Matches are Lucifers

Dutch matches package

If you are in Belgium or the Netherlands and need something to start your fire, you reach for … a lucifer.

Yes, “lucifer” is one of the Dutch (or Flemish) words for matches.

English is confusing enough – did you mean match, as in “tennis,” as in “they were made for each other,” or as in, “fire starter?”

Language is important. Even if we speak the same language, we need to strive to be understood. Tuning in to the person or people we’re speaking with, a tactic that some consider to be a basic survival skill, is far more than that – it’s a way to enjoy life by seeking understanding.

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Recycling fears

I’ve never visited a recycling plant. That would make a great school field trip, but at my age, I’d have to take time off of work to enjoy such an outing.

Anyhow, I fear that sometimes stuff I’ve put into the recycling bin ends up in landfills. That’s not just a fear on my part – it’s reality: here’s the link to a related story. In America, a lot of the difficulty comes from political gyrations on the part of our current government.

Another problem comes into play – how manufacturers create their products – many times, materials are mixed, so it’s impossible to properly recycle the package or product. If you look at the plastic bottle above that contained some cold brew coffee, you’ll see that the manufacturer of the coffee was kind enough to point that out.

But how many people would take the time to peel off the label? Maybe 2%, if we’re lucky!

I would love it if manufacturers would employ creative resources (and funds) to come up with easier-to-recycle packages and products. I know that some car manufacturers are moving in that direction (related story), but the rest of the product world has a long way to go.

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Burned out on Christmas music

de-inflated christmas decorations on a front lawn

I’m burned out on Christmas music.

My brother and I used to both get a Christmas CD every year. The variety of interpretations of classic Christmas carols and songs was always interesting.

Until ten years or so ago.

Then stores and parking lots and hospitals and everywhere except your car or home began playing Christmas songs from the day after Thanksgiving onward.

It’s just too much. And there’s no choice.

Their bad = my bad.

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Saying goodbye

My company is moving out of the current office that they’re renting to a building that they’re buying.

It’s financially wise, from what our CFO says.

But I will miss Coverall. Their Colorado office is in our soon-to-be past building.

My dad wore Coveralls. They were one-piece work clothes, kinda like this. (Little did I know that Urban Outfitters sells them now.)

Turns out Coverall is a janitorial service – with a 1-star rating on Google.

I never went into their office, but I have a few days left. Maybe I will.FacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

Rapid gentrification

restaurant out-of-business sign

I was sad to say goodbye. I didn’t even know they were leaving.

The Baker neighborhood of Denver is rapidly changing. I knew that – but when I tried to find a cheap place to grab a quick lunch on a recent Saturday, I discovered that all the inexpensive non-chain restaurants were now out of business. Every one had shuttered their windows within the last six months.

A small New Mexican restaurant – gone. Famous Pizza – gone. Several other small independent eateries disappeared, all to be replaced by empty storefronts, while their owners await increased rents from more upscale establishments.

I daresay those landlords won’t be looking for tenants who will provide cheap eats.

My tummy is sad.FacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

The useless balcony

the traffic on East Belleview Avenue

Across the street from my office is a relatively expensive apartment building.

We’re not talking NYC levels – but the rent is similar for one of those Greenwood Village 2-bedroom apartments to that of a suburban Denver 3-bedroom house.

Yes, there’s location – I could walk to work if I lived there.

But I am not questioning the residents’ decisions to live there – I can understand some of the charms.

Rather I’m questioning the residents who choose to put patio furniture on their small balconies. You see, there’s a steady flow of traffic during all waking hours. Noise and diesel fumes are part of the experience a resident would enjoy by sitting on their balcony for a glass of wine at sunset.

What’s different about watching and listening to waves crashing on the beach? Those sounds also ebb-and-flow. Water flows past your feet, just as compact utility vehicles do along East Belleview Avenue.FacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

Plan a-h-e-a-d

worn-out street name letters on a sidewalk

Reminder to self… plan ahead.

At one intersection in downtown Denver, what were once beautiful street names are rendered in sunken brass letters.

As you can tell, most of the numbers either got stolen or simply knocked off through wear-and-tear.

The solution would have been for the street-name sign creators to have made the letters about three times deeper, so the surrounding concrete could have more firmly held onto the letters. Or for the letters to be made of a different material that would wear at exactly the same rate as the surrounding concrete.

But they were thinking the concrete was sticky enough and permanent enough to hold the letters in place for years to come.

No.


The obvious analogy is for me and you to build our efforts and things to last.FacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

The ultimate commuter vehicle

Fuji Sanibel bicycle

I recently took the plunge and bought my first new bicycle since eighth grade.

Electric.

Though many consider electric bicycles “cheating” (when they zip past regular bikes on a trail), I had many reasons for venturing into this new category of cycles.

  1. In October-ish, my office is moving from 7.2 miles one-way to 11.4 miles one-way. The difference in my regular bicycling commute will be roughly another 40 minutes out of my day. A commute on this bike is close to the time of driving. And with the typically bad traffic along the new route, the electric bike might actually be faster!
  2. Every time I ride the electric bike rather than drive, I’m preventing a significant amount of pollution. (I plan to ride as many days as I can.)
  3. It’s still exercise… the motor won’t go unless you are pedaling. (It’s a “pedal assist” bike.) Even though it doesn’t provide as much exercise as a commute on my road bike, I am still getting way more exercise than I would be behind the wheel of my small automobile.
  4. It’s a lot cheaper to charge the battery than pay for gas (once you factor out the cost of the bike).
  5. Upkeep expenses will be undoubtedly less than for any of our cars.
  6. It can only go 20 miles per hour, so it’s pretty safe.
  7. 50% of the bikes sold in Belgium are electric (source). They must know something.
  8. Ironically, the frame color is very similar to that of my road bike, which I had custom painted a million years ago.
  9. It was a super good deal, via Performance Bicycles – like less than half of what most electric bikes go for.
  10. It’s fun.

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Life is short

best cat ever

This morning, our beloved kitty went to “the happy hunting grounds,” as my dad used to call heaven for cats and dogs.

Floof was the best cat ever.

So as I write this with tears in my eyes, I share with you these few little things:

  1. Be thankful for those around you. I am very thankful for the eleven brief years we had with Floof.
  2. Show love to those around you, because you don’t know how long they will be part of your life.
  3. Don’t take your own life – you will leave lots of pain behind for those who survive.

If you want to make a donation to the pet rescue organization where we found Floof, the Denver Dumb Friends League is a worthy group. Or give to the pet rescue organization in the town of your choice. Thanks.FacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

Abundance

a Victrola collection from an open house home tour

We love open houses. Visiting a home that’s for sale reveals a lot about the people selling the home. Their lives are on display for guests to see.

Some homes are time capsules – nothing has been changed for twenty years or more. Other homes have been cleaned up and fitted with the latest accessories and appliances so they could be in almost any community of the same demographic in another part of America.


Our latest open house visit was to an immaculate farmhouse that was never a real farmhouse. The owners recreated a country home in the heart of suburbia. The matron of the home had impeccable taste – every room was perfect.

The Victrola room seemed a little excessive to me. Though the collection was small, each of these music players was not functional in the face of today’s entertainment landscape.

But that wasn’t the point. The owners most likely enjoyed the beauty of their hand-crafted machines and the era they represented.


Then I had to reflect on my own collections. Many would say that I have too many small toy cars or pairs of headphones. But at least I don’t have a room dedicated to any collection – like the Victrola museum.

Collecting things can be fun or reach a compulsive addiction level.

Collections are a good way to enjoy human creativity through variety and also experience the spectrum of form and function.FacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail