Saturday, September 16, 2006

I'm Not Dead Yet! (But Where Is My Cane?)

A few things:

I spent today -- an unusually hot, clear, sunny day -- gardening in the back yard. There are few things more satisfying than making plants grow, I find.

I've learned to accept that I can't keep them all alive. Today's casualty was a small azalea bush I had planted when I first moved in, in honor of the azaleas my mom had planted all around the house where I grew up.

But you know what? This isn't Delaware. The azalea settled in to give it the old Blue Hen try, and even delivered a few promising buds. But in the end, the sandy soil and foggy air got the better of her, and she departed for that fragrant garden in the sky. Care of the Sunset Scavengers compost bin.

Another thing I've learned, however, is not to pronounce your plants dead at the scene too quickly.

My tomato plant, which appeared at first glance to have left for the heavenly farmers market, was hiding healthy vine behind dried brown leaves. Same with a small tree I thought had no chance, but is now bursting with new growth.

When it comes to plants, and perhaps even relationships, something that looks dead may just be waiting for some old-fashioned TLC.

On another subject, the following story was on the AP wire yesterday.

I don't know which is funnier, that the woman's name is E.Strogen, or that the AP reporter thinks phones were new and rare in the '60s.

Also notable is that the editor required the reporter to explain what "dialing" is. And this cat didn't do too great a job of it. A dial that "is moved with your finger" sounds more like a Ouija phone to me.

Finally, I strongly suspect that the granddaughters' "outrage" over the wasted $14k is more related to their interest in E.Strogen's will than her well-being. Maybe I should write her a letter suggesting she leave her estate to the phone company -- they've at least been paying attention to her for the past 42 years:

Widow Rented Rotary Phone for 42 Years

Canton, Ohio (AP) -- A widow rented a rotary dial telephone for 42 years, paying what her family calculates as more than $14,000 for a now outdated phone.

Ester Strogen, 82, of Canton, first leased two black rotary phones — the kind whose round dial is moved manually with your finger — in the 1960s. Back then, the technology was new and owning telephones was unaffordable for most people.

Until two months ago, Strogen was still paying AT&T to use the phones — $29.10 a month. Strogen's granddaughters, Melissa Howell and Barb Gordon, ended the arrangement when they discovered the bills.

"I'm outraged," Gordon said. "It made me so mad. It's ridiculous. If my own grandmother was doing it, how many other people are?"

New Jersey-based Lucent Technologies, a spinoff of AT&T that manages the residential leasing service, said customers were given the choice option to opt out of renting in 1985. The number of customers leasing phones dropped from 40 million nationwide to about 750,000 today, he said.

"We will continue to lease sets as long as there is a demand for them," Skalko said. Benefits of leasing include free replacements and the option of switching to newer models, he said. Gordon said she believes the majority of people leasing are elderly and may not realize they are paying thousands of dollars for a telephone.

Skalko said bills are clearly marked, and customers can quit their lease any time by returning their phones. Strogen says she's not a big fan of her new push-button phone. "I'd like to have my rotary back," she said. "I like that better."


DaisyJo said...

How long is your growing season out there? I'm pretty much to the end of mine, which is the disadvantage to mid-September in Ohio.....Well, that and the people here who still lease telephones! hehe.

I'm going to take some fall foliage pics (with you in mind) over the next couple of weeks. Should make you appropriately homesick for Delaware.

Have a good one!

Stella Haven said...

We have an odd growing season. Basically, things bloom throughout the year, just depends what plant it is.

It's almost like we have two springs: In the regular spring and then again in September. I've been here since Feb., and the roses have always been in bloom. You see, it never freezes here. Lots of succulents grow and bloom throughout the year.

Looking forward to the pics! :)

Beebers said...

i agree - there is some insane satisfaction and sense of worth when you can get a plant to grow.

i hung onto this poinsettia after Christmas last year and after staring at leafless stumps of stems for 4 months, i almost tossed it into the compost bin in july. but i repotted it, fed it, and VOILA! i have a healthy poinsettia plant again!

i have the power. i make things grow. hear me roar.