Monthly Archives: August 2015

Cruising 2015 Day One

I have not slept so much in a long time. It was lovely. I woke up around three in the morning on Sunday and spent some time writing up the previous day. We just lounged in bed. Boarding did not start until 1430 so we had about twelve hours to burn. My husband had been waiting for me to wake up to ask where I had packed the snacks. He had looked at me like I was crazy when I insisted on snacks the previous day. Now hungry in the middle of a strange city with nothing to eat he had an urge for some cookies and butterfinger cups.

I unearthed the munchies and we read a review for the hotel restaurant, Papillon. It is french themed and the reviews were all very good. We also figured out what dock our ship left from and I started to tag our bags. It was a quiet sort of morning. We napped on and off and puttered around. A bit before seven we showered and changed and at seven headed downstairs to eat.

The restaurant is french and the menu was also so. We sat ourselves and we handed menues that were rumpled printed pieces of paper. The waitress immediately asked us if we were ready to order. We stared at her and said no. We did ask for drinks. She swept off to get our drinks and returned and asked if we were ready to order again. About a minute and a half had elapsed and we said no again.

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The menu was very french which is to be expected with the restaurant being french. I ordered what was basically a grilled ham and cheese sandwich with two eggs on top and none of their house hollandaise sauce.  I had to ask what the sauce was. I do love how servers sometimes act as if you are a fool for not knowing the language the menu is written upon.

The food was good but it took thirty minutes to get to us. What I realized was that the wait staff moved really, really fast and go absolutely nothing done when they did it. It was kind of strange. There was also a school buss and some type of kids soccer team in the lobby. The entire hotel experience was getting a bit surreal.

We ate and retreated back to our green hallway. Once in our room we did two things. The first was to change hotels for our trip back. The husband was using his Marriott points of which he has over a million. He had picked the cheapest rooms since it was only for a night stay. However, we decided to upgrade to the Renaissance which has a private beach for our return trip. We’ll be there all day so we might as well have a better experience and a beach to play on for our final day.

With our hotel room changed and the weirdly trashiness behind us we finished packing and laid back down to nap even more. Man. I never thought I’d love naps so much. This has been amazing. I have probably been passed out half of the time I’ve been on vacation and its been absolute bliss. It is had to stay asleep at home. I always have something to do such as laundry, folding, cleaning, dog tending, plants, the list is endless. Here I can write but removed from my responsibilities right now I mostly want to sleep. Plus, the island has Team Mobile so my internet on my phone worked well and the hotels WiFi wasn’t bad.

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We checked the cruise and found out that Tropical Storm Danny, downgraded from Hurricane Danny had called for our trip to St Kitts to be cancelled. Now this was disappointing. One reason I had kept my eye on this cruise route and picked it was because of the stop at St KItts. I’m not keen on my family history but it seems a shame to not visit the island my mother was born on. Now I will miss it. My husband was more disappointed than I was. I told him that it gives us a great reason to plan another Caribbean adventure next year. He liked that.

We decided to leave the hotel around noon. Boarding was set for 1430 but everything I read said we could leave earlier and board there. Getting out of the hotel was easy. The husband just has to sign out of the room on his Marriott app and we walked out. No need to stop at the door. The previous evening we had noticed that there were cabs in front of the hotel. That made getting a cab easy and we were loaded and on the way to the ship in minutes.007

Carnival runs pier 4’s terminal. It is pretty much theirs. Our cab was waved in and baggage handlers tried to swarm us. I noticed their shirts, while read, had CS on it. That is not Carnival’s logo. I declined having my bags taken from me. Someone said, “We will deliver them right to your door.” I glanced up and responded in surprise, “Everyone’s bags are delivered to their door.”

If we had been first time cruisers it might have worked. As it was, we had to decline having our bags handled every few feet by a new face in a red shirt. Basically, you give them your bags and a few dollars. They take them to a cart and take them to the terminal for you. The terminal is a smooth walk and we have large bags with four wheels that free roll easily. We walked the exact same path they did. We had to show our boarding pass a few times and right before we went inside a lady waved us over to tag our bags. Having followed instructions our bags were tagged and she goes, “Oh” and let’s us continue on.

We wound up in the same spot as the guys in red. It is a scanner run by the pier security. This is not the TSA or customs but a local security company. There we fought with yet another red shirted man with a handful of cash that wanted to load our bags onto the belt. I was not going to pay him and he was not going to get out of the way. I did wait to head upstairs until the bags were loaded. I hate that type of shit and I never let people handle my bags. I don’t care for porters or anyone else who wants to be paid for something I can do myself and tries to take my things and force me into the situation.

The rest of the boarding was smooth as silk. We have a suit so we get to go to the captain’s lounge to register. They had our stuff ready and in two minutes we were out and heading onto the ship. At the security checkpoint I got an orange zip tie on my bag to check my cans of soda. From there we walked on and passed the two ladies to busy talking to really look at our passports. After that a man listlessly pawed at the top of my bag, took my word for my sodas, and we were on board. It had to be the shittiest security check we had ever experienced but I didn’t care. We were here!

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The next first thing we did was go and sign up for the Chef’s Table. It is limited to 14 guests, its eight courses, and catered by the ship’s chef and his assistants. We’ve done it before and it was delicious. It is like a Food Network challenge. At seventy five bucks each its a nice dinner out. Once signed up for that the husband signed up for the ships tour and then we were off to the Lido deck which hosts the buffet for lunch.

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About half of the buffet was open. We loaded up plates and settled down by a window to enjoy the view and relax until the rooms were open. Cruising is great for people watching. We were there for three or four hours watching people come and go. The seats beside us became a kaleidoscope of humanity. Ages, ethnicities, groups, came and went. It was fascinating in its own way and we were the abnormal ones, settled into our seats like stones on a hillside.

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Eventually, I noticed no one had bags anymore. I pointed that out and we went to find our suitcases waiting by the door of our room. Surprise, delivered to the door because that is cruise ship policy not something you are paying some random dudes at the port for.

The suite is huge.

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It is larger than the hotel room. It has a dressing room, a bath with a badit, entry room, a little bar, a couch some chairs, a table, and the bed. There are three closets in this thing so we were able to unpack easily and store our bags in the extra area. The husband then immediately managed to blow out one of his surge protectors. Whoops.

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Anyway, the balcony is nice. The room is ugly in that way Carnival rooms are. It looks like modern fifties with reds and oranges and the most ugly mustard yellow and white glass lights. I’m into cool colors like blues and greens and grays. I find the ship pretty hideous but it doesn’t bother me for some reason. It is well done just incredibly ugly.

All unpacked we napped again. Then dinner. We try to make dinner every night at the main dining room. It is normally amazing and the hot chocolate there is amazing. My husband remembers the service as bad and I remembered it as fine. We were seated upstairs in the dining hall which was a new experience and kept me pleasantly happy.

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It turns out that his memory is better than mine. The service was slow. We got three offers to buy bottled water but we had to ask to have someone bring us hot tea. The food was good. You can order everything on the menu if you want. They do now offer a few dishes from the steakhouse for a charge. That is a change and not one I am fond of. It catches people I notice. The notice of the charge is clearly written but you don’t expect to see it there. I listened to people around us not notice it. Even if they chose not to order it it may lure them to the steak house. I’m not a marketer and I am not fond of advertisements. That type of thing just makes me mad.

The service was slow, the food was good, and really we had no where special to be. So we ate and then we walked and eventually we went to lay down for a bit.

Having a 2230 leaving time is interesting. At 2100 is the mandatory safety briefing. That is when you go down to your assigned area where you would board the life boats in an emergency. They explain how to use the vest and that there are enough life boats for everyone on the ship. Everyone just wants to get going and the moaning and whining during the briefing is amazing.

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There is also an information show that plays in your cabin if you have the TV on that goes over safety and such things. The creepy animated crew members were a bit scary.

But, in the end it was late. We went up to get a slice of midnight pizza and went to bed.

Puerto Rico

All good plans go awry a bit. This is why I always bring cookies.

We wound up not going to sleep on Friday. It was not a plan not to sleep. The week has been so busy that we were still packing a bit on Friday.  We needed soda. Cruises charge you for sofa. They include juices and teas and lemonade and coffee but not soda. Soda you pay for. You can buy a soda pass or bring up to twelve cans per person on your carry-on. I don’t drink a lot of soda but on some days can of cold sprite is a pleasure. For some reason because I can bring it I do.

That made Friday a last minute shopping trip. I found aloe with lidocane. My husband acts as if he does not sunburn as easily. I have no idea why he enters these delusional states but he does almost every tropical trip. Only one of us has brown skin and it is not him.

We started the day having pedicures done. I normally wear boots all day so it’s nice to have someone scrub my hooves back into shape. I don’t like it so much as I’d nice having someone else do all the work. I convinced the husband to give it a try. Normally I attack his feet every few weeks but he enjoys being pampered more than I do. Something told me this world be a hit.

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It was. He also got a manicure and decided that he could get used to this.

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Now soft of extremity we finished up the day of packing and remembering to get cash. I’m not find of the ATM on the ship, is expensive. Nor do many of the little shopkeepers take cards and they are where I tend to shop. Plus I got some cookies, candy and gum.I always carry some food when we travel. He think it’s silly.

In the end I got a two hour nap and the husband stayed up. He has taken to using uber for his taxi needs. We tend to have issues with the local taxis. They often don’t know where we live our even there or city is. We live in one of the main local cities. It’s not rural. It’s six miles from the airport. Many won’t turn on the AC in the car and there is always the dreaded gas petal taping that makes the car surge and pulsate. When traveling we have had a lot of problems with shady cabs. Their meters are never on and their credit card machines never work and I really hate cabs. Every time feels like a scam.

Uber removed a lot of that with gps tracking and no money transfer between the driver and the passenger. However today when he requested a cab he got a dude he got a few weeks ago who never came and cancelled the trip after ten minutes. After two requests and twenty minutes we wound up having to have me sign up so that we could request the other driver with a SUV. He took ten minutes to leave his house. It was five thirty but they had themselves marked as available.

Finally we are on the way. The last minute jitters told me that I had forgotten my brush off all things. It could be worse. We checked in. We both have global entry cards so we qualify for TSA pre. He’s also platinum with united and 100 miles short of 1k. Hell be taking a trip to to that but I degrees. TSA pre is nice. Short lines, no bag dismantling  and shoe taking off. Regular metal detectors.  Ahh.

The time at the airport was  smooth. He had splurged on business seats as well. So nice. So much room. We promptly feel asleep but not before I learned to ask for sugar in my tea when I requested it. Business seats give you preflight drinks including alcohol. I just wanted tea.

About and hour before landing I woke up and decided to use the bathroom. The flight attendant blocked me and said I had to use the bathrooms in the back. She then saw my husband ask me what had happened and agree realized I was sitting in business. She had thought I was not because she study not recognize me. She apologized. I found it amusing because a lady who was not in business had charged ahead of me go to the bathrooms a few minutes before. Being told to go to the back of the plane amuses me still.

The airport was not fancy. Simple and clean although the faucets do not free for water which makes hand washing a pain. There was no info board as to what baggage claim had what bag. Instead a guy was calling it out as we passed. That was unexpected. But there was not anything else to direct us so I followed the advice of the yelling dude to baggage claim six.

There was a lot of hawking type service providers in airport uniforms I noticed. I guess that’s d do your baggage handling for you. There were direct transfers to cruise ships as well which is common to see in port airport that cater to cruises like this. The cabs were easy to find and to my delight they wrote destination and fee down on a slip for the cab at the stand.

It took him a minute to pack our four huge bags. We don’t skimp on cruises and because of my husband’s status on united we can each take three bags with no fees. I felt like we should make sure he wasn’t going to throw away one of the bags. It was like he did not want to give into the laws of physics and lower the back seat. Once he did the struggle ended and of we went to the courtyard Marriott.

Puerto Rico as assign most of the islands is marred of concrete buildings. Awnings and plastic that seem left over from the sixties are everywhere. There is a worn, faded feeling to the bright colors. Concrete buildings always look grim I’ve found. One does not appreciate glass until you are someplace where bars shield it from the frequent storms.

The hotel was nice enough. Not fancy but not shabby. There is one elevator and the lobby was fill of people that looked like they had made an effort to dress as trashy as possibly. I found it impressive. At check in my husband was told he had been upgraded to a suite. So when we were able to take our turn in the elevator which was to busy disgorging trashy people to let us on for a bit we found ourselves in ab very green hallway headed to our room at the end.

All I can say is their idea of a suit and ours do not match. Squeezing a couch in the room disc not a suit make. Also the toilet handle is hidden under a shelf and the tub is not a tub nor does the bathroom door lock. But it was clean and quiet so we dropped out bags and went to find lunch.

The hotel has free if slow WiFi. We had looked around and found a Japanese restraint named Osaka. It had good reviews so we went. The food was good . we both got bento box and some sushi. I got a weird roll that was salmon and avacodo with sliced mango on top. Intrigued I gave it a whirl. The sweetness of the mango was interesting but I would up picking it off to eat as a side dish. She mixed up our sodas. My husband drinks diet coke. He finds American soda to sweet. But they always give me his diet soda.

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The problem didn’t come up until we paid. After a while she came back and started chattering to my husband in Spanish. We reminded her again that we don’t speak Spanish and she switched to English to tell us that there was a problem with the card. She wanted my husband to look so he did and saw her swipe the card and the card machine say approved. Then it said “paper error”. It had no paper. He pulled up his credit card on his phone and saw five charges. Eventually they handled it by giving him cash because they could not figure out the charge back. So he walked out with almost two hundred and fifty dollars of mischarges.

We went back to our room and let our long day catch up with us.

Fall Approches

I’m leaving for a week on Saturday and I wondered about the state of my plants. I’m not overly worried. About half of my tomatoes are starting to wilt. Remember, I overcrowded almost all of my tomato planting and its starting to show this late in the season. Also, my mother under watered them for several of the hottest days last week. Combined with their huge size, over crowded conditions, and water starvation and I have a massive wave of wilted foliage washing through my plants.

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That hasn’t stopped them. I have all sorts of new tips growing and more flowers. I have no idea if they are going to be able to produce much more before the end of the season.

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I pruned a lot of dead branches. I have blight again. This doesn’t shock me. Its been raining every few days and staying steamy hot and humid. I’m just stripping away the dying foliage and the plants are focusing on growing new stuff and producing new fruit. They look terrible. I’m a bad gardener in that I don’t like going out in the hot to work on them when its light and I’m in the mood to do so. It leaves them looking trashy but they are still productive.

What I’ve learned is that over crowding does work but eventually the balance of large plants in small containers gets in the way. I should also fix things like broken hoses immediately sot hat I don’t lose half of my plants because I have a tendency to trust people to do what needs to be done or speak up.

 

Text Congestion

It will be a long time until I understand myself enough. By then, I expect it will be to late. In recent years, I’ve come to learn that I suffer from writers congestion. When I have something on my mind that is very consumptive I lose my ability to creatively write things. I can write about the problem or I can write the problem but I can rarely write past the problem.

This weekend, I’ve taken a break from many of my other activities and it has given me some free time to be productive. It is a work weekend and it is rare for those to be very productive but it does happen. Well, Friday was one of those special, hell like days that are becoming all to familiar. Saturday morning continued and I have such a huge, heaping, distorted, catastrophe of an incident to write up that its consumed all of my processing power.

I consider myself able to maintain several things at once. My creative ability takes the most out of me and it seems to be the most fragile of my mental abilities. With this huge, somewhat crazed incident at work to write, one that I started writing today and felt as if I was no where after the third page, I find my thoughts trapped by them. The path from thinking about a scene or having an idea to writing it out is just not there.

It is an oddly frustrating thing. I’d like to write but it feels as if where I write from is empty. I even think of some words to say but nothing comes out when I look at my document. Ether the spot where words comes out is empty or my head feels congested and full.

I will probably just go to bed early. That is not a bad outcome. My 3 day work weekend crams in 36 hours and it makes me tired. It may be that I am getting old but in my mid thirties I feel about the same as I always have.  I suspect its the 14% increase in work and 20% decrease in staffing that is wearing me out.

Still, I’ve thought of so much to say today for my writing projects and I’ve not been able to write a bit of it. I will be caught up by tomorrow evening so hopefully everything will be working again.

Catching Up with the Past

I am looking to buy a book published in 1967 titled, “An ABC of music;: A short practical guide to the basic essentials of rudiments, harmony, and form” by Imogen Holst. I was looking for a book to help me learn to read music. In a review on one book that taught the basics there is a very cold, scornful review written by someone who did not look as if they had read the book. They looked down on it because ‘any decent instructor should be teaching you to read music as you practice.’ I was taken aback by the ton of the comment. In this day of YouTube and internet help we don’t take classes like we used to.

Then I noticed that the date was 1999. That was a different time. In 1999 YouTube didn’t exist and downloading video over the internet was a long, exhausting, and often costly affair. But, it made me think and I decided to follow their recommendation and look into the book that they suggested. I found several used copies and I have ordered one. Written in 1967, I expect to get a perspective that will have different reasons and insights than the ones today.

As a child I could read music and play the piano. I was seven or eight when my mother enrolled me in piano lessons at my school. I went to a private school at the time and the music teacher also did lessons during the school day. At home, we rented one of the little vertical pianos and it sat in the living room. The living room was one of those rooms of fancy furniture that no one ever sat in. I spent a lot of time in there with the piano learning to play my little songs and really enjoying myself.

Making music where there was no music before is an amazing feeling. Learning to turn the shapes on a page into notes on the piano is one of the few successes I had at that age. In school, I was struggling with basic spelling and my teacher had suggested that my mother hold me back. That left the little successes that I did have more special to me.

I enjoyed music. I banged away on the piano. I was attracted to Beetoven’s Fur Elise and learned to play the first few cords which endlessly fascinated me. It may have drawn others crazy but who was I to notice at eight, nine, and ten. I played away, practicing an hour a day as my mother bid me, dreaming grandly of my simple abilities. I did not see myself in concert. I more saw myself as a character in a book with a praise worthy skill. All was well until one day I was told by my music teacher that I had to do a recital.

She made me pick a song. I would have to learn this song by memory. I’d then have to play it on stage at school while people watched me. I did not want to do this and I told her. She told me I had no choice. I had to do it. With the simpleness of youth I believed her. I did not know that you could say no to an adult. I did not think to complain to my mother. After all, I was told that I had to do this.

So, I played. I practiced. And I cried because I did not want to do a recital.

Around me, everyone was excited. This was an event attended by other parents. Other students would play their songs. It was everything. And as the days approached and my mastery of my song grew so did my fear and turmoil and the longing wish to not have to do so.

I believe my dress was white and pink. My mother has always loved pale, pastel colors and fabrics rich with flowers. My hair was done with a bow and we were to sit on the first row and wait for our turn to be called. I couldn’t tell you how long I waited. I went on stage and sat in front of the piano as an audience of strangers stared at me. My own mother was three rows back and she became the narrow focus of my world as I stared at the keys and tried to summon the music I had learned to play.

Things went well until I hit the complex part in the middle and lost my place. I floundered for a minute and manged to make something somewhat musical happen until I found my place mentally three lines down and finished my song.

But I had failed. I had forgotten a section of the song. I was exposed to the eyes of what felt like hundreds of strangers. Done, I threw myself from the stage and hurtled to the safety of my mother’s lap where I threw myself and cried the silent, horrified, shamed tears of an introverted child forced onto the stage. People thought it was cute and my mother did not scold me for not bowing and returning to my seat as I was supposed to do.

On that night I swore I would never be forced into that situation again. I would never play well enough to be allowed to stand before the public eye.  I never played properly again. My practice sessions became me staring at the keyboard until my mother told me to play. I would then strike the keys with dead, lifeless fingers, eliciting dull moaning notes. I was the same at the sessions with my teacher. My abilities disintegrated and I refused to play again.

A few months later my mother stopped the lessons. Eventually, the piano left the house, and my time with music passed with memory.  I wanted to try the saxophone later in school but I never asked. Recitals, band events, they would all haunt my desires and I pushed them aside. Music was not something that was for me. I only wanted to learn to play not preform in front of others.

Now, almost thirty years later I’ve decided to pick up where I left off. I no longer have to fear being forced to play in front of others. I am ashamed that I can not play perfectly but my mother and husband have been very supportive of my efforts. I decided on the violin because I have always greatly loved violin music. It never occurred to me that I wasn’t supposed to try learning as an adult. I only learned that after looking for help. I can’t say that I care.

Hopefully, this book will be what I am looking for. I remember just enough about reading music to make it annoying. I remember having to write out all of the shapes in music class as a child. I now know that my music teacher made us do recitals because that is how she justified her teaching. She also was the one that put on the horrid school play every year. That to was stupid and I hated being a part of it but she made it clear that I would fail music if I did not participate. Failing music was similar to going to prison as I understood it. Now I can laugh at the depths of my childhood horror. But then, then it was a serious thing.

My attempts with the violin are far from impressive. I’ve been practicing my cords and learning to work the bow and the strings at the same time. That along is enough work to leave me tired after short sessions, but even those sessions are lengthening.

I could go on avoiding music forever. I’ve decided not to. I’m no longer a small child who cannot say no to the situations they are entered into. I don’t think my music experience made me stronger or better. It was simply a part of life that I had. If I had never had a bad experience, if my teacher had been more understanding or I had spoken up to my mother some parts of my life might have been different.

My mother knew how painfully shy I was. She was the one, after all who tried to get me engaged in activity after activity only to find me huddled in a corner waiting for her to get me each time. And that painful shyness has not caused me to be a nonfunctional adult. I speak in public quite often and before audiences casually and easily. I hate it, but I took the time to over come my fear and develop a base level of competence.

One of the best parts of growing up has been learning to do the things that I want to do at the pace and rate that I want to do them. its not always easy. It, in fact, can be quite hard. I’ve also been teaching myself how to paint off and on. I’m not particularly good at it and I’ve discovered that my concepts of painting and the abilities of artists and reality are often distorted.

But, life is about moving forward. The days are not static. I continue to abuse my ears for the occasional sweet and pure note that I produce and I find myself relaxing. This time, I made the choice. It is just me and my violin, safe at my desk, tucked in my home, moving at my pace.

Now I just need to learn to read music again.

Indigo Rose Tomato – A Review

Indigo Rose from Bonnie Plants grown in Northern Virginia in 2015

Health: Hardy

Production: Prolific

Taste: Mild to Bland

Size: Small, the size of an apricot or golf ball

I got the Indigo Rose because the plant is supposed to produce antioxidants on its sun facing skin. This was a purchase for my mother who is very mineral and vitamin conscious about what she eats.

Old Nexus 5 998The plant is very attractive. Its leaves a a deep rich blue-green color. The tomatoes appear to be shiny purple-black globes and there are tons and tons of them on the plant. It is always covered in flowers and trellis of tomatoes.

005However that means it bends easily and needs a lot of structural support if it is not going to sprawl. All those tomatoes are heavy.

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The fruit itself are small globes. The exterior has as much purpling as the plant received sunlight. This tends to create a mottled effect. The purple is only in the skin. The flesh has a nice texture. It is very watery and the taste of mild and of tomato. Not stunning or particularly gripping.

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Recaging

My tomato plants have run wild. I learned that tomato stakes are useless. I won’t be using them again. However, that leaves me with an issue of how to keep some of my plants from collapsing under the weight of their own fruit.

My Better Boy was a prime example. He was tied to a stake and just all over the place. The other day, I decided to use one of my Gardener’s Blue Ribbin Ultimate Tomato Cages.

This is a system that is five feet tall and can be made larger with extra equipment. Its size is great for a tomato and the arms are detachable and reatachable. That does not sound amazing until you look at something like my indigo rose that has out grown its little cage and cannot be pulled out of it without heavily damaging the plant. Being able to move the various arms means that you can pull in stray vines when they are still flexible and give them the support to keep your plant somewhat upright.

038Tomatoes are vines. They are not bushes. They are not trees. They are vines. This means they are only but so strong against gravity and the weight of their tomatoes will drag them back down.

060Here is my indigo rose. The dark things are tomatoes. It has bent over its cage and fallen back down. The growth ends arch up but eventually fall as the tomatoes weigh them down. The plant should sprawl but the light and such is better with it growing up and its arms able to have lots of sun to drink from. Behind it you can see the cherry tomatoes. They have draped over the edge of the deck.

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These vines are heavy, heavy, heavy. The caging makes them easier to work with but some of my plants are about eight feet long now if I count their length as they drape over the deck. The first picture is the caged Big Boy and its is topping seven feet with its highest branches.

Cages keep things neater. The bars on this particular cage type allow me to tuck in all these wild branches. The nice thing about wild branches is that they keep the plants shorter and they allow other branches to become damaged without reducing the plants production. I’ve had to many tomatoes to worry about pruning them to keep them producing.

Miniature Butternut Squash

My attempt to grow butternut squash has been plagued by mild weirdness. I can’t get my plant flowers to cycle together. I keep getting females that flower and then a week later males. This has given me few chances to pollinate. I wish that I had tried freezing pollen or something.

The squash that I do have are mostly ready to be picked. They haven’t changed in size or color in weeks and today I noticed that their vines had dried up.

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I noticed that drying a week or two ago but the vines just hung there. Today, I realized that the squash were no longer attached to a living plant. The plants, indeed, are trying to start another cycle and they are failing because I can’t get the two to flower together.

I am going to have to debate just pulling the squash and freeing up the space. I’m not sure they will have the time to produce an edible fruit before the season ends.

The squash that were produced are small. They are hand sized. I figure it is a side effect of crowding and a container. I’m really not set up to grow melons and winter squash. It has been a fantastic adventure but I think I’m going to have to accept that they are not things I can produce and use that space better next year for things like onions and garlic in the big tubs.

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They are very small. The size is perfect for just the house but I haven’t tried any to see if they have taste. My squash have not been very sweet which has been disappointing. It means they are not getting enough sunlight.

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It has still been a fun project.

Problem Solving

I went to one of the two local Dairy Queens today. I go to this one because they use real whipped cream. The other one uses can spray stuff. The young lady that made my hot fudge Sunday messed up the first time.

I watched her as she got the cup, mounded the ice cream about thirty feet high. She then walked with the towering, wobbling tower of vanilla ice cream to the fridge that has the whip cream squeeze shape things. She added the extra whipped cream that I had asked for. She then went over to the hit fudge and began to ladle it over. A moment later she stopped and threw it all in the trash to start again.

I blinked and looked at my  mother who was guzzling her hot fudge Sunday down at an incredible rate. I watched the young lady start again. The container. The thirty foot high mount of vanilla soft serve. Then she went to the hot fudge and I said to my mother, “Ahhh. She did it backwards.”

My next reaction was, “How the fuck do you fuck up a hot fudge Sunday that badly?” That is an unkind wonder on my part. She may not have ever indulged in them before she started this job. People often quote movies to me and I have no idea what they are talking about because I’ve never seen it. They go, “How have you not seen this common piece of popular fiction?”

After she got my Sunday she brought it over to me and I asked her if I could use one of the drink cups for a lid. You see, thirty foot of extra whipped creamed vanilla soft serve does not fit into a standard lid. She first went and got a small cup. A kids cup. It was shorter than the mound of ice cream. But she wanted to put it on so badly and it took much discouragement to get her to not do so. “The next size up,” I said.

I had this idea that she’d just pick up the cup that was above the one she had grabbed. It was a size bigger. Instead she dithered and gently we herded her towards the next size cup. Eventually, she got it and it worked perfectly. She was to scared to put it on so I claimed my sunday from her and the cup and told her that if it went wrong it was my fault. I then topped my sunday with a perfect sized lid, thanked her, and we left.

I sometimes wonder how I’ve gotten so damn old. I asked my mother, “Did I behave that way at that age?” It is the summer and young people are getting their first jobs. My mother shook her head. My first job was working as a kennel hand at a dog kennel at fourteen. I remember problem solving. In fact, I got fired because someone was covering up for a decision they made to house two dogs in the same kennel. The dogs were housemates but did poorly in each others space. We were full at that time with only the one run open and I was told to place them in there. They of course got in a fight which I reported so that they could get care. I was told I didn’t need to come back the next day.

I also purchased the first four Wheel of Time books with the money I earned at that job.

Still, as I eat my sunday I wonder about the young lady that struggled to make it. I hope it is her first few days at work and things will go smoother. Strange requests will get easier and she will remember that the whip cream comes last.