Tuesday, May 31, 2005


What's on your desktop?

Here's the picture I have on mine...

www.heligan.co.uk/.../ page7_lant_large.html
She's called "Mudmaid" and she's in a garden in England. I think she's stunning, don't you?

I can stop whining any time....

Ok, the Most Senseless American Task is done for another week here. Tomorrow I should be fairly amiable.

Still, I just KNOW you'll want to see this: (Ah, Vera? I did get them polished for the wedding after all...your advice was sound. Thanks.Happy)

The green is a charming and subtle color contrast on pure white feet, don't you think? Argh.
(What's left of the silver-slipper-blisters can be seen still on the second toes...lol)

Just think, by summers end you could know every inch of my yard...lol

Monday, May 30, 2005

A 'good' homeowner would be out mowing right now...

LOL...oh WELL!

It was actually sunny this morning for the VA Memorial Day Band Concert and Salute to Veterans. The ceremony is always touching because there have been so many lives lost to the foolishness that is war....but today especially because it's the last time my friend R will be playing this gig.

They're moving to Florida this summer, but he might still be around to play the 4th of July Fireworks Concert (maximum Sousa--Oooo, I'm in heaven! lol)
(He's the one with the black cap, second from the left).

After the concert, I joined the traffic on 94 to Minneapolis, to finalize the flower plan for E ans S's wedding in late July. Brats on the grill and talk about flowers, outside on a lovely day. My life is GOOD.
Here's the happy couple in their garden out back...
(yes, their lawn IS mowed).

Sweet, huh?

I'm not used to dealing with wedding flowers that won't be out of water all day. The ceremony is at 7 PM Saturday, followed by dinner and dancing.
I won't NEED to take that Friday off, but I will anyway....lol

OK, one more picture:

And yes, she's just as beautiful inside, too.
My sweet Em.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Graduation anxiety

Ah, Spring. Time for rites of passage, like graduations.
And, the Adult corollary:
"What can I possibly get that kid for a graduation present???!!!"

I always want it to be something significant, something that connects us somehow, ya know? Something only I can give, ideally, but I'll even stoop to tired in-jokes....lol...just so it's memorable.
(Can you tell I have a graduation party to go to tonight?)

This particular kid and I have a few goofy Christmases in common, an association through his parents, an interview about being a florist, and not alot of contact otherwise. (What teenager wants to hang with his parent's friends?)
He's quiet around me, unless he's drumming...lol

So, I think about what gifts I've received that were cool or lasting or memorable...what did I get for MY graduation?
LOL...we're talking 1967 now, remember.
Mom and Dad gave me a "17 jewel Bulova" that I lost within 2 months...and of course cards with money, which I spent within ONE month. THE only other thing I remember is a huge beach towel from Aunt Rosie and Uncle Eddie. I used it often and wrapped my kids in it after baths years later, and thought about them fondly every time.

In 1967, a beach towel was cool, even if it was a terry-cloth American flag.
In 2005.......?
I bought the kid a keyboard for his college computer.
So much for significance, huh?

Saturday, May 28, 2005


Remember the Millstream Creek pictures from the last time we did the Lake Wobegone Trail? Today, (in the cold) we were out biking/running on the trail, and we heard splashing from a 'tide pool' kind of pond next to the stream. We figured it was formed when the whole marsh had more water in it. Now, it seemed to be cut-off from the flowing water nearby.

The splashing was from several large fish--were they doing a fishy love dance? Just frolicking? Or, had they finally figured out that they were STUCK in a small fairly shallow pond with no outlet?

Fishy panic?

Click the pictures...I think this one shows some actual fins!

Hey, wanna go fishing? lol


You've probably seen the link to that grocery list blog, where some guy finds and saves discarded grocery lists and publishes them on his blog, right?

This morning, I need to go to my FavStore, and my list starts with kitty litter and chocolate chips.

Yeah, that's what I thought, too.

Friday, May 27, 2005

I didn't know....

If you return the empty ink cartridges from your printer to Office Max, you get a free ream of printer paper.

Not bad, huh?

Still, almost everything you buy at Office Max has a mail-in rebate offer attached. I hate that. This time, $66 worth of cartridges got me a mail-in offer of a HP Celebrations Pack...Whoopee.
WHAT exactly is it?
A 20 page party and project booklet...so I can have a party "right from my HP printer", and how exciting is THAT, hmm??
I can hardly resist.

Blogging like a Florist--#2

For a blog with a small but loyal following, "one comment doth encouragement make"...
Lets hope you haven't created a monster, here...lol

How to arrange flowers

Have you noticed that if someone is dressed professionally, we believe they ARE? (White lab coat and stethoscope; dark blue uniform with badge; the SUIT, carrying a briefcase...lol, see?)

And, we give people behind the counter skills and abilities that aren't necessarily better than yours.
(Well, yeah, the burgandy smock does imply amazing things...
photo hosting and image hosting by ImageVenue.com
but that's just me...lol)

What I'm getting at here is: Just because I'M a professional florist doesn't mean that YOU can't arrange flowers.

There are some very simple maxims here.
1. Place the blossoms above the greens.
2. Have enough flowers to fill the vase.
3. Start with the tallest flower and work down.
4. Don't be afraid of color.
5. When you're relatively happy with the thing, walk away. Leave it...and go mow the lawn, or clip your toenails, or read a blog.
When you come back, you'll glance at the flowers you've arranged as though somebody else arranged them. YOU WILL LOVE the look...trust me.

Piece'o'cake, right?


Thursday, May 26, 2005


We here in Minnesota have been having a tough spring this year. In the past 3-4 weeks, there have been TWO sunny days, just enough to keep us optimistic about the chances for tomorrow, ya know?
Today we had a series of fast-moving thunder-and-lightening storms with intermittent sunshine. What a TEASE.

Here's the sky about 10 minutes ago from my back yard.

The perfect backdrop for a rainbow, right?

Oh, well. I'll wait another 10 minutes.


Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Fun with Chickens

We can all fly as high as the dreams we dare to live. Unless we are a chicken." -Edward Monkton

"We didn't starve, but we didn't eat chicken unless we were sick, or the chicken was."Bernard Malamud (1914-1986)

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Um. Biker Chicks.

The Interviewer

Here's a picture of my friend doing a GREAT drum solo in 'Birdland' last night, at his last concert as a senior in High School.
(Click here: http://users1.ee.net/lstone/birdland.mid so's you know what song we're talking about...lol) .

The joke is that, as his solo got longer and better, the other musicians shrugged their shoulders and left the stage, until only a few were left...then, after probably six minutes of drum variations on the Birdland Theme, they all came back for the reprise....WOW!
Thanks Mike, I'll miss YOU especially.

Monday, May 23, 2005

A wedding picture--awww!

Aren't they a beautiful couple? It rained most of the day, but this was taken during the 10 minutes the sun came out, and the.......
Oh, right! You probably want to see the flowers closer up.....

There're two colors of iris, royal and baby blue delphinium, fuchsia alstromeria, lavender roses, green viburnum and 'Kermit' mums, and two colors of purple stock with misty blue limonium filler--leather leaf backing and tree fern for softness. The only additional flower used, even if you can't see it, was purple lizzyanthus--but trust me, it's in there!
(See the one in her hair?)

OK, it's time to do some gardening.
See you later....

'Florist'....as a career?

A friend asked if he could interview me for a class project about careers. You know me...why wouldn't I say yes?
The questions were general at first, but when he got to the advantages/disadvantages of being a florist, I had to think about it.
The advantages:
Spending my days with fresh flowers and plants; enjoying their shape and color and fragrance before wowing myself with how beautifully they combine in a vase; making people smile every day.

Out of 38 years in the business, I've only worked in a high-speed shop for 6. I much prefer the fast paced, constant hub-bub of the GS floral, because now I'm very good at what I do....and because of the practical considerations: better pay, health insurance, acrueing vacation time, a retirement plan.

I DO think of myself as a professional artist. Sculptors and painters create beauty and so do I, but mine is affordable, available and ephemeral. I get the feedback I need for my soul when a customer tells me how perfect the flowers were. (Many artists wait til after they're dead to be recognized that way. Open Mouth )
My art is temporary, but eternal. Flowers have always added grace to a life; they're pleasing and comforting, and they don't last. I think that's the JOY of flowers--on a small scale, that impermanence is a mirror, an example of life.

It takes some effort to create an arrangement, and then, there on your mantle, the flowers are fresh and young, (you can watch them develope), then middle aged but still fine, then old and wilting. If you change the water and re-cut the stems, you can extend their life a bit, like modern medicine can do for us, but eventually, they die like we do.

(Hey, I've had thirty-eight years to think about this!)

The disadvantages:

Being a florist is rarely lucrative, and the "crunch" times are hard on a body. You're on your feet most of the day, every day. The possibilities for advancement are few, too: buy your own shop or go into management, or like his dad wants me to do, set up a design business in Florida...argh.

"OK...last question: Would you recommend being a florist as a career?"

Hmm. A qualified yes. It takes more than liking flowers...this profession had grown on me as I've lived it. I think I was born to have a career that wasn't life-or-death important in the world; a career that would make me think about grace and beauty and their value to people; a career that emphasised the cycles of life, variations-on-a-theme that ALL of life is.
But would I recommend it for YOU?
I dunno.
WHO are you?

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Blogging like a Florist

Just the other night, a friend and I were talking about blogs in general and this one in particular. We decided that since Florist IS in the name up there, I should probably write occasionally about floral 'issues'.
(I'd mentioned to him that someone googled "How to glitter a rose"--HONEST!--and that none of the sites that came up were helpful, even mine.)
So, in the interests of increasing the world's knowledge base about three of my favorite professional subjects, namely flowers, glitter and GLUE..here's

How to glitter a rose

Start with a can of 3M Super 77 spray glue, a partly open rose and a pile of glitter. Hold the rose horizontally over the trash can and spray the top edges of the petals, then dip the rose in the glitter. This gives the rose a spectacular glittered outline. The only major drawback of Super 77 (beyond it's price) is that it dulls red roses, so this edging technique is best for red. However, other colors don't seem to show the glue much, so we often just spray willy-nilly over an arrangement of roses and sprinkle glitter everywhere.

Oh man, I DO love that!

Another advantage here? Roses that have been glued this way never open...so customers will say they lasted an amazing amount of time.

(Um, think about it....you're spraying glue on a rose to make the glitter stay onboard, but you're also nailing the petals together, right?)

White roses done this way are very cool, especially with silver glitter (for a 25th anniversary), or opalescent glitter for a sexy touch...lol

"Right, Birdie---'sexy' roses-----thanks!"

You're welcome...lol

Saturday, May 21, 2005

The SUN came out

Oh man...the concert was fine! We really didn't even hope for another nice evening, but there it was.

This is the band. They call themselves "Cannery Row", and I suppose this will be their presence on-line now. Just for shits and giggles, try googling Cannery Row in a few days, ok? See if you're directed back here.
(Editorial comment later: Oops! Looks like there already are hundreds of bands with that name....lol)
Anyway, OUR Cannery Row was terrific! A nice tight sound with guitar, dobro, bass, harmonica, banjo, and mandolin. (There may have been other instruments, but I was busy 'visiting', ya know? )

Here's part of the crowd:

and most of them stayed till way after dark, just to walk our path.
Here's our host and her sister listening from the porch...

and here they are again with a few of the dogs that enjoy bluegrass music too...lol

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Tonight in the woods

The benefit concert for the shelter is tomorrow night, in Mog's yard.
We spent a couple hours tonight putting finishing touches on the path, from the parking area to the yard where the concert will be held.

Here's what it looks like now:

...and here's what it sounds like...lol
Northern Leopard FrogRana pipiens
Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer)
Western Chorus Frog(Pseudacris triseriata)

The concert starts at 6:30, ok? Bring your own lawn chairs!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Oooos and ahhh's from my yard tonight

Sing along here--
(it's a round, remember?)

"White coral bells, upon a slender stalk....
lily of the valley deck my garden walk.
Oh, how I wish that you could hear them ring!
That would happen only when the fairies sing."

Something fishy

My brother

Obviously by the pictures I've posted, you know I have three sisters. The missing sib this weekend was my "little" brother. Yes, he did say he wouldn't be at either wedding this summer. (Two trips from Oregon to Minnesota, 10 weeks apart IS impractical.)
So, I e-mailed pictures of the wedding to show him what he missed...and this was in my 'new mail' tonight:

Subject: Re: Oh, MAN, Bruth, you missed a GOOD time!

"Hey Birdie,
Sorry I missed it, just couldn't see coming to Mn., this year. In
Thailand right now, just got here with good friend Kirk. Maybe go to
Cambodia, certainly will go to the beach and go diving. Will
certainly be lazy, lazy, lazy. The pictures look great though and I'm
glad you all had a good time. Bro"

LOL! Some people will find ANY excuse!!

I'm zero percent Dixie!

Here's something fun for you to try if it's raining where you are today. (BTW, here's a picture I took while driving home today...)

Feels and smells like a cool greenhouse...ahhhh!

Ok, here's how I did on the "Where are YOU from?" test.
(No surprise there, huh?) lol

Your Linguistic Profile:

70% General American English

20% Upper Midwestern

5% Midwestern

5% Yankee

0% Dixie

Thanks, Anon...wink, wink!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

"More photos, mule!"

(Sorry, to 'get' that headline, you'd have to be a regular reader of this blog or the Mary Worth comic strip...lol)

Unfortunately, the pictures I took at son's wedding were few because I forgot to TAKE pictures. By the time I remembered, we were doing the Macarena already....such is life.

Now I'm waiting for others to send me pictures that they remembered to take....and I'll post some of those when I get 'em, ok?

In the meantime, here's one of my sisters and me that I didn't send to the family...

...only because it looks a little too 'Sweet Adeline'... Happy...ya know?

(And NO, I don't drink anything stronger than coke...really!)

Monday, May 16, 2005

Is this YOUR bracelet?

Someone who rode with me this weekend left this in the truck...Kath? Cookie? Judy? Em? John??

The groom said:

Remember last week when I posted pictures of the groom as a kid?
He called to tell me he loved them, but....umm...maybe there WERE other, perhaps better pictures I might have chosen?

"I mean, Mom...not even ONE with a car? Or the motorcycle at least?"

ok, ok...today I had the time...so, if you're interested, scroll down to May 10th to see a few more.....he's worth it!
Heart Beat

Oh, yeah...the FLOWERS!

The flowers for the wedding--in the back of my truck on Friday morning. The cool weather made the truck into the perfect fridge...lol

Three of the bridesmaids with four of the bouquets. I used 12 different flowers (or colors of them) in B's bouquet, and then just one or two in each bridesmaid's bouquet. So, one was all purple alstromeria, one was all irises, one was roses and tulips, one was purple lisianthus and statice and the fifth was light and dark purple stock. It was a beautiful effect!

My New daughter with my First daughter...
Aren't they lovely?

Oh, yeah, the flowers...you can see how the bouquets compliment each other, right? They lasted all day, too. I worried a little about the staying power of the spring flowers--tulips and iris especially, and the green viburnum--but they were all still lovely on Sunday morning!
The only flowers that wilted were the lilacs I used in the flowergirl's nosegay...lol...and even they waited till the reception to wilt. Besides, 5 year olds just can't care about flowers...and she was SO much cuter than the flowers anyway. It was perfect!

Ok, ok....here's how the caketopper turned out--and YES, there's duct tape underneath!

Sunday, May 15, 2005

My son's wedding

Parents, as a rule, wonder if their kids will turn out ok...will they be worthwhile adults? Will they know and do the right thing? Will they contribute to the world in some way and still be loving and gracious and kind? Will they be able to make others feel at ease, and be able to laugh at themselves? Will they have learned all that you tried to teach?

And then, a day like yesterday comes along....a celebration of stunningly, perfectly joyful, pure sweet love, and you realize that they did hear you...and that your own love for them is being passed along in the best way possible.

It was an absolutely BEAUTIFUL wedding in every way.

Outside, it was rainy and cold, but inside it was warm and wonderful from the first minute. J&B were about the most gracious hosts you can imagine, and their love for each other and all of us was touching. J walked his favorite Mom down the aisle, and hugged me tight at my pew. Have you ever seen a mom melt with love for her child? lol...that was me, all day!

J&B with family and bridesmaids at the rehearsal...

B&J laughing and in love at the rehearsal dinner.

EVERY minute held some new delight....if J or B weren't saying something sweet, then some relative or friend was telling me how special they thought J&B were....it was absolutely WONDERFUL, I tell ya!

Couple 2 Stay tuned....more pictures to come, of course! lol

Thursday, May 12, 2005

As ready as I'll ever be

Oh, man, the flowers turned out BEAUTIFULLY...the cake top is done and CUTER by far than the one on ebay. I'm mostly packed...lol...but I have three different lists going, too: one for the suitcase, one for floral tools, and one for "other stuff that needs remembering".

Yes, I took pictures of the bouquets and the cake topper, but I can't share them here or I'll spoil the surprise, right? You'll have to wait til Sunday...

This is the oddest May in years here in Minnesota. The desktop weather icon says 39 degrees right now. It's been raining all day, with brisk winds. I went out tonight to cut lilacs. They were mostly above my head ya know? So there I was, with water from the sky AND water from the lilacs pouring down my neck, jacket drenched, laughing like a fool, and whispering thanks to the trees for sharing their bounty.

We're decorating the reception hall tomorrow, doing flower arrangements for the tables, and getting to know each other...B's mom and relatives/friends...some of my family and friends...we'll see who shows up...lol
'Anon' will bring the sheet cakes she spent this week baking and frosting, plus the big cake that's styrofoam. (What a strange "tradition" that is, huh?)
Rehearsal and rehearsal dinner tomorrow night....hair appointment in the morning...fam pictures at 1....wedding at 2:30.....WHEW.

Ok....I'll TRY to be here on Sunday! LOL!

Bride & Groom