Friday, July 20, 2018

Tending To Business Can Be Difficult

As I mentioned in June, I saw my General Practice Physician because of some abdominal discomfort and a CAT scan was prescribed .  And, I was told I would get a call with appointment date in 4 to 5 days .  I never received a call .  So, it was about 3 weeks later when I called to find out what was going on .  Well, something fell through the cracks and nothing was scheduled .  It's important for me to note that I asked the doctor about the prep procedure because of my very challenging gastrointestinal disability with the loss of control when defecating . See this Blog Post for history. The doctor said that no prep would be necessary.

So, after several phone calls, I was scheduled for the CAT scan at the hospital. Then, I was told I will need some lab work because the scan will be done with a contrast medium which will give clearer visibility of abdominal body organs which means I would need a Barium prep.  I do not have any problem with all of this other than my concern regarding my body's response in light of the rectal incontinence issues . This information has been discussed with the doctor in the past as well as now .  The best way I can explain what happens to me when having the prep  is to say  "it is the worst kind of a Shitty Mess" !  The last time I had a scan with prep I was an inpatient at the hospital. At the current time I do not have anyone to assist me in this burdensome activity.

In general , when I think a medical procedure or treatment is appropriate ,  my approach is "just do it".  No need fretting about it.  What good does it do ?  We don't always have a choice in what is necessary for our well being, - - - But we have a choice in how we respond to it !

However , I am feeling very different at this time .  I really-really-really do not want to go through all the unpleasantness of lack of control of my bodily function.  However, my BIGGEST CONCERN is the lack of communication between all the people involved.  I see it as a Big Red Flag !

I have cancelled the appointment for the CAT scan and I will request a referral to a Specialist.  I refuse to be caught in a compromising situation that could be anything but in my best interest .  After making this decision I feel very relieved and very happy with my plans. I am feeling quite well, only occasional mild symptoms . I do not think I am dealing with anything that would be considered life threatening.  And, there is no question in my mind about my decision if I were to be faced with determining future medical treatment.  I refuse to ever agree to undergo chemotherapy.  And, I do not think I will be faced with that circumstance.

In fact, I have placed a picture of a HEALTHY abdomen over my kitchen sink which provides a great visual for me to focus on.  Remember, I am a retired Nurse.  So, this picture has no distress for me.
Mind - Body - Spirit - Gratitude.


Life can be a series of somersaults .


You gotta just keep rolling !
Mary

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

How Ugly Can It Get

"Oh My !"  And, I also said  "What in the world is that feasting on my Daylily  plant ?"  And, I had more questions.    "Where did you come from ?"    "Why are you here ?"    And, what are You ?    You are so ugly !!!

I know very little about insects even though there was a whole chapter on Entomology when I took a Master Gardeners' Course many years ago.   I have never seen the likes of this photographed insect in my garden on July 13, 2018 when this photo was taken by me.  Fortunately, I had my camera in my hand as I was going out to look at possible growth of my tomato plants.
After a little research - - - I think it is a Cicada   (pronounced Chi-Kay-da) !    After reading some of the copious amount of Internet information I am somewhat confused as to why I would see this "elder of the insect world" in MY GARDEN IN CALIFORNIA.    Only 0.2% of all Cicadas are found in North America and most are in the Eastern half of the USA.  There are over 3390 species world wide and they are found on all continents except Antarctica.  

There are generally two types of cicadas. Annual Cicadas emerge every year in late June or August, while Periodical Cicadas emerge in cycles of 13 or 17 years, depending on the species. When Periodical Cicadas emerge, all the adults in a given location emerge at the same.  Tens of thousands to over a million insects can reside in a relatively small area of land.  A group of Periodicals that emerge at the same time is called a Brood. Broods are classified with Roman numerals that represent each group. There are 30 Broods in all. More information about groups of species and Broods which is quite extensive can be found on the Internet.

Female Cicada lay from 200 to 600 eggs total in tiny holes made in trees and shrubs.  Cicada young --- called Nymphs hatch from the eggs and immediately drop to burrow underground, where they attach to tree roots .   The Nymphs remain attached to the roots and suck tree sap for most of their lives .  When the dormant period ends in about 17 years, the Cicada emerges from underground at sunset, guided only by instinct and attaches to a tree or shrub.  At that time the Cicadas skin sheds allowing the Adult Cicada to emerge.

NOTE - While posting this information,  I just remembered that about 2 days before I noticed this gross looking Cicada, I saw a dried hollow insect skin on a Daylily a few feet away from the live
Cicada .  And,  I thought  "I wonder what that is!"  It reminded me of what I knew as a child as a Potato Bug (they have many names) which sheds its skin .  No photo taken that day.

Above ground, male Cicadas fill the air with shrill buzzing sounds (called their song) the result of small drum-like plates on the abdomen that the Cicadas vibrates rapidly.  And, they can be very noisy.  Reportedly, the Cicada makes the loudest sound of any insect.  Their sound can be heard for up to 1/2 mile away and they only sing during the daytime.  While many people find the sound annoying, the male Cicada uses it to attract female Cicadas for mating.  Both male and female Cicadas die after about five weeks above ground.      Oh my,  No.

And, now my question is "What is their purpose ?"  When they emerge for the culmination of their life cycle they mulch and aerate the ground and during their brief time above ground  they provide food for all kinds of birds and small rodents.

Some people confuse Cicadas with Grasshoppers, Crickets and Katydids because they all are relatively large and singing insects.

And, in case you are wondering ?  Cicadas are eaten in various countries including China where the Nymphs are served deep fried in Shandong cuisine.  Thought you might ask ! ! !
Well, I guess that is your science lesson for the week and maybe for all time .  I found it quite fascinating.  I still don't know why they are in my California Garden ! But then, I have had a strong curiosity about most everything throughout my life .  Oh, and I have been known for being quite observant of my surroundings !   That's just who I am !

NOTE - Saw another Cicada empty skin this morning in same area.  No sign of Adult Cicada but I did get a photo .
Hope you are having a Happy Day.

Mary

Monday, July 16, 2018

Long Time Coming


I have three Agapanthus (Lily of the Nile) plants that I planted many years ago and they have never bloomed.  Of course, they are planted in rocky soil and are located down by the seasonal creek and have not received regular watering or much attention through the years.  However, during the past two years I have put more effort into that area of my gardens.

And, look at them NOW.  WOW-WOW-WOW.
I am really enjoying seeing them with their long spiky stems that makes them more visible from a distance.  And, better yet, they are multiplying with more small plants filling in the area.
The area in the left of the photo is where a lot of the Daylilies are planted. Because of the volume of the rock in the ground, I have always had difficulty  planting deep enough for the plant roots to grow strong.  I keep working on nourishing the ground by adding as much good healthy soil as I can.
The Agapanthus reminds me of when I had many in a garden past .  And, I thoroughly enjoyed making flower arrangements with them.  Another flower that was a favorite of mine for arranging was Bird of Paradise.  The arrangements were somewhat like Japanese Ikebana flower design.  Usually, I used a shallow black round or irregular vase with a spike frog to secure the heavy blossoms .  The black color vase gave it a touch of elegance.  Of course, any color combination can be created .

This arrangement is a little similar. It is an arrangement that I made in springtime 2011 for the church alter when the Daffodils and Stellata Magnolia were in bloom.  Beauty in simplicity !
There are so many creative outlets that I truly miss that were so enjoyable in the past.         New Times - New Adventures !           Onward to enjoyment of opportunities unknown to me at the present time .

It's a new week .  Hope you have some pleasant plans and your weather is conducive to those plans .  The HOT weather continues here in California .  And, the grass fires and wildfires persist in challenging our wonderful firefighters.

Be Safe .

Mary

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Getting Ready To Make Basil Pesto

Little did I know when I planted tomato plants and basil plants close together that I would be reading about the benefits of planting the two different plants side by side.  This is what I read.
Planted 6-12-2018
"Planting basil next to tomatoes, not only wards off tomato worms, somehow planting the two together actually makes the tomatoes taste better!" 
Look at how much these tomato plants have grown in just one month !   The HOT HOT weather has certainly aided in this rapid growth.  More importantly,  there also are REAL TOMATOES starting to show up.    Happy-Happy-Happy !
Tomatoes next to basil !
Fresh Basil Pesto is so easy to make.  It only takes five ingredients plus salt and pepper.  Fresh basil leaves, grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese, virgin olive oil, pine nuts and garlic cloves.   

Preservation by freezing or canning takes a little more work and variation in the recipe prep.  Of course, freshly prepared is great and can be used on pasta, baked potatoes, crackers and even toast.

I have to buy the pine nuts and then I am ready to get out the food processor.  I don't have a gifting source of pine nuts like a blog friend of mine !

It's going to be another HOT HOT day in these mountain foothills !  Have a Great Sunday.

Mary

Friday, July 13, 2018

13th

Be Careful !

Mary

Monday, July 9, 2018

My Daily Daylily Delight

Say that Three Times !

I had no idea that my excitement each morning looking for the most recently blooming Daylily would replicate my morning ritual while the Iris were blooming a couple months ago.  But, here I am nurturing the many Daylily plants in my garden.  I really never  thought about how many I have planted through the years.  And, there are a lot.  Close to 30 different varieties.  For the most part, they were purchased when on sale.  I know the  last four are from a local nursery that went out of business.  And, before that another nursery was having an end of season sale and that was four more purchased.

I have kept the original plant name tags through the years.  And, it has been like a walk through time trying to correctly match the tag to the plant.  So far, there are only a few that I have no idea of the name.

About half of the plants have started to bloom and I have documented eleven with names matching the picture.  This will help me have a history of the Daylilies.  Each of these photos I have taken in my garden during the past few days.











As more flowers open each day, I will add them to this list in another blog post.  So far, I think Pomp and Circumstances is my favorite followed by Persian Market .

I recently realized again the power of working in my garden is that it is a very nice way to live in the moment versus dwelling on unpleasantries of the past.                             
                    Forward Thinking has become my latest term to add to my Mind, Body, Spirit vocabulary !
Whistling my way through my garden (secret-I can't whistle!) listening to my very own tunes.

Today , Smile at someone you don't know !

Mary

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Hotter Days Ahead And New Plants

The weather report sounds like it is going to be in the high 90's for the next 10 days, at least.


It makes me so sad that every time the California news comes on the TV we are reminded of the horrendous wildfires that are occuring in so many parts of the state.  And, the fires caused by use of fireworks makes me feel very angry.  What are these people thinking ?  Obviously, not much about personal responsibility and danger to others property and life !

The decline of civil responsibility and threat of global warming is a deadly combination.

Time to get off my soapbox !
Yesterday when I was out and about I bought some plants for the front of my garden where I had the mishap of planting Gomphrena 'Fireworks' that did not work out for me.  I did not realize that they were self seeding and not a perennial.  They had the potential of looking great.  But, I do not have much luck with self seeding, maybe because of the terrible soil conditions. This is a little photo from my garden last year before the demise !
So, I surprisingly, found Pennisetum Setaceurn plants that looked vibrant and healthy. And, I was able to buy six plants.  I had never noticed this decorative grass in the past. It is described as an upright showy shrub with colorful strappy leaves with long variegations in cream, green and red and in late summer produces long purple tassels that rise above the foliage. Interesting?
And, it also is called 'Fireworks' !  What are the chances?
 So, I set them in the raised flower bed behind the border of Yellow Stella Oro Daylilies.  I think this might be a winner.
The sun was bright when I took these photos.  Sorry for poor quality.
 Healthy - Huh ?
Do you see the old clay strawberry pot on the left. It is heavy and in all the years I have had it I have not found a settled place for it.  So, I am turning it on it's side and I will plant something that flowers nicely . Maybe, with planted flowers spilling out of it the looks will be interesting.  Trial and error.  That's the way my garden rolls some times.

Hope your Weekend is going Lovingly.

Mary

Friday, July 6, 2018

Not Much Time

I must get out and about today and take care of errands that I have been neglecting to do day after day.  The list is long but importantly, I want to pick up some garden soil and mulch in an effort to start working on healthier soil in the flower beds.  Some are pretty good but others are AWFUL - just clay between rocks !  Frequently, I am amazed that I can grow anything ! I think back to the many gardens in my past that had naturally great soil.  It was heaven and I didn't know it !!

Now, just a couple photos of a new project that I have wanted for a long time.  It's a Blue Bottle Tree. I have had a nice small wine bottle holder for in the house that I haven't been using so let's put it in the garden.
It is hanging from a Shepherd's Hook that I have used for windchimes or hummingbird feeders in the past.
I like it.  The metal design is so nice but I would like it taller with more bottles.  In reality the blue color is brilliant among all the greenery and whatever is blooming in the White Garden.
The Gladiolus and Hydrangeas are starting to bloom.  They are so pretty.
 More and more Gardenias.
Double White Hollyhocks
Everything is growing so well.  Sorry I can not take a nice panoramic photo.
The Fig tree is huge !  And, loaded with fruit.  August is usually the time they can be harvested.
Sometimes it is hard to believe that I have planted all these plants.  And, usually only One Gallon plant size to start.   Hard work but lots of fun and gratification. No master plan,  just creativity at the moment !

That's it for today . Gotta Run !

Mary

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Are We Having Fun Yet

And, who is having the most fun ?  The Caretaker or the Recipient ?  And, who is the Caretaker and who is the Recipient ?

This all started when I became aware of Feline Environmental Enrichment . Have you ever heard about it ?  So, so, sorry for another question ?   Some scientists and veterinary feline researchers have decided that indoor cats would be happier if their environments were adapted to simulate a more natural setting of stalk-and-pounce as their big cat ancestors encounter in the jungle .  In three days WE (Ivy and Me)  have mastered this new activity. This procedure can help prevent overeating, boredom, and other objectionable behaviors in cats.

Look at all these mice !
When it comes to feeding your cat why serve them human-style in a Bowl?  With this clever feeding system you can place the cat food in the "mice" and hide them around the house.  They look like common prey, stimulating natural hunting and eating patterns.  Your cat will hunt, play, eat and rest until hunger strikes again. 

At the beginning of the learning curve I was thinking that filling and hiding these mice may be more time consuming than I want.  But, when I saw Ivy hunting and playing with the mice before eating the food I changed my mind.  It is quite entertaining and she doesn't look for her food bowl or come to me to be fed.  She even went into her cat carrier to get a mouse, brought it out and then shook it so the food would fall out.  


Additionally, she has been a lot more playful and is more tolerable  of me loving on her.  She is sitting on my lap for longer periods of time before saying "I'm out of here" !


I fill them all at night time and hide them.  In the morning I will see the mice that have been moved and empty.  And, she is not waiting for food when I get up.  It is important to have fresh water for her daily.  I do not see any reason why I would not continue this feeding system.


I have never had an indoor only cat before.  And, recommended cat and dog care have certainly changed through the years.


For now, I think all bases have been covered and taken care of for Ivy and - - - my purse strings are closed !


Love the Special Ones in your life!


Mary

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