Gettin’ potted …


Having cats in the house can make raising potted plants a bit challenging.

IMG_0152My cats liked to eat and/or play with house plants. Their favorite targets were peace lilies and violets but any old kind of plant would do in a pinch. They did not, however, mess with ficus, which is why I have two 7-foot-tall beauties, grown from sprouts. Any other kind of plant, though, was fair game.

IMG_0159Both Ollie and Emily passed in the last couple of years. I adored them (even when they were being evil) and miss them terribly.

The house felt kind of empty without them (I’m just not ready for more lovable furry creatures) so I decided to get a peace lily. That led to a finger leaf philodendren, which led to a croton, then a spider plant.

I think it’s beginning to get out of hand 

IMG_0154They’re all here in my home office, keeping me company on the days I work at home—and not making a single mess anywhere.

No more drifts of fuzzy hair under the furniture, no spills around the water bowl, no water bowl. Ah, the joys of no litter box.

On the flip side, there’s also no snuggling or purring or leg rubbing.

Hmmm.

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Regrets and reprieves


Ever wonder about what might have been?  I don’t very often but in the last few weeks have indulged in a romanticized trip down memory lane.

A friend from college recently mentioned via Facebook that a mutual friend from back then wasn’t doing very well. You see, the mutual friend was tucked way back in a cubbyhole in my brain as “the one that got away.” It’s a really long story and I won’t torture you with the details except to say that I always thought it was my own fault. I’ve carried around regret for years and, from time to time, wondered what might have been—until my friend and I took our conversation offline (yes, people do still have conversations outside of Facebook) and I learned more.

You see, I’ve always believed in fate, that things happen for a reason. Maybe not the things I want, much less the reason I want them, or when for that matter, but there is always a reason. As a result, I’ve pretty much strolled through life going with gut instinct. I learned early on that over-thinking big decisions leads me down the wrong path. Doesn’t matter what the decision is about. Whether it’s to pick up and move across the country or what color car to buy, if I over think it, it does not work out well for me. (I still, to this day, can’t fathom why I bought that gray car. I hated it. I hate gray. Yet, it seemed like such a good idea at the time.)

I digress.

Hearing more about our friend, and how he’s conducted his life, brought an end to my little excursion down memory lane. You see, it turns out that if the “one that got away” hadn’t, I would have gotten what I wanted at the time, but would have regretted it year after year after year. That regretful reality would have been so much worse that my regretful “what might have been” illusion.

Which leads me to reprieve.

From where I sit now, it looks like that fateful day, regretful though it was at the time, was my reprieve from a lifetime of disillusion.

Moving forward

This happy camper’s big decision today is whether to go with dusting first or running the vacuum. H-m-m-m, my gut says read my new book.

😉

Life is weird sometimes …


Out of the blue

There you are, wandering along having a good day and, wham, right into your email inbox comes a message from someone in your past. Someone you never expected to hear from again. Ever.

So, what do you do? Do you respond? Do you want to reconnect with that person?

If not, why? Did he or she do you wrong?

If you do want to reconnect, why? Has time faded your memory of the reality of the past relationship? Was it a positive relationship? If so, why did it expire? Was it just an “all good things must come to and end” kind of deal?

Was it a personal relationship? Or, was it a business contact? A former coworker, teacher, mentor, neighbor, friend?

Whatever it was, there is a reason for why it ended, and it was probably a pretty good one.

So, why stir it up again?

What’s in it for you?

Is it just curiosity?

The chance to see how that person has changed? Is he/she still as interesting, as thought-provoking, as entertaining, as relevant?

Won’t know until you click “reply.” Go ahead. You know you want to.

Today’s question

Is there someone from your past that you’d like an opportunity to reconnect with? Who is it? Why do you want that chance? How will you use it if you get it?

Easy Peasy Beef Stew


We all have certain things that make us feel cared for, comforted. For many it’s certain foods that evoke happy memories of home and family. Which, when it comes right down to it, is what comfort food is all about isn’t it?

I know I do,  and I suspect that most of us probably do, have more than one comfort food. My comfort foods include my mom’s chicken pot pie, warm biscuits, spaghetti with meat sauce, pot roast, beef stew, and coconut pie. My mom’s coconut pie is a slice of heaven on earth, but that’s a story for another day.

I asked her once where she got her recipe for beef stew and she said she made it up. I think I was about 10 at the time and didn’t know it was even possible to make up a recipe. (I thought they had to come from a book that some kind of professional recipe-maker wrote.) I’ve learned since that most recipes are made up by moms.

Where was I? Oh, yeah …

It wasn’t until years later that I learned that, for most people, beef stew has a brown sauce. Mama’s beef stew has a red sauce. Think that sounds funny? Don’t laugh until you’ve tried it.

Here’s the recipe …

Beef_Stew_2Ingredients:

1 Pound of beef, cut into one inch chunks
2-3 Potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
5-6 Carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
1 Small can of early green peas
1 Small can of tomato sauce
1 Small onion, diced
1 Tbsp Olive oil
1 Tbsp instant granule beef bullion
1/4 Tsp garlic salt (or, salt to taste)
6 Cups water

Directions:

Pour olive oil into a dutch oven. Add beef chunks, diced onions, salt, and beef bullion granules. Brown beef and onions over medium-high heat, stirring frequently to brown evenly. Add water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat after 5 minutes and cover.

Simmer for 1 to 1.5 hours (until beef is fully cooked, tender but not falling apart). Add carrots, potatoes, and tomato sauce. Continue to simmer until veggies are tender (usually about an hour). Add peas and let simmer for about 15 minutes.

Serve with a salad and hot crusty rolls. (Apple sauce is a good side dish, too.)

Now, doesn’t that sound delicious?

We have growth!


Melon update …

Last week my first watermelon was about 4 inches long and about 1 inch in diameter. ↓

It’s growing!

Now, a mere week later, it is about 8 inches long and 4 inches in diameter. ↓

See how big it is in comparison to the Black Eyed Susan bloom, which, let’s face it, is on its last leg.

Why, you might ask, is this such a big deal to me? Well, there were two other baby melons on the vine last week as well but mid-week some kind of spidery-grasshoppery-looking insect just sucked the life juice right out of both of them. First, they withered, then they turned black on the bottom, and before I knew what was happening they died.

(The funeral was yesterday. So sorry if you missed it. The wake was great fun. We had helium balloons and everything!)

Good news!

Yep, folks, we have a new addition to the melon family — another baby! ↓

It’s tiny, only about two inches long and one inch in diameter. (They sure are fuzzy little scamps at this stage.)

The challenge will, of course, be to keep evil spidery-grasshopper-looking bugger away from the new arrival.

A gardener’s work is just never done.

Sigh.

😉