Friday, August 28, 2015

NOT FOR THE SQUEAMISH





Well, you learn something new every day!

Although we did just fine the whole time we were in Mexico, within a couple of days of our return, Hubby and I were both having tummy issues. We didn't touch any of the street food while there, and our hotel had a reliable filtration system throughout, so we're thinking we must have met our Waterloo at that giant travel stop our bus took us to on the way back to Mexico City, where we shared a sandwich.

So what did we do when "La Turista" hit? Why, we took some Imodium. What else? That stopped the trots, alright. In fact, it stopped everything, for days! After it finally wore off, Hubby gradually went back to normal, but I was right back where I started. So, of course, I took more Imodium.

This cycle kept repeating itself, doses getting closer and closer together, for two weeks or more -- with headaches, chills and night-sweats getting added into the mix towards the end. After a horrid night, I wound up dozing on the sofa yesterday morning, and awakened to find that Hubby had actually punched the doctor's number into his cell phone and was holding it to my ear! Presumptuous little twit. Be that as it may, I am a wee bit grateful, for not only did I end up getting both antibiotics and probiotics, I learned a very important lesson.

Come to find out, our bodies actually developed the ability to hurl and spew for a reason. What is that reason? To flush out harmful bacteria. And, what happens when we take OTC meds that stop those two things from happening? Well, those little buggers stay trapped inside. And multiply!

Now that I think about it, I may have heard my sister-in-law-the-nurse discussing this very same thing awhile back, but didn't pay much attention. Why not? Well, because I'm Super Becky, that's why -- the one who never gets sick. Doh!

Oh yeah, guess what else I learned? You can also take prophylactic antibiotics when you travel to places where La Turista is a known issue, to keep you from getting it in the first place (Double-Doh!!) -- something we might be wise to consider for the upcoming Epic Sudanese Adventure, no?

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

OFFICIALLY SICK OF SUMMER

It happens around the end of August/first of September, every year. One day I'm fine, the next I've suddenly had my fill of Texas' searing summer. Getting away to the coolness of San Miguel was marvelous, but it made readjusting to the heat and drought when we came back even more difficult. When I checked the 10-day weather forecast last night and saw an endless string of temps in the upper 90s/low 100s, without a chance of rain in sight, I dropped my head into my hands and moaned "I just can't take it anymore!'

Therefore, I was more than a bit shocked when I stepped outside for my morning walk and found it to be much cooler than I was expecting. Not only that, there was a fresh dampness in the air and I just wanted to suck it in and fill my lungs with it! And then, oh my, I spotted this.


The Texas Sage, which I have been watching like a hawk for weeks, and which had not a single blossom on it yesterday, had suddenly burst into full bloom!


Now, some people swear it can predict rain, but I think it's safer to say it responds to shifts in barometric pressure. So, maybe it's still not going to rain this week, but something is afoot. And it gives me hope. Maybe autumn actually is on its way.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A BUTTERFLY BONANZA

There used to be a wonderful horticulture program at Richland College in Dallas, with amazing greenhouses and demonstration gardens, and I was lucky enough to spend several years studying there before they shut it down. The most spectacular thing I ever discovered there was a plant called Butterfly Vine.


They had a plant sale there every year, and my Propagating instructor had taken some cuttings from that vine and potted them up, so I bought one. She warned me that it might take several years for it to get "butterflies", but I thought it was worth the wait. Unfortunately, the year it finally came into bloom, we got transferred to Houston.  I hope it's making someone else very happy these days.

I searched all the nurseries in Houston, but never came across it again, and more or less forgot about it. Then one day, three or four years ago, I stumbled across a plant by that name and put it in this bed downstairs, hoping it would eventually cover that section of porch railing.



Unfortunately, all it ever got was a few insignificant yellow blooms each year, but no butterflies. I came to the sad conclusion that there must be more than one kind of Butterfly Vine, and mine was the wrong kind.


So, imagine my glee when I stumbled into Gardenville Nursery over in San Marcos one fall, and discovered a massive Butterfly Vine growing right there on their shop trellis, covered in these!


You see the "butterflies" start out the lime green color you saw above, but then turn sort of a coral-ish bronze, and finally self-preserve right there on the vine to a parchment-like texture. An older vine covered in swarms of these? Well that's truly something to behold!


I asked them if they had any for sale, and they told me they had earlier, but they were all gone. However, they planned to take some more cuttings just as soon as they had a spare moment. I kept checking in, again and again, and finally brought one home about a year ago. Guess what I discovered right after planting it in a big pot upstairs? The original vine, downstairs on the porch rail, had a few butterflies on it! And now, just a year later, the new one does too! Could life get any better?


Yes, apparently so, cuz earlier this summer I wandered into a Lowes or Home Depot, and discovered a tableful of Butterfly Vines, covered in blooms, while still in their pots! I guess the commercial growers finally figured out how to grow these things! So I bought one more and planted it on the left side of the trellis below, to balance the massive coral honeysuckle on the other side and give us year-round interest, since the honeysuckle peaks in spring/early summer, while the butterfly vine peaks late summer/fall. Best of all? So far the deer haven't bothered any of them! (knock on wood)


Can you even imagine? Not one, not two, but three Butterfly Vines in full bloom here, a couple of years from now? SQUEE!!!
 

Monday, August 24, 2015

JUST ONE THING

Wrapping up the subject of our San Miguel adventure, if I had to choose just one thing that I loved most about this magical place, what do you suppose that would be?












Why, its color-madness, of course!

Silly question, right?

Friday, August 21, 2015

ONE THING I LOVE ABOUT MEXICO...

Happy Blouses!


Happy Blouses make me a Happy Girl...


Thursday, August 20, 2015

GOT WARTS? WHAT YOUR DOCTOR MIGHT NOT TELL YOU

Over a year ago I developed a huge callous beside the nail on my pointer finger. Since that hand is always holding a pen or paintbrush, I wasn't too surprised or concerned. But then it started working its way around the entire cuticle bed. Now that was weird! So, when I went in for my annual check up with my dermatologist last summer, I pointed it out to her. "That's not a callous, that's a wart." "Can you get rid of it?" "Well, I can freeze it for you." "Does that hurt?" "Yep." "What's plan B?" "I can give you something to put on it." "Sounds like a plan!"

I went home with a prescription for salicylic acid, and instructions to apply it twice daily, and be sure it only touches the wart, not the skin around it. Well, I had to use my spastic left hand to apply it, so that's easier said than done. Guess what? It hurts like hell when you put it on normal skin. Plus, she didn't mention that once the acid dries, your finger appears to be covered in a mound of crusty white aphids. Not attractive! I put up with this poop for a year, and ended up no better off than when I started. So, when I went back for this year's check up I told her "Enough of that. Just freeze the darn thing!"  "Oooo-kaaay. But, when I do that, I have to do it every three weeks." "Are you kidding me?" "No. Warts are very resistant. Especially these cuticle warts." "Well forget that! I know what frozen skin looks like. My husband has to have it done all the time. I'm better off just living with the wart!"

She finished up my exam and was heading to the door when she paused and turned back. "There is one other thing you could try." What, amputation? "You could try putting a piece of duct tape on it." "Duct Tape?""Duct Tape. There have been studies, and it seems to work," she said with a shrug and a smile.


I followed her instruction, cutting a piece just large enough to fit over the wart itself. When I took it off 48 hours later, the wart was all but gone! At first I was elated. But then I felt like screaming and punching something, or someone. Why didn't she tell me this last year? Would she really have let me go through with having it frozen every three weeks if I'd agreed to it? Why didn't I figure this out myself? I should have known! Why? Because two or three years ago I ended up with a plantar wart. Felt like I had a rock or marble in my shoe all the time, but was actually just a teeny-tiny dot on the bottom of my foot. I did some research on the nets and found one study that compared the satisfaction rates from people who had tried everything from surgery, acid and freezing to duct tape. Guess which one got the highest rating? Yep, Duct Tape! I put a little piece on my foot and the relief was almost immediate. A short time later, it was gone. Unfortunately, my brain just never connected the dots between that tiny speck on the bottom of my foot and this big ol' crusty mess on my finger. DOH!!!