That said, the professor's office is very overheated and the roses were sad and droopy just like he felt. I cut their stems, popped them in water with some "pep me up" sugar, and we got ready for our Friday night dinner guests.
In walks our favorite Norwegian bachelor farmer, err, make that Norwegian bachelor biologist, for dinner. (For more on this NPR listener joke, check out this great essay.) Note: our friend is really from Norwegian stock, he's a longtime bachelor, and his PhD specialty? Botany. He's not a radio show character but a real person and we enjoy his company.
Our friend is carrying an enormous box, and he pulls out of it this amazing bouquet of pink tinged roses with lavender baby's breath. "But," he adds right away, "It's NOT from me!! I didn't BUY this" He looks embarrassed just bringing it over to me. I'm puzzled, but flowers are flowers and get put out right away in the dining room. He explains:
Someone in the department received these flowers. She doesn't like roses, and apparently her boyfriend wasn't listening. He wasn't even able to order the flowers himself; his mother did it. Then, she attempted to leave the flowers in the office over the weekend and her office-mate told her they wouldn't last and she MUST take them home. Our friend, the frugal Norwegian bachelor biologist, caught her attempting to throw them into the dumpster. "Oh!!" he exclaimed. "I know someone who will enjoy those!!" We all suspect the boyfriend in this story isn't going to make it long term. That said, if you're at a university, this sort of dating drama is par for the course. No sense wasting the flowers, after all, it's not their fault!
So, here I am, a person who loves getting flowers in season, flowers grown in my yard--locally picked flowers-- with not one but two dozen hothouse roses. Wow. (This is when you say, "don't look a gift rose in the mouth..." or something like that.)
Meanwhile, Sally the dog has discovered a new love. The storms knocked hackberry limbs into our yard. With those limbs come berries (about the shade of that link) and Sally loves them. She is grazing on them constantly. We're worried that maybe they are not just old, but fermented...she's behaving strangely, but we love her anyhow. Any insights into hackberries? Let us know!
Yet, in discussing the merits of true love...and not just on Valentine's Day, I think it's not really about the roses or even the hackberries. Yesterday night, the professor and I were making dinner--Asian salad rolls--and we ran out of a key ingredient...the rice skin wrappers. The professor walked up the street to our local ethnic grocery, and he came back with what we needed and a great surprise.
The grocery has changed ownership, and they now have a much wider display of merchandise, including a lot of Middle Eastern food. In order to prove this new discovery was true, the professor bought me turnip pickles. We both like this treat; usually I have to make them myself. This just saved me hours of pickle making time, and that is a real sign of love these days...I've been so busy with work!
Plus, it's dyed with beet juice, so it's pinkish red. Just right for Valentine's Day. You never can tell what will be the sweetest treat. Sometimes it's actually pretty sour and salty!
Dear blog readers: Quirky Valentine's Stories? Stories of love gone awry? Drop a comment below and let us know why!