Monthly Archives: August 2014


Wish I could say I’m free of fleas, but no such luck. I’m going to do a second round of bombing next week. Do you suppose that word, “bombing”  will alert Homeland Security? I can imagine the Tweet, “83 year-old woman arrested on suspicion of terrorism.” Maybe they’ll send a drone and drop a real bomb on my house. I’d even welcome that if it would get rid of my problem, but like the cockroaches, the fleas would probably survive.

Begonia close up-2

My weekly pilgrimage to the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens helps keep me sane. Here are a couple of recent photographs I shot there.

Heather Garden


White Begonias


Like the giant redwoods that begin from a small cone, begonias germinate from dust-fine seeds that grow into plants that can produce huge blossoms. Most gardeners, however, begin with tubers rather than seeds.

The hardest arithmetic to master is that which allows us to count our blessings. Eric Hoffer


Yellowt Begonia

There are 1,500 named species of begonias that come in every color except blue. The dark green leaves provide a striking background for the flowers. I’m lucky enough to live in a cool, wet climate that is perfect for growing them. The Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens has a large collection that I have photographed for several years, and many of those images are on my Happiness Cards.

White Begonia with Red EdgesI regret that I’m not more knowledgeable about the names. Many plants at the botanical gardens have only descriptive tags. I’m not very interested in the names for myself, but I know some of my readers would like some identification.

Heart Begonia

This photograph was published in a book a few years ago. I had not indicated which was the top of the photo, and it was printed upside down with the caption, “Into the Heart of Mystery.” I hadn’t realized how much it resembles a heart until I saw it in the book.


This is war! I’ve been outnumbered, outmaneuvered, and (I hate to say it) outsmarted by little beasts that can jump to heights hundreds of times their size, seem to have 360 degree vision and reproduce faster than I can kill them. Yep, fleas.

I’ve tried everything to get rid of the tiny beasts. I bombed twice, washed bedding numerous times, vacuumed daily, spread eucalyptus leaves, sprayed eucalyptus oil, covered the carpet in flea powder, slept with pennyroyal in my bed, and am currently running 2 dehumidifiers to reduce the humidity.

I am their only source of food. My cat is flea free. Everything I’ve read about or heard about I’ve done. I need help. Please send any suggestions to me at or in the comment section with this blog. Thanks.






These colorful flowers originated in Mexico, Central America and Columbia. They grow from tubers that the Aztecs used for food. Some dahlia trees have been found that are 20 feet high! The hollow stems were used by indigenous people as siphons and straws. The Aztec name for these flowers translates to “water cane.”  There is some dispute as to who named the plant, but no argument about its being named after Anders Dahl, a Swedish botanist who studied with Carl Linnaeus. 2 Pink and white dahliias_ Dahlias are the national flower of Mexico as well as the city flower of Seattle. Their popularity comes from the fact that they are easy to grow, come in every color, except black and blue, and range in size from that of a golf ball to a dinner plate. They are great flowers to photograph.

Multicolored DahliasBegonia 1


I’m writing this in a motel room in Chico after losing my car in a downtown parking lot. I am returning from Lakeview, Oregon and my granddaughter’s wedding and stopped here as a halfway spot in my 468 mile trip home.

This is my first time in Chico, and I wanted to do a little exploring. After driving a couple of miles into downtown I found a free public parking lot with lots of shade, (a definite plus in 90+ degree heat), and took off on foot.

I don’t know about you, but an independently owned bookstore is one of the first places I check out. Most businesses were closed, it being Sunday afternoon, but I did find an open little-bit-of-everything place with a nice young clerk who directed me to Lyons Books where I found a used copy of a Deepak Chopra book I haven’t read.

As I headed back to where I thought my car was waiting for me I was imagining  a lovely evening reading in front of the motel air conditioner. But no car!

I spent the next 30 or so minutes searching for my little red Toyota when I saw two middle-aged women hanging out in their pick-up. i hoped they might know where the free parking lots were. They were from out of town too, but offered to drive me around to find the lots and hopefully my car.

It didn’t take long. Fortunately I always carry a stack of Happiness Cards with me. It was a perfect way to say thank you. They drove away feeling good about helping me, and I drove away grateful for their help. That’s the way life’s supposed to work, isn’t it?