Thursday, May 29, 2008

Befuddled by Burgeoning Bag Bedlam

I've got burgeoning bags, sacks, pokes. Plastic or paper I keep 'em both. Never know when you might need one. Used to store the plastic ones inside the paper, 'til I bought one of those pretty cloth bag dispensers at the crafts fair last year. What a great idea, organized storage and easy access too! But the bags multiply faster than I can use them. So now it's buried under piles of bags; can't even see a corner of it. Wonder to myself "Why'd I buy that thing? What was I thinking?"

The other day, I brought a load of groceries home. Put 'em away. Gathered up all the bags, opened the closet door and bags started jumping out. Picked 'em up, wad 'em into a tight ball, opened the door, shoved, then closed it fast. I swear, these befuddling bags are like bunnies doing some strange mating ritual night and day... ever burgeoning. Seems like they're having a party in there. Creating bedlam. Pushin' on the door, trying to get out and find another place to multiply. I'm Befuddled by Burgeoning Bag Bedlam.

My roommate watching this drama unfold, pulls out her collection of canvas totes, mesh and string shopping bags . And says to me, "Ever considered totes?" I reply, "Totes?" Looking over the collection of bags in her hands I say, "Canvas totes? I'm not planning a trip, just buying groceries. I use paper or plastic." She opens the closet door and lots of plastic shopping bags tumble down on her head and she says, "Let's recycle these." I reply, "I might need 'em for garbage or storage or something." She says, 'Let's keep some and recycle the rest." I think to myself, "I've got a closet full. A few is all I need. But, but, but... I might need 'em for something. You just never know. They come in handy." I've got a duolouge going on in my head. Those befuddling bags are using mind control. Beaming me, 'Keep them all. You'll need them'. Why else would I think I have to keep a closet full of bags? Uncomfortably I sigh and give an affirmative nod.

We gather them up and head to the recycling center. On the way, we notice thousands of plastic bags strewn everywhere... along the road side, in the median, even in the forest on both sides of the road. Divide and conquer. I can hear them whispering, 'Resistance is futile', like the Borg, and we are a lesser life-form. I say, "The bags are multiplying under our noses, overtaking the world." My roommate says, "If we recycle or stop using them altogether, there won't be any to take over." I reply, "You mean, prove our superior intelligence." Laughing she says, "Exactly."

On our way home we stopped at the grocery store for a few things. When we pulled out our canvas totes the cashier deducted $.05 for each plastic bag we didn't use. Wow! How cool is that! Save the environment and a bit of cash too.

EPIPHANY: Stop the plastic invasion, use canvas totes and save a few cents.

Another problem solved. Now all I have to do is figure out what to do with that pretty cloth bag dispenser.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Wild Weird Weather Wonderings

We've been having really weird weather. I live in the high desert. It's been colder then usual this year and winder too. And May, whoa... stranger than I ever remember. Started off down right frigid. Warmed up to darn cold. Got sweltering hot for a day or two, then back down... brrrrr, cold. I'm wondering, "Do I leave the windows open or close them? Cover the plants? Water them? What? Do I wear a sweater, jeans and jacket? Or tank top and shorts?" My body isn't adjusting. My plants are in shock. It's crazy confused! Seems nothing is normal anymore. The other day heard someone say, "Normal? What's that?"

Got me wondering, "Know what I feel, but what's real? What's actual?" So I looked online at The experts say the averages for May are high 87F and low 47F. Average means, normal, right? The actual temperatures for the first 2 days in May, 54F high and 23F low. Wow that's sure not normal. The 3rd through the 9th it warmed up a wee bit to highs in the mid-60s, lows 22F to 35F with lots of wind. That fits with what I felt... frigid. I know, I know it isn't that cold. But hey, when you're acclimatized to Arizona hot, that feels like the Arctic North. And it's May, it's supposed to be hot already!

May 10th and 11th warmed up to 71F; the 12th was 65F with lots of wind. The 13th was only 48F and it rained. Feels like a weather see saw... up, down, up, down. 14th thru 16th were in the low to mid 60s again with more wind. The 17th was 74F, then it warmed up closer to normal in the low to mid 80s the 18th thru the 20th. The 19th the thermometer on my porch read 100F. I remember 'cause the past couple of days I'd been sitting on the porch enjoying a Sangria and watching the golfers drive by and that day was so hot I stayed inside. I was surprised it was only 84F. The 21st cooled down again to 65F. Geez!

On the 22 we drove to Flagstaff. As we rounded the top of the hill it began snowing lightly. I'm pleasantly surprised and shocked. Snow in late May? In Arizona? My roommate calls a friend and reports this anomaly to her voice mail. It snowed lightly all day. We wore our heaviest jackets to keep warm. Glad I keep mine in the car, didn't start out wearing one. We started home after dark. I was driving. It's now snowing so hard I can't see the road. We pass under a flashing yellow sign that says, "Warning, winter driving conditions." I think to myself, "Really! I never would have noticed. I'm in weather hell, I know it."

A bit befuddled, I say to my roommate, "What's going on?" She replies, 'I'd guess it's the result of greenhouse gas emissions. You know... global warming.' I think to myself, "Yea, the latest buzz word" and say, 'Seems more like global cooling to me.' She says, "Temperatures have generally been going up for a while now, and worldwide weather weirdness like this have been occurring more frequently." "Hunh!" I grunt.

Got me wondering some more. So I looked online for weather weirdness around the globe. I was in awe of what I found. Seems we've got a bad case of global warming. But the experts don't all agree. Do I believe the experts or my own eyes? I'm in a quandary.

I tell my roommate, "We've got global warming! It's huge! I can't change it!" She says, "Yes you can... the solution begins at home. Change your carbon footprint." I reply, "Carbon foot print? Last time I looked there was no carbon on my feet." My roommate laughs and says, "No silly." I say, "Need to wash my feet? What?" She says, "No just change your impact. Lessen your output. You know like walk, bike or drive a hybrid. Buy products that are energy efficient. Look into what you can do then do it. You make a difference. It all starts with you."

EPIPANY: I make a difference. Less output means a cleaner world.

We dance around the house singing (to the song Revolution by the Beatles)...

'We say we want to change pollution!
Well you know.
We all want to change the world.
We'll tell you that there is a solution.
Well, you know.
We all want to change the world.
But when you talk about obstruction.
Don't you know that you can count me out.
Don't you know it starts with me.... alright. alright, alright, alright.'

Come on, everybody sing....

A few links:
NOAA Weather Hazards/Climate Extremes May 2008
An Inconvenient Truth

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Annoying Ant Anomaly - an Epiphany

Ants... UGH!!! They're climbing up my walls, marching steadfastly across the kitchen counter, around the sink, right to the sugar bowl. Each Annoying Ant picks up a grain of sugar and halls it away... then another, and another, and another. At this rate they'll steal all of my sweet stuff by night fall. The little thieves blatantly parade through my house, single file like a living cargo train.

They send out scouts too, to see what else is ripe for the pickin' and find my cats food. Working feverishly on their treasure trove they dismantle it piece by crunchy delicious piece. Then attack my cat for taking a share of their find. Those greedy buggers!!! We're being robbed blind right in front of our eyes. Annoying, ungrateful, rude Ants. They must think this is their house. Enough already!!! I run to the cupboard and pull out my trusty poison friend, Raid Ant and Roach Killer to rid myself of this Annoying Ant Anomaly.

My organic, veggie, earth friendly roommate gasps in horror and says, 'Wait! Stop! Don't spray that toxic stuff in our home. They are living beings, don't kill them, think of the karma'. Thoroughly annoyed, I say, 'Karma, schmarma. I want 'em gone now.' She says, 'Use Cinnamon.' I reply, 'Cinnamon? I'm not baking a batch of cookies, I'm trying to get rid of pests, Raid always works for that.' She takes the can of Raid from me and throws it in the a box destined for toxic waste disposal.

Then goes to the spice rack, grabs a bottle of ground cinnamon and begins sprinkling it in a thin ring around the sugar bowl and cat dish leaving a little break in each. I said, 'What are you doing?' She replies, 'It's a doorway so the ones inside can get out.' Making a coughing noise I say under my breath, 'Uh huh a door right. Why didn't I think of that, duh!' We both smiled looked at each other, then at the ants.

The ants reaction was amazing... within moments they began running back and forth, freaking out. I could almost hear them screaming, 'This is wrong! This is so wrong! It's bad! It's real bad! Gotta' get out now!' My roommate closes the cinnamon circle. Then she takes an index card begins lifting out the confused ants left inside and takes them outdoors. Talking to them all the while. She tells them how nice they are, but they don't belong inside the house because it is so much nicer and safer outside. I must be loosing my freakin' mind!!! I'm hearing ants! And what is she doing! Did I hear her talking to them? Does she really think there is any use in that. They are ants for goodness sake!

When all ants are carefully extricated from the house, she sprinkles cinnamon across the threshold and in front of a spot where they might have entered the house. She says, 'Just to make sure they don't get any more ideas'.

Well huh, who woulda' thunk...

EPIPHANY... Ants Hate Cinnamon!

I'm amazed and sold. It's an earth, human and bug friendly solution to the Annoying Ant Anomaly.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

‘Smelly Sponge Syndrome’ – an epiphany

My kitchen sponge smells. I do one sink full of dishes and wham… the next day I’ve got a smelly sponge. New sponge or not, it makes little difference. I’ve heard that nuking it for 1 minute makes it all fresh again. So I started nuking it after each washing… and even put a wedge of lemon in with it, which helped a bit. I’ve thrown it in the washing machine too… but I don’t ever remember having to work so bloody hard to keep my sponge clean and fresh. GEE!

I’m a wee bit of a ponderer, so this quandary began a wondering. Now I have to fess up that I’m 54 this May so I’ve been around awhile and done my fair share of dirty dishes. Not that, that matters much in the overall. I’ve mostly been using Dawn to ‘Power Away my Grease’. But you know, it’s only in the last 10 years or so that I’ve noticed the stink wafting from my dish sponge. As my trusted Dawn kept getting more and more concentrated and Powerful the time to spongy odorousness became shorter.

Today my trusted friend Dawn is Ultra Concentrated with ‘Bleach Alternative’ whatever that is? And it now takes as little as 1 night for Ultra Awful Sponge Smelliness. Boy oh howdy, Dawn must be like sweet ambrosia to bacteria and germs. Seems the harder we try to kill the buggers the bigger and badder they get. I was resigned to the daily nuking of my sponge… for the rest of my life.

Enter a new roommate… an organic veggie, earth friendly type. She put a half used bottle of Earth Friendly, almond scented, Dishmate on the counter. I pick it up, turn it around and read the label. Then scoff and say to myself, ‘Yeah, like that’s gonna Power away the grease from these dishes, humpf!’ She then threw away my smelly sponge and put out a new one. I thought, ‘Hey, I just put that out last week, its still good just needs to be nuked again.’

Over the next week I used Dawn mostly and a little Dishmate. Then started to use only Dishmate… the dishes were sparkling clean and the sponge always smelled fresh the next day. As an experiment I used Dawn one day and whamo… immediately back to Smelly Sponge Syndrome.

EPIPHANY… Smelly sponge Dawn; sweet smelling sponge Dishmate.

Amazing!!! I’m dancing around the house with the sponge in hand, singing, ‘I’m so excited, I just can’t hide it… and I know, I know, I know I like it, like it!!!’

My roommate asked why I was so excited, I told her about my amazing discovery and she said, ‘Isn’t it great and better for the environment too.’ My life being slave to smelly sponge was over and I’m reborn with a new environmental consciousness.