Category Archives: Uncategorized

Zoey the Cool Cat on her catio

SNIPPETS (7-22-18)

Snippets

SNIPPET 1

Zoey the Cool Cat has not been the same since Ninja the Visiting Fat Cat was here. She rarely plays; isn’t particularly interested in being with me, either on the bed or in the office, preferring the floor in front of the refrigerator; has gained 6 pounds in 3 months; and is “fur mowing” (more properly known as “psychogenic licking” the area around her nipples.

I have taken her to one vet and one vet hospital so far.

Nothing.

I am going to try one more vet tomorrow, but I fear she might be on her last legs, so to speak.

Yesterday, her bare tummy was so bad that I rubbed some extra virgin coconut oil (EVCO) on her. Everything else that I ever rub on her gets immediately licked off. She did not lick the EVCO off! Not even after 10 minutes, at which time I had to leave.

Saturday night she slept in my office chair, the first time she has done that since Ninja the Visiting Fat Cat was here. Here it is Sunday morning, and Zoey the Cool Cat still is occupying my office chair, resulting in me having to use a different chair so as not to disturb the little queen. I do enjoy having her by my side….

Zoey the Cool Cat in my office chair

SNIPPET 2

2013 San Diego Comic Con InternationalComic-Con International ends today.

This will be the first year that I have not gone downtown to take pictures of the crowds, activities, and costumers.

Here are two of my favorites from past Comic-Cons:

Comic Con International 2012 in San Diego California

2013 San Diego Comic Con International

SNIPPET 3

I have a Client moving here from Madison, Wisconsin. Apparently they don’t have cacti in Madison because he saw pictures of mine and has become absolutely fascinated by them. I spent five hours yesterday planting an assortment of Pachypodium lamerei for him. Here’s what my finished creation looks like. He and his wife are thrilled..

Pachypodium lamerei mass planting

SNIPPET 4

Westfield UTC Shopping Mall in La Jolla is getting a San Diego Trolley station, so they decided to renovate and expand the mall at the same time, nearly tripling it in size with more ground floor space and a second floor throughout.

They started both the Trolley expansion and the Mall expansion a couple of years ago. I went over there to check on their progress and found that the Mall pretty much is going 100% succulents.

Westfield UTC is a very upscale (aka as “snooty”) mall, so I rarely go there. With this new cacti & succulent thing, I might have to go there more often.

Look at this beautiful succulent wall, and the plants are not fake. Westfield UTC has enough money to hire gardeners to make this succulent wall look good 24/7/365 in perpetuity.

Succulent wall

SNIPPET 5

We all have seen honey bees.

Meh.

Today, I present to you the infamous sunflower bee. These bees are so stealthy that I barely caught it with my smarty pants phone camera.

Sunflower bee

SNIPPET 6

Back on May 1, 2012, I went exploring in the South San Diego County boondocks. I found the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility.

Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility near San Diego

Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility near San Diego

I only found out today, while reading “Assassins” by Time Life, that Sirhan B. Sirhan is serving a life sentence at this Facility for assassinating Robert J. Kennedy back in 1968.

In the second picture, I either had a huge telephoto lens or….

….I got a wee bit too close. Yes, a dozen Facility security cars surrounded me to ask me what I was doing. I told them and showed them the hundreds of pictures I already had taken in the Boondocks. They let me go without incident.

SNIPPET 7

Border Field State Park in San Diego County, CaliforniaFive years later, on May 13, 2017, (note to self: Don’t take pictures in far-away places in May), I went on an expedition to take pictures of the new Border Wall which had been built in San Diego County. I parked at Border Field State Park, walked two miles to the beach, and then walked south towards Mexico. There were two walls that extended about 50 yards out into the Pacific Ocean. I went past the first wall only to have a few billion Border Patrol cars descend on me. They told me that no one was allowed past the first wall. The area between the two walls is kind of like a demilitarized zone.

After that encounter, I should have just gone home.

Nope.

I’m the adventuring type.

I drove along an unnamed yet publicly accessible dirt road from Imperial Beach to San Ysidro, about 7 miles, stopping to take pictures every 100 feet or so. Several Border Patrol vehicles kept passing me, turning around, passing me again, turning around, ad nauseum. Finally, several of them descended on me simultaneously to block me in, and asked what I was doing. I told them and showed them all the digital pictures. They said I couldn’t take pictures like that and offered me two choices, “Delete all the pictures or be arrested.” I deleted the pictures since I wasn’t too sure about that unnamed road being public property. I went the next road over and retook all my pictures.

Border fence

SNIPPET 8

With all the computer hacking going on, many people are calling for a return to paper ballots for voting. The problem with paper ballots is that they are not hackproof at all. As proven in the past in many states, particularly Texas, Louisiana, and Illinois, it’s too easy to destroy them, flush them down the toilet, tear them up and throw pieces in different trashcans, lose them, steal them. And dare I even get started on “stuffing the ballot box”?

Paper ballots would make it even more likely that there could be a “Dewey elected President” headline. As it is, whomever is elected president on the day of the election is not true anyway, notwithstanding what the media says.

All 50 states require their Secretaries of State to certify election results, and that means including mail ballots, absentee ballots, provisional ballots, etc. Most, if not all, states provide for 30 days to do that.

I’m a permanent mail voter here in California. I get my ballot by mail but I can return it by mail, or to the Registrar of Voters, or to ANY voting location by the end of election day.

I also can check online to see if my ballot has been counted. I turned mine in on November 7, 2017. It was counted on November 15.

Fight organized crime

SNIPPET 9

Back on May 5, I went as part of a group of 25 members from the San Diego Cactus & Succulent Society on a private tour of Western Cactus. I quit counting the number of greenhouses when I got to 27 because we stopped at what I call their “plant decoration” greenhouse. They were painting cacti & succulents, gluing on straw flowers, gluing top dressing in the pots, everything that I totally despise.

Painted plants

The owner and his General Manager gave us the tour. Finally, I asked the owner why they were doing that since they were an old, well-established, very large, respected nursery. He looked at me, raised his right hand and gave me the “Moulah!” roll of his fingers as he said, “Money! There’s a market for this, and we want to meet that market.”

SNIPPET 10

Sunrise in the East San Diego County boondocks:

Sunrise in the East San Diego County boondocks

SNIPPET 11

Someone failed math….

Someone failed math

SNIPPET 12

Best. Fence. Ever. (Especially if you have an unwanted neighbor with unwanted children or unwanted cats and dogs invading your property.)

Cholla fence

SNIPPET 13

If we pay attention we can learn something new each. and. every. day.

Cactus & succulents have sharp spines

SNIPPET 14

Zoey the Cool Cat loves her catio, even when it’s 115°F out there.

Zoey the Cool Cat on her catio

Zoey the Cool Cat on her catio

SNIPPET 14

Zoey the Cool Cat loves her catio, even when it’s 115°F out there.

Zoey the Cool Cat on her catio

SNIPPET 15

Out here in the East San Diego County boondocks, the soil is a very dry, rocky, sandy clay.

It literally can take a couple of hours to dig a hole 12 inches deep and 12 inches in diameter, possibly longer if the rocks are, say, 15″ x 7″……..

Little rock

SNIPPET 16

My first GIF of Zoey the Cool Cat!

Zoey the Cool Cat

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

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SNIPPETS (7-15-18)

Snippets

SNIPPET 1

With Twitler and his ilk in the process of destroying everything that has made America great, I have been watching a lot of dystopian movies. I can highly recommend The Maze RunnerThe Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, and Maze Runner: The Death Cure.

SNIPPET 2

Dracula’s cat.

Dracula's cat

SNIPPET 3

I have spent time in Death Valley National Park in California where the temperature hit 123°F. I have spent time in Palm Springs, California, where the temperature hit 116°F. On July 6, the temperature on my shaded catio reached 112°F, making this the hottest place I have ever lived.

If R2-D2 was a bird

SNIPPET 4

I’m a big fan of spirals. When I was young, I had some sort of drawing toy that allowed me to create all sorts of interesting spirals. I wish I could remember what it was called. Anyways, that interest in spirals easily translates to plants. My newest spiral plant is Cereus perianus spiralis. Look how cool this plant is:

Cereus perianus spiralis

SNIPPET 5

Here are two pictures of Senecio rowleyanus in a beautiful glass container. I planted it in this container on May 2, 2018. You can see the new growth since May.

I exhibited this at the meeting of the San Diego Cactus & Succulent Society on July 14, 2018, and got more Ooohs and Ahhhhs and I love it’s than anything else I ever have exhibited.

Senecio rowleyanus

Senecio rowleyanus

SNIPPET 6

Throughout my life I have been highly addicted to science, even if my own experiential evidence says otherwise. In this case, my experiential evidence and scientific evidence agree.

Science confirms dogs can recognize bad people

SNIPPET 7

Speaking of spirals, the Mammillaria genus of cacti has some of the best spiral plants in the world. Every time I go to a cactus & succulent show, I see Mammillaria that I wish were in my collection. Recently, I got one, and at a very reasonable price, all things considered, because I know what plants like this go for in plant auctions. This is Mammillaria parkinsonii.

Mammillaria parkinsonii

SNIPPET 8

The other day I went got to Home Depot at 6:00 a.m. and parked in the rear parking lot. As I was walking to the garden entrance, I found this little book on the ground.

How do dinosaurs love their cats?

I picked it up and brought it home. It has 12 pages. Each page is one-tenth of an inch thick. Here’s the text from inside:

How does a dinosaur play with her cat?
Does she throw pillows at it and act like a brat?
Is the litter box left while she watches a show?
If the kitty complains, does she give it a throw?
Does she hand it cat toys and then take them away?
Ignoring her pet after school every day?
No, a dinosaur cuddles her cat in her lap.
She pets it until it falls into a nap.
She remembers to feed it and give it fresh water
And changes the litter box just when she aughter.
She gives it new toys that she makes by herself
And also some catnip she keeps on a shelf.
She loves her dear kitty, and does every chore,
Strokes its fur, hears it purr—
Good dinosaur!

SNIPPET 9

No nickname

SNIPPET 10

Best Facebook comment ever:

“If someone offends you, just picture them naked and afraid. Or think about how miserable their lives must be that they feel the need to insult strangers. Or consider that they might be just having a bad day. Or consider that you might be misunderstanding a poster’s intent. Online forums are not for the faint of heart; it helps to have a sense of humor – or at least a sense of the absurd.”

SNIPPET 11

After going to the San Diego County Fair every year since 1993, this was my first year as an exhibitor, which meant not only did I get four free tickets to give away, but I was eligible for a $20 badge that would let me get in at any time totally. free. It also meant that when it was time to take my exhibits home, I could scavenge all the free stuff that exhibitors and the Fair itself was giving away, like these eight bromeliads. I got two more the next day.
Next year I’m going to exhibit plants and photographs, and probably provide a couple of “Donated” awards, probably in the photography category.

Bromeliads

SNIPPET 12

Zoey the Cool Cat has not been the same since Ninja the Visiting Fat Cat was here from March 19 to April 12. She has been lethargic, doesn’t play anymore, and has put on lots of weight. She now is Zoey the Cool Fat Cat.

I took her to the vet last Monday. She’s like, “Meh.”

Zoey the Cool Cat at the vet

Nothing wrong with her. She’s simply becoming Garfield in her old age.

SNIPPET 13

Where are the investigative journalists in today’s world?
The Dan Rathers,
the Walter Cronkites,
the Bob Woodwards and Carl Bernsteins,
the Ida Tarbells,
the Upton Sinclairs,
the Murray Marders,
the David Halberstams,
the Seymore Hershes,
the Daniel Ellsbergs,
the Florence Graveses,
the Dana Priests & William Arkins?

SNIPPET 14

Mega yacht parking lot in San Diego harbor. Four mega yachts. Most I have ever seen at one time here.

Mega yacht parkingl ot in San Diego

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

SNIPPETS (7-1-18)

Snippets

SNIPPET 1

My little Fockea edulis that has two seed pods on it…. and me never having seen the flowers…. and not knowing who the father plant is….

Have been keeping an eye on my little girl.

She had flowers! And since she needs someone of the opposite sex to have progeny, she obviously thought that I was going to take her to another cactus & succulent show so that she could have more unprotected sex.

Fockea edulis flowers

Fockea edulis flower

SNIPPET 2

I was sad to drive by my favorite Sears store and find out that it was closing. I took a detour, parked, and went inside. The store was about 90% empty.

I don’t know what we’re going to do with all these empty buildings. Maybe ICE will turn this one into it into a child concentration camp…. a #TrumpCamp. After all, we’re only about 15 miles north of the border with Mexico. Yahooooooooooooo! Let’s hear it for child concentration camps!

Sears store closing, El Cajon CA

Sears store closing, El Cajon CA

Sears store closing, El Cajon CA

SNIPPET 3

In 1968 I got to go to Hemisfair in San Antonio. Spent 50¢ on a computer personality analysis of my signature. Spent $2 on an analysis at Post Oak Mall in College Station TX in 1997. Spent $4 on an analysis at the San Diego County Fair on June 14, 2018. Here they are. All three of them. And all three eerily accurate.

Anavac Hemisfair signature personality analysis

Televac Post Oak Mall College Station TX personality signature analysis

Televac 2018 San Diego County Fair personality signature analysis

SNIPPET 4

Best things about my smart phone (Samsung Galaxy S8):

  1. Makes and receives phone calls
  2. Google Maps—Doesn’t matter where I’m going, how near or how far, Google Maps is tracking me, know where I am, knows where I’m going, and knows when I’m going to get there.
  3. The ability to block phone numbers. O.M.G. My phone used to ring every other minute with calls from
    Florida,
    Ohio,
    Texas,
    Pennsylvania,
    Wisconsin,
    Nevada,
    California,
    Oregon,
    Idaho,
    Washington,
    Virginia,
    Indiana,
    and probably a few others that I have left off.
    All of them from Google.
    EVERY.
    SINGLE.
    DAMN.
    ONE.
    OF.
    THEM.
    I have blocked all of their numbers and now I get auto rejected calls every other minute. The phone doesn’t even ring. Just automatically hangs up on their asses. I hope the person who invented call blocking has a lifetime supply of margaritas.

SNIPPET 5

San Diego Zoo animals

SNIPPET 6

I have learned to check out anyone who sends me a friend request on Facebook. For the longest time I was getting them from women who wanted to have sex with me or trade nude pictures. Uh, no. Occasionally I still get one from a Twitler-supporter. Why, I have no idea. So I checked out a friend request today and found this as one of his posts:

“I refuse to put any libtard up on a pedal stool.”

I declined his friend request. If he’s not going to put me up on a pedal stool, he’s no friend of mine!

SNIPPET 7

I got a free plant at a huge nursery the other day because it was on the ground in the midst of about 100 huge Agaves planted in 35-gallon wood boxes. No one knew what it was so the manager said, “Just take it.”

When I put it in the Cacti & Succulent Identification group, all I got were obscene comments, obscene videos, obscene GIFs, and obscene memes. So I deleted my post.

Today a friend told me what the plant is. Lophocereus schottii forma mostruosa (smooth form). AKA “Big Penis Cactus.” Well, okay then. Now I understand the obscene comments.

I wonder if the ladies at the nursery knew what it was but no one wanted to tell a guy that it was a “Big Penis Cactus.” I could see how that might be a little awkward.

I had an oblong rock which looks very nice next to the Lophocereus schottii forma mostruosa (smooth form).

Lophocereus schottii cv. Big Penis Cactus

SNIPPET 8

Back in Spring 1976 I took Economics 301 at Texas A&M University. I had Professor Phil Gramm (Google him). He had a tenured position making $125,000 a year, but quit to go into politics. I despised his economics but I do remember one thing he said in class: “All politicians lie. You just have to determine whose lies you like the best.” For most of my life, I was a Me! Me! Me! person, preferring Republican lies. Since April 1993, I have been an Us! Us! Us! person, prefering Democratic lies.

SNIPPET 9

Poor little ground squirrels. In the morning many of them line up at the fence separating their open space preserve from my cactus/succulent gardens. I love watching them, as long as I’m not watching them eat my plants. I can see their little brains whirling and dreaming, trying to figure out how to get to the banquet…..

Ground squirrel on the other side of the fence

SNIPPET 10

The Cactus & Succulent Society of America had their annual Show & Sale at The Huntington Library, Art Gallery, and Botanical Gardens June 29-July 1. As many times as I had been to The Huntington, I had never been to the Desert Garden. It’s at the far side from the parking lot, and after visiting the Library and the Art Gallery, I just never made it to the Desert Garden. This past Friday, the Desert Garden was my goal. I was amazed. Wow. Just wow. Here is a video created from 149 pictures:

SNIPPET 11

If you need a quick laugh, watch the CATalunia Boy’s Choir.

SNIPPET 12

I bought $350 worth of cacti & succulents at the CSSA sale at The Huntington. I took them to the car while my husband, Jim, sat in the shade among the ferns doing whatever on his smarty pants phone. Snapped this picture without him being aware that I was anywhere close by.

Jim Frimmer at The Huntington

SNIPPET 13

My wise old grandmother always was out on the dance floor at family reunions, dancing up a storm. As she told me in 1978, you’re never too old to rock ‘n’ roll, proven yet again this past Thursday when I went to see The Ideas Rock ‘n’ Roll Trio (friends of mine) at the fundraiser for the El Cajon Animal Shelter at the Downtown Cafe in El Cajon, California. The El Cajon Animal Shelter is where we got Zoey the Cool Cat back on September 21, 2007.

SNIPPET 14

By far my favorite plants are the Stapeliads. This book, which I bought a couple of days ago, is the BEST. PICTURE BOOK. EVER.

Stapeliads

SNIPPET 15

Even though I’m a huge fan of margaritas and Agave tequilana, I’m not averse to trying new things. So at the Huntington Botanical Gardens on Friday, I got a taste of potato rum. I liked it. I brought it home with me. Here it is. Agave potatorum. (It’s proper pronunciation is pot-a-tor-um. I like potato rum better.)

Agave potatorum

SNIPPET 16

The clock in my doctor’s office last week.

Doctor's clock

SNIPPET 17

Hello Farmers my old friend. I’ve come to talk with you again….

Or as a friend said, “Good insurance is like a bridge over troubled water.”

Simon Gurfinkel Agency

SNIPPET 18

I like to work in my cactus & succulent gardens for a couple of hours in the early morning before it gets too hot. Sadly, the path to the gardens was blocked this morning. I was stuck inside.

Zoey the Cool Cat

SNIPPET 19

One of the reasons why parking is scarce and at a premium in Southern California is because some people, when they get a parking spot, absolutely refuse to give it up.

Parked car

SNIPPET 20

Every morning when I work in my cactus & succulent gardens, I have a little friend who is close by. He watches me intently, and every time I plant something where he couldn’t see it, he would climb up the block and peer over. He is so friendly that I can get him to eat bugs out of my fingers. Eventually I’m going to get a video of that.

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Russel Ray Container Collection

I live in my own little world

It’s been so long since I logged into the back end of my many web sites that I have forgotten how to do it, at a time when I need to do it to upload a video that I don’t want to put on YouTube.

So here I am at my WordPress site which, surprisingly to me, will let me upload a video as “media.”

This is a video of the many plants that I grow in containers without drainage holes.

I am very anti-drainage-hole in plant containers where I control the watering. Once Mother & Father Nature get involved, or the neighbor’s landscape watering system sprays water over the fence onto my property, all bets are off, and I’ll happily accept drainage holes. For more on why I am anti-drainage-hole (just call me ADH Russel), see About Us on my new A+R POTTERY web site.

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

SNIPPETS (5-20-18)

Snippets

SNIPPET 1

I scored a Trichocereus bridgesii at the Palomar C&SS meeting in Escondido yesterday. It poked me
when I picked it up off the table,
when I set it by my other stuff,
when I picked it up to take it to the car,
when I put it in the car,
when I got it out of the car,
when I set it down in my “to-be-planted” collection,
when I picked it up to take it to a spot to get this picture,
when I set it down,
and when I picked it up to take it back to my “to-be-planted” collection.

I’m thinking it doesn’t like me

I did get the last laugh, though, because it tried to poke me when I set it down for the last time.

It missed!

Ha ha!

Trichocereus bridgesii

SNIPPET 2

When I get depressed, I go talk to my plants. They listen to me. They don’t talk back. Sometimes they do say something to cheer me up, like this Rebutia krainziana did earlier today.

This little dish garden won 1st place plant-of-the-month dish garden at the Palomar Cactus & Succulent Society meeting yesterday. Created by me in Designer Pot #8 by A+R POTTERY (also me!).

Left to right: Rebutia narvaecense, Rebutia marsoneri, Rebutia krainziana

Rebutia krainziana

Rebutia krainziana

SNIPPET 3

I have had 8 of my beauties selected for inclusion in the C&S display at the San Diego County Fair.

The first one, Echinopsis chamaecereus (Peanut cactus), will be replanted into a Designer Pot by A+R POTTERY (that’s me!).

All except the last one will be in Designer Pots by A+R POTTERY.

Here they are.

Echinopsis chamaecereus

2018 San Diego County Fair entry

2018 San Diego County Fair entry

2018 San Diego County Fair entry

2018 San Diego County Fair entry

2018 San Diego County Fair entry

2018 San Diego County Fair entry

2018 San Diego County Fair entry

SNIPPET 4

I have found that, if your plants are not blooming, a magic stone placed near them often helps.

Bloom dammit!

SNIPPET 5

Costco is selling their Kirkland brand Premium Golden Margarita for just $6.99 for a 750mL bottle. Ready to drink. That means it already has alcohol in it.

I understand why.

This stuff is nasty, nasty, nasty.

I’m going to have to eat it down with some extra jalapeños.

SNIPPET 6

I always thought this sound was some kind of bird.

Recently, I had a wildlife expert inform me that it’s a ground squirrel.

Here’s one on YouTube

SNIPPET 7

I had to choose yesterday between a San Diego Cactus & Succulent Society Coffee-in-the-Garden or the monthly meeting of the Palomar Cactus & Succulent Society (PCSS). Although the Coffee-in-the-Garden was just down the road from me, I chose to drive 40 miles to Escondido for the PCSS meeting, mainly because I’m helping them create their C&S display at the San Diego County Fair this week, and will have 8 of my cactus creations in the display, so I needed to get Fair credentials and such. This will be the first year that I have gone to the Fair FREE since exhibitors get 2 free tickets. Yahoooooooooo!

2018 San Diego County Fair tickets, FREE!

SNIPPET 8

Many decades ago I was on my way from College Station TX to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. I stopped at a religious bookstore in Shreveport LA. They had 48 different versions of the Bible but the most interesting one was a Bible that had 8 versions on each 2-page spread so you could compare them. That was the final straw that convinced me that the Bible was a bunch of hooey.

SNIPPET 9

First picture is Meatball, employee of the month at Ottavio’s Italian Restaurant in Lakeside CA, my favorite place to get barbecued chicken pizza. Second picture is Meatball doing what Meatball does best in her favorite spot.

Meatball

Meatball

SNIPPET 10

I can definitively tell you that old age does, indeed, come, and it’s not kind to your ability to clean the house, so get that cleaning out of the way while you’re young.

SNIPPET 11

Tumbleweed growing season is in full swing.

Field of growing tumbleweeds

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

SNIPPETS (5-13-18)

Snippets

SNIPPET 1

If it’s cactus, cacti, it should be agapanthus, agapanthi, yes? Well, whatever.

On May 25, 1979, I flew my wise old grandmother (MWOG) and my two oldest nieces from Kingsville to Houston to Los Angeles to visit MWOG’s oldest living son’s family. My dad was her oldest son, but he committed suicide in 1961 when I was 6.

I remember the date because we were going to fly just hours after AA Flight 191 from Chicago to Los Angeles crashed shortly after takeoff, killing 273 people, still the deadliest air crash in the United States. I had to convince MWOG and teenage girls that flying was safer than driving, and that the absolute safest time to fly is right after an air crash. Odds. Statistics. Nonetheless….

Her oldest living, Charles, had the most beautiful yard I had ever seen because it had so many beautiful plants that I had never seen, and they all were blooming. April showers bring May flowers. Little did I know that they didn’t have April showers in Los Angeles; all watering by hand at that time.

One of his plants was an agapanthus. Its flower stalk was taller than me, and I’m 6’3″. I have always wanted one but never got one. In our new home, I have many, planted by the previous owners. Over 20 flower buds, and this one, about four feet tall, was the first to open, the night of May 8-9.

SNIPPET 2

I abandoned Texas on April 15, 1993, winding up in San Diego, California, on April 27, 1993. For the last days of April, I stayed at the KOA in Chula Vista. On the night of April 30, I was watching news/weather/sports at the KOA community room. The weatherman came on to announce that for the third consecutive month San Diego had no rain, not even a trace. Less than two inches for the first four months of 1993. I thought to myself, “This is my kind of weather. Think I’ll stay.” I did.

Although I can definitively say that it’s more expensive to live in California, I can also definitively say that I would never had made the kind of money in Texas that I have made in California. It might have something to do with the entrepreneurial spirit in this state that led to the announcement this past week that California’s economy is now the fifth largest in the world, having surpassed the United Kingdom.

I love it here.

SNIPPET 3

I have a problem with floor spots in our new home. I don’t know what brand vinyl flooring the previous owners installed in the kitchen, but I’m thinking it might be time to rip it out and install tile. Tile’s expensive, though, and I’m not sure it will solve this floor spot problem.

Floor spot

SNIPPET 4

The Summer Show & Sale for the San Diego Cactus & Succulent Society is coming up June 2-3. I have heard that it is the largest cactus & succulent show and sale in the nation. My new A+R POTTERY business will be a vendor. In order to be a vendor, said vendor has to enter 8 plants in the show. Considering that there are at least 40 vendors, that’s 320 plants right there. However….

There also is an education category, which I’m going to enter because I love doing research. My exhibit will be on Fibonacci numbers and the Golden Spiral/Fermat’s Spiral in cactus & succulents. Longtime readers might remember my blog on the subject from March 9, 2013, using sunflowers:

Speaking of sunflowers, Fermat’s spiral, and Fibonacci numbers….

Sunflower showing Fermat's spirals

SNIPPET 5

Plants grow very slowly relative to other things so you might not notice what they are doing until months, or even years, later. I’m sure this little pot full of Euphorbia obesa started out as just one, the biggest one in the middle. Over the years, momma has had a few babies, and they are stretching this plastic container, trying to get out on their own. Well, I’m here to help them. Can’t stay with momma forever.

Euphorbia obesa

SNIPPET 6

Last July I sat in for Jeff Moore at his boutique nursery, Solana Succulents, in Solana Beach, California, while Jeff visited the Bay Area to talk with cactus & succulent societies up there. I came home from Solana Succulents with an Operculicarya decaryii. Looks like this:

Operculicarya decaryii

It looks kind of dead, but it’s simply been dormant for the winter. This past Tuesday I noticed that it’s waking up. The leaves are very small so even in full leaf it looks almost dead. While I was looking at the first of its little leaves, I noticed that some of the little leaves are not leaves at all.

They are flowers!

Itsty bitsy teeny tiny little really really really small flowers, so small that I could not measure them. I think they’re about a tenth of an inch in diameter.

I got a good picture with my DSLR and the 90mm macro lens, though:

Operculicarya decaryii flower

SNIPPET 7

I have always liked Tillandsias but I’ve never had too many because I had never found a good way to display them. I don’t like bare roots hanging all over the place.

Now I have a way to display them—Designer Pots by A+R POTTERY (that’s me!).

I filled Designer Pot #59 with a couple of big rocks, then a layer of smaller rocks, then smaller pebbles, then even smaller pebbles. I placed some of the pebbles from the top layer over the Tillandsia roots to hold the plant in place, and then poured water in up to the copper ring so that the top layer where the Tillandsia is “rooted” is dry except for the humidity rising up through the rocks.

In just six hours, the Tillandsia responded to the humidity, basically telling me that he loves it!

Here he is in his new home:

Tillandsia in Designer Pot #59 by A+R POTTERY

SNIPPET 8

I have decided to take on a new nickname.

Just call me ADH Russel.

Stands for “Anti-Drainage Hole Russel.”

Here’s the story, from my brand new website for A+R POTTERY, the anti-drainage hole Designer Pots:

http://www.arpottery.gallery/about-us

SNIPPET 9

Along with the new A+R POTTERY web site, we now have an A+R POTTERY Facebook page!

Yahooooooooooooo!

LIKE us on Facebook!

SNIPPET 10

We added a new book to our classical music library.

New library book

SNIPPET 11

When I rejoined the work force in February 1994 after 10 months of my second retirement, I helped set up offices throughout the nation for Nextel Communications.

I noticed that those beautiful leather, high-back executive office chairs were $1,500 to $2,000.

I always wanted one.

Yesterday, I bought one.

For $129.99.

At Office Depot.

Made in China.

Leather office chair

Zoey the Cool Cat is not yet ready to give up the old chair. She took possession of it while I was assembling the new chair. And I didn’t even buy the new chair at IKEA!

Zoey the Cool Cat

SNIPPET 12

From the best meme seen on Facebook this past week:

My heart goes out to any aspiring dystopian fiction authors who keep having their ideas stolen by the Republican Party.

SNIPPET 13

Best research summary released last week:

People over 40 should only work 3 days a week, experts say

SNIPPET 14

If you missed the Iranian and Israeli missiles flying through the air this past week……… Those missiles are expensive…….. Putin sells missiles to Iran………… The U.S. sells missiles to Israel………… Someone’s making a lot of money!

SNIPPET 15

Got my California ballot in the mail today since I’m a permanent mail voter. When a Republican was in charge of California, the state was billions of dollars in the red. A Democrat took over and now is leaving the state with the world’s fifth largest economy and a billion dollar annual surplus.
With all that money available, 27 people are running for Governor of California.

27.

Yes, 27.

SNIPPET 16

I like meat, especially fish, chicken, and bacon.

I grew up in a ranching/farming family, so we had lots of pigs, cows, and chickens. One thing I learned on that farm is not to name an animal that I intended to eat.

Naming things makes it personal, and one doesn’t want to get personal with the animal one intends to kill and eat.

I applied that thinking to my vegetables, too.

I name my carrots and peas.

Problem solved.

SNIPPET 18

I have been involved in many different industries during my business career. Word processing, computer sales, real estate buying and selling. landscaping, property renovation, roofing, plumbing, office management, project management, editing, graphic design, home inspections. In every one of them, I knew a great deal about a specific industry before every getting involved in it. Such is not the case with my newest business:

A+R POTTERY—Designer Pots for your small cactus & succulents

A+R POTTERY sold two Designer Pots yesterday at the general meeting of the San Diego Cactus & Succulent Society. That was a 100% volume increase of April, and a 125% income increase! I’m quite pleased. Especially since yesterday’s meeting was the worst I’ve been to. There might have been 100 members in attendance, and maybe 20 walk-throughs from the general public. Afterwards I found out why. We were competing with many Mother’s Day weekend events in Balboa Park, and three of the biggest were within 50 feet of our meeting. So to get to us, one had to walk through the crowds for the San Diego Youth Opera, the San Diego Youth Symphony, and the annual San Diego Epiphyllum Society Show & Sale.

I can definitively say that one doesn’t want people walking through monster, gigantic, beautiful, luscious Epiphyllum flowers to get to your meeting because they will never make it. Would YOU have made it through several hundred of these flowering plants?

Epiphyllum flowers

So I’m quite pleased with my progress in the two months I have officially been in business.

Here are the two pots that I sold yesterday:

Designer Pot #13 by A+R POTTERY

Designer Pot #14 by A+R POTTERY

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

SNIPPETS (5-6-18)

Snippets

SNIPPET 1

Back in 1966, I stopped by a field on the way home from school and picked some flowers for my wise old grandmother. She was appreciative but also upset. She told me that if I loved the flowers, I should leave them in the field to grow and produce seeds so we’ll have more flowers. I think that was our first conversation about the birds and the bees………..lol

So I’ve never been a fan of cut flowers. However, when a flower falls off or is pulled of by, uh, a ground squirrel or rabbit, I’m not averse to picking it up and putting it in a glass of water

I bought several cactus and succulents at the Huntington Gardens plant sale last Sunday in San Marino. One had a beautiful orange flower on it. Due to high-speed Southern California driving for two hours (one has to drive with the prevailing speed), the cactus fell over and broke the flower off. Saved the flower, and it’s looked amazing for three days.

Cactus flower

SNIPPET 2

If you have never been to the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Garden in San Marino, California (northeast of downtown Los Angeles, near Pasadena), I can highly recommend it. In fact, I think it should be on everyone’s Bucket List.

The property comprises 207 acres, of which 120 acres are gardens. I could spend a day wandering around the gardens. I did spend a day wandering around the gardens! My favorite plant during my visit last Sunday was the Tower of Jewels (Echium  sp.):

Tower of Jewels (Echium sp.)

SNIPPET 3

Yesterday, 25 members of the San Diego Cactus & Succulent Society were treated to a private tour of Western Cactus, the nation’s largest cactus grower. Wow! What an experience. Following are a couple of pictures inside two of their 50 green houses. Those are hundreds of trays full of many thousands of cactus seedlings.

Western Cactus of Vista, California

Western Cactus of Vista, California

SNIPPET 4

I accidentally stepped into a low branch of this 4-foot tall “Fat Boy” cactus yesterday. I can definitively tell you that those long spines hurt like hell. I have seven puncture wounds, and that poor ankle still is hurting.

Fat Boy cactus

SNIPPET 5

Out in the wild, only about one in a thousand cactus seeds germinates and grows into a plant. It’s tough out there. It’s only marginally better in a greenhouse simply because caretakers can’t care for each seedling individually, so there will be natural die-off. Here are seed trays containing a thousand cactus seedlings of Astrophytum myriostigma each.

Aastrophytum myriostigma seedlings about 3 weeks old.

SNIPPET 6

And here is a picture from Wikipedia of what those seedlings will grow into; vastly different. Bishop’s Cap photo by Petar43 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27717413

Bishop's Cap

SNIPPET 7

I have 50+ years of botany experience, so I know that cacti are dicots, which means that their seeds will send up two cotyledons to take care of photosynthesis while the seed grows into a little plant and then starts its own photosynthesis.

However, until yesterday, I had never seen the cotyledons of a cactus seed. I used a 90mm macro lens on my Canon 760D to get this picture of two half-inch tall cacti still growing out of their cotyledons, which seem to be quite a bit plumper than, say, sweet pea or corn cotyledons, both of which I’m very familiar with.

Cactus cotyledons

SNIPPET 8

I haven’t had a true passion since 2001 when I started my home inspection business. Sadly, due to the 1% jerk Realtors, the 1% jerk home inspectors in the trade associations, and the 1% jerk buying/selling Clients, that passion lasted only for about 3 years. Then it became just a job, a way to pay the bills, buy a new car every other year, and buy my annual membership to the San Diego Zoo.

It’s just amazing how the 1% can ruin everything for the rest of us. President Twitler and his ilk are great examples.

SNIPPET 9

Western Cactus is  wholesale only. They ship cactus to retail entities throughout the world. The smallest cactus they ship is in a 4-inch plastic pot, which retail nurseries then re-plant into larger pots (so they can charge more) or decorative pots that add perceived value.

The first picture is of cactus in their 4-inch growing trays ready to be pulled and planted in 4-inch pots. The second picture are plants that have been pulled from the growing trays and are ready to be put in 4-inch plastic pots. The third picture are plants in those 4-inch plastic pots and ready to be shipped out to your local nursery. The pictures are of three different cactus species.

Western Cactus

Western Cactus

Western Cactus

SNIPPET 10

Well isn’t Zoey the Cool Cat just a special little queen enjoying her private catio.

Zoey the Cool Cat

SNIPPET 11

I seem to be noticing cacti & succulents like I’ve never noticed them before. Here’s a huge Opuntia (Prickly Pear) growing in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. I would not be surprised if this one was planted in 1827 when Casa de Estudillo, where it was located, was planted. They certainly never grew this tall in my hometown of Kingsville TX.

Opuntia in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park

SNIPPET 12

I had a margarita for Cinco de Mayo. You knew that, though, right? I had it in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park where I was serenaded by a Mexican trio playing “Tequila!” Here’s the trio, surrounded by cacti & succulents, and the song:

Tequila!

SNIPPET 13

Why are we allowing for-profit companies to litter our streets with these ugly bikes? I call them “litter bikes.” One can’t move them if one wants to take a picture, and they are so ugly that one is encouraged not to take the pictures, notwithstanding how expert one might be with Photoshop.

Litter bikes

SNIPPET 14

Today’s “Still Life” by Russel Ray Photos. I might have to question the part about “clean” since this was litter.

Clean, polite, and honest

The fine for littering is $1,000. Here’s my take on the litterer’s conversation with the litter police:

Litterer: Throws litter on the ground
Litter Police: “Hey, you! I just saw you throw that on the ground!”
Litterer: “Wasn’t me.”
Litter Police: “I saw you!”
Litterer: “You can’t possibly have been watching me and only me with these thousands of people here.”
Litter Police: “I don’t have to be watching only you. I only have to have my eyes on you as you’re littering.”
Litterer: “Wasn’t me.”
Litter Police: “All you have to do is pick it up and put it in the trash and we can end this.”
Litterer: “I’m not picking it up. It’s not mine! And who knows where it’s been or how long it’s been there or what kind of germs are on it.”
Litter Police: “I’ll pick it up and put it in the trash. However, I suggest you go home now because once a litterer always a litterer, and I’m going to follow you for the rest of the time that you’re here.”

SNIPPET 15

I grew up in Kingsville, Texas, just 70 miles north of the U.S./Mexico border. Lots of dry, desert land down there, so I’m quite experienced with Opuntia cactus poking holes in my arms and legs. That was 45+ years ago, so it’s been many decades since I had growing experience with Opuntia. In my old age, I’ve been kind of out of the OUCH! stage of my life since I don’t heal as quickly as I did decades ago. Yesterday, though, I saw Opuntia quimilo at Home Depot. I call it Opuntia Wowthosearesomelongspinesii. $14.48. I had to buy it.

Opuntia quimilo

SNIPPET 16

After 24 years with AOL, I’m now ready to close that email account. Unfortunately, AOL provides no way to do that. It’s one of their free accounts.

Anyone have any ideas?

The first 100 pages of a Google search (yes, I went through 100 pages!) provided no help; everything was out of date or not relevant to the free accounts.

SNIPPET 17

In Spring 1976, I had Professor Phil Gramm for Economics 301 at Texas A&M University. He went on to become United States Senator Phil Gramm. I disliked him and his class. One thing he constantly emphasized to us, though, had nothing to do with Economics:

“All politicians lie. It’s part of the job description for getting elected and re-elected. What you have to do is determine whose lies you like the best and then vote for that person.”

Twitler and his ilk, though, have taken lying to a level never before seen. All these liars lying about the lies they told to cover up the lies about the lies. It’s like lies are becoming the norm in America. It’s amazing that I will believe a porn star before I believe the President of the United States.

SNIPPET 18

Here is my third attempt as the Newsletter Editor of the San Diego Cactus & Succulent Society:

May newsletter for the San Diego Cactus & Succulent Society

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post