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, 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...

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Here's what's goin' on...

So many plants to report on!  So I'm going shelf by shelf.  This may take a few days!

Shelf 1, right inside the GH doors... H. bhutanica is budding up.  It's in dire need of a good whacking and cleanup.  The soil is SO rock hard.  I'm thinking of getting some worm castings in hopes of rejuvenate the soil.  But at least it's growing, so it's not too unhappy yet.  After I took this photo, I found one open as well...

H. pubicalyx 'Red Buttons' - I started a bunch of cuttings that rooted nicely and now, there are 5 new growth points!  It's taking off like a rocket.  I'm going to move it into a slightly sunnier location to encourage growth.  I put what was left of the mama plant out on the back porch.  I need to whack off the sunburned leaves as I see new growth is coming.  Maybe by fall, I'll sell off the mother plant, keep the refreshed one.  I also took 'Bright One' out as well and hung it in the tree.  I think I'll take some cuttings off of it and do a restart on that one as well.  It's gotten SO large!

H. fungii Splash that I got from Colorado Kathy has two new growth points, and it looks like the new leaves are splashy.  She wasn't sure if this was going to be a stable sport, but I think it might be.  I hope it grows a lot this year as it's not been a good grower for me yet.  This isn't one of the new leaves - just showing the nice splashy contrast that I hope it keeps...

H. acuta - wow, this one is really taking off!  There are four new vines, all coming from the soil line!  So this one is going to look very full after this summer, I'm betting.  Of course, I just found out that acuta is just another verticillata, but the leaves are substantially smaller than my original clone of verticillata.  Here's a comparison - first is acuta...
...and my old clone of verticillata...
 Hopefully, the comparison of my nail illustrates the size difference.  And the texture - acuta has very matte leaves whereas verticillata's leaves are glossy.  Then, of course, there's pallida, which some also think is just another clone of verticillata:
Pallida's leaves are very similar in size to acuta, but the veins are much more distinct.  They may all fall into that group, but they are very, very different clones if they are the same species. 

I have the macgillivrayii that Marco sent me last year on the same shelf.  It has not started growing yet, but it's stable.  None of my small ones that are started to be sold have started growing yet, either, but my mother plant is pumping out new growth like crazy!  I think this could be the year it will bloom for me.  I'm hopeful!

Yesterday, I finally bit the bullet and took four nice cuttings off of my macrophylla that was in my bedroom over the winter.  That one has not started growing yet, so I decided to whack at it so that I have rooted plants to sell in the fall.  These are the ones that bring me the most money at the club auction.  The mama plant should also be inspired to start growing now.  The one in the GH, which are the giant leaves I rooted a couple years ago off my main plant, have two new growth points.  And the biggest one in the sunroom has one new vine, down toward the base, and it looks like maybe a couple growth "nubbins" up high, but I can't tell for sure.  I want some of those giant leaves, please!  Here's a photo of the new growth on the one in the GH...

Yesterday, I repotted my 'Krimson Queen' so that I could add the new cuttings that Marco sent me this spring.  They all had fantastic roots on them, and I moved it up to one of those big EA pts (10" I think).  Here's the finished product:
Now that's a nice full plant!  I noticed new growth on the old plant, and even some new growth on one of the new cuttings!  I also got several 'Krimson Princess' cuttings from Marco, and one rooted well and is in with the mother plant now, and a few others I put in the humidity dome to help them along.  

Last week, I finally took the australis ssp. australis down from the top shelf, took it out back, hosed it off, and offered cuttings for $1 each again on the forum.  I'm amazed I've only had two takers so far.  I started two pots - one for me and one to take to the auction in the fall.  I'm going to start a third one for Laurie's daughter, and I'll probably start a few others for club raffles and other friends.  I do not plan to bring the mother plant back in this fall.  It's so freakin' huge!
 On the bottom shelf, there's my newest clone of kerrii, the splashy one.  I put it in a big, rectangular ceramic pot, and it grew straight up, one vine, which I clipped up the side support as it grew, and it grew pretty much to the top of the GH.  Then a couple years ago, I whacked a piece off in hopes it would branch, and rooted it into the pot with the mama plant.  It rooted, but didn't grow at all.  Now, it's finally got a new leaf forming, so now I'll have a second vine to finally start clipping up as it grows.  And there are growth points along the old vine...
Isn't that just the cutest little set of new leaves?  Yay!  Over on the next shelf (to the left in this photo), bottom shelf, is one of my big kerriis.  I think it's hairy kerrii, and both it and the splashy one are budding up.  Here's the big boy...

Dolichosparte has finally thrown out a new vine.  That's the one with the nice red leaves...
The other leaves have since taken on more red, but I'm sure glad it's actually growing now.  Close by is 97005 - last post (I think) I showed it flowering.  I think I do see a hint of new growth - it's getting a late start! And another one close by is treubiana, one of my favorites.  It has long, shiny leaves that are fairly succulent and it just has a beautiful growth habit.  I've been watching and watching for new growth, and today, I found two little new leaves.  It's about freakin' time, treubiana!

H. clandestina is a really oddball plant.  It's developed peduncles in very weird spots, and it's just like a little mole that sprouts buds, and like macrophylla, they don't all develop or open at the same time:

And then there's the Vanilla Orchid cuttings I just got.  I found someone on eBay selling 3 for $23 - with shipping, they ended up being less than $10/cutting, which is pretty cheap.  And these are big cuttings!  It said to lay them flat on the media, grow them in no more than dappled sun.  I saw a huge one at the Des Moines botanical gardens and fell in love with it, so I'm sooo hoping it will grow for me!  They came with some nice air roots, so I think it will root just fine this time of year...

So it's hot now, so I'm going to talk about what's going on in the sunroom.  Hueschkeliana bloomed a couple weeks ago:
I'm pretty sure this is the second time this year, so it must be happy.  I also have one in the kitchen that has yet to bloom.  It MAY be the yellow flowering one.  I bought one at one time, but I've also taken cuttings of this one and lost one, so I won't know which that one is until it blooms...

H. merridithii x crassicaulis has put on some beautiful leaves, like this one...

That veining knocks my socks off, and then those occasional silver flecks are a grand bonus!  And it's budding up again:

 Maybe I'll actually catch the flowers when they're open this time.  It seems very happy despite the fact that it gets indirect reflected light for the most part. 

My vitellinoides has a nice long new vine, has put on some nice new leaves and has 3 more coming on.  This is one you have to be VERY careful around because the slightest brush is enough to cause a new leaf to abort.  Right now, one of the 4 leaves on this vine is missing:
 This one is in my top 5 favorites for the outstanding leaves.  It's truly beautiful!!
I took off an imperfect leaf several months ago and rooted it, and now it's starting to grow as well.  This is another that will fetch me some big bucks at the club auction!

Well, I think that's enough for today!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

So much to record!

Here we go again!  Almost everything is growing, some like CRAZY!  I was watering sp. aff. vitellina this morning and I counted at least ten new growth points AND peduncles are starting to bud!  Check out these two closeups of new growth...this first one is on an established vine:
...and this one is right down in the heart of the plant, out of the oldest growth!
Can you see the two ants by the upper growth?  This is the second year in a row I've had a good number of ants in the GH.  As long as they stay out of the house, I really don't have a problem with them...

Pubicalyx 'Philippean Black' is growing well, with lots of dark new growth.  But here's something weird.  I apparently cut the cutting when I got it and rooted them both, but one had little short stout leaves that looking nothing like the others.  Since I don't really remember specifically doing that, I thought maybe I had put a cutting of something else in with my PB, but when that other cutting started growing, it was obvious it WAS a PB cutting!  Check it out, and notice the short, stout leaves in the background:
You can't always explain nature.

I took some cuttings of rigida last year and put them in hydroton.  They rooted quickly, and they've finally started growing.  Two nice vines came out of the hydroton, so I think this will turn into a really cool plant:
 Flowers opened on UT-039, thankfully before the heat of the weekend...
So pretty!  I didn't detect any fragrance.  But this morning, I woke up to the pottsii in my bedroom with an umbel open. I smelled it last night, but it really got my attention about 6 a.m. this morning!!...
Such a SWEET smell.  I got up and went out to water since it's supposed to get so hot...

And it did.  Now it's Sunday and it feels even hotter than yesterday.  Much more humid.  It's only 9:00 and I've been out in the GH and out back and the sweat is pouring off of me.  Decided to come in and sit under the fan to cool off awhile.  Here's what I got done...

I put a couple rooted cuttings of vanuatuensis back in with the smaller pot that I plan to keep.  The bigger pot is on the back porch.  It looked a little... well, ehh... this spring, so I took some cuttings and put it out back early.  It's doing fine and even growing.  Plan to sell it off this fall at the C&S multi-club auction.  I'll keep the smaller pot.  It's one of those Hoyas I find less than thrilling, but the yellow flowers are outstanding, so it's worth growing - BUT ONLY ONE!

I had taken down 'Jennifer' last night to water and it was still over the sink this a.m.  When I examined it, three of the stems have super-thin leaves.  Uh-oh...  I know what THAT means!  So I cut those off and ended up with 4 pots of cuttings.  Those I can get a pretty penny for in the fall!  I'll put a couple back in with the mother plant to balance out the pot, but I'll sell the other two.

Oh, and I didn't get a lot posted yesterday as I had intended because I worked on my database.  It's been a chore to get it put back together after losing it.  Well, when I set it up initially, I didn't have the presence of mind to set it up as a numbered list.  (Side-note: I lost my Excel program when I reloaded after the virus incident, so I had to set it up in Word...)  So yesterday, I must have spent 3 hours re-doing it (it wasn't an easy fix...), and then checking my old list for species I wasn't sure I still had.  I think I FINALLY have it all up to date!  And if it is correct, I have 163 species right now, so I really still need to hone it down some more, if I can!

One of my Epiphyllums decided to bloom, and thankfully, it stayed open long enough for me to get some photos:
 It was truly beautiful!  It's my largest Epi, and this was the only bud (so far).  The one that usually goes out on the front porch is staying in the GH this summer, and it is budding up and blooming, so maybe that won't affect the blooming.  

I also combined two pots of variegated macrophylla, and I'm going to figure out someplace to hang it out front.  Jan contacted me today about getting some of my wide-leaf macrophylla, so I think it's a good time to whack up my extra one and make cuttings to sell this fall.  I get a pretty penny for those!

An observation... I have to admit that I'm enjoying the time with my plants more this spring than ever before.  I've always worked... back when I worked a real 40/45 hour week, I had to make time for my plants, but I was still pretty young back then and I didn't have near as many...  The last 21 years, being a co-owner of the business, I didn't really have to work that many hours a week.  I worked 4 days, 4 hours a day, then a long day on Saturday, maybe 11 or 12 hours.  So >30 hours a week, maybe.  There were weeks when we had two jobs, or an extra big job, where I might put in 36-45 hours, but that wasn't typical.  And then there were weeks in the "down" months where I might only work 15 hours a week.  But there was so much more stress involved.  Making every brides day PERFECT, and in the "down" months, worrying about paying bills.  Stress...  Now, I'm working 25 hours a week, totally stress free, and this gives frees up my mind to enjoy this hobby on my days off.  It feels SOOO good!  I am seeing so much I didn't have the time to see before, or I was so stressed about the business that I couldn't enjoy it.  Life is good!  And on that note, I'm done for tonight!