Friday Dance Party – Me, A Prima Donna?

It’s time for another edition of Friday Dance Party here on Acorns On Glen.  It’s the time where we give thanks for making it through another week and for being alive and present here on Earth.  How do we celebrate another week of living?  We dance.  So, are you alive this Friday?  Are you and your family safe and sound?  Take a few seconds now to be in the moment and realize what a great life you truly have.  Did you give thanks for that?

Good, now let’s dance.

“You’re a prima donna.”  I looked at my co-worker with a look of surprise and disgust on my face.  This is not the first time I have ever heard this in my life after I have responded that I am not going to do something and, let’s be honest, I always wonder if you can even call a man a prima donna.  My surprise (and disgust) is always based on the fact that I don’t think I am too spoiled in any way.  It’s just that I am fairly certain of what I want to do in my life and what I don’t want to do and I am not afraid to express my thoughts, even if my thoughts are unpopular.  I’m ok with saying “no”.  So let’s back up.  I got into this predicament because a group of people who I work with asked me if I would go with a large group of employees on a route ride.  In its simplest definition, a route ride is where you ride around with a delivery person in their big truck and deliver product to customers all day.  Doing this helps you understand the company’s business better, or so they say.  Let me clarify even further….you drive around in a big truck delivering product and:

  • You start around 5:30 AM,
  • You end your day at around 6:30 – 7:00 PM,
  • You are asked to dress similar to the polyester uniforms my company makes the drivers wear,
  • The product you deliver is heavy and bulky,
  • You sweat a lot and get very, very dirty,
  • The temperature is 90+ degrees,
  • It is humid, and
  • I am sure the cab on the truck is not air-conditioned.

I could go on further, but I think you get the picture.  So let me ask you, “Would you do it?”  Why is someone who says “no” to things in their life viewed as difficult, bitchy, grouchy or a prima donna?  Why wouldn’t they be called confident, self-aware, in touch or assured?  It’s not like I’m saying I wouldn’t donate blood to a sick child.  I’m just saying no to a ride in a delivery truck.  Do you think that knowing what you want in today’s world is taken as a blessing or as a curse?  Why is saying what you really feel taken as a negative thing versus a positive one?  Is it really being a prima donna or is it just being true to yourself?  Enough ranting…. let’s start dancing.  We’ve made it through another week and it’s time for us to give thanks.  The song this week is ‘Primadonna’ by Marina and the Diamonds.  Can the song be any more appropriate?  Celebrate life and get to dancing.  Start now…..I mean it…..shake it….remember, I’m a prima donna and I always get what I want!

Friday Dance Party – Fine By Me

It’s time for Friday Dance Party here on Acorns On Glen.  It’s the time where we give thanks for making it through another week and for being alive and present here on Earth.  How do we celebrate another week of living?  We dance.  So, are you alive this Friday?  Are you and your family safe and sound?  Take a few seconds now to be in the moment and realize what a great life you truly have.  Did you give thanks for that?

Good, now let’s dance.

There is a certain mood I get into when I know it is time to go on vacation if only for a day or two.  The good news is that I know how to identify it and, weirdly enough, it usually strikes in early August.  So guess what:  I am pretty sure I’m about 80% into that mood at the present time.  You see, I can tell it is happening because I get to this point where I don’t really care about anything.  Take for instance, yesterday at work.  We had a two-hour meeting where we were told to speak freely and openly.  Only you know how your group works and so we want to hear your honest opinions.  The only thing was that this wasn’t what they wanted…they had already made up their minds and nothing my colleagues and I were going to say was going to make them change their minds.  If I was in a better mood, I would have tried harder to get my point across.  I would have worked to make them feel that we knew what they were up to and we had differences of opinion.  However, since I’m in my “I need a vacation” mood, I just sat there and thought whatever they said was fine by me.  I’d shake my head up and down, mutter “Good point!” every so often and followed up to their questions with “I agree” or “Fine by me”.  After the meeting, I tried to count up how many passive answers I gave them and realized I had to say “Fine by me” at least ten times.  I need an attitude adjustment!  I need a few days off from my life!  However, my answer did have one good outcome.  It reminded me of this week’s song by Andy Grammer.  Guess what it is titled?  Yep, ‘Fine By Me’.  Some weeks are harder to get through than others, but we did it again.  We finished the journey.  Give thanks for that and dance a little to celebrate.  If you see yourself dancing past some airline ticket counter, make sure and stop and buy me a ticket to some place exotic.  I need to get away!!

Rose Of Sharons Past And Present

This is our Rose of Sharon shrub, otherwise known as Hibiscus syriacus.  Our Rose of Sharon shrub is actually made up of four separate shrubs that have grown together to appear as one.  There are two bushes that bloom with pink flowers and another two bushes that bloom with white flowers.  It has been here since we moved into the house on Glen Road.  What amazes me is that the Rose of Sharon is a late bloomer, only beginning to show its flowers in August.  As many trees and shrubs are so affected in their blooming by how much water they receive, that the Rose of Sharon always provides such beautiful flowers in the intense heat of August is amazing.  I wrote a whole post last year about the Rose of Sharon and how they grow.  This year I was more interested in how this Hibiscus syriacus got such an unusual name like Rose of Sharon.  As with most stories of origin, the answer lies in the Bible if you believe the research that I have conducted.

The name, “Rose of Sharon” can be traced back to the Bible’s Old Testament in the Song of Solomon 2:1.  Here it is from 2:1 through 2:7:

I am a Rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys.

Like a lily among thorns is my darling among the maidens.

Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest is my lover among the young men.  I delight to sit in the shade, and his fruit is sweet to my taste.

He has taken me to the banquet hall, and his banner over me is love.

Strengthen me with raisins, refresh me with apples, for I am faint with love.

His left arm is under my head, and his right arm embraces me.

Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field:  Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.

Rose of Sharon was once thought be indigenous to Syria, thus the origin of the syriacus part of the botanical name.  Because of its Syrian roots, it was believed possible that it was the very shrub alluded to in Solomon’s erotic song.  Botanists subsequently learned that this is actually one of many plants from China, but have retained the misleading species name.  It is now believed that the Rose of Sharon mentioned in Solomon’s song most likely was some sort of crocus.

I also remember the sister in the book ‘The Grapes Of Wrath’ by John Steinbeck.  Her name was Rose of Sharon.  Whenever our Rose of Sharon shrub blooms, it always reminds me of my reaction to reading the book as part of a college prep course that I took when I was 14.  I was considered mature beyond my mere 14 years of life so the teacher thought I was plenty old enough to read the book.  Throughout the book, the sister, Rose of Sharon, was pretty flat, one-dimensional and boring.  All that changed after she lost her baby and in the last chapter gave us a somewhat creepy, but very hopeful ending where Rose of Sharon “helps” out the starving man.  I remember closing the back cover and screaming out in the middle of the classroom, “Ewwww, gross?!?”  I guess I wasn’t as mature as the teacher thought.  Seeing the pink and white blooms on our Rose of Sharon all these years later still makes me think of that incident and I always get a little smile and then giggle about one of my first experiences with great American literature.

If you haven’t read the book and don’t know what the creepy, but very hopeful ending is all about, please let me know.  I’m already thinking how I would write about it without angering half of my reading audience.  🙂

A New Plant – Witch Hazel

We’ve had such weird weather here in Connecticut over the last year or so.  I know I’m not writing anything new here as so many gardening blogs that I read on a frequent basis discuss strange weather as well.  However, the strange weather does cause some plants to die off as a result.  During the freak snowstorm last October near Halloween, several bushes and small trees in my garden split under the weight of the snow and, sadly, I was unable to save several of them no matter how hard I tried.  After removing the dead plants and looking at the holes their vacancy left, I have replaced many of the areas with new plants.  In some cases just a replacement of what was there and in other cases I have replaced the area with plants that are new to my garden and new to me.  I guess I’m just trying to mix it up a little since I’ve been given the chance to do so.  Above is a close up of one of my new plants–a witch hazel bush or Hamamelis, as it is called in botanical Latin.  For my Hamamelis, I have chosen an intermediate hybrid called ‘Jelena’ with copper-colored, scented flowers that look like little streamers.  The flowers appear in very early Spring and then the green leaves above turn into beautiful orange/red foliage in the Fall.  ‘Jelena’ being an intermediate hybrid, or x intermedia, means that ‘Jelena’ is a child of two parents:  the Chinese witch hazel (Hamamelis mollis) and the Japanese species (H. japonica).

I probably would have never purchased a witch hazel bush for my garden five years ago.  Even though I had never really looked closely at one, just the name alone was a turn-off to me.  Then I had the opportunity to see one that was blooming in early Spring of 2011 and decided that I needed one for my garden.  The streamer-like blooms so early in the Spring are quite a look and one that I wanted in my neck of the woods.  I’m just sad that the way it came into my garden was because something else had died and needed to be taken out…..I guess that’s just the way Mother Nature works it.

Friday Dance Party – Emeli Sandé’s ‘Next To Me’ With A Routine I Like

It’s time for another edition of Friday Dance Party here on Acorns On Glen.  It’s the time where we give thanks for making it through another week and for being alive and present here on Earth.  How do we celebrate another week of living?  We dance.  So, are you alive this Friday?  Are you and your family safe and sound?  Take a few seconds now to be in the moment and realize what a great life you truly have.  Did you give thanks for that?

Good, now let’s dance.

So I know my post is late today versus previous Friday Dance Party posts.  There is a reason and it has to do with routine.  I have been thinking a lot lately that I am getting sick and tired of doing the same routine day in and day out.  I want my life to be more exciting, more spontaneous.  Honestly, I do the same things at the same time day after day after day.  For example, I brush my teeth every day at 7:15 AM.  I leave for work at 8:10 AM.  I eat the same foods over and over.  I go to bed at the same time every night.  I am feeling like an old boring man and I want to change it up.  I want to live life more on the edge.  Be careful what you wish for…..because today I got my wish!

I walked out of the house this morning thinking my briefcase was in the car.  I was the last one to leave the house and so I locked it up tight.  With just my car key, my cellphone and a Pepsi Max, I went to my car only to realize that I did not have my briefcase.  It wasn’t inside my car.  Instead, it was inside the locked house.  Which means I don’t have a house key, an office key, a file drawer key where I lock my work computer up each night or a security badge to get into work.  All of these things are in my briefcase.  So I call everyone that has a key to the house on Glen Road and, of course, no one answers.  They just don’t answer their phones, but their texts and emails as well.  Smartphones are great if everyone utilizes them at the same time!  I finally decide to go to work–I’ll be in there in person and, worse case, I won’t have my computer.  However, most of my remaining morning has been tied up in getting a temporary security badge to get into my company’s building, then waiting for security to come unlock my office.  I have found out there are loaner computers, but they take an hour to be delivered and another hour to load with your personal settings.  Bottom line, it’s noon and I’m sick of change.  I want my old, boring, routine life back.  What was I thinking?  I don’t want to have to beg, plead, show my ID or pay money to get one-day replacements.  Can Friday start again the old way for me?  I just want everything I like and need to be right up next to me.  Which reminds me of this week’s song.  It’s ‘Next To Me’ by Emeli Sande.  Emeli is a big hit in the UK and only now being heard in the US.  So turn up your speakers and dance.  You’ve scored another week.  Even if it’s been a little wild and frenzied, like my Friday, it still counts.  I’ll see you later….it is about 12:30 PM here….that’s the time I ALWAYS eat lunch.  I love my routine!

Phlox-y Lady

On our recent trip to Las Vegas, we saw some of the most fantastic flower arrangements in the lobbies of all of the hotels we visited.  At the Wynn hotel in particular, I was amazed at the large balls of flowers that were hung from a grove of trees that was located next to guest registration.  Admiring these huge multi-colored clusters of flowers reminded me of the phlox that were growing at home in my garden.  When I returned home, the phlox must have known I was thinking of them because they were in full bloom.

The phlox that I grow in my garden, Phlox paniculata, are the ones that most people are familiar with when you mention these beautiful Summer stunners.  Phlox paniculata are the tall garden phlox with their big, fragrant clusters of blossoms.  The blossoms vary in color but are most commonly seen in red, pink, salmon, lavender, purple or white.  They grow two to four feet tall and are most common in planting zones 3 to 8.

I have three varieties of phlox in my garden.  Along with the picture at the top, here are some shots of the bright red Phlox paniculata ‘Bright Eyes’, which is my favorite:

Here is the lavender Phlox paniculata ‘Franz Schubert’:

Rounding out the trio, here is Phlox paniculata ‘Bright Eyes’:

Phlox prefer full sun or very light shade along with light, fertile soil with ample organic matter to retain moisture.  They also need good drainage.  I try to provide adequate air circulation around the plants and also stake them up versus letting them fall over onto the ground due to the weight of the flower cluster.  You should also cut off spent blooms to avoid having the plant go to seed.  If you are looking for a great garden perennial, especially one that blooms in the heat of Summer, the phlox is the plant for you.  They are quite phlox-y (I had to write that just one more time…sorry).