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Archive for January 2009

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It finally stopped raining today – I’ve never been so happy to see the sun.

Our hometown actually made the news for being flooded!

Anyway, my main concern was for my rose-bushes. I thought they weathered the whole thing pretty well, but when I went out there this evening things weren’t looking that good. Some of the leaves were curling in in a very unhealthy-looking manner. And one of the buds on my new Peace rose was drooping over on a very limp stem.

There also appears to be an infestation of spiders all of a sudden. The kind that kill roses! I’ll have to make a plan tomorrow. I wonder if it’s connected to the wet weather at all?

My Princess Margaret bush made a secret bud underneath the foliage, right at the bottom of the bush. It is now blooming and is just the most stunning pink rose. I wish I had new batteries for our camera so I could take a photo of it!

Tomorrow Michael is going to attend the MPH show at the dome in Jozie, so I’ll be home alone. For a change. lol. Except I won’t be really, will I? I’ll have my little bear with me 😉

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Written by Maggie

January 30, 2009 at 11:30 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Congratulations!, roses…and viagra.

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Congratulations to Michael’s brother, Mark, and his wife, Natalie, on their beautiful baby boy, Nicolas, born this morning at 8:45.

He is probably the most gorgeous newborn baby boy that I’ve ever seen, bless his little heart. At 4.05kg and 53cm he is a nice sturdy size. In the photo that we saw he looks so serene and content. I can’t wait to see him for real.

Natalie had a lot of pain earlier so she is in my thoughts and prayers. Hoping she feels much better tomorrow.

I think we are all going to have a lot of fun with little Nicolas still. He’s only just been born but you can tell he is going to be a real character. It’s high time we had a baby in the family again, I think he is going to be spoilt by the lot of us! 🙂

In other news, it is raining, raining, raining ’round these parts. Everything is wet and soggy (including the dog, who insists on jumping on the couch every chance she gets). On that note, I just noticed two strands of dog-hair on the computer keyboard. How did they get here??

I can’t make up my mind if all this rain is good for my rose bushes. On the one hand, roses are very thirsty plants and like a lot of water. (After all, isn’t England known for her roses? And they sure do get a lot of rain there.) On the other hand, I can’t see that it can be good for them to be so waterlogged. Believe me, it’s ankle-deep out there and the rain is showing no sign of abating. It’s gentle but consistent.

I’ll freak out if I have to write off my 20 freakin’ rose bushes! That’s right, I’m up to 20 already. Just added Satchmo and Peace to my collection. Space is seriously running out  now, lol.

Actually, I reckon the rain will do the lot of them good (even if there is a slight drainage problem here). I think they think they are in heaven and are just lapping it up, because every morning when I go out there, there are a whole lot of new buds. There is just something magical about rain-water.

Our camera’s batteries are kaput so I couldn’t take photo’s today which is a pity because things are looking real colourful. Will have to get new batteries pronto.

The next roses that I buy will all be of the kind that are known for their scent. I already have a couple of  nice-smelling ones. The Double-Delight is heralded by some as the best smelling rose in the world. And then there’s the Red ‘n Fragrant, whose name speaks for itself. The next one I buy will be Sheila’s Perfume which, apart from having this heavenly fragrance, is also a stunningly beautiful rose. Then there’s one called Fragrant Hour, and another called Scentimental. (Geddit?) As luck would have it, there is just about space left for three bushes to be slotted in next to each other.

I can just imagine this heady cloud of rosy fragrance hanging over my garden 😉

Learnt something interesting today on the rose site which I frequent:

A smidgen of Viagra (no less) in the water of your cut flowers (roses in particular, I believe) makes them last for a good week longer than they would have otherwise. Keeps the stems stiff, I guess, hehe. Seriously, they did scientific studies on it in Jerusalem.

Many uses, has viagra. Apparently, among other things, it is really good for jet-lag. Something to do with fiddling with the body clock, didn’t read the whole article.

Then (and this piqued my interest) the latest studies are showing that viagra may have a beneficial effect on MS. May slow down disease progression, which is a definite, definite step in the right direction. It seems to improve blood circulation through the blood-brain-barrier to the brain, (according to MRI scans) which is reputedly a problem in MS. This may be in the pipeline for future treatments.

I think it would be kind of a hoot if doctors started prescribing viagra to people with MS to slow down their disease progression. Imagine if viagra turned out to be the big cure we have been waiting for. Little blue pill = no more MS!

Hopefully Fingolimod will fulfil its early promise and I can keep taking that instead though 😉 It is working out really well for me.

Written by Maggie

January 29, 2009 at 12:23 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Gold Reef

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I’ve been waiting for this little number to bloom. Ain’t she sweet?

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Written by Maggie

January 25, 2009 at 10:58 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Sunday blogger

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I seem to be becoming a once a week Sunday blogger. Guess it is better than nothing, anyway ;-p

FYI – photo’s at end of post, so if you’d rather see photo’s of dogs and frogs and roses…skip to the end.

We had a nice, restful weekend. Michael and I ate out at a very stylish bar yesterday which we have been intrigued with for ages. It’s the sort of place that brings you a cocktail menu and makes them in front of you. Manhattans, Sex on the Beach, Strawberry Diaquiris – you name it. They even had one called Sowetan Toilet, lol. (Made with black sumbucca, yuck! I hate sambucca, I got trashed on it once and will never have it again as long as I live.)

Actually, I never drink as a rule. For no other reason than I find it uphill to stomach alcohol and never seem to get a pleasant buzz from it. But I might have a cocktail at that place just so I get to ask for a ‘Screaming Multiple Orgasm’ by name. Haha. I will not be able to do that with a straight face, I can tell you that right now.

As it is I made a bit of a faux pas…I asked our fresh-faced waiter if they accept credit cards. He told me sadly that no, they don’t. Then followed it up with, “Only joking, of course we do”. Michael says I blushed, which I hate doing. Almost as much as being poked fun at for asking stupid questions :-p

The food we had there was out of this world. I had a nectar chicken salad, which consisted of pieces of chicken breast coated in honey and sesame seeds, accompanied by feta, that fancy frilly lettuce that quality restaurants serve and a guacamole side dish. And peppers and tomatoes and carrot. Quite extraordinarily delicious.

After that, we had my parents in law over for a game of table-tennis. My MIL beat me, as usual. It is becoming quite par for the course, I’m used to it 😉 At least it was a close set of games. She only beat me by two points. Luckily I have a tough ego because when she isn’t beating me at ping-pong, she is whipping my butt at Wordscraper (a variation of Scrabble on facebook). We definitely don’t have a typical mother/daughter-in-law relationship, as you can gather. We have too much fun together to sit and think up reasons to be bitchy about each other, lol.

Quick update on mystery project:

I didn’t mean to be a tease about this and make everyone all curious. I just don’t want to talk about it and jinx the whole thing. And if I don’t manage to finish it before the deadline, I am not going to discuss it at all. I guess I reserve the right and all that. I feel a bit mean about it, though, but really, it’s not all that interesting.

I have done precious little in the way of progress with it this week. Wasted time, wasted precious time, wish I could have it back. But I have felt so depressed this week. Turns out it was purely hormonal, but I didn’t know that at the time. MS symptoms were worse than usual, as they always are when I have PMS and I felt decidely dodgy and depro. I am the weepy kind of premenstrual woman, always have been. Wrote the most dismal and maudlin post the other night, but at least had the good sense not to post it!

I’m feeling perky again now though and it’s all systems go! I’m going to try and make it off the runway in time.

Funnily enough, I discussed it with my parents in law over lunch (we went and ate out yet again today, at House of Coffees). I divulged some information to them and they said they had been convinced that mystery project was actually us trying to get pregnant!!

If only.

But that will have to wait till later in the year, depending on how the trial extentions go.

Very, very keen to ditch the trials and start trying for a baby now! Will have to be patient just a little while longer though.

Yes, so I will be very busy this week, trying to wrap up the whol;e thing. Hold thumbs for me, even though you don’t know what it is about.

And now for some photo’s:

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Beary discovered the fan this week and we can’t get her away from it 🙂

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The much-anticipated ‘Double Delight’ rose finally blooms.

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My first arrangement of cut roses in a vase.

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My ‘Pooh Bear’ bush makes its first cluster of roses.

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Introducing the ‘Black Madonna’.

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My garden is really coming alive – check this tiny little frog that was hopping around while I was watering the roses 🙂

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And finally – check out Michael’s neat wedding-ring tan. Now that’s what I call married!

See y’all next Sunday, and be good.

Edited to add: Okay, just checked my side-bar calendar and it turns out I’m more of a Saturday blogger lately. Not that it makes a difference…

Written by Maggie

January 18, 2009 at 11:11 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Lots of photo’s in this update…

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The tick bite situation: I mentioned it to my father-in-law, who said that he was bitten by a tick a while ago and the doctor prescribed preventative antibiotics for him. And he never did get tickbite fever. So much for the nurse on duty the other night who swore blind that there is nothing you can take to prevent it!

Anyway, I phoned my doctor, who was only too willing to prescribe antibiotics. He said  Cyclidox isn’t used much generally these days, but it is just the thing for a tick bite. So at least I don’t have to be on tenterhooks for two weeks, waiting to see if I get it or not. And just to be on the safe side, I went for an Ion detox, too. Should do the trick between them.

Here is a pic of my tick, still under surveillance in its glass container. Shame, I actually feel quite sorry for it already. There it is, de-fanged and defenceless, but I want it around for identification purposes if needs be. Ugly little bugger.  I guess it was only doing what it was born for. But I don’t want it on the loose again, so it will have to stay in there. (BTW, that is its underside.)

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The relapse situation: Thank you very much for those of you that prayed for me. It must have helped, because I am feeling quite a bit better, especially regarding the difficulty breathing thing, which was my main concern. My legs are still feeling numb and tingly but it’s not too bad. I’m actually very glad I didn’t treat the relapse with cortisone. I forgot that my relapses have tended to be milder since I have been on the trial meds, so I should definitely be able to wait till after Feb the 4th before I treat.

The Beary situation: (This will be told in photographs 😉

Michael, with the love of his life (Hint: not me, lol):

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The bonding that has taken place between these two has been so sweet to witness. I had kind of intended this to be my dog. Well, our dog, but with a special bond between her and I. As it turned out it is Our Dog, but with a special bond between her and Michael, ha ha.

Actually, she loves nothing better than being with both of us, so it’s all good.

Here is a pic of Michael’s Desktop on his computer at work, just to put it all in perspective 😉

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The following two are just to illustrate how much she has grown, relative to her look-out post at the front door. Our little fluffy puppy that we brought home has disappeared. Where did this huge gallumping hound come from? (And she ain’t getting any smaller!)

Taken Nov the 12th:

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Taken somewhere in January :

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This dog has got personality. Unfortunately she generates  more cleaning up for yours truly. Like I say to Michael – life sure was easier before we got Beary, but it wasn’t half as fun 🙂

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Having said that, she is remarkably clean and non-destructive. (Just a bit of a messy eater – kibbles everywhere) She doesn’t chew up our stuff, which is appreciated. And she doesn’t dig up my roses, which is even more greatly appreciated.

Okay, you get it, we like our dog…moving on…

The rainy season seems to have finally arrived. Thanks be! And everyone is just loving it. It was raining when I got up this morning. And yet my husband was out. And so was his golfset. Hmmm.

Here are some pics I took during the week:

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Can’t you just smell the rain in the air?

Of course, it’s doing my garden a lot of good. And speaking of my garden…;-)

(Michael says it is miraculous that I have managed to fit 18 rose-bushes in our garden, because it is only as big as a 5-cent piece, lol)

I am very pleased with my garden. If anyone had told me as little as four months ago that I would become such a keen gardener and rose enthusiast, I would have told them they had too much imagination and were living in a fantasy world. Just goes to show. And the best part is that I haven’t even killed one rose-bush yet. Not one! In fact…

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Does that look dead?

Or this?…

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Of course, they are notoriously easy to grow, roses. But then, I used to be  notoriously bad with plants, so I’m still chuffed.hpim3245

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It is good to have a hobby.

And then there’s my little Praying Mantis. This little guy came home from the nursery on my Karoo Rose on the 3rd of January and has been here ever since. I love it! Especially as this is one of the ‘good guys’ that eat harmful insects:

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Isn’t he sweet?

And then I just had to photograph this little bloke sunning himself on the paving…

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That lizard looks quite bling, or is it just me?

I guess that’s more than enough for now. I do tend to get carried away on subjects of gardening, ticks and cute Bear Dogs 😉

Written by Maggie

January 10, 2009 at 12:12 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Bad luck.

with 6 comments

Thank you for all my lovely birthday comments. I enjoyed reading every one of them.  My bad for not replying individually to them, but I have been busy, busy, busy. (Still no excuse, I know) Top secret at the moment, will reveal all on February 1st, if all goes well. Just hold thumbs for me till then, okay 🙂

Apart from my Mysterious Project, I have been very busy with my roses. I now have a grand total of 18 bushes and I think I’ll keep it at that for now. I cannot wait until all of them are blooming. It sure is going to be colourful.

Actually there are currently 34 buds waiting to open. Should be quite a sight.

Earlier in the week, I did a Worm Rescue. I went to a local shop that sells fishing equipment and bait, including live bait and ‘rescued’ +/- 500 Kariba earthworms, which I then ceremoniously ‘planted’ in my rose-garden. Those in the know say you can never have too many earthworms for your roses.

I had done some research and found out that it is a big no-no to introduce so-called exotic earthworms (i.e. any worm not locally found) into your garden. I had been planning to buy a worm farm, but that bit of info deterred me somewhat.

But these worms that I bought are local worms, having been dug up in the nature reserve just down the road from us.

I was very taken by the idea that I had saved the worms from a gruesome fate, sure that they would repay me by working hard in my garden 🙂

The thing is, up until a year ago, this ground (our garden) was still part of a building site, and when I dug the holes to plant my roses, the earth seemed curiously ‘dead’. I didn’t encounter a single living creature, and certainly not an earthworm. I’m not going to expound right now on the marvel that is the humble earthworm, but they really are absolutely incredible.

Then, the other day, just after planting my 12th or so rose bush, I saw a little earthworm. The soil is coming back to life, slowly but surely. The roses certainly seem to be flourishing, at any rate. The first one I planted (the 7de Laan rose) is huge now, and flowering like a nutter.

I saw the worms at the fishing tackle shop a while ago, but as I didn’t know what Kariba worms were, I decided not to take the chance of putting them among my roses. When I got home, I popped onto the internet, and lo and behold, a Kariba is also known as a red-wriggler and is your best composting worm by far. Yay. So there are now about 500 of them cavorting around my roses, aerating the soil and improving the overall quality of it.

Now I have gotten well and truly carried away. So I’ll save the story of my tame Praying Mantis for another day.

Back to my birthday – that was so wonderful. Can’t remember another one ever being quite like it. Michael danced attendance on me all day (even when I pushed it and made him wander around the nursery in my wake looking for garden decorations. That nearly cracked him, lol) He was so, so sweet to me. I do love that man.

I also got lots of phone-calls, some  nice comments on my blog 😉 , nice gifts and visits from family. My parents-in-law came to visit and played table-tennis with us which was great fun. Even though my MIL beat me as usual, LOL. She didn’t even let me win on my birthday! Hehehe.

To wrap up this marathon of a post, let me quickly fill you in on the Bad Luck.

Now, poor Quintus (Mel‘s son) has been in hospital this week, suffering from Tickbite Fever. Horrible. They battled to get a diagnosis and in the meantime, the poor child had really high fevers and terrible headaches. He will be in  hospital till at least Friday, getting his meds. Poor kid, he is feeling sick. And poor Mel, sitting in hospital with a sick boy, laptop in front of her, trying to catch up on work, and having another sick child at home. (Thinking of you, Mel!)

So today, we took Beary for a walk, which she  really enjoys. Us, too. Got home, went to the supermarket, got back home and sat  outside in the cool garden, when suddenly I felt something on my leg, near my ankle. For some reason I thought it was a scab, but it felt weird. I felt it lift a little as I ran my finger over it. I thought I had picked the scab and in the poor light it looked like it was oozing blood. I went and sat under the porch light to get a better look. It still looked like it was oozing blood, and then suddenly I saw that it was actually wriggling legs. A tick was biting me!

I instinctively tried to flick it off,  but it was stuck fast. I starting freaking out a bit  because I know which type of ticks give one tickbite fever, and this was it.

I remembered that you have to put a hot match head against its body so that it will release and drop off. I did this but the bloody thing wouldn’t budge. (I read afterwards on the net that it’s not such a good idea to try and burn the tick off, as it can increase your chances of getting diseases from it). Eventually I got it off, but it’s fangs (if you even call them fangs?) remained behind, embedded in my skin. I sort of gouged them out, which is another no-no, apparently. No scratching the bite mark.

Phoned the quick-care hospital to ask them if there is any preventative medication one can take for a known tick-bite. They answered in the negative and said that I will have to wait for 14 days to see if I have contracted tickbite fever.

I am pretty upset about this. I am on immunosuppressant medication, in the first place, and in the second place, fevers really don’t mix well with MS. Not well at all.

Tomorrow I will of course be going for an ion detox. Worth a shot, at any rate. By my calculation, that tick must have been hanging on there for a good hour and a half.

Stupid tick. It is languishing in a sealed container in my kitchen, for identification purposes. I have a good mind to nuke it in the microwave, lest it escapes.

Edited to add: Bloody Beary can stick to the tar road from now on – no more wandering off into the bundus so that I have to follow her in and end up getting ticks. Fine for her, she has frontline on!

Written by Maggie

January 7, 2009 at 11:08 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Birthday Weekend

with 7 comments

Tomorrow (well, in an hour’s time) it will be my 29th birthday.

I am so excited about this. I can’t remember being this excited about my birthday since I was six. I’m even going to get up early (7am, lol) for the occasion.

A large part of why I am so excited is that I am feeling better on this birthday than I have in EIGHT YEARS!! Physically and mentally.

I seriously wasn’t sure if I would make it to the grand old age of 29 at one stage. And here I am. No wonder I’m happy. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so happy to be alive.

Didn’t think I’d be this thrilled to be this close to thirty, but I so am.

I’m still having the relapse. Thank you very much to those who have carried me in their prayers. I appreciate it so much and I am sure it is helping. I do feel a little better. I nearly freaked out briefly earlier today, contemplating going to hospital for a quickie cortisone drip, but I just couldn’t get caught up by the idea of waking up in hospital on my birthday. That means that I will now have to wait until the 5th of Feb. But I’m okay with that. The relapses are a lot milder since I’ve been on the trial drugs. I can do a month’s wait. I have before.

In the meantime, I am going to enjoy the crap out of my birthday.

Michael asked me what I would like from him as a gift and I immediately answered, “Cash.”

Cash is the universal gift card.

Michael and I aren’t really romantic about stuff like that. He apologised that he hadn’t gotten me a card and I said, “Card, schmard! Really doesn’t bug me.”

What we do do for birthdays is that the birthday boy/ girl gets to choose what we do all day long. And if your birthday happens to fall over a weekend, then you get a birthday weekend, like I have been having. So tomorrow I get to call the shots. I LOVE my birthday and Michael always makes it really special for me.

Must go to bed  now – tomorrow will be a long day 😉

Written by Maggie

January 3, 2009 at 11:08 pm

Posted in Uncategorized