Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Baby Bunnies! Roadtrip! Gardening! Must Be Spring!

First things first: Bunnies. Much fewer than last year, thank goodness! Last year the bunny population was out-of-control nuts. If bunnies can swarm, these were swarming. And they dug up and ate things I would have preferred they not dig up and eat. Like my tulips, for example. Bunnies are adorable. But what can I say? The devouring of tulips has a negative effect on one's cuteness quotient. So far this spring, they've been seen occasionally and are, thus, incredibly cute.

Roadtrip: Ten days to New York and back with a brief stop north of Chicago where Doug worked the vendors' room at a game convention. In New York we visited with his parents, and it was awesome to see them and spend time with them. It's been ages since we've been out there -- they've been visiting us here, or we've been meeting in another city to do tourist things. And then back we came and it was great to get home. You know it's a good vacation when you couldn't wait to get away and you're happy to be back. We were blessed with good weather just about every day, arriving in NY just after big storms and just before a heat wave. I was able to work on the laptop when we were in our hotel rooms, although it's five years old, slow, reluctant to multitask, and literally falling apart. We'll be getting a new one before our next roadtrip, probably again to NY this fall.

One thing NY has that we don't have here that I really wish we did? "Greek diners." These are casual, independently owned diners with everything in the world on the menu available all day, big portions, low prices, satisfactory cooking, and briskly friendly service. I have no clue how they do it financially, but they do and it's awesome.

And then we were back, and it was time for the Friends School Plant Sale. It's kind of the rock concert of plant sales. Twenty-one years ago the local Quaker grade school sold a few plants on a table under a tree in the schoolyard to raise money. Today they take over the State Fairgrounds grandstand and rake in a $200,000 profit for scholarships.

I got in line at 8:00 a.m. so I could get a wristband shortly after 8:30. The weather was raw; those of us in line were shuffling and hopping to stay warm (yup, spring in MN). Then Doug and I went and had breakfast. Then I came back in time to get in with my wristband cohort just after the opening bell at 10:00. A volunteer yelled, "Go get 'em!" at me as I entered the grandstand. And I did! I'd already gone through the sale catalog and carefully selected what I was going to buy, then listed the plants in the most logical order given the layout of the sale. I followed my list and was very disciplined about not picking up things that weren't on it. Until I'd bought everything on the list and thought I'd spend a little time just looking at plants I'm not that familiar with, especially some of the native species (they get more for the sale every year). Uh-oh. Browsing not a good idea for my budget. Really awesome plants found their way into my hands and then into my cart. So I stopped and got in the checkout line and paid and left -- whew!

Everything's in the ground, and I'm very-very-pleased with how it's going to look. In particular, I have a hill in the front yard with a mass of red barberry on it and some empty space at the bottom, near the sidewalk. I had filled it with the groundcover carpet bugle years ago, but it's retreated from all but the sunniest spots. Now it's just begging for an intimate little woodland garden to peek out and surprise and intrigue passers-by. I'm playing with textures and shapes more than color, and I think it's going to look lovely. My fave plant? Lamium maculatum 'Beacon Silver,' a groundcover with silver-traced leaves that must have been created by elves. So pleased! :-)

I've been working lots, of course. Working on all kinds of interesting manuscripts as well as doing a bunch of "quality assurance" on instructional videos. It's a lot like copyediting, just for a different medium. Worked on my first ever book in British English a few weeks ago -- fun! All the years of doing British crosswords and listening to the BBC helped a little, I think. Wikipedia turned out to be a great resource for learning how punctuation marks are used in the UK. And I'm tutoring and teaching for Kaplan and having a blast -- awesome students, every single one of them!

Well that's it for this post. I do much better on Twitter. Communicating daily in 140-character snatches seems to work better for me than trying to put together sentences and paragraphs. Maybe because I spend all my time putting together other people's sentences and paragraphs, I don't feel motivated to write my own, LOL! Actually, I did write a short story a couple of months ago and sold it to an anthology. Once the antho has a firm publisher, title, and release date, I'll talk about it more. Was the story great? No, but it worked, and it was a joy to shake off some rust and write again. Writing definitely got easier and the prose definitely got better as I went along. I'm also in the very beginning baby-steps stage of starting to compile research for a creative nonfiction or literary fictional biography or . . . ??? book I'd like to write. We'll see . . . Kind of reactivating my old historian skills. We'll see . . .

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