Sunday, July 29, 2007

Progress report

So here's what's happening with the amazing blooming snakeplant flower. This plant has a wicked survival instinct. No wimping out here. This baby responded to 3rd degree burns by mobilizing all its troops. It seems to have done an internal triage too. It immediately cut the nutrient flow to the leaves that were too damaged, strengthened the ones that could survive and started pushing up new ones. And then there are these wacky little flowers. I doubt I will ever see this again -- not unless I torture another snakeplant. And regardless of what some may think, I'm not a florasadist.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Because white walls are boring

I've accepted the fact that getting this place to the state I want is going to be more of a marathon than a sprint. Things like money and time, they tend to slow the process down. But one major step has been accomplished: I have started the painting. This big room is a combined living room/dining area/kitchen. And eventually it will also have my office in one corner. So I figured one way to define the space was with color. This is a tad brighter than what I saw in my head, but I'm very happy with it. The other half of the room will eventually be some sort of muted reddish brickish color. Something like that.

I did this painting, with some help. I hate painting and I'm really not very good at it. Even though (as you can see) I taped out all the trim, there are still some places where the color got on the white moldings. And there are a few places where I missed little spots. Chalk it up to a) inadequate light and b) inadequate painting ability on my part. But it's done and it didn't cost me anything other than one gallon of paint and a couple rolls of masking tape. But the next time, I'm paying somebody to do it for me. I really don't like to paint.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Gettin' in that summer zone

It's not a bad thing. It's not much of a thing at all. There's just this "do-nothing" feeling that comes over me, even while I'm hatching ideas to take advantage of the beautiful summer weather. I end up lounging around, not getting dressed on the weekends until about 11:00, sitting outside with my feet up. A good time can be had for absolutely no money if you know what you're doing!

Back to the weather for a minute. It really has been (so far) a lovely summer. We have only had a handful of really hot, sticky days. Right now at nearly midnight it's cool and breezy and crystal clear. Tomorrow is going to be a gem of a day. I keep waiting for that disgusting week of high 90s every day, with really high humidity. It hasn't happened yet. Last weekend I drove out to a beautiful little nature center in New Jersey and wandered around in the woods for a while. Just perfect.

Tomorrow I'll take another picture of the little flower stalk on my snake plant. It's grown since the last one. I hope it does actually flower -- I'm dying to see what it looks like. Some of my petunias are all bloomed out so I'm on a search for replacements. And don't say impatiens! I have nothing against them in the abstract, it's just that they're everywhere. And to me they've some to represent a lack of imagination. (I hope I haven't pissed off any impatiens lovers.) And I am getting to be very fond of petunias, which I never used to care about. I think they come in way more colors than they used to. I have some dark violet ones that are really fragrant at night. I am going to go out and smell them again before I got to sleep.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Amazing discovery

Having just suffered a near-death experience last week (see previous post) my crippled snake plant suddenly sprouted what looks like a little flower stalklet. I never even knew these things bloomed! I'm absolutely stunned. Maybe it needs to be in extreme stress, and this is like a desperation move to guarantee the next generation. I know there's a pine tree whose cones only pop open with the extreme heat of a forest fire. So who knows, maybe this is similar. Or the plant doesn't give a shit and it's just doing what it wants. Or maybe it got confused. Whatever the cause, it's doing something I've never seen before. Pretty cool.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Had a small catastrophe

Fortunately, no cats were involved in it. It most concerned the snakeplant you can see in the photo below, next to the railing. Well, it had been sitting in front of the outside of the air conditioner in the living room. The A/C got turned on and ran for many hours before I stepped outside and realized that the poor plant was getting absolutely fried! I pushed it away from the heat blast but the damage had already been done. About half of its stalks had already collapsed from the heat and some of the others were burned. The way you see it now is after I performed emergency amputations and cut off all the mutilated stalks. It was a pretty big, healthy plant. Now, it's a shadow of its former self. I apologize to it every day and water it more than it actually needs, which isn't really a good idea. But I feel so bad! I'm sure it will recover eventually. This is another one of those plants that's virtually impossible to kill. But I came pretty close! At least I know now not to put any plants in front of the outside A/C vents.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

A sort of a soggy 4th

It started out just kind of grey and overcast, like it looks here. By 9:00 it was alternating between drizzling and dripping. It didn't seem to dampen the fireworks -- a surprising amount of which we were able to see from here. The main stuff was elsewhere but having been there and done that I was happy to sit on my petite veranda with a couple of buddies and eat and drink and carry on just fine by ourselves. Now I'm seeing a little bit of lightning. Fireworks of a different kind. All in all a very pleasant, low-key and fairly well soused 4th. The damn sniffle is still bugging me though.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Feel like a cold is catching me

It always made more sense to me to say it that way. I try and run like hell from the cold that's trying to catch me. Many times I'm successful. I don't know about this time yet. I'll know better tomorrow. It's been a year since I had a cold. I wouldn't mind so much but ever since I had pneumonia, and then bronchitis about 8 years later, whenever I get a cold it ends up settling in my chest and I cough and hack and wheeze for about 2 weeks, long after the rest of the cold is gone. It sounds terrible, like I'm dying or something. And it's really uncomfortable. I guess my lungs are now predisposed to hang onto these things. Especially the right one, which is the one that had the pneumonia the worst I think.

On the flip side, I have a pretty strong immune system so I don't get sick very often. And I have this trick that works for me -- if I feel like I might be getting sick, I take 2 aspirin every 4 hours for about 3 days and whatever I was going to get goes away. It doesn't always work, but at least 75% of the time, which is pretty good. So I'm going to go take 2 of them before I go to bed and we'll see what happens tomorrow. You might want to try this. I can't guarantee it will work for you, but give it a try.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

A pretty garden in Old Salem

I was just looking through the photos I took when I was down in North Carolina in May. We took a walk through Old Salem, which is one of those old villages like Colonial Williamburg but smaller and more modest. We didn't buy tickets so we couldn't go into the blacksmith shop or the candlemaker or whatever. Been there, done that in other places, so I didn't really care. But we walked around the little streets and looked at all the buildings. What's interesting is that there are private residences scattered throughout the place. This beautiful little - well, not so little - garden is not an exhibit but somebody's actual garden. That's like a full-time job, right there. That's beyond my gardening talents and certainly beyond my ambitions. I was always in search of the zero-maintenance garden. It doesn't exist, of course, but it was like my holy grail. Lots of daylilies; you can't kill those things. Hardy perennials, that sort of thing. Now I just have little planters filled with purple petunias, a fuschia hiding in the corner, three little tomato plants, a couple of house plants that will go in when it gets cold and a pot of mint. That's another thing you just can't kill.