Thursday, December 19, 2013

Where do you sparkle?

Today's newspaper (yes, we still get paper copies of the newspaper.  We also have a landline. We're luddites like that) featured the annual story about holiday party dresses.
As always, I found the article a bit ridiculous (even before I realized that one of the party apparel suggestions was a sweatshirt with "Party Time" bedazzled across the chest).  And I found it a bit sad.
Sad because I have no where to wear a sparkly holiday party dress, and I haven't for 8-14 years*.
Worn on 4 different dress up
occasions, yet 1 grainy image is
the only photographic evidence 

Last summer I did manage to buy a fabulous new dress for Vegas, and managed to wear it to three other events, so dressing up is within my grasp.  But it very rarely happens, and I do so love to sparkle.

So I've resolved to attend a sparkly dress event, decked out in a sparkly dress, in 2014.

Where do you sparkle?
Where should I go to sparkle?
Who's going to join me?

*My friends in Kansas and I would throw "Sparkles" at which we would wear flashy things and drink sparkling wine, but they were never at the holidays and a new dress, except from a thrift store, would seem out of place.  Another Kansas friend threw a very classy holiday open house, to which one could wear a dress, but a lovely silk blouse and black pants was more the norm.  Despite (or because) our holiday bonus was a t-shirt, at best, working at Denver Botanic Gardens had the advantages of a dress-up schmoozing event (wear holiday velvet) and a dress up dancing event (known among my friends as the DBG prom).
Part of the reason we don't have many dress-up pictures.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Quirky is as quirky does

One of my great fears is that I am really quite pedestrian.  Not in the literal walking everywhere sense, which I would take as a compliment, but in the ordinary in not a good way sense (vulgare if we were describing a plant).
Don't get me wrong, I'm also afraid of being too weird, of being utterly incomprehensible and unrelatable. And I'm not on some "I'm above the rules" power grab; I'm just striving to be quirky.
When written this way, this embarrasses me (but apparently not so much that I am unwilling to post it for my parents, my in-laws and all the world to see).  Striving to be quirky is something that I should have outgrown in college.  I should have gotten over longings to be enigmatic long ago.
But I guess I haven't.
So I'm going to indulge them for a few minutes.
Here's a list of ten things, in no particular order, that I like and am regularly surprised to find myself in the minority about, half holiday, half not.
1. Fruitcake
2. Mincemeat pie (American spiced fruit type)
3. Eggnog
4. Greenery that grew
5. Brussels sprouts
6. Beets (parsnips, turnips, kale, eggplant, winter squash)
7. Knives and napkins on the table
8. Statistics
9. Anchovies, oysters and mussels
10. Walking

What do you enjoy that you are surprised to find others find odd?

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Right Book Right Now

I just finished a book crying.  And it wasn't even particularly sad.  It was just, so, so apt.

Every once in a while, I read a book that speaks to me.  Either somehow it is my book, or transmits the message of the moment for me.

Fall in Colorado, to accompany earlier post
That my a dear friend bought be a copy of The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert is not particularly stunning, after all, it is a book about a botanist by a popular author.  That the friend stood in line for a signed copy; that I asked the friend, out of the blue, for a fun book and she happened to have my Christmas present awaiting me; that the book is about historical botanists in Philadelphia, a city about which I know something of the botanical history; that orchids are mocked and adored, that the main character deals with sexual frustration by studying mosses (an idea I thought unique to my ex-boyfriend-- "Someday I'll give up on women entirely and learn how to key out mosses"); that my hero, Alfred Russel Wallace, is also the hero of the book's heroine; that it ends with a shellbark hickory . . . that I'm wondering about hope and light and wanderings on this first Sunday of Advent, that this is but one of three Victorian botanist historical novels suggested to me within weeks of each other*.  Together is all feels so much more than mere coincidence.

It feels so very academic that the Universe speaks to me through novels about botanists, but then, what medium would be more apt?

Dianthus kept our heads in one picture
This rapturous state has me writing in italics. I've been warned about that (by Mr. Carpenter, a character in the Emily books.  Another instance of a book being written for me).  And of course, I suppose it would be far more convenient (and make for better blogging) if every time I read a book that was clearly a message, I could interpret the message (see here for at least one previous mention of failed interpretations).  But if I could interpret divine messages, my calling probably wouldn't be to be uber-rational, pragmatic, plant science teacher and an occasional party-thrower.

I'd very much like more of you to read The Signature of All Things so we can talk about it.  I think it can certainly stand on its literary merits, but I somehow doubt it is your book in quite the same way it is my book, so I don't know how much to promote it.

Meanwhile, I'd love to hear any stories of books speaking to you.  And if you'd like to join me in other tales of Victorian naturalists, *Measuring the World by Daniel Kehlmann and Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier will be read sometime "this season".

I'm counting this as a flower book for Floraganza, even though the botanical stars are the mosses, which clearly do not have flowers.