Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Floral Purpitude

Busy Memorial Day weekend. I added a bunch of plants to the blue & purple garden, which has hitherto been a bit sparse. I planted
(1) leadwort
(2) society garlic
(3) 'Ophelia' egglplant
(4) 'Twinkle' eggplant
(5) 'Classic' eggplant
(6) mystery plum-colored perennial

The existing plants were
(1) Blue butterfly plant (Clerodendrum ugandense)
(2) white-flowered jasmine
(3) plumbago
(4) Crinum macowanii
(5) young X Chitalpa tree

When we (someday) build an arbor over the kitchen patio, we'll grow skyvine up it, producing even more lovely bluey-purple. It shall be SO serene.

Door Work
So that was Saturday. Sunday I sanded the three antique doors that Javier sized for us. I used 220 on problem areas (stains, bits of paint, &c.) and 600 everywhere else. I used my little hand sander, which really works reasonably well, though it was an undeniably long and tedious process to finish all three doors.

Then on Monday I stained (using a color called "Gunstock," to match the shelves in the study. Sheesh, that name is silly. If the stain could talk, it would say to me, "Wal, howdy ma'am." See? Silly.) The door to the master bed was darker than all the rest when stripped, so it naturally came out darkest when stained. The others are not only lighter, but brighter, so I'm thinking of applying a quick coat of a color I think was called "American Cherry." Inexplicably, it was quite light and distinctly greyish in color (shouldn't a "cherry" stain be dark and red?). I'm hoping that little bit of grey will dull down the orangey red a bit--but only a bit. Best test on the hinge side first.

The varnish will have to await our next paycheck (not to mention a resurgence of motivation). At the moment, the mere thought makes me despair (multiple coats, complete sanding of all sides between coats--faugh!--as medieval knights sometimes say when faced with a particularly foul-breathed dragon).

Even in their incomplete state, though, the doors look ever so handsome. I've always appreciated them as being solidly built, pretty, strong chunks of wood, but it wasn't until I was vacuuming off the dust--painstakingly, inch by inch--that I was really struck by how very solid they are, how smooth and satiny the surface is, how perpendicular all the pieces of wood are, and just in general how very satisfying and admirable the doors are, particularly when you consider that--unlike contemporary doors--they weren't extruded from some machine and steam-molded into a flimsy simulacrum of wood. Some person or people shaped them by hand. And--amazingly--everything fits together and all the angles are square and nothing is warped or caddywhompus. The things some people know how to do.

The Bard
And finally, I witnessed my new favorite Shakespearean reference of the year the other day. Jon Stewart and John Oliver were discussing the expenses abuse scandal in Britain:
JO: I'm from England, Jon. And even mid-scandal, I'm proud of this royal throne of kings, this sceptered isle and its moats, yay, its unwittingly public-funded moats—
JS: You—you’re gonna go Richard II on the moats thing?
JO: Fuck, yeah. Strap in.
Sing it, baby.

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