Silver Grasses

Aldona at Large: Stand Up For Your Job

Too much tush time, that’s been the problem. Most of my days are spent working at the computer, or answering emails, or going through various letters and documents. I also sit in at meetings, which can go on for hours. (I know they don’t call ‘em “desk jobs” for nothing, but I’ve been feeling a bit sluggish lately, and I’m determined my health won’t take a back seat to my work, so to speak.)

Our bodies are built for action. According to many experts, sitting all day is bad for you. Think about it: scrunched up middle, hunched up back, sluggish circulation, droop, droop, droop. Then on lazy winter nights with no garden to lure you outdoors, you might head home to slouch on the couch before shuffling off to bed. Phew. So as one of my New Year’s resolutions (which, incidentally, are never as diverting as my dear departed mother-in-law’s annual vow to “stop being so sweet, kind and wonderful in every way”), I decided to do something about my overly sedentary life.

Googling around on the internet, I was intrigued to discover that Winston Churchill, Thomas Jefferson, Ernest Hemingway and Virginia Woolf are just a few notables who worked standing up—so why not me? A stand-up desk was what I needed. After considerable digging, I did find one upscale office furniture retailer in Toronto that offered several fancy models at nearly $1,000. No thanks.

Off I trotted to trusty Ikea, where I bought a coffee table on sale for $25, which I’ve plunked on top of my existing desk. It ain’t perfect, but it’ll do (after taking this photo, I also purchased an anti-fatigue floor mat to stand on). I’m quite tall and the combined height feels pretty comfortable, but if I find this isn’t the best set-up, Ikea also stocks tables and desks with adjustable telescoping legs that I can put together for a couple of hundred bucks. Walking by my office, Paul pops his head in to tell me I look as though I’m about to deliver the sermon from the Mount…

It’s now Day Three of my stand up for your job experiment, and so far, I like it. I do sit down at another table to look through files, go through mail and see people who come into my office, but the rest of the time I’m on my feet. (I can almost hear my mother saying: “Stomach in, back straight.”) I feel more energized, not to mention virtuous. Life is good!

Things that Make Me Happy

Buds! They’re ripening again on several Phalaenopsis orchid plants I bought last year at a big box store and, once they’d finished blooming, put into my south-facing bathroom window to see if they’d come back.

And on my hibiscus, which after its spectacular summer display in my garden, keeps right on pumping out the petals in my kitchen, with nary a spider mite in sight.

And flowers! Flowers on a couple of the more recently acquired orchid plants. They’re not fancy varieties, but they’re lovely and will keep right on blooming for many weeks, after which they’ll join their brethren in the bathroom. (If you’re an orchid-lover and would like to learn more about these glamorous plants, consider joining the Southern Ontario Orchid Society [soos.ca], which meets right here at the TBG.)

I love the unusual blooms on this amaryllis (a fabulous new green one from gardenimport.com). Several other varieties are waiting in the wings, ready to get started. Life is good!

Ken Brown (left) with Master Gardener Abdullah Hamidi

Laughter! As in the January meeting of the Toronto Master Gardeners (don’t forget the annual Technical Update is being held at the TBG on Saturday, January 14), where we were regaled by Ken Brown’s tales about houseplants. Not only was he funny, but he managed to sneak in a lot of useful insider tips, too. For example: at this time of year, cyclamen are plentiful to find in stores because they prefer very cool conditions, making them a thrifty crop for growers who want to save on winter greenhouse heating bills. So if you wonder why your gorgeous cyclamen’s leaves went yellow so quickly once you got it home, it’s not something you’ve done wrong—your place is just too darned warm.

Our newly relaunched website. It’s bright, clean and modern—have a little tour around it and see for yourself. Hats off to chief movers and shakers Jenny Rhodenizer, Dmitry Beniaminov, Tara Nolan and Lorraine Flanigan for all the heart, soul and hard work they put into getting this complex project off the ground.

And finally, seed catalogues. This is the perfect season to sit down (or stand up!) with a cup of tea and a pile of temptation. Who says winter is dull? Life is good!

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