Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Demon Barber

I don't usually like horror movies, or plays or anything that makes me go "ICK!", or "EEEEEEK!", or might give me nightmares. Yet, one of my favorite plays/productions that I've ever seen was a version of Sweeny Todd. The story is horrific, with no redeeming social qualities...and yet...

Sweeny Todd is the ultimate anti-hero. He is an angry man, who plots his revenge so completely that ultimately all around him are destroyed as well. He turns the "dog eat dog" world into a "man eat man" and does so literally. He is consumed by his need for revenge, and in turn the objects of his revenge are themselves consumed.

Joining him in this bloody revenge is an amoral and venial woman who takes advantage of the revenge Sweeny Todd takes, and uses the victims in the most depraved and sickening way.

She makes meat pies out of Sweeny's "customers"...and serves them to great profit to all and sundry.

Together, they turn a private quest for revenge into a public degradation of all who live near them. Their evil can literally be smelt, tasted and feasted upon. No one near them is allowed to escape this revenge. Everyone partakes in some way, and is complicit, knowing and unknowingly.

And I like this story. God help me. I like this story.

While every part of me is cringing at the idea of someone so full of hate that it consumes, is so consuming, so enveloping, that it is the perfect tragedy.

And now, they've remade it into a movie. Johnny Depp is Sweeny Todd, and I have to admit, he is the perfect choice. This actor has become such a strong character actor that he is able to embody, not himself in any role...no...he becomes the character as the character is written. No two roles he plays seem to have anything in common but those dark brown, expressive eyes.

And so, this is my confession. I rarely "like" an actor as the actor. I don't do fan clubs. But I have to admit, that, all things being equal, if there is a film with Johnny Depp in it, I will willingly pay to see that movie. Not to see Johnny Depp, no, rather to see just what Johnny Depp will do to embody that character.

Do you have a confession? Have you ever been so completely obsessed with the need for revenge that it consumes you?

I haven't. Though, it has been close. I once wondered how I could plant evidence that a person I detested had been to websites that would have destroyed that person's life and career. Indeed, if I had thought it could be done without me ever being in danger of discovery...I might have done it.

But I'm feeling MUCH better now....

A Giggle

One of my students at the Learning Center has parents from Vietnam. Most of my students are Korean, and I think this little girl may go to a school with lots of Korean students as well. I say this because, while her mother pronounces her name in the Vietnamese way, this little girl keeps correcting me, telling me to pronounce her name in the Korean way.

One day, as she was correcting me, I asked her: "Dear, why do you say '_____', and your mother calls you , '_____'?"

"My mother doesn't call me '____'", she said. "She calls me Daughter."

You can not argue with a four year old. Their logic is absolute and inescapable, and irrefutable. Besides, she was right. Her mom DOES call her "Daughter".

Pain

I was going to take my mom to a doctor's appointment on Thursday morning (today!), but for some reason, my sister L has decided it would be better if she took a day off to do it.

I'm not sure why, but I'm grateful. The pain in my legs is better, but not completely gone. I don't have to take more meds (I hope), but I fought grogginess all day long. I'm wondering if someone in my family read the pain post I put up earlier. Most of the family doesn't read this blog, but sometimes they check in.

My mom asked me today, how my legs felt. I know HSN had told her I'd not been feeling well. That's another possibility, come to think of it. Mom asked what the pain was...joint, muscular...ect. It's neither, really. I think it's the nerves misfiring.. kinda like a leg " migraine ".

Actually, comparing it to a migraine isn't all that far fetched. These pains come and go, sometimes unexpectedly. Though, they also have some triggering events, like stress, or illness or over exertion. My vision isn't changed, and I'm not light sensitive, but the analogous sensitivities are there.....I hurt when I move, and my skin gets kind of sensitive too. Sometimes, it feels as if my bones itch...or as if something were gnawing on them with thousands of tiny saw bladed teeth. Not a comfortable sensation.

I wonder if the phantom pains from missing limbs feels like this? Nothing you can point to and say: "This is wrong and this is why it hurts." All I've got is: "It hurts from here (just above my waist) to there (my toes).

But, I'm feeling a little better. It still hurts, but I don't feel like I want to bite any one's head off right now.

Well.. okay.. maybe I wouldn't mind a chomp... but I've got that impulse (mostly) under control.

Maybe that's why 'Pup took HSN shopping on Sunday without me and came back with flowers?

What Would You Do With $10,000,000?

I've been getting a lot of Publisher's Clearing House "entries" in my inbox lately. The latest one asks whether or not I'd like the 10 million dollars in one lump sum of about 3 million or the whole 10 million over a 30 year period.

All in all, I think I'd go for the long term approach. I don't know that I'll live for thirty more years, but then, I don't know, KNOW, that anyone I know will be alive for thirty more months, or weeks or days. I'd rather bet on the thirty years though, and have a nice income for it, than get walloped with a huge tax bite from a lump sum. Either way, I know Uncle Sam will get his portion, but I'm pretty sure there'd be a little left for me.

I'd like to think there wouldn't be much change in my daily life...except that I'd have a maid service come in 3 or 4 times a week to clean house, do laundry, ect. I hate housework...I really do.

I wouldn't mind traveling, if I knew I had the money to do it well and comfortably. I wouldn't mind looking around and seeing what second or third homes I could make in different areas of the world. I'd love to be able to make sure HSN was taken care of for the rest of her life too.

And I'd LOVE to get bro-in-law K into a situation where he could have his dog back. Don't get me wrong, Butch is a nice dog. It's just that he weighs over one hundred pounds, likes nice soft beds...and doesn't mind pushing you out of yours. Oh, and there's the fact that he REALLY likes chasing the cat. Charles does too, but he chases for the love of the chase, and doesn't plan for mayhem at the end. Butch has chased and caught squirrels...to the great detriment of the squirrels.

I'd love to go look at apartments or condos for sale, just with the idea of moving bro-in-law and the dog into one.

I don't want to have to try to find another home for Butch. He is a nice dog, gentle with children, other dogs and friendly to all (except squirrels and cats). He's seven years old.....and that's a little old to try to find a new home.

The fact is, though, he's just a little too much DOG for this house. But he's a snuggly old hound, and would make someone a dandy companion. Especially someone who's fit enough to take him for the long walks he really needs.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Yuck

The thing I like least about pain is the pain pills. They don't really make me feel anything but sleepy. That does help, at least to get to sleep. People keep talking about how "good" pain pills make them feel. I don't get that feeling, unfortunately.

What I do get is how I feel the next day. Sleepy, heavy feeling, headachey (yah, I know that's not a word, but it's evocative of the way I feel...so THERE!), groggy...that's what I'm feeling now. I don't like it much.

And I still hurt. It feels a little like my bones...itch. They ache, and I feel jittery. It is not a good feeling.

Oh well.. off to work.

The good thing about tutoring is that I do like doing it. And, it's fun enough to make it easier to ignore hurting. If I can inject just enough silliness into it and get the kids to giggle, I get to giggle too...and that really is a better pain reliever than codeine or tramadol or anything ending in -dan... or -cet.

I have managed to wake up giggling before, but I've never managed to fall asleep giggling.

Do me a favor. Anyone who reads this: leave me a joke that can get me to giggle. I need the pain relief.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Offers

One of the recurring themes of so much of the uhmmm...unsolicited email are offers for various products.

Many of these products are things for which I'm...well...not equipped to make full use. There are other emails that promise me great riches! If only I were able to bring myself to portray myself as an heir to a great fortune. Alas, my scruples deny me the ability to help so many, MANY of our Nigerian friends overseas.

And then there are the offers for dating sites, marketing opportunities,term life insurance quotes, sure fire cures for baldness, bad breath and ways to make my fat disappear forever.

Sigh. I wish most of them were true.

I could really use that Nigerian money.

Uh Oh

We have a pretty good set of tutors at the learning center. Most of our tutors are certified. And, for the most part, we're able to keep good tutors.

The exception(s!) to this rule have been the math tutors, especially tutors qualified to teach high school and SAT. Our latest math tutor has been MIA for a couple of weeks because of the illness of a parent. We've just an email from her that tells us that her parent has passed away, and that the family may proceed with the burial out of the country.

This is probably not making my good Bossman very happy.

But, there is no help for it.

Seriously, if anyone knows of a math or engineering or other sciences college student or retired teacher, who might want to make a little extra part time money....get in touch with me. The wear and tear on my Bossman is telling on him. He doesn't like to offer things he cannot be sure of providing. He loses face when we lose a tutor. Sigh.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

HSN

Howdy all.

I'd appreciate it if you'd go and say hello to Hot Stuff Niece. She's got her own BLOG

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Schlepping

This post is dedicated to a New York Smurf-lovin' cutie who claims to be taking a break from blogging. Fortunately, she has...friends...who are willing to do all SORTS of things in her name.


Schlep.

Interesting word.

Not one that is normally part of your average Texas dialect, but television is a great spreader of culture and language. It's got an interesting "feel" when I say it. It fills the mouth, using a tucked, yet broadened tongue tip to make a sibilant "s",transitioning into a drop into the "ch", a palate push up for the "l", a jaw drop and breath push "e", into the explosive "puh" at the end.

It's calisthenics for the mouth muscles. Muscles is another favorite word. I know I've spent too much time amoung 4 year olds when I start saying "musk-kles"---that or I'm channeling my younger Popeye the Sailor Man lovin' self...

If you want to know more about shlepping, there is some information on movers New York that more fully explores the reasons why schlepping your own stuff is not fun and some schlepping history...

Ten reasons why it’s easier to hire Shleppers
1 You’ve just had a manicure and couldn’t possibly lift a thing
2 Your idea of a workout is not blindly carrying a sofa on your head up five flights of stairs while your significant other screams directions.
3 Counseling is far more expensive
4 Between monumental back cracks, your chiropractor drones on about the dangers of lifting -like you need to hear it again!
5 One more parking fine and you’re likely to collapse in a heap at the feet of an annoyingly obstinate meter-person and beg for mercy.
6 Your friends have suddenly acquired mysterious ailments and are not available on the day of your move. Some have fled the country.
7 Exhausted, disheveled, aged, dirty and irritated are not your preferred states of being.
8 Your rental truck will inevitably breakdown at the lights on Lexington during rush hour, overheat, run over nails or be a manual stick shift *shock horror.
9 Dust mites are evil unless you understand their psychological makeup like Shleppers movers do.
10 Shleppers movers won’t scare pets or children and do their best to make sure your move proceeds without a hitch!

New York - A City of Shleppers.
In 1800 - 60,489 people lived in New York City. By 2000 another 7,947489 people moved here. Shleppers moved over 100,000 of them from 1978.
In 1810 Cornelius Vanderbilt, age 16, saved $100 and bought a small sail boat. He began his business ‘shlepping’ freight and people to and from Staten Island. He was known for his fearlessness and reliability…just like Shleppers!
In 1857 the first passenger elevator was installed in New York City and future Shleppers movers breathed a sigh of relief.
Between 1892 and 1924 - 22 million immigrants, passengers and crew arrived through Ellis Island and the port of New York. Shleppers wasn’t born yet to welcome them!
During the 19th century, May 1 was Moving Day in New York. On that day, all trade ceased because the streets were filled with people trying to find new lodgings to escape high rents. Furniture was moved via horse and cart. Where were those fabulous orange Shleppers trucks when needed!
From 1990 – 2000, 685,000 new people ‘shlepped’ their lives to New York. The population reached a record 8,008278 – how busy we were!
150,000 New Yorkers ‘shlepped’ their belongings from New York to another city in the year following 9/11. Shleppers helped relocate them with a tearful goodbye.
36% of New Yorkers ‘shlepped’ to the Big Apple from other countries. Shleppers settled them into their new home.

Late Night

Things happen. They do. And they are almost always a surprise.

You think: I've planned for every eventuality. I've made arrangements for anything that could possibly happen to me or anyone I have control over. Then, reality hits (or bites, depending on your point of view) and all your plans go head over heels and into the dustbin.

No, nothing particularly bad has happened here. This is just late night pensive ponderances keeping me up. I suppose the last few years, with our lives changing so unexpectedly is catching up to me.

Or, perhaps, it's what's been happening to people I've read about and people I chat online with...I start wanting to wrap them all in a warm blanket and bullet proof armour.

But we can't.

Some things, just make you sad.

I want to make things better for their families, and I can't.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Not Bad






The Rogers Indicator of Multiple Intelligences
created with QuizFarm.com
You scored as Verbal/Linguistic

You have highly developed auditory skills, enjoy reading and writing and telling stories, and are good at getting your point across. You learn best by saying and hearing words. People like you include poets, authors, speakers, attorneys, politicians, lecturers and teachers.


Verbal/Linguistic


93%

Musical/Rhythmic


89%

Intrapersonal


71%

Interpersonal


68%

Visual/Spatial


57%

Logical/Mathematical


46%

Bodily/Kinesthetic


36%


Sunday, November 18, 2007

I Practice

I'm expanding in my tutoring job. I get to do the math tutoring for the younger students, from Pre-kinder to Second Grade. The tutors we get for the older students don't necessarily have the skill set to teach basic math concepts and problem solving strategies. Then again, I wouldn't have a clue where to start in teaching Trig or Calculus.

I like my job. But I've made a (not so new) discovery recently.

I am a mean teacher.

Me: "Please keep working on your essay."
Student: "But I'm tired...."
Me: "And I'm old. And not getting any younger. Keep working."

Me: "Please be sure to show your work on the math problems. I'm checking to see if you know the strategy to solve the problem."
Student: "But my hand is KILLING me!"
Me: "Not fast enough for you to get out of doing the word problems. Keep working."

Me: "You need to re-read the question, and then re-read the paragraph to find the answer. The answer is there."
Student: "But...I don't WANT to."
Me: "BUT... I do want you to, and so do your parents. Keep working."

Student: "Teacher, you're mean."
Me: "Thank you, I practice."
Student: "groaaaannn..."

Graduation

When I graduated from High School, my graduation gift was a set of Samsonite luggage. I was the oldest of five kids, and I wondered if the gift weren't a hint.

Probably not, as I think it was the same kind of gift my mom had gotten for her graduation from Nursing School.

It was a nice set and served me pretty well. It was a hard shell type of luggage, the kind they used to give gorillas to play with...and if you know the allusion, you're OLD. Like me.

It lasted a long time, over 25 years. The only problem with it was that it was almost as heavy empty as it was full. But the big piece DID have wheels on it, and that was a new and innovative thing. It was also needed to allow me to carry the dang thing, as it was almost too tall for me, at five foot nuttin', to pick up. Without wheels, I'd have had to drag it most places I went.

I don't have that set anymore. I almost miss it, for the sentiment of it all...

Updating the Toidy

I've just about had enough with the old toilet in the hall bathroom. It is oddly shaped, too low, and it's impossible to keep the seat screwed down properly.

There are just some things one wants steady and firm under one, especially when one is meditating. A shifting seat doesn't make things any easier. I want to look at new toilets.

No, a new toilet isn't exactly the Christmas Present most women would want. But, I'm not your average woman. I appreciate practicality, though...there is a part of me that would rather have both a practical, new toilet........AND a diamond or three under the tree. The diamonds under the tree...not the toilet. That would be silly. On the other hand...even Santa must get tired now and again.

But, I digress.

No matter how bad the toilet gets, it could be worse. It does flush, after all.

Nowadays, if you go camping in a state park, the facilities are well lit, flushing and come with running water.

This was not always true.

With a lot of kids, and not much money, my family's vacations relied heavily on places one could camp cheaply. We also spent a lot of time at Boy and Girl Scout camps. My parents were often on the camp committees, and did a lot of the preparation of campsites, maintenance, and generally making sure everything was ready for groups to come camping with...less experienced... adults. My Sophomore and Junior year of High School I volunteered to be an "assistant" for troops that had little or no experience in camping. I spent a lot of the year camping.

The kids were usually pretty good, but sometimes the parents who came to "help out", had limited experience in camping in the rough. And sometimes those parents came to realize very quickly that they'd really rather camp out in a Holiday Inn. I remember one mother asking me to direct her to the bathroom. I gave her directions to the latrine and went back to doing whatever it was I was doing (I remember always doing something with or for the kids).

She came back rather quickly.

"There are no toilets in the bathroom! Did you KNOW that there were no toilets out here?"

"Uhmm...DUH!", I thought to myself. "Yes ma'am. But the latrines are very well maintained. The camping committee was here last week and replaced the seats, and you probably saw the hand washing station I put up when we got here."

I don't think the woman peed or pooped the entire weekend.

In addition to camping out, my latrine/outhouse experience included visits to my grandparents. My father's parents lived in a tar paper shack in South Texas. No, I'm not exaggerating. They lived there even when their more successful children wanted to buy them or move them into a better house. As poor as it was, the shack was the first house my grandpa had ever owned.

It had no running water in the house except to the kitchen sink. Bathwater was brought into the house by the bucketful and heated over a stove. The stove was also the main source of heat in the winter.

They also had an outhouse. My grandpa had built it himself. It was a two seater, and he was right proud of it, as he'd included screened ventilation holes, a flashlight and toilet paper.

They stayed in that house until it was knocked down by a storm. They then allowed their kids to chip in together and buy them a mobile home. It was a modest single wide, but to my grandparents it was a palace.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Car Bling?

Hot Stuff Niece has a real affinity for sparkly decorations on just about anything. And, under her tutelage, I've been noticing some sparkly things I wouldn't have noticed otherwise.

For example; all the things you can add on to your car to make it seem like a much more expensive car. Well, come to think of it, by the time you buy and install all the bright shiny enhancements...your car IS a more expensive car. And prettier too.

I'd never even heard of most of the ways you can "upgrade" your car. One of the new things is called a billet grille. It looks like a really fancy nose job for your car. Or, maybe a more apt comparison would be...oh...a padded codpiece? 'Cause it makes the front of the car look a lot more...BEEFY...MALE...AGGRESSIVE. Yet, at the same time, it makes them look classy too. Kinda like a Tux with a padded codpiece.

Oh well...I'm sleepy, and I'm a little looped on cold medicine.

Oh, yah, I've got a cold. I'll tell you more about it tomorrow. Lucky people.

Presents Ungiven

My Dad's birthday would have been on December 10th. It's always been the traditional "put the Christmas decorations out" day for the family. Which, now that I think of it, meant that my dad did a LOT of work on his birthday.

Buying birthday presents for him was an adventure too, then followed by the conundrum of what to get a man who had everything he ever wanted.

We usually fell back on golf equipment.

My dad had a lot of golf gloves.

The number of golf gloves was rivaled only by the number of golf towels he had.

Still, we continued to buy him golf stuff. Every brand of golf stuff, including Nike golf stuff.

We bought him every kind of golf stuff you can think of, and some I suspect you've not thought of and are glad no one has ever bought you.

Still, he was always good at making us feel as if we'd just bought the one thing he'd wished he'd had, but didn't.

Pearls

My birthday is in June. Because of that, I have some confusion about what exactly my "birth stone" would be. Sometimes, it's listed as amethyst, a pale purple...I like purple, but I prefer a more definite color, and not so watery a look. The other option is one I rather prefer. It is pearls.
I like pearls. If I could, I'd have some really nice ones to wear for almost all occasions when I'd like to be dressed up. Admittedly, my occasions to be dressed up are fewer than for most women, but they do happen. One holiday party for the employees at 'Pup's new company is one occasion for which I wish I could really make a good impression. I'm going to have to start shopping for the right dress pretty soon. It's going to include a dance and a casino night, and will be at the Galleria Ballroom. I suspect it's not going to be an informal occasion.

Now, if I could afford it, I know of a site that sells some lovely pearls. It is premiumpearl.com. I was able to go there and learn about the different kinds of pearls sold and the differences between them. They have a very large selection and are even set up to make individualized items. They have some very lovely colored pearls as well. I like colors. The black pearls are beautiful, but there are pearls that are pink, green, blue, peacock blues and greens and, of course, the beautiful pure white pearls. My mom lent me some pearl earrings for my wedding. They looked lovely.

The different items are very easy to order, and the options are clearly explained for each piece of jewelry. There are pieces from under $100 dollars up to exceptional collection quality items that are priced in the thousands of dollars.



I'd like something like this, but a little longer, perhaps about 24 to 30 inches. As a larger lady, I'd like to draw attention away from my neck and have the pearls (or any necklace for that matter) hit me somewhere between the neckline of my dress and my bosom. They've a place on the site for you to see what different lengths would look like or where they would lay around a lady's neckline.



I'd like to have a complete set. This one would run about $300 to $350 depending on the length I'd like.

To buy, all you have to do is decide what kind of pearl you'd like, the price range you'd like to pay and the color of the pearls and/or clasps or earring posts or settings. The choices are many, but it's not overwhelming, and as I said earlier, they explain just what the differences between the pearl types are and even make recommendations for what kinds of pieces would be appropriate for different occasions and different ages.

I may be borrowing some pearls from my mom. She has some nice pieces and usually is good about letting me borrow something for a special occasion. I do want to look nice.

Christmas Presents

Last year, I made a lot of my presents. For the past two years, I did so, in fact. What I didn't make, I was able to buy early, with coupons and at least a couple of the presents were bought with some gift cards given to me by the parents of the kids at the tutoring center.

This year, Hot Stuff Niece and I have something planned to make. Some of the presents will involve yarn, others will involve pictures.

I may try to send out Christmas cards this year. Truth to tell, last year, I just didn't have the desire to do any cards. There wasn't much good news to spread. It was the first Christmas without my dad and our whole family was kinda subdued.

I may let HSN get a pack of picture frames from a site that specializes in custom photo gifts. See, HSN, she is big into Christmas, and I have a feeling we'll be decorating the house this year.

I like the site. It's called Frame my Photos dot com, and gives a variety of packs to buy to celebrate several family occasions.


I like the Thanksgiving pack.

This is an example of the frames available. You order the software and you can print the frame with your digital pictures. They have a Christmas card package and a Thank you card package as well.
They've got a package that lets you buy a good selection from all their packages. You can even make calendars and birthday cards.
Not a bad product.

Get Aways

My mom and dad both retired early. My dad did so, not entirely by choice, but he was given a very nice retirement package and my mom decided that if he was staying home, so was she. All the kids were out of the house, and they were free to travel.

Now, my mom likes going new places. My dad...not so much. He much preferred home to most destinations. See, going on a trip meant staying in hotel rooms. He didn't like hotel rooms.

Still, he loved my mom and would do just about anything to make her happy, so they started traveling. Truth to tell, I think he learned to like seeing new things and going new places. Hotel rooms never got real popular with him, but he learned to deal with them.

I think one destination they had that he wasn't too sure he'd like was Branson. I think he was afraid it would be too cutesy, and too full of "old folks". He and my mom were NOT "old folks". Oddly enough, though, he found that it was one of the places he quite enjoyed. He liked the shows and the people seemed much younger than he'd expected.

Best of all, he got to dance with my mom. Any destination that let him do that, was okay in his book. My dad liked dancing.

Once Upon A Time..

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away...

Wait. That's someone else's story. Wouldn't want to go around plagiarizing, now, would we?

Anyway. Once upon a time, I was fairly computer savvy. I knew which cords went into what spots, what thingamajigs went to what dumaflatchies. Now? I recognize some of the peripherals and their cables and that's about it. Luckily, most of the computer manufacturers have gotten smart enough to realize that most of the people to whom they sell their computers really only want to plug it in and go.

And then, there are people like my brother L. He has every shiny bit of technology available and probably recognizes and uses things like Gang boxes, ethernet, Cat6 whatchamacallits...you name it...he's probably got it, or had it or will have it soon.

Me? I'm somewhere in between clueless and knowing just enough to get myself into trouble.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Other Blogging

I've been asked to resurrect my Houston Chronicle garden blog: Adaptive Gardener.

Some of the content will mirror what's here, but with more emphasis on gardening and perhaps less of my private life. I will be talking more about how I manage to garden with less mobility.

I'd appreciate any and all input as to what modifications you use when gardening. Other than hiring someone else to do it. THAT modification is good, but not as satisfying as doing it one's self.

Y'all gimme stuff to share with others, won'cha?

Yes, K...I'm talking about you in particular. But there are alot of us out there that do things...differently than we once could. Share, guys, share!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

More Autumn Color

Some of my pictures didn't make it on the post yesterday... soooo...




The impatiens I planted in the spring are a bit leggy, but still blooming pretty well.




An upper view of the Mandevilla.




The pink rose in full bloom. It smells as lush as it looks.



I just like this... up close view of the rose.



I thought I'd lost the Stevia plant I'd had earlier this summer, but it has resurrected itself and bloomed. Such a tiny bloom, but perfect.


Do you remember the bougainvillea from this spring that had been knocked back to the ground. As you can see, it made a pretty full recovery and is blooming for the first time in seven years.


Some of the branches are almost pure ivory colored, especially when they first grow. After a while, they become more or less variegated green and cream.


Other branches are almost solid green. These branches were the ones that bloomed first. Oddly, some of the blooms seem to have been eaten partially by a kind of bumble bee that usually attacks my rose bush leaves. They cut out almost perfect circles of the leaves targeted. The red bracts of the bougainvillea are really leaves, of course, but the bees also took some of the tiny flowers too, though they might have just been collateral damage.


The white, grape-scented Angelonica seems to have an open mouth, like a baby bird begging for attention.

The purple Angelonica looks a little fierce, up close. These blooms are about a third of the size of the white ones. Same kind of plant, different varieties.


Blue Eyes...growing low and lovely under the Angelonica. They're perennials too, and were bitten badly last winter. They've spent the summer regrowing and have been quietly blooming all summer.


I don't know how I missed posting this yesterday. It is a bud of the Cherry Parfait rose.
A pink rose bud from the fuchsia colored rose. It's bloomed pretty heavily all summer, and it needs dead heading something fierce.


the Bat Faced Cuphiea is still blooming, and the parent plant has increased in size about 10 fold from the size it was when planted.
The front beds need cleaning out and tidying up. I need to pull down some overgrown morning glory vines and weed all four front beds. The herb bed needs to be cleaned and the old basil plants that have gone to seed pulled up. They've set enough seed that I may not buy many basil plants next year at all. A lot of plants were volunteers this year. I still need to find a better place for the sage. I keep trying it in the same corner and it keeps dying there. I think I will learn from this (finally) and try a different corner.
Ahh.........plans.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Autumn Color in Houston

What? You were expecting orange and red leaves or something?

We'll probably have some leaf change after tomorrow... a front is coming through that will make it cooler...Canadian air for the first time this season. That's usually the colder air.

Cherry Parfait roses....


A Sulfur butterfly... one of four that have been hanging about for the last week or so, taking advantage of the last nectar in the flowers.

They seem to like the Fire Bush and the Pineapple Sage blossoms the most.


Fire bush on the left, Pineapple Sage blooming on the right.

The Fire Bush is not only blooming, it is setting seeds. That's partly what I mean when I say that Autumn is a way of peeking into the future. The "babies" are forming now.


The Esperanza bush is blooming still, and setting a lot of seed pods.

I'm not sure what this is. It was a 25 cent rescue, and I've almost lost it 4 or 5 times...somehow it keeps coming back.


My pink rose is still blooming. Don'cha just love it against the sky?



I planted some culinary ginger this summer. It's not spectacular looking, but they've started making more ginger. I will try harvesting and using some of it this winter.


The white Mandevilla came back all the way from last winter's freeze to the ground. It's blooming well and is climbing anywhere it can get a tendril. My neighbors are getting the biggest benefit from the flowers, as they are sunward of the plant. I don't mind. They're good neighbors.



I don't have any of the Hyacinth Beans blooming, though there are buds, (on the left) and the beans themselves are ripening. They are as pretty as the blossoms. They're supposed to be edible.. and I may try growing enough....someday...to test that. For now, I'm saving the seed for next year.



No Moon Flowers just now, but the last of the seed pods from that are ripening as well. Next Spring may be glorious indeed.


And of course, my tomatoes are finally blooming and setting fruit.

So, some Summer lingers on....
How are you getting ready for the new season? What are your plans for next Spring?

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Autumn

This time of the year is a time of transition.

Some view it as the anticlimax after the culmination of summer.

Some view it as the time when the year's hard work pays off in a great harvest. Kinda like...payday. A farmer should see it that way. Farming is hard work and you only get one big payday per year as you sell the crops.

Me?

I see it as a chance to peek into the future.

See, Autumn isn't when plants are dying, though, they do.

It isn't about the harvest you're gathering, though you do. If you're smart and vigilant and dutiful and you HAVE a harvest....sigh.....

(This year was short on harvests for me--odd weather and mistimed emergencies conspire with one another sometimes.)

Then again...

I did have some good things going on. My garden is maturing. It isn't finished---(Lord Save Me!) if a garden is EVER considered finished, the gardener is probably deluding herself. But now, it's more a matter of fine tuning, pruning and replanting, rather than the really hard work of making and preparing beds and constructing the hard scape part of the garden.

Hot Stuff Niece is with us for now... and I hope for a long time. My mom is being cared for, instead of others insisting that she care for them. (long story, ain't goin' there)

My pa-in-law is starting a new phase of his life, alone for the first time in his life, with a chance to enjoy the company of his grand kids.

'Pup's oldest nephew is in Iraq, but is doing well, and (unless he's really snowing his mom) reasonably safe.

'Pup and I are both reasonably healthy and employed (oh thank God for the employed part, most especially....tho, the healthy part is appreciated too), and things are settling down.

But I have some pictures that will illustrate why I think Autumn is not the end of anything, but rather the promise of something.

Something, wonderful.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Achmed, the Dead Terrorist



Warning,

This post contains language not normally found on this blog.

It is also very politically incorrect.

And funny as hell.

Daisy, Daisy,

When I was in high school, people kept telling me "Oh, Nancy, you're so patient with little kids, and so good with them. You are going to be a great teacher."

Which meant, of course, as I was a normal teenager....teaching was the last thing I wanted to do.

I wanted to be a marine biologist.

Those of you who know how easily I get motion sick (in elevators!)...hush. A girl can dream.

In high school, I was also a Girl Scout. Yah, big surprise... (oh, and I was also a Boy Scout. Really. If you want to know how that happened, ask. And no, I wasn't an Explorer Scout.)

Several of the projects we did as Girl Scouts were with the MHMR. Part of one summer, we were camp counselors for a day camp for children with disabilities. Each of us had a camper we were assigned to help with all the activities. My darling was a nine year old girl with cerebral palsy. Let's call her...Daisy. She liked that song, a lot, and I sang it to her as often as I could. I helped feed her and helped her "make" her crafts and pictures. She was able to hold a crayon, with some help, and was in a wheel chair full time.

She also liked going FAST. She was in a wheelchair, but her favorite game was for me to start at one end of the gymnasium where we were having the day camp and to run as fast as I could (safely), pushing her in front. I can still hear her laughter, and see the smile that lit up her face.

I went shopping with HS Niece today. We went to Target, and I used their scooter. It was slllloooowwwww. Gave me lots of time to look at everything, but OH, it was so slow and cumbersome. Then we went to a 99 Cents Store. I used my own cart there. It was so much faster, and so much easier to control and I felt so much more freedom. I like going fast in my scooter, just like I used to enjoy running as a little girl. It frees me from feeling tied down by a bulky and balky body, and allows me to feel that feeling of floating, of not being trapped by gravity.

It wasn't until today that I really understood why Daisy used to laugh so delightedly. I'm glad, now, that I was able to give that to her. I hope others in her life gave her that feeling after I was out of her life.

Sometimes, we don't understand how we affect other's lives with unexpected gifts until someone or something gives you back that same gift.

Fly Daisy, fly.

Living Vicariously

I was never a very heavy drinker. In fact, a normal year would see me imbibing alcohol about two times a year. There were exceptions, especially one Christmas in college when the restaurant I worked for had the bad judgement (on the part of the manager) to have an open bar as part of the Christmas party.

It was well appreciated by the staff. I believe it was that particular manager's last Christmas with the company however, as (as best as I can remember) we did our dead level best to leave the bar in dire need of restocking. It took a long night, but we achieved our goal.

You might even say we were over achievers. After the draining the bar stocks (though the manager DID have the foresight to put up the really expensive bottles of call liquor--the rat), and we ended up at the manager's place drinking the last of his --schnapps--if I can recall correctly. It kinda got a little.... fuzzy around then.

It is the most drunk I have ever gotten in my life and the reason that, when I did drink, after that...I kept myself to two drinks. I never felt any better after two, and the after effects were minimal, especially as I usually nursed them to last as long as they could.

Alas. I can no longer drink alcohol.

At blogmeets I can only watch, and sip my iced tea. On the upside...I can usually remember what I did and who said what and who did what to whom... Someday, that information might come in handy. You never know.

But I can live vicariously now. I can mix drinks with the daring of any inexperienced bartender. How?

Well, you go to this site and practice coming up with any kind of drink you think might taste good and not actively poison the drinker. You can try tequila drinks, rum drinks, vodka drinks and gin drinks. You can add whatever mixers, garnishes and flourishes you think would best compliment the drink itself.

It's actually an interesting intellectual exercise. Purely theoretical on my part, and I make no promises about what my recipes might actually achieve. It's a flash application, and you mix your own drinks, and then name them. You can save them in your own drink book.

Being as I'm not ever going to be able to taste mine....I'm posting them anonymously. Just in case.