Personal Problems Amidst Our Global Problems

The pictures have nothing to do with the post. But you might find this post tl;dr or you might find it a bit distressing or unpleasant. So look at the cats. 🙂

BC playing nurse

BC playing nurse

Sigh. So it came back. I knew it would. I hoped it wouldn’t but since it came back a second time I was sure that we are now going to have this as a yearly occurrence. And sure enough – it came back. What is “it”? It’s this stupid area on my tongue, that I never even noticed the first time, because it’s on the underside of my tongue and really – who stares at their tongue all that much? My dentist noticed it and sent me to the oral surgeon. He said – yeah, we need to remove that. We could laser it off but then we won’t know what it is, so we are better off cutting it off. Just stop there a moment folks and picture someone saying to YOU: “We’re going to take a slice off your tongue.” I didn’t really handle it all that well. That first year they used only local anesthesia and I stupidly watched them part of the time and could hear them and I thought I might have a stroke right there in the chair. I was so traumatized emotionally that I couldn’t even process the fact that after the first day it wasn’t so painful and it healed fairly quickly. Somewhere along the line my nerves had snapped and I was completely traumatized. Ended up with an ulcer. Dropped something like 5 pounds in 3 days. I told them if we EVER had to do this again I needed to be unconscious and completely unaware. When the results came back they were the kind that the medical professionals say “oh that’s good” and the patient says “oh dear heavens what is going to happen to me?” All *I* can remember now is that it was “dysplasia“: “Before cancer cells form in tissues of the body, the cells go through abnormal changes called hyperplasia and dysplasia.” Everyone else was like “oh great it’s NOT cancer” and I was “oh dear heavens I could have cancer of the tongue”. No one in my family has or had cancer. A medical friend said to me “and that’s still true”. But it’s not his tongue.

GC and WC on the red couch

GC and WC on the red couch – a very typical late morning scene

I survived. I wasn’t happy. I refused to look at my tongue for a year. I skipped the 6 month go-back-and-see-the surgeon. I see my dentist 3x a year. I figured if it came back, she would know. It came back. I said you will knock me out so I have no idea what is happening. They said not a problem. But the closer it got to the procedure, the more I thought about it. If it was going to come back every year, well maybe it was time to put on my big girl pants, as the saying goes. How could I survive this? The physical recovery had not been that bad. It was the procedure and the initial terror of the procedure and possible results. If I could get through the procedure, it would be better to not use anesthesia. Especially if it were to be a yearly event, karma forbid. I came up with a plan. *smile* Oh, Komuso Tokugawa, your Downtempo Bluestronica was my salvation. I had downloaded 3 of his Downtempo Bluestronica riffs, each of them just under an hour. I knew that Bluestronica2 was loud enough, with few enough pauses that if I played it VERY LOUDLY through ear buds into my ears, I wouldn’t hear if the world ended around me. And that is what I did. I got to the office, told them I had my big girl pants on, that on their say-so I would start playing the music and would keep my eyes shut, and they could pull out the ear bud when they were ready for me to return. IT WORKED! I was ecstatic! The recovery seemed to be going well. So well in fact that I got overly confident and went out to a plant nursery with my sister on my 2nd full day of recovery. We stopped at a fast food joint for a treat and although all I’d had up to that point was water, I had a dish of what passes for ice cream at the golden arches. That was Saturday afternoon. By Sunday afternoon my entire mouth had erupted in viral sores. Had I been able to swallow pills I’d have killed myself to end the pain. I searched for every home remedy I could find to find some relief. I sent my husband out with a list of items to find – a medical scavenger hunt if you will. Ask Honour about that whole ordeal. On Tuesday I was texting with her and pleading to die. Finally on Wednesday the sores were healing a trifle, the OTC remedies were stopping the pain, and my husband no longer had to bar the door to keep me from heading to the river. And I thought “I can’t do this again.” Sure enough it was the same result – displaysia.

BC sleeping on my lap

BC sleeping on my lap

You know the story. It came back this year. The surgeon is sure it must be caused by my tongue rubbing on my teeth. We have tried 2 different mouth guards, and he has ground down the teeth. I don’t actually believe that but I don’t have any other idea. I knew I’d have to call the surgeon and get it removed. I knew I could get by with Komuso’s help. I knew I could not eat or drink anything after the procedure. I would have to gargle with salt water every hour and follow that with a chaser of Rx mouthwash gargle. If I could make it through the first 24 hours of pain, and total gross-out from feeling stitches in my mouth, maybe I could avoid the sores. This is the year of covid19. We sat in the parking lot until it was my turn to come in the side door, wearing my mask and gloves, carrying only my iPod, spare battery, and phone. They checked my temperature at the door. I had to sign 2 different forms avowing I did not have covid19 nor had I been in any contact with anyone who had it. I hadn’t put the pen down before they were disinfecting the counter top. They disinfected the chair and the counters in the room when I entered. Everyone had face shields and gloves and coverups. Yeah, really adds to the calming effort when you can’t really see faces or smiles. 😦 And for me – do you know how WEIRD it felt to remove my mask in front of these strangers???? Amazing at how fast we can be conditioned. I asked it there was any magic wand to prevent the sores this year. The surgeon said that they really get triggered by stress. Sigh. I knew that. I wanted the magic wand. This year the procedure was much shorter than in the past – I didn’t really even have time to disappear into the music. Apparently part of what I thought was “it” was actually scar tissue. We’re waiting to hear the biopsy results. I’m sure they will be the same as the previous years. I asked the doctor if we could laser it next year. We know what it is, we don’t need to biopsy. He said, yeah, that he was thinking the same thing. I was fairly brave. I did end up crying when they give me the needles for the local. Trust me – it hurts and the music hadn’t started yet.

I’m on Day 3 of recovery. So far no sores. The pain was there as expected on the first day, but I kept popping the pain pills, and kept an ice pack to my cheek, and sipped some iced water. That’s how I spent the first 8 hours home. Then I fell asleep and was out for 21 hours. I might wear my big girl pants but they only cover the outside – the inside still goes through the pre-surgery days of fear and anxiety, the actual trauma of the needles and stitches and pain. And of course – I headed into it worn down, as are we all, by life in a pandemic. I still can’t quite chew food, and I’m still more tired than I’d like. My head is still very fuzzy. Spoke to my retired doctor who said, as he has said for year: “You have crapped up ears.” Or some equally technical explanation. I described the odd kind of whooshing or maybe it’s clicking or maybe it’s some other sound I can’t quite identify that happens when I move my head. But not always. And how I’m hearing music in silence. It appears that besides all the other joys I’ve acquired as I’ve aged, I may also suffer from tinnitus. The ‘music’ in silence is not too bad and I’ve had that awhile. It’s that whoosh/drumbeat/whatever when I move my head. He thinks that may be aggravated by the recent procedure and that it might fade as everything else comes back to normal. I hope so. It adds to the general fuzziness from being off schedule and off diet.

I know that in the scheme of things, something like this falls under the self-indulgent category of “first world problems”. I’m fortunate that I have a great RL support team. And that I have my SL escape. You’ll find me there tonight. Calli will be playing big band and jive. I wonder if I’m well enough yet to have a cocktail?

BC blissfully sleeping on my lap

BC blissfully sleeping on my lap – doesn’t that face just soothe whatever ails you?

Can I Call a Plumber?

IMG_3340

Gorilla tape this time instead of merely duct tape

We are all practicing separation, reduced contact with others. There are still stores open – those deemed essential. Some workers have also been deemed essential. I’m willing to bet that plumbers would be considered essential. The question for me now is whether I need the plumber so much that the need will override what is now habit – avoiding anyone who is not already in my germ pool? It’s interesting that the longer the stay-at-home is in effect, the harder it might be to actually interact with strangers again. If I were my friend Honour, I’m sure I could read instructions, shut off the water, remove the leaking spigot outside, replace it and not need to have a hose attached to keep the drip. And I’d be able to pull up the tiles around and in the bathtub, regrout, replace the tiles and not have to worry about more damage to my kitchen ceiling. But, alas, I am not that competent and so I wonder – should I call the plumber?

IMG_3301

See how tight those nuts and bolts are????

SOME of my home repairs have been successful. I’ve been working for weeks now with the dining room table as my desk. I have papers everywhere and two computers set up. One is my work laptop, with huge attached monitor. The other is my personal computer. I sit in one chair for work and move to the NEXT chair for play. 🙂 It’s an interesting switch because one is a Mac and one is Windows. It can be confusing when I forget which machine I’m on. Anyway, when I switched to the play chair, I realized that it was incredibly loose. The back was not firmly attached. Ditto the chair next to that one. This IS something I can fix. I got out my trusty tool box (thank you, Randi!), flipped over the chairs and began tightening the nuts. I was intrigued by the fact that the chair has one kind of connection in the front of the seat and a differing one on the back. I decided it had to do with fact that the back has the joining piece and the hardware needed to be hidden but accessible. Am I right?

IMG_3300

The other theory of course is that we lost the original screws, nuts and washers. 🙂

Some of my other attempts at home maintenance have not been as successful as the dining room chairs. I did very well with protecting the plants last week. I bought MORE plants this week (you know very well that I am incapable of not buying lots and lots of herbs and flowers). I was SURE we were not going to have any more frost warnings. More fool me. Frost warnings last night and for tonight. I’d ripped the drop-cloth I’d used the first time so I needed to come up with something else. I did alright with the plants outside along the walk – used a heavy tarp and anchored it sufficiently. On the porch, where the more delicate plants were – that’s where the wind got the better of me. You can see that it blew off the covers. I wonder if it was really the wind. Could it have been an animal looking for food? Anyway, I think the plants are alright. I’ll do a better job anchoring that tonight.

IMG_3339

I find it hard to believe that the wind moved that blanket. I guess it was blowing from the front of the house

I’m dreading the other repair I need to do. I have to change the light in the range hood of the stove. At least I’ve already done that once before and learned how to do it properly. *grin* YAY for blogging!!! The big issue for that is getting the proper bulb. I’ll probably order it online because I’m not in such need that I have to go to the store. How our lives have changed. I never would have thought twice about driving to the store for one bulb.

IMG_3338

Success!

Like the plants with the frost warnings, there are items IN the house that need protection. As are so many other folks, my husband is working on a jigsaw puzzle. We set up a 4 foot folding table for the puzzle work. It was going quite well until the cats decided to help him. Cat help consists of walking on the puzzle, napping in the box, jumping from the table to the couch, and batting pieces onto the floor. He devised a way to protect the work in progress. He commandeered a sheet and covered the puzzle. I came down the next morning and found the sheet, and puzzle pieces, on the floor. Obviously the sheet needed more weight. Hence the addition of the afghan. Having noticed the desirability of the open puzzle box as a bed, my husband offered an incentive to leave the sheet and afghan in place. He placed the top and bottom of the box on top of the sheet. This offering has appeased the GC, who has taken to napping in the boxes. BC now ignores it all because things don’t move. WC never cared – she is curled up in her bed on the couch and that’s what she needs to be happy.

IMG_3342

GC in action. The moment she sees my camera she starts moving.

Should I call the plumber or turn the water on again from inside the house only when I need to use the hose?

IMG_3344

Life has no cares when you have good house staff.

You Can Go Home Again

Ahuva and Bamboo

Bamboo and me relaxing at home

I’ve been reading a LOT, although mostly books that do not challenge and are not edifying and ARE an attempt at escapism. I’ve watched more TV in the last 2 months than I have probably watched in the last 5 years combined – I’m NOT a big TV watcher. I haven’t been able to work in the garden and see the neighbors working in their gardens or folks taking walks. I confess – I was lonely. What do you do if you are lonely and want people and music and company but you are practicing separation and isolation? You go home to SecondLife.

I know that a lot of the folks who follow this blog started following long after my SL days. You seem to enjoy my musings on my cats, my garden, life in general, work, the weather and all those other aspects of what is also known as IRL – “in real life”. This blog started as a chronicle of my adventures in SL. It was a marvelous time. I was privileged to not only enjoy SL in my private life but could work and build and develop as part of my professional career as well. But time moves on, people take new jobs, people die, get new interests, have other obligations. *rueful smile* Gaming laptops age. All of those things happened and I stopped going into SL. It took me a few years to surrender my land. I was paying around $40 a month, I think, for something I never used. I was never able to convince myself to give up my premium status, however. I was paying $72 a year for that until this past payment when it rose to $100/yr. Even so, I could not make that break. I had a zillion rationalizations for why I should keep the account.

Mallory, Bill & Drake

Mallory, Bill and Drake (Bill is the white one)

I’d been chatting via social media with a friend from those good old SL days and we agreed to try to meet inworld. She had a new avatar, a new life, new friends, new everything there. Last night I went ‘home’. *laughing* Good grief, I’d forgotten SO MUCH. First, my pool with my ducks was making SO MUCH NOISE it was making me crazy. Why did I ever think pool sounds were a good idea? I knew I had to open the item, find the script that made the noise and stop it, but could not remember how to do it. I’ve also realized that at some point when we moved from our home on the water to our treetop home, Drake dyed his feathers yellow. He used to be white. I had 2 white ducks and one yellow and now I have 2 yellow ducks and one white one. I asked Drake why and he said he needed a new look for a new home. Bill, as usual, was totally oblivious to everything.

Sean and Ahuva

Ahuva and Sean, If I want to keep my avatar somewhat aligned with my body, I’m going to need to add a lot more width. 🙂

I did a little better at moving around and getting my panda, Bamboo, to come back and join me. Thank goodness my friend came inworld and helped me remember how to stop scripts, manage sound. Wow. Did she look different. I knew she had a new avatar, but avatar structure and movement have improved immensely since I was there last. Her fingers MOVED! My fingers are very blocky looking. We sat and talked and talked (yes, talked, we both went to voice, not just text chat). She promised to meet me again and take me shopping for a new body, new head, new hair and lots of new clothes!!!! I’m so excited! 🙂

Ahuva at Smokestack

Sitting at the bar at Smokestack, listening to Noma

While we were talking other friends logged in and saw that I was logged in. I got several IMs saying hello and *hug*. I accepted a TP from a friend to a performance going on by one of the musicians I always liked – Grace McDonnough. In this case TP means Teleport, NOT toilet paper. 🙂 I had a great time talking to my friend there, and hearing Grace’s singing. From there I headed over to Prim Economy to hear Komuso Tokugawa, who is one of my top 2 favorite performers in SL. I still listen to his music (which I had downloaded). I made a new friend there as we shared conversation about horses and shoes. The inworld versions of both have apparently improved as much as the avatars. She says that when you are riding a horse inworld you actually have the natural movement of a horse (you used to simply move forward with no rise and fall). I’m extremely excited to try riding in SL again. My good friend Calli was inworld. I managed to get over to Tribeca to catch the very last song of her set. Since it was Friday, and it was Tribeca, of course the closing song was “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen. It’s ALWAYS Hallelujah. Last night’s rendition was by Jeff Buckley.

Noma

Noma Falta

I went back in on Saturday, too. This time I remembered how to adjust my draw rate (how far away you can see items) and quality of detail. Slowly but surely some of the tricks are coming back. I caught up with another dear friend from the “old days”. I also got to hear Noma Falta live. I swear she gets better all the time. She was rocking it out at Smokestack. That venue was new for me. I like it. Had good seating, good dancing scripts, lots of people there. I did see one or two familiar names in the audience. It was another lovely evening. I sat there sipping my wine, listening to great music, chatting with my friend, catching up on all that has been happening. I was home. 🙂

Noma rocking the crowd at Smokestack

The crowd at Smokestack, dancing to Noma

Tucking the Plants In

succulents

I indulged in lots of succulents, some ivy for the backyard, English thyme and another echinacea (I hope it is orange)

We had no snow this winter. Our temperatures swing from the 70sF to the 40sF. I was sure we were done with worrying about the plants. I’m so ready to start tossing seeds in the big pots and to pot the succulents I bought. I also bought some more thyme – English thyme. The thyme that wintered over is lemon thyme. I thought that this past weekend was going to be a garden day.

covered herbs in pots

all the herbs on the walk are tucked in for the night. I figured the mint was fine since it had wintered over out there.

The past weekend wasn’t too bad weather-wise. It was the weekdays after that had the bad forecast. Winds of up to 60 mph were predicted for Monday, along with driving rain. Tuesday was supposed to have temps in the 50s. Wednesday night had frost warnings – temperatures 30-35F. Excuse me???? We had NO winter and now in mid APRIL we have FROST warnings? So annoying!!!!! Well, I’d already moved the pots down off the porch, so I figured I’d better cover them. The succulents and time and ivy on the porch were probably fine, but as long as I had the plastic out, I covered them as well. Everyone made it through the night with no trouble. I don’t think it got below freezing. I left them all uncovered last night when the temps were in the low 40s, and I think maybe the cactus that had orange flowers may have been unhappy. Time will tell.
Oh rats. Just heard a forecast for Tuesday night: 30-35. NO!!!!!

covered succulents

probably totally unnecessary but I covered the plants on the porch as well

The Cats are Happy

BC in fireplace bed

Living a life of ease

I love my cats. You know I do. They also make me crazy, but that is the nature of cats. I’ve seen so many memes about how dogs all over the world are so happy that their people are home all the time. I’ve also seen memes about how all the cats are complaining because their people are home ALL the time. My cats have always enjoyed when I worked from home. It always turned into extra cuddles for BC, earlier dinner time for WC, and sometimes extra breakfasts for GC (we think she may actually be a hobbit but we haven’t quite reached 7 meals a day). There has been one other great joy for the cats now that we are both home, all the time, every day.

wc on chair

WC pretending she is a little angel, never doing anything annoying

Last July WC came close to extinction. She decided somewhere in the spring that the carpeted stair landing would do very well for a litter box. We assumed this was some sort of aberration, that maybe she didn’t have the energy to walk down to the basement and use the boxes there. So one weekend my husband ripped out the carpet on the landing and all the stairs. I spent several days with several different chemical products attempting to remove stain and smell from the wood. I did a pretty decent job. We thought we’d solved the issue. As is so often the case, we were wrong.

GC under dining room table

Lately GC has decided to sit under the dining room table. I guess she needed a change of scenery.

It turned out not to be about too far and difficult to walk to the basement. WC walked up the stairs to the carpeted upstairs hall and began to use THAT as her litter box. No amount of spraying or other little barriers seemed to dissuade her. My husband got wise this time and hired someone else to pull up the carpet. The poor contractor nearly passed from the fumes. You need to know that besides the 3 current cats, we have had 3 other cats before them and a dog. The people from whom we bought the house also had at least one dog. The carpet came with the house. Years ago we had already pulled out all of the carpeting from the downstairs (oh my the stench) and put in new wood floors. “Ah hah!”, we thought. Surely NOW we have solved this problem. I’m sure you sense what happened next.

BC on couch

I’m a little angel too!!!

WC noted the lack of carpeting, noted that the litter boxes were still in the basement and noted that we were still completely lacking in understanding the true need. She began to urinate on our beautiful, comparatively new, wood floor. In the dining room. In the living room. I went a little crazy. We scheduled an appointment with the vet and in the meantime I debated locking her away. Trying to lock one cat away when you have 3 is awkward. When we ‘rescued’ BC we had to remove nearly everything from a small storage room and live with the removed items piled up all over until BC was clean and past her quarantine. (Sound familiar?) I couldn’t face emptying that storage area again. At this point I thought of bringing up a litter box to put in the bathroom on the 1st floor. Our dog was trained to use what we called ‘wee-wee pads’ (very classy, I know). We had them in that 1st floor bathroom. The dog was trained to use the pads. This saved us from having to walk her when we didn’t want to walk a dog. Every time she used the pads she got a treat (biscuit). Everyone – family and friends alike – were all trained to praise her and tell her how wonderful she was and give her a biscuit. Then we disposed of the dirty pad and put down a fresh one. We were all so effective at this that our male cat figured out that using the pads resulted in food, so HE started using them. Unfortunately male cats are not built to the same specifications as female dogs. That necessitated a new alignment of pads on the walls, not just on the floor. No, we did NOT give him treats. We didn’t really want to reward HIS behavior.

1st floor bathroom

My apologies. Never thought I’d post a picture of a toilet and litter boxes.

I put down a wee-wee pad in the corner of the bathroom and put a small litter box on top of it. WC used it immediately (or near enough to immediately). That was the issue – she wanted her commode on the 1st floor, thank you very much. Well, you know that if WC was using the commode on the 1st floor, everyone else wanted to do the same. Four wee-wee pads and 2 litter boxes later, we all use the bathroom on the 1st floor. My husband and I are less than thrilled about this. The dog had wee-wee pads. That was it. The cats also have LITTER. It sticks to their little messy paws, they kick it out of the box, sometimes on the pads, sometimes they are exuberant and it reaches the floor. Every day starts with cleaning the boxes, adding fresh litter, cleaning and readjusting the pads and sweeping the floor in the surrounding vicinity. It doesn’t last long. The first cat in kicks litter out. We spend the entire day cleaning the litter boxes in that room. They spend the entire day using the litter boxes in that room. When we worked in an office that was NOT in our home, we avoided hours and hours of litter box use. We had litter-free bathrooms in our office buildings. Ah, those were glorious days and we failed to appreciate them properly.

WC being petted on couch

One other joy of us being home – sitting with Dad on the couch while he reads his paper. GC and WC vie to see who can get there first and won’t let the other join. “He’s scritching ME!”

Back in those halcyon days we thought that after the kitchen renovation, we’d redo the bathroom as well. We can see that there is no point in pursuing THAT dream. There may be memes about cats complaining that their people are home all day, but OUR cats think it is fantastic. Clean litter box EVERY SINGLE TIME!!! Oh yeah, keep those folks working from home!! The cats are very, very happy.

GC and WC on couch

No people on the couch? We can share happily.

Spring Trees

Cherry Blossom tree

Cherry Blossom tree

At the risk of annoying my dear friend Honour, I’m posting more plants in bloom pictures today. Honour and I are not that different in some respects – we both love and need growing flora. Of course in other respects (shoes and hair, for example) we do differ greatly. 🙂

White Dogwood tree

White Dogwood tree

Today was already a “difficult” day and it’s not even 10:30 am. I woke up tired. I don’t know why – I think I slept well. I don’t remember any bad dreams or tossing and turning. Yet I’m tired. It happens.

American Redbud tree

American Redbud tree

Then I made the mistake of listening to the news on the radio as I got dressed. Made the bigger mistake of looking at headlines as I fed the cats. Saw that I had no response to two emails that I had hoped might get answered. Looked at my work schedule and saw meetings booked solid from 9:30 am to 1:30 pm. Ouch.

grape hyacinth

grape hyacinth

But today is a beautiful gorgeous spring day outside! The sky is a lovely shade of blue, trees around the house are blooming, no power landscaping services disturbing the serenity. My husband made a full pot of coffee. *smile* I did what any sensible person would do. I took my camera and went outside. I want to upgrade my phone SO MUCH. But in these worrisome times, that is a foolish expenditure of $$$, well, in my opinion anyway. Who knows what’s going to be happening in the future and a new iPhone, no matter how fantastic the camera, is not essential. (yet)

Andromeda bush and flowering cherry

Starting on the left: Andromeda bush, forsythia, rhododendron (seen above the andromeda bush), American redbud, and a big maple tree all the way in the back

Looking at all these gorgeous trees (none of which fall within my property lines) cheered me up. How can you not smile when looking at such beauty? Then I discovered that my 10:00 am meeting was cancelled. Who knew that just looking at trees could be so rewarding? *grin* The little grape hyacinths are in my garden, as is the andromeda bush. I’ve been waiting for my seed order to arrive – it’s been weeks. I understand seeds are not a priority shipment, but it would be nice to have something to do in the garden. It’s still too early to put in plants. Ahhhh. All this talk of the garden and trees – I feel better already.

japanese maple and american redbud

Japanese maple front and center, redbud and maples behind, rhododendron on the left, and behind that is a big lilac bush that is not yet in bloom.

Life During The Pause

signs of life

The very first signs of life in the garden

Life has gotten incredibly surreal, hasn’t it? I’ve wanted to come here and chat, but I’ve had writer’s block. There is so very much I want to say, but I have rules for myself about what I post. I have a lot of unpublished posts as well, the kind of thing where I was venting about something specific, and writing it out was sufficient venting. I have half-written posts that even I don’t know where I was intending to go. Then there are the zillions of posts I’ve written in my head. It seems odd that there is so much to say, so much happening, yet I can’t get the words out.

tulips and clover

Beautiful tulips from Washington state

I miss writing here. Writing tends to make me focus on things that give me pleasure. Reality is a mixed bag, after all. I took a look around the house – oh em gee all you can DO is look around the HOUSE now, right??? – to see what repairs needed doing that maybe I could do. I’m watching TV with my husband and we are having serious in-depth conversations about synthetic life forms (AI, androids, et al). I went out into the garden this weekend, into the sunshine, and took pictures of my plants, hoping that would spur me on. Yay for my garden because it really helps to keep me centered. The only other thing that can calm me down these days when I start freaking about viruses and politics and “end of the world as we know it” is to listen to NY Governor Andrew Cuomo give his daily press briefings. He’s so calm, articulate, smart, good-looking, reasonable. He calls this stay-at-home situation “The Pause”. I love that term. I live in NJ but I tune in for the NY update every day. If I can’t catch it live I watch the replay later. *smile* Governor Murphy is doing a good job, but he’s no Cuomo. My coworker, who plays for the distaff team, told me that even she has a crush on Gov Cuomo. She explained that we are part of the great Cuomosexual awakening. *grin* I LOVE that term, too. But Gov Cuomo only speaks for an hour or less so my garden is the more reliable tranquilizer. When it finally stops raining. It WILL stop raining, right?

container garden 2020

Herbs that wintered over

I found a picture I took a few weeks ago, when the first signs of flowers were starting to appear. That was so long ago. Or maybe it was last week? Because when we are all working from home, and not going out, well, every day blurs into the next into the one before and none of us seem to know what day it is. (Another reason to love Gov Cuomo – he starts his press conferences saying such things as Happy Tuesday!, and then I KNOW what day it is and can check to see what meetings I have scheduled.)

peony and iris

My yellow peony on the right, some of the iris in the back left, grasses in the upper right, and I believe that is my False Starwort returning there in the middle!

Two weekends ago it was warm and sunny and beautiful and we were all required to stay home and avoid unnecessary travel. I spent several hours doing garden cleanup. I didn’t have the money last fall to hire the service that usually does my fall/winter cleanup. That means that there are lots and lots of dead leaves matted among last year’s stalks and fencing. I needed to cut down the grasses and the dead peony stalks and pull up the dead goldenrod stalks. Five yard bags of debris. And that was only the front garden and the rudbeckia garden. I still have the porch garden and along the driveway and along the side of the house to clean. Ugh.

return of the rudbeckia

Some of the rudbeckia laciniata hortensia. It makes me crazy. I planted so many plants last year. There is a huge bare spot where they should be. 😦 I have ordered 8 more

We had such a mild winter this year in central NJ. The only snow we had was in December and it was less than 2 inches and melted by the end of the day. That was it. I don’t think we even had 4 days in a row of sub-freezing temperatures. All of that means that much of my container garden wintered over and has come back green and healthy. Not only herbs, but I believe I have verbena coming back in one of the pots as well. Something that is not an herb is doing quite well. I know that canna lilies, which I absolutely adore, need to be dug up and the bulbs stored in a garage or basement or something. I never do that (by that time of the year I am totally sick of gardening). I indulge myself come spring and buy new ones. I am wondering if any of them will have wintered over and come back. The problem I foresee is that I have NO idea what a canna lily sprout looks like. What if it is coming back and I think it’s a weed and pull it? That rationale could get me to skip weeding my garden until what – end of June maybe? 🙂 That’s quite appealing.

marjoram and cilantro

the marjoram and cilantro a few weeks ago. Both are looking much greener and fuller.

I took the containers off the porch and put them out in the sun and the rain, lining the walk. There are some canna lilies in one of those pot as well. I’d save so much money if some of those came back. As it is, I’m going to save a lot on my herbs. I have healthy rosemary, sage, lemon thyme, cilantro, curly parsley, lemon balm, mint, sorrel, chives, oregano, and marjoram (note the use of the Oxford comma). The marjoram is not in the picture – it’s sitting on the front steps. There is basil in the picture but that is cheating – I bought them at the grocery store. 🙂 I LOVE the smell of basil – it cheers me right up!

a visiting possum

A visitor back in February. I actually think he may have been injured (seemed to maybe be dragging a hind leg?) but he was quite active. Never saw him again. Was quite surprised to see him once


Stat Counter

wordpress analytics