#20 Practical Matters for Physically Challenged Gardeners

Midland City, AL

Itís good for the young ones here to see that article, Carrie. The Oklahoma Dust Bowl is part of Amargiaís history in a way. Miss Helen was a garden mentor and remains a guiding spirit for all of us here. She came here from Oklahoma in the 50ís. There are many former Okays in this area. Vivid memories of living through the Dust Bowl years are why Amargia is so firmly committed to no-till growing methods. We donít even own a tiller

Kay and Nadi both say writerís block is a reality. Could this be your first experience with it? Kayís solution to writerís block is to go on a reading frenzy. She intentionally reads in genres she would not normally. I would be more likely to suspect that whatever is causing your loss of appetite is causing a general malaise. I refuse to consider a brain tumor until the test results come back. It has got to be a spooky Halloween season for you with that hanging over your head. Have you been able to set up another appointment time all the doctors can agree on?

I appreciate the info, Beth. I tried growing Hellebores from seed once, but it was a failure. I donít have the patience and consistency to be good at seed propagation.

There were several varieties on the PDN site rated heat hardy to Zone (9. That is what I was looking for. We are officially in Zone 8b, but Iíve had better success with plants rated to Zone 9. It probably doesnít matter as much with plants for the shady woodland, but I want to try the more heat hardy varieties first and get to know Hellebores better before trying some of the more marginal varieties.

LOL. Iíve finally got the two letter code for all the ďAĒ states in my head. AR is Arkansas. Donít ask me about the ďMĒ states though. Is MS Miscopy or Massachusetts? It was the longer abbreviations I was originally taught too and I remember them fine for all the good that does me now. We are in the Wiregrass area, sometimes called the Tri-States, because it is where Alabama, Florida and Georgia come together. Panama City, FL is the closest city of significant size.

TTC, I will send the dragonfruit plant the first of November, if that is okay. Itís getting cool here and the tropicals and tender succulents have gone into the greenhouse. Iím afraid I will goof up one morning and forget to open the greenhouse in time and the things in there will cook. Iíve written several times about the extreme difference between daytime and nighttime winter temperatures here. Forgetting to open the greenhouse in the morning could be a disaster. Iím getting a better idea of all the little things Kay kept up with and I donít trust myself to remember them all yet. I know you have an over-abundance of gift plants at the moment, but it is safer in your hands than mine. An AZ winter will be kinder to dragonfruit.

How is the world treating you today?

Susan, Iím a native of Red lion, near Harrisburg. The Christian summer camp my parents sent me to when I was 8 or 9 was in your part of the state. It has a rugged beauty.

Pool walking would be more my speed. Lol.

After procrastinating for weeks, I finally got around to picking up that load of mushroom compost yesterday and unloading it today with Tiggerís help. (Kay slept to 3-o-clock today, but she overworked a little yesterday so Iím not too worried.)

Photo #1: Donít look, TTC! I personally think spiders have a sinister, elegant kind of beauty. At 3 inches, this isnít our biggest specimen, but I liked the markings on her

Photo #2: It looks like the honeybees will have their chance to harvest this bed of anise hyssop. It went in late and I wasnít sure it would have time to flower before cold weather arrived.

Photo #3 & #4: I caught the angelís trumpetís last performance.

Photo #5: I weeded what we call the Butterfly Landing Strip yesterday and didnít see a single flutterby. They were all over the front walkway bed though. I know now what to plant in the BLS for next season.


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(Susan) Xenia, OH(Zone 6a)

Jim, I started with pool standing. (Look up Ai Chi.) Then pool walking, then jogging, then... blastoff!

After a 2012 surgery I was able to transfer to land standing. Now I'm up to land strolling with short bursts of land brisking...

This message was edited Oct 21, 2015 7:55 AM

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

No, Jim, I don't have an appointment yet! Grrrr. Every day I call the woman in charge of MRI scheduling and the first day she snapped at me "I said I'D call YOU." Then I gave her a few days off, then I called her office a few times after she'd left for the day. This woman must leave for the day at 1 or 2 pm. I'm up right now because Ray has an appointment for a BP check, and I think I'll call her. I'm glad it's nothing important. (Grim chuckle.)

I remember hellebores from those ridiculous direct mail catalogs of years ago, called "Lenten rose" and unrealistically colored pictures. I know some people in the Northeast forum grow them; we're crazy for flowers by February-March, but the things I grow are un-killable instead. I'm not good at stuff that needs patience and nurturing. Well, except my human kids!

It's not writer's block like I can't think of anything to say, it's that I can't settle down and get anything done. Ray will be working PT as of next week; maybe with him gone I will be less distracted. I hope.

Have a good day, all you industrious people!

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

She said they're having a meeting next week about how to deal with MRIs of pumps and she'll call me! I'm glad it wasn't IMPORTANT! Oh my goodness.....grrrrrr.

Hendersonville, NC(Zone 7a)

TTC your walls/beds are truly beautiful! You've built something that you can be proud of!

With our first frost, my poor asters looked like a dragon had breathed on them and tflambe-ed them into standing columns of ash! I just couldn't tolerate that! They HAD to go..they were making my gardens look bad! So I pulled them all out (shallow-rooted things...plus most were still in the "biodegradable" pots I grew them in. New rule: No more A"biodegradagle pots! They're more expensive and evidentally not worth the extra time and money!) THEN I had to fill in the holes left by those ^#%$% potts! I paid for my exertions the next day: I was largely confined to my bed, except for short periods (roughly 10 minutes) before my back started to burn!

I used those brief spurts to un-do ANOTHER ddisaster: my pumpkin pie had fallen off the oven shelf, so I had pie filling absolutely EVERYWHERE in my kitchen! (Plus the more distressing fact that said pie tasted. . . BAD! I had to throw it away, it was so inedible.) I cleaned my entire oven (made easier by those lengthy periods of soaking) and the pie pan. . . but the floor is having to wait for my full recuperation!

Between my manual ATV (also used for moving those big 1 & 2+ cubic feet of garden stuff) and my long-handled "pruners", I've gotten so much more gardening ability and freedom! With my tool, I can reach all the way to the back of my long, narrow gardens: a whole new bunch of flowers are now available for me to grow (those that need dead=heading) and with my ATV, I can "go where [I] have never [been able] to go before [without somebody's help]".

My Granny keeps saying she czn't understand why anybody (especially me) would [garden, expend so much time & effort gardening] but she DOES like to admire my pretty flowers and gardens. Being so darned OLD, her memory is shot; she will sday this AT LEAsT 2-3 times a week; I TRY just to ignore this gritching and criticism, but sometimes I can't and reply (as nicely as I can thru clenched teeth) with some version of "Isn't it nice not everyone is exactly the same!". Recently, I kinda lost my cool and told her that gardening gave me something to do; without it, I'd just sit and vegetate in my house. She's stopped about my gardening but I've seen this before: she'll soon forget and start in on me again. Sometimes, it's hard dealing with her and her problems on top of mine. Rant over.

Jim Don't give up on seed starting; you chose a very hard to start (hellebores). Seed starting can be so easy, try again. . please! For this my first year, I deliberately chose flowers that were so easy to grow that they were usually directly sown outdoors! I reasoned that this approach would pllainly reveal any problems with my technique or set-up. My DIY set-up cost less than $30 to make; I sowed marigolds, yellow zinnias, chinese asters. . . and of course tomatoes! I had such a bumper crop of marigolds, they oughta re-name this street as Marigold Lane! My gasrden helper filled two of my gardens with them (my front and back gardens), filled HIS front garden with my letoverws. . and passed HIS leftovers to two other neighvbors! Only one of my yellow zinnias did not grow(started in those %#[email protected]# "biodegradable" pots!) but only 2 out of 100 chinese asters grew (I later found out thqat they did NOT like to be started indoors). Since some of my tomasto seed was old (donated by DG friends) they had less viability. . but the few varieties that I had bought new had a germination rate of almost 100% (superb viability). Seed starting is rather easy: like following a kitchen reciope. . . .do this, don't do that...and such a CHEAP way to get SCADS of plants!!

Jim BTW do you know if sterile flowers have the nectar bees need? A few of my hellebores are clones, because they are sterile (ie do not produce viabke seed(.

(Susan) Xenia, OH(Zone 6a)

I'd have loved to have an ATV at our PA home but have used my handi-scooter often. In PA, a dying tree was shedding a lot of dead wood with each storm. I was able to scooter the large debris field in the spring with a trash barrel, and clear it for hubby's Deer mower. This was a huge farm-property yard. I suppose if we didn't anticipate retiring soon from there (and it's a rental), I might have also done some container gardening (veg); nowadays all my garden energy is taking root at our Ohio eventual-retirement cottage.

Last Saturday the Neighborhood Kid Crew got kind of crabby at the end, moving buckets of landscape rock. Near the end of their committee time, I remembered that they had expressed an interest in driving my scooter-- so they totally enjoyed finishing up, taking turns using it to move the last few buckets.

This weekend they can use it to place the wishing well we'll be rebuilding.

Casa Grande, AZ

Hi gang :D

EWWWWWWW!! Now you just had to put up a picture of a spider didn't you! Thanks for that. My skin can crawl while I type! EWWWW! Kill it! Nasty little things. Gross, gross, gross! Yeah, yeah know they're useful but still don't want them anywhere in my yard or house. As for bug killing I'll stick to a can of Raid and boots!

Well rested and feeling better! Thank you one and all for the praise on the beds. Lots of work but great fun. I'm going to be adding on in different sizes, shapes and levels creating almost a maze type of thing. YES...remembering to leave a few "blank" spaces in between so I can navigate around to tend to the plants. Reaching over sharp, spiny things and into beds one can easily fall into is not smart! I think the next bed is going to be rather tall and square. Perfect as a "podium" style to showcase a special plant or for hedge hog type of cacti.

BTW Jim thanks so much for the Dragon Fruit. Looking forward to it. It is quite a collector's item out here and does very well all the way up to Zone 11. Will send you pieces of the Austrocylindropuntia subulata monstrose..."crab cactus" as I call it! Let me know what else you would like. Have some nice Agave pups and some really great pine cone cacti.
As for the green house do what I do with things I can't remember. Tape a little note somewhere where you will see it first thing in the morning or last thing in the evening. The frame of my computer looks like a bulletin board from all the little post-it notes. (LOL)

Thanks also everyone for letting me emote a bit. Feel guilty doing it sometimes because I am abled bodied 90% of the time and when I'm not it is usually temporary. Like I said my real of being "unable" is something people don't see and often don't understand but it is no less valid and wreaks a havoc that is often incomprehensible to those that don't live with it or "see" it in action. Worse part is neither you or anyone else knows "why". So it was very nice of all of you to let me have a chance to explain what it is like to live a little in my world and to have my emotional ketchup burst. Much appreciated.

Susan, your work with brain issues sounds interesting. Tell me more about it please.

Yes you can use any color as your base color for a simplified wardrobe. Doesn't matter what it is except that it should be the primary color your whole wardrobe revolves around. If you do navy then adding khaki, white, burgundy and grey to the mix is perfectly acceptable. Idea is to keep Navy as your pants, coats, and majority of your clothing. Shirts should have the basic color. Grey slacks are good because it can work with a navy sports coat for dress. Khakis are fine with navy and even a casual navy blazer. Burgundy is just a nice spot of color and works with all of this. Ties are great ways to add any color you want with your basic wardrobe. I have scarves and jewelry and shoes for this purpose!

As for clothes with no logos try L.L.Bean. I think they're pretty good and have good quality. I hate logos too. I like designer clothes I just don't need to wear the names and logos outside pasted on me. The fit and quality speaks for its self.

I got into a simplified wardrobe thing when I worked at Neimans. At their prices I really couldn't afford to buy things that were colorful and made me look like I was wearing the same things constantly. Black skirts are unnoticeable where that red one isn't! You start becoming that girl in the red skirt! Also with dark basic colors I could "fudge" less expensive clothes into looking like better ones and start mixing them with better pieces as I could afford to add them to my wardrobe.

I just like the concept of not having to stand in my closet going, "What am I going to wear today? Does this match? I bought it now I have to go find something to go with it! If I wear it too often due to color will every notice?" Yep, simplify. So much easier!

Husband needs computer...will finish rest later.


(Susan) Xenia, OH(Zone 6a)

TTC, I've noticed that with people having a variety of brain-affected situations, I seem to be able to be able to give and elicit communication they identify as not possible with others. I'm pretty sure it's because I can be totally relaxed about this AND boundlessly curious.

Examples have included stroke survivors, MS patients, developmentally disabled.....maybe it's worked best in person because of eye contact. But it seems to be a powerfully gifted ability I have there.

With friend and ministry colleague John, whose stroke wiped out a huge amount of brain and memory, he could say a word (eventually just give a look), and I'd intuit what he needed to talk about. Then we did. He couldn't remember having known me... I just liked him so well that I didn't care. He was JOHN. We had great times. I used to sit with him an afternoon a week so his wife could get a break.

Then there was the traumatic brain-injured guy in the ER. (As the wife of an a Episcopal priest I'm in a lot of ER's!) To everyone but his wife he was in a total coma. I touched his hand and knew he was right there. So I talked to him. I'd never met them.... I intuited that he was restlessly worried about his wife; they had just gotten married. That week. I dunno how I knew that he was restless or knew what his worry was.... I just reassured him that we'd look after Natalie. He immediately started to feel settled to me.... she felt him sinking and got scared: "Going?" I told him to go ahead as deep as he needed, to heal and come back to her. His hand still in mine, thanking me.... oh my. Later we learned he'd gone to rehab and was doing well. I remember Natalie's dad arriving eventually and affirming what had happened.

At a workshop a woman with CP was there in a power chair. When it was her turn to talk in our little support group breakout, she'd turn to me. Her speech was pretty hard to follow; after 10 minutes I had learned her speech almost like a language. So she talked to me a lot and ppl who knew her said that was very unusual.

James was a dev disabled member of our parish. I discovered he could read Psalms beautifully and asked if he'd like to be one of the readers for a big annual liturgy. He was a great reader. (I spotted a lot of other skills he had, too.)

So.... it isn't that I plan what will happen, or have a professional skillset. I just know that things happen when I am present... because... I'm very, very present, and I don't feel barriers. Frustrated brain-injured people only draw my curiosity and encouragement. I see the person. I see the abilities. I see the small wins and therefore I get to see the big ones too.

Make sense?

This message was edited Oct 21, 2015 2:46 PM

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Yes, it does!

Jim, I buy a lot from Landsend. No logos, and you can return stuff FOREVER.

Casa Grande, AZ

O.K. I'm back.
Let's see if I can catch up. In regards to Kay's breathing machine I presume you haven't got it yet and are still waiting for the final fitting. How is she doing otherwise?
As for the CKD have you thought about a Nephrologist? Probably would be able to tell you more about kidneys than your G.P., since kidney's are their specialty. If you haven't been check it out. My theory is since kidneys flush out salts in the body and wastes perhaps these things are collecting in her blood stream and causing her blood pressure to go up. Too much sodium will do this. Also are any of her other meds very high in sodium? Check detailed patient labeling (onion skin paper folded like origami that you can get off the pharmacist) .

That's a heck of a way to get a back injury! YIKES. How you doing? And yes, the women are right to turn on you. Think of it this way, in most 'packs' who does the majority of hunting? The females! Don't necessarily think of us a smaller and weaker but more as a multi branched, multi tasking, intermeshing, complex, streamlined small steam driven locomotive engine that with a few minor adaptations to help can hum along just fine without testosterone!

My husband commented on my brick laying speed and said, "If YOU had been in charge the Exodus would have happened 100 years sooner than it had!" True that! My personal motto is, "The only reason Rome wasn't built in a day was because a woman wasn't in charge of the labor and construction!" (Ladies, can I get an Amen?)

For now just stand back and be awed and amazed. Revel and celebrate what these pint sized powerhouses can and are doing. Praise and admire them. There will be plenty of time in the future for you to take up the slack. Believe me, they ARE tallying the days and ways in their pretty heads. Don't let them fool you. :D

Aside from colds, flu and minor things I don't have much faith in G.P.s. in terms of diagnosis. They specialize in "nothing in particular". I have less faith in specialists. Over all I have a profound mistrust of doctors and found the vast majority of them to be pill pimps for the Pharmaceutical companies and/or quacks ...Mountebanks... with little to no interest in you or your condition because they are on a treadmill for some big medical group or company that makes them push you out the door in 15 minutes.

Personally, I have learned more, diagnosed more and corrected and cured more of my own problems than what I've ever paid these people to. I did it on my own and through many hours of intensive research,, reading and learning to "understand" all of my tests results (God bless Google, a curious mind that knows how to do old fashioned research and the luxury of time!). I've started to learn the doctors are not Gods. They're people. They make mistakes. They don't know or remember everything. Ever watch them flip through your chart? They look at the last consultation but rarely review parts of it that went back or related to correlating events and symptoms.

How much note taking are they doing? I write my own notes and hand it to them!

--Last 3 months experienced: blah, blah, blah physically. Had x amount of seizures this month & that. They were x amount of days apart; they were this type and I had multiple ones on these days. I had x amount of seizures in a row they were on these days.
--In regards to other conditions I had a cold on this day (unable to take meds) lasted 4 days symptoms were blah, blah. Other health fine. In need of an eye exam.
--Mood fine; no depression outside of "normal" ( I thought about my grandfather who passed.) Do not drink when depressed. Do not drink above recommended for my condition (most days)
--No recreational drug use. (darn..LOL)
--Sleep; not inordinately tired or sleeping excessively but unusual dream activity and content; may be stress related.
--Weight stable varying by only 1-2 pounds per month. Exercise: daily walking of dog, gardening, house keeping, easy hiking 2xs this month, etc.
--Lowered med XYZ by 100mg. Kept med ABC the same. No changes in seizures or physical condition. See no reason to either increase; decreasing further acerbated seizure activity and increased severity of type.
--Researched 3 meds per your suggestion. Found blah...blah...blah. Prefer to stay on current; will investigate 3 more of your recommendations.
--TODAY: Would like to discuss today symptoms I had with seizures this month that were similar to a seizure I had 6 months ago. Details are: blah...blah...blah.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------SPACE I LEAVE on my paper to record doctor's opinions during our consultation.

Yep, I do this. I also keep a copy and when I go in and hand him a copy for my chart! THIS is what we talk about in the visits! Oh, and anything he want to (LOL) . Most don't mind this because I'm "nice" about it. They actually appreciate this.
Since I keep a copy this has become my personal log so that I can see patterns and pinpoint specifics and changes and similarities when they crop up! This has what has helped me diagnose me. When I challenge them and present information to the contrary, they "rethink" what they said to me and have a tendency to "suddenly" agree or become very open to discussions and options. It has changed my course of treatment for the better. I've been able to work with my doctor effectively.

I still don't have any faith in them no matter how nice. I still believe they're all just a bunch of pill pimp quacks.

See if this kind of journal keeping works for you and Kay. You may be able to "see" something or your doctor can compare your notes and see if he/she notices something.

My dear assert your self. I got sick of the Mayo clinic doing that stuff to me. Dr. N.is in observation, is in surgery, is in a meeting, is teaching, is over seas lecturing, doing this, doing that. Well, good for Dr. N. I need an appointment when I need one and my husband's work schedule and the prison isn't going to revolve around Dr. N. because she wants to go to Europe to "lecture".

My cure to this little problem was to call the Chief of Staff of the hospital and simply say, "If Dr. N. is to busy doing everything other than seeing patients perhaps I don't need to come see Dr. N. As an Epileptic who can't drive and is dependent on another person who works a full-time job, to get them to Dr. N.'s office I can NOT arbitrarily have my days switched. If Dr. N. and her staff can not understand this than either they or she have a learning disability or simply doesn't want to accommodate patients.
If that's the case, I'll be more than happy to fill out the "Tell us What You Think" patient questionnaire about my experience and treatment at the Mayo Clinic. I'll tell you EXACTLY what I think. I'll then mail it to the appropriate government agency, the headquarters of the Mayo Clinic and I'll post EXACTLY what I think on Face Book. Then my money, my health insurance and my self will go to a doctor at another hospital who IS actually seeing patients and will accommodate me!".

Tah...Dah! Problem solved. Never had my appointments messed with again. Amazing how flexible the Neurology department and Dr. N. became! Yes, some of that 'I'm entitled because I said so" attitude from Neiman's rubbed off. It does come in handy! I found nobody seems to challenge how important you are when YOU think and act like you're the most important person in the world!
Still left them simply because they irked me. Found a doctor I like better at 1/3 less and who NEVER has had a scheduling issue. Besides I hated her hair (looked like she combed it wet and just let it dry that way) and the fact that she ALWAYS wore this hideous, stretched out snagged green blouse. I know she had other clothes. I saw her in them. She just always seemed to wear this hideous green blouse. YUCK!!! All that money she's making and she looks like she picked stuff out of the garbage bin and couldn't even get into one of the $7.99 hair cut places. (HEY..my hairdresser gives $7.99 hair cuts and she's GOOD!!! I drive 45 minutes one way to go see her! Wal Mart has some cute tops.).

The most unforgivable thing...she answered a text while she was with me. GRRRRRRRRRRR!!!! The death knell for anyone I deal with on a face to face basis especially when I'm paying them for their time and attention!

As for your writer's block try this and see if it is helpful. Just make something up! Literally make it up! Write a "story".

For example: Once upon a time when I was a kid I went to Grandma's and saw some flowers on her table. I asked her about them. She said she had them on the farm in OK. They grew wild in abundance before the "Dust Bowl" hit. Afterwards she grew them again and had never stopped growing them or having them in her home since.
Reason was all during that hard time in OK, these flower's image and the ones of her playing in the fields full of them made her heart sing. She played in fields of these flowers with her best friend and sat under a tree with her boyfriend surrounded by them. These memories and that flower had kept her happy when there seemed very little to be happy about or to look forward to.
When I told Grandma I wasn't familiar with that time in OK and what grew there and that I wanted to know about it and her experiences she told me, "Well, Agave when I was just a kid, the Dust Bowl........."

See? Now all you have to do if "flush it out" with the facts of what you are actually writing about and want to say and then go back and delete the "fiction". :D It has helped me with a lot of things I had to write and couldn't get started on. If not at least it makes a fun story!

I think you overdid it. Pace yourself. You sound like me trying to get way too much done way too fast and by yourself. Told you go give them 'maters to those maintenance guys! You could of had a date and some help by now! LOL. :D Could of had someone to do those dishes too while you baked that pie!

That really stinks about the pie mishap. You remember my cake problem where I lost count of the flour and cocoa? Yeah. Hate baking mishaps. Unfortunate not only about the mess but also about the bad taste. Well, if you feel ambitious later on you can bake another. Try a different recipe?

Sounds like your yard is in good shape though. You got a lot done. I still have one great big bush to attack and cut down to the ground almost so it can come back even nicer in the spring. These things (don't know name) just grow like weeds. Surreal how big they get in such little time.

As for Granny, don't let her get up your nose or get you in a snit. She's 99 and just having fun rattling the bars on your cage! Hell, she don't have nothing else to do at her age and she still has all her marbles. What else has she got to keep her entertained especially since she can't chew and you took away all the sweets!
She's just taunting you to see if you'll snap back. She wants someone she can good naturedly argue and fuss with. Keeps her going and chuckling when she knows she gets you going. Rather than being irritated just laugh and take turns poking good naturedly and trading shots with each other. I bet Granny is quite witty! Have a little fun her.

Not ignoring you. Blathered enough and this is an interesting topic that I'd like to address so I'll address you first next post.

Beautiful flowers all. Thanks for sharing them.
Peace Out.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

I have now lit fires under the MS department scheduler and my doctor's scheduler about the MRI scheduler. Everybody says "I don't know why this is so hard." The MS department schedules MRIs all the time and half of the people have baclofen pumps. So it shouldn't really be that big of a deal.

My older daughter now has a job at the hospital so now she has -a savings account -her own health insurance -a regular salary and what a relief. I have been her emergency back-up plan forever. Now she can be her own back-up plan.

Yeah, Ray also says he wants to go to visit this MRI lady in person and camp out in her office until she does something. The eating is getting a little bit better. I have found a few things I can eat, like certain types of pasta, scallops, chili, that I eat happily. I don't know why I got so fussy!

Hendersonville, NC(Zone 7a)

patience and pampering hellebores ROFL WHY do you think some of my new helleb ores didn't survive their first winter?? It's called tough love for a reason! The only care I give them: fwertilize twice a year
cut off last year'as fronds, to admire the REALISTIC blooms
cut off spent blooming stalk(s)
I had astilbe one year next to my helledbores. While very pretty, they were hjigh maintenance and required aalmost constant twice weekly watering. Needless to say, they didn't earn a place in my gardens: I gave them away.

As for patience, since my health made me ritire YEARS ago (my colleagues are just now hitting their stride) I have nothing but time!

Hellebores are evergreens, so give year-round green in my garden. Also drought tolerant when mature (I still don't wsater them, except the first summer like any other new plants.) They survive and thrive on what rain they get.) They're also deer resistant, which is not a big deal here in the middle of a city.

My gardens all have several things in common: low=maintenance, drought tolerant (I never know when or how long my back problems will keep me bed-ridden), long-blooming PRETTY flowers! This year, with my new-found mobility - manual "ATV", and after finding my long-reaching tool, I canb tend my plants with MUCH less help ( I can even deadhead, so I can grow plants that reqauire that, whereas before I couldn't).

Before this year, I had only perrenials and bulbs (both come back year after year after year ad infinitum). Beginning this year, I added annuals...asnd will continue in the following years (Granny's 99 and I still want to move after she's gone).


Casa Grande, AZ

Good Morning,

It does seem you have a gift. Have you thought about working as an occupational therapist or some kind of counselor for these people? You could probably bring much joy to them. I'm curious if I fit your bill so to speak. Allow me to explain more about myself and my beliefs. I'm just doing so to determine if you work would be applicable to me. Your work seems very religious oriented. Only natural since you are a pastor's wife. :D

I'm not experiencing any physical disability (except when I'm laid out from a seizure, recovering from it, or injured myself unknowingly during one). My body is 'fine' for all intents and purposes. What they suspect is the issue with me is a small lesion or scar tissue that is on the right front temporal lobe of my brain. They can't find it on an M.R. I. even when they did a 45 minute one. They wanted to do exploratory brain surgery! Uhm....no thanks and not in this life. I'll stay the way I am. I'm sorry but brain surgery just scares the crap out of me. Spiders and brain surgery. That's about all I'm afraid of. And Karma!

I am a pragmatist. I am a realist. I am a Buddhist. We are self directed persons. There are no right-wrong; good-bad; thou shall-shall not. There is only the consequences of our actions be they negative, neutral or positive based on how live because we inherently know as humans this IS how one functions and where the moral compass was meant to point (not where we 'think' it should or where we bend it). This is Karma.

It is erroneous thinking to assume Karma is a closed loop system of justice that boils down to "What you sew you reap." This is why you do not come back as a cockroach if you are "bad" or Madonna if you are "good". One can reap the rewards and punishments of lives past as well as from their future to be.

This is necessary to develop the skills to live ones present life. It is needed to become enlightened. It is the forces both within us and our outside circumstances that propels us towards more positive type of living and to effect and affect the necessary Karmas of those around us.

When something bad happens to us it isn't a 'punishment' it simply "is". It is Karma. When we reach full enlightenment and no longer need to come back here we will know why these things were necessary, what their purpose served in our lives and how it was applicable in our spiritual and worldly development. The same applies to our blessings. We do not ask, "Why me?" or say, "It's so unfair." if we hit the lotto. It is simply Karma. We, if we are wise, take the same attitude about the less than pleasant things also. It is simply Karma.

Karma is a verb not a thing. It literally means 'to do'. You self direct it via the choices you make or not. God does not factor into the equation. Buddhist teachings are not God centered. Buddha said, "I am not concerned with your God or Gods. Your piousness is personal. I am concerned with human suffering and the alleviation of it.". Karma serves to direct this in our lives. Who and what we worship spiritually and what we choose to believe in that regards personally is another thing altogether and unrelated. It is completely separate.

We do not see a Heaven and a Hell in the Judeo-Christian sense of the word. We believe every human spends time in both. You spend a period of time in Heaven enjoying the benefits of your good Karma. Based upon the level of enlightenment you have achieved you are reincarnated and spend time in Hell. Earth is Hell. Hell is only a place designed to continue you along your Karmic path to enlightenment. Since we self direct our selves Hell is more a mental state of mind because we do have some choice over what we want to experience in our life.

When met with someone's opposition or condemnation to my beliefs, I always chuckle when told , "You're going to go to Hell". My response is, "I've been residing there for quite awhile now. It has some good school districts and a really great Mall."

You go back based on what you did the last time and to correct the errors of you past life (former reincarnated self). You may 'pay' for something you could do in the future in another reincarnation you have not had yet in attempts to teach you to avoid it this time and avoid generating negative Karma. Of course you are here to simply repeat most of your shortcomings and failures in one way or another until you get your head unstuck and learn how to deal with them in a positive way where they--and you-- are no longer a liability to your self.

You may also do things that help store up good Karma for the next time. SINCERE charity work, donations, leading a spiritual life, helping others, etc. This paying back and collecting rewards is the side effect of Karma. It is NOT Karma. It is also not guaranteed. Karma is not an ATM machine that allows you to make good behavior deposits to cover your morally questionable withdrawals and shortcomings.

It is a rare person that can get through life so enlightened they do not need endless reincarnations. I guess your concept would be the perfect "Christ like" Christian. When you reincarnate, "You" do not come back as "you" and as how you know yourself to be right now (Susan, Carrie, Jim, etc.)

You are placed in the exact body, country, place, space and time as the person regardless of gender that you need to be in order to balance and work your Karma. You will have all the people and things necessary around you to continue experiencing life for your needed spiritual growth and enlightenment. You have no knowledge of your former self or life.

Transmigration, however, does occur. There will always be some part of 'Susan' in your next life although you may not be aware of it. "Susan's" experiences, lessons, and accumulated life Karma has now transmigrated over into your present life (along with whomever else from the past) to help direct you on your way presently in this life. It is like holding one candle to another to light it. Although one candle gets blown out (extinguished) a "part" of that candle..the flame..gets transmigrated to the new one. But the new candle is the new candle not the old one that was blown out. It has no knowledge of the old candle. Make sense?

Our belief centers on 4 basic things we call the Four Noble Truths:
1. All life is dissatisfaction and impermanence
-------the trauma of birth; pathology of sickness; morbidity of decrepitude, phobia of death, to be tied to what one dislikes in life and to be separated from what one loves.

2. The cause of suffering is desire and clinging to things impermanent
------body, sensations, perceptions, dispositional tendencies, consciousness, our environment and our wanting more, being tied to or not wanting to let go of these things.

3. There is a cure for suffering and dissatisfaction.

4. The cure is the Eight Fold Noble Path.
-----These are: right views; right intent; right speech; right conduct (of which there are 5 precepts: do not kill; do not take what is not given; do not say what is not so; do not be promiscuous/unchaste; do not take intoxicants) ;
right livelihood/occupation; right effort(doing your utmost); right mindfulness(being 'aware' and 'conscientious') and right meditation.
Now, our "Right" means "right" as in what is correct and appropriate under the terms, time, conditions and circumstances. It is not 'right' as in thou shall-shall not, right-wrong; black-white.

So in terms of myself I see my Epilepsy as simple Karma. My I.Q. went up, I developed talents I did not possess before with no thought or effort or desire on my part. Perhaps I was meant to use them. Perhaps that is the reason I can neither work nor drive now. I am meant to be doing something with these things; these gifts. I have been given the time to use them.

Epilepsy may not be a punishment. Maybe it was a reward? Maybe it was just a neutral Karmic experience in that both good and bad come from it and it is up to me to self direct it where I want it to go or allow it to take me.

Either way it is my Karma. It is part of me. Until it 'goes away' the same sudden way it came I do not feel inclined to believe that I am to be relieved of it any time soon. If I could make it go away I don't know if that is wise. It alters the course of my life. It alters my Karma. The only bad thing about Karma is we never know what direction it is going to take us until we get there! It is also incredibly frustrating and leads to temper tantrums about ones life and conditions. (eye roll, sigh)

So I thought I'd give you a little background on myself and my belief system and wonder if that makes your work applicable or doable in terms of my situation.

For everyone thanks for tolerating the Buddhism 101 lesson. Outside of this explanation I'm not big on talking religion as I believe all religions should be respected regardless of individual beliefs or personal convictions. Not everyone can be wrong.

O.K. now I'm caught up with everyone. Hope you have a good day. Let me know what you think of this plant. I have one but thought about getting another. Not sure if I want two. The one in the photo isn't mine but it is the exact same plant. I'll take a photo of mine later.

Thumbnail by Agavegirl1
(Susan) Xenia, OH(Zone 6a)


Nope-- no conflicts or worries! (We Episcopals are long on free will and short on condemnation or indeed any judgementalism.) Acourse we're all humanly imperfect.... but I do not tend towards proselytization AT ALL. I agree with the malls/schools piece btw. (And much of the rest.)

Where I might be helpful would be on 'down' days, as a venting partner. For that I use skills as taught and described at www.RC. org. Check out their postulates and you'll find at least half of my underpinnings and outlooks! ;-)

I don't think of anyone as broken/needing to be fixed. I take em as I finds em.

This message was edited Oct 22, 2015 3:30 PM

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Wow, Agave. I had a rough idea of most of those Buddhist principles but thanks for the refresher. Bets, I have a similar approach. If something survive, it gets to stay. If something dies, its future is iffy. Very few things have not survived and been invited back.

One big success this year is agastache. It was glorious! It has (in the past) not been willing to return and we definitely have lots of frost heave / freeze/thaw here. This time I planted it in a totally different spot, and I planted in the side of a hill, so hopefully that will assist with drainage. We were just mourning how rapidly things fade after it gets really fall-like, and we agreed that even if we have agastache as an annual next year, it was worth it just for the spectacular summer show.

Midland City, AL

Hi Everyone.
TTC, Kay is scheduled for an appointment with the nephrologist on the 29th. The pulmonologistís canít work a new patient in until mid-November. I would be grinding my teeth, if I had any. I imagine it will be a patient tech at the hospital who actually determines what kind of mask she needs and adjust the air pressure on the C.P.A.P., but she has to see the pulmonologist first to make sure obstructive sleep apnea is the main problem and not a symptom of an underlying lung disease. It would be great if she were better for the holidays. It was around Christmas last year that she became so sick.
Being Buddhist, do you celebrate Christmas? Jesus is the reason for the season as far as Iím concerned, but I know atheist who still celebrate Christmas and Christians who donít because the holiday has become too commercial and materialistic .

Beth, I will continue to attempt seeds because I really donít have a choice. Bees prefer the simple unimproved flowers as a general rule and those arenít what most nurseries carry. The pollen grains of some improved cultivars have become to big for bees to manage. Turning a flower with a single layer of petals into on with multi-layers isnít an improvement from the bees point of view. It makes the foraging bees job harder. They will visit these blooms only after they have harvested from flowers with simpler forms. I know there has been some research on male sterile cotton. The bees did pollinate it, but there was some drop in pollination rate.
A few cities in Europe that have a tradition of urban beekeepers have started planting for bees on public land and started encouraging resident gardeners to think more about pollinators when they plant a home garden. Honeybees not being able to find what they need in the modern home garden is evidently an issue.
Insert Link
My hellebore choices will probably be (Stinking hellebore) and a couple of southern European varieties like H. foetidus and H. argutifolius preferably the straight species. I doubt anyone choosing for an ornamental garden would make those choices. I think the idea of planting public land in bee friendly plants will be more successful in London. Even the most environmentally aware gardener, who knows we have bees to thank for one out of every three mouthfuls of food, will have trouble turning down a floral beauty queen for the simple blooms bees prefer. It will only appeal to those with cottage-style gardens who are already choosing such plants.

Susan thanks for the new thread. That is a good container idea. I donít go on the forum page very often and just found out we have new threads.

Carrie, Iím just glad you can focus enough to write post and let us know youíre hanging tough.

I processed the honey today. It looks like we will end up having about two quarts from two frames. I harvested light so the little ladies would have plenty of stores for winter. I found an easy way to clean my processing tools and dishes. I just put my equipment near the hive and the bees clean the honey off everything. It appears that honeybees recycle. They donít take the wax back, but they clean it well and we use the wax.

Catch yíall later.


Casa Grande, AZ

Hi guys, :D

Carrie you are welcome on the 'refresher'. Don't like anyone to feel like I preach/convert. It is just nice to have others have the FACTS and understanding of the premise of the belief system since it is the 5th most popular religion in the world. Also some people have some silly and highly inaccurate notions about it and since it has come to the West. Unfortunately it has been associated with things it is not about or included and/or wholly incorporated into the belief system: vegetarianism, passivity, idol worship, atheism; Buddha actually looks like the fat bald guy represented by the statue that most of us have. (An Indian monk who was NOT BUDDHA. interesting story actually); denunciation of all worldly goods and possessions, Buddha was Asian (He was actually Indian!), etc. If anyone would like clarification happy to give Buddhism 102. If not fine too.

Susan, D.Mail me. We can exchange private e.mail addresses and discuss RC therapy. Did some research. Have a few questions. I don't like to monopolize the D.Mail having overly long and personal discussions. I don't believe that was its intention.

All this talk of Karma made me wake early and watch the rising of the sun. Had an interesting talk with Wise Cactus today during the dawn. He asked me a question about life. I gave him my answers. Curious to see what others responses would be.

Q. If you had 3 wishes, and only 3 what would they be? CAVEAT: 3 more wishes IS NOT allowed to be one of them!!!

Agave's answers:

1.) To see the face of God and to 'know' through conversation what the point, purpose, and reason for my and all human existence is.

2.) To be able know how to become a fully enlightened, self actualized, human being fulfilling my purpose as intended thus avoiding the cycle of Samsara (the cycle of birth, death, reincarnation, birth, death, incarnation and reincarnation, ad nauseum).

3.) To have a boundless, never ending supply of money whenever, however, and wherever I needed it at my disposal regardless of how ridiculous or outrageous the amount of zeros at the end of the sum!

I'm sure number 3 surprises you! But think about this. AS a person who grew up with a multitude of religions. My Father was a Deacon in the First United Methodist Church and later a nondenominational church, but also as an immigrant from Romania concurrently practiced Romanian Orthodox beliefs and holidays. My Romanian relatives mostly married Greeks so it was no hardship to go to Greek Orthodox Church either. My Mother was raised Catholic but her Father was always Protestant. I am Buddhist.

In all teachings I have learned that Money is not the root of all evil. The LOVE of money is! It is what precipitates things such as greed, avarice, injustice, corruption, crime, violence, an unfair balance of power politically, socially and economically etc. If this wasn't true then why else would these things take place? Think about how, where, when and why we spend our own money on and exactly on what. Can we tell the difference between 'need' and 'greed'?

I need a new pair of shoes. Do I need 68 pair in my closet that cost $500.00 each? I do not feel owning 68 pair of shoes that cost $500.00 each makes you greedy. Good for you. You were blessed/good Karma. BUT if you are on your way to the store to buy $500.00 shoes and pass the homeless guy on the street or a Salvation Army Kettle during a holiday and can not find enough compassion to reach into your purse to give the spare change floating around in the bottom of it then yes, you are greedy. Not only greedy with your money but greedy in terms of lack of compassion, regards for humanity, empathy and sympathy and time (you couldn't take a literal 30 seconds to reach in your purse and fish out the .53 cents in the bottom of it!)

To me it is not my place to determine or judge if that person is entitled to the money or what they spend it on (food or booze). It is not their place to judge me or question my 'right' to go buy $500.00 shoes. It is my place to determine and judge if I have the compassion to 'act' on another's behalf because they humbled themselves to 'ask'; literally beg. It is their place to determine if I embody the best of humanity in terms of my compassion and actions. Am I an internal representation of the person I appear to be outwardly...the abundantly blessed one?

It doesn't matter if they are stinky, dirty, nasty and unkempt. They are a human being who looks at, watches me and observes and records my actions. They will form the same opinion of me as they do the teen ager in tennis shoes and blue jeans or the blue collar worker or the middle income soccer mom. What do I want that opinion to be. Why should it matter. Because if this individual judges me and my actions who is to say the teen ager, the blue collar worker or the middle income soccer mom all walking by aren't watching my actions either?

We tend to forget that unless we are an Atheist or Agnostic at some point we will be judged by someone or something. Do we want to be found lacking? The shoes we have on when we stand trial don't really matter anymore do they? They're suddenly just as uncomfortable as everyone else's.

I see money only as a convenience. It allows us to live the life we want, have the health we want, go where we want and to 'live' in terms of fulfilling our necessities, wants and needs and if lucky, wishes. The more we have the more we can do these things in better fashion.

Money to me, however, is useless if it is not 'used' for something. I worked for Brinks. I handled literal billions (with a 'b') of dollars. Two places we did not go were funeral homes and cemeteries. That being so you literally can not take it with you. It goes to follow saving and being prosperous is wise. Hoarding and being greedy and selfish is mentally ill. It defies reason, logic and intelligence. Since nobody takes their money with them to the next life IT IS tangible proof that exhibiting the same self serving behavior over and over again as human beings but expecting different results IS the definition of insanity.

I view the only purpose of having money is what you can literally do with it not just for yourself but others. With a never ending, inexhaustible, infinite supply think about the possibilities: No hunger, no poverty, no unemployment, very few sick people, research to cure diseases, to help the planet, to wisely use our resources, to teach people how to do things for themselves in order to be self sufficient, preservation and conservation, free education, free counseling of any type for your woes, etc. All the while never leaving you wanting, lacking, needing or wishing for anything YOUR heart desires. If you had those things for your self why wouldn't you share. You wouldn't have to worry about anyone being better than you. They'd be AS good as you or as good as they choose to be!

I think it would solve the religious problems and prejudices too. We would all be free to follow what we believe because or needs are met materially. All that is left to do is feed the head, heart and soul. Nobody would need to be a convert or converted. Churches need money to function. They need members to pay for this. If they had all the 'willing' and 'voluntary' members there is no need to go out and recruit or go on missions to help the less fortunate and needy. There wouldn't be any. There would be no need to get involved in politics. Politicians would not be influenced by them.

War, hmmm...what a great way to sit down with the leader of each and every state and every country and go, "What do YOU want for your country and people?" Can I buy it for you, get it made for you, get it for you, help you produce it, make it or do it yourself? Is that enough? Will that satisfy you? What will get you to stop the madness?

Politics? Well if there is no need, want, greed, crime, avarice or corruption or violence amongst the citizens the only job left for politicians is simply to run the government and NOT bicker over mine and yours, theirs and ours. Their jobs would be like menial civil service jobs and basically show up to do a whole lot of nothing. (Kind of like now but without all the drama....LOL).

So my thought on the idea of , "Money can't buy happiness" is utterly false. It really depends on how you look at money and what you are doing with it or using it for! What is it YOU truly want and how would YOU spend it if it was given to you to do with as you pleased?

I also do not see money as negatively portrayed in an religious book or text. More than adequate references have been made to being blessed, wealth being given to those who give to others and make sacrifices to serve greater good, and that "God" is indeed rich his self! Karma and the universe is abundant and lavish. "Want and need" are not supposed to be the natural states of being. According to all religious texts the lack of these things are supposed to be our normal state.

I also think of this in terms of the Psalms. While most associated with funerals I view it more associated with life and how we should live. "The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want. He maketh me lie down in green pastures...." etc. Rather than death think about this one in terms of life. Why would God want you to do anything in life but all of the above while you were alive?

God is abundant and selfless. People are not. Unfortunately it is people who are self directing themselves and the world and thus the resources are not selfless. The only consolation I find is sometimes watching the news. God is just but also vengeful and jealous. He doesn't care what shoes you got on. I already know Karma can be a m.f'er!

So those are my 3 wishes. What's yours?

Songs for the Day: Talking Heads "Once in a life time" and Missing Persons, "Destination Unkown". Perhaps the best songs on Karma ever written!

Peace. Out.

Casa Grande, AZ

Hi Jim,
Got done with my rather lengthy ramble and when finished saw you came in while I was typing.

Doctors...sigh. I understand specialists and their unaccommodating schedules. Nope, you don't have a pressing matter to deal with...they do! You can call every so often and see if there's a cancelation for something sooner. Until then I'm with you on teeth grinding. Makes you rethink the words, 'justifiable homicide' doesn't it? Anyway, I hope Kay, you and others are well. Will say my mantras and ask for good Karma.

As for Jesus and Christmas. I like Jesus. He's a righteous dude. Buddha said piousness is personal and he is not concerned with my God or Gods. We are free to 'believe' what we want. Our premise is to live according to the laws of Karma and thus alleviate the suffering in ourselves, others and the world. If that happens to coincide with a certain religious belief then so be it. If not, we aren't found wrong in that regards either according to Buddha.

I don't like Christmas. Not because of what it represents. Although I take gross exception to the Virgin Birth concept. I don't take that literal but more in a 'pure of mind, thought and heart' when the act of conceiving a child was committed and knowing of his purpose as instructed by a higher being. Uhm...my husband being quasi Agnostic half-hearted, dispassionate Presbyterian has his own opinion on this topic. YOU DON'T want to know it!! Trust me.

I don't celebrate Christmas any more per se as I see no reason to. I no longer follow the faith. I do not align my self with the majority of beliefs the "organized church" their own organizational structure or the words they preach. I find it hypocritical of me to pretend I do.

Just me personally, I find much about Christianity and the Bible indisputably true and am often moved profoundly there is much I question, and don't find plausible. There are also too many contradictions for me in what I read and thus find it impossible for me to believe entirely and have "faith in" completely. I think that kind of defeats the purpose of belonging to the religion which is why I feel like a hypocrite. Why be a part of or participate in something, while you may 'know' you don't 'comprehend' or believe entirely? If you don't 'feel it' you don't 'feel it'.

All my life I never 'felt it' with conviction the way most "Christians" do despite my deep appreciation, admiration and respect for it and its teachings. I don't like hypocrisy in others. Why tolerate it in my self? I take it literally when it is said, "Do not say what is not so" or as Christians put it "Thou shall not lie." If I wouldn't state what is not so to others outwardly why would it be o.k. to tell my self lies? I think this 'commandment' was meant to be applied inwardly when communicating to one's self as well as outwardly when speaking with others.

For me faith comes from the head and then the heart. If I can understand something I can believe it. If I can believe it I can have faith in it. The other way never worked for me in regards to anything in life. Thus the concept of Christianity, despite how I was raised, never quite was a good fit for me. Doesn't mean I don't dig Jesus. I do! Like I said, he's a righteous dude. He is someone I would have liked to met, hung out with and talked to.

After much exploration of religions from a pragmatist point of view (I yam what I yam), Buddhism 'fit me'. For the first time I 'got it' from a religious standpoint. Buddhism was and is something I can wrap my head around and thus my heart, body and soul followed. That works backwards from the Judeo-Christian premise of 'accepting' a religion, faith, and savior. No, I don't see Buddha as a savior. He made no claims as to being one.

I have God (I refer to him/her as The Great Integrity). I do not have a 'savior'. My path for salvation has clearly been laid out for me by those far more enlightened and self actualized than I regardless of what book I pick up. It is up to me at this point to be my own savior by following the instruction manual/s. How well I get 'saved' is up to me. Thus my concepts and belief about free will and why I have one. Also that leads me back to square one and my intro to Buddhist beliefs.

Needless to say my parents were not pleased with this new 'enlightenment' I discovered. (HUUUUGE eye roll). I was unorthodox and a-typical and as different as one could be from their family since day one. My parents were never pleased with this aspect of their child. They never could accept the fact I neither wanted to nor was going to conform and it was much wiser to let me 'be' who I was. My Father passed 18 years ago. My mother...well, let's say this is ONE of the reasons I live 2 time zones away. It is better to love afar than not love someone at all.

I also don't typically celebrate because I despise the utter commercialism of Christmas. I can not walk into a store without expressing utter contempt and disgust from October through January. Holidays used to be celebrated in turn. Their point and purpose was clear. Now they're just arbitrary and ambiguous. There's Halloween candy, Thanks Giving wreaths and Christmas trees up all at the same time. Why bother? They all seem consumer driven, meaningless and empty belief system aside.

I refuse to cater to this lunacy and have a strict policy that nothing for Thanks Giving gets put up until after Halloween. If we do X-Mas nothing gets put up until the day after Thanks Giving. I neither go to the mall on X-Mas Eve or X-Mas. My husband enjoys the tree and the music. I'll put it up for him. I do believe in inviting friends over to celebrate THEIR holiday and to share with them the spirit of their season. I appreciate it and its meaning although I don't celebrate. I recognize its significance and value and meaning. I have hosted quite a few "Orphan" dinners here where I've fed lots of holiday meals to people. I serve my religion by 'serving' others. (One of our Buddhist cornerstones). I do send out X-Mas cards for others.

I am kind of miffed though I don't get any on Buddha's Birthday!(LOL) Seriously, it is one of our holidays.

My husband and I typically don't do X-Mas gifts either. (Zoe is the only one who gets anything). Not because they are associated with Christmas or religion but again it caters to commercialism and says only one time of the year is 'the time' to give. I don't like anyone to feel 'obligated' because it is X-Mas they "have to" give me something or feel bad because they can't or can't afford to give at a certain level.

My way of alleviating that is to only accept things that are less than $10.00 OR things that are service oriented or useful: cleaning supplies, a box of pasta and some items to make it, a small plant, batteries, dog treats, washing my car, walking Zoe for me. I'll offer someone a day of house keeping or ironing. I'll do weed pulling, or tutor the kids one day, etc. I find these things to be more gratifying and fulfilling.

So, hopefully I have offended no one and solve some of the enigma that is me.

So glad you are feeling better and have gone back to writing.

Sounds like you've been busy as a bee! Yes, pun intended. Do you sell your honey locally or is it just for personal use? What about the wax? Candle making?

Casa Grande, AZ

Great article on the dust bowl. Still happens out here. Take a look on the web for July 7th 2012 and see our version! Pretty intimidating. Happens fairly regularly out here!

Hope everyone is well. Sure you're all just busy. Like an update on Kay's condition as soon as you can.

Going to Neurologist tomorrow. Day after fairly busy too.

Have a great day all.
Peace. Out.

Midland City, AL

Yes, TTC, just a lot on our plate at the moment. Tigger needs medication, but has no insurance. Iím sure she qualifies for disability, but that takes a long time and she needs the medicines now. From a gardening point of view, things are going splendidly. Tigger got in a cool season vegetable garden before having an episode. Spinach, collards. Arugula, kale and turnips are all planted. Kayís condition is unchanged. She has good days and bad ones when she sleeps virtually around the clock. Thursday canít come soon enough for me. How did your appointment go?
Beth, my apologies for forgetting to put the link in my last post. What I said did not make much sense without it and now I canít find the link. This getting old stuff sucks!
The article was about a program in London set up by the London Beekeepers Association to help the urban bee population. There has been a recent surge in new beekeepers in the city while fewer ornamental garden flowers that are being added to home gardens provide bees with nectar and pollen. The London Beekeepers Association has started providing free seed mixes to home gardeners and those responsible for the cities green spaces. I was saying in my last post I believe the latter will work well, but I have my doubts about urban gardeners planting more bee friendly plants. Aside from the competitive nature of city gardening, there are neighborhood ordinances and Iím sure Britain has some equivalent to HOAs.
If you want to provide your local bees with more forage, there is always guerilla gardening. Any ugly vacant lots and any weedy no-manís zone is considered fair game. The weapon of choice for guerilla gardeners are sun-hardened clay balls dotted throughout with wildflower and carefree annual seeds. If you were so armed, do you think you could resist throwing them at people? Be honest now
TTC, the ladies never turn down any reason for a party. They create reasons if they have to. Fennyís birthday party being the most recent example. Fenrira is a stray and we have only the vaguest idea when she was born, but October 1st is Black Dog Day and Fenny is a black dog so that became her birthday. No, they didnít make up Black Dog Day. I think the Humane Society did that. Would-be pet owners are least likely to choose a black dog for some reason. The Humane Society created Black Dog day to get more dark colored canines adopted.
Based on hints given in scripture, I doubt Jesus was born in winter,, but the early church was wise to create a holiday symbolizing hope and new beginnings at the darkest time of the year as Christianity moved into regions with hard winters. Christmas, Haunikah, Kwansa and any other holiday people living in the higher latitudes can lay claim to and celebrate to push back the winter blahs is a good thing in my opinion. It may not be as important as it once was when bitter winters held the real possibility of starvation and freezing to death. Sharing foodstuffs in winter may once have meant survival. With the economic situation being what it is, I think it is time to remember the practical origins of Christmas. December is statistically still the month with the highest number of suicides and suicide attempts. There is some sort of special need during that time of year. Like you, I wish the joy and goodwill there still is with the season lasted longer than a fresh cut Christmas tree. Adults having pepper spray fights over the last Tickle-Me Elmoís toy in the store is a good example of how twisted it has all become. The Baby Jesus represents the coming of hope in a dark time and Iím not willing to throw out the baby with the dirty bathwater. It has been said that the only difference between humans and animals is that we are storytellers. Other creatures communicate via sound and other creatures make tools. Stories vary with the storyteller. Some facts are exaggerated while others are left out depending on the personality of the one telling the story. No religion is rational. That isnít its purpose. Religionís purpose is to help us manage the irrational aspects of ourselves and deal with the irrationality of our world. I will not say more than this because admin frowns on our discussing religion on a site dedicated to gardening. The reasons it pops up so often here is because we are physically challenged gardeners. We almost have to find a source of strength beyond ourselves to garden or do anything else. To my way of thinking, itís no accident that AA is more successful than most organizations battling alcoholism, a disease that is at its root a physical problem. Alcoholics Anonymous is the only group that encourages belief in a higher power that one can turn to for strength
Nadi has a money-making job with a deadline so Kay and I have been helping her with her purple themed garden. For autumn there are purple beautyberries under planted with ĎPurple Heartí tradescantia with a sedum with chartreuse foliage for accent. There is nothing subtle about the look, but then there is nothing subtle about Nadi and it is her personal space.
I have all my camellia seeds in pots in the greenhouse. . All I have to do now is water and wait. They should start germinating in about a month, but put down roots first. It may be three months before I see any signs of life above ground. If it works this time, I will have enough plants for a camellia hedge for the price I would have paid for one plant at the nursery. All are camellia sinensis, the camellia tea is made from. I purchased seeds for the small leaf and large leaf variety plus C. sinensis rosea, a pink blooming variety. .
I will be working on computers today. My wireless system doesnít want to accept three computers even with boosters. I need to figure out why.
I will try to check in more regularly. Itís about time to refresh the thread also.

Hendersonville, NC(Zone 7a)

holidays (Christmas.Kwanza,etc.) in winter Yes, I agree, they're scheduled so as to provide hope. . .a sign that winter will soon be over and the land will re=new itself in glorious spring,,,plus the births of animal young. It's no coincidence that the shortist day of the year (hence the deepest time of winter, with succeeding days gradually getting longer: Decemb3er 21 or 22, the winter soltice).

Scheduling of Christmas (historical fact) originally a pagan celebration of coming birth and renewal, the Romans appropriated the REASONs for the date's celebration. Roamans, being the ruling power, sought to impose Christianity on their subjects by hook or by crook.

accessibility-challenged individuals and belief in a higher power careful about generalizations! Being challenged also can result in the esxact opposite: a lack of belief for allowing the situation in the firwst place.

Tigger, disability, medicines and medical insurance There's state-run meedical insurance (Medicaid) that's handy while waiting for SWocial Security disaability to be approved. The dat3e she APPLIES for disability is when her benefits will be paid (medicdal expenses re-imbursed) even if she's originally denied...as long as she files an appeal of their rejection! For example: It took a little over 3 years(from the date I applied) before I got approved for disability. The first 1-3 decisions were routinely denied, but I filed timely appeasls. Finally, in the 2nd year: I "hired" a SSI (disabilty) lawyer -I signed paperwork agreeing to a [Social Security Administration set] atty fee to be automatically deductedd from my disability settlement. A few months waiting for my case to be heard by the appeal person and a 10 minute hearing and VOILA! I was approved. While it took them about 9 months to finish paying my entire settlement, you have to realize that they had to pay from my application date . .almost 3 years earlier! Medicaid (which reimbursed all medical expenses - doctors , hospitals, ambulances, medicines etc. . back to the same application date) was also tied in (I had too much tied up in saleable assets to qualify as an able-bodies sole).

Upshot? It's all a racket. It's set up for automatic denial, even one's fiorst appeal is routinely denied. . after a sham of an exam by a long-retired MD who judges you fit to work since you have a pulse! The system REQUIRES you to "hire" an atty, stipulating how much to pay & insuring payment. the attys and the disability judges know one another - personally . You can't get anywhere (i.e. approved for disability) on your own.

I'm assuming that any medical treatment she needs will be somehow paid for: SAVE THOSE RECEIPTS! And have her start the process for disability (apply and appeal, appeal, appeal) and "hire" a disability atty. It'll be hard financially but will eventually pay off (even retro-actively!) sdo try to amass as much medical documentation that you can (medical opinions are good but MRIs and XraYs and other tests are GOLDEN and aren't open to question).

Also have her apply for Medicaid (or whatever it's called in your statr3e). What have you got to lose? versus gaining retroactive medical insurance! (Don't forget to appeal, appeal, appeal!)

**moan** my fingers hurt from all this I-got-carried-away typing!!

here's some about my gartdens: rain, rain, rain and more rain! I'm STILL waiting [for my gaRden helper] to plant my bulbs (hyancinth, daffodils and crocus in my side garden......allium in my spring bulb garden) and to have him amend my front garden. This is what *I* did (with my trusty manual ATV!) In my spring bulb garden, I pulled up all my summer zinnias and towed their intact PVC irrigation system [under-neath watering] to the back (I had nothing to cut it with. Picture this: I steered my manual ATV with one hand, while towing the intact irrigation system with the other. Couple of steps, move ATV, tow system , couple of steps, move ATV, tow system....repeat), raked in fertilizer for my spring bulb bed (again using my manual "ATV"). I sowed a patch in my side garden ( and most of my back garden) with annual winter rye. (The near-constant rain is keeping the birds away, snug & dry WHEREEVER! and NOT eating it, but I wonder if it'll die/drown?).

I'm pooped. Time for TV and a pizza.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Yes, I agree with Beth. Science-diagnosed diseases for me at least led to skepticism and disbelief. I think I would have been wiped out with my first bad UTI in a day and time when there were no antibiotics. People as disabled as me didn't survive until recently in history. Maybe I should say as disabled as US. We would have been left behind when the tribe moved on, or WE are the folks who would have starved or frozen to death.

My MRI is scheduled for 6;20 am tomorrow morning! I am so sick of dealing with this issue. I hope it's nothing; that is, I hope the MRI doesn't show anything.

Casa Grande, AZ

Good Morning All :D

Yes, I find the holidays and the reasons very interesting. It is funny for me, I noticed most of my 'major' holidays as well a the more celebrated minor ones are in Spring! (Maybe that's because Winter really isn't typical "Winter" in that part of the world.) Mine are primarily in April and May.
Two other weird things.

First our calendars are not fixed because we are a lunar calendar as opposed to a solar one . So like you celebrate X-Mas on the 25th of December no matter what. Mine are not necessarily the same day or even same month. A lot of them go by, "the start of the 2nd full moon in the month of May", etc. If there's leap years and the holiday is 'officially' in April it could get bumped to the next month or month prior. These things give us a lot of lee way as term of dates.

Second, my belief and set of holidays I follow/participate in is highly secular. There's 3 major Branches Of Buddhism with a few sub sects under them. Sub sects primarily share the holidays with the branch they are associated with BUT some sub sects also share a few holidays with one of the other major branches and sub sects they're not associated with.

So you have branches A, B, C and sub sects X, Y, Z. The sub sect Y may fall under A branch primarily as a rule in beliefs and celebration of A's holidays. BUT one or two of the sub sects in A could share certain holidays in branch C or even share with sub sect Z and not X and Y. Again it is mutable.

Basically Buddhist choice A,B,C, Can primarily be infinitely combined with sub sects X,Y,Z in different combinations! So everyone's celebration and holidays are different to some degree. Also because of the lunar thing the holidays themselves can be on different days and months.

CAN WE SAY...."mass confusion" !!!! Simplest thing to do is pick your belief. Pick your branch of Buddhism. Stay there. Then get a lunar calendar or check on line every month to see what the heck you're celebrating today!!! (LOL)

There are only 4 unanimous holidays we ALL celebrate.
Buddha's birthday, his death and his day of enlightenment and days of service regardless of date they fall on per branch/sect called Amitabha (acts in the name of Buddha).
Amitabha has a strict code based on the fact the relationship between temple/monks and their people/congregation is 100% symbiotic!

--If you can give money you do so!

There are no paychecks for monks/clergy or the temple. They are all sustained by the people who voluntarily work to maintain the temple, feed and clothe them! They don't eat unless the people feed them!
The monks in return ARE the 'teachers' and educators and spiritual leaders and officiators (not determiners) of holidays. They also deal with the government as spiritual (not political) embassies of the country on behalf of the people. They are THE actual schools so to speak where reading, writing, etc. is taught. Bear in mind most of these countries where Buddhism is the religion (Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Tibet, Mongolia, Nepal, India, etc.) are rural and comprise of agricultural villages with few 'major' cities and not a whole lot of industry and manufacturing unless you live in a 'big city'.

--If you can give money but possess skill or ability the majority of your community/temple does not have you perform these services for free. (Carpentry, making and dying of cloth, artist, basket maker, if you can read and write you teach others, etc.)

--If you can not do this then you work for someone/the temple for free. (Help elderly, disabled, clean, harvest produce, plant, wash clothes, cook and help set up for the festivities, tend to the animals in the community, etc.)

--If you can not do any of the above you sit and pray all day!

Believe it or not is an honor to have a son as a monk. Many families willingly turn their first born son at age 5 or 6 over to the Temple to be 'raised' for a lifetime of religious service. (FYI they are allowed to marry Only one sect doesn't permit it and they are free to leave if they want relationships/marriage and return when they feel like it!). This 'dedication' is also part of many celebrations

We ALL get hammered regardless of Branch and/or sub sect with Amitabha relentlessly every month and all year long!! The only ones excused are infants and those under 2. Even a 3 year old can sit and 'hand' something like a piece of paper or pen or a seed or a handful of rice to the person who is working. They can pray. NOBODY gets out of Amitabha!

So there's my crazy holidays. What do you think? Got to admit though not too commercial and you never have to worry about what you're going to 'give' someone on the holiday!!! Shopping is pretty easy for us. (LOL).

I agree in that all of the worlds holidays originally started around the seasons, the references to bounty, thanks, sharing, rest and regeneration and growth/new life and prosperity. I think that's why they center of feasts, fasts and symbolic plants, foods and animals. Included was also the appreciation of a deity, or spiritual leader or just some higher power meant to transform us for the better. I know they were meant to be community oriented and somewhat symbiotic. Otherwise NO ONE would have ever survived!

Look at how far in the opposite direction we've come as a society and people. Makes you ponder what happened and why? Maybe explains the loneliness, suicide and depression around these times also.

I'm sorry to hear Kay hasn't gotten what she needed yet but at least her condition isn't deteriorating(?). Poor Tigger. I felt and lived her pain. Basically if you're disabled you can't get unemployment. You can not collect an unemployment check. If you're unemployed and on unemployment you MUST look for work, accept work and go to work. You are not disabled.
If you are disabled you can not look for work, accept work or go to work. You do not get unemployment checks. You are disabled. You get SSDI.
So....while you wait and wait and wait and appeal and appeal and appeal for 1-3 years you have no income.
If you have a spouse who makes more than $12,000.00 (thereabouts) you are not in poverty. You do not get free housing, free utilities, food stamps, welfare or medical. If you're single you wait and wait and wait to get these things and then you get a pittance.
When you do get your S.S. and they pay you your back money owed you have to wait 1 month before getting your check. They take taxes out of it and you have to pay the lawyer $6,000.00 or 25% whatever is lower. They then take taxes out of your social security check monthly on money you paid taxes on your whole entire life! They then charge you for medical, dental, eye, etc.
I'm presently on my husband's insurance not anything from S.S. I get nothing taken out of my check for that. If I had medical deducted from my S.S. check, after I paid what was necessary in terms of bills AND I NEVER had a doctor or hospital bill I would literally be living on $4.31 cents a day...providing I lived in section 8 housing, had food stamps and free utilities and owned my car.
If I had to pay rent or a mortgage I would lose everything.
If I got sick and had no insurance through S.S. or socialized medicine I could buy (I couldn't afford private BC/BS, Etna, etc.) I would be reduced to being homeless and destitute. Let's not forget they closed a lot of those places and now you have to 'wait' to get into the Salvation Army shelters.
Thank God I'm married. Oh...BC/BS was now nice enough to change our insurance to 30% deductible and 70% covered. Prior it used to be 20% deductible and 80% covered.

My 401-K plan now that the 'money' is gone has been to sell everything I literally own, buy a plane ticket and move to a Buddhist country practicing my branch of their religion. I will give them the remainder of everything aside from the expense of my airplane ticket and shave my head and live as a nun. Popular choice for widows, persons unable to care or provide for themselves and the devout. I will be of service for the rest of my days. Voluntary service is better than indentured servitude or being a serf. At least I will know I will be fed, clothed and housed by those around me willingly and appreciated for the contributions I can make.

The future's so bright I gotta wear shades! :D LOL!!

As for my Neurologist great guy. Not much he can do for me except play musical meds. I give him credit though. He has a determination to actually DO something for me and wants to find a solution. I don't get waltzed out of there in 10 minutes, feel like I'm on a money making treadmill for some pill pimp who deliberately wants to keep me sick (literally almost killed me!) and has no interest in me as a human being. Quite the opposite. I'm always terrified of new drugs. Abominable side effects. Sometimes the devil I know is better than the one I don't!!!

Best piece of advice I can offer up to Tigger , you or anyone is go to Dollar For Docs web site. Type in the doctor's name. THEY LIST how much money over 10 years these people earned aside from their salary from drug companies, pharmaceutical companies, labs, other co physicians and how much they made lecturing, teaching, speaking, traveling etc.!!
Now if you see someone raking in money from pharmaceutical companies etc. You know they're a pill pimp and want to keep you coming back. If they earned little to nothing and focus on teaching, lectures etc then most likely they're good.
Want to know what my quack neurologist made for 3 years from drug companies...brace yourself...OVER $600,000.00. YEP them zeros and decimal point are right! The guy was pimping me and my health for money!!!
Also if you go in the office and see all kinds of signs, literature and they want to ask you if you want 'samples' that's another big clue the drug companies are paying them to push what's being advertised on those signs!
Oh, if you trash the doctor on a web site/social media they can and do have the right and ability to remove the rating. I just keep posting and posting and posting. Guy has to get tired of chasing me at some point! He literally almost killed me by overdosing me (even my current Neurologist's eyes popped out of his head when I told him how much I was taking), and not addressing my B12 problem despite my complaints, symptoms, previous medical notations by other doctors about this, my CMP blood tests and the plethora of articles I brought him!!!

On the more positive side though I am happy Tigger has found something happy and worthwhile to throw herself into. It is gratifying, rewarding and fulfilling. It keeps you focused on what you're able to do rather than what you can't. The growth of the garden/plants and the reaping/final blooming is the ultimate reward. You can say, "I DID THIS". You may not be able to do much in your life BUT you did this!! Makes you want to do more. Fills you with purpose and a desire to share. We all need to serve and be of use to ourselves and others. It is human nature.

Like you said we all have to find some source of power beyond ourselves be it spiritual or tangible that we can produce, make or do for others

I've been contemplating trying to plant more things for bees in my backyard bed. I enjoy the hummingbirds but I have a feeder for them. I love the butterflies. Who doesn't. But I think it would be great to have something the bees benefit from too. I don't bother them and aren't afraid. The dog..for the most part..is intelligent enough to avoid them. For some reasons bees don't seem to be too interested in cacti flowers because the flowers are so fleeting. Many people don't want to attract bees. I don't see too much harm in having one thing or two that does. I don't want to be infested BUT I'd like to see a few around. Plus the 'buzzing" is pleasant in a way. I'm sure city or not if everyone can plant one type of flower or just one plant that attracted them, things would be much better.

I like a good party too and make some of our own. Mostly, "Happy Crab Day!" Since neither of us were a crab that day and was happy it is "Happy Crab Day!" Usually involves food, cooking out, doing shopping/odds ends we don't mind or enjoy, making a great dinner, mild use of alcohol,(wine with dinner) and enjoying the sun or outdoors our weather permitting (NOT 115 degrees). My husband has "Happy Crab Friday" which isn't always on Friday. Sometimes his Fridays are Sunday night because he's off Mon and Tue. But whatever his 'Friday' is it is always "Happy Crab Friday!!" You can laugh but when I visited the aquarium I found the cutest stuffed red crab. That is "Mr. Crab" He comes and joins us in our festivities! (LOL).
Doggy Clause comes every year for Zoe. I have to check her certificate again. It is either in December or April. Her ear tattoos are no longer readable as the fur has grown in over them. Then of course I celebrate the moment I can don warm fuzzy socks and slippers! :D

Bet's sorry about the rain! :( Want a break? Come see me. You can help me lay brick for my beds and there's no rain, very low humidity and the sun shines! Right now temps are mid 80s! Bring 'maters. I'll cook! :D

Wrote a long time. Gotta go and start the day.

Jim...let me know when you would like a piece of my crab cactus. I'll happily send it to you. Would you like a century plant too?

Peace. Out. TTC
song for the day, Turn, Turn, Turn by the Birds. You know, "For every season turn, turn, turn, a time to...."

This message was edited Oct 28, 2015 9:15 AM

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

I spoke too soon; my MRI for tomorrow morning has been CANCELLED. Grrrrrrrrrr. Ray yelled at the woman on the phone.....now everybody's upset.

Agave, leaving aside how it was when I first started on Medicare and SSDI, right now I get around $500-600 a month from SSDI (after they take out my Medicare premium). It is so low because I didn't work for very long. I get Medicaid (Massachusetts) forever because I am 100% disabled. I pay $1.20 or so for most prescriptions.

for one never had a lawyer for Medicare or Medicaid. I remember getting SSI before I got SSDI, but I don't remember most details. I was married then with a baby, but I was pretty poor. I got WIC when the kids were little, and because I'm on Medicaid, I get a discount on utilities! When Ray was working, he had BC/BS through his company to cover himself and my kids. That was pretty expensive. In Texas, I was not eligible for Medicaid (run by the states) which made life a lot more expensive. And, in Texas, doctors can say "no Medicare patients accepted" so it was good to have BC/BS while we lived there.

In Massachusetts, I get all my health care costs covered by one thing or the other. The only bad thing is Ray has only VA health for the rest of his life. I wish we could have the same doctor but we can't. I love socialized medicine.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Please check this out:

Hendersonville, NC(Zone 7a)

disability payments to help clear up some mentioned misconceptions: the Social Security Administration handles disability payments. Once adjudicated "disabled", one gets his/her Social Security (the amount one would "get" after retirement from the workforce). THIS IS NOT NA HANDOUT, BUT BASED ON HOW MUCH YIOU EARNED, AS EVERY PAYCHECK AUTOMATICALLY HAD A SMALL AMOUNT DEDUCTED - THAT ONE IS NOT ABLE TO STOP grrrr caps lock! This deducction is a contract betweedn the government and the worker: "If /when you [can] no longer work, we will give you a monthly income." This is the base amount of tyhe monthly "disaability payMENT".

tHE sOCIAL sECURITY aDMINISTRATION ggggggrrrrrrrrr daNg capsx lock!! then supplements this base amount (which varies for each individual as it's that person's retirement amt -which is based on how much that person paid in to his/her Social Security while working) with a separate program (if necessary) to bring the monthly disbility payment up to the government-set monthly poverty level.

No taxes are ever paid or deducted. A modest amount is often deducted from "the monthly disability payment" for medicdal insurance - but how much is set by the government, varies by WHICH medical insurance company the INDIVIDUSL choses and how much coverage is chosen. There's another program (Social Security Administration or government run?) that can help with this cost: either paying part or all of this cost.

While I can't remember the EXACT amount for my disability atty . . . .I DO remember it was not exorbitant (less than $1000) and was NOT based on the % eventually recovered in back pay (else WHY would the attys EVER work to close a case? The longer it dragged out, the more money they'd make!).

There are restrictions not experienced by the regulasr retirees or thos "on disability" , IF one needs the SSA supplement to reach the monthly disability level. . . but it's complicated so I'll not go there.

A final caveat to disability and the Social Security Administration: if you worked somewhere that did NOT pay into Social Security because thwey had their OWN retirement fund ( like federeal or state government) then YOU ARE %#[email protected]^! ( Caps intentional) Your base pAyment is then based on the minimum wage jobs you had right after graduating from HS and NOT on the well-paying jobs you eventually had!

I'm decidedly upset now, so I'll put this keyboard away before I start ranting.

Casa Grande, AZ

Hi gang,

SS Amin and health insurance and the government....sigh. Since this topic is about as loaded as a loose cannon on a wet deck I'm going to stay on the fringe of it. Don't know if anyone read my 3 wishes but now you know why I asked for #3.

All I can say is this year...I feel the "Bern" ! I think it is time we join the rest of THE WORLD. Maybe then we wouldn't have people living like it was a 2nd and 3rd world country here and we wouldn't be currently ranked #16 in the World in terms of adequate/best health insurance and coverage to their country's people. Yep...we are that LOW!

D.H. is mystified why I'd like to move out of this country. I think for persons such as ourselves the answer should be self explanatory. Not that moving may be other's want or solution but it is the obvious answer to the problem for most of us.

Oh...since gas is so cheap and we got no COLA wasn't that wonderful? I mean cheap gas really benefits me because I don't drive. How about them lung cancer, and paralyzed people and stroke victims that can't talk or use half of their body? But hey....gas is cheap for them too! NO, we all didn't need a raise based on food, clothing, or medical prices. GAS IS CHEAP! Whoooo Hoooo! Helps me!

Would anyone like to move with me? I'm looking at Mexico (Baja CA, and Bahia Del Sur) , Central America and South Africa. Let me know. We can book the same flight.

O.K. done with that without getting my self in too much trouble I hope.

On the safer topic side....
Beautiful pictures today to look at and admire. Some were really hard to decide on. Part of the fun was spending the time lingering over them to make decisions. :D My husband, Dave, really enjoyed several as he does photography as a hobby sometimes. I do decent ones and am getting better but his are spectacular. I do a lot of my paintings from his photos (Kind of hard to set up easel in the desert).

Here was something odd. I'll show these pictures. See if you can guess what this is! It made its appearance at 1:03p.m. this afternoon. Answer in the next post!!

Thumbnail by Agavegirl1 Thumbnail by Agavegirl1 Thumbnail by Agavegirl1 Thumbnail by Agavegirl1 Thumbnail by Agavegirl1
Casa Grande, AZ

It is HAIL!! Yep got rain today. Thunderstorms but no lightening. And then we got this!!!
Do you know how cold it has to be and how fast the temperature had to drop for us to get HAIL in Arizona? Wow!!! In 8 years I have never seen hail here. Flipped me out. Only lasted about 15 minutes but the water works are still going.

It is still pouring out side. Just raging. Bets...did you do this to me because I mentioned our sunshine yesterday? Oh well, here's so pictures of rain in AZ. Novel sight here. Too cold a rain for me to go stand in but sure do like to leave the doors open and enjoy the sight, sound and scent. Glad Zoe got her walk in this a.m. when it was sunny! Goes to show you, when it rains it pours here!

1. Water rolling off my roof and directly onto my Natal Plum shrub below it and in between my two Octopus Agaves.

2. View of the downpour from inside my front door. If you look in the street you can see the water filling it.

3. My tiny little bubble garden :( Goodness did it get a drenching. Water rolled right off the roof and onto them.

Have a good day all.
Peace. Out

Songs for the day: "Have You Ever Seen the Rain?" CCR
"Get Together" by the Young Bloods

Thumbnail by Agavegirl1 Thumbnail by Agavegirl1 Thumbnail by Agavegirl1
Hendersonville, NC(Zone 7a)

just HAD to say this to TTC: LOL...no, ROFL hahahazhehehehohoho

Now I know where that rain went! It's finally quit raining...no rain today...HERE!

song: Let the sun shine, by mthe Monkees I think


Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

No, I don't think that's the Monkees. I can't remember who it is, but not them.

This #$*&$ MRI! Now they say I have to be a patient of the hospital's pain clinic (to follow the pump) to have an MRI at that hospital. Half of me wanted to switch to that clinic for simplicity, but the minute they say you MUST be seen by our neurologist to follow your pump (including new patient visit wait a month etc) I feel like NO WAY. I will see whatever doctor I please. I think I will go to a different MRI place near the baclofen pump doctor. So the next question is will the PCP write an order for an MRI at this out of town place? I sure hope so.

Hail, Agave! Wow! My daughter had her college wilderness orientation which lasted 6 weeks which was up in the mountains near Phoenix. She was hailed on quite a bit.

Casa Grande, AZ

Bets...Fifth Dimension. It is the second part of Aquarius. You know..."This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius...." and then it does the Segway into "Let the Sun Shine." Ahem...If anyone listened to my songs of the day they'd know this! (and not hurt my feelings)
I had posted this one for you specifically previously! :D I also posted Johnny Nash, "I can see clearly now". Good happy sunshine songs!

Oh.....ROFL....The rain is GONE and the sun IS OUT!!! :D Did it head back to you? Nice thing about here; when it rains it pours but not more than a minute (so to speak). See, you could still make it here in time to play in the sun. Just bring them 'maters!

Sorry about the MRI thing. I know how aggravating this can get. Really I do. I got the run around more than once on stuff like this which is why I got so hard nosed on things. I'm surprised either you or Ray haven't gone off on these people yet.

I found I usually get my way because they never expect you to argue or go off on them. Yesterday at my Neurologist was a perfect example. I got nasty because they 'changed' their policy and want to be paid in full at the end of your visit.

I exploded..in that "royal, don't you argue or challenge me peasant" vocabulary and voice that I can adopt so well. I wasn't aware they merged with a different hospital and this was now their policy. I gave them $20.00 and not a cent more. I got home and called their patient advocacy number.

I told them, "By law you have 30 days to pay a bill. By law when you change policies regarding billing then YOU ARE required to inform your patients in writing BEFORE they decided to visit you again. YOU did not. .........
AND DON'T... YOU... EVER...EVER...EV-VER sweat me for money or embarrass me like I'm some kind of derelict who can't pay my bill when I need to. How dare you harass me for money. What? You think I'm going to skip the country or something after I leave here?
You have billed me since the get go and YOU WILL continue to do so.
You WILL do so because I SAY SO!
I have excellent credit. I have health insurance.
I have always paid your bill in full. If not I have always arranged payment with you until your bill was paid in full.
You have never had to wonder, ask or worry about money from me.
You have never had to call my house, send me a letter or turn me over to collections.
You bill has ALWAYS got paid.
It will continue to be paid.
Very simply put, WHEN I get paid you get paid You get paid. When I get paid, you get paid. I get paid once a month. You'll get paid once a month after I do.
If that isn't good enough for you then I don't have to come back! I'll go to someone who bills me, gives me 30 day to pay them and takes payments "

Gentleman said this was noted and put in my file and there was no reason to not continue doing things as always. Couldn't stop apologizing enough. I asked if I had made myself "abundantly clear" on what I expected the next time I visited the office. He said "Yes, ma'am." (I love being called by ma'am especially from people I intimidated and terrorized *grin*).

Maybe you need to start going off a little on these people? Found they'll all push you as far as they can if you let them. Bottom line is money. They want yours and they don't want to lose you. If they can't give you what you want threaten to take away the business. Works every time! Short of being illegal you wouldn't believe the things doctors have been willing to do for me and ways they'll accommodate me. I found the bigger PITA and more demanding and resistant I become the MORE I get what I want.
When they don't, like Dr. N. at the Mayo Clinic, I dump them complain to the 'new' doctor and let them know if they do the same crap I'll dump them too. I've never gotten such good service in all my life! Gotta be a raving [email protected](#
I look at this way regardless of what insurance or no list or list of doctors you have YOU DO have choices. They're a business. You are the boss. They are in business because you pay them and you go there! If not they would be out on their ass and their building empty. I expect the same quality of treatment from them that I do a retail store a fine restaurant, a mechanic, or anything else I pay for. Unless they are the ONLY one there is always someone else to go to. Convenience is not always comfort. Value is not always worthwhile if it impedes on quality and flexibility.
Do they have out patient imaging centers that do MRI, CT Scans, etc. in your area? Can you go there instead of the hospital? Can you go to a different hospital if it still works with your insurance? Can you book appointments for MRIs everywhere it is possible and then go to the first one that takes you and then cancel the rest before 24 hours(*grin*)

Weather here is weird. Like I said, lived here 8 years and never saw hail. Your daughter said Phoenix had it. It will blow and storm and rain in our city but not the one 10 miles away. Half of our city gets rain the other half gets nothing. Weird out here.

Gotta go.

Oh....raised beds done! Tah...Dah...a new Aloe for it too.
My home made chili is done too! :D Yummmm
Peace. Out.

The beds and the Aloe and some close ups of the foliage and pups. Drove my eyes crazy. Had to have because of shape, color, texture and pattern! I've been outside looking at it every chance I get like I'm on an acid trip!

Song, "R.e.s.p.e.c.t, Respect" by Aretha Franklin.

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

Dear woman, Ray is enough of a PITA for both of us. In general he thinks I am too nice to people and need to "grow a pair." I turned the MRI scheduling lady over to him and let him talk to my doctor, too. I am now trying to schedule the MRI at a separate, different site that works with a different hospital (not mine) and get my doctor to write the order at this other hospital. I will certainly keep you all updated!

Casa Grande, AZ

Hi Carrie, :D
Yep, Ray sounds a lot like me. Dave is waaaay too easy going with stuff like this, thus the reason I'm the one that jumps down these people's throats. I guess I'm a little more comfortable with it. I think overall it is harder for women to assert themselves then men. I don't know why except to blame society for how we raise daughter's versus sons. Also if people 'perceive' you as weak spirit wise or mentally they treat you as such. Physical appearance has nothing to do with being perceived as weak. It is their 'spirit' and state of mind that makes them be seen as intimidating or firm. I know plenty of physically handicapped/disabled persons that can make ME take a step back!

I don't care how ill I am or if they just got done stapling my head together I never let scheduling-billing-admin know I don't feel well, or am having a hard time emotionally. The only one I let know that is my doctor. I found since they perceive no 'weakness' in me or my temperament they don't treat me like it. They usually cave to me. Works 95% of the time.

Just takes practice if you're not used to doing it.

Good for you for seeing if you can get to another place for the MRI. I'm sure you know this but make sure you follow it on your bill or before you agree to have things done. While the place, doctor and procedure may be covered by your insurance certain things there may not. For example (I dunno, just throwing it out there) printing out and reading of the images, an I.V. if necessary, 'administration fee' of something like an aspiring, etc. Ask them before you let them do anything OR ask Medicaid/Medicare.

Got a busy morning.
Let me know how your progress goes with getting this thing scheduled.

Peace. Out.

Oh...no hail or rain today; just clouds and overcast. Sun will probably make an appearance later. Husband said 15 miles away where he works they didn't get a single drop of rain all day!!! See..weather is just weird out here.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Leaves. These are burning bush, which I wrote an article about years ago.

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

doctgors and tests (MRI) When a doctor wants a patient to have any kind of test (examples from persopnal experience: blood, X-ray, MRI), it is the patient's RIGHT to choose WHERE to have XYTZ done: just because said doctor WANTS XYZ done somewhere specific (like blood drawn or x=rays dcone in his office or at a certain hospital or clinic: usually because its financially lucrative for HIM/HER) doesn't ever mean you MUST.

Don't be a wuss! Nicely ask for his/her ok to have XYZ done ??? becuase it's more convenient for you (or some other BS -but believable- reason). Like my Granny says "You catch moree flies with jhoney than vinegar." But as *I* say: "NEVER be afraid to put on your big girl panties and [fight for your right] (censored). You SHOULD start off by being nice, but be prepared to be . . . . un-nice. After all, it's YOUR body and YOUR cash. . . . .

I've encountered doctors who wanted XYZ at a place of their choosing: they CAN directly arrange XYZ where YOU choose or simply write a prescription for XYZ. I've had blood drawn at a different doctor's office (instead of at the local hospital, like he originally wanted...where I'd take my chances on getting the experienced trainer or the newly-hired trainee!), I've had X-rays ordered at one hospital but done - by MY choice- at another hospital...and I've chosen to have an MRI at a private concern instead of any of the 3 hospitals who also could do them! In fact, I've carried an MRI on a plane from a TX hospital to a NC surgeon mwith no problems.

I could go on, but I think y'all get my point: stand up for yourself!! You have the right to choose.

Midland City, AL

Carrie, Kayís nephrologist ordered an immediate MRI, but he gave her the choice of where to have it done. I think thatís the way it is supposed to be. Some doctors are affiliated with a certain hospital, but a patient isnít limited by that. Can you talk to your GPís office, tell them the situation. It may be that he/she can write the order.
TTC, great job on the raised bed and thatís a gorgeous aloe.
Hey, I walk around all day with your songs stuck in my head. Iím very impressionable where music is concerned. Feel better? Lol.
Iíve seen too many diabolical jinn/leprechaun movies and read too many such stories to trust that three wishes thing. The Twilight Zone version where the wisher ends up as Hitler in his bunker after he wishes for power jumps to mind. 100 years of perfect physical, mental and emotional health for the entire human race is as airtight as I can make three wishes, but Iím sure a cynical writer could poke the idea full of holes.
Thanks for the info, Beth. In the process of applying for disability, Tigger made a wonderful discovery. The IRS was holding an unclaimed tax refund check. That will help.
I pulled out a small bath tub to replace it with an accessible shower and found some leak damage to the floor. No garden work for me today or for the next few days. Gr-r-r.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

But Jim, isn't leak damage always better out in the open (discovered) than hidden (undiscovered)? You have to deal with it sooner or later, right?

Currently scheduled to have MRI Tuesday at this other place. Yes, I know it is my RIGHT to have the MRI at place of my choosing. My concern was about how hard would it be to exercise that right! Not all that hard, it turns out. I am just lazy....it is easier to go to the same places where we know the secret to parking, we know how long to allow for the trip and I already know how to find my way back to the waiting room from the exam room. (These things are challenging to some of us!)

MRIs always remind me of 1986 when I was in the middle of being diagnosed. First I had a lumbar puncture and they lost part of my cerebrospinal fluid. That was at a different hospital. Then my third opinion doctor was at this big city hospital. He looked at all my test results the other guys had done and said "there's this new kind of scan called magnetic resonance imaging. Be here at 9 pm Sat night." And as I remember the machine was in like a trailer in a parking lot. It was a surreal experience all-in-all. I was not used to being a patient. I was on so many drugs that I was falling asleep all the time.....I think I slept through the MRI, which seems impossible given how loud they are.

Casa Grande, AZ

Hi gang, :D

Hey glad someone listens to my songs! :D They're meant to be fun for all. Love music, lyrics and meanings. I listen to more music than I watching television. My whole life after leaving my parents house at 18 I NEVER owned one. Didn't care to. Had 2 boom boxes (You know the big silver ones that look like mini fridges) and a high quality stereo. Only thing I watch on TV now is the news or maybe something on Netflix. Couldn't tell you who a movie star is or what their name was or what the latest movies are. Haven't seen one in 3 years. Not interested. But music....could probably tell you the name, artist and title of almost anything and any genera out there except country and rap. Two I can't stand. (Although I love old school Hip-Hop. It was witty and fun!) I'm a 'lyrics' and meaning person.

Not a musician. Truly (pardon the politically incorrect phrasing) a 'white girl' when it comes to rhythm. I've got NONE. It's like swimming TOLD not to dance. I look better when I'm having a seizure (LOL).

Besides really hate unnecessary public embarrassment. Husband was mad at me as I wouldn't even slow dance with him at our wedding! Flat out refused!! He danced with my Maid of Honor. Ten years later never danced with him. Ten more years from now I still won't.

Ironically every guy I ever dated turned out to be John Travolta!! I thought, "Hey, guys would love me. I will never make them dance!" NOPE. Seemed that's all they ever wanted to go do. Go to clubs and dance. (*groan*) The club part was fine with me. The dancing was an absolutely not! While my present date was on the dance floor I spent most of my time at the bar looking for the next new date that didn't like to dance! :D

Took an aerobics class one time. Felt like I was auditioning for Broadway. Messed up the whole class running into people because I was sooo out of step. Ran out of there in tears.
Latin friends tried to teach me to Salsa dance. Shook their heads in dismay. Told me to stand there and talk to people because I looked much prettier doing that instead! (ROFL). Went to my best friend's wedding. We've been friends for 26 years! She's African American. They did the Electric Slide at the reception. I'll refrain from the obvious good natured jokes and fun directed my way!!! About the only thing I think I could manage convincingly is Punk Rock slam dancing in a Mosh pit!!

Bets is right. Use the HIPPA thing to your advantage. I make the statement quite often, "I have the right to refuse any medical treatment I don't want or feel is necessary to my treatment. I don't want it and I don't feel it is necessary. I'm not paying for it. I will go home and notify my insurance company that I made this statement. If you push the issue and refuse to treat me unless I do it and proceed to do it I will consider it a FREE service that neither I nor my insurance company are obligated to pay for. Your employee, Nurse so and so is a witness to my refusal. " MAKE SURE you call one of THEIR employees in the room before you do this! That way they can't deny it. At this point they usually refrain at that point.

When I had surgery on my hand the hospital tried to give me a pregnancy test to 'make sure'. Uhmm..my husband had a vasectomy before we got married! I told them this. I also told them I had my last 'monthly'. Also, take a look at my hand. Do you honestly think I've been engaging in a little afternoon delight? They pushed. I said no. They said they wouldn't do surgery unless I did it. Made the above statement. They pushed. I did it. I notified the insurance company. Told them. The insurance company refused to pay them and coded it as 'complimentary'. When the hospital tried to turn me over to collections I requested a letter from my insurance company stating the fact and sent it to the collection agency. They dropped it. :D The hospital was S.O.L. for the test. (ROFL)

Also any blood test I have done I get at an independent free standing lab. Even if my insurance doesn't cover it I honestly have never paid more than $15.00 to have one tube of blood drawn or $25.00 for two. My GP charges $55.00 to just walk in and see the phlebotomist. I get the results sent to me directly self and hand carry them to the doctor.

I let no doctor keep my records. I tell them they may copy them but they are MY RECORDS. They get returned to me before I walk out the door. I have every single medical record that exists on me from every single doctor. When I go any doctor I bring them in a box each and every time. I tell them they can copy the whole entire thing or any part they want BUT THEY CAN NOT KEEP any part of it!! It's mine. It is my personal information and property and it comes and goes with me.

I usually do start off nice with these people. It winds up that I'm not exactly nasty but curt, officious and insistent that things are going to be done my way OR not at all. I will go somewhere else. There's a lot of choices out there. They have the right to exercise their prerogative in matters like this, however, their decision will determine what I do. I will either subsequently thank them for their cooperation and see them again OR I will complain to their boss about how I was treated and the insurance company and go somewhere else. That's my prerogative.

I found the insurance company CAN be your friend. Even Medicaid/Medicare doesn't like getting ripped off and billed for superfluous things and over charged by these people when they don't have to be. They like patients willing to save them money and report fraud! Call them and tell them. You can also ask your insurance company who to go to if you have any private insurance (AARP, BC/BS). You think they're going to send you to the most expensive place? Of course not! Be your own best patient advocate!

I loooove the picture of the burning bush. That is amazing. So rich and vibrant. Just amazing. I'll have to see if that grows here and how big it gets. Dave isn't thrilled already that I have several plants that are going to become the sizes of mini vans rather quickly and eventually 2nd story homes in the front yard. (Uhm...didn't know this either when I got them). I don't think he'd be to thrilled if I brought home a 10 foot bush for the back. Doesn't bother me but there's that domestic harmony thing to consider. (eye roll, sigh...non gardeners; they just don't get it!)

So glad you liked the end result of the raised beds! Turned out better than I expected too. Will be adding on soon. Probably a square but smaller and taller than the other two. The p.pear is 3 levels high and the Aloe 4. I'm thinking the square should be about 7 levels high and only about 2 feet x 2 feet. Basically something small and vertical to showcase something special.
Not sure where/in what direction to build off of. Like I said, have to contemplate the fact I need to navigate around to reach the plants as my 'maze' grows. Also have to think about the special plant I want to put there. :D

Good project for me though. Keeps me busy and out of trouble! Also good exercise.
Glad you like the Aloe. Have no clue what type it is. Most likely a hybrid. Of course it came with NO labeling. Always helpful right. Then again I've bought things that say, "Trichocereus species" or "Pole cacti". Yeah, nothing like stating the obvious. Better description of what kind please?

So sorry no gardening for you today. Grrrrr, is right! Well, there's still something satisfying about working in the house too and getting things accomplished. Look at it this way, you can do things most people can't without hiring a handyman. That's got to feel good. I'm sure the ladies appreciate it ...just DON'T hurt your back.

I'm fairly handy too but my husband doesn't let me since he doesn't like my tool. :[ It is very user specific and since I was young has always comprised of :
paint and spray paint
duct tape and scotch tape
picture hanging wire
rubber bands, 'twisties' from bread packages and a spool of twine
mallet, hammer, nails the size of rail road spikes, and spackle,
two different screwdrivers, and a butter knife
a steak knife, a hack saw, wire cutters, tin snips, and scissors
turpentine and nail polish remover
a plunger and a bottle of Draino.
a bottle of bleach
a can of Raid

Seriously, what more does one need to fix anything?
Funny thing is I can do more things around the house than he can. I just humor him. I let him do it and then when he goes to work I fix it so it actually works. I'm smart. I let him take the credit for it! :D

I'm so happy Tigger is getting some cash. Hopefully it will help sustain her for awhile. Like I said, I feel her pain. Sock it away for her so they don't know she has it. :) I also save and roll change. After 6 months I've managed to get $200.00 That's 'my' money. I take it to the bank and cash it and put the cash in the house. I use it for me. It is amazing how change adds up.

The other goody I've taken to doing (just to put the screws to people who put the screws to me) is a cash reward credit card. Instead of using my debit card to pay for things. I never have a balance on mine so I use my credit card for everything from a pack of gum to the electric bill.
I keep a running total in a ledger for the month. I just pay it off electronically BEFORE it is due. They never collect interest. I collect money. So far in 1.5 years I have $377.00 of 'free money'. I have until the end of 2016 to keep going and then to 'cash in'. Oh, my credit rating is off the charts and I can renegotiate my interest rate down every year. I now pay 9.9%! Little things, but they do add up and help.

I agree about cynics. They can ruin everything can't they? Some people are just determined to be miserable no matter how happy everyone else is or how hard they try to solve problems.

Wise Cactus told me today, "Agave if you can solve one person's problems in this world you are a lucky and a truly enlightened person. Let that one person be you!"

Oh well, blathered enough. Gotta go.
Let me know when you want me to send the crab cactus. It is growing and doing well!
Have a great day.

For some reason this song keeps rattling around in my head. Great one about humanity and our human condition.
Song for the day: Stairs by INXS

Peace. Out.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)


I listened to my own advice, and cut down all two of our burning bushes 5-6 years ago, but they seem to have grown back.

Also, in honor of the date:


I got in trouble for this article. My editor pointed out that all these plants couldn't grow in the same garden but I think she was grumpy because SHE doesn't celebrate Halloween.

This message was edited Oct 31, 2015 1:49 PM

Casa Grande, AZ

I'll get you my pretty....and your plants too! :0
Happy Halloween.

Closed door, turned off light, turned on music, and vegging out back. Like the kids and costumes. Dog doesn't. She flips out. She's terrified of kids (eyeroll. Neurotic Greyhounds...all of them).
Did go to Starbucks for a LARGE mocha latte as a treat for me! Saving that one Kit-Kat for my treat later ! :)


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