Mystery of the Fuzzy Mat Plant

Sometimes you see something so often that you forget it is interesting. That’s the case for a weird plant I’ve been seeing on our driveway ever since we built it. It always looked like bits of cotton had gotten into one of the usual spurges that line our driveway.

Here’s the plant from a distance. You can barely distinguish it from the road base.

I finally got it into my head to take a photo of it an upload it to iNaturalist, so I could figure out what it was. I took the photo on our cutting board, hoping for better contrast.

Well, that didn’t go well at all. The plant simply does NOT photograph well, and the recognition algorithms couldn’t figure out what the thing was at all. It was guessing owls and such. I tried for a better photo, but didn’t get much further.

Continue reading “Mystery of the Fuzzy Mat Plant”

Was a Little Out of It

Sorry for the absence. I was limiting my screen time, and dealing with “issues”. Then, out of the blue I got a very weird headache yesterday that lasted until 8 pm. Stress? Stroke? Jostling from the car incident? No idea.

It rained, so rain lilies and their golden cousins pop up.

I was no good to anyone in the meeting I was at in the morning. I mostly worried people. But the wildflower brochure is being printed now!

Thanks to that brochure I hit the first post-certification milestone for Master Naturalist. 250 volunteer hours. That’s me and Lisa.

I managed to get some “real job” work done, and then begged out and got my nails done. Of course, Yoe High maroon and silver. Tina did a great job making up a technique!

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I Gots Nothin’

I hate to disappoint the readership, but today didn’t have much to it worth writing about, other than getting my neck looked at after the little accident, and some water droplets finally falling out of the sky. Both of those are good things, of course.

A giant bra in the sky from yesterday.
My thoughts on endless delays. But isn’t the avocado shirt from Target cute?

I spent most of the day sitting at my desk, back at work, dutifully doing the needful, and waiting for the results of a meeting. Finally, I asked that guy that sits next to me when the meeting was, and he admitted he was too chickensh** to tell me it had gotten postponed. I got a wry laugh out of that, I guess. Then I took a walk, like the consummate professional I am, followed by more needful doing.

I did get yet another new work laptop, because the previous new laptop would not display my third monitor, over-heated a lot, and kept refusing to come back after it went to “sleep.” I know I’m hard on displays, since each of my offices has a slightly different configuration, so that part didn’t surprise me. So far, the new one is churning along just fine, and I did get a cool screen background.

There are like 80 of these different color splotch backgrounds that rotate. Nice. New laptop at right. Tangle of wires at center.

Yep, that’s it. Highlight of my day, some blobs and some raindrops.

September 11 is never easy, anyway. As always, I will send out peaceful thoughts to whoever will accept them. Peace to you, readers. Remember those you love, and let them know.

Book Report: Remember Me Like This

First, thanks for the good wishes after the flying debris episode yesterday. I still have a mighty headache and a sore neck, but I’m staying home from work, taking ibuprofen, and have a convenient chiropractor appointment already scheduled for tomorrow. I’m not supposed to be looking at screens, so I am typing but not looking up except to fix typos. I am apparently driven to type!

The book

Bret Anthony Johnston is apparently very familiar with the Corpus Christi/Port Aransas area of southern Texas, which made his 2014 book, Remember Me Like This, a lot of fun for me. I used to go to the area every year with friends from my old church, until our Most Toxic Member Ever’s kid broke something and they refused to pay for it. I digress, again.

The other book referred to on the cover is a collection of stories. It won awards.

I’m glad the neighborhood book club chose this one, because it was not too gory or triggering for me (I m not fond of the “tiggering” thing, but that’s what happened in the last book, There There; I got sick to my stomach and could not read any further, even though I’d found it interesting up to then).

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Things Fly from the Sky and Attack My Car

Greetings from my sick room. I’ve been sleeping off the medication I got when my coworker Maggie guided me to the ER, because I got all disoriented and weird at my 10 am meeting.

Huh?

It just wasn’t a good morning. I was very happy to get to work without incident, because I was still exhausted from the weekend. I was almost to my exit when eek! A large piece of something…perhaps fiberboard, came out of the sky over the truck in front of me. No time to react, I just watched it smash down on the hood of my car. It then flew off, and I hope didn’t hit any other car!

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Recharge Time

This morning I waved goodbye to Eva and Joe, found out what was going on with the rest of the family, and realized I was gloriously alone for a while. Lee and Kathleen are still in west Texas, Mandi has other issues, we canceled Sunday dinner due to stress and confusion, so no visitors today. Alone.

Part 1

Of course, being me, I felt compelled to write up stuff for work blogs and volunteering blogs. And I’m late on my LLL newsletter, so I worked on that.

Mmm. Football.

After 5 hours of writing, I’ve declared I deserve some recharge time. No one can keep going and going forever.

Mom is a great pillow.
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Family Stuff and Coping

Tell you what, it’s been a whirlwind around here the past couple of days. Lots of it’s been fun, but there has also been challenging stuff.

Me looking tired, but proud of my pink glass decanter to go with my orange glass.

Kathleen, Lee, and I have made a kind of unspoken pact to just go with the flow as our plans constantly shift due to weird circumstances. We’ve just been trying to start a business, deal with an elder care challenge, and remodel a building.

You can’t be sad if you have cherry pie with a paw print on it.

But all sorts of paperwork issues, legal surprises, scallywaggery (I made that up), illnesses, and twists and turns have meant schedules and priorities change at a moment’s notice. I’m proud of how patient we’ve been, though I think I could do better.

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Just Having a Sit-Along

Today has been non-stop meetings, work, and networking, but it’s been fun. After working at my actual job all morning, we had another wildflower brochure meeting at the Hermit Haus.

I’m almost done with the brochure, thanks to lots of proofreading help. You can never see all your own typos. And I don’t spell in Latin well!

I took more Master Naturalist friends around the office, then some of us repaired to the Dutchtowne Deli for lunch. We had been talking about how we miss just hanging around and talking about things with each other, when John said that what we needed was to have a regular “sit-along,” (though that may not be the actual word he used, but I like it anyway).

Practicing our sitting and chatting after lunch.
Continue reading “Just Having a Sit-Along”

In Which I Try Poop Coffee*

*We were only calling it poop coffee or butt coffee as we laughed our way through our beverages…

The thing is, I always tell people I’m willing to try any food, at least once. So, when my colleague Chriztine decided she was interested in trying the coffee pictured at right, I (and two other coworkers) just had to say, “Yes.”

What does that mean, “zero contact with the animals?” Well, this is that coffee that’s passed through the digestive tract of the civet cat, which you may have heard of (many people think it goes through monkeys, but no). The sustainable part is important, because the poor little animals were being mistreated to get them to poop out enough beans to meet demand. We didn’t want anything to do with that!

So, according to the story on the bag, this is the nice version of the kipi luwak coffee.
Gimme some coffee. And don’t call me a weasel!

As a naturalist, I feel compelled to let you know that the civet is actually not a cat, and is more closely related to our friends, the mongoose family. I found this out in an article from Singapore, which informed me that “the special taste of these coffee is due to the fermentation process when the civets digest the beans.” MMMMM. Also I learned that this kind of coffee is called “weasel coffee” in Vietnam.

So, did I drink it?

First we spent a long time grinding the beans, during which time coworker Jen frequently reminded us that the roasting process will have killed off any germs or wee beasties living on the coffee. Whew.

You can tell they’re looking forward to this.

And then we poured hot water in and watched it drip. Was it chocolatey like Dipu thought? Were the beans old, like Jen thought? Were we all laughing too loud, like I thought?

Ready to give it a try. Note beautiful staging of coffee-making equipment.

Next, we all had to pose with our cups ready. And then we drank it. Guess what? It tasted very much like a cup of coffee. We didn’t detect any excessive smoothness or other fermentation results.

Yep. That’s coffee, all right.

But, since it was the most expensive cup of coffee any of us had ever imbibed, you can bet we all finished it. (Thanks, Chriztine.) We tried to get more people to drink it, but most flat-out refused, even when I politely stuck the cup under their noses and demanded, “Wanna smell my poop coffee?” So hilarious.

Rob painfully tastes the coffee. The new guy behind him got a good chuckle out of us. He was getting “pod coffee,” as we call the product from that machine (some like it; some don’t).

Rob here tried a tiny bit and said he did NOT like it. That will save him the investment of buying more if he did like it!

The best part of the day was making all the jokes and laughing away some of the work stress. I will say that I’m glad the only coffee I brought home was some medium-roast blends to drink in the mornings at the Bobcat Lair. No more poop coffee.

By the way, we have civets in Texas (ring-tail cats). Wonder what happens when they eat mequite beans?

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