March 3rd, 2002

abstract butterfly

On gardening

Today the sleet melted, leaving only a cold day.
Although I don't usually like to open blinds,
I am letting the sunshine pour in. I've made another meal or two from the stew, confirming my general impression that if I did most of the cooking in our household, subsistence would not be an issue, but our overall standard of gracious living might decline a bit.

I went to nearby Plano for the Home and Garden Show. These shows are always full of interesting promotions for cooking products that I could never imagine buying, and cool exhibitions of little mobile home like rooms that would make great greenhouses for our home, but for little things like non-compliance with homeowners' association plats and my general disinclination to buy anyone from anyone who seems a bit *too* good at selling them. Filling out the forms is the key challenge--trying to make sure one enters any relevant drawings without quite signing up for a free hot tub demo. Today's cold made a hot tub seem to have hidden virtues I had never seen before.

I am a fairly brown thumbed gardener, who favors cacti, euphorbia and other succulent plants because they don't die very easily. I am always a little disappointed, because I want these shows to be filled with GARDEN things, not the earnest fellow giving the lecture on how to slather things onto fibreboard in artistic ways.
I should be more appreciative of household decorative arts--I really approve of the concept of do it yourself. But I really want to hear about the 12 to 15 tree and shrub things that will grow well here, and the roughly one zillion flowers that do well here in spring. I used to love taking my Sunday drive to the accompaniment of the garden show on AM radio. One radio host had a recurrent patter:
Q. "I just bought a Canadian northern mahogany,
and now it looks a little withered. What do I do?"
A. "Sir", he would say, with a friendly if slightly exasperated drawl, "take that back to the
retailer right now. It DOESN'T GROW HERE. Get yo'self a nice yaupon holly". Yaupon holly became a sort of mantra for me--a mental substitute of something bland and everyday and beautiful that works well, in place of the surreal and novel and withered things that don't work.

I want to find a place where I can get aquarium metal frames without the glass inside. That would make a really cool place to hang fluorescent lights to make my little "mail art and music" room into a "mail art and music and succulent plants" room. I guess I could acquire aquariums and burst out the glass,but that sounds a bit jagged off hand, given my lack of handyman skills.

We're thinking of going snorkeling in Florida next month. It's fun using google to find likely locations.

I won a T shirt from a radio station at the garden show.
I had to spin a wheel of fortune and land on one of the
four call letters. It's amazing how the coincidence of winning a 1 in 6 contest makes one feel particularly psychic. Thank goodness I don't live in Reno after a victory like that. In Gurdon, when I was a young teen,
I won a German chocolate cake at the local forest festival
cake walk two years in a row. Deep down, a tiny part of me believed that I was "chosen" or "special" or really
special for knowing how to "win". On another topic,
I have a memory of my father taking me to a rural place
in south Arkansas not far from our home town where fossil sea shells littered the sides of the road, like some prehistoric beach. I wish I could see it again--it was very surreal, but in fact very real. OTOH, the time I was driving just north of Little Rock on a fall
day and a herd of tarantulas crossed the road was, to the best of my knowledge, real, but it was so dreamlike
I reassess the memory every now and again. I have a book called Fishes of Arkansas. It is filled with all these incredible pictures of endemic darters and killie fish; all vibrant colors and sublime beauty; nobody knows they're there, though, because they're endemic to the non-touristy south part of Arkansas where I grew up.
My part of Arkansas was like that--little surprises in nature because nobody really watches except the locals.

I sent out a few mail art things last night.
I got some supplies at the 99 cent store today.
I'm still puzzling how to do a chess set for the
Euro chess exhibition coming up. I love chess too much not to contribute, but making a set might actual require skill, and I'm a definite brown thumb when it comes to sculpture. The Garden Ridge 60 hour sale let me pick up a little photo box I can use to store mail art cards received. I would like to figure out how people do artistamps, and in particular if the talentless can accomplish this.
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