Sunday, July 22, 2012

De-Wormed

Whelp. I spoke too soon.

Just when things were looking good on the patio, these mammoth green monsters took over.

Meet the hornworm.

the instigator

and his little (big) friend

Take my word for it--these are the most disgusting looking creatures you ever laid eyes on. I went outside today to innocently check on my plants, as I do every day. I noticed that many of the leaves had holes in them. I suspected that I must have a worm, but was not quite ready for this.

I began to pluck the leaves off and was reaching to pick off another when I stopped and noticed what was camouflaged in the leaves. I shrieked. This thing was just sucking the poor life from my bell pepper. Upon further inspection, I noticed another one on my jalapeno plant. I ran back inside and spent the next 20 minutes convincing myself they did not follow me indoors (as if they could move that fast) and that they were not in fact buried in the sofa with me. After I got my self in check, I went back outside to investigate a little further.

I took this quick little video of this guy drinking my poor peppers. (Note: In the video, you can actually hear me sigh in disgust at these critters). 

video


Needless to say, I wanted nothing more to do with those plants. Into the trash they went, along with my darling garden owl. Never to be seen again.

As for now, I am sticking to the succulents :)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Green Thumb

Just thought I would share with you all some PROGRESS from my patio.

Our office manager at work and I share a love of letting plants kick our sorry butts.
It's so sad, but so true.

We each decided that this year we would start gardens and track progress on how our plants were doing. We have good days, and we have bad days. And lately, we've had mostly bad days.

I only did peppers this year, being a newbie and all, but she went all out in her garden. She's got all kinds of lettuces, squash, peppers, tomatoes, strawberries... you name it. I am severely jealous of her landscape. Meanwhile, I'm stuck with anything that can be grown in a pot... which is, actually, a lot.

Our daily conversations and e-mails are riddled with questions to each other, googling and sharing information.
I've got bug problems... she's got worm problems.
I've got over-watering issues... she's got under watering issues.
I've got spiders... she's got ants.
Our saga goes on and on and yet we still do it. We bond over our mutual affection toward these living things, and how we generously pour money from our pockets to spend on supreme organic pest control, specialty soils, expensive calcium pellets, meticulous pruning, and re-location to wherever we think these inanimate objects would be happiest.

And how do they re-pay us?
They mold.
They bruise.
They die.

And what's worse is that we keep coming back for more.

However, there is one thing on my patio not giving me attitude. My succulents.
My glorious, thriving succulents.

My gardening buddy had clipped leaves from her own succulent garden, which she started from clippings a friend had given her a couple of years ago. We traded services (succulents for knits) and I propagated these little guys with minimal TLC.

Literally, all I did was dip these little pieces in rooting hormone and planted them in cactus soil. It took about a month to see some growth. I checked daily and waited and waited and waited. Just when I was ready to throw in the towel last week, I noticed the smallest bit of growth. I excitedly snapped a picture to send her. (Granted, about half of the clippings she brought me did not make it, but I believe it's because I planted them too soon and did not let them properly scab). Here it is, only one week after noticing the initial growth and just look at these little guys! I couldn't believe my eyes.

just planted: May 6, 2012
(circled are the little survivors)

today: July 13, 2012
look at this little guy!
he is the 5th clipping counterclockwise from the top.
today: July 13, 2012
these guys really grew.
they look like such babies in the first picture!
today: July 13, 2012
so proud :)
It is amazing to me how this plant can be cut from the leaf (not even at the root), stuck in the dirt, hardly watered, and effortlessly yield these beautiful plants when I can't get my jalapeno to grow to save my life. I don't get it.

Nonetheless, I am extremely satisfied with the growth of my little succulents. I will definitely do this again and again and will be hard pressed to purchase any succulents in the future. With minimal effort, I easily grew these at home with little cost. Winner winner chicken dinner.

I am hopeful that the new batch she clipped for me and I planted last weekend will have the same luck.

new baby clippings :)
grow, babies, grow!
Last, but certainly not least, the only other two things in bloom on my patio are my beautiful kong coleus and my sunflowers. I started the sunflowers from seeds, planting them indoors near a window on a Thursday and by Monday morning, they had already sprouted! I kept them inside for another three weeks before planting them outside and they have really taken off. Hopeful to see some beautiful golden yellow flowers this summer :) 

the ever beautiful coleus 

sunflowers: week one

sunflowers: week three

sunflowers: week five


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

All in the Numbers

I am a pretty big fan of the movie, The Number 23.
And, when I say big fan, you should know I mean terrified.

It's no secret to my friends and family that I am mildly anal retentive obsessive compulsive.
(If you know me really well, you know that should read "majorly" and not "mildly").

It makes perfect sense to me that the television volume should only be set in increments of five, that you should always dress from the bottom up (and if you mess up, you must completely re-dress in order to comply with the natural order), and above all else you must ALWAYS grab (at least) the second item on the shelf at the super market for the fear that someone else could have wondered around the store with it.

What if it was a perishable item that they removed from the frozen foods section (ie double chocolate fudge ice cream) and aimlessly wondered around the store with it, before using their better judgement and returning it? Wouldn't that have compromised maximum temperature said food item could reach before beginning to spoil? Furthermore, what if said purchaser had just used the restroom, we won't even say public restroom for fear of spinning into a whole other topic, but then did not wash their hands (properly or at all), and had his or her hands all over that delicious treat you would like to enjoy?

That's enough to spoil my appetite. And make me burn at least the top 3 layers of skin off as I drown myself in anti-bacterial.
Please do yourself a favor and reach for at least the second item in the grocery store.

But that's not the point.

The point is, in the movie Jim Carrey's character is haunted by the number twenty-three. Everything in his life adds up to that number somehow. I am terrified of the movie considering, as I really began to notice, almost everything in my life began to add up to the number twenty-three as well. I had to truly stop thinking about it in order to keep myself from completely going off the deep end. Lord knows I'm close sometimes... if the above grocery store analogy was no inclination into the bizarre inner workings of my mind.

Anywho :)

The whole point of my post was not to convince you all, that I am likely completely off my rocker but instead to share with you my own little countdown / numbers at work from our first glorious year in San Diego. So, without further ado :)

5
...The number of minutes (by car) we live from the beach. It's really quite jolting to think about the fact that you are that close and personal with the Pacific--especially when you've grown up around cows and tumbleweeds :) On our way to a farewell dinner the other night, we were driving along the coast just in time for sunset. This is a topic that we have debated on numerous occasions, but we always conclude with the same answer. The question is where have we witnessed the most gorgeous display of sunsets, and the answer is always west Texas. Spencer grew up in the panhandle of Texas, and I grew up in a small town in the eastern central region of the state where we have some of the clearest, starriest skies you could ever imagine. The Texas panhandle though is dusty and flat, but gives you the most perfect canvas for picturesque sunsets that stretch as far as your eye can see. Depending on the time of year, you can see every color of the rainbow in any given evening. It is amazing to behold. However, as we were driving up the coast at sunset and looked across the still water to see the last of the setting sun peeking over the horizon and watching all of the people who had parked their cars, stopped their evening jogs, chose to dine outside--all watching the same sight, we had to agree that San Diego has it's own warm, beautiful sunsets whose beauty can't be denied. We are so blessed.

4
...The number of trips we have taken/will take this summer. We have been literally across the map and back this summer. In May, I took a trip home to south Texas to see my family, in June we hopped across the map to New York to attend a wedding, and in August we will be traveling together back to Amarillo to visit Spencer's family and on to New Mexico to spend some much needed down time at his family's cabin. To say we are excited to relax, have some cocktails in the crisp mountain air, do a little leisurely shopping, and eating our weight's worth of yummy food would be the understatement of the century.

3
...The number of times we've moved in the last year. Hard to believe anyone can do that in a year, but we have! We began our journey from Texas landing in Carlsbad, California. We stayed there for nearly three months before moving to an apartment in another area of San Diego, a little further south. We moved again a couple of months ago to our beautiful new condo just outside of Del Mar and are hoping to stay put here for a while.

2
...The number of San Diego Padres games we attended this year. Spencer is not a baseball fan by any stretch of the imagination. I on the other hand grew up around the sport in its entirety and feel totally at ease having a game on in the background. I love the excitement of being at the stadium, cold beer in one hand, mini helmet of ice cream with extra hot fudge salted peanuts in the other, balancing my score card on my knees and yelling out obnoxious fan lingo like "good eye!" with every (good) swing. However, I think Spencer is starting to enjoy himself so I hope to see more games in our future :)

1
...The number of years we've spent as California residents. As I've mentioned time and time again, we feel incredibly fortunate to be living our own version of the SoCal dream. Excited and anxious to see what our future holds!

view of the coast line from one of our favorite hikes.



Thursday, July 5, 2012

San Diegoversary

I am quite certain that I am entitled to the WWB Award (World's Worst Blogger) if there were such a thing considering the obscene amount of time that has passed since my last post. 
One of which, I would embrace. 
And probably throw a party in my honor. Of myself. 

But I digress. 

Where to begin? I guess there's no place like the beginning!

Since my last post was dated March (yikes!)... 

May

I hopped a very crowded plane to my hometown for Mother's Day weekend to spend some time with my family since I had not seen them since I left for San Diego. I ate lots of Blue Bell, at lots of BBQ and Tex Mex, and drank beer from a can (not that I couldn't do the latter here in SD... something about canned beer on a patio on a Texas summer night just feels right). It was all glorious. 
the best ice cream in the country ;)

Upon my arrival back home, I discovered that Spencer had found a condo for us and although our lease was not up for another several months, we leased at a very expensive rotation in the market and were looking to get out of the cycle. The upside (and downside) was that we needed to be out of our current place in (gulp) two weeks. We signed the paperwork and moved in to our gorgeous new condo near the beach a short two weeks later and have been loving it ever since. Since I am still not totally finished with all the rooms, I'll give you a little taste of the (almost) complete rooms to date. Blending two completely different styles and incorporating our hand-me-down furniture is sometimes a challenge, but our little condo is cozy and homey :)
our extra large patio

seating area

multi-media room

reading/lounging nook

media cabinet

The month of May ended with one of my favorite families coming to the big SD for a visit! Just look at this little man and how he's grown :) He totally melts my heart. His sweet parents aren't so bad, either ;)

*Photo coming soon!*


June 

I started a pepper garden. Yup. 
And I didn't kill anything yet! 
Then, I got addicted and got really out of hand... these are just a few of the new little beauties gracing my patio these days. 
le peppers: be jalapeƱo, serrano, poblano, and habanero. 
oregano

thyme (rosemary not shown)

beautiful kong coleus :)

Spencer and I flew across the map to The Big Apple for my uncle's wedding. We spent the majority of our time in upstate NY and a couple of days in the city. We had a great time, but soon realized the impact our laid back SoCal life has on us. :)
downtown woodstock, ny

me, pre-wedding festivities

my handsome man!

Present


It's hard to believe I am even writing this, but we are approaching our ONE YEAR San Diegoversary in just 5 days. It's unfathomable. I think of how many things we've done in the last year and I can't even process it all. Southern California is an absolutely gorgeous place to live and we thank our lucky stars every day to be here in one of the most beautiful cities in the world!

That's all for now :) Have a delightful weekend!

PS--Chloe has taken up golf now that she is a west coast kitty. Apparently, all the cool cats are doing it.