Idyll #425 Cupid's Arrow is Aimed at Spring

saucydog(z5MA)February 14, 2009

Carry on Idyll friends!

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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Happy V Day, all. That photo of the valentine cake is making me salivate, PM - as it was meant to, I suppose.

Glad to hear Marty is back on duty, Denise; Im sure that's a big relief to you both. And Mary, sounds as though there's progress in your household as well. I might suggest you could probably order a portable ramp online that you can not only carry in the car, but would work at your home -- I found one for my mother's wheelchair that was fairly reasonable (maybe $100?), at least I thought for the variety of things you could use it w/ it was reasonbable - it folded up; wish you were closer; I think Dad still has it, and would have been happy to lend to you... But getting out just for those strolls will do you both a world of good -- you've got the right treatment plan in place for sure!

I too love Moroccan gardens and colors -- it's interesting how all mediterranean countries seem to share those same love of colors - a reflection of nature - but still so invigorating.

I hope V and Chelone get their projects well under way -- very impressive. Im doing some running around, and eeks, I offered the abode to my visting SIL and MIL as her house is making them both sick -- no surprise there - it's been doing that for the last several years -- Im afraid it's another toxic mold or some such situation.... But not sure they're going to take me up on the invite; so I havent started running around to do clean up; I find the more stressed at work I am, the worse my house becomes as to chaos -- I just cant break that poor habit... It's sad I need folks to visit to make the place neat, if not clean, LOL...

well, I better get to those errands - picking up the furrykin who's getting her monthly 'do.

Happy Valentine's Day again to all -- enjoy!


    Bookmark   February 14, 2009 at 10:50AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

So what could be a better preview to spring than the 'Bluebird of Happiness'! LOL I went to my sister's yesterday as she's had Bluebirds at her feeders for a month or so now and fortunately the birds made an appearance. What a treat to get some photographs of these gorgeous birds.

I posted a link to a gallery of photos I took of teh Bluebirds yesterday, enjoy!

Here is a link that might be useful: Bluebirds

    Bookmark   February 14, 2009 at 11:43AM
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Mary, I was googling nerve issues recently over Marty's back/leg issues, and found much encouragement, that nerves are very resilient but also very s-l-o-w to recover. A factoid I remember is a micrometer a day FWIW. Duncan had a bad concussion once, and waiting for the blood clot behind the eye to be reabsorbed and stop pushing his eye out of whack was very scary, so I know how waiting for medical issues to resolve really saps your courage sometimes. You'll need to come back frequently for Chelone's pep talks! I so hope you get out to see the LA Guitar Quartet. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate just a little.

Yes, Marty seemed very happy to go back to work and see all his pals. The intense pain was mostly gone after the first two weeks. The spine is "stenotic," narrowing and pressing on the nerve, he doesn't want surgery (yay!), and has been doing the prescribed exercises. A very ordinary back issue that was handled somewhat oddly by the docs and seemed to cause Marty unnecessary worry, but whatever! All is well for the moment...

Chelone, I've taken a photo of the table but Picassa isn't cooperating at the moment. It really is an old dog of a table, perfect for trying something that may even ruin it.

Since PM asked, I have one little story of my 4-yr-old niece Katie. We had to watch the Super Bowl of course, which is the first football game I've watched since I left home at 19! But seeing my dad, who is increasingly doddering, come alive spouting statistics and comments was "like old times." Anyhoo, at some point, little Katie, still dressed in big-sister baptism finery, muttered at the tv, "What a jackass!" Mom way off in the kitchen was on it in an instant. "What did she say?" I suppressed my laugh and stuttered...Katie and I both exchanged guilty looks. (I've known my brother's "second" family all of three days and have no idea what their boundaries are. And why's she asking me to rat her out anyway?) "I think she called him a donkey," is what I finally said. Mom merely said from a distance something like "that's not nice," and Katie disappeared to her room for the evening. No punishment, but she just felt sooo embarrassed. Made a big impression on me, that she felt her mom's disapproval that strongly and voluntarily removed herself from the room. It was getting late and probably bedtime, so I know she was tired too. She played in her room the rest of the night until bedtime. Little girls are different!

Deanne, the gallery of bluebirds is stunning! Which reminds me of the picture controversy, whether to hang them or not, and I mostly fall in the camp that props them against walls too. We still have the old lath and plaster in many of the walls, so that's part of the reluctance. But I have been suddenly craving pictures and asked Mitch yesterday to print that shot of the gigantic Moreton Bay Fig he took at the rancho last year.

Happy Val day to all, hoping the very best chocolate is consumed for the occasion and bug's dream comes true.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2009 at 11:58AM
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    Bookmark   February 14, 2009 at 2:43PM
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Deanne, Bluebirds are my favorite bird. Im so happy you had a chance to get some pictures. Your skill is amazing.

Mary, heres hoping you and David get to enjoy the concert tonite. I certainly can understand how you must be feeling a bit down about things. ((hugs)).

Everyone is getting the painting bug. Wish that one would bite me. Or not. LOL

It is down right chilly here again with the dampness that makes it more noticeable. No plans for whats left of the day.

Julie where art thou?


    Bookmark   February 14, 2009 at 3:00PM
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I like your card Norma! Very festive for the day...along with PM's confection and Deanne's Bluebird! I think Idyll's got the best Valentine's celebration going!

FB = Facebook. Nothing special, just another way to waste time on the internet. They do have some fun word games that I like to play :)

Denise, little girls are different. I often think my mother-in-law is a very different person because she was the only female in her immediate family - that it made her "play" differently within her family dynamic. Do you think it changed you? Maybe that's just my way of explaining away some of her more odd behaviors....hmmm maybe it's my MIL, cause you don't seem to exhibit the same behaviors :)

I am now going to go and check out some of the links in the last few idylls. I need to see Woody's garden link and Jerri's meditation link to name two! And then I'll find Sarah to enjoy Deanne's gallery. Hope all your wishes come true, GB!


    Bookmark   February 14, 2009 at 3:44PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

I had a good day. I went to Harrison and rode the church's bus to the home of the dear sister that has terminal cancer. Several of us went, and we sang songs with her, and prayed for her. She has a wonderful attitude. Then we all went to the nursing home where the 100 year old sister is, that had the birthday party awhile back (last year).We sang with her also. She has visibly failed since the party, but she was out in the lobby with another lady. I don't think she was expecting us. The first one was.

The driveway into the first lady's yard was not cleared sufficiently for the bus, and limbs were scraping it vigorously on both sides and the top! It may need a new paint job!

Her home is about a half hour's drive from Harrison, and the devastation all along the way is heartbreaking.

When I got home, I was ready for my afternoon rest. When I woke up from my nap, I found Nolon out working on bringing down a broken limb from a side yard oak tree that was hung up but reaching the ground. He had used a hook and attached a rope to one limb that it was hung on, but still couldn't get it down. He said he had to bring Tommy in because Tommy got a hold of the end of the rope and was pulling on it! He was afraid that the broken limb would fall on Tommy. Nolon had a long 2 by 4 that he was pushing the hung up limb with. I managed to have my back turned when it came down. :-( It sort of amuses me that he choses unnecessary things to work on, instead of working on what is in the immediate yard! I think he is seeing more potential firewood in the out of the way things, than what is lying in the yard? Who knows!

Dianne, what a perfect pic of the Bluebird. I haven't looked at the link yet, but I certain they are all gorgeous. We always have lots of them here, and they frequently nest in the boxes Nolon made for them.

Denise, that is so funny about Katie. My sentiments exactly, :-) (about football, that is....).

Marie, I am so happy that you had the nice time with Wayne., and that the waters went down.

Chelone, I am really touched with the statement that you made about the "Biddy room", on the e-mail messages about the IU. The remark about the cat and dog hair made me laugh out loud. I am always amazed at all the hair our two cats deposit.

Saucy, I posted my distant pic of the bee on my thread. It is definitely a black honeybee. They are native here.

Mary, I am so happy that David is having more normal days now. And that you are all resting better at night. Surely the good will increase in frequency. Do be careful that you do not hurt yourself in helping him. Just as I feel it is very important that I am very careful with my own self, because of my responsibilities, it is the same with you.
I am sure you are telling him we are all pulling for him. I hope Annie is getting sufficient attention also. I am sure she is more than earning her 'keep', as the oldtimers used to say.

It is good that Pm2 and Martie are seeing improvement at their homes also.


    Bookmark   February 14, 2009 at 6:01PM
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A bluebird has been duly installed as my desktop background. I do so wish they would visit my garden, but not enough open spaces here for the likes of them. Still, my finch feeder has become wildly popular, and it looks like I need one that has more feeding ports ! Raining off and on today, no complaints here. Several indoor chores have been done and laundry is in process. After I finish this post Im going to do some organizing of my photo files in Picassa, deletion of bad pics , etc.
Today I took some photos of the C. armandii to share here. Wish you could smell it !

Later friendsÂ

    Bookmark   February 14, 2009 at 6:04PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Good evening... :-) It seems much later, probably because our mealtimes were all off today. We had a very simple dinner of Lasagna with a few sips of Champagne followed by Chocolate Cake and Green Tea. Very satisfying, since I have been following a no starchy carb, no sweet carb, veggie, veggie veggie diet for a couple of months now, to address some low blood sugar issues. Back to business tomorrow. [g]

What a nice cheery thread we have going here.

I enjoyed your 'Katie' story very much Denise. You have a very humorous way of telling it as well. You could write a book. You are such an observer of human behavior, which makes me smile. :-) Did Marty go to work today? Wondering how his first day back went?

I love your spring photos Kathy. I would love a birch tree and don't have one, so I am enjoying yours. Such gorgeous bark. Do you happen to know which birch it is? Not a canoe birch, is it? Is that a Clematis? I find it fascinating how organized and productive you are, keeping everything on track. Garage organized, seedlings sprouting, now thinking about painting. Our kitchen/DR is wallpapered in a deep purply, fuchsia, violet, like red color that I have no idea how to No one else really loves it, but me. I was on the fence when I bought it, coming very close to going with a straight red instead, but this particular paper was used with a border that I fell in love with, so I went with it and still enjoy it but once in awhile wish I had gone with a different shade. The right shade of red is a great wall color to me.

I am actually very impressed with how productive all the Idylls have been this winter in getting the house ready to abandon it come I actually admire many fine qualities sprinkled throughout the posts I read every day. Although, saying so once a year is probably as much as you should expect. [g]

Gardenbug....DD and Company are very lucky to have such a thoughtful grandmere. Loved the box ingredients and would have loved to receive such a box. Your description of Phoebe is just grabbing me and hoping this year we might look more seriously for another dog. They are so loveable and you are so clearly enjoying every minute of her company.

Marian, you are sounding more energetic. So glad for you that you were able to get out and about today. I am sure your friend was happy to get a visitor today. I've always thought there are few better gifts than giving your time to someone.

Loved Mary's thread...what a picker upper that was!

Cindy...I would love to have a friend who was actually trained as an interior designer, what fun.

Deanne...what a treat your Bluebird album was! I just loved the one with the two bluebirds huddled together on the stump of a I've never seen a bluebird... they are just beautiful.

Yes Michelle...amazing what a good night sleep can do. Just wish they were not so hard to come by. [g] ..... Might be time to put some of the photos in albums on the coffee table? Or combine a lot of them in a large collage.

Norma...great idea for the front of your Valentine card.

Eden...nothing more romantic than backgammon with breakfast. [g] weren't painting all day were you? I would think you were pretty sore after being on your hands and knees for days.

Looking forward to pics of Tower Hill, Saucy. I haven't made it there yet, but one of these days. :-)

Yes...where is Julie? And Woody must still be immersed in her landscape planning. Martie with DB still? Hello to Sue and Wendy and Brenda. V. painting today? Jerri?

Waving to all those who haven't checked in for awhile.


    Bookmark   February 14, 2009 at 7:45PM
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PM, yes, Clematis armandii, evergreen Clematis. I have moved it twice and its present location is where it will stay. It only blooms once but is very fragrant and the foliage is nice looking all year. The Birch was here when we moved here in 1986, so I dont know the cultivar. There used to be 3, our zone is borderline for them ; they would prefer less summer heat and more water.

I think Julie has been on a skiing vacation, right ?

My coleus seeds came today ! One of them (Chocolate Mint" ) was shipped in a little vial with instructions on opening and handling. I will feel like a mad scientist as I follow the explicit directions on turning the vial lid clockwise and gently shaking out the seeds. I will sow them tomorrow along with the cactus flowered Zinnias from Select.

Nite all..unless I come back after dinner , lol !

    Bookmark   February 14, 2009 at 8:17PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

I can imagine Kathy giving a mad cackle as she opens those coleus seeds.

I did get the woodwork prepped today, and hope to varnish it tomorrow. Didn't do as much there as I had hoped to; DH rerouted my day and had me getting wetland seeds ready for planting. I didn't realize quite how much I had gathered of the Eupatorium maculatum and CArex muskingumensis until it was time to process all that seed.

We're sipping champagne, listening to music and planning a late dinner. Happy Valentine's to all!


    Bookmark   February 14, 2009 at 8:54PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

It all sounded so sweet...all that sharing of tasks. But I get so frustrated working with DH!!! We work in different ways and at different speeds. The upshot of it all is that he did his end of the deal...all of it. I was in tears of frustration! But it is DONE. In return, he went with me to the dump, I got him a nice lunch at a new restaurant (Amazing, a new nice place!)but I failed to do the shopping for his voice teacher. Well, tomorrow is another day. I'd best try to behave myself then! We ended up at the grocery store and met so many friends there and chatted so much that we were too tired to get what we went for! LOL!

Phoebe got a new beef bone fresh from the butcher. I fear she'll have no took it away from her after about an hour.

What a crazy Saturday! I need some champagne! I think there's some white wine left if Wayne didn't drink it all...

    Bookmark   February 14, 2009 at 10:18PM
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Yes, PM I did spent all yesterday in the throes of Salon related activity. My experience with the floor buffer was not quite the alloyed success I'd been hoping for. :) I muscled it up the stairs by myself (no small feat) and got it all set up in the centre of the floor. With great caution I fired the beast up and was promptly dragged about 10' to port before letting go of the safety throttle. OK, so they weren't kidding, it definitely "kicked like mule". I tried again with similar results. In all, I spent the best part of 3/4 hr. attempting to master it. I was finally able to stabilize it and get some sanding done, but it required a good deal more oomph than I expected and it became clear I'd exhaust myself trying to keep it under control (read: keeping it from going through the wall). Sue, if you want a good work out, you should try it! Clearly, there is a "touch" you develop but without someone experienced to give me the "tricks" I decided it would be prudent to abandon the notion of sanding and go straight to painting. I justified my utter failure by convincing myself that the unsanded floor would provide plenty of "tooth" for the deck paint, lol. I finished 3/4 of the first coat before running out of paint (2 gallons). I'll pick up 4 more this morning when I drop off the beast and should be able to complete the base coat by the end of the day.

Yes, I've been wondering about the whereabouts of Julie, too.

I was thinking of Katie and her voluntary seclusion, too. Mum and Dad were both big users of "disapproval", usually all it took was "the" sideways glance to get the desired result. I always figured its success was due to the fact I was the only really little kid in the family, not because I am a girl. Interesting. About the worst thing they could say to me was, "I am ashamed of you. I expected more from you, frankly. Let's not allow that to happen again, you are certainly old enough to know better.". YIKES. Being sent to our rooms was used, too. But aside from being temporarily "banished" from participation/communication it wasn't that bad since there were all sorts of fun things to amuse us in our rooms. That was the point of the exercise. The family joke was that Mum and Dad would frequently forget we'd been banished until they heard the small voice from the top of the staircase, "can I come down now?", often a couple of hours after the incident, lol. Later, they confided it was often hard for them to maintain a straight face as they pronounced the completion of the "sentance". Lol.

There were no official Valentine's Day celebrations here. It was by mutual agreement, but we did lament the absence of chocolates after we had dinner. I was too tired to really care and ended up in bed by 8:30. Talk about a ball of fire.

Marian, I had to laugh about Tommy being banished to the house for his own safety. It's been pretty lonely in the Salon as I can't allow the Huge One or the cats to visit with all that wet paint around. And I often marvel at the way the helpmeet tends to focus his time on things that aren't very important, too. Well... at least not in MY assessment of what really needs to get done. :)

Kathy, I love that Clematis. All your spring pictures are getting me thinking about planting again. The gardens here have suffered greatly from neglect in the past 6 yrs. and it will be fun to get outside and assess them as I'm cleaning them up. I think you ought to go for it with the red dining room; seems silly to me to live your life in a "neutral limbo" while you wait for the lucky buyer to present himself. Liking the space you inhabit is very important, at least to me.

Michelle, finishing up the little jobs is one of the hardest parts of any project, I think. I have a myriad of little incomplete things around here. And I agree that finishing them off really makes you feel great. Love the idea that Kenzie is developing the "party persona", never too young to get them thinking about, and excited about the importance of parties!

I can't wait to hear if Mary and David made it the LAGQ concert last night. The first time I heard them was on the local NPR station's morning classical program. They played their recording "Loose Canon in D" by Johann Pachelbel. I recognized the melody instantly and it was one of those moments when you hear a recording and immediately like it. I'm glad to hear the familiar "chirp" return to your posts. And I understand completely how something as mundane and snapping up crap from the lawn could be downright theraputic... at least you can control whether or not you're upwind or downwind, right?

OK, gotta make some headway on dishes, folding laundry, and get my list together for the hardware store run. I plan to be there at 9 punctually because I have another long day of painting looming before me.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2009 at 7:47AM
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Good morning

We didn't make it last night but came close. I was all dressed and ready to go when David said he didn't feel up to it although he really wished he could be there. There is still this afternoon's concert so all is not lost. Instead I set up our card table down by the fireplace and the three of us (DH had left) and David's friend from next door ate supper together and then played hearts. David had an early night and despite some discomfort in the night when he needed me to reposition his leg and massage feeling back into the foot, he got some good sleep.

I've been sleeping as if I'm the one on drugs - very heavily and feeling groggy when I'm woken. The broken nights remind me of when Annie and David were babies and I realize how much easier it was to do in my thirties rather than pushing 50. David still needs someone with him at night so I've been sleeping on either a futon on the floor or foam mat next to his bed. It's been so long since I've spend the whole night in a real bed I've almost forgotten what it feels like. One very good sign last night was he was able to flex his thigh muscle for the fist time. Certainly soemthing to celebrate.

Annie left this morning to spend some time with my sister Ruth. A good friend came over at 5.30AM to be there for David while I drove Annie to the airport. The flight was on time and she is quite a seasoned traveller and waved goodbye to me very confidently. I imagine she is arriving about now. We promised David his own trip later in the year so while the house is rather quiet now, I can focus all my time on him without feeling guitly I am ignoring anyone else.

We have a lovely sunny morning here and I am soooo looking forward to our outing later today. The LAGQ performance is in a beautiful and more intimate space than symphony hall which is perfect for listening to the guitar. I have David's wheelchair seat all arranged. I can't remember the last time I looked forward to something so much.

Kathy - I love those little vials and save them for use later. They are perfect to keep in a purse incase seeds are offered when visitng gardens. Mine never came with instructions though:0) Fabulous clematis.

GB - we have always given Clousseau fresh marrow bones from the butcher rather than rawhide which he buries. I used to find the sound of his teeth scraping unbearable but have got used to it. At 9 years old he has the cleanest teeth the vet has seen and always asks us if we brush them.

Deanne - those bluebird shots are amazing. I have seen them very rarely here so it is a real treat to be able to examine them up close.

Cindy - how kind of you to extend your house to SIL and MIL. Having so many visitors for David our house has never been cleaner. But it is amazing how little time before I need to start over. The wheelchair tracks in almost as much dirt as Clousseau but as both are essential to life right now I just have to keep a mop and towel handy.

Marian - how wonderful to sing songs for the sister. Than must have been so comforting for all.

Chelone - wrangling a sander would be well beyond me - kudos to you for trying. I'm sure the floor will still look great.

waving to those I missed

Have a great Sunday everyone


    Bookmark   February 15, 2009 at 8:55AM
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Have visions of Chelone beating the sander into submission while trying to find the "off" button and relegating it to it's room until it learns to behave :-)

Our cue that we were out of line as kids was my father holding up one finger. Though we had no idea what would happen if we didn't stop (none of us dared go further when we saw "the look" and "the finger") it was enough to get us into high etiquette mode or be gone. Since being gone wasn't an option when participating in activities outside the home, we learned fast. Sometimes it's just the fear factor :-)

It's so good to read everyone and feel a sense of Spring on its way. Plan to do some wintersowing this year with leftover seeds from last year. The sun is certainly cooperating today and it actually feels warm on the skin. Our west coast friends may not know what I'm talking about, but when the air is freezing (literally) but the sun is a bit closer than yesterday, that first "sunshine" feel is an absolute tonic.

Love that Idylls and Idyllkids are getting to see family and finding good excuses for Julie jobs galore. Mine this morning was washing bras -- the straightjacket Victoria's Secret models that can't be wrung, squeezed, twisted or go anywhere near a washing machine. Doesn't get more exciting than that, yes?? LOL

I'll bet your seats will be among the best in the house, Mary, given the room needed for wheelchair accessibility. Who could ever think you could ignore anyone?? Not me!

Also think it's great to those of you who reach out to make the world in general a bit better. Marty as an anti-surgery example, Marian as a bearer of hope and happiness, Chelone as the master of duiturselfers (Rich's word, not mine ;-), Kathy making sure her curb will bring smiles -- red dining rooms definitely do! So much in this group.

Never, ever knew that bees came out during the winter, even on warmish days. Don't they hibernate? Seems very cool to me that they take advantage of time to clean the hive. They certainly ARE industrious creatures! Look for the Camellias in the portico at Tower Hill, Saucy! They should be just about due to burst.

Hadn't had a chance to comment on V's young'uns looking absolutely serene and romantic. You've taught them well! LOL about your future DiL texting you -- I say that's an extremely high compliment!

Total bliss day, here. Stack of catalogs and list of websites to peruse (did order Zinnias from Select, Kathy, and will be going there to pick up the order). Haven't tried the cactus ones yet but am going to with excitement! The Mexican ones will take the place of marigolds in a few places. With a nod to almost-six-year-old across the cul-de-sac and Rich, will be growing round carrots since the long ones take waaaaaay too much time.

Off to lounge for a bit. Everyone enjoy their SUNday!!


    Bookmark   February 15, 2009 at 10:36AM
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Wet and windy here this morning. It was necessary to fire up the blow dryer to facilitate reading of the Sunday paper.
I must admit to chuckling at Chelones expense this morning as she described her stand-off with the floor sander. I only wish that Helpmeet had been hiding in the stairwell with a camera ! Good thing that you are pondering spring and the gardens Chelone, you never know when you might be descended on by a rowdy group of garden must be ready !

Martie, well have dueling Zinnias across the miles ! I suppose I should extend you a zone 6 handicap ? Im jealous that you get to go to Select and pick them up, and you can be jealous that mine will be in the ground in April.

Still pondering the red dining room, and off to fold laundry

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   February 15, 2009 at 1:07PM
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I saw a new bird at my feeder yesterday. I could tell it was a form of junco. After some searching I find its an Oregon form.

My attempts at forcing arent going well. The paperwhites have lots of foliage but not blooms.

I did get a few things done around here yesterday but not nearly enough. The nails are now set and filled in the laundry room trim. A few more little things in there and it will be done. I spent probably an hour watering plants, trimming, repotting and picking off dead leaves. I also had to throw a few out that expired. Im really a plant abuser. (dont report me)

Deanne, love the bluebird photos. Ive never seen them here.

Mary, fingers are crossed here that you and David are able to make it out of the house. This reminds me so much of my sisters accident when she was 15. She had a broken leg that required traction and later a body cast. She spent several months in a hospital bed in our living room. The only way she could leave the house was flat on her back on a rolling stretcher, so outings were a big deal and quite enjoyed. How nice that Annie could take a little trip. I recall feelings of jealousy and then guilt for that.

Chelone, I can see why you were in bed at 8:30 after wrestling the sander.

Pm, I liked your comment about getting the house ready to abandon in the spring I think you hit the nail on the head for me at least.

I bought a few black picture frames last night to play with. Not sure what Ill do with all the pictures yet, but well see. DH likes to have lots of family pictures around.

Kathy, the clematis is lovely. I especially liked the picture with all the buds and the red stems.

Norma, your card is cool, it has the look of a painting.

My mom had the "look" when we were kids.

Kathy and Martie, Ill join you in the zinnea growing. They make such nice cut flowers. I usually put them in the potager.


    Bookmark   February 15, 2009 at 3:34PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Chelone, your experience with the sander reminds me of mine with a tiller. I recall at least 3 times that fencing had to be cut out of it's tines due to my refusing to let up on the throttle!!!I am talking about woven fencing. As the silly machine headed for the fence I would hang on for dear life, instead of letting go of the throttle...dum de dum dum!
I imagine you have sore muscles today?

This has been a dreary day. Rain during the night, that left the front steps slick. Overcast and foggy all day with the high only 35 . At least there is no more precip in the forecast until later in the week, and it is not supposed to be a freezing type.

We watched a DVD this afternoon...."Follow the River". Okay, but I have seen better.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2009 at 5:07PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada

Just a quick pop in again... Mary - the flex his thigh muscle is good - very good! Tell David to keep sending messages to the muscles even if there's no response. About 6-7 years ago I had a reconstructive surgery that involved moving a muscle from my thigh to my face! The surgeon was doubtful that someone so old (! 44) would be able to learn to make the transplanted muscle move. Nerves grow VERY slowly so they couldn't tell me how long it would take for the facial nerves to grow into/connect with the transplanted nerves in the transplanted muscle tissue. I started trying to move the muscle from the first day. It took about 6 weeks-2 months before it responded the first time (while trying to chew some tough bread!) The surgeon was quite impressed that I proved him wrong - that I wasn't too old - and I'm convinced it was my repeated, constant attempt to send 'messages' through the nerves that made it work. So I think David should keep trying to make things move and not be discouraged when there isn't a response. I think just trying strengthens the signals travelling down the nerves and it will eventually pay off in a better response.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2009 at 6:06PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Today's major accomplishment was the budget meeting at our church. As treasurer, I was in charge of presenting the budget to everyone - not a pretty year to be in charge of that! And there had been a bit of unpleasantness the week before that had me a little concerned. But all went very well, and I received many compliments for a job well down. It won't go to my head; I think most people are quick to praise so they won't be the one up there next year!

To bring myself back to earth, I spent the afternoon spackling little spots and dots in the basement. The outside wall corners had pitted quite badly and the touch-up work was more time-consuming than I had planned. Working with spackle is a lot like working with buttercream frosting, the differences being that you can't eat spackle and you can't sand buttercream.

I'll leave you all with that thought as it's time to take the pot roast out of the crock pot. I hope Mary and David were able to enjoy the concert today!


    Bookmark   February 15, 2009 at 8:08PM
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My back garden is absolutely a bird zoo today its been fun watching them during breaks in my house cleaning activities. I can only imagine what Deannes back garden must look like with her plethora of feeders.
Michelle, the Oregon Juncos are what I have here too I believe with the black heads ? They are one of my favorites. Do you know what variety of Zinnias youll be growing ? Im going for a full court press on garish /gaudy colors this year . Call it a recession-buster garden.

Mary, when I opened the seed packet I was faced with a capsule instead of a vial- see pic below- there were about 10 seeds in it ! I sowed them all today and hope they will germinate. When I looked at my records I was getting discouraged expecting seeds to sprout way sooner that what is the average. It made me think of David (so odd the connections our brain makes) making his small steps toward recovery and perhaps feeling disappointed or frustrated from time to time. Things often dont happen as quickly as we want them to.

I made a Chicken Mole this afternoon and will cook rice shortly to serve it on. Tonite is a film noir/early Hitchcock classic Shadow of a Doubt with Joseph Cotton. Tomorrow the awfice !

The dining room table this morning :

From Garden 2009

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   February 15, 2009 at 8:13PM
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Woody - thank you for those encouraging words. That sort of hope is wonderful for me.

Michelle - my brother was in hospital for a while in London when we were growing up and my parents' and grandparents' lives revolved around his visits and care. I too remember not so much worries for his health (although it was a very serious condition), but alternating bouts of intense jealousy followed by guilt. He made a full recovery and has had a healthy adult life. Annie has done so much to hold down the fort, quietly taking care of her own needs independently I wanted to do something special for her. I know how much fun she will have with her little cousins and hopefully our lives will gain some sort of balance when she returns.

The LAGQ were fabulous. The hall was sold out with people lining up for the few standing room seats left. David had a prime view but I had to leave him to sit up in the cheap seats which made me a little anxious. He was fine of course, no one banged into his leg, and he enjoyed every part of the program. David even got to talk with the guys after when they signed CDs and they were impressed on hearing who his guitar teacher is. His teacher met us at the concert and brought several CD's for David to borrow and listen to. He took me aside to ask me to let him know if David gets down again and he will phone to try and cheer him up. He is a wonderfully kind individual.

Have a nice evening everyone


    Bookmark   February 15, 2009 at 8:24PM
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Kathy - rather cool! I'll have to check out Park Seed's coleus.

Can I borrow the map of Maine after you?


    Bookmark   February 15, 2009 at 8:27PM
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I'm quite certain the LAGQ concert was a huge spirit lifter, Mary. Music soothes the savage beast, 'n' all that. :) I was reminded of the logistics involved in the getting out the door with Mum when she had really failed mentally. I had a whole checklist of things and would give them to her one by one so she'd be able to get them done. It took a lot of effort to think for two people. If it helps any it will get easier as the two of you have had more practice. And Woody's advice echoes the same words spoken to my brother and me about recovery from a stroke, keep trying and keep working on the motor skills that are the most difficult because it takes time for the connections to work smoothly once more.

Deanne, I finally had the time to look at your album of bluebird pictures. Predictably, they are beautiful. I particularly like the "action shots", the one that captures the down stroke of the wings is super, as is the one coming in for a touchdown on the feeder. The coppery color on the breast of the birds is on the same lines as an accent color I've been contemplating for the Salon! nature really does provide the best inspiration, doesn't it?

The Salon floor is all one color now. I finished it up yesterday and decided to leave the second complete coat until today. I have purchased 6 gallons of the primary base color, and have used 2 1/2 so far. I suspect the next coat will require another 2 and I plan to use up the remainder to add an additional layer to the higher traffic areas. I purchased a protractor yesterday to aid in drawing an accurate plan for the chequered decoration since it's not simply a right isosoles triangle. ;) And I've decided to leave the staircase until I've finished the floor and have put in place a sand and grit containment system. I have to say, I have very strong doubts about the durability of latex deck paint. I am one of the hold-outs that used alkyd paint until it became too difficult to procure; latex does not offer the superlative high gloss that oil-based paint does, and I love a slick, glossy finish. (And patent leather shoes!)

I'll be joining you, Michelle, in filling more nail holes in the stairwell and then on the trim in the lower portion of the bahn. Isn't that about the most tedious task in the whole process?? I laughed aloud at the comparison between spackle and buttercream frosting, too.

The helpmeet read an interesting editorial in the NYT to me yesterday. It was about the inability to receive an adequate digital signal for television. So, it appears we're not alone in our predicament. I have not asked about the relative success of his more recent efforts in that dep't., I guess I'll find out on Wednesday morning.

I took Wrecks for a forced march yesterday afternoon after I finished the Salon work. And I thought of Martie's post. The sun was bright and very warm. That morning, I'd taken him out just after the sun broke the horizon and was able to walk on top of the crusted snow. By the time we went out mid-afternoon the sun had worked it's magic on the snow and I sunk in about 1 1/2" with each step. This morning I was back to walking on top of it again. There are markedly red branches on the highbush blueberry bushes, too. it won't be spring for several weeks yet but to the observant there are signs of its coming everywhere you look.

Marian, we have an Amaryllis ready to open. It's a red one (my least favorite color, but the one the helpmeet always selects) and it's next to a lovely Cyclamen that came home with the helpmeet the other day. What's the secret to sustaining life in them? At present it occupies the southwest window in the living room, and I'm a little concerned that the woodstove may keep it warmer than it might like?

OK, gotta deal with the catbox, the dishes, and get my hindquarters out to the Salon for the the next round of painting. Geez, you'd think I was expecting guests or something, wouldn't you?

    Bookmark   February 16, 2009 at 7:58AM
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Chelone, I have been thinking about your digital signal problem, too, and I think you should ask your BIL (or go to Radio Shack - I bug them about everything!) about a t.v. card for your new computer. I'm not clear on how it works, but it'd be worth inquiring. A t.v. card would allow you to watch t.v. through your computer monitor.

Now you can upgrade your computer, get a fancy new monitor, and watch Jim Lehrer....if my plan works.

Anyway, ask your BIL to investigate this. I was on my way down this path back when I wanted to have a home office/study/library that would have a tv and a computer, but not a monitor and t.v.

I'm glad that David got to get out. It is the simple things in life like sleeping in one's own home, showering, eating home cooked meals, and getting out into the fresh air for a change of scenery that truly make us happy. Funny how that is....

Woody, what a fascinating operation you had! Why do doctors of all people sell our body's abilities short? You think they'd be witness to the most miraculous healings!

I am certainly aware that my Idyll friends are busily fixing up their surroundings while I plug away at just getting up everyday and putting one foot in front of the other! I haven't even started a seed yet, though it still is a bit early for me. Oh well. There's always next winter :)

That's all from me folks! Though it's a company holiday for us, that means that Nick will be home and want to do office I think this idea of giving today off has backfired!


    Bookmark   February 16, 2009 at 8:37AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Yikes! I was about to have withdrawal symptoms. I kept refreshing in hopes of seeing a morning's post! Thank goodness Chelone finally appeared!

Brrrr, it feels colder than usual this morning, and yet the indoor temps are about as usual. I think it is a wind chill combined with higher humidity.

I cannot give advice about Amaryllis. I am not successful with them. I have a wash pan full of them. I renewed their potting soil last spring, and fertilized them. They sat outdoors all summer, in morning sun. I brought them in, in the fall, and kept them in the utilityroom, unwatered, until I saw the pic someone posted here awhile back ( Michelle?).I brought the pan into the livingroom, and watered it. That was about 6 weeks ago. All have put up leaves, but only one has a flower stalk. :-(
I know they need to be crowded in their container, and mine are. I know the bulb is to protrude up out of the soil. Mine may be too deep? The one that is going to bloom IS more exposed than the rest. I moved the pan to the far side of the dinningroom, so it is cooler there, and not as sunny.
As for the Cyclamen, my pink one has not failed to continue blooming every year since I bought it. It may rest a little, but not long. It likes cool temps, but doesn't get them in summer. I keep it in the baywindow. It gets a lot of afternoon sun in the winter, and filtered sun in the summer. The red one that I bought a few years ago is not nearly as floriforous, or have as many leaves. I usually handle it the same way, but have moved it from the front window this winter. My biggest problem with them is scale. I fight the scale on them constantly. Sometimes I spray them with House and Garden spray. Other times I remove them manually, either with rubbing alcohol or just my fingers.
Here is the pink one as of this morning:

Please note...I still have all of my marbles! LOL

    Bookmark   February 16, 2009 at 8:47AM
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Still chuckling at Marian's marbles LOL!

David (and I) had a better night. His leg only needed repositioning once:0) We did quite a few exercises this morning, bending and flexing the leg with my support and flexing the thigh.

While David played some video games I completed reorganizing our finshed basement room which has also become a catch all for various projects. All of my bits and pieces for minaitures, sewing, beading and cards etc are sorted and in labelled containers on shelves. The model train set is dusted and straightened up and sheet music and books have their designated spaces. I just need to vacuum and I will have a huge sense of accomplishemnt. One thing I found in my tidy up was David's first pair of shoes which brought a few tears.

I'm thinking of an outing for this afternoon. Unfortunately it is really cold for a wheelchair walk though the sun is shining. A friend has week old labrador puppies we're invited to visit if we can negotiate their front door. You can never have too much pet therapy!


    Bookmark   February 16, 2009 at 10:49AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Ah Marian! We used to find marbles when digging in our gardens back when we lived in Toronto. It was lots of fun! Here we find rusty old farm parts or bones!

I agree about the cool temps for Chelone's cyclamen. My white one has done very well in the back room where the temperature is at a steady 50F. That's the temperature Phoebe likes as well. :)

Planning for outings with a wheelchair is tedious business. My friend used to need to do "dry runs" each time she took her father to concerts or lectures because, although every place claimed to be accessible, there were always glitches with parking, curbs, elevators, etc. It simply was not a one person job. So I hope things go more smoothly for Mary and David.

Chelone, I too thought of our rototiller experiences when you described the floor sander. There was all kinds of advice about them at the time...all of which I have now forgotten, but my solution was to invite our friend over to do the job in exchange for lunch!

Yesterday I did manage to help DH select a wedding gift for his teacher and also another gift for a woman who organized the speakers for Thursday's Gravel Watch meeting. Next I guess I need to buy some wrapping paper. He chose the cards though.

It is sunny and cold today so I am thinking about seed planting. It is way too early for this, so maybe I'll go buy some seed trays, soil, etc instead. All this talk of zinnias has me pondering...I'll study my T&M catalogue in a minute. I should also take advantage of sunny days to prune my clematis. But I prefer a little more warmth for that, so maybe I can wait until March.

Yesterday's call from DD shared her delight in getting a new Fondue pot and a mixer. They invited guests over for both cheese, meat and sea food fondue, vegetables and dips, and finally the heart shaped yummy cake we typically make for festive occasions, topped with whipped cream and fresh raspberries. She was a happy camper, glad to have her DH back home.

It is Family Day here in Canada, and also study week at the university. DH calls it Ski Week though.

Happy today everyone!

    Bookmark   February 16, 2009 at 11:01AM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

Happy Monday, Idylls, and I am so pleased to be back!

TCS and I had a good time at the lodge. They plow off a huge section of the lake for skating, they have a nice small indoor swimming pool, and the skiing is just 3 clicks away. For the first two days he and I were there on our own without a car, so the swimming and skating got lots of attention. Then DD arrived and skiing became the order of the day. The last two days the weather turned mild and rainy so the skiing and skating took a miss, but we went shopping in a nearby town, out for dinner, swimming of course, prepared valentines etc. All in all it was a fun week. But I was sure into Idyll withdrawl!

Mary, take heart about the nerve healing: My elbow felt like I had just whacked my funny bone for four whole months as that nerve regenerated. Now it is much more sensitive than the other one, but basically is just fine.

Poor David, he must be so fed up already! It is great that he has so many friends, and that you are so dedicated to getting him out, and that his music teacher is so kind. Hang in there, it is a long road, but things will improve.

All the talk of Spring and seeds has me itching to get started - but still too early here.

Marie, is this when you normally prune the clems? I don't have nearly as many as you, but I am anxious to get going!

I don't know where to begin to catch up. Suffice it to say that I missed you all dearly, and can hardly wait to get back into the swing of things.

Just for a chuckle, my JJob today was to wrap a paper towel around a ruler and stick it up between the glass panels in the oven door to clean up the drips.

I AM BACK!!!!!



The Pool....

The jet tub

the Lodge

Day's end

    Bookmark   February 16, 2009 at 11:49AM
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GB - You are so right about getting about with a wheelchair. I thought I had everything all planned out yesterday - I had called to make sure the hall was wheelchair accessible and changed the ticket for wheelchair seating. When we arrived the handicapped parking was all taken. Luck was on our side and I found a regular metered spot nearby but David had to exit into the street rather than the curb which was a bit hair raising. At the hall the door to the ramp was locked and when I went in to find assistance the crowds were overhwhelming and no one could be found. I returned to David and another patron was kind enough to track down management to open the door for us. Once in, there was some more confusion about the ticket and we had another run around before finally being able to enter the hall. By the time I got David into position I was exhausted but the music revived me:0) We were very fortunate that David didn't have to use the bathroom as it was down two flights of stairs and I would probably have had to offer him a bottle in the lobby instead - ach!

A completely new way of having to do things - I have a whole new appreciation for anyone who deals with mobility issues long term. For myself, my back and hips are very achy, and if they go we are truely sunk. I think a long bubble bath is called for or a soak in the hot tub.

The bulk of my seed starting begins later in March but I treat myself to a few slow growers or geraniums which will bulk up nicely under lights to get me through these weeks.


    Bookmark   February 16, 2009 at 11:49AM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

testing 1 2 3

    Bookmark   February 16, 2009 at 6:47PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

V...this is right down spooky! Where is everyone?

    Bookmark   February 16, 2009 at 8:01PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Marian, the reason for my "testing" post is that I did a post earlier, but it's not to be seen. I wonder if Gardenweb is having some issues?

Anyway, I did spend most of the day varnishing woodwork in the basement. How exciting! Too pooped now to recreate my post, but I did welcome Julie back.

We'll see if this shows up!


    Bookmark   February 16, 2009 at 8:30PM
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Im attempting to warm this house up this evening-it was 57 in the kitchen when I got home from work. This has been a cold rain storm , but that is good news for the ski resorts up in the Sierra who were looking at some pretty dire snow accumulation this winter. I guess the question now is can anyone afford to go skiing ? There are plenty of discounts being offered I believe. As an LA girl, skiing has never been an interest of mine, but folks up her in Norcal are pretty passionate about it. I guess thats what happens when you live where the ocean is too cold to swim in without a wet-suit.

Mary, when I started researching Coleus I found there is not much out there available in seed form-Parks seemed to have the best selection, and there wasnt a lot there , some were mixes. It will be fun to see if these mysterious encapsulated dudes germinate and grow. I hope you will be able to get some Me Time soon Mary ! It must have felt good to be able to accomplish a re-organization chore while David occupied himself. I bet he enjoyed a bit of solitary time too.

Marian, we can glow Cyclamen outdoors year round here, but I have never done so ! I guess I never had a spot that seemed suitable- its really the waterlogged ground here that does them in and not the temps. You gave me an idea on how to display my DHs marbles ! Im going to put them in a Ball jar this weekend and put them in the greenhouse window in the kitchen.

bug, I hope youll join us in the Zinnia growing ! It would be fun if we all continued to post our progress .

Julie, welcome back !! We all diligently continued our Julie Jobs in your absence . I enjoyed the pics of TCS enjoying his holiday , and look forward to the chronicle of tasks you may need to perform after a few days away. How about some Zinnias in the Julie garden ?

Chelone, you have certainly gone through a boatload of paint re; the latex, might you consider some rugs for floor protection, that could be rolled up when working conditions require ? Or in high foot traffic areas ? Flecto makes a product called Diamond that is a clear floor finish in a high-gloss , semi-gloss etc. Its considered a pretty good product by floor guys out here- maybe this would be the type of thing you would consider sealing your floor with after you finish the painting. Its pretty expensive though.

Going to eat some dinner, and wqaste some time on the internet..

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   February 16, 2009 at 9:08PM
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Julie - TCS is adorable! It looks like a great vacation and fun was had all round. David swears he will never ski again but I don't think he has to decide anything right now.

Kathy - I'll be growing Zowie Zinnias agan which are wonderful performers for me. They won't be planted till late April or May. I've grown Black Dragon coleus from seed and was pleased with the results, but then Deanne totally spoiled me with some of her amazing cuttings.


    Bookmark   February 16, 2009 at 10:21PM
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I guess everyone was taking full advantage of the holiday yesterday, Marian!

OK, so the Cyclamen will be irritated if it's soaked too often. And it would probably prefer a cooler location than 8' from the woodstove? But the sunny windowsill is OK? The Amaryllis is going to open today, it will be beautiful when I return from the awfice. I'll like that!

Yes, Kathy the floor has been thirsty and I'm nothing if not thorough in applying paint (shocking, I know). I have 2 complete coats of the ground color down now and I'm going to use the remaining gallon and a half in the centre of the room and the head of the stairs. I've never heard of Flecto or the product, "Diamond". I've used polyurethane before but decided to skip it on this floor because it yellows the colors with every coat you lay down. I've used it with great success on floorcloths and the yellowing doesn't generally bother me too much because I sort of like the antiqued look it lends, but in the case of the Salon I want the colors to remain as clear as they can. Is "Diamond" oil or water-based? I could seal with a couple of coats of the "polycrylic", I supposed, though we didn't have great luck with it on the staircase in the "big house". Anyway, I'm a long way from those steps and will satisfy myself with slippers and scrupulous foot wiping for the time being. :)

TCS must have had the time of his life, Julie, if your pictures are any indication. I particularly like the jet tub shot and reading in bed. You must've smiled non-stop watching him indulge in all those fun activities. Ajax must've been stoked to have you both return home, too! My JulieJobs have involved mostly cleaning up sand, grit, and filling depressions in the floor.

I completely underdstand how enjoyable cleaning and organizing your "craft dep't." must've been, Mary. I love putting a chaotic space back in order, too. In the same vein, I will share this. There were 2 messages on the machine yesterday that I haven't returned yet. Both were from people who "really like to talk" (I tend to be quite business-like on the 'phone) and I selfishly indulged myself by NOT returning them right away. Frankly, I was having far too good a time all by myself, doing precisely what I wanted to to all day long! I'll bet Kathy was right and David enjoyed the "alone time", too. And I'll bet Annie is having the time of her life with Ruth and her cousins; what a thoughtful thing to do for her in such a stressful time.

V., what gloss level did you select for the varnish? I think the application of clear coats is pretty tricky. If the light isn't just so it's really easy to lose track of where you were and leave "holidays" in the final finish. And really good brushes are important! (I was less than impressed when the helpmeet used my 3" china bristle varnish brush to apply bottom paint to his sailboat... right up there with the purloined and then lost shears). When will the varnish and "Fleeting Fawn" be revealed to this appreciative audience?

Well, it's time to depart. 9 hrs. and I'll be nearly back home. ;)

    Bookmark   February 17, 2009 at 5:29AM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

Morning all! Sheesh! I thought I had alienated the whole tribe yesterday, till I saw V.' "test".!!

Actually, I returned home to a house that was almost as clean as I had left it, and, in addition, all the walls in the stairwell had been pactched, sanded, and the whole thing painted in just the colour I had earlier said I wanted! I think my fit when I returned home last year had a lasting effect!

Wow, Marian, you have had quite a go with the weather! We haven't had an ice storm like that up here in 12 years. Once in a lifetime is enough. Good for you guys to keep ahead of everything while heat and water were so difficult!

Mary, David may very well decide not to ski. I didn't motorcycle again after my elbow *LOL*.

Thanks for the comments on TCS - he is a monkey. Funny thing, we have a jet tub here at home and he wouldn't even go near it. Now he thinks is's "cool" and says he never knew wehad such a fun way to take a bath in our house.

I just knew there would be wonderful bird photos from Deanne on my return! I hope thaings have gone well with Doug's work search and that the shingles have fled. The body ones I mean, not the roof.

If I get a chance, I may go to buy some zinnia seeds today just to keep up! I have had good luck with them before. I like the giant ones, and one year I grew green ones after reading a story in Reader's Digest.

Chelone, you are a wise woman. I sometimes don't bother to answer the phone if I don't feel like it. It's my phone, I pay for it, and I get to decide if I want to use it or not. When my kids were teens thay had these "friends" that would call at all hours, like 2 a.m. I had Bell Canada block those calls after 9:30 p.m., much to my children's chagrin. I explained to them my philosophy on the use of the phone. One day a complete stranger came up to me and asked if I was InterPhil's Mom. She shook my hand, congratulatd me, said I was the talk of the high school for standing my ground about the phone. Gee Whiz, 2 a.m.? Why weren't those kids home in bed like mine were? O.K. off the box.

I wonder if hardy Cyclamen would grow here in a sheltered spot? Might be something to try on a small scale this year.

I am starting to gather my supplies for seed-sowing. March break is a good time for me to start them, as we can't set things out until late May. I do have a large window in my shed - one we took out of the dining room to put in the greenhouse window - so I can start to harden things off by mid may. Always anxious to get going at this time of year.

I had good luck growing Black Dragon Coleous from seed, although germaination was spotty. I planted lots and about half grew. With pinching a care not to overwater they were very successful.

Well, today we have DD's dog again - two Bostons are ten times the effort of one! - and tomorrow an old friend from university days is coming to see me, after we reconnected following 35 years of absence! What a treat this will be! Thursday I am once again manning the school book fair and one more week will have passed.



    Bookmark   February 17, 2009 at 7:12AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Started the day with these photos from SIL:

The dangers of going to work...or play!


    Bookmark   February 17, 2009 at 8:05AM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Chelone, I am using a satin finish poly urethane varnish, and I am applying it with those cheapo disposable foam brushes. Now you know I am the recycling queen, I have pretty much banished paper towels and paper napkins from the house, etc, etc, but these throw-away brushes do a great job on the varnish. My methodology is to always work "wet on wet", and after I have made sure all the edges are covered, I do several long strokes to be sure the area is well-blended, and I stop working before the sun goes down. The basement is a walk-out with several large windows, so the natural lighting is quite good down there.

And I did let the phone go to voice mail when I was working on a very large surface that would have dried somewhere if I took the call. (Actually, funny story here - DH was working at home yesterday, and I yelled out that I would not be able to answer the call. He checked the caller idea and called out a woman's name that was not familiar to me. It turned out to be a friend of his whose phone is in his wife's name. HAH!)

I need to take other photos today, so perhaps I'll try to get some before shots. The varnishing should be done today, and I was going to start the ceiling but a coworker's mom passed away and I need to run down to the visitation. It will be just enough of a kink in the schedule that it won't make it worth starting the ceiling paint.

Julie, I enjoyed your photos. Looks like it was quite a fun trip.

Time to crack the whip here. Later!


    Bookmark   February 17, 2009 at 9:00AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Morning all,

Well weve returned to a more normal weather pattern here and Im so happy it isnt two degrees out upon waking. I was getting very tired of the excessive cold. Most of the snow has now melted off the roof and out of the gutters which is a good thing. Ive had a Redpoll or two show up in the feeders for the last week or so and that is a nice treat. Id only ever seen them here once before so getting many good views is fun. Spring must be on its way because a Red-winged Blackbird showed up here yesterday. An don tyou just love the days getting longer???? It really is noticeable now when the sky is still light at 5:30PM. I love this time of year when we really gain more sunlight.

Julie, looks like you had a great time. TCS is pretty cute in his winter gear.

Kathy, I know what you mean about there not being a lot of variety of Coleus seed. One of the reasons Im passionate about keeping my cuttings going is I couldnt afford to replace them all as plants every year. I know Ive got at least 45 varieties under lights right now and of course I cant live without any of them! LOL ~~ Glad to hear you are getting some rain. I have some friends in Australia and they are getting hammered by the heat and drought. Fortunately theyve not had any fires in their areas. ~~ That clematis is just fabulous! Im so enjoying seeing your early spring.

Mary, sounds like things are looking up there. Im so very glad to hear you were able to go to the concert with David. You are such a trooper! Id have been crying in frustration with the difficulties of getting him into the building when it should be easily accessible. We went through a couple difficulties with that kind of thing when Doug was on crutches. Also one time I ran a seminar at a hotel that claimed to be accessible and wasnt. I didnt know what to look for and I took the word of the hotel and unfortunately it wasnt. I had a student in a wheelchair whose weekend was a difficulty instead of the pleasure it should have been because the hotel gave me bad information.

All this talk of zinnias makes me jealous. Ive never had great success with them because mine always mildew.

Marian, I lol over your marbles. I lost mine years ago. Te he.

Michelle and Marty, thank you again for your lovely gift of geranium and lavender. The pink pelargonium is again blooming its head off and the lavender now has lots of flower. How fantastic to have these in winter.

Another thing lately is all the abutilon are really beginning to set flowers under the lights and they are just wonderful!

Saucy, Wendy, Chelone, Sue and Monqiue, I cant wait to see you in another week and a half!!!!! Still room for more should anyones schedules free up and you are able to come.

OK Im out of words for now and have to get on the LifeCycle and get some exercise.

Have a great day everyone

    Bookmark   February 17, 2009 at 9:02AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Julie, my appologies for not responding to your post last night! Shame on me! I enjoyed the pics of TCS too, and got a kick out of the foot sticking up out of the bubbles. :-)
My sister has a tub like that in her master bath.

Kathy, it is good to hear that you are going to make sure your DH always has all of his marbles. ;-)
Mine are from many sources. Some are our son's, some are 'found' marbles (like Maries's), and they are all sizes, including a few 'shooters'.I think some are 'antiques'? I have had them in that jar for many years.

Re: the Cyclamen....I water mine only when I see that it is wilting. I find that mine need watered more frequently than most of my other plants. Although it wilts quickly, it recovers nicely when watered.
I had/have a hardy one that I planted on the northwest side of our house. It barely grew, and only bloomed once, in the 4-5 years (maybe longer) that I have had it. I did not even see a leaf from it last year! Maybe a vole ate it?

All this talk about growing Zinnias from seed. I loved to grow the striped ones (can't remember their name) but the deer developed a taste for them, more Zinnias. :-(
I always planted mine directly in the ground. I may start a few to grow in containers, out of the reach of vegetarian varmints. The cactus zinnias are very nice also.
Parks seem to have discontinued sending me a catalog. :-(

I used to send orders to a wide selection of catalogs, and sent for many catalogs that I never ordered from. Some years I would get 30 or 40 differant catalogs! I had both seed and nursery catalogs from all over the nation, and even some from England. I think I had a few from other countries also. I know I had at least one coming from Canada.

I enjoyed growing coleus also. I liked getting the mixes and seeing what all I came up with. They are so easy to grow from seed.

Chelone, you are surely right about everyone making the most of the holiday. In our case, most of our days are the same. :-)
I keep forgetting that most of you work away from home during the week. I can understand the joy of having days off.

I do not have an answering machine with my phone, or caller id. I plan on getting that service, although I do not get many calls. With DSL we now have a message service, but it is with our phone company, and rather a nuisance.

It is another dark dreary morning, but supposed to improve as the day goes along. I am pretty stiff and sore today. I spent a while removing debris from our yard yesterday. It felt good, and I may have overdone it. I think we will not need help afterall. Nolon cut the firewood from the downed limbs of the tuliptree, and the remaing brush is moveable for me. I dragged off all those from the top of the downed Birch trunk that lay in the lawn. Nolon hasn't worked on the other one yet. The front yard is looking much better. The next wood-cutting job will be the downed limbs from the three-trunked Shumard Oak,and the Red Oak by the little red barn. They are not too far into the back lawn, but most of them block my place where I burn my burnables.

Everytime Nolon uses his chainsaw he becomes even more deaf than usual! I can talk to him, from where I set right behind him, and he doesn't hear a word I say. I guess he doesn't even hear my voice at all! I hate jumping up and standing in front of him every time I say something. Even when the TV is not on, he doesn't hear me. :-(
Sorry...I should not end my post on such a note. :-(

I need to get ready to go to town. It is my 'day in town'. I am supposed to take Nolon back to his dr tomorrow. I am not sure why. If he is okay, I may cancel that return visit. He is definitely better, except for a lot of congestion, but he says that the loosening of it is really a good thing. He does not seem to even have that so much this morning.



    Bookmark   February 17, 2009 at 9:11AM
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Good morning

Did you hear me singing from the trees and doing my happy dance? Last night David was flexing his thigh muscle and managed to lift the leg an inch. This was fabulously exciting and renews all our hopes for the future. His night was a bit rough with the leg aching but he didn't seem deterred this morning. In fact, when I wheeled him into the bathroom he asked me for some privacy please. This was music to my ears - having helped him with every aspect of self care it is simply wonderful that he is able to start doing things himself. We are also able to get into the car right from the wheelchair which means not having to drag the walker too, and a friend has invited David for the afternoon to his house. How good does it get? (our scale of expectations has been adjusted but the delight is just as high).

As Julie is back and has become my inspiration for accomplishing Julie Jobs I thought I'd show the results of one. This basement cupboard is incrediblty hard to organize due to the mixed nature of all the materials and it was an unbelievable jumble before. Although it still looks a bit higgledy piggledy I know where everything is and the neat little labels will guide me in the future. Voila!

Marian - I feel for you and Nolon with his deafness. It can be terribly isolating and so hard for those around. Does he use ear protection when working with noisy equipment? I hope it returns to its former level.


    Bookmark   February 17, 2009 at 10:05AM
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Mary, that's fantastic progress! Big congratulations to David for working on his leg through the discomfort. The closet looks ready to efficiently handle your next creation.

What a fabulous vacation, Julie. I can imagine what pleasure swimming would be while watching snow softly fall through those windows!

'bug's photos cry out for captions. Possibly for the second one: "Playing through!" (I'm not a golfer so lame attempt, I know.)

Photo of trestle table legs for Chelone. My computer has been immensely slowed down from all the spyware thrown at it so has hissy fits about loading photos. I've read Gates has offered a reward for the imps who've caused this virus. I'll probably do something geometric, checkerboard or diamonds to the top. The bigger the pattern for a neophyte like me, the better:

Marian, you're getting an answering machine, and I think we may finally be ditching land lines all together and relying only on our cell phones. Lots of techno changes. The fiber optic cable/FIOS has been laid down in the neighborhood, so we'll probably go with that improved Internet service, which I need for a mostly home-based biz. I'm terrible with cell phones so need to pay close attention now to actually answering them and using chargers.

Very prudent to keep cuttings of your coleus, Deanne. If more little nurseries fold, the big chains left standing will not carry the varieties we all crave!

Looking forward to those basement photos, V. Good job!

A family Julie job has been in progress, attempting to reorganize the main room where we eat, read, watch movies, basically live when not sleeping or working. It's always been a challenge since most of the walls have either built-in cabinetry, windows or doors. We've added more bookshelves to organize books, and yesterday I decided to inject the local economy with some juice and buy a flat screen tv, a small one, 32", since it will fit on a shelf much easier than the current which has always been awkward to place, with the back end jutting out so far, and the less I see of it when not in use, the better. Interesting recession phenomenon. The desired model, very modestly priced, getting great tech reviews, was sold out...all over town. Since inventory is slow to build, this model sells out as soon as it hits the shelves, a salesperson informed me.

A back-to-work photo, with Marty unseen at the wheel of the pilot boat, looking through the window at the deckhand and the pilot climbing the jacob's ladder to board the ship and navigate it safely into the harbor, where it will hopefully disgorge one of those blasted tv's...This is the tricky part, holding the boat steady in rough seas so it doesn't catch the pilot between the pilot boat and the ship and syncing the speed of the two moving vessels. The pilot has to carefully gauge when to step off and reach for the ladder. Carelessness in judgment can leave a pilot hanging helplessly dragging in the water or, worse, smashed between the two vessels. I climbed one of those ladders long ago, a very, very long climb up the side of these monster ships...

    Bookmark   February 17, 2009 at 12:54PM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Cool photo, Denise! In fact, terrific photos from everyone -- I adore Deanne's bluebird gallery (count me in as one who thinks bluebirds may be her favorite).

My guests are gone as of yesterday p.m. and I kind of collapsed onto the sofa (Chloe & I both) from their manic lifestyle and schedules - it was great to see them and visit but they keep a tough schedule (for one who was thinking she'd be slugging for a few days of restorative vegging). But it's been a couple years since we had that sort of visit, so I will stop complaining of it, LOL.... For someone 91 years of age, my MIL keeps a wicked shuffle w/ her daughter -- she fell twice at my house (missing the same step up in the dining room) and scare the heck out of us; but it seems luckily her bones are still strong and she just gashed her head (from hitting the d.r. table the first time) -- but it made me realize I'd be terrified to have her stay alone there -- way too many steps. But she's a game soul and just eventually got up (w/some help from the down position) and kept on going.

Julie -- love those shots of TCS and he's adorable -- looks like you all had a wonderful vacation -- what special memories you've created for him.

I see that JJobs are contagious as well as larger projects. I cant see some of those photos (perhaps tonite at home if I get the chance) -- My SIL is pushing me to take up the paint brush to redo the guest bath to go along w/ the nice new family room; and spruce up the guest room as well -- that does inspire me, but the flesh may not be as willing or as energetic as the mind turns on those ideas... thinking turquoise for the bath walls, hmmmmm....

Did Cynthia ever finish her paint project? I dont recall if I saw info re that?

Well, back to sucking down my lunch and hoping this day will stay a bit calmer than others have been recently....

It turned very cold and windy again; warmers days were a tease, and Mother Nature is back to disappoint and remind us that it is still indeed winter here.


    Bookmark   February 17, 2009 at 1:27PM
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Denise - what a neat picture. I have no doubt of Marty's expertise but thinking about the possible consequences of one small error makes me feel weak at the knees. He must have nerves of steel.

Cindy - stong bones = very, very good!

I just recieved another Park Seed catalog and thought it must be April Fool's Day. The cover featured an exclusive rose called "Shag Dancing". Good grief! Are there no Brits working at the company or has no one there seen Austin powers (Shagalicious Baby). Shag is an British coloquialosm for sex so anyone from the other side of the pond will be wincing at that one. Or maybe someone in the marketing department is having a wicked chuckle right now.


    Bookmark   February 17, 2009 at 4:35PM
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Northern California winter has arrived at last, its been pouring off and on most of the day. Even the birds have taken a hike. Got standing water in the back yard , an important feature of a real storm. Rain for the weekend too, so I will be forced into more house chores I brought home paint chips in various shades of red. Still pondering the dining room.

Chelone , the term Varathane is I believe trademarked by Flecto (now part of Rustoleum) who make the Diamond floor finish. They do specifically mention non-yellowing properties , but it is in fact water based. Do I remember you mentioning stapling work to the floor ? Im wondering what effect this would have on the coating.

Mary, I know just how you feel after organizing your craft supplies. Cleaning my garage and reorganizing it was ridiculously rewarding for me ! I bragged to one of my guy co-workers that I bet my garage was cleaner that his (hes one of those take the leaf blower to it every weekend guys) and he was impressed, though wanted proof, lol. I have found that since I cleaned it I am very careful to keep it that way. Hopefully this will last . Have you read "The Master" by Colm Toibin ? Its a fictionalized account of Henry James, Im really enjoying it, beautifully written- I started reading it last year but for some reason set it aside. It had nothing to do with the quality or my enjoyment of the book, I think I may have been busy with other things or trying to read too many books at the same time. I picked it up again last week and started over. What is the procedure with Davids school studies ? LOL Shag Dancing" .

LOL GB, the pics you posted today ..I could actually see them at the awfice (not always the case) and they brightened my day.

Julie, very nice to hear of all the in absentia JJs that were done while you were gone ! Sounds like you have a busy schedule coming up. Do join us in the Zinnia patch. I grew State Fair last year which were about 3ft tall, big flowers and good for cutting. We are troubled by mildew here but these didnt get it of course we dont have much humidity in the summer here.

Deanne, I actually took some coleus cuttings this fall , but I dont grow quite the volume you do (lol, does anyone ???) because they absolutely have to be in shade here and I have limited areas that fit that bill. Wouldnt I love to come and Thumb My Nose with yall-absolutely VITAL that we get pics of the event ! Get the camera out and set it on the counter right now !

Marian, I found DHs marbles when I was cleaning my garage and had no idea what to do with them. They are in a leather drawstring bag that is falling apart. When I put them in the Ball Jar Ill take a pic ! My FIL had the same issue as Nolon with hearing- no one could convince him that he might need a hearing aid-everything spoken to him has to be repeated. We think it is because all of the trapshooting etc that was done without hearing protection.

Denise, thanks for posting the ship-dudes pic. Would love to hear the model and brand of this 32 in flat screen ? My TV is over 20 years old , and I have put off replacing it since I watch it so seldom,and it just wont die, however I despise having a TV that is piece of furniture and cant be hidden away when not in use. I would also like to have better pic quality when viewing baseball games. Your thoughts ?

Cindy, kind of scary having a those falls occur in your house ! A testament to your MILs endurance that she was able to brush herself off and keep going.

Think thats all for me tonight later Idylls !

    Bookmark   February 17, 2009 at 9:45PM
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Mary, that's sensational news on David and the thigh flexing. You must feel as though SOME of the weight of the world has been lifted from your shoulders. You amaze me, Atlas! I chuckled about "shag", too. Tell me, is using "shag" considered "dirty" or is it like using "boink" (a personal favorite) in the USA; everyone knows what it is and it's considered more humorous than dirty. ;)

So, Cindy, the interior designer suggested to get busy with the guest bathroom, eh? I think the hardest part is deciding on the color of the paint in question. After that it becomes an exercise in planning and patience. How do I know this? I would like to hear about putting things on the pristine walls, however... . No kidding about good, strong bones. It's my private worry for myself, actually. Mum had osteoporosis and her spine was misshapen as a result, she was 4'10-11" down from my height in her prime (a statuesque 5'5"). Yikes. But, like your MIL she kept on moving, possessed of an uncanny sense of balance and a willingness to carefully assess things like stairs before attempting them. It's lovely that you had a nice visit. Now you can veg. out and dissolve into the couch. :)

Wow, Julie, sounds like those holding down the fort in your absence really went out of their way to make your return one you'd remember. How very thoughtful and what a spirit lifter it must have been to see it all finished!

I'm interested in the TV, too, though I'm not sure why. Sidenote: we are down to 2 channels now and the helpmeet is still "in charge" of dealing with it. He's procrastinated for over 3 months and now he's whining about how much time is required to "fix" the problem. Yeah, right. I'm irritated but also sort of amused by the reaction. And I'll be damned if I'll capitulate and take care of it for him. No TV may be just what the doctor ordered, lol.

I have been "industrial yachting" with the crew in the harbor. The pilot is ferried out to the ships on one of the tugs and watching him scale the side of the ships is really impressive. I know I'd have second thoughts about doing it in flat water, but on heavy, rolling seas in the winter? UNHUH. He wears a float coat, but still, the first step off the deck of the tug and onto the ladder requires not only skill, but strength, as well. No wonder they all moonlight on the volunteer fire dep'ts.! Watching the guys handle the vessels is really amazing, they have my profound respect and admiration. As I said before, "quiet confidence". Great shot, Denise. How many pilots and pilot boats are there in the port of LA?

I had trouble discerning the trestle legs in the photo, Denise. ;) Are you thinking you'd like to paint the design for a colorful accent or are you thinking you'd like to play around with stain for something lower key? I should think you could produce a really glitzy result by applying several coats of spar varnish over it to seal and protect it. It sounds like a terrific project and in your sunny clime it wouldn't suffer the rigors of temperature and humidity swings it would here in taciturn New England.

Time to catch the weather and see if there may just be a snow day for tomorrow, though it wasn't sounding that way last night. :(

Loved the marbles in the jar and it's good to know you're still in possession of your full accompanyment of them, Marian.

Later, friends.

OH, Kathy, thanks for the info. on Diamond. I understand that stapling through the surface of the paint is going to compromise its integrity, but it's the choice I'll have to make. I don't know how frequently I'll have to do it, actually, and I'll just have to keep on top of maintenance if it turns out I use the floor in that capacity a lot. Nothing is perfect, a giant cork board on the floor wouldn't hold up so well to foot traffic, eh?

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 5:28AM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Good morning! Enjoy a slice of Meyer Lemon Loaf with your coffee (or tea) this morning!

More later, but I have to go to the truly awfice today.


    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 6:57AM
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Looks delicious V!

I baked with lemons too, a polenta cake with lemon glaze. I'll swap you a piece.

Chlelone - I would say the use of the word shag falls under the crude category but perhaps things have changed in the 25 years I've been gone (is it really that long?).

PT this morning so I'll be back later as I need to wake David. A good day was followed by a really hard and sleepness night. Lets hope this monring is better.


    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 8:33AM
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Hey, now we get tea and cake for break as well as wine or beer for cocktails. Count me in. LOL

Thinking of You and David Mary.

I need to get to town as the weather is changeing once more.

Have a good day all.

Welcome back Julie.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 10:23AM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Denise, I have to tell you that Marty's photograph is absolutely terrifying to me. I hate ladders. I don't like heights and I REALLY hate ladders. So you can imagine that my legs were shaking when I had to get on the ladder and varnish this piece of woodwork, a mere 10' off the ground.

Although it looks like you could do the work from the floor above, you really can't - you can get your hand down there but you can't see what you are doing.

Here's a pic of the varnished woodwork at the bottom of the wall and on either side of the log support post. The carpet is the one being replaced after all the painting is complete, and the wall shows you why a paint job is necessary.

And the solar panels were finished yesterday! Here's a photo taken from the upstairs bedroom window.

Speaking of Julie Jobs, I was at a meeting last night in someone's home. She had hung up my coat when I arrived, but when I was getting ready to go I went to the hall closet to get it myself - and stood there with my jaw hanging down, looking at the most organized closet shelves I had ever seen. (If I had had my camera with me, I would have taken a picture) I went over to compliment the hostess just as someone else was mentioning the shelves. She laughed and said she had us all to thank for that - if we had not been coming over, it never would have been done. Motivation - a good thing!

Mary, glad to hear that David had a good day. I hope this morning is going well. Speaking of British slang, so you find it funny that Peter Griffin of Family Guy lives on Spooner St.? We had a British au pair who died laughing when we drove past Spooner, Wisconsin. She couldn't believe us Yanks would name a town like that. We pulled off the road to take a photo of her next to the sign.

Back to work,


    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 10:36AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

V, what do you do about snow build up (and sliding off) where the solar panels are installed? We've been wondering about putting them on our barn.

All these lemon cakes etc...are killing me!

Chelone, TV: What's that? Haven't had it on in years. And I do mean YEARS.

So far today I've wrapped the two gifts for friends, walked on my treadmill, let Phoebe out to chase squirrels...and some other small things.
We're back to snow, wind and cold here. UGH.

But the happy girl from Alberta posted this on her forum:

"I've never thought much about Valentine's day other than it being the day after my dad's birthday...

I just wanted to share Maybe weve got a photo I can post later.

Last week's question was "if you had to spend $50 on yourself what would you buy?"

My answer was to get some cheese and fruit, and have a cheese fondue tough since we dont have a fondue pot either.

Well, DH got home on Friday (after being away all week), and we were having friends over for dinner. Well, we went grocery shopping for a mixer and whipping cream for my valentines cake (I have pics of that too), and came across some Fondue cheese Then DH took me over to Home Outfitters and bought a cheese fondue pot, and then a meat fondue pot, and a Fondue recipe book and we got veggies, and bread and sliced up some sirloin and sausage And another friend brought over some scallops and salmon (not planned)..

And we had a spectacular Fondue Feast!

Oh my goodness, it was SO GOOD way better than any restaurant! And our friends went out in the hottub at -15C (their kids loved it throwing snow at each other in the tub).

Spoiled Rotten! Thats what we were Saturday!

Oh, and then Sunday and Monday we worked more on the Sunroom (painting and insulating etc) and then DH bought LIVE LOBSTER!!!! Which we also cooked up in the fondue pot!!!

I think that Kings didnt eat as well as we did this weekend!

On the other hand, I think that we wont spend that much on food for the next month either, but it was definitely mouth-wateringly spectacular."

I'm wondering if I dare knit something pink...

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 10:57AM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

'bug, how BIG was that fondue pot that they could fit a live lobster in there?


    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 12:01PM
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Nice to know Sarah is eating enough for two! And I had my first fondue meal ever on Valentine's Day, a restaurant called The Melting Pot, which was packed with people. Remnants of a head cold prevented actually tasting the food, but the textures were good and all that busywork makes the meal extra fun. Fondue seems to come and go in popularity. I remember friends in the '80s getting excited about fondue.

Chelone, the idea of painting the table top came about because it is trashed and could not be varnished. The legs are in much better shape, probably a better quality wood. It was found on a curb outside a church and definitely has that ecclesiastical vibe, lol. Funny you should mention amount of staffing at the pilot station. Budgetary concerns and the slowdown in shipping traffic have the "golden handshake" in play, and Marty may be retired by next fall. There's currently 16 pilots, nine boat crew. The safety record at LA Harbor, knock wood, has been very good, but we're a relatively calm harbor with mild winters. I know the Columbia River pilots, up where Kathy aims to move in the PNW, lost a pilot a couple years back. We actually chatted with the boat operator involved in the fatality when we made an informal visit on a road trip years ago, before the incident. Knowing that the friendly man now has this awful burden to bear, losing a pilot....shudder...

V, the wood came up a treat, and those solar panels, oohlala!

(pssst, the tv is by Samsung, SKU #LN32A330, currently on sale at Best Buy in our area. It's not a huge screen but 32 inches, "720p HD tv flat panel, LCD," whatever that means)

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 1:03PM
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I think you should knit something pink, GB!

Sarah's sick now, so I'm playing nurse to her and working as best I can in between. This was a curious little virus: 2 days of a high fever that caused pain in the head and neck (but not lethargy) and then wake up feverless with laryngitis. Jake had it last week, and Sarah's has followed his exact course.

V., did you tell us what the solar panels will supplement? Hot water is my guess.

Spooning and shagging....what have the Idylls come to?

Love the picture, Denise! I hope your new t.v. was on board! That's kind of a funny thought...

I know I meant to comment on more, but it has left my brain.

Mary, glad to hear things are a little better. I hope David begins to get some good rest so that you in turn can have some! I think sleep deprivation is my kryptonite - I turn to mush without it :)


    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 1:15PM
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Since I wrote this yesterday in spurts and never got it posted with those auditors skulking around, Id best just post it with out updating.

Weve been having mild, dry weather here and most of our snow is gone. Only the dirty piles are left and even they are diminished.

This was yesterday:
Im sneaking in a quick post before my auditors come back and bug me. It really is hard to get anything else done while they are here. DH had to be in my area this a.m. so he took me out to lunch and since its 45 degrees we took a nice walk afterwards. A perfect way to de-stress.

Mary, Im sure when David is healed and this is all a dim memory he will want to ski again. Kind of like having a baby, during labor you think Ill never go through this again ;O) Great to hear that he was able to do some flexing.

Julie, it looks like you had an enjoyable vacation. I love the tub picture.

Deanne, I dont have nearly 45 varieties of coleus, but upon looking at a few online sources and catalogs, Im glad I have the ones I do as the prices I saw were over five dollars each. Im glad the pink geranium is blooming for you. Mine are too, I also have a salmon colored one that blooms a lot in the winter. Most of the rest of the varieties really dont do much indoors.

Hi to all Ive missed.

Have a great day

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 1:33PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada

I'm taking a brief break from my schoolwork... :-)

Lots going on here!

Julie - it looked like you all had a great holiday - and nice to come home to completed Julie-Jobs...

V - If we lost the ash tree in the backyard, I'd consider solar panels on the back roof although it wouldn't be an ideal position. What direction does that roof face? There's an interesting house being built at the end of the street behind us. They are using those styrofoam building forms with the reinforcing rods built in. I gather what you end up with is a reinforced concrete house that is very quiet, well-insulated and air-tight: a 'passive' energy efficient house. If I had the opportunity to build a house from scratch, that's what I'd do I think. Re the lobster and the fondu pot - my thoughts exactly!

Denise - I loved the picture of the pilot boat. Very scary work though especially, as Chelone says, in colder climates like the east coast. What sort of career path takes one to that kind of job? i.e. I can't imagine a kid growing up saying 'I want to be a boat pilot', so where do the pilots come from - what did they do before getting into that/how does one train for it?

Mary - wonderful that David is getting some movement back! Such efforts do take an incredible amount of energy, a lot of it mental. So there's a lot of plateaus to go through - one step forward; pause to regroup; another step forward, etc. It's a long process but, at his age, it'll like pick up steam very fast once things get moving.

gb - go for pink - does that mean you know that pink is appropriate....?

Here is a little something from my schoolwork - my plan for a tuteur for the vegetable garden: (this is just the rough draft but you'll notice I can't do that printing!)

Time to get back to work... Hi to all I've missed commenting on.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 2:39PM
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One of the helpmeet's very favorite colors is pink. Not the soft, dainty pink often associated with little infant girls (unless it's on a button down collar dress shirt), but deep, rich, vibrant, "shocking" pink.

I say you ought to go for it, 'bug. You could add handsome accents in deep, equally rich blue.

What a Surprise it will be! :)

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 6:59PM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

Hi all! I noticed while looking through the posts that I hadn't really shown my little guy with a smile - so there they are. In photo 2, you can only see DD's smile!!

Finally might be catching up with the posts I missed:

Mary: I am so impressed that you found time to do a JJob right now while David needs so much of your time! I am sure that his progress seems slow to you folks at times, but little by little he is getting better. You poor guys - what a way to spend the dreary days of February and March! Hang in there, Spring is coming....

Wow, Denise, very scary shots - heights and water, two things I am not fond takes a special kind of person to do this kind of work...brave at the very least!

Bathroom painting? Next on my list. DS decided to redo the laundry room while we still had a bit of paint - of course it was not enough so the room is half done. At least I can just close the door. The main bath is next on my list and then this house is DONE!! For now, anyway...I'll post some photos on another thread sometime soon...

Lemon cakes and favourite. Anyone tried Chai tea with lemon loaf? Mmmmmmm.

V - what a cool house! (Or maybe warm, with those solar panels!).

Bug - Sarah and Wayne sound good. Yes, try pink. Even baby boys look cute in pink - or anything else for that matter. Or girls. What a wait!

Kathy is moving to a different part of California? If she sells her house? I came late to this forum so I don't know the details...I do recall that the house was on the market and then not, and that work is ongoing in terms of JJobs - always good when trying to move a house.

Saucy - we have had the headache/fever/voice thing too. I was the only one who lost the voice, much to the joy of the menfolk!

Woody - hey, I can read the printing so it's good enough *LOL*

My pelargonium cuttings are thriving so I went to buy 6" peat pots today. Canadian Tire didn't have the garden stuff out yet - too early! Early? Apparently March Break is the big garden prep time here. I will have to survey the stuff in my shed, run plastic pots throught the dishwasher, check W-mart for dirt, sorry, earth, in order to move my 30+ plants along. Gee whiz, I think they should stock garden stuff all year....

Anyway, kinfolk want the computer so I goota run - tomorrow, the book fair, Friday, lunch with friends for a Christmas exchange that somehow never got off the ground...

Take care, all.

Apologies to anybody that I missed.

Cheers, J.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 7:13PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Well, the knit shop was closed so I didn't have to make a decision. I think if I knit pink and we have another boy, I will save the pink for later. Wayne would love a girl, but not a boy in pink... Wayne is convinced it is a baby girl this time...BECAUSE Sarah thinks it is a boy. Hrmmmph.

Julie, love the shot of DD and the smiling TCS! Your Christmas party will be great. There's all kinds of white stuff here to fit into the spirit of it all! And yes, V's house and gardens are really wonderful!

Yes the kids sound good. I think they are adjusting to the new reality, the "new normal", namely having a child who died and that has made them who they are today. The fact that they already have to deal with "new normal" because of EX makes it extra hard. But Reed is a wonderful part of their lives and always will be.

Woody, I'm actually impressed with your lettering as well as your tuteur. I expect to see a clematis or two there. LOL. Julie, I don't expect to be getting around to pruning clematis until March...or even later.

I ordered a few green zinnias the other day and guess they will only get planted in May. I hope there will be enough time for them to take off and bloom in the veg garden. Oh, and Julie, I bought a few seed starting trays at Canadian Tire this week, so the stuff is slowly being set up. I agree that it should be year round though.

So I fed the DH and then the cats. Next is Ms Phoebes.

Gnite all!

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 8:24PM
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It stopped raining today and I was able to WALAT a bit after coming home from the Awfice- there is some serious spring stuff going on here---daylilies with leaves and one with a scape, fat buds on the Lilac, major foliage growing on the roses. . And upon checking my seedlings I found that my Cactus Zinnias that I sowed on Sunday have already germinated. We are having a between storm break more rain expected in on Friday. My rain gauge was full tonight- 5 inches.

Speaking of Coleus, below is a pic I took in the conservatory of the NYBG at IU5 . Its called Kingswood Karnival " ( I took a pic of the tag too because I wanted to be able to find one) and I want one bad. Will probably have to buy a plant and probably mail order.. so where is that place some of yall order Coleus from ? Please advise !

Thanks for the boob-tube info Denise- I confess total confusion when it comes to Plasma vs. LCD etc. I just want to see a decent picture on the baseball broadcast , and for movies. And most important, I dont want to see the thing when its not in use. My computer monitor is a Samsung and its pretty nice.

V, it was fun to see your woodwork, panels etc. And the cake of course.

Woody, your printing seems quite legible to me !

Julie, my plan is to move to the Willamette Valley of Oregon, many family members reside in the general area. I am postponing things at the moment-houses arent selling here much at all. Im in no rush, and its only about an hour flight up to Portland any time I want to visit.

Coleus Kingswood Karnival From Idyllunion 5 July 2008

Nite all !

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 10:01PM
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Just a quick hi from me. Bella wore me out today. Busy, busy! We had rain all day and there's just a small patch of snow in my front yard.

Mary, I'm glad David's improving day by day. I imagine there will be ups and downs but he's headed in the right direction. Hope you're able to get enough rest. I've been thinking of you.

Julie, TCS is such a cutey. And such a happy little guy. What a nice relaxing vacation you two had!

Kathy, I'm so jealous that you have spring! I'd love to have a couple months of gardening season tacked on at the beginning and end. Here's a link to order your coleus. That is a pretty one.

I'm heading to bed. The rest of the week looks to be busy. Actually the next couple so there won't be much computer time.


    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 10:18PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

The evening snow turned to glaze ice on the roads, and my trip home from church in DH's little car was a real knuckle-whitener. Thankfully there was no one behind me as I slowed to a crawl and did a very controlled slide into my driveway. DH took my car up north for a snowmobiling trip and I just may be missing the car more than him right now! :0

Kathy, the link you need is below. Don't buy them all; leave one for me!

Saucy, the panels will supply electricity, and when there is more than we need, it is sold back to the electric utility.

Woody, that roof faces south.

It was a mixed bag at the awfice today. A coworker's mother passed away, and the resulting absences for the funeral led to the cancellation of several meetings in my over-scheduled day. But I found out that while I was off a key employee gave her notice, with plenty of resulting drama. (And why do employees who quit, especially at crucial times, believe that they are owed some sort of special treatment? Um, remember, you quit?!? You don't get a parade in your honor...) So life goes on.

Should I sign up for the online writing course being offered by my alma mater? It's not inexpensive, but perhaps this would be the kick in the you-know-what (and I don't mean wallet) that I need to move on to the next phase. And that next phase sounds better all the time.

Sigh - no one has shown up yet to empty the dishwasher or fold the laundry. I guess it's up to me.


    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 10:42PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

S/he's not at my house V. (Phoebe licks dishes pretty clean, but I prefer the soap treatment.) I just started another load of laundry and am saving the dishes for tomorrow.


    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 10:59PM
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All this zinnea talk made me dig up a picture. My favorites are the Green Envy because I love the color. I always direct sow mine.

DH got this new super computer with windows Vista so I decided to use it to burn a DVD of our Florida pictures and videos. Hmmm, I've got a thing or two to learn.

Woody, I like the tuteur. I'd love to have some nice ones to grow beans on. Right now I'm using 3 old tent poles for each tepee.

Julie, your DD is lovely and TCS looks like such a happy kid.

Kathy, cool coleus. Wow, 5". Seems weird that spring is already there.

It's been a long day - the audit continues, the tape drive of the server and the duplicator both croaked today, so I'd best find the easy chair.


    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 11:01PM
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Ok, I now have this horrible list to order from the Coleus place and need an editor !

Yes V, sign up. Knowledge is power.

Green Envy. Think I need it.

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 11:26PM
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One of my great daily treats is pulling up this forum to see what my nocturnal friends have had to say that will amuse me in the morning. You never fail to "deliver the goods".

I made a mental note to tell Marian that she's right about how quickly Cyclamen revive after a case of the "droops". :) It perked right up after a soaking. The Amaryllis is fully open and it's not red... rather a lovely deep cerise (perfect for baby clothes, 'bug). If I think of it I'll get a shot of it this afternoon.

It's a rainy morning and the weatherman suggests taking it easy as black ice could be a problem for my ride into work. I guess the more northern parts of the state are getting hammered today.

Woody, I never gave your neat printing a thought until two other hawk-eyed people mentioned it. Silly me, and VERY good for you. I like your tuteur very much, too. Have you had the unpleasant realization that they're usually too short?

V., I'm very impressed by the solar collectors on your roof, and what will happen when they get covered with snow? it just melts off as the cells are black? I know how you must've felt when you had to varnish that strip of trimwork, I had similar feelings of trepidation when I had to venture out on the 2x12 and was suspended over the Salon's stairwell to paint the ceiling and the wall. It was a L O N G way down to the concrete floor... . Everything is going to look great when you've freshened up the paint on the walls and "Fleeting Fawn" makes its state entry. :) Go for it with the writing course, ONLY if you thing you'd get sort of a kick out of it as well as know it will be useful. (There are several skills I'd like to sharpen up with respect to work, too).

All the talk of seed starting, emerging growth, and garden plans seems very distant to me right now. And I'm OK with that, it's not as though I don't have plenty of other home improvements looming ahead of me. ;)

Woody, the pilots I know began working as "wharf rats", or sternmen on fishing boats in their youth. One, a wild youth, was quietly taken aside and told that if he knuckled down and went to school he'd find a fulfilling (not to mention lucrative) career awaiting him, with skills that could be transferred anywhere in the world. Educationally, it's rigorous; Maine Maritime Academy can be very demanding and the "on the job" portion of the training is, too. Another works on the western rivers (Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, etc.) and is working for blue water (ocean) certification so he can do the New York to maritime Canada runs with barges; apparently quite lucrative with minimal time "on" (a week, or so) before time "off". I'll be interested to hear what Denise has to say on the subject as she would have more in-depth knowledge of the work than I do.

OK, I know there are things I wanted to say but the sooner I get this day under way the sooner I'll be able to wrap it up and get back to the Compound.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 5:41AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Good morning :-)

Winter outside my window again this morning. It's snowing lightly without more than a dusting on the ground so far. I'm sorry I haven't been posting. I'm still having a little trouble keeping up and find I haven't much of interest to say these days any way. One day seems to blend into the next. DH started back to work on Tuesday and has been going half days all week. The infection and the medications they had him on in the hospital really knocked the stuffing out of him. He is finally feeling better but now it is just trying to get his energy back. He normally has a packed schedule every day so it's an effort ramping back up to take it all on again.

I started thinking about winter sowing yesterday in rebellion against all this boredom. We dragged the bottles out of the basement and I thought I might start getting them ready for some potting soil, but the bag of them just sat there staring at me all day. I did drag out my seeds and see I have a few that are current enough to try. Four O'Clocks are at the top of my list this year and I have about four colors of California Poppy that I am just itching to try even though I haven't a clue where I would put them. [g] Plus a ton of older columbine seed that I am going to just throw all together and surely I will get a few sprouts. I am really hoping to plant cool season veggies this year.

I've been reading a lot. 'The Garden in Winter' by Suzy Bales came home with us again. A few mysteries and diet and nutrition books. 'Natural Beauty from the Garden' was a disappointment. Recipes seem odd. My favorite this time around is still 'P.Allen Smith's Container Gardens' I'm ready for another batch of books.

Other than that, I've been walking around the yard every day and starting to see crocus peeking out around the base of the bird feeder. I am especially pleased because I found a variety that was my mother's name last fall and we planted them there because she just loved birds, then we carefully covered them with chicken wire so the squirrels wouldn't dig them up and voila! Still lots of snow in the yard on the shady side but as it shrinks every day I see more and more work to do.

There, now wasn't that fascinating? [g]

I've been trying to follow along, but mostly looking at photos. :-) Loved the one of the Pilot Ship Denise, really have always been in awe of people who could make their living on boats period, but working around those huge boats in a little boat...oh my! Very creative tuteur Woody. Anyone would be thrilled to have it in their veggie garden, good job. 'Green Envy' Zinnia is one of my favorites too, Michelle. Love that 'Kingswood Karnival' Kathy. I think I've had that on my list in the past. Julie what a fun trip you all had. Handsome crew you have there too. Solar Panels are such a step forward. Must feel like a great accomplishment. Mary and V...loved your cake photos...mouthwatering! Gardenbug...very funny traffic and golf photo. I love funny photos like that. Sorry you have another child home sick Saucy. Marian, my Mom had a box of marbles that I still have around here somewhere. I should dig them out for display.

Okay....getting too long....hello to all I've missed. How many more days until spring is it? Didn't we have someone posting the countdown last year?


    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 7:43AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Good morning all,

Well it is raining at the moment over what was four inches of snow so it is just a sloppy mess out there today. Yukko. Perfect for me to put my nose to the grindstone and get some painting done. As usual the project is late and the students are making noise about wanting to get their prep work done. Sooo. Work in the basement for me today.

So many great pictures on the Idylls lately.

Denise, I agree with the pic of the ladder being a tad bit scary. Dont think that is anything I need to do, ever. My scariest ladder experience was when we put the addition on the house (added a second floor) the contractor would not start building walls until I went up there and did a walk through. Now, there werent any stairs yet, just a ladder up to the bedroom window and I had to climb up that ladder and crawl through the window and then back down again which was worse. Bear in mind that I weighed 312 pounds at the time. It was horrible! That was the first and last time I went up there until the stairs were put in.

Kathy, Im SOOOOO jealous that you have spring and are able to start gardening. Im so ready! I love that coleus also. A real beauty. LOL about the coleus order. Im just as bad only when I edit it I add more instead of taking away.

V. and Eden, you are such enablers posting the link to the Rosy Dawn site!!!! I had to wipe a bit of drool off my chin and I only looked at a couple pages of the catalog.

V. thanks for the pic of the solar panels. Interesting and I know its going to ultimately save you moola on power. I wish I didnt have such a huge electric bill these days. Doug and I were talking the other day about having to retire the hot tub when we retire because we wont be able to afford to run it.

Woody, love the tuteur! Nice design.

Mary, sounds like things are really progressing well with David. Such positive news that hes making progress. ~~~ I lol over the shag thing. Too funny. Kind of like when I went to Australia and was warned to never use the term fanny pack. LOL

Saucy, that is one strange virus youve got there. Hope you dont catch it.

Bug, that fondue feast sounds like it was a blast.

Michelle, it must have seemed like heaven to go for a walk in 45 degree temps after the winter youve had.

OK Ive got to get some exercise and get downstairs to work. Waving hello to one and all, have a great day!


    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 8:19AM
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Well............since PM asked. I've been dying to do this!


    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 8:41AM
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Ever get that feeling you've got your finger on the collective idyll pulse? After Christmas I brought home a few pots of cyclamen on sale and planted them near the base of a Deutzia. I'd prefer getting closer to the species than the florist type, but they were cheap and have been obligingly in bloom nonstop:

Interesting how many found the ladder picture scary. I don't think I'm phobic about heights, but occasionally when I'm in a very tall building, 20 stories, and the there's only a thin glass membrane between me and clouds, I feel, well, unusual, lol, though I can still function.

The county is apparently starting water rationing in May, so must resist Eden's coleus and cut back on pots. But all you zinnia pushers are weakening me! Love the Green Envy, Michelle.

Very nice tuteur, Woody! Job paths are interesting. Most of the pilots seem to have Navy backgrounds, like our Saucy, to get the "seatime" for a license for such large tonnage though many also come up through the tugboat ranks. Or like Chelone says they can go to the naval academies. In Marty's case, a much smaller license is required to run the pilot boat. Marty always tells me he wanted to work in a bank! But when he was just out of high school, an older brother was working as a marine biologist on research boats run by the USC Marine Research program (now defunct since the '90s, more money needed for football program!) So his older brother said they needed deckhands and techs to count and identify fish species, and that's where Marty got his seatime to start the path to getting ever bigger licenses, which reflect the size of ship you're licensed to operate. Getting the seatime required usually involves hard, low-pay work. This same brother now has a 500-ton license and is working in the Gulf of Mexico.

V, take the class!

PM, I am finding so many books I've meant to read, books I didn't know I'd bought as I organize the bookshelves. I'm tentatively thinking of starting a summer book club in the neighborhood for the long, lazy evenings.

What a nice photo of your DD with TCS, Julie.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 9:53AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Pm2, I certainly understand the winter doldrums....I am thinking you sound rather like I was feeling about a year ago. You are handling it better than I, but maybe you need to go back and read all your advice to me at that time. I am working hard at not reaching that point this year. ;-)

Tee hee, I sure started a trend with the marbles. I wish I had a wide, flat-sided, glass container to put mine in, so that more would be visible. I turned my jar around and more prettier colors are in sight now, including a blue and white shooter.

Chelone, Nolon is my monitor on when the Cyclamen is in need of water. It sets where it is in his constant view, and when it starts drooping, he informs me that it needs watered.
I remember your account of painting suspended over the stairwell on the 2x12. It still scares me!
V's is equally scary. I will definitely pass....

Deanne, you mentioned the days getting longer. I agree with the longer evenings being nice, but I am aggravated at how long it is taking for the mornings to improve! I like to wait until it is dawning before getting up, but it does not seem to be happening any earlier now than it did on the first day of winter! At our house the sun may be coming over the 'mountain' earlier, but the dawn is no earlier.
Your ladder experience sounds terrifying! My worse was when I was painting the gable end of our 1 and 1/2 story house. The ladder was not tall enough, so I stacked up a couple of tires (on wheels), and placed the ladder on them. I did a lot of praying while I was up there, and hoped no one startled me. That was about 35 years ago. I can hardly cimb any length of ladder now.
Ah, Deanne, I don't think you have 'lost your marbles', LOL.
I am so envious of your thumbing your nose at spring get-together, but at that time we should be seeing more signs of spring here. Maybe the Cornelian Cherry will be in bloom.

Mary, I was so tickled at your 'doing the happy dance'. I hope that happens more frequently. When the feelings return to David's leg you will be whopping even louder than I did when the Birch tree sprang back up!
Nolon has used power tools in his carpentry work for over 40 years, and never used ear protection. I am sure that is the case of his hearing loss. He does improve a little, a day or so after running his chain saw.
My voice is normally rather loud, but even when I get louder he still does not seem to hear me. Even when he is setting next to me in the car, he cannot hear me, and there is no other distraction. The strange thing is...he hears every move and noise that the cats make! :-(

Marie, the 'hazard' pics from your DD are good. I would like to get a hold of the smartie who put up that traffic sign!

Denise, I bought the new phone, but have not connected it yet. I am a terrible procrastinator! :-(I hope it is not still setting unused months later, like the 3 in one printer!
I have no desire for a cell phone, unless it is only in my car for emergencies. They are not too practical out in the boonies where we live. The connection is poor from our house.

I keep my coleus over winter too, espacially the ones from Deanne, but also others that I espacially like, even if they are not named. I have no grow lights set up, so depend on windows to keep them going. I am starting to root cuttings now.I root mine in water. The Fishnet Stocking one is one that I hope to replant this spring.

Denise, your pic of the man climbing the ladder by the ship, made me think of what Nolon said happened to him when he was in the Navy. He did get stuck between two ships when he was on such a ladder, and suffered cracked ribs. He was out there working on the ship!
That is so sad about the loss of the pilot.

Cindy, I am happy your MIL was not seriously injured in her falls. Thank goodness she has strong bones! My dr has me on calcium pills, because my last scan showed weakening bones in my right hip.

Mary, I would decline on purchasing that Rose, although the word 'shag' is a perfectly nice word in the right context. If the rose's name was not combined with 'Dancing' it would not raise any eyebrows. Shame on Parks!

Kathy, I am sure glad you found your DH's marbles! LOL
BTW, I am sure Nolon realizes he has a hearing problem. I wish we could afford aids, but they are not covered by any insurance or by VA. He has not even been tested, so I don't know if aids would even help him.
That IS a lovely Coleus, but I will purchase one only if it is available locally.

Thanks for the lemon treats, V and Mary. I love lemony baked stuff.

Marie, I am glad you got that fondue dinner. Our congregation had fondue dinners every now and then, when we lived in Idaho....back in the 70s. I have never been too much of a fan. I too, am curious about the size of the fondue pot that will hold a lobster!!!
Marie, knit a rainbow color, then you can't go wrong. :-)

I never talked with my mother about her reaction to the loss of her first son, at the age of 21 months. I wish I had. If it was something that stayed with her over the years, she never spoke of it in that sense. None of us have ever forgotten 'Billy', never the less....

Saucy, I had heard that there is an new type of virus going around. I hope Sarah is much better today.

Woody, your printing on the tuteur drawing looks okay to me. :-)
Great tuteur. I could sure use some of them. I need one at the bedroom end of the house where a ninebark was the support for a couple of Clematis. The Ninebark is one of the icestorm casualties. :-(

One of the men in our congregation frequently wears a dark pink shirt. :-) Light pink is fine also, for a male.
Julie, that is quite a smile on TCS! I think he must have just popped back up from the foot in the air pic? Your DD has a lovely smile, and is a pretty woman.

My method of rooting Pelargonium is letting the cuts dry out a little, and inserting thenm into moistened potting soil. Keep them on the dry side, and they usually root with no problem. I had a red one blooming awhile back, but none right now. The one with the variegated leaves is looking good. I almost did not bring any of them in, but espacially did not want to lose that one.I did not bring in the scented ones. They (pelargoniums) are one plant that the deer do not eat. ( I hope they will not make me a liar this year! )

Oooo, V! Do be careful! I am so happy I do not have to venture out on such roads. That was a thoughtless thing for your key employee to do.

Michelle, I believe I grew that Green Envy some years ago... BD (before deer).

A chilly morning here...19F, but warmer days in the forecast. But then, so is snow!


( Yarrgh! You can almost make a book out of this post! )

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 10:15AM
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Speaking of coleus and spring. It's not here yet but this is getting me through.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 2:47PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Well look at that fantastic view and those pretty bottles, forsythia, coleus etc!!!! (but remember, I hate coleus...)

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 3:02PM
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Norma - love your view and Eden's banner in the corner LOL!!

Marian - I really enjoyed your long and thoughtful post and responses to everybody. It was a great synopsis of all that has happened here.

Pretty good day here - a long walk bundled up in the wheelchair, successful therapy exercises and friends dropping by to play board games. A friend from book group is coming over so that I can leave the house for a while and she's bringing supper too:0) We might even try to get out for a free concert at the Eastman School of Music now I know where the wheelchair ramp is.


    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 3:24PM
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Update - two friends are here with David and they have drawn out a chalk course on the driveway and are timing each other to see who can do the fastest wheelchair lap. Should I intervene?.... It's good to see him laughing again.


    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 3:45PM
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Nope! just stand back and observe from afar. With a dollop of delight... they'll be fine. On second thought, get the camera!

Great news and I hope you get to the concert, too. :)

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 3:59PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Norma, I love your picture! I espacially love the pedestal. I thought about bringing in some forsythia and Quince branches, but decided I have enough blooming things indoors already.

Here are the latest in the Orchid line that are in bloom:

This one is Rose Valentine

Sorry about the blurrieness of this second one. :-(

This one is a miniature Phal, but I see at least 20 buds on it!

The yellow one from Ei is still in bloom, and so is the Slipper orchid. Another Phal has a stalk but is a ways from blooming.

Mary, how great that David is progressing so well. He has wonderful help...his mom, and his friends.

I hooked up the new message phone today. I have not changed it from the default settings yet.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 6:15PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Eden...thanks for the 'Spring' countdown, 29 days is not very long at all.

Denise...your book group for the summer sounds like a nice idea and a good time for it. Summer will be here before you know it too. Very pretty cyclamen that look so healthy too. Found the account of how Marty became a pilot fascinating. I haven't known anyone in that industry personally, so it was all new to me.

Mary...makes all the difference when things aren't going well, to have friends. [Mothers too (g)] Just what David needs. And just what you need to see him enjoying himself. Wonderful.

Marian...I can certainly see that you are in a different place this year than last and I am sure you have worked hard to accomplish that. I'm very happy that you are doing so much better. That's right, I had just started posting to Idylls, a year ago January. Glad to know the advice offered was good enough for regifting. [g] Doing a great job with your orchids.

Norma what a nice view out your window and a very colorful collection of coleus. Also like that pedestal with the butterflies on it. And the 29 days of spring on your screen. [g]

Good night..

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 6:43PM
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Mary, I think the wheelchair races would make me a little nervous, but hopefully the fresh air will make for better sleeping. It's good that you have so many good friends to lend a hand and give moral support.

I'm afraid to go browse the Rosy Dawn site. LOL

Marian,your orchids are pretty. I've always wanted to force forsythia but never did until now. Next time I will do more branches. I didn't know you can do quince also. I might try that.

Bug, it was good to read about Sarah and Wayne's weekend feast.

V, If we were younger I would go for the solar panels too. I think we would not recoup the expense at this late date.

Michelle, I'm still learning the nuances of this laptop and Vista .

Saucy, I hope the kids are feeling better. I had a really stiff neck for a couple of days.

Denise and Chelone, I enjoyed the info on what the pilots have gone through to earn their license.

My zinnas reseed themselves here. I don't remember what variety I started with. Just a mix for the tall ones. And some little ones called Star White I think. A small gold one too.

Eden, 29 days till spring sounds good to me.

Pm there is nothing of interest here to write about either.
When you are retired and don't go out much it's pretty mundane.

Deanne, a picture of your flowers under lights would be nice if you get a free minute. Is Doug still getting a few days work?

Julie, I'm happy you posted a close up of TCS's smile. I was begining to think he was like Wilson on the TV program Tool Time (was that the actual name of it?) anyway the man always concealed part of his face. LOL. Your daughter is very pretty.

Gotta go let Rebel out. Later Norma

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 7:22PM
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About the pedestal. I waffled over that all summer and kept watching the clearance prices in the fall until there were only two left. Then decided I better grab it. I have missed out on many things by not getting them sooner.
I bought it to use outside but really like it indoors so it probably won't go out.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 7:30PM
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Whoo hoo! The auditors are gone! This has just been so stressful for me. Its not like we dont have our own audit annually, but this is similar to an IRS audit in many ways 3 /12 days worth. I swam, sat in the hot tub and had a glass of wine every night after leaving work. Oh, I must not forget the Dove "Promises" chocolate that a friend gave me. I kept them in my desk and indulged everyday.

So PM, my week was pretty eventful, but I think that Id rather it be more boring LOL I havent even given wintersowing a thought and havent even gotten a seed order together. I do have a fair amount of seeds that I will sow that I saved from last year. You know those favorites that once youve tried them you never want your garden to be without them.

DD called yesterday with sad news. An instructor and student from DSILs flight school plane went down and both lost their lives. She was upset and thought maybe Mike should study to be an accountant. This was the first fatalities in the schools 20 year history.

Marian, I always enjoy seeing your beautiful orchids.

Deanne, Id love to see your orchids as well. You always have such a nice display of them.

Norma, what a wonderful spot to Idyll from.

Mary, it sounds like David must be feeling a lot more chipper.

The ladder thing would have scared me at one point but DH has helped me conquer my fear of heights. I think the climb up the 70 silo or the climbs to the top of the grain bin to shut the lid have cured me. I still respect heights though.

Id best get going. DH went to a BB game but I used the excuse that I need to finish up a little bit of tax work before we see the accountant next Monday.


    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 9:29PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Nice to seem some sunny windows with plants soaking up those rays! Another sign of spring's approach - our Dairy Queen reopened today. And despite temps that are hovering near 20, my BIL was kind enough to bring three boxes of Dilly Bars to the church council meeting tonight in celebration of their opening.

I took the step and signed up for the writing class. It starts in early March, and I'm looking forward to it.

Work was more fun today because I got to spend some time away from my desk giving a tour this morning. It's always fun to take a group around, hear their questions and enjoy their awe at the complexity of the entire operation.

The latest weather forecast has us getting walloped by a winter storm tomorrow night and Saturday. I've already called the snow plow guy and put him on alert. He knew that DH had been doing most of our plowing since our ATV was fixed, but DH is out of town until Sunday and I have the little car, which would not get out of the driveway with that much snow. I can run the ATV, but the plow is not on it right now and I can't put it on by myself.

Mary, your reports sound more positive every day!

Chelone, did you happen to listen to NPR this afternoon? They had a long piece about two teenage girls that were hit by a train in Lebanon, Maine last May.

OK, my pledge for tonight is to get a few chores done and get to bed a little earlier this evening. Getting up this morning was tough. I had to give myself a few extra minutes because the roads were so bad last night, I didn't want to drive the extra few miles to get gas. I was worried about running out today, but I had just filled our gas can over the weekend, so I put some of that in the car this morning. Next time I will plan ahea


    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 10:01PM
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Another day of sun here, but ironically rain will return along with the weekend. I actually pulled some weeds this evening- but its a rough go, the ground is pretty soggy.

PM, youd be surprised at what some of us find interesting ! Things that seem mundane to some can hold fascination to others, especially considering the varied climate zones we represent here.

LOL Deanne, about wiping off the drool when viewing the Rosy Dawn pics. I of course looked at all of them and will be ordering a few after a cooling off period. If I can get that Kingswood Carnival up to any size before July I might attempt packing another cutting in my suitcase- my hostess gift offering ! I have no idea what to expect in terms of plant size when I order.

Denise, I thought your description of heights making you feel unusual was very apt. When I was in Chicago last summer I took a group of employees up to the bar at the top of the John Hancock building (96th floor) and it was interesting to see their reaction. A couple of them felt uncomfortable sitting too close to the window. Ive been there quite a few times but I always have to adjust myself abit. . It always seems a little strange at first . My God, I hope Marty isnt pining away for his career at WAMU ! If the summer evening book club gets off the ground you must keep us notified of the reading list. Although it can be difficult to read and watch a baseball game at the same time I have done so. Ultimate multi-task.

Marian, I will be moving the marbles this weekend and will take a pic of them ! FYI, you should check out the flower vase section at Wal-Mart. I dont shop there anymore , but a few years ago I went into ours and found several vases for very low prices, 4.99ish as I recall, 1.59 for bud vases . Im really noticing how much lighter it is when I get to work in the morning-I usually go in about 6:15, and the eastern sky is definitely lightening. Marian, if I can get that coleus going I would be happy to send you a cutting. Well see how I do with it ! I am always so amazed by your orchids, you really have a gift for growing them and coaxing them into re-bloom.

Norma ! How fabu the pic and with Edens banner discreetly in the corner too ! I see you have nice big bay windows like Marian does for staging plants in the winter.

Mary, glad to hear that David was able to do some kid stuff with friends- That should raise his spirits considerably.

V, we will expect some pretty awesome prose from you after your writing class- perhaps the Idylls might even be homework ?? I have always enjoyed writing for my own entertainment since I was little girl.

Yay Michelle, the nasty bean counters have flown the coop ! Our auditors are around for about a month I think at my company, but we have reduced the time this year (we are after all paying them to audit us ) as part of our overall efforts to reduce expenses.

A few springish pics, taken after I came home from work today

Tasmanian Tiger unfurling. From Garden 2009

Lilac buds From Garden 2009

This Erysium has been blooming for a couple of weeks. From Garden 2009

Doobie and Ted each get thier own arm on the chair.They are really glad it stopped raining. From Garden 2009

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 10:55PM
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Good morning my friends. We received a dusting of snow lat night and everythings looks really pretty in the morning still. There will be a lot of "hokey pokey" when the cats decide to venture over the threshold. Rex will, of course, be absolutley thrilled and will act silly.

I was diligently rolling the remainder of the base paint onto the Salon floor and did hear the NPR story about the two knuckleheads who decided to play hookey and fell asleep on the railroad tracks, V.. It was all over the local stations at the time and the helpmeet turned to me, shrugged his shoulders and grimly called the accident "triage", pronouncing that crime never pays. Certainly it's tragic, but let's call it what it is... really stupid, right up there with napping on the Rte. 95 breakdown lane. There must be something in the water in that town...

Norma, what a lovely outlook you have on the surrounding countryside! The room looks so pleasant and inviting, and it was fun to see the Idyll du jour right there in the corner of the picture, too. It's almost as though we were right there with you. We were talking about forcing Forsythia at work this morning, too. I've never tried it and was wondering when I should clip some shoots and bring them in. (I love the color of flowering quince, BTW).

Eden, I think the 29 (now 28) days to spring is a fun exercise but definitely leagues away from reality for me. ;) There are probably some crocus and narcissus shoots emerging from the soil on the protected south side of the house. We have lost a ton of snow here, too. There is still some ice on the driveway at its mouth (very shadey there) but Magnolia stellata has very big, fat, and fuzzy buds all over it and the Hammemalis ("Diane") is covered with buds, too. It's getting on toward time for it to flower, while it's not anything I really like very much it will be fun to see some activity "out there".

Marian, your orchids never fail to amaze. They're just lovely! I tried to get a good shot of the Amaryllis yesterday but was unsuccessful and will try again today. As far as houseplants go, I could use a guy like Nolon to remind me to look after them. ;) As for hearing loss, Mum was deaf as a post and her hearing aids were a godsend. it cana be a challenge to communicate with someone who refused to acknowledge they have a hearing loss. It was, however, infuriating to have the aids repeatedly lost and mishandled by the bumbling idiots in the nursing hole. The administrators were not happy with me or my brother when we pointed out that they didn't work very well with dead batteries in in them or insisted they replace them when the staff mishandled them and ultimately broke them. The helpmeet has considerable hearing loss, too. The result of VERY LOUD rock 'n' roll in his misspent youth. I often wonder about the cumulative effect of rumbling machinery on my own hearing!

Doobie and Ted must've taken a lesson from our cats, Kathy... they love to assume similar positions on chairs inside and out. I am particularly intrigued by Ted's coloring. He's a calico, right... it's the same buff accents that I see on Polly and less so on Spencer.

Michelle, I hope you were able to marinate long and without interruption in the hot tub after the ordeal of the audit. I'm respectful of heights, too, but have no problem dealing with ladders when we put up awnings or I have to go up on the roof to lace on the deck canopy. The key is to keep one hand on the ladder at all times and don't look down. But when you toss in the wildcard of rolling seas I'd think twice before stepping onto the jacob's ladder where timing is critical. Very tragic about the crash of the plane; I have no fondness for airplanes anyway (haven't been inside one of the flying sewer pipes since fall '99), although the view from above is pretty cool.

Julie, there is no doubt that you have a most handsome family. TCS doesn't look as though he's going the wither away to husk from malnutrition. How goes the food battle with him these days?

Saucy, how fare ye in sick bay? is Sarah on the mend and are you enjoying the quiet brought on by laryngitis?

PM, your life is much like mine... nothing really new from day to day and like Kathy I am enough of a nosebag that reading about everyone else's mundane lives brings a smile to my face.

OK, gotta get to the Lab. and deal with some alteration work this morning. New customer coming this afternoon, too.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 6:54AM
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Ah, longer sunlight. Noticed when I left work a few days ago that I barely needed headlights on and that in the morning, I can tell it's time to get up since the sky is brightening that much earlier rather than it being pitch black. HOO ZAH!

Just spent the most luscious time reading Idylls and catching up.

One thing I don't mind is heights and the respect of a bunch of young, brash males was quickly received when I lept off a 50' cliff into a gorge that they had stayed away from a few years back. Won't do that again anytime soon as the sensation is not quite the same as when I was 16 :-)

Reading along I had a conscious thought about how much brighter Marian seems this year, and how glad I am for you.

Looking for Deanne light pics, please!

Loving the solar panels, V. Our house was a breakthrough passive solar back in 1986 and I thank the builder every time we open an energy related bill. Also great for plants!

Following David's progress from afar feels like he's making good progress. You know, Mary, there are sports groups for folks either permanently or temporarily in wheelchairs and it may be something he'd enjoy. When does Annie get back? You must be missing her at least a little by now ;-)

After years of restraint and downright fear of killing one, a friend gave me a leftover Phal her boss received as a Christmas gift. It has buds. It seems to like a northwest facing window. Since it just stopped blooming, what can I expect for the next few months?

LOL about the bag of bottles, PM2. They'll still be there tomorrow and the seeds won't care if they get planted this week or next. Think of you often and Rich says feel better soon.

Zinnia seeds will be arriving soon and I think I ended up with about five varieties for various spots. We could have a bona fide trial going on here!!

Thought of you, Chelone, when I put pencil to paper and listed the once-baby shrubs that need to be moved. Yes, there are more, and I've budgeted for teenaged help. The salon is sounding better and better.

Woody -- I'm very impressed with your plan. If you have the strength to use a nail gun, it makes a huge difference in keeping everything plumb when working with angles, I've learned. Other times I've resorted to Elmer's gluing everything together before nailing. Just some thoughts...

Need to get ready to face the State of Connecticut Appropriations Committee to testify against closing the hospital my brother has utilized for three years. Still not sure what will happen to him, but feel a real responsibility to advocate for folks whose families have [understandably] given up. It is expected that around 100 people will be testifying so it could be well into the early hours of tomorrow before I can "go to the mike."

Greetings to everyone not specifically mentioned. Keep remembering that a smile is the easiest gift to give!


    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 8:16AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Chelone, I think Kathy's Ted is a Tabby, not a Calico. Our Trubby is a tabby, Cali-cat was a calico.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 8:19AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Good morning all,

Looks to be a sunny day after getting a surprise inch of snow last night. I didnt remember the weather people predicting any precip for last night. Hmmm. The kitties are about to drive me insane lately. I think it must be a spring thing. They are either running around the house like maniacs( Rahjii in particular is more active than usual) either that or they both have to crawl into my lap and sit on the keyboard when Im on the computer OR Rahjii has decided that he needs to be walking about my painting table which is a really bad thing when I have a wet palette out. Then they either want to be outside or inside but never ever on the side of the door they are currently on. But they do keep me laughing.

Marian, love the orchid shots and I noticed some coleus cuttings there as well. My orchids are now just starting to bloom well and this seems a bit late for it this year. I especially love those minis. Ive started collecting as they take less space and are profuse bloomers. ~~ So you did a ladder with it sitting on tires stacked up!!!!!!!????? Youre lucky you didnt kill yourself!

Norma, what a beautiful view and how nice to see the coleus and forsythia! Beautiful! ~~~ Yes thanks for asking, it looks like Doug will have a few more days until the end of Feb then well see. Hes had a lot of interviews and we are hoping something comes from them.

Michelle, so glad to hear that the auditors are gone. That must be a huge relief. I remember my days in the billing dept well. WE used to have the KMA auditors (some secret thing I didnt get) come in to audit my top secret cases and I was the only person with a security clearance so was the only person allowed to deal with all that. It was beyond stressful so you have my complete empathy.

Mary, wheelchair races?????!!!!! Id be biting my fingernails but probably let them do it but hover watchfully. Glad to hear hes feeling better.

Denise, the cyclamen are lovely!!!

Yea, Eden has the countdown to spring.

Kathy, love, love, love the spring pics and the kitties on the chair. ~~ LOL about sending in your Rosy Dawn order after a cooling off period! Too funny. The plants from them are the very best and good sized. I dont order coleus from anyone else.

V. ahhhh Dairy Queen is open, Im sure Sue will have a report on hers. ~~ So sad you are going to miss the party this year. Just think on all those coleus cutting you could be going home with.

So where is Cindy? ~~ She was supposed to make an appearance at Thumbs this year and isnt able to come either. Bummer! We NEnglanders will have to hold down the fort.

AS requested.

The Goodwin Creek lavender is still blooming.

Abutilons are the best!

The terrace gardens this morning. So spring is coming when????

Have a great day everyone

    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 8:44AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Mornin'! Snowy and blowy and yet there's some sun. The snowplow visited around 7am as usual... Well, 28 days seems pushing it to me, but I'm ready!

Below you'll see how we spent last evening. It was a fine turn out and satisfying to DH and I who started this organization several years ago in an attempt to have a more organized voice that would be heard and that would be a resource to many. Now each group does not have to reinvent the wheel.

Next week DSIL has more mediation with EX...and he has begun smoking once again much to his disgust. You think there's a connection? I certainly do. I've tried to make a few suggestions, kindly. I know how annoyed he is with himself, a person who considers himself strong and reasonable and able to conquer everything. It is an insult to have something so nasty have power over him.

DS phoned yesterday. I feel so lucky to have "kids" who share meaningful stuff and also try to visit when they can! DS called to describe the situation with former GF.(she visited us last summer if you recall) Seems she and her family are majorly victims of the crash this week of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank where their investments are held. Unfortunately DS had heard hints of this in advance and warned them, but they took no action and he feels terrible. Life in Mexico is difficult even if you have money but are Jewish. Lots of kidnappings and fear. I still can't fathom why anyone would invest everything in just one place, especially when they have been victims of this same thing in past years! People never learn? On DS's job front, he is hanging on by his fingernails but riding things out until the bitter end.

DD shared this list of positives with her forum friends:

I AM one of the lucky ones, I think.

Despite Reeds loss, so far the financial stuff hasnt impacted us.

Both DH and I have good jobs that are unlikely to disappear because they are both government jobs and permanent, and in an area that is unlikely to decrease. Even if they were to disappear the government would have to find us jobs of the same pay to give us.

We have a great house, supportive family, and great friends.

We had a wonderful and amazing trip to Peru last year.

I have a great DSS who despite being 10yo, is fun to be around most of the time!

DH and I have a wonderful relationship and can talk about any and everything.

The sunroom is looking spectacular. Painting will probably get finished this weekend!

Baby is growing and will be here soon.

I'm waiting for my zinnia seeds...

Thinking of each and every one, but off to start my day.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 9:10AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Norma....well, I didn't realize you were retired. How long have you been retired and what are you retired from, may I ask? I imagine a lot of people would be envious of all your free time. :-) I think about things too long and then they are out of them too...[g]. I just love your bay window. Is it facing South by any chance?

Marian...I should never post at night. I'm always trying to keep it short because I am tired. Nothing ever comes out right. [g] When I said..'glad the advice offered was good enough for regifting' what I meant was... I didn't realize that anything I had to say had been helpful. I seem to give a lot of unasked for 'advice'. I guess none of you knew that about me. :-) I don't expect anyone to actually use my advice/input [g], I just feel obligated to share information pertinent to whatever situation someone is dealing with, just in case it is helpful. So I am always surprised when it has been put to good use. And I do try to 'listen' to any advice I am offering to someone else and use it myself. :-) Again, very glad you are having a better winter than last. I'm sure it was no fun at all. are right, I would rather have my week than yours! Very stressful having someone reviewing your finances and books. Glad they are finished. Do you already know that you passed the audit? When you do get around to thinking about wintersowing, would be interested in your list of seeds. I am usually finished by this time and I was going to take the winter off this year, but, with this economy, I won't feel right spending a fortune on plants in the spring that I could have sowed. .... Very sad about the air crash. I can only imagine a lot of instructors are having second thoughts. Lots of dangerous occupations out there when you think about it. There is a new reality show on TV called 'Jockeys' which DH and I find fascinating. According to the show, 2 jockeys die each year in the U.S. Come to think of it, Chelone, you might find that show fascinating too.

Gee V., your weather seems worse than anyone in the group.

Kathy... I think you do find a lot of things interesting that not everyone does. :-) ... I took the garden those huge yellow blossoms on your primula and I find the bloom on your Camillia as pretty as a rose. I am pretty unfamiliar with camillias. I know there is a greenhouse near here that has a collection of them, so I always thought they weren't hardy here. Marty, have you planted yours outdoors yet? ...Kitty cats look quite content. Such a pretty color Hellebore. I am growing more and more fond of them. I just ordered 4 new double Hellebores and who knows how long I will have to wait for bloom. I just saw that Tasmanian Tiger on the Heronswood site and wonder if it is invasive? Very interesting looking.

Nice to see a post from you Marty. I think of you and when you can't post, I figure there are lots of unpleasantness keeping you away. Hope you are getting a break from it. Glad you are testifying, not easy to make time for I'm sure. Very sweet of Rich to send well wishes. I knew there was something I liked about him. ;-) Tell him thanks for me. :-) life like yours? lol I don't think so! You are busy busy every minute doing all sorts of interesting stuff. I would love renovating. :-)

Oh, I remembered to refresh...and look at those gorgeous shots from your house Deanne! No wonder you are anxious for spring looking at all that gorgeous foliage every day. I find it amusing that even in the house, wintering over, you group your plants in color pleasing You are passionate, Deanne! :-)

Gardenbug...what an encouraging post from you. Despite the news of DS's GF's family. That is really scary. I can imagine how horrible DS is feeling about it. I always hate it when all our children are not having good news at the same time. It always seems hard to celebrate with one while another is having a hard time. ... What a great post from DD's forum. Amazingly positive outlook. Our DS is trying to quit for the umpteenth time. He has done it a few times but has gone back. He is optimistic this time around. :-) I love the idea of your group and the topic of the speaker is something I have not seen done before. Really needed too. I think that not knowing how to do that might be the reason some people feel helpless in the face of polluters. more refreshing..... lol

    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 9:47AM
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V, you have me intrigued as to what type of company you work for. It is plant related right?
I hope you didn't slip and slide to much going into work this morning.

Deanne, thanks for the pictures. You have some really nice colors and textures in you coleus.
I too love the abutilon I would love to find one of those this year. Your terrace has plenty of winter interest to make it interesting to look at, and I bet the birds flitting about add a bit of color.

Michelle, you sure know how to unwind. Good to hear the source of stress has left the building.
The tragic accident is sure to worry your DD. I have been wondering how our DGD will handle her DH's new career as a patrolman. There has to be an underlying concern for safety there. Of course there are dangers in many professions as pointed out by Deniese and the boat workers. Our own sons work on the highways is a big concern too.

Martie, sounds like you may need lots of caffeine to keep you going until you testify. Good luck.

Chelone, I think most anytime now would be good to bring the forsythia in. I did collect mine on one of our warmer days. So maybe when you get a nice sunny day take a pair of nippers as you give the huge one a romp. It is interesting that certain things can really link all us Idylls isn't it. Edens banner, the moon ,emerging seedlings, antsy cats etc.

Kathy, I hope the rains are giving you a helping hand on the watering chores. Weeds I am not looking forward to. I have some cool weather weeds that always deal me fits in spring.
Woody, how much longer will your course take? We are missing your more regular posts.

Marian, I was thinking the same as Kathy about the vases . I have even seen some flat sided ones that would be perfect for your marbles. I have a picture of a Ball jar full of marbles that we did at work one day while playing around. if I come across it I will scan and post it.

Eden , did you get more snow too?
Have a good day everyone. I've got to get rolling here. Norma

    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 10:06AM
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vtskiers(z6a CentralCT)


Spring may be a month away but it's in the air. Tonight I'm going to the CT Flower & Garden show. It will be nice to smell some mulch.

Carry on,


    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 12:12PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

LOL Sue!

I noticed an odd smell in our dining room. Figured it out quickly! It was my Valentine roses! Who would have expected grocery store roses to have a wonderful scent! :) Sure has been too long since sunny garden weather. I hope to smell some new compost once spring actually arrives. End of April?

    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 2:44PM
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Tonight is couples Bible study if the snow doesnt stop us. Its just starting to come down. Tomorrow I hope to accomplish some Julie Jobs. Spring is right around the corner so Id best get going. Ive been painting picture frames the last few days. We had some aerial shots of the farm which DH really likes displayed and they actually get more attention from guests than anything else I have on the walls. Anyway these were in oak frames and for something different Im painting them all the same espresso color that I painted my laundry cabinets. I will rehang them in the office. I like the way they turned out.

I have to say Im relieved that the auditors are gone, but we have another set of auditors coming next week. That audit is internal and actually doesnt involve me nearly as much. PM as for the completion of the audit we understand it stays open for approx. 6 months.

Norma, I can understand the fear of a patrolmans wife. As for dangerous jobs farming ranks right up there.

Deanne, your coleus look fabulous along with the orchids and abutilon. I havent gone to the Rosy Dawn website and probably wont I must restrain myself and my purchases.

It seems hard to believe that Kathy is pulling weeds.

It is now light when I drive to and from work. That makes me happy.

bug, I plan on spring on the 1st of April. Some years Im disappointed LOL


    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 4:41PM
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My sister just stopped by to show me decorations and such she picked up for Jen's/Kate's shower. Lots of little pink things and all so cute! The shower's a week from Sunday. Time is flying. Bella's birthday is next Thursday. I can't believe she'll be 4 already!

Michelle, the matching frames sound like a great idea. I always find it gets interesting arranging them all on the wall. Take a picture please? April 1 is the beginning of spring in my mind too. Some years it doesn't work out that way but many it does.

Norma, I loved your picture! I think I'd really like your home and garden. I always love the bits of them you post.

Marie, we like fondue here too! I've never done a "meat" one though. Just cheese or chocolate.

Marian, your orchids are beautiful!

Deanne, what can I say! Spectacular! Who'd ever think plants overwintering under lights could look like that! I'll be thinking good thoughts that just the right job turns up for Doug. And soon!

Denise, I found it very interesting to hear about Marty's job. Welcome to the flat screen tv club, lol.

That's it from me for now. I'm squeezing this in while Bella's playing. Time to fix us something for dinner though.


    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 5:18PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

I may be down for the count tomorrow! I did a lot of vacuuming that required a lot of furniture moving. And I am not even expecting company! The first job was Nolon's bedroom. I was checking his phone connection yesterday, and was horrified at the dusty cobwebs between the head of his bed and the wall, and the deep dust beneath his bed. It looks sooo much better now. Then I did the livingroom and dinningroom. I should have dusted first, but the vacuuming had first priority. I can still see the furniture, but could hardly see the carpet in the livingroom. LOL. When my rich uncle gets out of the poorhouse, and I inherit his money, I need to get a new livingroom carpet, amongst other household items.

After the vacuuming, I went out to carry in the day's firewood, and ended up throwing more limbs on the piles.
Nolon did some more wood-cutting from the larger limbs. The yard is slowly becoming more presentable, but there are a jillion tiny twigs to rake up and remove.

It is quite warm today,(upper 50s), but very windy.

Pm2, I don't give myself much credit for my improvement. I am sure a lot of my problem a year ago was a bad reaction to meds.
I agree about the night posting. If I am tired, I say things that I shouldn't.
Despite my take on your advice last year, I realize you only meant to be helpful.
I keep forgetting to mention how sorry I am about your eye problems. That must be awfully hard to cope with. Do you have the dry eye syndrome?

Norma, I don't think I have forced quince, but mine are showing color, so would probably go ahead and open if cut and brought in.

Kathy,( and Norma), you are probably right about the vases at WalMart, but I really prefer something with a lid so all the dust and pollen that invades our house does not get into the marbles. I have a large collection of vases.
What is that Tasmanian Tiger? I have never grown an Erysium like yours, but used to grow Wallflowers. I loved the orange ones.
Handsome cats. :-)

Martie, "brighter" is a good definition of my mood this year. I was in a very dark mood a year ago. The ice storm momentarily had me down, but the bright sunny days have rejuvenated me. :-)
If your Phal is showing buds, it should be blooming well into the summer, maybe even until fall. They are very long blooming. Mine are in a southeast window.

Deanne, our two cats are a lot more active lately too. I bought a couple of catnip mice, and a Pop Open cat play cube. They are having a time with the catnip mice espacially, along with several other toys. Trubby likes to chase Tommy. Trubby loves for me to chase him. He has taken to coming to where I am setting and gazing at me until I play with him. Mine have never climbed into my lap when I am at the computer, and never never have got onto my keyboard. That would be a definite no no. Trubby is not a lap cat for me, but Tommy likes it. They are both lap cats for Nolon.
As I suspected, your orchids put mine to shame. :-(
Most of my Phals are later this year also. I wonder why? Mine usually start in January, and go until June or July.
Yes, I have coleus in all forms....potted, rooted, and rooting. I imagine you recognize the orangish one? ( I can't think of it's name....Sonora? )
Yours are absolutely gorgeous! I see an Iresine there too. I have carried mine over, and have some rooted also.
I never had much success with Abutilon.
Your garden scene is beautiful!
The ladder was on mounted tires. I worded that wrong. :-(

Marie, sorry that the EX problems is causing Wayne to take up smoking again. I love Sarah's attitude. And it is good that your DS is hanging in there.

Speaking of smells in the livingroom....thank goodness the bad odors in our livingroom have gone away. I hope, for good!

Michelle, snow is possible by morning here! Please please...not a heavy snow, with more breakage!

Thanks all, for the compliments on my orchids. I do really enjoy them.


    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 6:45PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada

Norma - the course runs to near the end of April. Today, while checking out possible plants for my 'client's' garden, I found the plant I told Randy I need for my birthday :-) (scroll about halfway down in the link below...)

    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 7:18PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Deanne, your coleus look wonderful and I am very sorry I won't be able to take any home with me this year.

pm, I think that Michelle probably has more bad weather than I do, but I just whine about it more! ;) The snow that she is getting right now is on track to hit me next, and they now are calling for up to 10 inches.

Roads today were fine as we had a lot of sun yesterday and that melted most of the ice on the roads.

Not much more new here. It's quiet at home as DH is still on the road. I did a couple of minor jobs but pretty much am taking the night off before tackling the job of painting the ceiling tomorrow.

I'd better post before this idyll goes into overtime.


    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 9:43PM
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Friday evening greetings to all. More weeding done this evening, we expect rain tomorrow again, If it doesnt show up Ill spend a couple hours pulling the little buggers. Excitement in the seedling incubation center Coleus Limelight has made an appearance ! For some reason I was expecting them to take longer to germinate.

and speaking of Coleus, jeesh Deanne , did you have to post that pic during the cooling off period ? Weekends are a dangerous time for internet shopping ! Yours look mighty happy . I am going to be much more diligent about cuttings next fall, especially in view of mail ordering very cool varieties. Loved the pic of the Terraces , snow bound though they may be. I projected myself into the photo in July , wine glass in hand .

Chelone, Marian is right about Ted- he is a tabby . Calico cats if I am not mistaken, are always female a genetic trait . Ted is one of the coolest cats weve had (and weve had many through the years) and I hope he is one of those cats that lives to a ripe old age. He is probably about 10 or 11 years old and has never been ill .

Marian, you did a Julie Job ! I always feel better after deep cleaning anything ,even though its not always fun while doing it . Tasmainian Tiger is a Euphorbia- I bought it a few years back in 4inch pot at a private plant sale, but now it is much more widely available. It was very slow to establish- PM asked if it was invasive , and Id have to say no, Ive never seen a seeding from it. Its really one of my favorite plants now, and is next to "The Fairy" rose which is pink and they look great together.

Michelle, the first of April sounds like a good spring-target date to me. Baseball season usually starts that week too. We are very springlike right now, but the danger of frosty nights is still real so I have to be very careful about what I put outside. My begonias will stay in for at least 3 more weeks. I am now editing any family pics that I will hang to black and white. I like the fact that the photos look kind of classic no matter what year they are taken and the fashions of the time dont detract from the portrait. I have a black and white gallery in my stairway hall , some photos and some drawings.

Marie, Im sorry to hear of Waynes struggles with tobacco. My late DH was a victim of this too, and it eventually killed him. When I think back to my childhood and teenage years it seems like virtually everybody smoked- I can think of very few people I knew during that time (including myself) who didnt ..I was in my 20s when I quit and I was never a heavy smoker; I could go for days without a cigarette. Its a very addictive thing for some and a comfort in time of stress. I hope he can stop soon for the sake of his own health .

Martie, I hope things are cool at the Park ? I too am really noticing the light skies when I go to work in the morning . Headlights are still on , but I can actually seem my way from my usual parking spot into the building . I have to ask will you join us for all or part of IU 6 ? I would so enjoy meeting you in person !

Woody, love that Butterfly" JM.. If I had the space to have serious collection I surely would do so.

So wonder where Wendy is ? Brenda?

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 10:03PM
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I very much enjoyed Marian's link to Tabby cats. I had always thought "calico" was the term for cats that have largely grey coats, but with large patches of white and also hints of buff around their eyes and the bases of their tails. I see that coloration in handsome Ted although his coat appears to a "classic" or "modified classic" Tabby. Vera is "classic" Tabby, both Spencer and Polly are "mackerel" Tabbies, but both show the coloration I described above as "calico", Spencer having a good deal of white on his body. I was esp. interested to learn that a Tortoiseshell pattern is a specific sort of Calico and I did know that coloration is very closely sex-linked. It's all very interesting. But I've never met a cat that wasn't!

I did some alteration work yesterday and shortened two pair of tab top curtains, using the excess fabric to fashion tie backs for them, too. I have another two pair of slacks to hem and a zipper to replace either today or tomorrow. Alterations and repair/re-style work always comes back when economic conditions take a nose dive. And I'm very glad I was well trained lo those many years ago. Anyone need new pockets in anything?. (I've become rather rusty with zipper replacements in slacks, though. It took me 15 minutes, up from my personal best which was about 8 minutes (including removing the broken one). ;)

Woody, I've seen that Jap. Maple at a local nursery and I simply adored it. You have excellent taste! We have a Bloodgood on the Compound and I've wanted to add a few more but there is still too much "hardscaping" and reorganization on the docket for me to consider forking over the sort of pork required to obtain a nice sized specimen. I rather miss your frequent posts, too, but knowing you're "applying yourself" to the class makes me smile.

Michelle, I love the look of matching picture frames... and the aerial views of the farm must be wonderful. I recall commenting on them once a long time ago. It's always neat to see things from the perspective of a bird (or Brenda as she plummets toward terra firma after hurling herself out of plane). I'll bet you're glad the audit is over! I suppose the thing to bear in mind is that the audit is there as form of control and protection and NOT to simply make everyone's life miserable for a fixed period of time. This is definitely the time of year I most wish I'd made the effort to bring in some "germamiums" from the windowboxes... alas.

PM, how funny that I didn't read your post to Marian in a negative way, at all. But I've never been much for hunting for "DHMs" (deep hidden meanings) anyway; takes too much time and too much energy, to my mind. ;)

I'm impressed by the scope of the JulieJobs you put behind you, Marian. Wanna come here and do some of that in my house? I'll bet you felt great after you finished. It's good to know you're in a "brighter" place. Life in a dark, shadowy world is no fun but sometimes we find ourselves there even when we don't wish to be. I would really like to see the pop open cat cube; our cats have developed a real fondness for a particular upholstered footstool that sits in front of Daddy's chair. It's been basically shredded, and reclaiming it from their sharp little claws will be no day at the beach for me, but for the time being it's OK that they pounce on it, grapple it, and slither around underneath it. We do indulge them. ;)

Wondering if Mary has yet put a stopwatch on David's manoeuvering through the wheelchair agility course? Were you able to get to the concert? I thought of you on Thursday when my boss told me there is a gluten-free bakery going into one of the storefronts in town. Another one offers something called "Chocolate Decadence Cake" as a wheat-free offering. I do believe you're a trend-setter! :)

Norma, I managed to score a large piece of 3" foam last week. I'd just finished making new cushions for a cuddy cabin and replaced the foam in the process. If I put it to the coals and make a cover for it Rex will have a smashing new bed, VERY plush. Best of all, he won't care if the foams smells a tad musty! Next warm spell I'll clip some Forsythia... you just shove the shoots in water, right?

Cigarettes. I saw firsthand what regular use of them did to someone I loved. Bladder cancer is 95+% attributable to cigarettes. 60+ yrs. of a solid pack/day put Mum in the sorry position she found herself for the last 5 yrs. of her life. Not to mention the toll on her respiratory and vascular system. There are theories that smoking also affects hearing, weakening and reducing elasticity in the tympanic membrane. When I was changeing the urostomy pouch once/twice every week and routinely dealing with all the necessary steps involved I used to look at pretty young women huffin' on a butt and think that there was a time when Mum thought as they did... nothing will ever happen to me. And I wanted to take them home with me to get a good, hard look at REALITY... an 80 yr. old woman who was reduced to peeing into a bag glued to her side and depending on someone else to care for her most intimate, personal needs. Not to mention the sheer scope of the MONEY wasted maintaining the habit. Do the arithmetic, a pack a day X365, then calculate the interest it could earn (or save if applied to a mortgage or installment loan). Clearly, we all share the same view on the topic. But the fact that the addictive properties of nicotene are now becoming clear gives me hope. I feel so bad for W, because he knows the score and in the face of so much flux in his life he's unable to get that monkey off his back. Lots of love (and more love) and support is all that will work. I truly wish him well because I understand just how tough an addiction it can be to get under control. Also the toll it takes on those around you. ((('bug))).

Great pictures and Deanne your backyard is as lovely in winter as it is in the summer. I can't wait to see you next weekend; let's hope there is no snowstorm!

OK! it's time to get busy with the day. We chalked the lines for the floor last night and it's time for me to get out there and come up with my plan of attack. It took me a fair piece of time to come up with numbers to lay out the grid. I'd been stuck in a rut seeing only parallelograms (rhombus, actually) and was having trouble coming up with measurements required to lay out the grid. Then it came to me... a rhombus is actually 2 equilateral triangles, which can be broken into 4 right triangles... and then it's only a matter of plugging numbers into an equation and isolating variables. Praise be Pythagorus! :) (I loved geometry and it was geometry that made Algebra make sense for me, isn't that silly?). It tickles me that V. is working on the ceiling and I'll be working on the floor... reminds me of the great Paul Simon song, "One Man's Ceiling Is Another Man's Floor".

    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 7:18AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Good morning...

Interesting reading this morning, as usual and has me thinking.

Most in our family work in offices which I wouldn't consider dangerous at all, aside from the long shot of a disgruntled employee. One son worked for awhile as a welder, sometimes on high buildings and I found that a worry. I'm glad he no longer does that. Farming, the Police Force, Fire Department, definitely has it's worries and wonder how you all cope.

Eden, it's a wonder you can sleep nights, what with the shower and Bella's BD and spring coming....and the baby coming!! :-)

V....I'm thinking that part of your situation is that the area you live in seems to have roadways you have to travel that are very difficult in the bad weather. That is what I hear you mentioning the most and I would find that stressful. We get our fair share of bad weather here, but our location has level roadways, well traveled, no windy areas, and we are very close to major highways and can almost always depend on the roads being passable pretty quickly after a storm for the most part. Years ago, we lived above a series of hills and had to go up and down no matter which way we went. I remember how stressed we always felt in the winter. I don't miss that.

Yay Kathy, Coleus seedlings! That was quick. I have a few seeds I haven't started yet and was just looking up germination info yesterday and it mentioned quick germination but slow to grow larger, so I better get a move on. I had exactly one Coleus last season and took cuttings and I still have two that have survived the winter. I will definitely take more this year too, after seeing Deanne's beauties. At least there is hope of getting them through if not quite in the same condition. [g]

My Dad died of Lung Cancer and an uncle died of it when I was in my twenties. I remember well when the dangers of smoking were not known and everyone smoked. Everyone in our family smoked. After our uncle died, I finally quit. I had been a heavy smoker and made many attempts to quit before I finally did. Then one by one every person in my family quit. My Mom quit when she was in her 70s. So my children have never had a smoker in the family and two of them have never been smokers, but one DS still managed to pick up the habit, which he is trying very hard to give up. This will be his third major attempt. Stressful times has been the trigger for going back the last two.

Chelone....Hope you are taking lots of pictures of the floor process. Thought you might enjoy the photo below. ....Thanks for the DHM comment. No deep hidden meaning intended, just trying to be nice. ;-) .... I actually flunked Home Ec. in high school. [g] I took it two or three years. I was absent a lot and I am sure that had a lot to do with it. I remember the dread we all had for zippers and how hard it was to get it to come out right. I chose a dress pattern with buttons down the front. My GF and I took Woodworking the next year. :-) We were the first girls to take the course. I enjoyed that too. Over the years, I learned to be a very good cook, have read many books on nutrition, have made a quilt or two and my own curtains and could clean rings around our hired house cleaners and enjoy every minute of it. Funny how things turn out. My Home Ec teachers would have been very surprised, I am sure, but I still can't put in a zipper. lol ..... Speaking of sewing...I had a book out of the library 'The Complete Photo Guide to Sewing' that has 1200 full color how to photos. Very helpful for filling in the holes in my experience. I especially liked the section that showed how to see if the tension on your stitches was correct and how to fix it. That has always been hit or miss for me.

Off to the library later, which is a treat. Any 'must reads' for me, anyone?

Missing Woody's posts too... :-)

    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 8:31AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

PM, I loved reading Remembering the Itani.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 9:09AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Thanks Gardenbug...they do have it but it's out, so I reserved it. They had a review of it and it sounds good. :-)

    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 10:37AM
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