Adventures in herbalism

In our yard, we have a lavender mound:










It’s in full bloom, as you can see. The bees go nuts for it. If you were an ant living on this mound you would go deaf from all the bee noise. (Actually, can ants hear? Well, the bees are loud regardless.) And why should the bees have all the fun, is what I’m asking myself. So I decided to dry some. (Some lavender. Not some bees, yuck.) This involves many loooong minutes of standing on the mound and sloooowly snipping individual stalks, thinking bee thoughts so the bees don’t take offense to my thievery. I don’t mind bee stings much, just like I don’t mind going to the dentist much, but still. Given the choice, I will pass. Which is why I haven’t been to the dentist in like two and a half years, but that’s another story.

Anyway! A long time later I have a tiny bunch of flowers:












I don’t really know how many blooms you need to make things, or even what kinds of things I might want to make with dried lavender — bath salts? cupcakes? — so this is really just a trial run to see if drying even works for me. Or that is what I’m telling myself to justify my pathetically small harvest.

Now, Martha Stewart says to put the flower heads even with one another and then cut the stems to match, but it’s way easier to make the stem ends be even and let the flowers be any height, like so:










F* yeah, Martha Stewart! What do you even know?

I am pretty pleased with my progress until I remember that, oh yeah, Martha Stewart knows everything. And if there are gaps in her knowledge, they are definitely not in the dried flower arena. So batch number two gets tied correctly:












We’ll see who wins this round, Ms. Stewart. We’ll see.

Then I hung them in my basement (no photos of this, because flowers hanging like dead men in my filthy underlit basement make less engaging photos than flowers out in my sunny yard) and now I just hope for the best. Which I guess, in this scenario, is a flower-flavored dessert of some kind. Well, that can’t be as unpleasant as it sounds. Fingers crossed!

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She’ll try anything once. And then two or three more times.

Michele is telling Katy and me about her brother’s smoker machine, which allows you to make smoked meats.

Michele: “Actually, you can smoke all kinds of stuff in it. It’s awesome.”

Katy: “Like veggies and stuff?”

Kris: “Anything except cherries, right?”

Michele: “Oh yeah, we tried smoking cherries. They were completely disgusting. I bit into one and then gagged it back up.”

Kris: “And you KNOW it’s disgusting if Michele will only try it once. Usually she’ll go back to make sure.”

Michele: “Totally.”

Katy: “Wow.”

Michele: “I did try putting it in a drink later, since that’s what they’re supposed to be used for. Still gross.”

We laugh a little.

Michele: “And then I took a bite of the one in the drink, just to see if that changed anything.”

Katy: “Just in case the initial gag reflex was due to some unrelated thing?”

Michele: “Well, you never know.”

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Last night I dreamed I was acting in a high school play (yikes) and suddenly something went wrong (oh no), so Ash told me to stall the audience (eek) with a song (uh oh). So I stood downstage in front of everyone and for some reason decided to sing “At Last,” the hardest song known to woman.

And I totally killed it. I just belted it out, I knew every word, I hit every note, the audience went nuts with cheers and applause, and when I was done the technical problem had been fixed and we went back to performing the play.

I know how this dream is supposed to go and I’m worried that my self-esteem might be dangerously unbalanced.

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Michele: “I’m excited to see my nieces next week.”

Kris: “Nieces?”

Michele, truculent, already knowing what’s coming:Yes, Kristen, my nieces.”

Kris: “You only have one niece that I know of, unless your brother’s been busy lately.”

Michele: “I also call my cousin’s daughters my nieces. As you know.

Kris: “But ‘niece’ is a word with a specific meaning. It means the daughter of your sibling. As you know.”

Michele: “Yes, but ‘second cousin’ does not convey the close relationship that I have with them. Nieces is better.”

Kris: “Woman! You can’t just bend the language to your will like this! Words have meanings. This is important. Me and the Grammar Nazis will come for you!”

Tami, who up until now has been silent: “The Grammar Nazis and I.”

Michele and Rachel burst out laughing and I have no recourse but facepalm.

Ring the bell. School’s in, sucker.

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After the movie

Kris: “I thought that one part was a good example of a rape joke that didn’t make the victim into the punchline.”

Gene: “Oh?”

Kris: “Well, you know, because there’s been all that stuff in the media lately? About rape jokes and rape culture?”

Gene: “Rapists get their own culture?”

Kris: “No! You’ve never heard this phrase? It’s like…the idea that rape is just ingrained in our culture, to the point where we just take for granted that it’s a normal part of society and will happen to a certain percentage of people.”

Gene: “Like stealing and murder.”

Kris: “Well, no. I mean…obviously you have to have those things.”

Gene: “Yeah?”

Kris: “Look, I’m not explaining it right. Just do a search on ‘rape culture’ and you can read about it.”

Gene: “You know your anniversary went well when it ends with your wife recommending you learn about rape culture.”

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Mine, all mine!

We take umbrage, we get mad.

We take a pee. We never give a crap.

English speakers, why are we so determined to hoard the terrible things?

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Nothing new

“…the present generation tried to achieve a reputation for cleverness by decrying all that was obviously great and obviously good and by praising everything, however obviously bad, that was different.”

– Elizabeth von Arnim, writing about our great-grandparents’ generation in 1922. And we thought we were so cutting-edge.

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Last night I dropped Gene off at his motorcycle which he had left parked at Orinda BART. I was sitting in the car while he rummaged around in the back seat to collect his gear when he handed me a spoon.

“This looks familiar,” he said.

I took the spoon. “Yeah, I guess this is one of ours,” I said. “It feels a little heavier to me. I wonder how long it’s been back there?” I felt the spoon all over, examining it, and then put it on my bag so I would remember to bring it inside and wash it, which it definitely needed.

“It’s weird that someone would just leave a spoon in a parking lot,” Gene said, and I sat blinking for a moment, processing this, before flinging the spoon out of the car.

“Did you just pick this up off the ground and hand it to me?” I demanded, frantically grabbing for my hand sanitizer.

“Yes,” Gene said, attempting to be innocent but already laughing. “What? Was that not okay?”

“I guess I’ve never explicitly said this. Let me do so now: please do not pick trash up off the ground that’s covered with the remnants of someone else’s meal and hand it to me.”

“And now I know that,” said Gene.

The worst prank ever.

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Baby on board — not my board, sorry, this title is misleading. I am not pregnant, nobody panic.

Two of our best friends had their first baby this week! It’s such a huge deal, let’s examine how it impacts me. I was discussing the possible repercussions this will have on our regular friend hangouts with another regular hanger-outer, Jacob, the day it happened:

Jacob: “What do you think this will mean for socializing? Do you think we’ll see them this summer?”

Me: “Maybe. She’s such an organized person, I could see her working out the perfect way to see friends and care for an infant without a single unnecessary item or difficulty.”

Jacob: “True, but she may prefer to sleep.”

Me: “Ah, but what you perhaps don’t realize is that she has always preferred to sleep. For all the years we’ve known her, every time she chooses to hang out with us she’s basically forcing herself to sacrifice an important nap. So I’m not sure this will be any different.”

But seriously. I am so happy for them and so excited to meet their daughter, who — based on the picture I’ve seen — looks like one of those babies who are all soft and darling, not one of those scrunchy red kinds you sometimes meet with. Also, I’m eager to ask the new dad, who is the wine sommelier of our group, what kind of wine pairs best with childbirth.

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A tiny pillow

Me: “Check it out, I found this in that box of my old toys.”

Gene: “What is it?”

Me: “Here, you can look at it.”

Gene: “A tiny pillow with a pocket on the front.” He sticks a finger in the pocket, as I knew he would. “What’s it for?”

Me: “When I was a kid I used to put my teeth in there for the tooth fairy.”

Gene: [Stands frozen, finger still in the pocket.]

Me: “I’m not sure it’s ever been washed.”

Gene: “GAH.”

He flings the pillow away and runs to the sink. I laugh and laugh.

The best prank ever.

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