#20 Practical Matters for Physically Challenged Gardeners

SE/Gulf Coast Plains, AL(Zone 8b)

Welcome to thread #20 Practical Matters for Physically Challenged Gardeners. We came from here:
Physically challenged gardeners are breaking new ground in more ways than one. Here is where we share our experiences about what works and what doesn't. A physical disability is a highly individual experience. There are no solutions that will work for everyone, even those with the same type of physical disability. We discuss new tools, new techniques and entirely new approaches to gardening and getting out in the natural world in the hope each person will discover what works in their precise situation. The community includes those with joint and muscular problems, wheelchair users, those suffering energy deficits due to age or illness, the visually impaired and more. Any physically challenged person who loves nature and the garden is welcome to join us. We welcome posts from those who are gardening or want to continue gardening despite physical challenges, those who want to aid a friend or family member in continuing to garden, able-bodied gardeners who have found a tool or technique that might be helpful and rehabilitation professionals.
Amargia is a small apiary and garden operated by people with various types of physical challenges and varied interest in nature. Our gardening methods are organic and no-till and we are moving toward perma-culture. The majority of the land is in wildflowers for the honeybees crisscrossed with mown maintenance paths. We use raised beds and large growing containers liberally and are continually experimenting with new accessible gardening methods.
Below is a list of websites and books that may be helpful.
Information on outdoor mobility options:
A Perkins School for the Blind web page providing numerous links on subjects of interest to visually impaired gardeners.
Thrive is an organization in the U.K. Their website gives practical advice on gardening despite a wide variety of physical challenges from blindness to having a weak grip.
AgrAbility is an organization for disabled farmers and ranchers. This is an excellent site for disabled persons who want to continue living the rural life.
gardening from a wheelchair.
---Accessible Gardening: Tips & Techniques for seniors by Joann Woy: This book is very comprehensive dealing with visual impairment, mobility issues and more subtle problems such as poor balance.
--Accessible Gardening for People with Physical Disabilities by Janeen R. AdilóThis book contains a useful list of the best vegetable cultivars for container growth.
--The Enabling Garden: A Guide to Lifelong Gardening by Gene RotheróSome of the recommendations on raised bed building material are outdated. Otherwise, this book has stood the test of time.
--The Able Gardener: Overcoming Barriers of Age and Physical Limitations by Kathleen Yeoman: A good book for beginning gardeners and for those gardening on the west coast.
--The Bird Song Tutor for Visually Handicapped Individuals is available as a cassette book in most libraries and through the NLS program as a download. It was produced by the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology.
Please share links to websites you found useful. We will add them to the list. Also, the title and author of any book on the subject of gardening with physical challenges we missed would be appreciated.

Amargia=Melissa ďKayĒ=k*

Midland City, AL

Wow we need some eye candy after that ;-)

Thumbnail by seacanepain Thumbnail by seacanepain Thumbnail by seacanepain Thumbnail by seacanepain Thumbnail by seacanepain
Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Nice, Jim. Yes, Agave, this is the right thread. If you happen to click on it in the middle of construction, it's apt to look a little odd, but it's us. That's terrible about your head wound. What would have happened if your husband HADN'T been almost home? Yikes. And what does this say about your current regime of meds?

According to the latest results (Friday at the gym) I have lost a total of 15 pounds since July. Wow. I did want to lose weight but the no-appetite diet is a little surprising.

SE/Gulf Coast Plains, AL(Zone 8b)

Wow! Carrie, that is a serious amount of weight quickly and weight does not come off easily when the body is sedentary. Jim is overweight now, but he was a thin man before he injured his back and the arthritis set in. The weight increased as mobility decreased. He is losing now thanks to Nadiís own weight loss diet and some increase in mobility. It is a puzzle to me how some people can carry extra weight and still be healthy and look good. People like Jim and I look like exactly what we are, naturally thin people gone to seed. My arms and legs remained thin when I was overweight. I never got the curves I was sort of hoping for. All I got was a flabby belly, the beginnings of a second chin and scary new health problems and I was only 30 lbs. over the max for my height. Skinny is evidently my healthy state. I accept that. I can go for the Twiggy look and I do not even need the false eyelashes. One of the side effects of the eye drops for optic pressure is accelerated eye lash growth. Twiggy may be a little before your time. She was the 60ís super model who many hold responsible for the increased cases of anorexia in young women, but skinny was her healthy, natural state.
Itís good to hear that you are staying strong enough for exercise. If I can get half of my old energy level back, I will be satisfied. Amargia had come to depend far too much on my over abundance of energy. The changes made to reduce the work load will stay in place even if the Energizer bunny returns.
How is your head today, Agave? My apologies if I confused you with the introduction post. It is like a sticky I post for any newcomers so they can access the information we have gathered without having to page back.
Did you ever figure out how you came by the gash? The underside of a counter lip or table, perhaps? An open cabinet Dorr? Being blind, I am always careful when I bend down, kneel or squat, but I have still managed to bang my head on things when I was getting back up and Nadi and I had a few arguments about her leaving cabinet doors open. The practice may be convenient for her while she is cooking, but it is a trap for anyone moving around by memory of what is where.
We would hate to lose you in transit. I am so glad your stick-in-the-mud professor did not dampen your enthusiasm for writing. Your posts are a breath of fresh air.
Speaking of fresh air, it is actually nice outside again. I hope this is a sign of a long autumn season and not an early winter. The blooms of fall are coming weeks earlier according to my blooming schedule records.

Casa Grande, AZ

Hi Gang I'm back! :D
No, never really did quite solve the mystery of how I wound up getting 6 sutures in my head (eye roll). All I can piece together is that I had a seizure at the kitchen sink, probably struck my head on the metal corner of the dishwasher (all I can come up with) and instinctively tried to get up by putting my hand on the wall to raise my self, stood, and then fell backwards again.
There wasn't blood anywhere because whatever I cut my head on was only enough to cause the laceration. I didn't start actually bleeding until I was lying on the floor. This was where all the blood pooled.
When my neighbor got there she said I was sitting up looking very dazed. She got a dish towel and she told me later she had wiped some blood off the base board of the wall(you know the area where the dividing edge/strip of the kitchen floor meets the next room). She was talking to my husband on the phone and holding the towel to my head. I wanted to lay back down so I did. Usually after a big seizure my whole body shuts down and I just sleep for hours.
She left me laying down but kept me awake and conscious until he got home. She had checked me all over so I hadn't done any "real damage" to myself aside from the cut. I had removed the towel which is why the blood was probably all over the floor and the back of me.
Anyway I wound up with 6 sutures. They'll come out Wednesday. Two of them are already "loose" from what I feel and probably will fall out naturally which means I'm healing fine.
No I don't think about the "what if's" . I can't. I'd drive myself crazy and do nothing but live in fear and paranoia. Life is for the living. I have to live. I've had seizures like this standing next to my husband or in a room full of people. I've had them alone. I've gone months and even awhile ago years without incident. I just live life normally as possible and engaging in all the things and activities I possibly can. It is all I can do I feel. Sitting on the couch being afraid and walking around in a crash helmet isn't going to help or add to the quality of my life.
Thankfully these types of seizures only comprise 5-10% of what I get. Normally I get the small ones where I just stop, stare, rock and clutch something for a few seconds and then snap out of it quickly like nothing ever happened. I describe it like a skip in a record. I was doing something, had a seizure, and pick up right where I left off. I may be a little disoriented and someone points out I did this but I'm not aware of it and go right back to what I was doing. These last only a few seconds. Gratefully these types comprise 90% of my seizures.
My whole problem, however, is I never know where, when, how often, how many in a day and there's no "pattern" to them. So this is my problem and issue. This is why I neither work nor drive and am on permanent S.S.D.I. Hey, could be a lot worse. Consider some of the alternatives right?

I did want to thank you all though for your loving thoughts and warmth and kindness you've extended towards me and for my well being. It means a great deal. I am very thankful and very touched by it. I often think in a perfect world how nice it would be if we all lived close. Since I'm able bodied (more times than not..LOL) I could be helping you Carrie and doing a lot of work on Amargia. Since I don't work I have an over abundance of energy I always am looking to burn off. Thus what started the gardening frenzy. In return all of you could be keeping watch over me for DH, and helping me get to the places I needed since I no longer drive.
I could be working out with you and cooking! Hungry or not you would happily be eating...I AM that good a cook! (I'd even let you use vinegar..although I'd sit in another room. LOL)
Sigh....In a perfect world right?

O.K. more pleasant stuff!
Those photos are absolutely breath taking! So pretty. Made my day to come back and see the flowers and basil. The planter is the most adorable and clever thing ever. :D Too cute for words. I really envy your Spring-Fall times. While I love my cacti and agaves I truly do miss the green and colors of the East. Don't get me going on just how gorgeous Fall is. I really do miss that. I used to be outside then as much as possible just to take in the leaves and the color and to walk and hear them under foot and breath in the scents!
How are things on the farm and with the crazy neighbors? I'm a tad behind. What are you guys up to there? How's the back?
where you at with the eye thing and potential surgery? Good for you with those pretty lashes!
Yes I remember Twiggy only from pictures and reading about her. My generation's ode to anorexia is Kate Moss or was it Kate Spade? Remember the whole waif thing?

Ahh...the middle age pudge that just don't budge! I'll talk about that in my next post. I've got to walk Zoe before the sun comes up and the neighborhood sees me looking like the wrath of God. Be right back

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

I certainly remember Twiggy, although i think you and I were too young to be affected personally, Kay. I think the whole culture was affected!

My body type would have looked great in a corset in the 1800s. Horrible in flapper dresses or the first part of 1900s. Good in 1950s poodle skirts. My best eature is my waist and my zaftig waist-to-hip ratio. When Twiggy-like narrow hips and straight waist are in, I'm out. So the 20s or 70s are not kind to me. I was built for childbirth! Slim-hipped, boyish figures keep coming back into style, though.

Agave, I'm glad that your neighbor has that type of relationship to you. Our neighbors probably wouldn't notice anything until the smell got really bad! It's awful to need people and it's great to need people.

SE/Gulf Coast Plains, AL(Zone 8b)

ďNo one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.Ē Charles Dickens
Carrie, I have what ultra-polite people call a swimmerís physique meaning I am V-shaped. In my younger, sillier days, I tried all sorts of things to get more feminine curves. It ranged from wearing fanny and hip pads to intentionally over-eating spicy food because I read somewhere the calories from fiery fatty, foods tended to be deposited in the hips and derriere. I am lucky that nice legs are the feminine attribute that catches Jimís eye. Legs I have in abundance. The things we will do to ourselves to fit an ideal image are crazy, arenít they?
Agave, I talked to the Argus chip representatives this morning. They do not have FDA approval for using the chip in cases of macular degeneration yet. It is only okayed in this country for RP (retinitis pigmentosa). I guess my ophthalmologist wanted me to talk to the Argus people so I would be in on the ground floor. For now, I will receive letters and emails to keep me informed about new developments and the approval process. There has been success using Argus II for macular degeneration in Europe. It should not be too long before it is available in this country.
It was a long day of weeding. The Tramadol is beginning to take effect. I will say good night for now.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Kay, I forgot you took Tramadol too! I haven't noticed any pain relief from Tramadol, but I keep my prescription active and fill it for Ray. (It's Medicare fraud, yes.) The VA wants everybody including Ray to be off of Tramadol, maybe especially Vietnam Era vets. He's not exactly addicted; he's addicted to not being in so much pain.

The doctors who treated him for his broken back in 2005 told him to take 3 Tramadol a day until further notice. He did that until a few years ago. When I started on Tramadol it was described to me as better than codeine and non-addictive. Now the VA (and civilian doctors) have decided to try to get everyone off Tramadol. Ray's doctor in Texas was very anxious for him to get off it, and that's when we began our fraud in earnest. Now the VA wants everyone to wean off of Tramadol. Gabapentin is often offered as an alternative. Me, I love gabapentin! At one time (before the baclofen pump) I was taking 2600 mg a day, which is higher than the recommended daily maximum. Ray finds good pain relief from gabapentin but it makes him really sleepy, better than Ambien. So he tends not to take gabapentin but to prefer Tramadol.

Kay, I can't tell you how I wanted a V shaped body instead of this pear! I'll gladly trade you some padding around the hips for some inverted triangle-ness. Is it just women, or do men do this too?

I sure hope that chip becomes available for you! I know a few people with RP....I wonder if they know about it. I wonder if it matters more to formerly sighted people or to people who have never been able to see or if it matters. It reminds me of cochlear implants for hearing-impaired people.

We have a deaf grandson. He reads lips and is mainstreamed but I wonder if his parents have thought about them, I'm sure they have. They are often financially motivated; I remember hearing how much the (not covered by insurance) hearing aids cost them.

Casa Grande, AZ

Hi guys,
Good morning :D
Feeling good and back to being completely normal yesterday. Did some gardening. It was nice and therapeutic. Walked Zoe this a.m. Enjoyed the smell of rain and the humidity that was not off the charts yet! Last night we got a thunderstorm and lightening show to beat the band. We also got 40 m.p.h. winds!
No plant damage. Checked this morning. Shade tents still in place but that was mainly because I used a staple gun to secure the shade mesh to stakes that I had pounded into the ground. I used stakes because the tents had to be raised enough and be tall enough to cover agaves, and some odd shaped cacti. Did have to pick up patio chairs though that were strewn across the back yard.

Yes, I am very lucky to have such a good neighbor. We have the keys to each other's places and mail boxes. She introduced her self when we first moved in and provided us a lot of numbers, and useful tips and names of places and services for the neighborhood. We chatted a lot. Shirley (her name) is 81 but looks about 70. Very active, slim (she had 8 kids!) and works as a few hours a week as a dispatcher at our local police department. She also goes out and shops, plays bingo at the local casino, reads voraciously, etc.
When Dave and I started cleaning up and organizing our back yard Dave, being 6'6" tall looked over the wall into her yard and saw tons of weeds and dead plants even though it had been landscaped nicely. She explained she didn't do the gardening anymore because she had back surgery and it was too hard for her to bend. So we just offered to come over, spray and pull the weeds for her. We did. That easy. I offered to water the plants in her front yard. She has some unusual and exquisitely beautiful cacti, agaves and a prickly pear that are all 20 years old. I did and do this regularly for her still.
Like I said, since I don't work and she only works a few hours a week we are each other's company and help each other out. She takes me where I need to go on occasion. Dave will help her out with something in the house if she needs it. She knows what to look for in terms of seizures. We even go for lunch sometimes or have our dinner together. We talk almost daily or at least every 2-3 days. She is indeed our friend not just our neighbor. We found out we are from the same area in Ohio also! Her kids are there. She has 2 daughters here but they live about an hour away and work and are in their mid 60s so it isn't always easy for them to get out. Dave and I met them. They're really happy we "adopted" their mom. The feeling is mutual. We do lighten each other's burdens.
I don't always see being dependent on others as that can be a sad thing. I see it as being nice to know there are those who genuinely care, reach out and that one can call "friend" and rely upon when needed. I think as humans we should be able to depend on that from others. Sadly as computerized as the world has become it seems there's less use for human contact or fewer opportunities to appreciate direct face to face interactions and how to make real friends. It seems to me these types of relationships are becoming rarer and rarer.
Nothing against face book. It is a great idea. I just wish they would pick another name for it. There's nothing "face to face" about it unless you make it that way. People you don't know or barely know or who can be telling you anything on a computer ARE NOT friends. How does one have 200 friends?
I have found that if you are lucky enough to have one or two REAL, TRUE friends in this life you are truly blessed. Thus I always make a joke: Anyone who says money can't buy love, or friendship never owned a dog.
My other joke is: Anyone who says money can't buy happiness doesn't know where to shop! :D

I was just kind of chuckling reading about body types and clothes and woes.

As for me I'd say I'm pretty much an hourglass that could easily turn into a round looking glass if not careful! VERY broad shoulders like a Viking oarsman, a tiny waist, long legs in proportion to my height. Not as great as it sounds. It is a major PITA to shop for!! Just agony. It also isn't as great as it sounds because curves very easily become a round or pear shape and if you're short and an extra 5 pounds looks like an extra 10 or 15! OUCH!!! It's a double whammy too being short because you can't hide it as well.

Ahh...fashion! Just what my degree was in: Fashion Merchandising and Retail Marketing and Management from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. (explains why I had jobs like corrections officer later in life)

With my body type I have to buy shirts a size big to fit the shoulders then they're big everywhere else unless they're cut at a "v" or curve inwards so I don't look like I'm wearing a guy's shirt.
Pants I have to buy them to fit over my butt (not overly big but just goes with my body type) so they gap about an inch or so in the waist. If I get them to fit the waist I have to "wiggle" to get into them and they're tight everywhere else but the waist! I'm long legged for someone petite at 5'3" so that means my inseam is just that tad too long for petites and about 1-2 inches too short for regulars! Sigh...always, always have to get things hemmed or they're just that annoyingly ever so slightly long by 1/2 an inch with not enough material to hem.
Being long legged AND short means I'm also short waisted. So if I belt a top I wear out or a skirt with a shash or a large belt it can't exceed 3 inches otherwise I look like I have NO waist. I also have to buy it small enough to fit my waist which means I usually can't turn around and wear it on pants that usually require your belts to be a few inches larger. If it fits my waist it is too small to fit my pants. If it fits my pants it looks like I 'm wearing a hula hoop on my waist and the belt slides and spins around all day.
Again being petite I stay away from the 3 B's: big, busy and bulky (only exception is over leggings). Otherwise it looks like I'm playing in "mommy's" closet and am a kid wearing her clothes.
A lot of times Junior sizes can fit me BUT I don't want to look like I've been playing in some teen age girl's closet either. I don't have arrested development. A lot of the styles are too trendy or "kiddy" and not for someone who is 47 to be able to convincingly get away with wearing.
Any weight I hold is always below the belly button, my butt (of course) or my thighs. Long straight "Flapper style" things look like maternity clothes on me. Big, loose oversized stuff look like I've been tented for termites. Love it for around the house though. Hippy peasant tops, flow-y skirts, and hip-hugger pants with flared bottoms just look horrific on me. Never anything with an elastic waist (except leggings) or things that could bunch at the waist. Ruffles, tucks, flounces, etc. make me look fat.
I look good in your typical regular "normal" high rise (not the low rise or flat front stuff) straight/tapered leg jean, classic pleated khakis (J.Crew & L.L. Bean styles), highly structured skirt and pant suits cut closer to the body usually with shorter single breasted jackets; anything military/uniform looking. Pencil skirts usually shorter about 1-2 inches above the knee. Think of the stuff you saw the old film stars wearing in the classic old black and white movies from the 1940s.
I can do long full skirts with very tailored tops if they have a fitted waist band, seams or darts and a side or back zipper. I almost always save any long skirt for boots. That way you don't see a cut off look. Skirt hem...leg...shoe. Makes me look shorter and chopped up. Long straight pencil skirts I can do same colored hose and shoe or nude hose and neutral shoe.
I can do body conscious clothing. I can't do "tight" or overly "sex kitten" or vixen type of stuff. If I draw attention to some part of my body it has to be one thing NOT everything. If you're hour glass you want to make a statement not scream. It is too easy to wind up looking cheap or like a hooker with everything on display which super sexy or overly revealing clothes and some lingerie styles can do. It does make dress up or formal shopping challenging at times when you try to get the balance sexy and tasteful right.

Probably if I had to go back in time I would pick Christian Dior's "New Look" from the 40s and early 50s and all those great old suits women wore in the black and white movies from that era.

And yes...to be vain...I look stunning in a pair of heels and a short skirt. Even though I'm short my legs look miles long. Thank God my husband likes legs and not rear ends or I would have been in real trouble!!! (LOL)

Guys are so lucky. My husband: Walk into a store. Find: jeans size 34W 36L; shirt L/XL in tall not big; shoe size 13. Done. No fitting room visit required. No hours of frustration and days desperately spent in the quest of 1 pair of jeans to fit. Guys are soooo lucky.

Have a good day folks.
Speaking of clothes I need to hop in the shower and get dressed!
Got some cleaning to do and a roast to put on for dinner! :D
Peace. Out.

Midland City, AL

I became a total slouch where clothes are concerned after I got out of the AF. Iím a Dockers and polo shirts kind of guy now. I havenít worn a watch in years. Over 20 years in a uniform will do that to a person. Kay teases me because I donít tie a tie very well. In the military you always wore clip-on ties. A piece of material wrapped around the neck is very convenient for an enemy who wants to choke you.
I was a 198 lb. bean pole when I went into the military. I will be satisfied to get back to 240 lbs., the weight I was in my 30ís. I have the typical beer belly. That isnít fair since I didnít get to drink beer to get it. Kay calls it a brown and beige food belly. I was a meat and potatoes guy. She refuses to count catsup and pickles as vegetables. My plate is very colorful now and the weight is coming off slowly.
Hey, Beth, are you still with us? this is just an idea, but would those leg sleeves the nurses put around your legs in the hospital after surgery to prevent blood clots help? I think I remember a nurse calling the unit an SCD, but Iím not positive.
There has been no more harassment from the neighbor since the mailbox incident. Threatening to give Amargia Farm to one of their brotherís victims if the harassment didnít stop, the postal serviceís refusal to be a part of the nonsense and filing a police report has apparently done the trick. The stupid cameras are gone and there have been no more incidents.
It is cool enough to get back outside for a while. Catch all of you later.
Photo: A rose.

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Casa Grande, AZ

Good Morning, :D

Can't wait for these darn staples to come out of my head. Grrr. They're all lose which means they're ready to but won't with my uh-hem gentle and not so semi-gentle attempts. They wiggle around when I wash or dry my hair and they ITCH! I suppose that's from the scabs/healing. I'm also getting a crick in my neck because they're smack dab in the spot on your head that rests on the pillow when you lie down so I've been either tipping my head back which means the back of my neck is slightly arched or I've been dropping my chin which means my neck is bent forward. I've had an annoying headache for the last 2 days because of it. I try sleeping on my stomach or side but I fuss. Now you know why I've been trying to get them out myself!
I know shut up and stop complaining. They come out in a day or two--thank God! Could have been worse. I'm just starting to get cranky though.
There....that's my morning gripe! Wah-Wah-Wah!

I hear you about the casual clothes thing. Dave, my husband, wears a uniform to work (corrections officer). When he comes home it is either shorts and t-shirt or jeans and casual shirt. If we go somewhere he'll put on something nicer like Dockers and a polo or if we go "out" dress slacks and shirt with no tie, or really nice jeans and shirt with sports jacket or blazer and very nice shoes. He has very nice polo shirts and shorts for golf on the rare occasions when he goes.
Me...always having been the clothes and shoe horse and fashionista because my jobs demanded it and I worked in upscale stores and had to look the part (and find reasonably priced clothes that could "pass" as designer or hit the majorly mark down designer section) had a huge wardrobe. The amount of shoes, my one true luxury, is obscene. Most of this stuff is collecting dust now. It was just too expensive for me to give away or take to Good Will. It will last a life time that is how well it is made which is also the other reason I don't give it away. It is all classic styles that never change or go out of style so I keep it in the event I may have to go back to work. I just never buy another piece! Dave has one suit and a few ties and we get this dressed up on very rare occasions.
Casual clothes was where I had nothing. CA was a beach state. Casual clothes were reserved for the beach and house cleaning or going over to a friend's house or grittier sides of town or work outs. I never understood why they say LA is casual. Even the most casual restaurants like a Chili's would not let you in with tennis shoes, flip flops (proper nice sandals o.k.), tank tops (except girls), t shirts with writing, denim shorts or denim shorts that looked nasty, jeans with holes in them or jeans at all!
Forget getting into a club or slightly better restaurant wearing any of this stuff! Almost every place had "proper dress required" or "dress code enforced" on the door! So I had virtually no casual clothes! I mean I had the same pair of tennis shoes for 10 years that's how infrequently I wore them!
I had to buy casual clothes which was a shock to me. Then I had to buy casual clothes for a place that was 118 degrees in Summer and 50 in winter! I have 5 sweaters. Let's just say they're not the most cosmopolitan crowd out here so I pretty much have the same LA summer dress code: nice shorts and t's or short little knee length "flippy-flowy" types of print skirts I can wear with tanks or cute tops and sandals or flats and sun dresses that are knee length to upper shin. I live in denim capris most days and t's. Makeup is primarily reserved now for going out in public or when we have company where as I use to wear it every day except to the beach.
Dave and I pretty much live in "comfy clothes" much to my dismay. We both, however, refuse to adopt the native foot wear. I HATE FLIP-FLOPS! I'm sorry they're reserved for pedicures, the beach and nasty public showers. That's it! They were not meant to serve any other purpose. They ARE NOT public, daily foot wear. We actually have idiots here that put them on with jeans, sweaters and a coat in January when it is 40 degrees outside at night! It is like some kind of epidemic. I've never seen anything like it! Can you explain to me why this habit of no shoes with winter coats exists?
As for the big belly...hat to say it but I think your beloved is right. Carbs and sugar will do you in every time. I couldn't figure out why my weight shot up exponentially after the military although I was still running and hadn't gone back to smoking and wasn't eating different. This was pre my knowing I was B12 deficient and having a problem. It can cause weight gain or loss and effect metabolism. I was always hungry and primarily living off of carbs and nothing green. I went from 118 in CA (keep in mind younger and more muscle) to 125 when I left to 132 when I joined the military to 137 when I got out to 143 then at my heaviest at 156. No that doesn't sound like much but I'm 5 foot 3 inches and had hit obese! I went from size 4-6 to size 14! I was going to plus sizes next with 5 more pounds.
I found HCG and did that and got it knocked down to 134. I did a second bout of HCG and got to 137. That was unbearable. You can read up on HCG but it was almost inhumane even though I didn't feel hungry. At 127 I stayed on their maintenance and did fine with the reintroduction of normal foods. BUT my weight and appetite went sky rocketing again back to 146.
Finally figured out the B12 thing and started eating Paleo. Felt better, reduced the seizures, got "bathroom regular" (women always have issues with this), and went down to 107-111 pounds and my normal size 4-6. I weigh less now because I have less muscle mass and am older but I still have a lot of muscle compared to most women my age who don't work out and even some who do because the diet is protein based, plant based, naturally occurring sugar and carbs (fruit) and very little carbs. Notice I didn't say NO carbs. I said very little. I also weigh myself every day. If I get out of my 107-111 range I cut carbs until I'm back in my lower end of the range and this way I keep my weight "set". My body is accustomed to being at this weight and stays there despite my having a day or two of indulgence every now and then. I actually feel better and look better, sleep better, have more energy and my skin and nails look great!
Try it. I won't lie. The first week is a bear. You'll be a whiny crab. You'll want to high jack the Twinkies truck. You'll want to go to the grocery store and open every bag of chips. But after that you won't even think about, look at or miss the stuff. It's like it never existed or you never ate it before. When you do you'll go "Yuck. I was eating this again why?" Things with sugar in them taste disgustingly and sickening and you can actually feel the sugar grittiness on your teeth! The mindless grazing, feeling hungry 2 hours after you eat and wanting to sleep after you eat will be gone. You'll put food on your plate and discover only half of what is there makes you completely full and satisfied. For someone like me who could never do these things before it was pretty amazing! Yep...they encourage you to eat meat, bacon and eggs! There's good fat and bad fat! My husband at 6 feet 6 inches who was always very slim, had crept up to almost 200 and had a gut. He is back to his slim 186-190 range. NO gut. All I can say is it works. We're proof at 47 and soon to be 53 (the 7th this month).
I'm glad the neighbors have knocked their nonsense off. Tampering with the FEDERAL mail and the road/property used by them and putting up surveillance on it wasn't exactly smart. I'm especially glad they stopped lurking around and harassing the ladies. That gave me cause for concern. You guys have got to feel a lot better now. That's one problem down. Still deciding on what to do with the farm?
Beautiful rose anyway. Glorious to see flowers of all shapes sizes and colors. :D

Got to go. You guys have a great day.
Hugs to all,

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

OMG Jim that rose is stunning! That's one of my absolute favorite colors....does it smell nice too? Does it require a lot of maintenance? It wouldn't survive up here anyway, right? Oh well.

I've never noticed any difference with weight and particular foods, but then again it is a.very difficult to weigh myself and b.strange for me with food. I go "off" certain foods and then it's all over. Ray would starve to death without brown and beige foods, hahaha.

I think women's bodies are more challenging to fit clothes on! I've always had a small waist, no matter how much weight I gain or lose. I used to take refuge in some statistic about the hip to waist ratio men found most appealing.

My worst feature is my upper arms. My husband (nice man) says my muscles are too big from transferring and lifting myself but I think they are just fat. Something like an Edwardian dress with a tiny waist, full skirt, mutton chop sleeves would fit very nicely. Flapper styles, hip-huggers etc. styles that camouflage thick waists don't do me any favors. I have some clothes that I had to have that I had to buy a size big enough to fit around my arms. So this shirt is too big in the shoulders, too big in the bust, too big everywhere but fits in the upper arms. Ray liked it. So we bought it.

I have LOTS and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of clothes. I have danced around lots of different sizes and I don't wear out some parts but I wear out other parts. I used to buy used shoes because I never wore shoes in. Now I wear three pairs of shoes alternately. Black leather, taupe leather and taupe canvas in the summer.

Hendersonville, NC(Zone 7a)

aaaHAAA! so HERE y'all are! OK, so it took me a couple of days of no posts before I figured out y'all might've migrated.
That PCV, DVT, or whatever it's called is too expensive and restrictive to be used at home, specially on a semi-active-type person! Can y'all imagine me with that? I'd haftas have a long extension cord, for when I tend my Tomato Jungle. The hot summer is NO time to hafta wear compression stockings! It's like weraring a half suit of armor! My blood clots are still with me, albeit not visible to the eye (but still "there" by feel!)

Imy Tomato Jungle has a foliar disease: what it is is so-far questionabl3e. *I*hink it's late blight, as it resembles all the pictures online. My online tomato aficianodos think it's black mold and the county Extension agent merely says it's asome type of fungal rot. So I've submitted pictured to NCSU Plant Dosease etc. for a diagnosis. Meanwhile, the tomatoesw keep[ coming, even tho at a MUCH slower rate.

That's all for now, as I hafta go tend my 'maters before I leave in an hour to go to yet another doctor!

PS JIM: VERY pretty roses!

Casa Grande, AZ

Good Morning! :D

Little later than usual. Had some stuff to take care of so got late start. had an over abundance of inane e.-mails to delete but that's what I get for signing one on line petition and I've spent an hour fussing and picking at some rather annoying but painless minute cactus needle firmly wedged under my thumbnail and embedded in the skin. YES...I just had to go touch something I knew better than I should have. I was checking the bottom to see if there had been any damage from the rains we had. (eye roll).

Flowers with fragrance. Things like Beth's lilies, roses, peonies, lily of the valley, iris, lilac, tulips. I was thinking about that and how lovely that would be. I truly love the architectural and sculptural odd beauty of the cacti, aloes and agaves; not to mention their sheer scale and size their almost rhythmic, precise military exactness in line and pattern BUT they have no scent and they only flower so very briefly. I guess I should be thankful to see anything that with color blooming in this climate let alone wish for fragrant long lasting flowers that would shriek in horror, die in disgust, and shrivel into a pile of ashes in a week.
Your rose is truly pretty though Jim. Really stunning. Do you grow many? Even when I lived back East I never attempted them as they all seem challenging to grow.
Why is it also that roses you get from florists never seem to have any smell unlike the ones grown in people's yards. Doesn't matter if they're an expensive bouquet or just ones you pick up from the grocery store. None of them ever seem to have a scent. When I smell them in people's yards, however, they do.

Food! I get on "kicks" with it too. At times all I want is certain types and eat it for a long time and then I tire of it very suddenly and move onto something else. I dunno. Can't explain that one except for maybe it is hitting some pleasure point or neglected necessary mood boosting, pleasure boosting, or nutritional boosting need and when it is filled we no longer need it anymore.
My explanations for cravings regardless of what they are is that it is definitely our body's way of telling us we DO need something immediately or are lacking something right now! If you think about it we don't get cravings every day, all day or even all the time. Why not? Why do we get a "yen" or "hankering" for something on occasion only? I don't care if it is steak, pasta, a big salad, or even sugar, salt and "grease" for some strange reason our body is telling us "I need/want this" now.

Paleo cured my constant cravings but I notice I do get cravings for things like an occasional sugary thing like a candy bar (I only use Stevia). I'll get ice cream. I don't do "dairy" (we'll skip descriptions and details of why) except for cheese, butter and maybe a rare yogurt.
I do have my occasional Whataburger with fries,Taco Bell or grocery store deli fried chicken (ALWAYS with salt on it) days. Sometimes I'll do a Pop Tart for breakfast and I never eat breakfast. When I may find myself buying a single bakery roll or bagel and munch it while I shop but I don't ever buy a loaf of bread. I may throw a couple of potatoes (not a bag) in the cart or go home and make pasta for dinner.

I notice these are things I don't normally eat now. Yet once in a blue moon I crave them.
I just think some small.....very tiny minute trace amount of them...are necessary which is why my body craves them on rare occasions. They are "treats". They are not and never were meant to be the staple of a human diet. They provide sugar, fat, "grease" and more salt or bad carbs than I normally take in. (I very, very rarely do a "processed food" ). So I find if I allow myself one day a week to enjoy this and have a "junk food day" my cravings don't get out of hand, I don't obsess about food or want it all the time. I truly "enjoy" my treat and it is enough to do it. I don't keep stuffing more of whatever it is in my face, I don't need or want more beyond what I just had from there out until the next "craving".

The weird thing is I get these overwhelming cravings for "good things" like proteins such as fish and steak (I'll have 'meat fest' days) or for more fruits or a one specific vegetable, salads, excessive quantities of water (even on cool days).
So why do cravings work equally for good and bad foods? I don't fight it. I find if I just "obey" my body. I wind up feeling good mentally, physically and emotionally. I'm not moody, crabby, feeling deprived and my body feels ON kilter not off and my weight rarely changes. I dunno. It works for me and my husband both. He's noticed it too in his self, so I don't think it is wholly or entirely connected to "being a woman" or my meds or seizures.

Yep Carrie couldn't agree with you more women's bodies are soooo hard to fit. I think more so since the fashion industry has gotten lazy, cheaper in quality, and delusional in their sizing. When Mrs. Gotrocks is shelling out $600.00 for a skirt they're not going to tell her she's a size 12. They're going to put a size 8 label in the back of it.
Yes the clothes are better quality thus truer to size but not so great quality as even high price upscale stores cut corners now. That simple skirt that they sell costs $13.00 a piece to manufacture and $2.00 in labor and should really retail for $250.00. It does not deserve to be selling at $600.00. All you're paying for is that little label in the back with someone's name on it and that bag that its put in that says Neiman-Marcus on it.
That much cheaper and non designer knock off style skirt later on you see in Wal Mart that costs $3.00 to manufacture and .60 cents in labor and should really retail for $6.00 they sell for $12.00. It is sized too big. It is a 12 but they'll say it is a 16.
I noticed when the economy was good Wal Marts sizes were more true to size. Now that the economy is bad they're sized with bigger numbers and more generous fits. America is fat period. They're catering to women's vanity and doing this also because they are a grocery store too. Hmm...that 12 skirt is too big and the 16 just a little loose to perfect. I better grab the other 2 while they got them on sale because that's all that's left. OMG time to invest in over priced diet products, exercise and sport equipment, work out videos and buy fruits and vegetables from the grocery area!!!

Marketing folks....deception and lies catering to vanity not reality! Another good reason to step on the scale every day and try on ones tightest fitting garments every week!

I never wore a 0-2 at Neimans PLUS having to have it altered SMALLER to fit despite what the tag says when in reality I was a definite 6 and size Small and 118 pounds at the time. That's a fact. It was the fact. It was my size period for years and years. It was never 0-2 and extra small. Now that I'm a 4-6 size I most certainly don't wear a 6-8, plain 6 or Mediums at Wal Marts.
I fell out laughing one time in J.C. Penny's. Liz Claiborne is the worse. Everything was so big I got a size 2 and even they were roomy! I couldn't stop laughing. I'm not delusional. They most certainly are! I know I'm 5 foot 3 and a tiny petite girl who is proportional for my frame and height but I'm not an idiot. I know what size I honestly wear.
Gotta love the rag trade. Before women were conforming their bodies to fit delusional styles of clothes with corsets, stays, busties, etc. Now we're configuring clothes to fit delusions about our bodies and our weights but still catering to even more delusional standards of what's acceptable and "beautiful".

I do love the Victorian and Edwardian era clothes also. I found them elegant and graceful. Exquisite fabrics, details and very alluring in their own way. They definitely highlighted and flattered the female form and attributes. Amazing that as modest as most of these gowns were that was possible. It just goes to show you that the over exposure of flesh is not always sexy or alluring. Understated, "hints" or "glimpses" and the power of suggestion is just as effective. Maybe that's why all the leg o mutton sleeves, lace and ruffles were used to draw the eye up towards the face, big hats to frame the face and corsets for narrow waists. I think these would look best on average to taller heights. I think someone tiny like me would be lost in them.

I do agree with you though about men and body preferences.
My husband gets irked with me when I say I gained weight or I'm not happy because I went below or above my weight "range". I hate this or that on me and how it makes me look. I ask him, "Don't you see it? How can you miss it? My butt is huge!" He looks at me like I lost my mind.
When he compliments me I say "Thank you" immediately followed by "but.... " and some complaint. He wondered why I never could take a compliment. I was never aware that I couldn't or did this. He's right. Are we so conditioned as women to constantly find things wrong with us or not being able to live up to certain standards and suggested/accepted ideal beauty criterion that we are automatically self critical?

So,, as an experiment, I asked my husband one day in various places in public to actually "check out"...not leer at.... women and point out for me what body types he actually found attractive. We're married not dead. We have eyes and don't wear blinders. We are still young enough to "notice" things.

I was surprised that he actually picked out women that I thought that could of stood to lose 10-20 pounds! They were also all maybe only 1-2 inches taller than me to shorter! None of these women were fat by any means but not as slim as I or the women I thought attractive and would have picked as an ideal body type or how I most would like to look. He stuck to women in their 20's through 50's maybe very early 60s.

His other preferences were only women who had shoulder length to shorter hair, primarily red-brown, light and medium brown or dark brown. He had absolutely no interest in blondes natural or not! Not a fan of black ( as in color not a person's race) ! Hated obviously dyed, and didn't like anything "harsh" over garish, bright or too much make up. He said natural makeup is ridiculous. If you want natural don't wear make up. Make up isn't natural. Make up should look like makeup just put on right not like every day is Mardi-gras. He hated fake nails, face hardware (nose rings/eyebrow and tongue piercings, etc.) and sleeve tattoos on women. Said sleeve tattoos are for guys with real muscles not girls. It is comparable to guys getting belly button piercings done.

Now here's what I thought was attractive in women:

Most of the ones I chose were slimmer than me but I thought they had nice curves and looked great...very physically fit! He said they had no shape or looked like boys or little girls. I also didn't pick a single woman my height or shorter. All were taller than me! I also found all age ranges from teen age to elderly attractive. I even complimented a women on her long salt and pepper hair saying how nice it was and that she wore it well. It was shoulder length, thick and very striking with her blue eyes. Oh...she was about 5 feet 8 inches, relatively slender for her age and probably in her very early 70's! I liked good skin, great eyes and nails (real not fake), didn't care if their hair was died as long as their wasn't roots and the color was in the range of "real and believable". I didn't care about hair length. For the most part I was oblivious to make up unless it was horribly applied or garish. I'm with him on face hardware, sleeve tattoos and just tattoos that are way too big or unfeminine (not little roses, butterflies, cutesy stuff you know but small and NOT all over the body.). I have three but they're all very tiny and discrete and not noticeable unless I was wearing a bathing suit or midriff or super short skirt.

You should try this experiment. Its quite eye opening. Don't worry...I got my turn with picking the guys I liked! :D

I'm sure Carrie your arms are quite lovely. They probably look like Michelle Obama's whose arms I envy very much. I'd probably envy yours. I guess it is true we are all our own worse critics, especially me with my butt. We all hate ourselves in clothes and have a closet full of them and nothing to wear....

To quote Tonisha, my very best friend of 26 years and who happens to be African-American, "Honey if you can get anything to fit your a$$ buy it and stop worrying about the digits in the back. But I forget, white chicks! I swear none of you are happy unless you all look like you're starving to death. But don't worry. If it makes you feel better I got my own issues with this hair."

I don't think a wiser observation was ever made.

This message was edited Sep 3, 2015 8:39 AM

This message was edited Sep 3, 2015 9:25 AM

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

We HAVE done an experiment similar to yours but a little different; we picked out the most beautiful faces, sort of, or at least talked about what ethnicity we think is most attractive. I envy the people with maybe Mediterranean heritage or "mixed", the people who look "ethnic." They play different ethnicities, Mexican, American Indian, Hawaiian, maybe even Asian. Like Jason Scott Lee or Mariska Hargitay. Dark hair, olive skin, full dark lips. He eyes the "Scandanavian" or "Celtic" types, with brown or light brown hair, preppy-looking faces, thin lips. So I look like his type, not my type, and I am forever putting on lipstick (I really can't do much about my preppy face!).

About scent in roses: florist's roses were bred to have long straight stems and to withstand being shipped thousands of miles without damage. They are also bred to linger at the budded out stage, not to proceed to fully open. They certainly weren't bred for scent! Or for the variety in form and habit that rose bushes exhibit. They (breeders) have also mostly bred out the thorns in roses, because it makes machine packing much easier and less damaging for the roses. Consumer comments about the scent and the thorns has resulted in some breeders trying to breed those back in, but I haven't noticed any difference. (I read Flower Confidential a few years ago, and the author (Amy Stewart) spend s a lot of time addressing these issues.) http://www.amystewart.com/books/flower-confidential/

I once found a miniature rose at the grocery store that smelled good, and of course I bought it. It didn't survive though. This summer's miniature rose did survive, though, and has been putting out unscented roses on and off all summer!

This message was edited Sep 3, 2015 3:50 PM

Midland City, AL

Beth, I couldnít agree more about wearing med devices and this heat. The back brace is miserable and the leads for the bone stimulator turn to goo. I canít believe some women wear stockings in summer. I will not name names.
Kay loves those leg sleeves and told visitors after her last surgery not to mention to the nurses that she got out of bed. That way she got to keep the unit longer. Yes, I forgot the nurses do take it away as soon as a patient is mobile.
Oh, good grief, donít get me started on women and hair color. Kayís hair has been every color in the human rainbow of hair colors. She hates her natural color because it is an in-between, non-descript color. I always liked the way it looks different colors in different light. I even like the silver strands that have shown up the last few years, but Kay disappeared those as soon as she realized they were there.
Kayís platinum blond father referred to her as the one with the dirty blond colored hair. (Kay was one of his six daughters.) I think that gave her some sort of complex about her hair color even though it was his poor English vocabulary and wasnít meant to be cruel.
My granddaughter is a stunningly beautiful girl with a thick mane of pale blond hair and eyes a beautiful shade of light blue. Considering how many women try to dye their hair that color, you think the girl would be thrilled to have it naturally. Absolutely not! She says because she is a beautiful blond, no one takes her seriously. She is mathematically gifted and a year away from a degree in engineering.. but feels like she is always battling the dumb, blond, sex kitten stereotype. It was always punked up some weird color not in the human rainbow of hair colors when she was younger. Anything cute was an absolute no-no. Now she is nearing her college graduation and thinking about impressing potential employers so what does she do? Dyes it the natural shade of her grandmotherís and motherís hair, that indistinct honey color between blond and brown. Itís crazy what women do to their hair!
I donít have gray in my hair yet, but I do in my beard. My elder brothers both went bald early. I am just happy to still have hair.
Carrie, the rose in my last post is a floribunda called ĎEasy Does ití and those in my initial post are a no-name grandiflora and a hybrid tea called ĎBridadooní. They are all fragrant. The green leafy plant in my initial post, photo 4, is a favorite among the V.I.P.s (visually impaired persons). Itís Stachys byzantina or lambís ears. You donít have to be a V.I.P. to appreciate it. Man, those leaves are like velvet! The ĎBig Earsí cultivar has made lambís ears possible in the deep south. Itís rated to USDA Zone 9 and is do-able in this humidity if the gardener is careful about no overhead watering. Did you catch that IO1? There is now a lambís ear you can grow in south Georgia
I also should have explained the planter photo for any newcomers. This area calls itself ďThe Peanut Capitol of the WorldĒ. Iím sure you remember that from the boll weevil monument article you wrote, Carrie, but I wanted everyone in on the joke. Most of the businesses and organizations in this area have their peanut figurines.
I came across an interesting tidbit while reading about Opunctia. We may have the only statue dedicated to a bug, but in Australia there is a building named in honor of the bug they brought in to control Opunctia stricta. O. stricta was to Australia what kudzu was to the southeast U.S. It took over farms there like kudzu did here. I do want a big patch of prickly pear on a xera-scaped sandy slope, but I think I will forego the O. stricta. The elongated shape of the pads is the only way it varies from O. humifusa, the kind that naturally grows here. Also, the prickles are said to be even more wicked than O. humifusa (Devilís Tongue). Iíve limited my selection to four prickly pear. The devilís tongue and a nopals variety with relatively few prickles, Santa Rita for its colorful pads and a 5í tall trunked variety that is native. The prickly pear and a couple of yucca varieties we already have are the only plants Iím sure about adding to the xera-scaped slope. I would like to keep the vetiver grass there, but I am uncertain whether vetiver grass can survive on its own. I will test a small stand to find out how it does without supplemental watering. Iím reading up on blue stem and gamma grass today. I donít know if this is how you are supposed to design a garden, by deciding on the plants first. It seems logical. Kay suggested a medicine wheel garden, but I donít know enough to design one of those. She also pointed me toward an old thread on the xera forum that discusses fragrant plants that are suitable for dry situations. Haven forbid we have a garden without scented plants. J
Kay is moving around potting benches and their contents today, as well as prepping the greenhouse for cool weather. It seems early to me, but the spiders are stringing up webs everywhere they can find vertical supports. This web building frenzy is something I normally associate with October. I wonder if spiders are one of the animals that the weather predicting old-timers watch.
It is hard to walk around outside without running into strands of spider silk. Iím not sure why spiders go nuts with the web building this time of year. I donít think they stock up food for the winter, but I could be wrong.
Iím putting my foot down this Halloween. We are not going to clean away real spider webs so we can put up phony florescent green cobwebs. Let the spiders do our Halloween decorating. It will be an arachniphobeís nightmare by Halloween. Iím not bothered by spiders, but even I gulp a little at our resident banana spiders. Those things can get huge and they will challenge you if you approach their web. They bounce their web like it is a trampoline while cracking their mandibles together. I can almost imagine tiny spider voices giving me what for. Nadine told me something interesting today. The intricate, artistic looking webs are probably the work of male spiders. The messier, pragmatic looking ones are the work of lady spiders. Who figures that kind of stuff out anyway? Are there scientist comparing the artistic merits of different spider webs? There are times I wonder if the kid is putting me on and makes this stuff up.
Hereís a sign of fall that is prettier than spiders and their webs. Beautyberry (Callicarpa Americana) produces eye-popping purple berries that grow doughnut-fashion around the stem. There is also a less common variety with white berries.
Catch yíall tomorrow.
Ps. some of the Peanuts in town lol

Thumbnail by seacanepain Thumbnail by seacanepain Thumbnail by seacanepain Thumbnail by seacanepain
Casa Grande, AZ

Good Morning all :D
FINALLY got that needle out of my thumb compliments of some serious scraping with cuticle scissors and a good scrubbing with a firm nail brush.
Also staples come out of the head today...Whohoo, Yipee, Yay! I've known both my Doctor and Nurse Practitioner for a long time so as a gag I'm bringing in a rather large intimidating looking staple remover I keep on the desk and go, "You know, I gave my head a really hard scrubbing to loosen them and tried this (staple remover) but I just couldn't reach around far enough to get the leverage to pull them out. Instead I managed to loosen them with this (Husband's needle nose plyers). I just couldn't see the back of my head in the mirror well enough to get at them real good."
He'll either laugh or take me seriously due to the fact he's familiar with some of my...ahem...home remedies and self inflicted surgeries. Some of them actually work!( see above mentioned cactus needle removal). Hey, its cheaper than office visits and my insurance doesn't need to know everything!

So Beth
I do feel your pain and annoyance in regards to medical devices. The staples are minor but due to other falls and burns I've had some super annoying devices that lasted for almost a year. It gets to the point where you've just had enough of them and their impediments and hindrances and all the accommodations around them regardless of how they make you feel health wise. Sorry to hear them 'maters aren't doing well either. Sigh, I guess all good things must come to an end. I'll miss looking at them. Time to change the screen saver. :(

What interesting facts about roses. I knew none of that except about the thorns on long stem roses. Very informative. I knew they were bred to make an impression because of their long stems I just always thought with roses scent was just part of the deal and didn't realize it was something that could be altered or just bred out. To me that's a little sad. I enjoy the fragrance as much as the color. Maybe that's why roses aren't necessarily one of my favorite bouquets
of flowers to receive? I much prefer lilies of all sorts, or mixed ones with some roses in them, or "eye candy" like sunflowers, amaryllis, orchids or other exotics. Do pure white...not cream...roses have a scent? Those are my favorite although very hard to find. I like peaches and pinks next. Ironic considering red is actually my favorite color. Do those colors "smell" more?

I'm also with you on the more exotic looking women and men as being more attractive. It seems those who have one "look/heritage" or a mix of two seem more attractive..in my mind's eye...that Heinz 57's with a little of everything. I didn't say they weren't attractive, just not as interesting. I find the Eastern European and Russians particularly good looking...not just because my family is Eastern European or because of Putin.
Did you ever notice most of the top models high fashion magazine and runway models come from there? I'm not sure what Mariska Hargity's nationality is but she could easily fit into the "Eastern European" camp and/or Mediterranean.
Hard core ethnic looking anything from anywhere I think falls into 2 camps. Either the truly stunning and eye popping or the other side that unfortunately seems to inherit almost all of the worse features and/or worse arrangement of them on their faces. It seems like no middle ground. Having lived in L.A. where there's chocolate, vanilla and 29 other flavors of different and also having 100% Greek, 100% Romanian or 100% Hungarian relatives I've noticed this.
Maybe I'll luck out in that I'm mercifully viewed by others in the 50-50 camp? Can't say much for my nose though (LOL)...strike one!

The few women I think most beautiful in the world were/are perhaps Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren, Vivienne Leigh (Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind) and Isabella Rossellini. Isabella was the face of LancŰme Cosmetics forever and also the daughter of some French actress (can't recall) and Roberto Rossellini an Italian film director.

As an artist I don't necessarily find people beautiful or ugly so much as interesting to look at or not. Grace Jones the African-American model, singer, actress (one James Bond film) is probably the most interesting person I've seen. I never could make up my mind whether or not she was a freak or fantastic. I don't tire of looking at her pictures though.

As a woman who was single for longer than most (age 37) and who did a lot of dating, and a lot of dating and a lot of dating, and a lot of.....here's what I figured out about me and what's attractive. It is the unusual and unexpected not the expected or necessarily ideal. Maybe it is the artist or curiosity seeker.

I do not find David Bowie attractive but I would kill for his cheekbones and eyes. I find myself looking at him for that reason. Putin is not an overly attractive man but he isn't unattractive either. He's built very nice (duh) but he has an "average" face. His features are arranged nice every one of them strong together or independently and attractive in its own way. They're arrogant but not cruel or mean looking. They're very masculine. He rarely smiles. Always seems serious even in the pictures horse back riding and hunting, etc. when he's supposed to be "enjoying" him self.
He's by no means my "tall, dark and handsome" ideal. I think it is more his confidence. The guy just screams confidence. He's short-ish. I get the impression I'd have to be conscious of the heel height I wore if I went out on a date with him (eye roll). I'd cope.
I don't find Obama attractive but I always look forward to seeing his face because he has a 1,000 watt smile that lights up a room. You forget about them ears (LOL) and that awful walk. Ever notice the guy walks like his shoes are always hurting his feet? He seems the kind of man that would make a woman feel a million bucks when she walked into a room. When it comes to people no matter who you are (most times), he gives the appearance that he's genuinely glad to see you and would have something nice to say, be gracious and charming even if he was just an ordinary Joe. If I were single and he was too,and asked me out I'd accept a date. Plus I could wear heels with him :D Bonus: He has a beautiful voice! Ever hear the guy sing? He CAN sing well!
I also think Montel Williams is very handsome well put together face wise. Great speaking voice. I don't like his talk show but I like his voice. I could listen to him read ingredients off a cereal box and not be bored.
Christopher Mahoney, Jon Hamm (Don Draper on Mad Men) and the guy that plays Roger Sterling on Mad Men (don't know name) I all consider classically handsome.
Patrick Stewart (Cptn. Picard on Star Trek N.G.) isn't a real looker (see that nose?) but there's something about him.
Speaking of S.U.V. I would venture out on a date with his character Fin. (Ice-T). It's those eyes, plus he's very A-typical and breaks the mold in looks and personality. Definitely fascinating and mysterious.
John Munch...sorry, ugly as sin BUT...he'd hook you the moment he opened his mouth and talked to you. His character deeply appreciates women and KNOWS what women want, need, and how to treat a lady! He's a real intellectual, stimulating conversationalist, bored with people because he can't find someone who is his intellectual equal, cynical, witty, insightful, well spoken, well read and he becomes the face you just learn to love due to the personality and other attributes.
And of course Jonathan Frakes. Whole package! My aesthetic ideal of perfection with or without (preferably) the beard. But I'd refuse a date. For some reason I have a sneaking suspicion the guy spends more time in the bathroom getting ready for whatever, than I do and probably uses the same amount of grooming products. No matter how "perfect" or "meets my ideal" I've always turned down dates from these guys. I'm usually right on this.
Not to exclude my Latin and Asian and mixed friends but I can't think of any names off hand. I've seen plenty walking around and have spoken to quite a few! When single accepted dates. At a loss with the American Indians as I've had little to no contact with them until moving to AZ and now I'm married. Even if single very few to none live outside their reservations. Most are discouraged from dating others that aren't Indian.
My husband isn't the greatest or most attractive man. I most certainly don't find him unattractive but I'm not blind. He's average to good looking not good looking to handsome. Obviously when I first laid eyes on him and before I ever spoke to him, there was something "more" that I found attractive with my eyes. When he spoke to me I didn't ignore or snub him. When he asked me out on a date, I didn't decline. I did have other options at the time. He has the warmest smile and most compassionate eyes I've ever seen on a human being. I was genuinely moved! He had no agenda, pick up line, or macho Ego. I wondered why so I accepted.
So obviously I have really bizarre tastes if I'm capable of finding Jon Hamm, Jonathan
Frakes and Putin and Ice-T and the President of the U.S. and my husband all equally attractive face wise for strange reasons. I dunno. I guess there's no accounting for taste....or the lack of it! (LOL)

Ahhh...haircolor. Sigh. That for women is like clothing. I'm happy to say my has only been 3 colors. Natural, when I was younger early 20s through late 30s a black-brown -very dark brown mix with just a few drops of deep red- brown added to the mix to look natural. It did! Very convincy dark brunette. he black-brown+very dark brown kept the flat black Elvira look away. All brown hair will pull one of two color highlights in the sun if you ever look at undyed hair. Either a gold-brown or a red-brown. My hair is naturally red-brown/mahogany like mom's so I went-with the red-brown but only a few drops so it wasn't noticeable unless I was outside or light shone on it...just like with "real" "natural" hair color!

The other color was simply my natural or what I now call the pursuit of my natural color that looks natural. I hadn't seen it in 20 years. Problem now is my roots are grey and the B12 makes your antural color automatically darker (Don't know why). I just have school pictures to go off of. That seems to be 1/2medium brown +1/2 red brown + a little mahogany. Looks good enough and nobody ever asks me if I dye my hair of "What color is that and what brand?" It's only taken 8 years and I'm just never satisfied with it.
I think if we work with what we got and don't expect the unrealistic or unobtainable then we are much happier with the results. Dirty blonde? Try using just 1 shade lighter +1/2 of a shade that's 2 lighter. Small, tiny incremental changes that are noticeable but not drastic!
As for your grand daughter I'd say go a shade darker. Light golden brown. It is the lightest brown you can get before going into blonde.

This way if she goes to change it back she won't have to have it stripped out of her hair because it is too dark to color over. (Light won't cover dark but dark covers light. Just light painting walls. Stripping old dark color off of light hair acts like "primer" first, then the natural color is reapplied! This is incredibly awful for the hair! ) Spending time in salons watching people's disasters being fixed taught me this.

If Kay is worried about a dirty blonde look a hairdresser knows what to add to combat/neutralize this and also cover her grey. She could even go a shade or two lighter and get away with some greys coming in because the color would be so fair and thus not really noticeable.

The only reason I know what I do with mine is that I pick my hairdresser's brain, watch her measure out my products, know exactly how much she uses and what brand...and then order the professional stuff on line for myself. :D She's also taught me (she's a friend as well as my hairdresser) so I tip her royally for the hair cut since she lost my color business.
I no longer pay $60.00 for color. I pay $8.00 a tube that I get 4 uses out of and $20.00 for a bottle of developer (nice way to say peroxide) that I get about 6-8 uses out of. Very economical. The only thing I now go to a salon for is a hair cut. I do not use hair color off a shelf from a drug store. I buy the professional stuff she uses on line and do it at home. Then again I'm not doing 2 or 3 bowls of color and foil and etc. I just dump it into one bowl, mix and paint. Tah....Dah....! :D

The peanuts are cute an amusing. It must be fun to see them all over town. Definitely gives you a good grin. They're probably boring to you but I find them cute and it would be awhile before I got bored with them.

O.K. I blabbed enough this morning. Get with you on the spiders YUCK!!! and the cacti tomorrow.
Got a few things to do and have to go to Dr.'s today. YES, actually happy about this trip!

SE/Gulf Coast Plains, AL(Zone 8b)

Jimís statement is not completely accurate. I have not had EVERY hair color. The black hair should not count. It was a wig. One of my daughters did dyed her hair black during her Goth period. She did not realize she could not simply dye it a different color when she was tired of the Goth girl look.
You know your stuff, Agave. Highlighting with an ash blond two shades lighter than my natural color is exactly what my beautician does. I have left the matter of color to her since I lost the ability to distinguish colors. She created the first style I have really liked since having my hair short. I have trusted her completely since. Every other hair dresser wanted to do a perm. I hate the way perms make my hair feel and they do not last long with my baby fine hair. . I wore my hair extremely long for most of my life. The first beautician I asked to cut my hair short was someone I had known for years and she refused to do more than trim saying I would hate her for cutting it short. Very long hair does not work for practical reasons beyond a certain age, however. Even Cher gave up her signature long hair once she reached 40. Someone noticed when I was young that I looked like the mermaid in the John Waterhouse painting. My father sold and repaired boats and having a blind daughter who swam like the proverbial fish and loved to water ski was good advertising. It helped sell ski equipment, but the mermaid thing went on far too long. I finally hacked the hair off myself then went to the salon to get it cut right.
It is sad that beautiful women have to play down their looks to be taken seriously in some professions. If my GD does not let her hair go back to its natural Zsa-Zsa Gabor blond once she has established herself professionally, I will be disappointed.
Other than a thing for red hair and long legs, I do not think Jim has a physical type he prefers. His first wife was a black haired, black eyed Latin beauty. If Former spouses are the criteria, evidently I do not have a type either. My first husband had blond haired and ice blue eyes. The second was actually shorter than me and had hair and eyes the color of dark chocolate. Jim is tall with light brown hair and lovely hazel eyes flecked with gold. It was always eyes I noticed. David Copperfield would top my list of men with the most beautiful eyes. Among women, it would have to be Audrey Hepburn.
If seeing, hearing or touching something brings you joy it is beautiful. The old saying is a tiny bit off. Beauty is in the MIND of the beholder.
Yesterday was rainy. I am hoping it clears up enough today to mow. No mowing in AZ, huh. That would be nice.
Carrie, Jim has been playing that succulentís game you gave a link to. It is a good way to learn the different succulents. You can pay about $10 for a wide variety of succulents to choose from at the beginning or earn additional plants by taking care of the basic plants that were there from the start of the game.
Thatís not fair, Beth. Watching the tomatoes die of diseases isnít any fun at all. It spoils the party plans.

Casa Grande, AZ

Hi Good Morning :D

Always feel so guilty my posts are so long but I'm addressing 4 or 5 people where as you guys just get to address me. Besides it's fun to have people to talk to. :D

Thaaaaank God those staples came out yesterday. Funny thing is my MD hired a new NP. He had been the head floor nurse for my current Neurologist at A of U! Small world isn't it! Still waiting for goose egg and scabs (ewww) to go away before I can contend with coloring my ahem..."natural" silver highlights. Of course this happened right when I was due to color my hair not after I did it!

O.K. one of my favorite plants...because it doesn't die here in 118 degrees and actually thrives in the sun..the prickly pear! You mentione the Oputia gosseliana v.'Santa Rita'. Beautiful. I have one of those too in the front yard. Slow grower and small annoying little glochids :[ but gorgeous none the less and eye catching. Have you considered a Beaver Tail prickly? Great one! Obviously named due to resemblance of beaver tail shaped pads. Nice thing about it is it grows fast, no glochids, is relatively "friendly" in that it has spines but they're not overly wicked if you use leather gloves and it's flowers are amazing! Mine are still small but they've grown about 1/3rd bigger in just the 3 months I've had them. They have now topped the 1 foot mark. I haven't seen mine flower yet because they're too young but I know the flowers are absolutely spectacular on them!
I also have a Cow's Tongue prickly (Opuntia englemennii v. linguiformis ). Not exactly user friendly in that even though it has no glochids the spines on this thing are formidable! It grows pretty slow It does get both flowers and fruit that are just amazing and it is a huge clumper. Really a pretty plant once you get it planted!

Of course there's the one I showed you guys awhile ago about the size of a car with the beautiful fruit and smooth paddles. I didn't touch the paddles but I know the fruit definitely has a few glochids! Still a spectacular specimen if you can identify it.
I'd have to spend some time looking up all the ones you listed but I'm sure they're great. Anxious to see them. I'm always looking for something to put in the yard, especially anything that lives here and can take sun,heat and cold and not need to be babied and coddled!
I never used to appreciate them as much as the Agaves and Aloes but I'm starting to find they have their own particular sculptural beauty rather than flamboyant and bizarre style of Agaves and Aloes or the precise and exact regimented orderly style of Saguaros. Find a really cool article in our Plant Files by Geoff Stein (7/2/13) called Intro to Opuntias: THE Signature Cactus Genus. Great pictures, great plant ideas and very comprehensive on pests and diseases.

As for spiders well you have discovered my Achilles Heel. EWWWW! YUCK! Hate them! Kill, kill, kill !!! We don't get "spiders" we get black widows, brown recluse, tarantulas. Can we say heart attack! Black widows are very common especially in Summer. They're always looking for cool, dark places. Our old house that we had built was in a new subdivision. When we first moved in we killed 4 alone in the garage and about 6 in the back yard! So far only 1 hear and that was the neighbor's side. It had made a home around the water spigot. I didn't want it or it's offspring wandering onto my property! My husband killed it for me.
At night anywhere it is common practice to go out with a flash light and check for them in bushes, plants, corners. I do this regularly since I garden and have the hose out regularly. (They like damp areas too). The marking on their backs shows up almost white- blue and quite vividly in light. I've unloaded whole cans of Raid spider killer on them and wearing my leather gloves smashed them with a brick I keep handy screeching and stomping on them the whole time! DH isn't always around and with Zoe (dog) who utilizes the back yard regularly and has the curiosity of a cat and the brain the size of a ping pong ball I don't always feel it best to wait for DH to come home and leave the nasty little disgusting creatures hanging around (or not) until then. EWWWWWWW! They disgust me.
I'll serve in the military. I'll work for Brinks and wear a gun and deliver money to some of the worse places on bad sides of town and fill ATM machines outside banks in a ghetto. I'll work in a prison with murderers, rapist and kiddie molesters, and gang bangers and drug runners without fear........
show me a spider and I'll screech like a little girl and dance like Michael Jackson! Even house spiders are enough to send me into a tizzy and set me off having me running out of a room. My husband laughs. I don't find it amusing. Glad he does.
Does anyone think it had something to do with an older brother who, being a typical young boy, thought it was cute to torment and tease his "bratty, annoying" younger sister by chasing her around the yard or throwing Daddy Long Legs at her or dangling them in her face or over her head claiming he put them in her hair?
Nahhh...this wouldn't have anything to do with it! Not THAT. Definitely not the plethora of deadly spiders that roam freely out here in our yards and garages and even the most SANE PEOPLE living here pokes, prods, and examines everything before they either touch it or move it. Nooooo...none of this stuff, right?

I probably won't be with you guys tomorrow or the next day. The 7th is Dave's birthday and tomorrow I'll be cooking :D Yes, I actually love cooking! We're having a few friends over too which is always nice. Mostly Dave's coworkers so they vary in age from mid 30's through 60s but they are all people he works closely with on a regular basis and considers friends.
Of course there's always got to be that one. You know...that one.
That one that is just a miserable, difficult, unhappy human being who goes out of their way to try and make everyone else the same way and is always petulant, pouty, bored and rude. Problem is I can't exclude that "one" because she is his good friend's live in girlfriend (no, not the slobs), has some kind of dysfunctional personality disorder where she is symbiotic and can't let him go anywhere unless she's literally attached to him. For some reason he's fine with it.
O.K. I'm fine with it. She makes him happy. Good for him. I don't understand why but I'm glad he's happy. He deserves to be and I don't have to live with her. He does. I do, however, have to put up with her while she's here. Even my husband, who likes and tolerates everyone doesn't like her.
We had Chris (his name) over for dinner because he helped us move. It just so happened it was spaghetti that day. Not planned. Spur of the moment. We made our final and last trip back to the old house just taking the plants and what was left in the fridge/freezer. We had a cooler full of ice with items to go into the new fridge/freezer here.
One of them was spaghetti sauce. I had made a batch before and froze some previously. It was there. I didn't have to make it. So I thought spaghetti with my sauce would be so much nicer than fast food or getting a pizza or grabbing something from a deli. It was there already; easy to defrost in the microwave and then warm in the pan. I knew where the pots and pans were. All I had to do was boil noodles.
Everyone was happy with the nice but spontaneous dinner. When one moves one does not plan dinner or plan on cooking dinner that day. One takes out what is available and eats it, goes to some place to eat. or gets pizza delivered.
She, of course glued to him and not having even lifted or opened a box, complained she wasn't hungry. She pouted on the couch. He ate and then said he had to take Amanda (PITA) elsewhere because by now she would be hungry. Ohhhh Kaaaay. Fine.
After we were settled I had them over for an actual planned dinner of 3 cheese lasagna made from scratch, home made meatballs and grilled Italian sausage on the side; a salad, and some home made black olive tapenade spread to serve with...yes...HOMEMADE fresh baked bread I sweated over all day, baked and timed to come out of the oven 1/2 before the meal so it would still be warm! (Keep in mind I'm not a "baker" per se)
I mean I busted my @$$ on this meal because Chris would not take money for his help so I rewarded him with food. He ate at my house pre his relationship with (PITA) and looooooved my cooking so I did this as a special thank you to him.Despite his appearance he has wonderful manners is a great guest and lots of fun. He knows how to behave appropriately and has good social graces.
The PITA again pouted and complained and wouldn't eat!
She had the audacity, I mean the nerve, I'm talking more [email protected](($ than you find on a tennis court to say out loud to me, "I don't like lasagna. I only like Caesar salads.I don't eat sausage and I won't eat the meatballs because they're not all beef (I use both beef and pork) and they have onion in it, and the olive stuff looks disgusting. Couldn't you have made something else? Every time we eat here it's pasta. Is that ALL you know how to cook?"
"WE? WE?...WEEEEE eat here?" Rude cow didn't eat a thing last time and she didn't eat anything but a slice of bread this time.
I about slapped her. Dave actually walked over to me and said, go outside and have a smoke...NOW. The look on my face must have said it all because Chris put some lasagna on her plate and told her to eat it...NOW. Chris said, "I'm sorry, she's just a picky eater." Picky eater my @$4.
She's just a miserable immature B&%$# prima donna. Chris is 39. She's 26. Not my business. But she also sits around silent and pouty all day and when you try to engage her in conversation she gives monosyllabic answers or no answers or changes the subject when you try to talk about something that is of no interest to her or she doesn't quite understand rather than ask questions or listen/pretend to.
She then complains she has nothing in common with anyone although you've gone out of your way to talk only about things that would be of interest to her: HER job, HER friends, HER music,(she complained about ours being too old and us too) HER new phone, HER drag queen brother (yep..honestly!!), HER clothes, etc.

Sooooo.....that brings us to today and tomorrows cooking and Miss Thang. The heifer is going to be here again. I've had about enough of her. I swear to God Gandhi would have choked this woman.

I was drilled into me from a little kid that: "It is the host's duty to make their guest feel at home.
It is the guest's duty to remember they are not!"

I've had enough of her. Chris gets done at 3:00 today. I plan on telling him nicely because he's a good guy and he gets just that concept. He "gets it".

Chris gets it is my husband's birthday. I am not working. I no longer have the money to spend on gifts or going out. My gift is going out of the way to make the house look as clean and sparkling and nice as possible. To make a wonderful HOME MADE restaurant worthy meal. I'm having DAVE'S friends over and making HIS BIRTHDAY as special as possible without any unhappiness. It is to let HIM do what HE wants, eat what HE wants, watch what HE wants and listen to the music HE likes that day without any complaints from anyone. It is all about and for Dave...not Amanda (PITA).

I'm going to tell Chris to make abundantly clear to Miss Thang she has 3 choices for dinner: Take it, go to McDonald's to eat before or after the party, or not come to my home at all!
She WILL sit there, be polite, PARTICIPATE in conversations that do not revolve around her, shut her mouth about the food served, the music, and not complain about having nothing in common with anyone because they're too "old".
Nobody made her date someone much older than her. That was her choice. If she can socialize and find common ground with an older boyfriend she can do so with his older friends. BUT I HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF HER! (Rude cow). If she can't do this then don't let the door hit her in her wide @$$ on the way out to go get something to eat and she isn't welcome back....he is.

So stay tuned for the trauma and drama!
Tomorrows menu is Mexican because that is my husband's favorite!
We're having:
Main course: Chicken and cheese enchiladas;
Grilled flank steak with fajita style vegetables (husband wants to play on the grill...eye roll)
with fresh red and green salsa (BETH...could have used all them 'maters!)

Side Dish: amazing homemade Spanish rice;
a simple green salad with tomatoes, jicama, and queso fresco, and radishes.

Cocktails: Martinis (Husband hates Tequila so no Margaritas)
OR if preferred wine that is a medium body, crisp fruity white ( new rule is "heavy food"
"light-er body" wine; spicy hot food go to sweeter wine) Haven't selected which one yet.

Non alcoholic: Peach iced tea with fresh mint.

Dessert: Double layer chocolate cake from scratch; with HOME MADE chocolate fudge icing.
Beverage: Iced coffee OR hot coffee with or without orange liquor in it based on preference.

Needless to say I'll be very, very busy...but gladly so. It is the one nice thing I can and still do and am proud to and like showing off with.

Wish you guys were here to share it. I know you would all appreciate it, if not you would all at least have the good manners and common decency not to say so.
Plus it would be fun to have more company and get to see everyone in person.

Talk to you after the party and probably after I choke that miserable child.
I hear wise cactus calling me to come have a good pre party chat with him. :D
Peace. Out

Pic #1 my beaver tail prickly
Pic #2 my neighbors prickly I dunno. Almost the size of a bush since it has been there 20 years. The glochids are pretty fierce on it although it is a spectacularly beautiful plant
Pic #3. Me hamming it up for my mom with the new Cows tongue prickly I put in the day before.
Pic #4. The Prickly I dunno versus automobile. HUGE plant. Beautiful. From what I can see no spines/glochids on the pads but this is the one I got the fruit off of that fit in a cereal bowl. The fruit had glochids.
Pic #5. Self explanatory considering the next 2 days. Wise cactus suggest this pose both indoors and outside on rocks while sitting under him listening to his tutelage.

This message was edited Sep 5, 2015 7:29 AM

Thumbnail by Agavegirl1 Thumbnail by Agavegirl1 Thumbnail by Agavegirl1 Thumbnail by Agavegirl1 Thumbnail by Agavegirl1
Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Oh dear, wonderful good wishes for your DH's birthday dinner! She definitely sounds like a piece of work. My husband and I are both very fussy eaters, but we like opposite foode. For instance, my current fussy state would have me picking at most of the delicious spread you prepared. However, I would not be rude about it! I might ask for water to drink and subsist on vegetables. My DH would also just have water and maybe steak. It makes me sad because I used to be such an adventurous eater.

Mariska hagarty is Greek American. President Obama is definitely charismatic and so is Belzer. I believe attractiveness has EVERYTHING to do with self-confidence, you're right. Too hard to type on phone.so that's all she wrote.

Midland City, AL

We will take up a collection to help bail you out after youíre arrested for trying to strangle the girl.

The meal sounds delicious. Happy Birthday, Dave!

I admit I liked all the peanuts more when they came out of storage in fall and were set up in anticipation of the National Peanut Festival that comes in late October and early November, but then, I also miss the days when Christmas decorations only went up the day after Thanksgiving. Having the peanuts standing around when we are celebrating the Azalea/Dogwood Festival feels wrong somehow. Chaotic. I know peanuts are the agricultural life blood of this region, but I would like it better if we celebrated that only during the fall harvest season. It would have more impact.

Iím posting quietly so I donít disturb your writing, Carrie.

Beth, do they have scuppernong grape festivals in NC? The scuppernong wine I have seen all comes from North Carolina.


The reddest of the red Crepe myrtles. ďCrapeĒ or ďCrepeĒ? Iíve seen it spelled both ways. I like crepe because the other could read ďcrappy myrtleĒ and I like the plant.

Thumbnail by seacanepain
Casa Grande, AZ

Good Morning Gang :D

Just had a moment to check in since I got up 1/2 hour earlier than normal and already had the shower and dog got walked and laundry is going and....and..and.. (eye roll). Thank God for caffeine.

Anyhow, Told DH about the kind birthday wishes you all extended. He was very surprised and rather touched. He genuinely appreciated it. :D Thought it most wonderful of you especially since you talk to me! He insisted I tell you Thank you this morning. :D

Carrie and your DH and everyone would never have to worry about what to eat here (LOL). Mainly because I have a "policy" for first time guests.
I insist they answer a few questions for me:
1.) Is there anything you are allergic to? (eggs,chocolate, nuts, etc.)
2.) Is there anything you absolutely hate/despise and refuse to eat?
3.) Is there anything you won't eat/are forbidden to eat for religious or health reasons? (beef, pork, Kosher, are lactose intolerant, etc.,)
4.) Is there anything you no longer eat for political-social-personal reasons? (I loooove veal. I NO LONGER eat it due to how it is raised! :[ Only farm raised fish as opposed to wild caught. )

If it is a group less than 5 I can easily navigate around this. I am creative enough and have enough recopies and lists of substitutions I can/do use. If it is larger than 5 or 6...well I may be able to put out a dish or two for accommodation but the rest has to be for the majority. So I'm not completely off my rocker or unreasonable. Everyone my husband knows likes Mexican. There are 6 people coming + he and I. We're getting Mexican. Nobody has problems with the above questions.....EXCEPT ...you guessed it...Miss Thang.

I do truly appreciate the offer of bail. So much more than kind. I used to work in a prison. Food IS terrible. We were allowed to grab a tray if we wanted. I was forced to once because I forgot my lunch. Let's just say I NEVER forgot it again. I also chose to go hungry that day after a few forkfuls.
Also orange is so not my color! They don't make petite sizes or have smalls. They have one size fits most...meaning not me or for anyone from the looks of them that I've seen on some of the women on the other side of the prison. They definitely are not tailored. Just horrid. Not much to be said for the hair stylists/beauty school there either. YIKES!!!

Most likely I wouldn't have to worry about prison. Probably jail and a first time charge for assault. Bail would be minimal providing I don't beat her down with anything other than my fists. ;D (LOL). Should be reassuring that bail won't put too much of a financial strain on you.

D.-mail me your phone number BEFORE tomorrow 4:00p.m. my time just in case I need it though for that 1 phone call I get. DH would probably let me sit there to teach me a lesson for not acting like a lady! (If my wound on my head reopened I could blame it on her though and say she caused the injury and should go for assault too....hmmm!) .

DH informed me that there we an additional 2 people who wanted to come; originally it was 4+ us. I don't care. Just put on something else, make a bigger salad, more ice-t, and increase the rice. Big whoop. Decided on pork loin roast in red ancho chili sauce. Easy. Cook in crock pot 6 hours.

Also sorry you're having trouble typing on the phone. How's your health? I hope you're doing well.

And yes...self confidence. The most attractive thing in the world! Could look like a super model or an Abercrombie and Fitch poster boy but if they're an insecure, neurotic, quivering mess I'd rather date the brother who "looks" like Quasimodo and has enough confidence to fill up a football stadium!

Absolutely fantastic picture of the Red Crepe Myrtles. Yes got Crepe right! Spectacular! You really ought to enter it in the contest they're having right now! Check the home page and click on pictures. I'm sure that would win. I did farm animal: pictures of the wild horses I took. I probably should have entered the picture of the roast chicken I had made! (LOL). I wasn't sure if they'd get my sense of humor though or appreciate it especially if someone raised chickens or had one for a pet. For pet, Zoe of course with her face in the camera and the one bowing; and art-crafts entered my paintings of Agave and Saguaro.

I know they have other categories and your photo of the Red Crepe Myrtle would most certainly win!

I'm a lover of red and it is my favorite color. Often I'm starved for it out here so it was a delight to see. I have a feeling though that thing would just shrivel and die out here and I would be so heart broken. :[

I get what you're saying about rushing holidays too. Absolutely hate it.

So A.G. has gotta go. Wise cactus gave me a brilliant solution to Miss PITA though! :D
Wise cactus enlightened me after much meditation and several cocktails and a vision came (fortunately no hangover).
He told me to call boyfriend (Chris) and tell him to get there 1/2 hour later than everyone else. Also give him the menu. Tell Chris that this IS what we are having. Also.....very sweetly...suggest that if there is something that Amanda doesn't like or feels she can't eat, she is welcome to bring whatever SHE LIKES and contribute to the meal.
The reason you are telling him to come 1/2 later is so that PITA can eat ahead of time if she chooses to. Dave and I won't feel offended if she turns down food. We'd understand perfectly because she just ate!
Also she can offer that up to all the other guests as the reason to why she's not eating. She just got done with work, was starving, couldn't wait and ate when she got home and is full. It is so much more tactful than commenting negatively and saying she doesn't like any of the food while all of the other guests are thoroughly enjoying it! Plus if she's not eating she has more time to talk and socialize with everyone!"

Yeah I know, I'm a real....insert adjective....but it works!

Anyway got to get rolling:
Need to put pork on in the crock pot; tastes better second day anyway
Need to make cake and frosting today
Need to cut vegetables for salad )
Need to make enchilada sauce (broil chicken and assemble enchilada to bake tomorrow)
Need to make salsas (better the next day anyway)

Sometime need to get dishes, platters, silverware, napkins, glasses, cooler tablecloth, out
Need to vacuum; Need to fold clothes and put away. Need to wipe glass.

Tomorrow need to wash lettuce and assemble salad
Tomorrow need to broil chicken and assemble enchiladas
Tomorrow need to make rice
Tomorrow need to cut vegetables for my husbands steak fajitas. (He's dealing with the flank steak, I dunno, I don't ask)

The evening of the 7th need to sleep!

Talk to you all the 8th!
AG/ TTC and feel better.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

My first date with my EX husband, he was supposed to be taking me out to dinner and a movie. We go out to a moderately fancy 'grill' and I order a burger and he says he's not hungry, he just ate. I am astounded but I don't say anything. (I am polite, I think.) I eat my burger. Then the waiter asks us if we want dessert. I say no, thank you and he orders chocolate mousse. (He was hungry by then, I guess.) When the bill comes, he pays. (Very diplomatic and chivalrous, I think.) Then we go to the movie theater (a few doors away). We get two tickets, and he asks me if he can borrow $20 to pay for the tickets. I pay for the tickets. I would be fine if he said "let's you and I go to the movies" but he said "I want to take you out on a date." I was 25 I think; I had certainly paid my own way plenty of times. But he could have said AT THE BEGINNING to go to a free museum or let's just walk and talk, but let's go out to this restaurant and have dinner .... and he ate beforehand, so he wasn't hungry for this dinner.....I was (politely) pissed. After we got the tickets, he went to the rest room so I went on into the theater alone. Was that rude? Grrrrr. He was a little perturbed, but he found me. We watched the movie and then took the subway back to my house. (He did want to escort me home.) On the walk, I tried to explain how I didn't think we were right for each other. He convinced me to keep seeing him. We went through this warm and cool relationship for the next year, during which I was diagnosed with MS. A year and a half later, we were married.

Hendersonville, NC(Zone 7a)

I see b-days abound! My Granny will OFICIALLY {ahem!] turn 99 on Monday....but because of the extra traffic 'cause of all the tourists coming in for the annual 3-day Apple Festival, I'll bwe going over to her house to celebrate later today.

For her birthday, she's reqwuested bread pudding, made from scratch, so I've got to start mixing onced I wake up. I mix it all up to let it soak on the way to her house because I've convinced her I need to use her oven to cook sp[ecial stuff [I have no oven...this apt has a gas ovenbut I had it disconnected...I kept smelling gas, had headaches etc plus my Dr said I had symptoms of low exposure to natural gas: maintenance checked with their fancy eledctronic tester and pronouced that there was no gas leak. . . the day after I had the stove disconnected, I woke up without a headache and never smelled gas again!] My Granny LOVES cakes cookiesx, etc. (sweets) piping hot, right out of the oven. . . I get her to monitor stuff near time to take it out. . . USUALLY she'll let whatever bake until its perfectly done, but not always!! (reason I let her "monitor". . . the last 5 or so minutes!)

I live in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains; the entrance to Great Smoky Mountain Nat'l Park is just a few miles away (the last remaining decidous forest in North America...or is that the Northern hemisphere?) I'm surrounded by this forest, divided on a map into state, federal forests...In the autumn, we're inundated by tourists again, who come to drive the Parkway (sorry, forget it's official name...it runs along the App. Mts and thru several states) for the annual display of the leaves changing color

This 3-day weekwend, is the APPLE Festival. (this area is large orchards and packing/storage houses for them). As with all small towns, Main Street (the only level street in downtown -Main is along the crest of a little hioll - side streets, either way, go steeply downhill!) is closed to traffic, so pedestrians can freely walk wherever (as IF this is the ONLY time when tourists cross Main in the middle of the block or just simply step out into the street as the mood hits them!). Most locals tend to avoid Main . . . its lined with cutesy little boutiques with exorbant prices, geared toward the tourist trade.

Any way, basck to the Apple Festival...it's all things apple. . . parking lots within 3 blocks of Main St. are "guarded" by attendants, who must be paid in order to park. . . free street parking is impossible to find. . . its a nightmare of tourists!

Other festi9vals locally" the Coon Dog Festival, several BBQ festivals and the Ramp Festicval. . . the closest large city is Asheville, which has a slew of festivals etc. . the one that springs to mind isn't a festival, though...Biltmore House, a mansion and estate built by the Vanderbilts back at/before? the turn of the century ( Mr. "Gotrocks" Vanderbilt).

Enough for now...gotta start mixing etc.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

What is a "ramp" festival? Not a WHEELCHAIR ramp, I guess. I think it's something edible that grows in the wild and is collectible. One of the writers wrote about them once, and I still have no idea what they are.

I know about foliage, though. We have tourists though all the time. I've never noticed more at a certain time of year. Then again, we don't go downtown to tourist-y areas very often. The biggest seasonal changes I notice are with schools. There are lots of colleges and universities in the area, so lots of little moving vans around taking students to dorms and apartments. There is an extremely large and mobile rental population around here. I used t be a renter and move every year or two.

We prefer to cook with gas and bake with electric; I have a gas stovetop and an electric oven. Sounds like you were right about your gas line, though--yikes. And I HATE getting contrast, mostly because they have regular nurses doing the IVs. It was a contrast CT scan that diagnosed my pleural effusion earlier. Contrast MRIs confirm that my MS is still in the background. I had my first MRI in 1986, and I had abdominal surgery in 1987. Now they can do the same thing through a tiny little hole...I have a scar from above my belly button to about 8" below it. Anyway, I know about contrast and it's no fun.

Sheri (BirdieBlue) posted on the other thread! She is a longtime member of the forum whom Agave has not met. I hope she'll find her way over here. As Ray has now VA health care for his only medical, I worry about her often.

Hendersonville, NC(Zone 7a)

From what I remember, a ramp is a vegetasble. . . today, it c azn be bought (online vegie seed/slip companies) and grown in our garden. . . it is/was aown thing that subsiwstence hill people gathered and ate. . . now its grown rather commercially. . . from what I gather, it kindfa looks like an an onion (lots of foliage and an edible thingie underground....I think it tastes more like an onion than a potato

I've never ate one: personally, if I don't know what it is. . I won't eat it! (This doesn't mean I'm not an adventurous diner: Mexican fish soup - featuring the whole back half of a fish IN the bowl! alligator ka-bobs, roasted grasshoppers, barbecues rattlesnake. . . .)

SE/Gulf Coast Plains, AL(Zone 8b)

Hugs and prayers, Sheri. Please let us know how things go with the test. I am not familiar with it.
The article on ramps sounds like one of Dariusís articles. I miss him. Yes. It was Darius. http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/979

Those festivals are fun to go to once or twice. I rarely go to the National Peanut Festival anymore unless someone I know has a contest winning animal or an arts and crafts display. Some years there is a musician performing there I want to see in concert. The kids always want to drag Jim along for the carnival. He can always win them prizes at the booths that involve having a good aim. Pop the balloons with darts and that sort of thing.
I am glad you gave Ray a second chance, Carrie. He is a nice guy with a great sense of humor.
I had better get back to work. The cool part of the day is slipping away. I will catch up with all of you tomorrow.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Yes, you're right, it was Darius--who was a she, not a he. She was, I think, one of the 10 or 20 first Dave's Garden members! Along with Terry and Melody and other folks. Yes, too bad she passed away. She had big ideas about being sustainable, but we need dreamers and big planners in the world!

SE/Gulf Coast Plains, AL(Zone 8b)

Duh. ABAPITA!!! (ainít blindness a pain in theÖanatomy. There is nothing in her ďAbout the AuthorĒ that identifies gender. I assume there is a picture that makes it obvious to the sighted. I had not re-read any articles since her death so never saw the DG notice off "her" passing. Well, I have the satisfaction of knowing, despite several online interactions about community gardens, she was never aware of my ignorance. That makes it far from my worst ABAPITA experience.
No rest for the wicked. Back to work.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Well, Kay, I never MET her and her author profile picture shows her in a ambivalent hat. I guess I talked to her (as a co-writer) or had some other information. I lurked on a LONG thread posted by someone with an ambiguous (or non-specific) name where the poster was absent for a long time and the other people wondered where "she" had gone and talked about "her" beautiful plants. You guessed it; "she" was a guy. I think, in the case of Darius, Darius was not the name she was born with and she deliberately chose a "male" name. The only other Darius I know of is a 5-year-old boy. Don't feel bad about that one!

Casa Grande, AZ

Good Morning gang :D
Ahhhh.......sleep. Got up about an hour ago. Considering I get up normally at 2:15 a.m. and most of my "normal" days sleeping in is 3:00 or 3:30 a.m. To get up at almost 4:00 a.m. was bliss.

sounds like Granny's 99th was on the 7th. If so she and my DH share the same birthday! Please tell her I congratulate her on such a wonderful accomplishment and to truly enjoy her day. I hope she had a great one and got to eat, drink, and do everything she wanted as celebration of her and how special she is.
Also please get that oven checked! Just because you're not using it and you can't smell it doesn't mean it isn't still leaking trace amounts of gas. This scares me.
Get the power company out there, Board of Health, somebody who is a tenants advocate, kids health advocate...ANYONE who can fix this or do something to. Attorney General, Mayor, city Councilman, etc.
To Hell with maintenance. You need a professional out there. Turn the stove on while they're there or shortly before they get there and then let them take a reading! If your stove is doing this there could be a faulty main or line not just to your apartment but others or a gas leak in one of the gas company's pipes they may need to be aware of!
That is very, very, dangerous! Also you are paying rent to live there. You have the right to a functioning stove regardless of using it or not! That's your choice but the stove should by law be required to function safely.

I remember festivals and fairs and how fun they used to be. It seems since we've been here we really haven't gone to any. There's the gourd and cotton festival. Outside of that I don't know where of the others are located. Usually if we want to do something novel, fun, different, we go into Tucson or Phoenix. Most times DH is busy working or we're just busy with things in general. It seems hard to get out. I think persons with kids seem to be able to do fairs and carnivals and amusement parks easier. I'll have to find time to go one day. I do kind of miss them and the junk food. :D

I'm sorry I don't know who Darius is/was. I can't follow you guys on that one.
Also looking forward to meeting Sheri/Birdie when she catches up with us here.

I'll give you my party planning scoop and party day lowdown:
On the 7th company arrived at 2:00-3:00 in the afternoon. I had already did dishes 4 times. We drank and nibbled and Ms. Thang got here about 5:00 :D

O.K. Good news:
Everyone invited showed. Everyone invited enjoyed themselves. Everyone ate and loved the food. Everyone drank but didn't get drunk and stopped drinking well before they had to go home. Nobody argued or fought. Ms. Thang behaved herself.

Of course she ate nothing but Dave's steak and then only a few pieces. When I offered a tortilla the grilled fajita vegetables or salad to go with it she POLITELY said "No thank you." I just stood there and blinked.

Snapped back into hostess mode and told her if there was something she wanted special for herself to feel free to check the fridge and cupboards and help herself to it. The party food was out on the counter buffet style also if she wanted to look that over. Still walked away blinking.

She actually talked to the group , by now we were sitting outside, a bit after she ate (inside) made a few jokes and then retreated into herself. BUT she did try. I give her credit. Whole different person! She even brought some glasses in from the outside table for me and put them by the sink. :D WOW...keeps this up I may allow her over at the same time as everyone else. (LOL).
She probably figured out nobody is "out to get her" because she's younger than all of us, we can have some fun and socialize and have a few things in common, and she doesn't have to feel so awkward. We're "o.k." people. AND if she isn't critical of the food I WILL go out of my way to find something/let her find something to eat. I think things will get better. PHEW!

I did some more dishes. Dave did some dishes. I did some more dishes. I cleaned the floor. Dave cleaned the counters. I cleaned the kitchen table. Dave cleaned the patio. I did more dishes. Dave packaged up food. I did more dishes. I passed out.

The enchiladas and rice were the biggest hits. Dave's steak fajitas were great. Everyone enjoyed all the food and thankfully nobody noticed the incredible flubs with the pork in ancho chili sauce and the cake! OMG the cake....UGH!

O.K., doing my cake thing, you know measuring and putting in bowl dry ingredients. Was working on flower. Phone rings. It's mommy dearest! Oh great, she just had to get me going.

Uh..I lost track of how many cups of flour I had put in. YIKES. Problem was couldn't start over because it was already mixed in with the cocoa powder, salt, baking soda, etc. and I didn't have more cocoa powder. Wasn't sure so I just went with the extra cup of flour.

Sooooo.....I baked it. Interesting. Tasted good, was moist but had the consistency of a brick! I mean it was singularly the densest cake I ever ate.
I was almost like eating a moist, fluffy double fudge brownie. It had the consistency that you could almost...roll that into a ball but it was still "crumbly" textured like cake.
I lied and said I made a double fudge cake.
Well......what else was I going to do/say?
Also for some reason even though I used the same size pans one baked about 1/2 smaller in diameter than the other. So when I put the 2 layers together there was about a 1/2 gap in diameter between the bottom and top layers. GRRRRRRRR....AWWWWW...pound fists, roll on floor, kick, scream, temper tantrum.
Now how do I fix this?Got real creative on this one!
Made a double batch of frosting. Used a good bit of it as "spackle" to hold the cakes together. Hey who doesn't like icing on fudge right?
Now that the gap was filled with icing, I made some whipped cream. I ran it around the middle of the cake where the two layers me so it looked like a band and the cakes looked perfectly flush and even.
Had a container of strawberries so got those cut them in halves and just popped them into the whipped cream all the way around the cake. Put some strawberries and whipped cream on top and Voila! Looked o.k. Nobody complained about the taste either. Thank God. I mean it really did taste good just odd texture and consistency.

Now for the pork...

The pork. Bought a 3lb pork shoulder roast.
Cut part and cubed it and threw it in the crock pot with the seasoning, juices, etc. Started to try (operative word is try) to cut the rest. All fat, all silver skin, so much marbling the meat was unusable. I couldn't trim it with a butcher knife, a carving knife, a paring knife and I couldn't even get through it with a pair of kitchen shears!
So into the garbage 1.5 pounds of meat (supposedly) went. Recipe is for 3 pounds of meat. I need 3 pounds of meat!
Well, you know that insane quirk and peculiar insecurity about not having my freezer stuffed to the gills? I fished out 4 thick cut pork chops, defrosted and cut and into the pot they went.
Dave got home. I Threw a hissy fit.
Went to grocery store with receipt for roast and labels from porch chops that showed how much I paid. Told them I wanted reimbursed for the roast (or at least 1/2) AND I wanted my money for the pork chops because I had to use those when I hadn't planned on it to compensate for the 1/2 of that nasty roast, so now I'm out money not only for a roast but for my pork chops!
They refunded me for everything. I replaced my chops. They are once again safely tucked away in my freezer. I feel much better. All is right with my world in terms of my freezer.

Dish turned out good but I noticed the fact that there were 2 different types/textures and tastes of meat. Didn't anyone else?

All I can say is thank goodness for single guys happy to get home cooked whatever and guys and women don't cook anything! Everyone loved what was out and nobody seemed to notice the flubs. I'm curious how could you not notice that cake? Dave and I are still scratching our heads about it. Seriously? It tasted good but when was the last time you ever had a cake the consistency of flaky Play Dough?


On the 6th I SET THE POT HOLDERS ON FIRE!!! Tied with hubby 1 to 1. He set the grill on fire previously. I'm preheating oven for cake. Smells like "oven" smell when they heat up.
I'm busy with cake ingredients and bowls. I see a little whiff of smoke. I had a plastic container on the stove. I quickly move it thinking it is this. Go back to doing what I'm doing. Also finally got mother off phone and think I got cups of flour count right (eye roll). I'm starting to actually see smoke! I'm really smelling it!
I open the broiler door and out it pours. See, new house new oven. Broiler on top, oven on bottom. Old house old oven. Broiler on bottom, oven on top. Uhm....force of habit. I inadvertently turned on the top (broiler) thinking it was the oven. You know how most people keep a cookie sheet, pan, etc. (in my case pot holders) in the oven when they don't use it?
Well....I thought my oven is preheating and my pot holders were "safe" in the broiler below like my old stove. Problem was they were in the broiler above which was running because it is my new stove. My oven wasn't even on!
I just grabbed them with a pair of tongs, threw them in the kitchen sink and doused them with water. Needless to say it took awhile to get the smell out. Thank goodness this was the 6th and not the 7th the day we had everyone over. I called DH on his way home and told him not to be alarmed when he walked into the house, saw and smelled smoke and why. He said he laughed so hard he almost wrecked the car.

So who's coming to the next party? Promise I won't burn pot holders, or answer the telephone when I'm trying to bake (LOL)


Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

It sounds like everyone had a great time! Most people don't mind as long as there's cake and whipped cream. Tastes like a brownie? Even better. My DH's birthday is Saturday this week. We will be going OUT.

Casa Grande, AZ

Smart Move!

Most restaurants order cakes from outstanding and excellent bakeries or they employ pastry chefs that don't take calls from their mothers while working.

Also,the kitchen staff won't burn the pot holders. They probably have enough drawers to keep them in without resorting to using space in their oven/broiler.

Give DH my best for a happy birthday. :D
You have my envious best in regards to a clean and smoke free kitchen.
I'm sure I'll talk to you all before.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

I never meant to imply we have a clean kitchen. Hardly! Ray does all the cooking and a little cleaning up. I can barely get in there. Our wheelchair door leads into the kitchen so it is impossible to keep the floor clean. Recently a music stand and some sheet music joined the other stuff in the kitchen! We have lots of instruments, microphones, music stands, trombone mutes, guitar strings, sound boards, etc. around the house. You'll be glad to know that he burns the potholders regularly be forgetting to turn off the stove!

Midland City, AL

Beth, I hope your alligator eating experience was better than mine. I tried deep fried gator tail last time we were in the Everglades. The taste was okay, but chewing it was a chore. It was so rubbery it was like trying to chew up a super ball. Iíll stick to seafood gumbo next visit.

Go Grandma! I love bread pudding still warm from the oven and chocolate chip cookies when the chips are still warm enough to be a little gooey.

It sounds like you could be frightening when you get mad, TTC. You might have scared some manners into your young guest. J Iím with Carrie. Taste like brownie? No problem!

Kay lost her cool when a pumpkin roll cracked during rolling before a party. Nadi turned it into a pumpkin roll cake and it was gone halfway through the evening. Who cared. Reality check. People eat pumpkin roll for the cream cheese filling and the cake had a little more of that. Now we have pumpkin roll cake every Christmas.

When I was doing research on eating locavore, I came across a story about a bad night at Chez Penisse, Alice Watersí restraint in Berkeley. Someone scorched the mushroom soup and it was put on the table as Smoky Mushroom Soup. It worked. They got rave reviews for their soup that night.

I heard somewhere late August and September are the most common birth times in this country. It must be all the peace and good will toward men nine months earlier.

The kids buy me a blooming onion and a funnel cake for my prize winning skills. I hang out in the livestock barn with all the other animals of impressive girth while the kids do all the rides. Nadiís father spent years as a carnie and told me stories of those days. Iíve never been on an amusement ride since. lol.

It was rainy this morning and Kay and I both slept in. We had a very productive day yesterday meaning we were both exhausted and happy to get the morning off. Kay was stung by a wasp. She took an allergy tab immediately and dressed the Wound with one of her witchy kitchen treatments. No visit to the ER necessary so far. I donít know how anyone can get along so well with bees, but hate wasp. Kay and the wasp are in a constant state of war.


Not Amargia,s oriental garden but I love it.

Thumbnail by seacanepain Thumbnail by seacanepain
Hendersonville, NC(Zone 7a)

My Granny, being so darnewd OLD, spread her celebration over three days (but I don't think she'll let it go. . . what do say&do reliably? "I DIS many!" and hold up their chubby lil fingers. Granny goes out of hher way to go up to complete stranger and proudly announce "I'm 99 years old!") Since I don't keep track of holidays etcd, it came as a surprise to me that her b-day was on Labor Day: she didn't want EITHER of us to be out driving in holiday traffic, going to the other's house. . . .so I went over to her house the day before and baked that bread pudding. My recipe made a big and a little pan: we demol,ished most of the little pan and she gave her neighbors almost all of the big pan (another string of opportunities to proudly announce her age!).

Monday, her true DOB, rolls around and I call her to sing the Happy Birthday song to her. . in my worst/best I-can't-carry-a-tune voice: it got a laugh!!

Come Tuesday, I figured she'd be ready to go out (having been cooped up in the house for three days. Nope. (I had made and iced a dozen and half of her favorite cupcakes for the continueing birthday celebration.) So I asked her if I could bring her anything for lunch: same answer. (Sometimes, she's SOO aggravating!!) Exasperated, I told her of her cupcakes and asked her if she felt like coming down the stairs to get them! THAT she would do. . eagerly. So I drove over and she came out to get them: in her housecoat!!! That's SOOO not like my fastidious, vain, prim & proper Granny!

Speazking of kitchen disasters=turned-=around etc: I've never burned my hot pads/mittens but HAVE gotten MYSELF burned THROUGH a mitten: it had a hither-to-unnmoticed hole/tear in that crucial spot between the thumb and fingers. I maintain I DROPPED the casseriole; my son SWEARS I threw the casserole! As for cooking disasters, I NEVER admit anything didn't turn out exactly as planned, no matter how bizarre! One morning, my 7/8-yr-old son asked for scrambled eggs for breakfast, so I dutifully started making them: pulling out and whipping some eggs. But wehen I went to pull out the milk: I had none! So I improvised: I used a can of Strawberry Slim-fast! My cooking improvasations are the stuff of my dear son's fabled stories (nightmares?).

I, too, was talking about deep-fried alligator tail. Like liver-and-onions (and most meat, speciall.y steak), the amount of cooking time makes the difference between something tender and tasty. . and something that tastes like old shoe leather!

I'm always pre-occupied with thinking /scheming ways to get my Granny to eat; she's losing weight and shrinking. She says she doesn't get hungry (a typical child of the Depression) and she can't taste anything but sweet (I jokingly tell her she's so dang old, she's done wore out all her other taste buds!), she only has the 8-10 teeth in the front (the ones seen when she smiles), so can't chew. . . and she REFUSES to let me puree her favorite chewable food! So far, all I've been abvle to figure out is ask her to go get ice cream. . . she LOVES ice cream_ unfortunately, it loves me, too,. so much so that it hangs around! Plus, I keep her supplied with :sweets:: puddings, cupcakes, candy bars etc. What else can I do? When my son was little, he'd balk at eating vegies. . so I got creative, baking vegies in flower-pot bread and his favorite: carrot burgers (hamburger meat and shredded carrots, made into patties).

Casa Grande, AZ

Good Morning Gang :D

Finally rested up, kitchen and patio cleaned up, and pot holders replaced yesterday with new ones (eye roll). Got a few dish towels too. Didn't realize how rag-tag mine were until I had washed them. One of those things not high up on priority list I guess. Keeping the liquor cabinet stocked has been more so.
Not that we drink excessively but when you don't have the money to go out to bars and restaurants you "economize" and make your own fun at home. Hmmm....I can pay on average $25.00 for a whole fifth of booze and get at least 20 shots out of it (or more) and have it several weeks/months OR I can go out and pay $4.00-$7.00 per every 1 drink and drink one night!
It's also nice when we have company/entertain. We can't afford to stock the cabinet all at once but we grab a bottle of something here and there to replace or fill the bar. Guests appreciate it. We've never had anyone take advantage of it, drink excessively or not contribute something to it at some point. So it works. We're all too old to be sitting in bars or hanging out in clubs anyway. Past it.
Speaking of guests and manners..........

Your EX, well I can understand the restaurant thing a little. He probably wanted to take you somewhere decent and was too embarrassed to say he didn't have the money to pay for a big meal plus tip for two. BUT he should have never let you eat by your self. He could have just ordered a salad or just an appetizer and skipped desert.

The movie thing would have been the last time I ever saw him. He asked you out. You didn't ask him. You two didn't say, "Hey let's meet up at..." or "Let's go to the movies" or "We'll go Dutch." HE ASKED YOU OUT! As a woman I always expect this to mean he is taking responsibility for the date, plans and finances. He is in charge of the evening. Beyond asking me what movie I would like to see there shouldn't be anything else he may need my input on.

If I asked him out I would assume the same responsibility of being in charge and for paying. I have done this before. Even so guys have still offered to pay and I've said, "No, I asked you out. You are my guest. If you ask me then you pay." Most would ask me out again. I had a couple call and say, "Why didn't you call? I was waiting for you to ask me out." My response was, "Why? The phone works both ways. If you wanted to go out again you could have called me. We could have just met somewhere and gone Dutch. It sounds more like you want a free meal so that's why you were waiting for me to ask. No thanks, I'm busy."

I have never, never, never, taken money out of my purse to pay for a date that someone asked me out on. I've let them sit there and flounder on why they couldn't pay a tip or had to call a buddy because they didn't have enough money. I often had $50.00 or more in my purse but never offered it.
Maybe I'm odd but I've always felt if you ask someone...date or not...to be your guest for an evening out or anywhere then YOU are the person who should have all the bases covered: restaurant/food, tip, entertainment, transportation if needed, etc. If you can't afford certain things there are more modest and even free things to do. If someone likes "you" they're really not so interested in the activity as they are in spending time with you. If you really like them then it shouldn't matter how much money they spend on the date...but they shouldn't ask you to pay for it.

Don't worry I had one with plenty of money but whose ethics I found a little questionable in terms of his work and how he handled his family. I found myself continuing to see him. I eventually wound up engaged to him. I also moved out one day when he went to work. I never said anything or gave any indication. Me, my stuff and any and all traces of my presence disappeared before he got home. I deliberately left his door unlocked and the key on the table. I never got a phone call either from him or any attempts from him to see me at work or to talk to my friends, family, show up at places where I went, etc.
Pretty much told me all I knew but didn't want to see for a long time. I later found out this was standard operating procedure with him in terms of women. I was one of many in a line. Engagement rings, delay tactics and blowing sunshine up someone's butt was cheap compared to having a wife you actually married and who could take half of everything you had when she found out what you were really about. In retrospect the guy did me a favor. Better off for knowing him and how to spot it.
Since hindsight is 20-20 I didn't get married for the first time until I was 37. Lived with David a year at 34-35. Got engaged a year 35-36. Finally married him on September 24, 2005 at age 37. It will be 10 years of marriage in 15 days.
Any young girl, or boy for that matter, that talks to me about unhappy dating relationships I say one thing:
Don't ever settle for less than what you want. The minute you do is the minute you get less than what you settle for.

Sounds like you made a much better choice with Ray :D
Cluttered kitchen or not it seems like you've got a great life with a good friend and partner who makes life, good, entertaining and as much fun for you all as possible. Cool you guys like music. Dave used to play trombone. He's the real music aficionado. I swear between the wires, plugs, and remotes I need manuals to turn on the t.v. and stereo. I love music, appreciate all types, just can't play it, read it or "understand" it. I'm a left brain person. Music is right brain like math and science.
Also feel much better knowing someone else burns their pot holders.

Ahh...my guests. I think the young lady's boyfriend scared some sense into her. Chris is one of Dave's good friends. Chris is kind of an odd guy with odd hobbies and a lot of people don't get him at work so he's not real popular. He's not disliked, just not real popular and viewed as a nerd/oddball. Dave is one of the few people that gets along well with Chris. I'm sure Chris wanting to maintain his friendship forewarned Amanda (Ms. Thang) that she better not make problems with his friend, his friend's wife of for him personally.

I also think Ms. Thang knew I wasn't going to be in the mood for her especially on my husband's birthday and a house full of people and after cooking a meal that took me 2 days to basically prepare. So Ms. Thang behaved herself. Like I said too, she may just be starting to realize we're not out to get her because she's "younger" and we really are o.k. people she can relax. We will (force ourselves) to be nice to her and accept her as Chris's girlfriend. (Why though we can't figure out).

I'm so glad there wasn't any drama. I was tired. I just didn't have the energy to beat up on someone. Plus I was dressed a little nicer and didn't want to ruin my shirt. It was already a challenge keeping the enchilada sauce and chocolate off it.

But yes...I can and am very frightening when I'm mad. don't let the cute little 5 foot 3 inch me and always smiling face fool you. Takes a lot. I mean an awful lot. Have to push, push, push, push, push me but then look out. I explode. If I'm yelling that's good. It means I get over quickly because I'm just annoyed. I vented and got over it.
If I don't say anything and just avoid you for while then you're in real trouble. When I finally do say something you can expect to be left in a pile of smoldering ashes, right after you just ducked whatever it was I've thrown at you first! Thankfully those are very, very, very rare occasions and limited to things that don't really inflict pain like pillows or a magazine! (red face).
I have to admit I threw a handful of dog kibble one time. Didn't quite have the intended effect I wanted it to. Dog was kind of happy about it though. She got all excited. Thought it was a new game and began bouncing around hunting out pieces of kibble. (lol) Did kind of make me see I was being silly though. We wound up laughing as soon as I did it and the dog thought we were actually playing.

Now don't anyone judge too harshly...we all have tempers and are human. The main point is this is a very, very rare thing and I can probably count on 1 hand in 10 years I have been this mad. Honestly though owning a Greyhound has been good. They are hyper sensitive to people's reactions and tones of voice more so than other dogs. So now we "talk sternly" or just have to talk about things rather than raise voices. Otherwise the dog gets upset and will literally mope for days and avoid us and won't eat! No joke. We can't yell because of the dog! It hurts her feelings and sense of well being in the "pack". And they say having pets is only good for ones emotional health. It does wonders for marriages.

Yeah kitchen flubs. Pumpkin roll sounds good. Much better than pumpkin cake!
Brownie-fudge cake worked I guess. I just look at that thing and think, well....whatever Dave can't take to work and pawn off on coworkers I can let dry out and use it as a door stop or paper weight. It's heavy enough. Also smoked mushroom soup....yummm! It is kind of funny though what one can pull off. I think the key is just convincing others that's what it was "supposed to" be in the first place. There was no such thing as a mistake...just a happy accident.

It does seem like a lot of birthdays are in the fall. Almost everyone in my family both sides are in September. We have several anniversaries in November. Birthdays in December, January, February. I'm the only "Spring" birthday. Nothing in Summer or until Fall again. Dark early? Finally cool enough at night/in the day? Nothing good on T.V.? Women's way of getting you away from sports on T.V.? Don't have money to go out due to upcoming holidays? It is the holidays? Mall is too crowded at this time? More time off from work so you have more energy? I dunno...only reasons I can come up with for this phenomenon.

Ohhhh....funnel cake and fried dough! I love fried dough with cinnamon and sugar. Good old fair junk food. Cotton candy, caramel apples, Philly steak sandwiches, FRENCH FRIES!! Now that's what I'm talking about! Blooming onions don't sound bad either. Go great with that steak sandwich. I wouldn't even make you win me a prize...just buy me fried dough and French Fries! Home made ice cream! :D

I'm not one for the rides. Always because I over ate. Food....and animals were why you went to the fair. Wanted rides you went to the amusement park! At the fair though I used to love the Speed Barn. Canfield Fair in Canfield, Ohio was a huge deal and I think one of the largest fairs going. They had harness racing. Used to go love to look at the racers. Owners would often take them out of the stall and let me pet them (humor a little kid). The draft horses! Clydesdale, Belgian, Percheron. Used to love them. Still do. Really sweet.
They had horse shows, equestrian jumping and quarter horse barrel agility riding events, 4-H, American Kennel club did dog shows there (really cool to see a 'real' dog show), they had cat shows (mom loved it, I dripped, sneezed and scratched); and horse shows (Arabians, Tennessee Walkers, etc.) Of course there were the goats, sheep, pigs, cows, etc. to go look at! You had to go see all the crazy looking types of roosters in the poultry barn and listen to them go off all day.
The 1,500 + pumpkins, gourds, fruits, veggies, etc. people grew. Quilts and crafts people made. Bake sale and contests. Even had antique cars and locomotives/steam engines there. Lot of fun.

I'm with you Jim. I'd rather hang out in the barns with the animals.
When Dave and I were dating it shocked him how much I loved the barns with me being "me" (eye roll). He'd tease me and call me his barn goddess and say I was the only woman he knew who had designer made boots specifically to be worn only when one goes to step in horse poop. (They were a very old pair of equestrian boots I had worn to death but still looked half decent. I wore them with jeans and casual stuff, not my dress clothes any more.)

A lot of decent entertainers performed there too. You''d have to check the computer to see who but at night they had concerts and I know some pretty decent artists played. I'm not a fan of country but I know the Oakridge Boys were there one time. I think Charlie Daniels was too. A few pop and rock artists too.

I miss it. I haven't been to a good fair in years. Went to one out here. We won't go anymore.

Now they're turning them into political events handing out leaflets and pamphlets, kissing babies and shaking hands and voter registration drives. This is BOTH parties. BOTH pushing their agendas. To me this isn't the place for it. Isn't the point of fairs to get away from crap like this in life even just for awhile? Churches doing it too which disturbs me.
Cool if you want to say "This quilt made by the Quilting Circle of the XYZ Church Ladies Group" on the plaque displaying it. Why do you have to say, Award for best quilt give to Suzy Jones, a member of the ABC church? Or each entry will say, Brenda Brown entered quilt blah..blah..; she is a member of 123 Church. Quilt presented by the Ladies at WWW grocery store: 3 members of AAA church; 2 of BBB church, etc.
IT ISN'T A CHURCH SPONSORED EVENT! BUT I've seen this on the entry sheets below the quilts next to the people's names and on plaques and awards. Why? What does that have to do with a non church sponsored quilting competition?

Dave and I mostly avoid the fairs and festivals out here for another reason. You already got people pushing politics and religion...then you got guns! O.K. we got second amendment rights blah..blah. Fine, cool with that.
BUT I...TTC.. don't care to be in a place where all at once you got 2 adverse political parties passing out literature, churches making it known who their members are and ARE NOT, alcohol being served, tons of people who do push, shove, can't line up properly, tired screaming babies, out of control over excited young kids running into you, adults who get mad when you ever so politely say something, rowdy teens and college kids, all the heat (It's Arizona and still 100 degrees), etc. AND THEN you add people who can openly carry and carry concealed weapons and do so with great zeal.
To me, in my mind, that is not a good mix.
Doesn't mean something will happen. Just sets the stage for something potentially happening that could have unpleasant consequences. We avoid it.

Like I said, I miss a good fair or festival. Times have changed. NONE of these things were there before. It used to be a place folks went to just be folks and enjoy the best of what other folks had to offer. I now feel like I need my boots more to walk around the fair than I do for those barns. I hate thinking about what I could step in.
Are your events like this now?

Sorry to hear Kay got stung by a wasp. :( Much different creature than your user friendly bumble bee who pretty much wants to avoid you as much as you do it. Also a lot more painful and more severe in terms of reactions. I feel for her and fully understand her aversion. Hope she feels better.

Love the ornamental Garden pictures of the Japanese garden. One of my favorites. I'll have
to explain a lot of the symbolism with the trees, flowers and fish but I blathered enough.

Pic #1: Chinese Cultural Center near downtown Phoenix
Pic #2 &3 Beautiful lotus blossoms. Symbol of Buddha and enlightenment. Its pristine beauty endures even though it grows in mud. Thus it is seen as the symbol of an enlightened mind and pure soul.
Pic #4. One of the many visually pleasing portals around the grounds
Pic #5 Koi.

Thumbnail by Agavegirl1 Thumbnail by Agavegirl1 Thumbnail by Agavegirl1 Thumbnail by Agavegirl1 Thumbnail by Agavegirl1
SE/Gulf Coast Plains, AL(Zone 8b)

The red Japanese maple Jim grew from seed is doing well, but still in a large container. I know he wants a cut-leaf maple to go with it, but we need to get more shade in the Japanese garden area before we can think about more maples. The weeping willow is growing nicely, but still has a way to go before it provides adequate shade. We harvest much of the timber bamboo to use for garden projects. It might be a good idea to choose two or three trees, pamper them for a season so they will grow to their ultimate height and see how much shade they provide. 72 ft. is their maximum. Hmmm, maybe I should make that choose ONE tree to pamper. Bamboo is actually a really big grass. It achieves its height in a single season. The trunks thicken and the roots try to claim more territory in successive seasons, but the tree grows no taller.
Jim went out late this morning to pick up my medication and buy some crocus bulbs. He came back with a new bed. lol. I wish he could have brought the men who loaded it for him at the BX home with him. The new bed is set up and the old one disposed of. Not bad for an old lady, but I am exhausted.
Okay, yes, he did need a new bed and this one was on sale. We had a pillowtop and that is not the best choice with back problems.
We still have no crocus bulbs, but he did remember my pain patches and even thought to pick up some new scented soap and bath goodies. Clever man. I am going to light a candle, put on some soothing music and settle into the Jacuzzi for a long soak. Then, put on one of those pain patches and try out the new bed.
He says he will pick up the bulbs tomorrow. It might be best if I went with him this time.

Casa Grande, AZ

HI Kay!
Good morning! :D So glad to hear you're doing better. Ahhhh....Japanese gardens. One of my favorites. So pretty and serene. Just gorgeous. Not only in color but in shape and form and architecture and simplicity. They really do know how to make it seem so effortless and natural. Plus it utilizes so many of my favorite elements: wood, water, splashes of color, texture. Enjoy it because it is not suited to many climates.
Lets see if I can remember some of the associated Japanese meanings to plants:

Maple: auspicious sign of love
Iris: associated with warriors and courage
Willow: patience and perseverance; "flower" of November
Rhododendron: sign of happy retirement
Pine/conifers: old age, time to meditate, reflection (usually at mountain tops and thus around monasteries in Japan), rest, solitude, time when one is to reflect on life
Plum Blossom: hope and new beginnings; it is the first flower of the new year and thus Spring
Cherry Blossom: wealth and prosperity; national flower of Japan; the flower for March
Cherry Tree: harmony and youth
Paulownia flowers: justice and benevolence; December's flower
Hydrangeas: Victory over insurmountable odds; Since they bloom several colors on one bush they basically do the "impossible" for most plants they are associated with overcoming great obstacles
Morning Glories: adaptability and hardiness, flower of mortality but the joy of life triumph over it
Chinese Bellflower: early Autumn; time for harvest
Lilac: Spring; time to sow now in anticipation of hard work and reaping the benefits of one's labors
Koi/Carp: longevity; willpower and strength
Cranes/Ducks: love, marriage, fidelity and faithfulness and a good marriage partner. Since both of these animals only take one mate for life they are often the symbol for marriage.
Lotus: Buddha; a pure and enlightened mind free of negative thoughts; even though it grows in mud it is pristine and beautiful and endures.
Wisteria: flower of April; youth and beauty and poetry
Swallows (bird): fertility and rainfall
Pear: flower of August; longevity and purity
Peony: prosperity, joy, virility/fertility, happy marriage
The color red: creativity and boldness; courage in new undertakings and dealings
Chrysanthemums: royalty; ruler ship; the crest of the Emperors/Empresses of Japan and the crest of Japan its self.
Snow Lions: Guardians of temples and shrines; stead fast; loyal, trustworthy and protective; one is fortunate to have them around.

So that's what I remember in terms of Japanese gardens, plants and symbolism. I often thought how fun it would be to incorporate all of these things in one garden space. :D
Bamboo is such a great wood and so durable. Ever think of making some house hold items out of it such as cutting boards, bowls, etc.? I think it would be awesome to have a 72 foot bamboo plant. Basically it's your counter part to our Century Plant. I know bamboo can grow several inches a day. Have you ever measured yours for grins and giggles?
I knew it got invasive but I always assumed it made new plants. How does this work in regards to bamboo. Is it offshoots or seeds?

Lucky you...A new bed! Why do I want to finish that with, "This is your fabulous showcase on the Price Is Right...."? Anyway lucky you! How nice to get a new mattress. I am so in need of one. If I send Jim out for a new cacti for the garden do you think he'd come back with a new mattress for me?
Still...what is he trying to do to himself lifting this stuff? Doesn't he know better?

Sorry you didn't get your crocus that you requested. :( but I'm sure you will ad you'll get them planted. But then again, I'll take bubble bath and candles for a Jacuzzi bath over flower bulbs any day!
Enjoy the bath and sleep easy on the new bed. Hope the pain patches worked.

Again good for Grannie! She should be bragging she's 99. Hope she lives to be a 110. Make sure she gets her Birthday card from the President. Anyone who turns 100 automatically gets one sent to them.
And for Pete's sake don't liquefy her food. Where's her dentures? And once in awhile if she eats something good for her let her have all the junk she wants. She's earned the privilege at her age. It is either that or listen to her whine like a kid! :D I say it's easier to let them have it!
For some strange reason your eggs sounded really good with the Strawberry Slim-Fast! MO joke. I'd try them.
Maybe you could sneak those in on Granny? Also I found baking with Steevia instead of sugar does wonders not only calorie wise but there's no sugar. It tastes just like sugar. Nobody noticed I didn't use sugar in that cake because it was really sweet. It just doesn't have the harmful effects of sugar. You should try substituting some of Granny's sugar with that!
Bet she won't even know.
If she travels bring her up here and I'll cook a big feast for her and my DH since the birthdays are the same.

Peace. Out.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Ugh, yes, pureed food is yuck. 1,000 years ago, I was a nurse's aide in nursing home and one of my nicest patients had ALS. The kitchen pureed all her food. Whatever everybody else got, they put in the blender. So steak, potato and green beans....in the blender. Strawberry shortcake...in the blender. Mind you, I don't remember steak or strawberry shortcake on the menu at the nursing home....I'm just trying to think of examples of food that you wouldn't want to throw in the blender. But rice or tapioca pudding, custard with eggs in it, she can think of easy-to-chew food. Sweet potato?

When I was dying in 2001, I was all IV and nose tube for my nutrition. But when I started getting better, I was given pureed diet. YUCK! I had to convince them I could chew. The automatic reflex to close your windpipe when you swallow food (really important) is not particularly strong in me....one of those MS things. So last night, I was trying to swallow a huge vitamin C tablet and almost stopped breathing. It got stuck halfway down. Ray was Heimlich-ing me. YIKES! This morning I have a sore throat, from the where the pill was halfway down. Thank goodness my breathing is not impaired. Plenty of people with MS die from aspiration pneumonias.

A new bed sounds nice. Do you mean mattress or frame? Or both? I love our mattress, and I hate the idea of having to choose another one.

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