Thursday, May 22, 2014

Pre-garden report: There's a lot of death out there.

I'm sad to report that this last year's winter wreaked havoc on my gardens.  Truly, the list of death is long.  I have a few on the MIA list, in hopes that some warmth and sun will coax them from their nap.

The obituaries:
Tickseed- Surprisingly this one is an Ohio native. It was the only new perennial in the new front beds that didn't make it.
Soapwort- Near the front bed.  I've had it out there for years.  Not anymore.  :(
Lavender x 2- In the herb garden, under the windows. The herb garden seems like it took the brunt.
Thyme (regular)- Herb garden death.
Lemon thyme-  Ditto.
Parsley-  It didn't return for its second year.  Again, herb garden.
Oregano- I always have a ton of that stuff.  Another herb garden fatality.
Sage- Toasted in the herb garden.
Rose of Sharon- An enormous chunk appears to be dead on the "tree" that I've spent years pruning.

The MIA's-
Butterfly bushes x 2- In the back butterfly gardens.  These are the enormous butterfly bushes.  One stood at about 11' tall and the other at 9'.  I'm hoping that they just died back to the ground.  Rare are the times that they do that, but I'm seeing no signs of life, though I have a few little leaves on my third one.
Butterfly weed- Again, the butterfly gardens. No shoots.
Black Eyed Susans- Still, more butterfly garden MIAs.  I see no sign of them in one particular bed, whereas they are getting larger in another bed.
Midnight Sage- Under one of the suspected dead butterfly bushes.  I've seen nothing.

I'm going through on Monday and clearing out the known carcasses.  I do have some lavender that reseeded, so I need to see if it is one plant, or a few different plants.  I may be able to dig those up and transplant.

I have one remaining thyme plant.  I'll have to replace the lemon thyme.

On the other hand, I'm blanketed in Lily of the Valley.  Started with just a few shoots, and it is taking over.  I use it as a ground cover, as well as periwinkle.

I'm sad.  If those butterfly bushes didn't make it, we'll replace them.  I admit that it will be no easy task.  They are so large that the stumps would benefit from being pulled out.  I don't know if our backyard could support that with the lack of space.  Hubs and K bought those for me when she was just a year or two old.  They've hosted a great variety of butterflies.  We've had butterflies through that weren't even native or even close.  :deep breath:  I'll have to reconstruct a lot.  There is a mom & pop tiny little nursery down the road.  They aren't pretty from the outside.  They are pretty basic, but I purchased a lot of perennials for the front beds there last year.  They sell coal during the winter and plants during the spring and summer.  The combo makes me chuckle.  :)

Here's to hoping that God himself resurrects the MIAs.  I'm kind of sad.  We'll see if we see more this weekend.

Here's to hoping that your gardens came through better than what I'm finding here.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Would you find your own behavior excusable?

I work at an art gallery.  I've discussed this before.  Sometimes I've discussed customer behavior.  Guess what we'll be talking about today?

Behavior that I encountered at work today and out in public can be rather horrible.  People don't care about people a lot anymore.  People fight to get in lines.  People feel that their child didn't get an evenly cut piece of cake and that Jimmy's was bigger than theirs . . .

First we'll discuss what my mom encountered.  My mom is pretty polite.  She really doesn't intentionally do anything to cause harm.  Mom still looks at the world through rose-ish colored glasses.  She really tries to do nice things for people.  I'm not saying that my mother is perfect, but she's a nice lady.  This weekend was the big soccer travel tournament down south where they have property on the river.  They've had issues with said tournament visitors in the past.  My parents rope off the edge of their property, have signs up all year that say that it is private property and so forth.  There is a dock, a boat launch a couple of trailers, a port-o-loo during the summer for JUST them and a beautiful picnic pavilion.  Folks don't care, tend to treat it as the public park and help themselves.  They have great neighbors who shoo the people away.  As my mom and dad were politely asking people not to park on their property, a woman blew a gasket on Mom.  They went on about how my mother needs mental help . . . because she asked them to park somewhere else.  They asked what gave her the right, she said that the deed to the property in her name did.  The guy went on to tell her that they "misappropriated funds as it was clear that she should have spent it on mental health."  The woman was going on about how the lawn needed mowed and how she should have Chem(ical)Lawn come because she does and her grass is perfect.  (It had rained and my parents were waiting for the grass to dry to mow it.  It had been mowed the previous week.)  The people were horrible.  They did move, though.  Later, a woman came over and apologized profusely.  This couple has the habit of doing this everywhere the travel soccer goes.  The lady asked my mom's forgiveness and said that she heard the whole thing.  Poor mom.

Today I had a woman ask for something with fish on it.  She gave me no other details.  I showed her earrings.  "Those are infantile." Okay then.  I kept showing her other things and finally after the 4th snide remark, I asked if she had been to our store next door.  "No, not yet."  "I do believe that they will have a better selection more in line with what you are looking for."

I had another lady come in, needed the bathroom but proceeded to first tell me, "I'm making a HUGE purchase next door and needed to use the restroom."  "We're happy to have you use it even if you are just looking around."  I checked later, her HUGE purchase was $700.  Now yes, that is a lot of money, but HUGE for us involves multiple thousands.  The last person I had pull that same line on me spent a HUGE sum of $24.  Yes, if y'all are snotty to me and tell me that you are spending HUGE amounts, I'm going to be nosey to see what you spent.  She did come back in later to tell me that she either drank a lot of water or got very nervous about all of the money that she was spending and had to use the ladies again.  "Water is wonderful for you to drink," was my response.

I had a guy make me chuckle.  Not a rudeness thing, but he had asked what kind of deal I could give him.  "Oh, I can't do that, but if you put the hat on, I'll pay you a compliment."  Later on, my coworker complimented my quick thinking.

I chant to K all the time, "Do you find your behavior excusable?"  I wonder if people out in public switched roles, would they treat the one helping them as badly as they do?  Let's think about that the next time we interact with people.  We all have a behavioral glitch from time to time.  I'll be the first to admit that I have.  I try not to.  Customer service operators aren't to blame because the phone doesn't work.  Sales people aren't to blame if the store ran out of what you needed.  Often, they are the ones who take the brunt for something that is not their fault.

Let's be gentle with one another, okay?

Sunday, May 18, 2014

She ran and she ran.

I've discussed how my SIL is a marathon runner.  Today, she ran her 8th (if I'm counting right) marathon.  We've been to 6 of 8, only missing Disney and Paris.  We've seen her run Chicago twice, Boston (2007), NYC, Marine Corps in DC and now Cleveland.  She is an amazing runner and we are very proud of her.

She fell slightly short of her goal today.  She wanted to run 3:45 or less to qualify for Boston in the spring.  She was running 3:43 right until the last bit that required her to run on bridges that had a pretty incredible incline AT THE END.  Poor thing.  She missed Boston qualifying by 1:50.  UGH!

She just ran Paris 40 days ago.  She ran 3:49 there.  In Washington DC/Marine Corps Marathon, she ran 4:09 (thanks to an 8 minute line at the loo.)  Since October, she has shaved some significant time from her run.

Bless her heart.  Run, Kristin, run!