Wednesday, May 12, 2021

ups and downs


Rejected, I did not make it into the Lifeforms show...again.

I'm not wowed by the new expensive 800 thread count 100% cotton sateen sheets. While they felt soft enough in the package in the store, they're a little stiff or rather, have a lot of body, and not as soft as the 600 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets we wore out. Hopefully that will change as they get washed more.

Did I mention that the two yellow angel trumpets in the ground did eventually come back? My sister noticed the one over at the shop so I checked the one here and yup, coming back. And I'm finally getting some buds on the sweet peas and this not quite completely open flower surprised me this morning!


Even though we had a couple of cool mornings and low humidity days last week, it is definitely summer now. The yellow clasping leaved coneflowers and the white queen anne's lace are in full bloom in pastures and roadsides and the corn in the fields is about 4' tall. It's hot and humid and the mosquitoes are out, big black ones, a sure sign of summer.

The poppies are done, now I'm just waiting for them to finish going to seed before I pull them out.

I'm working on repotting (or planting in the ground) all the plumerias since it's been several years since I last did and they are all root bound and getting them moved to their summer stations. Another one, the very tall bridal bouquet plumeria that blooms white all summer, has gotten so big, 8' tall, I'm considering ditching it's pot and putting it in the ground except I don't think I'd be able to get it back out in the fall. It was so gorgeous blooming all summer that I am loathe to cut it back though I may have to. If not this year, then next. And I'm having to juggle pots. I split the nun's orchid into two smaller pots so I could use the bigger one it was in.

Nothing else much has been going on around here, just dousing myself with mosquito repellant and dicking around in the yard and sweating.

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Yesterday was a very full day. Did my yoga, wrote on this post some, fixed breakfast, did some repotting and moving of pots around, dug up a clump of the dwarf gladiolus and divided it and delivered the two pots to two neighbors and got some marigolds and a peach colored iris from one and some homegrown green beans and yellow squash from the other in return, gave Minnie a car ride while we went to take pictures of the yellow coneflowers and queen anne's lace, did the dishes (always a mountain since I let them pile up until all the plates, with accompanying silverware, are dirty) (I do rinse everything off so it's not all piling up dirty and glasses and kitchen plates and pots and pans and flatware goes in the dishwasher), and fixed some roasted cauliflower to go with dinner, cleaned up the kitchen after dinner, called the cat in, locked up the house for the night, brushed my teeth, brushed the cat, and fell into bed.

And of course this morning, after I pronounced it summer, which it really is, I woke up today to another cool morning.



Saturday, May 8, 2021

taking care of business and the continued decline of the republican party


Well, it was a comedy of errors with two fools but we eventually got it up.

Previously Pam had ordered a pop up canopy to give her shade loving plants in pots some shade since she has none at her house but the high wind and 8” of rain last week cratered it,


so I offered her the use of our 'show' tent that Marc used for sandblasting the glass when we did the A&M job and it's been packed away ever since so Friday we, literally, dragged the bag with the top and sides and the bag with the frame pieces over to where she wanted it and set about erecting it. My knot tying skills (yay, I still remember how to do it) from my river guide days came in handy when we secured the frame to the concrete weights she had from a previous life, back when her husband was still alive and they were doing the farmer's market out here.

Before that though, we went to an estate sale. I bought two screwdrivers for the toolkit I'm putting together for over at the shop so I'm not taking the ones from the house, cost me a whopping $1.50. We used to go on Thursday mornings when they start but that was before I started volunteering at SHARE.

Today I went to the “farmer's” market to get tamales and honey and some ground beef from local pasture raised cows.


This was probably the most vendors they've had so far this season and no produce (freeze set everyone's gardens back). I'd guess at least half the vendors were selling baked goods...bread, cookies, pastries, cupcakes, muffins, desserts. The rest was a varied assortment of crafts, canned goods, baby chicks, eggs, the local rescue outfit had kittens, the meat, local honey.

Then I tackled my project for the day...moving all the brick piles from the side of the garage where they were sinking and covered by devil's tongue and liriope and grass and weeds and leaves into the barn. Now I can see what I've got.




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So now there's a whole right wing trope about the stimulus money and restaurants and some other businesses not being able to hire enough staff or workers. The trope goes like this...nobody wants to work because they are getting all that free money with the stimulus and the enhanced unemployment insurance. It came up on the local chat FB page and another guy and I called bullshit. Some people were complaining that they had been to a couple of local restaurants and they had only one server and one cook and the wait was long. Maybe if they didn't pay starvation wages they wouldn't have this problem. Maybe if they offered a living wage they could keep employees. Maybe some people are choosing not to go back to work as long as they can get the unemployment which isn't making anyone rich, just enough to cover basic necessities. And I don't blame them a bit. I doubt any of the people complaining about low wage workers not returning to their jobs would give up a brief respite to go back to making less than they needed to survive and yet they are so quick to cast aspersions on an entire group of low wage workers.

At SHARE last Thursday, it came up again...twice. Hanging out with the guys, one of them repeated the BS. It's a myth, I told them, and I read later that research does not support the lie. Later, sitting with some of the other women (it was a slow day), someone else repeated the same trope. I kept my mouth shut because these are all religious republicans with one or two exceptions (republican, not the religious part) who are doing what their religion requires of them, helping those less fortunate and I do like volunteering there. Finally I put forth that if that was the case then maybe these employers should offer better wages. I got a grudging nod from one.

So, while on the one hand republicans are trashing the stimulus as destroying worker initiative, and at least three states are refusing to implement the enhanced unemployment thereby forcing their citizens back to work for starvation wages, some republican congresspeople are going out to their constituents and promoting how the stimulus package is helping them, as if they actually voted for it. Not a single republican voted for the American Rescue Act. Not one. And, big surprise, McConnell has recently stated that his sole focus is making sure this administration does not succeed. Think about that. A high ranking member of Congress is doing his best to make sure that Biden does not succeed in making the lives of ordinary Americans better.



Tuesday, May 4, 2021

shopping spree and misc. pics


Two days and 8” of rain, sometimes heavy, and wind has littered the yard once again with branches large and small and leaves of all kinds and driven the fire ants up and onto high ground, meaning into my flower beds.


In case you can't tell, they've built up 
around the base of the recovering gardenia.


The poppies are listing heavily and some are laying flat but they are going by anyway.

What I thought were maybe flower buds appearing on the sweet peas don't seem to be after all. I'm beginning the think they just aren't going to bloom. Of all those two packets of zinnia seeds I planted that sprouted in the trays, only a handful have survived and aren't really growing even after being put in the ground.

I'm finally feeling back to normal today after three days of a sour stomach, low energy, and sleepiness. I blame two nights in a row of those sweet rich desserts my daughter gave me. In retrospect, instead of us splitting two for two nights, we should have split one for four nights. I did get all three of my tables cleared off yesterday, something that occurs only infrequently so take a quick look because they won't stay this way long.

We headed into Shopping Mecca today to do what we planned for last Friday...liquor warehouse, sheets, and jewelry store, already too hot for a meal sitting outside. The liquor warehouse was the easiest, the sheets took us three stores but we did find some 100% cotton, 800 thread count, sateen sheets. Colors were limited to white, gray, burgundy, and dark blue so we got the burgundy and the dark blue and that's the most I have ever spent for sheets in my life.

Last stop was the jewelry store to see about the diamond stud. He looked through a loupe and then used some other sort of detecting device to determine, yep it's real and 44 points, just under half a carat, did I want the same color, and yes they can match it. Triple digits, high triple digits. Gulp. We looked at new pairs there in the store. They ranged from over two thousand for little ones to over 6 thousand for bigger than mine. Well, alrighty then, triple digits started looking pretty good. It should be ready in a couple of weeks. Happy birthday to me and thank you President Biden.

I have some photos that have piled up that didn't really fit in other posts so I'm putting them here.






Five abandoned eggs. The four little ones are from the wren nest in the garage, abandoned when I put the big blue tarp up to help protect the tropicals during the deep freeze. The one bigger one was left in the nest of the barn swallows after the other two hatched and fledged.


Fire ants weren't the only thing looking for higher ground.

Cinco de Mayo rose with baby katydid



Sunday, May 2, 2021

rained out but still a good day


A couple of hours after midnight early Friday morning the predicted storm started moving in with lightning, thunder, and rain. After a couple of hours of the little dog trembling enough to vibrate the bed, sitting as close to my head as she possibly could and panting in my ear, I finally sat up, turned on the light, and read until the thunder and lightning stopped at which point the panting stopped, the trembling continued but I was able to get another couple of hours of sleep, well, until the cat started her caterwauling get up and feed me. So that's how my birthday began.

It continued to rain off and on all day and so our plans were canceled. Not that we had any major plans. We were going to head into the shopping mecca to buy some new sheets, stock up at the liquor warehouse, maybe get a meal out if we could find a place with outdoor seating, and then go to a jewelry store. You know, because I'm such a jewelry hog.

The reason for the trip to the jeweler is to see if they can match the one diamond stud I still have. You might remember that I lost one of them when I was in the barn one day last year and got stung by a wasp right on my ear and started slapping at my ear as I stumbled back and ran out of the barn only to discover that I had slapped that earring right out of my ear. I did find the backing on the floor but the stud was never seen again, not even when I spent those days emptying the barn and cleaning it out. If they can't match it, perhaps they will take it in a partial trade for a new pair.

So it looked to be a quiet day at home though I had to go to the grocery store after breakfast since I had blown it off the day before but before that Pam came over with my present, a bag of homemade soap that she had made. 

Pam has been making soap for 15+ years and I haven't bought commercially made soap in all that time until last year what with covid and getting her new house and her being busy with what to take and what to leave and packing and moving and unpacking and selling her old house (which by the way has a contract on it so we are almost dancing in the street) so it was a wonderful surprise to get some new soap from her. And then a little while later our friend, neighbor, and fix-it guy Rocky and Melissa came by with a birthday present, a sweet little miniature rose bush. 

I got calls from my mother-in-law, my son, and grandgirl Jade and my daughter and grandgirl Autumn came over in the evening bearing gifts, a miniature orchid which I had been looking at for months to put on the windowsill in the bathroom but never bought 

and a box of four fancy pastries/desserts.

It was a fun evening and while Marc did make stuffed peppers for dinner, it was ticking towards 10 before Sarah and Autumn left to get some dinner of their own but too late for me to eat so we put it away and went straight for dessert (these are so good and so sweet and so rich just one is almost enough to put you in a diabetic coma) and went to bed.

More storm moved through Friday night with heavy rain so another night of a trembling panting little dog and more rain off and on all day Saturday. We had standing water on three sides of the house and the ditches were running nearly full, still some water in the ditch this Sunday morning. According to my neighbor we got 8” in about 36 hours.

I intended to post this  Saturday but after two nights in a row of interrupted sleep I took a nap instead and didn't drag myself out of bed until 5 PM and then Pam and I went downtown to check out the two festivals happening. More about that next post as this is already long enough.

Thank you for all the birthday wishes.



Thursday, April 29, 2021

averting disaster, more yard work and spring blooms or not


I can do a brisk walk for a long time without getting winded or tired but I have no wind or stamina for running which was brought home to me yesterday morning. The county sent it's mower out to attend to the ditches and in the past that has been both sides of the driveway into the shop yard. Today since I've been keeping the ditch in front of Pam's house cleared and trimmed it's just the other ditch. And then he moved over to our side of the street and started pulling the tractor mower towards the ditch in front of our house where the bluebonnets are going to seed. The county mowed them down a couple of years ago when we weren't here much to our dismay because the seed wasn't mature yet and the last two years has seen fewer bluebonnets in the spring. When it became apparent that he intended to cut the bluebonnets down again I dashed out the garage door and ran as fast as I could down the driveway waving my arms and shouting NO NO! OMG, I thought my heart was gonna bust, panting for air. He very kindly moved back onto the street and opened the door so I could tell him why he shouldn't mow that section...bluebonnets (gasp) seed (gasp) not ready (gasp) we'll mow it. OK, he says, no problem, they just told me to mow the ditches.

I've been busy in the yard still, though I've had a day or two when I basically did nothing. I weeded a large section of the day lily bed, fertilized them and spread out some mulch, spread out fertilizer for the azaleas but I won't mulch them until after I fertilize again in mid-May. Also worked in another flower bed and still plenty of that to do. It's really dry, no rain to speak of for too long so I'm back on my watering schedule. The poppies still look good but they are starting to wane now 

and the other long flower bed with the love-in-a-mist and the rocket larkspur and the german verbena has finally come into bloom, a little later than usual due to the deep freeze. 

Not a big return on the larkspur so I plan to scatter new seed this fall. The sweet peas are growing, getting tall, and yet no sign of any flower buds. 

They better hurry up or it's going to get too hot.

I had a visitor to the house the other day. Big Mama was out of her pond, hungry, she spied me just inside the open back door and made a beeline for me and actually came in the house. She's approached the door before but never come in. After she got my attention she turned around and headed back to her pond.

I know it's hard to see her but the white triangular spot is the top of her head.

So other than working in the yard here and there, mostly weeding getting the woodland violets and the mostly gone by baby-blue-eyes and nut grass and invasive black and blue salvia and handfuls of orange cosmos I swear every seed that falls sprouts and other weeds out so they aren't crowding the next wave of bloomers, and relaxing and reading I haven't really done much. I still have two big projects ahead...cleaning out and reorganizing the garage and doing the same to the shop including replacing all the water lines which cracked, and in some cases exploded the PVC, and so, once again, I do not have a functioning toilet in the shop. Well, garage first. Maybe this weekend.

Did I mention that the Boston ferns are coming back? Slowly, but they are putting up new fronds. And it's been several weeks since I checked on the ponytail palm so I was glad to see this when I looked yesterday.

May 1st is nearly upon us so I'll be digging up the dead stumps of the hibiscus, bougainvillea, star of india, and desert rose bush.

And tomorrow is my birthday. I'll be 71. That just blows my mind. 



Tuesday, April 27, 2021

just politics and a pretty flower (your reward for slogging through this post)


*I'm keeping this up for a while to make sure everyone who checks in now and then sees it. I assume those who already get email notices will continue to get them up until July when the 'follow by email' stops functioning. Starting in July, my intention is to email links to the email subscriber group when I publish a new post. If you are in this group but do not wish to continue receiving notices of new posts, just reply with 'remove'.

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While I have been keeping a cursory eye on politics, and it's business as usual for the republicans ie oppose everything even if it's good for the country even if they are in favor of it but not going to give the democrats a win, I haven't really felt like writing about it til now I guess, content to relax a bit with Biden.

Republicans continue to lie and spin the wildest conspiracy theories, like that Biden is going to take away people's meat, allowing only 4 pounds of meat a year per person, an accusation so absurd as to be beyond belief and yet my governor tweeted it out as if it was a real thing, not in Texas, he says.

Their newest outrage is claiming Biden's DHS is handing out copies of VP Kamala Harris' children's book at government expense including it in welcome bags for migrant children coming across the border. When in actuality, these welcome bags are at one facility in one state and are provided by a non-governmental agency that instituted a drive for donations for basic hygiene supplies and yes, a book drive for these migrant children. How many of Harris' books were donated? One. That's what they're up in arms about, one donated book.

And Margery Taylor Green declaring the totally unknown 'Blue Anon' is more dangerous than Qanon apparently unaware that the Urban Dictionary, from which she got the Blue Anon BS is one of those online databases that anyone can add to or edit an entry with no basis in fact. And before that she claimed that the night after Chauvin's guilty verdict that DC was dead, “Police are everywhere and have riot gear” (untrue) and “BLM is the strongest terrorist threat in our country”, (also untrue, it wasn't BLM storming the capitol, killing police, with the intent to capture and kill members of congress nor was it antifa, their other bogeyman), she tweeted claiming everyone is staying home in fear of possible riots when it was really business as usual in DC that night.

And their plain ignorance about this country is astounding as when Nancy Mace objected to DC becoming a state because they didn't even have as many people as Wyoming when, in fact, DC is more populous than Wyoming.

And Ted Cruz claiming the democrats want to destroy the 1st amendment when it is the republicans in Florida and other states that are passing laws limiting the rights of protesters to assemble (apparently now in Florida, 3 people assembled is a riot with heinous consequences including losing the right to vote) and giving a pass to motorists who plow through them.

And Tucker Carlson with his Fox rant about people, children, wearing masks outside and that conservatives should accost every child and parent whose child is wearing a mask outside. It's child abuse, he says, and the police and CPS should be called on these parents. This from people who have screamed about their rights and freedom being taken away by being asked to wear masks in public and in buildings and yet they have no problem denying other people their right and freedom to wear a mask.

And now republicans are accusing democrats of trying to pack the Supreme Court because Biden has established a commission to investigate whether it should be expanded or not, when it's the republicans who did pack the Supreme Court by refusing to allow a vote on Obama's pick his last year in office, by strong arming/threatening Kennedy into resigning, and by pushing through RBG's replacement not just in Trump's last year but during the election that put Biden in office and the court is now out of balance 6/3 conservative/liberal, and not just conservative, but far right conservative.

This is what they do, accuse democrats of doing what they themselves are doing/have done.

And what if Biden decides to expand the Court in order to achieve balance? Republicans would have you believe that it's an attack on democracy and the constitution but the fact is the size of the Supreme Court has changed 7 times in the history of our nation, sometimes expanding, sometimes decreasing. The last time the number of justices on the court changed was to the current 9 in 1869. While Biden has, as mentioned above, created a commission to study if the court should be expanded as well as other considerations, like revising the 'for life' appointments, some House democrats have introduced a bill to expand the Court to 13 but Pelosi has no intention of bringing it to the floor at this time. So as usual republicans have created a tempest in a teapot in order to keep their shrinking base enraged. Because that's all they've got. They have no policies besides obstruction ignoring the many republicans in the country in favor of Biden's policies. They don't even have a platform for these four years besides kissing Trump's loser fat ass they were so convinced he would win. Or maybe they didn't bother with a platform because they knew he would lose.

Do they really believe their lies and gas lighting? Maybe the most far right Trump cult drunk of them but mostly they know it's bullshit but it's their only plan...keep the country destabilized with their lies, keep their base angry, prevent any progress, and engage in voter suppression with the aim of regaining control of the government in the 2022 midterm elections. Because god forbid they actually create some policies that help the American people, that modernize our infrastructure, that fights against authoritarianism, policies that the electorate is in favor of in order to win elections.

Bottom line is that we achieved a short respite with Biden's election but we have not ended the threat from our internal terrorists and their desire to destroy our democracy in favor of republican/Trump authoritarianism. We need to remain vigilant, continue to fight voter suppression, and turn out in droves for the midterms. We cannot afford to lose even one house of congress and with this new census, New York and California have both lost a seat while Texas has gained two and Florida, one.

So, while we won a great battle, the war is far from over. 

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heirloom dwarf gladiolus



Saturday, April 24, 2021

busy day and bone health


*I'm keeping this up for a while to make sure everyone who checks in now and then sees it. I assume those who already get email notices will continue to get them up until July when the 'follow by email' stops functioning. I've reinstalled the blogger 'follow me' widget.

I did manage to download the subscriber list with over 1,000 spam 'subscribers' all from outlook.com and all within a couple of months after I first put the widget on my sidebar. I ended up with 23 legit subscribers. So, starting in July, my intention is to email links to the group when I publish a new post. If you are in this group but do not wish to continue receiving notices of new posts, just reply with 'remove'.

Still can't figure out why my pictures won't open full size when you click on them. Most my images are 10” in the longest dimension, sometimes 12”, sometimes 8”. There must be a setting somewhere but I can't find it. I usually drag my images from the desktop to the post body but this time I'll use the 'add image' function to see if that makes a difference.

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Thursday was a busy day. Spent my morning at SHARE, then after lunch I used the trimmer to cut the ditch in front of Pam's house (two gas tanks worth of time) including the large patch of poison ivy (that I've poisoned TWICE) that had started growing and while I was wearing a hat, sunglasses, long pants, and boots, I did have on a short sleeved shirt so when I finished that I peeled off the long pants full of poison ivy juice and jumped in the car (yes, I did put on other pants) and went to the feed store for the poison ivy soap they sell and another container of brush/stump killer to treat the poison ivy with again when it puts on more new growth. Then I scrubbed the exposed skin on my arms and neck with the soap and so far so good.

Next was walking the dog, then washing the dishes of which I only got the plates done because I was also fixing the roasted cauliflower recipe that Ms Moon sent me (and it is really good). I figured I would have time to wash the utensils during one of the two 15 minute roasting times but alas that did not happen. I had asked my sister to pick me up a small jar of green olives when she went to the store which she did saying it was the only small jar they had and I didn't realize they weren't pitted until the cauliflower was in the oven and I was ready to make the dressing. With chopped up green olives. Turns out you can't just pit a green olive like you can a cherry. I had to pare as much of the olive off the seed as I could until I had 1/3 cup. So there went my utensil washing time. Also, the recipe called for pancetta or bacon, no pancetta, I'll just use bacon but it wasn't until I was making it that I realized they must have meant canadian bacon because I was supposed to cut it up into 1/8” cubes. No way was I going to cut up four slices of raw bacon into 1/8” cubes so I fried it and crumbled it and just sprinkled it on after the cauliflower had finished roasting.

If you're not interested in my bone health you can skip the next paragraph.

Yesterday I had a follow up appointment with my primary care doc to discuss the results of my bone scan. They scan two areas, the femur and the lumbar spine and there are two scores for each, the T score which is a healthy woman of childbearing age and the Z score which is the average norm for post-menopausal women. Women tend to lose bone density as the estrogen levels decline. My previous scan was five years ago so in five years, my femur went from a Tscore of -2.2 to -2.6 and a Zscore of -0.6 to -0.9 so a slight decrease. The lumbar spine went from a Tscore of -2.5 to -3.1 and a Zscore of -0.5 to -1.0 so a larger decrease in bone density there. Five years ago my chance of a bone fracture was 12.5% within 10 years. My doc calculated my current risk of fracture with the new data and that has increased to 13.something% now. Still pretty good odds. She didn't recommend the medication because she knows I won't take it (heinous side effects and not that effective) and because of my general health and activity levels. She did recommend exercises to strengthen core muscles (which I do some already) to help protect my lumbar spine. I really like my doctor, she's an osteopath so open to proactive health measures like diet and exercise and supplements as opposed insisting on meds for every condition though she will prescribe them if/when needed.

It rained off and on all day yesterday which we really needed and I spent the rest of the day doing nothing including not washing the utensils.

Since I need an image or two to test the whole embiggin thing here's a picture of my sister, brother and me taken the night before he left. Pam is the oldest, then me (on the left), the rebellious middle child, then John, the baby. Not a great picture of me but whatcha gonna do?

And this of two carpenter bees on the rocket larkspur.


Edit: yay! The images embiggin!