Preserving Flowers

I’d like to preserve this day, when we took Kariin’s Baba (Obaachan) to make a little dried flower wreath for her 71st birthday. It all rolled out, just like planned, but better.

For starters, we all showed up, relatively on time– the men in what KT directed them to wear: a necktie, shirt, pants, and yes, underwear. “Men will look handsome, and ladies will wear a pretty dress,” she firmly stated. Rules are rules when a three year old purposes something including any mention of underwear.

Actually, the day started with Le Bistrot de Marc, where we toasted my Mother-in-Law with cabernet sauvignon and a lovely meal from the French countryside. Our table overlooked the old, wooden bridge of Oji and an herb garden. You could squint and swear you were in Provence, especially a Provence packed with Asian tourists. It was all terrific. Kariin ate every spoonful of her potato soup, her delicate white fish laid over grilled sweet potatoes in a mikan and beurre blanc sauce. She didn’t dribble or anything. A real sophisticated big girl, using the adult silverware until halfway, when she switched to silver that was more petite.

We rolled into a cab (still hungry from our French food), Jude, Kariin, Baba, & I, leaving the others to their train ride to our home.

“To the flower shop, mate! And step on it! Go!”

Actually, it would have been someone else explaining in Japanese where exactly we were going, with a good sprinkling of “sumimasen/excuseme/thankyousir“.

You know, Japanese cabs can feel more like a luxe limo service than a smelly jungle of NYC sweat; there are no piles of trash, no cursing, no loud sports radio. Many drivers wear white gloves, have white seats, and doors automatically open and shut. All of this lent to our carefree, pretty feeling as we piled in and out in our lacy, beaded, crinoline, velvet fall-in-the-city finery. (Plus Jude in his cotton onesie).

It is such a lovely shop, bursting and brimming with life and chlorophyll! I could just LIVE there, or take baths.


Very Anthropologie, non?

Their materials were all laid out: fragrant star anise, dried in its super star pods, stellar pokey stars housing other seeds, preserved creamy white roses, pine cones, mini rose pine cones, all that sorta dried stuff. All texture and design.  They poked and placed and finally glued with an oozing hot glue gun and the flower woman’s help.


Baba really got into it and Kariin only left the table a couple of times: to play with her brother and to see if the shop dog, Radish, a downy Airedale, was finally awake and out of hiding. (He never emerged).


Mover over, Radish dog. There’s a new Alpha in town.

We left with a confident flower-artist, Baba, their jointly-made wreath, and a sleeping brother. Up the hill we walked for our fancy cake and blowing out candles time.


I know every birthday is special. I’m alllll for celebrating those we love, and it seems all the more important that we let our grandparents know how cherished they are. I know–I’m always thinking about our disturbingly, haltingly, fleeting time on this Earth. I want everyone to live like Methuselah and be sharp and keen, doing Sodoku. I really love this woman, in particular.

It just felt so good to have helped plan a whole day full of activities I knew my M-in-L would love. Can you imagine if I put that thought into everyone’s birthday? I always feel like I lack in the celebration department. Things fall apart and I don’t get that card in the mail in time for its round-the-world commute. I obsess over the right gift, scouring websites and pinning stuff, overthinking but then letting some big ball drop. I was so happy with these results.

Long live French food, flowers, and gorgeous, overpriced dessert! Muah! And long live our Baba!!! I’m going to send her an “I Love You“, tout de suite!!

Any celebrations you’ve planned for those you love that you are especially pleased with? Grandpa, Mom, friend, sis, son? Or maybe you PLANNED something rad, but it all fell apart like stale pound cake?! What’d you do? How’d it go down?

One thought on “Preserving Flowers

  1. This sounds like such a lovely… AMAZING day! So thoughtful 🙂
    Last year for my mom’s birthday, I made a huge poster and hung it up on the side of a brick building in the middle of our little town (everyone has used that brick wall for birthday banners for as long as I can remember!) the night before. When she got up the next morning, I offered to drive her to get some coffee before work, taking her past the wall. She was so excited that I took the time to make the poster and walk down to the wall (with a ladder, no less) to hang it up without her knowing. When she took the banner down, she hung it up in her room for weeks afterwards!

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