What happened to my fairy godmother? Remember all those stories about girls with several fairy godmothers and each one blesses her at her birth with wonderful gifts? Some of those gifts were kind of nice, and would have made life pleasant. A little more charm, a lot more grace, one of those voices that makes everyone stop to listen. Those sorts of things would have come in handy – especially during job interviews.
You’d think that if a princess rates seven or eight fairy godmothers the rest of us should get at least one or two of those useful ladies – depending on how stressful our lives were going to be or something. I mean, Cinderella wasn’t a princess and she had a fairy godmother. Cinderella’s fairy godmother even came back when she got older to continue being helpful. But I’m pretty sure that if I have a fairy godmother that there is only the one, and it is very probable that she got lost on the way to the blessing ceremony. I guess fairy godmothers don’t come with GPS.
My fairy godmother didn’t give me softly flowing blonde hair or a voice like a bell or the grace of a dancer. But, I”ve managed OK so far and as I age I see less and less the need for those gifts anyway. Now the gifts I want have nothing to do with how I look. Instead, I want the gift my mother-in-law had of being able to find the things that were in her kitchen cupboards. I want the gift of never losing the lid for a storage container or casserole dish; the knack for stacking bowls, plates, and cups as compactly as the manufacturer had them when I brought them home from the store. That gift should also be good for loading dishwashers, keeping order in the silverware drawer, fitting towels into the bathroom cupboard, and rotating the contents of the refrigerator so they don’t fall out when we open the door – oh, yeah, and so we get them used before they go bad.
It might have been nice if my fairy godmother had spared me from ADHD, since one of the symptoms is the inability to walk a truly straight path through a room. Having an over-active brain and trouble with impulse control is something I’ve gotten used to. I don’t mind the adaptations needed for being left-handed, and I kind of figure I deserve the arthritis in my knees. I also don’t feel the need for a fairy godmother to handle the over-abundance of stuff in my home; I’ll take the blame for that. Where I would really like my fairy godmother to excel is to keep me from being the target for so much gravity and equal-and-opposite-reaction stuff. Why do I have to try three times to get my cane to stay leaning politely where I put it? Why do stacks of things fall over when I walk through a room – even when I don’t bump into them? Why does one stack of books and papers falling have to cause three other stacks to tumble?
Then there is the distraction factor – I really needed my fairy godmother to be on the ball with that. I already mentioned the ADHD, and distraction is my middle name. Even good things can be distracting – laundry, dishes, mail, cooking – those chores are easy to ignore on an average day, but they call out to me when I need to be writing. Shouldn’t my fairy godmother have helped me organize my time better?
Where is my fairy godmother? What gift did she give me? Have you ever found yourself asking a similar question – and if so, do you have any answers?
Late in the second week of December my husband and I went Christmas shopping and while we were out we picked up one of those boxed Christmas plants. Now, most years I buy one of those, a red amaryllis like the one shown above, for my mother. Mom has a green thumb and her amaryllis always grows fast and tall and blooms beautifully – lately they have been growing too fast and too tall and toppling over just about the time they start blooming, but they still look lovely and Mom still likes them. This year, however, I got a tiny poinsettia for Mom. Then I decided to get a different plant and to get it for me – I got the box with paperwhite bulbs.
We don’t have experience with paperwhite flowers. I’d seen some of the paperwhites blooming away on the pages of gardening catalogs and the covers of the boxes in stores. They looked like tiny white daffodils with abbreviated trumpets – quite charming, just what I wanted. For once I actually followed through and planted the bulbs within 24 hours of bringing the box home. I kept the bulbs moist and they started to grow.
The paperwhites grew fast. Everyone in the house was enjoying watching these plants grow. They started growing an inch a day! Now and then someone would say – “Have you been watching those plants on the windowsill? They’re growing like crazy!” We all felt a little more cheerful watching those bulbs grow. Then this week they were growing more like an inch and a half a day! Buds started forming and we knew they would bloom soon.
On Monday, the first bloom opened! Hurray! It was so pretty. The plant is up on the kitchen windowsill, almost a foot and a half tall, and the blossoms are about to get lost in the valance, they are up there so high. But they are pretty and make us all feel more cheerful because it is good to see something growing so willingly when it is cold and dark outdoors.
Now, I am not a good housekeeper so when I noticed an odd smell in the kitchen I got busy and washed out some dishes that need hand-washed – the things that tend to pile up when lazy people have a dishwasher. Later in the day I noticed that the odd smell still hadn’t left, so I put some baking soda down the sink and ran the garbage disposal. Then my husband started cleaning, too. We discussed the odd smell. He suspected there might be a dead mouse under the kitchen sink. I greeted this idea with appropriate disgust and cleaned a bit more. Still, when we examined things more closely the smell definitely wasn’t coming from under the sink either.
Then… the resident son-in-law said, “Have you smelled those flowers? Have kind of an odd scent to them.” I smelled the flowers. Odd is putting it mildly. I had my husband smell them – he really didn’t appreciate me for not warning him. Honestly folks, paperwhites are beautiful flowers and will cheer you up on dark winter days, but if you decide to grow them put them in a room with a lot of ventilation – a LOT. If you don’t mind the smell, it is an inexpensive way to cheer up your winter. However, the scent is enough to make me miss geraniums – and I used to hate the scent of geraniums.
I kept the box for the instructions. The picture on the box shows each paperwhite stalk with a lot of blossoms on it. I’m not sure we will survive if this one blooms that much! I’m thinking I need to look for a growing kit for freesias because I know I like the scent of those flowers.
Great info on getting an amaryllis to bloom, the first time, and for years to come. It is the source of the photo of the amaryllis.
This site teaches you how to force paperwhite bulbs to bloom and is the source of the paperwhite photo I have posted.
Site telling about an effort to commemorate the War of 1812, the establishment of Canada as a country, and making the red geranium the official symbol of that war. It is the source of the photo of the red geraniums.
I have to tell you that from the time I decided to make this a blog post and include some photos I have learned a whole lot about the plants I mentioned. Even something as simple as sharing my experience with growing a plant in my window has made me research and expand my knowledge. I found it to be fun and informative, and only frustrating because I closed sites too quickly and had to search them out again so I could share the links with you. Now I’m going to have to get busy and learn to use my Paperwhite Kindle… which I already know is going to take me some time and several helpers.
What do you do to keep from getting depressed during the winter months? Do those things ever backfire on you? Please post a comment and share your experiences with me. I’d like to know more about you.