Sunday, May 26, 2019

Our New House-Hunting Game Called "Why Would You Do That?"

House-hunting elsewhere today, and though we couldn't afford these anyway (beautiful exterior, not-so-much interior), still, there are only 2 things I'm snobby about, film and architecture/interior design.  Because I feel like if you have enough money for either, do it right, don't just be throwing crap all up in our faces, assaulting our senses, irrespective of the exterior design and the surrounding environment, just because you can lol.

(Okay, tack on I'm also snobby about true snobs, racists, and bigots.)

So, I'm sitting here with my husband, looking at homes - some way out of our price range, just to look - and we invented a new game.  It's super fun, you should try it.  It's called, "Why Would You Do That?"

Many look decent on the outside - they give nod to the design masters in some way, very respectful of the landscape and environment.

But then you walk in and .... What.The.What?

You have no idea what is even going on lol.

I mean, I don't need to be confused in my own home, I'm already confused enough outside of my home lol.

Here are some examples - wealthy people who are penny wise, but pound foolish - lovely and respectable on the outside, all kinda crazy going on, on the inside :)

Now, this home is fairly new, built with a nod to Frank Lloyd Wright - fairly nice on the outside, right?

And THEN you walk in ...

"Oh, hey, Hi! Here's a wall!"

I mean, why would would you do that?

Why not put the fireplace on the back wall of the living room, instead of the middle? Because you wanted it to encroach into the foyer and partially cover one of the front windows? lol

And look at the way the (cheap) tile zig-zags around it in the living room?

FLW would roll in his grave, as he was all about function and flow and natural light lol.

And you have plenty of money to buy a spacious home and land -  but thought to yourself, "Hey, I'm gonna buy the cheapest fan light and fixtures I could find at Home Depot, then stick hotel-room art on the walls?

And you can't figure out why it's selling for $900,000 compared to the homes around it for $1.2 million, hm, it's a mystery ;)

Penny wise and pound foolish, I tell you.

(No, we are nowhere near this price-range, but I just find it curious the choices wealthy people make sometimes.)

And here's the actual view as you walk in the front door ...

Nothing says "Welcome to my home" like staircases leading to nowhere, as if you're in the Winchester Mystery House?

Me: "Hi, come on in the kitchen, I'm pouring us some tea." 

Guest: "Okay, be right there ... as ... soon as I figure out which staircase to use.  Oh, THERE'S your kitchen, strangely tucked away under staircase landing ... curiously on the other side of the house from your dining room and living room ... because THAT makes total sense."

Me: "Oh, and here's our library den. The house cost a million, but we saved money on built-ins by using circa 1970s wood-paneling and cheap cabinetry from Walmart. I miss the 70s, don't you?"

(No, actually. Just ... no ... to any of it, thanks.)

The decisions wealthy people often make confuse me.

I mean, you have the money  - why not invest in things that cause the value of your home to increase, not depreciate?

Some of these things could be changed, but some can't (like that entryway with fireplace wall), for any amount of money.

Because gutting it completely would cost a few more hundred thousand, or worse, you'd have to just deal with it because it's a load-bearing wall.

Now, here was an unusual find for this area - colonial/shaker style.  There are many here in Kentucky, but few in the region we're looking.

It's fairly decent, right?

And again ... then you walk in.

Wah, wah, wah ... total letdown. 

Okay, now ...  I already knew it wasn't going to be like this Shaker/Colonial foyer ...

Or this traditional colonial ...

I expected more of this, which would've even been okay ...

But WTH is this???

Again, nothing says "Welcome" like a tiny foyer with bars in your face, and you have no idea where to go from there.  Welcome to prison!

Oh, and let's put the dining room and kitchen in the back corner of the home, with one window, and put cheap wallpaper above the wainscotting!

Because God knows, both the Shakers and Colonists were all about 80s combination of powder blue and mauve???

Oh, but wait, here's the best part ... now, here's an kitchen award winner!


Is that a wet bar across from the kitchen?

Oh wait, I think I know what occurred in here.

The wet bar is nearly the same size as your kitchen.

So clearly, the bar is equally as important to you as your food.

So, what happened is, you knocked back every bottle in your wet-bar cabinet before you chose, and then actually installed, these mismatched, cheap, uneven Walmart cabinets, didn't you?

And you want $700,000 for this home -  despite the fact that it has a kitchen that is roughly the size of a broom closet and looks like someone pulled it straight out of a trailer park?

If not, otherwise - and againwhy would you do that?

Again, people with money confuse me with their odd choices.

Here's a mid-century modern/post-modern for a mere $1.3 million ...

Okay, zen-like entrance, but show me more  ...

I like the windows, but I can already see they need a new decorator -  but that's nothing that can't be changed inexpensively.   I think.  Let's go inside ...

Holy Mother of God, what happened in here???
Did the Las Vegas Mafia break in, gut the home, and redecorate this room?

I mean, what IS this room?

Whatever it is, it would take at least another $100K to even make sense.

The shiny furniture, tiles, and animal print stuff could be trashed, but this room was clearly gutted and redone, and now it makes zero sense. 

It's clearly not the living room in the back because, HERE is the living room.

I am weeping at this point.

Not with the interior structure design itself, that's okay - not great, but okay, still somewhat consistent with mid-cen mod/post-modern.

But the track lighting and the cheap floral decor that doesn't match the carpet???

Did Value City come a'callin'?

Oh, thank God,  they at least had better taste in the kitchen - shiny actually works in the kitchen, and good choice on the cabinetry - this stays pretty close to mid-cen modern/post-modern design.

But then turn a corner ... AND we're back ...

... to mish-mashed nonsense again.

Why, oh why, WHY did you do that?" lol

These are way out of my price range anyway, but I swear, I almost don't want to look anymore, so as not to be horrified.

Okay, here's probably the least horrible of the "why did you do thats."

A Dutch Colonial - beautiful right?

And then you walk in.

Well, at least they kept the interior structure intact (mostly).

Oh, look it's the Pottery Barn House!

And it's not that it's horrible, or even bad - it's just every single piece in this home was literally bought at Pottery Barn. 

(You think I'm kidding. Check their catalog.)

I'm not sure why, but the fact that everything in their home is from Pottery Barn kinda scares me.

I mean, is this the Robo Family house?

And I take that back on the at least keeping the original interior structure - pretty sure they messed with the original structure of the kitchen.

Dang  you, Robo Family!

Again - "Why did you do that?"

Now, I would never make fun of people who can't afford nice stuff (God knows I can't), or older people.  

I'm talking about people with money who waste it with odd, disrespectful-to-the-style/environment choices.
I initially thought this Midwestern Craftsman/California Bungalow in a declining neighborhood was a case of couldn't help it ...

I thought, "Aw, they're probably old and don't have much money."

Then I noticed the homeowners clearly had enough money for window treatments, expensive track lighting and giant metal clocks, and to pack it full of unnecessary... crap.

Now I'm going to feel really bad if they're an aging hoarder.

But still, at some point, someone had enough money to spend on floral balloon valances in the dining room, which aren't cheap (though they look it) - but they are an unforgivable sin in a bungalow ;)

Again, why did you do that?

Especially those floral balloon valances *shudders*

All right, let's take a look at some who did things right, then, shall we?
Here -  HERE is how you modernize, and properly treat, even a smaller Midwest Craftsman/California Bungalow, if you're not wealthy and don't live in the best neighborhood, but still have enough money to own and care for one ...

First rule, you keep the original exterior colors (brown, jade green, cream/off white, terra cotta).

The decor is a bit sparse in this home, but again, we're talking about owning one and respecting it on a budget - and still, they kept the existing structure completely intact ...

Which is the second and most important rule -  never, ever touch the windows, the wood, or the built-sins, nor disrupt the flow of rooms with unnecessary walls - ever.  (No, really, ever.)

Because  those were key elements of the original Craftsmen brilliance - they maximized both use of small space and natural light.

Here's another "well done" example, if you're not wealthy, but have at least enough to afford to own even a small bungalow  -  and this time, they warmed it up a bit with some more cheerful decor  ...

Furniture wood is a bit light, but again, if you're on a budget - and at least it's Stickley/Arts and Crafts style.  (Even a small, authentic Gustav Stickley chair, in good condition, would cost you upwards of $5K to $10K.)

I don't have any more time today to show you better examples of the first houses in this post, and you can Google - but do you get the "Why did you do that?" game?

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Morning Surprise: The Annual Return of the American Goldfinch

(Updated) Just took these pics of an American Goldfinch in my beloved birch tree. They're a few days early, they usually return right on June 1, like clockwork.  They're not only beautiful, they're comforting. Because they remind us that no matter how many things change around us, some things always stay the same.  You can always count on the annual return of the American Goldfinch at exactly the same time, every year, heralding the start of summer.  (I'm interpreting their few-days-early return as a good omen ;)

PS -  My brother-in-law just experienced his 3rd family death in 5 years (his/Mark's mother, his father-in-law, then his mother-in-law a few days ago.)

I wouldn't send it to everybody in every grief or rapid-changes situations, because they wouldn't get it - just spiritual people get it and/or those who have taken several rapid-fire hits in a row.

Because the first hit is bad enough, but by the second and the third, the world starts spinning faster and faster on you, it feels out of control - and you just need to look at something constant to make the room stop spinning - like being seasick or carsick.

He never actually said that, of course, because he's a Chaplow man - I just know that's how rapid-fire hits in a row feel after a while, from personal experience ;)

That always helped me and it seemed to help him - so very glad xo :)

Friday, May 17, 2019

"Free Britney Spears" May Have A Point: Is She the Mary Todd Lincoln of 21st Century?

Never a Britney fan, but I've always felt sorry for her.  "Free Britney" is OTT, but they may have a point.  Because I love Alec Baldwin, but he's been arrested several times for actually punching paparazzi, and we all heard his verbally abusive voicemail left to his daughter, calling her a "little pig." Michael Jackson, another former child pop star, showed up to court in pajamas, distorted his face, and at the very least, has poor judgment and made questionable decisions regarding children.

Were they Baker-Acted repeatedly to mental institutions, lost custody of their children to their ex (to whom she pays child support AND alimony), invited to award shows while recovering as jokes, and their fathers became conservator over their multi-million dollar estates?

No, they were not.

In fact, they became bigger stars.

Britney became a "circus freak" public joke whose "conservator" father vacillates between publicly displaying her right back into the entertainment world that broke her, then inexplicably locks her away from society.

A joke that both liberals and conservatives alike are still merciless with - because of one public display of mental illness 11 years ago.

Do you have an explanation of society's treatment of her versus them - other than gender?

Because I can't think of one. 

An adult man displays erratic, even abusive behavior, arrested several times - he's just "eccentric" or "has a bad temper." 

An adult woman display erratic, nonviolent behavior - she's "bat-sh*t crazy" and "mentally ill." 

FYI, in the United States, since 1988, it is illegal to detain or force anyone - male or female - into psychiatric hospitals or to take medication *UNLESS* they are a deemed by the courts and a professional psychiatric team to be suicidal or homicidal -  a danger to themselves or others.

Is she really suicidal/homicidal and a danger to herself and others?

Is she really more dangerous to others and her own children paparazzi-punching, verbally-child-abusing Alec Baldwin?

(Again, I love Alec, but let's not pretend he's not BSC, too - and unlike Britney, don't ever piss Alec Baldwin off -  because he truly IS dangerous when he gets mad.)

Once upon a time, after witnessing the traumatic deaths of her husband and two sons, first lady, Mary Todd Lincoln became obsessed with spiritualism (contacting the dead) and with the fear of losing her remaining son, Robert, to death.  Robert, in turn, had her committed to a mental asylum.

Later, her attorney argued Robert (and others) actually did so to gain control of Lincoln's estate and money, and she was freed and regained control of Lincoln's estate.

Today, it might be argued that Mary Todd Lincoln had PTSD; however, at the time, we had no idea what that was - and men could pay asylum staff to commit sane, wealthy women to mental asylums.

(Also, for a small fee, men could pay to sexually assault asylum women - because who would believe them? When these women ended up pregnant, gosh, what a mystery.)

Now, it's 2019.

Britney Spears is 37 years old and made $47 million dollars herself.

We don't throw women into mental asylums anymore over estates or to keep silent secrets - or do we?

This all began in 2008.

People of both political sides were absolutely merciless to her very public mental breakdown, in which she called the paparazzi herself to meet her at a salon, had them shave her head, and then knocked out a car window with an umbrella.

She was hospitalized and it was revealed she suffered from bipolar disorder.

Yes, it was cuckoo - but there was a method to her madness, too - I actually understood the point she was trying to make.

She was essentially saying, "You want something to talk about?  Obsessed with my appearance?  How you like me now, paparazzi, with a shaved head?" 

Constant hounding and rumors, American societal obsession with perfect appearance, fake people who lie with a smile on your face all day and you don't know who to trust, people treat you like a product.

If you have any chinks in your chain, fame will find those weaknesses, press on them, and break them - and Britney, due to her personality forming under this pressure as a child, and bipolar disorder, broke especially hard.

Then, just a couple of weeks later, the same MTV that built her and made her a star, invited her to their VMA awards, just to display her weight gain and erratic behavior like she's a circus act - solely to watch her act crazy and make fun of her :(

I turned it off, finding their doing so just as sick, if not sicker, than anything she was doing.

Because though I have a very healthy sense of humor, I also have a heart - and I have never found cruelty funny - it was the furthest thing from funny I could think of - and no, she did not deserve it, just because she put herself in the limelight (with the help of her family).

In fact, even if true she's crazy, promiscuous, previously attention-seeking, dumb as a rock - she still doesn't deserve being treated cruelly and like a circus freak.

At the time, though never a fan, I was one of a small handful of people who publicly expressed feeling sorry for her because people were truly merciless towards her.

Okay, we get it, she's a child star gone crazy - so are a lot of people in the entertainment industry - why don't we treat child boy stars gone crazy the same as Britney?

What she needed was help - but all anyone could do - including my supposed fellow "feminist" and "be kind to others" liberals - were throwing shit at her and laughing just as much as deplorables, saying she "deserved" it.

No - nobody deserves being treated cruelly and like a circus freak.

But then, this was a time where Reality TV shows glorifying meanness was cool, as was budding social media - and my fellow liberals were right there, cheering characterless Reality TV along, right alongside with Deplorables.

At the time, I wrote several posts predicting that the glorifcation the characterless and cruelty displayed on Reality TV (as well as on social media) was helping to devolve the ethos of this country irrevocably.

Now, we have a mean, Reality-TV show president.

And you, my fellow liberals can't understand why - and want to point fingers only at Trump Deplorables for their meanness? 


I don't think so.

And I see that most of you, my fellow liberals, are STILL being mean to her/have no empathy for her - why?

Regardless, she supposedly doesn't have enough judgment and insight to make her own decisions, but those who do have that legal right allow and encourage her right back in the same fame world that broke her - and that doesn't strike you as odd?

No - my fellow supposed "anti-exploitation" and "feminist" liberals are still getting more popcorn and throwing it at her, right along with Deplorables :(

At least Deplorables admit to being Deplorables, having little to no empathy for women. 

So what are we?

Big Fat Hypocrites.

If she eventually suicides - which she likely will, at this rate - will the mess that was her life be as funny?

As I said, the people who have been legally given control over her estate are supposed to have better judgment and make better decisions than she did - but they aren't.  

It seems to me the entire family may be dysfunctional - the inmates may be running that asylum.

Because if truly cared for her, they'd be encouraging a quiet life away from the stressors that broke her - but they didn't. 

Something is wrong with the people put in charge of her care - whether she can admit that about her own family or not.

Some motherly advice for Britney ...

If the people around you aren't at least 50% more sane than you - and they aren't 100% behind what's in your best interest -  get out and find people who are :)

And here's a hint:  Note that historically, those people were not found neither in the entertainment business OR your dysfunctional family ;)

Saturday, May 4, 2019

I Just Won $139 on a Last-Minute $2 Bet on Country House!!!!

(edited) Based on 2 of the riddles (unedited post below) - "A Farmer's Market" and "It will come Funny Cide Up" (I thought meant long-shot odds, like Funny Cide) - I interpreted them to mean Country House at 65/1 and bet $2 to win at the last minute. I WON $139! "It will come Funny Cide Up" is double-entendre; it meant a long shot (like Funny Cide) AND the win would come as the result of Maximum Security's disqualification!

(The pics below are the correct winning horses, but not from the Kentucky Derby)

I  couldn't figure out exactly how to interpret "Maroon and White, a star and a stripe" - I wasn't sure if that was one horse or the top three.  And that could be anyone lol.  Now I know what it means, in hindsight - it was referring to one horse - Code of Honor has U.S. military chevrons on his back -  "stars and stripes," get it?  And he had a maroon and white saddle pad:)

It always makes sense in hindsight of course, but that's what riddles do :)

I didn't get it, before hand, even though it was one of the strongest.  I wasn't sure how to interpret it.

Like I said, they come to me in riddles to interpret  - if I do so correctly, I win :)

I like to think it's one of my grandfathers or both - one loved horses, the other loved riddles.

*Looks up at sky*

Well, thank you, Pap and Granddaddy - or  God - whoever you are? lol.

This Year's Derby Riddle Hints (The Pic is From Last Year's Riddle Results)

As mentioned in today's first derby post, in 2003, I picked the long shot, Funny Cide to win based on strong premonition, and he did.  Since then, everyone thinks I'm psychic lol.  (I'm not.  At least not in this way.  It's complicated.) Though I've never had a strong "riddle hint" since, people still ask. The hints come like riddles, so if I/we figure them out correctly, we win.  If not, we lose lol

For example, last year, the two strongest riddles I received were "Baffert's vying for a win again" (but he had two horses in the derby to choose from, and we never bet Baffert anyway because, well ... let's just say there are reasons for that ;)

The clue turned out to be Justified, who would go on to again win the triple crown for Baffert.

The other strong clue was "The one with the V, with be in the three" - but no jockeys had silks with a "V" on the back...

...  UNTIL - at the last minute the jockey and silks were changed for "Good Magic" - to a dark maroon V on the back on light silks  - and came in second or "show" :)

Remember, though, there were other riddles last year (2018) that seemed to make no sense that I never did figure out, to this day lol.

I haven't even matched this year's riddles up with the horses yet, because I'm working and won't have time - and again, the force is not strong this year lol.

Nevertheless, here they are.  I think lol.

Asterisks are by the strongest riddle hints (the one's I'm fairly certain about/clear), and remember, they could refer to one horse or the top 3 (win, place and/or show), a particular horse, trainer, jockey, their silks, an owner, or their breeding (sires and dams).

So, can you solve the riddles?

Because you might win if you solve them correctly :)

*"Maroon and white (or light), a star, and a stripe"

Now - I'm not sure if that means the same horse or the top three, win, place, and show, but I'm fairly certain it means the top 3 -  and not sure if that's the order or just the three in some order - so if you figure this one out, don't box them lol - unless, of course, you figure that out in conjunction with the other riddle hints below :)

*  It will come Funny Cide Up"

(Not sure if that's reference to a trainer or owner of Funny Cide or it just means another long shot will win (or place, or show?)

* "It's a Farmer's Market"

* The letters M A R together. 

  The letter "F" figure prominently

"For King and Country"

"A Spanish Galleon"

 Good Luck!

(With the clues not being strong this year and with me working, we don't have time to research/match them up and probably won't bet.  However, if you know me personally and you figure out the riddles, let me know privately - especially if you win based upon them! lol)

PS 6:28 p.m.  It would be kind of hilarious if Game Winner won after my Chicken Dinner post below.

However, he doesn't really fit any of the riddle clues - but again, the force isn't very strong with me, this year :)