she who keeps this diary

15 November 2004 - 2:27 PM

Copperhead Road

Like Theo's, my eyes go bright green when I've been crying. I'd wonder if this is a Scottish thing, but in my case at least, the eye colour came from my father the multi-Nordic, not from the Scottish kin. Maman's eyes are brown.

On the other hand, Daddy was something like 1/4 Irish, so perhaps the green-eyed gene came from County Sligo with my great-grandfather's family. Is there some odd pan-Celtic trait involved? I don't know.

I'm havering. Forgive me. I do tend to do that, and am worse about it at times when my eyes have gone bright green. I hadn't fully passed the stunned phase until this morning, when I'd spoken to my chief about taking time off for the funeral. I went back to my cube and then the waterworks started. And me without a handkerchief. I mopped up my soggy emotional mess with a paper napkin from the cafeteria. Some textile specialist I am. Feh.

In other news ...

The Viking and I went over to Chez Sis yesterday afternoon to help her assemble light boxes so she can do a project with her middle school kids to teach them about the way plants grow. Some clever folk have even bred a plant which will grow from seed, flower, and set seed in 40 days just for school projects like this. The plant in question is a Brassica rapa selection; Sis says it goes under the trade name of Wisconsin Fast Plant.

The Engineer was dispatched to get aluminum foil, and Sis had already collected some appropriately sized cardboard boxes. So, when the Viking and I arrived at my sister's house, we piled into her new Prius with her to acquire the remaining components for these boxes: compact fluorescent bulbs; cheap clamp-on lamps; extension cords; vermiculite; soilless potting mix; 20-20-20 plant food; cotton twine. This should not have been difficult. But large warehouses of home improvement suck (as I believe certain other members of the Atlantian community have remarked in the past), and therefore it was difficult.

For one thing, there was no vermiculite (an alumino-silicate clay mineral, usually sold 'expanded' for horticultural use). There was also no soilless potting mix. There was perlite (a silicon-rich volcanic rock, not the same thing as vermiculite), and there was peat moss. Take it or leave it.

The plant foods were scattered all over the indoor and outdoor gardening departments, and most of them weren't the correct formulation. I finally located a box of 20-20-20 next to the rat poisons. Ew.

Cotton twine, for some reason, was located in the hardware department. This being a socially-conscious semi-urban warehouse home improvement centre, the signs marking the different departments are in both English and Spanish. Hardware said the sign, with Ferretería in smaller letters underneath. OK, I've taken Latin, and I know enough to recognise the fer- root as meaning 'iron.' Really, I do. But look at the word for a moment. Ferretería. Is this a place where you can buy snacks for your pet mustelid, or contrariwise, where they serve mustelids as snacks?

Eventually, we found what we needed, or adequate substitutes, checked out, and headed back to the house to assemble the boxes. As we loaded the Prius, Sis remarked that, except for the fluorescent bulbs, it was altogether a suspicious-looking set of purchases. 'Like when I was an undergraduate and we'd buy mixers and snacks ... because we were making punch. Punch. Someone else was bringing the ginger ale. For the punch.'

'Or buying a hundred pounds of yeast and some copper line,' said the Viking, causing us all to snort in amusement. Why, sir, that copper kettle's just for making apple butter!

At any rate, we got back to the house and assembled the light boxes without being interrupted either by revenuers or narcotics agents. With any luck the little darlings will grow their Fast Plants successfully and be motivated to get degrees in botany for the betterment of the world. With any luck, copper kettles or heat lamps won't even occur to them. Because really, what's wrong with punch?

verso - recto

The WeatherPixie

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