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!)

Sunday, July 15, 2018

There is something very wrong in our country...

I had GMA on this morning and they were talking about the CEO (?) of Papa Johns  who used the "N" word, and now all the sponsors are pulling ads, he's been run off the board of the company (in spite of being 51% shareholder).  Mind you, he didn't used the word in a public forum, but during a marketing meeting.  Are we really getting so crazy-sensitive that we can't just turn around and say, "Well, that was certainly uncalled for!" or "You're an asshole for using that word!"  No, someone has to go on a rampage and ruin an entire company who employs a lot of people.  Not only that, but it's a BIG company whose stock is probably going to shit over this, which means many in the stock market will suffer losses.  No, no one has all their eggs in one basket, but why would there be such a fuss over ONE FUCKING WORD?  Yes, I hate the word.  I don't want to hear it.  But I won't fall apart if I hear it.  

People say things they regret... it happens.  Every single one of us has done it.  I remember when I was a kid, it wasn't uncommon for one kid to say to another, "What, are you a retard?"  Well, once in a blue moon, I'll see someone do something really stupid and I'll catch myself saying that and grimace as it comes out of my mouth.  Why?  Because it's now socially unacceptable to say it.  One might say it should have ALWAYS been socially unacceptable to use a word or phrase, and that's probably true, but you don't bring down companies or send someone off to shame prison because they slipped up and said something stupid or inappropriate.  

Our country has gone mad.  That is the only explanation for all this weirdness that's going on now.  We have to weigh every word we say.  Men have to be careful not to offend a woman in any way, shape or form (because, I guess, we're so fragile).  If a cop tries to defend himself or get control of a situation, they scream "police brutality" and all these videos show up - videos that, by the way, didn't start until AFTER whatever instigated the officer's reaction...  But we leap to judge that HE was out of place.  Yes, even cops fuck up and do the the wrong thing - they're human, too.  We make mistakes.  We say or do things we shouldn't say or do.  There is only ONE mistake that can never be remedied, and that's DEATH.  All other mistakes can be fixed.  And in the case of inappropriate language or words, can't we just be momentarily appalled and then MOVE ON WITH OUR LIVES? 

Can we please stop being a whiny, over-sensitive country?  It's embarrassing!

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Plants, plants!

Friday 7/13

Almost everything is growing now.  All except my stubborn deykeae.  The little bastard knows very well that it's probably my FAVORITE of all, and it refuses to give me the pleasure of new growth.  I took a deep breath and put it out in the greenhouse.  Let me explain... I got deykeae as a cutting in 2009.  It rooted fast, but didn't grow at all the first year.  The next year, it put on just a bit of new growth... maybe 2 or 3 sets of leaves.  I was thrilled, because by then, I had fallen in LOVE with the gorgeous leaves, and the new ones were spectacular!  Each year, it has only put on a little new growth, and as it branched, I might get 6 new sets of leaves instead of only 3.  But in about year 2 or 3, there was a post on GW about deykeae, and a very experienced grower commented that this was a very difficult species to grow!  OH NO!  Not my favorite Hoya!  I was so afraid that it would all of a sudden die on me that I didn't DARE move it from the spot where it was "thriving".  So in the nine years I've had it, it has always set in the same exact spot on a shelf in my sunroom, facing east.  Now that it's July and still hasn't hinted at growing, I decided to take a leap of faith and put it in the GH where it will get the heat and sun that (maybe) it's craving.  Marco's is growing gangbusters, so maybe that's what it needs...  Added the next day... Guess what?  I see 2, maybe 3 new growth points on my deykeae!  I guess it worked!

I took cuttings of my pubicalyx 'Bright One' and got them potted up to root and eventually sell.  It's gotten so large, and it just doesn't grow as pretty as 'Pink Silver'.  Of course, at least it blooms pretty easy, unlike 'PS'.  Who knows... I may KEEP the rooted cuttings and get rid of the big plant.

And speaking of getting rid of big plants...  I took down both of my nicholsoniaes and cleaned them up.  They both sit on the top shelf in the GH and are a bit difficult to wrestle down, so it doesn't get done very often.  The leaves were SO dusty and I wiped each one individually.  It cleaned up beautifully!  Here's the bigger one:
I found several new baby leaves and growth points.  I gate it a good VF-11 bath and put it back up.  The smaller one has just one point of new growth.  I think I'll either whack it up to sell, or I may take that one to the tri-club meeting in September to put in the auction.  I do NOT plan to put a bunch of smaller ones in the auction because I got royally screwed last year!

On the other hand, I've sent out three boxes of plants so far this year.  I've got a bunch of small plants that will be ready to go a little later this summer.  I decided to let them grow out a bit to make a little more money.  I've got a nice variety though, as usual, nothing rare.  

Off the subject of plants for a minute... I had one of my favorite bracelets break on me a couple weeks ago at work.  I was so upset - it's purple and just really pretty.  Well, I went on Etsy and found someone who makes jewelry and found a bracelet I wanted to buy, and I asked her if she would be willing to repair (if possible) my broken bracelet and sent her a photo. She said she would fix it for $5!  Wow...  Well, I ended up buying two bracelets from her AND she repaired my favorite one.  They came in the mail yesterday and I'm so pleased!  This one is even prettier in person than it was in the photo:
 The other I had her make to my specs from another one.  The one in her photo was a Sagittarius in blue, and I wanted mine (of course) a Scorpio in red...
 She did an excellent job!

Saturday 7/14

This morning, I got up early and potted 4 rooted macrophylla cuttings from a community pot into individual pots so they can get settled in, grow and be ready to sell by fall.  Next on my agenda is to repot the variegated Sanseveria, which has a new shoot on one side of the pot.  I'm going to cut up the one large leaf that's left to make cuttings.  I had some cuttings of another Sans that I rooted last fall, and they sprouted baby Sans from those leaves.  They're so adorable! 
This whole plant isn't more than 1.5 inches across:
I checked the cuttings from the 'Krimson Princess' Marco sent me today.  One had rooted - none of the others are even HINTING at rooting, but they're not totally dehydrated, so I stuck them in water.  The one that rooted I put in with the mama plant and hope it will take off out in the summer heat.  I'm hoping for some new growth on the KP before summer's end.  I know it takes awhile to get settled in to new pot, new (different) soil, and in a new environment.  Fingers crossed that the other 3 cuttings root.  It's possible they were too "pink"... Marco commented that the pink stemmed ones don't like to root.  We'll see.  I seem to have pretty good luck rehydrating wrinkly cuttings in water...

Tomorrow, I'm going to the Des Moines club meeting.  So maybe more another day next week...
 

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Yesterday... a yucky day.  I was slated to work, so the usual routine.  Wash hair, put on makeup, eat, get dressed... and as I was ready to start packing my bag, which just entails filling my water bottle with ice water, putting in my phone, wallet with money and driver's license and my sunglasses, my stomach got all funky.  I have an iron stomach, so it rarely bothers me.  Oh, when I was younger, it would often get a little "fluttery" in the mornings before work.  To be honest, I think it was more about a bit of anxiety than anything else.  I outgrew that. But this wasn't "fluttery", this was gurgly and somewhat painful.  This went on for about 15 or 20 minutes, then I decided it might be that I just need to belch, so I mixed me a small amount of baking soda and water and sat down to drink it.  I took about 2 swallows and immediately knew it was coming back up!  Ran to the bathroom an tossed my cookies.  Now I was sweating and chilling at the same time and I knew it wasn't good and this was the time I would be walking out the door to go to work.  I texted the boss and let him know I was sicker than a dog, don't dare come in... And for about the next 4 hours, I was sick on both ends, always hoping only one end would be at work at a time!  I don't know what it was - I have seriously not vomited in at least 25 years.  Like I said... an iron stomach.  It was pretty miserable until I was... well, let's just say completely cleaned out!  Then I started to feel better around noon, and I just napped in my chair in the afternoon.  By about 4:00, I felt pretty normal again, except just a bit of a head wah-wah, which I think might have just been from hunger.  By 5:00, my stomach was telling me I was hungry, but I was apprehensive about eating anything too "interesting."  So I made me some of my ramen soup concoctions... sauteed chopped celery, shredded carrots (normally I would add chopped onion, but didn't want anything "gas making" in there after my day!), cooked them with the noodles, then added a couple handfuls of Schwan's kale mix.  It was delicious, filling and easy on the tummy...

And this morning I feel fine.  But as for work... they only called in FOUR people at 10:00 (not me)... Usually it's at least 8 and it might be as many as 20 or so.  Usually it's around 11 or 12.  And at 8:00... they only called in TWELVE!!  They usually call 25 to 45 at 8:00!!  What's goin' on?  Maybe everything is rented for the CWS??

So we had storms roll through starting about 5:00 or so yesterday evening. Off and on all night.  I was still up at midnight when a good loud one rolled through and we sat on the porch as it went through.  Then up this morning and they're still rolling through.  I'm waiting for it to let up awhile as I'd like to get some repotting done.  

I just got a call from Dr. Jana's office... he's going to be out of town on the day (10/1) that they scheduled my hip surgery.  I said, "Oh, NO!"  I'm thinking, JFC am I having the worst luck when it comes to this thing?!!  I suppose they're going to put it off ANOTHER month!  But she said 10/12, and I thought, ok that's not that bad... But I think she thought I wasn't happy and she said, "I'm looking at the calendar and it looks like there's an open spot on 9/4."  I said, "You're kidding?  I'll take it!"  So... YAY!  Now I really have to hunker down and diet like a crazy woman.  

Plants... I repotted my Desert Rose into a metal planter that I grew my oldest kerrii in.  I decided to ditch the old stump since I have new starts.  It was time to give it up.  So into that pot went the Desert Rose, and it is starting to bloom:
It's covered with buds, so it's gonna be loaded soon!  I wonder if I can keep it blooming into August so maybe it could be in the Des Moines show.  Some summers, they do bloom all summer...

Hoya cv. Joy has been blooming...
Pretty, but they smell like bleach.  Thankfully, it's not one that really pumps out the fragrance.  You have to smell it up close to identify the smell.

And all of the Crown of Thorns are looking outstanding...
The bottom plant is actually Euphorbia geroldii, which has flowers just like Crown of Thorns.   
 
Well, that's all for today.  










 
 

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

I have to rant once more about the "me too" movement.  I'm starting to think this is some kind of hysteria.  This morning on GMA, it talked about the new allegations against Morgan Freeman and how his lawyers are threatening to sue CNN if they don't retract their report.  When I first heard that Morgan had been "called out" on sexual harassment of 8 women, I thought it sounded ridiculous, but of course I thought the same thing about Bill Cosby, so who knows?  But this morning, they gave details of the two that have come forward... And here they are.

Sounds like a pregnant woman was interviewing Morgan and three others, including Michael Caine.  They of course don't give you any details before this spot in the interview, but essentially Michael says to the reporter, "I never tell a woman congratulations on the coming baby because I once did that and the lady wasn't pregnant!"  Morgan laughs and said what sounds like, "I wish I was there!"  I'm not sure what he meant by that, but apparently the reporter said, "If you knew where he was looking when he said it, you'd know it was totally inappropriate!"

Seriously?  THIS is now considered sexual harassment?  First of all, I'm betting what sounds like "I wish I was there" was really (or meant to be) "I've been there!"  That's how I interpreted it.  Even if he was being suggestive, c'mon ladies, are we really such weenies that we can't brush off a stupid comment???

Second one... a woman reporter (a black lady) was interviewing Morgan.  She asked him how he liked bachelorhood.  He said, "I love it!  I can look at you and drool if I want!"  Two OTHER women reporters on CNN were talking about this part of the interview calling it sexual harassment.  The woman doing the interviewing has since been interviewed herself and she said she absolutely felt no sense of sexual harassment from Morgan.  Finally, a woman who isn't being violated by a mere comment!  

I'm just appalled that it's come to the point that even suggesting that a woman might be desirable can be called sexual harassment.  That women can't deal with a simple complement without becoming hysterical and screaming "sexual harassment!"  If I feel a comment is meant to be a compliment, I either smile or say "what a nice thing to say!"  If it crosses a line, I change the subject. For 95% of men, that sends a clear signal.  For the 5% that might push forward with another comment, I would say, "Knock it off!"  And I don't think I've ever run into a man who advanced beyond that point.  

I know... they say men in power feel entitled to go as far as they want.  First of all, I think that's a gross exaggeration.  Not ALL men in power think they can have their way with any woman, or hold his power over her to get "favors."  And the few who do wouldn't have that power without cooperation.  In other words, none of this would be going on if every woman exerted her power to say that teeny-tiny two letter word... NO!!  It's the bitches who decided THEIR career or THEIR advancement or THEIR high-paying job was worth putting up with this shit that gave these men to power to keep doing it. So I don't particularly blame the men who DO harass any more than I blame the women who put up with it!  Am I the only woman who feels this way?  

Off to work... back to plants next time!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

May...

I'm up early and thought I'd start a rambling... it may take me a few days to finish it (we'll see), so today is Sunday the 20th... I'm going to Des Moines to the cactus club meeting today, and I'm giving a program about Hoyas.  I have a slide show, some fliers, and a short talk prepared.  I'm taking my Stemma Journals as well.  Might as well bombard them with all I've got!

As of now, I think I've got all my plants outside and have assessed my losses.  I'm working on my database to get it back to accurate.  After eliminating the ones I KNOW I've lost, it's down to under 150 species.  Which is fine.  Last year, my goal was to try to get down to my favorite 100 species and then if I chose to add one, I would give one up to maintain that number.  That didn't work, of course, so a winter of pain helped me get closer to my goal.  Ok, this is NOT the way I would have chosen to do it, but I'm trying to glean something positive out of suffering a winter of pain!  

So what I have left now are super-hardy species.  Mostly succulent species.  With some, it's still questionable if they'll make it as they are - I may have to restart some that are still showing signs of some dehydration.  We'll see...  I have some that haven't been completely crossed off the list because I'm hoping for a comeback.  Many of those are outside to catch rain and sunshine and if the roots aren't dead, they may just pop back to life.  I'm trying not to feel too bad about it.  I figure once my hip is fixed and I'm able to start moving about with a lot less pain (I know my back will still have issues...), and I find taking care of what I currently have is not a chore but a pleasure, I MAY try to replace some of the ones I feel broken hearted about.  Again, we'll see.  I plan to add no Hoyas at all to my collection this year.  Well, except for the few that Marco will send to replace some I lost.  I'm grateful he's looking out for me!

And speaking of Hoyas and Marco, he sent me a H. sp. India summer of 2016 and it's been hanging in my dining room window all winter.  At first, it was NOT happy adjusting from sunny Florida to Nebraska and I wasn't sure it was going to make it.  It kept dropping leaves... one here, one there.  But then it settled down and stabilized, but didn't grow at ALL last year...  Now it's putting out new growth! Two new vines, one reaching high, new itty-bitty leaves forming!  Yay!  And right next to it, on the armoire, is H. parasitica Lao 2 (can't remember where I got it).  I watered it a couple days ago and found a new peduncle on a new vine, AND I found dried up flowers on an old peduncle - the flowers must have been turned away towards the window and they were hiding under leaves as well.  Dang!  The flowers aren't spectacular, mind you, but I get so few flowers that every flower counts!

____________________________

I'm back from Des Moines.  It was a long day.  My program went ok.  I wish I was better at speaking in front of people, but it kind of freaks me out.  I just try to concentrate on the subject and hope people don't notice how nervous I really am. 

I'll be working tomorrow, which is ok.  My hip was pretty sore today, but was a little better later in the day than earlier, so I'm hoping that's a good sign.  I'll probably not work Tuesday, though... most likely I won't be called.  I'll probably play "wait and see" in hopes I won't be called.  The less I have to bow out, the less they'll think I'm a sloucher! LOL!

_______________________

Getting ready to leave for work.  It's overcast and cool, but it's supposed to clear off later.  I'm kind of hoping NOT to go to Des Moines today since I've been there 3 times in the last week!  Though I'd rather do that than go out to the auto auction.  Fingers crossed for a good day... at least I don't have to get Mark up to move his truck (we switched places last night so I'd be behind...)  He's such a fucking crank and tends to kick start my day with a cloud.  Of course, I soon as I get away from him, I'm fine.  but it's just the idea that he can bring me down like a lead balloon!

I've got a LOT to do this week.  I need to start on the newsletter.  I need to get down to see Mom.  I need to get this house cleaned up...

________________________

And now it's Tuesday and I'm not working.  Well, not earning anything!  I'm hard at work with my plants.  It's stormy, so I can't do much outside, but I'm going to get a lot of watering and make notations as I go.  I'll finish this up today and "publish"...

Where to start?!!  Two in my bedroom - mcgreggorii and what I THINK is nervosa... both have new growth!  I'm particularly happy about the nervosa.  Marco sent me two of them in 2016 and I lost one and the other lost all but 5 leaves. But then it stabilized last summer, but I don't think it grew hardly at all if any.  But the leaves that were left looked happy as a clam.  So I'm so glad to finally see new growth!  YAY!

I repotted H. mnerredithii x crassicaulis, which has been in the sunroom for a few years.  It really needed to be moved up to a bigger pot, and I put it in a hanging pot this time and moved it to the greenhouse.  Boy does it look great!

Look at that giant leaf?  It's turned into quite a pretty plant.  I actually had two of these at one time - the first one I got from Ted Green, which I eventually lost.  It never looked near as pretty as this one, which I later got from Gardino's.  

I think I got my database up to date today.  It looks like I have 123 solid species now, and I have 16 in what I call "sick bay".  Several of the seem beyond help, but I will reserve an official "burial" until summer's end. I've seen enough what appear to be "dead" plants come back to life, assumably because the roots did not die.  I'm going to see the silver lining in my losses - last year, I vowed to reduce my collection down to my 100 favorite species.  I didn't even get CLOSE!  I think I got down to around 160 or so (from nearly 200).  This puts me very close to my goal.  Because there are some I want to replace, a more realistic number may be 125, but that still means that I will probably have to let go of some of what I already have.  Which is ok.  I can probably name 10 off the top of my head that I could live without, just because the leaves don't knock my socks off...

I will write more soon.  My hip is too sore to do any more "primping" today...

Monday, March 26, 2018

What's new?

Several weeks ago, I had a place on my upper gum that got all swollen and sore.  It got pretty big over a few days, and I thought I had likely gotten something lodged up under the gum and picked at it.  The swelling went down and away and I figured I must have dislodged whatever was in there.  Then, early last week, the swelling and soreness came back!  Since it was in the same spot, I figured it might be something to be concerned about and I went to the dentist on Wednesday.

When the doc came in the room, I said, "Hey doc!  You know, I'm turning 60 this year and I feel like I'm falling apart!  I need a hip replacement, I have a lipoma I need to have removed, and now THIS!" and I laughed.  He said, "You're getting a hip replacement?  Who's doing it?"  I told him I wasn't sure because I can't get my damn doc's office to call me back, so I'm considering another guy.  He said, "You should go see Dr. Jana - he did my brother's and both of mine.  He's by far the best hip and knee doctor in Omaha!"  Well, believe it or not, this is the doctor whose name and phone number I had JUST gotten from my work-friend, Sharon!!  I had been complaining to her about how this Dr. Hartman wants me to lose 25 lbs. but now I'm stuck and can't seem to lose anymore weight.  She said he did her knee without insisting she lose weight, and she's heavier than I am.  So his recommendation solidified my decision to go in another direction.  I figured this was a big arrow from the universe pointing me in the direction I need to go, so I made an appointment with Dr. Jana.  Unfortunately, he's so popular/busy, I can't see him until June 4th.  (YIKES!)  That means it'll be mid-summer before I get it replaced.  I hate that, but I feel like it's all working out how it's supposed to, so I won't make a fuss about that...

Ok, so back to the abscess... the doc gave me a shot of novocaine  (YIKES again!)... the first time I've had one of those in about 30 years!  I am a total weenie when it comes to needles, so I was a nervous wreck when he gave me the shot - he assured me he was really good at it and that I'd barely feel it.  And you know what?  He was right!  He put a little deadener on my gum first and I didn't feel a thing.  Then he poked and messed with the abscess for awhile - there was quite a bit of blood on my bib when he was done, so I was really worried it would be super-sore when the novocaine wore off.  The dental tech who had tried to take xrays had told me that usually an abscess indicates a dead or dying tooth and usually ends up in either a root canal or an extraction, so I was pretty nervous about that, too!  I have all but my two upper wisdom teeth and they're all in great condition.  I had one filling back when I was about 20 and that's it...the only other things I've had done is I wore a retainer for a couple years to fix a space between my two front teeth and had veneers put on those two as they seemed to want to get little chips...  Anyway, he tested the tooth and said the tooth is fine.  There just must've been something in or under the gum that caused the abscess.  Whew!!  He put me on antibiotics and off I went.  Thankfully, it really wasn't that sore a few hours later...

BUT, another positive thing that came out of this was that as the antibiotics started to work, I started to have all this gunky drainage from my sinuses.  Apparently, I've had a sinus infection brewing for some time and the antibiotics seem to be making headway with that as well.  So out of what seemed like a negative thing came these two positive things!  Isn't it funny how sometimes you look back and think "if not for this thing happening that seems like a bad thing, I wouldn't have done this or been led down this path"... 

Next up...  My plants.  I need to start talking about them and try to get back my enthusiasm.  I've been living vicariously (plant-wise) through Marco for the last several months.  He's got the perfect environment and they do so well for him!  He sends me lots of photos, which is a curse and a blessing... The curse part is that it makes me envious that no matter how hard I try, I will never get mine to grow and flower like he can!  (Unless I want to make a 1500 mile move, LOL!)  Of course, the blessing part is that I love perusing the photos, and I'm so, so happy for him that he has this great hobby to fill his time.  (If you read this, Marco, don't stop sending the photos!  I enjoy them all!)  But my point is that I need to try to regain my enthusiasm for MY plants before I lose more of them!  Since it looks like it'll be another summer with this hip, it's hard to look forward to taking care of too many plants, but I guess we'll see where it all ends up...

H. cardiophylla hangs in my bedroom, and it's got a nice new vine with baby leaves forming:
Today, I took down my H. macgillivrayii that hangs in the spare bedroom and it had a glob of scale on one stem!  I mean, where do they come from?  I've had that one hanging there for some years and never had scale on any of them in that room, and suddenly, there they are!  How weird... And it was strange that they were all congregated on one stem at the top of the plant - I couldn't find another single one anywhere.  So I treated it with BATS...

What a dreary day it is!  We started out with a thunderstorm at about 7:30 or 8:00 and it's been misty and overcast since then.  I know we need the moisture, but I'm sick of all the dreary days.  We need a stretch of sunny days!

Well, more later...

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.