Category Archives: addictions

Orchids and OCD

Didn’t get another blog posted last week here on my own blog. I had two last Thursday in other places. I blogged at Whipped Out about making salsa from scratch (or from tomatoes, onions & peppers, if you can’t get any scratch (Ba-dum-ching!)), and I also blogged at To Be Read the same day. So you can go read those posts.

I was coming home from the parents’ on Thursday when those blogs posted, so I wasn’t in a position to tell you about them–and I’ve kind of been on a computer break since then.

Do y’all ever do that? Just stay away from the computer, because you know if you log in, you won’t get away for Hours, and you just have to much to do to take that much time at the machine? Anyway, I was Verra busy over the weekend–well, except for my major nap Sunday afternoon. If you don’t take a nap on Sunday, the whole week doesn’t work. So I napped. 😉

Had an all-morning doctor appt. Friday a.m., then errands–got about 6 books from library. One I think I own. Read the library book again anyway.

Saturday, I repotted my orchids–or maybe I did that on Friday afternoon. Somewhere in there. I had bought a grocery-store orchid (phalaenopsis) about a year and a half ago, and it survived my neglect over the winter in the house. (I don’t remember if the flowers are like the ones in the picture, or of they have more white on them with the purple just in the middle, but they’re similar…) This spring, it made a baby orchid on the flower stalk I neglectfully didn’t cut off. So neglect isn’t necessarily bad!

I didn’t know what to do with the baby plant, so I just left it there. And sometime in the late spring/early summer, I bought another orchid from the grocery store, because the one I got for my anniversary died. (It wasn’t potted right, and its roots rotted. I do know that orchids Have to have drain holes in their pots.) The new one had similar flowers. And I stuck them on my outside wire plant stand, watered them occasionally, and finally brought them inside the first weekend in December, because snow was predicted.

That was when I noticed that the newer orchid had new buds coming out on the flower stem I hadn’t cut off this plant either. (Grocery store orchids are usually blooming when you buy them. Don’t cut off their flower stems!!) So I decided that I ought to go to the library and get a book on orchids and see what I needed to do to put the baby in its new pot and how to take care of the things properly. I figured I was doing the right stuff, but I wanted to KNOW I was doing the right stuff. I guess I’m a little OCD like that. I tend to look up books about things I want to know how to do, and read everything I can about them. Then I try to do things right–but I tend to win more from benign neglect than anything…

Anyway, I discovered that if a phalaenopsis isn’t blooming for you, that if you let it deal with cooler evenings, down in the 45-50F range (7 – 10C), a lot of times it will put on flower buds and bloom. Huh. So by leaving the plants outside till it actually threatened to freeze, I was doing the Right thing to get flowers. How ’bout that…

I also learned that I just had to cut off my baby from its stem and put it in a pot. Since my baby had already made four aerial roots, it is a little ahead of other rootless babies–but I put rooting hormone on the stem anyway. :) And I bought a Home Depot orchid. A cattleya, but it’s supposed to make sprays of flowers, not singles. (I think they’re supposed to sort of look like the ones in this lower picture.) I’m getting brave and adventurous, branching out from the grocery-store easy-grow moth orchids…
Wish me luck with my new enthusiasms.

My 15-year-old Christmas cactus died here in the Land of Great Humidity. It just rotted. And I couldn’t keep the bougainvilleas watered. They grow GREAT in the ground, but I’m not planting a bougainvillea until I have my own house. There are some 10 foot tall bush ones on the way to the beach… Anyway, wish me luck. When/if the buds bloom I will post them.

Do y’all have any plant obsessions? Any stellar specimens? Something really cool on your windowsill? Sometimes, just keeping a mother-in-law’s tongue alive is an accomplishment…

EDIT: Actually, I looked at the label on the plant in this picture, and I think this is Exactly the plant I bought. This is Slc. Jewel Box ‘Dark Waters.’ Slc. stands for (something I don’t remember) laelocattleya, meaning it’s a hybrid. Anyway, I think this is what is on the label on the plant I bought… So. Cross your fingers that I can convince it to bloom. :)


Those of you from the South know that I am not making up random numbers to title my blog. Forty-Two is a game. I didn’t realize that it was also called Texas Forty-two, or The National Game of Texas–but I am not surprised. Forty-two is played with dominoes, and it has a little bit in common with Bridge, because the person who wins the bid chooses trumps. It has a little bit in common with Spades, because it’s a lot easier to learn than Bridge, and it is generally a fast and furious fun time.

Monday night, we had a couple over for root beer/Coke floats and Forty-two. I wound up partnering with the male half of the couple, and We Wiped The Floor with our respective life partners. First game wasn’t quite a skunking. They won one hand. The second game was neck and neck, but my partner bid two marks (we’re not purists who actually count up the points in a game–if you win a round–one shuffle–you get a mark. Period.) and I helped him win it. It’s always more fun when you’re winning.

It was fun finding a new family who plays Forty-two. In our families–both the fella’s and mine–you learn how to play Forty-two at least by the time you turn 13. It’s possible to learn it as young as 10, but really, you’re not ready for the cut-throat strategizing, or counting the spots and remembering what’s fallen–and all the bazillion rules and variations on rules and ways to bid and make a bid–until you’re around 13. I have many, many memories of family Forty-two tournaments.

Once, when I was in high school, we had gone to Yellowstone Park for a weekend, and after dark, we needed a game to play in the cabin we were renting. I don’t think the sisters were old enough yet to be in the Forty-two game, but my brother and I had learned. Except we didn’t bring the dominoes. So we went over to the Old Faithful gift shop to buy some. And the only dominoes we could find were in a travel set. Instead of the nice 1-inch by 2-inch playable dominoes we had at home, these were about 1/2-inch by 1-inch, without much thickness at all. See, you have to set your domino hand up on their edges so nobody else can see them, because it’s really hard to fan a set of seven dominoes. But these travel-sized things were so narrow, they kept falling over, so everybody could see who had the double-five or the six-four. (Which is bad. Take my word.) We eventually wound up holding them in our hands. These were small enough you could kind of line them up on your palm and see them okay, and keep everybody else from seeing them. I remember laughing a lot that night.

There is usually a lot of laughing during Forty-two games. There is also a fair amount of fist-shaking, and name-calling. (You gunky! is a popular one.) When the middle sister had finally achieved the proper age to be taught how to play, I remember that the brother had just learned a new word: Renege. And so, being an obnoxious teen at the time, he kept accusing everybody–especially the sister–of reneging. Of course, she had never heard of the word, and had no idea what he was accusing her of, and–being a touchy pre-teen–quickly grew offended. So the next time he spouted off “You reneged!” she came back with “Well, you bedogged!”

If he was going to make up insults, so was she. We still accuse each other of bedogging.

I really like to play against my father-in-law, though it’s not quite so much fun to play as his partner. He has this not-so-good habit of bidding on his partner’s hand. Or on, well–nothing. Just because he hasn’t had a chance to bid in a while. And this is despite the fact that there is no such thing as a re-shuffle. If the bid goes around and nobody bids, the shuffler (there is no deal, each player has to draw their own dominoes) HAS to take the bid. He hates the force bid–but he’ll bid on nothing anyway. Makes him easy to set.

I have more Forty-two stories. But I think that’s enough of a riff on dominoes for today. I love dominoes. The world would be a better place, I think, if more people played Forty-two, and learned how to call each other gunky and bedogger, and still be friends.

Oh. I wrote 2.5 pages Monday, 4 pages yesterday, and 4.5 pages today. Not bad.

And I think I’m going to (maybe) try to “walk to Rivendell” which is 458 miles. Which will probably take me better than a year. I did about 2 miles today. With the dog. Exhausting.

Beach reads and Bookstores

The daughter was being snide and sarcastic in the comments below, saying “Like you need an excuse to hang out at a bookstore.” But I DO! I need excuses.

Thing is, excuses are extremely easy for me to come by. For instance, “I NEED New books” is a valid excuse. Or “The new Slither Grimblethorpe book is coming out, and I NEED it!” That’s a valid excuse too. (Not that Slither Grimblethorpe is a real author. I just made that up for an example.)

Of course, there is always the “I’m going to be in the area anyway, so…” excuse. That’s the one that gets me off the island to the Big Bookstores where they actually have more of the books I want. The Hastings bookstore is closing down. It’s still in the process, which means it still has a lot of old books nobody wants to buy, and it’s not shelving any of the new books being released. Then there’s the independent store downtown, which leans Heavily toward lit’rachure and very little commercial, mass-market fiction. Or even commercial, mass-market hardbacks. There’s a used books place semi-downtown. And then there’s Wal-Mart and Target. See, it’s not the “hanging out in the bookstore” excuse I need.

It’s the Driving 30 miles to the Bookstore to get the Books I Want NOW excuse I really need. Because the new L.K. Hamilton book comes out next week. (I know bazillions of you hate what LKH has done with Anita Blake. I don’t care. I need the book. I will read the book. Probably three times before I put it down. Maybe only twice. Deal with it.)

Also, the new Julia Quinn novel comes out next week. And I think there’s also an Edith Layton. And maybe the new Jack Campbell Lost Fleet book. The Quinn and the Layton might be available at Target. But they might not be. I doubt the LKH book will be there–though it might. And I KNOW the Campbell book won’t be stocked. And there may be others I want and crave and NEED like Whoa and Darn. (I know. But I’m old. I can’t curse with impunity.) (Unless it’s necessary for a character in a book. Or I’ve worked my way up from Dagnabbit, because I’m really mad…)

Yes, I know I can order them from Amazon, or Borders or Books-a-Million online. But see, then I would have to WAIT. I am not good at waiting. I used to order the LKH books from the science fiction book club. But they would take a week to 10 days to arrive. Meanwhile, I’d go to the bookstore and sit and read chapter after chapter in the not-so-comfy chairs. I would make myself crazy with the waiting and the wanting. So I don’t order any more. I’m just going to have to come up with a reason to drive into town. Or something. So there it is. Excuses and addictions and books I want to read this summer.

While I live at the beach (sort of–it’s about 2 blocks away), I don’t read there. I sunburn in about 10 minutes flat. Or in an hour or so, if I have good sunscreen. And anyway, if I’m actually on the beach, I’d rather be in the water (which is not good for books) or walking (which usually winds up being in the water, this time of year). And if I’m walking, I need to watch where I’m going, what with the sharp shells and baby jellyfish and stuff on the beach, since I walk barefoot…

If I’m going to be reading, I’ll sit on the glider under the big magnolia in the back yard, or at the table under the covered porch, in the shade. :)

What books do you want to read this summer? Where is your favorite summer reading place?

Oh noes!!

The only commercial fiction new book store on the island–Hastings–is closing!!

Oh noes!! Or, if I want to be a bit more literary, alas and alack! There is another new book store downtown, but it’s an independent, and it pretty much carries only lit’rary books, or books about the island, or maybe books written by people who live on the island. It does not carry books that will feed my jones for fantasy, science fiction, mystery, or–most especially–romance.

Yes, both Target and Wal-Mart are on the island. (Yay! It’s been forever since I haven’t had to drive either 15, 30 or 60 miles to get to one or the other.) But their book shelves lean heavily toward best-sellers, and Target only has one shelf of mass-market paperbacks. They have another shelf-row of trade-sized books, but most of those, I’m not really interested in reading. And the Target shelf is heavy with reprints and really hard, scary thriller-type books. Those are too scary for me. (I’ve had to stop reading Colleen Thompson’s HEAT LIGHTNING for a little while, because it’s getting so scary.) Wal-Mart’s book section is two to three times bigger than the Target section, but I really don’t like going to the local Wal-Mart. It’s nastier than most others I’ve been in…And they still only have one shelf-row of mass market, now that I think about it. They do have a larger selection of romances, though…

I’m not sure how I’m going to deal with this. I used to drive the 60 miles into Amarillo once a week, but I’m crossing the causeway only about once per month, these days. I may be buying more from catalogs or on line. We’ll see how it works out.

Meanwhile, I guess I’d better get a Blockbuster card, or sign up for Netflix…We get all our rental movies from Hastings too…

Geeky Fan Girls

There is no age limit. On either end.

Hello, my name is Gail and I’m a geeky fan girl. Woman. Whatever.

So, yeah, I didn’t make it by last week. I tell ya, this dayjob is really eating into my time. Along with everything else in my life.

I did get 14 pages of Thunder in a Cloudless Sky written, enough to earn my charm this month. I think I’ve made it to the halfway point. This book may turn out to be 8oo pages. (sigh)

And I went to Austin over the weekend to try to help my parents get ready to move. They’re leaving the big city Austin traffic for a little house behind my sister’s in a little town about an hour away. I spent most of my time going through decades of pictures and sorting them into piles according to which sibling had the most kids in the picture. Then we bought photo boxes and put them in with divider cards, etc. Not hard work, in the least, though I did help carry a dining table down the steep driveway to a trailer. (That driveway is another reason for them to move–it’s hard to climb up and down that thing!)

It just so happened that this weekend in Austin was the opening weekend of the South by Southwest film festival. SXSW is more famous for the music festival part of it, but the film festival is becoming more important. I think “Knocked Up” had one of its early screenings there last year–maybe its premiere. And this Saturday night, the midnight movie was the world premiere of a film with a villain played by an actor whose career I’ve been following for a lot of years. And since I was there…

So I trekked downtown to see if I could get in to see the movie. And maybe, just in case, some of the people who worked on the film might possibly, maybe show up. Hadn’t seen anything anywhere saying that anybody would, or even might, but what the heck. I was there…

Met up with a friend who’s also a fan. Hung out on Sixth Street, listening to music and watching all the wannabes and gonnabes and already-ares mingling. And the guy showed up. And I got to chat with him a bit. And take a picture of us together, just to prove that, yes, I met Tony Curran. I don’t care that you don’t know who he is. I do. And I was such a totally geeky fan girl, I forgot 3/4 of the things I wanted to ask him. But I was there.

Try to guess what movies he’s been in before you go off to look him up on the Internet Movie Database

I didn’t get in to see the movie. They let in people with badges before they let in the peons who only want to see one thing, and there were too many with badges who wanted to see it. At one point, someone came out asking whether there was any more press, and I almost claimed to be a stringer for the paper I work for… And I found out today that I should have, and that the paper would probably have published any story I wrote about it.

I have to go back this weekend to meet the folks at the house they’re moving to, so I can help them unpack and get organized. The movie is playing again this coming Saturday night. I could go again, and get in to see it this time, and write an article next week… I’ll let you know what happens. I may be too tired. I may go back home to my island.

I saw bluebonnets today, blooming on the island! Spring Is Officially Here. YAYYYYY!!!

Long-Term Spending Habits

I got in a conversation the other day with … the fella, I think it was. We were talking about music and “oldies” and what music we had and liked back in the day–when we were in junior high and high school.

These days, the “must have” tech is an iPod or similar MP3 player. Back then, it was a portable record player, or for the really rich kids, a stereo. (This is pre-boombox days, folks. I’m old) And instead of a playlist, my friends had stacks of .45 rpm records. Singles.

I owned one. That’s right. One lone .45 rpm single. (Dedicated to the One I Love by The Mamas and the Papas) And our … you can’t call it a stereo. It was an old cabinet-style radio with a turntable in the top. It was the equivalent of having one song on an old … Walkman. Maybe. It’s not so much that I was impoverished, though with multiple siblings and a dad with a college prof’s salary, I didn’t have a whole lot of disposable income. It’s just that I chose to spend my money on different things.

This was the moment of epiphany. Because when I considered what I spent my disposable income on back in my high school days, I realized that it is exactly the same as what I spend my disposable income on Today. I buy books, and I buy earrings.

I have two massive piles of books in my office, and a rapidly growing pile on the table behind the recliner in the den of books I’ve read since the new year that I don’t want to mix with the books I read Last Year. I don’t just buy books. I buy BOOKS. Lots, and lots and lots of books. I buy books almost every week, three or four or five at a time. (I think I bought 5 at Target this week…) (Some weeks I’ll get a couple at Target and 3 or 4 more at Barnes & Noble.) (Hmm. I bought those books at Target on Tuesday, and today I ordered 4 more at B&N online…) (And I just got a second panel of books to read for RWA’s RITA contest.) (Hello, my name is Gail and I’m a bookaholic.)

And I buy earrings. I have an extensive earring wardrobe. I’ve become a bit more discerning in my earring purchases in the last…mumbledy-something years. (I’m a grandmother. You do the math.) But I own a pair of balsa-wood parrot-in-turquoise-straw-hat earrings, and I would snap up a pair of lady-bug earrings like I had when I was in high school in a New York minute. (I also have garnets, lots of Navajo silver, silver from Norway, turquoise slabs, green amber…lots of stuff.) I’m a sucker for cool earrings.

There are other things I tend to spend my money on. Office supplies–I can get all oogly over pens and notebooks. Yarns and fabric for crafting and quilting. Paint supplies. Flowering plants–indoors or out. Books about crafting and quilting and painting and gardening…though that’s back to the books, isn’t it? Thing is–all those things go back years and years and years too. I bought my first African violet when I started college. I learned to sew in high school. I took oil painting lessons in high school. And of course, I was writing things in notebooks. (Fan fiction for the original Star Trek, and for High Chaparral, which you trivia buffs may know something about.)

I haven’t outgrown my addictions. I’ve just become better funded.

Oh, and I’m still writing. We’ll be in Paris for the rest of the book.