On sense and scents

Last night my wife and I went to an event at our local library. It was a night of folk music celebrating National Poetry Month, and the American Songbag of Carl Sandburg. Not the most exciting venue in town, but fun for the curious. (My grandmother’s cousin married Carl Sandburg’s sister, so we’re practically family.)

While we were waiting to start a woman came in with her family and sat down. Just that quickly my wife reacted to them, unable to breathe because of the scent of patchouli. I’ve lived with my wife for 40 years, so I understood what was happening. We moved back a few rows which helped only slightly. My wife sat with her face covered, like a train robber, for the rest of the evening.

Some people have strong reactions to perfume. I’ve seen it happen more than once in the offices I’ve worked in. It is especially bad in an enclosed, public space. Feeling unable to breathe, suffering symptoms of asthma, and having instant headaches are all common reactions among a small percent of the population. This is a real thing. To someone that loves to wear a scent it is unimaginable that someone could be so uncomfortable so quickly, but it does happen.

So, please, if you’re likely to be in a crowd, be aware that your stench is making someone sick. Feel free to bathe, and leave the perfume at home.

Posted in Uncategorized

About those photos

I’ve been scanning a lot of our old photos to put them into digital format and store them. It’s rather tedious, but not something that I need to concentrate on, so I often do it while watching tv or YouTube or such.

Occasionally I find a picture that makes me laugh, based on hairstyle or clothing, or finding the “most organized” award in grade school for my pack-rat daughter. Whatever you thought was going on at the time, the humor comes from what you think about it now. “What were we thinking?”

But most of the pictures are just “meh.” As exciting as our life was (yeah right,) most of the pictures are just not that interesting. Zoo pictures? Probably the worst culprits, unless you are into biological cataloging. So many pictures of babies… which one was this? Which scenic site was this? Which school award, baby shower, recital, or taekwondo tournament was this?

Usually these mysteries are solved by observation of which couch, apartment, or car was in it. Dating your experience is not that hard, but someone else might not get the clues. A photograph is really a record of what a particular person thought was interesting. Would anyone else ever be interested in these pictures? Probably not. That is the “house cleaning” clue that you need. If no one wants to see it there’s a good chance you don’t need to keep it.

But still. We have them, just in case.

Posted in Home | 2 Comments

Snow throwing is a process

Every day this week:

Put on coat, hat, boots, face covering, scarf, gloves.

Shovel you way down the front steps.

Start the snow blower in the garage, adjusting the choke for the temperature.

Blow your way out of the garage and up to the back door.

Blow your way out to the street, making a double pass at each side of the driveway.

Go back and forth across the driveway, so most of the snow lands in the front yard.

Blow your way around each vehicle.

Go diagonally across the neighbor’s section of drive to put that snow in the front yard.

Blow your way up the side walk to the front door.

Blow your way down the side of the house back to the garage.

Come back inside and put gloves, scarf, face covering, hat, and coat in the clothes dryer.

Shower and get ready for work.

Posted in Home | 1 Comment

That’s my favorite show

Cute couple fixes crappy old house by ripping out everything and bringing in all new stuff.

Celebrity chefs take turns making food.

Amateur chefs take turns making food.

Celebrity amateur chef feeds her quirky friends.

Quirky characters interact with their quirky families.

Amateurs make something in a Lord of the Flies elimination.

Eclectic team of quirky characters manipulates justice.

(All ensembles include one woman, one negro, one latino, one Asian, or combinations thereof)

Large burly men contend with other large burly men in a children’s game. Shouty people shout comments.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Never mind the name of the blog

Guess which state I live in:

09e8b0974e5b469b846fabbefa1ae0bc_b5f67515cba143d8853133c8351d8f05_1_postFound it at Digg

Posted in Places | 1 Comment

Why do we live where we live?

It’s not a conversation that comes up very often. I’m pretty sure that it only relatively recent history that made a change of venue optional. For most of history, I’m sure, it had more to do with seasons and crops, lords and ladies, wealth and poverty, and a general lack of viable transportation. Even now, jobs rule it all.

I started thinking about it when my daughter asked “Why do we live where the air makes my face hurt?” Which is a fair question.

Faced with the prospect of not working any more in a few years, or perhaps more accurately not being able to work any more, I wonder where shall we go? If there weren’t limits where would you live? Tahiti? Uzbekistan? Argentina? Nepal? Ok, seriously, how would you decide?

I feel limited to North America. The cost of moving international is really high, and I lack language skills. Mexico is really appealing for many Americans, because of the warm climate and the favorable monetary rates. But for me that is not so good.

So how to decide?

I made some maps. Hurricane strikes, Tornado activity, Seismic events, General climate, Cost of Living, Red States vs Blue States (hint: lean purple), and so on. I’ve identified a few areas in the continental US to explore.

People decide different ways. For my wife the biggest requirement is trees. Lots of trees.

Posted in Home

The stuff we keep

So many things.

I’ve been looking around my house with an eye toward emptying it. Maybe its part of a New Year’s resolution, destined to end in disappointment. Maybe, like the Swedes, I look at all this and think “If I’m gone who will want it?” Maybe, like that cute little Japanese woman, I should only keep the things that make me happy. Maybe I should realize that other people would be happier with my things than I am.

There are many sorting algorithms. Mine, at least in this moment, is wondering what to keep if  I was living in a 12 x 12 garden shed. Can we find room for the piano? Should we really store all these boxes of photos? Do I need almost an entire other kitchen in my basement? Why do I have so many books?

So this year I want to get rid of a lot of stuff. I don’t want to put it back on the shelf, I want to donate it. I want to find someone to give it to. Maybe sell it? (In a few cases, but mostly not.) Trash is the last resort, but to the trash we are all headed, so some of it will end in a landfill. I’ll try to make those interesting for the alien archaeologists of the future, trying to figure out what happened to this planet.

I wish I had been less of a keeper, and more of a giver.

Posted in Home | 3 Comments