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Monday, July 16, 2007"84 Square Feet" Simple life
Talk about down-sizing! One woman is living in a house that you really have to see to believe.
"It's 84 square feet, so roughly the size of a parking spot. Actually, smaller than a parking spot," says Dee Williams, who decided it was time to move. She was living in a 1,500-square foot home in Portland, but decided the house wasn't small enough - yes, small enough!
Dee built the tiny cabin herself out of salvaged material. She picked the door out of a dumpster and retrieved the floors from a house fire. Dee's new tiny home sits in her friend's backyard.
"In exchange, I do work on their house," she says.
It takes Dee five steps, sometimes four, to get from one end of her house to the other.
"Two steps through the kitchen and you're in my living room. Two steps into the living room, you bang into the wall," Dee says, laughing.
Two solar panels provide electricity. A tiny propane tank allows Dee to cook in her $10,000 home on wheels. Do her friends think the 44-year-old hazardous waste inspector is crazy?
"My friends definitely thought, well, they had some questions for me!" she says.
The obvious question: Why?
The simple answer:
"A simpler life, time, more money. I don't have a mortgage. I don't have a big utility bill," Dee says.
Her monthly heating bill in the winter is $6, less in the summer.
"I'm able to offer money to my family if they need it, (and to) my friends if they need it," says Dee.
To get to her bedroom, she walks up a step ladder to her loft.
"Every night I look at the stars and watch it rain over and over again. So this is it. Not much to it," says Dee.
And that's the point. Not much to it. Simple. Small. A dream house tinier than a parking spot.
"Right now there's nowhere else I want to be!"
The Gandhi Protest
Several readers commented on a posting earlier this week about 200 skilled immigrants from India who tried a Gandhi-like tactic and sent flowers to the government's immigration director for help in moving their green card applications along. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services forwarded the flowers to soldiers recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital, saying it understood the intent of gesture.
Here's a sample:
"I wonder if USCIS really understood why the flowers were sent. It was a symbolic protest by legal immigrants AGAINST the way USCIS treated them. How could they send it in the 'same spirit' to soldiers whom we all empathize with?"
"What an inspirational act. Too bad the message did seem to have gotten lost in translation. Just imagine what would have happened in WWII if the US would have turned away the immigrating sciencists and engineers. How come some 50 years later, the US is struggling to see the value of inviting the world's best and brightest to immigrate here."
"I'm sorry that these people were tricked into coming to America with the promise of a welcome and eventually a Green Card. The fact is that H1-B immigrants were brought here in order to replace US workers."
"Viceroy Lord Wavell and his assistants laughed when M.K. Gandhi told them that one day they will be forced to leave India. What they did not understood that they were not politicians, they were bureaucrats. When the political power behind peaceful civil disobedience was unleashed, a nation took shape, and what Gandhi told Wavell became a reality.
"Something similar repeated in United States recently when thousands of legal immigrants were given a cold shoulder, despite of their merit based claim for an American Green Card. They decided to apply Gandhian way of peaceful protest by sending thousands of flower bouquets to USCIS, an American agency responsible for immigration and citizenship. Instead of offering an apology, USCIS chief decided to again ignore the immigrants and simply issued a statement that the flowers will be forwarded to the injured service members recuperating at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Once again a bureaucrat miscalculated the power hidden behind a peaceful protest. Now the power behind flowers is becoming a media mainstream story. NY Times, Washington Post, Reuters, Yahoo News are a few to name. Bollywood, has recently issued a statement providing its full support to Immigration Voice, the non profit organization behind the flower campaign.
"An American way of fighting injustice 'A law suit' is on its way, the usual rallies and demonstrations are about to begin. However, in America, its first time after Martin Luther King Jr., that someone has tried to apply Gandhi's way to fight injustice. It is yet not clear that what would be the outcome of this campaign, but there are rumours that USCIS is already discussing internally to reverse the discriminatory decision which caused this embarrassing flower campaign against them.
"It's amazing to witness that 60 years after Gandhi's demise, his ideology is still relevant. We are sure its gonna remain relevant till there are Lord Wavell's in this world. Lord Wavell's can momentarily laugh thinking that unorganized immigrants are helpless, but when the peaceful protest will demonstrate its political power, they surely will realize what Gandhi and Gandhian ways are all about."
FOR 20 minutes, Danielle Hogno was clinically dead.
She lay lifeless on the floor after suffering a heart attack at work.
She wasn't breathing and had no pulse.
The 18-year-old owes her life to one man - workmate Graham Meyer, who fought desperately to resuscitate her until the ambulance arrived.
Doctors say Danielle's survival is a miracle that hinged on Mr Meyer's efforts performing cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR), breathing air into her lungs and pumping her chest, which fed oxygen to her brain.
"She was gone. She'd gone blue in the face and her eyes were black pools,'' said Mr Meyer, "a stubborn bugger'' who never gives up.
In an eerie coincidence, Mr Meyer, 59, was also saved from the brink of death - at 18 - from drowning.
Doctors who treated Danielle at Tamworth Base Hospital last month told her parents it was a one-in-15-million chance that she survived without brain damage.
The number of people who suffer a cardiac arrest out of hospital and fully recover is just two per cent.
But after a month of intensive hospital treatment, including surgery to fit a defibrillator pacemaker, Danielle is on the slow road to recovery.
John Hunter Hospital cardiologist Jim Leitch said Mr Meyer undoubtedly saved Danielle's life.
"She's very lucky and this demonstrates the importance of bystanders doing CPR,'' Dr Leitch said.
"It's nothing short of a miracle. She was down for 20 minutes,'' Danielle's father Barry said tearfully from his Armidale home, in NSW's north.
The near-death experience occurred on May 4 when Danielle, a trainee manager for Big W at Tamworth, collapsed.
A worker screamed for help and Mr Meyer, a manager, dashed upstairs and began CPR.
"I knew I was making progress because I saw the colour in her face changing,'' he said.
"I didn't even hear the ambulances arrive. All I felt was a tap on the shoulder and I think the bloke said: "The cavalry are here''.
Mr Meyer fell to the floor, gasping for breath: "It took me a good seven minutes to get my breath back''.
Paramedics tried three times with adrenalin injections and a defibrillator before Danielle's heart started.
"When she started to breath, I said to the ambos: 'You blokes are bloody marvellous','' Mr Meyer said.
But it was the manager whom the paramedics have praised.
Mr Meyer, who had had CPR training through work, had bruising around the mouth from giving mouth-to-mouth and suffered sleeping problems.
"I was offered counselling, but Danielle's recovery is my medicine,'' he said.
Mr Meyer said saving Danielle was not heroic, "just a duty'', and an opportunity to give someone else a second chance at life "as I was given all those years ago''.
As for Danielle, her boyfriend Scott Dowton proposed recently and she has plans for a long life.
``Everything happens for a reason. There's a bigger plan for everyone. I probably should be dead,'' she said.
A woman in Orlando, Fla., is accused of throwing her 2-month-old baby into a moving car during an argument with the child's father, according to police.
Witnesses said Eva Jean Platt was arguing with her son's father when she tossed the baby as he was preparing to leave in his car.
The 2-month-old hit the window and fell to the ground, according to witnesses.
Oelwein, Ia. — Bad decisions by President Bush in the Iraq war have made the United States less safe from terrorism, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said Saturday on a campaign visit to Oelwein.
Obama made the statements to about 250 people at City Park.
He cited recent intelligence reports that al Qaida has regained its pre-9/11 capability.
Obama said the war has been a distraction from the country’s focus on terrorist groups, specifically those along the Afghan-Pakistan border.
“We could have significantly reduced our risks had we pursued better polices over the last several years,” the Illinois senator said. “As a consequence of bad decisions, we are more at risk and less safe than we should have been at this point, given the amount of resources that we’ve devoted and the number of U.S. lives lost.”
Obama unveiled a mailing that will go out Monday that includes the telephone numbers of Iowa Republican congressional leaders who have voted against efforts to end the war.
The pamphlet urges people to call their congressmen “and tell them to bring the troops home now, even if it means voting to override a presidential veto.”
Earlier this year, Iowa Republican Sen. Charles Grassley criticized Obama after he made a similar suggestion to Iowa voters at campaign stops.
Grassley said Obama lacks “political class.”
“It’s not senatorial, and if you can’t be senatorial, how can you be presidential?” Grassley said in May. “Generally, when you’re in another state, you don’t take pokes at a fellow senator.”
Obama also made stops Saturday in Elkader and Manchester.
After the Oelwein speech, he criticized comments caught by an open microphone earlier in the week between former North Carolina senator John Edwards and New York senator Hillary Clinton.
Clinton and Edwards suggested that lesser-known candidates should not be part of future debates so that voters could focus on front-runners. Edwards later said he meant that all candidates should get to debate but in smaller groups.
“I don’t know how you would draw the line to say that some can participate and some can’t,” Obama said. “Particularly when you know, historically, Bill Clinton, for example, was at 2 percent in the polls in some of these early contests and ended up showing himself as an extraordinary campaigner as a consequence of him having a chance to be a part of it.
“My attitude is the more the merrier.”
Also Saturday, Obama took part in the First Congressional District Workshop Reception at Northeast Iowa Community College in Peosta.
Can you feed yourself?
I bet you’re saying right now, “What kind of question is that? I’m an adult, of course I can feed myself.”
Let’s say, for example, that your car died, or ran out of gas, or something. Could you feed yourself then?
Sure, you say. I have stuff in the fridge, a few things in the pantry. We’re set.
Cool. The average person has about a week’s worth of food in their house at any given time. So what if something happened that made the problem worse? Suppose we had another OPEC oil embargo, like in the 70’s? If you’re not old enough to remember it, the Wikipedia article isn’t bad.
Gas stations ran out of gasoline quickly, and the price almost doubled overnight. Could you pay $6.00 a gallon tomorrow? That’s if you found a station open that still had gas.
This is an important issue. Think about it. Where does your food come from? Most is trucked in, some from other countries. Trucks run on diesel.
If the price of oil goes up, the price of food goes up too. People panic and empty shelves just like they do in any disaster or coming storm. Once you found an open station and paid double the price, you might get to the store and find nothing there. Now what?
(If you think this premise is stupid, what about a flu pandemic where everyone is quarantined? Terrorists bomb our oil fields or pipelines? I’m sure you can think of more real scenarios than I can.)
I ask again: Can you feed yourself?
I submit that most Americans have lost the ability to feed themselves. We’ve bought into the idea of convenience. It’s easy to go to McDonald’s and buy a burger. It’s easy to run to the grocery store.
It’s almost as easy to really feed yourself, by learning to grow some or all of your own food.
People used to be able to do that. During WWII, fifty percent of homes had “Victory Gardens” where they grew their own food, allowing professional farmers to be able to send their produce directly for the war effort. People had chickens and ducks in their backyards for eggs and meat. If things had gotten worse instead of better, at least people would have been able to eat.
We’ve lost the ability and the knowledge of how to do that.
Restrictive homeowners’ association rules, city ordinances, laziness… it doesn’t matter the reason. The fact is, if something happened to our food supply, after a week or so, millions would begin to starve .
Doesn’t that sound like a national crisis?
It is not conservative to allow this situation to continue. Yet no one is doing anything about it. Growing your own food is seen these days as something counter-culture types do, not something for your average person. It’s actually a matter of national security.
Getting a gun and holing up in the mountains with a year’s supply of food isn’t going to help anyone. Learning to feed yourself and teaching your neighbors how to feed themselves is what’s going to help you.
So what do you do?
That, my friend, is a whole post in itself. Stay tuned.