Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Water Your Plants, People!

That's all I'm saying - just keep the plants watered.  Even the ones you don't like.  Especially if they know you don't like them.

Check out this story I found on Yahoo.

Heck, I'll just copy the whole thing here:

A fire that did $20,000 in damages to a northeast Arkansas home wasn't caused by an electrical problem or burning food or arson, an insurance investigator concluded.

Instead, the dead plants did it, according to a report summary provided to the homeowner, Brian Duncan.

"The fire was caused by self-heating through decomposition of organic materials contained within a plastic flowerpot," the Aug. 25 letter from State Farm Insurance Co. said.

Or, in layman's terms, spontaneous combustion.

Duncan, whose home is a few miles south of Paragould, said the flowerpot had contained dead, decomposing flowers and potting soil that his wife had planted in the summer of 2009. Paragould is about 150 miles northeast of Little Rock.

"She had intended on repotting (the flowers)," Duncan said. But they sat on the porch, unwatered, and eventually died.

He said it was clear where the July 25 fire had begun, because the burning flowerpot and plants charred a hole in the porch and they fell to the ground several feet below.

Still, Duncan said he was surprised at the conclusion contained in the letter. Duncan provided The Associated Press with a copy.

Fortunately, no one was injured in the blaze and Duncan's father-in-law was able to put it out with a garden hose even before firefighters from a nearby volunteer fire department arrived.

But it still caused some damage.

Duncan, 51, CEO of Craighead Electric Cooperative, said the blaze charred decking around the hole where the flowerpot had been, and caught the home's vinyl siding on fire. He said the heat broke a sidelight window next to the front door, and his air-conditioning system sucked in smoke from the fire.

"The house was full of smoke," he said.

The smoke damage inside the 15-year-old home, Duncan said, meant his family had to repaint the entire interior of the 2,200-square-foot home and replace the carpeting, in addition to replacing the vinyl siding on the front of the house and the wooden decking of the porch.

Duncan said that, since the fire, he had begun spreading the word about the potential fire hazards of dead plants.

A fire marshal in nearby Jonesboro, Jason Wills, said such an occurrence was rare.

"Spontaneous combustion is something where you have to have a lot of variables come together and it has to be just right," Wills told Jonesboro television station KAIT. "It's something that does happen, but this is the first one in our area that I'm aware of."

So get out there!  Now! Water those plants now!

Friday, August 27, 2010

I Should Clean Out that Closet

I couldn't resist the story under this headline -

Body of Las Vegas woman found in clutter at home

Read the story here: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100827/ap_on_re_us/us_lost_in_home

 This is the photograph that accompanied the story. (Thanks AP.) Note that horrid, barren Nevada landscape juxtaposed with the billboard hawking diamonds, the ultimate indulgence in luxury - but both nothing more than rocks.  Those two images in a story about a woman who was killed by the accumulation of her own possessions strikes me as incredibly ironic and way, way creepy.

The woman was missing for four months and she was in her home the whole time?

I'm the first to admit that I cannot resist those hoarder shows on cable.

I, too, hate throwing things away.

I, like the woman in the story, also compulsively shop at thrift stores almost every week. Last week I bought a book for a dollar. Once I bought a gravy boat. I don't make gravy but at Thanksgiving I buy soy gravy.  I might want a boat that's not the china one.

Once I bought a little creamer thing just because it was not in the shape of a cow and therefore could be used. But we don't really use cream. But for guests. We might use it for guests. It's a pleasing shade of green. 

I'm always tempted by martini glasses.  One can never have too many martini glasses.  I'm not really sure why I believe this, but I do.

Again, I wish I had more than that one closet.

But then again, maybe it's a good thing I don't have more than one closet. Something has to keep me in check.


Is THIS Why They Hate Us?

Remember back when everyone was asking why do "they" hate us?

Could this be it?

I saw this in a trade newsletter that I receive.

Really?  We could have left future generations a legacy of human rights and social justice but this is what we've collectively come up with?  Licensed branding on foods aimed at children?


Let the self-loathing begin.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Death of the McMansion?

If they're truly dead for good, I won't miss them one bit.

This post is based on this article

The time of the super-sized home has ended.  Long live the moderately sized home!

I thought it was funny that the article states that the smaller home is now the trend.  Then, a 1,200 sq. foot home is mentioned but the builder being interviewed says something to the effect of "yes, smaller, but not THAT small!"

My home is under 1,200 sf.  Heck, my home is under 1,100 sf.  But then again, my washer and dryer sit outside.  And I only have one closet.  Yeah, one closet!  And it's not even in a bedroom.  Two bedrooms and not a closet in either one.  That'll be nice when we sell.

Oh, and no pantry.

And guests staying in the closet-less guest room better not have much luggage 'cause there ain't much floor space.

I can barely find a place to keep an extra package of paper towels.  There's no way I can shop for the Costco size of anything.

And good thing someone finally got around to inventing the flat panel TV. 

I would love to have a full 1,200 square feet.  What a luxury that would be!

Image "borrowed" from CNBC.com's Pony Blog

Yeah, we could use more room.  But not that much more room. 

The planet just ain't big enough for that kind of nonsense.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Past, Present, Future

Today is my birthday.  I’m not putting that out there to solicit a lot of birthday greetings.  Just letting you know the inspiration for this post. 

On this date 40 years ago, I would have had much to look forward to – getting through junior high, then high school, then college.  I didn’t know if I would marry or not so discovering the answer to that question would have been something in my future.  If so, who would that special person (or persons) be?  What kind of house would I live in?  What kind of person would I be?

At that tender age, I often wondered what I would look like when I grew up.  Now I know.  Ugh. To quote Eubie Blake, "if I’d known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself."  No, seriously.  I think it must have been having a childhood in the time of “duck and cover” and a young adulthood during the plague years, combined with my naturally glum temperament, that led me think there was no point in vigorous exercise or consistent retirement savings.

Ooops.  At least I have good blood pressure.  I have blood pressure like a vampire.  It may be my only talent.  And, while I neither saved nor exercised consistently, I have always moisturized consistently, and like a vampire, avoided the sun.   I suppose I can count the money not spent on Botox as saving.  Right?

As for Time, the reality is, I don’t have that much left.  I mean, relatively speaking.  Even if I, like Eubie, live to 100, I have more years behind me than I have ahead of me. 

That’s ok.  I’ve had a good run. 

But in the time that I have left, whether it’s a week or (God forbid) another 50+ years, there’s not so much that I can afford to squander what remains in the way that I squandered so much of what came before.

Squandered on what?  Well, there was a lot of television.  These days, there’s a lot of Internet.  But mostly, I squandered time doing things I didn’t want to do – like being responsible.  Bills have to be paid.  “Stuff” has to be bought, hoarded, displayed, used and thrown away.  Appearances have to be maintained.  I don’t like to think of myself as the person who is obsessed with keeping up appearances but clearly I am, or I could have put any old cheap crap in the house.  I mean, if I were left alone on the planet, like Omega Man, would I really be that choosy about the tile in the bathroom or on the fireplace?  Would I really have tested so many paint colors? 

Obviously, the homes we build are reflections of ourselves.  We are all aware of that, whether we want to admit it or not.

So, back to the point, I spent a lot of time doing things I didn’t want to do or that were not the right thing for me to be doing, just because I caved in to life in a society that demanded certain ways of being and living. 

But more than that, I caved in to fear and anxiety and misplaced priorities.

I take full responsibility.  I will, of course, continue doing what I must do.  Bills still have to be paid, even more of them now than before.

But now, now that I know how fleeting Time is and now that I know what is truly important to me and now that I can separate the wheat from the chaff and the men from the goats, I have no excuses.

If I focus on what is important, it should all fall into place.  Don’t worry about results.  Worrying about results is what led me astray in the first place.  Don’t worry at all.  Just breathe.  Just do.  Just be. 

Be like the cat.

I can’t take back the time I’ve lost.  Maybe it wasn’t lost at all.  Maybe I was just incubating.  But lost or not, it’s gone – long, long gone.  Take the lessons learned and move forward.

Forward.  Focus.  Prioritize. 

Remember how much Time is gone.  Remember how much Time is left. 

Stop being stubborn for once in your often-pointless life and trust in God.  This is the path you were meant to be on.  Everything happens for a reason. 

Everything happens for a reason. 


Let it happen.

Let go of reason.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Rose Bowl Flea Market

We showed up with cash and big bags to carry away our loot.  How we managed to return home empty-handed, I can't imagine.  Not when there were beauties like this to be had:

I don't know what this animal is or was.

But it had a sweet face.  Too sweet to want to bring home.

I might have wanted these prints, if I had any wall space left to display them.

I don't really know what I would do with this colorful T-Rex.

Bat-winged sconces.  Alas, not very Craftsman-y.

Also not very Craftsman-y, Blowfish Lamp.  Ick.

Under no circumstances do I ever want to see a chair made of golf clubs in my home.

I kind of like this fencing mask, maybe for playing with The Kitten.  It can go with the fencing glove that I use to play with her.  Wish I'd been wearing that glove last December when she tore into my arm and sent me to the ER.  Oh, well.

Having these fireplace logs could have saved us the trouble of building a whole fireplace.  Could have just plugged them in and been on our way to other projects. 

The day wasn't a total loss.  I did come away with a sunburn (not pictured).

This Is Your Garden Spider . . .

. . . on drugs.

Effects Of Drugs And Alcohol On Spider Webs

Let this be a lesson to the young people - stay away from drugs!

No one wants to be the crack spider's bitch.

Thanks, D!