Cookie-Cutter Tiny Houses

You know it’s a first world problem when your efforts to curb consumption are co-opted by copycats:

Are tiny houses becoming too “cookie-cutter”?

That’s the fear of Phoenix Vo-Dinh, a tiny-house renter who fears the rise of “miniature McMansions.” And she knows from McMansions: Before her current home, she lived in a Maryland house 10 times its size. The Maryland house had four bedrooms and four bathrooms in its 3,500 square feet, with seven entry doors.

Vo-Dinh now lives with her 24-year-old son, Christopher Lollar, in what she calls a “witch’s cottage” in Portland, Oregon. Its interior walls are papered over with Trader Joe’s grocery bags and pinto bean and flour sacks (coated in linseed oil); the exterior makes use of a local pizzeria’s tomato-sauce cans; and flowerboxes are made from discarded stove hoods turned upside down and poked with drainage holes.


 “In Maryland,” she says, “the size of the house — it was too big! It was a big house with no hiding places in it! It was the weirdest thing. I didn’t know that would happen.

“And this is huge. This is 364 square feet.”

No hiding places. Now that makes me wonder about Ms. Vo-Dinh. And everybody else who thinks tiny houses are the “it” thing. Didn’t they have playhouses or the imagination to create one from blankets and a table when they were children? And just where does she think she’s going to hide from her son in that tiny, though chic and fashionable space?

And what the hell is her son thinking? Perhaps… “Well, Mom is a bit nutty, but she still controls the purse strings. And the apron strings.”

Random Blogging

My title is worthy of a creative award, don’t you think?


Reading a decent freebie Kindle murder mystery, I’m annoyed at the carelessness of the author. One night it’s moonless after a storm clears intimating a certain time of the month. The next night it’s a 3/4 moon. I feel mislead by the first description of the weather and lack of clarification of whether it was cloudy.

This one is better than some of the other free novels. At least the author manages to keep his characters’ names straight. I would have been happier with some waxing accuracy instead of waning. I would have been impressed had the author described it as a gibbous moon.


Via DrX, Buying the Body of Christ. In that excellent essay about how the communion wafer entered the capitalist marketplace, there’s a mention of a “Chasid Cup” which I didn’t find a link to but I did find the “Celecup” which also packages the grape juice and wafer together in easy single servings:

  • No Special Preparation Required
  • No Refrigeration Necessary
  • Three – Six Month extended shelf life
  • Time Saved During Church Services
  • Strict Hygienic Packaging Standards
  • Allows For Communion In a Variety of Settings
  • Can Be Transported Without Spillage
  • Sized For Standard Communion Trays

I think it’s “Time Saved During Church Services” that is really strange. “Andale, andale… we haven’t got all morning ya know!” Followed by an admonishment not to litter and maybe a reminder to help the arthritics who may not get theirs opened quickly enough.

Nothing above is meant to disparage Christianity, but I cannot imagine ever being comfortable or feeling worshipful in a church that used this product on a regular basis, especially one that used it to save time.


I’m not sure why my husband decided to buy a bottle of Glenfiddich 15 year old Scotch for me, but I’m grateful. It is very nice. And it follows the Christmas gift of Samalens XO Armagnac from my sister. Y’all keep this up and I’m not going to be satisfied with box wines.


“So we let him sleep it off…”


If Only It Were Just A Pain In The Ass

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I caught a cold and it morphed into a sinus infection and bronchitis and I got drugs to make the trip to S. Carolina possible.

What I got was pack of methylprednisone. I knew it wasn’t a cure, but I also knew it would help stop the spiral of the bronchitis coughing (I had bronchitis really really bad several years ago and the coughing seems to be partly due to inflammation… caused by coughing!)

And I knew it would make me feel better. That along with a nasal spray to help drain my sinuses would make the trip possible.

What I didn’t expect was how good I felt by the 2nd day on the methylprednisone. I had an energy level I hadn’t experienced in maybe 10 years and my body ceased to hurt everywhere. I realized that I’d forgotten what a pain free day felt like.

In addition to some fairly severe injuries to knees and ankles (no one ever accused me of being graceful) during youth and as a young adult, I am also dealing with the family tendency toward severe osteoarthritis, carpal tunnel (from hand-sewing more than keyboard use), ulnar nerve entrapment in both elbows, odd little irritants possibly due to a meningioma, and the general physical insults of aging.

None of these things are really serious. I’m actually quite healthy and would be more so if moving were not literally such a pain everywhere but in the ass. I generally do OK with acetaminophen and/or naproxen.

Or so I thought. I realize now that I’ve learned to accept a certain level of pain as “normal”.  In a way, I hate the reminder of what pain free feels like though I enjoyed it immensely.

I had a bit of a rebound effect from the steroid. This past Friday and Saturday were horrible. I took all the acetaminophen and naproxen I thought was safe and it didn’t make a dent in the whole body (excepting the ass) pain.

That’s over and I’m back to my normally accepted level of pain now… but I remember fondly my pain free week.

How I Ended Up Without A Primary Care Physician And The Worst Hospital I’ve Ever Been In

I haven’t yet posted why my original 3-4 week Arizona vacation turned into a 6 week plus adventure.

There’s some backstory here that needs ‘splaining. First of all, let’s get the planned itinerary out of the way. I left on Mar 28th and arrived on Mar 29th. On Mar 25th, I got notice from my insurance (Tricare Prime) that I needed to find a new primary care doctor by April 1. The letter was dated several weeks earlier. 

This pissed me off because on March 22, I’d seen my primary care doc and got a bunch of blood tests done pertaining to a chronic problem. Had I known I was about to be “dumped” from treatment at the MTF (which I’d been coerced into 4 years before) I would not have bothered.

Anyway… with little more than five days notice, I have to find another primary care physician. First, I contact the physician my husband has used for years. That’s a no go. Then I find the largest group practicing near my home and affiliated with the hospital nearest my home. I contact them and am told that each physician decides whether to accept new patients and their insurance. After a few denials from specific physicians in that group, I’m finally informed that none of the 13 will take me on.

By this time, I’m in Arizona. So, I search again and this time find a physician who will take me. I fill out the paperwork and am informed by Tricare that if the paperwork is received before the 2oth of April, the assignment to the new PCP will be valid on May 1.

That’s wonderful and I make an appointment with the new doc for May 6. I plan to be home on April 28th… exactly a month after I left. Except for the perhaps wasteful blood tests, everything is good.

Except… on April 25th, I am running a fever and have stomach pain. Monday, April 26th, the pain is worse, the fever a bit higher. Since I don’t think I have a primary care physician to call for a referral to an urgent care clinic, I call Tricare directly. I am informed that since April 17th when I submitted my request (that I was told would be effective May 1) I do have a PCP and that I must get any referrals from her.

Unfortunately, she hasn’t seen me before and ethically can’t make any referrals. (This is another topic…) and therefore I can’t get a referral from anyone. I am advised that since this is the case I should go to the ER since that doesn’t require a referral. However, it’s been pounded into me that using the ER for routine care is a bad, bad, wasteful thing and that Tricare might not cover it. Since I don’t think my problem is an emergency, I’m not that thrilled with that advice. But I’m also worried that I won’t feel like driving 1200 miles unless I get feeling better.

So I go to the nearest ER which is less than a mile from my daughter’s house. Why I should have chosen an ER much further away may be the subject of another post. Let’s just say that the close hospital didn’t have a great reputation. But… I was only going to probably get a prescription for an antibiotic and a suggestion I follow up with my PCP when I get home, right?

Continue reading “How I Ended Up Without A Primary Care Physician And The Worst Hospital I’ve Ever Been In”

Flushing Capability Restored

My husband got around to replacing the toilet that had been just pretending to flush. I had no idea that toilets could wear out. I knew that the innards in the tanks might need replacing periodically, but not that other parts could wear out.

Anyway, it’s an older house and the bolts holding the toilet to the floor had disintegrated. I’m sure there might have been an easier way, or more elegant way, of removing such a toilet, but my darling chose the sledgehammer method. That was Day 1.

Day 2 involved chiseling out the bolts and cleaning up shards of vitreous china.

Day 3 should have been the easiest — set the new toilet in position and bolt it down — a job that should have taken less than an hour.

Not so, as standards have changed. Something on our toilet was 6 1/2 inches and the corresponding part on the new toilet was 6 inches. Nothing lined up. After 5 hours of chipping away 50 years of I don’t want to know what, a new something (a flange?) was installed and the new toilet was set.

All’s well that ends well. But our plans to replace the toilet in the other bathroom have been put on hold. I’m sure those plans will be revised to include paying for a professional installation. And they will include my absence during the procedure!

I Made A Big Mistake

Yesterday evening, around 8pm, I decided to clean the stove. And the vent over the stove. And the side of the stove and the side of the cabinet it stands against. And behind the stove. And under the stove.

And now… it’s early this morning, my back hurts, my hands hurt, and I’ve noticed that the walls and cabinets also look a bit dingy and greasy.

Why, oh why didn’t I just turn out the lights and go to bed early?

I Hate Leaf Blowers

Not all leaf blowers, just my neighbor’s. I hate the way she uses it and when she uses, but I especially hate how often and how long she uses it.

She rakes her yard with it 2 or 3 times a week. After she’s got several little rows of leaves and pine straw accumulated in two hours of blowing, her husband mows over them with their mulching bagging mower. In fact, he mows over them and the entire lawn three or four times.

I’ve seen her chase him, blowing one leaf for him to mulch.

This is only going to get worse now that fall is here. There will be new leaves and pine straw for them to chase and mulch every day. For hours. I’d hate the lawnmower too if it weren’t so much quieter than the leaf blower.

Anyway, so much for my plans to sit outside on this beautifully cool Saturday afternoon and read. Thank goodness our house has been “sound-proofed”.

UPDATE: On this wonderful Sunday afternoon, I thought I’d try reading outside again. My neighbor across the street fired up his leaf blower to clean off his driveway (a legitimate use, IMHO) and dadgummit he was joined by husband deciding to blow the leaves away from our house (another legitimate use.)

I sat outside for a few minutes waiting for the third leaf blower to join them so I could listen in three-part unharmony.

Oh well… maybe tomorrow. OOPS. It is supposed to rain tomorrow.

It Has Come To My Attention That My Blog May Be Boring

Though it couldn’t have been said in a nicer way, I think my favorite bartender would like for me to get a life. Or something. Something like he way overestimates the blogging value of my accumulated sticky notes.

The most meaningful one (but one I actually threw away) was a series of question marks. I will reproduce it here for you:


“WTF” would have been somewhat more informative. I think. Perhaps what I really need is to spend more time drinking in bars employing really great and wise bartenders.

As noted here, I seem to express myself better in comments on others’ blogs. I hope that’s a passing phase.

What I’ve Learned In Four Days

There is nothing that you do that does not require the use of stomach muscles. This includes moving your eyeballs from left to right.

What gives relief from pain in one area will eventually cause pain in another.

After you wake up a bit from the surgical anesthesia and get a dose or two of strong narcotics, you may be fooled into thinking everything is going to be just fine and want to go home.

A small incision is one that runs from the bra line to the belly button.

They don’t serve margaritas in the recovery room, but they’ve got some really good stuff in syringes.

Eating a cracker with zero saliva is very unpleasant.

I will survive.

I’m Grumpy

I think I will just blog randomly about pet peeves or other crap that comes to mind. I have a head cold and a headache, too.

Want your website to look unprofessional and render it useless? Don’t date any of your articles! It’s so easy.

Want to sound really intelligent? Misuse “begs the question” when speaking or writing. I’m amazed at the number of supposedly educated people who use this when they mean “raises” the question.

Also, write “make due” when you need to use “make do” as it shows how well you’re making do with what you have. This is especially effective when criticizing someone else for not being as righteously frugally environmentally concerned as you are.

By all means, when someone who has a lot more money than you have decides to spend it on something you disapprove of, let the world know how much good they could have done if only they were as thoughtful as you would have been with that much money. Then, in the next paragraph write about how “the left” and the government shouldn’t be taking people’s money away from them to spend on what “they” think it should be spent on.

to be continued… I’m sure.

Browser And Website Irritations

Add computer and operating system to the title.

I hate it when my computer starts “acting up” and especially when I’m not exactly sure why, where, or when it’s going to.

List of current irritations:

Shockwave hangs when I’m using Chrome.

Facebook won’t load some profile or photo pages in IE.

Writing posts loses paragraph breaks in Chrome. is slow, their search options suck and navigation is a pain.

Shutterfly’s Family Pages don’t load correctly in IE, Chrome, or Firefox. I get the best results from Chrome, but get Java errors in all three. I’ve downloaded and re-installed Java several times.

Gmail is unavailable too often.

Yahoo mail keeps telling me the last session wasn’t shut down properly.

XP Pro (service pack 3) recognizes my printer as new hardware on every boot, but when I just cancel the box, my printer works fine.

It’s not only a pain, but painful for me, task to get to the back of my box to plug in my external harddrive to make backups. But I’m going to have to do it because I think I just need to reinstall everything. Well, not everything, because there’s a lot of junk on there, including 3 versions of Microsoft Office.

I need a new version of Acrobat. I’m getting too many things not readable by 5.0, but I’m also afraid the latest version will not have my favorite features and expanded ones of features I hate, and new ones I’ll have to learn.

Should I do a clean install of XP, spend a day getting a gazillion service packs and hotfixes… then spend another day (or two) installing my software and downloading all the upgrades for them?

My processor (P4, 2.2) and my harddrive (120 gig) are 8 1/2 years old, the motherboard is 5 years old. I’ve 1.28 gig ram. No DVD recorder (there’s one on my laptop, but I can’t type worth a damn on it.) Or should I beg for a new computer and new software?

And did I mention I’m out of wine? (Though, apparently well-stocked with whine.)