Christmas in February? Or Maybe Even March? How About April? These Blossoms Bring Out the Spirit Even If They Are A Bit Confused

March 8th--The first of the yellow buds to open.  It's just the palest of yellow with a bright pink stamen.  The pinks are still going.  Their flowers seem to last a long time.

March 8th--The first of the yellow buds to open. It's just the palest of yellow with a bright pink stamen. The pinks are still going. Their flowers seem to last a long time.

April 1st--And it's no April Fool's joke.  This is a single blossom on a plant that was in full bloom before Christmas.

April 1st--And it's no April Fool's joke. This is a single blossom on a plant that was in full bloom before Christmas.

It’s just the most pleasant Saturday morning. It’s crazy, but every weekday morning when I have to pull myself out of bed, I tell myself, “Wait ’til Saturday,” knowing that I’ll be able to take Annie out for her morning “ablutions” (damn, I thought that word was spelled with an ‘O’, I guess I got it confused with “abolition”, ha) and crawl back into bed for another round of sleep. However, it seems that each week, by Friday, I’m ready to get myself into bed at a normal person’s bedtime, so Saturday morning, no matter the weather, I’m fairly awake and the warm bed doesn’t pull me back in.

There are never enough pictures of Annie!  She "sits" with the Christmas cactus.

Feb. 28th--There are never enough pictures of Annie! She "sits" with the Christmas cactus.

This Saturday morning is no exception. It’s quite pleasant outside, not warm at all but fresh feeling and fresh smelling (the air, not me–yet), but there are some clouds in the north that look as if they might bring some showers or, perhaps, keep the day on the grey-side. However, even the prospect of rain didn’t push me back under the covers, so while my coffee was brewing (Saturdays and Sundays only), I got all my plants–inside and out–watered.

Most of the time I have no plants inside, but late in December, because I was going out of town for the holidays, I brought in my Christmas cactuses, most of which were already in full bloom, although the flowers in each pot were in varying stages of being at their peak: the nearly white one had already passed its best moments; the fuschia had many blooms but some had already dropped off; the new yellow one, which I had just bought at the Farmer’s Market, was completely aglow; the true red one, which may be my favorite as a Christmas plant, had buds that were just starting to open; the smallest one, which comes from pieces that have dropped from the others, had the tiniest of buds on the ends of its leaves.

One gorgeous, but lone blossom.  This red plant was in full bloom right after Christmas.  This one came back out of jealousy, I think, because of the pink.

Feb. 28th--One gorgeous, but lone blossom. This red plant was in full bloom right after Christmas. This one came back out of jealousy, I think, because of the pink.

When I returned home ten days later, the Christmas cactuses looked a sad lot sitting there on the window sill, except for the red one, which is perhaps the hardiest; there were just a lot of dried-up blossoms hanging from the plants or already dropped onto the sill and floor. Even the little one had lost its buds, the ones I had been so curious to know what color (or wishful thinking–what colors) they would be. After about a week, even the Christmasy red had finished its blooming. “So that was that,” I said to myself, thinking that I would have to wait another year for the colorful show that these small plants make just once a year.

Feb. 28th--The yellow one has some buds too.  They are much slower to open than the others.

Feb. 28th--The yellow one has some buds too. They are much slower to open than the others.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, as I was watering them, I noticed something on the small plant that hadn’t bloomed. “Were those little nubbins on the ends of some of the leaves buds?” I hoped. “Or maybe just new little leaves.” But in a day or so, I could see for sure. Buds! So thinking what else I could do for good measure, I stuck in about half of one of the Miracle Grow fertilizer sticks that I had found hidden away. And just to be fair, each of the other plants got a piece too.

christmas-cactus-bloom2

Feb. 21st--Taken with the still setting on my Everio Camcorder because my digital camera has decided to go retro and take pictures like it's the 60s on LSD--not bad quality for a camcorder still, huh?

Now here we are, February 21st, and this small Christmas cactus is giving out its happy show of color! Theses are just the first blooms, there are at least 10 more buds in varying stages, that will be opening in the weeks to come. And as if not to be outdone, both the yellow plant and the red on either side of this one have buds, though just a few. I’m anxious to see the yellow blossoms again, because I never really had time to appreciate them in December.

It’s amazing really, how nature will surprise us, and give us so much joy.

It’s these surprises and differences in nature that always seem to wow us. Why is it when it comes to people, so many of us search for those that are familiar and those who are most like we are, and tend to push away the ones who are different?

Why is it that we don’t find joy in the amazing differences that others have?

Feb. 28th--This bright pink Christmas cactus is just going strong.  No blossom has even dropped off since they started opening more than a week ago.

Feb. 28th--This bright pink Christmas cactus is just going strong. No blossom has even dropped off since they started opening more than a week ago.

Advertisements

Maneuvering the WOW (A Short Film with No Intermission)

They have a lot of roundabouts in Europe, but, comparatively, there aren’t so many, of what many of us call traffic circles, on this side of the Atlantic. I remember one of the first I ever encountered in a car was in Sheffield, England years ago. I had a hard time maneuvering this circle, not only because I hadn’t ever had to traverse one before, but I was also driving on the left side of the road for the first time in my life. Whatever I did was obviously wrong because other drivers started honking at me, something the polite British seemed to rarely do.

This is the WOW at Westcott and Washington. I see some drivers, who themselves obviously haven’t encountered very many traffic circles before, trying to make their way around it, deciding which lane they need to be in, and finally figuring out which street to exit on. I’ve seen some get so confused that they go all the way around it before realizing that they are back where they entered the circle. I’ve seen semi trucks crunching up the curb and squeezing out cars. I’ve even seen a few fender benders and almost have been in more than one because drivers in the other lane try to make a fast move into mine. Even worse is that very few drivers pay attention to the yield-for-pedestrians-in-the-crosswalk signs, some of them even “gunning” their engines because, despite seeing the man and his little dog, they want to beat him to the crosswalk so they don’t have to wait for them to cross.

Most people that have lived in Memorial Park area for some time really like the roundabout. The WOW works so much better than the old intersection of five streets, where cars backed up at the never-ending red lights. Not only that but the traffic circle adds character to the neighborhood, especially with its old Live Oak tree (which came through Hurricane Ike practically unscathed) standing majestically in the middle.

Even with some near misses and encounters with a few arrogant drivers, I like the WOW too; thus, I’m using it as the setting for one of my first attempts at making a little video on my very recently purchased Everio camcorder. (And by the looks, I still need a great deal more practice.)

OK, So Let’s Try Something New . . .

I think I got the short stick when it comes to any technological genes, but I try to work around that disability.

Santa brought (and Santa bought himself) a JVC Everio camcorder, and now he’s finally trying to learn how to use it and upload to the computer and youtube. Bit by bit he’s learning.

Tonight Santa finally got something uploaded to youtube (even though it’s supposed to be like “so easy”. Probably for “all others” it might be.

Anyway, this is a bit of a snowstorm from Christmastime in Kansas, just a couple of weeks ago.

Holiday Gifts For You (From Triptotheouthouse)–Wishing You All A . . .

merrychristmas

The thermometer says 48 degrees this morning, probably not very crisp for some of you in the more northerly climes, but a mighty big change here in H-town from the 80 degrees that my car thermometer read about 7:30 last evening.

With my green sweatpants and red jacket, I probablylooked a little like one of Santa’s elves when I took out Annie for her morning “go” at 7:45 this morning. I guess the grey, colder weather had made us both stay snug in bed and not want to get up at the regular 7. Anyway, it’s still cold enough that there’s a “Christmas-y” feel in the air, so I’m in the midst of wrapping presents to put in the car for the drive up to Kansas. The trip is on the long and boring side, especially during this time of year when everything is brown and a bit bleak, but Annie makes a good traveling companion, even when we have to get out at a rest stop and find some grass for her with the north winds whipping at us. But, hey, that’s gets us more in the Christmas spirit, right?

Santa Claus brought me an early Christmas present this year; it’s a JVC Everio camcorder. Supposed to have easy upload of videos to youtube; I have no evidence that it’s easy yet. But the techno-geek gene is not part of my DNA make up, so hopefully with more reading of the manual and more trial-and-error, soon I’ll be able (or later) to put up some of my own videos here.

For now, I have a couple of Christmas gifties (I really like to write the word “gifties” but I would never actually say it–hmm, on second thought, maybe I would) for you, my blog readers. (I know somebody must at least look at my blog because the little “ticker” says that there have been more than 11,000 hits since I started it at the end of July).

Here’s the first one. It’s a video I found that somebody made with the music from my still favorite group from Spain–OBK; the vid itself is from the old TV show “Queer As Folk”, which you may not have seen before because it was on Showtime. Now you can watch it on Logo TV if you get that on your cable. Anyway, this is called “Ultimatum”, just another one of OBK‘s songs that I like (I don’t have this CD yet), and makes me get up from the computer chair and start to dance. I hope it’ll make you do the same! (Listen to another one of their new ones–Tal Vez–on my Vid Box on the right side bar.)

My second present for y’all (I like to say “y’all”, but I hate when I hear people from other places–like California– that have no right to use it using it) is a recipe for some easy Christmas goodies. The name may be a bit deceptive, but my mom made these when I was a kid–so they’re very “old fashioned-y”, and I still make them sometimes. If you want to make something that’s really homemade, that everyone will like, and and that doesn’t take a lot of time, try these. Most of the ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen.

Boiled Cookies

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup milk

3 tablespoons cocoa (I like Hershey’s)

4 tablespoons butter or margerine

1/2 cup peanut butter (crunchy is great)

3 cups quick oatmeal (not the microwave kind)

1 teaspoon vanilla

(optional: 1/2 cup chopped nuts)

Boil the sugar, milk, cocoa, and butter for two minutes. Remove from heat. Add peanut butter, oats and vanilla and stir well. Use a teaspoon and drop them onto wax paper or a silicon baking sheet. Let stand at least 1/2 hour or until dry. Store in a air-tight container. (But these will probably get eaten up before you can store them!)

Have yourself some safe and happy holidays.

lights