lblanchard: (swannfountain)
The third of the conjoined triplets of H. papilio has a new leaf. It was an almost invisible dot early this morning, but now it has substance. (Edited to add: it also has fungus gnats, but I have pyrethrin spray. I am considering absolute chemical death -- hey, it's an indoor plant so it's not going to hurt any bees, and if I age any runoff I collect it's going to degrade and won't hurt any fish.)

I biked to my bone density scan this morning. It was a little challenging, probably because my legs are still tired from yesterday. Tomorrow I'll do miles and miles of flatlands to recover.

It is stinking hot and humid -- a good day to clean files. Or perhaps to go back and tag all my 2014 LJ entries. And back up my LJ on dreamwidth.
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Actually, it's not a terribly nice day for a bike ride, but I'm ready for one so I'll do one at lunchtime if I get enough work done.

Wednesday I had hopes of going out but life happened and I wound up working until the first hobgoblin showed up.

But yesterday I took my creaking knees out for a brief ride to a meeting and oh! were they happy afterwards. I'm determined to get at least a few miles in today -- if nothing else, a run to the Wal*Mart for greek yogurt and cheap coffee.

I'm a little bemused by some of the Hurricane Sandy aftermath things. On the plus side, we have New Jersey governor Chris Christie working side-by-side with president Barack Obama, which is a good thing. On the negative side, we have utility crews from Alabama being turned away because they don't belong to some union. We have the head of Staten Island blasting the Red Cross for being slow with aid. While I'm no fan of the Red Cross, I remember a whole lot of FEMA officials standing up in disaster planning meetings in the past and saying folks are basically on their own for the first four days because it takes that long to get aid into an area. On the other other hand, I can see the frustration of the Staten Island folks when they see that New York Mayor Bloomberg is going to go ahead with the New York Marathon. And I can see the determination of Mayor Bloomberg to show that New York is open for business.

Meanwhile, I'm good. The only hurricane un-prep remaining is putting the plants back outside, just in time to get zapped by the first frost, due here this weekend according to Wunderground.
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Exercise: 5.5 miles on the bike, 1.3 miles on my feet plus an hour standing around at a party. Not terribly strenuous but better than being a couch potato.

Food: a perfect day on program. I guess I really have lost my appetite for sweets. The Historical Society of Pennsylvania threw a party for its head librarian's 20th anniversary, and the President spent the entire weekend baking the entire spread -- cakes, cheesecakes, cupcakes, pies, and cookies. I'll pause to let you get your arms around the concept of the president of a big cultural organization personally catering a staff party. I admired the look of the items, enjoyed the scent of the items, and had absolutely no interest in picking up one of the items and eating it. I had a bottle of water.

Callus maintenance: three times up and down the fretboard plus a couple of tunes. Say 45 minutes. I have a band-aid on my left ring finger, down by the nail, because I have an Evil Hangnail that may be slightly infected. That does not contribute much to dexterity. Last night was also the first time I'd played the Martin since we ripped apart the downstairs to accommodate the dining room work -- say two weeks. After two weeks on the beater guitar I really noticed the difference. I guess I won't put it on Craigslist quite yet.

2.5 out of 3 ain't bad.

Someone asked Tommy Emmanuel what his favorite chord was in a Reddit AMA. He replied with a Soundcloud file. It's an E maj 9 and he says "yummy." I have played a muddy version of that chord on the beater for the past couple of weeks -- it came out clear as a bell on the Martin. Yummy...

http://soundcloud.com/tommyemmanuel/fave-chord

(It's the real reason I've been playing all those cheater chromatics -- to strengthen and stretch my fingers so I can play a chord that has a four-fret spread.)

My stepson the Guitar Hero is coming up with his family in early-ish December, so I have a goal -- be able to play for two hours without raising blisters. We'll jam with him playing real stuff and me playing simple chords behind him. Hard to believe that when he was a stripling I was teaching him...
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It was sputtering when I got to the Asian grocery this morning and raining gently by the time I got home. Now it is raining in earnest. But I got my ten miles in so I feel quite smug. Also, I got a couple hours work in while waiting for the ocntractors to deliver the oak flooring for the dining room. It needs to spend a week getting used to our house's microclimate before the ocntractor puts it down. Farewell old nasty carpet. It was supposed to be stainproof but anything that fell on it left disgusting black spots that not even an immediate attack with the rug shampooer would budge.
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I got up at 5:15, was caffeinated and dressed by 6:00, but lingered with yet another cup of coffee and didn't pull out of here until 6:35. Which was ten minutes before sunrise but not the magic I wanted. There were three cars in a row right at the corner, waiting for the light to change. Bikes whizzing by. People getting into their cars on Christian Street and revving their engines right in my ear. Big noisy trucks delivering sodas and fatty snax to the little stores. In short, it was Business As Usual before sunrise.

Still, I did make it down to the Delaware River, and the two miles I rode vaguely north on the bike path along the waterfront were pleasant enough. I went across town to the Schuylkill via Spring Garden Street, which has a bike lane, and then turned off on some park roads that are very much the roads less traveled at any time, doing a pleasant eight miles in the park with trees and grass and eighteenth century country houses (Mount Pleasant and Laurel Hill among them), and then rode home past the Art Museum along the Schuylkill River Trail, which is mostly used by bike commuters and serious joggers at this time on a weekday. I didn't see even one of the hated double-wide strollers with leashed dog attached.

So...almost eighteen miles. Two hours less some stops to take pictures, wait for lights to change, search the sky for hawks, etc. Nice. And I came home and did 35 sit-ups.

When I finished my sit-ups and headed for the kitchen, I could hardly hear myself think for the whining of a news chopper overhead. One of the last of the drug dealing families had a dispute a few blocks away, dangerously close to three elementary schools, which fortunately harmed no one but the intended target. Given the location of the shooting I would say the guy almost certainly deserved it. The shooter gets no points, though, as the target was wounded in the back.

Meanwhile, on the windowsill, the Class of 2012 is acting as though it hadn't been pulled out of its previous pots by the roots. Go me.
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This morning's bike ride: 20 miles, including some hills. I'm still not speedy. Average speed was 10 mph, but that includes being stopped in city traffic, etc. I came home and did my sit-ups and am slogging through some work now. But 20 miles! I substituted a couple fairly level miles for the piece of the Mansion Loop with the Short Sharp Hill of Doom out of consideration for my left knee.
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I am thrilled to report the emergence of the first four seedlings from the pollination of Schlumbergera truncata 'salmon NOID,' a holiday cactus of mine, with Schlumbergera truncata 'Madisto,' grown from cuttings given to me by [livejournal.com profile] clindau when she was here for the Flower Show.

The pollination happened on or about December 16, 2011, and I sowed the seed about a week ago.

Woot!

In other news, there is a pair of mute swans on Edgewood Lake at FDR Park a/k/a The Lakes -- I saw them when I went on my morning bike ride. Perhaps they've been here the whole time and simply haven't been out when I've been around. There were swans for a couple seasons, then I saw none last spring.
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Monday's long bike ride turns out to have done a number on my left knee. There were loud and scary snappings, cracklings, and poppings most of the day yesterday and some evil pains. I limped around the house with the assistance of a walking stick.

Only the fact that I was out of glaucoma meds could get me out of the house. The Walgreens was six blocks away. The first two blocks were most unpleasant, but the knee gradually eased up, pain-wise, although it was a little unreliable and produced some twinges. This morning it is better pain-wise, but quite stiff and I feel a swelling behind the knee. This is familiar territory. I will walk a little this evening and do some gentle bike riding, on level ground, tomorrow.

I followed through and sowed the Schlumbergera seeds yesterday. Since the pod ripened earlier than the last one did I don't know what to expect, but I'll give them a month to do something. They're smaller than I remember the Class of 2011 being. That class sprouted in 20 days, so I think I should expect some action by September 15-20.
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I have concluded that there is absolutely NO cross-training effect between cycling and walking. How else to explain that after a day or two of walking and a day off my muscles were weak as water?

Well, it was terribly humid and close, which may have had something to do with it, and it was mid-afternoon before I managed to haul my reluctant self out the door.

Despite feeling decidedly unathletic, I did tackle the Mansion Loop, 6 miles and more hills than I usually do, including the Gazebo Hill of Doom (a short sharp shocker), and then did the 9.5 mile drives loop. That plus 4.5 miles to get to and from home and that's a respectable distance, even if it did take me two hours. (See: hills. Also: stop lights. Also a pause under a bridge during a shower.)

I gave away seven members of the Class of 2011 part 1 to a neighbor last night and tossed the rest without feeling terrible guilt.

Today's adventure will be the planting of the Schlumbergera seeds I harvested yesterday. I have bored holes in a salad container and am dampening some seed starting mix.

Although I've played at least a little every day, I've done less callus maintenance than I should be doing and I felt it after playing about ten minutes last night. Back to the woodshed for me!
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It's 98F outside. I'm very glad I had my bike ride this morning, when it was only 85F.

Roasting chickens were cheap at the ACME supermarket this weekend, $.79/lb, limit two. Also large eggs, $.99, limit one. On my way back from my bike ride, I stopped in and bought two chickens and a dozen eggs. And nothing else! Go me.

I spent a bit of the afternoon Google-stalking Tommy Emmanuel yesterday. I found one bit in an interview that made me giggle. He and his brother discovered Chet Atkins when they were young, and were sure that the Great and All Powerful Chet would never use a cheater, aka a capo. So they struggled with Windy & Warm in c-minor, which is an epic struggle I can't even contemplate. Fast-forward to 1980 when Emmanuel finally met Atkins and they were playing together. Emmanuel suggested W&W and The Great and All Powerful Chet said, fine, capo up to the third fret.

Gotcha. So I played Windy & Warm with my capo on the third fret, too, yesterday and again today. So there. Linda Cohen is probably rolling over in her grave, but too bad for her.

I wasn't careful and I have blisters on my fingertips. Too bad for me.
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Last weekend Roy and I did a 12 mile bike ride that included soldiering on through an almost bike-stopping headwind. My knees complained bitterly. Next day I took my bike to the bike shop, hardly enough ride to mention. I got it back Thursday, again barely enough ride to mention.

So I decided to take it really really really easy this morning, and did about seven purely level miles, in a lower gear than I usually ride. So far so good with my knees.

Perhaps after a week of baby rides I will dare to crank it up a notch.
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$850 later we nave a spiffy new water heater that heats more water, faster, hotter than the old one. The old one was 15 years old so we were due. I'm just glad it didn't blow up and send 30 gallons of sludgy water over the basement floor.

Nothing to do with most of my plants except pray over them right now, but I have done a couple of little things lately.

2012-02-25_01xmasflame


A few days ago (Friday, 4/26, I think) I consolidated all my bits of Schlumbergera 'xmas flame' into one pot. Darned if I didn't break off a great huge honking branch in the process, so I now have four more little bits than I'd expected. I let them cure for a couple days and yesterday I stuffed them into the pot as well. If they root, and there's no reason they shouldn't, I expect to have a splendid full pot of orange-y flowery goodness next November/December. Next up for consolidation is [livejournal.com profile] clindau's 'madisto.'

I also potted up the pineapple today. The roots aren't as long as they were in the pictures for that website [livejournal.com profile] karenkay found for me, but something inside of me said that it's time.

Yesterday Roy and biked down the Lakes and then tied up our bikes and walked around the smaller of the lakes. It was good exercise and we saw spring springing -- elm trees leafing out and such-like. But no sign of the swans -- I guess a fox got them or something. I came home and heeled in the big canna that my neighbor Sybil gave to my next door neighbor, who has forgotten all about it. (That's okay -- she announced her second pregnancy yesterday and she's due on her son's second birthday, so she probably has a lot on her mind.)

Slowly, slowly, I am starting to entertain the notion of chucking all the Hippeastrum that may be infected with the dreaded mosaic virus. Which means the old Trader Joe plant, the Apple Blossoms, and the entire classes of 2006, 2009, and 2011. Ummmm. Maybe not...but I don't want my new and exotic crosses to become infected. Sigh.

This morning I woke up at about 4:00, dozed until 5:15 or so, and then came upstairs. I got some significant office-cleaning done and large quantities of old files tossed into the recycling bin. (I also packed up all Civil War History Consortium files in a box since that account is dormant.) With the decks cleared, sort of, I was pretty productive despite being punchy from insufficient sleep. I expect to sleep well tonight and work hard tomorrow.

*Yawn.* Need toothpicks to hold up my eyelids. Must.Have.Coffee.
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Yesterday was so much fun that I think today I'll ride down to the Wal*Mart by the Delaware, via. the natural foods store, and buy my summer yoga pants and some whole grains that I can use as cat grass. The skies are a little threatening, so I may change my mind.

Meanwhile, both of my hippeastrum pods are definitely starting to split open. I will give them another day or so in case the seeds are still ripening inside the pods, and then I'll see what I've got. The 'papilio' x 'emerald' is so heavy I've had to stake the stem.

Roy has pointed out, not terribly gently, that there's a hippeastrum population explosion around here and something will probably have to be done. Indeed, and I plan to reduce two windowsill planters to a measly five bulbs, possibly as early as this evening. Virus being a problem, the remaining bulbs will be discarded and the soil sterilized in a 350 oven for a couple hours.

This morning I did something I had been putting off since last fall -- I re-potted the Nopalxochia. An internet friend, a nurseryman, had warned me that I could expect to find nothing but muck at the bottom of the pot after the plant's meltdown last summer, so I'd been dreading the experience. Today I unpotted it and found....healthy, sweet-smelling soil shot through with live roots! So much for my internet expert friend. But I refreshed the soil at the bottom and sides of the pot, watered it in, and think I may keep it indoors this year and see what happens.

I'll want to remember one of these days, so I should comment that on Monday, April 17 Roy and I pruned our curly willow severely. That is to say, we cut it off about 6" above the level of the soil in the pot. We are hoping to have a curly willow shrub. If not, we will have a nice big pot to use for something else.
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Been a busy few days since I updated last.

my exciting week, let me tell you about it )
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There are only two springerle left in the cookie jar. I have new flavorings and a cookie cutter for the Amo Te heart. And Roy is off looking at train pictures with the guys. Imperfect but [one hopes] tasty almond springerle will happen tonight and tomorrow.

I have cleared most of the horizontal surfaces in my office in addition to those in the kitchen. I am determined to roll the whole batch tonight and bake them all tomorrow afternoon, after church.

In other news, it was a sunny day, not particularly cold or windy, so I biked down to deepest south philly to buy cheap cuts of beef at the Shop-Rite. Then it was off to the Big 8 for veggies and fruits. A very nice day.

Also: it appears my Yahoo! account was hacked, and I spammed addresses that haven't been current for years, so the hackers pillaged my old old old mail, bleah. I changed my password and am running a full system scan and hope that will do the trick.

Also also: five of the eleven Class of 2006 keepers are putting out leaves. A couple of them are in the habit of doing nothing and then suddenly sending up a flower scape, so I hope that's what they're up to right now. The discards are also sprouting in the basement, leaving me in a quandary about what to do about them. Exotica's offset is putting up a scape, woo-hoo. No signs of flower scapes from the Class of 2009 yet, oh well.

Now I am going to relax with a cup of jasmine tea, my crocheting, a slide show of 2010 photos, and some tunes before starting the springerle marathon.
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On an extended lunch hour today, I went to the Post Office, where my special cookie cutter for the Amo Te springerle heart mold was waiting for me. Then I went to Fante's, the font of all cooking supply wonderfulness in the Italian Market, and bought four vials of flavoring -- oils, not extracts -- almond, anise, lemon, and lavender. I have everything else I need. So I think that springerle is going to be GAME ON this weekend. I read another recipe that has another set of baking instructions -- put them in a 375 oven to set the design and then drop the temp to 300. Okay, I'm game for a trial of that method.

Meanwhile, back at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, I've been invited to become one of the bloggers on the official Flower Show blog. The dewy-faced laddie who does social media wanted to train me on the software. I got there and, sheesh, it's Wordpress. I've done my first blog entry and it's sitting in draft form waiting for his approval. The deal we struck is that he's going to provide secure storage for my Nikon so that I won't have to drag it along on the Show floor when I'm leading tours. I am hoping that I'll be able to transition from tour guide to social media and still retain the coveted access button at some time in the future.

It was a pretty nice day today, temps in the high 40s, so I biked about 8 miles. It felt awfully good.
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The coleus cuttings have enough roots that they should be potted. But when I went out back to grab some potting soil I saw bazillions of minuscule gray insects -- I would say mite-sized, so I don't want them in my potting soil. After two hours in a 250-degree oven, I would expect the mites and any other insects or pathogens to be nicely steamed.

I went to the dentist today and we decided it's time for quad scaling again. Bleah. Pain and expense.

As a consolation prize I biked down to the Lakes after the dentist's. The swans have moved from Meadow Lake to Edgewood Lake again, not surprising as Meadow Lake is starting to look more and more like Meadow Mudflats.

There was some wonderful sun-behind-cloud action as I biked home on the new Delaware River Trail (all .8 miles of it), and later I will see how Mr. Nikon did with it, as well as with the swans.
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It's blue sky all the way to the horizon, and still in the 70s at noon. I find I have a new spring in my step and am actually able to walk up and down stairs instead of hauling myself by the handrail (or letting myself down easy, hanging onto the handrail). The new exercise regimen or the weather, I don't know which.

A perfect day to ride up to Temple University to retrieve the glasses that a colleague absent-mindedly picked up and put in his pocket, thinking they were his reading glasses.

It's also a perfect day to pick up a bushel of tomatoes at the farmer's market, if Mr. Beiler found some for me at the right price point.

The Civil War folks have agreed that a quick tweak to a couple of pages will suffice, with a modest rebuild in Dreamweaver to follow and a switch to a CMS once we have a smidge of money to throw at a consultant. I am thinking about hiring someone to coach me through a Drupal install. Teach me to fish, and all...
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2010-08-23_02namethatflowerToday I supplemented my bike ride of eight level miles with a walk of about one level mile, or once around Edgewood Lake. It was good to get some weight-bearing exercise, and I didn't feel too achy at the end of it. Besides, I saw interesting things. Three common but showy butterflies -- painted lady, monarch, tiger swallowtail. A number of dragonfly-like things -- slender needle-like fellows in neon blue, and a whole bunch of those fat double-wing bombers in green and nondescript colors. Then this new to me plant, growing at the water's edge. I believe it to be Ludwiga grandiflora, a troublesome perennial on whose knees mosquitoes love to breed.

I saw a little green heron overhead, along with the usual assortment of pigeons, cowbirds, and 737s.


2010-08-23_01swansBut the real novelty is this one, a pair of mute swans. Okay, they're nothing really out of the ordinary, except that I've never seen swans on the lake before. I doubt they were introduced by the Park folks, nor by any neighbors. More likely, they're on stopover on the way south. Possibly they're thinking of wintering over in Philly. I don't know much about them. The Canada geese were keeping a respectful distance. The swans appeared to be feasting on duckweed, which in and of itself should make them welcome visitors...

EDIT: The Blackberry sucks as a field camera. From now on I at least take the Kodak!

Exercise

Aug. 21st, 2010 06:26 pm
lblanchard: (Default)
Walking does not use the same muscle groups as biking, and I had a lot of trouble coaxing eight level miles out of my legs today (EDIT: on my bike, not walking!). But I did it. That is all.

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