Thursday, August 12, 2010

Random comments

The good news: The temperature outside around 70 Fahrenheit and relatively dry.
The bad news: The air conditioning in my office with non-opening windows is busted, leaving current office temperature at about 82 degrees and humid, probably to rise over the course of the day.

The good news: I'm getting in about 3 miles of walking every day to and from the train station to work.
The bad news: I've fallen back into the habit of pigging out on junk food in the evenings, which more than nullifies any benefits from the extra walking as far as weight loss goes. I'm sure that the walking is still good for my health, though.)

On an unrelated note, I am tired of wiping up after folks who can't hit the toilet accurately in the men's room. People would be well-advised to remember the following little jingle from my childhood:

If you sprinkle when you tinkle
Please be neat, and wipe the seat

(I apologize if this was a case of TMI.)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Going to seed

The garden that I take care isn't looking so hot these days. It has an abundance of plants that flower in spring and early summer. It doesn't have nearly as much that thrives in mid to late summer. When you add in the fact that it's been relatively hot and dry for the past two months (at least by Massachusetts standards), and that I prefer to avoid heavy watering unless the plants look like they are in danger of actually dieing - it all adds up to a garden that looks somewhat wilting and ratty, in addition to lacking many flowers.
In the picture directly above, half of the green comes from weeds (mostly goldenrod, the tall ones with numerous small leaves). I don't have the heart to rip them out when they provide greenery and little yellow flower spikes as well.

A big patch of tradescentia plus heat and lack of water plus neglect equals a matted mess of dried up old tradescentia plants.

Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum), with its lush leaves scorched brown by too much sun and not enough water. The yellow fruit has matured, though - the entire plant, including immature fruit, is poisonous, but the mature fruit is supposedly fine to eat (I haven't tried it myself). This is really a shade plant, which I unwisely planted in almost full sun. It does great in the spring and very early summer, then gets scorched as the weather gets hotter and drier. This has happened every year for at least 5 or 6 years - this year is just a little worse than usual.

Purple coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea), mostly past their prime and starting to go to seed. These may be the best self-seeding garden flowers that I have ever seen. Each individual plant seems to live about 2-4 years, but no new plants have been added to the garden for probably 15 years or so. All of the plants growing there now are self-seeded.

It may be a "lazy gardener's technique", but I have no problem with letting weeds that I consider attractive grow in parts of the garden that are thin on proper domesticated plants. This is a clump of milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), with not yet opened seedpods near the top of some of the plants. It will come as no surprise to most gardeners that the weeds, whether desired or not desired, have tended to cope with the heat and low rainfall better than most of the cultivated plants!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Yes, I'm still alive. I just left blogging for a while because 1) I felt like I had nothing meaningful to write, and I couldn't even think of decent comments to make, and 2) I was growing obsessive about reading other peoples' stuff and was spending way too much time on it. I may not have much of a life, but even I have other things that I need to spend time on.

A lot of my mental energy over the past few weeks has been spent wrestling with my Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, my old "friend" that has dominated my mental outlook for most of my life. If anyone reading this has an anxiety-type psychological disorder, or even another kind of psychological disorder, there's a good chance you'll know what I'm talking about when I mention how exhausting it can be to wrestle with my OCD. Obsessive hopes and fears swirling around in my brain, the same things over and over again but not losing their emotional force and power, me sometimes trying to fight it but often just giving in because I don't have the mental energy to constantly fight. They are a constant distraction through all my waking hours from thoughts and activities that might actually be useful to me. I would go into more detail, but I don't have the time or energy.

One upshot of my OCD is that driving has become a very anxiety-inducing activity for me (long story), so I have been looking for ways to reduce the amount of time I spend behind the wheel. One such way is taking the train into the town where I work, even though it isn't that far away. Taking the train actually takes twice as long as driving, but it does cut down on the anxiety. It also gives me exercise walking about 1.5 miles to and from my workplace from the train station.

The garden's looking a little ratty - I haven't been doing enough weeding. Of course, the lower than average rainfall and higher than average temperatures for the last month and a half or so haven't been helping its appearance either.