Saturday, October 31, 2015

Mom, Dad and Descendants...

Here I am again... trying to resurrect from the ashes and blogging again. To close down this month, let me talk about my pet project for the past 5 years plus: the search for the Alstonia scholaris. If you are as obsessed with this tree as I am, search my blog for "Alstonia" and "Hoa Sua" and you will find a lot of information related to this.
The photo of this Alstonia scholaris is taken at 6:23 PM on Thursday, October 29th, 2015 in the Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden (FTBG.) Its location on earth is: Latitude, 25:40:32.74 - and Longitude, -80:16:30.28. After so many years, I am happy to learn that the Alstonia scholaris can flower successively twice, peaking in mid-month and then again at the end of October in a year with lots of rain like this is. This tree peaked on October 12th and again right now, at the end of October. On the date of this photo, the sweet scent permeated the surrounding air, especially when you are downwind. The ground around the tree looks sandy white, but that is not sand. They are the tiny milky white flowers that fall as rain all day and night long. A truly beautiful site! I can now say for certain that for me, the scent is sweet, delightful and not pungent and overpowering at all. It begins at dusk and lasts until dawn. This tree, with my help, is the proud Mom (and me as surrogate Dad, I guess) of a whole bunch of siblings from the seeds I germinated in March 2012, 3 and a half years ago. I now have one in my backyard that is about 20 feet tall, and three more found their permanent home in Montgomery Botanical Center (search Montgomery in my blog) where they are growing beautifully. I am trying to grow three more as bonzai although I have no such skill as yet. I want to learn about how long before these trees will begin to bloom... Return here in a few years, give or take one or two... Have you had enough of Alstonia?
Mom Tree

Friday, October 30, 2015

I AM ecstatic!

No, I am NOT a person subject to mystical experiences (aka an ecstatic,) but I am just ecstatic! That prompted me to revive this blog after a LONG, LONG hibernation. Can't believe I am doing this stunt!

Well, I am ecstatic because I just made an easy US $2,752.50 without even breaking a sweat, and I got my two Russian submarine clocks working again after a LONG, LONG time playing dead.
My two clocks were dead simply because their second hands just would not move. Today I found a place that says it can fix Russian submarine clocks. O joy! Of course I called the repair business and decided to take my two clocks there for an estimate to repair them.
While preparing both clocks, the second hands moved... and I thought a ghost was in action because we are so close to Halloween (I hope you who are reading this blog and are not from the US know what that day is...) But then they stopped again. Because the clock repair business is way up North of me, I decided to fiddle with and with a stroke of genius, fixed both in a record 15 minutes. So...
If I were to take my two clocks to the repair shop up North that is 75 miles away, I will have to drive round trip twice, once to drop them and once to get them back after repair. That is 75 x 4 = 300 miles. It takes me 1 hour 15 minutes each way... that is a total of 5 hours of driving my car.
The IRS and also the US federal government allow a mileage reimbursement rate of 57.5 cent for each mile. These two trips would cost me $ 172.50. All my friends, the lawyer sharks type charge a minimum of $500 per hour. I am better than they are, but will only charge the same rate. That is $ 2,500 for my "valuable" time. I estimate a minimum repair charge for each clock is $ 40.00.

So, drum roll please, I made $ 2,500.00 + 172.50 + 80.00 = $ 2,752.50 without breaking a sweat. (Actually, in Miami, it costs me $.75 per mile to drive my car...)

I love my two Russian submarine clocks that are now happily ticking every second. Ain't life grand?
I'll be back! Believe it or not!
I am BACK!