Monday, March 31, 2008

A winning sweep

I sent my orchids and photographs (of orchids) down to the Columbus Orchid Show. I am very pleased to report they have come back home with ribbons.

I won first, second, and third place for the photography class.

Three plants won two first place ribbons and one second place ribbon.

Overall, I would say my best win so far at an orchid show. I also seem to be known now as the lady with the "nice paphs".

Anyhow, the above is a picture of one of the orchids that won first place. The picture is from two years ago when it also won fist place. I think it is safe to say that the particular orchid is a good one. I must make a mental note not to try to kill it...

(Photographic credits to Thomas Koeck, 2006)

Friday, March 28, 2008

Life's changes and directions

I met my best friend back about eight years ago. I was the quiet introvert while she was the exuberant extrovert. We defined ourselves as being like the yin and the yang of friendships. In all the ways we were different we complimented and learned from each other. But in so many other ways, we were very much alike. We supported each other through various relationship break-ups, the trials of graduate school, and all the bad things that life threw at us. I have always thought of her more as a sister than a friend. We joke with each other that we will always be friends because we know too much "dirt" about each other to be enemies. Yes, we have been through thick and thin along with seeing each other at our worst times in life.

It is no surprise that we often would talk on the phone for hours. Last night was no exception. Whenever I get a call from her, I can pretty much figure that I will be on the phone for at least three hours or until my phone battery dies--whichever comes first.

Yesterday I learn that she finally landed her assistant professor position. Yeah! She also is pregnant--will probably marry soon as well. Wow. She is certainly very deserving all the good that is happening to her.

I also know that our friendship will now drastically change because of the new changes in her life. Yes, we will always remain friends. But I know that a distance between us will grow with her new found responsibilities and impending motherhood.

I am very pleased and happy that all these positive events have gone her way. Yet, I feel very sad...I am still an uncharted ship in a storm just trying to stay afloat and not knowing if the winds will bring me to a safe harbor.

Friday Cat Blogging

Every guy should have one of these!

To order, look here.

Exploring in a new location.

So, I decided to make good on my astrology advice (see previous post) and do some exploring in a new location. I went to Home Depot.

Okay, the truth is that I needed to go to Home Depot rather than follow my astrology, but it does count as exploring in a new location.

Anyhow, I came across a line of products made by a company called TerraCycle.

They make fertilizers for Orchids called "Worm Poop". O-kay. Although I have heard about worm castings being used as fertilizer for some of the terrestrial orchids. They also put their products in recycled used soda bottles and such (I do like ecologically minded folks).

At any rate, if worm poop does become the new rage among horticulturists, perhaps I may consider making my own from earthworm castings and thus making my own "worm poop tea". But who knows, maybe by then, they will have concentrated worm poop that you can dilute and would probably be cheaper.

But I have two problems with this product. The first problem is I have gobs of fertilizer in the garage that I need to go through first. The second problem with it is that people frequently ask me questions about how I grow my orchids. I am not quite sure how I would tell people I use "Worm Poop" on them.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Horoscope for the day

I don't believe in astrology, but from time to time, I do read my horoscope to amuse myself. Here is mine for today:

Your brain is hungry for new stimulation, so do some exploring in a new location.


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Fashion trashiness

I went down to the cafeteria commons at the research institute to have my lunch that I brought.

The cafeteria was halfway filled with some seller selling what I term "expensive trash".

Visualize giant purses in colors of lime green, bright fuchsia pink, and metallic colors that scream. Imagine some of these purses with giant gold chains.

There even was a purse by Baby Phat covered in fake fur. Ick.

Who wears this stuff other than "ladies of the night"?

Oh, and there was bottles of cologne/perfume. I did not even know that Paris Hilton had a line of perfumes out. But who would buy it and wear it? I guess it just went along with the rest of the trashiness. Do people really want to emulate Paris Hilton?

Seriously, has understated elegance gone by the wayside?

Warning: "Cute Alert"

The markings on the newborn kitten spell: "I Love Dot".

Coincidentally, the kitten's mommy cat is named "Dottie". So, the markings can be interpreted to say that the kitten loves mommy cat.

Awwww. Definitely an overdose on cuteness...

To see the article as well as to follow a link to see a video, look here.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Hungarian Court Dance

It would seem that some memories have been triggered from the days when I used to dance the Palotás . It is a Hungarian court/palace dance that is somewhat similar to the minuet. I have to say, I do miss those days and feel a bit nostalgic. Perhaps lately, I just have been feeling more in touch with my Hungarian side.

I have to confess that doing all that footwork in high heels was not an easy task. But I had no choice as I always seem to get the tall guys as my partner. But looking at my pictures of when I danced the Palotás, I guess that most Hungarian guys are just much taller than I am.

My dress is/was also much much more ornate and "restricting". Dancing in a corset was no easy task. You really do learn very quickly not lace a corset too tightly.

Anyhow, I found a clip of a group dancing the Palotás.


Friday, March 21, 2008

Hungarian Easter Tradition

In Hungary, there is an Easter tradition called Húsvéti Locsolás. What this roughly translates to "Easter Watering". No, we are not talking about watering plants. It is the "watering" of women and young girls.

It is traditional for men and young boys to go to the girls homes (usually on Easter Monday) and douse (or dunk) them with water. In return the men or young boys get painted eggs, chocolates, candy, Hungarian pasteries, and perhaps a kiss. Not an equitable trade if you ask me.

Anyhow, fortunately, times have changed a bit and it is now traditional to "sprinkle" the young lady with perfume/cologne. I can remember many an Easter smelling of at least a dozen or so fragrances. I would like to add that it is not a pleasant olfactory experience at the conclusion. Some fragrances should never be combined...

Anyhow, for more information about this tradition, look here.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Spring Meme

Ah, today is the vernal equinox. That means spring is here. Okay, it is a little difficult to believe with the new snow fall from yesterday, but really, spring is supposed to be here. Okay, anyhow, here is spring meme I found at Miz Minka's:

Your favorite part of spring? Milder temperatures, spring woodland flowers, and all the photographic opportunities.

Your least favorite part of spring? The beginning of Daylight Savings Time. I am not a morning person.

Your favorite springtime color/s? The soft tender green coupled with pinks and lavenders.

Your favorite bird(s)? I would say the Mourning Dove. I have a pair that nests in my blue spruce and I love listening to them coo. Somehow, it is soothing.

Your least favorite bird? Grackles. They congregate in groups and make a lot of noise. They seem particularly fond of waking me up in the morning.

Your favorite springtime “bloomer”? Hyacinths. I love everything about them, especially their fragrance.

Your favorite flower, period? Orchids and then roses.

Your least favorite flower? Carnations. They seem to be in abundance at funerals and their scent and presence seems to evoke images of death for me. A few in a bouquet are fine, but not in a majority.

Your favorite springtime activity? Going hiking to do photography and enjoying all the spring woodland flowers.

A song that makes you think of spring? Vivaldi's Spring of his Four Seasons. Okay, I know it is not a song...How about White Coral Bells? I remember learning the song in grade school:

White Coral Bells upon a slender stalk.
Lilies of the Valley deck my garden walk.
Oh, don't you wish that you can hear them ring?
That will happen only when the faeries sing.

Your favorite springtime poem, if any: Um. This is tough because my favorite spring poems are in Hungarian. I grew up learning them as a child.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Beethoven and a Stradivarius

This weekend I had the pure joy of listening to Beethoven's Violin Concerto in D and Paganini’s Duo For One Violin on a Stradivarius in the hands of a talented violinist. There are no words that can describe the sheer beauty of that experience.

For information about the performance and clip see here.

To say that there is something beautiful and magical about a Stradivarius is an understatement...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Given the fact that the Cleveland area still has a lot of snow on the ground and is still in winter's grip, what better time to monitor the Iditarod in comfort and warmth? Look here.

I absolutely loved Gary Paulsen's book, Winterdance. He recounts his adventures in training and running the famous Iditarod. It is also the only book which has made me laugh out loud.

Aside from the humor, the book also gave me great admiration for the men, women, and dogs that participate in this traditional race.

Deep inside, I am a closet adventurist.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Winter Storm

This weekend has proved to be quite a storm.

I attempted to venture out to go across town because I needed to be there and and I wanted to keep my word. I think I was also overconfident regarding my driving abilities.

Suffice it to say, I did not make it far. I got as far as the entrance ramp to I-480 and got good and stuck in a snow drift. Apparently two other people decided my idea was a good one and did the same thing with their cars just in front of me. I stayed there for almost three hours waiting at the mercy of AAA's schedule. Fortunately for me, a kind person came by and pulled my car out with his truck.

I decided that road conditions were not only hazardous, by dangerous and decided at that point to thank fate for getting me out and I went home and stayed put.

The storm was bad enough that there were stuck cars everywhere littering the streets like some road-kill. The storm was bad enough to close colleges, stores, restaurants, and yes, even the beloved orchid show I was looking forward to.

There was no mass manufactured hysteria that I observed. Only kind-hearted people trying to help one another out.

For those that think that the description of the storm is exaggerated while observing from the warm comfort of home, or only having a quick jaunt out to the nearby market, I would say try going out in that crap and getting stuck and being at the mercy of the weather conditions for three hours.

For crying out loud, the airport, Hopkins International Airport closed down. That is something that has not happened for about 25 years or so. Closing down an international airport I assume is not a light decision...

Rather than casually observe and pass judgement in warm comfort, experience first hand, and then I will be happy to entertain opposing thoughts on the matter.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Pizza Kittens

It would seem that my FAVORITE rescue organization (Rainbow Connection Animal Foundation) has a contest in which to vote for the kittens and gives all proceeds to the rescue foundation.

The web address is:

They are listed under "Pizza Kittens". If we win (RCAF), all proceeds go to the rescue, not the foster! You have to go to "P" and then find the PIZZA KITTENS within the "P" area.

Please pass along and ask your friends to vote for PIZZA KITTENS.

(I don't know why they are called Pizza Kittens.)

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

I'm baaack....

Well, sort of. I think I am about 80-90 percent recovered from this flu virus. I have to say it was pretty nasty. The fatigue was a killer.

The last time I had the flu was about 10 years ago. It was bad. After that, I vowed that every year I would get the flu shot. So I did.

So, this season, I faithfully got my flu shot. But, as luck would have it, I seemed to get a strain that was not in the flu shot.

Posting will be a bit on the light side until I get back in full force.

Of course, being a graduate student did not help with the recovery process.
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