Sunday, February 15, 2009

true love?

The professor always brings home flowers on Valentine's Day...even if I've told him I don't need them! On a university campus, somebody is always using holidays to have a fundraising opportunity. In this case, it's the horticulture club and their advisor is a friend of ours, and they sell roses. I'd prefer Fair Trade flowers, but as that wasn't on offer, I was happy to take whatever my poor exhausted professor brought home. He's been in charge of shepherding some visitors to his department (5 visitors in 5 weeks) so it was just good that he didn't collapse, with flowers, on his walk home.

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!

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Blogger Willow said...

No crazy valentine stories. When we lived in Indonesia, we'd forget there was anything special about Feb 14. The Professor and I don't remember even now, usually.

February 15, 2009 at 4:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Red turnip pickles. Huh. Okay, now I want to go to an ethnic grocery store and just look at all the new-to-me stuff.

February 15, 2009 at 4:20 PM  
Blogger cyndy said...

I'm so glad you got those roses!

Hard to believe some people would throw beauty like that into a dumpster...good that they found their way to your table--and hooray to your friend for rescuing them!

February 16, 2009 at 7:46 PM  
Blogger Geek Knitter said...

It took 15 years of hinting before my sweetie brought me flowers for the first time. But at least he remembered that I prefer carnations to hot-house roses!

February 17, 2009 at 10:55 AM  
Blogger Ali P said...

Its a cold and wintery nd I miss my gardens so much. I cut flowers all summer for the house, sticking them in an old mason jar usually or the fugly wine carafe Husband got from work (it would be beautiful if not to the company logo etched in the glass...TACKY!!). I got no flowers for V Day but did have a trip to the big bookstore and got two books.
I LOVE turnip pickles with a big order of shish taouk. YUM!! I have a bottle of them in the cupboard!

February 19, 2009 at 8:07 AM  

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