Saturday, February 14, 2015

Saturdays in the Garden - Judgmental Fortune Cookies


...the sun is shining though it's gone back to being cold. The winter continues to be in a weird see-saw pattern and we've officially stuck to one major snow storm a month thus far.  I'm actually pretty good with that, so keep it up Father Winter and please, please vacate the premises as soon as you can.  Thanks!

I got my final seed shipment from my favoritest seed supplier this week.  Obviously I went way over board with buying seed this year. A lot of the seed is for filling out my herb garden which I basically ignored last year.  In this batch there is Butterfly Milkweed, St. John's Wort, Hyssop and Calendula. One is really just for fun - Sensitive Plant!  It's difficult to grow but so much fun  - it has these purple puffball flowers and the branches of leaves close up and retract when you touch them.      
Cool, huh?  And mesmerizing!
Speaking of Butterfly Milkweed, you may or may not have heard that the Fish and Wildlife Service has been petitioned to list the Monarch butterfly as a threatened species. It's numbers have been declining alarmingly and President Obama has even raised concerns regarding the species.  This is causing quite the stir here in the heavily agricultural state of Iowa because one of the things thought to be causing the decline is industrial agriculture in the form of round-up ready corn and beans. These GMO crops allow herbicide to be sprayed more liberally and as with anything that is sprayed, it drifts and ends up killing all the "weeds" aka milkweed, the monarch caterpillar's only food plant, in the surrounding landscape.  There are other issues of course.  The drought a couple of years ago really did a number on their population because there was little nectar available for them during their late summer migration.   Personally, I can't really do much of anything in my small shady yard but I am going to continue to establish flowers as much as conditions allow, not just for monarchs but all pollinators!  So were you aware of the Monarch's situation or is this the first you are hearing about it?


I am sort of embarrassingly happy to have a normal weekend with no major obligations  Work is now in full on tidal wave mode - non-stop and overwhelming.  I think the thing that is the most difficult when it gets busy is that you have to be on and focused all day, every day and you are still going to go home feeling buried by what remains on the to do list.  I am contemplating going in for a few hours tomorrow to answer a bunch of overdue e-mails, send out a couple I meant to send on Friday, clean out my inbox and my desk.  Nothing hugely substantive but I could go in Monday with these small distractions off my plate.  However, I am the type of person (I think) that does better when I take adequate time to do other stuff.  How do you normally handle work when it gets overwhelming?  Do you start putting in a bunch of extra hours or do you need the time away and just try to be as productive as possible in your normal work week?

In other news, I got some Chinese takeout this week and this was my fortune:

Is it just me or does this seem a little judgmental and snitty to you too, lol?  Maybe my perception was clouded by guilt because by getting the takeout I was breaking my rule of no eating out unless it's social.  I like how it's bracketed by smiley faces in a very passive aggressive way.  It's hard to argue with though. 


Well, as things have gotten busier at work, I have been more interested in TV than reading.  I've mostly been watching Grimm and am almost to the end of season 1.  Monroe (I've finally picked up on big bad wolf/werewolf dudes name) is still my favorite character and the action is getting more dire.  It's kind of amazing how many crimes in Portland are perpetrated by or involve supernatural creatures.  I doubt this is going to become one of my favorite shows of all time but it's a fun crime procedural to have on while multi-tasking.  I do definitely prefer Once Upon A Time although I think I am a season behind on that.

Books FinishedMoon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch (continues the series well - this series may be becoming a favorite); Avatar The Last Airbender - The Rift by Gene Luen Yang, et al. (Despite some mid-story clumsiness in the narrative I ended up really liking this story which explores the theme of honoring tradition and history vs. progress and has a bit of an environmental message); and Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton (meh though my opinion may have been influenced by YA fatigue).

DNF:  I gave up on The Young Elites by Marie Lu today.  Cool XMen-esque premise and an interesting world but the MC and the very forced feeling romance made me want to snooze while rolling my eyes.  Again, maybe a victim of YA fatigue though that doesn't explain why I picked up in its place..

Currently Reading: Abhorsen by Garth Nix - his characters never annoy or bore me.  This was also the week for starting books by authors who I confuse with other authors.  I picked up The Mermaid's Child by Jo Baker (author of Longbourn who I get confused with Jo Walton who is a spec fic writer).  I'm confused by this book as I got it through Netgalley but it appears to have been published back in 2005.  Maybe with the success of Longbourn they are working on re-releasing (or releasing in U.S. for the 1st time) her older titles?  Also started was Sheepfarmer's Daughter by Elizabeth Moon (who I get confused with Elizabeth Bear also a fantasy writer) which is the first in the older The Deed of Paksenarrion series.  Finally I also started, finally, The Fall of Hyperion by Dan Simmons  I read Hyperion and loved it several years ago and have taken my sweet time picking up this sequel.  So much so that I'm having a little trouble remembering what happened at the end of Hyperion and who's who. 

ON THE BLOG Last Week:
SUNDAY: Review of Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer.  Short Review - It was fab.
TUESDAY: Top Ten Tuesday - Likes and Dislikes in Bookish Romance.  I'm pretty picky when it comes to romance in books so I had no problem making this list.
WEDNESDAY: Review of Kiss An Angel by Susan Elizabeth Phillips.  A contemporary romance read for the Eclectic Reader Challenge - this was a good one to get out of the way because it is definitely not a fave category of mine.
THURSDAY:  Tough Traveling  - True Love.  This is an awesome meme contemplating fantasy tropes which is hosted by Fantasy Review Barn.
FRIDAY:  Review of Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton.  It was an ARC and the second in a row I didn't like very much :(. I don't like being a grumpy pants.

ON THE BLOG Next Week:
SUNDAY: Review of Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
TUESDAY:  Broke and Bookish's Top Ten Tuesday topic this week is book-related problems.  I was feeling a little stumped but I think writing this post has shaken some ideas loose.
WEDNESDAY:  Review of Jackaby by William Ritter.
THURSDAY:  The Tough Traveling topic is Knights which is also stumping me but we'll see...

Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.

Robert Louis Stevenson

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