Sunday, February 28, 2010


Here I am on the last day of February trying to conjure up spring. In two weeks Daylight Saving Time begins, that's always a big boost to the psyche. Sunlight, at least for me, is a required element for my very existence. Then we have St. Patrick's Day, you know the day when all the non-Irish of the world get together and drink and green beer is sold by the barrels. Oh, yes Artichoke O'Annie has in past years been a raucous part of those very celebrations, now if I am lucky I might manage at wee bit of corned beef and cabbage for the nightly table.

But what all of this yakking about is really leading up to is the fact that true spring will arrive on Saturday, March 20 at 1:32 pm EDT. Are you ready for it? Dust off those white shoes and get out your sleeveless dresses (I'm talking to you guys as well), pull your hair back in a ponytail and top it off with a cute bow. IT WILL BE SPRING!

You are probably wondering why I'm calling this edition Wisteria and featuring the above photo – well because I wanted to share with you what spring was like for me when I was a little girl. A portion of our backyard was covered with a Wisteria vine and looked much like the one pictured here when it was in full bloom.

It was truly beautiful this lavender canopy I danced under. I even remember a parasol my brother gave me, something he was given that was used in a Hollywood movie, which one I can't recall. Just that it was made out of clear cellophane that had been ruffled around the edges and sprinkled with tons of sparkles.

I would twirl and leap and spin on one foot to the music in my head under, not the stars, but my homegrown canopy of draped wisteria blooms. Then, too soon, I grew too big to fit into those special dancing shoes and in time moved away from the house with the Wisteria that bloomed each spring.

But what has never changed over all these so many, many years is that when I do see a Wisteria blossom I am taken back in time to my childhood and my dancing shoes; to music in my head and a sparkling parasol and most of all a canopy of lavender overhead.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Princess and the Pea – The True ? Story

The Princess and the Pea is a literary fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen first published in 1835 in Copenhagen, Denmark. However my vivid memory of this story is in the production Once Upon a Mattress, which starred Carol Burnett. The plot of the story is that of a Prince desiring to marry a Princess and of course is finding it hard to meet the proper women/princess. Well, as the story goes, said Princess finds herself in distress one stormy night and seeks shelter in a nearby castle. The Prince of course is over come by the pure beauty of the Princess. The mother of the Prince ever doubtful decides to put the Guest/Princess to the test by placing a pea under the twenty mattresses and featherbeds offered up to her for the night. In the morning the Princess complains of her sleepless night caused by something hard in the bed. The Prince rejoices for only a true Princess would have such sensitivity. The two are married and live happily ever after.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

First Anniversary

My Sixth Grade Class

Today marks the first anniversary of my blog. It may sound funny but I remember so well that first day and my first posting, experiencing a bit of stage fright even though I was sitting right here in my cozy office chair. I wasn't sure where I was headed when I took those first steps, but so far the journey has been a rewarding one. I've encounter old childhood chums, always a delight to be with and some new folks that have wandered in along the way. I call them my friends even though we have never met and probably never will – I think someone should invent a new word for this computer age relationship we are experiencing whether through blogging, gaming, twittering or face-booking. It definitely is a new form of societal bonding.

Anyway I digress from my anniversary musings. I wasn't sure what I was going to write about when I started and This and That seemed the perfect title for my blog. Some things have surprised me in looking back. I've shared a lot about myself, for someone who doesn't like to talk or write about me. And Family and Friends have turned up as topics more often than not; all this coming from a crusty old dame with a thorny exterior much like an artichoke.

I may end up learning more about myself in this writing experience than I had ever imagined. I do think of it in terms of a journal, albeit in electronic form and not written down on fine paper with a Conway Stewart fountain pen. I hope my grandchildren will view it as my journal to them really, taking the place of being able to actually sit by my side and tell the tales to them, much like my grandmother did with me.

So for the past twelve months my words have been out there in this new electronic universe, scribbled on the walls of the cosmos much like the caveman's hieroglyphics of years past. I wonder will they still be there thousands of years in the future to be viewed and deciphered by some new life form. Oddly chilling isn't it?

The Princess and the Pea

Photo by Miss Sophie

Isn't this cute? My granddaughter Sophie emailed this to me of our little Haleighana taking over Miss Sophie's bed. She sure looks comfortable. When I saw it the Princess and the Pea came to mind.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


A sure sign that spring is almost here and winter will be behind us. This season the Big O will be playing for the Yankees and he is so happy about it. Can't you tell? It must have been a good first workout for the team, look how sweaty he is. Best of luck to you O.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

The Good - A Valentine's Day Surprise

The Bad - You've got to be kidding!

The Ugly - Expressing winter's pain

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Meet My New Boyfriend

Love is in the Air

Happy Valentine's Day Everyone!

Love you,

Artichoke Annie

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

Ever wonder why I didn't stop to say hello?
Because I couldn't say goodbye.

Ever wonder why I didn't have the time to spend with you?
Because I had reasons to be somewhere else.

Every wonder why I never told you I love you?
Because I did -- too much.

                                                                                                                                            A. P. 1977

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Comment on Orphaned Plants

Meet Charles Atlas

This from my friend Mollie, her treasured plant find from the trash. I think she gave him the name Charles Atlas because that's what it takes to move him. I guess all I can claim is what sets on my kitchen window sill, a minature Azalea and she didn't even come from an orphan background.

Here on the third floor, my deck remains plantless, basically watering became the issue. It was hard to do and not drown my second floor neighbor. Also I am on the cool and sunless side of the building, not that shade plants aren't beautiful, it's mostly the watering issue. Oh and winter, I would have to send them all out to California for Winter Camp let them romp wth the orphans.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Orphan Plant Garden

My eighty-six year old brother has a hobby of sorts; really it's more like a rescue center for orphaned plants. First it was just this odd plant here and there; you know the kind you stumble upon on trash day that someone has thrown out. The ones that you take a look at and say to yourself, "There's nothing wrong with this plant, it just needs a little TLC." So you pick it up and take it home, maybe tidy up the dead leaves and give it a new pot and some fresh soil. Soon it looks like it could win the Garden Club Prize.

He has been doing this for years, even becoming the go to source for neighbors moving and unable to take their plants with them. His garden grew, soon covering almost every inch of his small apartment patio. He revealed to me that he does indeed have lengthy conversations with these botanical orphans as he care takes his garden. I can just picture him deep in conversation, perhaps even taken away to one of the many spots he has traveled to over the years, explaining to each the joy of this place or that. How much they would enjoy the sun in Spain or a misty morning in Manchester.

Now it is my brother's turn to move and this event has him looking for good homes and proper parents for all his little orphans. I'm not sure how detailed the interview process is for these perspective new parents but I can assure you he would not allow one of his orphans to end up in a bad home. When he wrote me last week he mentioned that the last massive ivy trellis went out the door with its new plant parents just that morning. To the home of a University of California professor no less, should be in good hands indeed.

Soon my brother will be in his new location and once he is settled in I bet it won't take him long to start all over again with a new orphan plant garden. Really all it takes is a stroll down the street on trash pickup day and you are sure to stumble upon at least one tiny little orphan calling your name.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Gone but not forgotten

February 6, 2010

This was my view this morning as I made my coffee. Winter's last hurrah of sorts, so pretty as the morning light reflected off last night's snowfall. It's all but gone now, typical of a St. Louis winter, here today, gone tomorrow.

Strange how much I abhor the cold but love the snow, can't have one without the other I suppose. In fact just last night the little gal, forgot her name (sorry), anyway she's an Olympian snowboarder was on Leno's show. When asked what her second favorite sport was, she answered, "Surfing, I love warm weather and water, and really hate the cold."

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

And the Winner is...


Let me warn you I am writing this blog early in the morning - the sleepy seeds are gone but the general grumpiness remains, which is probably a wonderful basis for commenting on this year's Academy Award nominations.

Because of my generally skewed opinions on almost everything imaginable, this morning's announcements have probably found over-whelming acceptance by the general population. As part of my open and full disclosure policy let me state that I have seen only three of the movies nominated in all of the twenty-four categories. And they are: Invictus, Julie & Julia and Sherlock Holmes, so you can probably guess how my vote will go.

Now this is not to say there aren't others on the list that I intend to see, just that in the initial go around that's where box office price dollars were spent. I can't even claim spending my own money on two out of the three selections.

I hope Morgan Freeman gets best actor because I thought his portrayal of Mandela was outstanding. In time I will probably see the other actors nominated as 'best' except for Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart isn't calling to me.

I always love Meryl Streep and she was fantastic as Julia but seems there is some stiff competition in this category this year.

I always enjoy the weirdness of the Cohen Brothers, so The Messenger will make my 'to see' list along with The Lovely Bones, Precious and Up in the Air for starters. Is the elephant in the room making you uncomfortable? Ok, sorry... AVATAR - sorry, guess my question is 'Why'? I think the Academy should have a special category for movies of this nature, but that's just me talking in the grumpy hours of morn.

Gosh, I can't wait for the big night; the excitement, the anticipation and the gushing of thank you, thank you. Oh, and did I mention the anticipation?