The Best of the Apocalypse

In addition to ringing in the winter solstice, today is a great day to wish our fellow reveler Ralph a truly super happy birthday!  His comments, links, insights, and feedback have been an invaluable part of this blog nearly since the beginning.  So here’s to you, Ralph .. we are wishing you all the best for a beautiful, bountiful year ahead.

With all the talk of the apocalypse floating around, social media has been a wellspring of levity.   Side note — while I do know people who are preparing for worst case scenarios, and who do generally strive for and value preparedness, I have yet to hear from anyone who believes in fact the world is really gonna end today.   The following are some of the comments I’ve been hearing in the last day or so, definitely more funny-bone-ticklers than dour predictions.  A few of my favorites…

from Prince Darren…

“Mayan guy: Hey want a beer? Other Mayan guy: I’m working on this calendar but I guess if I don’t finish it it won’t be the end of the world.”

and my friend Steve Maya…

“My fellow Mayans and I have decided to postpone the apocalypse. Enjoy your your second chance at life Earthlings! #mayanapocalypse #mayans #maya #endoftheworld”

and then a few more serious yet thoughtful ones…

from Victor Masliah…

“I have discovered that, according the the Mayan’s calculations, the world was to end at exactly 24:01, which was the length of a day back then. Over the last 3,000 years, the Earth’s rotation is slowing down, so that there are now only 24 hours in a day. The loss of that minute was not accounted for by the Mayan’s elementary methods of calculating the future. As such, we have dodged their predictions and shall survive. You heard it here first.”

And from Jeremiah of Jeremiah’s Vanishing NY blog (very good blog that witnesses the dying off of New York City as we know it and celebrates the same)..

“Keep in mind that “apocalypse” literally means “a disclosure of knowledge hidden from humanity in an era dominated by falsehood and misconception, i.e., a lifting of the veil or revelation.” This is a good thing.”

And last but perhaps my favorite, from my cousin Anna Kalenze,

“People are making Apocalypse jokes like there’s no tomorrow.”

Sandy’s Over – Now What?

As posted by fellow reveler Ralph in a recent comment….


Sandy almost seems like history by now, except for those still dealing with it’s aftermath. Looking back over what was and wasn’t done right, one of the podcasts I listen to started an interesting project. They are still organizing, but they put out a call to their audience and anyone they know to form a volunteer group of emergency responders spread around the country. Professional responders will head it. The idea is to respond to areas that FEMA, the Red Cross, and other organizations out of necessity have to give lower priority when something large happens. For now there has been some discussion of the project scattered across a few podcasts. You can scroll down a list of episodes at to find out more.


Let us know how you’re faring post-hurricane and what, if anything, you’re doing differently.  I am finally putting together my home emergency kit, and have bought whistles, plastic sheets and duct tape, flashlights, batteries, etc.  I am hearing from some people who I wouldn’t expect about preparations they are making for 12/21.  As for myself, I am planning on treating it like any other Friday (which lately means like any other night of the week except for maybe an hour less of sleep).  How about you?  Any extra prep in anticipation of the long awaited day that Mayans purportedly predicted would be the end of the world as we know it?  Go ahead … gimme the dirt!

Did the Orchid

Long story short: I’ve never had an orchid before. I got this phaelonopsis at a big box store (Home Depot – i think that counts) without much hope for its survival but was impressed by how well it did. Once it was done blooming, I knew from research that I would need to replant it, and I became ridiculously intimidated by the process. Now I’m frankly embarrassed at how easy it ended up being. This is my story, and how my orchid found a new home within a home …

Sometimes projects take on greater than life size proportions. And in my world, all their components and prerequisites accumulate until preparing for the task becomes much more time, space, and energy consuming than the task itself. I secretly (or not so secretly, now) believe that all this hullabaloo is truly merely a diversion from getting accomplished the task at hand. I don’t know what it is in us, subconsciously or otherwise that wants to avoid the task but there it remains, undone.

Such was the case with my orchid, which for an embarrassingly long time needed repotting and which now finally is reported. Mission accomplished, several months late but hopefully not too late.

Here is the potting mix I bought that lived on the back porch, then in the foyer, then in an effort to remind myself into action, on the bathroom counter then on the stairs and finally on the kitchen counter till I and my partner could stand it no longer…


After investigating various pots, and having considered and rejecting using a regular Chinese soup container (although many say this would work fine), I selected this clay pot on the advice of a woman at Shannon’s florist who said she’s been using these for her own orchids at home. I tried to get my offspring to paint it something cheerier than the plain clay but discovered this was another distraction that cost a couple weeks since her interest in the pot diminished in direct proportion to my intensifying advocacy of the project. I finally gave up and, yes, this is the finished product (with a couple flourished of my own).


Next I put some plain biodegradable packing peanuts in the bottom. Some people recommend small stones or pebbles for the bottom of the planter, which also should work fine.


I loosened the plant from the container it came in. It came out easily but others have reported some difficulty on loosing orchids from their planters. I squeezed the sides of the container, then turned it upside down and gently separated the existing materials from the roots.




The next step was to identify the healthy and unhealthy roots. I found lots of descriptions on how to do this on various sites online, but I found it to be pretty easy to tell the difference, and soon started to find all the instructions a little confusing and more overwhelming than anything so I stopped reading. The healthy roots are white-greenish and thick. The others seemed hollow, some flat and brittle. I cut off all the dead stems, which accounted for probably about a fourth of all the stems.





Next I put a layer of the potting mix in over the packing peanuts…


And gently set the plant in, with the base about 1-1 1/2 in. below the rim of the planter.



This is how much old plant debris I had when all was done…


I saved the clips for attaching stems to support posts for when the plant is in bloom. A picture says a thousand words but sometimes it’s really just only a few, as is the case here.


I also had the remains of the stems after the plant was done blooming. My understanding is that on average this type of orchid blooms continuously for 1-3 months out of the year, and that you must wait till the bloom is gone before replanting (makes sense). Surprisingly, the one piece of advice I couldn’t find online was whether and how to cut the stems post- bloom. I took this upon myself and it seems to have been the right thing to do to cut them down.


And these are the support posts that hopefully I will use again.


And finally, as now, at long long looooong last, I was done.


Epilogue: the plant is happy and so am I (no feeding – that’s on my somewhere in the not too distant future to do list).

Signs of Life?

One of the warmest winters on record just ahead. It’s already mid-December and, although my own hostas and tomatoes are dead and gone for the year, some other yards in my Brooklyn hood look like they’ve just migrated from Florida.




I have to say I was happy to see less signs of life on some other foliage giving up the ghost this season.


But even these others were somewhere still between seasons and stuck in autumn mode.



This, despite the urging of their neighbors, all dressed for the season…






And this tree.