Author Archives: heretherebespiders

About heretherebespiders

Ex-pat American living in Ireland. Sarcastic, decrepit. Loads of interests: reading, plants, pets, food, art, writing, drinking, space, quantum theory. Not 'girly' and not interested in being so.

“Stapelia gigantea, its smell is terrible”

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And it is.

My carrion flower has bloomed again, this time with some hilarious results.


Monday. About to pop open, but no seams visible. I did warn Himself…


But as usual, he didn’t hear me, somehow. Can’t imagine why not, we’ve only been married 12 years… 

This is his version of the same bloom, with quote: “Went to shut the blinds & was greeted by this! Yes, I shrieked, it wasn’t open this morning! It’s our carrion plant. Smells like death! Yes, really! (You have to put your nose into it, else there’s no scent at all thankfully) HDR photo for scariness ;)”

I don’t really see the ‘scary’ difference, except he turned our white windowsill purple! But I do find it hilarious that it might have something to do with the fact that I’ve been feeding him Stephen King and he actually did make an unmanly sound when he saw it last night. 

For size comparison, the plate that the plant sits on is a side plate; it is not a dinner plate. Maybe what, about 8-10 inches across? I’m not getting close enough to measure the bloom! I’m a super-smeller and to me it smells like bad meaty cat breath. Urgh. Pretty, and pretty strange, however! 

Kingly Gifts

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I probably don’t need to say again that I’m a huge Stephen King fan. I think I first read one of his books (either Cujo or Firestarter) at age 8, and I’ve never regretted a moment spent in the company of his characters.

I’ve read everything he’s published, I’m nearly 100% sure of that. Maybe a short story or three have gotten past me. Definitely have read every novel, novella, collection of short stories, and his nonfiction works.

Easy to say, then, that the way to my heart is through Sai King! 

Hubby got me these as a thank you for taking care of him when he was so poorly.


I hadn’t asked for Christine, but she is awesome! 

Then this month, I had a birthday. As you hope to do every year! This one came with my first vinyl ‘toys’ – Funko Pop figures.


Pennywise! Yay! And a small part of my King collection in the background. A very small part!


Roland Deschain and Walter Padick aka the Gunslinger and the Man in Black. My favourite series of books, ever, hands down.

This is King’s year – a remake of IT and The Dark Tower are or will be in theatres near you. The series The Mist has been on for a bit, and Mr Mercedes started last week. I must warn you, Mr Mercedes is NOT for kids or anyone who is sensitive; and we’ve only seen the first episode. It’s a wow, for sure, but horrible and chilling, also. They put on screen much worse things than my imagination cooked up when reading the books. Yikes. Ark – avoid

Anyone else a Stephen King Constant Reader? 

Piggy Peggy

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I finally caught up with her. She isn’t doing well.


She is so skinny.


Really, really skinny. I could feel all of her ribs, and her hip bones were protruding. Her still-nice fur covers up a lot. 


These are mites, and I expect they are the ones that cause mange. I cannot tell you how horrified I was, last Thursday, to see that she is crawling with them – especially as I saw them as I was cuddling her to my chest and giving her kisses. She seemed very tired at the time, but still happy to see me. I wasn’t so happy and scrubbed myself down with alcohol wipes afterwards. And had a major case of the “fleabee jeebies” for hours.

We got Advocate for her on Saturday, but despite looking for her about every hour and a half every day, she didn’t show up until today. And she is not herself at all – not playful, not energetic, and despite her thinness? Not very hungry, slow walking, and very lethargic. 


Bits of cheese from my lunch scattered in front of her. She used to enjoy digging every tiny bit out of the gravel if a morsel went astray. Not today.

I did get the Advocate on her, all of it, but I don’t know what else might be wrong. Worms? No sign of a respiratory illness. But now I’m afraid to touch her as I don’t want to bring anything home to my boys.

I don’t know what to do. She is nearly impossible to find, and when she shows up to see me, she arrives out of nowhere. I don’t want to put a cat covered in bugs into my car, either. I kept hoping someone was caring for her as she tamed so easily…but this is not proper care. I do think she had five kittens, as of last Thursday, but have seen them not at all. I no longer think she is nursing – maybe because she has nothing left to give. And there is a big wild tom hanging around again…

Spheksophobia

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Hope you don’t have it!

Spheksophobia is the fear of wasps. 


I still have strawberries growing – and apparently they are super sweet! I haven’t been able to find out about the last few because something else has been eating them first. 

I knew it wasn’t slugs, or beetles, or birds, or even earwigs. Wasps are eating my strawberries, and loving them! 

Oh well. If they are fat and full they won’t bother sour old me, at least. Not that I’m afraid of them: I’m very much live and let live unless one is in the house and one of the furry ones is about to get stung. Then there might have to be an emergency squishing. 

Tigridia Time Again

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You know I love these. Last summer I meant to post a gazillion of them, but Spot got sick and I haven’t really been the same since, to be honest. It is a hard thing to associate a flower that I love so much with the death of my best boy, but it is now a ‘thing’ for me. 

Keeping with the maudlin theme, I think that if I ever decide to have an actual grave and not ask that my ashes be spread between Ireland, Florida and maybe Cleveland, I would like my patch to be planted in Tigridia. They always begin to bloom around my birthday, and like life itself they are both beautiful and temporary.

I’m actually not depressed, I promise! How could I be with these beauties saying hello every day?

I Need a Dahlia Expert, Help! 

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I have about eight different dahlias, and I left every last one outside over the winter. But this one…

It was planted late last year, never did much, and I knew it wasn’t planted deep enough at the time. I did have a go at digging it out, but it didn’t want to come so I left it.

It is in a deep pot with tulips and ornamental variegated ivy (unknown variety, I found a bit on the pavement/sidewalk that had broken off from a planter, and made it mine) . The tulips did naught but one bloom this year, but I didn’t expect them to. The ivy was going crazy last year, but looks horrible this year.

The dahlia, however, looks like maybe it has a virus?


Lower leaves and stems look normal, but the budding bits of recent weeks look diseased.


So, should I chop all the icky looking parts off and hope new growth is healthy? Or is this entire plant for the bin? 

Other dahlias in pots, thriving and budding within less than a foot of this one are just fine.

No Chive Turkey, Can You Dig It? 

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I accidentally ate chives yesterday. I don’t ever ever ever want to do that again!

I had a lovely five-course meal, not including desert, made by my good Italian friend, Mrs MMC. It was soooo good. She has food allergies and sensitivities herself, and one of the other guests was vegetarian, so she had no problem making a special version of one appetiser just for me, sans onion.

And it was fabulous. Three kinds of bruschetta, then cannelloni, then wee eggplant aka aubergine thingies that were like tiny lasagnes! I ate two of the cannelloni and before the meat course was served, I bragged how she hadn’t made me stuffed to the gills yet. There was a lovely smoked baked cheese all the way from family in Italy, and wow – heaven in a nibble.

The meat course was a potato mash with nice big slices of truffle, turkey that had been cooking for 15 hours served in a tasty sauce that was meant to be a cream sauce, but as the chef herself is lactose intolerant, it was made lactose-free. 

About 15 minutes after the meat course – and I could have had seconds (oh no. I did have seconds!), I started to feel quite full. Well, finally! I thought, I ate a ton! Ten minutes later while eating homemade peach pie and my homemade raspberry ice cream, that full feeling started to be rather uncomfortable. I lasted another 15 minutes and had to make my goodbyes, even though it was early. I poured out 3/4 of my last beer before I left, because I was feeling icky.

On the walk home I started wheezing because I couldn’t inhale deep enough to get a good breath. I wanted to belch but my esophagus didn’t want to work right; it wasn’t sure if I needed to throw up or hold it in. I was pretty okay with puking all down my front at this point, but nothing was working right. 

Once home, I did the minimum necessary to get things ready for the morning, and collapsed on the couch, leaving the crippled man to fend for himself for the first time in months. I couldn’t do a thing but moan: my stomach hurt so badly and it felt like my ribs were being popped out from the inside.

But oh god, I was thirsty! How could I drink anything when I couldn’t even breathe for the bloat in my abdomen?

I slept hard from about 10:50 to 3:30 am, then I was awake every 30 to 45 minutes. Thirsty, coughing, barely able to turn my body from the pain. I did get up at 5:30 for water, and then Lumi decided I was a toy and got behind the TV again to piss me off. I locked him out (not sleeping with my boy is a true sign I’m fucked up) and continued the waking/sleeping thing for the next two hours but now in increments of ten minutes. Desperate to ease the strain and so thirsty and still unable to burp…but there were some very welcome farts! I was kinda glad I can’t sleep next to himself as I might have blown him out of the bed! Or suffocated him…

I had a bad night.

I felt terrible having to ask Mrs MMC today what was in the turkey dish, as I knew from the timing that it had to be the culprit. I suspected the lactose free milk, as I’d never had that before. I really hoped it wasn’t the truffles or the smoked and baked cheese! I want those again. Oh yes.

Since she knows onions hate me (and the feeling is mutual) she had been extra careful, but worried maybe she used the same spoon? I didn’t think such a small amount would have caused such a problem. So I asked, were there leeks or anything like that in with the turkey or mashed potatoes?

Chives. Chives were in the sauce for the turkey! Little and innocent, soft and tender, invisible chives. Well hell, its not her fault she didn’t realise they are in the onion family. So is garlic, and I can eat that until it comes out my pores (and I do). 

I might have eaten one level serving spoon full of sauce – a few ounces at most. As I couldn’t even see green, it might have been one half of one chive that did this to me.

I can damn well tell you it will never happen again! People think I’m ‘picky’ when I say I don’t like onions and they don’t like me either – it’s real. It’s not an allergy, it is an intolerance. I swear to fuck, my body does not tolerate having onions or chives inside of it!

Save me from an unknown serving of potato and leek soup, please! I’m now going to be terrified of eating anything I don’t cook myself.

Sunshine Today

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It was lovely!

Morning view
Lilies are opening up. This is the view from where I sit in the morning with my coffee. 

Big damn gazania
The gazanias are loving the sun, too! This is a two year old plant, and is truly enormous. Grown from seed, and is just stunning. 

Gazania 1Gazania 2Gazania 3
Gazania close up shots. The little white specks make me think of bird feathers. 

Hope you have had some sunshine, too!