Saturday, August 10, 2013

3759 Snork 2

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Some grow with responsibility, others just swell.


It has occurred to me that folks who don't live up there may not get why I found the news account in the "Snork" post so funny.

That particular street (actually more like a road, a minor artery between Poughkeepsie and points north) appears distressingly often on the police blotter for domestic violence and gang violence.  It's not one of the nicer streets.

3758 Flower Pots

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The victor will always judge the defeated, and always find him guilty.
--Goering, during the Nuremberg Trials--


Flower pots drive me crazy.  They all have holes in the bottom.  Yeah, ok, I understand you need holes so excess water drains out and the pot doesn't get all swampy and rot the roots and drown the plants.  But why do the holes have to be in the bottom?  That makes no sense to me.

When a soil is dry(ish), like in pots on the porch or in strong sun, or especially in hanging pots, when you water the plants the soil doesn't absorb the water quickly, and it tends to run straight through and out the bottom.  It takes a lot of water over a long time for the soil to gradually start absorbing water.  It's very frustrating. 

The only solution is to use trays under the pots.  Trays catch the runoff, act as a reservoir, and then the soil gradually soaks it up.  Happy plant.  That works for standard plants, but not for hanging pots or the decorative pedestal planters.  Hanging pots come with a tiny, completely useless, attached saucer (I don't know why they bother) and it's next to impossible to arrange a tray reservoir.  You can go crazy trying to keep those things moist.  At the country house I had some huge pedestal planters outside, and when I planted them, I buried some big plastic bowls deep in the bottom for reservoirs. 

The improvement is so simple:  Don't put the holes in the bottom!  Put the drain holes in the side, height depending on the size of the pot.  That creates a reservoir in the bottom, allowing water to be absorbed as needed.  In nature, that reservoir is called ground water, or the water table.  You don't even have to put stones down there because roots won't grow into that reservoir unless the plant likes it, and stones restrict the ability of the water to move into upper regions by capillary action. The soil above the reservoir will not be too wet, since excess water will still go out the hole.

I don't understand why someone hasn't already thought of that.

Any entrepreneurs out there are welcome to use this idea and make a bazillion dollars.  I'll even help.  Just let me know you're doing it and mention my name somewhere....

Thursday, August 08, 2013

3757 Bugged

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The immediacy and appropriateness of your action in the moment
is far more important than your cleverness with words and numbers.


Having finally come out of my recent obsessive funk, I looked at the July calendar for the first time.

I screwed up.  In July I managed to blow off three birthdays, two anniversaries, and one baby each of which merited at the very least a card.  Sheesh. 

I know this won't make up for it, but

Happy Birthday, Baby Big Sister!

I did manage a sympathy card, because I got the call and responded right away, it didn't require awareness on my part.  A friend and his youngest daughter, also a friend, lost their mother/grandmother.  The lady had been on her way out for the past five years, multiple crises where she wasn't expected to make it through the night, but she'd recover, a little less strong, and keep on going.  So her passing (in her 90s) was almost a relief.  My friend had called me to tell me he'd be heading south for the funeral and wouldn't be back for a few days. 

Then, like two days later, I get another call.  His eldest daughter's husband died in a fishing accident (he fell in, went over some falls, and drowned (there was also a heart attack, but there's some confusion as to whether the heart attack happened before he fell in or after the falls)).  The 12-year-old son was with him, and the kid of course blames himself for being unable to save his father, although he did pull him out of the water at the base of the falls.  So my friends had also lost a son-in-law/brother-in-law, and have a grandson/nephew who's a freaking mess. (Yes, they got him into counseling immediately.)

So I sent a card to the two of them at their business partnership, and included a letter --- after fussing over whether it should properly be two cards, or four cards, and then thinking it probably didn't matter how many cards, it's the expression that matters.  Four would be overkill.  No pun intended.


There was a huge bug on my window screen last night.  I suspected it was a cicada just by the size and shape, but it didn't look like any cicada I'd ever seen before, and I haven't heard a single cicada around here (city house), so I looked it up on the internet.  Yup, it's a cicada.  Strange.

They are all over everywhere at the country house.  There are many broods up there, two year, three year, five year, seventeen year, heck, I never asked any of them how long they'd been waiting, but anyway, it's a rare year when you don't hear them somewhere along the roads.  It was the same at the old estate across the road from our house when we lived near St. Louis.  There were cicadas every year.

As I said, I haven't heard a single one here.  Possibly because there are very few large stands of old trees?

Every one I'd ever seen was different from this one guy last night.  This quiet fellow was the same shape and size as the Mid-Hudson or St. Louis cicadas, but whereas they were splashed with color (black with red , yellow, and green spots or streaks on their bodies), with huge HUGE red RED eyes, this guy is solid black with small black eyes.  Very dull.  Boring.

And much too quiet.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

3756 Snork

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A cult is a shared belief with no political power.


Remember when I said I subscribed to the Rhinebeck Village (NY) news blog, and how it often inadvertently cracks me up?   Today's offering:
HYDE PARK – Police are looking for two men who held up a clerk at the Mobil gas station at 1110 Violent Avenue in Hyde Park around 4 a.m. on Monday. 
That should be "Violet Avenue".

I blew iced tea out my nose.

3755 Periodic thing.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

"My definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular."
--Adlai E. Stevenson Jr.--


I do something weird every so often.  Every so often I get what can only be described as an obsession, which can last anywhere from three weeks or so to three years.  It's sort of like bipolar, in that it lasts for a while and then goes away, but it doesn't seem to involve depression or mania. 

After the year that Jay (and both of my dogs) died, I got heavily into estate auctions and eBay.  I bought stuff.  Lots of stuff.  The country house is chock full of stuff, some of it lesser junk, some of it very good (from live estate auctions).  That's what's so overwhelming about sorting out that house. I understand that part of it then was real situational depression, and an attempt to fill a suddenly empty and echoing house and life with something I could love.  That went on for three years.

But every so often, something similar but of shorter duration happens.  It might be needlework, when I spend every waking moment knitting, embroidering, sewing, and doing nothing else that has to be done.  Or reading, when I feel like I absolutely have to read the entire backlog of books on the shelves.  Or the past month and a half, when I started watching videos on YouTube, in particular some expats living in Japan who do videos on the culture, houses, customs, of life in Japan (**see below), and video tours of old Victorian houses - to the exclusion of everything else (including, as has been obvious, the updating of this blog).

But I'm not depressed.  I still enjoy stuff.  Even after Jay died, I still managed to get out, like I joined the fire department and got EMT training, went to the county fairs and the antiques fairs and the Renaissance fairs, took bellydance lessons, etc., I just don't pay bills when due, or clean the house, or do the dishes or the laundry - in other words, when I'm in the house, it's all obsession.  As if I want to escape responsibilities?

I didn't really realize that pattern until now.  I've been thinking back, trying to figure out when it started.  I think it started when I married Ex#2.  The guy who didn't talk to me for weeks at a time, who would go away on business trips without mentioning it to me and couldn't understand why I worried when he didn't come home after work (pre-cell phone days),  the guy who wet the bed almost every night and crapped his pants whenever we were in the car going somewhere he didn't want to go, and refused to admit there was a problem, let alone see a doctor.  That's when it started.  I was so alone, and I read and did needlework to fill my empty days.  Projects, projects, projects.

It was just Saturday that I came out of this latest (the YouTube obsession) cycle.  I got a bunch of stuff done around the house this weekend; suddenly I wanted to clean up and check things off to-do lists.  I wonder if, now that I'm aware of it, I might be able to see it happening and control it.


**On the Japanese videos -

Lots of good things about Japan, like very low crime, beautiful countryside, it's very clean, people respect others, and so on.  But there's no way I could possibly live there for any length of time (even beyond the fact that immigration is strongly discouraged).

The houses, even new ones, have no central heating and no insulation!  People use space heaters to heat one room, and the space heaters are kerosene so you have to keep a window cracked, and the heaters turn themselves off periodically, so if you don't get up pre-dawn to turn them back on, you wake to a freezing house.

Westerners are amazed by the toilets.  They are very fancy, electronic, and have heated seats.  Well, yeah!  THERE'S NO HEAT!

All social and professional interactions are governed by rank and seniority.  You must defer in all matters to those who rank above you, which means that if someone of higher rank than you says you must do something that makes no sense at all, is stupid or dangerous, you must guard your facial expressions and react with enthusiasm.  You NEVER correct or criticize the ideas of anyone of higher rank.  This is not just professionally - it's socially, too.  (Your bosses will expect to sit in the front and at the choice tables at your wedding, for example, ahead of your family.)  You never say anything negative.  If you want to say "No", you say "Perhaps".

Husbands outrank wives, so a wife is to expect that her husband will have affairs, and she is to ignore it in all ways.  Some husbands may never stray, but he's considered a fool if he has the opportunity and doesn't.

You have to fill out pages and pages of forms to do anything if you are more than just a short-time tourist, and there are no English translations of anything, not even the directional signs in official buildings, and next to no one speaks English.   Learn  Japanese, or starve.

Some YouTube channels:
- softypapa
- thejapanchanneldcom
- thesillyolddude