Freeze post-mortem and overall update and Hi y'all!

debrazone9socal(z9losangeles)January 22, 2007

I hope everyone is well and happy, and if you are not, please know I am thinking about all of you, and sending a big, collective hug to y'all!!!! Life has been very, very hectic here, hence my absence. Before I fill you all in, here's a status report after the freeze. Let me just say it was really weird to see white ice in a sheet on my driveway and pool coping, from sprinklers! My kids were really disappointed that it didn't snow here, but Malibu and West L.A. got some. That's huge, because their coastal location means that they never get cold enough for snow. Most snow, locally, is in the high desert or local mountains, which is why you get those really cool photos of sunny L.A. surrounded with white-capped mountains every year, and why I can go to the beach one day, and ski the next.

Naturally, the roses did very, very well (in fact, several of my OGRs with European rose DNA exhaled an almost audible "that's how we like it!"). Some dropped leaves out of confusion; others just kept on blooming away. Some of the blooms look a bit fried, but not all. That has really amazed me!

But some plants and trees didn't fare so well. Since this is considered a temperate, subtropical climate, there is a really wide variety of plants that are grown here, and a lot of people have tropical gardens. Palms came through the cold weather just fine (although most palms come from other places, there are one or two native palms, so they can handle the occasional dip into the mid or low 30's). But I've seen some really sorry looking banana trees and at least one completely fried plumeria (and it had been blooming like crazy just a few days before) in the neighborhood.

My bougie freaked out and dropped a ton of bright pink sepals. What's left on the thing (which is HUGE) looks a bit fried. But I've grown these guys for years, and it will be looking terrific in no time. In fact, I've got to trim it back, because it looks like it is planning to take over the planet.

It took a major freeze to finally dispose of a tomato vine that some little kid (okay, my little kid) planted in between Secret Garden Musk Climber and The Prince. I would have pulled it up before, but the salsa we made from the tomatoes was so good, and the tomatoes kept coming, so I just couldn't. So now, it's totally dead, with ripe tomatoes hanging from it. Guess I'm gonna have to put out some new tomato seedlings, but this time I'll plant the thing elsewehere.

The coreopsis is looking really bad, but on the good side, that overwhelming daisy thing (I think it's marguerite) looks really bad, so now I can pull it out. The gerbera daisies are mostly still blooming, but the stock and snapdragons that have been blooming for months do notlook good (dropped flowers, but still green and alive). I'm not sure what it is about the word "annual" that these plants do not understand. If there was any doubt that it is time for the dahlias to die back, they finally got the message. I've got quite the clean up job waiting for me.

Some of my geraniums croaked, and some look great. The camelias are blooming like crazy, but the strawberries are totally dead (okay, they didn't look so great to begin with...they are really, really old and way past their prime).

My wonderful dwarf lemon tree came through like a champ, and no, I didn't run outside in the middle of the night waving a dwarf smokepot to keep it from freezing. My Santa Rosa plum seems to have grown several buds (looks like a good crop this year). One sea statice came through fine, the other is deader than a doornail. Some of my hydrangeas look like they'll have to be cut back further than usual.

I'm actually looking at this as a really good opportunity to clear out stuff and redesign.

But first, I've got to prune them roses, and condition the soil, and get some stuff moved and/or planted. I have waited too long.... I should have already pruned by now. I have way too many roses, and have started giving things away.....sob.

Now for the rest. I'm working like a fiend, unfortunately. I'm hoping to cut back this year for good, so my fingers are crossed. I really want to stop practicing law and start doing something else. I sold some of my handmade jewelry (first time!) over the holidays. I've done some research and am thinking about setting up a small business just so this habit will support itself. I made jewelry for two of my girls, based on birthstone. Sapphire and ruby necklaces, can you believe it? The oldest is a couple of months away from getting her Phd, and is on the job interview merry-go-round. She wanted a really expensive suit, instead.

My step-ds graduated from college (UC Davis) and we all went. I was so proud of him!!! I offered to pay for the middle stepkid to go back to school (she dropped out of college due to stupidity, and now is a struggling single mother, wistfully jealous of her sibs). She's taking classes at the local community college, and we came up with a plan for her to achieve a good education and improve her life. She's very, very excited and happy, and I'm very proud of her...she was definitely the black sheep of the three older ones.

My son started high school. He's really, really happy. We pulled him out of public school and enrolled him in a very special college prep school for 2E kids. We went through the legal process and achieved what we thought was impossible: the school district will reimburse us for the tuition. They admitted they could not accommodate his unique learning needs. Turns out he's profoundly gifted, and has nonverbal learning disorder. The school he's in is the only high school of it's type in the country, and it's two minutes from our house...we are really lucky!! So he's taking very challenging courses, and they teach to his learning style. Plus, they are helping him develop strategies that will help him in college. He's going on a cultural exchange program to Japan for 3 weeks in June, where he'll live with a Japanese family in a small town for a week, and attend a local school. Very cool!! He just starred as Macbeth in .... well, you know. He was terrific! He got a job as an extra in a movie, and now he's really enjoying theater.

My little redhead is in 3rd grade already!! She's so mature and sweet and sensitive! She is a very typical 8 year old girl: she's mommy to five goldfish and a turtle named Lily. She spent yesterday on a set for some Disney kid's show she watches (the parent of a friend is writer or producer or something), and had a ball....she came home with autographs and photos, and is planning how it will all get framed and on the wall. She had a terrific season with soccer, and is now asking for guitar lessons. She's very very bright, and very creative. Also, very independent. She reminds me of how I was at that age, but she's much more popular. And more beautiful. You just can't stop staring at that titian hair and crystal blue eyes! She is very, very family oriented, and nothing makes her happier than doing something together with me, dh and her brother (and the other sibs when they are visiting). She loves babysitting her 7 year old niece and 5 1/2 year old nephew when they sleep over. And they worship the ground she walks on, of course!

Okay, the truth is, I love being a mom! I wish my mom were still here to see them growing up. I know she'd be totally in love with them, too! I miss her (gone nearly 7!)

Dh and I are still having fun. We have so many projects and hobbies and interests that it seems we really need at least 3 days each weekend to get stuff done. 2 days just doesn't cut it.

Wouldn't you agree?

Anyway, the frosty weather has subsided. It will be in the 70's this week (but windy and arid...ugh). My magnolia soulangiana in the front yard popped open its first blossom this morning...still waiting for the one in the back to do its' thing. Azaleas are blooming like crazy. My lazy streak (where gardening is concerned) must come to an end shortly, however short it has been.

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday, and I wish you all a happy and healthy New Year!!!


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carla17(Z7 NC)

Don't guess you'd want to trade daughters. I am kidding, I love my daughter but teenagers are from another world.
You stay away too long and then come to brag about your tropicals!!! Jealousy here, especially the bougie.
You know I'm happy for you, just like to joke a little. Yes, I agree that 2 day weekends are not enough, dh travels every week now. I support the idea of jewelry and would love to see some of your work and a photo of your beautiful red haired daughter. Good to hear from you Debra.


    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 2:16PM
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kathwhit(z8, West OR)

Debra, I am so glad to hear from you. I wondered how things were going in SoCal with the freeze and all. I am happy to hear about your son and his accomodations. They grow up so fast don't they? My DS is a Jr. in HS and before I know it he will be off to college. Makes me happy and scared at the same time. Now remember not to work too hard. You have to grab every available moment with those wonderful kiddos before they fly the coop. And enjoy your daughter before the hormones kick in. Believe me, I speak from experience! My daughters are now 29 and 32 and finally have come to the realization that I'm not the stupidest person on earth. We got down to 17 degrees here in Oregon, but I covered most of the flower beds with sheets and avoided any major damage. Good luck with your spring pruning and gardening.
Kathy W.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 2:26PM
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carla17(Z7 NC)

"And enjoy your daughter before the hormones kick in."
I second third and fourth that. Enjoy her fast!!


    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 9:02PM
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You do have a lot going on, don't you?

Congrats on the kids. I had no idea that you had one working on a Ph.D! It sounds like they're all doing well and that's a wonderful thing to experience, n'est-ce pas?

I heard about the snow in Malibu but it's still hard to envision ice in L.A.

I hope you'll post some more photos of your garden as Spring rolls in.

When shall we three meet again
In thunder, lightning, or in rain? Luv it. :):):)

    Bookmark   January 23, 2007 at 3:44AM
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meredith_e Z7b, Piedmont of NC, 1000' elevation

Hiya! I only have a second to post, but it's so good to see you! I'd love to see pics, too.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2007 at 10:22AM
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I'll get those pics posted! The advice I got today was not to hurry to prune off any freeze damage until we're sure the risk of freeze is over. We haven't had any freeze in so many years, it's hard to remember what to do! Although the days are in the 70's, it is so dry that the nights are around 40 and could dip down further. Lots of fire risk right now, and no rain, oddly.

So much looks bad (I've got to replace those impatiens and oxalis!), especially now that we're pruning the roses. Only the camellias are bursting with blooms. So pictures of the garden will demonstrate that all is not glitter in tinseltown!! Did you know there's a rose group called the Tinseltown Rose Society?

Anyway, yes, the kids keep me busy. And Kitty. And our turtle Lili (or Timmy, if it turns out to be a male) and our fish (especially mine, Howard).

I also made the mistake of missing a meeting at my son's school, and next thing you know, I'm chairperson of the hospitality committee, running around to Costco to get munchies and flowers for community events, open house, etc. How did this happen? IT'S A NIGHTMARE!!!! (just kidding!)

I'm never missing a meeting again.

Oh, and there was the "Macbeth" performance. I made several costumes, including my son's (he played Macbeth) and had fun creating props (like a torch made out of PVC pipe with a PVC cup on the end, a little flashlight thing placed in the cup, surrounded by tin foil and yellow and red cellophane (for flames). We covered the entire thing with dark brown duct tape (did you know they make that?) and it looked great! We donated everything to the school for future productions. Next play: Greater Tuna. Don't ask. I still haven't put my sewing machine away. Probably because no one knew I had one and everyone was completely amazed at how well I faked being a seamstress. I loved all the adulation! Max's friends thought I was so cool, they want me to make them costumes for the next anime convention they're going to this weekend. Forget it! I'm a lawyer!!!

    Bookmark   January 25, 2007 at 1:05AM
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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

Oh, Debra,
I am glad to see your post, and want to respond, but there is no time until the weekend. I would like to know more about your jewelry making. My daughter is into that, but she lives way across the country from me.

You are an awesome Mom.


    Bookmark   January 25, 2007 at 6:27AM
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