Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Last Dome And Cabin Fever!

Before explaining the last Dome, I thought I'd let you all know what other things have been going on in my life. As you see from the title, this endless winter is getting to me! Since early December there has been storm after storm and I want to see some green - as in leaves! (The Domes only helped for a little while . . .)
The snow is piled in heaps over 10 feet high in the parking lot at the grocery store, the mail box is just about buried, the pugs have a very limited area that they can use as the bathroom, and the snow is up to the resident deer's knees. The plants that I grow for "winter interest" have been crushed by icey snow long ago, and I traverse the driveway like one of those old ladies who is afraid of "taking a fall and breaking a hip". (Truthfully, I AM afraid of falling and breaking something!!)
Tonight the temperture is -4 with a windchill of -22 and after being outside for less than a minute, the pugs begin to hold up their frigid paws and limping toward the house before finishing their business. And I'm beginning to dislike being inside my cozy little house day after day - or being at work. Ugh! and I had the gall to write on some Canadian friends' blogs how "wonderful and introspective" this time of year was and that I "looked forward to it". I take all of that back - at least for now.
To help ease the pain a bit, I've scheduled a day of vacation tomorrow and am going to plant three varieties of begonias. I'm also going to do some "winter sowing" - starting seeds in recycled covered containers and setting them outside to sprout at nature's whim. It's a new experiment for me and should be very interesting.
I have been enjoying my interest in jazz and have become enamored with pianist Bill Evans, saxophonists Paul Desmond, Jerry Mulligan, Stand Getz and the great John Coltrane. The first three horn players have a much more mellow, "cool jazz" sound while Coltrane is quite intense and climbs to the statosphere at times so they fit any of my moods. Bill Evans' style is varied, smooth and remarkable - cool one time and then hard be-bop the next and always clean and easy to listen to.
My love of learning is being filled with my latest audio course entitled "Human Prehistory and the First Civilizations". It's 36, half hour lectures with a professor from the UK who makes the subject fascinating. I'm already on lecture 32 (dealing with the rise and fall of the late central-American cultures) and I'm going to miss Professor Fagan.
My weight loss efforts are working better than I'd expected. As of today, I've lost 18 pounds and to celebrate I went out and bought 2 pretty sweaters. The rebounder is an excellent exercise tool for me and I have no problem at all with my feet and knees hurting. I actually enjoy working out! And to vary my routines I bought two "Dance Off the Inches" DVDs that contain short sessions that have fun and easy dance routines. I have yet to master either of them because I've got to take time and learn the steps. Cindy and I tried them and were laughing so hard we couldn't accomplish a thing. When Ashley tried them she said they were a lot of the same steps she used when she was a cheerleader! This will be a little bit harder than the "Senior Rebound" . . .
OK, now about the last dome. It is called the Floral Dome and is used for seasonal and holiday display. Every year, after the Christmas display, and until the Easter display the Model Railroad Association sets up their little trains. Usually it looks pretty tacky with the potted flowers and shrubs half buried, limp, crooked and with no kind of theme whatsoever. Well, someone must have woke up and realized how very bad it was because this year there was Gulliver presiding over a really nice display of azaleas, pansies, stocks and various shrubs. As you see they finally did a good job:
"Behave you tiny peoples or I will step on you!!"
See those little regiments coming from the castle.
A rather humble castle, it is.
A nice little farmstead.
These azaleas are beautiful.
Near the train staion.
The man who kept it all running smoothly.

An excellent varigated, braided ficus.

Don't know the name of this, but it was magnificent!
This was also a large shrub. The berries look edible.
If Winter comes,
can Spring be far behind?
Bye for now,


alicesg said...

Very interesting and cute indeed. I had been to one such place where everything are tiny. It was in Taipei, Taiwan, called Window on China. Could that tree with the red flowers known as powderpuff tree? It looked like one but I am not sure.

Gina said...

Hey Alyssa! I'm so excited that you are trying WS too! I'm also glad to hear the update about the rebounder - I've been thinking of getting one myself. Congrats on that 18 pounds - I think all I've done is eat this winter. Keep up the great work.

DeeMom said...

The wee Village is adorable. You all must have had some darn nasty weather compared to ours. Congratulations on seeing LESS of you…as in the 18 pounds…keep it up

AH you have a tree face as well, I seem to recall a picture you posted a time back...they are fun I think

Old Wom Tigley said...

Fantastic place to visit... these are beautiful plants and your pictures show them off so well.

kate said...

That was interesting - some of those plants look really small. Conversely, that Pilgrim man looks huge!

Ah, I'm with you on this time of year. We've had some snow almost every day and these horrible cold snaps. At least you are exercising and getting in shape. Good going!!

My dog doesn't mind this weather, but I'm finding it tough. I start questioning everything in my life. Yikes! I want some spring!

Alyssa said...

Alice - Yes, I think it is called Powderpuff tree now that you mention it. It was very striking.

Gina - I did my first WS today and took pictures to put on a future blog. I'm really excited and curious too. Thanks for the encouragement - I have a ways to go until my goal is reached but I'll keep plugging along.

Dee - The weather is nasty and just keeps repeating itself. Today the high was 6 degrees and we are scheduled for 5 more inches of snow tonight! Yes, I hope to see a lot less of myself too!! Ha,ha...

Tom - Thank you for the compliments. I wish my pictures looked as good as yours though.

Kate - Oh yes, it seems like everyone I know is having a rough time of it. I went through an ugly time last week where I was mad at everyone and every thing. I did come out of it a bit, but I'll be so happy to see our first spring flowers. Heck, I'd be happy just to see brown lawn!! We'll just have to hang in there a little longer....

Mary said...


It's good to hear from you again. The Dome is a wonderful sort of fantasy world. I love it.

I understand your weary feeling of winter...lasting...too...long. Thea and Garm need a break, too. I remember winters like yours.

Congratulations on your weight loss! You are channeling your energy INSIDE the house. Soon, you will be walking a blue streak around your gardens and enjoying warm breezes...

Hugs and keep your chin up,

Alyssa said...

Mary - Thank you for your good wishes and kind words. Yes, the winter is hard on the pugs too. Thea (being a more emotional dog), is getting quite naughty with Garm. She tries to keep him from doing anything fun and bites and snarls at him terribly. We have to pull her away and have a time-out! Once the weather warms, I'll be able to exercise them both much more and she will get rid of that excess (and annoying!) energy.

Pam said...

Alyssa, I'm with you on the cabin fever thing, absolutely. I like your choice of jazz musicians to help calm frayed nerves, wonderful music.

Congratulations on your weight loss, I'm impressed. Winter is a hard time to do it.

Alyssa said...

Pam - I'm glad to hear from you. Yes, I always find music that fits every mood and season. The cool jazz is relaxing yet uplifting at the same time. I do enjoy it!

Armelle said...

Keep up the good work.