Hello Christmasers, and happy Wednesday!

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

Merry Christmas Eve to you all! Today we’ve got a special holiday edition of Ask the Experts for you. We’ve also got some plant puzzler action coming up.

Let’s get the festivities started by saying hi to the 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.

I wanted to make it easy on the Experts today, so I simply asked them this:

Q. What does Christmas, December or the New Year mean to you?

Expert Andy Williams, you’re up first as usual:

A. Nothing beats the memories I have when the Jackson (my mom’s) side of the family would convene at our house on Christmas Eve.  In those days everyone would buy gifts for everyone else.  Tradition was that gifts would be opened in order of age.  Youngest to Oldest.  Piles of presents, boxes, wrapping paper & tape strewn about the room when it was over.  Lots of food, drink and general hi jinx mixed in amongst the event.  Love was in the air despite the occasional black sheep showing up here and there.  Everyone was loved, laughed and was accepted.  That feeling and those events just can’t be reproduced.  My wonderful grandparents are the fondest of all of the memories. I spent as much time with them, it seemed, as I did with my parents.  I miss them and when I walk into the room where all of this transpired, one of their Christmas pictures still graces the shelf and room.

A lot has changed since then. They are deceased, my parents divorced, I moved away and lo and behold there are now 2 generations of toddlers running around below me. I went back last year and didn’t know about 1/3rd of the family in attendance.  But the tradition lives on, albeit in White Elephant fashion, just for the fun of it.  The spirit is alive and well.  I will miss it this year but find warmth in knowing it is alive and well without me.  For I didn’t make it, they do!
Merry Christmas all!

All the best,


A. Recently, it means spending money on electronics for a soon-to-be teenager.

In the larger context, I find it an opportunity to take stock of where I’m at in life, mentally, financially, spiritually, etc. So it can be a little depressing.
That aside, thank you, Liza, for providing this forum for us to express ourselves. I genuinely enjoy it. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

A. December arrives slowly, dreary, weakening with the faltering of the sun’s light. Then it gets dressed up. Green wreaths and red berries. Lights of all colors. Santas and polar bears. Gold ribbons and mangers. Bells and harmonic voices. Searching. Then it is all stuffed in boxes. The cold comes back and we wait for the promise of another year.

A. I guess I am just a child at heart when it comes to Christmas and the magic of a New Year and new beginnings. I have lovely memories of snowy Christmas eves, glorious music celebrating the renewal of new life and expectations!

I love Nelson Mandela’s approach to life evidenced by his inaugural speech:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask our selves, who am I to be brilliant? Gorgeous? Talented? Fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.

There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking

so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of god that is within us.

It is not just in some of us: it is in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,

We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fears,

Our presence automatically liberates others.”


As each New Year approaches, I feel enervated with the joy of possibilities — a clean slate and new opportunities! An eternal optimist. Joy to the world and you as well!!!


Get on board, the DA Express is leaving you don’t need no ticket just get on board.

Now maybe you think you want to ride with me the Express driver cause  I’m so cool, calm and collected, I’ve got my stuff together.

Seldom does my stuff slip off my plate, my cage get rattled, the fool slip his bounds, do I play with a short deck.

But occasionally I descend into the pits of stupidity, madness and dumbassness, ready to be as moronic as the rest of the crowd. Last week I was the other moron behind the wheel.

I watched the fool coming up fast behind me, driving like hell, changing lanes and tailgating the car in the outer lanes. He couldn’t get pass, too much traffic so he roars up on my butt the stupid $#%^. The Cadillac symbol fills my mirror and back window. So like the gentleman I’m not, I slow down effectively blocking his passage. I can see much displeasure and anger in his face and it brings me great pleasure.

For several block this madness continues, till at the light I go through the Yellow and him the Red. As he zooms by me I give him the One Finger salute. He slows down, I catch up, our windows down, his gentle voice reaches me “What the hell you flip my off for”. My charmed reply “What the hell you tailgating me for”

“You were blocking traffic” my special friend yells

“You were tailgating”

“Blocking traffic”


“Blocking Traffic”


These two idiots continue this Tomfoolery for a block or two like they are the only fools on the road

Tailgater in a huff shouts a challenge “What are going to do about it”

I grab my phone/camera and point it out the window

Haha, Lewis, too funny. The DumbAss Express. I’m pretty sure we’ve all ridden it before.

Lewis ran out of time to finish writing his story, but he told it to me yesterday when he dropped off a big basket of goodies (thanks again!). He said that he had pulled out his camera and taken a photo of the other driver. The other driver mocked him. Then a block later, the other driver pulled out his camera and yelled something like “two can play at that game” and took a photo of Lewis. In his work vest. Driving his work truck. With the city’s emblem on the side. And his truck number in plain view.

Uh-oh, thought Lewis. He quickly realized the foolishness of his ways.

Both cars arrived at the next red light. Lewis rolled his window down and said something to the effect of, “Hey, look, man, I was a dumbass back there, I’m sorry.” The other driver softened, and admitted he was a dumbass, too.

They waved bye and each continued on his journey. Lewis took comfort in the fact that his boss wouldn’t receive a phone call later that morning.

I found the story hilarious. I hope you did, too. Thanks for sharing Lewis!

Everyone, those responses were great. I enjoyed reading all of them. The family memories, the teenager, the poetry, Dottie’s unbridled optimism, Lewis’s crazy story. Thack, you’re welcome, believe me, it’s my pleasure.

I appreciate all you do for me and this blog, your hard work. Thank you everyone! Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!

That’s it for the holiday Panel of Experts. The Experts are happy you were here for them.

Up next, the answer to the current puzzler:

???Real or Fake???

Recently, 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:

Wendyroo wrote, “Leaves look kind of paper-y and dusty. Faaaaaaaake.”

Carmen wrote, “I’m thinking fake…”

Darryl Cheng who has this cool houseplant tumblr wrote, “This one looks fake.”

Claude from the Random Rants and Prickly Plants site wrote, “Its definitely not real…”

Dorothy wrote “Fake!”

That’s five votes real, zero votes fake. What’s the correct answer?

Let’s see if a closer look will reveal the truth:

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

FAKE! And ugly! And dusty! And a waste of money!

Good job everyone! You nailed it! You’re all superstars!

To show my appreciation for your participation, I’d like to award you each the following prizes: One Christmas Day, six elves, 11 shout-outs, dental floss, three wreaths, executive experience, 14 bonus points, one fitbit, four blues songs, edamame, 17 sugar cookies, two rugs, White Sands National Monument renamed after you, one bowl of green chile stew, four fedoras, tinsel, Jenny, seven items juggled, a sailboat, Adnan freed, one new purse, 12 backup muscles, an app for that, nine extra morals, four sleigh rides, five Christmas tunes, 13 1/2 tiger stripes, Rudolph, paypal, eight family moments, Santa Claus, three new belt buckles, lottery winnings, one Pecos River, three sauna visits, ambiance, one Broadway debut, good fortune, a three-bedroom apartment, Steven Colbert, six donations in your honor, one ring of fire, East Sunrise Drive, five baby walruses, eight more minutes, six sound effects, several good laughs, holiday cheer and three crescent moons.

Congratulations, and thanks for playing!

Up next, a new puzzler for you.

???Real or Fake???

Let’s start with a close-up this time. Is this Orchid 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. You have until midnight MST (that’s 2a.m. EST) next Thursday, January 1st, to cast your vote. I’ll reveal the answer and the winner(s) next Friday. The prizes may be imaginary but the link to your site and the glory of winning are oh-so-real.

Merry Christmas ya’ll, and Happy New Year!