Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A successful Memorial Day

... defined here as plunging into freezing water and having a cheeseburger loaded with pickles.

Yes, that is the real color, and not an Instagram trick.

Jake helping me get ready to float in the mighty freezing Niagara. 

 Evan fetching the drink I left all the way down the stairs on the boat. 
These boys sure know how to treat a pregnant lady.

It was a hot, hot Memorial Day (90ish?) spent cooling off in the breeze of the Niagara River in Lewiston, catching up with one of our oldest Buffalo friends, now living in L.A. but home for holiday weekend. We decided not to actually take the boat out, but instead just hung out down on the dock. But I had to get in the water. Had to. Those who know me well know that this is really beyond my control - like a sickness.

Evan does not share my hydroholic tendencies, especially when the water in question is, say, below 70 degrees (admittedly, I have no idea what water temperature is considered comfortable by normal people, as you'll see).

Getting in the water involved a particularly ungraceful flop from the back of the boat, clutching onto a floatation device (see above) and then paddling with one arm back to the boat to hang on. 

There was no actual swimming involved - just a jarring mild paralysis as I waited for things to go a little numb, and then shimmied myself to a position where my belly fit into the tube's hole, with my backside basking in the sun and my front side freezing in the water. (One of my favorite things ever.)

It was the closest approximation that I have felt anywhere in Western New York to the frigid Maine ocean that I love and miss so wildly. I think Jake's dad said it was about 55 degrees, which I do know most normal people would find unpleasant, but I find - honest to god - refreshing.

We ended the day attempting to assuage a fierce craving with an epic journey through the 'burbs for the dinner of champions - cheeseburgers at Five Guys.  I suggested we suck it up and brave the mall location, so that at least we could maybe swing into the Children's Place to use a coupon on something - maybe pick out our first baby outfit together? (we both lack the obsessive baby clothing gene), to make the trip feel a little more justified. We got to the mall around 7 pm to find it closed, and proceeded to trek up Transit Ave to the other Five Guys, meaning that we probably spent more money on gas to get there than we did on the meal itself.

You see, Five Guys is one of just a few places in Buffalo where I can get a burger loaded with pickles actually on the burger. Maybe you are from a place where that doesn't seem like a big deal, like me. A place where getting pickles on your burger doesn't mean having to take the pickle spear they give you on the side, slice it crudely with your butter knife, and stick the ill fitting pieces onto the burger, constantly poking them back into place as they try to escape with every bite.

OH - and riddle me this - if you buy a hotdog from a hotdog stand around here, you can almost always get pickles on it. Whaaat? Seriously, Western New York - what gives? So, yes, I guess you could say this is a peeve of mine, and that the availability of pre-sliced pickles (regardless of their caliber) has pretty much become my benchmark for a good burger 'round here. 

*End of pickle rant. * (for now)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

garden retail therapy and a new mantra

There are only a handful of shopping venues that I would classify as "therapeutic" - meaning that I usually have a smile on my face the whole time I am browsing, my mind is completely clear of stress and clutter, I take my sweet time taking everything in and don't have that "Oh my God,  I am wasting so much time and money and need to get the hell out of here" feeling. 

The handful of my personal retail therapy venues include fabric stores, farmers markets, thrift and junk shops, flea markets, flower markets and garden centers. I recently treated myself to a little dose of the last, when I set out to splurge on some annuals to put in pots.

 photo bomb

This little shopping trip was an exercise in what I am calling "less planning, more doing" - something I aspire to make my new mantra (ignore for a moment that it sounds an awful lot like the Home Depot tagline). 

I am, by nature, prone to fits of obsessive planning, researching, debating and - ultimately - indecision, which all too often ultimately stalls if not completely extinguishes many of my creative aspirations.

 I recently heard that my favorite floral designer came down with a bad case of clematis
I think its going around.

 Holla holla, hellabore. 

{All shots above taken at Elbers, around the corner from my house. It's good to have a garden center that close to home, and I was really impressed with their selection this year. All shots below taken at Urban Roots - a cooperative community garden center with an excellent selection of plants and garden supplies, staffed by your knowledgable, friendly, garden crazy Buffalo neighbors. They also host several workshops and events (including plant swaps!) throughout the year, and happen to have one of the most adorable websites I have ever seen (check it out).}

 Japanese painted fern - I will be back for you.

 And you too, Jenny.

 And you, Jacob.

 It's been a while since a new car has made my heart go budumpadump like this his luscious minty Fiat parked outside Urban Roots.

Last year when I went to Urban Roots to pick out container garden plants I spent a stupid amount of time putting this and that together, trying to decide then and there what plants to put in which pot with which other plants, and trying to remember which pots I had at home, what the colors and sizes were etc. Madness, right? Only to get home and realize I had totally misjudged my container inventory, that the plants didn't quite look as good together when potted as I had thought they would, etc etc. 

This smells ridiculously beautiful. If only I could remember its name.

So this year I just took my time browsing and compiling anything that struck me as particularly beautiful or interesting. And while I tried to keep it diverse, I didn't worry about what would go with what or which pots they would go in. And - shockingly - it all came together quite easily and was a much more enjoyable experience. 

Apologies for skipping the weekly review last week. Another post or two is coming on other notables, including an afternoon spent on the Niagara River - where, with the exception of minor meltdown over a HUGE black spider on Evan's shirt (flashbacks to my horrid sci-fi spider bite episode from last summer) we had a lazy, breezy time catching up with one of our oldest Buffalo friends who now lives in L.A. (and he freaked out a little about the spider too, so that made me feel a little better).

Happy summer!