Succulent Ramblings

I like to ramble on about my plants... and other things! My hope is to log the progress of plants and talk about my frustrations with others. So, tune in, turn on, or drop out (if you find it boring!)

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Tryting to stay positive!

Happiness is my natural state, so it takes a lot to bring me down.  But the frustration of this stupid hip does affect my mood.  What's really hard to deal with right now is the moment-to-moment changes.  I'll get up and do some stuff around the house and think, "Hmm, not bad!"  When I get sore, I sit for a bit, then when I get up the next time, it can be so bad that I literally almost go down!  I worked a branch on Thursday, which was really pretty easy duty.  Not much walking... and there were moments when it was very painful, but overall, not bad.  So I thought, "I think I'll let them call me in tomorrow."  By the end of the day, I texted Jessica to let her know I didn't want to work Friday because it was proving more and more painful as the day wore on.  Dang it...

Oh, and it's not just the hip pain.  It's the frustration of this diet.  I started on it the day after seeing the doc on November 15th.  I lost 9 lbs. in the first 6 days, and in spite of diligently following the high protein/low carb diet, I've been stuck at the same weight I was at after that 6 days!  I have to lose about another 16 or 17 lbs. before they'll replace my hip.  I've decided, however, to call the doc's office and see if they'll let me sign something that releases them of responsibility of any complications that might occur because of my weight so I can go ahead with it.  I'm willing to take the risks at this point... 

I may have to switch to a new diet to get me off this weight plateau.  I sure hate to do that - I really like this diet and feel so satisfied... I'm never hungry.  Last night, I had two chicken legs I had marinated in teriyaki sauce, baked.  I had some Brussels sprouts I had tossed with olive oil and soy sauce, baked crispy-ish, and since I didn't have any carbs all day, I had about a cup of scalloped corn (about 34 carbs, well under the 50 allowed on my diet.)  It was ridiculously delish! 

Anyone who knows me well knows that I believe that everything in our existence is because of what we BELIEVE.  Our health, our wealth, who and what we let/attract into our lives... So here's my take on why I can't get more weight off on this diet.  In my subconscious, I think that dieting needs to be miserable and if I'm enjoying what I'm eating, it can't be a diet and therefore I can't lose weight.  So if I could just get my head in the right place, I actually wouldn't even NEED to diet to get back down to a decent weight!  I need to work on that!  Maybe I should try hypnotherapy...

Wow, it's in the mid-60s and feels so amazing!  Sounds like it's not supposed to be as nice tomorrow.  I can feel spring in the air.  I hope that we have an early spring - it's been such a long winter!  I hope that the closer we get to spring, the more inspired I'll be to get back to taking better care of my plants.  It's one of the reasons I want to get going on this hip... 

I looked at a property in Griswold, IA - my old stomping grounds.  A big building on the main street with commercial property underneath and an apartment above.  I love the building - it's over 130 years old and in great shape:
This is the western exposure.  The corner window and two of the windows to the left of it are in the "living room."  It's a room big enough to be used as a small bedroom on the west end and a living room on the east end.  The other 3 windows are in the large bedroom.  
It's hard to tell from this photo, but underneath that narrow window to the far right is the separate entrance to the apartment.  There are 23 steps up to the apartment.  That room that could be living room/bedroom is 22'7" x 14', so it's a big room.  
This is a photo of the big room, taken from the west end looking east.  That last window is the narrow one. Across from the narrow window is a large closet that is also access to the attic, which who knows how big that space is and it's not something I even care about... Most of the windows (believe it or not) are about 4' wide and 8' tall!  BIG windows... lots of light!  The ones you see in this photo face south.  Look closely at the very left, the door entering this room - notice it has one of those top glass tip-in window above the door.  Very old fashioned.  Woodwork is all in good condition...

 This is the big room looking from the east to the west, showing that corner window, which is actually a foot taller than all the others.  

 And this shows doors going into the bedroom - the doors aren't shown here, but they're in great condition as well.  I noticed the old light fixture, but only now am I noticing a ceiling fan.  
The kitchen is nice sized, I'm sure bigger than my kitchen here at home.  All nicely updated.  Nothing fancy, mind you, but totally functional.  There's a new window at the end (you can tell by the sunlight on the cabinets.)  There's plenty of room for a table and chairs.  

In the hallway, there's a large storage space that I'm pretty sure was added long after the building was built, but there is also a nice pantry.  The bathroom is on the other side of the wall in the photo above.  It's big and includes a stackable washer/dryer, the water heater and the furnace is in a space kind of off in the corner from the bathroom.  There are two large windows that face north in the bathroom.  It has a new tiled shower that's roomy, and is very updated...
Anyway, it's a very cool building and I would love to buy it.  It's only $50,000, and it would be so awesome to have somewhere out of the city to "escape" to on weekends.  And Mom has sure shown an interest in it as well.  I think she wouldn't mind having someplace to get away to as well - it seems like the quarters at Merry's seems a little too close at times, so I think she would welcome some place to go.  I have a feeling she is considering getting a place of her own, and she may feel that this is ideal because she can still live with Merry & Rick, but when things are getting a little tense, or when she's feeling like SHE could use some alone time, she can go to the apartment.  And it would be great if sometimes we could be there together!  It's not like we'd have to be checking in with each other to see when it's "available."  I'd want my own bed either way.  I figure I'd put my bed in the big room because I'd love nothing more than waking up to the sun streaming in, whereas she might want her room darker and sleep in...

Well, I let Diane (the realtor) know that it would be the first of the week before we could get back down to see the place and she says she's had a few calls on it in the last few days, showed it yesterday and will be showing it again Monday or Tuesday.  I sooo want it, but I'm a little scared to make such a leap...  Can we rent the space below?  If we did, it would cover the expense of owning it, I'm pretty sure.  I've calculated it and, let's see, it would be about $1500 a year for insurance, probably another couple hundred a month for utilities, and I read somewhere (now I can't find it) that property taxes were around $750.  So if all of that is accurate, it would cost a right around $400/month to own the property, and Diane thought a person could probably get somewhere in the neighborhood of $700 a month on the commercial part of the property.  Of course, that assumes we can get it rented...

I guess my stance on it at this point is that if it's mean to be, the universe will kick all the obstacles out of the way.  It may be that this is just a way for the universe to show me that I CAN, indeed, have a place to get away to.  In other words, maybe it's just planting that seed so that I start searching for something more practical.

Anyway, that's all for today!  Maybe by the time I blog again, I'll have photos to share of my plants.   


Wednesday, January 31, 2018

A day of BS...

Since the beginning of the year, I've worked twice two days in a row.  The first time was a Monday and Tuesday and I paid dearly for it - I think that was the 8th & 9th.  I opted out for Wednesday and didn't get called either Thursday or Friday and was relieved.  I think "the universe" was looking out for me.  Well, I worked Monday (day before yesterday) and I was chase and didn't get around to texting Matt to not include me today and got called.  Since I didn't feel half bad, I decided to go. And it turned out fine, in spite of the fact that we started the day with two trips to the auto auction.  Oh, don't get me wrong - there was some pain, but nothing I couldn't handle.  Then the rest of the day was just around town, delivering cars to branches...

The BS I refer to in my title...a certain member of our group, who will remain nameless, has a habit of droning on and on about his charmed life.  How richy-rich he is, how richy-rich his kids are, how he got richy-rich, how every employer has gotten richy-rich because of his brilliance, how he has made other people richy-rich or saved people from their stupidity...  I've only worked with him a few times, but every time I do, it gets a little more sickening.  Now, I'm not stupid - I know that this is likely a sign of insecurity.  He's a short man, and I know it's not uncommon for short men to feel the need to make up for what they perceive to be a "shortcoming" (no pun intended...)  Maybe that's not even it.  But whatever it is, I'm sure it's long ingrained and will not change.  But it's annoying because it feels like it's a putdown to everyone around him.  That we should all feel honored to be in the presence of such brilliance!  

I got particularly annoyed when he started going on about "Nebraska drivers."  "Nebraska drivers don't know how to signal."  "Nebraska drivers don't know the meaning of polite driving."  And on it went.  And yet the man is driving like an idiot.  Weaving in and out of traffic.  Going up to 20 mph over the speed limit at times.  One of those who seems to think you have to jam the gas and hit the brake, so you feel like you've gotten a minor case of whiplash by days end!

Ok, so I got that off my shoulders!  The rest of my workmates were pretty good today.  Mike is a recent transplant from Chicago - a nice guy who likes to read.  Sharon, a peep who started about the time I started who has a lot of hip/back/foot issues and we've kind of been support for each other for that reason.  Bob is a retired computer guy.  I don't know a lot about him even though I've worked with him a lot except that he's usually pretty funny and I like him because he's a master-cusser!  LOL!  I know, I'm a little twisted!  And Barb - she's, well, a little negative.  She's one of those people who, if you said something like "It's a beautiful day!", she would rut-out something bad to say about it, like "There's what looks like a rain cloud out to the west..."  She's one of those people I really REALLY want to like, but she makes it hard.  She probably thinks I'm annoyingly optimistic... we all have our cross to bear! LOL!

Tuesday was a better day.  I was chase and we went to Sioux Falls.  It was me and Sharon (again), Bob D. ("gentleman Bob" as I call him...), Tim (a closet Democrat), Darlene ("the church lady"), and Jerry, who I know little about but I know he's a really, really nice guy.  We brought back two packer vans from one of the branches up there.  And that was the extent of the day, so it was easy-peezy.  

There isn't a lot to talk about on the home front.  I'm keeping some of my plants alive... others are croaking.  What can I say?  It's rough when it hurts to stand for very long.  I'm doing the best I can.  Once my hip is replaced, I should be able to stay on top of the watering better.  Tomorrow, I plan to make some notes here about the ones that are doing ok.  I can feel spring in my bones.  The days are getting longer... I feel the Hoyas trying to wake up JUST a little.  I see HINTS of new growth, or maybe it's just happiness that the days are getting longer.  I think the longer you grow them, the more you "feel" or sense the tiniest of changes.  

So for now, I'm off to la-la land.  I (of course) opted out to work tomorrow.  A 3rd day in a row would be pushing my luck!  But I'm hoping I'll work Friday... and if I do, I hope it's with a group of good peeps!  Maybe Guy and Linda...  they're always fun!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

2 days to Christmas...

Not that it's a big deal at our house.  We really don't do much... I bought four gifts for the the great grand-niece and nephews, and with so few to wrap, I can do an especially nice job...
 We used to really get into Christmas in the early days - put up a tree, bought lots of gifts for each other and the family. But several years ago, when the nephews were grown, we decided within my family that it was dumb to spend all that money, to fret over what to get everyone, etc., and forego the gift-giving part and just enjoy it as a holiday to spend together.  Now we've got young ones again and it's pretty much about the kids now in my family.  It's a lot of stress off the adults not to have to buy for each other.  So I don't bother putting up a tree anymore (maybe I'll gain enthusiasm for that again someday, who knows?)  And Mark and I don't even buy anything for each other anymore.  We kind of quit that during the "lean" years and have never bothered to start back up.  

Today (the 23rd) is our "family" Christmas.  We're getting ready to go down to Merry's (my sister) in Plattsmouth.  So it'll be us, Mom, Merry & Rick, their boys and their families - Brian and Ann, Henry (2-1/2) and Winston (7 weeks old); Jeremy and Kara, Ella (8) and Will (3).  We always do soups for our Christmas get together, which will line up with my diet just fine, I think...

Oh, my diet... I haven't blogged since I started that.  I went to see the bone doc on 12/15, hoping they would schedule my hip replacement.  The doc, as it turned out, had an "out of town emergency" and instead, I saw his PA.  She told me I would need to lose about 27 lbs. before they would do the surgery.  She said something like, "Would you like to make a follow-up appointment for 6 months?"...and quickly changed it to "...or 3 months?" when she saw the look on my face.  I said, "Honey, if I have to wait 6 months, I'm just gonna buy a bullet 'cuz I can't deal with this pain that much longer!"  I told her I'd "find a way" to get it off quicker than that...

So after some research, I decided on the high-protein, low-carb diet because that sounds like the most radical and fastest for weight loss.  I only really plan to do this one until I get the weight off for the surgery, because I'm not sure how healthy it is.  But it IS working.  I started it the day after I saw the doc, on the 16th, and I weighed myself day before yesterday (the 21st), and I'd lost 6 lbs. in those 5 days.  Not bad.  Only 21 to go.  When I get to the halfway point, I'm going to call them up and say, "Let's get this scheduled!" because she told me it would be a month or so out from the date of scheduling... 

So what I learned about hip replacement is that it requires no PT!!  None!  She said that walking is basically all the therapy I'll need.  I've thought of SO many things I want to do once I get it replaced... go to Lauritzen Gardens and spend a day in the GH and walking through  the grounds... go to the zoo and peruse the Leid Jungle, the aquarium and the desert dome... go to a mall and walk around!!!  Take my time at the grocery store or any store for that matter!  I had to go into Target one day because of phone problems... walk CLEAR to the back to electronics.  It was a fucking nightmare!  I didn't think I was going to make it, and then the thought of having to making it ALL THE WAY back to my car was terrifying.  It was awful.  But, as I sat there in electronics while they figured out my phone problem (which took well over 1-1/2 hours, which is probably the only reason I made it back to my car without collapsing!), I looked around and realized how much I miss just walking around and SHOPPING.  Not necessarily BUYING, but LOOKING.  My world has gotten SO small since this hip has gotten bad... and that's been a long, long time.  For probably at least 3 years before we sold the business, I would go to work and home and that was IT.  I never went anywhere I did not HAVE to go.  Work, home, grocery store as needed and that was it.  And since they've had "aisles on line" at HyVee, I've been using that almost exclusively.  

But the doc did put me on something called Meloxocam that is helping.  It's like prescription strength ibuprofen, so nothing narcotic, but here's an example... I needed to do some "running around" yesterday.  A grocery store stop to pick out a turkey (I'm making tomorrow or Monday), a stop at Walgreens, and department store for a couple kid gifts.  So I decided to make it one stop at Walmart... haven't been in a Walmart for... oh, over a year, I'm sure, maybe two.  It was tough, but I did it, from one end to the other.  Couldn't have done that a few weeks ago...

Work has been sparse (because of me, not them) but good.  I've been working one or two days a week.  I can't wait to get back to three days a week, and maybe I'll be able to do that on this Meloxocam.  But I was finding 2 days in a row would set me into a tailspin, pain-wise, so if I work one day, I'll have them take me off the schedule for the next day.  I think I may try 3 days when we get past the holiday.  On a sad note (for me), Todd, my very most favorite car mate, decided to go to the 8:00 crew only.  (I'm on the 10:00 crew, and he would get 10:00 fairly regularly before making his request...)  He gets called to "truck duty" about once a week, which starts at 7:30, and he doesn't like it when he's on 10:00, which usually goes to 6:30 minimally, and sometimes as late as 9:00 or so, and then getting called into trucks the next morning.  I can understand that.  But I will miss getting to work with him now and then...  But there are a lot of others whose company I enjoy, so it'll be ok...

Anyway, we're off to Plattsmouth.  More soon!

Friday, December 01, 2017

Meant to leave that last post open to continue the next day... Oh well.  I want to stress, though, that I would never send that letter to Linda.  I don't think she could handle hearing what it says, especially from someone who barely knows her.  But here's the thing - if she'll say things that sound that nasty and egotistical in front of almost strangers, what will she say to someone she knows well?  Yikes!  Some people just don't seem to get that if you want to have friends, you have to BE the kind of friend you would want to have.  

Ok, so now I want to comment on all these women who are coming forward to accuse public figures of sexual harassment, inappropriate touching, even assault.  One one woman (Donna Karan, a designer) has come forward publicly to express an opinion I share, and she was shut down.  Here's what she said:

"I think we have to look at ourselves. Obviously, the treatment of women all over the world is something that has always had to be identified. Certainly in the country of Haiti where I work, in Africa, in the developing world, it's been a hard time for women.  To see it here in our own country is very difficult, but I also think how do we display ourselves? How do we present ourselves as women?  What are we asking? Are we asking for it by presenting all the sensuality and all the sexuality?"

When I heard this, I said, "Yay, finally someone who stands up and insists women take some responsibility for sending mixed signals."  I don't advocate men groping at women, mind you, even when they are dressed in a "come hither" manner.  Of course, within a day or two, women in the media were all over this woman's ass for "not supporting women" or "victim blaming".  I was furious to hear her back-paddle on the subject.   After all, she was doing EXACTLY what the women who have put up with this bullshit had done.  She was afraid that her comments would impact her career and instead of standing by her reaction, she backed down and let the media bully her into recanting (just like a man wielding his power over his subordinate bullies her into accepting his behavior...)

So much of this "movement" irritates me, I just wanna scream.  I'll leave the "dress code" alone for a moment and get into some of the other aspects that bother me.  I'll go back a ways and say that I think that some of  what is now defined as "sexual harassment" used to what we called "compliments."  Is it really "sexual harassment" if a man now says, "You have nice legs," or "You look great in that dress"?  Yes, it is now.  Men are supposed to be robots who don't notice a woman's figure or if she's pretty.  I never took any such comments to mean a man wanted to get in my pants.  Decent men do not need a "guideline" to know when a line is crossed, and strong women can convey it without insisting that a man get "sensitivity training."   

Now, let's talk about actual signals that DO mean a man wants to get into a woman's pants.  Ass grabbing, staring at boobs without ever making eye-contact, direct suggestions - "hey, baby, wanna get it on?"  First of all, there aren't a lot of men who are this bold in the first place, especially in a work environment. But when they come along, here's the solution... a smack in the face, or a stern, "Hey, knock it off and don't do/say it again!"  Guess what - that'll shut down 99% of the men!  Problem solved.   You may still turn around and find them staring at you, but if you can't put on your big-girl panties and handle that, you need to learn how!  And if you find one of those 1% that might keep trying, report them to management!  If he's the top of the ladder, report him to the EEOC and either quit your job or be prepared for the aftermath.  There are other jobs!  If you feel that THIS job is worth putting up with it (for whatever god-forsaken reason), then shut up and put up with.  But don't come back years later, after YOU have reaped the benefits of putting up with it, and complain, bitch and moan.  YOU got what you wanted out of it, whether it was fame and fortune, or a good paycheck you might not have gotten elsewhere... whatever it was, you got what you wanted.

And the part that probably irritates me the most - while this woman who is putting up with either verbal harassment or inappropriate touching or behaviors to get what SHE wants, she is empowering him to feel that he can get away with it with other women.  This makes her complicit when he "works his magic" on other unsuspecting women.  If every woman, instead of acting like a victim and putting up with these behaviors nipped it in the bud, shut the guy down, men would have learned a long time ago that we do not tolerate being disrespected.  Oh, there will always be women who are willing to sleep their way to the top, and they are not the ones I'm talking about.  Those kind of women will initiate that process and if that's how they want to live their lives, I have nothing to say about that.  They would have no affect on the rest of us who want to do our job and be respected by our co-workers and management.

Lastly, I WILL talk about appropriate attire and its affect on male attitudes.  A woman who comes to work in skin-tight clothes, or low-cut tops, or mini skirts and spike heals, and then expects men to not notice are either clueless or an all out tease.  Imagine an office where a buff man came to work in a muscle shirt and tight jeans... would he be taken seriously?  Do you think there might be some flirtations going on?  Comments made?  Men who are serious about their career know how to dress.  And SMART women who are serious about their careers know how to dress at work, and save the sexy look for the club, a dinner date, etc.  

Just a final comment.  I think the thing about this that bothers me the most is that the so-called "women's movement" has been going on for 40 years or so now, and here we are in the 21st century and we look like the big wusses that we wanted to prove we are NOT.  I hope to hell that the media is WAY overplaying how prevalent this problem has been.  If not, I think the revelation that so many women have been putting up with this shit has set us back a generation!

I'm not saying that every woman who has been sexually harassed has dressed inappropriately and "asked for it."  That's NOT what I'm saying.  But I think a lot of women dress in a "come hither" manner, then when they get the attention that the "look" is supposed to evoke, they ACT (and I do mean "act" because women are NOT stupid) offended and put-off.  

Essentially all I'm saying is this - if you get unwanted attention from a man, be willing to put on your big-girl panties and deal with it the right way, damn the consequences.  I have a one-strike rule.  A guy makes a pass or touches me inappropriately or says something way out of line, I shut him down and make it clear this is something I do not tolerate.  If it happens again (and it never has, because most men are not that stupid...), it's time to report them, scream bloody murder to the world about it so that they don't think they can get away with it in the future.  If it costs you your job, move on.  

Sunday, November 19, 2017

I'm starting this late Saturday night, 11/11...  I plan to keep it open for a few days.  I wanted to start a documentation of the last few months...

My hip went to shit right before the Labor Day weekend.  I had a day where I worked that took me out to the auto auction a few times.  Auto auction is typically a lot of walking.  Once I do without much fuss.  Twice is a little tough.  I seem to recall that is was three times...  I was hurting.  The next day was the airport shuttling.  It got a little rough in the afternoon, and I was ready to get outa there, but Todd was kind enough to let me be chase to let me get my hours.  But those two days sent me into a downward spiral and I called a physical therapy place to try to get it under control.  Well, here we are, 10 weeks later, and I've had some good days, but a lot of bad ones as well, so not feeling like the grand I've spent has bought me much relief!!  

So...  day after tomorrow, I have an appointment with a bone doctor.  If you had told me a year ago that I would be open to a hip replacement, I would have told you that you were crazy.  But today, I'm hoping that's what he's going to tell me.  I'm so damn tired of the pain.  If this is what the rest of my life is going to be like, I'm not a happy camper.  Don't get me wrong... I'll deal with it, because I know there are those who are sooo much worse off.  But you can not imagine how much I want to walk... just take a nice long walk through the neighborhood.  Oh, just how about a walk from one end of my fucking house to the other without hurting??  I just wanna sit down and have a good bawl when I think about it... Why did I let it get this bad???  

I love my job at Enterprise so much, and I need the time away from Mark.  He's so freakin' negative.  Grumpy old man does NOT begin to describe him!! He can't say a positive word to save his life.  He's down on EVERYthing.  And that exacerbates  my problem. I need positivity in my life.  Our Abraham group helps a lot, but that's only twice a month.  I know I would be better off without him, and of course we are now legally divorced.  But I can't bring myself to SERIOUSLY ask him to leave.  (I say SERIOUSLY because there have been times I've strongly suggested it...)  Yes, I love him like a sister loves a brother, and I know he NEEDS me, and I'm committed to being there for him for as long as I can take care of him...  I feel Thelma (his Mom) looking over us, and feel she wants me to take care of him.  

And I should clarify that... at this moment, he may be capable of "taking care" of himself.  But I think that's something that's going to change soon.  His memory is terrible.  And he's becoming less and less capable of rational choices.  He's super twitchty... it drives me CRAZY.  He laughs at totally inappropriate times.  The signs are there that his brain is (as I call it) turning to mush.  

You wanna know what gets me through?  Well, of course I drink.  I'm sorry if that offends anyone...  but ya gotta do what ya gotta do!  But it's the music.  I love music.  I have literally hundreds of 70's and 80's (some 60's, 90's and current) music bookmarked on both of my computers so that I can listen to it in the evenings.  I have high-end speakers on both computers so that I can listen to it LOUD.  And it fills me with JOY...

And now I'm off to bed, and will add to this tomorrow...


I didn't get back to this, obviously, for which I have no excuse!  I've spent a lot of time sitting around because of this bum hip.  But I'll add to it today (11/19) and tomorrow (my birthday) as I've had a rough weekend and decided to take another day hoping it will get better...

First, I'll document where I'm at with my hip.  My appointment with the orthopedic doc on the 15th consisted of xrays which shows I DO need a hip replacement.  I'm walking bone-on-bone, which explains the pain.  It's a relief to know I'm not just a big fat weenie... that my pain is REAL.  Anyway, the guy I saw specializes in laparoscopy, in other words, "fixing" the problem.  This can't be "fixed" that way, so now I have to go see a surgeon that does actual replacements, and I can't get in to see him until the 15th of December.  Shit...another month.  Then I suppose it will be after the holidays before they will schedule it.  A month off work to recover... so my work will likely be minimal for the next couple of months.  I told Matt that I don't want to work two days in a row because it seems to send me into a tail spin of a few bad days.  

I'm also feeling relief to know that there's a high likelihood that I will get to go back to a normal life in a few short months!  My first question to the doc was "how soon can I walk a mile?"  He said, probably 6 weeks after surgery.  I can NOT wait!  Then I'm going to work up to a minimum of 2 miles a day, maybe more on my days off... 

Of course, I have great apprehension with what this might cost me.  I can expect a minimum of my deductible, which is $5000.  I'm afraid to find out beyond that... But life has gotten so difficult - I can't even plan a trip to the grocery store without misery.  It needs to be done!

On to another subject that's bugging me...

Today to "Abe-nicks" day.  Abraham is my spiritual guru and Mom and I go to a Meetup group that discusses the teachings of Abraham.  It's a great place to talk about applying the Law of Attraction to your life and how to get past the pitfalls of what has become "normal" human behavior, like examining the negative aspects of our lives...

We have a member of the group whose name is Linda.  I'll guess that Linda is in her early or mid-60's and she's never been married.  She's always a bit whiny about it, more or less wanting feedback on "how to know when you've found the RIGHT one."  Here are the things I've gathered from seeing her pretty often in the last year:

1) She has dated a plethora of men over the years and when a man gets to the point of wanting to move forward, as in marriage or cohabitation, she rejects him because "there might be something BETTER out there that I won't be available for if I'm committed."

2) She has a daughter she raised on her own.

3) She has had a successful career, owns her own home.

4) She is in constant therapy, again, trying to figure out why she's alone.

5) She sees psychics often (not a judgement as I think there are genuine ones out there...)

6) When she talks, she is the saddest looking person I think I've ever seen.  Her mouth goes down in a sad-sack frown, she looks like she's about to cry, and her brow is so furrowed it had deep, permanent trenches.  You can see from her facial wrinkles that this has been her MO all her life.

7) She has a beautiful, upbeat cousin she brought to one meeting - she can't figure out why the cousin can find wonderful men to date and she "can't."

Ok, now that I've set the stage with a kind of "picture" of who she is, here are some details of today's meeting.  She talked about how her cousin "dragged her out" yesterday to watch the Nebraska game at a sports bar.  The cousin was going on a date with a guy from and wanted her to tag along, so maybe she could meet a nice guy at this sports bar.  Here are some of the things that Linda said that just annoyed the shit out of me...

"I've been on and there are no good looking men, yet my cousin found this really handsome man on  Why don't I ever see any handsome men on"

"So my cousin said, 'Come on Linda, let's walk around the bar and see if you see anyone you'd like to chat with...'  I said NO, all of these men are fat, bald and ugly... I don't want to talk to ANY of them!  She said, 'C'mon, Linda, you can't judge them until you talk to the!'  But I refused - I don't want any fat, bald, old or ugly men!"  (WOW...)

"This got me thinking, maybe it's me!"  (Ya think?)

"My therapist says I need to learn to love myself so that I can let love in."  (I'm sorry... I think your problem is all you THINK about is you-you-you... how about you get outside of yourself??)

Afterwards, she sat and talked to my Mom and there were even more awful things that came out of her mouth, like:

"I try to talk to my daughter about these things and she turns it around like it's all about her.  I told her about breaking up with (this guy - can't remember his name) and she said, 'Not another one, Mother, I guess I'm going to have to take care of you!'  She always makes everything about her!"

"There are no good-looking men in Nebraska! Only fat, bald, ugly ones!"

Ok, I've kind of set the stage for her tone, which I found disgusting.  And I'm doing this because it really burned my ass that she's such a self-absorbed, narsissistic, self-loathing while at the same time egotistical bitch!  And I need to write what I'd LIKE to say to her.  Of course, I won't... at her age, it's unlikely she's going to change and it would just likely give her an excuse for an even bigger pity-party...  So here it is...

Dear Linda,

I'd like to do something for you that no one else has apparently had the balls to do, except maybe perhaps your daughter, which is to be BLUNT.  After your description of how you talked to your cousin yesterday at the sports bar, I'm surprised she would ever want to hang out with you again.  She is a perfectly delightful lady who seems very upbeat and positive, and you seem to focus so completely on the negative that it is absolutely EXHAUSTING to listen to you.  

I would never have the nerve to say, "There are no handsome men in Nebraska!"  Yes, you said it that way.  "They're all bald, fat or ugly."  Wow, can you imagine how you would feel if a man said that about Nebraska women?  We had 3 men in our group - I cringed for them when you said that... Let's see... Tim - not a particularly "handsome" man, so he must be one of the "ugly" ones.  Not in my book, because beauty is something within, and he's a good and decent man, which makes him awesome.  Shawn - well, maybe he could pass for somewhat handsome, but oh, he's FAT with a somewhat receding hairline.  Not good enough, right?  No wait, he's another sweet guy with a great aura, a great demeanor, so good enough for a decent woman to love. The new guy, Bo... well, he's neither fat nor ugly nor bald, so maybe he would have passed your test. I hope you're pickin' up what I'm layin' down.  If I was a man and I ever got wind of THAT attitude, even if I was a handsome, perfectly proportioned and hairy guy, that would tell me all I needed to know about you.  That you are shallow!

You had a great guy in that teacher gentleman.  I couldn't believe my ears when you came to a meeting and said you broke up with him because he wanted to marry you... "because there might be someone better out there and I'd miss out on because I was committed."  After hearing you today, I think the universe did that man a great service, so the Law of Attraction is working for him!  How terrible would it be stuck with a woman who is always wondering, "What did I miss out on because I married THIS guy?"  Oh, and BTW, a handsome, well-proportioned man with a full head of hair!  WOW, you get what you want and then you throw it away.  

Ok, so now I'm done being blunt, which I'm sure you would describe as "mean."  I don't really know you, and I'm sorry if this is harsh, but I think you need to be "shocked" into reform.  You will not be on this planet forever, so you need to find a way to be happy!  I want my harshness to be like a defibrillator - to shock you into action to take control of your happiness, and create a serious attitude adjustment!

So first of all, learn to sit up straight, head high, back arched. You tend to slump forward and look sad.  Mom suggested the mirror routine... DO THAT!!!  Sit in front of a mirror and talk like you're talking to a friend, a man, a co-worker, whatever.  Be clear.  Be confident.  Try to talk deeper - it sounds more confident.  Don't be a wimp.  Practice smiling (you do not smile much - in fact, you tend to frown) and practice not allowing your brow to furrow.  Raise your eyebrows when you talk.  It makes you look upbeat.  Oh, and above all, say nothing negative, no matter how much it wants to come out!  Instead of saying, "There are no handsome men in Nebraska" (which may be what you're thinking for whatever god-forsaken reason), say "I'm looking for a handsome man!"  That's  still something I would never say, because "handsome" does not always translate to "good" or "decent" or "loving."  (Handsome should be a bonus, not a primary characteristic.) 

If you truly believe your daughter is as negative as you describe, drop her like a hot potato.  Stay away from her.  And stay away from everyone you see as negative.  But understand that YOU have to be positive to attract positive people.  I don't allow negative people to be called "friends" - not that there aren't negative people that I have to interact with.  I just don't let them under my skin or into the real circle of my life.  My husband (technically ex) is pretty negative, and we do live together, but I tune him out.  I spend little time with him, and I stop him in his tracks when he tries to impose his negativity on me.  I stay with him because I think he needs someone to watch over him for the rest of his days and I've taken this on as a homage to our good days.  But it is a challenge, even with my easy-going spirit and natural happiness, to keep him from affecting my demeanor.  Just don't give ANYone the power to bring you down.

I think if you start practicing being upbeat and positive that so many things in your life will change.  One of the first things I think you'll figure out is that therapy is a real downer and makes you turn INTO yourself rather than OUT.  I divorced in 1986 and saw a counselor for awhile and what I noticed (and really turned me off, because I AM a naturally positive person) is that counselors/ therapists want you to bitch and moan, the philosophy being that you "get it off your chest" and you can move on.  But it's easy to just keep complaining. If you don't have a therapist that will guide you to a better place, rather than just "listening", stop going!  Find a better one if you think you really need that.  There needs to be a goal of happiness, not just continual complaining...

And that's all I've got, Linda.  You need to get off the pity pot and be happy.  You can do it if you really want.  STOP talking about it and DO it.  It's not hard, really.  You need to find a real friend who will STOP you every time you go in that negative direction.  It's a very bad habit, and that's all it is!  You just need to reprogram yourself to be happy... And you need friends who have the balls to not let you go negative!


Thursday, July 13, 2017

A lot going on...

It's been a busy 3 weeks since my last post.  Thankfully, as far as work goes, I've had quite a few out-of-town trips.  When it's THIS hot, it is utterly miserable to do around town stuff... in and out of hot cars, barely having time to cool down between cars.  Of course, I still love the fun with my peeps, but it is exhausting being in the heat so much.  I've managed to do it, so far...but it does make me appreciate all those years Mark spent out in this shit 8 or 9 hours a day.

One day, we were on our way back from Sioux Falls.  The sky was ominous and it was obvious we were going to run into some weather.  My phone app said it was in Sioux City, and sure enough, as we came into Sioux City, we ran into torrential rain.  Not only that, but we apparently just missed a hail storm!  The grassy areas looked like they were covered with snow, and the road felt like we were driving on gravel!  And then the rush-hour traffic came to a screeching halt.  We didn't move for about 40 minutes, except when a car or truck would pull off and jump a median to take a not-exit!  The rain pounded, the thunder rumbled.  If there had been a tornado, there would have been nothing we could do as we were trapped! Here's what it looked like in front of us...
Within a couple minutes of me snapping this pic, the traffic started to move.  We didn't know what the holdup was - we had a cop come by us at some point, but no ambulance, so it didn't seem likely that it was an accident unless they came on from another direction (which was possible, since the cop had to zig-zag through traffic to get ahead of us...)  Well, within about an eighth of a mile, this is what we came to...

Yeah, a river of water under an overpass.  I suppose it was deeper and no one wanted to try going through it, which is smart of course.  It was a little intimidating...  I was afraid it would be deeper than the floorboards of the van, but it never came in, so I guess it wasn't.  We got through it, and then got back down the road, though at a slower pace due to the heavy rain (for about 20 minutes or so...)

We ran out of it eventually, and back in Omaha, it was sunny!  Well, a couple hours later, here comes that storm, hail and all, torrential rain, and a couple tornadoes in Bellevue.  They must have skipped along as there was damage hither and dither with no rhyme or reason.  A few houses ripped apart, then minor damage, then heavy damage again.  It was an interesting night for sure!
I love a good storm, and we've had more than our share this year.  It's probably been a week since the last one, so I'm ready for another!

And speaking of interesting skies, here's one from last night...
Check out the moon and how it highlights the clouds!  How cool is that?!  (Don't get all freaked out by the red triangle... that's a communications tower across the street!)  

So much to talk about with my plants!  Everything is growing like mad.  And I've been sending out plants, well mostly cuttings.  I really need to get rid of more of the giant australis ssp. australis.  I think I'll take a bunch of cuttings to the next cactus club meeting and sell them for $1/cutting, just to get rid of them.  

This morning, I put two of the plants together that Marco sent me last year.  I'm pretty sure they're both the same thing, though the name escapes me at the moment. (Edit: H. nervosa.)  They both looked so nice until winter, then lost most of their leaves.  Neither has started to grow, so I put them together and in the greenhouse in hopes that by disturbing the roots and some new soil, maybe it'll inspire it to either grow or die.  Do one or the other, dammit!

I've been working on this post for a few days now!  Let's see if I can get it published today...

Hoya chunii is finally growing.  I've had this one since 2014 and it's never done much for me.  It's send out a nice long new vine...
At first, I really wasn't sure if I liked this Hoya that much.  The leaves are kind of wavy/wrinkly - I wondered if it was bad growing, but I've come to the conclusion this is just the nature of the species.  It's grown on my, and I look forward to it blooming someday.

Then there's ilagiorum, which I got from Marco last year.  I wasn't sure it was going to make it through the winter, but it did and now it's growing:
Notice how nice and bronze the new foliage is!  I think this one is going to be a real beauty.

Ban Ngong Ngoy is blooming yet again:
It's leaves are so carnosa-like, I don't think I'd bother growing it if the flowers weren't so darn pretty, and it sure flowers a LOT easier for me than carnosa!

And just one more for now... I've grown H. revoluta for 7 freakin' years.  Got it as a cutting from David Liddle in 2010 and though it rooted, it has hardly grown at all.  I can't even remember the last time it got a new leaf!  I really kind of wonder why I've held on to it for so long, but I guess I'd have to say it's probably because it has bigish, rubbery leaves kind of like obovata and kerrii.  I have an affinity for the succulent Hoyas.  Anyway, AT LONG LAST....
 I guess this one has been a lesson in patience!  And now I'm off to work!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

More to talk about!

>7:00 a.m. and I'm in the GH, watering.  The last couple days haven't been as hot, but there are still a lot of dry plants.  Shelf #5, the one on the north end, has a lot going on.  On the bottom shelf is my oldest kerrii, which has a new vine, new rubbery leaves and new peduncles.  That's one that needs some of the worm castings (which I ordered...) as the soil is very hard.  I'm afraid when it gets like this, trying to repot into new soil will be a disaster as the roots are probably a solid mass clinging to that old icky soil.  The other one on that bottom shelf is my large specked obovata.  I have a spot cleared on one end of that shelf for the cats to sit and bird watch.

Next shelf up has plants I will be selling in the fall, so I'll just say they're all coming along fine, growing...  Above that shelf is one I got from Ric last year which I can't find anything about on the internet.  He tagged it Hoya obscruanervia.  Incidentally, it is nothing like obscura - it has large leaves, somewhat elongated.  Anyway, it has three new tiny leaves right above the soil line:
 You can see 2 of the three here, the third is blocked by the stem.  This looks like it could be a real beauty when it grows out!  I'll take a pic of the whole plant when these baby leaves grow out a bit.  Update:  I e-mailed Ric and asked him about this Hoya and this is what he said:  

I got a cutting from Christine Burton years ago. It was someone in Asia that sent her a cutting. I think it is probably in the Parasitica group. It's a really strong plant and the leaves get quite large. Very easy care and very fragrant. Definitely a nice specimen plant. Mine got really huge.

Close by is myrmecopa, one I have never been thrilled about both because it has any annoying, hard to figure out name, and it's kind of a messy grower.  But I've held onto it because it does grow well, and I figure when/if it blooms, I may decide it's worth keeping.  Well, I finally have some peduncles budding up.  It actually developed a couple peduncles last year, but it never budded up...
 Looks like they're going to be teeny-tiny!  I also have a clone of rigida I got from Jessica (I'm pretty sure) that continues to struggle.  If it ever grows, I'll probably just stick it in with my other rigida.

I had two sp. 22 Khao Yai and I potted them up together in one of those old, round ceramic pots I've had forever.  I'm not sure if they're both growing, but at least one is.  Sp. aff. vitellina is growing all over the place!  I think I mentioned this in one of my recent blogs because I found SO many new growth points that I was in awe of it.  It's also got a couple peduncles budding up.

Sp. Ko Chang, which did well and then lost all but a couple leaves, now has a tiny new leaf coming on the old vine.  I'm so glad, because this is one of those really cool, super-succulent species I like so much.  Like Chicken Farm, one of my favorites... Here's a pic of Ko Chang at it's best:

I have two Ban Ngong Ngoys, one of which has bloomed already this spring and is budding up again.  The other has peduncles, so it'll probably start blooming soon, too.  I'll probably sell one of them this fall.

Also actively growing are ilagiorum (which I wasn't sure was going to make it!), chunii (which has been essentially dormant since I got it 3 years ago) and camphorpholia.  The older leaves of the ilagiorum still look a little stressed, but I figure if it's growing, it must not be unhappy.  I also have two pachycladas - my old one which is large, and a small, hard-grown one from Chuck.  This is a species that is so pretty when the leaves are young, but as they age, they become rather ugly.  I wonder if there's a way to grow this so that the old leaves don't get so gnarly looking...