Tuesday, January 24, 2006

It Lives!

Today I:

  • had a cup of soy yogurt and black tea for breakfast (not necessarily in the same cup!)
  • had two bean and rice burritos and a bag of Fritos for lunch
  • am being moderate about the coffee
  • wish I had as much time to knit as Jeannette

After much fretting and diligence my hard work has finally paid off. No, I haven't gotten a raise, or been awarded some kind of medal. I have simply managed to keep my houseplants from dying this winter.

When I came to the East Coast I thought I had a green thumb. Trying to grow anything in that toxic waste they call soil in Philadelphia and the incident of the Fern Who Got Too Much Water soon disabused me of this idea. How was I supposed to know that Coastal California was a gardener's dream? I thought you really did just drop a peach pit and have a tree grow. Doesn't that happen everywhere?

Apparently not. Growing plants in my apartment is no small feat. My houseplants have been languishing on my wide windowsills and I, spoiled Californian, have been at a loss about what to do. Too much water? Not enough? Cat harrassment? Nope. When all your windows face brick walls less than ten feet away, rising two floors above you, you're lucky if you don't start feeling as if you are the Birdman of Alcatraz. The problem is sunlight. I went down to the hardware store and got myself a 60 watt plant light.

I've had my houseplants on life support for about a month now, and I am pleased to announce that my rubber plant is growing again. It wasn't easy. I had to turn the lamp on every day, and shut it off every night. I had to chastise my boyfriend/partner/whatnot repeatedly until he stopped shutting all the blinds the moment I left the room. This, and the low winter sun, are to blame for my plant's health to begin with. He now understands that the plants and I do not appreciate this, and that the light is not meant to substitute for natural light, but to supplement it. Nobody is peeking in at him anyway. We face a brick wall!

My African Violet is still alive, but it isn't blooming. It's edges are dry, despite the dish of damp alabaster gravel I have under it to hydrate it. (I recently discovered my cat may have something to do with this. He gets very excited when I water the gravel, and just last week I caught him licking the rocks as if they were the only viable source of water in the house. Literally trying to get water from a stone! I shooed him away and he went to his water bowl, his second choice. Have I told you my cat is nuts?)

And my bonsai, the one in a species that's supposed to be impossible to kill?

Well, let's not talk about that.

Last night, I:

  • did laundry while eating an eggplant parmensan sub and drinking an Italian beer
  • had a handful of raw cashews
  • ate instant vegetable/barley soup for lunch, a soy yogurt, and a bag of Fritos
  • finished reading Mary Stewart's This Rough Magic


bitterknitter said...

I completely killed a bamboo plant this summer, I think putting it in front of the window AC did it.

If I remember to water and open the blinds occasionally for my other plant it seems to do okay (it survived the AC). Its window faces the street and gets maybe half an hour of direct sunlight a day, so I think that helps a lot.

I too wish I had as much time to knit as Jeanette!

Jeanette said...

Well, if the 2 of you would prefer to be single with no life, then you too could have as much time to knit as I do. Once you start having a life though knitting time disappears. Also, if you purposely wake up any where from a 1/2hr to 1 hr before you need to get ready to go to work, you gain knitting time, and then there is the 20+minute bus ride in each direction, poof knitting time.