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The Three Times When People are Happiest

Monday, November 28, 2011

OK, then: you've guessed one of 'em with no great difficulty.

Yes!! emoticon

But the other two? When attending the theatre. And when exercising.

The theatre? Really? Something I enjoy, certainly . . . but would not have put it in the top three. emoticon Unless we're talking personal "drama queen" episodes . . .

But exercising? It feels so good when it stops: maybe that's it!! emoticon

So here's the link: and it tells us the "least happy day of the year" too. I'm thinking I may just arrange to take that one as a holiday . . . emoticon


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

4A-HEALTHY-BMI 11/30/2011 10:26AM

    Maybe the first one is up there because it can involve BOTH drama and exercise...

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BEMORESTUBBORN 11/29/2011 8:48PM

    Thanks for the link and for adding me! Drop in and say hello - I love meeting my new Spark friends!

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TRYINGHARD1948 11/29/2011 5:38PM

    I wonder where they got their data from!! It seems as if it is from a fairly narrow population sample.

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DDOORN 11/29/2011 4:03PM

    While it may not be a 100% rock solid guarantee to boost one's spirits, exercise is usually a pretty good bet!

Movies I do...some heavy ones lately (J. Edgar & The Descendants), but theater is a rarity. I should catch up with it more often.


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CMRAND54 11/28/2011 9:45PM

    A good Sunday afternoon nap would be on my list. I seldom go to the theater. Exercise is definitely great for me - and the other one, too.

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_LINDA 11/28/2011 9:45PM

    I don't get that at all, theater?? I like the movies better too, nothing beats the effects and drama of the Star Wars series in my humble opinion.
If anyone thinks exercise is boring they are so doing the wrong thing. It has to be fun, challenging and something that interests you and you can give your full attention. This is why I so love kickboxing, its an adenaline rush and gives you the feeling of power and control, something a weakling like me rarely can enjoy.
Exercise is supposed to be F.U.N. !!
For me, being a virgin, I replace #1 with eating chocolate, nothing beats that good feeling of 90% cocoa Lindt chocolate melting in your mouth!!
Wasn't aware there was a least happy day! I have never felt differently on any day, they are pretty much all the same to me..

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ONEWAYSTREET 11/28/2011 8:03PM

  lol..... whenever I see an elderly person this will run thru my mind now...
love the mooooovies.. not so fussed on live theatre...exercise is mindless... I meditate thru it... so must be aok...tho not thought of it as a "high" in my day...
Chrissy day is always good... I can handle that one...31st Jan... I'll watch out for it. Maybe the fact that the year has really set in???
Honestly there is a app for everything...
Enjoy your day... in every way!!!

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JOPAPGH 11/28/2011 6:12PM

    I would have guessed sleeping over theater.

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OOLALA53 11/28/2011 6:07PM

    I went to a link on whether good looking people are happier. That was disappointing. They are! Though there are always exceptions. emoticon

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DSHONEYC 11/28/2011 5:54PM

    Based upon IPAD info...I'd have thought it would be "when they are texting or twittering or connecting". Shoot, I don't even have a smartphone so to be connected I truly must be "connected".

I thought the #1 would be "eating"....chocolate is better than sex emoticon

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Hyacinth Harvest

Sunday, November 27, 2011

All winter long and as soon as they are available I buy potted hyacinth bulbs at the grocery store. White. All shades of pink. All shades of mauve and blue and purple. From January through April, there are generally hyacinths in my house. Sometimes a single bulb, often a pot of three bulbs, occasionally one of the large pots of five or more bulbs. It always amazes me that buying potted bulbs during the winter months is no more expensive than buying naked bulbs in the fall for direct planting into the garden.

Don't much care for the standard "Christmas" plants -- poinsettias in particular leave me cold, whether traditional red or the newer white, pink and marbled types. They last for ever, they can't with reasonable effort be brought back to rebloom, they silently reproach me if I throw them out . . . Cyclamen are a bit better (glorious butterfly shape hovering above the elegant foliage) but like poinsettias have no scent. Azaleas ditto.

Whereas the hyacinths (like the narcissus I potted up last weekend, which are growing half an inch every day) help me "set out to meet the spring". And smell glorious, scenting the whole house. And each floret is such a beautiful shape . . . remember "hyacinthine curls" on Roman Republican portrait busts? The only disadvantage of hyacinths has been their tendency to flop over, top heavy . . . but the newer cultivars seem to have that problem solved. And (unlike some contemporary rose variants, which have focused on repeat blooming at the expense of perfume) without any loss of scent or shape or colour.

Once my hyacinths have bloomed and faded week by winter week, I cut off the spent flower heads and water copiously, leaving the foliage which will renew the bulb's vigour, then put the pot down in our cool, damp Victorian basement. And forget about them, until late November.

So yesterday was the day. Hyacinth harvest. I fetched them all up, two green garbage bags full of pots and soil and dehydrated foliage. And took them out to the garden for planting.

Almost every bulb was showing signs of life: heavy, solid, sturdy ivory sprouts. I simply cleared away enough leaves in the flower bed to dig a hole, inserted the bulbs at the same depth, then recovered with leaf mulch.

We have lived here for some 25 years -- and there are hundreds of hyacinth bulbs from winter after winter of kitchen table fragrance, blooming and reblooming year after year. Squirrels leave the hyacinths alone -- tulips are the preferred munch, and that's why I don't have many of those. Squirrels simply won't accept my tacit deal -- chestnuts and walnuts for them, bulbs for me. If the squirrels don't eat the tulips bulbs within days of my planting them, they will eat the flowers as soon as they appear in the spring. I've given up on tulips.

Which is OK, actually: hyacinths smell better anyhow.

Winter: bring it on! I've recycled my hyacinths. They're promising me that spring will come.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CEHALLA 11/28/2011 10:51AM

    I love cyclamen and wished they had more scent. My favorite bulb is the freesia, they have a lovely scent. I don't know if the squirrels would eat them or not.

But I love flowers blooming in the spring, and all those hyacinths would be heavenly!

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KALIGIRL 11/28/2011 8:40AM

    Love it!

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NANCY- 11/28/2011 8:25AM

    What a lovely way to bring pleasure into your life. Breathing in the springtime fragrance is definitely heaven scent (oops I meant sent) on a cold winter day. :)
You make me want to go get some bulbs and put them in the bulb vases.

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DDOORN 11/28/2011 12:21AM

    What a wonderful way to brighten your home through your cultivation of flowers...!

Spring already feels like it's been here as we've been visiting in Valley Forge area of PA with temps in the mid-60s over the past few days!

But yes, winter will arrive soon enough...but I'm prepared with cross country skis this year! :-)


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CMRAND54 11/27/2011 7:19PM

    What a lovely idea!

I liked poinsettias when we live in Bermuda. They grow there as bushes, waist high or even shoulder high, and bloom copiously every winter. The potted ones we get here aren't even close.

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DONNACFIT 11/27/2011 4:51PM

    Hi thanks for the gardening tips..am anxious to try that myself! Thanks for sharing and enjoy your spring thoughts..

we're actually having a week or more of beautiful weather.. very un-november like for Sask..I'll take it as winterr won't seem quite as long now...our snow is even almost gone now..


Comment edited on: 11/27/2011 4:52:19 PM

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TRYINGHARD1948 11/27/2011 4:43PM

    I can smell those hyacinths from here.

PS I've given up on tulips too. They make me hang my head in shame every one that droops.

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SALSIFY 11/27/2011 3:49PM

    I put a red poinsettia in a purple pot in my kitchen today as it's good feng shui & we could do with some prosperity.


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IMAGINE_IT 11/27/2011 12:34PM

    Oh Ellen you make me want to come out there and look at your gorgeous garden once it's all in bloom!! emoticon you also make me want to go out and buy Hyacinths and plant them all over my garden....only thing with this past summer extreme drought and sky high water bills emoticon and with predictions of at least 5 more years of drought....i am not going to plant anything.....except my tomatoes!
and i agree with Linda....i would love to see some pictures emoticon

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ERIKO1908 11/27/2011 12:19PM

    Ahhh...flowers...I've never had much of a green thumb, but I will live vicariously through you...

On a side note regarding my lack of green thumb...I do have a potted mum plant at work that was a gift from my son on Mother's Day two years ago...I managed to bring it back from death's door...and within a week or so it should have blooms again!!! It is a two foot tall, pretty much single stalk that I have secured to my blinds with a paperclip hook so it doesn't fall over. I will pinch it back when the blooms are done and see where it goes from there...but I did manage to revive it & for that I am proud!! :)

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_LINDA 11/27/2011 11:39AM

    Wow! I can just picture your beautiful garden with all those flowers blooming!! Would love to see a photo of your first blooms! What a perk in the middle of winter!!

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TKADEEPBREATH 11/27/2011 10:57AM

    I have a confession, I have never grown/tended a Hyacinth flower. I've always been intrigued by them but my Mom never grew one that I remember . . . but after reading your story, I'm going to look for some in pots. I'll have to study your method so I can try it. I'm excited about this . . . a new project. I think I'll collect all the colors. I will prefer the fragrant ones . . .

I never really thought about it but I'm with you on the Christmas traditionals like poinsettias. Just can't bring myself to spend $ on them. I don't mind seeing them if someone else bought them though.

Thanks for your story. . . as always, Jan

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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PASTORMIKE7 11/27/2011 10:35AM

    That must be a wonderful site to see when the start blooming!!

Thank you for blessing us with this blog today!!

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Weight Woes and Size Sighs: Gendered Size Creep is Creepy!!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Hmmm. That middle number four is persistent despite diligent tracking. And persistent "Becking": e.g. "hunger is not an emergency"; "eat sitting down".

The balance beam scales at the gym do give me my middle number 3.

And my digital scales at home "flicker" exasperatingly on middle number 3.

But (after months and months over the summer of 138) those home scales (my "home truth") are now persistently settling on middle number 4. Grrrrr.

I am not giving up, however. Not. Giving. Up. The home scales will have to give up. And give me middle number 3. Perhaps when we have some snow and I can get out to x country ski.

Meanwhile, in "other numbers", my contemporary clothes in size 10 are really too large.

Almost all my contemporary clothes in size 8 are also really too large.

It's my contemporary clothes in size 6 which are just right. Navy pant suit. Dark green pant suit. Black leather pencil skirt. Calvin Klein grey jeans. Calvin Klein camel cord jeans. Black Not My Daughter's jeans. Sixes. And (despite the middle number 4) that's my size. My contemporary size.

However, yesterday I was wearing a vintage camel hair suit -- personal vintage, pricey when purchased some 28 or thirty years ago. A classic inverted pleat A-line skirt with a very fitted waist band and a very fitted jacket that has some interesting lapel and pocket button detailing: I've always loved it. However, it was a size 14 when I bought it. I probably weighed about 150 when I bought it. And right now (10 pounds lighter) the skirt has never fit me better through the waist: nice relaxed fit with no pinching. Ditto a very lovely vintage olive mid-calf wool skirt with stitched down pleats. Prestige British label. It's a 14. I wear it often with a contemporary olive and rust tweed fitted jacket: size 6.

Go figure.

DH's sizes don't vary, whether vintage or contemporary. He's a tall slim guy, careful with his clothes, prefers classic styles, size vents etc. : and he also still wears some suits that he's had for years. For him, what was a 34" waist then is a 34" waist now. A 16" neck 36" arm length shirt then is a 16/36" now.

OK. Men get "truth in labelling". Women not so much.

They're messing with our minds, ladies! Gendered size creep is creepy . . . . pure and simple. Yes it is!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FROSTIERACES 12/20/2011 7:18PM

    Oh I know this battle well Ellen. For me, as I've written a lot of times before in my blogs, etc, staying in the 130's requires a lot of dedication and work. I LOVE the way my clothes fit tho in the 130's, low 140's! I'm in the 150's now ...boo! But I'm working on it again......yay!! Good for you - I can tell you're really happy where you are! :)

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CEHALLA 11/28/2011 10:56AM

    Its interesting what people say to me about my size: you look tiny, I thought you looked like weighed 170, etc. etc.
My scale says I still weigh 190, and I'm wearing current size 14's. This is great for me, I'm happy with my progress so far, and working my way down, both the scale and the mystery sizes.
One goal is to fit into my wedding dress again, which was a size 14 30 years ago!

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SALSIFY 11/27/2011 3:38PM

    Those clothes you've kept sound lovely!

I also have been wondering about clothing size. I'm always a couple of sizes larger on top than below - even though my hip & bust size are about the same. I read somewhere that because about 70% of women are pear shaped, clothes are sized to reflect larger hips than bust. So now I know why.

Could you just weigh yourself on the more cooperative gym scales (I know this is easier said than done)?

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TKADEEPBREATH 11/27/2011 11:07AM

    I think you are doing fabulous. You are actually my person inspiration. We have so many things in common. Bet we could wear each others clothes . . .

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NANCY- 11/27/2011 7:26AM

    Congrats on the skirt. The size thing is so annoying.

The scale is a tool. (yes it can be aggravating) however I know I still place too much value on one day's numbers. Are you tracking them? Perhaps there are trends.
Just a thought.

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CMRAND54 11/26/2011 9:27PM

    I know what you mean about the sizes. My wedding dress was a size 10. I wear a size 10 again now, but I weigh 25 pounds more than I did when I got married. We're all just getting bigger.

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MOBYCARP 11/26/2011 8:26PM

    Truth in labeling is less common in men's clothing than it used to be. When I look at shirts, I'm seeing a lot more labeled small, medium and large instead of with neck and sleeve measurements. That means I have to try them on to see what "medium" means in that brand. Bleah. I don't know how women have coped with this nonsense for all these years.

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VALERIEMAHA 11/26/2011 7:08PM

    I'm with Chris 100%!

emoticonyour scales

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SLENDERELLA61 11/26/2011 6:59PM

    Wishing you middle threes!! You can do it, if you stick with it, and really want to. Sounds like at generally a size 6 you don't have to pressure yourself. 140 is not bad. Not bad at all. But I do understand. Now remember I'm considerably shorter than you -- maybe 4 inches -- and mostly I'm a size 6, too. The day after Thanksgiving I was 130.4 and it didn't feel good. Today I was 129.4 -- aw, much better. But I'm not sure anyone but me could tell. Does it matter? Maybe not. But maybe because it could be the beginning of a slip. Trying to find the correct amount of concern about weight is tricky, but I suspect we'll both keep trying.

Also, you may want to reread the "attainable" vs. "maintainable" weight near the end of the Beck book. Look in your head and your heart. Is below 140 truly a maintainable weight for you??

The size thing is true. When I ran the nonprofit that had a thrift store (all donated clothes) trying to size was impossible. One current size 14 and one 1960's 14 were totally different sizes!!

Take care. You will accomplish your middle three if you decide it is a maintainable weight for you. -Marsha

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FREELADY 11/26/2011 6:35PM

    It also means one can easily buy clothes gifts for men, whereas buying a woman (me!) clothes as a gift is an oft-avoided gamble! RATS!

Thanks for voicing your determined persistence. You strengthen my resolve.

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JOHAL52 11/26/2011 5:34PM

    I know what you mean about sizes! I have crept up from size 10 to size 12 but I have a sneaky feeling that it "really" is size 14 by the "old" sizes because I weigh what I weighed [gulp] at size 14 before.
Like you though I am NOT giving up and now that I will be more settled I have high hopes.

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PUDLECRAZY 11/26/2011 4:35PM

    Your home scale is lying to you. If you are wearing a size 6 and your clothes are fitting, you are in great shape. Put the scale in the closet, and let your clothes o the talking.

And, I'm here to say, I am jealous of your leather pencil skirt. Woohoo - great wardrobe item!!!

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 11/26/2011 12:39PM

    Yup. I buy most of my clothes used so I'm well aware of what you're talking about. And it's one reason I find those blog posts on here where people crow about fitting into a particular size so annoying and ignorant. The number on the label doesn't mean anything anymore.

As far as that middle number 4, you know what you have to do- either switch up or increase your exercise or switch up or decrease your food; or both. Plateau breaking requires changes. :-)

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_LINDA 11/26/2011 10:51AM

    Maybe your home scale needs a new battery :) Or a good boot! I have ranted on women's sizing before, said it once but can say it again in case you missed it. To me, baby's sizes are 0-6, no adult should be wearing them. This is part of why I hate shopping for women's clothing and indeed, stuck with basic men's stuff like sweat pants and pants, it never changes. Your vintage clothing sounds wonderful. My only jobs having been a factory one and confectionery worker, I have never had occasion to dress nicely, and hence the workwear.
To me, its a sign of success to fitting comfortably in clothing you wore 30 years ago. Now THAT is maintaining at its finest!! WELL DONE!!

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CRYSTALJEM 11/26/2011 10:39AM

    I too have noticed this. Advertising to our vanity. I like yournterm gendered size creep. Sounds like you are feeling and looking goodnso don't fret too much about the middle number. Just our bodies getting ready for that Canadian winter that's just around the corner. Have a good one, whatever that may be. Namaste.
emoticon emoticon

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Show Me the Place!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Many of you will know and love Leonard Cohen's iconic "Anthem": (Forget your perfect offering, There is a crack/a crack in everything . . . )

And so you may also enjoy his newest single, Show Me the Place, which comes from a November-darkish place of submission and yearning . . . nevertheless still struggling and still optimistic.

So here's the link: sing it ,Leonard!!

I'll help you "roll away the stone" in reciprocity for the many times you've helped me do just the same . . .

And yeah, the narcisus are about half an inch taller this morning, getting greener by the minute.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TKADEEPBREATH 11/27/2011 11:21AM

    Loved this . . . . thanks for sharing

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

as always, Jan

Comment edited on: 11/27/2011 11:22:40 AM

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 11/25/2011 11:30AM

    emoticon Leonard Cohen. Genius.

I love the hard cynical edge in The Future. That guy doesn't softpedal his lyrics.

Comment edited on: 11/25/2011 11:32:18 AM

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VALERIEMAHA 11/25/2011 10:31AM

    Turnabout's fair play, Ellen! $$$$$$$Thanks a million$$$$$$$ for the link!

LOVE Leonard Cohen. I posted a message on my Facebook page, saying, "I've forgotten who I loaned my "Live in London" DVD to. Anyone?" And my girlfriend (another Ellen) let me know she had it -- YAY! Never been so happy to have a FB page! I want to take it with me to CA to share with friends.

What a national treasure he is.

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NANCY- 11/25/2011 7:26AM

    Interesting song.
I love narcissus, when do you think they will bloom?

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TRYINGHARD1948 11/24/2011 10:00PM

    Oh Ellen, as I listen I have goosebumps all over. How beautiful! Thank you.

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CRYSTALJEM 11/24/2011 1:14PM

    Thanks! Gotta get me one of those bulbs - my hibiscus just stopped blooming and my amaryllis and Xmas cactus aren't ready yet.... I need something that's feels like it's starting fresh! Thanks for the link too!

Smiles, hugs and all that jazz! CJ

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FREELADY 11/24/2011 9:47AM

    Exquisite. A lullaby of peace for Thanksgiving morning when I'd set the alarm for p.m. and the turkey went in the oven an hour late. Thanks for this lovely gift.

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PUDLECRAZY 11/24/2011 9:10AM

    I love Leonard Cohen's poetry/music. Thank you for the link.

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_LINDA 11/24/2011 8:16AM

    Wow! That is growing fast! What a neat idea of the new green in winter. With my step dad's pokey collection, videos are out of the question, but I will look forward to it when I get back home.

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Quick Green!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I planted my narcissus on Sunday, and already the bulbs are beginning to sprout and turn green.

They are so eager to grow.

And remind me: I should be too!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PUDLECRAZY 11/25/2011 7:31AM

    Are you forcing bulbs indoors or are they growing outside? Post some pics!

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DDOORN 11/24/2011 11:43PM

    Great symbol to help remind you...that narcissus! :-)


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SALSIFY 11/24/2011 4:39AM

    That reminds me - I must get some hyacinth bulbs.

I always love the moment the narcissi poke their heads through the front lawn in January.


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FREELADY 11/23/2011 9:06PM

    I do hear that in everything you write: EAGERNESS for life, embracing a wealth of experiences, courage to stretch yourself. You are amazing, and it blesses us to rub virtual shoulders with you!

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DONNACFIT 11/23/2011 7:45PM

    Glad you have some green growing inside to brighten your day :) I need to find me some of those bulbs :)

Enjoy..Donna emoticon

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SLENDERELLA61 11/23/2011 7:05PM

    Cool!! It is great to see young life thriving, plant, animal or human. My little granddaughter is just so full of intention to live fully!! It is beautiful. -Marsha

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_LINDA 11/23/2011 7:05PM

    WOW!! How is that? I thought you were in Canada?? As I look out and see the snow and dreary dirt and wind whipping through the barren trees and dormant, but hopefully not dead, shrubs...
Enjoy your evening!

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