April is the Cruelest Month

jess-bruised-but-not-broken

Usually, April is my hands-down, absolute favorite month of the year (besides October, of course). But this year it has really tested the limits of my optimistic resolve. We moved into a new place (family friend short sale, so rent is cheap) that isn’t without its trying times (weekdays we have to let interested buyers look through it), to start. Then, I got injured in a bike accident – in that I accidentally met the pavement. A trip to the emergency room and wallets a little lighter, I’m pretty much ok. Then the fun part – Disneyland! Got to hang out with family wearing goofy family shirts (all kids need a goofy “family on vacation wearing same shirts” trip, right?), got to eat my beloved churro, it was a great day, despite hobbling around with bike injuries.

Now, the end of the month, I am feeling the dry, allergic air hit my throat something fierce. I have to say, this summer is looking better if this April of ups and downs is behind me.

Happy Arbor Day

usps-environment-stamp-arbor-day‘Green’ stamp via USPS

Even more than Earth Day, I enjoy celebrating Arbor Day. Why is that? Because one of the best ways to celebrate Arbor Day is to find yourself a great big tree, plop yourself down and hang out underneath. Especially in the desert, shade trees are enormously important. While I adore the fast-growing, violet-flowering jacarandas, they don’t do much in the shade department. My favorite tree at the moment is a mystery. It is a tree in my front yard. I tried to identify it using the Arbor Day’s What Tree is That? guide, but I just couldn’t figure it out. So I’m still on the identification hunt. But it is a gem in the shade department – the dark leaves are so dense that even when everywhere else in the yard is crispy hot, it is still immensely pleasant under there. I wish it was in my backyard, so I could throw parties underneath it.

fedco-trees-applesThis photo is from a great article about one man’s love of apple’s, his search for his holy grail of apples, and his commitment to turning rare apples into abundant ones.

Today it’s all things trees!

Perhaps you’d like to start your own dawn redwood forest? Start here:

grow-your-own-redwood-forestWe had a live Christmas tree once when I was growing up. Being the dad that he is, my dad refused to get a cut one and bought a 3-foot potted tree. It is in his backyard now, at least 12 ft high. If you’d rather have one that grows at a much slower rate – so you can still decorate for a few years – Apartment Therapy Outdoor has a great tree that will do the trick:

japanese-umbrella-pineA Japanese umbrella pine. For the dwarf variety, you can expect it to grow about 3 feet over 10 years.

If you are low on space, have you thought about espaliered trees? espaliered-treesAny tree is better than no tree, in my mind.

“When we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy.” -Herman Hesse

Happy Full Pink Moon!

queen-of-the-prairie-plantQueen of the Prairie, via Apartment Therapy

Full Pink Moon

“This name came from the herb moss pink, or wild ground phlox, which is one of the earliest widespread flowers of the spring. Other names for this month’s celestial body include the Full Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon, and among coastal tribes the Full Fish Moon, because this was the time that the shad swam upstream to spawn.”

pink-hair-collage

When I found out there was a Pink moon, what more could you ask of me then to bring you a bunch of pink cocktail ideas?!

Strawberry Martini:

2 1/2 shots gin

1/2 shot strawberry liqueur

Pink Cadillac Margarita:

2 oz. Tequila
1 oz. Triple Sec
2 oz. Lime Juice
1 oz. Cranberry Juice
1 tsp. Sugar

Shake with ice and strain over ice into a rocks glass.

One of my favorite pink drinks is also non-alcoholc: a nice Shirley Temple.

shirley-temple-drink

photo via Cravings

Skating Polly, Lost Wonderfuls

skating-polly-rockingphoto via MentalSwag

A couple weeks ago, I was trying to create a Spring playlist to play while unpacking my new house and general “fun” adult stuff. I couldn’t think of but a few new songs I liked well enough, and had the spring-y vibe, to add to the list.

Then the lovely Liz tweeted about an interview she did with Skating Polly, a riot grrrl band if there ever was one. With a 13-year old frontwoman. And an album produced by Exene, from X.

Their album Lost Wonderfuls was just released early April, and it really is a great album for rolling the windows down and letting loose on a Friday night.

Also, I love this version of “Mr. Proper Englishman.

Don’t take my word for it, you can also get Exene’s take on these little rockers:

Happy Earth Day!

cactus-flower-textHere in the desert, a lot of our involvement with Earth Day is info about water conservation, trying to convince people not to have grass lawns, and appreciating the zen sounds of wind through a blossoming ocotillo. Turn up the volume, imagine yourself in the desert for 12 seconds, and have a great day!

My Home Bar: Homeward Bound

home-bar-lemonadephoto via Sailor Jerry

For some people, spring means kneeling in the garden. For others, it means hitting the road. It means the highway, wind blowing in your faces and no particular plan. It means freedom with a capital F. Welcome to the season of road trips.

2 parts Sailor Jerry or other spiced rum
1 lemon wedge
4 parts Fresh (still) lemonade

Glass: highball

Method:
Add Sailor Jerry and fresh lemonade to an ice-filled highball and squeeze ‘n drop lemon wedge.

I made this and kept it in the fridge (in a festively-decorated mason jar, o’ course) as a welcome home gift to myself when we got back from Disneyland. It really took the sting out of unpacking.