Before I learned about The Last Word cocktails I didn’t know that Luxardo Maraschino existed and that I should have some in my liquor cabinet at all times. Searching for other recipes that called for Luxardo Maraschino I came across the Aviation cocktail, but then had to find Crème de violette as well. Once I did and tried the aviation cocktail, I knew we also needed to always have Crème de violette in our ever growing liquor cabinet as well. I am not sure which of the two is my favorite.
Because today is Friday, cocktail hour day, and because the first news I read this morning was about the death of Prince Philip I decided to make a cocktail in his honor. Apparently he liked beer but we had no Boddingtons (and beer is not a cocktail). I first thought we’d have simple gin and tonics, but then noticed the lonely bottle of Crème de violette and remembered the aviation cocktail. Since Prince Philip was once in the RAF, I decided that is what we’d drink and with what we’d toast to Prince Philip’s long life.
A couple of weeks ago we met with a landscaper and his partner to discuss some plants for our backyard. It’s pretty much been an eyesore for years and I decided that I didn’t want to just add a few plants, but really re-do the yard. Pull up the ivy and vinca, plant native wildlife-attracting shrubs and perennials. We’ve been throwing ideas back and forth with the landscapers and have settled on some exciting-to-me plants:
Skip Laurels along the back to hide our neighbor’s driveway and guesthouse-office
Beautyberry bushes along the other neighbor’s fence along with some other, yet to be decided native perennials
Native shade-loving plants around the deck:
two types of ferns
Woodsy plants in the deep shade such as jack-in-the-pulpit, maybe some trillium
I also want to plant a spicebush on the side of the house
The folks have done quite a bit of work — mostly removing invasive ivy and vinca. They also took down a wire fence between our yard and the backdoor neighbor. It looks bare now, but at some point it will be beautiful.
I really love my houseplants. When I look at them my heart soars. I thought I was a houseplant killer, but these are doing well. Of course they are pretty easy to keep alive, but still.
Other delights of the past several days:
Snowdrops were discovered under some ivy and pachysandra — a remnant of a fairy garden Clare and I tried to create
The juncos are still around and enjoying the thistle seed
I’ve figured out where to put the bird feeder when the garden is done
I feel as if I am not looking hard enough for daily delights. Days and weeks are just the same old, same old.
Let’s see —
I bought a new-to-me (refurbished) desktop for the attic study mostly because my laptop (which is still great) is very low on storage space. I could have moved things off the laptop to external drives, but this deal came up ($150 for a decent refurbished Lenovo ThinkCentre) and I pressed “buy” without out much thought. It arrived and works very well. So what if I cannot use video backgrounds with Zoom.
Dean’s been wanting to get away so I researched and booked an Airbnb in Savanah. The weather should be nice and maybe I will see Painted Buntings!
Dean and I had Last Word cocktails on Friday (yum but strong!) and less potent champagne (cava actually) cocktails on Saturday.
The Secret History
I started reading The Secret History, Donna Tartt’s first novel since my last post. It was a book group read early on in the history of the book group (pre-1999) and probably before I joined in 1995 (the book group was founded a few years before I joined). Anyway, I wasn’t sure I liked it when I started reading it. The first couple of chapters were a slog, but I am having a hard time putting it down now. I might have given up in the middle of chapter two, but Clare said she loved the book. I assumed she would with the ancient Greek and all. Interestingly it takes place at a fictional college in Vermont that is based on Tartt’s alma mater, Bennington — a school I really wanted Clare to visit on her college tour because it is where Shirley Jackson wrote most of her works.
I threw away a 17 year-old can of Bird’s custard yesterday. I kept the 9 year-old one though.
In the more grateful than delightful category:
Electricity, water, heat
As I hear about the power outages in Texas, I should be grateful (if not delighted) I live where a winter storm might cause power outages, but we’d still have water and the power company is prepared for winter weather.
Life and health
As the numbers of people dead from Covid-19 in the United States near half a million, I should be grateful that I am healthy and wealthy enough to be able to stay away from people who might be exposed. I am able to have groceries delivered instead of going to the store. I don’t have to go to a job where I might be exposed.
I think this covid shit has finally worn me down. I’ve not been visited by many delights — or maybe I have and I have not recognized them. I’ve been sad and angry many of these days, although there have been a few bright spots.
In no particular order some contenders for delights:
Andrew and Alex joined us for Superbowl Sunday and a chili dinner (and a Zoom chat with Alex’s folks)
I’ve had some nice chats with Clare
We met with some friendly folks from a landscaping company about our backyard.
Today as I closed the side door in the kitchen after dumping the compost in the outside compost bin, I saw a large bird fly towards a tree across the street. I suspected it was a Pileated Woodpecker as it approached the tree and when it landed on the trunk, about 30 feet above the ground my suspicions were confirmed. That was the first Pileated Woodpecker I’ve seen from my house in more than 25 years. There used to be a nesting pair kitty-corner from us, but their home was cut down long ago.
The second bird that delighted me was actually two birds. Two very frisky Tufted Titmouses (Titmice?) were performing a courtship ritual.
Our good friends, Alison and David are even more reluctant to venture out than we are. We’ve not seen them in nearly a year. I suggested we Zoom with them and Alison suggested a Friday night cocktail hour. So we did it. It was delightful to catch up until the Old Fashioned cocktail went directly to my head and I had to leave the conversation to lie down. That’s what happens when you don’t eat all day and drink whiskey.