Google: Questions and Answers

Most of my traffic is not from search engines.  But Google Analytics shows that I have had 93 visits on the basis of 53 keywords.  Woo-hoo!  I am sure it is obvious that I am still a little overeager about the whole blogging thing-(despite my inconsistent posting habits)—vague daydreams of thousands of subscribers and all that (thank you, you loyal 19, my inaugural readers).  I am sure all blogging empires begin with a small subscriber base and a tiny trickle of search engine visitors (or maybe not).

Anyway, today I want to pretend to be like one of the grand bloggers, like Rocks in My Dryer, by responding to the searches that have landed random strangers on my blog.  So here it is: my first edition of Google questions and answers (answers not guaranteed):

GARDENING

1. When to prune garlic?

I don’t know.  I haven’t grown it.  But I would think it would be like growing onions.  Why do you need to prune it anyway?

2.  My gaura plant looks dead.

Mine too.  I’ve been meaning to do a post just on this.  I’m beginning to suspect that my pink gaura (appleblossom grass) were not as cold hardy as I’d hoped.

3. Mint varieties for sale.

Limitless.

4. Mint that tolerates full sun

Don’t they all? Or most of them?  Mint is a sunlover.  You shouldn’t have any problems.

5. Is Catmint and Hummingbird Mint the same?

No.  Catmint is Nepeta and Hummingbird Mint is a type of Agastache.  They are related, because they are both members of the Lamiaceae (mint) family, which is why they both have fragrant leaves.  My catmint is the “Walker’s Low” cultivar. It is shorter than the hummingbird mint (Agastache) and it gets going in the spring while the hummingbird mint is still asleep–it blooms in late summer. Catmint is a gorgeous purpley blue, where the hummingbird mint is dark hot pink. I have seen Walker’s Low Catmint recommended as a companion plant for agastache (of which Hummingbird Mint is one type).

6. Ava Hummingbird mint seeds.

Do not exist.  Ava is only available from High Country Gardens and it is cutting propagated.

MISCELLANEA

7.  Who am I to be brilliant?/ Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?

A child of God?

8. What to say to someone when they win a spelling bee

There are numerous possibilities, but I think all good answers probably start with “Congratulations!”   Other ideas: You did great!  What poise under pressure.  You must have really studied.  Did you know all of those words, or did you have to guess on some of them?  How did you study?  What kind of books do you like to read?    You really had me on pins and needles, I could barely stand the suspense.  I was rooting for you.

9. What household products can I use in my Spotbot?

There are only two I can vouch for with certainty: a) hot water (works great for almost everything) and then b) the expensive proprietary Bissell products designed for compact cleaners.  c) Wait!  Pdad informs me that he has had good success through spraying the carpet with Spotshot (a product not made by Bissell and not designed for use with the Spotbot) and then using the Spotbot filled with warm water on that same spot.

I would be leery of using any other chemical or cleaner, especially one that might foam up too much.  I used my Spotbot on a friend’s carpet once, and she’d already sprayed something on it.  The machine was soon overwhelmed by lather.  I was afraid the motor would burn out and the foam made it much harder to use.

10. How much money are hummingbirds?

Wow, can you buy them?  How would you keep them?  A small cage seems inhumane.

11. Licorice gelato recipe

I have been searching the earth for this for the past fifteen years.  My ice cream/gelato cookbook collection is in two digits and I have seen only a couple of possible recipes.  Nothing like the ebony nirvana taste sensation of my memories.  My pledge: Someday I will visit Austria and eat it again.

12. hp dv5t trackpad, i like pmom :)

I like Pdad.  A man who designs search queries just to send surprise messages via google analytics is a man indeed.

On Being Kind–to the Contagious

Category: Not What I Meant or Responses that Leave Me Speechless

Amelia: I don’t want to touch him.  I don’t want [contagious skin condition]!

Pmom: Think of how Jesus treated the lepers.

Amelia: Well, I can’t heal him.

Molluscum Contagiosum Treatment or Little Boy Aladdin

Only mildly apropros: This picture of Duncan is from a couple of weeks ago.  The upside of a painful and difficult treatment: you can pretend to be Aladdin afterwards.  It worked for this 5 year old!

Motherly Advice

When is it a good idea to give advice to other people?

Are there any situations in which one is obligated to offer an opinion?  When is it non-obligatory to give advice, yet still a better choice (supererogatory) than not giving advice, when is it merely acceptable to give advice, and when is it best morally speaking (not answering the question of your own better comfort) not to offer any advice at all?

How do these questions intersect with the question of how well you know the person in question, whether that person asked for input, and what the nature of the topic in question is?

I ask because the other day I overheard one woman ask another woman (who was clearly a stranger to the first woman) a question about swimming lessons at the Fitness Center.  I knew the answer to her question, the woman she asked did not.  Not only did I know the answer to her question, I could have told her a lot more.  All in all, the stuff I thought about telling her was stuff I really wish some more knowledgeable, more experienced mother would have told me when my kids first started their swimming lessons a couple of years ago.  But no one did.  And I heard this woman’s question, and thought over all the things that would be of benefit for her to know, and I remained silent.

I have a friend who reads this blog, S., and I was thinking about it later: What would S. do?  And I reflected that no way would she have said nothing.  S. would have said something, and she would have said it in a way that made the other person laugh–possibly thinking she was a tiny bit overbearing, yet funny, but more likely so grateful for the helpful information.  But I am not S.  I’m too earnest.  I offer opinions too vigorously and without humor.  It puts people off.

Advice: required, supererogatory, to be shunned?

Often we withhold our advice or opinions in favor of the potential advisee.  It’s easy to become the subject of unwanted advice, and knowing that, we spare the unknowingly lucky almost-victim.  That’s a good move, a sound decision.  But I’m interested in that other scenario: those times when we withhold information or opinons to benefit ourselves.

How do we benefit?  We benefit in that it is easier to be silent than to be embarrassed.  Withholding information seldom embarrasses or disgraces you.  Keeping quiet doesn’t put people off.  Talking, and especially opining, can and does.  But what is morally better?  Comfort isn’t the question.  Surely I didn’t have an obligation to share what I knew with this stranger who didn’t direct her question to me? But the Golden Rule might suggest that I need to.    Do I?  Or would I simply have been a better person if I’d overcome my reticence and fear of rejection to share with her?  Or is the risk of offering unwanted thoughts so high, that choosing silence is never a bad choice? What do you think?

Lost Keys: $350 and 150 minutes

I’ve had my comeuppance.  Will it help?  I don’t know.  I’ve had comeuppances before.

But $350 and 150 minutes (with two year old in full action at the dealership) is a lot to pay for losing your key.  If trauma and sacrifice can etch the memory, this should do it.

I know what I have to do now: always put the key in the same place.  Can I do it?  I’m a bit frightened because always returning the key to the same spot was my plan before.  You know, when I lost the keys. And when I lost them again.  And again.  I feel like my plan needs more detail somehow.  But what detail is there other than “return key to spot”?

Easier to be Whiny than Wise

Whiny

So I took Duncan to the doctor on Friday for his skin problem.  I thought it was a hassle that I’d put off too long, but I knew what he had (impetigo) and I knew that getting antibiotics would take care of it.

I was wrong.  He has molluscum contagiosum.  For those of you not curious enough to click on the link, I’ll spare you most of the details, but trust me, you don’t want to get this.  It is contagious, it is ugly, and it is painful to get rid of.

Duncan isn’t the only one with problems.  Kate was diagnosed last week with a significant speech delay. We don’t know why she is behind, but it looks like we probably have lots and lots of speech therapy ahead.  Given my own super-fun experience with speech therapy as a child, I am dreading it.

As I was driving home from the doctor with Duncan, I started to feel whiny.  What nasty stuff Duncan has.  Why are we so susceptible to skin problems?  Why do we have these issues?  What bad luck!  I don’t want to deal with these things.  I don’t want my children to have to suffer.  I’m tired of it.    Bleh.  And so on.

A little wiser?

And then for no apparent reason, a ray of wisdom broke through my typically whiny self banter:  Your children have been amazingly healthy this winter. You were so worried when it was discovered that penicillin was out of the question for Kate, and yet it has now been over a year and she has never needed antibiotics.  What do you call a 2 year old who doesn’t get sick!?!?!  A miracle.

And what of comparisons:  You want to say how unfortunate and unlucky your family is, but what if someone actually had something serious?  You could be taking a child with leukemia to the doctor—to the hospital.  Or how about we disregard the hypotheticals?  Pmom: you know people with children who have far more serious medical issues than the ones you are worrying about.  WHERE IS THE GRATITUDE? WHERE IS THE PERSPECTIVE?

So then, I was ashamed.  And thoughtful.  And thankful.  We are lucky.  We are blessed.  Molluscum isn’t any fun and I’m so sorry for Duncan.  But I am glad for him too.

So far, so good

I couldn’t take the suspense any longer—yesterday I powered up my laptop for the first time in the eight days since the terrorism incident.  Despite my usual pessimism, I thought the machine would probably survive.  I breathed relief as it worked through the usual sequence of start up screens.  But suddenly, an out of sequence display of random colors and patterns suggested that all was not well.  Then the thing stopped and hung.  I stopped and waited.  In horror.  Oh shoot!  No, no, no!  Not my brand new computer! That wasn’t really a $600 terrible two-ism, was it?

After I finished yelling, I finally settled and tried what all the super clever computer fixers do: the restart.

Et voila!  My computer has been working great for 20+ hours.  The only problem is that I remember that out of sequence, out of place display.  I know that wasn’t good.  I cannot breathe relief.  I remember Pdad’s bitter experience . . .

I have a solution.  I’m not going to turn it off.  Not ever.

Do you think that will work?

I murdered my poinsettia

poinsettia

Should I feel guilty?

Purposely killing a living thing?

Being fickle?

Don’t mistake me.   I am crazy about poinsettias.  I love them.  I suffered under the poisonous poinsettia myth for a couple of years. When I discovered the truth, and no longer needed to fear for Kate’s safety, I was thrilled to welcome them back into our home.  Other than our Nativity, poinsettia plants are my favorite way to decorate for Christmas.  I struggle to think of anything more festive than the poinsettia’s scarlet foliage.

But–it’s April, not December.

And my huge poinsettia plant, which was a well-spent ~$17 at Costco in December 2008, was still a bit too healthy.   The problem: even if the April Fool’s joke in these parts is snow on the ground, I want to believe that Spring will come–that Spring is coming.  Daffodils say that, poinsettias do not.

I don’t live in San Diego.  There was no possibility of returning it to nature.

Will the daffodils scent the work of death on my hands?