02 December 2010

Chanukah's First Miraculously Normal Candle

Last night by the light of my front window menorah, proclaiming for all of Park Avenue the first of eight miraculous nights, I texted back and forth with my niece Jade, sweet-sixteen yesterday, about her birthday dinner and other everyday things. It wasn't until this morning that I remembered the silly promise I'd made her when she was eight and at the Johns Hopkins Hospital Children's Center, so suddenly seriously sick with aplastic anemia. Though I was unshakably sure she'd survive what most don't, this piling of yet another hideous ordeal upon my already over-burdened family tripped my potty-mouth, which proved infectious. Realizing the unlady-likeness of our coarse gutter discourse, I told Jade we should curb it until we could celebrate her sixteenth birthday with a cuss-fest, at which we'd release a torrent of what, on those bleak April 2003 days, seemed so unfortunately fitting as chemo poison took her to the brink, but then re-booted her blood.

The jokes about it over the years fell away, as did my fear of losing her to a relapse. Now I rarely regard her as anything but a typical teenager. Yesterday's utterly ordinary talk by text was the stuff of which Chanukah miracles are made.

13 June 2010

Pretty in Pink

I've avoided steering this blog back to its stated focus, consciously equating covering up the two posts about losing my sister Sharon with having found, as they say, closure (and to them I say, good luck with that) or the notion that a recipe for roasted tomatoes makes for more worthy a topic. Losing my job, the fits and starts of what might come next, and the Canadian-type winter heaped upon my normally neat-as-a-pin (in contrast to my house) garden - my happy place, where roses bloom into January - did little to distract me from months of mourning for a relationship that only got harder to understand.

Today, 6.13, should have been Sharon's 58th birthday. What remains to me my most meaningful post details the events of this date two years past; last year also merited a mention. So with a tip of the hat to my very-missed Mommie for her oft-repeated observation that things come in threes, and in the spirit of the name Nesting Baltimore, it's truly time to spring this particular, familiar, a-little-too-comfortable cocoon of grief and regret. Yes, other topics will soon top this blog, but without diminishing Sharon's memory.

On Memorial Day (of a different sort), I ventured forth beyond city limits to Valley View Farms to find, I hoped, a no-kink hose in a colour I could tolerate, but what held my gaze was a pink version of what lay in a twisted mess at home. Skepticism about profits from breast cancer merchandise had previously kept my wallet snapped shut - well, that, and an extreme aversion to the usual chalky pepto bismol hue, but I got sucked in by this hose, the same blazing shade of my beloved, almost non-blackspotting Zephirine Drouhin antique Bourbon roses blooming literally by the hundreds at that moment in my garden on their thornless canes spanning more than 20 feet, the whole mass of which fell from my lattice fence in the aftermath of The Winter From Hell. The hose simply made me happy, so home it went.

Perfectly paired with a made-in-the-USA, all metal/no-fuss nozzle, half now snakes demurely around the shadier side of my symmetrical formal garden, the balance coiled neatly and non-kinked under exuberant Baltimore Belle. Sharon comes to mind every time I see and use it, rendering watering much less a chore and my garden an even cheerier place. After the carnage wrought by blizzards and beyond - climbing roses breaking while being re-lashed to the fence, damage to over 200 boxwoods and to me from wrestling violently-thorned rose bushes (I always say my roses are going to kill me and this year I almost was right), my garden thrives as never before - tomatoes setting fruit early, herbs bounding far beyond the borders, and roses - oh, the roses! An unprecedented month and a half in, and the big show's still not fully abated. Funny, but deep pinks Madame Issac Pereire and Rose de Rescht advanced early into second flush as if in harmony with ZD and that hottie of a hose.

This morning's downtown farmers market bursted with the beginning of summer's bounty, prompting a close-out of the flowers and herb plants that crowded tables for the first few fallow weeks. I spied six enormous Maverick Pink geraniums among a jumble of dollar-each pots, a bargain of which Sharon certainly would've approved. Exactly the colour of the new hose, I potted them up with forget-me-nots acquired last week awaiting their mission.