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Friday, December 12, 2003

Succulents and mites / Cacti and scales

Succulent mites:

We found little green mites, or at least they looked like mites, on our Euphorbia meloformis. We put systemic insecticide in the soil and waited a about four weeks, but the little insects were still inhabiting the plant. Fearing that they might eventually attack some of our other succulents we decided to spray our Euphorbia meloformis with insecticide. In the past we've been able to save fern from infestations with Ortho Rose spray, and our thinking is that if a fern can survive the insecticide application nearly everything else can too. Knowing that there was the possibility that the insecticide might kill our Euphorbia meloformis we took the chance and waited. The little green mites were gone in less than a day, and fortunately our Euphorbia meloformis is doing very well after two weeks. As an additional measure of protection we put systemic insecticide in the soil of most of our other succulents.

Cactus scales:

We've had problems with scales on some of our house plants before, but scales on some of our cacti took us by surprise. I was looking at a Parodia cactus we had just bought one evening and there were little brown spots looked suspicious. I took a sewing needle and picked at one of the spots, and when it came off I knew it was clearly a scale. After checking all of our cacti we found about a dozen plants with scales. Most of our plants we were able to pick off the scales, kill them in alcohol, and clean the cactus with alcohol too. Our grafted Rebutia canigueralii though, has very fragile skin and we decided it would be better to spray it with insecticide then try to physically remove the scales. Also one of our Espostoa cacti was so badly infested that picking off the insects one at a time seemed impossible, so we sprayed it too. Again we used the Ortho rose spray, because we've had good luck with all of our house plants, including ferns, surviving the treatment. Fortunately now all of our cacti seems to be recovering from the scales very well.

In the beginning I was wondering if we had a house plant that had been the (mother ship) source for all of these scales. I went through every plant we have, and examined all of them very carefully for insects. I ended up finding about a dozen plants, mostly crotons, with web building mites, but none with scales. Of course we inoculated the house plants with mites, and hopefully all of them will survive this infestation. As far as our cacti go it is clear that a few of them came from the green houses with scales. There isn't just one mother ship cactus or one green house source to blame, but these scales were beginning to spread before we realized that we had a problem. When we bought our grafted Rebutia canigueralii I had carefully inspected it, because I wanted to make sure the central body was in good health. If it had any signs of health problems I should have pulled off all of it's babes (it's tillers) to root them as new plants. Grafted cacti usually don't live too long anyway. So, when I noticed that it had scales I knew that the grafted Rebutia canigueralii had to have acquired the infestation in our house. From now on I'll carefully check every cactus we buy for infestations and kill the insects as soon as possible, so they don't have a chance to spread.

I felt so bad for all of my infested cacti and spent several evenings picking off scales. I'm very happy that the ones that I chose to spray with insecticide are doing well too. Oddly enough a few days ago we bought a cactus, that we haven't identified yet, that has mealy bugs. Looking at this cactus in the store I thought it was only cactus wool, but checking it again at home that fuzzy stuff was definitely a mealy infestation. I haven't had mealy bugs on any plants for years. Needless to say all of these new visitors have been killed and hopefully non of them managed to reproduce and infest something else in the few hours they had in our house before we figured out that they were an infestation. It is hard to believe how often pests can come home from a green house on a cactus.

Posted by Stan on 12/12/03@07:56 PM CST ..::Link::..Whisper or Scream?

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Supernatural DREAM

I was at Tim's place, except it was much different than his condo...much bigger, but more like an old apartment building and at the same time like a very 70s groovy apartment building. He had many more rooms than his real place does, and I was sitting in a back bedroom...which was made into a sitting room...with his last "real" roommate, Jay. We were sitting on a foam sofa covered with cloth upholstery. Stan was there too, sitting on a chair or something. For some reason, I leaned over and fell to the floor. I opened my eyes, my head was on the ground, and a small child, maybe 3 or 4 walked into the room. It seemed odd, because I didn't think Tim was having any visitors, other than Stan, me and Jay (who might have even lived there). I couldn't tell its gender; it had on a red jumper and a blue shirt. It had black hair and dark, olive skin. It looked maybe Pakistani, or Iranian. It spoke to me, in perfect, non-childlike English: "Everything is going to be ok." And then it left. Then I got up, and I said, "Whoah, did you guys see that?" Stan and Jay looked at me confusedly and said, "No, what?" I told them about the child, and neither men knew what I was talking about. I realized I must have blacked out and had a vision. I felt freaked out. Then I walked out the room and into the hallway which overlooked a common area on the first floor in the apartment building. It was very 70s, with 70s chandelier shapes hanging in this vast room, orange, brown and cream-colored shag carpeting, orange toned draperies...just very 70s groovy. I then saw Tim and followed him. I wanted to tell him about the child, but Tim was going somewhere quickly and didn't have time to talk to me. I followed him into what appeared to be a public restroom, but it turned into a dressing/costume room. There were a bunch of women trying on 70s-looking coats made with colored faux leather or naugahyde and fake fur...a lot of them looked like pimp coats. I started looking through the coats to see if there was one I liked, and most of the women left. Then the dream became pornographic, so I won't get into it, but it involved a hermaphrodite and some frat boys...I think I became one of them and was performing an act on the other. Very odd.

Posted by Ann on 12/11/03@09:41 AM CST ..::Link::..Whisper or Scream?

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Ceramic Tile Boxes

I opened up my Ceramic Tile Boxes from my Eyebalm Art Object store today that Stan and I had ordered for holiday gifts. I want to keep them all now!

These are very cool. The photo doesn't do justice.

Posted by Ann on 12/10/03@12:33 PM CST ..::Link::..A Whisper Inside.

More Tim Stress

I was a stressed out nervous wreck last night. I couldn't get in touch with Tim. We were supposed to go out to eat last night. I received a phone call from his friend Julie that she had taken him to the emergency room...he had blurry vision and evidentally he had been bleeding internally. They didn't admit him and released him last night after adjusting his anti-coagulant (sp?) levels.

This is so hard to deal with.

I wish the guy had treated his health better from day one. I wish he would've listened to us and gone to the doctor when we told him to after we saw an enlarged blood vessel in his leg. There's only so much insisting you can do before it turns into nagging and before the listener becomes deaf to it. You can't force someone to go to a doctor. You can't force them to eat healthy. You can't force them to stop smoking. You can't force the country bumpkin doctors he had as a kid to properly diagnose his condition. Damn it.

Posted by Ann on 12/10/03@09:20 AM CST ..::Link::..Whisper or Scream?

Tuesday, December 9, 2003

Cactus Window

I live in an old house in the city. They are close together. In my computer room, all I can see out my window is my neighbor's house, four feet or so away. But the cactii help.

When we gave a cactus we had cultivated from a "pup" to Stan's cousins, Dave and Suzy, Suzy said she should name it. I guess either she or her daughter name their plants. I never thought of that, but Adelle in Kalifornia named cactuses. Hmmm...maybe I'll name these four.

OK, don't ask.

cactuswindow (36k image)

Posted by Ann on 12/09/03@02:41 PM CST ..::Link::..6 Screamers.

It's The Little Things

Last week I just randomly decided to do a search for "Fontographer won't work OSX" and came up with some info on Macromedia's site regarding how to get it to work in Macintosh System 10. I needed to install the Non-FPU (Floating Point Unit...don't know what it means) version, and it'll run in Classic. I've had this new OSX-based computer over two years and just now I figure out how to use Fontographer on it! Better late than never, I suppose. Now I won't have to restart in System 9 or work on my iBook to add my dingbats to Fontographer. Works great, but each time I do a major function like cut/paste/save, the darn Fontographer Icon in the dock bounces once. Won't keep bouncing, fortunately, just a single hop. Annoying. Maybe it'll take another two years to figure out how to stop its bouncing. But for now I'm thrilled. I can continue to use Fontographer indefinitely on OS X (in Classic). The thought of having to find a new font creation program (I've tried Scan Font and its relatives...can't figure the dang copy paste function out...don't like it at all) was quite discouraging.

I'm not getting a flu shot. I've never gotten a flu shot. I say save them for the people that really need them. I'm self-employed so I'm not in contact with the public much, either as a transmitter or receiver. I'm not in a high risk group either age or health-wise. If I get the flu, I can afford to be sick, I have unlimited sick days (or zero sick days, depending on how you look at it) and the only ones that'll be inconvenienced are the dogs if I can't take them out enough or customers if I don't get their orders to them in time. I just hate these 30-year-old built-like a Mack Truck type, strapping, healthy Wisconsin yocal guys who hear about the flu shot shortage and think they need to rush out and gobble up all the vaccines while they can. Typical self-centered Darwinians. Save it for those who need it. Idiots. Look out for #1. Am I the only American who doesn't think like one?

Posted by Ann on 12/09/03@01:25 PM CST ..::Link::..3 Screamers.


Yesterday, Tim was downtown picking up a prescriptions and some other products at a Walgreens. He asked the checkout clerk to double bag it, stating that he was taking the bus and would like to have it double bagged. The clerk proceeded checking out, but no sign of double bagging. Tim again reminded him if he could double bag it. When the clerk handed him his purchase, single bagged, Tim got angry and yelled at him (in what I presume would be a loud, booming voice--I wasn't there, but I have heard loud angry Tim--a rarity--before): "Just what part of double bag don't you understand?" The clerk cowered and double bagged it.

I had a different checkout clerk experience yesterday at Office Depot. I had two separate purchases, one taxable, one not. For each purchase, the clerk stated the total, each sounded like:


Um....don't they know that the more they mumble the price, the longer it takes (there was a line behind me) because the customer has to ask, "How much?" It's not like they had a cash register with a digital readout that you could see the total so you didn't need to interact with the clerk (that would've been preferable).

Why are people so damn stupid?

And of course, had the situations been reversed and I'd have yelled at my non-double bagger, I'd just be seen as a snappy bitch, rather than a forceful, rightfully angry male. As it was, I was probably just seen as deaf, as Tim would've been in the same situation. But nonetheless, the advantage of gender, and the advantage of height, that someone like Tim has over someone like me in certain sitautions is amazing.

And then again, sometimes it's not an advantage. A week ago on Monday, Tim suffered a minor stroke.

It turns out he was diagnosed with something called "Marfan Syndrome" which affects one of the heart valves. Sufferers typically are very tall, thin, not much musculature, are very nearsighted, have hypermobility (flexible joints) and long, narrow faces and crowded teeth. Well damn, except for the weak heart (to the best of my knowledge) and height, that fits me to a T too! In fact, while I was visiting Tim in the hospital last week, he had a doctor and some interns in the room with him. They were seeing if he had the hypermobility and asked him if he could pull his thumb back to touch his arm. Although they did diagnose him with Marfan's, one doesn't have to have all of the symptoms to have the syndrome, and Tim clearly was having trouble demonstrating hypermobility in his thumb.

"Like this?" He tried feebly pulling his thumb back.

"Like this!" I said, and pulled my thumb way back to not only touch my arm but go past it. I could see the doctors' eyes grow huge and someone said, "Looks like she has hypermobility," and another asked, "Are you two related?" I found that amusing. I'm all of 5 foot 3 on a good day. Tim is 6 foot 6.

Not genetically, although maybe psychicly...we seem to know when the other is calling and sometimes get busy signals trying to call eachother. And we were born in the same hospital, although we didn't meet until I was 32. And we've made jokes that the other is our sibling, as I'm more like Tim in personality than his own sisters are, and well, I don't have any siblings.

Tim is now on coumadin and is taking heparin shots. And he will probably have off from his job (he teaches Special Ed kids in middle school) for the rest of the semester. He can't smoke anymore, which I'll like, and he also can't drink alcohol, which will mean I won't be able to drink around him either out of respect...not so much fun for me. He also can't eat green, leafy vegetables that are high in Vitamin K which helps blood clot, but then again, he doesn't eat those anyway (grrrr). It's too bad it took something like this to get him to stop smoking. I also hope he starts eating healthier (except for the green leafy vegetables).

It's been a very scary week.

Posted by Ann on 12/09/03@09:51 AM CST ..::Link::..Whisper or Scream?

Monday, December 8, 2003

More Sheep

Well, I figured it out. I am a ghost. It explains why only a few people--the gifted and the damned--can see me, or hear me, or read my words, or see my paintings, while others can't. It's because to the mass populous...I do not exist.

I'm glad I got that straightened makes perfect sense now.

I am really hating society today. I am edgy and I need chocolate like a smoker needs a cigarette. What's really pissing me off is all these "experts" saying that you can't get zits from it.

I hate experts. They live in their own little expert world and their whole point is to disprove everything that has gone before them. Of course, I'm sort of like that myself, so I can't really condemn them for that. But the thing is, they totally live out of the left side of their brain. Sometimes there are things to old wives tales and fables and ancient arts like astrology. Yet you can't be all disney witch airy fairy woo woo gullible about it either. You need to know which side of the brain to trust, and that's the problem with so many people, they have no sixth sense or inner vision or awareness.

They disprove old myths with their new theories, while at the same time they go blindly along with the rest of the herd, buying into the holiday celebrations, not giving a second thought to "why am I doing this? Is this really necessary?"

A herd of nerds. Absurd.

Posted by Ann on 12/08/03@01:49 PM CST ..::Link::..2 Screamers.
By Stan @ 07:56 PM CST:12:12:03 ..::Link::..Whisper or Scream?