Hello blueslala, and happy Friday!

Welcome back to the Good To Grow site, and thanks for being here.

Let’s get our Friday Fun started by saying hi to our Panel of Experts. Hi everyone!


“Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Liza!”

You’re so cute! From left to right, that’s Andy Williams, Tim Thackaberry, EZ Ed Johnson, Dottie Correll and Lewis Casey. If you’d like to know more about them, please click here.

So here we are in late January. For most of us, that means frosty temps and cloudy skies. I thought it would be nice to ask our Experts to share their secrets for surviving the winter blues. Here’s this week’s question for the panel:

Q. What do you do to shake off the winter blues?

Expert Andy, would you please start us off this week?

A. Well, I certainly don’t board an airplane and head to China to be sure.  I just happen to have had to do that anyway.  The good news is that I’m in South China where it is relatively warm and near to the Pacific Ocean.  Other than that, I normally don’t get the winter blues anyway because I’m an Arizonan now.  I relish the cool weather we have this time of year, with normal temps in the 60s during the day and low 40s at night.  Although I hear it is nearing 80 this week while I’m absent.

So, if I’m to sum up how to beat the winter blues it would be to get the hell out of where you are and head to the great state of AZ or near a warm beach somewhere, like Hawaii or Florida.  Or better yet, head to Nawlins’ for the Harbaugh Bowl.  And if you decide it is too fun to leave, stay for Fat Tuesday (on my bucket list) and then just stay around for another month or so and watch my Hoosiers roll into town for the Final Four.  If that won’t cure what ails ya’, I don’t know what will.

A. I always get the winter blues, so you’d think I’d have a bunch of coping mechanisms. The biggest thing I try to do is find indoor activities like organizing papers to keep my mind off the cold weather outside. I also practice my golf swing indoors, which gives me a reason to look forward to the Spring!

I used to just drink more, but I’m too old for that to be a valid use of my time…

A. I listen to music, sweet gospel, old rock, New Orleans jazz, mighty Motown. I read N. Scott Momaday. I turn my face toward whatever heat the sun has to offer and think of spring.

A. How to shake off the winter blues?   That is coincidently very funny!  You’ll see why in a moment.  After all the holiday excitement and the January doldrums are setting in, I think I’ve found just the ticket.

Here in Sedona they have an intellectual group called, OLLI, (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) for the love of learning.

A friend of mine, a talented retired attorney is offering a class for 6 weeks called:  “The American Presidents”.  The first class was today and will be very challenging  —  get the old gray matter going –our final test is each of us will be sworn in as President and present our platform of reform to address the current problems our country is facing. 

That is good for intellectual exercise but how about the old bod?   OLLI Addresses that as well.  Next week I start classes to learn a mesmerizing centuries old art form of self-expression; namely I’ll be “Shaking it up” at the Basic Belly Dancing/Gypsy Fusion Style Class.

Picturing this wild old Irish Broad in this venue should brighten up your day, as well as mine, and chase any blues away!!!

 2013 is going to be a “corker”

A. (Lewis is unavailable this week.)

Interesting answers, Experts!

Andy, that’s cool that you’re willing to contribute to this silly blog all the way from South China. We are lucky to have you, thank you!

Thack, I think those are good strategies for the winter blues. Better than vodka!

EZ, I love reading Momaday, too. He’s one of my heroes, ever since I studied his work in college (long before I moved to New Mexico, his homeland). I think you’ve got surefire ways to cure the winter blues.

Dottie, what I wouldn’t pay to be in belly dancing classes with you! That’s absolutely fantastic. You are an inspiration to us all. I hope when I’m in my 80s, I’m taking classes like you – you’re amazing!

You’re all amazing, thank you so much for being here. I’m sure my readers appreciate your tips for shaking off the winter blues. Spring will be here before we know it, and January will be a distant memory. I’m looking forward to that.

That does it for this week’s Panel of Experts. The Experts will return in exactly one week. They hope to see you back here.

Up next, the answer to last week’s puzzler:

???Real or Fake???

Last week, I asked if this plant real or fake:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, real or fake plant puzzler

Let’s see how you answered:

Steph from Indianapolis wrote, “Oooh tricky but I’m gonna say real. If it’s real it’s a beauty. If it’s fake, I would buy it!”

Judy from Ohio wrote, “Liza – my mom and sister in Sedona AZ sent me a picture of their ”humming birds” saying how pretty they were – I was in aw- the birds no doubt were pretty but the landscape in the background was amazing !! Sedona is a LOVELY LOVELY land – with unbelievable natural beauty – what a place to live! I hope i can get there before its too late- Ohio is not anything like AZ LOL !”

(Judy is one of our beloved Expert Dottie’s daughters.)

mr_subjunctive from Plants Are the Strangest People wrote, It’s a faaaake!

(Hysterical link, thank you!)

Dave wrote, “Fake.”

Martha from Plowing Through Life wrote, “That looks very fake, so FAKE it is!”

Tom from the Midwestern Jungle wrote, “Fake-a-doodle-do”

Alissa wrote, “fake”

Mary wrote, “Plastic = Fake.”

Terrence from Dynamic Gardening wrote, “This plant is an impostor which is fake, it looks like an artificial monstera of some sort.”

Tina wrote, “This one’s a toughie. Looks real to me because of the texture and shininess of the leaves. BUT! the leaf stem has small notches and the edges look sharp, almost triangular. The darker surrounding leaves look green…oooops….look real. Of course they’re green !! A good trick would be to superimpose the fake through the leaves of a real so everything blends in. Well….I’m going for real. Tina.”

Joseph Brenner wrote, “Fake.”

He added, “The leaf veins tell the story.”

M. Kathy Brown from Ponder Deeply Blogspot wrote, “Totally fake. I’ve had both. This one is no doubt a pretty good-looking, store-bought, never-need-to-water split-leaf.”

That’s two votes real, nine votes fake.

What’s the correct answer? Maybe a wider view will help:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, real or fake plant puzzler


Steph, you were right – it’s pretty good looking for fake plant. I was surprised by this. I can be such a plant snob that I think all fake plants are ugly (granted, part of that is because they are usually dusty). But I was walking around a craft store recently, and was looking for fake plants to trick ya’ll with, but they didn’t look that bad. It still doesn’t mean I would spend money on a fake plant, but at least I’ll stop being snooty about them.

Unfortunately, Steph, you were correct with your instincts but incorrect with your answer, so this week’s first correct answerer is mr_subjunctive from Plants Are the Strangest People. Well played, mr_s! The first correct answerer is the best answerer. For being so swift, you’ve earned the title of “Premierest, Firstest, Hastiest, Most Fleet-Footed, Quickest, Speediest, Most Rapidest, Bestest, Grandest Championer of Houseplant Blog Plant Puzzlers and Beyond.” Congratulations! You may multiply all the prizes by one cheeseburger from paradise.

Everyone’s a winner for playing. To show my appreciation, I’d like each of you to have the following prizes: One Spring Sensation, Multiple Cures for the Winter Blues, Two Get Out of Blues Free Cards, 16 Extra Credit Points, An Itty Bitty Polar Bear Cub, Six Snowflakes, A Warm Bowl of Tomato Soup, One Coupon Good for a Future Spring Day, Melting Ice, Four Cool Moments, Song, One Winter Dance-Off, and Hearty Applause. Congrats, thanks so much for playing!

Up next, the new puzzler:

???Real or Fake???

Is this plant real or fake:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, real or fake plant puzzler

Think you know the answer, smartyplants? Leave your best guess in the comments section or on my facebook wall. You have until midnight next Thursday, January 31st, MST (that’s 2a.m. EST) to cast your vote. I’ll reveal the answer and the winner(s) after next week’s panel of Experts. Remember, the prizes may be imaginary but the link to your site and the glory of winning are oh-so-real.