Wednesday, November 4, 2015

BEGONIA - My New Favorite

I need to talk about Begonias. 

Every spring I put a few annuals in pots around my yard ... by the front door, flanking the garage door, on the patio.  I have an odd mixture of sun and shade around the place, and I've tried Impatients, Pansies, Petunias, and Zinnias all with varying degrees of success.  I had never tried Begonias, but they were on sale in May and golly, did they look good.

The sale was kind of a "one-day and use your coupon" deal, so I bought several different pots, not knowing how they would fare.  I read later in my gardening book that Begonias are amenable to shade, or sun, or in between. 

Well they surpassed my expectations and are my new favorite annual!  They roasted out by the garage and they enjoyed the shade on the patio.  Either way, they thrived and just kept blooming.  The only thing I will say is this -- they like a drink now and then.

Even more reason to love them!

Seriously, I had to keep them watered and deadheaded, but that was easy.  Here it is November ...

And they are going strong.  They are even doing better than the Mums I put in pots in September!

Here in New Jersey, it was in the 70s today, and I have flowers blooming, so I'm calling it summer.    (OK, in the early morning I wear my parka to walk Baxter, but by noon it is warm enough for no jacket at all.)

Begonias come in pink, red, or white with yellow or white centers.  Their leaves can have a reddish tint or a regular green one.  They are so versatile I had just had to Blogonia about them.  

With any luck I'll be throwing them at the same time I put up the Christmas lights.  And that's the bloomin' truth.

Thursday, October 29, 2015


Pumpkin is everywhere this time of year.  It's a little crazy. It’s like the pumpkin knows it’s season is short, so it really tries to kick it into high gear.  

I’m betting pumpkins give themselves a pep talk in August.  Something like “This fall we can be better than ever!  We’re in lattes!  We’re in beer!  We can wake it up or we can party!  Get down with your gourd self!"

Pumpkin is having a good year, even though people say they're sick of it.  I recently went to a Trader Joe's and the plethora of pumpkin products was pronounced.

1.  They sell Pumpkin Muffin mix, Pumpkin pancake mix, and Gluten Free Pumpkin Pancake mix.

2.  They have Pumpkin Pie Spice Cookie Butter.  I'm not sure how to eat this.  Does it go ON the cookie, or IN the cookie or both?  Or just on a spoon and into your mouth?

3.  They also have Pumpkin Tortilla chips.

4.  They have Pumpkin Bars and, in fact, actual pumpkins.

I'm glad to see that pumpkin is doing well for itself, but I wonder if things have gone too far.

5.  Pumpkin skin care!  It claims to repair dull, sun-damaged skin, and maybe it does.  But what if it doesn't?  What if, instead, you end up looking like this?

Boo to you!

Monday, October 19, 2015


I found this little face on my kitchen counter.

As you might have guessed, those are pills.  I had set my pills out by the toaster but hadn't had a chance to take them yet.  The pills are: 



2 Glucosamine/Chondroiton combos

This is because I have allergies, bad sinuses and osteoarthritis in my left hand.  I am a righty -- how did my left hand get so old and creaky?

Oh well.  At least I have a sweet husband who makes little faces out of my pills.

Medically yours,

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


Taking your youngest child, your last child, your baby, to his first day of Kindergarten can be a traumatic experience.  Even if he is ready, you may not be.  After all, he’s still so young.  It was just yesterday he was standing on his tiptoes trying to see the top of dining room table, or charging around the living room with his shirt off waving a wooden spoon as a sword.  Actually, that sword thing was this morning.  In any case, he’s a big boy now.  So here are some tips to make it through the day successfully.

DO:  Try to make the last 2 weeks of summer stupefyingly boring.  You will all be so sick of each other school will seem like a Disney ride.

DO:  Wear sunglasses, so that if you get teary eyed people will not see it.

DO: Plan an activity for after drop off, so that you will not have to go home to that empty house.

DO NOT, however, become so absorbed in planning your post drop activity that you forget your child’s backpack, have to run back home for it and barely make it to lineup time, sweaty and disoriented.

DO NOT: Go the library.  You will end up wandering into the children’s section, looking at all the baby flap books you read to him just a few years ago.  Or you will find yourself wistfully staring at a “Blues Clues” videotape, and remembering a song, word for word, about the planets.

DO: Go the wine store and pick out something for yourself for dinner tonight.  A nice bottle, not the usual el cheapo jug stuff you drink most days.  And when the clerk asks if you need help DO NOT snap “Uh uh” simply because you are too emotional to talk to anyone.

DO NOT:  Plan to do housework.  If there is anything worse than coming home to an empty house, it is coming home to an empty house and picking up a dust rag.  It’s been messy this long, let it go a few more days.

DO:  Spend some time thinking up some new excuses not to do housework.  Now that you don’t have a baby at home, how will you explain the mess?

DO NOT:  Clean out your child’s clothing drawers.  I know they are a mess, but you have been through enough today.  You don’t need to also face the fact that he will never again fit into those adorable Spiderman PJs.
DO: plan a nice family dinner for tonight.  Maybe bake a cake.  This will give you the opportunity to eat from stress and lick the frosting bowl until you’re slightly queasy. 

DO NOT:  Keep looking at the clock and think:  “I wonder what he is doing right now.” 

DO NOT:  Go on to look at the cute little dog you’ve been trying to talk your husband into adopting.  That dog has been adopted by someone else.  This is too much loss for one day.  Perhaps a second cake is in order.
DO NOT:  Plan to get a lot done.  Because if by chance you end up drifting from room to room, unable to get your bearings, at a loss for how to organize your time without constant cries of “Mom” to punctuate your day, you will accomplish nothing and feel terrible about it.  Try instead to just get one simple thing done.  Like, for instance, baking a cake.

DO:  Greet him joyfully at pick up time. 

DO:  Bring him to his older brother’s soccer practice.  Listen to him whine about the heat and how he hates the snack you brought.  Let him step on your toes several times as he tries to climb up your legs.  Have him spill Gatorade all over your newspaper.  Have him bite your stomach, TWICE, while you are trying to get the game schedule from the coach.  During dinner, listen to him howl that “This is the gross chicken!” and watch him twist in his chair, eat with his fingers, and pretend to snore in your face when you correct his manners. 

You will be ready for drop off again first thing tomorrow.
My oldest son started college this month.  Savor your moments!

Thursday, August 27, 2015


My oldest son is starting college this fall.  There is a lot to buy.  I have been shopping for months.  Recently, on vacation, my sister and I decided to hit Walmart with our kids because her daughter is also starting college this fall.

Like many students, their dorm rooms are suite style, so they have semi-private bathrooms which they have to keep clean.

(The money we're paying ... and he has to clean his own bathroom??  Yes, I know, I thought the same thing.)

Anyhoo, each teen bought a plunger for their toilet.

This is what my niece bought.  Isn't it nice?  It has a tasteful storage cover so it looks good in the bathroom.  She's a stylish gal.

This is what my son bought.

Yes, that's a plunger.  I had never seen anything like it.  But my son, a veteran of many years of Boy Scout Camp, assures me that it can plunge anything.

I think he's going to do very well at college.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


Hi folks, Baxter here.  You're not going to believe what happened to me.

For a while now, when my humans were petting me, they kept playing with some big lump on my rearend.  I tried to tell them to leave it alone, but, you know how it is, you just can't stop touching that kind of thing.

The vet stuck a needle in it and he said it was fine.  However, last week they took me back to the vet to look at it again.  Then they started talking about cleaning my teeth.  Then I took a nap.

When I woke up ...

this had happened.  The $*^ cone!  And get a load of this ...

Stitches.  I tried chewing them off but I just can't reach them with this cone.  Also, I'm missing a tooth. They finally took that broken one out.  The rest of them are pearly white now.

My cone keeps getting stuck in doorways when I try to squeeze through and I can hardly pick up a tennis ball.  On the plus side, I get pills wrapped in liverwurst.

Well, I keep telling myself to just think of the bright side ...

It's almost vacation!
Love, Baxter

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


So ... a day after Baxter killed a baby bunny, we had another bunny incident.  This time it ended much more happily for the bunny.

We have one of those dryers that vents to the outside.  Right into our driveway, as a matter of fact. This is an important detail to remember during this story.  Also, it's a gol darn fascinating detail of my home life.  Not.

In any case, my son and I pull into our driveway and get out of the car.  A baby bunny scuttles along the side of the house, and scared of us, squeezes into the dryer vent.

We tried to get him out, which just scared him further, and all of the sudden we heard a soft thud.  He fell backward into the long aluminum tube.

Yes, that long tube.  We hoped he was all right.

He was.   We detached the tube and found him crouching just inside the dryer.  Yes, that is some grody lint hanging down off the vent opening.  Thanks for noticing.

The bunny turned his back to us.  I think he was thinking "If I can't see you, you can't see me."

FYI:  That doesn't work.

We tried to coax him out with lettuce and a carrot.

FYI:  That doesn't work.

My son named him Dexter.  The bunny still didn't come out.  We thought about grabbing him but then we worried he would bolt deep into the dryer and we'd have to call a repair man.  I tried downloading an internal map of our dryer ...

location and name of parts in a clothes dryer

which didn't help at all.  In fact, it just depressed me to realize that though I am an intelligent woman I will never really understand how my dryer works.

Finally, we called Animal Control.  They were GREAT!!

They came, and used a long, ropey tool to grab the bunny.  It looked painful but wasn't at all.  And out came Dexter!

We set him free in the neighbor's yard.  I hope he never comes back to our yard.  It is not a safe place for bunnies.