caro thinks

Sundry Aversions, 2001/07/06:15:46

caro's home ~*~ caro's index
now in bloom on my patio
Brugmansia x candida "Plena" now opening one new 15-inch long double white flower ever other day, fragrance similar to stargazer lily.

All fuchsias are now full-sized plants and in full bloom, except for "Voodoo" which is still small and "Blue Satin" which is the biggest of the bunch and all bloomed out at the moment. I tacked up a small patch of shade cloth (a recycled mesh laundry bag in cobalt blue); the fuchsias will, for the most part, tolerate the sun, but their flowers don't retain their rich colors as well as they do in the shade. I learned yesterday that the flowers are edible, so I'll be putting some in my green salad tonight. If necessary, tell the police I died as I lived: infiltrated by inflorescenses.

The pale pink nerium is a late bloomer; the highway neriums are winding down now, and mine is just gearing up.

Both gardenias ("Radicans" and "Veitchii") are in full bloom.

After two years of nursing and tending, hibiscus rosa-sinensis "White Wings" has created and opened a single flower, white with red center and stamens. It still will tolerate absolutely no sun, but its growth is lush and deep green.

Never have I seen such a pure, painful white as the blossoms of the hibiscus syricus. Nice bushy shape, dark green leaves, covered with buds, opening about one per day into a convoluted fluffy tuft worthy of a bleach commercial.

I had to move the honeysuckle off the pool deck and onto my patio, by order of the apartment gods. This turned out to be a great boon for me, since now all the fragrance collects in my patio and living room, and Anna, my 9-year-old neighbor, can't get to the plant to pluck off all the flowers. She's a sweet child but she simply cannot control her lust for sugar.

Gail liked my tibouchina urvilleana so much that she had to go out and buy one even before my first blossoms opened. It's a stately thing now, six feet tall and 4 feet wide, surrounded by royal purple blossoms. She was forced to borrow it briefly when the workers came to rebuild the dry-rotted pergola, and its fuzzy leaves and red buds made a strong impression on her by making her fence more interesting a backdrop to her own garden. I bought the tibouchina on sale for $2, a $15 plant reduced for quick sale because it had been reduced to dry twigs by the garden center staff. Rescue-plants are like pound-dogs.

Everything needs fish emulsion; I just have to work up the energy and find the time to give it to them.

I'm allergic to ants and sphagnum peat moss, I just learned this month. The ants bite and leave trails on my skin which then turn into hives; the peat moss gets into my lungs and makes me cough with each breath. Last night to get some rest I had to cover the soil of the rubber tree in my bedroom with plastic. I'll either have to get it out of there (no idea where I'll put it! It's HUGE!)

The pomegranite is 8 inches tall, 8 inches round, and covered with fluffy orange blossoms.

Inside, the cattleya that didn't bloom last year and looked dead for about 8 months has made two baby plants at the tip of its one remaining bulb. I think I've figured the orchid thing out now: mist once in the morning and ignore them; drench once a month in the shower, and never throw anything away or cut anything off until it shivels and turns brown. But it's slow going and kind of boring. Who needs orchids when there are fuchsias?

Surprisingly, the white mandevillea has a pretty, light fragrance. I think every one of these plants in Southern California has a severe mite infestation. I treated mine diligently for six months after obtaining it, and it is now healthy, strong, and, most importantly, does not have crinkly leaves. A mite-free specimen.

Distictus Riversii seems to be done blooming already! :-( It was pretty while it lasted, reddish-purple trumpets with bright yellow throats, but come on. I wasted a 15-gallon pot, a trellis, and all that attention for 10 blossoms?

In summary, the current fragrances are purple petunias, honeysuckle, alyssum, brugmansia, stargazer, gardenia, South African jasmine, star jasmine, pink jasmine, brunfelsia. Still no night-blooming jasmine; I think something might have eaten the flower buds.

Just color: Martha Washington geranium "Morwenna", Chinese blue fan, impatiens, lobelia, pomegranite, kalanchoe, sedum, epidendrum, hibiscus syracuse and rosa-sinensis, alyogyne, euryops, convolvulus, plumbago, nerium, bougainvillea San Diego and Raspberry Ice, Paraguay nightshade, tibouchina, solanum jasminoides, mixed gladiolus, cyclamens, and the fuchsias (Dark Eyes, Guinevere, Flying Cloud, Golden Marinka, First Love, Dusky Rose, Baby Blue Eyes, Southgate, Dollar Princess, Silver Queen, Jingle Bells, White Pixie, Winston Churchill).
Objectivity has been edited, proofed, and formatted by me, Tom, and Andrew. Now it just needs to be printed and mailed. I can't wait to be done with it! Paper is just awful.
Wow! It got up to 78 degrees yesterday, and it was humid! Still 78 today, but much drier, and there's a brisk breeze blowing the clouds around.
Alcohol: Still only 44 cents per pint.

In 1994, I weaned myself off intranasal steroids (such as are found in Vancenase, Flonase, etc) and replaced them with a mixture of saline solution and Listerine, which latter is a mixture of isopropyl alcohol and various anti-inflammatory herbal remedies such as camphor and eucalyptus. Alcohol reduces inflammation and clears sinuses while killing bacteria and other invaders. It was an accidental discovery on my part, but it worked and I stuck with it. I used to buy Ocean or its generic equivalents to make up the mixture, but now I just use saline solution intended for soft contact-lens-soaking, the sensitive eyes variety; same stuff, at one 20th of the price. Said Liz, the optometrist, "If it's ok to put it in your eye, you can squirt it up your nose." This very mixture is now available 40 times the price over the counter, in a very small bottle.

In 1990, I began carrying a small bottle of isopropyl alcohol with me to clean my hands and face throughout the day, out of desperation caused by repeated back-to-back contagious respiratory illness and infection in the worst environment for someone with a compromised immune system: a university campus in the midwest. Somewhere around 1996, alcohol began to be sold, mixed in with a gel, as a hand cleanser, and packaged in small, pocket-sized bottles. Been there, invented that. But plain alcohol is still better, and much cheaper.

I use alcohol to clean almost everything. It's a great solvent, and will even break up grease. It evaporates quickly and without a trace. It kills microorganisms and insects on contact (ants die immediately, bigger bugs take a bit longer). Its liberal use doesn't poison the complex animals living in the house, such as humans, dogs, or plants. It shines glass and chrome and can remove lots of stains. It breaks up staining substances so that they don't discolor clothing. You can use it to denature the proteins and kill the little buggers that live in carpeting and cause allergies (it kills dust mites and mold, and if I could just get a machine to infuse it into the carpet and suck it back up I'd be very happy). It is quite cheap. And it doesn't contain anything that anyone could be allergic to. In fact, I keep alcohol handy when I garden; if I get a scratch from a plant I'm allergic to, or get sap on my skin, I dissolve the plant oil with alcohol and that's the last I have to deal with it.

I therefore predict that by the year 2010, virtually all kitchen cleaners (such as Windex, Formula 409, Fantastic, etc) will have been replaced by the much less offensive plain alcohol--but packaged in a prettier bottle (with a sprayer attached, which is how I bottle my own) and sold at an absorbitant price. In addition, all other astringent facial cleansers (such as OxyWash, Sea Breeze, Clearasil, etc), will also have been replaced by plain alcohol, which is all they are now except with lots of water and some irritating and sometimes allergenic substances added. You heard it here first.

But what about the fumes!? Alcohol is poisonous to humans!! Right. So are all the other chemicals under the kitchen sink. But it depends on the concentration and the amount of fresh air mixed in. Naturally, one doesn't want to put one's head inside a plastic bag and pour in a pint of alcohol. Evidence that alcohol doesn't kill you or cause cancer: Go to the emergency room at the hospital, or to a vet's office. What do you smell? Isopropyl alcohol. Doctors, nurses, and vets spend their entire lives in a cloud of alcohol.

Things you can't use alcohol for: wax-finished wood, water-based paint, non-chrome high-shine car surfaces, your eyes. A small proportion can be used in the sinuses, but it does burn--if you're as desperate to breath and smell as I am, it's worth it. You can't spray it directly on plants at full strength, though if it is watered down a lot it helps insecticide to penetrate the insects' skin.
Call for friends: Any business person who is not lying, on the take, evading taxation, cheating, lying, stealing, fudging, winking, nudging, lying, blustering, faking, threatening, or defrauding, please write to me.
Accidentally finished reading a slimey little book that Tom thoughtfully left here after the Annual Meeting. Frank Abignale, Jr.'s Catch Me If You Can. The nominal subject is Abignale's amazing three years of extensive criminal activity. Secondarily, thoughout the book Abignale inadvertantly demonstrates exactly the way that men should not think about women. Note well: I didn't say, "the way that men should not talk about women." I said, "the way that men should not think about women." If he didn't think this way about women, he would never talk this way about them. I think most men will miss this when they read the book, but he thinks about the companies he's scamming and the women he's attracted to in exactly the same way. Very instructive.
(thread index)
next in thread: tom2001_07_06:16:09
The human immune system is poorly designed, as are the defense systems of poisonous plants. Poison ivy and related plants cause allergic skin reactions. They are painful, itchy, and impossible to ignore. However, the skin reaction doesn't occur in the presence of the plant, but several hours to days after exposure, once the animal has surely forgotten what it touched. I'm not sure how this is supposed to protect the plant, but a simpler solution would be thorns, which many a better-designed plant employs.

The allergic reaction in humans is an even sillier design. A poisonout plant such as poison ivy causes hives to develop on the skin. The reaction does not occur immediately, so that an association is created in the animal's mind. But even worse than that is the histamine response. First, histamines are produced, causing the animal to itch. Second, the reaction to itching is scratching, which doesn't do anything to remove the poison. Third, scratching causes the production of more histamines, which, forth, causes even worse itching, which causes more vigorous scratching, which causes intense histamine production. The process easily and quickly leads to open, bleeding sores, which exposes the animal to infection which, in an unwashed, unscientific society, will lead to death. Death due to an ineffective response to an essentially harmless chemical found in nature.

Although this kind of vicious cycle occurs more frequently and in response to a greater variety of plants and substances in the individual whose immune system is "malfunctioning," poison ivy will cause this cycle to occur in every human being.

The question immediately arises, Where does the allergic reaction fit into God's plan for us?
Notify me when caro writes again.

Find Enlightenment