Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Mercury in Retrograde

My aunt's yoga instructor tells her that Mercury is in retrograde. My aunt relates this information to me on the phone, when she calls me.  The conversation begins, "Ann... I just read the morning paper..." 

I don't follow astrology, I never have. Do I believe in these things? No. But when I hear the phrase it sticks in my head. I find myself reciting the words. Mercury in retrograde. Mercury in retrograde.  It sounds like a composition. A symphonic composition? A painterly composition, perhaps? Maybe the words make a very heavy situation feel lighter? Mercury in Retrograde started July 14th and it ends August 8th. It will end, I tell myself, a sudden doubt in my own disbelief.

To say that life has been difficult the last two weeks is an understatement. We are all okay. And not okay. Those of us who are older are off-balance, shaken, and upset. We have no sense of humor and very little ability for small talk. As much as possible, we're focused on protecting the little ones. This focus grounds us. 

I apologize for posting in this vague, circumspect, and indirect manner. I want to be honest and open, I want to share more, but I don't believe now is the time. I've debated saying nothing but I feel like it undermines my blogging intent to hide something that is affecting us so personally. Also, maybe just telling you that we're not fully okay right now is enough that you'll forgive my absence. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

About those biergarten radish...

One of the vegetables in my garden this summer was German biergarten radish. If you've ever been to a biergarten in Munich, you've undoubtably seen them. Big, huge white radish cut into razor thin slices: laid out on a plate so they sweat when sprinkled with salt. (If you've never been to a biergarten in Munich, then that must sound like an extremely strange description of a food.) Delicious, no? I bet you're dying to try some.
The seeds weren't easy to find, but I persisted because I'm always looking for comfort foods for Fritz. This seemed like a good one. And we could grow it. And I'm a little obsessed with finding unusual foods to grow in the garden. Plus, we have a fancy German radish slicer that hasn't seen any action in the last three years.
Well, I don't know. I don't know about these radish. I don't know if I'm willing to grow them again. They were magnets for all sorts of garden pests. First, it was flea beetles. Then, it was aphids. None of these pests arrived in small numbers; rather they arrived in great, big swarms. I've diligently planted mint and marigolds trying to deter the infestation. On Monday, I admitted defeat and pulled out three quarters of the radish. They were actually still a little on the small side, but I'm too worried about my other vegetables to risk any more of this infestation business. And I think they're big enough that we won't feel we're missing out.

That said, it does make me feel like a real gardener to be dealing with PESTS.
I'm not a big fan of eating the radish, but you know what I LOVE about eating German biergarten radish? You can't do it without drinking a Radler: one part Sprite, one part your favorite IPA/light beer. Yum!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Late Afternoon

My aunt, who has lived in Colorado for over three decades, tells me her definition of rain when we move here: "When the rain droplets bleed together on the pavement."

Sometimes, the droplets evaporate on the pavement more quickly than they fall. (Today was not one of those times.)

Mattias asks if we can "turn off now?" as though the rain is a human controlled sprinkler. It's been a dry year. He's 28 months old. Sometimes I forget how short his frame of reference still is.

I discover that pulling air through the wet screen door has an additional cooling effect. I add this idea to my list of passive cooling strategies.

Afternoon rain showers: the best.