When I was small, I spent most of my days with my Aunt Susie. She wasn't actually my aunt (her father's third cousin's niece married my grandmother's father's wife's ex-husband's best friend, or something like that), but she made miniature layer cakes just for me and peeled my grapes, which, by the by, is still the standard by which I judge someone's affection. (n.o.c. best get to stepping.) Anyway, my favorite room in her house was her front parlor, which I cleverly dubbed the "soft room," since it was carpeted and had fancy, plush furniture that no one ever sat on. The doors were kept closed, and the room stayed a few degrees cooler than the rest of the house, so that's where Aunt Susie kept her Christmas cacti. They were enormous - prehistoric, mythic in stature - draping long-legged and tentacle-y over shelves and tchotchkes. I was always amazed by the annual profusion of gaudy, highly suggestive blooms produced by plants that were usually pretty homely.
Two years ago, I acquired Christmas cacti of my own. They were in bloom when I got them, so I can take no credit for that, and I fully expected them to commit suicide after the holidays. Amazingly, they survived the year, and even more amazingly, they bloomed this Christmas. (Sorry about the poor picture quality; these pics were taken pre-blog.)
Now here we are in February, and I'll be damned if the red one isn't having another go.
This flower is practically indecent.
Maybe little dear is being cheeky and blooming on Valentine's Day. Or maybe it's for President's Day. This cactus clearly transcends my arbitrary notions of what a Christmas cactus should do.