At the bottom of the laundry

Does this dishtowel make me look like I suffer from affluenza? Probably not, but wanting to remodel my kitchen does.

Finally I got organized enough to get my laundry done.

My mom and I used to give each other dish towels as welcome home gifts when we traveled. I continued this tradition with my kids when they grew up. I love dishtowels. But I have so many that when they are all washed, I can’t close the dishtowel drawer.

I have so many socks that when they are washed, I can’t shut the sock drawer. I began to suspect that I have too many things.

I took stock of more than my laundry. I had three humidifiers but I decided I needed a different kind and ordered one. When it came, I hated it but since I used it before deciding I hated it, I couldn’t return it. Now I have four humidifiers.

As I was fretting about having too many things, my daughter dropped off sacks of  old clothes for me to look through to see if I wanted any of it. It took me over a week to decide I wanted one shirt and one pair of pajamas. I took the rest to the Thrift Store but in truth nobody wants your old clothes.  Clothes nowadays are so cheap that they can’t be recycled easily–not even for rags– and thrift stores have trouble selling them Often only 20-30% of donated clothing gets sold. Meanwhile, the textile industry produces more pollution than planes or automobiles.

Feeling guilty,  I vowed to only wear old clothes. I stuck to this for one day. I got a compliment on a shirt that belonged to my daughter in the 90s! But before long I was thinking about how slow my phone is and cool it would be to get a phone and a watch that could charge together on a wireless charger. Yes, I was  back in the clutches–and I don’t mean clutch purse although I have one of those, too.

Since WWII, the world has been gripped by a shopping frenzy. Some of this is because of planned obsolesce–things are designed to break and be hard to repair. Parts from one brand don’t fit into another brand. People have to buy to replace.

The other cause is Affluenza. Affluenza is a psychological condition caused by having too much, resulting in sadness and isolation. In the wealthy it manifests itself in a lack of motivation along with entitlement, isolation, and guilt. You can take a quiz to see how deep into it you are. Here are a few of the questions.

“Do you sometimes feel as though your personal expenses are so demanding that you can’t afford public expenses like schools, parks,and transit?”

“Have you ever experienced road rage?”

“Do you ever use shopping as “therapy”?”

“Do you get bored unless you have something to consume (goods, food, media)?”

I only scored a 22 on that test, no affluenza, although I can relate to getting bored easily. On this one, I got “mild “case of affluenza.

To put it into perspective, all living things collect and store. It’s natural to want to stock up for the future and to be safe and comfortable. However, things like advertising and the media can put false emphasis on things that you must buy to stay happy. The goal is to make you insecure so you’ll buy more than you need or even want.

Affluenza has a dark side of always wanting and needing more, being insecure, being vain, being obsessed with appearances. Placing a high value on appearance, fame, money and possessions leads to emotional distress, over-consumption, “luxury fever,”entitlement, and swollen expectations. People raised with too much wealth can have problems loving others and forming intimate relationships. Money can equal love and leave people hollow. People can buy ridiculous things such as perfectly square ice cubes, and John Lennon’s tooth but will that make you happy? Well, I must admit to buying Dora Jordan’s theater handbook, however, materialism makes people sad.

One solution,of course is to not buy anything new unless you have room for it. Also, don’t fool yourself into thinking that a whole lot of people out there want your old stuff. You buy it and you’ll more than likely have to keep it forever or have it go into the landfill.

Also, recognize that being status conscious is a sign of narcissism. Don’t let that type of person make you feel bad about yourself.

Things don’t always make you happy–unless maybe it’s a dishtowel from your mom. Then it might make you remember that small tokens can be as meaningful as big ones.



A decaying interest in radon

Testing for radon seems scary but it’s no different than any home repair.

Being exposed to radon doesn’t mean you’ll get lung cancer.It’s not as dangerous as smoking. However, radon is radioactive.It shoots off alpha particles (helium without the electrons) and this can harm you if you breathe it in. Enough assault and your lungs could develop cancer. That’s why I’m getting it out of my basement and out of my life.

Radon comes from beneath the soil. When the earth formed, heavier elements–those that are unstable and decay along with others such as gold, silver, and lead–settled lower in the earth than the lighter ones–carbon, nitrogen, etc.  In fact, the earth’s core is hot because it is a nuclear reactor. The sun isn’t enough to keep the earth as warm as we need it to be. We need this reactor to keep the earth from being cold and barren.  However, we don’t need this “hot” stuff at the surface. When soil is disrupted, a variety of radioactive materials can be released. Being a gas, radon can easily travel into our homes.

You can have a new house and have radon.

You can have an old house and have radon.

You can have a home built on a slope and have radon. You can have a home not on a slope and have radon, too.

You can have a walk-out basement and have radon.

You can have no basement and have radon. (If you have a house on stilts, you probably will have less radon.)

You can fill in a basement and have radon.

You can knock a house down, fill in the basement, put a slab over it, build a new structure, and have radon. This process disturbs the soil a lot.

Earthquakes can change the level of radon in your home.

Radon levels are often higher in the winter, during droughts, and on windy days.

Wells can bring radon into your home.

Homes in the same neighborhood can have different levels of radon.

Opening windows can help radon escape, but more will enter without remediation.

Radon is a problem in Iowa. (Pennsylvania and the Appalachian region also have high levels.) Many people have not tested because the danger wasn’t understood until around 1985 and this makes it seem like just one more thing to be scared about. There are no laws that require testing for it. But please do test. order a test kit

January is radon awareness month. It’s time to close this month and close out the radon in my basement.

The last step in radon mitigation is sending in a final sample.





Up in arms about the air


Can of ecologic fresh air - cartoonHave you seen the photos? Delhi was enveloped in a haze of particulate matter. Its citizen’s lungs look as if they have been life-long chain-smokers. That’s in another country though. We’d never be so backwards, right? Think again. Here’s a blog about how dangerous the air is in Salt Lake City. Iowa has a problem, too, and with the powers that be in our current state and federal government, it won’t get any better.

Few things get my rage up like particulates and ignorant politicians. You can take a look here to see how long I have been talking about particulates. It’s hard to dislike a politician intensely and I try not to do so but Charles Grassley stands out as a man who is willfully ignorant about air pollution. And Iowa elects the man so dangerous to health over and over again. In fact, apparently the world does this as well.

Enough about him. Let’s take a look at a few causes of air pollution.

PM 25–otherwise known as fine particulates are a common source of pollution  They are the tiny red dots on this illustration.

From the epa

Once in your lungs they never leave, These things come from combustion–fossil fuels burning, forest and other fires, cigarettes, and chemical air pollution from industry. In fact, these things not only hurt your lungs, they weaken your bones, too.

Here in Iowa, there are plenty of other types of particulates to worry about “Feed, bedding materials, dry manure, unpaved soil surfaces, animal dander, poultry feathers” from CAFOs are a mixture of “fecal matter, feed materials, pollen, bacteria, fungi, skin cells, silicates” that can cause “Chronic bronchitis, chronic respiratory symptoms, declines in lung function, organic dust toxic syndrome.”

Particulates aren’t only bad for our lungs. They help form clouds over humid areas and thus create more powerful storms. 

Additionally, chemical air pollution from the giant animal enclosures are exempt from pollution rules. The loophole was scheduled to be closed January 22 but it was unfortunately delayed.

And not caring about pollution is racist. I’ll say that again, it’s racist. 

It’s also bad for your health.

The air pollution regulations that began in the 1970s helped clear our air. But they aren’t enough and some are being rolled back. What can you do personally to help cut down on air pollution? Here are some ideas:

Turn off your car–don’t idle it. In fact, rethink car use and cut down where you can.

When you drive, keep your tires properly inflated.

Avoid wood smoke.

Eat free range meat.

Eat local.

Cut down on packaging and plastic.

Plant a tree.

Buy less on-line. Try to make more of your own things.

Take shorter showers and baths.

Un-plug appliances when not in use and turn off lights.

Don’t smoke.

Don’t use a leaf blower.

Use an air purifier.

Share a room–by that I mean, gather in one or two rooms of your home each night and turn off the lights in the other rooms.

Use a clothes dryer.

Talk about air pollution!

Now that I look over the list, I see that there’s more I can do besides fume about politicians. After all, some of them are probably getting donations from a company that wants to make big bucks selling fresh air.







Natural Attraction Audiobook

My first novel, Natural Attraction, is out on audiobook. Click here to see the link. Click here for the audiobook on Amazon’s site

According to Publishing Perspectives, 24% of people in the U.S. listened to an audiobook in the past year. Of these, 48% are under age 35 so this market is expected to remain strong. Roughly equal percent of men and women listen to audiobooks. Most people listen on their phones and believe it or not, the home is the most commonplace to listen followed by in the car and then on an airplane. If you want a fun, crazy book with science, romance, history, tonic, humor, and cute animals, this book is for you!DTwioP1WsAAevYt

The book link for the paperback is hard to find on Amazon, so here it is.

Natural Attraction book (paperback)

Natural Attraction Kindle

Natural Attraction audiobook (Audible)

Audiobook on Amazon

Thank you for your interest!



Big, bad radon


You’ve no doubt heard of radon in basements. Where is radon prevent? Here is a radon map.  The United States doesn’t have much radon compared to other countries. It’s common in many states, especially in the North. Iowa and North Dakota are the two  totally Zone 1 states. That means that here in Iowa, it’s hard to avoid this odorless, colorless, harmful gas. It’s inside and out, concentrating in low lying areas and clinging to dust particles. Inside it can reach harmful concentrations and promote lung cancer.

What is radon? It’s a non-reactive element, in the same family as helium and neon. It hangs in the air as a solitary atom. It doesn’t like to form chemical bonds. The problem is, it’s the big cousin to those elements. It’s heavy. It would NOT float a balloon. Big elements, those with an atomic number of above 81, aren’t stable. They decay and toss off radioactive particles as they strip down to something lighter. And for radon, its light form is lead. So not only does it beat on your lungs with energetic particles as it decays, it goes through a series of forming dangerous atoms, and it’s not too nice when it settles down as a lead atom. Here it is on the periodic table, Rn, radon. There is also an Ra, radium–kind of confusing. Radium c is related to calcium. Radon, the one we are talking about, can be in water but exists as a gas. Because it is a gas, you breath it in. That’s a problem. Radon’s atomic number 86 so it’s a big one! (Carbon by example is 12.) But not so big that you can wear a particle mask and keep it away. It’s got a bad size. Where does it come from? Heavy atoms tend to be found further down in the ground and radon comes from uranium break down. Uranium has atomic number 92. It’s a solid and tends to stay where it’s put. It lets off the gas of radon. (And also helium.)


In retrospect, I wasted time waiting until the basement was done to get after the radon. I have decided that patience is over-rated! We put down radon sealant on our new floors and thought that would be enough but no, It worked in some rooms but not in others. In fact, by adding a drainage system and two sump pumps we probably made our radon worse. 

Curious about radon your house? The first step in figuring out if you have radon is to do a short term test. In this test, the radon is collected on carbon, which can suck things in and get them to stick The small package of carbon sits in your home (basement in my case) for a few days is sent to a lab and measured. Want to buy one? Look up “radon test kit.” They aren’t expensive.

The first step is collecting a sample of air to be tested for radon.

The next step–if your reading is high– is to call a radon specialist. This person will probably put some radon monitors in the lowest level the home to see where it is most concentrated.

No surprise. Ours was-concentrated in the root cellar/tornado shelter/bomb shelter. It was less so in other spots in the basement but the average level was too high.

One thing we had going for us–we don’t have any duct work in the basement. We kept our radiators. The duct work for the air conditioner is in the attic. This means were were not blowing the cellar radon around the entire house as can happen with radon. On the other hand, the radon in the basement wasn’t going to go anywhere without help. And we go down to the cellar during tornado scares and store things down there.

We signed a contract with a radon specialist to fix the problem. Then,  we waited four months for the problem to be fixed. I think the radon specialist will be here Monday. I’ll keep you posted.

The takeaways from my experience are this:

Don’t wait to test for radon.

When you sign a contract to have it removed, have both a level of reduction AND a completion date specified. I had an oral agreement–or so I thought–to have the work completed in October. I hope that it will be worth the wait.





Sarah Blaffer Hrdy Reassesses “Maternal Instincts”

There’s a new Shero of History posted this week.  Here it is.

Or if you prefer, read it here.

Before Sarah Blaffer Hrdy came along, maternal nature had been largely defined by highly romanticized Victorian notions, essentially, wishful thinking. Yet, through her research on other primates and cultures, Hrdy learned that polyandrous matings, abortion, infanticide, and abandoning of offspring occur across the natural world. Motherhood comes with a price and when females don’t have the resources or social support they need, they naturally put their own health and the health of the children they already have first. In a crunch they may retrench, or even bail out altogether.


Sarah Blaffer was born in Texas in 1946 to a wealthy family—one that wanted sons but got mostly daughters instead. As their third daughter, she found herself fortunate enough to be ignored and allowed to go to school and study what she found interesting. She graduated from Radcliffe in 1969 and got her PhD in anthropology from Harvard in 1975. At Harvard she met her husband, anthropologist Daniel Hrdy, a specialist in infectious diseases. They divided their time between Boston and India, where she studied langur monkeys and he rotaviruses. They were extraordinarily happy together. At 31 she became a mother, and twice took infant Katrinka with her to Rajasthan, but the rigors of fieldwork combined with a low point in Indo-American relations, led the Hrdys to abandon work there. “Inevitably motherhood entails compromises,” she said, “but you don’t have to give up everything.” She turned to writing and non-field research, and had two more children, who say that she was a fantastic mother. Her third book, The Woman Who Never Evolved came out in 1981. Mother Nature, was published in 1999. Other important works included Mothers and Others (2009). When asked to contribute an intellectual autobiography to the second volume on Leaders of Animal Behavior she titled it Myths, Monkeys, and Motherhood: A compromising life (2010). With each book, she found herself questioning and challenging traditional ideas of motherhood.


Her central message was how much social support mothers need. Costs of raising a human child to adulthood are tremendous, not only through calories—some 13 million—but children are also emotionally and financially demanding. Most women experience periods of ambivalence about motherhood. Unlike other apes where mothers exclusively rear offspring by themselves, Hrdy found ancestral humans, who reared even more costly infants after shorter intervals, ill-equipped to do so.


What Hrdy saw emerging from her studies was the importance of allomothers—fathers, grandmothers, aunts, other relatives, and trusted associates who help rear children. Because of this need to engage and ingratiate themselves with others, human children had to learn to integrate varied perspectives and in the process became more empathetic. In contrast to conventional narratives about the evolution of our species that feature cooperative hunting and inter-group warfare, Hrdy stressed the role of cooperative childcare.


An advocate of Attachment Theory, Hrdy also sought to revise and expand it to include the role of allomothers. Instead of debating mother-care versus other-care, she sought ways to improve daycare, as well as make it more affordable. Although, she never set out to be a revolutionary, her views challenged patriarchal family structures, and led social scientists and biologists alike to reexamine the way they think about both motherhood and the emotional needs of children.


Hrdy spent most of her career at the University of California Davis where she is currently an emeritus professor of anthropology who continues to publish research papers. Her most recent work concerns human cooperative breeding. She’s received the Staley Prize from the School of Advanced Research and has twice been awarded the Howell’s Prize for Outstanding Contribution to Biological Anthropology. For a complete list of her publications, go here.


These days she can be found on her 1,000 acre farm in California, growing walnuts and writing her next book, this one about the nurturing potentials of males.

Here is an interview with Hrdy:


This is her web page:

SBHSophieBassouls24Sept2002 (1)
Her author photo for the French edition of Mother Nature by a wonderful photographer, Sophie Bassouls,

Yule need to celebrate

Viking symbols –a crow and a goat

I must admit, wanting to have a Yule log and burn it on Solstice was in part my way of ridding the yard of some of the wood pile we have in the back under a maple tree. I don’t want to burn all of the pile because a possum lives there. However, we haven’t had a wood stove since our insurance company said we had to get rid of ours. But I was surprised when my daughter didn’t know what a Yule log was.

Yule is the Northern European term for the winter solstice. Before people knew that the solstice was caused by the earth being temporarily tipped away from the sun, Northerners used the Yule log to banish the darkness and any evil spirits lurking about. Yule is thought to derive from the Norse word for “wheel”. Northern Europeans believed that the sun was a wheel that turned with the seasons. A wreath is used to symbolize the wheel.

I also bought some mistletoe. The druids thought mistletoe was divine and a cure-all.

The Norse thought it a symbol of love and friendship. British are to blame /get credit for the kissing tradition according to some. Others say this was a Roman tradition.

In honor of the Vikings,  I put a crow and a goat on my tree. Crows have meaning for Northern folks.  Two crows named Thought and Memory aka Huginn and Munnin were scouts for the Norse god Odin.

Odin was the prototype Santa Claus and rode and eight-legged horse or possibly in a sleigh and eight reideer. To follow along on Norse mythology, go here.

In Celtic mythology, the warrior goddess Morrighan does her own scouting and visiting as  a crow or raven.  To druids. crows were a means of divination. In any case, they represent the first stories of shape shifting and teleporting. In practical terms, Viking sailors used ravens to see if land was ahead.

A Yule goat, particularly one made from straw, is a Scandinavian tradition. In some legends, goats pulled Thor’s chariot, in others a Santa-like character rode a goat, and in others goats checked in on Christmas festivities and demanded presents. Even older legends have the goat as a fertility god and party master . Sitting on his lap is naughty or dangerous depending on your perspective. Talk about horny! The last time I was near a goat it tried to eat my shirt so I plan to keep away from goats and serve some goat cheese for Yule.

If you want to be officially Yule, you should serve a wild boar or its modern version a ham. I don’t eat pork in general due to pigs being smart and CAFOs being dirty. However, for Yule, I’ll make an exception.

For my fire, I’m going to burn a sexist edition of this book. Allegedly the author is sorry for his description of another scientist as deserving to have her data stolen because she was stubborn and didn’t wear enough make-up or dress like a siren in the lab.

IMG_4135 (1)


It’ll be a while until the sun takes a direct hit on my part of the world. Until then, I’ll need to stay cozy. As for sexism–up in flames it goes!



A holiday indicator




The colorful leaves of poinsettias are called bracts. 

The bracts can  be pH indicators.

To test this, I took a leaf from a stunning red poinsettia, shredded it, placed it in 20 milliliters ( 4 tsp, 1 tbsp) of rubbing alcohol, and heated it for 30 seconds, I separated it into three portions and put a splash of white vinegar in one (for the acid) and baking soda in the other to make it alkaline. I left the third untouched as a control. Here are the results:

Poinsettia leaves in acid, alkaline, and “control” solutions.


It isn’t as stunning as you would see with red cabbage but if you know anyone disappointed that they aren’t getting a chemistry set for the holidays, it’s a cheap thrill. At least for nerds like me.

Poinsettia plants originated in Mexico. They are named after the botanist who introduced them to the United States, Joel Robert Poinsettia. He dug up Mexican “weeds” growing along the side of the road and brought them back to South Carolina in the mid 1800s. Poinsettias are by far the most widely sold potted plant in the United States. The most popular colors are red, white, and pink in that order.

During the holiday season, give your poinsettia plenty of water and sun. Don’t let it sit in water. Move the pot out of the foil and onto a saucer or poke holes in the foil and let it drain into a saucer. They hate drafts and cold windows so protect yours and the blooms will last 6-8 weeks.

After the holidays, you can cut back on the watering and fertilizer and let it go dormant. Water if it gets droopy but no more. Resume fertilizing in late March. Put it outside during the summer and pinch the tips in August to encourage branching.

To get a poinsettia to reflower you have to keep it in total darkness  for at least twelve hours and if you can keep it in the dark between 5 pm and 8 am. It will take a while. “Start this around October 1st and continue until color shows on the bracts; usually around early to mid-December. Any little exposure to light can prevent flowering. Covering the plant with a light-proof bag and placing it in a closet might work.”

They aren’t really poisonous but contain latex-like sap that can cause allergies and be irritating to pets. There’s no reason to avoid them and you can even experiment with them. Enjoy!





Dreaming of a white light Christmas?

It’s dark. It’s gloomy. And I want to eat all the carbs. So I’m appreciating the holiday lights more than usual. The question is: What color should holiday lights be?

There is a true divide on opinion. Mult-colored advocates say they are festive, riotous, and retro. Those who like white lights, which became vogue in the 80s, say they are classy, look like ice and snow,  and give off more pleasing light.  In any case, seventy percent of string lights sold are white. 

The white look is reminiscent of candles used in days gone by, so it, too, is retro. Click here for photos of trees 100 years ago.

My hometown of Pella is an enthusiastic part of this white light trend. I walked through the town square and found only one tree and two strings of window lights that were NOT white.

In downtown Pella, white lights are de rigueur.


Stark or stunning? Pella’s Tulip Tower and a white-light tree.


A walk back home showed much the same.

white on white
White on white


There were no light bulbs when Tuttle cabin was built but now, it’s illuminated in white lights.
A house across the street shows some color.
But next to it–all white, blazing white.


White lights are where it’s at, right? Not everywhere–a reader poll taken by a country music station showed a preference for multicolored.

As for me, I’m a spectroscopist by training. I love all sorts of colors– I’m in that camp. The color adds a playful magic, in my opinion.IMG_4091

Upscale fake trees now come with both white and colored lights that can be changed with a flip of a switch. That feature isn’t found on string lights yet so people will have to pick their poison, er, light color, at least for now.

Best of all,  it’s not long until the days get longer and here in Pella, Iowa, we’ve already passed our earliest sunset.  Before long, the sun will be back and we won’t need the lights to brighten our mood.



Christmas Tree Confessional

I have a fake tree. This is quite a confessional from someone who dislikes plastic bags and eats organic foods. I’m plastic averse so why do I have a fake true? Here’s why: Let’s be honest. Christmas trees are not a sign of life–they are dead–chopped from their roots. I figured this out at a young age as I walked home from first grade in a snowy Michigan January and there were the trees, out for the trash. The beautiful evergreens were green no more. I tried to save one, keeping it in the backyard and packing snow around the trunk. No good. It browned. I know that are all sorts of reasons why a real tree is better. It doesn’t matter. I don’t have one. If you do, I don’t judge you. I have a relic from my childhood tat I drag like a discarded tree.

My artificial tree is old. It needs each branch inserted into the trunk. Putting it together is such an ordeal that DH balks and complains bitterly before starting the assembly. And since he’s a perfectionist and I’m an analytical chemist–a profession that requires you to be only as perfect as you need to be to get the job done properly and no more–we can’t work together. The task falls to him. It is not a joyous occasion.

This year, as I was not helping put the ancient tree together, I asked myself what species of tree this was. The box says its Houston Pine Blue. Apparently, this is a species only found in fake Christmas trees although the blue pine exists in the wild. My tree doesn’t resemble a blue pine. It doesn’t even have a pine look about it and it is not at all blue. In trying to ID this fake tree, I looked up how to identify evergreen trees. Here’s what I found out:

Spruces can live for hundreds of years. They have single needles on a little peg and when plucked the needles are firm and can be rolled between your fingers.

Each short, fat needle sits on a woody plug–it’s a spruce!

Fir trees are almost synonymous with Christmas and the balsam fir is a best seller for trees and wreaths. Fir trees are fast growers and add a “whorl” of upright branches each year. They have single needles that are stiff and not on a peg. The needles can’t roll. They’re slippery. (The Douglas fir is a unique type of tree and not a real fir.) And fir trees have smooth bark.


If you look closely at this fir you can see that the needles are flatish.

Pine trees have needles in clusters of 2, 3, or 5 and also have woody cones. The Scotch pine is the most widely sold Christmas tree.

Needles in clusters=pine


My tree has short, un-clumped needles. It’s not a pine. It’s a fir or maybe a spruce. It has branches that turn upward like a fir. However, if you look closely at the needles, you can see what might be a brown peg. The stem isn’t smooth. It’s wire wrapped in rough plastic, although some of it is smooth near the base. The “tree” is like a spruce in that it will live for a hundred years or more –some of that will probably be in a landfill. I’m calling it a firce or maybe a spir because it  looks like both.

I’m not alone in my fake-ness. Over the past forty years, there has been a shift towards artificial trees in the US.  Allergies are the most often cited reason that people give for having a fake tree. Ease of use and affordability are other reasons why we’ve embraced fakes.

For me, the hugging of fakes is half-hearted. I’m not proud of my fake or that I even use fake pine scent to try to make it seem more real.

Do these needles look flat to you? The scientist in me wants to accurately classify this fake tree.

And on top of that, nothing coordinates on my tree. I have ornaments from my grandmothers, my parents, and most decades since. Christmas, like other holidays, is not something I care to stress about. I enjoy the history and memories hung on my tree. I also hang candy canes on it even though I call sugar poison. Ah, it’s a time to abandon principles in favor of comfort. At least, for me.


These German celluloid/mica angels are probably from the 1940s, although celluloid was developed as early as 1869– so they could be older.

You’ve heard my confession. Perhaps some day I’ll join the new trend of renting a live tree. Tell me about your tree!