Kafka

You may remember that one of the goals I set for myself is to keep a houseplant alive. Today I bought my first houseplant and have named it Kafka. 

I wanted to go with Alejandro, but the boyfriend insisted it looked like a German plant.  How something leafy and green can resemble any sort of nationality is beyond me, but there was no way I was going to name it Herman.  We settled on Kafka.

It was purchased at Meijer for under $20 and seems to have a several battle scars from its journey beginning in Homestead, Florida.  Some of the leaves have patches of sadness -- some discolored tips that are yellow, some brown dead spots, some rips.  I accidentally ripped part of a leaf off when rolling up the window ... oops.

After returning home I Google-d and found some rather disheartening information.

Dieffenbachia is a moderately easy to care for houseplant that likes humidity and sunlight.  Otherwise known as dumb cane, their stems are green, their leaves are white and yellow, and they can grow up to 5 feet tall.   So far, so good.  I continued reading and learned that they are called 'dumb cane' because your throat will swell and you will lose your speech if you eat their foliage.  You are supposed to use protective gloves when working with the plant just in case sap gets onto your fingers and eventually ends up in your mouth.

What?!

How did I manage to pick a poisonous plant for my first green thumb project?  I know why -- I thought it was cute.  I looked at its large spotted leaves and thought it would coordinate well with the living room.  I also saw the rips and browning leave patches and immediately felt sorry for it.  What can I say?  I'm a sucker for the underdog.

Dieffenbachias are to be kept away from children and pets; I don't have the former (THANK YOU JESUS) but the latter is left unsupervised five days a week while I go to work.  Kafka is already pretty large and I had every intention of leaving it on the floor, in front of the window to soak up the spring sunlight.  It now lives next to my desk on top of the filing cabinet.

So far I've ripped a leaf in the car and watered its dry soil.  Three hours into ownership and Kafka is still alive and well.  I'd like to write more but these rubber gloves are hot and difficult to type with.  Wish Kafka good luck.

STATS
Approx. height: 20" -- that's a little over one and a half feet
Largest leaf length: 14" x 6"
Smallest leaf length: 5 1/4" x 2 1/3"


Narcissim and the scan button

I've been swearing in my car a lot lately.

A huge factor of my trucker mouth is the plethora of potholes that are eating the streets of Indianapolis and surrounding cities.  Driving has become like a live-action game of Mario Kart, except there are no cubes full of prizes: instead there are flat tires, destroyed under-bodies, and bent axles.  I can guarantee that the repairs to my vehicle last year had little to do with my actual car and more to do with pits on the motorways.

There is a pothole large enough to swallow your car in the Perkins' parking lot in Anderson.  That is not an exaggeration: in fact, driving anywhere has become a high-stakes game of chicken.  Do you swerve toward oncoming traffic to avoid a massively deep pot hole or hit it dead on and risk popping your tire?

Cities across the nation have acknowledged this pothole epidemic and started programs to allow civilians like you and me to Adopt a Pothole.  Unless I can write that off on my taxes, I'm not interested in spending my hard-earned wages to fix what I thought was the city/state's responsibility.  Indianapolis officials encourage you to fill out a form to be submitted to the city mayor about the pothole plague, but I wonder how effective that will be.  Shouldn't the fact that an online form to report potholes exists be a red-flag that this is a definite problem?  (Here is an article from the Ball State Daily News about this growing problem.  Here is an article about the profit of potholes for local businesses.  I'm all about stimulating the economy, but at what price?)

Although I have no idea how to fix the problem myself, I am toying with idea of starting a pothole brigade.  A can of orange spray paint and a ski mask is all I need to start righting fixing the roads.  A spray-painted circle around potholes will at least give drivers a few second heads up so they can slam on the brakes and prepare for impact.  The only major concerns are how many cans of spray paint it will take to mark all the potholes in my area and how itchy ski masks can become.  I also wonder the legality of such actions; an acquaintance of mine was arrested for creating his own crosswalk near the Ball State campus after repeated phone calls about the dangerous intersection went unanswered.

The other source of profanity comes from my stereo.  Because my car is a P.O.S. I do not have a working CD player.  It gave up the ghost about a year ago and I do not have the funds to replace it or buy an iPod leaving me at the mercy of the radio.

Apparently you need no talent (or even a decent voice) to get a music contract these days.  Shitty artists are a dime a dozen and I spend more time scanning stations to find a song that doesn't make me cringe than listening to actual music.  When I do find a jam I actually like it is overplayed to the point of puking and once again I am forced to scan.  Is there an end to this cycle?

I would like to take a brief moment to acknowledge the death of one of my childhood icons: Ludacris.  He used to light up the sky and now he is doing compilations with Justin Bieber.  How the mighty have fallen.  I've also noticed a trend of extreme narcissism in a lot of songs: every song by Jason Derulo starts with, you guessed it, "Jason Derulo"; even the catchy Bad Romance's repeats Gaga over and over.

Are you worried we will forget who is singing?  Is it too much to ask for signed artists to focus on the music instead of getting their name out there?  Is there a radio station that exists that doesn't play over-played singles over and over and over?  I'm all for an infectious beat, but part of me is looking for substance, too.  Perhaps the focus is no longer on quality but simply quantity.  I know so many talented musicians without contracts who would bring credibility back to the music world; why not give them the opportunity?  I can guarantee they won't mention themselves as part of a chorus.

Never have I ever

There are so many things I want to do.

I've decided to do something about it.

It's time to stretch; broaden my horizons; push the comfort barrier; learn new skills.

This year I am going to do the following:
1. Learn to play guitar.
2. Keep a houseplant alive.
3. Fire a gun.
4. Re-learn to read music.

I have never successfully kept a plant alive, ever.  No matter what I do they die.  This could be partially my fault-- I buy tone, name it, am really good about watering it for about a week, then look around a few months later and think, "OH YEAH!" and then am filled with guilt about killing my sweet Fred.  The poor bastard never saw it coming.

While stumbling this afternoon I found this article "Top 10 Plants for Removing Indoor Toxins" Eartheasy Blog and it has inspired me to turn over a new leaf.  Healthier air and cultivating a green thumb?  First step: pick a plant.  I'm leaning towards the Philodendron but am open to any suggestions.  What plants you kept alive?  Do you have recommendations for a Reformed (Accidental) Plant Killer?  Next step: more research and saving funds for Fred.  Check.


I have my father's old guitar.  Next step: find an (inexpensive) teacher.  The first attempt at attaining this skill flat lined.  I practiced for a week then never picked it up again.  I have regretted this for years, YEARS, and still have the guitar.  Every time I open the closet to get out the vacuum I see it and make a promise to one day play.  The promise has yet to be fulfilled but miracles happen.

I have already decided the first song I will learn is Tracy Chapman's "Fast Car".  Who knows?  With a lot of practice and some patience, I could become part of the Von Trapp Family Singers.  I consider that a semi-check. Che.

As far as guns go, the boyfriend's brother owns a gun (shotgun if I remember correctly) so that's a start.  Having my first shot fired come from a shotgun is really intimidating so I will keep a lookout for something a little tamer; a part of me, though, says Let it rip. Big hair, big fun. First step: evaluate that statement.  Next step: find a gun to hire and a place to fire it.  Check.

Two checks and a che.  Not too bad.

I encourage you to join me in Soul Yoga and make a list for yourself.  We can do it, together!

BTW If anyone would like to gift me a replica of June Carter Cash's guitar it would be the gift that keeps on giving, really. xo