Ja’ime: Private School Tomato

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Have you ever watched the HBO show Ja’mie, Private School Girl? If not, you should. And if so, just think of our favorite cross-dressing Australian comedian while I talk about a certain tomato up there in a few minutes.

If you know me in real life- which, I am learning, a few of you actually don’t, which is kind of cool- you are so f***ing sick of hearing about my garden. It has been the only thing I have to talk about for the last few weeks, and what makes it even more boring than usual is that it is the beginning of the season, so there is just about NOTHING in it. I have literally led my  roommates outside and shown them piles of dirt in the last few weeks… multiple times.

Let me repeat that.

I have come into the house, very excited, and made them come outside, and shown them literally pots of dirt.

I don’t know why they still live with me, but I sure am glad they do.

Anyway, things in veggie town are going okay so far. My tomatoes- the same one that I agonized over for a month after planting them from seeds- have been put in the ground, possibly probably too early.  I figured, hey, I already accidentally forgot about you outside overnight when it got pretty cold, why not just go whole hog on this sucker and plant away? After that, into the ground they went, mostly because I was feeling optimistic but also because I was tired of schlepping a plastic tray of tomatoes up and down the stairs every day to try and get them maximum sunlight on our deck while I am at work.

This whole experience has felt a lot like having a child for me as someone who has never had a child. I think about these plants while I am at the office. I worry about what will happen to them when/if they literally grow up. And I strategize how to best give them the advantages in this crazy world of concrete and city life.

My plants are going to grow up to be like all of the characters on Gossip Girl. They’re hip urban plants! Or at least, the ones in individual pots are. Cue the entrance of my favorite tomato plant, aka the only one I potted individually. All of the other sprouts of that variety of tomato got eaten by a mysterious creature (probably a rat, but that’s a story for another time) so this one is my last chance at success. My only hope. The Obi-Wan Kenobi of my garden, as it were. Basically that tomato plant is going to a specialized private school pot where it is safe from all of the weird stuff that’s happening to my plants in the real garden, including some bug that is eating holes in the leaves of all the other tomatoes! We’re fighting the good fight with some insect soap spray, but the situation has, at times, been pretty dire. Maybe this final survivor will flourish with smaller class sizes and more individualized attention.

Here’s hoping all my other plants survive the big wide world and turn out great, despite my helicopter parenting. And from here on out, I’m definitely calling that tomato Ja’mie. Just maybe not in front of my roommates.

Making Lately: A Spiced Chai Quilt

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So if you haven’t talked to me lately, I have some news.

I sew now. Like, on the reg. Isn’t that exciting? Is that what you were expecting me to say? I mean, I guess I have been sewing for a few years, but it is only recently that I finished my first big-huge-cool project- this quilt! From start to finish it was all me, baby. The pattern is Spiced Chai, and it is awesome. I’m bummed I didn’t get more photos of the back- it is the same as the back of the quilt I made with my mom, a very nice deep grey.

This quilt is in its new home now, and I am wrapping up another for my place. There is something so satisfying about cutting, piecing, and sewing after a day on the computer. Sometimes it just feels good to create something.

Cherry Blossoms (and the corresponding seething masses)

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Good morning, good morning! Isn’t it a great Sunday? I’m working on some Pablo’s coffee from Denver (thanks Emily!) and considering further garden plans. I am am a woman obsessed, let me tell you! More on that in another post. For now- cherry blossoms!

The cherry blossoms were both as stunning as was foretold and more crowded than I ever could have imagined. The main area where they bloom in the city- around the tidal basin, not far from the National Mall- is an area I’m used to seeing deserted as I bike around the monuments at night with visitors. When I went to see the blossoms one evening after work, I was unprepared for just how many people there were enjoying the trees and taking photos. It’s been a long time since I was in a crowd that large. People. were. EVERYWHERE. I have no idea how any of these trees are still alive given the masses that descend upon them every year, getting up close and personal with the branches and blossoms at any point they are in reach. I didn’t see quite as many people as I thought I would with flowers in hand, but I did spot a few broken branches.

What was amazing was the variety of tree species there are around the basin and the rest of the Mall- the pinks vary in hue from a delicate white to deep and vivid pink. I hadn’t realized that so many additional cherry trees have been planted aside from those around the tidal basin; the groves surrounding the Washington Monument are equally as stunning.

Going to see the cherry blossoms gives one an overview of life milestones- people are out among the trees taking photos of weddings, of engagements, of newborns, of their families. Small children chase the falling petals, and old couples picnic on grassy plots. It’s really quite idyllic in some ways.

The day after I took my photos and braved the basin, a heavy rain came through, and many of the blossoms fell from the trees. My verdict on the cherry blossoms? Great if they’re blooming while you’re in DC, but even if they aren’t, April is a magnificent month in the city. The weather is generally delightful, and people neglect to give credit to the myriad of other flowers around town, including numerous magnolias, daffodils, and more tulips than you can shake a stick at. I don’t know that I would travel here specifically for the blossoms, but if you’re around when they’re out, it’s not a bad coincidence.

In like a lion, out like a lamb.

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Aren’t those snowmen next to the Supreme Court cute? I have a pretty good feeling about this upcoming week. How about you? I think last week was a little weird. Let’s forget about it, pack all of lunches in advance this week, and move on.

A few things to talk about from life lately:

I got a new bike! I went on a bike-buying rampage. She’s fully outfitted, totally adorable, and my new best friend. Two minutes into my first ride, some guy shouted “Hey! I like your Taylor Swift bike!” I’m a little offended (am I?), but the man’s not wrong. The new bike- in conjunction with the new 50-60 degree temperatures- has been an absolute pleasure. It still needs a name though! After that stranger’s comment, maybe Swiftie is appropriate? I’m currently taking submissions.

One new habit I’ve developed over the last few months is listening to Podcasts. They’re wonderful! Did you listen to Serial? Did you experience the same post-Serial guilt related to gossiping about a story that is someone’s real life? Jay’s interviews were what sobered me up from my Serial-drunkeness the most. I had a coworker at my last job who was from Baltimore, so he gave me the inside scoop on all of the locations related to the case. Most recently, I’ve added Radiolab to my usual Freakanomics/Death, Sex & Money lineup. Radiolab has a fantastic sound editor- somehow they take it to the next level with their editing and recording, making the postcast feel different from the radio.

I’ve been disenchanted with food lately. Isn’t that weird? I’m bored of my usual lunches, and I need some suggestions for things to cook.

Great news- I’m going abroad again! Just for a few weeks, but this time it’s for work! What a grown-up thing to do! I’m so happy that traveling and being in Europe will remain part of my life for the foreseeable future. What a lucky duck I am these days.

The new seeds are growing pretty well, but my window options are limited to East/West versus the highly preferable South window for maximum sunlight. I’m such an old lady- today I carefully set the seeds outside during the warmest part of the day to let them get as much sun as possible, and then hurriedly brought them back in as it started to get dark. Hopefully my efforts will be rewarded with lots of delicious veggies in the coming months.

One thing I’ve been struggling with lately is shifting my attitude from fighting-to-survive-post-grad to making-deliberate-adult-choices. I’m still finding it really difficult to get out of my be-ready-to-leave-at-a-moment’s-notice groove. I feel like I spent all winter living from one event to the next; I was being carried along by the river of life with no real say in what I was doing next or how I spent my time. I’d like to change that this spring.

Have any podcast recommendations? Any great lunches that vastly improve the 12-1 o’clock hour? Send ’em my way, and have a fabulous week. xx