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Margaret Dilloway, American Housewife

Come for the books, stay for the fun.

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care and handling of roses with thorns

Corona Library

On Saturday, Cadillac and I headed up to the Corona Library to do a program. Corona is a city in Riverside County (I think) that used to produce a lot of oranges. The city was built around a circular road (a crown, i.e. Corona) and therefore has many big beautiful Victorians and other houses.

We got there a little early, so we went over to the Corona Heritage museum.

That’s why I know the bit about the oranges and the crown.

They had an old-timey storefront set up

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and a thrift shop. It is not a Farmer’s Market. I don’t know if there is a Farmer’s Market there sometimes but today it was a thrift store.

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They also have an Arts Colony, so we went to the gallery and looked at their paintings and sculptures. Outside the gallery was a lawn with this nice gazebo.

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Then I went over to the library, where I met Andrea Tarr, the head librarian. She also writes for Library Journal and wrote the review for The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns for them. Thankfully, she loved the book, or it might have been an awkward meeting! She is pictured interviewing me. Yes, we were outside. In the desert.

The Corona Library is huge and has at least two big rooms and does lots of different types of community programs. Yay libraries! (But still buy my book so you can have it forever!)

There was a full house and they sold out of books. Yay! You just never know how many people will show, so it’s always nice to have lots. And they were a great audience. They laughed at my jokes!

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Breast Lumps and Blooming Hulthemia

“The doctor would like you to come in for another test.”

Shit.

A few weeks ago, I went in to the gynecologist and had my lady-tests, including a breast exam. The nurse gave me a form to get a baseline mammogram.

Thursday night, the night before the mammogram, I felt a small lump in my left breast. It felt harder than the rest of everything. So when I went in, I told the techs about it. They gave me a sticker to put over the spot.

I viewed the mammogram slides, vainly trying to decipher the images. All I saw was the arrow.

In the mammogram room, a sign reads something like, “You may be asked to come in for more tests. Please know that the vast majority of these tests reveal nothing significant. We understand this is nerve-wracking. Blah blah blah.”

I’d forgotten about the mammogram over the weekend.

Monday morning, I got a call from telling me the doctor wants me to get an ultrasound. I took the first available, which was today.

“It looks okay to us,” the tech said, “but if you feel something, we’ll look.”

Luckily, all is well. Phew.

It’s also good to know that if you feel something, the docs will check it out for you. She told me if it did change or got bigger or if I felt any other changes, or saw skin changes, to come in, but right now it looks like normal tissue. Just a weird thing, apparently part of normal for me. I have fibrocystic breast disease, which is not really a disease as in it causes you to be sick, but rather just a condition.

This morning it was cold and cloudy, and I thought it would rain. It didn’t. It got sunny and hotter and humid.

This afternoon, my Pink Lemonade Hulthemia bloomed for the first time!

These are the roses that Jim Sproul (the guy who helped me with the Roses book, if I haven’t told you two million times) developed.

I have never seen one in person. They are very striking. The kids and I all oohed and ahhhed over them. And they smell really good, too.

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I also keep finding holes, sometimes not eaten all the way through. I didn’t know what was causing them, but then I saw these black things, which I think are caterpillar droppings.

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Ah-ha!

I go out in the evening and morning and even the afternoon, searching for the caterpillars, but I haven’t found them yet. They are not bothering the tomato plant nearby. I just looked it up; I guess some are nocturnal. I’ll have to go out with a flashlight tonight and catch them in the act.

Hulthemia Hybrid Rose Finally Here!

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Today I went to Armstrong Gardens to look at their roses– last year they were selling some David Austins– and look what I found!

A rose breeder named Jim Sproul, who works out of Bakersfield, was instrumental in helping me out with THE CARE AND HANDLING OF ROSES WITH THORNS– he told me about the rose he was trying to breed, the Hulthemia, so that’s what my character breeds in the book. He also described the rose breeding process and lots of other details.

In the novel, the main character, Gal, is very close to perfecting the Hulthemia for the commercial market, and it’s finally happened in real life after 200 years of trying!

You can also buy it online; here’s the description:

For nearly 200 years, rosarians have tried to breed the beautiful species Hulthemiapersica with garden roses. Closely resembling a wild rose (to which it is almost certainly related), Hulthemia persica is distinguished by a dark red spot at the base of each petal, and it is this spot that rose breeders wanted to hybridize. Thanks to the pioneering efforts of Harkness and others, breeder Jim Sproul has developed two breakthrough hybrid hulthemia roses, and we are honored to introduce them here. Welcome the Eyeconics™, perpetually blooming, self-cleaning, highly disease-resistant roses with “eyes”!

So I guess they’ll also be known as “”Eyeconics.”

I went and found an Armstrong employee to ask about them. “We don’t carry those,” she said. “I’ve never heard of them.” I had to walk her over and she hadn’t seen them before.

She said you can grow ANY rose in a pot, which I’d need to do. I’m not entirely sure about that (and since she hadn’t heard of them, she might not know everything about roses), so I have to do a bit of research first.

But yay, I’m excited.

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