An Overabundance of Sedum


About ten years ago, I planted two sedums–an Autumn Joy and a Brilliant–in my front flower bed. Within five years, I had sedums in every available flower bed, plus some given to friends and family, plus a donation to the local Extension office garden.

This year, as I contemplate dividing irises and daylilies, I look at my overgrown sedum and wonder. What the heck will I do with it?

For those who don’t know, you can tell when a perennial is too big by the ‘donut’ it forms in the plant’s center. While weeding this morning, I asked my husband to chop out half of three sedum plants–the wrong way to divide them–and then to throw the carcasses on the burn pile. Waste of a perfectly good perennial.

But what else to do with them? What if I planted sedum in the culvert that’s so difficult to mow? Or what if I started replacing my ‘lawn’ with sedum? We could have a river of mauve and bright pink for two weeks every fall. Maybe I should pot up divisions and sell them. I should do that for daylilies and irises too. I could start a new business …



Anniversary Sunday

try this

The photo was taken 23 years ago, the day Jim and I officially joined forces. Like it was yesterday except that cameras are much better now. And that hat. Luckily, I had those humungous glasses to keep the hat from covering my eyes. Jim looks good, though. And the handsome young man behind us is son Gordon.

Good Bugs



Graphic descriptions of encounters with our exoskeletal frenemies.


Anyone who knows me also knows I have a thing about bugs … uh … insects.

I’ve had more adventures with bugs than I care to think about.

Like when I was 12, earwigs crawled through my bedroom window and infested my nose and ears. Mom took it in stride. I did not. I slept on the living room couch for most of that summer.

My one time attending Girl Scout camp was interrupted when I came back from the lake with black fly bites that caused my legs to swell to twice normal size. I had to be hospitalized.

As a young married, my starter home had a humongous basement filled with what Nebraskans call ‘water bugs’ but are really creepy-crawly cockroaches. For seven years, I never went down to the washer/drier location. First husband had to do the laundry. Aww…

But, Omaha is where the Mother Cockroach story originated. You see, if you kill enough of her babies, Mother Cockroach—indestructible and immortal–will come seeking revenge. I may have traumatized my son Gordon by telling horrific stories about Mother Cockroach.

Anything out-of-doors—picnics, ball games, gardening, even an evening constitutional or morning coffee on the deck—results in bites. Wasps, bees, spiders, gnats, no-see-ums, mosquitoes—you name it. I’m like a bug magnet. Only a thorough spray of DEET will ward me, and only with hourly reapplications.

The worst was last year’s pantry moth infestation. Someday, I’ll get over my post traumatic stress sufficiently to tell the story …


This weekend, Jim and I will celebrate our 23rd wedding anniversary. We are not big gift givers, but this year I bought him a miner’s hat with no fewer than three halogen lights. He got me an indoor bug zapper.

I’m still the world-champeen bug magnet. But. Flies or mosquitoes or gnats no longer startle me by landing on my Kindle at night. Insead, I count the snaps as each bug dies to become my definition of a good bug.

I know the world has good insects and nasty ones. I know we need the good ones. I just want them to stay away from me … or else.

Part and Parcel


Every so often, I read or hear something that activates my ‘grammar police’ gene. For those who don’t know me, I worked in communications before retreating to my acreage in Kansas. As a communications professional, my job was to keep a critical eye on the grammar of others. Lots of people hated me.

Still. I’d like a dollar for every time I corrected THEIR, THERE, or THEY’RE and YOUR or YOU’RE. When to use I instead of ME was always good for an argument. And the intricacies of THAT and WHICH caused me frequent heartburn.  I blame the current state of my health on verb usage with collective singulars like STAFF and the transformation of nouns-only like IMPACT into verbs. And let’s not talk about how to spell ‘a lot’ and ‘all right.’ ALOT and ALRIGHT are not (yet) words.

But without doubt, my all-time favorites are idioms that someone gets wrong. Today, a TV news pundit said, ‘part and partial’ instead of ‘part and parcel.’

Now how can I be sure? I played it back several times (thank you DVR) and heard ‘partial’ instead of ‘parcel’ every time. I’m as sure as can be about this horrendous misuse, meaning I’m not very sure at all. So, I decided not to call the person to account by sending a corrective email. But if you’re interested …

‘Part and parcel’ is a legal term, from about the 15th or 16th century, and is a long way of saying that you’re talking about ‘an essential element’ (Merriam-Webster).  As in, ‘sunlight is part and parcel of healthy plant growth.’

Frankly, I haven’t seen or heard this idiom used in a long time, and in my world, the phrase is anachronistic. I wouldn’t use it in writing or speaking.

But imagine my surprise when I heard ‘part and partial,’ which I take to mean ‘this part and this other part.’

Wait. Which part?

Idioms used incorrectly are part and parcel of my anxiety. Or hilarity.

And the photo? Just some tulips blooming in my pink garden. For those who like pictures with the words.