion.

29 May 2009

Too Many to Count

It's been a really nice, really full day. It started with guacamole, homemade by me, because I felt like having it for breakfast. Here's how I did it:

1 ripe avacado, seeded and mashed
1 t. lemon juice, though lime's better if you've got it
1 T hot salsa
2 T fresh cilantro, cut up into tiny bits.

Blend it all together and serve with chips--package and send some with your husband who doesn't hold with early-morning guacamole.

Next up; a trip to the Botanical Garden. The purpose for this particular visit was to find a suitably "spring"-like present for the girls' cousin. We did, and we also wandered around and took a lot of pictures while we were there. Here's one:

So much was blooming. In the Climatron we saw, among other things, limes budding on a lime tree and a (pink!) pineapple growing like nobody's business. The roses were spectacular. Star happily wandered the hedge maze in the Victorian garden while Dandelion refused to be photographed. They both adored the tiny frogs swimming merrily in the pool where the Angel Musicians danced overhead.

Our plan was to go from the Garden to the Airport, where Aunt Terra would catch a flight to NC for the weekend. We had a few extra minutes, so we ducked into Sweet Art for cupcakes.

I'd been curious about this little shop for ages. The proprietors are a couple. She bakes, he paints. Sweet. Art. Lovely. The cupcakes were good and the art was lyrical. Their savory menu looked marvelous, so I'll have to go back some time when I'm thinking "meal" and not "child-appropriate snack".

The rest of the day didn't photograph quite so well. We dashed to the airport and then dashed back to the house where I threw together a sack lunch for Star to take to her school picnic. I took the kids to their schools for the last time--summer break is setting in. Got home and worked a bit on the back-yard fire pit. Tried to cleaned the gutters but realized I really am too chicken to clean the ones on the back of the house (where there's no porch to catch me if I fall). Went shopping and bought blackout fabric for curtains in the girls' room, a birthday present for a party Dandelion's going to tomorrow, and a swim cover up for me. Picked the kids up (from school and the bus stop) for the last time--it's officially summer break. Took them to the pool. Dandelion went down the slide! Came home. Made dinner. Got the kids to bed.

And that brings us to me, sitting here typing this. Hopefully, in the next few days, I'll sink into a rhythm for the summer. Maybe, even though the kids will be with me all day every day, I'll finish some of the things that I'm in the middle of (too many to count, actually) and when I do I'll share pictures of it with you.

27 May 2009

One Purple Iris

By now, all the irises have faded. But before we leave them to the land of late-spring memory, I have to tell a story. Last year, we had yellow irises. This year, in the garden, one purple iris bloomed and next year there will be more.

How is it that I have purple? Well, last fall I got a knock on the door. I answered and found on my front porch an older, bearded man. He looked like Santa Clause, but introduced himself as a neighbor of mine two streets over. Last spring, he said, he noticed that I had really great yellow irises. Would I trade him some of my yellow ones, he asked, for some of the purple ones that grow in his yard?

I said yes. A few weeks later, my neighbor delivered a bag with 10 rhizomes in it. They look a little like ginger root with a green fan of blades at one end, just in case you were wondering

Of course I had to reciprocate, and I eventually got to it a few days later. Partly to make way for the purple irises, and partly to prune, I dug up no fewer than 30 of my yellow iris rhizomes, but probably more. Before we moved in, the yard had been neglected for at least a few years, and the irises had become quite overgrown. In fact, even after all I pruned away, the iris patch might still be too crowded. Anyway, I selected the 10 best looking ones and sent them over to our neighbor.

This spring, one of the 10 purple irises flowered. I wasn't expecting to see any blooms at all for the first year. What a pleasure. And next spring, when more of them blossom, it will be even better.

26 May 2009

A Little Afternoon Habitat Distruction

Dandelion likes to maroon her bike -- the back wheel suspended over a rut, bike held up by the training wheels -- to turn it into an exercise bike. If you look closely, you can see that her back wheel and her legs are the only things moving in this picture.

She was 'exercising' while Matthew tinkered with a problem that has greatly impeded Star's bike-riding enjoyment. He's a pretty resourceful bike repairman.

While those two were busy, I tackled another outside issue:

That's a pile of landscape timber that, once upon a time, made it much much harder to maintain our lawn. I removed them (and the 2' stakes keeping them in place) earlier this spring, and then piled them up the way you see them in the picture.

Don't confuse this with the first batch of timbers I dug up earlier in the year. Those are well and truly gone. These are the second wave of useless landscape timber that I have disencumbered from our garden.

Anyway, slowly, steadily, it became clear just how bad an idea it is to have a pile of wood right next to the house. Oh, I'm sure it isn't THAT big a deal, you just wouldn't want to have that situation long term. So I moved them, and hopefully, in a few days, I'll have disposed of them.

You'll never believe what was living under those timbers, though.

I just had to show the kids, even though the toad was hard to see under all those leaves. Dandelion named him 'toady boady' almost as quickly as I decided he was a boy, and she then declared him to be "so cutie" and ran back to her exercise bike.

Now that the timbers are gone, I have no idea where toady boady will live. There are lots of other shady spots in the garden, but none that will protect him from the neighbors' cat quite so well as a huge pile of timber.

25 May 2009

Frugalein Doesn't Always Win

Today I ordered this lovely pot. Mikasa claims this is a coffee pot, but it won't be in our house.

No. It will be the central piece for tea parties. I have daughters who are delighted by tea parties, and they have a mother who is delighted by slowly adding to her collection of china. This pot (when it arrives in 2 weeks) will be the first addition to my china stash since 2004 when my mother single-handedly more than doubled my inventory.

I did have a coupon, but Frugalein wasn't satisfied nor will she let me forget this affront to her sensibilities any time soon.

24 May 2009

Musical Listen-and-Learn with Zimbabwe Nkenya

Here's a picture of Matthew, Terra, and the kids (seated dead center) enjoying the Mbira music of Zimbabwe Nkenya at the St. Louis Art Museum.

The performance was done in conjunction with the museum's African Arts Festival, and was a pure delight. Prior to the performance the kids were invited to make hand-held shakers, like maracas without handles. Of course they still had them in their hands when the performance began, and Nkenya was visibly pleased when his performance was punctuated with enthusiastic shake-a shakes from the kids surrounding him.

You can see one very simple Mbira that Matthew bought in Nairobi in this post from my old Beirut blog--it's shown in the picture; number 2.


Dandelion has a new hair cut.

22 May 2009

Daisy Weed

I have a huge amount of this weed growing in my yard. Anyone know what it is? Just in case it helps anyone identify it: mid-March it put up clusters of fuzzy leaves. They looked like furry lettuce. Then, from the center, a tall stalk shots up and multiple little daisy-like blossoms appear, late April-ish.

Not knowing what else to call them, I'll refer to them daisy weeds (in my head anyway). I'm not wild about having this weed overrun my grass, so earlier in the week (or was it late last week? Oh, now I remember. It was on Sunday) I gathered this big bouquet of daisy weeds--partially so that when they go to seed they don't do it near the grass, and partially because they're cute. They've been indoors in this vase ever since, and delightfully, they have not wilted a bit.

21 May 2009

Vintage Vita Mix

For most of the years of my childhood, my mother had a Vita Mix. I think we got it as a hand-me-down from Mom's brother, but I could be wrong about that. Back then, we mostly used it to make milk shakes. The ingredients were usually limited to cookies, ice cream, and milk (except when it was fruit, ice cream, and milk), and they were completely delicious.

Well, one day (back in the day) it quit working. Years passed. The Vita Mix sat. Children grew, left home, came back again, and that was when Mom bought a new one.

Apparently when you buy a new Vita Mix, you get a manufacturer-issued voucher. Return the voucher with your old mixer and get $75, at least that's how I think it's supposed to go. Anyway, Mom was about to return her old one when someone suggested that she set the old one upside down over night. "Then try it in the morning", this unknown someone said to her. Well, she did, and magically the next morning, it was again functional. Why, she asked herself, why not give it to Mary Ann?

And that is how, last year in September, I came into possession of my mother's ancient Vita Mix.

It's so charming.

Matthew uses it for his breakfast nearly every day. He has also used it to perfect his hummus recipe. Not me, though. I really haven't used it much. But the other day I saw a recipe for chocolate pudding that I just had to try--a pudding that had to be made in a blender. I tried it. Matthew tried it. Matthew wants more of it. I, on the other hand, think the recipe needs work before I'd call it a success. And a recipe that needs work means a Mary Ann spending more time with the Vintage Vita Mix.

20 May 2009

American Summer, Lebanese Fall

We're coming up on Memorial day weekend. Maybe later today, I'll retrieve the suite of American Flags my Mom gave me last year and reinstall them in the front yard. I won't be alone. Most of the neighbors will hang flags too. Some of these flags will be taken down again after all the barbecues have ended, but there's one house, down on the corner, that will keep their flags out all summer long.

Although one risks appearing lazy rather than patriotic, leaving the flags out all summer long isn't without justification. Summertime is the most flag-wavingest season in America. Memorial Day in May is followed by Flag Day in June (which in fairness is rivaled only by May Day in underratedness), and the Fourth of July precedes the comparatively un-festive month of August. But lest our patriotic spirit waver, Labor Day offers one last flag-flying hurrah on the first Monday of September. Soak it in. It's good to be an American in the Summer.

Just as I associate summer with America, I associate fall with Lebanon. That's when their independence day is. And since Lebanese summers were iffy (security-wise) while we lived there, fall brings with it great relief. Winter? I can't think of a better time to be Russian than in the dead of winter. Sure, the cold is rough, but that's a kind of badge of honor. I can only imagine that the Russians take great pride in knowing that nobody but nobody can survive their winter like they can. That's when Spring rolls around and brings us to Japan. I don't know of a culture that celebrates spring like the Japanese do. One day, I would love to be there when the cherry blossoms open in a Japanese springtime.

Maybe some day I will. But what's more likely is that the next springtime I observe will be in Lebanon. We're very likely to go back in the fall.

I thought I'd share this funny little scan that I made in 2007 of my favorite blooms of a Lebanese spring. These nearly covered parts of the path I took four times daily to Star's school to drop her off and pick her up. They are among the most cheerful blossoms I have ever seen. Completely charming.

19 May 2009

Me, as a Mom

About a year ago I began to create a collection of pictures of me with one or both of my kids.

This one is without a doubt my very favorite.

18 May 2009

Sometimes I Forget

Dandelion's school offers a wide range of services for kids with special needs, and therefore employs occupational therapists, speech pathologists, and probably other professionals that I just haven't heard of yet. Back when I slip-covered the little couch in my daughter's classroom, word got out that I sew. Twice since then, I've gotten requests like this one:

It's funny to me to look at how the OT prepared these wrist bands--intended to help children exercise specific finger or thumb muscles by holding others in place. She certainly got the job done--the black magic marker, the paper clip, these are good instructions. And though all of this was effective, there are methods that anyone who sews would know about that do all of this with the same effectiveness but far greater finesse. It made me realize that I often forget just how much I know about sewing. I also tend to forget that other people don't necessarily know what I do.

An unflatteringly long time ago the OT asked me to make two weight vests for the ADD/ADHD kids--she prescribes 20 minutes or so a day in these vests to give kids with too much energy some resistance to push against. She could have bought vests like this online, but they are needlessly and unjustifiably expensive. By making them for the school I knew I would be saving them a ton of money (because I volunteer my time and my fabric, when I have it). Since they are simple to make I agreed. Since the request was made, I have had a lot of other things going on (just check my archives!) and days steadily turned into weeks and into months. But, today I finished the second one. It feels good to be finished and to know that I won't have to reprimand myself for forgetting that project anymore.

16 May 2009

At the Flea Market

In the past I've complained about the freebie-newspapers that land unbidden and unwanted in my yard--particularly the problematic plastic bags they arrive in--but perhaps I shouldn't complain. They have a great community calendar in there that lists more fascinating events than we know what to do with. And this week, in their classified section, there was something that caught my eye: an add for a flea market to be held at one of those neat boutiquey-antiquey shops in my neighborhood. The girls and I went early this morning to check it out.

The shop is called Recycled Rose. Even though it's in my neighborhood and not at all out of the way, I've only gone in a handful of times. Still, it's a charming shop filled with beautiful things. Most of what you'll find at Recycled Rose is just a touch too romantic or eclectic (or both) for me to seriously consider making a purchase, but wandering through the shop is like wandering through a daydream -- and I like daydreaming.

In February I bought some lawn furniture I found there. It needs some work before we can use it. Now that the whether is getting nicer I'll probably prioritize the work these pieces need to be put to use.

Back to the flea market: it was set up (mostly) behind the store in a kind of wild meadow. It was picturesque, actually. The girls wanted to buy everything they laid eyes on, but were great shopping buddies all the same. And when I found a vendor selling antique (functional!) watering cans, I bought one. I've needed one for months, and now, I have one.

15 May 2009

What Would You Do If It Happened To You?

Aunt Terra is here to visit, and it's so nice. We are going to have so much fun, especially considering that in two short weeks the school year will be over for my kids. Looking into my crystal ball, I can see a lot of trips to the pool in our future.

Anyway, months ago, a friend of mine (acutally, she's the other mom at my kid's bus stop. I wish we were friends, but during the whole school year we've never gotten together anywhere but the bus stop and now that school is ending, I bet I won't see her anymore) told me about a project she was in the middle of. She had started a quilt but as she studied the fabrics she chose, carefully cutting squares and rectangles, she realized that the colors and style of it all wasn't quite . . . . well, she didn't want it any more. I had told her that I sew, and so she asked, very tentatively in a way that made it clear how much she did not want to foist this on me, if I would maybe like her woulda-been-a-quilt fabric?

I have never met a cotton that I didn't think needed a home in my collection, so I said yes.

A few days later, she brought me a white garbage bag full of this:

That, for those of you who aren't yet in tears, is Heather Bailey fabric. Go to her site or search for Heather Bailey on Etsy, and you'll understand why the first thing I did was to ask her if she was serious about giving it to me. To be fair, the first time I looked into the bag I had no idea what brand the fabric was, but after nearly 24 years of sewing (yeah, you read that right) I know a good fabric when I see one. This is expensive fabric and sought-after too. I can pay you, I said, or I can help you sell it on e-bay--I felt obligated to make these offers in as sincere a voice as I could. But my friend wouldn't hear of it--she just wanted to be sure it would get used and that someone would love having it.

I do. I've pieced the blocks she cut into 22" squares for a project I'm working on. Sorry, no pictures until it's done. And I can think of a million other things to make too. But today, what I really want to know is, what would you do if you were given a whole lot of really nice fabric? I know there are crafters out there. What would you do if this fabric just fell into your lap?

13 May 2009

K. Hall Designs

I was out running errands today and a shop caught my eye that I hadn't noticed before. K. Hall Designs, and in big letters under that, APOTHECARY. After living in Germany and Lebanon, my sense of what an apothecary might be is quite broad. I mean, really. They could have anything from fizzy vitamin tablets to dehydrated lizards and I swear it would not surprise me.

But K. Hall did surprise me. They're tucked into a rather unfashionable block of Manchester Road in Brentwood--across the street is a garden shop and just down the road there's a place to rent heavy equipment. There are a few vacant storefronts to the right and left of them. It just isn't the kind of block where you'd expect to open a door into a magical boutique where everything looks and smells perfect.

The shop was full of beautiful furniture and furnishings. There were gorgeous linens and glassware. They had clothing for children and adults, an array of bath products, and everything smelled so lovely. Being in that store was simply wonderful, so I bought a candle to remind me of it.

They make all the candles and bath products on location (lotion, soaps, scrubs). Hooray for local businesses!

update: they have a website.

12 May 2009

At the table

Sometimes I wonder why we have a living room at all. When I think back over today (or any day, really) almost all of our time was spent here, at the table.

10 May 2009

The kind of Mom I want to be

Not long ago, I found this list online: 40 things you can do to raise a moral child. I'm posting it today, on Mother's Day, because being a mom is a huge part of my daily life and raising moral kids is a huge part of what being a mom means to me. What I hope for, I guess, is that someday when my kids are grown up they'll read through this list and think to themselves, yeah, my mom was like that. So, Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there, and enjoy the list.

1. Tune in to your child's feelings.
2. Talk about how you think others may be feeling.
3. Comment on your own emotions.
4. Sing to and hold your child.
5. Read imaginative stories to your child.
6. Give reasons why you approve or disapprove of your child's behavior.
7. Provide reasons for rules you want your child to follow.
8. Encourage your child to play with children of various ages.
9. Engage your child in reflective discussions by asking open-ended questions.
10. Promote independent thinking.
11. Treat your child with respect.
12. Express interest in your child's activities, projects, and dreams.
13. Help set goals and encourage your child to see them through.
14. Praise a task well done.
15. Give your child emotional and verbal support to stand against the crowd when necessary.
16. Be flexible - not arbitrary - in your discipline.
17. Don't use intimidation, never use ridicule.
18. The severity of the punishment should be related to the severity of the wrongdoing.
19. Discipline with explanations.
20. Criticize in private.
21. Provide opportunities for your child to help others.
22. Give positive verbal and nonverbal feedback for being a good person.
23. Work with your child in community and volunteer service.
24. Expect and encourage good deeds from your child.
25. Help your child keep promises.
26. Examine your own biases.
27. Provide examples that counteract society's prejudices.
28. Don't allow biased or bigoted comments to go unchallenged.
29. Give your child books that show different kinds of people playing, working, and living together.
30. Talk about differences between people, but talk about them neutrally.
31. Tell your child about the people you admire and why.
32. Live your life as you want your children to lead theirs.
33. Show the importance of protecting the vulnerable.
34. Comment on compassionate behavior - let your child know that caring is an important value.
35. Let your child know what you value and why you value it.
36. Supervise your child's television viewing.
37. Get involved with your child's education.
38. Make family meals important and regular occasions.
39. Make time for your child.
40. Take an interest in the world outside your home.

09 May 2009

Fancy Pants

My sister is the kind of person who just has it all together. For the girls' birthdays, she made them pajama pants.

And they're so fancy.

06 May 2009


I'm building drawers for my closet, and I need to find pulls for them. These two are in the running. The reason I'm considering this at all is that the handle is hinged, and when the handle is hinged it's called a "bail pull" for reasons unknown to me. I want a bail pull because it will be flat, a space-saving feature that will be useful in the location where these will be used.

The problem is, I'm not crazy about either one. Oh, there are pretty ones that are terribly expensive and even more ugly expensive ones. Since I'll probably need at least 13 of them, they can't cost $20 each. About a tenth of that would actually be more like it.

So, what do you think? Anyone have a better suggestion? Send me a link if you do . . .

05 May 2009

Black-eyed Pea Salad/alsa

One of the blogs I read is called Life at Quail Hollow. The site features, among other things, distinctly Southern recipes. Recently one of the recipes caught my eye, a recipe for Black-eyed Pea Salad. Any leftovers, the recipe claimed, could be served like Salsa. Since all my past experience with Black-eyed peas resulted in dishes served hot with spices distinctly Indian, I was happy to try a new direction.

If you want to see the original recipe, here it is. In the original, the first ingredient is a gallon-size can of Black-eyed peas and the recipe serves 40+. I always improvise a bit when I cook. What you'll find here is a derivation from the Quail Hollow salad, but the result is still yummy and works well whether as a salad or (take Matthew's word for it) as a salsa.

Black-eyed Pea Salad/alsa

1 lb dry black-eyed peas

Soak overnight if you can, but pre-soaked or not, put them in a pot, cover with water and boil until they are soft. When they're done drain and rinse well, toss them with the following things (which you can prepare while the peas cook):

1 11oz. can vacuum packed corn kernels
2 14oz. cans petite diced tomatoes
4 ribs celery, chopped
2 c. chopped red onion
1 t garlic powder
1 4oz. can diced green chiles
2 T lemon juice

In a small bowl, wisk together the following ingredients:
1/4 c. white vinegar
1 t ground mustard
1/4 c. canola oil
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper

Pour this over the pea/vegetable/chile mixture, toss well. Chill 8-12 hours to allow flavors to bloom. I don't know how many servings this makes, but it filled a big stew pot at my house. 12? 15 maybe?

04 May 2009

Weekend Highlights

It has been a dizzying weekend. Here are some of the high points:

The kids both earned yellow belts after 3 months of Karate-on-Saturday.

The Lavender and Chives finally sprouted. I hadn't given up watering even if I had given up hope.

My sister and her family came to town and we celebrated niece B's birthday with a trip to the Butterfly house. Star remains (inexplicably) terrified of them--maybe because they flutter?

To decorate the birthday cake, Suz brought the most enormous gummy butterflies from a little shop in Tipton.

We found out (from the people who work there) that of all the families that bring their children to our gym's child center, we are there most often.

Dozer really is a charming puppy, even if he does more jumping and climbing than my girls know what to do with.

Oddly, I had a crop of unexpected daffodils in the back yard this spring. They popped up out in the grass, getting in the way of Matthew and our lawnmower. So I dug them up. Any takers (from folks in town)?

We got a package from Oma Bonnie and Grandpa Dan with super birthday presents inside.

The girls and I cleaned, organized, and completely rearranged their room. Now, all their toys are in their bedroom instead of in the play room. It's better this way.

I have resumed composting, and the thing I like most about it is how very little ends up out at the curb on garbage day.

02 May 2009

Choice Time Musical

I had my last volunteer day of the '08-'09 school year on Friday. Normally when I go Star's school, the teacher sets up three activities or assignments--called "have tos". I, the teacher, and the teacher's aid each manage one of these and the kids rotate through at their own pace. The kids who finish their "have-tos" first get to do whatever they want--called "choice time"--while they wait for everyone else to finish.

Friday, my job was to help the kids illustrate a booklet that contained the text to a song about May Day; which I've since come to think of as the most disenfranchised American holiday of them all. Anyway, the kids really latched onto the song and sang along as they illustrated their booklets with flowers, cheery suns, poop, and exploding houses (they are six-year-olds, after all).

As more and more of them entered choice time, I was surprised to see that many of them kept on singing the song. By the time everyone had finished the three have tos, the singing kids had organized themselves into a kind of impromptu chorus line complete with hand puppets. They invited everyone who wasn't going to sing (about half the class) to be their audience. The performance was enthusiastic, the audience went crazy, and as the singers took a bow, I knew that I would remember this as the best day I ever had in Star's classroom.

01 May 2009

My Very Own

A little while ago I posted a tiny quote from the Southern Living Garden Book about my favorite herb: Aloysia Triphylla, the beloved Lemon Verbena.

About a month ago I began noticing signs all around our neck of the woods advertising for the Webster Groves Herb Sale. I wanted to check it out last year, but missed it. When I saw the signs this year (that popped up overnight like spring crocuses) I decided to check for a website so I could check for a comprehensive list of herbs-for-sale, to check for Lemon Verbena. Well I checked and found all three. I was so very excited about. I was going to have my very own Lemon Verbena plant. In my very own yard. Later this summer I would have leaves to make my very own, very favorite tea.

But I missed the sale. Sadly, it coincided with our celebration of the girls' birthdays at the Botanical Garden's Chinese Culture Days. I was pretty broken up about it, as you can imagine. Stupid scheduling conflicts. Stupid laws of the natural world that won't allow me to be in two places at once. When I realized that I had missed the sale I spent the next 48 hours in search of other herb societies that might be having other sales. I thought about calling local elementary schools that raise money by selling plants. Maybe they would have it, I thought. I also considered trying my luck with an on-line purchase. Normally I wouldn't want to buy a plant sight-unseen, but for Lemon Verbena I began to think that I just might.

The thoughts of tracking down my favorite herb didn't last. I replaced these thoughts with feeble attempts to forget about it and not feel too disappointed.

And then today I saw a notice (on Facebook!) about an upcoming plant sale at the Botanical Garden. The Greenhouse Plant Sale will take place in a little less than a week, the notice said. I didn't dare hope that they'd also have my coveted Lemon Verbena. After all, it's a bit obscure, at least it's obscure in the tea isle. Plus, I expected that a Greenhouse sale would feature exotics and tropicals; things like that--things that would require a Greenhouse.

Though the odds were against it, I checked their website to check for a comprehensive list of herbs-for-sale, to check for Lemon Verbena. After finding all three, I had a smile on my face. So what if there are scheduling conflicts? So what if the laws of the natural world won't allow me to be in two places at once? Somewhere in this fine city, there will be another plant sale, and that sale will have exactly what I want. And in about a week, I am going to have my very own Lemon Verbena plant. In my very own yard. And later this summer, I am going to have leaves to make my very own, very favorite tea.