Location: one hour from Suffolk, Rockingham, and Scarborough, United States

I'm one of the co-authors of Point of Hopes, Point of Dreams, and The Armor of Light (which, contrary to some reviews is NOT a Points novel). Proud member of CoastLine SF, Piscataqua Obedience Club, and admin for Horseboard.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Way More Impersonal than a Holiday Newsletter!

I actually enjoy several of the newsletters we get this time of year -- the ones from the Nolans are always fun. My friend Lou always writes thought-provoking ones. (Gee, thanks, Lou, after 3 weeks of daily chocolate and cookie deliveries in the office, you want me to think, too??)

This year, I didn't get Christmas cards out (you may have noticed). My handwriting is still really, really bad. And basically, I didn't get myself together, and Melissa's schedule makes it hard for her (and she's never been a card person, really).

By the way, in the country of the blind, the one-eyed woman is queen (and maybe has a certain amount of wisdom), but she still stinks at putting lights on the tree and decorating in general. Thank heavens, last weekend (the 17th-ish), Melissa decorated the tree (and made the lights look better than I had). It's a great looking little tree, very symmetrical, and she does an especially good job of hanging the glass icicles. I had decided I really wanted all our ornaments that had a sun/heat theme going on, and we have quite a few. And the two new ornaments we got this year -- one a present from one of my sisters, the other a present from a colleague -- are both gold-toned.

Yesterday was the solstice. The days are already 2 seconds longer (my racing degenerate buddies tell me that translates into 10 lengths, a good distance by an reckoning). The Johnny's Seed catalogue arrived. Today the Territorial Seed catalogue arrived. (So did another medical bill, sigh.) My gardening next year is going to be different; I need to be able to get at things more easily, actually see what I'm doing/growing, so I suspect there is going to be more hardscaping, more container gardening. I am still so profoundly grateful I got the two arborvitae out and the crabapples in during an asymptomatic period.

And speaking of those crabapples, I received the best and most unexpected present the other day. Last Saturday, I was starting to feel -- good. Not normal, but headed that way. We were going to the grocery store, and I asked Melissa if we could go to Rolling Green Nursery. Yes, I bought presents for people. I also bought myself two rosemary plants (one upright, one prostrate). Well, Nancy, on the register, mentioned they hadn't seen me since the spring. So I told her what was going on, and she was tremendously sympathetic, wished me well and all.

Monday, there was an envelope from Rolling Green in the mail. The owner, Beth, said Nancy had mentioned I had had a challenging year, and they send me a gift certificate. As you can imagine, I was in tears (again -- I do that a lot these days). What generous, kind people. But real gardeners, real plant people, tend to be.

So do dog people. My friends in Piscataqua Obedience Club stay in touch.
For the first time in years, I missed the Piscataqua Obedience Club's Christmas party. I was extremely disappointed, but I was wiped out at the end of the day (huh, so much for those fatigue levels!), and I had developed either a recurrence of thrush (horses get pretty purple ointment; we humans gets diflucan!). Everyone at POC, please know I missed you!

(Oh -- it's a cold, according to the nurses at Portsmouth Regional, so you should be glad I stayed home!)

A lot about 2005 really...stank. Radiation in November wasn't fun, but I am so grateful for the positive attitude and support of Dr. Andy Singh at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital. And the radiation therapy team -- they rock.

Once again, everyone at Heinemann turned up trumps when I needed them. I am so damn fortunate to work for such a company, with such an outstanding, kind (that word again!) group of people.

Let me give you a quick rundown of the short version Barnett/Scott support team.

My sibs. This ain't easy, but they're there. They're not afraid to ask how things are, what's going on, about procedures and such.

Ike and Elaine, Melissa's folks, visited earlier this month, and that is above and beyond, because the weather was ghastly, especially for Arkansans -- it was cold and we got a foot of snow. My parents have been dead for quite a few years; it's a great comfort to have parents again in Elaine and Ike.

My friend Jeff. I could go on and on about Jeff, but I don't think he'd enjoy that. Suffice to say he is probably my best friend in the world -- and inspired both Melissa and me to say, "Ya know, if I were straight..." Thanks, Jeff, for always checking in.

Sue Walsh. President of Piscataqua Obedience Club. Always checks in, especially since I haven't been able to make it to meetings in quite a while. And informs the club as to how I'm doing.

Susie Hammond. Another IBC survivor. A woman of great panache, drive, and determination. She calls every few weeks, asks what's going on with me, urges me forward. We met two years ago when we were both going through chest radiation (in its own way, the whole brain stuff was easier... and also a lot harder!).

Rambler. From Ottawa, she sends me wonderful handmade cards of one of our favorite racehorses (the beautiful and sweet -- and silly -- Mayakovsky), as well as keeping me informed about Canadian racing. For instance, Mayakovsky's barnmate, Lycius, recently found himself the sire of a Canadian racing award winner. I think Palladio is a great name for a son of Lycius. Lycius is also the dam-sire of Travers winner, Flower Alley. And like the others, she checks in on me -- in her own special, often wacky way.

I think that's one of the points I want to make. The common point is that everyone has been keeping tabs on me -- but everyone does it in his or her own way, and each way is unique. Patrish sends me the most gorgeous cards with Pegasus (Pegasi?) on them. Josh included me in a mailing of some CDs he made over the summer of jazz pieces and standards (Josh, if I have totally misrepresented those, I apologize!) -- music that had me dancing, albeit clumsily, for the first time in easily more than 6 months.

Things are good. Last Sunday, we went shopping (no, not to a mall. To a place called Jenness Farm, where they make goats' milk soap.). I walked Vixen twice, and I made dinner that night -- first time in months. Maybe this week I have overdone a little (not much), but things are indeed improving. Not only can I tell, my doctor, Dr. Bonnem, thinks so too. Woo-hoo!

And yeah, with fourteen days this month below average temperatures, it has not been a fun time to be bald. :-) But I look good bald, and damn if the scars from the brain surgeries hardly show up. I'm really impressed. Cold, but impressed.

That's the news from here. I plan to be more consistent about updating this -- I feel more like writing again, even if my typing stinks.


Blogger Susanna S. said...

You go go go, girl! Allie says she'll give you half her tail (she's got at least enough for two horses and probably a couple of humans too), but be warned that hers needs a bath. She might get a tail bath tomorrow -- it's supposed to reach 50 degrees!

Thanks for the update -- you sound effervescent!!

6:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pest control in the perennial garden
If you have any good tips please post trhem on my blog

One of the many advantages of growing perennials is the ability of these beautiful flowers to return to full bloom season after season. While this ability to bloom repeatedly is one of the things that makes perennials so special, it also introduces a number of important factors into your gardening plan. One of the most important of these is a proper pest control regimen.

While a garden full of annuals starts each season as a blank slate, the perennial garden is essentially a work in progress. The fact that the plants stay in the ground through winter makes things like proper pruning, disease management and pest control very important. If the garden bed is not prepared properly after the current growing season, chances are the quality of the blooms will suffer when the next season rolls around.

One of the most important factors to a successful perennial pest control regimen is the attention and vigilance of the gardener. As the gardener, you are in the best position to notice any changes in the garden, such as spots on the leaves, holes in the leaves, or damage to the stems. Any one of these could indicate a problem such as pest infestation or a disease outbreak.

It is important to nip any such problem in the bud, since a disease outbreak or pest infestation can easily spread to take over an entire garden. Fortunately for the gardener, there are a number of effective methods for controlling both common pests and frequently seen plant diseases.

Some of these methods are chemical in nature, such as insecticides and fungicides, while others are more natural, like using beneficial insects to control harmful ones. While both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages, many gardeners prefer to try the natural approach first, both for the health of the garden and the environment.

There is an additional benefit of the natural approach that many gardeners are unaware of. These days, it is very popular to combine a koi pond with a garden, for a soothing, relaxing environment. If you do plan to incorporate some type of fish pond into your garden landscape, it is critical to avoid using any type of insecticide or fungicide near the pond, since it could seep into the water and poison the fish. Fish are extremely sensitive to chemicals in the environment, especially with a closed environment like a pond.

As with any health issue, for people or plants, prevention is the best strategy to disease control and pest control alike. The best defense for the gardener is to grow a garden full of the healthiest, most vigorous plants possible. Whenever possible, varieties of plants bred to be disease or pest resistant should be used. There are a number of perennials that, through selective breeding, are quite resistant to the most common plant diseases, so it is a good idea to seek them out.

Happy gardening,

11:40 PM  

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