Monday, January 31, 2011

Guinea Pig Drama

It's been a while since I've shared the antics of our guinea girl's.  Friday, their cage guinea mansion got a much needed clean-up.  They both got sprayed down and rubbed with their smell fresh spray and Snowflake enjoyed a brushing.  Miss Hedgie doesn't appreciate the brush so it's probably a good thing that she's got really short hair unlike the other one that sheds like no tomorrow!  Snowflake also tolerates being wrapped up like a baby in a towel.

Not sure what my daughter's issue was other than I think she doesn't want to admit that she loves her sister's pets!

Both girls enjoy their time outside in their little play pen.  Normally, they get the concrete, but it was a little chilly outside.  Snowflake is cute, but she's got quite the mean streak going on too!  They were sharing a little hut that they both fit in fine, however Snowflake has decided it's hers and lays in the doorway refusing to let Miss Hedgie in.

We went and got the giant igloo for them.  Mind you, they should have both been able to share this one and didn't have to touch each other.

Yes, both huts were still in the cage.  Snowflake refused to let her in the large one, chased her out after nose-butting her!  She got tapped on the nose for that one and told to be nice.  The second attempt wasn't any nicer, only this time the nose butt was accompanied by a growl.  You'd think they just met!  To keep the peace, we took the large one back and got another mid-sized one.  They're happy both happy now...

Spoiled little girls...

Cactus Monday

I remembered!! Top that with the fact that I have a new succulent to share and it's a pretty good Cactus Monday in my world!  Our favorite neighbor friends opted to bring us over an arrangent in honor of Bob's mother's passing instead of sending something to Ohio that he wouldn't have been able to bring home.  While it definitely wasn't expected, it was really thoughtful and appreciated!  And, since I'm the plant lover in the house, she put together an arrangement with a Crown of Thorns, a Bromeliad and I think it's called Varigated Fig Leaf Fern.  I can't find the third one one line, so if you have a different name, please share. 

The Crown of Thorns is huge and I'm excited to keep it alive!  Be sure to stop by Teri's at Teri's Painted Daisies for more Cactus Monday offerings.  Happy Cactus Monday...have a great week!!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Book Review - Slay It with Flowers

Not happy that it's taking me a week to finish a book, but I finally completed Slay It with Flowers by Kate Collins this afternoon during volleyball practice. 

From the back cover:  Near Mrs. - Abby's latest gig is the perfect marriage of her talents.  Not only does her bride-to-be cousin, Jillian, want Abby to be a bridesmaid - she also wants her to sign on as floral designer and sleuth...

Though nearly once a year Jillian has agreed to marry a different man, she has yet to make it to the altar.  But this time, it's cold dead feet that may stop the wedding.  Before the couple says "I do," one of the groomsmen disappears and another member of the wedding party is found dead.  Luckily for Abby, she has plenty of help - including her brassy been-there-done-that assistant, a hunky bar owner with a penchant for love and justice, and her own family.  Together, they aim to unveil the truth...and make sure the bride still gets her day to shine.

My take:  Slay It with Flowers is the second in Kate's A Flower Shop Mystery series.  I think I enjoyed this one even more than the first!  Abby does not "meddle", or at least she would like to think she doesn't.  She can't resist a challenge though and this time finds herself in quite a mess.  While she's trying to find out who murdered one of the groomsmen, she winds up in the middle of another mystery in town...this one with deadly consequences.  The only thing that I was bummed about on this one was that I didn't have the third one with me when I finished this one!  That one is of course next on my list...


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Word - Filled Wednesday

2 Cor. 1:3-4 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God."

I saw this on a blog this evening and really liked the idea of  Word -Filled Wednesday's, plus it didn't hurt that I had the perfect scripture for today!  If you read this regularly, you know that my oldest daughter was home for three weeks with a stomach issue and that my husband's mother passed away this past weekend.  As if three weeks of being stressed to the max between trying to get my daughter better, being a wife to a stressed out husband who was dealing with the impending loss of his mother wasn't enough, I still needed to pay attention to our youngest daughter, go to a workplace that I know can't hardly tolerate and make it to all the required volleyball practices and games.  Forget cooking, cleaning and my all important reading time!!  This has been a horrific month to say the least.  In comes my best friend.  I spoke to her briefly Sunday morning in passing when we knew the death was near, but at least my children were feeling better so I could really focus on my husband.  Fast forward to Sunday evening.  The call comes in and then during the night both girls start with two totally different, but concerning coughs.  I dropped my husband off at the airport, came home and gave the oldest a breathing treatment, realized we weren't going anywhere so I made the call to work and then to the schools.  Do you have any idea how embarrassing it is to call in for the fourth week in a row to let them know that your daughter won't be there yet again?! Thankfully I got voicemail.  Today while I was at work fielding text messages from a hurting husband and uncomfortable children, my best friend sends me a text with this scripture reminding me that God is comforting me in that while I'm required to be superwoman (temporarily I hope) He can be my supernatural superman.  Tears poured down my face because I haven't talked to her since Sunday morning, yet she knew I need encouragement.  I'm so thankful that God encourages and comforts us so that we can be a comfort to others, while at the same time others around us can be comforting us.  I hope that made sense put in words.   My husband made it through the viewing and will make it through the services tomorrow.  I'm really looking forward to having him home, but am taking comfort in the fact that God's got it all under control!

If this is the first time you've stopped by, I'm not generally this whiny!  I don't mean to sound whiny at all actually, just incredibly grateful that I know the Master Comforter and that He knows me!!  Be sure to stop by the Internet Cafe Devotions blog to enjoy other Word-Filled Wednesday posts. 


Saying Goodbye

My husband's mother has been sick for a while.  Six years ago, she went in for routine bloodwork and found out she had a huge tumor in one of her kidneys.  They removed it in it's entirety and she did great for several years.  Maybe two years ago, the other kidney had enough and she reluctantly, grudgingly started dialysis three times a week.  The week of Christmas, she fell on the way to the dialysis van and while she didn't break anything, the news wasn't good.  Her body was riddled with cancer, if there was a spot it could be, it was there.  Two weeks ago, on the weekend of his birthday, my husband flew up to say goodbye.  After making the decision to stop all treatment, Mom passed away this past Sunday in her home surrounded by her family.  We put him back on a plane Monday for one last trip.  It's been hard.  Hard because we had to send him by himself, hard because he knows that this will be his last trip home and hard because he had to say goodbye to his mother.


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Book Review - Mum's the Word

I came across this series on one of my adventures at Half Price Books a while back, and it's taken me a while to get all the books (minus two).  The series is called A Flower Shop Mystery by Kate Collins, and I'll be you can't you imagine why I'd want to read them!!  Mum's the Word was a delightful read.  I'll share a bit from the back of the book with you before I give you my take.  I thought I should start doing this since sometimes what I think doesn't really give you a good idea of the book. 

I don't meddle, honest!  But can I help it if my nose for injustice is as keen as my green thumb?  Now, I Abby Knight, law school dropout, am the proud new owner of Bloomers, my hometown flower shop.  I'm devoted to making by business grow, but I'm no shrinking violet if someone needs my help to right a wrong - even if that person is already dead...

A Thorny Predicament - So maybe Abby's life isn't the bed of roses she was hoping it would be.  She adores her job, but a new low-cost competitor is killing her profits - and a black SUV just rammed her vintage Corvette in a hit-and-run.  Determined to track down the driver, she accepts the help of hunky ex-cop Marco Salvare.  But their budding relationship is threatened when the trail turns deadly.  Now Abby is caught in a tangle of menacing phone calls, police corruption, and murderous road rage.  If she's not careful, the next flower arrangement might be for her own funeral...

My thoughts:  I loved this book from the start.  Abby's short, busty and stubborn...I can relate to all three!  My dream job would be to work in a nursery/book store (weird combo, but in my mind it works), and a flower shop is not a bad idea either.  Imagine if I got into the right place...I could introduce succulent arrangements, and the city of San Antonio would be all the better for it!  Back to the book.   When Abby's Vette got run into, she was not about to stop once she figured out who hit her.  She got wrangled into helping Lottie's cousin, Pearl, leave and divorce her no good cheating husband.  That added an entirely different problem into the mix, Pearl's husband also has a nasty temper.  There was a bit more language in it that other Cozies I've read, but that probably had something to do with Pearl's husband's violent temper.  I can't wait to read the next one, which I'm starting today.  She's funny, spunky and too irresistible not to like.  So, if you like flowers and mystery, this could be the series for you!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Ramblings and Succulent Blooms

Yesterday, the weather was incredible.  So much so that my co-workers and I donned our walking clothes and went for a 2 mile walk during lunch sans jackets.  We've been doing this for several years, but we got out of the habit after the Rock 'n Roll Marathon a few months ago.  It was great, I surprised myself and started jogging on the way back.  What that means to me...I must be a born runner, why else would my little legs have just started off on their own with no encouragement from me!  heehee!!  Today on the other hand, freezing cold and the wind was blowing something fierce!  Weird!!

The greenhouse is getting heated as I type, and my Crassula 'Springtime' is opening her blooms.  I brought her in to get some pictures since it was too dark to get a decent shot outside. 

These next little guys were a surprise that I didn't notice last time I was out there.  I don't remember it's name, but it was weird looking and that's always a plus for me!  There are three little blooms getting ready for a show.  This is the first time this one's bloomed for me, so I'm curious to see what they're going to look like.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Cactus Monday

I forgot today was still Monday, but here is my offering for this week's Cactus Monday hosted by Terri at Terri's Painted Daisies.

Crassula 'Springtime'
She really thinks it's springtime in the greenhouse I guess, this is the first time this one has bloomed for me.  I didn't realize how much she's grown until looking at this picture either.  These blooms are taking their sweet time too, I've been watching them for weeks.  Maybe not too much longer!

Hawthorias and Hoya Kerri 'Sweetheart' Hoya
While I was finishing up dinner tonight, Daughter #1 went outside and the next thing I knew she was at the window begging for a picture!  It just happened that two of my favorite Hawthorias and the 'Sweetheart' Hoya that I'm starting for a friend were in the picture too.  Perfect for Cactus Monday!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Starting Over

I posted a while back about needing to get back into some kind a routine and I have still not taken the time to get in that routine.  I found a blog today called Home Sanctuary and wouldn't you know it, she's an organizational genius (my words, not hers)!  She has this group called Company Girls that do Small Things together.  It sounded interesting to me, and the three posts I read about getting a schedule that works for you was music to this girl's ears.  I tried the Flylady routine once and it stressed me out.  I know that it's great to go to bed with a clean kitchen sink (her main sticking point), but oddly enough some days I prefer to wash the dishes from the night before while I'm making dinner for the current day.  Weird and maybe lazy, but it works for me.  She's failed the Flylady routine herself and I found that rather cool in a bonding sort of way.  What really grabbed me though, was Rachel has sample plans for both Stay at Home Moms AND Work Outside the Home Moms.  This is wonderful because most of what I've ever seen is aimed towards Stay at Home Moms and it's not anywhere close to workable for the others.

I'm going to try it.  Today I won't get a lot done since I've spent the morning cuddling with my little one watching DVR'd NCIS: Los Angeles and we've got to get cleaned up for volleyball games this afternoon.  I am going to at least get the list she suggested together and tomorrow I'll work on the schedule while I'm sitting at volleyball practice.   Since I LOVE lists and charts, I should do good with this setup.  I'll have to be sure to set time for my plants too.  This morning I went out to turn the heater off in the greenhouse during a commercial and ended up back out there with my camera and scissors.  I have blooms starting on an unnamed Sedum to be share and needed to trim back the dead stems on the Vick's Plant.  While I was out there, I went ahead and pulled the cover off of the succulent tub and pulled a few of the baby 'Mother of Millions' out to bring in the house.  I'm worried they're going to die and that would not make me happy.  I think I need daily time for the plants!! 

The last two weeks have been spent trying to figure out why our oldest was experiencing severe stomach pains.  Finally after missing ten days of school right after the Christmas break, we got an answer and she's back to her normal self!  Hallelujah!!!!!  It's hard to get into any kind of a schedule when your normal routine's been run a muck, so now we should be able to make some progress.  I suppose I don't have an excuse not to get back on the treadmill now, do I?  Darn!

Now to those blooms...

Happy Saturday!!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Fertilizer Friday


I've found myself wandering over to Tootsie's Flaunt Your Flowers/Fertilizer Friday each week admiring not only what she's got blooming, but to check out the other gorgeous gardens.  Did I mention I'm in love with her greenhouse?  While I don't have much blooming other than what I posted earlier, I thought I'd share a few others from recent months that I might not have posted. 

First off is the second round of blooms for my Donkey Ears.  She seems to be enjoying her winter spot on the fireplace and is showing the love with another set of blooms getting ready to turn down.

Another picture of 'Chandelier Plant' blooms...I just love them!

My little 'Tiger Jaw' blooming back in October.

Last, but not of my favorite Bougainvilleas that I added to the collection this past summer!

Looking forward to warmer days...

The Help - Kathryn Stockett

My neighbor friend bought The Help by Kathryn Stockett and after reading it passed it along to share.  It's been on my bookcase for several months waiting to be opened.  I'll admit that the size of it scared me a bit, it's been a while since I've read a fat hardback and I wasn't too sure about it.  After feeling a bit of guilt for not getting to it yet, I picked it up one day last week.  I could not put it down, or at least I did not want to put it down! I've spent more time at home than usual with an under the weather child, so I was able to get more reading time than normal in.  Last night I came to the last page and was quite frankly a little sad.

The Help was about three ordinary ladies who lived in Jackson, Mississippi during the 1960's.  Skeeter, a 22 year old white lady who had recently come home from graduating college.  Skeeter comes home to find that her beloved maid, Constantine, is no longer there and no one will tell her where she's gone.  Much to her mother's dismay, she was more interested in her typewriter than in finding a man.  Abiline is a black maid who is currently raising her seventeenth white child.  After loosing her only son a few years before, she's different.  She loves her little white girl even though she knows that both could end up with a broken heart.  Her best friend, Minnie is known about town as the sassiest maid in the area.  She's also the best cook in the town and that always was her saving grace, until she made the wrong woman mad that is.  These three women are as different as different can be, but something pulls them together in a way none of them would have ever imagined.  They set aside their own fears of very real consequences to prove that some lines are just meant to be crossed. 

I have always enjoyed reading books around this time period, and this one read like a classic.  I find it incomprehensible that people could behave and treat other people the way they did and yet it was actually  condoned.  I fell in love with all three of these ladies and their stories.  Brave doesn't begin to cover what these ladies were willing to chance to do something they believed in.  My only two complaints about the book were, one the use of God's name unnecessarily and two that it ended so abruptly.  I guess only the first complaint is legit; who ever wants to see a good story end!  If you have not picked this one up yet, I encourage you to do so.  

Now I'm off to start the first book in A Flower Shop Mystery by Kate Collins.  I've been looking forward to this series, but didn't want to start it until I had at least the first several on hand.   There are still two that I need, but they're in the middle of the 9 or 10 book series, so I'm good!   I also can't think of a better way to start my weekend than with a book and Dr. Pepper...happy reading to me!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Greenhouse Happenings

It's incredibly cold outside, the temperature didn't get above 40 today and for this warm weather loving Texan, that's about 40 degrees to cold!  I've been keeping, or rather trying to keep my succulents warm in the little greenhouse.  The little heater's been running through the night and some days to keep them warm.  When I went out the other day, I was delighted to find that several of them are blooming.  I'm not sure exactly what this first one is, but the blooms on this gem are a gorgeous deep pink. I think it's a Pachy-something, but whatever it is, it's one of my favorites.  Last year, she bloomed in must be the greenhouse!

This next one has always been high on my list because it's so weird looking.  I found it labeled as a 'Maternity Plant' at Walmart only to find that it's a 'Chandelier Plant' Kalanchoe Tubiflora.  At one point, it was like a little bush...

 ...and then got kind of leggy

Shortly after this picture, I cut her back and started another couple of pots.  She doesn't look good at all right now, but decided to bloom anyways.

And what lovely orange blooms they are! 

As for the rest of the succulents...between the greenhouse, the laundry room and the garage, they're still holding their own and looking quite nice considering the weather.

That's it for today, I just needed some color and thought I'd share with you as well!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

A Few Good Books

While I haven't posted about any books in a while, I have been reading.  That being said, this could be a little long...consider yourself warned.  To start, I read to Cozy Christian Mysteries by Lori Copeland.  A Case of Bad Taste and  A Case of Crooked Letters, the first two books of her Morning Shade Mystery series were both enjoyable reads.  It's an older series, the first book was published in 2003.  Maude Diamond is a struggling writer intent on publishing a book that makes it to the best seller list at least once in her writing career.  After her husband passes away unexpectedly, her mother-in-law, Stella moves in with her; not long after that, her daughter who's husband also passed away unexpectedly follows suite.  In A Case of Bad Taste, homes in the small community mysteriously are being broken into, but instead of stealing anything, the burglar organizes and makes over various rooms.  Stella, who's in her 80's, I think, takes it upon herself to help in solving the mystery.  In A Case of Crooked Letters, it seems like a number of people in the community decide independently that the answer to their money problems is the pyramid letter scheme.  This one was funnier than the first one, probably because I already knew their personalities and could picture their antics in my mind.  Namely Stella, that lady is a hoot!  I'm looking forward to reading the third one that a friend is bringing me to read next. 

I'm trying to warm up to my Kindle, so I thought I'd read a normal book and then an electronic book.  It's working out that I'm reading two and then bringing out my Kindle, but I am getting more comfortable with it.  In fact, I read the next one really quickly; it didn't hurt that it was only 160 pages either! 

Unwrapping Christmas was also by Lori Copeland...I think December was her month.  I'm glad I read this one when I did.  Rose is an overachiever and determined to have the perfect Christmas in addition to everything else that she does in a day.  It didn't take long to figure out that she's the woman that never says 'no' to anyone and really believes that she's doing the right thing by doing everything for everyone.  She's the one that everyone thinks has it all together, but in fact is unraveling at the seams and doesn't even know it.  It wasn't until she was unexpectedly stopped rather quickly and unable to do anything that she realized just how much she wasn't making a difference.  Unwrapping Christmas was a charming, whimsical story reminding me of the real importance of the season and to be honest with myself about what I'm actually capable of.  Did you know that kids actually do get tired of pizza?! 

The most recent one, I finished today and it was one I was most looking forward to.  Chapter & Hearse by Lorna Barrett is the fourth book in her Booktown Mystery series.  Loved it!!  As usual, the Tricia found herself playing Nancy Drew trying to figure out who murdered one of the booksellers who's shop was across the street from hers.  Looking forward to the next one.  She also has another series under the name Lorraine Bartlett called Victoria Square Mysteries; the first one A Crafty Killing is coming out next month. 

Happy Reading!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

One Smart Corgi, One Trained Owner

After being introduced to a Welsh Corgi years ago, I knew that I needed to have one.  When our girls were 4 and 1, I found Corgi/Sheltie mix.

Bob, who was out of town at the time had kept promising me that we'd get a dog since we'd been in the house a few years, but he also kept putting me off.  One day at work, I was on the Animal Defense League and there she was! I went at lunch and much to my surprise, Goldie was completely shaven!  Evidently, her elderly owner had passed away and no one took care of her thick head of hair.  They assured me it'd grow back, so I brought the girls back after work to see what they thought.  They fell in love with her as quickly as I did.  Without calling Bob, I brought her home.  She hid behind the couch and we left to go buy food and other items one needs when they've never had a dog before.  I did call him then, "Honey, when you get home don't be alarmed.  there's a dog behind the couch."  I'm sure he growled, but he knew he'd also been avoiding the inevitable. 

Fast forward 10 years and she's a little older, 14 to be exact, but just as smart.  Since we got the guinea pigs a year ago, her herding skills have been sharpened.  Snowflake has an annoying habit of chewing on the cage and making a ridiculous amount of rattling noise when she wants food, attention or is just bored.  I'm guessing it bugs Goldie because once the wild ruckus begins, she'll come and get my attention (loudly sometimes) and take me into the other room to shut them up.  In the last few weeks though, she's picked up an annoying little habit herself.   At any given time, she'll decide she needs a treat.  First she'll just give me the eye and if I ignore her, which I always try first, she'll start barking at me.  Once I'm up, she'll lead me to the kitchen cabinet and stop.  I comply like a good human and give her the treats and she's content again. 

Goldie in her "summer cut" waiting for a treat

Guinea-sitting the Guinea Girls
Favorite past time, sunning herself

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Easily Entertained

One of the gifts we got the girls this year was the Just Dance 2 game for the Wii.  I've watched both of them jump around, sadly the little one has about as much talent has her mother, but the big one on the other hand has a bit of rhythm.  Anyways, it was while watching the big one tonight that I felt energized to try it out myself.  Who cares that I'm wearing blue pajamas with pink cats and shoes all over them; they added to the loonish look of me trying to dance! I think I made it through 5 songs, each time saying I was done.  The Bollywood belly dance one was especially fun; I think I ranked near perfect on that one!!  The girls laughed and I stepped on the dog causing her to flee the room rather quickly.   That was on song four though, I missed her on all the others...that should count for something.  It was a workout, and I was rather proud of myself when I was done.  Next time I'm going to try the Proud Mary song as I've heard it's a sweat inducer; hopefully I'll have the sense to turn the heater off first. 

I can't believe that it's past my bedtime and I haven't cracked opened a book yet.  Not a good way to start a new year!  I wish I could say that I'd made great progress cleaning out today, but no...I did watch several episodes of Pitbulls and Parolees with the little one though.  She's obsessed with anything animal control or cops, and fortunately for us there was a marathon on today! 

I'm rethinking my goal of reading through the Bible again this year.  As I've thought back on it today, while I'm almost done, I really just read.  I think I'll set aside that goal and instead focus on quality reading and maybe some different Bible studies.  Maybe I'll make the read-through goal and every other yearer.  I don't exactly know, but I'm sure I'll figure it out. 

Happy New Year!