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RE: Requsting no gifts at 1 yr. old bday is it ok to ask guests t (Follow-Up #27)

posted by: bestyears on 05.30.2010 at 11:11 am in Home Decorating Forum

You aren't out of touch at all. It has been somewhat common for my children's friends to have bday parties with requests to bring a gift for a particular charity (typically the SPCA, a women and children's shelter, etc.) rather than a bday gift for the honoree. The wording has generally been something like, "The gift of your presence is the best gift of all. In honor of her birthday, Jessica is collecting gifts for the animals at our local shelter. If you would like to participate, and want to bring pet food, toys, blankets, etc. to the party, Jessica will take everything to the shelter next week." We've never been the least bit offended, and my kids have had a great time participating.


clipped on: 07.03.2010 at 03:50 pm    last updated on: 07.03.2010 at 03:50 pm

RE: I hate peonies (Follow-Up #34)

posted by: RckyM21 on 05.21.2004 at 04:23 am in Garden Restoration Forum

Peonies are a young boys delight. Covered with ants. Resembling marbles with velvety veins of whites, reds and pinks just before opening. To see all the adults scream at me to get away from those flowers! They knew how a kids imagination could get the best of a cutting flower bed.

Then to see The peonies bend and kink at the stem with top heavy flowers when you thought nothing else could be as curious since after the ants left. Watching someone snipping them and complaining they were a little late in doing so. Kids love hearing adults complain about a flower garden. To see them running to get the last flowers inside the house asking themselves why they procastinated. Maybe Im exaggerating but those were my impressions as a young boy.

Then to find a torrential downpour lay all the colorful petals upon the cultivated soil. Thats also a fascinating process for a young boy to learn in of itself. Because I remember first hand how I conveniently watered the garden before anyone woke up in the morning. Can you remember those early weekend mornings while adults were sound asleep and the outside world seemed a special playground for those couple of hours? With the garden hose in hand at full power. Blasting off the peonies still clinging under the canopy of a maple trees leafs. Couldnt help but experience the power of nature first hand! Peonies! What a great plant. I was also so short Id have to bend the stalks that were hooped to see what the tips looked like after all the peddles came of. What a mess! My grandfather always kept the soil cultivated and fluffy. No mulches or chemicals. I can remember the tuberous roots as my toes squished into the mud from all that effort to get the recently and young blosoms to fall of as easily as flowers way past thier prime. Some rainy nights playing flash light tag with nieghbors I'd hide in the dense clump of Peonies. Only to have all the old flower petals fall onto my head if I shook the stalks. The white ones were slimy and brownish and stuck to my cheeks. AHH...Taking the wiffle ball bat and having a grand ole time praticing my swing along with a few close friends aroung the nieghborhood gardens. We just didnt know how speciall the viewing of perfect a perfect peony flower could be. That took some time started by working alongside my grandfather and eventualy lossing my breath at the the following years assination of the peonies by my previuosly fun pals just finding a way to have a laugh.

On another note my Great Grandfather planted the peonies throughout the 40's into the early 70's. The same summer I was finding Peonies as a plant of many fun activities from ant behavior to demolition I inherited the appreciation of a well weeded and cultivated peony bed. Edged and cultivated using soil hooks gently to not disturb the shallow roots. They became a source of pride and a connection to manhood for a very young imaginative boy. Finding my grandmother encouraging my efforts the following year to keep Nono's peonies clean of weeds and watching for the earliest possible time the take a few cuttings inside for the kitchen windows. She cooked in the kitchen all day it seemed. I was playing at dirt bomb fights with cousins in the recently tilled vegetable garden while trying to figure out when I should get back to weeding before she caught me goofing around.

All in all peonies in my life have been the old mans flower. A young boys learning process and responsibilities connected with a flower that was bigger in meaning than I could perceive at a young age.

Whenever I came across a peony phrase such as the "old ladys flowers", I simply saw that person speaking such thoughts as a stranger. Those Americans and English who found boredom with many of the flowers Italian men newer to America planted as the perfect complement to the properties constant gardening from flowers to vegtables.

Nothing offensive or rude by saying what I just typed. Simply meaning exactly that. People from a different backround. Almost culturally speaking. I'm now the stranger of my childhood impressions no longer having my grandfather around to give that defining diference of being a typical American or Italian who spends his time gardening. Maybe its wrong to divide people into groups. But this has something to do with my first experiences with peonies. Having been molded by not the English Style of Gardening as a phrase but as an adopted perennial into a style that was a blend of who and what my familly was. My great grandfather was Italian and most pictures have him with in sight of his gardens with flowers of all types. He along with my grandfather always seemed content with gardening. I am very different than my Great grandfather and grandfather. They accomplished so much more in life while still having every spare moment to be spent gardening. I find my time split between many unfinished hobbies.

Peonies represented one of the permanent fixtures left behind by my great grandfather. Always to be expected flowering every new year even as I find myself further removed physically from the same peony beds I grew up with. Further removed from the passions he felt so important to come home to. .My Great grandfather was the one who planted all the flower gardens and had many peonies incorporated into the design. Peonies now apprecited by his daughters. How sad would it be to call my grandmother some old lady. When her memories of her father planting those same peonies she loves to this day were of her memories as a young bueatifull girl and a strong father who probably still seemed invincable. Almost never thinking about his eventual mortality. Yeah, Peonies and old woman isnt such a bad idea. Its just not cool to make fun of the idea. I wouldnt want to type someting thinking I'd not want my grandmother reading this. Then the idea Old Ladys flower could almost be akin to mocking her memories and the importance of keeping a peony bed intact evnthough tastes change. Just goes to show how we all will be old and want younger people to apprecieate our initial love for a type of flower. Usually due to some loving memory that keeps you going.

Still sounds odd to think the mainstream world sees Peonies connected with women. Of course now as an adult I speak freely. But it wasnt to long ago that I dreaded to be associated with the stereotypes of Ladies and Peonies. I might have even pandered to the phrase of "I hate Peonies" just to be cool. Yet I always bit my tongue in the last moment before I insulted the appreciation of memories handed down from my Great grandfathers hard work and love for peonies planted on his property.

A good example was when the guys in school drove to my house during the first years in high school. Finding me working in the garden after school or on the weekend. Theyd drive by around eleven in the morning. Stop by again around three. And still find me working at eight thirty in the evening. If they stayed a little longer expecting me to go out partying Id finally give my answer. No. Simply Not tonight. I gonna wash up and and eat my dinner would be my answer. To me without ever telling my close friends I was happy and somehow emulating my grandfathers habits. Not consciously but as a natural process due to hard work and dedication. I didnt want to leave the garden. Id want to eat my steak and grocery tomato salad by the Peony bed looking at the vegetable garden plot slowly becoming turned by hand. Imagining the future sun warmed taste of a fresh juicy tomato. Sticking a small basil leaf from a seedling container behind my ear like a carpenters pencil while working the soil. So when Id pause to catch my breath I could smell the scent of basil and drool over the sensations of a fresh cucumber salad with vine ripened tomatoes. String beans with potatoes and pasta. . Oh my goodness do I miss my grandfather and our garden.

The good guys from school. Actually just one fella would sit by my grandfathers side both watching me till the garden. Id be oblivious but appreciated the slow friendship that grew between them while I mined my own business. Next thing I knew Junior Year brought on a social life that ended my reliability to tend the garden. Id find that same friend sitting by my grandfathers side watching the garden from the house by the same peony bed. Now it was that friend who was still asking me to hang out what a shame it is to have life change our habits we originally saw as work. I felt guilty I hadnt gave my grandfather the garden he expected but saw my best friend always giving his time to talk with my grandfather. They were very serious yet funny. No other guy from school could just sit beside my grandfather. Old school I guess. My grandfather could read a person quickly and accepted this guy as someone I should always recognize as having a good caring heart eventhough he was percieved as a little on the troublesome side.And not to let anyone tell me differently. To this day I respect my grandfathers wishes and call that schoolmate a true friend who spent quality time with someone I loved.

One girl would stop by in a car thinking she'd get my attention. With so little time and a shovel in my hand with no shirt on and a already dark spring tan.. I was rushing to get things ready. Blisters, sweat stinging my eyes, dirt in my boots, knats exploring my ears. That girl must of stopped half a dozen times in three days asking where I was, what was I doing and when would I be available. Never going straight to talk to me. Shed go inside the house. Probably to see from my family if I was purposely avoiding her by working in the garden. Then she would walk out the back door and ask when would I be finished? Id reply , "When Im done" The funny thing was after a whole summer she always found me in the garden and eventually found this natural. When the spring and early summer season was over I was then driving to her house and found her busy doing something she appreciated. This was the beginning of a youthfull courtship leading to a lasting friendship to this day. Nothing more.

It is now thinking of this situation I was a fool not to stop working and at least cut some peony flowers for her and her mother. I was stubborn as a mule. Almost cocky. I guess I just wanted to prove the vegetable garden came first. My father and grandmother would say during those days go out and have fun, shes been waiting!!. But I knew as the sun would go down my grandfather would watch me work the last hour.s into darkness. Then come over and discuss this years plantings. I think he was proud to see me stick through it. Not running off like a chicken without a head. But it was a funny way to flirt with a girl never occurring this was what was happening way back then. Sure I put extra effort to show her how strong I was and everlasting with energy abounding while pretending I didnt notice her walking around the corner. What an idiot she must of thought me as. Boy was I stubborn. Then at during ten at night Id give her a call asking what she wanted as if I didnt know it was just for me to spend some time hanging out.

This cycle always started with the Peonies ready to bloom because that was when the frosts and mothers day was behind friends would inquire bout outdoor activities but my real work started then and into the summer. I could judge how friendships developed from the time a peony poked through the ground until it finished flowering. That was when spring initiated summer friendships when the school year was about to end.

I hope one day I could be that kid again sitting by the peonies dreaming about the summers vegetables to come.

How expensive peonies are never occurred to me until reading this thread. Seems like some people would go out of their way for some rootstock : ) . How such an unusually large flowering spring beauty as the peony can become richly imbued with personal memories is truly a flower of rare qualities. Akin to the Rose. Yet the thought back then did not develope into picking a bouquet of peonies like one would with roses for a woman your starting to court. I just thought of the Peonies as exhisting with no purpose for me at that time.

Now Peonies seem like a perennial to be planted in the garden when you later find yourselves sharing the same property with the one you love. Or simply the home you will call youre own but with a deeper sense of muturity thats not easy to explain. Cooking in the kitchen with cut peony flowers in vases. Some on the dining room table. A few more by the front door. A couple flowers in the bathroom.The kinda flower for home and giving to close friends showing how the gift represents an annual renewal of not just the common friendship shared but youre permanence as a residence of lasting qualities.. Then while in old age sharing cut peonies from the original clump with the continued friends of family from younger years. I think of how farms untouched by new money still have hundred year old clumps growing. Seeing generations of a families name grow up and move on. Not too many perennials can brag of such longevity. Sure roses have the same qualities but they seem more appropriate for those special defining moments like how the movies or commercial ads promote. Valentines Day and such .Temporary gratification to express love in a different manner. More like renewing the moments of the first months or year of infatuation. And they can be difficult in my Zone with freezing temperatures and soggy soils.

Planting peonies seems more like a statement of your readiness to settle into a home establishing roots. Husband and Wife declaring to go the long road of companionship.

Peonies cant start with the notion of being an Old Ladys Flowers!!! Planting peonies is a good beginning for the 20's and 30's of age when purchasing youre first home or appartment along with the chosen flowers can define youre personality. Using peonies might have the added connection to ideals and principles maybe forgotten and considered passe givin old traditions a fresh new start... I guess many old ladies do have the luxury to say they lived out their dreams. Raised a family or lived another way just as special. Maybe we should be jealous of those old stereotypes. Sounds like the American dream and Old Ladies flowers such as the peony have much in common with our current aspirations.

Never knew I had this much to say about peonies. And I think as a man I would want them to represent my hard work as a lasting tribute to the love of a wife. So in some sense giving her in the last years of life good memories and showy flowers outlasting most relationships.

As a professional I dont mess with flowering peonies that will continue lving on many more healthy decades. I guess its because I never violated my Great Grandfathers peonies mostly due to everyones admiration of him and fear to lose something his hands touched. And by doing so many different experiences occurred using the peony as a reference of time and location. Always constant. Reliable. While many other perennials get bounced around and disappear over the decades on the same property. An old clump of peonies make me feel comfortable while working on a customers home reminding me of my originall home and upbringing. Maybe thses peonies can give sometype of similar emotion to the customer that I feel. Peonies give me the fighting chance to bring back the styles of gardening that wasnt solely based upon currebty realty sales and curb appeal.

Hopefully love and the continuation of life can be enhanced with an old clump of peonies. Especially for women who now take on so many roles in life. A peony can represent not the loss of traditions that her great grandparent may have had but the notion that any parent wants to see thier children live an easier life. Thats why we are here in America. So peonies longevity connects us to the original aspirations of not only an easier life but a safer time without war and famine and persecution. such as many immigrants sufferede in WW2 and WW1. That is what I see the peony representing when planted by my great grandfather. A symbol of setting new deep roots to grow a colorful happy life for the family..Not a guady overused and typically old lady like style of planting.

The average customer no longer desires a long term relationship with a garden or gardener. I think this is true for most of my experiences. Many smile at me. Laugh at me. Promise me more work in the future and applaud my initial efforts. Some proclaim the home as the final and last home of their dreams. Promising a need for a long term relationship and tons of gardens to create. To many of these people I do not easily trust and feel uncomfortable working for. They sound like good news but I feel like they are even more like strangers and not to be trusted.

The customer that expects hard work. Doesnt smile and is rarely happy. He or she yells and may be slow to anger but when angered will chew youre head off!!! The one who never promises work or better thing to come. Simply expects work to be done and passes very few jobs as above satisfactory. Paying consistently never going wild on slurges of excess. These customers I trust. They are more like family. Less like strangers and easier to understand in a long term relationship.. Giving much room for improvement.

I like the frugal gardner who sticks with what works and slowly incorperates new Ideas. Not in such a rush to change a design that is thriving and healthy. Appreciating the longevity of old fashioned flowers.

In the real world with strangers you fear the people who are full of accolades, laughter and promises. You appreciate the people who are critical and very slow to applaud youre efforts. That is why I dont mess with Peonies. A wise person would probably never let me live down the moving a very old established peony without explicit details on why and how. God forgive me If I did any such thing with a Tree Peony. I think they can live up to five hundred years in one spot. Peonies have too many hidden formalities and personal opinions to simply toss them around.

This is the first time I ever thought what a peony means to me. Never considered how a flower can conjure up the weirdest loyalties and excuses to protect an old clump from the shovel. And I always thought of it as a gentlemans flower growing up with all the men and women always reminding me thats Great grandpas Peonies. Not once did anyone say these were Grandmas or some Aunt of similar age.

P.S. This has nothing to do with "I hate Peonies" original message. Just wanted to get at why I aquired the desire not to disturbe healthy flowering peonies at all costs. Eventhough I've never really worked with them much or encountered the problems mentioned on others follow-ups.


clipped on: 12.23.2009 at 04:26 pm    last updated on: 12.23.2009 at 04:42 pm

RE: A new study (Follow-Up #63)

posted by: uxorial on 11.26.2007 at 07:45 pm in Home Decorating Forum

A study conducted by UCLA's Department of Psychiatry has revealed that the kind of face a woman finds attractive on a man can differ depending on where she is in her menstrual cycle.
For example: If she is ovulating, she is attracted to men with rugged and masculine features.
However, if she is menstruating, or menopausal, she tends to be more attracted to a man with duct tape over his mouth and a spear lodged in his chest while he is on fire.
No further studies are expected.


clipped on: 11.26.2007 at 08:30 pm    last updated on: 11.26.2007 at 08:30 pm

RE: A luddites useful perspective (Follow-Up #32)

posted by: pinktoes on 08.13.2007 at 04:32 pm in Kitchens Forum

Um...I'm thinking that the point to the article is that in this culture we solve our existential dilemma of how to experience being a part of the whole/not alone by searching for the next new consumer product. And that, as a society, that approach has pushed those products into becoming more and more "over the top." Which has to happen, doesn't it? And an economy that depends on continual expansion, rather than spending within its means, must encourage an ever-expanding consumer appetite for new and more expensive.

So, the question, personally, becomes this: do I want to address the psychological/spiritual question that confronts all humans using a methodology that has a hope of successfully resolving it? Or, do I want to continue to delude myself that I am addressing that question by participating in a business and government-driven economic pseudo-solution?

Or, if I can't buy my way to a sense that I belong to the universe and that I matter, can I at least find some really gorgeous new cookwear that looks smashing on my new ginormous range???


clipped on: 08.17.2007 at 09:43 pm    last updated on: 08.17.2007 at 10:02 pm