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Archive for September, 2008

Grandma’s Cactus Bloomed

Grandma Lassonde’s cactus blooms if it gets enough sun.  It bloomed before in my back yard, but placing it in the sun became very difficult.  The trees have closed the canopy.  I live in an urban forest.

After John died, I cleared his stuff off the small deck in front of his work shed.  The deck is one of the few remaining sunny places in the back yard.   The three pots of Grandma’s cactus sit on the old patio table on the end of the deck.  One branch from each of two pots had a flower bud.  Flower buds on this type of cactus look like pussy willow buds.  One of the buds finally grew a long flower stalk and bloomed.

One day I should try to find the name of this cactus.  My Mom brought her pot of Grandma’s cactus to Colorado, wrapped in lots of paper in a box in the back of the van (along with a Christmas cactus.)  We are not certain where Grandma got this cactus, or when.  It was not there when I was a child.  It grows fairly fast and has lots of ‘babies’ – side branches that break off and root easily.  Grandma used to say that it took a long time for a baby to mature enough to flower – 6 or 7 years.

The cactus plants (3 pots of Grandma’s. and two pots of cactus I grew from seed — one of which is now nearly 3 feet tall)  have to come indoors before the first frost.  So do cuttings of my favorite amazing coleus.  Last winter I kept cutting in soil and cutting in water.  Each keeping method worked equally well, but the water-based cuttings were somewhat easier to care for.  I may just use that method this coming winter.

Amazing, isn’t it?

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Door to Door

I don’t know how things are in your neck of the woods, but around here, Obama is the favorite.  On Labor Day weekend I did a door-to-door walk of a street in one of my precincts.  (I am an area coordinator for the party, so I have 6 precincts, and since I am a newbie area coordinator, I got 3 precincts that are “unstaffed” — no chairs, no vice-chairs, no volunteer lists.  I have never door-knocked alone before.  Generally, John would “tail” me in the car, carrying supplies and — this is really nice — would drop me off at the top of a hill and pick me up at the bottom of the hill. 

I talked with about 8 households, and left calling cards at the rest.  Only one household was pro-McCain.  Or perhaps the better description would be “anti-Obama.”  My impression was there was a latent racism.  The issue the two women had siezed upon was a hoax news column, purportedly written by Maureen Dowd, saying that Obama was getting $200M from “the Arabs” for his campaign.  The article is a racist smear and a lie, of course.  I printed out the Snopes refutation http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/donations.asp for them, and will probably mail it to them.  Doubt it will change hearts and minds.

Several days after my door-knocking (which was focused on searching for precinct volunteers), I received a call from one of the homes where I left a calling card.  The caller asked for voter registration information.  This was the day after Sarah Palin’s “speech” at the Republican convention, and I was quite interested to know what had fired up this previously unregistered woman and who she wanted to vote for.  So, after telling her how to get registration materials (public libraries, post office, MVA, etc.), we talked for a bit.  She was enthusiastically for Obama, and determined to vote this year.  She couldn’t understand what McCain had in mind, picking Palin.  (Arm candy is my take.  She clearly is adding the only fizz there is in his campaign.)

So, there you go.  Cast your bread upon the waters (knock a few doors on a summer afternoon) and look what happens.  The door above is not one of the doors I knocked,  but it was a candidate for one of the 5 photos I submitted for the company calendar contest.  It, well, it was a runner up, a Ms Congeniality.  I do think it will be an inspiration for a quilt.  If I ever get the time to quilt. 

That is to say, I may have a few more commitments than I should.  I just added a children’s handbell choir to my list.  This past weekend, Denise and Celia and I, assisted by several other volunteers, worked every Mass for new vocal choir members, new handbell choir members, ESL teaching volunteers, and ESL students.   Eight children have signed up for a children’s handbell choir (grades 4 through 6).  We have not had a children’s bell choir at St Jude’s for a number of years.  It’s going to be interesting.  I plan to start them on tone chimes, partly because they are too short for the bell tables once the foam is on the tables.  Tone chimes don’t need foam, which drops the whole operation down by 4 inches.  (Also, tone chimes don’t break, dent or tarnish the way brass bells do.)

This has nothing to do with doors, nothing to do with ESL or handbells, and shape-wise, is vaguely reminicent of a tipi made of tone chimes. This is one of the 5 photos that made the cut for the calendar submission.  It is, in fact, a tipi sculpture.  It is located at a rest stop on Interstate 90 in South Dakota.  I took the photo on the drive with Mom and Dad from Minnesota to their new home in Colorado.  It was a difficult drive for my parents, and I was lucky to be able to take any photos, since I don’t create well when stressed.  The photo was taken just a little over a year ago.

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