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Monday
Sep032018

Ask Dr. Barb: What sister is hiding behind all her stuff  

Dr. Barbara RosenbergDear Dr. Barb:

I am concerned about my sister. She lives alone and her house is so full of things that I wonder how she gets around. She wasn’t always that way, but she has had some life disappointments that seemed to change her. Could all the clutter be a sign of depression? Knowing my sister, if I mention it, she will get angry and suggest that I mind my own business. Is there a way I can approach her about this without her getting too upset? I’ve thought of visiting her more often and casually asking if she’d like me to cook dinner for us, and then I’d start to help by cleaning up the kitchen. What do you think?

Dear Reader:

You are on the right track in thinking that the clutter in your sister’s house may be a sign of depression. She has experienced disappointments in her life, perhaps losses pertaining to relationships, finances, status or self-esteem. Individuals who struggle with these kinds of adversities can lose their ability to move forward with their lives as they see the future in a very negative way. They typically lack self-confidence in their ability to make necessary changes and, due to becoming highly anxious when faced with daily decisions, things keep getting put off. 

                                                       Sometimes, when individuals become depressed this way, they have great difficulty letting go of possessions.

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Wednesday
Aug152018

Summer drinks: Three ways to chill

Photo courtesy of Driscolls BerriesIn the scorching days of summer, cool drinks are essential. Try the three ideas below to add good flavor and keep your drinks chilled in the healthiest ways. 

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Wednesday
Mar282018

Forcing amaryllis bulbs in water: Reblooming for a fourth season

A water-grown 'Double King' amaryllis bulb grows toward the sunlight through a sliding glass door. 'Double King' amaryllis bulb grown in water will rebloom for fourth year.

Well, that's the headline, but my pet amaryllis Leafy does not look as sturdy as it did in its first year of bloom. This year's slender flower stalk is the thinnest ever. 

I can tell before the flower emerges that Leafy needs fortification. The sun alone did not give this water-grown bulb enough energy to make a stem as healthy as its first year of water-forced blooming.

I have grown Leafy in plain water since 2014, and this year I believe I am seeing the result of insufficient nutrients.

In 2015, the first year the bulb bloomed on water in my possession, leaves emerged along with the flower stem. So far, this year, there's only a flower stem. Last year, the leaves came a bit later, so maybe the same will happen this year.

However, the bulb seems to be as tall at the end of March as it was in early April last year. We'll see what happens next month. 

At any rate, I will be testing the effect of putting a little fertilizer in water with hopes of improving both flowers and foliage growth from the bulb. 

If Leafy's growth doesn't seem stronger as a result, I might need to plant the bulb in the ground, as suggested by Hans Langeveld, co-owner of Longfield Gardens, which was the source of the bulb. 

In the meantime, I will keep looking into the bulb's neck for signs of emerging leaves. And I'll turn it as needed to encourage upright growth as the flower stem leans into the sunlight.

 

 

 


Tuesday
Jan162018

Forcing amaryllis bulbs in water for repeat bloom: A Leafy update 

My 'Double King' amaryllis bulb in a Nov. 2017 photo and a Nov. 2016 photo (right). The shorter 2017 leaves, I believe, resulted from days outside.

I have been growing the same 'Double King' amaryllis bulb in plain water since December 2014. It has become a pet houseplant, named Leafy, and it has flowered each spring (three seasons) since then with diligent weekly water changes.

This winter, I didn't have time to experiment with forcing hyacinths in water or forcing tulips in water, so I'm really counting on Leafy to bloom again this year.  

As promised in a post months ago, I called up Hans Langeveld from Longfield Gardens in Lakewood for tips on improving Leafy's health, as the lone survivor of three amaryllis bulbs I got from his nursery in 2014.

The conversation took place way back in June, and I took notes on this expert grower's advice. 

But I didn't do most of what he advised for various reasons. 'Splash' and 'Magnum' gone, but not forgotten.

 

For one thing, he suggested that in the fall I chop off the very leaves that give the bulb its name to put Leafy into dormancy. (Pipe up shock-horror music recalling how I previously killed the other two amaryllis bulbs trying to do just that.)

 

But the first thing he wanted me to do was to plant Leafy outside.

 

“You don't want to go back to soil?” he asked almost incredulously with his gentle lingering accent.

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Tuesday
May092017

Interior design withdrawal: How to pick the perfect chandelier

Photo by Wheeler Kearns Architects - More contemporary dining room photos

It's time to buy a new chandelier, and the choices are overwhelming.

So many shapes and styles and light sources. It helps to narrow things down. Are you attracted to ornate lighting dripping with rows of sparkling crystals? Or do your tastes run more toward angular forms – lights anchored within square lantern shapes or arranged upon linear frames? Advances in LED lighting have brought us so many options that resemble abstract art.

 

What follows is visual exploration of why certain styles work in their room.

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