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, May 12, 2024


Apr. 25th

  ...I think it really might be here at last.  At least I hope so since I've got about 70% of my succulents out!  I took this week off for two reasons:  first, it was Mom's birthday on Monday and today is the 1 year anniversary since she passed, so I knew it was going to be kind of an emotional week.  And I figured it was a good week to get all my succulents out for the season, thus distracting me from the former somewhat.  Tomorrow, Merry and I will be getting together, probably stroll down memory lane a bit...

As I was puttering around FB today, I saw a post from Merry Potter's (formerly Jones) husband.  Which got me thinking back to when she married him.  He's actually her 3rd husband - she married a guy right out of high school, divorced him then married my cousin Danny Govig (who was abusive like his father).  Divorced him (they had one son who would be my 2nd cousin, who I've never met...) and eventually married Ken.  Ken is 81, making him 16 years older than us!  Which may not have seemed like a lifetime when we were 30, but now... I don't know, but I can't imagine an 81 year old that could light my fire, LOL!

But this line of thinking led to the realization that all three of my best friends from HS married old guys!!  Deb Mahoney (formerly West), one of my besties, married a guy right out of HS and then a few years later, she divorced him and married his father.  That guy was more than 20 years older than her!  He would be 87 now if he were still here!  But he passed in the mid-90s as I understand it.  Then there's Ann Whitney... she was married to my ex, Paul, for a year when she was still in HS.  (She was 16 when they got married - they divorced and both he and I were rebounding from relationships, which is how we got together...)  She got a little wild and, as I understand it, was cavorting around with the town's sheriff.  From what my mother told me, he was more or less disgraced for being involved with an almost teenager (I think she was 19 or 20 and he was 25+ years older...)  They ended up married and live in Texas now.

So how weird is that?  That my 3 closest friends from HS all married old guys??  Of course, they would say they weren't old guys back then, but to me, they would have seemed like old guys even then because they were all older than (or close to) my dad's age. That was a big "ewww" factor then, and it would be even more so now!  LOL!  But I guess at least 2 out of the 3 married healthy guys!  That gave them a leg-up on me!  Well, Mark was healthy when I married him, but he was a dum-dum who abused his body until it gave out on him.  So maybe what I should say is at least they married SMART guys who took care of themselves!  Of course, I should talk.  I managed to get super-fat, though at least otherwise, I'm healthy.

Which brings me to...tomorrow I have a morning appointment with Dr. Tierney, the oncology gynecologist who did my hysterectomy 3 years ago when they found a bit of cancer in my uterus. What a shitty year that was... and what terrible timing. It happened right in the midst of Mark's decline.  But thankfully, it turned out fine with no need for any further treatment.  After this exam, I will only have to do this 2 more times and I'll be at the 5 year mark, making me officially "cancer-free".  I still wonder if I'd just left well-enough alone if my body would have just resolved it all by itself.  They said it was a very slow-growing cancer, and I've got a hell of an immune system.  Trouble is, once you know you've got cancer, we've been programed to believe it's unbeatable without medical intervention, and we get what we believe, so in order for my body to "fix" it, I would have to be oblivious to it.  Which is why I'm not a big proponent of preventive medicine.  I think that cancer (like so many things) probably comes and goes for us throughout our life, and most of the times, our immune system nips it in the bud.  It's when we have turmoil or discord or crisis in our lives that our immune systems fall short allowing something as small as the common cold or as big as stage 4 cancer to invade our bodies.  The key is to find your bliss, keep the faith that all is well, even when everything screams that it is not.  Easy?  Fuck no!!  Which is why doctors and hospitals stay so busy!

Ok, on to more cheerful thoughts!  I'm finding all kinds of budding peduncles on my Hoyas... cv. 'Michelle', 'Dapple Grey', 'Philippean Black', juannguoana, krohniana, lucardensiana, hueschkeliana, the obscura that I think is really cv. 'Sunrise', pubicalyx 'Red Buttons', verticillata (my large leaf clone), patcharwalai (or icensis, whichever is the correct name) - first time for this one...  I'll be on the lookout for others.  I'm happy with the new growth I'm seeing on most.  Oh, there are a few stubborn ones that aren't showing any signs of new growth, but some fall into the category of "late-starters" and some are just needing a little longer days perhaps.  

I wish I could figure out what's going on with blogger.  I keep getting a message that says "update failed". 


Sat. 4/27

Yesterday afternoon turned out to be a record-breaking day of storms.  There were tornados all around me, but thankfully I had no damage.  It really didn't even get severely windy here.  We did have 6 rounds of hail before it was all through, but none of it was huge.  There were some quarter-size chunks, but most were dime-size or smaller, and thought it rained hard, it didn't have the driving force we had with the one in 2022, so I think my plants are MOSTLY ok.  Of course, you never really know until a few days after when the pitting and bruising starts to show up.  But unlike 2022, I did not have gobs of leaves and debris that fell from my plants.  My Crown of Thorns got the worst of it with some torn leaves, but it's early enough that they will recover.  We ended up getting a little under 1.5 inches of rain, so no leakage in the basement (knock on wood!)  

They said there were a record 41 tornado warnings, but interestingly enough, last year we broke the old record at 33 warnings!  If that's not an indicator that our weather patterns are changing, I don't know what is.  Anyway, I assume that number is a Nebraska number, because they said there were 75 tornadoes in the vicinity of Omaha yesterday.  (They're saying "biggest outbreak in decades, possibly forever!")  I have no idea if part of that figure includes funnel clouds that didn't make it to the ground... I suspect maybe it does.  The towns they're talking about the most are Waverly, which is practically part of Lincoln; Elkhorn, which is now officially part of Omaha, but is the furthermost west town of Omaha - they got it pretty bad. One touched down at Eppley Air Field - I think that was the closest to me and if there wasn't so much city between me and Eppley, I might have actually gotten to see my very first tornado! They said the airport itself wasn't damaged, but one of the buildings at the back of the airport was.  It must have hit close to the river... Blair got nailed - it's about 15 miles west of the northest part of Omaha.  In Iowa, they said about half the homes in Minden were destroyed. There was a massive tornado on the ground for a LONG time, knocking around Shelby County near Shelby and Harlan and sounds like it might have damaged some homes on the outskirts of Harlan:

I'm sure we'll be hearing about more of the towns that got it.  What a mess!  And guess what - sounds like there's a high likelihood we're in for another round of he same later today!  And possibly tomorrow will be stormy as well.  


May 12

Finally getting back to this and I'll publish before day's end.   I took this last week off because I came down with a sinus infection.  I typically get one about every 12-18 months, but this is just 6 months after my last one!  The only reason I remember that is because I was getting over my last one when I had my dentist appointment, and I've got my next one in a week or so.  SUCKS!  If I had an office job (or the business), I'd work through it.  But since I spend half my day "cooped up" in a car with a bunch of old guys who I would probably be freaking out with all my coughing (wondering if I'm going to get them sick) and driving, which is hard to do when you go into a coughing fit, I always just take it off until the worst is past.  But at least I got a lot done, mostly because if I sit or lay around (which is what I FEEL like doing), then the gunk in my sinuses sort of "coagulates" and creates more coughing, more blowing, etc.  If I keep moving, everything stays "loose" and I feel less miserable.  So plants are out, GH is pretty damn tidy, chores around the house have gotten done... 

I'm getting that last room in the basement (designated "kitty-poop room") cleared out for the tile.  Handyman John will be back in town in a few days and hopefully he can get started on it.  The tile came on Tuesday - that was a bit of a fiasco!  I got notice it had been shipped and that led to a realization that it was coming on a big carrier truck which means (most likely) driveway drop-off.  UH-OH!  I hadn't given that any thought when I ordered it online.  The notice said it was going to be something like 600 lbs!  I called and sure enough, "curb-side drop-off", but they would schedule the delivery.  Well, at about 9 am Tuesday, I got a text that said it was going to be delivered between 11 am and 3 pm!  SHIT!!!  So I called Laurie's handyman (who had saved my ass a week earlier by mowing since my guy has been MIA for a couple weeks) and he said they would come over and move it into my garage.  Whew!  I imagine a pallet of nice tile would probably disappear pretty quickly if I just left it there!  So I went to the garage and made sure there was an open space so I wasn't rushing around while they were here to make room.  And at about 2:30, I heard some commotion out in my driveway and there was a guy with one of those pallet jacks placing the tile in my garage!  I ran out and he said, "I just assumed since your garage was open that you wanted it there - do I need to move it?"  I told him, "No, that's perfect!  Estes told me you would only do curbside drop-off, so I was just getting ready for some guys to come help me move it!"  He waved his hand and said, "Yeah, a lot of drivers won't lift a finger, but it's not that much trouble and it's good customer service!"  I thanked him profusely and he was gone in a flash.  If it hadn't all happened so fast, I would have offered him a $20 tip for the great service!  He saved me way more than that!

Anyway, by then John was already on his way (because it was getting close to 3:00) and I asked him to go ahead and mow again so it wasn't a wasted trip, so I got that done as well.  So everything worked out, just like it always does.

Since my last "rambling", the Epiphyllum I got from Dave Shorney (a member of our cactus club who passed away in early 2022) bloomed for me.  It was so beautiful!!...

It's hard to see in the photo, but those middle lines on each petal are an electric orange.  It was one of those eye-popping flowers!  Just stunning.  About 6" wide.  I feel like it was a little gift from Dave because Epis, for me, are stingy bloomers! And there were actually two... one was hidden behind the shelf and didn't open fully.

And also since last post, we had the Men's Garden Club sale.  I sold quite a bit, certainly more than I expected.  I didn't take many Hoyas on Friday, but there was one very excited Hoya enthusiast that showed up - a young Hispanic girl that didn't speak the best English.  But she seemed pretty knowledgeable about them.  When she picked out what she wanted, she talked to me about how she's trying to reduce her collection and some of those she was parting with.  There were a few in there that I didn't have and she said, "How about I bring them by tomorrow and you see if you want them?"  And I told her I would bring some cuttings of what I think she might want from what she described she was keeping. So she brought 3 that I really liked and don't have and took a few of the cuttings I brought (none of the rooted plants as they were mostly replacements for the ones she bought...) I asked if I could pay her anything for the plants and she said, "Nope!"  So here's my haul from her...

Variegates tend to grow very slowly, so those won't take up much room for quite some time.  The last one should live up to it's name after awhile in the GH... I'm excited!  I think the hueschkeliana is the most exciting and probably the one I'll worry about the most.  I have two plain green ones in the kitchen that I watch like a hawk.  It's one of those that responds quickly to a little bit of drought.  You can not let it get dry for too long!  On the other hand, it seems to be salvageable when it gets past the point of "no return" as I've done it with my oldest one a couple times.  Which is why I keep it in the kitchen where I can keep a close eye on it!  the variegated on will go in the kitchen in the fall when I start moving plants back in - maybe sooner if it harps at the heat of the GH...

Today is Mother's Day.  I usually at the very least spend part of the day with Mom, so it feels a little weird not to have any plans.  Now it's just another day... Kathy called yesterday and invited me to have dinner with them tonight - just a grill out.  I was kind of anticipating the call and had intended to bow-out, but I decided to say yes because I haven't really had much human contact in a week.  I just hope my sinuses cooperate and I don't go into an embarrassing coughing fit.  I guess it will serve as my "test drive" for going back to work this next week.  My original plan was to drive down to Villisca and put some flowers on Grandma Dora's grave (that's where we decided to spread Mom's ashes...) But I think I'll wait until a day this week because there will probably be other people at the cemetery today, as I'd really rather do this alone.  Then I'll drive out to Pilot Grove cemetery and put some flowers on Grandma & Grandpa's grave, where Dad and Wes's memorial plaques are...  I may even drive by Pilot Grove park where we left Dad's ashes...

Well, I want to get my day started and get this published.  More later!


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