Wednesday, December 31, 2014


After my original "Manager's Special" I went and picked up 3 more "dead" orchid's to try and revive them. I showed you already how they grew new leaves and started to sprout roots. Well now each of them is growing a new flower spike which will soon grow buds and bloom into flowers. I also bought another manager's special from the same place the original one came from. The other 3 are from Lowe's bargain rack of dead plants.

The most exciting part is that I have no clue what color these flowers will be because they didn't have flowers when I got them. I will know soon enough and post another update.

 This little guy (above) grew some huge leaves then some long air roots and then this tiny new flower spike appeared. It is the smallest flower spike out of them all but this one grew the biggest leaves.

 This guy has a nice long flower spike but a ton of air roots on the other side. It looks like a mullet. The top two leaves were also grown after I bought this one. 

 This one has the longest flower spike and many new roots, including one that came out of the hole in the bottom of the pot and has grown up the side. You can even see where the tiny buds will start to form on the flower spike. 

This was the one I bought from the same place my original "Manager's Special" was bought. As you can see, it has a nice long flower stem and many new air roots. It only grew one new leaf since I had it but it was never in the terrible shape the others were. I think the big tear in its one leaf is why they marked it down so much. It also didn't have flowers on it but it did have a flower spike. I won't know what color of flowers it has until they bloom. 

And here's the newest bloom on my original orchid, the Manager's Special. Left for dead and marked down just to get rid of it. Looks ok to me.....

So there you have it, the update on my 4 saved orchids. The most surprising thing is that as I nursed them back to health they all went in the same direction. First they started to grow new leaves. Next they started to grow new roots and then air roots. Last, they started to sprout these new flower spikes. That isn't as surprising to me as the fact that they all did it at the same exact time. I thought some of them would take their time or whatever but as you can see, they all grew the same things at the same time, including new flower spikes as if they all were on the same timer. Odd how plants and nature can be sometimes.

Remember, plants will tell you what they just have to know how to listen. If you do, you might just hear one say, "Thank you!" I would say these 4 new flower spikes on these 4 different orchids will be my, "thank you," but that's just my two cents.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

One of my favorite shows: TODAY'S SPECIAL

In Alaska we got a lot of Canadian programing back before cable was huge and before satellite dish companies were options. One of the Canadian shows we got was Today's Special. This was a great show for children and Nickelodeon ran it for many years back in the 80's.

Today's Special was all about a department store's children's department. It focused on the night staff that worked there, the store was always empty because it was night time. A mannequin named, Jeff, was brought to life with a magic hat and some magic words. By day he was in store windows but at night he would come alive and learn about the world from Jodie who did the displays at night, the old night watchman  Sam, and the resident mouse, Muffy. Sam and Muffy were puppets but Jeff and Jodie were real people. The only condition of Jeff's magic was, he could NEVER leave the store and if his hat came off, he became his mannequin form. The magic words to bring Jeff to life were, Hocus, Pocus, Alimagocus.

Each day focused on a new topic. It helped that the characters were always teaching Jeff things because he had the mind of a child, but children at home related to that. Another character was Sam's computer that ran the store, TXL Series 4 Computer. She announced everything on the show but in scenes where Sam would talk to her, she was a normal character. She almost always ended up nagging Sam until he unplugged her just to shut her up, then he would laugh.

Jodie was the main character. Jodie worked at the store after it had closed for the night. She was nice and calm and very smart. She was very patient and kind and had a great positive outlook on all of the situations. Jodie was constantly teaching life lessons to Jeff and was always understanding when he didn't understand something. After typing that all out I guess she was to model what a mother should be.

Jeff was the mannequin that was brought to life in the first episode by a magician named Waldo the Magnificent. Jeff knew very little in the beginning and had to learn everything as if he was a child. If he ever leaves the store he will permanently be a mannequin forever. Jeff was an amazing dancer and danced in every episode. I THINK, I think because something happened with extra magic going to Jeff's feet instead of his head in the first episode or something like that, I haven't watched this show in over 25 years so please excuse my memory. Jeff was great and all the characters broke the 4th wall, especially Jeff. He was played by actor Jeff Hyslop and I found him on Facebook but HE STILL HASN'T ACCEPTED MY FRIEND REQUEST.

Sam Crenshaw was a puppet but he had an actual live cat named Penelope. Sam was old and knew about Jeff and helped to teach him. He was very understanding but he could be stubborn at times. He ran the store's security system through his TXL series 4 computer. He was very grandfather-like, not only in appearance but in his actions. He often spoke of the old days and used to be a marine.

Muffy the mouse was another puppet on the show. She lived in the store and was always trying to play tricks on people. She was obsessed with cheese and she freaked out when somebody would mention a cat. She also only spoke in rhyme which was a cool touch. Muffy knew a lot and could help teach Jeff things but she also was portrayed as learning new things along side Jeff. I also noticed that her voice changed as the series went on.

I also always thought Gloria from Under The Umbrella Tree on Disney Channel, looked suspiciously very close to Muffy. Made me think Gloria was a cheap rip off of Muffy, I didn't like her for that and still don't.

I remember a lot from the show, especially the songs and dances that happened in every episode. I'm surprised at how much I still remember learning from this show. Some things I still remember learning are, butterflies live to 2 years old, trees can be indoors as babies, Toronto is a city, exercise keeps you healthy, how green screens work, thinking positively can make a difference, and how the digestive system works.

I can remember going into my mom's room as a 3 year old as we were getting ready to move to Pennsylvania from Alaska and I asked, "Mommy, will there be Today's Special in Pennsylvania?" I remember her saying she didn't know and that upset me. That's how much I enjoyed the show though. Many, many months later we got cable after moving across the country and I was watching Nickelodeon and they said, "Coming up next is, Today's Special." I got up from the couch and went running to find my mom to tell her the wonderful news.

There aren't shows like this on TV anymore that's for sure. A lot try to be informative and educational but they just seem so much slower and more boring. Today's Special had lessons, music, dancing, and puppets, everything you want in a show as a kid but that's just my two cents.  

Thursday, December 11, 2014


We are gathered here today to honor an elf we all know and love. He has served Santa well for these past 98 years but the time has come for him to hang up his curly toed shoes and pointy hat. The workshop and Santa's plantation won't quite be the same without him but every good elf that isn't worked to death has to retire. So Drill Bit, this is your life!

Drill Bit was born in Rivendell but was never interested in perusing a career in archery like his father. Drill Bit knew he wasn't a cool warrior type elf, he was more of the toy maker elf. He couldn't get into Elf Law School so he went to Elf State University and majored in, "Wooden Train Making Studies," with a minor in Exterior Lighting. He barely managed to pass the Elf Boards but with a little help from his check book, he was able to pass all of his classes with flying colors! Those colors being red and green of course. College for Drill Bit wasn't all fun and drinking, he also was a prolific dater of female elves. Some of his former elf girlfriends were, Holly, Merry, Candy, and Noel. None of these could compare in beauty to Drill Bit's true love, Miss Eltoe. They didn't attend the same college though and Drill Bit had to put aside his animosity of the hated rival school, "Elf A&M," just so he could date her.

Drill Bit and Eltoe got married in the traditional elf way, by jumping the broom, and soon they heard the pitter patter of little footsteps in their home. They were being robbed by an elf. Feeling they needed a change, they moved to the North Pole to find work. At the time wooden trains were in high demand and Drill Bit found he was as useful as a Double A battery. In just 25 years he became head of the toy train department at Santa's workshop. Eltoe started out in wrapping but eventually got a job in the Claus home serving Mrs. Claus her evening cup of hot cocoa mixed with whiskey.

Sadly, no child has asked for a wooden train in the past 60 years and in fact wooden toy production as a whole has dropped to nearly zero in that time. Santa, being the thinker he is, promoted Drill Bit to overseer and put most of the other elves to work in electronics. Many of us have felt the sting of, "Driver," Drill Bit's enchanted whip! Drill Bit really loved his work, and we all have the scars to prove it! Toy production went up by 2% in his first year because of how handy he was with his bull whip. I can remember a time when I stopped working to get a drink of water and he gave me a whipping so bad that I made Frosty the Snowman spoon with me every night for a week due to the pain and swelling.

In his time here at Santa's workshop, Drill Bit has managed to add some impressive achievements to his resume. Drill Bit was the first one to suggest the 12 hour work day. He was also the first to suggest the elimination of lunch and limit bathroom breaks to one a day. Drill Bit joined the union but felt they were being too hard on Santa and helped to lower wages for all elves. Who could forget the Elf Help book he wrote entitled, "Why Are You Reading This Instead Of Working??" Truly when it came to making this a backbreaking labor of love, Drill Bit was unparalleled in effort.

All good things must come to an end though and our elf union says you can only work for 100 years before you have to retire and of course we know Drill Bit still had 2 more years to go but that time was cut short, just like his arms. Drill Bit, much like Mrs. Claus, liked eggnog to an unhealthy level and one night he tried to take the sleigh out for a ride on his own. He got caught in the reins and was dragged for several miles but luckily his arms tore off. Without the use of his arms to whip the other elves, Drill Bit's deadly, dreaded whip was useless, and so was he.

So today we congratulate you Mr. Bit on your retirement! We hope you enjoy your golden years with your wife. I speak for everybody when I say we will miss your constant cruelty of yelling and belittling us. Santa's workshop will never be the same without you! Every time an Elf is mistreated we will remember you Drill Bit! Now as Drill Bit would scream, let's get back to work and this speech just used up today's bathroom break.

Saturday, December 6, 2014


Most of the songs we hear this time of year aren't even Christmas songs even though that's what we call them. A lot of them are only heard this time of year so we group them as Christmas songs but in reality, some were written for different holidays completely!

I consider a Christmas song to have the word, "Christmas," in it, or mention the birth of Christ in some way, Santa Claus, or the word, "holiday."

Oh no! What? Not Jingle Bells! The most recognizable Christmas song of all time surely MUST be a Christmas song! The tune even appears in other Christmas songs! Sorry, "Jingle Bells" has nothing to do with Christmas. It never mentions Christmas, Jesus, or any holiday to be honest. Jingle Bells or "One Horse Open Sleigh," as it was originally called, was written by Lord James Pierpont and first played on Thanksgiving. He played it for his church and it was so well liked by the parishioners that they requested it to be played again for Christmas that year. It has been played every Christmas ever since. 

Sticking with the jingle bell idea, "Jingle Bell Rock," which I personally believe to be a cheap knock off of Jingle Bells only composed to ride the coat tails of the more popular song, is a very famous Christmas song. HOWEVER, not once does it mention Christmas, Jesus, or a holiday. This makes the song about riding in a horse driven sleigh and NOT Christmas.

Go shopping this time of year and you WILL hear this song. I think it is the most played song in stores in the month of December and there are so many versions of it, it's very possible to hear it 10 times without hearing the same one twice. In fact, it has been recorded over 200 times by various artists since 1934. Yet, this famous Christmas song, only played this time of year, has absolutely nothing to do with the holiday of Christmas. It's about a couple enjoying the snow and nothing more. I love this song, one of my favorites for sure but it's not about Christmas.

You may not know the name of this song but you sure know it when you hear it. A very popular Christmas song that actually is about a different holiday. I understand the lyrics say, "Christmas," in them BUT the lyrics came much later after the song had gained popularity. This song was a Ukrainian folk song about the coming of the New Year long before anyone ever grouped it with Christmas music.

The third song about riding in a sleigh that has nothing to do with Christmas! Sure it is played only at Christmas time and again, I love this song, but it never mentions Christmas, a holiday, or Jesus. It does however mention a birthday party which is the closest thing yet to a holiday in any of these songs. Sleigh Ride is a wonderful song about taking a ride in a horse drawn sleigh during the winter months and nothing else. (It was written in July by the way)

Say it isn't so! Is Frosty the Snowman about Christmas?? The answer I will say, "hats off," to Gene Autry for writing this in 1950, the year after he wrote Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. That guy is a Christmas song writing machine! Sadly this song isn't about Christmas, it never mentions it or any holiday. The version from the television special we all know and love DOES incorporate Christmas and in those lyrics it changes the line, "I'll be back again some day," to "I'll be back again on Christmas day." The original song and lyrics however, even though written for Christmas, never mention the holiday.

Yes it has to be said 3 times in its title but no matter how many times it is said, it is NOT about Christmas. Written in 1945 during a heat wave this song quickly became a Christmas time classic although Christmas is not mentioned, nor Jesus, nor a holiday. It is simply about a couple enjoying their time together as it snows outside. It's a great song, I love it, it's just not about Christmas.

Well I hope that wasn't too damaging for you. Was your favorite Christmas song on this list? If it was, sad to say, you now know, it isn't a Christmas song. That doesn't mean we can't keep on living the lie though, so go ahead and enjoy these, "Christmas" songs!