Happy Leap Day

February Calendar 2012

Enjoy today. It’s your bonus day that won’t come around again for another four years. Besides resting up for tomorrow, so you’ll be ready to march first, what will you do with your extra day?

© Huffygirl Leap Day 2012


Drop blade here

When my family traveled when I was a kid, we always stayed at local mom and pop hotels. These usually consisted of a long single-story building  of hotel rooms, resembling a 1950’s ranch style house, with a parking spot in front of each  room. Think Bate’s Motel, only clean, nice, and not inhabited by psychopathic killers.

There were few amenities in these rooms: two double beds (nobody had queen-sized beds back then) with chenille bedspreads, a black and white TV,  a small bath with a shower inside the tub, and if we were very lucky, air conditioning. They gave you the Lilliputian bar of soap, but no little bottles of shampoo or lotion. But the one amenity that was always included, was a slot in the bathroom wall or inside the medicine cabinet that proclaimed “Deposit used blades here.” The slot was just big enough to drop in a double-edged, old-fashioned razor blade, the kind almost no one uses any more.

As a child I found these slots fascinating, causing me to raise all sorts of questions. Where did the razor blade go once you dropped it in the slot? Was there a box behind the wall to collect them, or did they just fall behind the plaster, in between the studs and lathe, until the wall filled up with razor blades? And if there was a box to collect them, what did they do when the box filled up? Did they have to knock a hole in the plaster, empty the box, and then patch up the wall and seal it up again? Would I one day open the medicine cabinet in the Bate’s Motel and find razor blades spilling out, onto the shocking pink sink, littering the black and white tiled floor with rusty used blades?  And what were they thinking anyway? Who decided that dropping razor blades inside the wall was a good idea to begin with? It’s not safe to carry used razor blades around in your travel bag, or put them in the wastebasket, but it’s perfectly okay to put them inside the WALL?

What caused me even more chagrin was the fact that my parents and older sister did not find the razor blade slot in the wall nearly as alarming and interesting as I did.” But where do the blades gooooo?” I’d wail to my dad as he dropped his used blade into the wall. “What will happen if the wall gets filled up?” But no one shared my alarm or interest. “Don’t worry about it, they’ll take care of it,” my parents would always say. But I knew that wasn’t true. Grownups hadn’t done a very good job keeping the communists out of Cuba, or protecting our president from getting shot. If they couldn’t manage those very important things, how could they possibly care enough to keep travelers safe from razor blades?

But the number one issue that puzzled me then, and still does today, is this: Of all the issues that arose from travel back then, how did anyone decide that razor blade disposal was the most pressing, the one amenity that all hotels must provide, in order to keep their guests happy? Can you just hear people, well, men, back then. “Yes dear, I’d love to take the family on vacation. The problem is that there’s no good way to discard these pesky razor blades while we’re traveling. You can see how we can’t possibly travel, carrying around all those used razor blades.  Guess we’ll have to stay home until someone comes up with a solution.”

Yes, thank goodness they solved THAT.

What's behind your wall?

© Huffygirl 2012

Thanks to the following sites for their photos:

Police and potholes

Some people think seeing a robin hopping around outside is the harbinger of spring. I have nothing against robins, but I submit the true harbingers of spring are these: police and potholes.

This time of year, I see those sneaky folks in their shiny blue cars lurking in the median, as I’m challenging the speed limit on my way to work. (After all, that number on the sign is just a suggestion, isn’t it?) In case you don’t see them, you’ll be glad that the person in front of you, who suddenly slowed down, did. So stop cursing him and waving your fist, and thank him from saving you from getting a ticket. Why do they come out in droves in the spring? Some would say it’s to catch all those drivers, who, at the first sign of spring, turn into free spirits and throw caution to the winds, while flying down the highway with the radio blaring “Fun, Fun, Fun” and the top down. Or maybe they are just after writers who over-use cliches.

Potholes are more common to cold weather areas, so those of you who don’t live where it’s cold are saying “What? Pot what? What is she talking about?” Potholes are gaping apertures of missing pavement, small caverns on the road of life, that occur when the cold weather starts to thaw. It has something to do with physics, freeze and thaw cycles, and moss growing on the north side of trees. Why we call them potholes, I have no idea: something about the hole being as deep as a pot, or some other folklore. If you want the scientific gibberish on potholes, click here, but suffice it to say, you know spring is around the corner when your front tire disappears in a hole the size of New Jersey.

(Thanks Google for the images!)

© Huffygirl 2012

Weekly Photo Challenge: Regret

Dear birds, squirrels, raccoons, and insects:

I regret to inform you that the bird bath is out of order.There will be no water served until I can procure an unbreakable bird bath. I apologize for the inconvenience.


PS: Maybe if you squirrels would stop jumping from it we wouldn’t have this problem again. (just sayin’)

© Huffygirl 2012

A quick primer on floppy tulip syndrome just in time for Valentine’s Day

Don’t want your tulips flopping over in the vase? Here’s the quick skinny on what to do.

Buy good quality tulips – buds tightly closed, brightly colored, without any fraying on the edges.  Protect them from extreme cold or heat on the trip home. Don’t leave them sitting in the car while you’re running errands.

Add glass floral marbles and a couple of old copper pennies (prior to 1982) to the bottom of the vase. The marbles support the stems; the copper from the pennies, at least in theory, supports stem strength.

Arrange the tulips one by one, gently placing each stem within the support marbles.Cut at least 1-3 inches off the stems depending on the height of your vase. A short vase and tall tulips will guarantee flopping.

The tulips may look a little floppy at first, but should straighten up after a little time in the water.


Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Huffygirl: How to cure floppy tulip syndrome

© Huffygirl 2012

The most pressing conundrum of 2011?

When I started this blog two years ago, I was hoping to inform, and to  make people think and laugh. I wanted to discuss important issues, but not be so heavy and pedantic that reading this blog would be like doing homework. So I put in some important information on health, exercise, and how-tos, mixed in with some lighthearted satire, and smatterings of my own hapless struggles through life.

So did it work? Depends. People have come here over the past two years for laughter, and in some cases, for answers to pressing issues. And in my own  small way, I’ve been able to address what has turned out to be one of the most pressing conundrums of the twenty-first century. Something that has troubled, puzzled and bewildered people to the point that they’ve gone to the foremost expert on the topic, Google, to find the solution. And find it they did, right here.

So what is this issue, so important, so relevant, that has people worldwide confounded? It’s (drum roll) how to get tulips to stand up in a vase, also known as the solving the dreaded floppy tulip syndrome. Yes, not quite as impressive as curing cancer, but still a burning problem for many, and I’ve been able to solve it here. My work on earth is now complete.

So how do I know this? Thanks to the WordPress Stats Monkeys (their name for themselves, not mine) I have my finger on the pulse of what internet search terms have led people to Huffygirl’s Blog. At least once a day, often more,  someone searches on the terms “floppy tulips” “why do tulips flop over” “tulips won’t stand up in vase” “tulips flopping over” “tulips flopped over after cutting” “tulips flopping down” and so on. You’d think that political candidates would be promoting their floppy tulip policy, congresspersons would be passing laws against floppy tulips, and world summits would be convened to solve this pressing problem, as it clearly is an issue for many, that does not ever go away.

Tulip bouquet

So, with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, and all the folks who ordered tulips instead of roses needing to know how to get these things to stand up in the vase and not look like they brought home cheap flowers, I am once again coming to the rescue. Take a look at my solution here, and more on this pressing problem soon.

© Huffygirl 2012

How to cure floppy tulip syndrome

Finally – some help on my one woman war against cheese

English: Individually wrapped slices of Americ...

I’ve been waging my one-woman war against cheese for some time now, largely without any support, as, let’s face it, everyone loves cheese and they don’t want to hear someone telling them to stop eating it because it’s full of fat. But, now, I’m no longer alone. The Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) has jumped on the bandwagon, with an anti-cheese billboard campaign in Albany, New York. The no-nonsense billboard campaign features photos of folks with obese abds and thighs, with the captions “…your abds/thighs on cheese…” You can read the full story here, but the gist of it is this:  cheese is the number-one source of saturated (“bad”) fat in the American diet; we eat too much of it, and it’s making us fat, according to physician, food researcher and founder of PCRM Neal Barnard, MD.

Dr. Barnard goes on to further enlighten readers on the evils of cheese “…Americans eat more than 33 pounds of cheese per person per year—three times more than they did in 1970—and our country is more obese than ever.” and “…One-fourth of an average 12-inch cheese pizza contains nearly 13 grams of fat, including 6 grams of saturated fat and 27 milligrams of cholesterol. An ounce of cheddar contains 9 grams of fat, including 6 grams of saturated fat.” Read more from Dr. Barnard here and here, and you may be ready to jump on the anti-cheese bandwagon with me.

Of course, I’ve said all of this before in America’s Love Affair with Cheese, but it helps to have the full weight of an official-sounding physician’s group behind me. Look out America, the war against cheese is back!

© Huffygirl 2012

Downy and Hairy: The city bird and the country bird

Downy Woodpecker (© Huffygirl 2012)

I’ve been seeing Downy and Red-breasted Woodpeckers at my bird feeders for quite a while, as long as I keep putting out their two favorite foods: suet and Bark Butter, which is fancy bird peanut butter. Lately I’ve had a large, animated visitor to the Bark Butter board, who aggressively attacks the Bark Butter and keeps coming back for more, but is easily scared and flits away at the sound of my turning on the camera, even from ten feet away, inside the house. At first I thought this was a Downy gone wild, but I think what I may be seeing is a new visitor, a Hairy Woodpecker.

Downy W. or Hairy? (© Huffygirl 2012)

Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers are quite similar in coloring, although Hairy is differentiated by its larger size and longer beak. Downy has a speckled white patch on the back, while Hairy’s patch is all white, often difficult to distinguish from a distance. Hairy is a shy country  bird, usually sticking to forests and is skittish at crowded feeders. Downy, the city bird,  frequents suburban yards and is not afraid to join the food fray with chickadees and nuthatches at feeders.

This new visitor has been difficult to catch with the camera, so I’m still not sure if he is Downy or Hairy. I’ll let the readers, and perhaps some bird experts out there decide. Meanwhile, I’ll keep putting out lots of Bark Butter at the feeder, as it seems to be like crack for the birds. They appear the minute I put it out, and scrape the board completely clean in short order.Even non-clinging birds like the shy ground-feeding Junco’s will have a go at perching on the board to get a taste.

Junco perching to eat Bark Butter (© Huffygirl 2012)