Monday, October 25, 2010

Cactus Monday

I really didn't think I had anything new to contribute today, but my Faucaria tigrina 'Tiger Jaw' suprised me with a bloom to share! 

Happy Cactus Monday, stop by Teri's Painted Daisies for more Cactus Monday fun!


Monday, October 18, 2010

Me and My Kindle and a Book Review

After a lot of going back and forth, I finally decided to order the Kindle.  I've thought it would be something neat to have, but was having a hard time coming to terms with not holding a real book.  Because I had said I liked it, Bob thought it would be a great birthday present.  I caved...

The pretty red cover that keeps it protected...

I really didn't think I'd like it...I was wrong! 

I've only downloaded one book, but so far I'm really enjoying reading on it.  I bought A Slice of Murder by Chris Cavender to try out.  It's another cozy mystery, but a new author to me.  I still plan on buying certain books in paper or hardback depending on if I've already started a series or the author.  Since this is the first for me from this author I was okay with just getting it electronically.  My mother and I have worked out a plan.  See, we normally swap books back and forth and she always writes me these great little notes on the back of the front covers...using a Kindle puts a little glitch in our system.  Our decision, if we read a book on the Kindle and realize it's one we need to keep and share, we'll find it on Paperback Swap (her) or Half Priced Books (me).  She doesn't have one yet, but I don't think she'll be far behind me on this one!

The only major problem I have, and it's a big to read in the bathtub!  That's a bummer, but I guess I'll figure something out...maybe a book that I just read in the tub would work. 

The major's so lightweight and fits perfectly in my purse!  No more shoving 2 or 3 books in my purse when I'm headed to volleyball practice or track meets! 

On to a recent read...I picked this up at Half Priced Books a while back, which I'm sure I've mentioned is my absolutely favorite bookstore.  Gone with the Groom by Janice A Thompson was a fun read that fit right in with the other cozy mysteries that I like to read.  While Annie is preparing to watch her daughter walk down the aisle, they run into a slight problem; the groom goes missing.  While Scott is known to pull off some pretty elaborate pranks, after several days it becomes evident that this isn't a joke.  Annie puts on her detective hat and gets to work tracking down the clues.  I will say that it took me a while to get into the story, probably more me than then book, but once I was in, it was great!   I'll definitely be looking for more from this author. 

Happy Reading!

Cactus Monday

It's about time!  The past several weeks I've missed Cactus Monday, and that's irked me just a little.   I just repotted these darlings...Echeverias and a little Tiger Jaw tucked together.  Not sure what the burgandy one is called, but I think the others are Peacockii Echeveria and a Topsy Turvy. 

Happy Cactus Monday! 

To join in, stop by Teri's Painted Daisies and link up. 

Have a great day!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Succulents and River Rock

In my last post, I mentioned the frustration brought on by the neighbors cats choosing our yard as their litter box.  The next day, Bob and I took the day off to celebrate my birthday and our 15th anniversary.  For my birthday, he took me to breakfast and then to three of my favorite plant nurseries.  Shockingly enough, I bought very little!  I found a new collection of Zipper Plants to add to my one lonely Euphorbia anoplia.

I've read where some people have said these are ugly, but I disagree...they're darling little things.  My mother brought me the one when she came in this summer, but Bob saw this and thought all the sizes were really cool. 

He also encouraged me to pick up a cute little Zebra Plant as well.  I've been wanting one of these for the house or my office, but just never found "the one"...this one is quite nice and will be staying home.

We stopped by my office to pick up the arrangement of plants he ordered for me, but that someone forgot to tell me were there...grrr.  Since the succulent kick started, he's stopped sending me roses or anything else that's been cut and is just going to die.  Not that I don't like roses or other blooming flowers, but that's an awful lot of money to spend for something that's going to die...maybe next year I'll suggest a rose bush!
These are pretty, the Rubber Tree will look nice in a larger pot with one I already have...the coloring is different though.  Other than the Crotan, these rest I'm not sure what they are, but that's okay...they're pretty without names too!

So, what did we do in the afternoon with the house to ourselves?  ...lay River Rock of course!  We took out all the mulch, and replaced it with River Rock.  The girls got home from school and pitched in as well and I have to say, I had a great time working side by side with my hubby! 

You can't really tell, but my Rosecreek Abelia's are crazy...they grow out of the middle and look a bit weird.  They've got one more chance this coming spring to get it together or they're coming out and getting replaced!  I put them in last year with a certain look in mind, and they're not cooperating!  The pig planter got a haircut as well!  I keep Bolivian Jew in it, and it grows like a chia pet...the whole planter was covered, so it was time for a trim.  I lost my big lavender this summer, so two little Goodwin Creek Lavenders are getting started in it's place. 

Again, the Rosecreek Abilia's are a little wild, but New Orleans Jasmine is still nice and big and should be blooming again soon! 

This bed had Lantana that had just gone crazy and wasn't getting enough sun to bloom.  Opted for just the rocks for the winter.

No planting in this one yet other that the Esperanza's that were already there other than I added my orange Esperanza to the middle of them.  I'm not sure why I didn't get a picture of that, but they're there.  There wasn't any sense in putting the succulents and other things in the ground when winter is around the corner, so for now the pots will just sit there.

The newest succulent to the collection...a Kalancho 'Desert Surprise'.  I found these Friday night when I went to HEB to pick up some groceries.  I couldn't decide on which one I wanted, so I got both.  The one above has lighter markings than the one below.  I think the one below will eventually make it to my mother's house, but one never knows!

Have a great week! 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Writers Workshop - Neighborhood Cats

Mama's Losin' It

We live in a great, quiet neighborhood and we've always had equally great neighbors.  Until one of them decided to start feeding strays within a 10 mile radius, there were never any major complaints.  It started with the pregnant ones and I swear that they told all their cat friends about the never ending food that this nice lady puts out, so more came.  I think the total now is between 11 and 15, but who's counting! Now, I'm really fine with cats as long as 1)  they're not mine 2) I don't have to touch them and 3) they don't use my yard as their over sized litter box!  Cats are cute, and I have several series that have a cat as a main character that I enjoy reading, but since I'm highly allergic to them, I'm not too fond of the real thing.  Back to the litter box issue, for whatever reason, their crew and my other neighbors five have picked my back yard as their personal hangout spot.  I can't get on my treadmill in the garage and open the back door for air without being hit with an overwhelming smell that only comes from one place.  They like the flower beds, but seem to enjoy the areas near the house that don't have a lot of grass and even the grassiest spots to do their business.  So, what's a girls do do?  Short of catching them and hauling them away...hey, before you get too upset, I wouldn't hurt them and I would be doing them a favor of sorts...I'm going with river rock! I've tried it in small beds, and the cats don't seem to want to mess with the larger rocks.  My husband made me a new bed to remove their favorite area, and that's getting the first load.
While we're adding river rock to this bed, we're going to rake up all the mulch from the front and those beds will get the river rock treatment as well!  I'm a little bummed out because the front has pretty black mulch that matches the pretty black shutters, but to remove the attraction to the cats, it will be worth it.  We'll still have the issue of them just strolling through the yard and relieving themselves as they pass through, but one step at at time towards fixing something that makes me mad.

This was written for Mama Kat's Weekly Writing Workshop, I chose the third prompt, "What makes you mad and what are you going to do about it?"


Monday, October 4, 2010

Simplifying Life

This month, Sheila at To Love Honor and Vacuum is talking about simplifying our lives.  This really hit home with me today, because my mother and other friends have had to listen to me whine, not always so nicely either, about how stressed out I've realized I am all of a sudden.  I don't know why, but my house has never looked like it does now, not even when I had two little ones and was also working full time.  Babies demand so much time, yet those stages were very easy for me.  Sheila talks about how having a system sometimes only works for a season, and I'm learning that she's right.  When my girls were little, I was always the one that co-workers and friends would come to with "how do you do this?".  Now, not so much!  At 10 and 13, life is so much fuller and there never seems to be enough time in the day to get through everything.  Not to mention work, that's a whole other stress inducer on it's own!  I don't think my situation is special to me, but I am not dealing so well, so I'm going to have to figure something else out.

Of course, when they were little, my only hobbies were reading and normal gardening.  The succulent obsession takes away some of that time, but surely not enough to throw it all off kilter!

Have a great night!

Old Friends, New Friends

Daughter #1 came home from school a few weeks ago and announced that she had a new friend named Katlynn.  I didn't think much about it, other than thinking that it was going to be a real trick if she ever spent the night.  Last week at the volleyball game, her mother and grandmother sat next to me...again, thought nothing of it.  A little bit into the game, and the mother asks me what my name is again.  I get "Mandy, what's" out and she starts shreaking...yes, shreaking "OMG, I knew I knew you".  Long conversation short, several shreaks later, and lots of laughing, I also realize that eight years ago her and her three kids lived with my neighbor (her mother) for a while.  I've got pictures of the girls at their 5th birthday parties, they're one day apart...the funny thing, both girls have been talking since school started in August and it never clicked that they knew each other! So now, an old friend is now a new friend...what a small world!