Graptoveria 'A Grim One'

Scientific Name

x Graptoveria 'A Grim One'


Graptoveria 'A Grim One'

Scientific Classification

Family: Crassulaceae
Genus: x Graptoveria


x Graptoveria 'A Grim One' is an attractive succulent plant that produces clusters of tight rosettes up to 5 inches (12.5 cm) in diameter. The leaves are thick, fleshy and pale blue-green and have a hint of pink tones on the leaf tips and margins when grown in bright light. In late spring appear the short, branching inflorescences bearing yellow flowers with red spots.


USDA hardiness zone 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

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How to Grow and Care

The rules for Graptopetalums care are similar to those for most succulents. Container-bound plants thrive in a mixture of peat, sand or other grit, topsoil and a little bit of compost. Full sun is the best situation but they will also grow in partial sun with slightly rangy results.

Graptopetalums need excellent drainage and moderate water. You can tell when to water by sticking your finger in the soil. If it is dry several inches down or the fleshy leaves are looking shriveled, you should water. Overwatering is a cause of root rots and the plant can get several pest infestations.

The Graptopetalums are generally easy to propagate, by seeds, leaf cuttings or offsets. Any rosette that breaks off has the potential to root and start a new plant. Even a leaf that drops off will root below the parent plant and produce a new rosette quickly. The new plant feeds off the leaf until it shrivels up and falls off. By then the new little ghost plant has rooted and sprouted new leaves…. – See more at: How to Grow and Care for Graptopetalum


x Graptoveria 'A Grim One' is a hybrid created by Bob Grim.


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London: Epicenter of Capitalism

In the buzzing world economy of the 21st century, London is playing a key role. There's nothing new in that, of course. Between the 1780s and 1914 London was by far the world's most important financial center. Thereafter, it was overtaken by New York. London's present eminence is in the nature of a comeback, which is having a transforming effect on Londoners. I have lived in London for more than half a century, and never have I been so conscious of the disturbing force of economic growth and the power of money.

Finance is now not only Britain's biggest industry by revenue but also its largest employer. And most of those working in finance have to live in London. It is bursting at the seams. Many of the immigrants are provincials--Scots, Irish and Welsh--but there are also about a mil-lion Poles in and around London who are welcome skilled laborers, such as plumbers, builders, engineers, electricians and mechanics.

Almost equally important is the influx of French, who are fleeing their country's stagnation and chronic high unemployment. Indeed, as a proportion of total population, this is the most significant invasion since the Norman Conquest in 1066. In the past the French have intensely disliked living in London, contrasting it with the delights of Paris. Now they--particularly the young and well educated--say that Paris is dead culturally, socially and economically and that London is where all the action is. At any given moment there are about 500,000 French in and around London--so many, in fact, that Nicolas Sarkozy found it worthwhile to campaign in London for their votes.

In addition to the European invasion is the continuing immigration of Indians, Pakistanis, sub-Saharan Africans, Gulf Arabs and Chinese from Hong Kong, to name only the most numerous groups. Streets became so blocked with traffic that a "congestion charge" was introduced to reduce the traffic volume in the center of the city during business hours. (It's worked so well that New York City's mayor, Michael Bloomberg, is planning to follow suit.) London is now experiencing a rubbish crisis, a schools crisis, a hospital-beds crisis and a prisons crisis, or so the media claim. The city is certainly noisy, though not dirtier than it used to be private contractors have taken over from the old, inefficient and union-dominated municipal services.

The cost of living here is one of the highest in the world, and the price of accommodations is daunting. You cannot buy a house of any kind in any part of London today for less than $500,000. Apartments don't cost much less, and rents are astronomical.

Londoners who own property are smiling at their nominal increased wealth. But it is fairy gold. Real estate agents tell me that my house, which I've owned for 25 years, is now worth more than $10 million. They keep prodding me to sell, but where would I live? I love my house, with its spacious library that looks out onto trees on both sides its beautiful garden, in which I've built a cedarwood studio where I paint and its handy garage, a rarity in this city.

In London you do get the impression that life is grim and earnest, the world fierce and competitive. Living here is a roller coaster of a ride, with all the attendant thrills and dangers, careening you into the future. It is a metropolis of capitalism-- it looks, feels, smells and sounds it. I imagine New York had the same kind of expansive, risky atmosphere in the long years of growth between the end of the Civil War and the Wall Street Crash. London is also filled with opportunities and pleasures. It now vies with Paris as the world's gastronomic capital, having about the same number of top-class restaurants. London, however, has a much greater variety of cuisine than Paris does.

In the Notting Hill area where I live (which used to be a slum but is now ultrasmart), a new restaurant opens every week a new dress, hat or shoe shop, every day. Change is perpetual. The number of nightclubs--and the people who attend them--terrifies me. There are also more theaters in London than anywhere else, more concerts and lectures and more parties. During the "Season," which starts in May and lasts until the Goodwood races at the end of July, London is a throbbing concatenation of entertainment and conspicuous consumption, of what Wordsworth called "getting and spending."

London has always had a flavor of excess, of course. The Bank of England and the Royal Exchange, the heart of what is known as the Square Mile or the City, are built on the site of a Roman forum, a marketplace set up 2,000 years ago. And construction on building sites there can still turn up gold coins with a Roman emperor's head on them. But the pulse of London has never raced more quickly than it does today. It is the easiest place in the Western world to make a fortune at top speed, and the easiest place to lose one through greed, folly or appetite.

As a historian I enormously enjoy having a ringside seat in this modern Vanity Fair and watching the rise and fall of its players, the thrills and scandals of their games. We are about to experience a change in culture: the easygoing hedonism of Tony Blair succeeded by the grim Scottish Calvinism of Gordon Brown, who is not known as "Stalin" for nothing.

This change will have its tricky consequences for London. But London may have some unpleasant surprises for Mr. Brown, and may bring him down. We Londoners will fasten our seat belts for the furious fun.

Kansas Common Sense

Aug 15 2011

Welcome to “Kansas Common Sense.” Thank you for your continued interest in receiving my weekly newsletter. Please feel free to forward it on to your family and friends if it would interest them.

President Obama Should Call Congress Back to Washington

Today I called on President Obama to come to the table and bring Congress back to Washington, D.C., to work on a commonsense plan to grow the American economy. The President recently stated that the last thing America needs is Congress spending more time in Washington, D.C. after the volatile debt ceiling debate. He said we should spend August at home listening to our constituents vent their frustrations.

As I travelled across Kansas this week and completed my 87 th town hall meeting this year, I heard from hard-working folks concerned about making ends meet during this down economy. They expect their elected leaders to take responsibility and deliver results, and are deeply disappointed with the ineffectual leadership coming out of Washington.

When Congress left for August recess, it left unfinished business, and Kansans want to know why Congress is working at home right now and not on Capitol Hill coming up with responsible solutions. They are absolutely right we need to spend this time doing what we were elected to do.

Congress has the responsibility to create an environment where businesses can grow and start hiring again. This means cutting spending reining in burdensome government regulations replacing the convoluted tax code with one that is fair, simple and certain opening foreign markets for American manufactured goods and agricultural products and developing a comprehensive energy policy.

I am prepared to return to Washington today if President Obama is prepared to work with Congressional leaders on a commonsense plan to grow the American economy and put Americans back to work. Click here to read my full letter to the President.

Kansas Troops Lost in Afghanistan

Kansas lost five of its sons in Afghanistan in the last two weeks, including four in the tragic Chinook helicopter crash in Afghanistan on Saturday August 6, which killed 30 American service members. The crash marked the single deadliest loss of U.S. forces in the war in Afghanistan to date. Three Army reservists were assigned to the 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment in New Century, Kansas: Sgt. Alexander Bennett, 24, of Tacoma, Washington Chief Warrant Officer Bryan Nichols, 31, of Hays, Kansas and Spc. Spencer Duncan, 21, of Olathe, Kansas. Chief Warrant Officer David Carter, 47, was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 135th Aviation Regiment in Aurora, Colorado and was originally from Hays.

Also killed in Afghanistan on August 3, 2011 was Private First Class Cody G. Baker, 19, of Holton. Private First Class Baker died of injuries sustained when his mounted patrol encountered an improvised explosive device.

These brave men answered the call to defend our country, and my heart goes out to all the families who lost loved ones. Our nation is forever indebted to these young men for their service and sacrifice on our behalf. I ask all Kansans to join me in remembering the families and friends of the fallen in their thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

Serving Troops at the USO “No Dough Dinner”

On Friday evening Robba and I were welcomed to Fort Riley to take part in the USO “No Dough Dinner” for soldiers and their families. Robba and I were excited to have the opportunity to serve the meat and potatoes dinner alongside members of the American Legion Post #370 who graciously prepared the meal. The “No Dough Dinner” is just one of many programs instituted by the USO Fort Riley as part of their organizational effort to give back to our troops and their loved ones. The purpose of the bi-weekly event is to provide soldiers and families with a morale-boosting free meal just before pay day. Since the program began, USO Fort Riley has served more than 11,300 troops and family members, averaging 250 people per event.

It’s comforting to know there are many great service organizations that make it their mission to improve the quality of life for our soldiers and their families. With so many of our service men and women deployed to protect our country overseas, it’s quite clear that whatever service we can provide makes a big difference in their lives. The USO’s “No Dough Dinner” served as another reminder of how truly thankful and indebted we are to our soldiers and their families for their many sacrifices. Thanks to the members of American Legion Post #370 for preparing and serving the meal, and to April Blackmon, Director of USO Fort Riley, and Col. William Clark, Fort Riley Garrison Commander for inviting Robba and me to participate in the humbling event. Click here to view photos from the event.

Visiting Patients at the Robert J. Dole VA Medical Center

On Saturday morning I stopped by the Robert J. Dole VA Medical Center in Wichita to visit with patients. I enjoyed spending time visiting with so many terrific men and women. Our nation’s veterans deserve top-notch health care services for the sacrifices they made for our country. As a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee I am committed to improving the quality of life for the nearly 250,000 veterans living in Kansas, and was pleased to see that the Wichita VA Medical Staff is taking good care of our heroes as they recover. Thank you to Director Thomas Sanders and his staff for their hospitality during my visit to the medical center. Click here to see pictures from my visit.

Protecting Kansas Post Offices

This week I reiterated to Postmaster General Patrick R. Donohoe the vital economic role the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) plays across Kansas, especially to those living in rural communities and to senior citizens who depend on walking to the local post office to get their mail. Recently, the Postal Service released a list of 3,653 post offices being studied by the USPS to determine use and productivity. About 130 post offices across the state of Kansas are included on that list, and could be shut down.

I am deeply concerned that the minimal savings garnered from closing rural post offices is far outdone by the hardship to rural and senior citizens. In fact, the Postal Regulatory Commission has already indicated the projected savings would not come close to changing the financial outlook for USPS – maintaining rural post offices only amounts to 0.7 percent of the USPS’s total budget. For this reason, I have asked the Postmaster General to outline the justification for potentially closing rural post offices across the country. I also pointed out that closing a post office simply because of revenue shortfalls is in violation of the United States Postal Code.

Reducing services to rural and aging communities will significantly impact citizens with little benefit to the Postal Service’s bottom line. I know my constituents that will be most affected by these decisions would like answers and I look forward to hearing back from the Postmaster General. Click here to read my full letter to Postmaster General Donohoe.

Listening Tour Continues

I continued the southwest swing of my Statewide Listening Tour this week making six stops including Meade, Seward, Stevens, Morton, Stanton and Grant Counties. The conversation with Kansans continues to be about their frustration with Washington and questions about why nothing has been done to encourage an environment where businesses can grow and create jobs. On Wednesday morning, I had the opportunity to visit with many local residents at the Meade County Courthouse. Later that day, I drove to Liberal in Seward County and visited with citizens at the Liberal Chamber of Commerce. The last stop on Wednesday was in Stevens in County at the Common Grounds Espresso Café in Hugoton. Click here to view photos from these stops.

Bright and early on Thursday morning folks got together at Jim-n-I’s Restaurant in Elkhart for a town hall meeting following the Kiwanis Club. That same morning I was in Johnson at the Stanton County Courthouse. My last stop of the day was at the Grant County Senior Center in Ulysses. I always appreciate the chance to visit with Kansans so I can gain a better understanding of their views and the ways I can better serve them in Washington, D.C. I have several more stops scheduled over the next few weeks, so if you’re nearby, I encourage you to stop by and share your thoughts.

Postponed: Listening Tour Stops in Wallace, Greeley, Hamilton and Kearny Counties

I will be unable to host the town halls scheduled in Wallace, Greeley, Hamilton and Kearny counties for Friday, August 19, 2011, because I will be attending the funeral service for Chief Warrant Officer Bryan Nichols of Hays, Kansas. Nichols was among the 30 American service members who were killed in the tragic Chinook helicopter crash in Afghanistan on Saturday, August 6 th . The crash marked the single deadliest loss of U.S. forces in the war in Afghanistan to date.

The town halls have been postponed and will be re-scheduled for another date.

Upcoming Listening Tour Stops

In August, I will be continuing my statewide listening tour. Please find more information about my upcoming town hall meetings below.

Thursday, August 18, 2011
Rawlins County, Atwood
Address: Main Street
Time: 4:00-5:00 p.m.

Cheyenne County, St. Francis
Location: St. Francis Community High School (hosted by Cheyenne County Farm Bureau)
Address: 100 College Street
Time: 7:30-8:30 p.m.

Saturday, September 3, 2011
Stafford County, Macksville
Location: Main Street
Time: 9:00-10:00 a.m.

This week we had several visitors in the Washington, D.C., office from across the state, including the Kansans listed below.

University of Kansas
Ngondi Kamatuka of Lawrence

Kauffman Foundation
Cameron Cushman of Kansas City

Many Kansans stopped by this week for a tour of the United States Capitol including: Don and Clara Cook and children, Katelyn and Julie of Merriam Cornelius and Gerri Enslinger of Great Bend Kurtis and Cindy Kocher and sons, Kenton and Tyler of Glasco Marty and Kathy Younger of Garden City Misty and Ethan Burke of Parsons Thomas and Vicki Johansen and children, Elise and Kiley of Hays James and Karma Michael and children, Morgan and Taylor of McCune James and Karma Michael and children, Morgan and Taylor of McCune Peter and Andra Lahner and children, Vienna and Morgan of Spring Hill Robert, Nathaniel and Kathleen Flack of Riley Elizabeth Hill of Manhattan and Joe and Randi Helget of Ottawa.

It is an honor to serve you in Washington, D.C. Please let me know how I can be of assistance. To send me an email, click here. You can also click here to contact me through one of my Kansas offices or my Washington, D.C., office.

My email address is only equipped to send messages. I encourage you to send me a message through my website:

To unsubscribe from this newsletter, please click here.

It can begin with vague pain

Armstrong started having a dull ache on the right side of her ribcage a few years ago. She went to the doctor, but blood tests and X-rays showed nothing abnormal. Since the pain would come and go, and it wasn’t intense, she stopped worrying about it.

But in the last year, Armstrong lost 25 pounds, became anemic, experienced digestive problems and had trouble sleeping. The pain in her ribs became more constant. Worried she had gallstones, she asked for an ultrasound. That’s when doctors found the giant mass on her liver.

The initial diagnosis: fibrolamellar carcinoma, a rare type of liver cancer that strikes people under 40.

“I was shocked. I wasn’t feeling well, but there was something in the back of my head that said, ‘Really?’” she recalled. “I believed them because they’re doing their best based on [the evidence].”

She was told it was better to avoid a biopsy because it could spread the cancer, so surgery was scheduled for Nov. 27, 2019. When doctors saw the extent of the growth inside her body, they removed her gallbladder, about two-thirds of her liver, a couple of nodules on her lungs and scraped her diaphragm.

It wasn't until a couple of days later that tests revealed it was a parasite.

Armstrong had no idea how she may have picked it up, but wondered if it happened when she used to repair farm equipment. Based on the parasite’s life cycle, Houston suspected it may have been growing on her liver for 10 or 15 years.


Health & Wellness Woman's 'brain tumor' turns out to be parasite growing in her head

The invader usually lives in the intestines of foxes, coyotes and dogs. When people eat food contaminated with stool from those animals — herbs, greens or berries — or they pet a dog whose fur has some feces on it, they may accidentally swallow the tapeworm’s eggs.

The best prevention is hand washing, Houston said, especially after petting a dog who roams all over the place and likes to roll on the ground. It’s also important to wash produce that comes from a garden that might be frequented by coyotes or foxes.

Doctors have known about this disease in Europe for 150 years, but in North America, “we virtually never saw human disease before,” Houston noted. Experts assume someone brought over a dog that was carrying the parasite from Europe not too long ago and the bug was “spectacularly successful” in multiplying in coyotes and rodents. Many coyotes now live in urban areas, which can bring them — and the parasites — in close contact with pet dogs and people.

“We’re almost certainly going to see some more [human] cases, but this is still a rare disease," Houston said. "People shouldn’t be getting too freaked out about it."

As for Armstrong, doctors can’t guarantee they removed every last cell of the parasite, so she may have to take anti-parasitic medicine indefinitely. The only drug available controls the disease, but is not potent enough to eradicate it, Houston said.

Armstrong will also need to have blood tests once a month and a CT scan every six months. She’s had a rough time recovering from the surgery and is still trying to process the medical roller coaster ride.

“I have mixed feelings about it. I’m happy — I like being alive,” Armstrong said. “Psychologically, it’s been really tough. I’m grateful and I’m happy that it’s not what they thought it was. But it’s been very hard.”

A. Pawlowski is a TODAY senior contributing editor focusing on health news and features. Previously, she was a writer, producer and editor at CNN.

Graptoveria A Grim One

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