Jun 18, 2018

Mutagenesis Monday

mutagenesis ~ origin or induction of mutation

Well, summer is definitely here. Flowers are blooming, trees are full of leaves, the grass needs weekly cutting, and oh, did I mention the humidity is on the rise? We had a week or two of warm days and cool nights (which to me is perfect weather), but now we’ve segued into warm day and night.

We were supposed to get thunderstorms and rain today to cool things off, but it only rumbled a little and the rain didn’t amount to much, only made it more humid.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog you probably recall past summer posts where I start complaining about the noise from the pool pump around this time of year. However, the hubby was forced to buy a new pump this year and it’s amazingly quiet. Seriously, the filter in Tiddler’s tank makes more noise than the pool.

When I was sitting here last night trying to come up with something to write about for this post, the hubby suggested I should do a garden update because my garden is looking so good, but it’s only the one garden (the rest are pretty sad), although I did notice I have a beautiful purple iris blooming in it today. It’s just unfortunate that it’s kind of hidden by the basket hanging from the shepherd’s crook just over it.

Instead I figured you’d much rather see a picture of my orchids.

There are actually five orchids on that table, but only four of them are blooming right now. Yes, there are five bloomstalks, but two are coming off the same plant. They’ve actually been in bloom for a couple of weeks now, and past experience tells me that barring any accidents (knocking a bloomstalk, forgetting to water them, overwatering them) they’ll keep blooming for weeks.

You can’t really see it, but the yellow and pink orchid on the left has about three more buds that are ready to open even though the rest of the flowers have been open for a couple of weeks now. And please ignore the sansevieria listing towards the right in the background. As soon as I can figure out a way to get it standing upright I’m going to repot it. I’m thinking a tomato cage might work…

I have to confess. I actually pulled that table out to get my picture. And the yellow/pink orchid actually lives on the kitchen window sill. I have plants in most rooms of the main floor of the house, but most of them live either in the dining room, or the kitchen.

There are a lot more plants on the bookcase, but they’re kind of hidden by the orchid table. And on the opposite side of the room there’s a big spider plant on top of a tall bookcase, a…something, Swedish ivy maybe? hanging over a drop leaf table, three insanely tall spindly palms in the same pot, and this guy:

This philodendron is over … um, it’s really old. I bought this for the hubby when we were dating and it lived for at least a year in the basement apartment in his parents’ house where it got not even a speck of light. Periodically I’d trim it back and put the cuttings in water to root them and give the resulting plants away. This time I just let it grow and one of the vines was snaking its way up the corner cabinet and along the drapery rod above the deck door. I finally bought a trellis for it and it seems to be containing it…so far.

Most of my plants are easy to care for, and the ones that need more frequent watering end up in the kitchen where I don’t forget about them.

Here we have a strawberry begonia hanging down, an English ivy on a trellis rising to meet it, and two of my orchids. Not pictured is the philodendron and hearts on a string in my old office, and the wandering jew in my new office.

So, as you can see, my outdoor gardens might not be amounting to much this summer, but my indoor ones are doing just fine.

Jun 11, 2018

Medius Monday

medius ~ the middle finger

I don’t know why I always think that I have more time to do things than I actually do, but it’s a sad fact of my life and I’m just going to have to learn to deal with it. Either that or budget my time better. ;-)

Among other things I didn’t get done last week, I didn’t get my blog page done that was going to be dedicated to my trip to New Brunswick. But as I scrolled through the pictures on my phone I realized that it probably wasn’t worth the effort. While my pictures were okay, they’re not exactly cutting edge. So I downloaded just a few of them to give you the highlights of my trip.

Here’s my first view of New Brunswick, as taken from the plane window as we began our descent into Moncton:

My sister met me at the Moncton airport, which was very small compared to Pearson in Toronto. We had lunch at Tim Horton’s, made a quick trip to Costco, and then met the daughter at the Saint John airport. I wish I’d taken pictures of the two airports because if Moncton was small, then Saint John was tiny. The daughter’s plane was pretty tiny too, like Air Canada’s version of a circus clown car – all these people kept coming out of it and you wondered where they all sat.

The next day my sister took us to the Irvine Nature Park on the Bay of Funday (okay, pretty much everything in New Brunswick is on the Bay of Funday). First we have the beach we followed along the shoreline where we found many interesting rocks:

That green hump of land in the distance is where we started out. And here’s a picture of my sister and I that the daughter took for me:

This is a rare phenomena folks, as neither of us particularly care to have our pictures taken, although I think she cares less for it than me. ;-) After traipsing up and down the beach collecting rocks we went to the top of that green part in the distance, had a picnic lunch, and then hiked along one of the nature trails through the woods up there. It was a LOT of fun!

The next day we did a bunch of touristy stuff. We went to the Reversing Rapids (that I did not get a good picture of) where I bought a stupidly expensive mug in their gift shop, then walked up and down the hills of Saint John, ending up at the Market Square where the Saint John Library was, and the museum. My sister ran into a friend at the museum who got us free passes, which was really cool.

Even cooler was discovering a painting of a ship that had been donated by my Aunt Kay.

The ship’s name was The Vocalist, built in 1856 by John Fisher, who commissioned the painting. Unfortunately it floundered in 1861. After the museum we stopped for lunch in an Irish pub (that’s the daughter and her lunch):

We went to a different indoor market (there seemed to be a lot of them in Saint John), and walked through a couple of the parks in the middle of the city, one of which contained an old cemetery:

It was another fun filled day, despite the fact it was really, really windy and a little on the cool side. Unfortunately, we had to leave the next day, but on our way to the Moncton airport we stopped long enough to watch the tidal bore:

You might need to click on the picture to make it bigger, but that wave you see is the tide coming in, up the river. It was kind of fascinating to watch the water rising, not quite to the top of the banks but then we didn’t have time to stay for the whole thing.

As most vacations tend to be, it was way too short. I’d go again in a heartbeat, but not without a proper camera.

And a sweater. ;-)

Jun 4, 2018

Motile Monday

motile ~ capable of moving spontaneously as a whole

Since you’re reading this post, it’s pretty obvious that neither of the planes I was on were hijacked by terrorists. I think the planes were a little too small to make effective weapons. ;-)

It was late when I got in last night, which is why this post is late, and which is why it’s going to be a short one. My pictures are all still on my phone and I think I’m going to create a “trip” page rather than create a special post, that way I can take my time. I’ll share the link when it’s finished.

Meanwhile, here are 10 things I learned from my trip:

1. Always make a list of clothes you want to take so you can co-ordinate your outfits and cut back on the amount of unnecessary baggage.

2. Ear plane earplugs are essential for anyone with sinus problems who fly – you still need to take your sinus medication, but your hearing comes back much quicker.

3. New Brunswick is cold!

4. Four days (only two full days really) is not enough time for a visit.

5. You can pack a heck of a lot of stuff into four days.

6. Take a real camera, don’t just depend on your phone for pictures (phone batteries tend to run down quickly)

7. Tai chi rocks!

8. New Brunswick is really windy!

9. My sister Nancy is a wonderful hostess – thank you for introducing me to tai chi and that yummy quinoa salad and finding so many awesome sites for us to see!

10. Saying good bye sucks.

May 28, 2018

Maggotorium Monday

You know, for a short week last week (Monday was a holiday) it seemed pretty long to me. Fortunately, my selective memory has blocked out most of it. All I really remember is being too busy and too tired. LOL

The daughter is away for a conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia this week. This conference ends on Wednesday and she had the bright idea of us meeting in New Brunswick on Thursday for a mommy and daughter getaway plus visit to my sister who lives in Saint John.

Thanks to the miracle of Airmiles, we were able to make this happen. The daughter left late afternoon on Saturday and I’ll be leaving at *gulp* 4:30 a.m. Thursday to get to the airport the required two hours before my flight at 8:30 a.m. I sure hope there’s a MacDonald’s at the airport – I’d even settle for a Tim Horton’s for my coffee.

Anyway, needless to say the weekend was all about preparing for my trip. I made a list on Saturday morning and tried to prioritize it, but the weather was so nice I kept getting distracted. I decided against lugging my lap top all the way there – the only thing I’d really need it for is Facebook and I’m sure Facebook will survive without me for four days. :-D

My father-in-law gave me this handy little gizmo that you charge up and then you can use it to charge other electronic devices, so I dug that out and plugged it in. It seemed to take an obscenely long time to charge, so I’m guessing it really will hold enough juice for my phone, my tablet, and my Kindle. But I made sure my devices were all charged up anyway.

While the set of luggage we bought a few weeks ago came with a carryon bag, it seems a little unwieldy and since I really wasn’t going to have much in it anyway, I decided to take my new leather messenger bag instead.

However, because it’s so new it’s also rather stiff. I asked the daughter’s advice about softening it up and she told me to throw it on the floor and jump on it! That sounded just a little extreme, so I Googled it and believe it or not that was one of the suggestions. Okay, not exactly that, but it suggested whacking it with a rubber mallet. I opted for the more (to me) sensible suggestion of using leather conditioner on it.

I was actually kind of surprised, but by Sunday night I had pretty much everything on my list crossed off. All that’s left is the packing, which can wait until Wednesday night.

Did I mention I haven’t flown in something like 30 years? And I’ve never flown alone before. And I’m a little antsy about all the changes in airport security and what you can and can’t take with you on the plane – did you know you can’t even take a water bottle (unless it’s empty and then what’s the point?).

So…tune in next week to hear all about my adventures in flying.

Unless, of course, my plane gets hijacked by terrorists. :-D

May 21, 2018

Mucopurulent Monday

mucopurulent ~ of mucus and pus

It’s the 24th of May
The queen’s birthday
And if we don’t get a holiday
We’ll all run away!

Yes, I know it’s actually the 21st of May, but that’s the way the rhyme goes. :-P

It’s the first official long weekend of the summer season for us here in Canada, the weekend where cottages are opened and gardens are planted. The barbeques are being brushed off as I type. When I was a kid it was also the time for major fireworks displays, but although some people do still set them off now, the big fireworks holiday is Canada Day.

I got a jump start on the weekend by starting my planting during the week. Wednesday the grandbaby and I went shopping for plants for the small square garden at the front of the house. Of course by the time we got them home there wasn’t enough time to plant them that day, so the next day I went ahead and bought the rest of my bedding plants to have ready for Friday.

Friday was a little cooler, but we filled the square garden and the long narrow garden along the front:

But while the front is looking pretty good, the back is another story. This is the pond garden:

We were already planning to redo this garden, but we were hoping to save at least some of the plants. It needs the saw dust removed (obviously), a retaining wall built at the back, and the entire garden will be more than doubled in size. We want to get a properly formed shell for the pond itself, one deep enough that maybe we can have fish. If we can get it to the point where it’s ready for plants by the end of the summer I think it’ll be a job well done. We can worry about the actual plants next summer.

Another project for the back yard was going to be putting in a couple of raised vegetable beds. This won’t be a particularly difficult project, but it will be a little time consuming so it’s been put off until later in the summer. Once again, if we can have them ready for planting by the end of the summer, then in the spring all I’ll have to do is pick out my seeds.

Speaking of vegetables though, remember the tomato seeds the grandbaby and her grapy planted?

Aren’t they cute? Yes, well, a funny thing happens when you leave plants in the sun and keep watering them. They tend to grow. I thinned them out once, but now they need bigger pots (maybe even later today). I’m beginning to suspect they’re not going to be cherry tomatoes as I’d first hoped, but some much bigger kind.

So… How’s your garden coming?

May 14, 2018

Mongery Monday

mongery ~ trafficking or marketing, especially in discreditable ways

Once there was a fish and his name was Tiddler
He wasn’t much to look at with his plain grey scales
But Tiddler was a fish with a big imagination
He blew small bubbles but he told tall tales!

Those are the opening lines to the book, Tiddler, by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. If you have a small child, or grandchild, or a niece or a nephew – go buy them this book. Buy the other books by these two authors as well, there’s a whole series of them like Snail on the Whale and Room on the Broom, The Gruffalo - and many more. They’re all amazing books and I’m pretty sure the grandbaby has them all. We’ve read Tiddler so often we have it memorized. :-)

So it was only natural when I decided to get a Betta fish that we named him Tiddler. Technically he’s not really my fish, the grandbaby got to pick him out and name him. I just paid for him and all his stuff, and he lives at my house and I get to do all the work involved in keeping him alive. LOL

The last Betta I had was an amazing electric blue, red, and purple. He lived in a large jar with a plant growing into the water. His name was Merlin, and other than giving him the odd Betta treat, I didn’t have to do anything but admire him. He lived for just over two years.

At first Tiddler, who is a solid blue, lived in a half gallon Betta container that looked kind of like a castle. It came with gravel for the bottom and this stuff you put in the water to make it more tolerable for the fish. I bought him a ceramic archway to swim around.

He seemed happy enough… Actually, he creeped the daughter out whenever she was over because he would stare at you through the hard plastic side, always turning to face you if you moved. The grandbaby didn’t care though, she loved feeding him and she’d kiss the side of the container to say goodbye to him – and yes, he’d go right up to the side, almost like he was kissing her back.

But after about a week the size of his cube started to bug me. It seemed kind of small for him to spend his whole life in. And yes, I know in the stores you see Bettas in these teeny tiny little containers that aren’t much bigger than they are, but still…

So when I was out shopping on the weekend I picked up a bigger container – this one was a gallon and a half and came with a filter. It didn’t come with gravel so I picked some of that up as well – blue, as the grandbaby insisted on. And a bigger container meant a bigger decoration to swim around, so I bought him a ceramic castle.

Setting it up was half the fun (not!). I started out with the whole bag of gravel (after rinsing it as instructed) and ended up taking two thirds of it out again so I could get the filter in. The castle was too tall, so I went back out and got him an ancient urn with holes in it instead. And a couple of plastic plants for the heck of it. And a net to transfer him into his new digs and scooping out uneaten food.

Tiddler was not keen on being moved into a different container at first and sulked at the back by the filter for about a day. Can’t blame him really, for a filter with the brand name “Whisper” it’s kind of loud. But he likes the LED light, and finally he came out for a photo op. This morning I even got a picture of him inside the urn.

Isn’t he pretty?

All I can say is, after all this time and effort and money he’d better live a good long while!

May 7, 2018

Mathesis Monday

mathesis ~ mental discipline; learning or wisdom

If I’ve learned anything in this past couple of weeks it’s how much we take life for granted and how quickly things can change.

It started with a touchy stomach, and then abdominal cramps. A week ago last Thursday I took my husband to the emergency room of our local hospital and he just came home yesterday, minus two lesions in his colon and several feet of bowel.

The wait in the hospital (four days) before surgery was hard. Harder on my husband, of course, who had a tube going through his nose and down his throat into his stomach, but hard on family and friends as well.

The wait during the surgery (seven hours) was even harder.

When something like this happens it’s a bit of a shock. We seldom contemplate our own mortality until it’s staring us in the face.

We were lucky. The surgery was a success and though we won’t get any definitive results until we see the doctor for a follow up on Friday, the prognosis is good. But it could have just as easily gone a different way.

I should know, it was right around this time many years ago that my father died of exactly the same thing.

I guess this is a bit of a cautionary tale. Don’t take your life, or the people in it, for granted. You never know what the future may bring.