Saturday, December 29, 2007

I'm addicted. . .

. . . to embedding YouTube clips! ;o)

Any other MST3K fans out there? (I'm guessing there aren't, since there are so few of you to begin with, but you never know.) If so, have you heard of RiffTrax? You might want to check it out; it's by the same guys from the old show. :o)



2007 Retrospective Meme

I'm not especially enthusiastic about this meme, so we'll see if I even manage to finish it.

1. What did you do in 2007 that you’d never done before?
Bought a new car, not just a "new to us" car. (It was something I hadn't really pictured us ever doing, but at the time it seemed like a good idea. We'll see. (g)) Traveled in a foreign country other than Sweden. Witnessed Daisy having a seizure. And probably some other things I'm not thinking of right now.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Did I even have any for 2007? I don't usually place much emphasis on them. They're almost always the same things, anyway. Have more healthy eating and exercise habits-- just generally "do better" in most areas of my life-- overcome a few fears and things that are holding me back. They're about the same for next year, I guess, if I'm going to make any at all. I'll also have a couple more specific ones. Namely, what I wrote last post about polymer clay. I'd also like to stick with the quilting thing for a while-- at least long enough to use up some of the stash of flannel I bought on the day after Thanksgiving. (g)

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
No one really close to me, as far as I can recall. One of Donald's cousins just had a baby a couple of weeks ago, and another (her sister) is due soon. And the baby whose christening we attended in Sweden (the child of yet another cousin) must have been born in 2007 as well.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No one very close to me, no.

5. What countries did you visit?
This year I actually have an answer for this one. ;o) We visited Donald's family in Sweden, and while there, we took a little trip through the neighboring Norway. We saw some incredible views along the way.

6. What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007?
Fewer unnecessary worries, more courage. Sometimes I get the feeling that I'm one of Shakespeare's cowards who "die many times before their deaths". . . Of course, I had fun in 2007, too, but I'd like to have even more in 2008. (g)

7. What dates from 2007 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Umm. . . Nothing's jumping out at me. . . Maybe the end of August and the beginning of September, as that's when we were vacationing.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Biggest achievement. . . I don't know, maybe setting up on Etsy and finding that I could actually sell things that I make? (I think I signed up in 2006, but I didn't list any items until later.) Or maybe it was getting PolymerClayWeb going (though that was just as much Donald's work as mine-- maybe more his, since it was all his idea).

9. What was your biggest failure?
Probably something I don't want to talk about. :o) Other than that. . . I just haven't done nearly enough in the yard for quite some time. I haven't been too good about keeping the house tidy, either. I've become a clutter magnet.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nothing serious. I can't think of anything more serious than a cold. Of course, I did learn that I apparently have congenital cataracts. ;o)

11. What was the best thing you bought?
The biggest thing we bought was the car, but I probably got the most pleasure out of a couple of polymer clay books I bought over the summer.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Hm. . . Donald's. Probably some other people, too, but he comes to mind first. He's always very good about trying to lift my spirits when I'm feeling unhappy.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
No one comes to mind. . . Maybe the world in general? (g)

14. Where did most of your money go?
Oh, I try not to think about that stuff. ;o) The regular places, I guess-- mortgage, food, bills-- and savings. We did get that car, too, and some furniture. (I'd almost forgotten that was this year! It seems like so much longer ago than that! That also means that we had Ingela and Jocke over in 2007, too. I was convinced that was last year!)

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
I was excited to get the new furniture. It was so nice to have something nice and new after using third-hand stuff for all that time. It was also exciting to go abroad-- especially once the plane trip was over with.

16. What song will always remind you of 2007?
Hm. . . Nothing's coming to mind, really. Maybe Emiliana Torrini's "Sunny Road"? (I prefer the Manasseh Mix version, but I don't have a copy of it. Yet.)

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?
a) Probably about the same. At the moment, I'm a bit sad to think that another year's gone by.
b) Again, about the same, I'd say, but probably a bit fatter.
c) Richer

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Yard work, keeping things tidy. . . working on the polymer clay stuff (in a more productive way). . . And of course I wish I'd spent more time with loved ones. Maybe invited family over to play games or something? Every now and then I think of doing that sort of thing, but I don't want it to be a failure (i.e. a snoozefest that people come to only because they don't want to hurt my feelings by saying "no" to), so I don't follow through on the impulse. I worry too much. I think we've established that by now, yes? ;o)

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Worrying!! Feeling sorry for myself. . . Thinking about things over which I have no control, anyway. Generally wasting time.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
Christmas Day, we went to my parents' house (where Carrie and Victor were staying while they were down for the holidays) to unwrap the family gifts. Then we went over to my paternal grandparents' for a meal with the family. (We celebrated with my mother's side of the family a few days before Christmas.)

21. Did you fall in love in 2007?
I like Rachel's answer for this one, so I'll copy it. ;o)
Over and over again, with the same person. You know who you are! ;o) :o)

22. What was your favorite TV program?
I have a hard time narrowing it down. I'll keep it down to three: The Office, Pushing Daisies, and MythBusters. (I'm still looking forward to LOST, too, but honestly, it feels like at least a year or two since the last episodes were on! (g))

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
No, I don't think so. . . I have some animosity toward stupid people in general-- the ones trying to ruin life for the rest of us-- but I try to stay clear of hating specific individuals. If someone annoys me that much, I just don't want to think about them at all.

24. What was the best book you read?
I've told you before about how I don't read that many "new to me" books these days, right. . . ? (g) Out of the few "new" book I've read lately, the one that comes most forcibly to mind is Jasper Fforde's The Big Over Easy. Donald and I read it together, and we both thought it was pretty funny. There were a few possible improvements, but overall, very enjoyable.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
It's been a while since I've experimented much, musically, so I'll just have to say Emiliana Torrini's newest CD, Fisherman's Wife.

26. What did you want and get?
Probably more than I ought to have. Can we just not go into all the dirty little details? ;o)

27. What did you want and not get?
This and that. Nothing that I really needed. It can wait.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
I have trouble remembering when I saw specific movies. I don't know that it was the best film I saw this year, but I enjoyed the latest Harry Potter movie. It was actually better than the book, in some ways.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Oh, I don't remember. That was way back in February, you know. ;o) I probably spent most of the actual day doing pretty much the same as on any other day-- maybe a little more time than usual devoted to whatever I felt like doing. I was 28. (What are you doing, meme-author, trying to make me feel old? (g))

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
If I'd had more courage about a few different things, maybe. But in general, I imagine I'll go through life at about the same level of happiness and satisfaction. Some people will always be happier than I am, no matter what our respective circumstances. Many will be less happy than I am, even if they're wealthier, more beautiful or better admired. All things considered, I think I'm fortunate in this regard. I enjoy the little things in life, and it doesn't take much to keep me satisfied. (I just want the good things in my life to stay the same and last forever. That's not so much to ask, is it? (g))

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2007?
Um, I don't think I really had one. Jeans and tops? (g) And lots of capris in the summer months. I guess you could say I go for comfort, most of the time.

32. What kept you sane?
Donald-- the refuge of home-- the ability to escape into a good book or DVD.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I really don't follow that stuff much. And I'm too old and married to go on and on about which men I find attractive, even if I did follow it! ;o)

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
I don't want to think about it. :o) I go through cycles with politics, as with many things. Right now I'm deep in the "keep it away from me" part of the cycle. This means no talk radio, no reading random strangers' political blog posts, and extremetly limited exposure to "serious" news. A politics-free Michael is a happy Michael. ;o)

35. Whom did you miss?
Maybe I missed the me of the past. . . or my old childhood friends, as they used to be. . . Or just the (seeming) safety of the past in general.

36. Who was a nice new person you met?
I don't meet many new people, these days. Not in person, at least. Online, I met many, many "polymer clay people" from around the world. :o) Oh, and I guess since (as I realized earlier) Ingela and Jocke visited earlier this year, I met Jocke for the first time in 2007, too. And Louise (the new baby), during our visit to Sweden. :o)

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2007.
I should have learned it before this, and I'm still not sure it's sunk in yet, but-- Worry is life wasted. Certainly we should take the obvious precautions-- not run with scissors, etc.-- but there's no sense in wasting time and energy by worrying about what might happen next. (I really wish I could say that I finally "got" it, but I think I'll continue to struggle with this concept!)

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
Nothing comes to mind. (I'm more of a melody girl, not quite so good with lyrics. . .) Let's just pretend I came up with something profound, shall we? ;o) Or, if you insist, I'll just choose something (almost) at random. . .

From Enya's "Pilgrim":

Each heart is a pilgrim,
Each one wants to know
The reason why the winds die
And where the stories go.
Pilgrim, in your journey
You may travel far,
For pilgrim it's a long way
To find out who you are...
Maybe that doesn't exactly sum up 2007 in particular, but here's to another year along that journey!

Hey, I did finish it! (How thrilling for you all. (g)) Any of you who have blogs and haven't already answered this, consider yourself "tagged" (and feel free to leave a link in the comments, if you like). :o)

Friday, December 28, 2007

Friday's Feast, etc.

Time to get back in the groove of posting!

First things first-- I hope everyone had a nice Christmas. Ours was very pleasant. Visited with family (except for those living overseas, of course), ate lots of good food, gave and received gifts, and had some laughs. Now that Christmas is over, I'm looking forward to a fresh start for the next year, but I have quite a bit of cleaning and organizing to do-- starting with taking down the Christmas tree. Maybe I'll start over the weekend. Or I might put it off until Monday. ;o)

Here are this week's questions from Friday's Feast:

Appetizer
Name 2 things you would like to accomplish in 2008.
I'd like to get into healthier habits-- less junk food, more (consistent) exercise-- and as an added benefit, shed a few unnecessary pounds. (Not very original, I know. (g)) I'm also planning to focus more on treating the polymer clay "thing" as a real business-- at least make more of an effort at it and see what happens. I have at least a couple more things, but since you only asked for two. . . ;o)

Soup
With which cartoon character do you share personality traits?
Hm. Nothing comes immediately to mind. Maybe I share Donald Duck's bad temper? I don't think I'm quite as volatile as he is, but I do let things get under my skin more than I ought, sometimes. Oh, and sometimes I feel like I'm the Goofy character in one of those old narrated Disney cartoons in which every possible thing that can go wrong does (not exactly a personality trait, maybe. . .). But fortunately I don't feel that way not too often. ;o)

Salad
What time of day (or night) were you born?
I think it was about 9:45 p.m. On a Wednesday night, if you're interested. (g)

Main Course
Tell us something special about your hometown.
My hometown is small and fairly rural. (Though it was more so thirty years ago than it is now. These days, it even has several fast food places. Pretty impressive, huh? (g)) Technically, I never lived in the town-- not in city limits-- but our address included this town and it's where I went to middle and high school, so I'm claiming it as my hometown. Ok? ;o)

So, something special. . . I don't know how special it is, but it's kind of interesting to me. This town in (or maybe I ought to say "this area of") southernmost Alabama was originally settled (in large part) by people from Chicago. I think two of the streets in my town are named "Illinois" and "Chicago", probably due to this fact. (Of course, I think there might be streets named after Michigan and some other places, too, so. . .)

What? Not "special" enough for you? ;o)

Dessert
If you could receive a letter from anyone in the world, who would you want to get one from?
Anyone from any time period? And it'd be translated so I could read and understand it? I think a letter from Jesus would be pretty interesting. But maybe that's a dull answer-- kind of like choosing the Bible as the book you'd most want on a desert island. ;o) In that case, if the whole "any time period" thing still holds true. . . Maybe a letter from a favorite author, such as Charlotte Bronte. A letter from a great-great-grandmother (or someone of that sort) could be interesting. I'd also love a letter that would definitively explain some old mystery-- something explaining what happened to the Roanoke settlers, maybe.

A letter from the future (post time machine, of course (g)) could be fascinating, but I don't think I'd really want it. I'd be afraid to read it, somehow. . . I don't think I want to know what's going to happen in the next ten, twenty, or thirty years. On one hand, maybe knowing that you have twenty good years with no great tragedies would "free you up" to enjoy yourself fully for those twenty years. On the other hand, could you enjoy yourself, or would you be constantly dwelling on the inevitable, even though it was still twenty, fifteen, ten years down the road? (I'm the type of worrywart who probably couldn't keep the future troubles out of my mind.) Anyway, I don't think we're meant to know our futures. If it were even possible, that is. (g)

If it has to be from someone presently living, then I think I'd just as soon receive a letter from Donald as from anyone, right now. I can't think of a specific person still living and not already in my life that I desperately want a letter from.

. . .
Cue abrupt subject change. ;o)

I think it might be time to put some L.M. Montgomery on my bedside table. I could use a little escape into the past. . .

The last book I read (solo) was Agatha Christie's A Murder is Announced. It was the third Christie I've read-- all within just the past few months. I can't decide what I think of her. I guess I like it well enough, since I keep reading until the end. It's interesting in its way, but a little bit empty. I don't really come to care much about the characters. I guess that might be a typical side effect of the murder mystery format, though. Most of the characters are suspects-- kept somewhat mysterious and distant-- so you aren't very likely to form an attachment to a character.

Anyway, of the three I've read so far-- And Then There Were None, Elephants Can Remember, and A Murder is Announced-- I think I enjoyed the latter the most. The first was too depressing. Yeah, yeah, I know: Who reads a murder mystery for laughs? But still, it didn't have to be that dark. The second was. . . too much of the same old stuff being told and retold. And the whole "event" had happened so long ago (in the book, I mean) that it was just hard to care one way or the other.

I have a couple more that I'll read, since I already have them (all were bought very cheaply at a library book sale), but so far, I think this is the type of book I'll read once but not particularly care to read again. Though with my memory, I'm sure I could read them in a year or two and still be surprised by the ending!! ;o) I'll have lots of "now this seems familiar" and "oh yeah, I remember her" moments, of course, but honestly, I've already forgotten the particulars of the other two mysteries. I hope that's not an ultra early symptom of something awful. Reading is supposed to be good for your memory, right? (g)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Flashback to the mid-80s. . .

Funny how familiar these are, even after all these years!





Thanks, YouTube! (g)

Yet Another Christmas Meme

This ought to be the last one, and I'll guarantee a meme-free post next time.

Some of these are a bit repetitious, so I may trim out a few questions here and there.
Oh, I found this one here.
I think I actually answered this one before the last one, and I may have referred to it in one of my answers. Sorry if I confused anyone. (Oh, who am I kidding? There are probably only about two people-- family members-- who are actually reading these things. (g))

1. Egg nog or hot chocolate?
Hot chocolate, if I must. See first meme for more elaboration on my feelings about eggnog and hot drinks in general. ;o)
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
Wrapped.
3. Do you hang mistletoe?
No. It's a fun idea, but it's never been a family tradition.
4. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?
If I have to choose just one, dressing. I'm also fond of ham and roast.
5. Favorite Holiday memory as a child:
It's hard to narrow it to just one. Opening the stuffed cat (see first meme) was a high point. . . I also remember a year that "Santa" visited us while we were at my maternal grandparents. I thought I saw the red glow of rudolph's nose through a window, after "Santa" left (and mysteriously, just before Grandpa came in, having missed the whole thrilling visit (g)). I think the red glow was a little Christmas Magic-- or a car driving by at just the right moment ;o)-- because later on, I asked Mom about it, and that wasn't planned.
6. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
I'm not sure. I think it came in degrees. I wasn't completely convinced until I accidentally saw one of Mom's lists and later got some of those things from "Santa". So I was old enough to read, at least. (g) I think I believed for a pretty long time, as those things go.
7. How do you decorate your Christmas tree?
It varies from year to year. Usually it's a variety of ornaments-- glass balls and other shapes, glittery snowflakes, a few cute animal-themed ornaments, and so on. We always have lights (sometimes white, sometimes colored) and garland (silver) and tinsel.
8. Snow? Love it or Dread it?
Where I live, I can afford to love snow. ;o) We hardly ever get it, but it's exciting when we do. (I do worry about loved ones on the road, though. People who aren't used to driving in snow might be more likely to have an accident.)
9. Can you ice skate?
No. I think it looks like fun, but I've heard it's awful on your ankles, if you're not used to it. I can barely stand on roller skates, though, so I doubt ice skating's in my future. (g)
10. What’s the most exciting thing about the Holidays for you?
When I was a kid, Christmas morning and the gifts. Now, wrapping gifts for others-- or making them, if they're hand-made.
11. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?
I've mentioned sugar cookies and almond bark-covered pretzels. I also loooove fudge. (I haven't had fudge in a while. Maybe I should try making some. . . Not that I need it.) I also like Swedish-style gingerbread cookies. Divinity can be yummy. . . And most things with coconut or almond flavoring are sure to get my seal of approval. ;o)
18. Which do you prefer – giving or receiving?
Both. ;o) When I was a kid, as much fun as it was to be in on the secret of a gift for someone else, I secretly thought that adults just said all that stuff about giving being better than receiving. I mean, yes, it was supposed to be better, but it wasn't really. (g) Now, I think I can honestly say that giving is more exciting than receiving. But it's very nice when you see that your loved ones have been thinking about you, too. :o)
20. Candy canes?
I don't look at them and salivate ;o) but they're ok. I prefer candy canes that taste minty, I think. The gourmet type don't really interest me.


Friday, December 14, 2007

Christmas Meme (Again)

Another Christmas Meme. (Just what you always wanted! ;o) Feel free to skip this one.) I found this one here.

Some of the questions are repeats of the other one I did, but I left them in. As you probably know, I have trouble picking favorites, so consider these "favorites at this very moment, liable to change five times in as many hours".

Favorite Christmas…
01. Non-Jesus-related song? Right now I'm feeling in the “Here We Come A-Caroling” mood. It mentions God, but not Jesus, I think. . . If you want a totally secular favorite, I'm partial to Elvis' "Blue Christmas". (I like the "ah-wah-ah-wah-wah" girls in the background. (g))
02. Jesus-related song? “O Holy Night”
03. Santa-related song? “Up on the Housetop” (Both this and the previous answer were also the answers on my source for this meme. What can I say? In unimportant matters, I allow myself to be easily swayed.)
04. Fictional character? Hm. Having trouble thinking of anything but A Christmas Carol. . . so probably old Scrooge himself. But only if you take into account the whole story.
05. Dinner’s main course? Main course. . . so only meats? Ham, then. Turkey's good, too, but I think I prefer ham. More flavor.
06. Dinner’s dessert? Whatever there is. ;o)
07. Scent (pine, gingerbread, candles…)? I love the smell of cookies baking and good food cooking. (I love pine more, but it's not really a Christmas smell to me.)
08. Animated movie? Can't think of animated movies. . . but I like the Rudolph special.
09. Non-animated movie? Not much comes to mind. I used to enjoy Home Alone, when I was a kid.
10. Personal memory? Go back and read the stuff about Santa's visit and my stuffed animals, from the last meme. ;o)
11. Story/Fairy Tale? I don't know many stories or fairy tales about Christmas. . . If you take "story" to mean simply a telling of something-- not implying that it's a fictional tale-- then I'd have to choose the original Christmas story.

This or That
12. Candy cane or peppermint patties? Who in her right mind would choose a cane over a patty?! ;o)
13. Sugar or gingerbread cookies? Sugar. Obviously.
14. Tinsel or beaded strands? This makes me think they really mean garland, unless they're hanging the beaded strands from single branches, like tinsel, rather than winding it around the tree. . . I've never used beaded strands, so tinsel, I guess.
15. Multi-colored or same-colored lights? I like both. (We usually choose white, though.)
16. Flashing or still lights? Flashing's fun for kids, but I prefer them to be still, I think. Oh, I don't know! (g)
17. Wreaths or mistletoe/holly? Wreaths. I like the idea of mistletoe, though.
18. Rudolph or Frosty? Rudolph, without question.
19. Sledding or snowball fights? I've never been sledding, and I've only had a couple of sad attempts at snowball fights. (g) I think I'd prefer sledding, if I had the chance.
20. Snow or ice/icicles? Snow seems nicer. Ice is dangerous!
21. Snow hat or earmuffs? What's a snow hat? I'd probably prefer a hat for warmth.
22. Getting or giving? Giving
23. Snow days or plow trucks? Snow days. (Not that we get those around here. . .)
24. Stockings or presents? Both. Stockings are for candy, presents are for everything else.
25. Cookies & milk or letter to Santa? Both, of course. (The letter is mostly to tell him that the cookies and milk are for him-- and not some random intruder ;o)-- and that the carrots are for the reindeer.)
26. Christmas Eve or Christmas Day? Christmas Eve is more exciting-- especially for kids.
27. Log Burning Channel or real thing? Around Christmas, I'd prefer the real thing, but we opted out of a fireplace to avoid the mess (among other reasons). Never heard of the Log Burning Channel, though. (g)
28. Cards or emails? Cards. Or email. Or neither. (g)
29. Shoveling or cleaning off the car? What's the difference? I guess you just shovel paths? I've never done either.
30. The Inn’s manger or the animals? . . .Huh? The animals, I guess?
31. Mary & Joseph or The Wise Men? Mary and Joseph, of course.
32. Hot cocoa or eggnog? Cocoa.
33. Jack Frost or Little Drummer Boy? Drummer boy.

Yay or.. Ugh
34. Holiday shopping? Yay, if I know what to show for.
35. Icy roads? Ugh. (Who would say "yay"? Maybe someone who needs an excuse to stay home. . .)
36. Limited driving visibility? Same as above.
37. Christmas carolers. Yay, I guess. I'd be kind of uncomfortable and unsure of what to do, though, if they came to my house. I'd rather be among the carolers than the. . . "carolees". ;o)
38. Mall Santas? Eh. I don't really care either way.
39. Salvation Army Santas? Honestly? Well, kind of "ugh", after the gazillionth time of hearing those ear-piercing bells.
40. Blizzards? Ugh.
41. 24/7 Holiday radio? Yay, though I need a break every now and then.
42. Freezing cold? Ugh, I guess. I like it to feel like Christmas, though.
43. Setting up the tree? Yay.
44. Wrapping presents? Yay.
45. Visiting/seeing family? Yay.
46. Ad-Lib on “Rudolph…” (like Monopoly!)? Don't really care. I probably won't participate, but maybe I liked it as a kid. . .
47. Free mint red/white candy? Hm. Yay, I guess. I don't really need it, though, and if I'm going to eat candy, I'd rather it be something I really like.
48. Belief in Santa Claus? For me, yay.
49. Chocolate countdown calendar? We never did those that I can recall, but yay. (Anything with chocolate gets a a "yay". (g))
50. Peeking at your gifts (or by accident)? Ugh.
51. Making out with Santa under the mistletoe? Ugh. I was always disturbed by that song. Creepy and gross. Even if it is just your husband in a Santa costume. . .
52. Decorated houses? Yay.
53. Extreme decorated houses? Yay. Hey, knock yourself out! Saves me the trouble of decorating, as I can enjoy it vicariously. ;o)
54. White Christmas morning? Yay. Sounds nice, but extremely unlikely down here.
55. Searching for ornaments in the attic? Ours aren't in the attic, and I generally know where they are. It sounds more like "ugh" than "yay", but as long as they're not too hard to find. . .
56. Santa knowing when you’re sleeping and awake? Yay. (Hey, it's not like he's a stalker or something.)

Name That Tune
57. “Outside the snow is falling and friends are calling.” "Sleigh Ride"
58. “Good tidings for Christmas and a happy New Year.” "We Wish You a Merry Christmas"
59. “The lights are turned way down low…” "Let it Snow"?
60. “In the meadow we can build a snowman.” "Winter Wonderland"
61. “Oh what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh!” "Jingle Bells"!
62. “Remember, Christ, our Savior was born on Christmas Day.” "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen"
63. “Not only green when summer’s here, but also when ’tis cold and drear.” "Oh Christmas Tree"? I'm kind of guessing here. I don't know that song very well.
64. “And Heaven, and Heaven and nature sing.” "Joy to the World"!
65. “Tis the season to be jolly, fa la la la la, la la la la.” "Deck the Halls"
66. “Down through the chimney with lots of toys…” "Up on a Rooftop"? I think. Now, how do I know if I got it right? ;o) (I'm too lazy to look them all up.)

First Thought That Comes To Mind When You Hear…
67. Snowflake! "that stay on my nose and eyelashes". . .
68. Pinecones! my yard. ;o) We have plenty of pine cones around here.
69. Elves! and the Shoemaker-- some fairytale. I also think of green pointy hats and shoes.
70. Sleigh! Ride! with You! ;o) (According to the song.)
71. Presents! Open!
72. Cookies! Crickets! . . . I have no idea why that just happened, though. Weird. . . . Maybe I was thinking of Grasshoppers?
73. Misletoe! Reindeer. (why?) and kisses -- that's my first "logical" thought.
74. Rudolph! "the red-nosed reindeer".
75. Blizzard! The blizzard scene(s) from the Rudolph TV program.
76. School’s Canceled! Yay! ;o)
77. Ice Skating! Figure skaters and fancy costumes.
78. Santa’s Lap! Awkwardness. . . and leaky diapers! (g)
79. Black Friday! Weird name for a great shopping opportunity.
80. God’s Son! Jesus. (Not very creative, but to the point. (g))
81. Melting Snow! Ew.
82. Lumps of Coal! Must've been bad this year. . . (Has anyone ever really gotten that, though?)
83. Nutcracker! I think of the associated music.
84. Ho Ho Ho! "Meeerrry Christmas!"
85. North Pole! Santa Claus.

What’s a Winter Activity YOU Do…
86. …In the snow by yourself? Just look around. Enjoy the novelty.
87. …Inside by yourself? Work on handmade gifts. . . wrap presents. . . Answer silly memes. ;o)
88. …In a public place (with/alone)? Hm. . . Christmas shopping? I don't do much "in public", really. (g)
89. …With friends/family in the snow at home? If there's snow, we're usually admiring it, giggling excitedly. ;o) Maybe having a little snow fight, if there's enough to make snow balls.
90. …With friends/family inside at home? Singing Christmas carols is fun-- I'd also like playing games-- but more often we're just chatting amongst ourselves.

Grade/Rate Holiday Movies A - F
91. A Christmas Story. I'd forgotten about this one. I'd give it an A.
92. How The Grinch Stole Christmas? You mean the old-fashioned one, right? A+.
93. The Santa Clause? Oh, I don't know. I hate grading things. . . I haven't seen most of these in a long time, anyway. . . B?
94. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer? A+.
95. Frosty The Snowman? B?
96. Home Alone. B.
97. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. I'm not sure. . . B-? C? Some of it was funny, but other parts. . .
98. Elf. B? A-? I'm not sure. I can't remember a lot about it. . .
99. Miracle on 34th Street. I don't remember this one well enough to grade it.
100. A Charlie Brown Christmas. I'm not a huge Charlie Brown fan, but it's a classic, so it gets a B.

The ____ Present You’ve Received?
101. Most expensive? I don't know. . .
102. Ugliest? I'm not sure, and I wouldn't say if I were. ;o) I don't remember any ugly gifts.
103. Worthless? No gift is worthless if you believe that it's the thought that counts.
104. Most-wanted (personally)? Hm. Probably something I received as a kid.
105. Most-wanted/popular (media frenzy)? I don't know. . . Carrie and I each got Cabbage Patch doll back when they were popular. Probably something like that. These days, I don't usually get "media craze" type things. I wait until they're cheaper-- or get an off brand. ;o)
106. Unwanted? I wouldn't care to say, if anything came to mind.
107. Never-used? Hm. . . I can't think of anything.
108. Exchanged for something else? If I've gotten duplicates, I may have exchanged one of them-- usually with the knowledge of the giver. But nothing specific comes to mind.
109. Biggest (size)? Probably the trampoline we girls got as a joint gift, one year.
110. Most meaningful? Hard to say. . . So I won't. ;o)

Christmas At My House…(one or the other)
111. Tree is fake/real? Fake.
112. Tree is under/above 4′? Above. (I think it's supposed to be ten feet, but it's probably more like nine, with the top folded down so the star goes on securely.)
113. Open presents Christmas Eve/Day? Day.
114. House/entire yard is decorated? No, not the yard-- and just parts of the house.
115. Amount of presents under the tree? Right now, just one. (g) That'll change, but there usually aren't a lot of gifts under our tree.
116. Snowman is a male/female? We don’t have one, but if we did, it'd probably be male. Or maybe a little "snow family".
117. Go for Santa/Jesus? Weird question. It's about Jesus, of course. Santa would visit if there were kids in the house, though.
118. Homemade/delivered/takeout Christmas dinner? Homemade (but not by me, since we go to family for Christmas).
119. Bedtime is before/after midnight? Before, I hope. I need my sleep! ;o)
120. Wake-up is before/after 7am? I almost always wake before 7, and Christmas is no different. I may not get up until after 7, though.
121. Go/don’t go to church on Christmas? Usually not.
122. Pray & sing Happy Birthday/do nothing before bed? Pray. Never heard of singing "Happy Birthday". . .
123. Do shopping before/after Thanksgiving? After. I'm busy thinking about family birthdays and things in November.
124. Low-key/over the top decorations (inside and out)? Both are ok. I probably lean more toward low-key, myself-- but that may be more because I'm too busy/lazy to go over the top. ;o)

Have You Ever?
125. Built a snowman? Not that I recall.
126. Heard Santa’s sleigh? Except in movies, no. But I told you about seeing Rudolph's nose.
127. Seen Santa & Rudolph in the sky? No, I don't think so. . .
128. Sat on Santa’s lap? Yes.
129. Shoveled the driveway/sidewalk? No.
130. Made snow angels? No.
131. Built a fort/igloo? No.
132. Wrote a Christmas list? Yes.
133. Wrote a letter to Santa? Yes.
134. Left cookies/milk for Santa & reindeer? Yes.
135. Caught a snowflake on your tongue? I think I may have tried once. . .
136. Went caroling? Yes.
137. Got hurt during the winter season? No. I think one year Carrie and I got sick right near Christmas. . . Was it chickenpox? I can't remember.
138. Gone ice skating/sledding? No.
139. Kissed under a mistletoe? No.
140. Experienced/saw a miracle happen? . . .Not that I can remember. . . Depends on what classifies as a miracle. I think I've seen/experienced a few near-misses, and there are coincidences in life that seem to me more than a coincidence, but I don't know if I'd call them miracles.
141. Get everything you wanted for Christmas? Yes.
142. Cooked/baked? Yes. (Seriously, who hasn't cooked or baked at some point?)

Complete The Line
143. “Jolly Old Saint Nicholas, lean your ___ this way.” ear
144. “And children listen to hear ___ bells in the snow.” sleigh?
145. “And on every street ___ you’ll hear silver bells.” corner?
146. “O night divine, O night when Christ was ___.” born
147. “All I want for Christmas is my ___ front teeth.” two
148. “It’s beginning to ___ a lot like Christmas.” look
149. “Round yon virgin ___ and child.” mother
150. “Sing praises to our Heavenly ____.” hm. King? or is it Father?

Christmas 101
151. Color of Rudolph’s nose? red
152. Jesus’ Virgin Mother? Mary
153. What made Frosty come to life? an old hat with some magic in it
154. Two main colors of Christmas? red and green (Who'd get this wrong?)
155. Does Mrs. Claus have a first name? I don't know, but surely she must.
156. Where does Santa live? North Pole
157. True love gave what on the second day of Christmas? Two turtledoves.
158. What kind of nuts are roasting on an open fire? Chestnuts.

Make Up Your Own Christmas Tale
159. Once upon a time, there was a: fluffy little Eskie dog
160. Who couldn’t stop: smiling.
161. After a while, she fell asleep next to a: black-and-white cocker spaniel.
162. When they woke, there was: a bowl of delicious dog biscuits just waiting to be eaten.
163. Thanks to them: the family always had a source of amusement. Then End. ;o)

How Does He Do It?
162. Get down the chimney? It's magic, so how should I know? Actually, that goes for most of these things. ;o)
163. Deliver presents all over the world? Time slows down-- or he moves super-fast, or both-- to accommodate the needs for each particular year.
164. Get so fat and still act so jolly? Well, if you lived at the North Pole, you'd want an extra layer of fat, too. ;o) He eats sugar cookies and other goodies to keep in top Santa form. Who wouldn't be happy, living on a diet of desserts? ;o)
166. Provide compensation for elves making toys? Elves don't really require compensation. Toy-making is their whole reason for being. They earn room and board-- and the right to live in the happiest place on earth. What more could they want?
167. Stay unseen from the rest of the world? I'm not sure. More magic, I guess. Maybe he has an invisibility cloak of some sort.

Would It Still Be Christmas Without…
168. Candy canes? Yes.
169. Snow? Thank goodness, yes. Otherwise we'd never have Christmas!
170. Stores opening at 5am? Yes.
171. Winter vacation? I guess, but part of Christmas is spending time with family, and the vacation days make that easier.
172. Visiting family & friends? I suppose so, but it wouldn't feel as Christmasy.
173. Fake Santas? Yes.
174. Christmas trees? Yes, of course, but again, it wouldn't feel as much like Christmas.
175. New holiday movies? Yes, definitely.
176. Getting holiday greeting cards/email? Yes.
177. Holiday tunes? Yes, but it'd be a little sad without any music.

Share Your Stories in 1 Sentence
178. The best Christmas you’ve had. I have no idea. . . pretty much all of them from my childhood.
179. The most upsetting Christmas you’ve had? I don't think I've had any upsetting Christmases, yet. . .
180. One hilarious Christmas blooper? I can't think of anything at the moment.

True Or False
181. You prefer to stay inside where it’s warm? True
182. You’ve given something (or $) to charity? True
183. You spent more than what people spent on you? I don't know. Depends on the person.
184. You like to take your time opening presents? True, I guess.
185. The thing you want most this year costs $100+? I don't think there's a single one thing I want most. No single item on my list is that much, I think.
186. You expect to get more than 10 presents this year? Hm. I'm not sure. I don't think so. Depends on if you count each individual package as a present or consider multiple items from the same person(s) as one gift.
187. You’re a Scrooge/Grinch? False.
188. Christmas = snow? False.
189. You know the lyrics to more than 25 Christmas songs? I may not know every single word, but yes, I'm very familiar with more than twenty-five of them.

Grab Bag
190. Three best things about Christmas? The meaning of Christmas. Spending time with family. That happy Christmasy feeling of excitement.
191. Worst Christmas song? No particular song comes to mind. . . Well, maybe that annoying one about the guy who's grocery shopping and runs into his old girlfriend? That one just gets on my nerves. Looked it up. It's "Same Old Lang Syne" by Dan Fogelberg. It's sad and maybe even poignant, but. . . I think it's just the idea of that woman drinking (in a car outside the liquor store-- how elegant!) with some "old lover", while her husband is probably waiting for her. I mean, no-one forced her to marry the other guy if she didn't love him. And yet we're supposed to feel so sorry for the two old lovers. The whole thing irritates me. (g) I guess I'm not very sympathetic. (shrug) Also, it has absolutely zero to do with Christmas. So I wish radio stations would stop playing it repeatedly, this time of year.
192. If you were a Christmas character, who would you be? I can't think of many Christmas characters. . . And even fewer that are female. Maybe Clara from The Nutcracker? (g)
193. What type of decoration should stop being made? I haven't seen any decoration that I loathe that much.
194. Tastiest holiday treat? Fudge. So rich it'll make you sick if you aren't careful. (g)
195. Favorite pop culture/stereotypical Christmas icon (noun)? Other than Santa and Rudolph, the Grinch.
196. Know how to make cookies/brownies/cake from scratch? Yes to the cookies. I've only made a cake from scratch once that I can recall, but I've done cookies many times.
197. Ever cut your mouth on a candy cane/candy? Ouch! Yes. It's a Christmas rite of passage, isn't it? ;o)
198. What other culture would you like to experience Christmas with? Strange question. For me, the answer is fairly easy; it'd be interesting to experience Christmas in Sweden, with Donald and his family. Not that I think there's a huge cultural difference, but there are variations.
199. What kind of pattern/pictures do you like on your wrapping paper? I like animals-- either dogs or birds, squirrels, deer, etc. I also like vintage-looking papers. . . Holly, poinsettias, etc. Patterns that are more graphic and less representative (dots, stars, or stripes vs. pictures of dogs) are nice, too. I'm not too picky, but I like what I like. ;o)
200. Will you make a Christmas picture for your blog/website/profile? Not planning on it, no. I may take some photos of our tree and other such things.

Phew! Done!




Thursday, December 13, 2007

Christmas Meme

Just another meme. I'll try to write something real from time to time, but not right now. ;o)

(I got the meme from this site. Not sure if it's the origin, but anyway, that's close enough to "giving credit", I guess.)

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
I'll use either, but I usually prefer wrapping paper. It takes more work, but I enjoy it more. I hardly ever buy gift bags, but I still manage to have a few around the house, "recycled" from last year's gifts. (g) Various branches of our family have probably given some gift bags back and forth a few times, since they're really too nice to throw away after one use-- and what else are you going to do with them?

2. Real tree or artificial? Artificial. More economical (I imagine, since we reuse it year after year) and less of a mess (bringing it home, fallen needles, getting rid of it). Of course, you do have to store it the rest of the year, and it doesn't have the fresh smell a real tree does (or so I've heard (g)). Artificial trees lack the romance of a real tree, too, but we never had a real tree growing up, so I don't miss it.

3. When do you put up the tree? Usually the day after Thanksgiving-- or as soon afterwards as possible. I think we started putting it up the day after Thanksgiving this year, but it took another day or two to get around to finishing it.

4. When do you take the tree down? We don't really have a traditional day for this. (They do in Sweden-- sometime in mid-January. If there are kids in the family, they make a party out of it, I think, with good things to eat. I imagine the tradition started back in the days when some of the tree decorations would have been edible.) I like to get the tree down pretty soon after Christmas, because the longer I wait, the more of a chore it seems to be.

5. Do you like eggnog? I was all ready to type "No way!" when I remembered that I don't think I've ever actually tasted it. (g) I'm fairly certain I wouldn't like it. It just seems kind of gross. I'm not a big milk drinker, to begin with. I like milk on my cereal, but as a rule, I don't drink much of it from a glass. I also have a general dislike for warm drinks. (shrug) I'm just an all-around grinch. ;o)

6. Favorite gift received as a child? I don't think any one gift stands out as the favorite. Each year, I probably had one or two favorites, though. I remember a couple of stuffed animals-- a cat one year, a dog another-- that I think I picked out myself. We'd go to the store to look for ideas of things to put in our letters to "Santa". Of course, then we had to leave them behind in the hopes that he'd know which one we meant. ;o) I'm sure Mom went back and picked them up right away, but at that age it was still very exciting to see that, yes, Santa had managed to find exactly what you wanted.

7. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes, we do.

8. Hardest person to buy for? Pretty much everyone. Men are usually a bit harder, but these days, I'm at a loss for ideas for nearly every name on my list. Even if I can think of possibilities, I agonize over whether it's something the person will really like. I prefer it if people can give me a list of wishes-- at least as a starting point-- but no-one seems to like making wish lists. (g)

9. Easiest person to buy for? The person who answered this meme before me wrote "Me, of course!"-- and I think I'll have to agree with her. (g) Seriously, I'm just about the only person for whom I can buy a gift secure in the knowledge that it's just what the recipient would like. ;o) Sometimes I can think of something that I'm pretty sure Donald will like, but for other people, it's a gamble. Well, at least they'll pretend to be happy, whatever I get them. Most of them. ;o)

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? I'm not big on Christmas cards, but if you're going to do anything, real mail is better, I think.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? I can't think of anything that bad, and I wouldn't write about it, even if I could. But nice try. ;o)

Oh, we just had one of our mysterious rumbles. Every so often-- sometimes months apart-- there's an unexplained rumbling and shaking. Most of the time, it's probably a sonic boom, but it still gives me a queasy feeling. Are there top secret military tests going on overhead? (Pensacola's not that far away. . .) (g)

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Hm. . . I used to like Home Alone-- not so much because it's a cozy, Christmasy movie-- just because it made me laugh. I'm not much of a Christmas movie person. I mean, I have no problem with them-- and I enjoy some of the modern comedies set in the holiday season-- but I just don't care enough about them to have favorites. I've never sat all the way through It's a Wonderful Life, and the other "big classics" hold no special memories for me, either. I have more sentimental attachment to a few of the kid's TV specials-- Rudolph, the Grinch, and Frosty (even though the latter kind of gets on my nerves sometimes).

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I always say I'm going to start early, but I rarely do. Or even if I do "start early", that only means that I get one or two items checked off my list, leaving the rest until the last week or two. If I'm making gifts (as I usually am, for at least part of my list), that tends to run until the very last minute. I mean that I'm wrapping gifts fifteen minutes before we leave for the party. ;o)

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? I can't remember a specific incidence. . . But I don't think there's anything wrong with that, if you think it's something that the person you give it to will enjoy, and if the original giver won't ever find out. (g)

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? I love sugar cookies, which are a semi-Christmas tradition for us. Homemade almond bark-covered pretzels are also yummy. . . For something a little less sugary, I also like Lucia kattar (another family tradition-- Swedes eat them earlier in the year-- today, as a matter of fact-- but we usually take them to the family Christmas parties). Of course, I'm also looking forward to the "real food" of Christmas-- especially ham and cornbread dressing.

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? I like both. This year, we used just the clear lights, but I think both look very pretty.

17. Favorite Christmas song? I don't have just one favorite. A few that come to mind: "O Holy Night", "Silent Night", "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen", and well, the list goes on. For "secular" favorites, I like "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree", "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas", Tom Petty's Christmas song (whatever it's called), and so on.

17b. Christmas Song That, When You Hear It, Makes Your Eyes Bleed And Your Brains Start To Leak Out Your Ears, Because That Is Less Painful Than Having To Listen To That *&%^&$# Song One More Time! Um, maybe it's time to turn off the radio. ;o) Nothing specific comes to mind, but I do frequently have to turn off the Christmas music on the radio because something's just grating on my nerves. Usually, I think it's the attempt of some modern "artist" to put a new spin on a classic-- or maybe something that sounds like "store music from you-know-where"-- the type of thing piped through the whole store so you can't escape it without abandoning the fruits of an hour's tedious shopping.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? We "travel", but since we live near my family, traveling means driving either two minutes or 10-15 minutes. Not too bad. ;o) Of course, the downside of our location is that we never get to see Donald's family for the holidays. Maybe one of these days we'll plan a vacation to coincide with Christmas. (I shudder to think of the travel, though. Maybe we'd be able to schedule it so that we didn't have to fly on the very busiest days.)

19. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer? Well, I guess now I'll never know, because I copied and pasted the whole thing from the last person, so I just glimpsed her answers. (g) But maybe I can try this at the end of the meme, for a more honest result.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? We have a star. It's not lit, so it's not quite as pretty at night, but it's nice and sparkly by day. Hee hee. This question reminds me of something that happened to one of my aunts. She decorated her tree and put a lovely lit angel at the very top. Happy with her work, she went about her business-- until movement caught her eye. Something was moving at the top of the tree! It was the angel, very slowly folding and unfolding its wings (or arms, or both-- or something like that). I think it gave her a shock (and a creepy-crawly feeling), because she hadn't realized that it was a motorized tree topper. (g)

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas morning, usually. In my family, we'd open one gift on Christmas Eve, but the bulk of the unwrapping happened the next morning-- when we were young, before breakfast, but in later years, afterwards. I think that in Donald's family (as in most Swedish homes), the gifts are all opened on Christmas Eve. Santa even makes an appearance. ;o)

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? I don't want to put myself in a bad mood, so I'd rather not think about it. But if you insist, not having enough time to do everything I want to do and/or "should" do.

24. Favorite Christmas Tradition? Hm. . . It depends on if you mean traditions from childhood or current day. And also what counts as a tradition. (g) I really enjoy wrapping presents. I'm not an expert wrapper, but (if I have enough time to do it properly) I have fun doing it. :o) We do a "Dirty Santa" game at my maternal grandparents' get-together, and that's fun, too. (And now I feel a bit guilty, because neither of those are very pertinent to "the reason for the season", but hey, at least I'm being honest.)

25. Outdoor decorations? None, this year. We've done Christmas lights before, but it's hard to work up the enthusiasm when you have so much else to do. It's quite a bit of work, and on the little road where we live, hardly anyone would see them, anyway.

19. Revisted: Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? I don't know. Let's see if I can. (They might not be "in order". . .) Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blixen-- and Rudolph, of course. Ok, off to check myself! ;o)

Well, it looks like I got them all right "in spirit", but "Blixen" should be "Blitzen", and "Donner" ought to be "Donder". Apparently there's a little controversy involving those two reindeer names. (g)

Enough time wasted! Off to do something more productive! :o)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Weather, etc. (i.e. avoiding the mess)

Yes, I'm mostly here to put off for a few minutes the arduous tasks of cleaning the kitchen. ;o)

I just finished reading on another blog (of a lady in Oklahoma) about ice storms. Meanwhile, we're going to be in the upper 70s again today-- possibly even hitting 80! It's going to be warmer than average for most of the week. I suppose heat is better than ice, but it just doesn't feel like December. I've already been having a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit this year, and the short-sleeve weather isn't helping. Still, it's better than an ice storm. ;o)

I went grocery shopping today because we needed milk and a few other staples. I stopped by the "local" Sam's Club, since I was in the area. I thought the guy at the door looked at me rather oddly, and I also got a weird vibe from the check-out ladies. (Yes, there were two of them, at the one line open in the whole store-- seems like it's against store policy at this particular place to open more than one line at a time, as I've seen this happen multiple times.) However, I must admit that I fairly often have the feeling that people are looking at me strangely, so I attributed it to my usual self-consciousness and went about my business.

When I went back to the doors to have my cart checked, I noticed that the exit doors were blocked (so you had to come and go through the entrance doors) and the man at the door said something (in what I felt was a needlessly offended tone) about "business only hours from 7 to 10-- businesses only".

Ohh!
I'd thought the business hours ended at nine. . . It dawned on me that that was probably why I got the weird looks. (Either that or it was whatever it is about me that brings them on a more regular basis. (g) What? Me, paranoid?) As I left the store, I saw two or three large signs propped up outside announcing the "golden hours"-- or whatever other silly name they have for their "businesses-only" hours. (What's the point of that, anyway? All I can think of is that it's a measure to cut down on the in-store traffic and the check-out lines for the business-owners. But if that's the case, why did they have one check-out lane open?!)

*blush* Oh well. I honestly didn't see their giant signs! I tend to ignore those things, as 99% of the time it's an ad for something that doesn't interest or concern me. Besides, I was busy thinking about what I needed to get inside. (Business owners aren't the only busy people in the world, Sam's Club.) And if Mr. Grumpikins McDoorman didn't want me coming in fifteen or twenty minutes too early, all he had to do was tell me about it when I tried to come inside. *huff!*

Anyway, that was my daily dose of embarrassment, I hope. *feels mortified all over again* Why is it that something as silly and minuscule as this makes me feel almost as though I'd purposely done something wrong? Why do I feel that now everyone at Sam's Club will be gossiping about me? "Remember that girl who came waltzing right in like she was a business owner-- only she was just a regular member?! The nerve!" (g) And can I ever show my face in there again? ;o)

To end on a more positive (less whiny) note--
If you need a laugh, take a few family photos over to ElfYourself and prepare to giggle. ;o) Thanks to Mom for the link!

Meme-ish game

There's a meme-ish game I've seen a few places-- seems like fun and won't take long. . .

Here are the instructions:
--Go to the Wikipedia home page and click "Random Article". The result is your band's name.
--Click "Random Article" again; the result is your album name.
--Click "Random Article" 15 more times; those results are the tracks on your album.

Band Name: Anoglypta (Hey, it's actually kind of cool sounding!)
Album: Gregory Bruce Campbell (Apparently he's an electric bassist.)

Track Listing:
  1. Assembly Shell (Graphing Calculator) (a hit among the math geek crowd.)
  2. Glossary of Terms in Hinduism
  3. Factoid (hee hee!)
  4. Petko Slaveykov (19th-century Bulgarian poet & folklorist)
  5. Central Delhi (an administrative district in India)
  6. Sone Station (name of two train stations in Japan)
  7. My Ladye Nevells Booke (actually makes sense-- it's a compilation of keyboard pieces)
  8. Char Bouba War (a 30-year war of the 1600s-- somewhere in the Sahara)
  9. Carolyn H. Justice (the NC General Assembly member from the 16th district. Well, duh! ;o) Ok, not really.)
  10. Liv Kristine (a Norwegian vocalist. I guess my fellow Anoglypta members really like her work...)
  11. Hans Keller ("an Austrian-born British musician and writer who made significant contributions to musicology and music criticism, and invented the method of 'Wordless Functional Analysis' (in which a work is analysed in musical sound alone, without any words being heard or read)." Uh. . . ok.)
  12. Adrigole (a very small Irish village)
  13. Mills Blue Rhythm Band (an American big band of the 30s)
  14. Elite Residence ("a supertall skyscraper under construction in Dubai"-- will stand 1,247 feet tall, with 91 floors.)
  15. Sziklai Pair (some electronics term-- "a configuration of two bipolar transistors, similar to a Darlington pair". Oh, of course. ;o))
Strange conglomeration. Well, that's the whole point, I guess. ;o)


Friday, December 7, 2007

Home Meme

Saw this meme on KiwiRia's LJ and thought I'd play along. :o)

1.) When you walk in your front door, which room do you enter?
Foyer-- small room meant to be an entryway and not much else. It has a tiny coat closet, a narrow table, some potted plants and knickknacks, and that's about it. From that room, you can go into the dining room, the "main room" (family room/living room/whatever you call it), or the hallway that leads to most of the rest of the house. However, that door is rarely used. Most of the time, we come and go through the kitchen door.

2.)Do you have a dishwasher?
Yes, we got one soon after moving into the house. It's a wonderful labor-saver, but it's pretty noisy, so I try to run it only at night (when we can shut the bedroom door to muffle the sound). Next time, I think we'll spend a bit more to get a quieter model. Still, it's getting the job done! :o)

3.) Is your living room carpeted or does it have hardwood floors?
Carpet. When it gets in bad shape (years and years into the future, we hope), we'll probably get something other than carpet, but for now, it's fine.

4.) Do you keep your kitchen knives on the counter or in a drawer?
Both. (g) Most of them are in a knife block on the counter, though.

5.) House, apartment, duplex or trailer?
House.

6.) How many bedrooms is it?
Technically (according the house plans), it has four bedrooms, but only one of those is used as a bedroom on a regular basis. There is a second bed in one of the other rooms-- ostensibly for guests, more often for the temporary storage of this and that. ;o)

7.) Gas stove or electric?
Electric. I know gas stoves are supposed to be better (for some reason), but I'm happy with electric. My mother's stove was (well, still is) gas, and I inherited her dislike for gas-- keeping the pilot light lit, the smell of the stuff when it doesn't want to stay lit, dealing with having the tank refilled, etc. The main good thing about gas I can think of is that you can cook even when the power's out. Usually that's not an issue, so I'm happy to have hassle-free electricity!

8.) Do you have a yard?
Oh, yes, we have plenty of yard. More than we need, really. (Or at least

9.) What size TV is in the living room?
I had no idea, so I had to measure. It looks like it's 27-28 inches. Not huge, but not tiny.

10.) Are your plates in the same cupboard as your cups?
Our plates and cups are all in the cabinets that line the kitchen wall. The plates are on one side of the sink and the cups/glasses are on the other, so I guess they're not in the same cupboard. (?) I don't really refer to them as "cupboards". Is a cupboard the same as a cabinet? And how do you tell where one ends and the next begins? ;o)

11.) Is there a coffee maker sitting on your kitchen counter?
No. We don't drink coffee. My grandmother gave us a spare one she had, though, so that our coffee-drinking guests wouldn't have to go without. It's in storage in the pantry.

13.) What room is your computer in?
Primarily the office.

14.) Are there pictures hanging in your living room?
Actually, nothing on the walls in this room is a "picture". There are three metal wall decorations, a couple of what I guess you'd call "wall sconce shelves" (with decorative items on display), and two pieces of embroidery. One is a dandelion made by Donald's mother, and other is a series of wild animals made by Donald's mormor.

15.) Are there any themes found in your home?
Hm. There's nothing in our house like a "Tuscan kitchen" or a "beach bathroom", really, but maybe there are some color themes, mostly centered around the wall colors. The kitchen (which has yellow walls) is decorated primarily in yellow, blue, and white. The dining room (two greens on the walls) is mostly green, with blue, cream, and white accents. I usually try to purchase rugs and things with an eye toward how they'll look with the rest of the colors in the room, but some of our stuff is hand-me-down or "whatever was the best deal at the time". Besides, it's not going to look like a picture out of a magazine for more than maybe a day at a time before the clutter of life takes over, so it's not worth worrying too much about. :o)

16.) What kind of laundry detergent do you use??
Why the double question marks? Is it really that urgent? ;o)
I use whatever is the best deal-- a good balance between quality and price. I don't remember the brand I use, but it comes in plastic buckets. The buckets are useful for storage and yard work, once the detergent's all gone.

17.) Do you use dryer sheets??
Sometimes. I always use either dryer sheets or liquid fabric softener-- but not both on the same load, of course.

18.) Do you have any curtains in your home??
Yes, I think we have curtains in every room. Now, many of these-- or all, even?-- fall into the "it was a good deal" category. I don't think I've ever bought a curtain that wasn't on sale. (g) I plan to gradually change them out for (or combine them with) different curtains-- possibly some that I'll sew myself, but for now they're working. And it's not like I hate them. ;o)

19.) What colour is your fridge??
White. All of our kitchen appliances are white, except for the stove, which came with the old trailer. It has a cream stovetop with a black oven door. (Sounds weird, but it looks normal, if a bit dated.) One of these days, we need to replace the stove. It's getting old. One burner's not working and another is a bit sketchy. We might be able to repair it/have it repaired, but I think we'd rather get a new one than put money into this old one. I like the look of stainless steel (like most folks these days do), but I don't know that I'm willing to pay a lot more for it. Especially since it wouldn't match our other appliances. We'll see.

20.) Is your house clean??
Um. Not perfect. It's not so much filthy dirty as it is cluttered. I need to do some serious de-cluttering/sorting.

21.) What room is the most neglected?
Probably the spare bedroom/library/fabric storage room. (It doesn't make much sense to call it the "library", these days, I guess, since there are almost as many books in the craft room and our bedroom, since we rearranged.) I've been spending more time in there, since I started getting interested in quilting. I keep my fabric in there and use the bed as a place to spread things out and look at them. Still, it probably gets the least attention-- Oh, except for the dining room. I'd completely forgotten about it. (That's how neglected it is. (g)) We never eat in there, except maybe once or twice a year, if there are guests. (g) I like the looks of the room, but there's just nothing to do there except sit at the table. ;o) Some day, I'm pretty sure that room will turn into something else. Maybe a playroom or a second living room.

22.) Are the dishes in your sink clean or dirty?
Dirty. I have a "thing" about sinks. I think they're dirty (on par with a toilet), so I'd never put a clean dish in there unless I meant to wash it over again. Just for the fun of it. ;o)

23.) How long have you lived in your home?
Hm. We moved in just before Christmas. . . 2003, I think. So it's been nearly four years.

24.) Where did you live before?
An old (late 1970s) trailer on this same property. Just a stone's throw from the kitchen door of this house. (We lived in the trailer while planning/saving for the house and waiting for it to be built.)

25.) Do you have one of those fluffy toilet lid covers on your toilet?
No.

26.) Do you have a scale anywhere in your house?
We have a bathroom scale that doesn't get much use. There's also a postal scale in the office.

27.) How many mirrors are in your house?
More than you'd expect, considering that I don't like having my photograph taken. ;o) Let's see. . . One in each bathroom. One in the dining room. (Is that weird? (g)) One in the foyer. One each in the master bedroom and spare bedroom (built into vanities-- pieces of furniture). That's six large mirrors-- then there are a few small hand mirrors here and there, too.

28.) Do you have a garage?
No, but it's on the agenda.

And. . . I guess that's it. :o)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Eye exams! Oh boy!

Boring medical entry-- mostly to remind Future Me of what happened, so don't feel guilty for not reading. (g)

Donald and I both had our eyes examined yesterday afternoon/evening. It had been a few years since his last one and I think my last exam was sometime around 1998. So it was about time.

I was afraid they'd want to do the test where they put some sort of powder in your eyes-- to look for glaucoma, I think. I guess they've made advances in the past several years, though, because this place had a machine that puffed air into your eyes to do that test. It was kind of startling, but much better than the horrid powder stuff. (Honestly, that test was a big part of why I didn't look forward to having my eyes examined again!)

The doctor (someone new that neither of us had seen before) informed us of a few curious facts:
  • In each of us, one eye is significantly worse than the other. However, one of us has a "bad" right eye and the other has a bad left. (I think my left eye is better than my right. That would explain why I'm "left-eyed" and "right-handed", I guess. Usually your dominant eye is on the same side as your dominant hand. Or maybe I'm completely wrong...)
  • Since we're both nearsighted, he predicts that any children we have will be in glasses by the time they're in first grade. (Hm. Thanks for telling me that. I'd kind of already figured they'd need glasses at some point, but still!)
  • Donald's retina have "stretch marks"-- or something. And if he were to start seeing bright lights or shapes (??), he should seek medical advice. (What they'd do about it, I don't know. Apparently it's not that rare, but it still sounds scary to me!)
Less than a minute into my exam, he asked me if anyone had ever told me that I have cataracts. (!!) He went on to explain that they're congenital cataracts-- essentially birthmarks on the retina-- and don't require surgical removal, since they aren't interfering with my sight. Based on something he said (I don't remember the exact words), I got the impression that he couldn't be absolutely 100% sure about that, since this was the first time he'd seen me, but he didn't seem concerned. Supposedly, some doctors won't even mention them, since they don't require attention.

Now I can't help but feel a tiny bit worried, even if it is silly. Every other time I've had my eyes examined, I've gone to the same doctor. I don't think he ever said a word about cataracts, congenital or otherwise. I wonder if his office still has my file, and if it might contain any mention of the cataracts. I'd just like to know if they've always been there or if they're a recent development.

Part of the reason I worry is that, well, I fibbed on the medical history paper I had to fill out before the exam. I didn't mention certain health issues in the family (high blood pressure, diabetes. . . and I'd forgotten, but cataracts, too. . .) because I figured it could only lead to the evil powder glaucoma test. (I know, I ought to be ashamed, and I am. But I didn't think it would really matter. . . I mean, why should I undergo the awful test just because I need glasses, when I'm probably not at any more risk than the non-eyeglass-wearing portion of the population?! Ok, I have a lot of pent up resentment, as you can tell. That powder test was really unpleasant! (g)) I could look around for info on-line, but I'm afraid that doing that will just make me more worried, because most of the times I've done that before, I've seen more to frighten than to comfort me. (g) I don't think cataracts are related to high blood pressure or pre-diabetes (assuming I'm starting exhibit symptoms of either, which I don't think I am), but I'm the first to admit that I'm no expert on the subject.

ARGH! This is exactly why I hate seeing medical professionals of any description-- so often I leave them feeling worse than when I went in to see them! Yesterday morning, I was perfectly happy with my cataracts ;o) -- even if only because I was blissfully ignorant of them. Now I'm wondering in the back of my mind if this isn't an early symptom of some dire disease of the eye. I really like being able to see, you know. I've gotten so used to it! ;o) I know it's an unfounded worry, but that doesn't help dispel it. I'll just have to wait it out. In a few days I'll have almost forgotten, probably. It'll just lurk in the shadowy recesses, popping out from time to time-- when I take my blood pressure, for instance, or when my eyes do anything out of the ordinary. Just that little spice of fear to keep life from being too good.

. . . Maybe I'll call Mom to make sure the other doctor never mentioned the cataracts to her. . . and ask how old Granny was when she developed cataracts. . .

Anyway, my eyes are possibly a teensy bit worse than last time, but they've mostly leveled out. ( I just realized that I didn't ask Donald if his had gotten any worse or stayed the same. . . ) Now that we have fresh prescriptions, we're going to order new glasses (and possibly contacts for Donald). There's a place online that we want to try, because it seems like a very affordable way to get multiple pairs. More later, as the story unfolds. ;o)

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Vintage fashion and children's books--

I was wandering around Flickr looking for quilt-related inspiration photos (which I hoard away for future reference), when I came across someone's collection of vintage sewing patterns.

Take a look at these patterns using towels. Here are a few photos from the set to tempt you:

The flowery one? Straight out of Mrs. Roper's closet. (Extra points if you know who in the world "Mrs. Roper" is. ;o)) And the yellow one looks like someone just sewed fancy fringe along the short ends of the towel, then cut a hole in the middle for the head to go through. Très chic!

Then we have several stylish options for the young lady in need of a terrycloth poncho (or jacket):

And finally-- these look more like dresses to me, but they're labeled robes. In any case, I actually kind of like these-- especially the turquoise one. I can't imagine wearing clothes made of towels, though. . .


There's lots of vintage/retro stuff on Flickr. There are more patterns, magazine ads, cookbooks, etc. than I care to sift through, honestly, but it's a fun way to spend a spare hour.

Art Enthusiast's photostream is full of things that catch my eye. There's a collection of advertising and ephemera and children's illustration (from books, magazines, paper dolls, vinyl, etc.!) and signs-- and more! Among the Little Golden Book collection, there are a few I recognize-- such as Things in My House and Mary Poppins-- ooh, and Old Mother Hubbard. There are even a couple scans from A Day on the Farm, which I remember very well. When Mom would read this one to us, we'd get her to substitute our names and the names of family members/pets for the names of the characters.

Here's just a sample of Art Enthusiast's ads to entice you (g):


Tiny Muffin's collection of vintage illustrations is fun, too! Some very cute images.
For example:


Here are few links to some scans (sometimes just the cover and a few pages, sometimes more) of a few vintage children's books:
  • I Can Fly (and more)
  • Just a page from Miss Lollipop's Lion (one that Mom liked, I remember)
  • Here's Once Upon a Wintertime. I don't think we had this book, but I remember seeing the animated cartoon version.
  • Anyone else here read those Choose Your Own Adventure books? I used to check them out from the school library, mostly, but I also owned one about unicorns-- Magic of the Unicorn? Ah, yes, here it is! Isn't it amazing what you can find in under a minute, these days?!
While looking for Choose Your Own Adventure books, I stumbled upon this-- Lost in Austen-- some sort of CYOA book for Austen fans. Could be fun, for the non-purist. Maybe the library has it. . . It seems a bit too iffy to spend money on, I think.

Well, that's enough time wasted for one day, I guess. . .

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Christmas, NBC-style!

While channel-surfing, I just came across Al Roker talking about this year's Christmas tree at the Rockefeller Center. He explained that the tree-- "which was near the end of its lifespan" (by whose accounting, I wonder?)-- was cut with a handsaw to conserve energy. . . . . . . Ha ha ha ha ha!

Well, thank you, NBC (or whoever), for saving the world! Heaven only knows how much energy you'd have wasted if you'd used a chainsaw! ;o)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Slitherin' snakes!

Well, actually that ought to be in the singular-- "slitherin' snake"-- as there was only one.

Yesterday evening, Donald and I went to see what Molly was barking about so ferociously, at the back door. I assumed we'd find Daisy having another seizure (though thank goodness, I think she's fully out of the last awful cluster of them and is finally getting back to normal), but no, Daisy was standing on the porch, looking a bit concerned.

Molly, meanwhile, was just off the porch, barking angrily at something small and dark. In the twilight, I couldn't quite see what it was-- some very small animal. I thought for a moment that it was probably a dying mouse or a bird that she'd found. However, after seeing it make a couple of striking motions, I realized what it was-- just as Donald said it-- a snake! A tiny snake, but still a snake, striking repeatedly at Molly, who was crazily attacking it.

Molly completely disregarded our calls, so Donald hurried the more obedient Daisy through the back door into my care and then went out to try to get Molly by the collar. I think the snake escaped into a flower bed before Donald could get a good look at it. It might have been just a garter snake. (We see one every so often, so we know they're around.) On the other hand, it could have been just about anything!

So far (knock on wood) Molly doesn't seem to be getting sick, and she showed no sign of pain or soreness when we took her inside, after the commotion.

The barking is good-- lets us know there's something that shouldn't be there-- but I wish she would keep a safe distance, herself!

There's never a dull moment, with these dogs! ;o)