Some tentative signs of spring have finally arrived in our neighborhood ... at least the first snowdrops have broken the ground! Actually these clumps (in the far back garden where it's much sunnier than out front) first emerged on February 25 (the first two shots) and were promptly buried again by snow and then that torrential rain-hail event we had the day after that. But, true to their tough reputation, they persevered and are now entering into full bloom.
This first shot shows the flowers just breaking through the surface and beginning to unfold their leaves .. I first thought these might be crocus, but closer examination revealed that no, these were indeed Snowdrops. This particular clump has migrated a bit from the original planting and appears to be doing quite nicely spreading out around the area. We're glad to see them gradually forming more small drifts of flowers each spring, which is precisely what we wanted them to do over time. These were some of the very first bulbs we planted over 8 years ago and every year we're thrilled to see them arrive and bring more of their friends with them, because where Snowdrops are concerned, the more the merrier! We'd love to plant several more big masses of them, but for some reason, Snowdrops are a very pricey bulb for such a small flower ... averaging just under a dollar a piece, which seems inordinate to me, but hey I don't set the prices. Maybe one of these days we'll find a mega sale on them and we can plant them everywhere, but for now, we just have 3 areas where they grow, out back where these are, in the Primrose bed and a few in our original bulb bed by the sidewalk. Fernymoss told me today that the ones out front are just beginning to come up, so I should have photos of those soon!
Here's the more developed clump ... as you can see the flowers are just beginning to emerge from their stems ... then nasty weather hit for two days (Snow, Rain, Hail!) and I was afraid to go check on their progress (besides it was like a lake in the backyard!) until late last week.
Friday I could tell from the window that they were indeed blooming now, so after work I headed out (swamp and all) and took some pictures ... They're coming along quite nicely now! I'm glad to see them finally arrive, and given the chilly weather we're due to have this week, I think they'll stick around for a while. Snowdrop blooms can last quite a while as long as the weather doesn't turn off hot (fat chance of that here right now!), so they should be around long enough to join the crocus when they finally get going, so look forward to much more of them together.
Honestly, I'm getting really impatient for the crocus to appear! Both of us have been scouring areas of the gardens where they will come up and haven't seen a single sign of them yet ... I think it's going to take a few days of really nice, sunny weather to spur them along, but when they pop, we're looking forward to a veritable explosion of crocus!
And yes, I'm a bit antsy about that ... I've had more than my fill of winter and all its "bugs" that have been hitting me all winter long! Last Tuesday-Thursday I was hit with yet another intestinal bug that gave me intense and very painful stomach cramps along with everyone's favorite, vomiting as well. Tuesday and Wednesday night were miserable and I could hardly sleep at all and it was Friday night before I had much solid food other than saltines and toast, but finally I was able to work my way back to some scrambled eggs. Oddly enough, at some indeterminate point on Friday afternoon, I suddenly felt all better, so apparently that particular nasty bug finally decided to exit my system. Thanks for leaving, and please don't come back will ya? It seems like I've had every single thing that has come through town this winter and have been sick off and on since Christmas, and I think I deserve a break! Anyway, I hope you helped yourself to the cheese while I whined there....
Ok, excuse me, but I still can't resist precious puppy moments ... here's Hanna from Friday night as we were watching John Waters' A Dirty Shame ... obviously this one didn't capture her interest any more than Wallace and Gromit the previous week. I guess she's just not a movie dog, though she has shown some interest in The Dog Whisperer and a few Animal Planet shows we've watched recently, mostly because they had barking dogs in them, I think. But then she had played really hard with Lacey several times Friday night and I think at the point I took this shot, they had both been played out and Hanna didn't even twitch when I took a whole series of her ... she was totally out to lunch, curled up in a ball and didn't move until we got ready to head upstairs....Actually she pulled a funny stunt last night after she got all wound up playing with Lacey (who then tired and quit playing) ... she started tearing around the room at breakneck speed, running behind all the curtains, couch and furniture multiple times before sailing across the living room toward the couch ... she made a minor miscalculation in jumping and rammed head on into the base of the couch! She paused briefly, as if saying, "I meant to do that!," then jumped up on the couch and curled up. We were both cracking up because it was such a classic cartoonish moment, one that made me think of Pee Wee Herman on his bike. It's moments like those that make us savor every silly puppy moment she gives us ... she's such a happy energetic pup who really knows how to live in the moment. I think in that respect she has a lot to teach us. It's rarely a dull moment with Hanna around!
Well, Lacey went home today and it's much quieter (and oddly more spacious) around here now. I'm sure Lacey is home now, relishing the peace and quiet without a crazy puppy pestering her to play at every instant ... she's such a patient and loving dog. I do think the two of them did bond somewhat over the week or so we had Lacey around and by last night they were even snuggling up together briefly, but the best thing was that there were no spats or too much jealousy exhibited. We're just hoping that Hanna filed away those good puppy tips Lacey had to pass on to her ... I think she will. She's a great little dog with a good start and learns so fast that we have really high hopes for her ... we just have to keep her busy and stimulated. Which reminds me, it's about time to play "find the treats" again ... it's a game we used to play with Pepa and Rolly ... very simple actually ... the dog must leave the room while we go around and plant bits of dog food in the room, out in plain sight, but odd places (windowsills, baseboards, ledges, etc.) then let Hanna back in, tell her to find the treats and she gets busy! The last time we played with her, it took her about an hour to find all the pieces (there were a lot) but she was a happy pup when she finished!
Now a few words about A Dirty Shame ...
Our Friday night dinner and a movie was purely escapist and frivolous, as only John Waters can deliver ... so this week's choice was easy ... when everything else sounds blah, delve into the Waters! I know many of you may not be familiar with John Waters, other than perhaps Hairspray, but he's been an obsession of mine for many years ... I've followed every film of his since Mondo Trasho, Multiple Maniacs and the infamous Pink Flamingos and Female Trouble since the late 1970's. I've watched with fascination how he's morphed into more "mainstream" filmmaking over the years with films such as Polyester, Hairspray, Cry Baby and Pecker, and have generally been pretty approving of these works, even if they strayed pretty far from his original radical épater le bourgeois ("outrage the bourgeois") type trash fests. With a couple of exceptions I find somewhat questionable, Serial Mom, Cecil B. Demented, I love his entire trashy oeuvre. (Did you know William S. Burroughs gave him the moniker of "Pope of Trash?")
Now, Waters' films are not for everyone. In fact they generally aim to offend, outrage and make you laugh at the absurdity of we silly humans. No obsession is spared, no fetish or foible is spared ... Waters lays it all out for ample mockery. If all you've seen is Hairspray (hopefully the Waters non-musical version), there's a whole world behind all of that awaiting you, and it's not always pretty, but it's funny as hell.
So ... it was with slavering anticipation that I awaited the arrival of A Dirty Shame back in 2004. Alas, this film got such a pitiful release (only in big cities) that it never made it to Des Moines, or else no one would book it, I'm not sure which. That was a pity, because this is perhaps the funniest Waters film in about 30 years, and is, in many ways, a throwback to his earlier, trashier and more jubilant films. I've always wondered if he had this idea filed away somewhere from way back because it seems like such a fit for his regulars such as Divine, Edie Massey, Mink Stole and the rest of the Dreamland crew of yore ... but no matter, how he finally brought this to the screen is brilliance. Casting the likes of Tracey Ullmann (that woman can do no wrong!), Johnny Knoxville and Chris Isaak, it had to be good!
The plot, quite simply, relates the war between the "sex addicts" and the "neuters," who engage in battle in modern day Baltimore, centering around the tawdry "Pack n'Sack" convenienence store run by Ullmann and Isaak. One morning, as Sylvia Stickles (Ullmann) heads to the store, she runs out of gas, gets out of her car and is whacked on the head by a passing vehicle, which leads a to life changing moment ... at that point she becomes a sex addict who is rescued by Ray Ray (Knoxville) and introduced to a whole new life diametrically opposed to her humdrum sex negative life. What follows is a compendium of sexual perversions and fetishes as we meet the various denizens of the sex addict community, all to hilarious results. Even Waters admits he doesn't think some of these are for real, but he just had to include them for comic effect.
So if you've ever been wondering what "Yodeling in the canyon" is, or a "double decker" or what a "plate job" is, this is the film that will reveal the answers for you. I've omitted a few of the more unsavory references (well, quite a few of them!) but this should give you a flavor of what's in store. It's all in good natured Watersian fun and if you approach this film with the right attitude, it should be a lot of fun (we got our requisite bellyaches of laughs as always). Obviously, if you have kids around the house, make sure they're fast asleep unless you want to be answering uncomfortable questions for quite some time! "Daddy, why is that guy eating dirt?" "Why is that man dressed up like a baby?" "Why is that woman's crotch burning?"
Thankfully, dogs don't ask those kinds of questions.