Suspended Animation

August 18, 2009

This morning, it was brought to my attention (thanks, LA!) that my blog was not accessible.  When I went to check it out, I got this message:  “This blog has been archived or suspended for violation of our Terms of Service.”  Umm, okayyyy…

I emailed WordPress support to find out what was going on, and received this response:

“I am really sorry for that happening – I cannot see why yet but I can assure you it will not happen again.  The blog is back just as you left it and I very much apologize for the trouble we caused you.”

Geez, I wonder what that was all about…

In other news, I finally have a couple of ripe tomatoes.

Those beauties have been cut up, sprinkled with salt and garlic powder, drizzled with olive oil, and topped with sliced onions, as well as some basil, also from my garden.  I only wish I had some fresh mozzarella…

Even though the tomato plants are taking their sweet time producing ripe tomatoes, they have grown like gangbusters.  The tallest is the cherry tomato plant, which almost reaches one of the kitchen windows.

Sunflowers are something new for me.  Next year, I’d like to try my hand at growing the really big ones.

This morning glory is taking over one side of my porch.  The flowers are a gorgeous dark purple, but I never remember to go out with my camera until after the flowers have closed up.

This fern is noteworthy because it has doubled in size since I got it at the end of June.  It’s going to be hard to say goodbye to it when the time comes.  In the past, I’ve tried bringing ferns inside for the winter, but they’re too messy.  Too bad they couldn’t be put into suspended animation…

Song of the Day: Suspended Animation by Pestilence

Reading:  East of the Sun by Julia Gregson

Gardens and Groundhogs

May 30, 2009

Before we get to the garden photos, I want to share something that made me laugh.  As I mentioned in Mary’s comments in reference to her entry about spelling bees, I came across a doozy of a spelling error while looking over a paper written by a high school junior – “alls timers” for Alzheimer’s.  I just love that.

On to the garden gazing.  If these wild roses didn’t smell so delightful, I’d get rid of them because their sprawling growth tends to be rather riotous in an area that doesn’t work well for that.

This giant allium is my current pride and joy.

The huge purple globe amazes me every time I look at it, which I do quite often, from a rocking chair on the front porch.

The blooming iris are few but spectacular.

Last year, this plant didn’t bloom, and I had no idea what it was.  My Neighbor has informed me that it is called Jacob’s Ladder.  It’s probably something she gave me, because I know I didn’t buy it.

These coral bells are another donation from My Neighbor.

I planted this lupine a few weeks ago, and am very happy to see it come into bloom.

I’ve always wanted foxgloves, and am thrilled with this one, planted the same time as the lupine.

Does anyone know what this is?  I haven’t had a chance to ask My Neighbor.

All the news from my outdoor world is not as good as the fruits of my garden labor, thanks to a couple of dastardly groundhogs.  LA very thoughtfully sent me a tutorial on groundhog elimination that involves blocking tunnel entrances/exits.   Our groundhogs have tunnels that pop up all over My Neighbor’s yard, as well as mine.  I’ll have to talk to her about joining forces.   If all else fails, I might have to hire a hit man.

This pile of rocks under the rhododendron in my back yard (a loooooong time ago, it was part of an elaborate rock garden complete with lighted fountain) is now the portal to a tunnel.  My Neighbor calls it the Groundhog Condo.  Let the eviction process begin.

Song of the Day:  Garden Party by Ricky Nelson

Reading:  The Once and Future King by T.H. White

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Isabella, We Are Rising

April 10, 2009

Wednesday morning, My Friend asked me to act as a model for her Reflexology display at a Wellness Fair at a local college.  It was great.  I lounged on a zero gravity recliner chair wrapped in a blanket, getting my feet worked on.  It was so relaxing.

Afterwards, I paid a long overdue visit to my chiropractor, who said that my neck was in distress.  That would explain the horrendous headache I’ve been plagued with all week.  While the headache is not quite gone, it is more bearable.  It also helps that we’ve had a couple of days of decent weather.  Yesterday morning I put some pansies into porch planters.

In the evening, we went to dinner to celebrate Leigh’s birthday. My baby is 21.

As for Easter, at first we weren’t going to do anything. My sister, Michele, and I declared that Thanksgiving and Christmas are more than enough when it comes to hosting family gatherings. We refuse to bear the burden of another holiday. It would suit me just fine to stay home and try to mentally prepare myself for returning to work on Monday (I’m dreading it), but The Ex invited us to his place. Fortunately, it will be very low-key.

Rebecca is taking me out to lunch for Pad Thai this afternoon, so I’d better get back to what I was doing (moving the light clothing up and the heavy clothing down). Groan.

Song of the Day: Easter by Patti Smith (from which the title of which this entry comes)

And the Award Goes To

April 5, 2009

A few days ago,  Jim surprised me by picking me as one of his selections to be awarded a Premio Dardos Award.  Thank you, Jim!

Premio Dardos means “prize darts” in Italian and is awarded for recognition of cultural, ethical, literary and personal values in the form of creative and original writing. The rules are:

1. Accept the award by pasting the graphic on your blog along with the name of the person who granted the award and a link to his/her blog.

2. Pass the award to another 15 that are worthy of acknowledgment, remembering to contact each so they know they have been selected.

Many of the online journalists/bloggers I read have already been chosen for this award.  So I am just going to refer you to my blogroll, which can be found at the bottom right of this page.  They are all good reads.

In other news, Friday was my last day at work until the 13th.  Spring break came just in the nick of time.  Work was sucking the life out of me.  I was beyond exhausted, and the pain has been very bad.

I’m hoping this break will be regenerative, although I haven’t been taking it easy so far.   Yesterday I spent the whole day cleaning the kitchen, including the refrigerator, which was pretty gross.  I was in agony by the time I said to myself, “Enough is enough.”

Today I hope to get some yard work done, since the weather is nice for a change.   The locals seem to have mistaken our front lawn for the city dump.  There are bags and food wrappers all over the place.  Grrrr.  I also have some spring bulbs to plant, and some yard debris (the natural kind) to clear.

According to the 10 day forecast, except for Thursday and Sunday, it will rain every day of my spring break, so I’d better get out there while the getting is good.

Song of the day:  Spring by Tracy Chapman

How Does Your Garden Grow

August 16, 2008

Before I leave for Rhode Island, I want to post some garden photos.  I’ve never had much success with gardening, but am quite pleased with this year’s results.

My cousin and neighbor gave me some morning glory plants, and, when I planted them, I hoped that at least one of them would produce blue flowers.  I got my wish.

I love this color, too.

The lasagna garden is coming along nicely.

So are the shade gardens.

The porch plants are thriving, as well.

This sweet potato ivy came back nicely after the deer did their dirty work.

I had a fair amount of success with vegetables this year, too.  These are my jalapeno peppers.

I pick a handful of cherry tomatoes almost every day.

The regular tomatoes were the big surprise.  I planted two small, sickly looking plants my cousin gave me and this is what they grew into.  They’re so tall and heavy, I had to prop them up with large sticks.

This is a rainbow broom corn plant grown from seeds my mother brought back from Hancock Shaker Village.

Last but not least, this is a fawn in my back yard.  (Thank goodness for homemade deer repellant.  I learned my lesson after the sweet potato ivy massacre.)

Song of the Day:  Secret Garden by Bruce Springsteen

Bring Out Your Dead

July 13, 2008

I finally saw Spamalot!  A local community college offered a bus trip to NYC yesterday for the unbelievably low price of $11.  (The train costs $30.)  I went with my mother, my aunt, my cousin, Kathy, and her friend, Bob.  When we got to the city, we split up.  My mother, aunt and cousin had already seen Spamalot, so they went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Bob and I headed for the TKTS Discount booth, and, fortunately, Spamalot was among the listed shows.

Before the performance, we had lunch at Bistecca Fiorentina.  It was the best meal I’ve had in a long time. For an appetizer, Bob ordered grilled octopus and squid.  I had a mixed plate of roasted polenta with Gorgonzola cheese, a stuffed mushroom, zucchini with béchamel sauce, eggplant Parmesan, and a roasted, stuffed red pepper.  It was way too much food for me, so I shared with Bob.  Still, I barely had room for my lobster ravioli entrée.  Even with Bob’s help, I couldn’t finish it.

After we ate, we headed over to the Shubert Theatre.  I was very excited.  The play certainly lived up to my expectations.   It was so much fun!  This was my favorite number.  Hilarious!

At present, Stephen Collins (the father on 7th Heaven) is playing King Arthur, and Drew Lachey (former member of 98 Degrees, along with his brother, Nick, who was married to Jessica Simpson.  Drew was also a “Dancing With the Stars” winner.) plays Patsy.  Marin Mazzie is the Lady of the Lake.   What a voice!  I had such a good time.

The only downside was the physical pain.  I’m really hurting.  Sunshyn and Texas Peach are right.  I most definitely should not have done all that backbreaking gardening, and, yes, I am crazy.  The pain is worse than it was when I was out on disability.  I keep hoping it will get better, but it hasn’t.  I don’t know what I’m going to do…

To add insult to injury, I’m not sure the garden will flourish.  The layers of compost, etc., aren’t as deep as they should be, but it’s the best I could do.  Please keep your fingers crossed.  It would be devastating for the garden to fail after all the hard work I put into it.

Song of the Day:  Not Yet Dead from Monty Python’s Spamalot

Grieve Reprieve

July 11, 2008

Incredibly, Bowie rallied enough to receive a temporary stay of execution. The Ex will keep an eye on Bo-Bo, and re-evaluate the situation on a daily basis.   (An aside about the nickname, “Bo-Bo.”  Oddly enough, I also call Penny “Pen-Pen,” and Ellie is “Bell-Bell,” which evolved from “Ellie Belly.”  When she was little, my daughter, Leigh, was “Lee-Lee.”  I wonder why I do that…)  Anyway, it appears that the grieving can be put off for a little while longer.

In other news, I had an appointment with Dr. Spine Specialist on Wednesday.  I only had to sit in the waiting room for about 15 minutes before the nurse called me in, but then I waited for another half an hour in the examining room.  After he finally got around to seeing me, the doctor expressed surprise that I had Epidural Steroid injections.  Apparently, he referred me to pain management for Sacroiliac joint injections.   HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!! I went through that agony for nothing!

Unbelievable, huh?  Dr. SS suggested that I discuss SI injections when I see the pain management specialist later this month.  You bet I will.

He also recommended a “TENS unit (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulator).  The guy who handles that was busy with another patient, so I was told to go back to the waiting room until he was ready for me.  I sat there for half an hour.  Finally, the guy called me in and said he had to go get a unit to demonstrate how to use it.  He said he’d be right back.  Half an hour later, I got up and walked out.  I left him a note with my phone number.  He has not contacted me.

When I got home, I got started on the “lasagna gardening.”  I was out there for three hours, working on just one side of the lawn.  The heat was oppressive, and I was so weak and dizzy I actually keeled over.  I didn’t black out, but I did fall down.  That was my cue to pack it in.  Stupidly, I went back out the following morning to work on the other side of the lawn.  Since then, the lower back pain has been excruciating.

Thank goodness for my sister’s swimming pool.

If I have to be resting, it might as well be on a float surrounded by refreshing water.  I’m getting too much sun, but that should take care of my Vitamin D deficiency, at any rate…

Reading:  Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Song of the Day:  Aching Back by Michael Pacholek (A parody of The Rolling Stones’ Paint it Black)

I see a line of pills, supposed to help my back
with aspirin and steroids, ease my coughing hack.
I pop ’em in my mouth and wash ’em down away.
Doesn’t work, my muscles ache, they hurt me every day.

First, the good stuff.  The Asian lilies I planted in the fall are blooming. This is noteworthy for someone like me who does not have a green thumb.

Sunday was my grandmother’s birthday, and she was so happy.  She said she hopes she lives to see 100.  I hope so, too.  Anyone who makes it to 97 deserves to  hit the big One Oh Oh.

Now for the sad news.  The ex called a little while ago to let me know that he made arrangements to have our dog, Bowie, put to sleep on Thursday.  We got him as a puppy almost 15 years ago.  That’s a long life for a big dog.   Unfortunately, the quality of his life has been declining.  He’s having trouble standing, and is in pain.  It’s time to put an end to his suffering.

This hurts.  A lot.  He was such a good boy, and I love him so much.

My heart is breaking.

Song of the Day:  Dog’s Life by Gentle Giant

4th of July

July 4, 2008

I don’t have any big plans for the holiday, and that suits me just fine. (The weather isn’t being very accommodating, anyway.) The only thing on my agenda for today is to go shopping for a birthday present for my grandmother. She is going to be 97 on Sunday. That’s NINETY-SEVEN.

My first week off from work was very nice. I didn’t have as many doctor appointments as I thought I did. I went to the chiropractor on Wednesday, and to the dentist yesterday to have some silver (mercury) fillings replaced with white composite fillings.

I was supposed to go for trigger point injections on Monday, but had to reschedule because I’m in the process of switching insurance companies. The person who handles insurance for the school district called a couple of days ago to let me know that, even though our contract states that we only have to pay a certain percentage of our insurance, MVP subscribers will now have to pay an additional $1500 for the family plan.

I was under pressure to make a quick decision about whether or not I wanted to switch to another insurance company. The fifteen hundred dollars made it relatively easy for me to opt to switch. I went to the district office yesterday and signed all the necessary documents. All medical appointments have to be postponed until I receive new insurance cards. What a PIA.

I’m scheduled to see Dr. Spine Specialist on Wednesday. Fortunately, that appointment doesn’t have to be canceled because it’s covered by Worker’s Comp. Other than that, and another trip to Albany with My Friend on Monday, next week is looking pretty leisurely, too.

One thing I want to do is try my hand at “a new layering system for bountiful gardens. No Digging, No Tilling, No Weeding, No Kidding!” A while back, “Typewriter” left a comment suggesting “before you rototill, check out a book called Lasagna Gardening. Much easier!”

I didn’t have to buy the book because there’s lots of information about this style of gardening all over the Internet. Yesterday, I went to our local composting facility, which provides free compost to city residents. I loaded up on the stuff (and was a grimy, sweaty mess by time I had shoveled compost into four large garbage bags and a big plastic bin.) Next I headed to a garden center for peat moss, topsoil and plants. Step one will be to spread layers of wet newspaper over the areas marked with a black line in the photo below. (The white line indicates the spot where I tried to dig and was unable to break the ground, which is why I’m giving lasagna gardening a try.)

There is an area on the side of the house where I am able to do more traditional gardening. Last fall, I planted Asian lily bulbs. They should pop open any time now.  I’m so excited!

Happy holiday weekend!

Song of the Day: Independence Day by Bruce Springstreen