New shamrock plant! (How long before I kill it?)

Had a great brunch with my parents at Carlyle (my first time there — a special hello to the sauteed crab cakes among biscuit, scrambled eggs and hollandaise sauce) and came home with a new shamrock plant. My last one, if you remember, arrived at my apartment on St. Patrick’s Day ’06 and spent the next few years dying and miraculously resurrecting.

Any guesses how long this one has? Learning from the first’s initial die-off (from which it never really recovered), I’ve removed the pot’s plastic wrapper. Who could’ve known it was trapping most of the water? Most people, I guess. You have my word, no accidental drownings this time.

Happy St. Patrick’s Week!

Back to life

“Yesterday, the Pacific glistened like an electric blue Otter Pop. I felt like I was in Maui or Lebanon or something. The sun is hot, but the breeze is nice. My tan is coming along.”

I’ve never met Molly Knight, but she’s a good friend of the Weegee of the Southwest. I have no idea what an Otter Pop is, but Molly Knight makes me want one.

I can settle for the summer revival of my shamrock plant, which in days has jumped from one surprising stem to many. Moving from the corner this month to help the visiting basil and ZZ plants, the shamrock likes the sun more than I expected. Which means the shamrock should also be friends with the new blue sofa, soon to come, elemental and in the sky.

My only plant

Two St. Patrick’s days ago, my mom gave me a shamrock. It thrived for months until a die-off, and I realized I’d never pulled the wrapping off the pot. The water level had slowly risen to the top of the pot.

Half the plant eventually came back to life, but it kept a difficult relationship with water. Watering seemed more likely to kill stems than encourage neighbors. Over and over again, the plant halved itself. Or I halved the plant. My mom bought a shamrock plant for herself each year and was happy if it lasted until the next St. Patrick’s Day. I wasn’t sure if mine was better off for two and a half years of death throes. A string of stems at the beginning of this summer were the last I’d seen.

But one appeared this weekend. Yesterday morning:

Taking a chance, I gave it a little drink. The afternoon:

It may be the last one, so I wanted to commemorate it.

booze isn’t cryptogram

That’s a subject line I’m seeing as I clear out my spam folder. It’s got half the tallies it used to have. The worst offenders, the spams with the worst scores, get deleted before they get to me for a couple months now. Never seem them. Just trashed. The minor offenders make it through to the spam folder, and a few each day sneak past everything and get in the heart of my inbox. They get no love, not like they used to. They’re only sneaking by because they’ve got nothing exciting to say. And we all can put up with those, can’t we? But they’re kinda no good. A lot no good really. Nothing to flag them, nothing to salute.

The day’s feeling a little expansive at least. Morning was part two of Country Boys, the Appalachian documentary I wrote about here months ago and recorded but only made it 20 minutes into. Skipping the rest of part one, I jumped to two today and thought about the final third for later this week. Long watches of the boys’ lives, trying to dig it out in an alternative high school, booted from other spots before, sorting what alcoholism and death and poverty have left for them and not left.

Afternoon was Isaac Hayes’ Hot Buttered Soul and its eight minutes of Walk on By and twenty minutes of By the Time I Get to Phoenix, with a chaser of Al Green’s greatests album and the rest of the BMG club’s latest. There was head nodding all over the place, reptitive to the extreme but with these little jags to find out if the beat was still beating. It’s an important check.

Somewhere in between the morning and the afternoon, I was watching one squirrel chase another around this car parked on the next street over. The pair chased uder the front tires, then one dashed out and away and the other took a few seconds to take off in pursuit. A note to all the kids out there? I’m not Patrick Cooper the children’s book author who’s written, among other things, Never Trust a Squirrel. If you e-mail me, as you did last week and have before, I’ll be happy to forward your message to him. I’ve done it before and have always found him very nice. But if you’re reading this, I’m not him.

But back to the squirrels. They’re the closest living things to the ground that I’ve noticed today. There was all kinds of trash in the gutter up on Wilson Boulevard, but the squirrel play got the living award. Furthest from the ground has been the planes taking off from National and flying to the path the arrival usually take. The cloud cover’s high but thick in the warm weather, and all the routes seem off. Those departures have this steep rise away from the river, making a racket under the clouds, and the arrivals are nowhere to be seen. There’s some invisible rumbling every so often that makes me think … who knows. Some plane outside the view.

There’s a shamrock plant on my dresser, and I just noticed all the little white flowers are leaning toward the window, where the sun was last before it went over the building and got cloudier. The reaction’s kinda impressive. Photosyn-th-chloro-what, but the plant only got around lunchtime, when my parents crossed the river to visit. I’ve never been much for taking care of nature, but my mom explained how taking care of it was simple. It would tell me when it needed water, she said. The leaves would start drooping and looking like they could use a drink of something. That, that was simple enough.