Archive | June 2014

Plastic surgery

Susan

Mmm. I thought the mention of my having a little “work” done might make someone curious. I think the issue of having a surgical procedure done to try to stall the aging process brings up some philosophical issues about vanity, at least for me. But my eyelids had become rather hooded and I didn’t like the way they looked. Vanity! I had a procedure done called blepharoplasty: excess eyelid is removed. Anyway, I had already decided to have the procedure done when lo & behold, Medicare paid for it! I think my eyes look better. I am anxious for the sisters to see my eyes and give me their opinions. Hope they approve because can’t be undone.

Ground Covers

Sarah

Shade loving ajuga.

Shade loving ajuga.

Asparagus fern

Asparagus fern

 

 

I’ve been gardening for a long time, and most of what I’ve learned has been through trial and error.–Mostly error.  If you’re looking for a list of invasive plants to avoid, I’m your source!

One of the things I’ve finally realized is that something will grow in most soils.  A lot of the things that will grow are undesirable.  We call these WEEDS.  You know the old adage, “To give up a bad habit, you must replace it with a good habit”?  It’s become apparent to me that exposed soil must be covered with something desirable to avoid the alternative.  I’m always looking for ground covers–something attractive that will cover the soil so weeds can’t flourish.

One of my favorite ground covers for shaded areas is ajuga also known as bugleweed.  It has a spike of small blue flowers in the spring which is pretty under your trees.  It’s very hardy and generally pest free.  I also use a lot of asparagus (springeri) fern which will tolerate sun as well as shade.  I love maidenhair fern but have a really hard time keeping it looking good in the heat of the summer. I’m trying a new ground cover called green and gold (chrysogonum virginianum).  It’s recommended that it be planted in partial sun or dappled shade.  So far so good.  There’s also a form of Mexican petunia which is a ground cover that spreads slowly.  The other varieties of Mexican petunia (Katie ruellia) are very invasive.  I think that will not be the case with this variety.  It too has a purple bloom.  A couple of others include wandering jew and wood violet although wood violets have a tendency to come up in the lawn.

My goal is to one day have my beds filled with what one master gardener called thrillers (something that catches the eye), fillers (good background plants) and spillers (those things that fill the beds and give them that natural but tended look).    Guess I’d better grab my gloves and get out there!

In Search of Flexibility

yoga-childs-pose

Sarah

Have you ever tried to gather and coil a garden hose that’s been lying neglected in cold weather.  It’s stiff, not pliable and hard to handle.  That’s what I felt I was dealing with at my first yoga class.  At one time I think I was fairly limber, but I’ve lost my suppleness, my flexibility, my litheness.

My favorite pose was savasana!   (That’s always at the end where you lie on your mat totally relaxed.)  However, the instructor said something I really liked:  “This is not a class of joyless striving.”  That’s good news because “joyless striving” does not sound like fun.  I was encouraged to return to child pose (above) if holding some of the positions was too difficult for me.  Actually getting into some of the positions was too difficult for me!  I may spend quite a bit of time in child pose.

The studio is very pleasant and well equipped.  There were six participants in the class which lasts about 70 to 75 minutes.  I would guess that half of the class is about my age.  I sort of regret giving up the Bikram yoga a few years ago.  Maybe I wouldn’t feel like that old garden hose, but I’m going back Wed. and becoming a yogi!

Staying Cool

Sarah

Since we’ve started writing this blog, I’ve become interested in other blogs.  One of the first ones I visited is theforestfeast.com.  The writer, Erin Gleeson, is a food photographer–beautiful blog.  Her blog mentions several other blogs including smittenkitchen.com where I found a recipe for a deliciously refreshing drink.  I served it Sat. evening to three friends.  I enjoy sitting on my patio in the evening and just assume that everyone else does too.  I have to keep a can of Off handy, and it’s pretty warm, but that makes this drink all the more delightful!

Frozen Coconut Limeade

2 1/2 c. crushed ice

1 c. coconut milk

1/3 c. fresh lime juice

3 T. sugar

Combine ingredients and whip in blender until about the consistency of a frozen margarita.  Garnish with a slice of lime.  Best served with a straw.  For those who’d like a little zing, add a jigger of rum to each glass.  Serves 6-8.

I’m cooling off just thinking about it!

Apple Cider Vinegar

Crotons fed with apple cider vinegar.

Crotons fed with apple cider vinegar.

Martha

So sorry to leave that post unfinished…I am a klutz when it comes to all tech matters… As I was saying, I want to share an organic gardening idea that I learned from the DirtDoctor.com.
I add 1 TBS of apple cider vinegar to 1 gallon of water (or less), and use this on all of my house plants. This same mixture is also recommended for plants in the garden such as azaleas and roses. Give this a try.  I think you will notice a good difference.

Yoga

Sarah

I’ve been looking for a yoga class.  I visited the Y and the city Recreation Center.  The Y offers a class that meets three days a week at noon (weird time), and the Rec Center has a class that meets Mon. evenings.  Somehow the Y wasn’t appealing to me.  Too busy?  Too many people?  The Rec Center’s schedule is too limited for me.  I decided to check online for an area yoga class  and was pleasantly surprised to find one!   The instructor teaches hatha yoga in her home studio.  Hatha yoga teaches yoga postures.  The participant should leave the session feeling longer, looser and relaxed.–Sounds good!

More good news:  I just read in O, The Oprah Magazine, “A Harvard study found that among a group of adults between ages 25 and 55, those who meditated and practiced yoga for about three hours per week over the course of eight weeks showed significant increases in gray matter of the left hippocampus, which helps facilitate our ability to store information and recall it later.”  Wow!  Yoga may compensate for my replacing coffee with green tea!

My first session is Mon. at 5:30.  Looking forward to it!

 

Swimwear

Sarah

Buying a swimsuit at any age is pretty traumatic with those full length mirrors and unflattering lighting, but buying one when you’re approaching the age of 70 is daunting indeed.  There’s just not enough fabric to hide what should not be revealed–even to my own eyes!  But that’s where I found myself this morning–in the dressing room at Academy.

I bought my seasonal pool pass yesterday and began water aerobics this morning at 8:00.  When I donned my 15-year old swimsuit before heading to the pool, I realized that one of us was past our prime.   The only remedy was to replace the suit!  After all, altering my body is a lengthy and expensive process. I needed a much quicker fix.  After trying on about 10 suits (different styles, different sizes), I bought one.  I must admit that the styles are more varied and easier to wear than the last time I shopped for a swimsuit.  You can still buy a bikini, but the two-piece style with the top that covers the midriff (an absolute necessity) is a good option.

The class is great–refreshing and a pretty good workout.    I’m checking out yoga too, but tomorrow I’m heading back to the pool –in my new swimsuit!

Travel

 

                             tomatoes

Others will enjoy my garden while we’re gone.

Susan

I am running around today getting ready for a trip my husband and I are taking. We leave soon for Normandy to visit the site of the D-Day invasion.
WW II history is my husband’s passion and we are finally going on a trip that he has talked about doing for a very long time. We are not big travelers, my husband works a lot and has never been willing to take long vacations . For some reason I am kind of a homebody. I do like to go places but I fret about my pets and my yard and so have not complained too much about the absence of big trips. Our children have had some wonderful trips and I guess I have been content to hear about their adventures and say, “Oh, we will do that some day.”
Well that day is here. I know that many of you have traveled a great deal, and I honestly believe that travel is broadening. The opportunity to see how other cultures do things, eat the foods and see the sights must cause an individual to view the world differently, with a greater appreciation for the peculiarities and
charms that are encountered. I have been studying my French for how to say,
“Where is the bathroom?”…..”Ou sont les toilettes? ” or ” Je me suis perdu.”….
I’m lost. Mostly though, I am learning to ask for food and wine. Hopefully, we will have many more trips together if I can ever convince him to retire.
Au revoir!!

Rain

Martha

Wasn’t that a great rain!  I’m not sure how much rain we got Tues evening, but as a gardener I am always aware of how much watering I need to do. My preference is to use organic methods and products.  I try to keep the flower beds covered with organic mulch and apply organic fertilizers.  And for the first time I can use compost from my compost pile.  My main source for ideas and advice is Howard Garrett, the Dirt Doctor.  Check out his website at the DirtDoctor.com. Well, I had better get outside, the weeds appreciate healthy soil too.

Susan

Unlike my sister, I never forget my sunglasses.  I had some “work” done recently and have been unable to exercise for about a week.  I was able to return to walking last week and have not missed a day since.  I worked out with a personal trainer for about 4 years, I was trying to get in shape for our daughter’s wedding, and then kept at it because our two sons got married the following summer.  (Was trying to have decent arms for the sleeveless dresses.)  I quit last October because I seemed to have other things that needed me more, grandbabies, and it was rather time consuming.  Like the bikram yoga, you had to shower afterwards.  I do miss it.  The trainer was excellent, and I believe his training has enabled me to do things with the babies that I might have struggled with otherwise:  like getting up off the floor holding an infant, carrying a 2 year old everywhere because she wants me to, carrying both toddlers because they want their SuSu.  Impossible to resist that request!  Anyway, I do realize that walking is great, but something else is required to keep the other muscles going.  I’m not sure what I am going to do, maybe yoga.  I considered joining a gym but I visited one that opened near my house and could tell pretty quickly that I would not utilize it.  If anyone has ideas about this, please share.  And at some other time I will share about the “work” that I had done.