Tuesday, March 27, 2012

March is just a blur

March rolled in with the fog and I've been in one ever since. No idea where the month went. No idea what happened to spring. Just as the Dogwoods began to bloom, they were gone to leaf. The Azaleas blossoms only lasted a week and I almost missed the Wisteria completely.

It's been unseasonably warm and it seems that the plants just don't know what to make of it. I've kept a spring journal for the past nine years trying to get a grip on what blooms first and what takes its time here in my part of Florida. Only the Hickory trees are following form this year, continuing to be the last to bud and even they will be a month early.

As everything around me seems to be rushing ahead of time, I seem to have been backing up. Tried all month to coordinate my schedule with that of my husband and with the weather so we could finish the windows for the studio but never connected on a single day. The car had a problem. The pool pump went out. And, the time I had designated for filing taxes was redirected toward a week long family illness.

As everything outdoors rushes into June before April has even arrived, I'm still stuck in February, with winter clothes still in the closet and all this indoor stuff demanding to be done. So, I think I'll put my fingers in my ears, say "la-la-la" to it all and go shopping for flowers...wonder if I can find a short sleeved shirt.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

If it's Shish Ka-bab, it must be February

As my children were growing up, birthdays provided an opportunity for each to set the menu with their favorite meal. Always, my younger son requested Shish Ka-babs and it has become a late February tradition spanning many decades.Sometimes it is dinner at home, prepared by his wife and shared with his children. Occasionally, the family at large manages to turn it into a surprise party. Since there can be no surprise in the fare, we attempt a bit of creativity with the party theme. This year, as spring seems to be getting a jump on the actual season, we decided on a "Beach Bash" complete with anything and everything we could think of in the genre of Jimmy Buffett.
Orginally, we were going to hang a few Haiwaiian shirts as background but I acquired so many at thrift stores (for no more than $1 a piece), that I found myself in posession of a dozen, of varying sizes, in no time at all and decided that we should wear them instead. Washed and ironed, that part of the preparation was complete but we no longer had the needed background. Completely apart from planning and while enjoying coffee on a mild and sunny morning, I noticed my distant stand of bamboo greening with new spring growth. At first my thoughts were only hopes that a late freeze would not damage the tender young leaves. Then suddenly, the bamboo images burst into an entirely different portion of my brain and the issue of a beachy background was resolved. The drab and empty planters on the deck would be filled with cuttings of bamboo, creating walls of tropical flavor. Immediately, I saw the deck transformed in my minds eye. I phoned a daughter and asked her to cut Palmeto fronds from her property to use as covering for an umbrella and to fill in the lower portions of planters. A daughter-in-law offerred the use of a life guard chair, once used as product display.

The tropical coziness of the deck far overshadowed the drab, colorless remnants of winter that stretched beyond. Here's hoping the photographs give you some ideas for your own unseasonal beach party plans.

Here are some of the inexpensive ideas we used:
  • Paper parasols threaded into strings of Christmas lights
  • Hawaiian shirt coozies at Dollar Tree - $1 each
  • Angel Food cake turned into Pina Colada cake. Instruction link HERE
  • Tropical gift packaging by attaching printed computer images
  • Endless MP-3 Beach Music
  • A bar serving frozen, virgin Strawberry Daqueris & Pina Coladas
  • A section of grey, weathered fencing set on saw horses as a buffet table
  • Collections of sea shells
  • Hors d'vores decorated with celery "palm trees" & olive "coconuts"