#20 Practical Matters for Physically Challenged Gardeners

Casa Grande, AZ

Good Morning Gang,

In a weird way I envy your rain. NOT the flooding and endless and dangerous downpours but just normal "rain". Rain is a true event here. Honestly, we are all about one step from joining the Native American's in their dances to request its presence. I guess one must truly spend a whole full year here in AZ to fully gain appreciation for the occasional rainy, grey or cloudy day.
Even our plants rejoice. They get green/greener, taller (pole cacti grow inches exponentially every time it rains), they plump up and store it away like a precious treasure. They too cry out for it like we do. YES...cacti get very thirsty at times. All cacti are succulents but not all succulents are cacti.

Confused? Has to do with the way the spines grow out of it. Won't bore you with the particulars of why unless you find this to be a truly riveting subject of deep interest to you. D.G. has an article on it also explaining.

The key word here with our plants is MODERATION. While they appreciate rain they do not appreciate being wet constantly and are prone to root rot. :( Most people find it hard to believe they are even prone to sunburn thus the reason we use shade tents here on many of our plants.

The most prone are Aloes and Agaves of all types but most especially the ones that are variegated with pale colors. My Agave guiengola v.'Creme Brulee' which is a pale creamy yellow color with only a medium stripe of green in the leaves got absolutely fried! It has since made a nice recovery. Pole cacti seem to get sunburnt at their base. You know all those cute cacti that have the white "fuzz" all over them? Well....they get horribly abused in Summer.

Forget things like succulents (Hens and chicks, sedums, semperviums, etc.) They turn into potato chips and in vain attempts at resuscitation through watering and watering to make them "re-plump" they either turn to something that looks like guacamole or some kind of black goo. I call succulents "chip and dip" plants. (LOL). Just not doable here in zone 9B! Unfortunate because I really enjoy them and all the amazing colors they come in.

Wise Cactus told me:
"Rain or shine one must celebrate the blessings of each in our life. Both are necessary for all thing's growth both physically and spiritually in this life regardless of when they show up. Just don't be so addle brained frying your retinas admiring the sun or simple enough to stand pointing your nose upwards when reveling in the rain". He also said, "Wise is the person who can recognize these blessings, be grateful for them and take the time to go out and enjoy their simple beauty". Wise words indeed. See, Wise Cactus is very wise indeed.

If I had to guess the bird I would probably say peacock. Turkeys and chickens are smart. Peacocks are pretty stupid. Outrageously and unfairly beautiful but stupid.

Speaking of rain, it spit at us the day before yesterday. Could literally count the drops on my patio. Lasted 3 minutes and went away. Today and tomorrow we stand a 20% and a 0% of rain there after. Let us pray. My plants look so dry. I have refrained from watering. NEVER FAILS. The moment I do it subsequently pours for 3 days straight! So I have been forcing myself to resist the temptation of getting out the hose. If it doesn't rain today it looks like I will water. I haven't done so for 3 weeks. I can cut back to 1 time a month now but they still need water.

Must admit though I am enjoying the weather. Finally...mid to low 90s. Next week we are flirting with the 80s. Time to turn off the air conditioning! Fall has officially arrived in AZ gang!

Love the plants/lilies! Just gorgeous. No I don't know "regular" flower names aside from the common ones but whenever I see something that looks like a lily that's what I call it. My favorite is the Stargazer due to its unusual mix of color and heady, exotic aroma. I do know Calla lilies and Tiger lilies. I usually cut off the little pollen producing parts in my bouquets as I've discovered pollen is IMPOSSIBLE to get out of clothing, tablecloths or cloth napkins regardless of washing or dry cleaning.

The Spider lilies are so nice! Hardly remind me of spiders at all. I hate spiders. These don't resemble them so I'd be more than happy to have them in the yard. Love the Naked Ladies and Ox Blood. Somehow I was thinking the Naked Ladies would be a much more pale pink bordering on cream. Shows you what I know. Number 4 is intriguing and very unusual. Never seen anything like that before and probably wouldn't have put it in a lily category. But then again there's a lot of cacti that surprise me too.

I think my favorite in the bunch is indeed the mystery plant. Now that is something I would love to have. THE COLOR! THAT TEXTURE! The foolishness of me to even think of it! That poor plant would meet its death here in days. :(
The motto "Bloom where you are planted" does not apply to AZ. Our mottos are "Survival of the fittest" and "If you can't stand the heat you are a plant that doesn't grow in AZ". (LOL).

I must apologize for not looking up the meaning of lilies associated with the Japanese meanings as I know them to be. I have either been inundated with things, sleeping, or working frantically to finish my raised beds. Or I just have my lazy, unmotivated, sit there in a persisted vegetative state days for some unknown reason. (Ever have those?) Still, those are not excuses for not doing such a simple thing. I will do it for you in the next day or two! You can hold me to it.

As for Latin plant names presently I am at the point where I am able to impress and amaze my friends with multi syllable words such as Agave Americana medio picta alba and Chamaecereus Silvestry v. 'Rose Quartz' and ...Austrocylindropuntia subulata monstrose. I'm sure very soon I will irk and aggravate them with this so called talent instead! I'll just be saying, "Century Plant that is green and white" or "Peanut Cactus with red flowers". :D I couldn't agree with you more in terms of Cacti and Succulent names being problematic. Not only are they Latin but it seems like they are inordinately long and common names sound like there is some Spanish thrown in for good measure. Agave is a perfect example. Most people not familiar with what it is say, "a..gave" literally just like it is spelled. Agave doesn't look like it should be pronounced "ah..gah..vay". Out here too the name Century Plant is confusing. There are a lot that are in that family that don't grow stalks. Their are some smaller version of Century plants and a whole bunch of other mish-mash in that category.

They play the name game with us too. Changed Trichocereus species. They divided it into Trichocereus and Echinopsis. Echinopsis has about 300 things in it and not a one of them look alike or resemble each other. I dunno.

Yes..would absolutely love a piece of the dragon fruit!!! I have been wanting one of those for awhile and they are not easy to come by. Would you like an Agave, Aloe or Century Plant (Remember the monster that gets the big stalk. I wouldn't worry. Unless you live to be 100 you probably wouldn't see that thing grow the stalk but the plant is pretty. Nadine would probably get to enjoy it. That and the pleasure of dismantling it once it dies and getting rid of its 300 pups! )

Pic #1 Agave Americana (Century Plant). By contrast keep in mind I am 5 foot 3 inches tall.
Pic #2 Dead Agave Americana
Pic #3 Austrocylindropuntia subulata monstrose. Have NO clue what the common name is. I just call it a crab cactus because the little arms remind me of crab claws for some reason.
Pic #4 Agave Americana medio picta alba. Believe it or not this is a "petite" Century Plant if there is such a beast. Instead of 10-12 feet around it grows 5-7 feet in diameter. Instead of a 30-40 foot stalk this one has a 7-12 foot stalk. Uhm...I guess you can call that 'petite'.
Pic #5 My sunburnt Agave. This is his recovery! I'll show you what he looked like before. I call him Miracle because he survived!

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Casa Grande, AZ

The recovery of Miracle the severely sunburnt Agave.

Amazing transformation from December last year to July of this year isn't it!!!
He is wintering on my patio. He is still growing, getting bigger and looks great. Next year I may actually plant him. SHADE TENTS people....SHADE TENTS!!!

Got scolded and made to kneel on cactus needles outside in the 118 degree heat for 2 hours by Wise Cactus for this abuse and neglect. :[

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Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Yes, Jim, neurologists specialize in MS. It is (these days) diagnosed with an MRI. In the old days, they would rule out everything else before settling on a diagnosis of MS. (There are, of course, PTs who specialize in MS and urologists who specialize in MS, ophthamalogists who specialize in MS and so on.) But then there is a lot of overlap between MS and other neurological conditions: spinal cord injuries and strokes can cause EXACTLY the same symptoms as MS, if you're like me and have neurological damage (and not just occasional symptoms).

When my MS was diagnosed, in 1986, they needed neurological exams, evoked potentials test, lumbar puncture, cystometrogram, and a few other ones I can't remember before I got the diagnosis "probable" MS. Then they did an MRI (which was difficult and expensive) and I guess that confirmed it.

Sorry....you asked. Stepping off my soapbox now.

Midland City, AL

I hope you wore your sunglasses and sunscreen, Beth. That big glowing orb in the sky is called the sun in case you forgot
TTC, when is the best time to plant cacti in your area? Fall is as big a planting time for us as Spring. Trees, shrubs and perennials all go in the ground now.
If you can snag another fruit from the mighty Opunctia without ticking off your neighbor, that would be great, but donít hurt yourself. Didnít you get prickles in your hand from that one before?
I worked on the greenhouse today. I noticed a few places last winter where there were gaps between the bottom of the greenhouse frame and the concrete slab. We are making an effort to heat it more efficiently this year. I sealed up the gaps along the floor with Great Stuff expanding foam and started work on a water tank that will work for the space. The water in the tank will absorb the daytime heat and release it slowly at night, if this works the way it is supposed to. That way the heater will not have to run as much at night. We have warm daytime temps in winter. In fact, if Iím not careful and forget to open the greenhouse in the morning, the plants in the greenhouse can bake in the 100į F (37į C) heat.
It was an exhausting day. Talk to you all again soon.

Midland City, AL

Thanks for taking the time to satisfy my curiosity, Carrie. From what Iíve read, nothing about MS is simple. I was wondering because I remembered reading somewhere that practicing doctors and researchers were still not in total agreement about the root cause of MS and symptoms arenít confined to any medical specialization. I guess the majority of symptoms do fall into the realm of neurology.

TTC, the crab cactus is really cool looking and I like the variegation on the last one. Agave will grow here, but they are shorter lived and not as spectacular as they are in the southwest.

I pushed a little too hard yesterday. This is a recovery day. Kay is moving the tropicals into the greenhouse.

The anise hyssop (Agastache) looks like it is about to bloom. Itís a honeybee favorite. The Mexican hydrangea is re-blooming. It is a pity it is so aggressive and has to go. An angelís trumpet is also re-blooming. It has to go too unfortunately. I canít risk the toxic pollen getting into the honey.

Nadine gets into more of a cooking mood when the weather starts cooling off. This is the time of year when she tries out the new recipes that caught her eye over the summer. Her latest tasty experiment was Cinnamon/Butterscotch Pie made from scratch. During the summer such a pie would have a ready-made crust and a Jello pudding/Dream Whip filling. There is little possibility of my losing weight between October and January. The best I can hope for is not to gain any more weight.


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Casa Grande, AZ

Hi gang, :D

Madame (Zoe) had to go to the vet yesterday. I don't know what she did. She was fine one minute and then suddenly limping very severely and favoring her left front leg. I could tell she was in a lot of pain and her limp was severe and pronounced with every step. Groan...smack forehead. A Greyhound with a bad leg! Not good.

She wasn't panting or hyperventilating or whimpering when I touched her or felt the leg. I didn't see anything that looked like she got cut or wounded. I checked her foot and didn't find anything in it or see anything that look like she got bit. She was in discomfort though and I could see her kind of wince when she had to walk and she struggled a little to get up after lying down.

All I could think was that she twisted it playing, bouncing around, or maybe smacked it on the metal frame on the bottom of the patio sliding glass door. It got worse as the day went on and of course Dave was at work. (He's back on 3-11p.m.). My neighbor took Zoe and I to the vet. Since she was due for her rabies shot and nail trim anyway I figured now would be an excellent time to take her in.

Vet was puzzled also. He had no explanation. To make a long story painful I got a whopping bill for the exam, the nail trim, and the rabies shot, just to be told, "I dunno. Bring her in if it persists more than a week and we'll do some blood tests and an X-Ray." I also paid for her meds which cost $60.00! Cherry on the Sundae we owe the Animal Control people $35.00 for her new dog tags showing current rabies vaccine date.
You know...you would have thought they would have given the nail trim complimentary. Grrrrrrr! But of course had I not taken her in something would have been hideously wrong.

Today, Madam is up and bouncing around and wanting to go for a walk and wants to spin around and play, looking at me like I'm stupid. The limp is pretty much gone and only pops up every few steps. She's putting her full weight on her foot also. Still getting up a little slow though. She has some mild cataracts. Doctor said she won't be reading any fine print but it isn't bad. She will be 11 next year. I'm thinking my guess was right. Clumsy, nearsighted cow probably careened into something or just put her leg down the wrong way and strained a muscle or something.

Still love my clumsy, nearsighted cow and am grateful she is just fine; or appears she will be in another day or two. I was very, very worried. She is my constant companion for 5 years now and I hers. She's going to be 11. I remind myself more and more to appreciate her and too actually thank her out loud. I want her to know. Her life isn't as long as mine. :D I'm pretty tired though. I didn't sleep well because last night I had no idea how she was going to be today when she got up.

Mmmmm pie! I love pie! I haven't baked one in awhile. I know how to make a really, really good home made double crust apple. Yep use that big 'ol block of lard to make those crusts. Truly does make the best crusts though. Gross but it works. Ever wonder who actually thought of putting these ingredients together to create "crusts". I mean why lard or shortening? Who thought that would mix well with apples and spices and bake up yummy? Ever wonder where recipes originate or how they get started? I always have.

I guess in a way because I very rarely bake I don't have to worry too much about gaining weight from eating "goodies". Usually if we want stuff like that we go out for it. I get in trouble when the stuff is in the house!

My only suggestion Jim is invite as many people over at one time and give everyone pie and coffee. That usually takes care of it! If it isn't sitting around you can't eat it.

As for our planting we pretty go almost all year. We start after there is no more chance for frost which is usually very late February to mid March. We keep going all the way through October. I personally take October through February off since the plants aren't doing a whole lot. What is in bloom is finishing up and what isn't is growing vigorously and storing water. Once the temps drop they pretty much go dormant and require very little to no water. If it doesn't rain that month I'll water them only 1 time.

So "Winter" is project and planning time here for a lot of people or they plant stuff in pots and patio grow, do their cuttings and seed propagations, build things, etc. It is "Winter" but in relative comparison still nice enough to be outside. It is mild here of course.

If you would like, I can ask my neighbor that owns monster cactus if they would allow me to take a pad or two. I don't know them but they seem like plant nuts. If they say yes, I'll send it to you. :D I haven't looked at it awhile so I'm not sure if there is still fruit or fruit on the ground. If they don't say yes, my neighbor that took me to the vet has a Prickly about 1/2 the size of monster. It is a monster its self but not as big as a minivan! Its fruit is a yellowish-orange-ish peachy kind of color. I know she'll let me give you a pad and some fruit. And yes...monster cactus was nice enough to leave annoying glochids in my hand for a few days! I can also send you a little piece of crab cactus too. :D It grows fast.

The variegated one is also a Century Plant believe it or not! It will get big around and grow the tall stalk BUT is about half the size of that monster you see me looking at in the other pictures. The one plant is Agave Americana which gets 10-12 feet in diameter and 30-40 foot stalk. The variegated one is Agave Americana Medio Picta Alba. It is "petite" at about 5-7 feet around and a 7-12 foot stalk. I can send you a pup from that next Spring. It grew it's first one and it needs to get a little bigger before being separated. Don't worry they reproduce like rabbits so there will be no shortages of pups! Our Agaves are just freaks. The ginormous! My husband likes them but thinks it is disturbing that these plants are bigger than human beings and automobiles! I just think they're cool!

Your plants and flowers in bloom sound so pretty. Rather than just getting rid of them have you thought about maybe donating them to a church, park, school, etc. and letting them plant them?

Oh...happy day. While Bets was frolicking in the sun I was playing in the rain yesterday. IT POURED all day! Even had a great lightening show! Whooo hooo! Sat on the patio and watched it after I got home from the vets.

Hi Carrie! :D

I'm tired gang. I'm going to crash on the couch next to Zoe.
Peace. Out.

Pics 1-3: My neighbor's (Shirley) monster p.pear. Not as big as the one behind me but definitely no slouch. It was growing new pads about 2 months ago. these are the buds and new pads.
Pic 4: Some kind of plant (Shirley's) that is similar to my crab cactus but more like an Eve's Needle. I think my crab cactus, Eve's Needle and whatever this is are all in the same family.

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Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Oh, Agave, I hope Zoe and you have a companionship that lasts long and is happy! She sounds like a real friend.

Jim, MS involves demyelination of various nervous tissue. It's all caused by MS, but it affects whatever the particular nerve controls. Does that make sense? Damage to the optic nerve causes visual disturbances, damage to the nerves that control the bladder causes urological symptoms. A neurologist can (sometimes) estimate how severe the damage is, but an opthalmologist/urologist has ways to cope with deficits. In 1987, my neurologist said my MS was what was causing my bladder problems and my urologist said even if they had a way to reverse the MS, my bladder was permanently damaged. So the urologist did surgery on my bladder. Nowadays my surgery is considered bizarre; they have much easier ways of coping.

Good luck on your weight not gaining progeam, Jim! Did I mention Ray lost over FIFTY POUNDS since he retired? He didn't start in earnest until February, but to me that's remarkable!

Everybody, be careful and don't work too hard! We are getting ready to go to Mexico (Cancun) for a few days to stock up on warmth for the coming winter. We have a favorite hotel and we often go for a few days, although we felt less anxious about getting out of cold weather when we lived in TX! Right now it's like "aaaaaaack, the winter is coming!" Also, I missed out on swimming and sunbathing during July.

We have agastache too, from High Country Gardens. It rarely makes it through the winter, and never two winters. This time I planted it on a hill, hoping that will create less of a puddle at the roots. Also, I planted it as soon as we got it, which (I hope) gave it more time to get established. It's really looking great!

Casa Grande, AZ

Hi gang, :D

Jim: Lilies and Japanese meanings, as far as I can find, are associated with death, mortality and resurrection. Not sure why. Still searching on an answer for that.

If you want to lose weight eat Paleo!!

In CA when I was 24-32 I used to weigh between 117-122. Muscle weighs more than fat, I was younger and I was running 8.5 miles a day at 7:10-6:40 a mile! I'd eat 5 pieces of pizza and not gain an ounce. Size wise I was smaller than now. I was wearing 2/4! Nothing "moved" on me unless I made it!

I used to be 156, not fat, but quite chunky for a 5'3" small boned frame and hit just hit the entry level number for obese based on BMI. Depression and former Epilepsy weight meds blew me up. (Did you know food loves you and is your friend and chocolate or a quart of Breyer's Butter Pecan ice cream solves all your problems? Yeah)

Did HCG. Sheer Hell and brutal to stick to but it got me down to 134. (A lot of the pictures you see of me with the Century Plants I weigh between 134 and 127. The one of me sitting on the ottoman doing Yoga pose I weigh 112 which is present as I go between 112-107, sometimes 105 IF I'm working hard physically in the yard, drinking tons of water or just "forgetting" to eat !) HCG was the most miserable experience I ever had. It was calorie restrictive (800-850 a day. It is the HCG that never made you feel hungry even though you were starving).BUT if someone told me eating dirt and licking rocks would make me lose weight I would do it and I am incredibly iron willed.

After HCG I just lost weight through watching what I ate and got down to 118. Well, we all know what happens after diets...we go back to eating how we did and gain all the weight back plus more. I shot back up to 143 pounds!! I managed to get it back down to 127-122 pounds. I also changed meds! Old ones weren't working anyway. Also found out I was B12 deficient which was adding to the problem!

Lost weight again and got back down to 127 but still couldn't control my cravings for anything white, sugary, or dairy/creamy! My husband, always a bean pole at 189-192 shot up to 202 pounds! He got a little gut. He had a conniption!

So...sick of this we discovered Paleo! Cruised a variety of web sites on this and made a little notebook on how to do it and followed it.

Now I'm not going to lie. The first 5 days I WANTED TO KILLLLL SOMEONE. I wanted to go into the grocery store and graze in the junk food aisle and wallow in the cake. I wanted to hijack the Hostess truck. But then a miraculous thing happened. I was losing between 1/2 to 1.5 pounds a day eating more, not restricting meals, not depriving my self, and eating all I wanted.

I was also feeling better. Uhm...I was also going potty regularly and not being backed up, bloated or constipated. Women in general seem to have a problem with this to begin with (hence all the probiotic commercials directed at us.) I was no longer having an issue. We ate our own food, didn't buy anything out of the ordinary, didn't take any "drugs", etc. We just changed what we bought and ate and how we prepared it a little. Not hard.

The mindless "grazing" stopped. I had NO cravings for sweet, sugary, starchy, things. I had no cravings period. I was not tired after eating a big meal nor was I hungry 2 hours later. I wasn't moody or depressed. I didn't even think of food. I missed none of the stuff I used to eat and despite all that I was eating I was losing and/or maintaining weight. I looked and felt great and so did my husband. He got down to 184 and was back in a size 32-34 jean. His 36s were getting tight!

To celebrate we went to KFC and got some fried chicken, mashed potatoes, biscuits, buttered corn on the cob..you know the standard box meal. We literally got sick! I mean sick. Sat in the stomach like lead. Gained 2 pounds after 1 meal, had a headache felt nauseous. All we could think was "Why did we eat this and WHY were we eating this before?" It just confirmed my theory that the food industry wants to keep you fat, sick and unhealthy.

Back to Paleo. We are fine. That has been years now. Now, that isn't to say we don't eat cake, fried chicken, or have pasta, or have a candy bar or eat things we shouldn't. We do BUT they are "treats" and not the main stuff of our diet. Cake instead of being devoured in 3 days now sits around until it has to be thrown out due to mold starting to grow on it. A bag of Doritos lasts a week...not a day! (Yes, a handful is satisfactory and satisfying.)

If our weight/cravings start to go up then we get in the more rigid mode with our Paleo eating and the weight comes off very, very quickly and stays off. Presently because our bodies are "set" at our permanent weight we allow ourselves 1 or 2 days a week of "junk/junky food type" of eating. We are satisfied, don't go into craving mode or feel like we are living a deprived, unhappy, Spartan life and missing out on so called normal things.

The important thing with Paleo is weighing your self every day and if you gain more than 2 pounds, get rigid and slam yourself back into hyper vigilant Paleo eating mode. The concept is to always keep your body set at a specific weight so that is what it is used to being at, staying at and metabolizing at. (Were all adults, so for obvious reasons, women get a little lee way of 2-4 pounds due to monthly cycle weight gain and/or water retention BUT that disappears immediately afterwards at the end of our cycle.) You'll be amazed you can indulge a whole day and not gain weight or only gain 1 pound. Don't take that for granted though. It doesn't mean you can do that every day now. 1 or 2 pounds quickly morph into 3 then 5 then 8. It is so much easier to lose 2 pounds in 2 days than 8 pounds in 2 weeks or more while fighting old eating habits that crept back!

I got rid of all my fat clothes. This too forces me to stay at my present weight and mind my eating manners! I can't afford literally to gain weight and buy all new clothes again because it is just too expensive. I have no "fat" clothes in the closet thus if my current clothes get tight I'm S.O.L.! Being vain I revel in the compliments I get from people that at age 47 I am as thin as I am, and have the figure of a teen ager or better since they've all gotten so damn fat now. My husband is more flattered than I am when guys "check me out". People say, "You eat so much how do you stay so thin?" It is because I eat the way human beings should and were truly made to eat since the beginning of time.

I suggest you look into it and give it a try. It works! If you want info from my notebook/Bible that I still keep I'll send it to you. Even for those who don't need to lose weight the change in eating does a world of good in terms of how you feel. I know people who threw their diabetes, and high cholesterol drugs in the garbage, and are starting to put the weight loss industry out of business!

Hi Carrie :D
Ahhh Mexico! I enjoy the place. Speak good Spanglish at about a 60% level and can read and write. Thank you L.A. I may sound like a high functioning chimp but if you dropped me off I'd survive just fine and get around with ease. Can you speak Spanish? No matter the tourist areas all speak English. I truly envy you. I haven't had a vacation in so long and DH and I haven't gotten away in what feels like eons. Enjoy some extra for us! :D

Can you can get a flight with a layover in Tucson (always cheaper than flying into Phoenix)? That's about an hour away from us and we go there for fun as well as to see my Neurologist. If you can do that Dave and I will meet you and Ray at the airport with bells on and we can grab something to eat or what not. It would be so nice to meet you guys! Maybe not practical, comfortable or efficient for you but hey...just a thought.

Your education to us in regards to MS was informative. I knew a little of MS but not a lot. I'm sure you don't like pity but all I can do is express my sympathy in regards to your condition and say how unfair and unkind life can be to us at times.

Yes, Zoe is indeed my special friend. I have always felt a closer affinity with animals than I do with most people but perhaps that is because they embody the best traits humans could ever hope to possess in this life and exhibit very little to none of the worse. I often wish I could be the person my dog thinks I am (anonymous quote), also the dog and her house keeping staff live here! What a life right!

I think she's entitled to it after 5 years on a race track. Although she did what she loved and was made to do she never benefitted from it. Her owners did. I feel it is only fair now she reap the rewards of all her hard work and sacrifice and enjoy her retirement. She is also well compensated and appreciated, valued and loved for her services and easy work here.

If I had 3 wishes one of them would be for her to live as long as I. But that would be selfish. Wise Cactus says, I have to learn to accept (o.k. forced my self to accept) that we all on Earth deserve a final physical, spiritual and mental rest including him at some point.

Enjoy your vacation!

Peace. Out.

Song of the day: Two Tickets to Paradise by Eddie Money

First one pic of me at 127-134
Second one pic of me presently between 107-112

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Hendersonville, NC(Zone 7a)

Jim pie..mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm..PIE! I can gain weight just by smelling or seeing or talking about sweetas! SSince FGranny loves seets and its the one thing she'll ALWAYS eat, I make alot of sweets. Nexzt week, I'll bake a pumpkin pie. I LOVE baking and cooking but I've slowed waaaaayyy down as my condition got worse. This week, I'll go over to
Granny'sw (to "use" her oven, remember?) and bake/ice pumpkin spice cupcakes. Since I'll be there for my lunch, it's a perfedct opportunity to try out a new recipe from my new cookbook (The I-Cant-Chew Cookbvook) - since I must bring with me anything I need to e3at (Granny's cupboards are almost bare: she won't cook so nibbles or goes out to eat). bEFORE SHE LOST HER LAST MOLAR (THE ONE WHICH ANCHORED HER PARTIAL DENTURE THAT GAVE HER CHEWING TEETH) - dang caps lock! - she had me buy the expensive cans of red salmon, to make one of her favorite meals (salmon croquettes with mashed potatoes and creamed corn) I'm gonna mbring over all the ingredients and bake Salmon Quiche in her oven. Of course, to **ahem** "help me with my weight" whatever sweets etc I bake/cook gets left/sent home for GRANNY to eat!!

Hendersonville, NC(Zone 7a)

Jim pie..mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm..PIE! I can gain weight just by smelling or seeing or talking about sweetas! SSince FGranny loves seets and its the one thing she'll ALWAYS eat, I make alot of sweets. Nexzt week, I'll bake a pumpkin pie. I LOVE baking and cooking but I've slowed waaaaayyy down as my condition got worse. This week, I'll go over to
Granny'sw (to "use" her oven, remember?) and bake/ice pumpkin spice cupcakes. Since I'll be there for my lunch, it's a perfedct opportunity to try out a new recipe from my new cookbook (The I-Cant-Chew Cookbvook) - since I must bring with me anything I need to e3at (Granny's cupboards are almost bare: she won't cook so nibbles or goes out to eat). bEFORE SHE LOST HER LAST MOLAR (THE ONE WHICH ANCHORED HER PARTIAL DENTURE THAT GAVE HER CHEWING TEETH) - dang caps lock! - she had me buy the expensive cans of red salmon, to make one of her favorite meals (salmon croquettes with mashed potatoes and creamed corn) I'm gonna mbring over all the ingredients and bake Salmon Quiche in her oven. Of course, to **ahem** "help me with my weight" whatever sweets etc I bake/cook gets left/sent home for GRANNY to eat!!

Midland City, AL

Good for Ray! Back problems and excess weight are a bad combination.

Cancun is a wonderful idea for re-capturing your summer. Have you ever been there this time of year before? The Day of the Dead celebration is coming up. Iíve never been to Cancun, but if it is like other parts of Mexico, there will be lots of sweets. The Day of the Dead is as sugar-coated as Halloween and it isnít all for the kids. I hope you like marigolds and arenít bothered by their scent. They are the emblematic flower of DŪa de Muertos and show up everywhere, even sprinkled on food. How a flower that bright and cheerful came to be associated with death is a mystery to me. It could be like the red spider lilies in Japan and the flowers got the job because of bloom time.

I gain weight easily too, Beth. I was skinny for most of my life, but after I hit 45 keeping my weight within regulations became a struggle. The enforced idleness that comes with back pain contributed, but I was having trouble maintaining my weight before the accident that injured my back.

TTC, can I send you the dragonfruit now or would you rather I wait until spring?

Have you come up with a candidate for your hanging pots? I was thinking about putting small cacti in the hanging pots in full sun. Getting a plant through the summer in those few pots is tough. It might be a good place for cacti since it is out of the way and the VIPís (visually impaired) will not accidentally brush against it. There is too much going on here. A hanging plant that requires water twice a day in summer isnít going to work. All the experts advise lantana, but several people here are allergic to it. The succulents we tried got too big. If you can find something that will work in a hanging pot in AZ, it would definitely survive a sunny location here. I know virtually nothing about cacti small enough for pots.

Iím looking for an audio book on the Paleo diet. It sounds right for me. The vampires at the blood bank told me once O negative/negative is the oldest and most primitive of blood types. My nephew has an O blood type and had amazing success with the blood type diet. What Oís are supposed to eat on a blood type diet sounds very similar to a Paleo diet. Nadi said she has been getting recipes for my O diet from a Paleo diet website. The crustless quiche we had a few nights ago was from the Paleo site. If I went Paleo all the way would I still get to eat Bible breads? Thatís what I call the rustic breads named for the Bible verses that described them and inspired people to replicate them. There are several types with names like Ezekiel bread or Genesis bread.

More details:

On the blood type diet for Oís, I can eat sandwiches, but only if I use one of the rustic Bible breads.

While Iím doing links, letís see if J.L. Hudson Seeds will work this time.

The results of Kayís sleep apnea test came back. It was positive. I knew she had it from what I have seen, but I worried the home test equipment would not validate what I had seen. She didnít sleep as deeply as she normally did wearing all the monitoring equipment. I still have to talk to her cardiologist to get the detailed evaluation. I hope the test results were given to her only because she was the doctor who arranged the sleep evaluation.

Iím not feeling very good today. Itís just allergies and lack of sleep I think. Kay is having a good day. She was up by 7-o-clock and is doing concrete work. She is determined to finish the Mer-Folk Garden before it gets too cold for cement to cure properly. I have my doubts that it is possible. There is still one building wall to stucco and a retaining wall to repair. The arborist backed into the wall with his equipment while removing a tall pine from a narrow space.

Talk to you all later. Have a blessed day.


Casa Grande, AZ

Hi guys:D

Just wanted to let you know:
A) always great to hear from you; :D
B.) utterly exhausted because I heaved brick and mortar and am "done" with bed except filling in cracks/gaps
C.) really, really busy with things/social activities the next 2 days...sigh. Our turn to 'host'. Not complaining but it is always too much to do or nothing to do!

Zoe is better! Back to her normal self. Think she pretty much just twisted her leg or knocked into something. Thank God nothing major :D (The vet bill, however....grrrrr!)

Will check in with you tomorrow evening if I can. If not then it will be Monday. This tired Agave is going to go wilt on the couch.

Hugs to all and will chat real soon with you! Looking forward to it. Glad Kay is doing alright.

Jim, got several great cacti for baskets! Will post pics.
Carrie, I'm crazy jealous about your vacation!

Just for you Bets...song of the day, "Let the Sun Shine" by the 5th Dimension. :D Enjoy! (BTW it is the 2nd half of the song, "This is The Dawning of the Age of Aquarius". Good stuff and such a great tune..."let the sun shine...leeeet the sun shine....let it ...leeeeet...the... suuuun... shinnnnne in...let the sun shine...the...sun...shiiiiiine...in" Gotta love lyrics like that! :D

Peace. Out.

Casa Grande, AZ

Hi gang, :D

Gotta get cracking but before I do, had just a moment.
Check out Rat Tail Cactus (Aporocatus flagelliformis) gorgeous with spectacular blooms! Don't let the name fool you. There are many Echinocereus (hedge hogs) that range less than 1 foot and about 3-4 inches around
Austrocylindropuntia...my crab cactus is an Austrocylindropuntia subulata monstrose
Lots of Trichocereus and Euphorbia (think peanut plants and like the one with the red bloom)
Anything in the Mammarillia family. Or is it Mammarrilia.
Echinopsis are great!
Lithops, called living stones or mimicry plants are wonderful too.

!.) Trichocereus
2.) Lithops
3.) Echinopsis
4.) I dunno. But you can find stuff like this in any Home Depot/Lowes
5.) Varieties of Mammarrilia

This should give you great starting ideas for hanging baskets

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Casa Grande, AZ

I did a "bubble garden" in which all these plants are in the ground but they would work equally well in hanging baskets. They're tiny and would take awhile to get big enough to outgrow the pots. Here's some photos of above types of plants in my "bubble garden" Space is 14' long by only 13" wide! Very challenging to find something to go there but I did.

Gotta Dash....have great day.

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Midland City, AL

Hello Everyone. I hope life is treating you all well.
We got a small breather and Iím taking the opportunity to write a few lines. Kayís eldest daughter is on her way home. She called us Friday evening as she was getting on the train. She says she is coming back to stay. Well, at least she didnít just show up on the doorstep. Lol. We were generously given two days to make a place for her. She just called to say she missed her connection in Dallas and will be here tomorrow evening instead of tomorrow morning. We now have an extra nine hours to totally rearrange things and make room for another person long-term. I think we may actually make it with the extra hours. ďHome is the place that, when you go there, they have to take you in.Ē I canít remember who said that, but it is evidently Tiggerís definition.
Kayís eldest daughter and Nadi are both strong personalities in radically different ways and tend to clash. In Kayís Winnie the Pooh analogy, they are Tigger and Rabbit. Rabbit (Nadi) loves quiet, routine and orderliness while Tigger is fun, impulsive and chaotic.
I set our home computer network up with a booster making it possible for Nadi to work in peace and quiet in her micro-house. That will take care of the computer issue. Our Rabbit is particular about her things and doesnít like Tigger downloading music and going on racy sites using her system. I can cobble together a computer system that will fulfill Tiggerís basic needs for music and contact with her friends. That will protect Nadiís system which she depends on for making a living and Kayís system and mine.
I leave keeping peace in the kitchen to Kay. You would think having two wonderful cooks in the house would be a good thing, but remember that saying about too many cooks spoiling the broth? When two trained chefs come together, it triggers a competitive instinct.

TTC, thanks for the container suggestions. If I canít find something I like locally, I probably can find it at YuccaDo Nursery or San Marcos Growers. Iíll let you know what I decide on.

Iím glad to hear Zoe is okay, but sorry about the unnecessary vet bill. Speaking of dogs I have to tell you about Fennyís newest eccentricity. She apparently shares your dislike of flip-flops. She will take them off peopleís feet when they sit down given half a chance and that isnít the worst part. She will also dart in when someone is walking in flip-flops and step down on the inner heel before it pops up against the sole of the wearerís foot causing them to stumble or the straps to break. Dogs!!! If Kay decides she still needs a service animal to help her around the garden after she puts her guide post back up, I am going to look into miniature horses. Lol. I decided to create a hedge of tea camellias and found some fresh seed at Camellia Forest Nursery in N.C. I tried this once before and failed, but Kay said it was because the seeds had been allowed to dry out and camellia seeds are no longer viable once they have dried out. A hedge of camellias from nursery plants is prohibitably expensive.
I hope to spend some time with you tomorrow before chaos incarnate arrives. Lol.

Casa Grande, AZ

Hi gang, :D

O.K. I'm back. BBQ turned out nice. Got house touched up, yard / patio (my junk) cleaned up, all the food prepped and most of it cooked by the time guests showed up. Even managed to get laundry done prior to this. PHEW! Still doing laundry this a.m. Can anyone explain to me how 2 people dirty so many clothes? Maybe it is because there is only 2 people and laundry doesn't get done until the baskets are full and justify running the load. That essentially means everything is dirty all at once!

The other great mystery of the universe is where EXACTLY does that missing sock go? You take 2 off. You put 2 in the laundry basket. You put 2 in the washer. You put 2 (so you believe) in the dryer. You get only 1 out!

My theory is it is a conspiracy between Maytag and the cotton growers. See, if you keep losing socks then you have to keep buying them thus keeping the cotton growers and manufacturers in business, the stores you have to go to in business because you are there buying new socks, the gas/oil industry in business because you are driving to and from the stores and the laundry soap producers because you now have to wash these new socks.
They dryer, unknown to you, releases a special agent when you turn it on that is specifically programmed to target one sock and disintegrate it into unseen vapors. When you open the dryer door the "vapor" floats out along with smell of your fabric softener sheet.

Now Maytag in conjunction with the cotton growers, to ensure their plan works has a backup catch mechanism. For those who use liquid fabric softener in the washer, there is a special liquidating agent that interacts with your soap and disintegrates your sock so that it is removed with the dirty water and suds in the rinse cycle. Thus you don't "notice" the missing sock when you put everything in the dryer and the dryer gets blamed.

Now this special agent in you washer is also capable of turning t-shirt collars to bacon, loosening the threads on the hems of your shirts so that they unravel and ruining elastic in your favorite pairs of undies that DON'T creep up your butt or leave VPL (visible panty lines) under your clothes. This prompts you, in annoyance, to give the washer a good slam of its lid, or a none to gentle nudge back and forth as you "think" it is off balance. Thus you eventually incur damage and are forced to go buy a new one.

See, they know I'm on to them and now they're doing it all the more to me!

Now if I can only solve the mystery of why some people refuse to own or look in full length mirrors BEFORE they walk out of the house and subject the rest of us to having to look at them!

I do wholly approve of Fenny's reaction to flip-flops. Good dog!!! Perhaps Wise Cactus sent part of my soul to be incarnated in her. :D Can I borrow Fenny? She and I could have great fun here in AZ. I could execute my master plant to rid the world of these egregious, fashion offensive, bipedal plastic castanets that are a pogrom to public foot ware!!!
Fenny...being cute and adorable...would not be blamed for her playful antics. We would both be highly amused and immensely satisfied. :D Who knows? She may be able to teach Zoe the fine art of Ninja flip-flop destruction.
Flip flops: pedicures, swimming pools/beach, public showers and maybe the OCCASIONAL quick shuffle to the mail box (but only if one has a pedicure and not feet and nails that resemble something of the equine or bovine species!)
Sandals: straps that secure them to ones feet; acceptable public foot ware providing one has a pedicure AND they are NOT worn with articles of late Fall-Winter clothing anywhere on Earth regardless of how warm it may still be!

Mini horses...hmm...cute. Could also pull small wagon loads of things around the farm; great fun for little kids to ride. Only thing...I've seen farm animal routine "examinations". They don't wear rubber gloves that come up to their shoulders for NO reason. YIKES!!! Food? Makes 50 pounds of kibble and a steady stream of dog treats and toys seem like a bargain! Currently hay (not straw) in my area is selling between $12.50-$14.00 a single bale!!! Did I mention the slamming sinuses due to the hay allergy factor? (*groan*) I think I'd keep revisiting the dog idea (*grin*). Maybe another one that detests flip-flops as much as Fenny and I!

How exciting to have another prodigal return home. How wonderful the chaos. What fun it sounds rearranging the house and such. I had a major headache trying to revolve things around Zoe's ginormous dog crate! Damn thing is about the size of a Barco lounger (She's tall so needs the extra large one so she can stand and lie down comfortably). I'm still "moving" things in the house 6 months later after moving in! I do that though. I'm always a "decorating" freak and fairly good at how to utilize under used space and how to "repurpose" furniture. I'll move stuff until I'm satisfied and/or I drive Dave to distraction.

It is wonderful that she is welcomed home though. I am always welcomed home. I just refuse to go. Misery loves company and I'm not a miserable person. So I find 2 time zones away is the perfect distance required for personal "happiness" and good family relations. My motto is "There's no place like home...which is exactly why I don't live there!" LOL

That's unfortunate Nadine and her sister do not get along. I do know what you mean about Rabbit and Tigger. I think I embody a little of both. When younger I was more Rabbit. Now that I'm older and releasing my inner child and trying to live with the burden of my second puberty and arrested development I've become Tigger. Dave is very, very much Rabbit. Funny though, we are "good" for each other this way. While it has caused some minor arguments it has also forced us to get out of our comfort zones, learn to have some new experiences we would have otherwise, compromise, and appreciate things we normally wouldn't have.

He has taught me that not every activity that is "fun" has to be out of the house or a whirlwind. Simple pleasures such as painting, writing, and gardening has become outrageously fun for me. I have taught him "couch potato" is not a verb and if one wants "friends" rather than "acquaintances" sometimes you must go out of your way to be one or go do things you normally wouldn't and initiate spontaneous activities.

Me being me would eventually make the 2 girls move out and be room mates. Probably would be good for them both...not to mention you and Kay! LOL

As for cooking Dave and I both love food and cooking BUT we stay out of each other's way. Either he cooks that day and has free range of the kitchen or I do. We do not like bumping into each other, having our methods and techniques questioned, or arguing over ingredients.

One cooks the other plays sous chef. The sous chef will set table, open wine/make cocktails, set out the requested ingredients on the counter, cut vegetables or open cans as requested by chef, clean/wash whatever form of dead animal or sea creature that is to be prepared while the "chef" sits and reviews the recipe. Then the sous chef VACATES the kitchen entirely to let the other do their work! We find this to be a tremendous help, time saver and creates less problems.

As for cacti, bushes and shrubs I've had amazing luck at Home Depot, Lowes and Wal-Mart believe it or not. The stuff I've bought there seems to thrive. I haven't had much luck with overpriced nurseries and catalogs. Although I do have to speak highly of Cactusland's catalog and customer service!! Outstanding. Highly recommend them. As a bush Texas Sage is really pretty, very fast growing, has beautiful, small, dainty pale purple flowers and a soft "fuzzy" small green-gray leaves. It does attract butterflies, humming birds and bumble bees. It doesn't "hurt" if you fall in it. I haven't fallen in it but have had to reach around, and in it to water. It is also very sturdy and loves full sun. May be a good option.

O.K. gotta go.
Keep me updated on the "move in".
going to finish filling in the gaps on the raised beds in back. should be done in 2 days! YIPPEE. Just in time as my neighbor is giving me more "free plants" from her daughter's (eye roll) But who can pass up free plants right?

Peace. Out.

Cheese Burger In Paradise by Jimmy Buffet is song of the day. YES Paleo as long as you eat it open faced without the bun and no ketchup (tons of sugar in it)!

Hendersonville, NC(Zone 7a)

the return home of an adult child How exciting fort y'all! It's worth the moving things around to make a space for. But it may be hard on both the parent and ex-minor child!

Two competitive good cooks mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm Just think of the possibilities! Thry'll each be trying to out-do the other, with Jim being the recipient/judge! I foresxee many a tassty Paleo meal in Jim;s future! LOL

cacti in hangiong basdkets for Jim's VIP **wince** **envisioning forehead lumps & bumps as well as the possibility of SOMEONE getting an up-close-and-personal acquaintenance with a not-cuddly plant**

unpaired socks Which one is to blame: the washer or the dryer? It's a mystery and one of the many "joys" regularly encountered while raising my offspring. While I used to muse on it and get rather frustravated (what to do with the unmatched sock?) I dismissed it and bought big psckages of ONE COLOR socks (so what if the dryer ate one sock of 12 identical pairs of asocks?) My dryer also seemed to like to eat my kids undies: same solution. BGy the time the dryer had eaten almost all of one's undies, it was usually time to go buy the next size for them! Somwwhere, there must be a very hungry dryer! (Both my kids are grown and feeding their own dryers! LOL)

flip flops, looking in the mirror before leaving home, other fashionable no-nos I SO agree with TTC about pedicures and the unsocially acceptable clothes/footwear etcx. And I'm NOTY a fan of the Bedhead craze. I fully support that city that wanted to pass a law that sagging pants in public would be public indecency (my son learned immediately - in middle schooll - that sagging pants were NOT a good idea: some girls "pantsed" him one day in the hall! Fortunately, I'd just bought him brand new tighty whiteys! ROFL) And there should be a law (because unfortunately there are those who don't have the sense NOT to) against plumber's butt!!

Has anyone ever noticed that it;s the fashion nowadays for girls to wear skin-tight clothes while the boys wear pants etc that are at least one size too bvig? What's THAT all about??

Casa Grande, AZ

Bets, ROFL!!!
Yep so agree with you and Fenny in regards to the horrific flip-flops. Also agree with you on the hideous clothing thing. Anyone who walks around looking like a public spectacle should be made to feel like one. After all, isn't that what the carnival is for?

Yes...one of my biggest pet peeves is why is it the fatter someone is the tighter they insist upon wearing their clothes? It is simply vulgar and not in a "good way". It makes me wonder just how delusional people really are. Now I know not everyone can afford to go out and buy tons of clothes but even Wal-Mart and K-Mart have some really cute things. I've picked up adorable t-shirts for $5.00 and shorts for less than $12.00. They fit!

I even found an amazing dress there once that was all of $18.00 BUT looked and fit like it would have cost $88.00! Yes, once in awhile you can find a real goody! Bought my husband a pair of leather "top siders" for $13.00 at Wal-Mart! Just as nice and made as well as his old pair of Sperry Top Siders which were very expensive. You have to hunt for this stuff but it is there on occasion.

My irritation is that all they have are big sizes and not XS-S or sizes 4 and 6 even in the teeny-bopper section. Hey, I'm a "little girl and I'm also short."! This being so I still don't want to dress like one. I'm 47! Khols, Target, J.C.Penny's, all have great stuff at incredible prices and they're always throwing sales and coupons at you! (Check computer).

Even Macy's has incredible mark downs and sales and with a little squawking on your part they WILL give you the coupon on top of the sale price! Anything to keep their customer happy! (I know, I worked there fresh out of college). I've even found an occasional nice thing in Sears.

Also don't be afraid of the nicer/higher end stores in the mall. They have a fabulous clearance rack at the end of each season and they stuff is marked down unbelievably! I picked up a $70.00 fully lined, tailored, charcoal gray dress skirt for $20.00 in The Limited! I got 2 ply cashmere sweaters marked down from $200.00 in Dillard's for $60.00! (end of X-Mas). With my good dress heels or boots that I already owned and my own accessories (scarf, earrings) I looked like a million dollar executive for $80.00! Not bad for a working gal! Also was given a tip from some of the buyers. If it is high quality, a classic/never go out of style, wardrobe basic or necessity that you like and is deeply discounted buy it even if it is a size big! (only 1 size big though).
There is such a thing as alterations! A good seamstress/tailor can make it fit you everywhere and make it look like a million bucks on you. If you buy a $300.00 dress marked down to $150.00 and pay $30.00 in alterations it is still worth it. You will never have to replace the dress where as if you buy the $30.00 dress of cheap quality you will be replacing it 10 times!

I have taken this advice. I still have clothes in my closet from Neiman- Marcus that I was wearing in the 90s. They are still in style. They will always be in style. They still look like brand new. I could probably be buried in some of them. Well worth the investment of some alterations. (If you get things taken in...save the extra fabric in back in the waist. Uhm...you may have to get them let out at some point).

Point being is that no matter what shape and/or size there is something nice and that fits and flatters in reach of every persons budget! Buy it. Wear it! Don't make me walk around pointing, laughing and going, "Ooooh honey, some people don't have no shame!" or "Glamour don't!"

Plumber's crack....sigh. Belts people. Belts. Learn it. Know it. Live it. They make belts! Brown with brown shoes, black with black shoes. Oxblood (burgundy) is passable only with oxblood or black; never with brown. Tan also goes with tan; not dark/chocolate brown. Buy the right color belt that matches your shoes. Dressy is dressy and casual is casual. Do not mix the 2 styles. Don't wear the belt that you would wear on your jeans or khakis on the pants of your suit! (Ladies...this includes you too). Thank you.

Muffin tops...sigh. Doesn't matter if you're a skinny gal or a big gal. If you can pinch more than an inch...or if things have simply "shifted" or "settled" in places you don't like (ahem..most of us middle aged gals) for God's sake don't wear low rise jeans!
Trendy yes...flattering no! Just makes you look shorter and fatter especially if they're flared. Nothing like wide pants on the bottom whose width equals the size of your thighs to make your legs look stumpy; a waist band that hits you at the widest part of your body and a muffin top that spills over it. Yeah....
High rise jeans ladies unless you are built like Kate Spade, are 6 feet tall or work out 4 hours a day 7 days a week. Thank you.

Enough of my fashion rant. I won't get started on hair. I can go for days on that! Fake finger nails and really bad makeup...sigh. (First job in Neimans was LancŰme counter prior to men's suits. They have my life long gratitude for the instruction I received). Do you want to talk appropriate heels for the appropriate skirts/pants? How about hem lines?

O.K. enough of my little fashion rant.

Yes, I also do the same thing with socks and undies but that still doesn't solve the mystery of where that "one" goes or how it happens. It's a conspiracy I tell you...a conspiracy!

As for the hanging baskets, well those should be chest level. You want to be able to "see" into them and be able to monitor and water your plants. Shepherd's poles are nice if they're weighted down so they don't tip over or if you already have hooks in place, look for a slightly longer "chain" to hang the basket with.

Wise Cactus says, "When you look in your mirror it will never lie to you but it certainly won't laugh at you either. Others will do both in terms of how you look."

Jim and Kay let us know how the home redecorating is going and the family reunion.

Have a happy day. :D
Song for the day: "I'm too Sexy for my Shirt" by Right Said Fred!
Peace. Out.

Midland City, AL

Great minds think alike, Beth. That was my solution to the disappearing sock mystery too.
TTC, do you think it was Maytag who framed the elves? In Pennsylvania Dutch households elves are held responsible for missing socks.
One of the upsides to having Tigger living here for Kay is that she has another female fashion and make-up consultant. The first questions women always ask Kay when they realize she is blind is how she picks out her clothes and does her hair. A mere man is evidently not considered capable of acting as a talking mirror who can say if clothes match or a make-up job looks good. . Hey, I even know all the rules TTC mentioned, but Kay still says, ďLet me get a womanís opinionĒ and goes to Nadi before we go out. Nadiís opinion is more valuable than mine? Nadi is a young lady whose daily uniform is Jncos, that style of baggy jeans favored by skaters and the hiphop crowd, coupled with t-shirts that have cartoon characters on them. For the record, I would like to state that most straight men can determine whether a lipstick color is too bright or a hemline is too high, but my dearly beloved still insist on a second female opinion.
Since I worked Sunday, I took today off. It looks like the cotton rose (Hibiscus mutabalis) will bloom soon. They never seem to be fooled by early cool spells and bloom only when autumn has arrived in earnest. I think the basil we harvested today will be the last harvest of the year. There is plenty in the freezer and it doesnít look like there will be enough room in the greenhouse for a basil plant. They love the light and look sad halfway through winter anyway.

Asian carrot/ginger soup and basil chicken was tonightís dinner. It was Rabbitís night cooking. They seem to have decided to take turns cooking. Youíre right, Beth. This could be interesting if I can afford to keep them in ingredients. Nothing too exotic or expensive yet.


Casa Grande, AZ

Good Morning gang,
Yes...Maytag is blaming anyone and everyone they can for their demonic washing machines. I'm waiting for the breaking scandal just like Volkswagen and Firestone Tires. Americans have got to take a stand against these corporate giants and big Ag about the pain and expense they inflict upon us in regards to our missing socks and ruined under garments!!!

I believe men are perhaps one of the best judges of what "looks good" when they see a woman although they may not know why. Often we revert to female validation because they know why as they deal with the same issues we do, "My butt is too big, I don't like my thighs, my legs are great but I don't want to look like a street walker displaying them" We know how to manipulate these subtleties to work for and around these things. While men see the end results of our craftwork they often don't have the "technical knowledge" required in regards to women's clothing in regards to form and fit and they don't possess our bodies, thus having to deal with our issues.

Men, however, are invaluable in assessing the final results of our craftwork and I feel perhaps they are the ultimate judges. Women will often compliment the clothes or shoes or say, You look nice." Men say, "WOW, I can't take my eyes off of you." or..."Uhm... yeah. Seriously? I didn't know Halloween got moved to June." I have noticed this reaction from my husband in regards to not only me but women in general with clothing, hair and makeup.

He's not leering at them or being creepy but he knows I like clothes. He will often say to me, "She looks very nice in that dress, don't you think? Something like that would be nice on you too." Or, "For God's sake DON'T walk around in that!!" I found he notices these things regardless of age, race, height, weight, etc. Funniest thing though, I'll say, "Did you see that girl? I can't believe her mother let her out of the house in that!" He'll say, "NO! I don't see any 'girls'. Nothing good can come of that! If they don't look like they're 30 I don't see them at all!" (LOL)!

I love when he sometimes picks stuff out for me in stores to try on that I normally wouldn't have thought of or pulls something out of my closet for me to wear because he likes it. I often put out 2 or 3 outfits and ask him to choose one. I don't find this chauvinistic at all. It makes me feel good that he "knows" what he likes and "knows" what looks good on me and enjoys seeing me in.

As for hair and makeup men are brilliant. I've always had and always preferred male hairdressers (and yes many were straight). It is a little "sexist" of me but it was for the same reasons as above. Living in L.A. and it being a very much equal opportunity employer state many men actually worked behind the makeup counters in the higher end stores or as Estheticians! I found them to be as equally competent with make up as women. Then again they were trained!

I still find no reason as to why any regular guy can't do these things. When I had 2nd and 3rd degree burns on my left hand (cooking accident due to seizure) I couldn't use my left hand for 8 months! My husband did my hair. I use a blow dryer and a round brush. It is pretty hard to do your hair when you can't use your left hand to hold a blow dryer because you are using your right to hold the round brush. So...my husband, who often watched me do my hair while we got ready to go somewhere, "learned". First few times was difficult. After about 4 or 5 tries my hair looked as good as if I did it myself!!! He even helped me with makeup. I managed foundation, powder and lipstick but there was a lot I couldn't do. We won't discuss the many eye pokings with the mascara wand in the left eye but he did it very well after a few times! (I'm right handed. If I reach across with mascara to do the left eye with my right hand the wand hits the bridge of my nose and leaves black marks thus left hand-left eye mascara application is the norm). He also got good at very basic eye shadow, liner, and applying blush via my instruction!

He would absolutely cringe with horror if he knew I told you these things! (LOL)

While most men are genius at peeling off brassieres and panties and all other articles of clothing learning how to put them on a woman correctly was also a foreign experience to him! Big guy at 6'6" so big clumsy hands with little hooks and straps and lace and buttons and the pulling on of jeans, but he mastered this!

He shaved my armpits! Can't shave your right armpit with your right hand. Again, like mascara application and hair styling, another ambidextrous feat women have learned. We'll not discuss some of the other more personal grooming and hygiene rituals he did for me for 8 months and how long THAT took to master. (Ewww)

Then people wonder why I get up at 2:00a.m. with him when his work schedule changed. There's a big part of your answer. In comparison that's a small sacrifice on my part don't you think? Of course I would have done the same if he was incapacitated for 8 months also.

As for Metrosexual (straight men who love fashion) I applaud them. I think it is great they take pride in themselves and their clothes and like looking good for us and themselves. God bless those men who know what ear trimmers and nose clippers are. We appreciate that as much as you appreciate no hair in our arm pits. To us that is equally abhorrent as big a turn off. I turned down a date from a really good looking man because he had a forest growing in his ears! I simply couldn't imagine eating dinner with this man and 'thinking' about this. Nose hair...well, since most women are at a disadvantage and we have to look UP literally at you, our view is slightly different.

Although Nadine may prefer less than typical female attire I'm sure she knows how to dress and when. Send her out on an interview or for a hot date with a man she is "serious" about who has a "real job" and a "home and future" to offer her, and I'm positive you will see a whole different person! Take a look in the back of her closet. I'm sure some of the things she owns may surprise you! Yes, I will admit there are some days at home or just hanging out at a friend's house I look like Nadine (but never in public).

I've often thought of simplifying. Since I seem to be always reaching for the same jeans, capris, t-shirts and sweaters, blazers, etc. in certain colors ,why not do a uniform? Buy and wear only these things in the colors I like? Think about it. No worries on shoes, or trying to find things to coordinate and match. Very minimal expense and upkeep. I keep kicking it around.

Let's see 4 pair of the same jeans and 4 pair of the same denim capris I love. (have)
2 pair of khakis; (need)
1 denim skirt; (have)
4 pair of the shorts I like in Khaki, 4 in olive, 2 in black. (We wear shorts 8 months out of the year) (have some; need new some)
T-shirts 4 black, 4 gray, 4 white, 4 cream, 4 red. (have some; need some)
1 suit that is black with both pants and skirt; (definitely need!)
2 black blazers (1 Summer weight, 1 Winter Weight) (definitely need)
2 white oxfords, (need)
1 crisp cotton tailored blouse in white and 1 crisp cotton tailored blouse in black. (have)
1 white "dress" blouse. (need)
1 dress either in charcoal or black that is "interview/dinner/funeral' appropriate. (need)
1 black dress for a night out or special occasion. (have)
1 black cardigan sweater that is long (have)
1 black cardigan sweater that is short (have)
1 denim jacket (need)
Black Leggings (eye roll...have tons)
and a few long/oversized shirts that go over them in the white/black colors. (need)
All of my multi variety of shoes, heel heights, styles and regardless of colors work. All of my accessories work. (have tons of both)
2 black mock turtle necks (need)
2 white long sleeve t's (need)
1 long sleeve denim shirt (have)

Now that may sound like a lot of clothes BUT if that is all you ever wear for years and years it isn't. I have a lot of this stuff already, so why not just expand a little bit on it? Get rid of all the pinks, purples, browns, blues, greens, etc. Get rid of a lot of things I bought because they're cute but I have nothing to match and have been on an endless quest to find something to go with. Get rid of all the things that go in and out of style. This stuff above NEVER goes out of style. I'll be wearing it until the day I die and simply just replacing it as needed. Brilliant right? I am seriously toying with this idea. It truly wouldn't kill me to dress this way and would definitely simply the "What do I wear today problem!" (LOL) Perhaps the best reason for doing it!

I'm going to have to check out the blood type diet. I'm a B+ blood type. I find it interesting in concept. Also will have to explore the bread more and check the carbs on it. Hmm...bread! :D
My problem is I can't do bread without butter...lots and lots of butter! YIKES. Lucky you. You get to have 2 cooks that are creative. The creativity is pretty much left up to me. At times it is like the Chopped Challenge cooking show in my house. My husband is the grill expert and does some good 'ol favorites and stand by dishes. As for ingredients meat, seafood and fresh fruits, veggies, and spices can get expensive BUT the money you would have spent on junk food, food that isn't good for you, processed foods, and stuff you know you shouldn't be eating more than compensates. It is just a switch over from what you are buying now to what you were buying then. We found it comes out to the same and sometimes less. You can have left over roast 2 or 3 days. That bag of chips will only last so long. (Usually not 2 or 3 days).

As for everyone are they getting along and playing nice?

Put that basil to work! Pesto! Slice some and sprinkle over fresh sauce for your pasta. Tomato soup or minestrone. Some mozzarella, tomato and basil salad, yum.... How about grilled or baked chicken or fish!

I envy your Hibiscus. What color are they. I had a beautiful red one as an indoor plant. Zoe ate it. (sigh.). Here is a picture of the second bloom on my peanut cactus. I am so excited there are 2 more to come!!

Peace. Out.

Couldn't think of a song for the day. Didn't wake up with one in my head. BTW does anyone actually listen to them?

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Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Hi everybody, I'm back from our wonderful Cancun vacation. The attached picture will explain why I love to go back to the same hotel. Unfortunately I threw most of the food away. I tried again today to make an appointment for an MRI. (I really hope I don't have brain cancer but what's up with the fast?)

If I see a flight of stairs I feel unwelcome. Not necessarily deliberate on the part of the stairclimbers, but I know I'm not invited. On the other hand, THIS makes me feel like a million bucks.

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(Susan) Xenia, OH(Zone 6a)

Been gone from DG for awhile..... hi all!

My disability is severe spinal damage (those bony processes grinding, and like to break). This limits my lifting ability and stamina, and the low stamina plus resting to prevent an arthritic flare-up impedes muscle dev. Worked with PT and am learning finally (in my early 60's) not to push myself quite to the max.

Anyhoot-- my trick today involved 10 bags of topsoil. Garden center loaded this in my hatchback which TBTG has a level unloading deck. So I slid bags out and let gravity help. I also used a very large empty nursery pot set on a child's chair to catch the dirt from each slit bag.

The full pot was then low enough to swing down smoothly to the ground-- because I was bent to grab the rim, and therefore those bony processes were splayed outwards instead of in a grinding lordosis. I used legs and shoulders to power that.

Then I slid the pot across the grass-- after first sitting in a folding chair so that, again, I powered the move while bending.

I used extra steps moving the car along the trench I was filling and planting..., to get lightweight chairs the right height..., to get a staff for secure support while walking the new topsoil in; and I drove around the corner to get the large pots (and back). I kept a comfy setting-chair nearby, and rested very often.

But by God I got my bulb bed in and altho I am sore, I didn't overdo so much that I had to take an opioid I prefer not to take.

I had enough oomph left to go back out later to pick up tools and set chairs over the bulbs (for neighborhood kid protection), walking the heavy iron chairs instead of lifting them. I knocked off before going to get bricks to edge it and more topsoil, and will be able to get and place those tomorrow.

One very heavy section of the project-- moving some landscape rock-- is planned for Saturday with lovely neighborhood kids who need pocket money. Their muscles. My direction and work ethic tips.

It all felt like it would be too much. It wasn't. Till today I've worked on placing containers (mums, pansies) around the property, and taking pix. This bulb bed is my first in-ground project since..... about 1984.

The bulbs? Daffs and grape hyacinth, around a wishing well to rebuild/install in the spring-- in the garage, where all the parts are waiting.


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Hendersonville, NC(Zone 7a)

Welcome. Susan!

Your bulb project sounds like it'll be stunning! Is it one of those decorative windmills? (answering myself: THINK first, THEN type!!! Of COURSE it's a decorative mini windmill!)

the picture (below mky name, to the left of this post) is my spring bulb garden that my garden helper planted. It features a centerr of a riotous mix of primarily yellow trumpet daffys (different hues of yellow - with some white and orange - petals & trumpet, dif heights, dif bloom times - primarily mid-spring) surrounded on three sides with deep purple grape hyacinth....and just in front of the wall: a row of 3' tall big purple spheres of allium!

This fall, he'll plant a small, meandering path of 6 dif crocus and 5 clusters of a dozen daffys in my (summertime) filtered sun garden, a small plot of hyacinth (white, pink and purple) in my full sun garden and more alliums in my spring bulb garden: 2 more 'Gladiator' to fill in gaps in the row, then randomly plant some 'Schroeder' in the middle so they'll be amidst a sea of those daffys.

In addition to those 3 flower beds, I make good use of my back patio, for my Tomato Jungle. LOL Just ask TTC!!!

Casa Grande, AZ

Hi Carrie :D
Welcome back! That indeed looks like you had a wonderful vacation! Good for you! All I can say is I miss the beach and the ocean. It is almost like a physical pain. It definitely is an emotional one. At least I have sunshine here. Still how I envy you!!

Hi poolrunning! :D

Nice to hear from you! Wow!! Sounds like you did a ton of work and seemed pretty capable of it. Good for you for putting those kids to work. It's good for them instead of sitting in front of a computer. Also shows them they can communicate without a keyboard and their fingers can do something other than push buttons! Know what? I bet they had a good time doing it too, pocket money aside.

Who knows maybe you started something. In Spring when your bulbs come to life you ought to show them. You may get some groupies, free labor and create some new garden enthusiast in your neighborhood. I'll never forget the time I was given an egg carton with some soil in it and a packet of Morning Glory seeds. It was great fun to watch them sprout indoors in a WARM sunny window during Winter, transplant them to small pots, and then when Spring came to plant them outside. We wound up having to put up a trellis because they grew that abundantly. My brother was given a packet of tomato seeds and his did just fine.

I love Spring flowers especially the fragrance of Hyacinths and Tulips. For looks you can't beat Daffodils and Narcissi.(Pheasant's Eye is probably my favorite). Lucky you. I got cacti and more cacti. If you look at pictures past posts above they are beautiful in their own right with spectacular flowers. I can only post some so I will. Please post some pics of your blooms when they come up and your garden projects.

My disability by the way is a rather odd one. I am able bodies but my brain doesn't cooperate. I am a severe Epileptic whose seizures are clonic tonic (drop with no warning) at the worst and also petite mal with atomism , very unpredictable and bad enough where I can neither work nor drive and have done my self much unintentional harm and injury due to this. So here I am.

BTW how far is Xenia from Youngstown/Boardman/Poland area? I grew up there and my family still lives there.

Pics 1 & 2 are my cactus blooms
Pic 3 is my neighbor's cactus
Pic 4 is our state flower, the Saguaro Cactus flower
Pic 5 is an Agave ferox; it was in the landscaping of a parking lot in a plaza. So amazing I had to photograph it.

Peace. Out.

Song for the day: Californication by Red Hot Chili Peppers
Everyone has seen these pics before but poolrunning has not:

Jim & Kay...how's it going with the kids?

Bet's...where you at?

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(Susan) Xenia, OH(Zone 6a)

A.G., Xenia to Y'town's about 4 hours and right on my route to our PA house where I live the non-gardening 40 weeks of the year as a pastor's wife.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Hey, guys, has anyone else noticed an "uptick" in the amount of spam posted in this forum? I spoke to Melody and she said all the "open" forums get spammed like that. If anyone notices it before I get around to it, please Dmail Melody. She can make it go away.

Yes, Agave, we had a great time. There is a psychological thing we all have that we have to bring our disability along if we try to go on vacation. (And I can't bring my power chair or adapted van.) I can have a vacation by going snorkeling! I wear a mask and snorkel thingie and I hold onto a life ring and a snorkel guide drags it around. I practically forget that all the other things in the world exist. (I decided not to post the picture of my butt snorkeling or the picture of myself wearing a snorkel mask.)

One of the people we met snorkeling was a kid (from California, maybe 25-30 years old) who said he used to have a high IQ and then he had a head injury and now is dumber. I don't know all the details, I just thought it was interesting. He was hanging around the snorkel crew to learn Spanish and his long term goal is to learn to pilot a yacht in Marseille. It only occurred to me later--they don't speak Spanish in Marseille; they speak FRENCH.

Hendersonville, NC(Zone 7a)

TTC I is HERE!!! Just busy putting my gardens to bed - then several days recuperating from each major chore!!

I got the back gareden and my patio ready for the winter. (I overdid my playing in the sunshine! I pulled up all the marigolds in the back and piled them on my handy-dandy manual off road vehicle - hehehe - it took two trips to take them to my front garden to dump them where they'll be turned under as "green manure". My garden helper emptied the all the tomato contasiners: I got soaking wet spraying everything down:water, then a weak bleach solution to sanitize and finally water again to wash every trace of bleach off!! Afte4r letting everything dry in the sun, I stacked and stored everthing: for NEXT year's Jungle!!!).

I also fertilized ALL my lenten roses in my side garden; I only have eleven but getting to the five in the back of the garden meant standing up with my back on the brick outside wall, scooting my way down ~20 feet while being splayed against the wall trying to find SOMETHING to hang onto!!! I've decided to let my garden helper do THAT chore from now on!

I have my first bloom in my side gareden!! This is Helleborus niger 'HGC Josef Lemper', one of my clonal varieties. It's also my smallest (about 8-12 inches) and blooms from October to February. (Yes, even with snow on the ground!)

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Casa Grande, AZ

Good Morning Gang :D

May have to get off the computer before I finish. Husband wants to use it and sometimes gives me scowls because I monopolize it all morning. (How dare he right?)

Hi Carrie:
Good to know you had such a good time on vacation! So happy for you and glad you found a place that works and you can truly enjoy. I'm just wondering about the food. One will get headaches, condition aside, from NOT eating!! I've been to Mexico. While it probably isn't smart to eat the vegetables and fruit (unless you can peel the fruit like bananas, pineapples, etc.) from the local town restaurants I found most of the hotels DO cater to Americans and foreigners.

Tourism is one of Mexico's biggest industries and they certainly don't want their clients getting sick or feeling like they can't come back. I think the only thing I would be really suspect of would...unfortunately...be the salsa because it is most likely made with the local tomatoes, cilantro, onions and peppers. :( :(

Even me, not hungry most of the time, have to force a little something into me. I tell myself to eat just 3-5 bites and then I don't have to eat more. That is sustenance and if I try to do that every 4 hours I am nourishing my body, avoiding headaches, and lethargy, etc.
I'm sure you know all this but being underweight is almost as bad, if not worse, than being overweight due to the fact of malnutrition and lack of the right vitamins and proteins that keep you functioning ultimately. Not eating slows your metabolism down even more! Like I said, you probably know most of this.

I like a cup of soup for "force feeding my self" especially. (Minestrone, vegetable, tomato) or a few bites of salad with some chicken tossed in.

Have you tried a high dose liquid B12? If you're not getting enough protein or metabolizing enough this is a great way to do it! It is also notorious for giving you energy. You don't have to be B12 deficient to benefit from it. My husband takes it on occasion. It is impossible to overdose on it as your body just flushes out the excess in your urine. Only weird thing is your urine is some kind or super-charged, Gator Aid yellow-orange color! Nothing to worry about. Normal with B12 use.

Snorkeling sounds absolutely amazing!!! Did you see anything amazing? Coral..fishes?

Would love to try it but was told to stay out of the water. Not due to seizures simply due to the fact I can not swim. Had swimming lessons as a kid (eye roll) and later in CA had two professionals try to teach me for months. Both said the same thing, "Lady...stay the Hell out of the water!". What a joy for you though to be able to do something so amazing and to enjoy it so much. I'm glad.

I can't float as I sink partially. (I'm fairly muscular and have low fat on my body). I also have some inability to be able to kick my legs while simultaneously using opposing arms to swim and lifting my head to breath. This whole process is just too physically challenging as far as coordination an only serves to make me look like I'm severely mentally challenged.

Still does not deter me from going out in the Ocean much farther than I probably should. It's worth the risk to me! Since you feel so free in the water do you find yourself doing the same thing? Taking more risks than you ought to? I love the beach and the ocean.

I get what you say about bring the disability thing along too. Maybe why I prefer the beach. If you fall on your head in sand it really doesn't hurt as bad (LOL). Also a great way to get that hot lifeguard's attention. When I was single I found it quite an effective way to meet men everywhere (LOL)!

I'm wondering if you or others here have developed or picked up any unique or unusual abilities or mental activity you haven't had prior due to your disability?

O.K. feel a profound need to rant and give way to some frustration....

Head injuries are a funny thing. They affect different parts of the brain depending on location and severity and duration of how long the injury lasts. I've seen similar in people like your friend. In Epileptics it is such a weird but well documented phenomenon that we either gain or lose intelligence and abilities or swap them for different ones. We often don't like to talk about this because people either don't believe it or don't understand it or become very confused by it. It causes a lot of problems in our lives in terms of relationships and with work.

Joanna, a former manager (also forced out of the grocery store where I worked due to her condition) had Epilepsy (Grand Mal, but controlled most of the time). We would talk and she said she used to be able to sing but now she can't. She did discover she gained a great ability to dance and became highly coordinated.

She, also became amazing, actually almost genius, in one aspect of math in that she could solve very complex multiplication problems in her head and multiply 2 and 3 digit numbers without paper! I didn't believe her until she actually demonstrated. Ex: she can multiply 109 x 23 and get the answer in less than 15 seconds! She could not do any other type of math without having profound difficulty or needing a calculator!

I picked up the ability to paint. My sight in terms of color, pattern, texture and designs are off the chart; almost Savant like as is my smell and taste. My I.Q. went up but my ability to "absorb" and "comprehend" information went down. I have to read things 3 or 4 times and very slowly to "understand" them. I have to "dissect" what I'm reading to "get it".

I forget how to spell the words like "with". I remember sitting there in frustration one time and bursting into tears because I couldn't even look it up. I had no clue how to spell it or with what letter to start! I've gotten dyslexic but my vocabulary and spelling (most times) is exceptional.

My ability to do math has actually improved some. I am deplorable at math. Honestly I count on my fingers and no matter how many times I do it I can not memorize 6 x 8 or 9 + 7 (red face). I have been teaching myself the stock market in an effort to try and retrain my brain. I figure if I do "math" applicable to something that interests me and actually has pictures, charts and patterns I can see, I can learn. I've picked this up quite easy and find little thinking and effort are required. I still can not remember 9+7 or 6x 8!

A lot of people, usually the more severe Epileptics, drop intelligence or abilities. They're crushed because they're not the people they used to be and if they can work are often relegated to menial and lesser paying jobs.

Joanna and I noticed we had something in common though. Both of us can not remember squat. She's off her meds 95 % of the time because she's controlled and has a very rare freak incident and I take them constantly. She said she couldn't remember going to Disney Land on vacation a year ago! I can't remember major events either.

We both experienced getting lost in our houses and found ourselves standing in different rooms than where we wanted to go looking confused and blinking. We both experience occasionally getting lost or confused at times going to work or driving places and get anxious because nothing seems familiar although we drive there every day or many times a week.

Neither of us can remember names and have extremely poor face recognition no matter how often we see someone. Both of us, however, have the ability to remember the smallest of details with great accuracy and vividness. I could recall what color carpet the cruise ship had, where the vases of flowers were place, and exactly what each hole of their mini golf course looked like and how many chairs were on the deck! She recalled the exact same kinds of minute details.

People, especially coworkers and bosses, get profoundly frustrated with people like her and I because they don't get it and don't want to hear about it. They just get pissed when they have to keep explaining over and over and over how to do something that you normally do every day but see you excel in the most unusual way in things that most can't/don't or most likely ever will. They think you're being uncooperative or difficult or don't give a hoot about that one aspect of your job or have some kind of learning disability and start to treat you as such. It does make a lot of trouble for you. It not only hurts you professionally but also emotionally.

It is so weird and bizarre because our basically circuitry got rewired. Based on where our injury is that shuts down and all or most of the wiring in that part of the brain is transferred to the non affected areas thus super charging/amplifying the abilities in other parts of the brain where the wiring got transferred to. Nobody knows where or why the wiring gets transferred to the areas or functions it does since it is so different with all Epileptics or does not happen at all to many. Some people's circuits never get rewired and just shut off or barely operate which is why they 'lose intelligence'.

This causes confusion in others who have to deal with you. Let's not forget about the ensuing Carnival act you put on when you have a seizure in public (or worse..work!), which may or may not include urinating or defecating on yourself. Then they have even more problems dealing with you.

Of course there's the wonderful suspicious looks and reactions people give you who don't witness the seizures but see you the day after with the bruised face or bloody, swollen lips. One time in Wal-Mart my husband was waiting for me outside the bathroom. Some lady followed me in there and told me she'd take me to a domestic abuse shelter. I wanted to punch her out and scream at her, "If it wasn't for my husband and his care, you have no clue what shape I'd be in!" Instead I just told her to go [email protected]%$ her self and stormed out. I appreciated her good intentions and sincere concern. I didn't appreciate the fact she just 'assumed' what the situation was and didn't think to ask me how I wound up looking the way I did or inquire if I had been in an accident first. I know, I shouldn't have but I just unfairly exploded, unfairly and dumped my anger.

You want to scream at people , "It's not ME. It's my BRAIN. It isn't my 'self aware, conscious, mind' that allows me to determine how I willfully act or what type of deliberate behavior and intelligence I choose to exhibit to the world. It is my 'biological, functioning, body organ we call the brain that determines how these things manifest and direct themselves in me. DON'T YOU GET IT? ".

I hate, hate, hate my disability for this reason. People do not understand it, comprehend it, or want to. Because my body is 'able' (most times) and it isn't obvious when you look at me or interact with me that I have a disability people assume I don't. This makes matters worse.

Any Epileptic I've come into contact with experiences the same types of things. It is very isolating. It is also is one of the main reasons why there's such a high percentage of alcoholics and drug abusers in our category. A lot feel it is the only way to try and alter their brain to be "normal" like others or in attempts to become more lucid and intelligent, witty, profound, thoughtful, etc. All of them do it to alleviate depression and because alcohol and drugs can be a 'social' activity one can engage in with other people. There's also a high suicide rate amongst us because of the despair and isolation.

I often wonder how Joanna is. I lost contact with her because she was forced out of work approximately a year before I was. As my 'boss' I never got her phone number. I often hope I'll see her around. I haven't. I hope she is well.

Ohhhhh .Kayyy.... Now that I rained on everyone's happy parade with my little rant, rave, and pity party, I went to Wise Cactus......

Wise Cactus told me, "Agave, you are amongst the luckiest who walk on Earth. Not everyone can lay claim to such amazing, spontaneous gifts given to them by fate. Most work a life time and can not learn, achieve or perfect the things that are now inherently natural in you. You acquired them effort free and with no thought on your part. Use them. Explore them. Celebrate them. Be patient with those less informed or ignorant. AND...DO something about the tumble weeds around me before I thump you on the head and rewire your brain for you AGAIN!"

Carrie, have you noticed anything like these types of things is in yourself physically or mentally? Has part of you or your brain began to overcompensate in an above average way for your disability? I often wonder about these things in regards to yourself other disabled persons?

I blathered enough.
Bets, Susan....I'll get with you guys a little later. I promise more up beat. :D Have a great day.

Peace. Out.

Song for the day: Bob Marley's 3 little birds, ( recognizable line Don't worry..cause every little thing gonna' be o.k. )

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Agave, I have NOT noticed any increase in abilities. Boooo. I have noticed cognitive abilities rising and falling with what dose of which meds I am taking. I definitely noticed, for instance, when I was REALLY sick in 2001, they took me off of all my "sedating" meds which I was taking for muscle spasms, I got more zippy afterward. Sharper. That was a long time ago, though. I don't feel sharp anymore.

I have lost some abilities, but I think could be lack of practice. I used to be able to write alto and tenor parts (which are similar but tenor is supposed to be lower) which are on two different clefs. I used not to have a problem with that and now I do. But I was diagnosed in 1986. I have been sick for 35 years! I don't even remember what I was like then. I do remember doing aerobics class 3 times a week, riding a bike, walking for miles. I remember one particular day that I ran the last 50 feet because I was in a hurry or something and being conscious of how good it felt to run. I was always horrible at gym.

You should try to get in touch with Joanna! It sounds like the two of you had lots in common. It's odd, but people who understand our disability challenges without needing to have them explained are sometimes the best friends. I resisted going to MS support groups for years ("the only thing I have in common is this stupid disease") but in fact, once I started going I got a lot out of the experience. Now....I guess I've gotten out of the habit.

Casa Grande, AZ

Booooo! No new talents to speak of. Bummer. O.k. now I feel even weirder like Rain Man. (LOL). Is there anyway your doctors can put you on the meds that make your cognitive abilities seem to go up? If not are you willing to experiment and play musical meds? Always a scary thought but depends on how much of a gambler you are.

I've tried. I had no success in changing them BUT I have found that manipulating the doses of what I do take actually worked. As a matter of fact I found out I was being over medicated!

Nothing seems to improved how my brain works and functions either in the good or bad ways but lowering my dose has improved my seizures and my moods over all. My body its self feels better. I do feel I have some small degree of control (perhaps delusional?). I also love the fact that I have a doctor that let's ME do the research rather than just saying, "I think you should take...". Obviously he thinks I'm smart and trusts my judgment. He respects me and my opinion.

In some ways you have experienced the "doing things you don't normally do" like the running and aerobics despite your "normal" abilities. Something somewhere gets stimulated or fired on. I know a lot of this is our specific wiring and electrical impulses that get generated and directed to certain parts of our individual brain. But which ones specifically and where? I think it would be amazing to see, if in cases like yours, just maybe there was something that could trigger or reset the wiring to your motor and muscle functions.

If they only knew exactly what circuit breaker to flip so to speak. I believe gene study is a good start but I don't think they're heading (pardon pun) in the right direction. The cartoon image of a light bulb going off in our head when we think, discover or know something is for a reason. It's electrical! Maybe whoever first came up with that illustrated "image" was more aware of how things work in our brain than we are. Then again if we mortals knew how to flip on and off these switches who would need "God" or a Wise Cactus to talk to? They would both be lonely without us.

I often thought of offering myself and "my case" to be studied by Neurologists. I know even among Epileptics persons Joanna and myself aren't so rare that we're freak anomalies but we are more the exception than the rule. I've asked around about her and nobody seems to know what she's doing now. I know her in-laws were in Phoenix. Perhaps she moved there. She may have even moved back to Michigan to be around her own family. I was still at the store 2 years after she left and then wrapped up for awhile with Social Security for over a year trying to get benefits. It's probably been about 5 years now since I've talked to or seen her. Hopefully I'll bump into her one day. I do have a feeling also our Epileptic induced "gifts" are somehow wired up and function the way a Savant's does. Again it would be another interesting Neurological study to note the contrasts and similarities.

I tried an Epileptic support group but it didn't turn out to be very good. Most of them wanted to complain or simply not discuss the issue at all. Nobody wanted to compare notes. Everyone seemed uneasy when I mentioned my "situation"; although there was one guy who said the only unusual thing that happened was that he used to be right handed and now he is left handed! Switched just like that. Didn't miss a beat. Woke up one day and couldn't even brush his teeth or open his medication bottle with his right hand.

He freaked out thinking he had some kind of stroke. When he calmed down he said he tried his left. It was as if he was left handed his whole life and trying to use his right hand "normally" was not natural. Trying to force this issue had became a torment! He just gave up being freaked out and accepted being left handed! Other than that absolutely nothing else in his life changed. Like Joanna and I, he can't explain why it happened to him. Most of the group scared me too because they were all still driving when they ought not to be!!! I usually left well before they all did!

I've looked for another group but haven't found one out here. I don't know if it is because a lot of Epileptics don't want to deal with the facts, or want to live and think they're 100% normal. For the most part we can and often do pass ourselves off as such. We can blend right in with the "abled" until something happens. Then we get "outed".

It may even be a geography thing. We are very spread out in AZ with lots of vast open space (desert, Indian Reservations, golf courses, protected areas for plants and wildlife and wild horses). Cities are not close to each other and metropolitan areas are limited in comparison to how things are organized on the East Coast. Disability aside that in and of its self is frustrating.

That's primarily what led me to gardening. A whole day of great fun by myself. :D

I have my husband and a few friends who listen well even if they "don't get it". Their compassion makes up for it. Their patience does too. Zoe is wonderful. Now she "get's it"! Of course I'm happy to have this group. I think sometimes objective people can "get things" in ways that others who are immersed in it may not. You all mean a lot to me. Even Dave (DH) smiles knowing I'm having fun with my "plant people". It makes him happy.

You should try going back to your music. You just may surprise your self. If not I can try bonking you on the head and see if that helps jump start anything..LOL! :D

Sounds like you've been working with Circque de Soleil rather than gardening. With that kind of talent to squeeze in, around and over things want to come help me plant some cacti and divest my Agaves and Aloes of spider webs? The sun shines. :D You can play in it all day! I'll let you. You can stay here. I'll cook. All that's required from you is a HUGE box of 'maters! I thought of you when I was in the grocery store. I almost paid $4.99 a pound for some heirloom tomatoes.

They were "real" tomatoes not that crap we're forced to eat out here. I almost snatched one up and ate it like an apple (with intent to take the sticker and pay for it at the register.) Only problem was my husband reminded me tomatoes are paid for by weight not by piece. :{ I was so mad at him for bursting my bubble!!!

I have to say I've been making a fool out of myself in the rain. It has rained for 3 days and we're supposed to get about 2 more. I've been enjoying the gray clouds, smell of ozone, watching the lightening when it appears and yes, smelling the rain and if it isn't dumping buckets actually standing in it. Just wonderful. Great fun.

You're tearing your garden apart and I'm still planting! We usually do so through mid December. We knock off late December through late February/early March when any danger of frost is gone. I'm still toiling away. As much as I appreciate generosity my crazy neighbors and friends are still giving me stuff and I have to dig up my yard or use all my pots for them. I'm going to fill in my beds with soil this week. Hopefully by next I can start depositing some of these plants in them!

BTW, your bloom is beautiful!!! How cool you get to enjoy it in Winter! Even better. Will you do me a favor? Plant some Pheasant's Eye Narcissus bulbs and some paper whites and Lilly of the Valley for me this spring? Thanks! Much appreciated.

O.K. have a better idea where you're at. Wow, that's quite a hike to PA. I've heard of commuting for your job but that's wild! :D
I'm sure there's some gardening you can manage to sneak in there in PA. Perhaps container gardening, a small herb garden; flower bed by the windows? A little something under the trees? Do you have anything planned?

Jim and Kay...thinking of you guys.

Hugs to all,

#1 look what happened today!!! Two at once!!!
#2 Hopefully more starting buds for flowers. Keep fingers crossed.
#3-5 The newest acquisition my neighbor's daughter gave me. Definitely NOT user friendly.

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(Susan) Xenia, OH(Zone 6a)


You do NOT have to be upbeat with me EVER when you're not feeling upbeat. You just be how you are, okay?

In PA I'm more than fulltime as a clergyspouse, so I have learned to do the plant world a favor when I'm there and just admire others' efforts.... and muse over my postings here to remind me to keep planning. I do have a lucky bamboo on my kitchen windowsill I hope hubby's been watering. ;-) I made a wick up into it. If he just remembered about once a week it will have waited for me. :-)

I have some gifts and inherent talents in working with folks with brain issues. Not like pro skills but definitely encouraging type interaction. I'd love to try fone with you some time.

Home in PA is very pretty. I'll try to post a few of hubby's pix to show you. It's a part of PA few ppl know much about. For one thing, there's about as much topsoil in Tioga County as I spread for my daffy bed this week. For most of the Endless Mountains region south of Corning, NY, a very thin cover of scrb grass covers PA bluestone and Marcellus shale. Not the stereotypical postcard-pretty farms of downstate. Different beautiful.


Midland City, AL

Itís healthy to vent on occasion, TTC. If you donít vent the pressure in a controlled, positive way in a safe environment, it burst out uncontrollably and usually at the worst possible time. Life isnít all sunshine and we shouldnít pretend it is. That just isnít psychologically healthy.
Welcome back to DG, Susan, and to the Accessible forum. Pool running? As in an exercise people with back problems can do without hurting themselves?
It sounds like you have working smart down to a science. I injured my back when a plane I was working on exploded (fuel leak) and blew me out the cargo door. I started developing degenerative disk disease shortly after. I probably would have developed DDD as I aged no matter what. The accident just hastened the process. I recently had fusion and decompression surgery on my lower back to ease the chronic pain.
I think I do well at working smart instead of hard most of the time. Male pride does get in my way once in a while. It goes against a lifetime of training to let a woman half my size lift something heavy while I just stand there. (Iím not supposed to lift anything over 25 lbs. until Iíve fully heal from the surgery.) The poor, weak women around me will chew me out and make my life miserable if I disobey doctorís orders, however, and they are a scary bunch. Seriously, Kay will say something like, ďIf you lift that, you silly old man, donít expect me to massage your back tonight when you are rightfully paying for your male arrogance.Ē Nadi threatens never to cook for me again. Tigger just stands in my way and gives me ďthe lookĒ. She has icy blue-gray, she-wolf eyes and is justifiably notorious for her temper. Iíve seen her anger directed toward others and would not want to be on the receiving end if it can possibly be avoided

Carrie, itís fantastic you found a vacation activity you really enjoy within your physical limitations. I wish I could. Diving is something to consider. I am not certified, but I took some classes and went out diving and snorkeling with a friend in Okinawa. A trip to Australia to dive the Great Barrier Reef is on my wish list of things to do in my lifetime.
Still no appetite?
Looking at our bulb bed and thinking about the ĎProf. Einsteiní daffs there reminded me, TTC. Albert Einstein did that simplification thing with his wardrobe. If you decide to try it, you will be in good company. Iím not going to buy anything more than the basics until Iím back down to 250 lbs. I like the idea of doing a male version of a simplified wardrobe. My biggest clothes buying frustration is trying to find casual wear that doesnít have sportís logos on it. I liked sports in high school when I could play, but Iíve never been into watching sports.
Do you think your simplified wardrobe would work using navy blue as a basic color instead of black? I think Kay would like a simplified wardrobe because it would mean she did not have to depend on anyone else to match her clothes. I donít know anything about the Color Me Beautiful system, but a saleswoman at a boutique said Kay was what the CMB system classified as Cool Summer and her type should avoid black. All I know is black makes her look like a vampire and navy blue brings out the green of her eyes somehow. I guess that is what you mean by men not understanding the why of what looks good. Lol.
Iíve never been allowed to do the eye makeup. Your DH must have a steadier hand than mine, Iím reasonably good at nail polish, however. Lol.
The girls are living and working well together. They presented Kay and I with their plan for Amargia the night before last. It looks doable. They want to emphasize the farm part of Amargia Farm by adding chickens and rabbits. I agreed to fund their efforts. The quality of eggs available from the grocery store has gone down. Fresh eggs would be welcome.
I walked Nadi through her first honey harvest. The bees were on their best behavior and all went well. The dark, rich goldenrod honey was a hit. Nadi has some recipes taken from a very old beekeeping. manual she is excited to try.
The mutabilis part of Hibiscus mutabilis must come from the same root word as mutable. I imagine it got that botanical name from the fact that the flowers change color as they age. The blooms are about 7 inches wide and change from white to pink to a soft red. If it is warm, the entire change can take place in a dayís time. The color change process is slower when the weather is cool. There is a variety that blooms red, but we have the white because I like how there can be blooms of different hues on the shrub at the same time. Here it grows into a shrub about 8 ft. tall. Further south, where it doesnít freeze to the ground every winter, it is a small tree.
It sounds like you had a tropical hibiscus. Those are gorgeous and bloom all summer here. The downside is they arenít quite hardy enough for our winters. I had a true red variety in the Old Soldiers Garden called ĎPresidentí, but an early frost took it last year before I had a chance to get cuttings into the greenhouse.
The health news on Kay isnít very good. Stage 3 CKD is her
íGPís tentative diagnosis and it appears to be progressive. She has an appointment with the nephrologist the 29th. The GP couldnít find a cause. He thinks poor kidney function is causing the blood pressure problems, not the other way around. I still have some hope that it is acute, not chronic, and the doctor will find the cause and be able to stop further damage. Her only symptoms are fatigue, poor appetite and slow thinking. I am looking forward to seeing how much of a difference the C.P.A.P. machine will make. The pulmonologistís office canít work her in for a fitting and adjustment until mid-November. .
Kayís still gardening and doing concrete work on good days. What she does with Portland cement is an old skill that has to be learned first-hand since it uses natural materials that vary. Kay can tell by the feel of the mud what needs to be added. It is very intuitive work without set recipes. I am not good at that kind of work. I need formulas or ďinsert tab A into slot BĒ type instructions. Some things canít be done that way. Kay is focusing her efforts on the jobs only she has the skills for. We are amazingly moving forward despite everything.
Do you have any idea what Helleborus would be best this far south, Beth? After the cotton rose finishes blooming, there isnít much for the bees to forage until the henbit and wild mustard start blooming. Helleborus is an A+ honeybee plant and I thought I remembered you saying in a post that you grow them.
I think Iíve made up for my absence with this long-winded post. Lol. Wishing you all a good night and a blessed day tomorrow.

(Susan) Xenia, OH(Zone 6a)

Hi Jim. I never had my own pool but yes, pool running is several fitness notches beyond aqua jogging (which is way beyond water aerobics). At my peak, I was so aerobically and muscularly fit that I buzzed.

I had a secret weapon then only now hitting the mainstream-- using music sorted by BPM (beats per minute) to run to. Every "step" a beat. On an old MP3 player in a waterproof case, with throwaway-cheap ear buds. All the music chosen for its power and positivity.

The fitness center folks wouldn't let me use the CD player the aqua-aerobics folks used..... ;-) My stuff scared the more sedate crowd. OTOH, with that mp3 player I was able to run in swimming lakes too.


Hendersonville, NC(Zone 7a)

Jim re Helleborus I learned the state abbreviations in wschool, but since they've changed them: I get lost! Lessee AL...Alabama? not Arkansas cause THAt used to be AK..but what was Alaska then??

The common name of helebores is Lenten Rose. I bought all my survivng ones some years ago as first-year plants. Below is the link, showing this year's array of offerings, to give you some idea of the range of USDA zones usually offered.

I bought several from two other vendors: they were very small, poor specimens that didn't survive their first winter. (so small, they'd fit nicely in an 7 oz coffee cup! In fact, one even shipped theirs in little 3 inch nursery "flimsy"s) IIn contraastr, Plant Delights shipped their well-grown first-year plants in nursery containers that were about TWICE as big and the plants were a sturdy almost 12 inches tall! they all survived their first winter and thrived! (Incidentally,m this nursery is on the border of my USDA zone, so we have almost the same growing conditions.) This nursery's offerings change somewhat from year to year, but you can use the link for an idea of what's what.


Hendersonville, NC(Zone 7a)

Jim a worde about hellebores: they don't bloom their firwst winterr, plus they are slow growers:their SECOND year,m they'll produce ONE bloom...I have a few 3 yr-olds that had about 4 blooms!

They reach their maturity at about five years and then bloom vrry well, but usually only first0year seedlings can be found to purchase. I DID find one onl;ine vendor that offered plantgs of varying age (all pre-maturity cause they get massive!) but the price was prohibitive.

For more buying options and info, google hellebores of Lenten rose.

I had many info, breeders etgc but then my PC crashed and the backup I THOUGHJT was protecting my data, didn't!

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)


Old article running today. I am still unable to write! What gives?

Casa Grande, AZ

Hi gang, :D
Not ignoring you. Just been real busy yesterday and today well, hot and sweaty and dirty and stinky and want to jump in the shower and have a cocktail

Here's the reason for the above......................

TAH.....DAH!!!! Raised bed done!
O.K. problem loading pictures let me try this again.

Casa Grande, AZ

Drum Roll please.......................
All done and I did it all by my self. :D :D (last 2 were ground breaking and starting of project)
Just have to get soil and the perfect plants for the larger bed. :D

Peace. Out. TTC

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(Susan) Xenia, OH(Zone 6a)

Clap.clap.clap!!! Great job! I love how the shapes and heights play together. It'll be fun watching what happens in there!


Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Wow! You must be really proud of yourself (and completely tuckered out).

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