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December 5, 2009

Why so worried?

There’ve been fewer Rancho posts this week, but for good reason: my sister, Julie, is in the hospital. She had a pretty major pancreatic procedure and that’s been on my mind to the exclusion of most other things. Thankfully, she’s had the surgery and, except for expected discomforts, is doing better then we had hoped. To everyone who sent good thoughts and prayers on her behalf, thanks; they made a difference! We were with her at the hospital quite late, so after sleeping-in this morning I took some time out to water and look after the plants in the front yard, noticing that my bottle palm needed trimming back. Post-haircut, there it was — that face! That Seussian, bewildered look on the palm’s bulbous base that was the reason I bought the guy in the first place … and it looked just like I had the night before.

An earthy, prickly gathering

After a chuckle, seeing my spiny-spiky-prickly friends in their terra cotta and earthenware pots is making my outlook brighter. I grouped these pots after our front yard re-do (which included spanning the front of the house with a wide concrete patio) and serves to soften the angles at the front of the house. I had been collecting these containers for a while and loved all the different rustic desert-tones against all the concrete and the surrounding gravel. It took a little time but I think I found an equally diverse but complementary assortment of succulents and cacti to fill them.

The bigger picture

Paul and I visited Julie after lunch and she looked much better than last night. I’m relieved and happy. She’s still got a ways to go but she’s on her way and I hope will be out of the hospital soon. Limited by her pancreatic condition the poor girl hasn’t been able to eat normally for more than a year, so I’m working on the menu for her first Rancho meal now (chipotle short ribs and creme fraiche mashed potatoes!).

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