Friday, May 30, 2008
Sewing Kit in a Jar
From Martha Stewart Living. How to turn a Mason jar into a sewing kit (or storage solution) with a pin cushion on top. Simple and attractive.
I like the old-fashioned homeyness of the Mason jar, but the downside is that it's breakable. If you wanted a "traveling" sewing kit (one to leave in your car or to take on trips or to sewing groups), you could use a plastic jar. I've also read that some people prefer attaching the pin cushion to the bottom of the lid, so that it (and all the pins) will be inside the jar, when it's closed. Again, it looks more decorative with the cushion on top, but for traveling, inside would be better.
Anyway, just thought I'd pass along the link. :o)
Four for Friday:
Q1 - Cookies: The Oreo cookie is an American favorite, whether drenched in milk chocolate, loaded with extra creamy filling or dipped in a glass of milk. Now the Oreo is headed overseas to Britain where it's manufacturer, Nabisco, hopes to please the British palate (can you say "Oreos and Tea"). In any event, what is your favorite type and/or brand of cookie?
Even though I don't usually eat that many cookies, these days-- or rather, because I do eat them right up when they're in the house, I rarely buy or bake them-- I can't limit myself to a single favorite. So here are a few favorites: "my" glazed sugar cookies (sometimes flavored vanilla, sometimes almond, sometimes both), Thin Mints (and similar cookies), and Voortman Almond Krunch cookies. I tried to find a photo of the Almond Krunch cookies, but I had no luck. Anyway, they're absolutely delicious, if you like almond. And I do. :o)
Q2 - Music: Helping to alleviate pain and stress in premature babies could be as simple as offering them a few verses of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" -- at least that's what a new study conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children shows... that music could help premature babies get out of intensive care units sooner. What role or impact if any does music play in your life or in the life of your friends and family?
These days, it plays less of a role in my life than it did when I was in Band (middle and part of high school). My father always really enjoyed listening to music. I'd say it's one of his main hobbies. My maternal grandfather, who has always been fond of "picking" on the guitar, has been more heavily involved in music for the past several years, even joining groups. (You can listen to one of those groups-- called Southern Sounds-- here and here.) Donald (my husband) also plays guitar, though he does it less these days than he once did.
When I do take the time to put on some music-- maybe even sing or hum along-- I always feel better for it. It helps me let go (a little) of whatever might be bothering me. I can certainly see how it would soothe premature babies. It seems obvious to me that it would help. It's one of those "why did they even waste time and money studying that?" type of things. I do wonder how it helps, though-- and why. Why does music have such calming power?
Q3 - You: What do you think is the biggest misconception about you?
This isn't something I've thought about much, recently.
Maybe they think I'm smarter-- or more knowledgeable on certain subjects-- than I actually am. It seems that a lot of people assume you're smart if you happen to wear glasses. I mean, I think I'm intelligent enough, but every day I learn more about what I don't know.
For every possibility that comes to mind, I begin wondering if people are thinking the opposite. (g) For example-- maybe they think I'm happier than I am (because they don't know all of my personal doubts and issues). But then again, because I grumble about things here, maybe they get the impression that I'm less satisfied with life than I am!
Q4 - Spending Your Own Money: Jared Polis, a 30-something Internet generation entrepreneur--who together with his parents founded and then sold an online greeting card website (bluemountainarts.com) for $780 million back in 1998--is now running for a seat in the United States Congress (2nd Congressional District--Colorado). According to recent reports, Polis, who legally changed his last name in the late-90s from Schutz to Polis, is said to have already self-funded his campaign to the tune of nearly $3.7 Million, which according to the Boulder Daily Camera is three times as much money as he has raised from contributors, and dramatically more than any of his opponents have been able to raise or contribute themselves to their own campaigns. Do you think it's okay for people to self-fund their race for public office in such large amounts--like Jared Polis and other wealthy American politicians have done over the years--or, should limits be placed on the amount of money people are allowed to pour into their own campaigns?
This is another subject that I haven't given much thought. Maybe I'm missing something, but here's my gut reaction:Candidates should be allowed to spend as much as they like of their own money. From what I can remember, spending lots of your own money on a campaign doesn't guarantee success. Unless the voters like the message, it doesn't matter how many times a politician flashes it across the TV screen.
Besides, if they don't pay their own way, they "have to" get money from other sources, and when they get that money in large chunks from campaign contributors, people suspect them of making shady deals and back-room promises. Which is worse-- someone you know is (or was!) fabulously wealthy or someone you suspect of being in someone else's back pocket? (Or both! And for the record, shadiness is not restricted to the fabulously wealthy. There are plenty of poor and middle class shadesters out there. (g))
On a bit of a tangent, what do they spend it all on, anyway? TV ads? Most of those are pointless. They all have a website, these days, but that needn't cost so much. Just buy a domain and get a few geeky supporters to get it up and running. ;o) I guess they have to pay for all the people who work for them, doing who-knows-what. . . And they fund their "campaign trail" expenses, I suppose, as they rush to make speeches, shake hands, and kiss babies in the crucial days and weeks before elections.
Ideally, it shouldn't matter how much money a candidate has to spend. The media should cover all sides fairly and equally. Debates should be the voter's window into the mysterious workings of those politicians' brains. We should be able to form opinions without the aid of catchy slogans emblazoned across so many posters and backdrops. Unfortunately, the world is not an ideal place, and nowhere is this more obvious than in the political arena.
And on that cheerful note ;o) I wish you all a pleasant Friday and a relaxing weekend! :o)
Thursday, May 29, 2008
I won't get into all the particulars of the issue. You probably already know them, and if not, many others (more informed on the subject than I am) have written plenty about it, already. Basically, it comes down to this: The chief argument against drilling in ANWR is that some feel it would be detrimental to the environment and the "sanctity" of the refuge.
(Never mind that drilling would affect only 2,000 acres of the 19.6 million-acre refuge. Ok, I said I wasn't going to get into the details. . .)
Every time I hear something about this, my blood begins to boil. (And not only for the most obvious reasons. More on that in a minute.) The same thing happens when I hear that Florida refuses to drill offshore because it would (supposedly) affect their tourist-appeal or somehow harm their beaches.
(Just ignore the fact that other Gulf states have offshore drilling and the tourists still pour right on in! Pretend that a carefully monitored, government-regulated oil rig is more likely to contaminate and uglify your sands than the litterbug tourists themselves! Besides, once you build up a strip of beachfront-- clog the views with condos-- it's already half ruined. And trust me, the condos and other establishments-- and the accompanying noise, traffic, and clutter-- are much more obvious and ugly than a tiny speck on the horizon could ever be.)
Why am I so annoyed (apart from the obvious)?
I just wonder why it is that people seem to take it for granted that certain parts of the world are so much more precious than the rest of it. People have built up some fairytale image of pristine Alaska or tropical paradise Florida. I agree that national parks and reserves are important-- and I'm all for preserving natural beauty and habitats (as much as may be), wherever they are-- but I get the distinct impression that if someone found oil in an obscure national reserve in, say, Georgia or Kansas, there wouldn't be quite so much outcry against going after it.
It's not the biggest, most important part of the issue, by far, but it irks me. Who decided that the whole of Alaska is so special that it's never to be touched? By whose estimation are Florida's beaches more precious than Alabama's or Louisiana's?
Well, that's my grumble for the day. ;o)
ETA: Ok, not "the whole of Alaska". Sorry about that. I got carried away. (g)
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Rachel, you said they looked like raccoon tracks to you, and I think you were right. (No, they weren't leading to the garbage can. (g) Or at least I couldn't tell from the few I saw where it was headed.)
The very evening of the day I took the photos, we went on a walk down toward the pond. It was later than we usually walk, but still plenty light enough to see. (Otherwise, believe me, I wouldn't be walking out there. Way too snaky.)
We suddenly heard rustling in the low growth just off the trail-- and then there was a little masked raccoon face peeking at us around the trunk of a dead pine! He went up a way, then realized that the tree was broken off, turned around and headed back down, head first, peeking at us from time to time. (If Molly had been with us, she would have gone crazy!)
So, there's definitely a raccoon scampering around in the vicinity. Donald thinks this was his first time seeing a live raccoon in nature, and I haven't seen them that many times, myself. (The other time I remember most clearly was up in the mountains. That one was acting a little strangely, if I recall correctly, and we wondered if it might have been rabid.)
Of course, as luck would have it, we hadn't brought the camera along with us-- but it probably would've been hard to get a good photo, anyway. Besides, I guess everyone already knows what a raccoon looks like. Just picture one peeking around the trunk of a tree. ;o) (Kind of like this. Or this.)
I know they can cause a lot of trouble, but they sure are cute!
. . . I wish we could have the Swedish style of "warmer weather". (g) The summer hasn't even revved up to day after day of mid-to-high 90s yet, and I'm already tired of it. If it weren't for the necessity of growing food, I could do very well without summertime. Just stretch out spring and autumn for another couple of months each, please. ;o)
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I need to research them a little. I'm pretty sure I've read that you should pinch off certain parts to keep the plant focused on producing tomatoes. . .
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All my adult life, I've tended to fall asleep very quickly. Once, I would have thought that was just normal-- or maybe even something to be happy about. (Lying awake, unable to sleep, is so frustrating!) Now I'm not sure whether I should be glad about it or not.
This is why I avoid medical news. It's hardly ever good news. In fact, it seems specially designed to make you uneasy-- or at least dissatisfied.
Well, ok, I looked it up. I guess I misheard. What they're really saying is that people normally fall asleep within about ten minutes of lying down. If you're falling asleep in five minutes or less, that could be a sign that you're borderline narcoleptic, etc., etc.
Ok. . . But how are we supposed to know how fast we fall asleep? I mean, we're falling asleep. . . (g)
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- Mowing the lawn-- This time of year, there is always at least one portion of the lawn that needs mowing, because I never manage to do it all in one day.
- Weeding and mulching the flowerbeds-- Partly my own fault, but even if I were more vigilant, it's still a never-ending job.
- Cleaning the floors
- Keeping the kitchen counter top clear
- Cleaning the bathrooms
- Keeping the laundry in check
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Friday, May 23, 2008
(If you have a blog or other website and would like to get all sorts of neat statistics about it for free, I recommend Analytics. It's pretty easy to set up, and did I mention that it's free? (g) Hurray for free stuff!)
Let's see. . . The last time I did this was in February. So I guess I'll just look from that point forward.
That is, the words or phrases people were searching for when they found this blog.
Sorry, if everyone already knew that. (g)
- odds and ends polymer clay -- 41 visits
- denim rag quilt -- 20
- rag quits -- 10
- denim quilt -- 5
- how to make rag quilts -- 5
Back to the list. . .
- flickr polymer clay photostream -- 3 visits
- "congenital cataracts" glasses -- 1 (from here on out, all led to just one visit, unless otherwise noted. . . and in those cases, there was always a slight variation in spelling or wording)
- a couple of songs-- "everywhere" moustache / "follow you follow me" gilmore girls
- "i could have killed all of them" fritzl
- "jane eyre"
- "la valse des vieux os" translation -- (from Amélie. And then there's another one about that movie, further down. . .) I don't have that translation.
- "making flocking" models -- I have no idea now to make flocking. Sorry.
- "odds and ends" cartoon -- Never heard of it.
- "odds and ends" quilt
- "sarah michaels" extra thick body cream / sarah michaels body cream milk and honey / sarah michaels first light lotion -- Yeah, I heard they discontinued that line of products.
- "self help books" -- Uh oh. . . I hope I didn't "dis" that genre too harshly. . . ;o)
- "vintage children's books" blog -- (x2) Sounds interesting, but this isn't one of those.
- "wailin' jennys" -- (x2) (It's a musical group.)
- michaels clay sale -- (x6) Actually, they have one going on right now! (g)
- 1920s etiquette
- adrigole -- huh? I have no idea where I might have written this, because I don't know what it is. (g) . . .Ok, it's a village in Ireland. This is one of those random things from the Wikipedia meme.
- Ainsbruck -- Yes, I was writing about the Ainsbruck Singers, a Swedish group. There are very few Google hits for this word!
- another word for all-knowing -- Try "omniscient". :o)
- are eye exams scary -- Aw, don't worry! They're really not that bad. :o)
- ashokan farewell mp3 jay ungar
- bedroom odds and ends
- blue gray skin / blue-gray man / blue-gray skin man / grey skin man / youtube gray skin man-- He generated a lot of interest!
- cake slice box template / felt cake slice pattern / felt cake slices
- cheese quizzes -- Again?! (This popped up last time, too.)
- child's pattern for making a terry cloth poncho out of a towel
- cindi schramer -- Who's that? Oh, she's one of the people who designed one of the rag quilting projects I linked to. I wonder if she was googling herself, or if this was a loyal fan? ;o)
- clothes made with vintage bits -- Sounds like fun!
- Three different keywords regarding the Curly Sue soundtrack
- cute pictures of vintage children's books
- dean priest emily of new moon / dean priest l.m. montgomery -- He really is better than Teddy, isn't he?
- decorations polymer clay youtube
- device to pour milk from milk jug -- If you find one, let me know.
- dog shaped rag quilt -- I can't really imagine that. . .
- fashion forcast childran illustartion (sic) -- I didn't know there was such a thing!
- flickr catherine's quilt
- flickr vintage fashion pictures / vintage fashion illustration
- genesis follow you follow me
- grandfathers barn poem -- Doesn't ring any bells. . .
- hands vibrate after mowing lawn -- This one came up twice. (g)
- hooked rug whip stitching
- how much clearance is needed for a porch swing -- I wish I could have found a good formula. Seems like you just have to figure it out for yourself!
- i'd rather be quilting
- instructions for large bride figure out of household items -- . . . Do you have any idea what they were looking for? I can't quite figure it out. Unless they wanted to make a homemade dressmaker's form. . .
- it's-a-beautiful-world-we-live-in music
- krispy kreme bear claws -- Please stop! You're making me hungry!!
- lawn cutting gloves -- They make some especially for lawn mowing?
- lawn to a wooded area photos -- You mean like a gradual transformation or "before and after"? Sounds interesting to me, too, but you won't find that here.
- little plastic ballerina / plastic ballerina cake toppers -- More hits for that photo I found on Flickr!
- lucia katts -- Look, I told you you're making me hungry. . .
- miss lollipop's lion -- (x2) Yes, we had that book when I was a kid. :o)
- odd old quilt -- (g) That's the honest way to describe a "vintage crazy quilt".
- odds & ends fashion magazine -- Trust me, I'm probably not the one to be giving out fashion advice.
- odds lawn care
- oddsandends face painting -- Sure, I can do that.
- on monday i found a little bug poem -- Never heard of it.
- ow to make a rag bag -- Depends on 'ow ye wannit to look, dearie. ;o)
- photo death "gray skin" -- Um, ok . . . Creepy. You won't be finding that here.
- photos, lawnmowing -- It's not really that interesting, is it?
- playskool wonderfalls
- polyfelt, wool felt -- So, which did you choose? The wool felt's nicer, but the price. . .
- problems with house finches nesting on my back porch again! -- Well, they are messy. If you don't mind being a little mean, I guess you could just remove the beginnings of the nest, as soon as you see it. I don't know if there's anything you can do to make the area less desirable to begin with. . . Get a cat? ;o)
- rags: making a little something out of almost nothing
- scans of vintage kids mags / vintage children magazine ads
- sziklai pair -- Well, at least this time I know how in the world this keyword led to my blog. It's due to that Wikipedia meme, again.
- t shirt rag quilt pattern -- I didn't know you could use t-shirts in any quilt. Or at least I thought they were a bit too stretchy to be a good choice. . .
- tarklin state park -- It's a nice little walk. :o)
- things to make from a rag quilt -- . . . It's already a quilt. You're done. ;o) Seriously, you can make bags, curtains/valances, shower curtains, table runners. . . wall art. . . pillows. . .
- thursday memes
- trollstigen / weather trollstigen 2008 -- Really interesting spot.
- well water gray color -- Ew. I suggest that you don't drink it. Well water is supposed to be nice and clear, in my experience.
- where to find rag quilting squares -- You mean pre-cut? I'm not sure. They're pretty easy to cut for yourself. Just use any fabric that tends to fray-- denim, flannel, homespun. . .
- winn-dixie -- Not my favorite place to shop, but I'll go when they have good sales.
- youtube calico skies
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
The house finches on our porch grew and grew until they looked to be about the same size as their parents. There scarcely seemed to be enough room for them all in the nest!
Yesterday, I noticed that one of the four had hopped out of the nest and was sitting off to the side on the ledge:
Later in the day, I looked again and saw only three.
By this morning, there was just one lone bird sitting on the nest. I missed the big moment ;o), but Donald saw the last one hop-hop-hopping and finally hopping right out of the nest and flying away. :o)
I might add that they left their nasty nest behind. I guess they expect me to clean up after them!
So-- no birds left in that nest-- but while looking at that last, sad bird, I noticed that there's another nest being built on the opposite end of the porch. I don't know if it's the same bird, but I think it might be. Good grief, they're prolific!!
Ha! I was just looking up the species to see if the same bird could lay eggs again so quickly*, when I found this little tidbit, described on the site as a "cool fact":
(Those with weak stomachs may want to skip this part. (g))
When nestling House Finches defecate, the feces are contained in a membranous sac, as in most birds. The parents eat the fecal sacs of the nestlings for about the first five days. In most songbird species, when the parents stop eating the sacs, they carry the sacs away and dispose of them. But House Finch parents do not remove them, and the sacs accumulate around the rim of the nest.Yes, that's so very "cool". Gross! Well, that explains the mess, I guess. I didn't think all nests were so nasty. . .
*It turns out they can lay up to six times in one breeding season, but usually no more than three of those "clutches" of eggs survive to hatch.
We had a little car trouble, Monday. Donald found out that one of the engine mounts on the PT Cruiser had broken. It was one of those things that probably needed to be taken care of, so we went ahead and took it to the mechanic. That's never fun, but at least it wasn't a huge repair, and they had it ready for us to pick up this morning.
So, I go to the nearest store. It's not the one I usually go to, and I'm slightly uncomfortable. (I don't know what it is about this store, exactly, but I don't like it as much.) It's early, but there are still quite a few people coming and going. I pull the lever to open the car door-- then pause at the sound of an alarm. It takes me a second or two to realize that it is my car alarm that is sounding. Loudly. (Well, when is a car alarm ever not loud?) I fumble around-- unzip my purse and find the keys-- and finally locate a button that shuts off the noise.
. . .The comparative silence is deafening. . .
I decide that I must've accidentally pressed the alarm button against the steering wheel while getting up. I notice that someone who had just parked nearby has pulled through to go to another part of the parking lot. Probably to get away from the crazy lady (i.e. me). ;o) However, there are no security guards coming up to call me "Ma'am" and ask if I need help, so I go to open the door again. (I guess I closed it when I was startled by the alarm.)
Again there is an irritating blaring of the car horn. At least this time I know which button to hit to shut the thing off, but not soon enough to keep everyone in the world (or just the parking lot, maybe) from hearing it. And worse yet, I'm now trapped in my own car. (Sort of.) If I open the door again, I risk setting off the alarm. I am not willing to do that. Not again-- not here. Yet with the price of gas, it is unthinkable to drive around in search of a private spot to get in touch with my inner Hyundai and figure out whether or not the Elantra's possessed by an evil spirit. ;o)
I pull out the owner's manual and eventually figure out that I must have accidentally "armed" the car's alarm system by pressing the lock button (on my key chain) while still in the car. (Or something.) All I have to do is press the unlock button, and I am no longer held hostage by the threat of humiliation. Mystery solved! I get out of the car and walk along just as though I'd never heard of such a thing as a car alarm. (g)
The moral of the story: Any time you break your regular routine, you run the risk of something going wrong. Locking your keys in the car, for instance, or setting off your own car alarm twice in the space of a few minutes. Or maybe that's just true for me. . .
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They changed the recipe!!
(Shocking, isn't it?)
And they don't even warn you on the wrapper! No mention of "NEW!" or "IMPROVED!" The wrapper looks exactly the same, except that the small-print heating instructions have changed. Now they're very particular about how you heat them-- even insisting that you check the temperature with a thermometer in several places after microwaving it!
I have to admit that the new instructions make me look at the once-beloved food as more biohazard than burrito. Worse yet, the new recipe is slightly "jucky", as we say around here. ("J" and "Y" mix-ups are classic Swedish-to-English bloopers, but I don't remember exactly how this one got started. I suspect it was my invention. . .)
I think I may have eaten my last chicken burrito.
(Well, I have a few of the "good ones" left, but after they're gone, I doubt I'll buy more.)
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Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Sunday, May 18, 2008
(I doubt any of you care about this, but it struck me as funny. This is a big country!)
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Despite all this rain, it's not all that cool outside. Just wet. At least the weekend's supposed to be clear and not too hot. :o)
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I'm about to give a spoiler for the season finale of CSI.
I kind of doubt any of you watch, but still. . .
Read at your own risk!
So, no-one's left but me, right? Not that I think there are a lot of CSI fans who haven't seen the season finale; I just don't think anyone else really cares about this subject. That's ok. I'm used to talking about TV shows to myself. ;o)
One of the main characters died this week-- or at least it looks like he's dead. He was shot at close range (after such heavy-handed foreshadowing that viewers should have known at least five minutes in advance that Something Very Bad was about to happen). The random stranger felt that "the incredible violence that ended up in [his/her] living room in front of [his/her] family was totally uncalled for."
Huh? I mean, I enjoy the show, but there's no denying that it's violent. Pretty much every episode revolves around at least one act of violence and the subsequent tracing of clues. Honestly, what else would you expect from a (modern) program that focuses on crime scene investigators? I agree that it's sadder and (if they hadn't laid on the "awww, they're all together again!"/"here comes the sun" stuff so thickly) more shocking to have a regular character die than the one-ep.-only characters (whose sole purpose is to be dead and give the show a plot), but was this episode really any more violent than the others? It isn't exactly family-friendly programming!
But this really isn't fair of me. Have you looked at a TV-show message board lately? Few people can spell, and someone who uses punctuation is a bizarre anomaly. Even overlooking these "technicalities", basic logical reasoning seems to be in short supply. (I probably sound "mean", but come on! You know it's true.)
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I'm sure he's going to love this comparison, but it's kind of like toddler talk. When you spend a lot of time with a particular toddler, you come to understand his/her prattle-- that when she talks about "koink", she's referring to pop corn, for instance. (g) Very few people would ever guess what your little boy means when he asks for "ging-ging", but you know that he wants a piece of candy.
Obviously, our relationship is a little different from that between mother and child ;o), but there are times when someone seems to have a little trouble understanding something Donald's saying, while to me it's perfectly clear.
On the other hand, there are still a very few pronunciations that make me smile or even laugh. "Squirreler" comes to mind. I don't know what it is about that word, but apparently it's not easy to say "squirrel". ;o)
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Thursday, May 15, 2008
This week's Booking Through Thursday expands on last week's question:
Scenario: You’ve just bought some complicated gadget home . . . do you read the accompanying documentation? Or not?
Do you ever read manuals?
Anything at all?
A complicated gadget, eh? I probably won't read the manual-- if I think I can "find my own way" without damaging the new toy. Sometimes I refer to the manual after several fruitless tries to get it to do whatever it is it's supposed to do. ;o) Sooner or later, I skim it to see if there are any cool functions I haven't already found on my own. And I definitely keep the manual (along with the receipt) in case I run into problems down the road.
I've read through at least certain sections of the various manuals that came with the car, and I learned a few useful things. (I was curious about all the different settings for the A/C and vent, how the passenger side airbag sensor thingy worked, etc.)
For "some assembly required" type things, yes, I read (and follow) the directions. I'd rather take a minute to read the instructions than ruin something by rushing through it.
Note to authors/editors: Manuals should be written in very short paragraphs or bulleted lists. There should be plenty of photos or illustrations. Seriously, you're lucky if I read it, even then. (g)
Yes, these I read. On a fairly frequent basis, actually. I read how-to books on crafts and gardening, especially. Now, I may not read them cover-to-cover, page-by-page. Most I dip into now and then or treat as references, but there are a few that I'll actually sit down and read. You know, like a real book. ;o)
Lately, we've been skimming through a variety of "do it yourself" style books on the subject of patios and other similar structures. I'm not sure how much Donald's been reading of them. I mostly look at the photos and read just the parts that seem relevant at the moment-- parts about placement and related considerations (shade, privacy, wind, and so on).
I guess cookbooks count as "how-to", as well. These I mostly skim until I find the recipe I want, but then I pay very close attention. Growing up, I had a couple of cooking/baking disasters where I used water instead of milk and put in the wrong measurements of things. I learned my lesson the hard way, but at least I never burned down the house. (g)
Note to authors/editors: How-to books need photos and/or illustrations. Without them, I'm just not interested. Oh, and when you refer to photos in the instructions, please be sure they are correctly labeled. Place the relevant text as near as possible to the photo. (Thank you! ;o))
I do a lot of my "how-to" reading online, these days. Yes, there's unreliable info out there, but if you're careful, you can fairly easily determine what's good and what's not.
I don't think I've read any self-help books. . . None come to mind, at least. Oh, well, maybe one. It was one of those "different genders come from different planets" relationship books. Somewhat interesting, somewhat "oh, give me a break!" It's certainly not a genre I frequently read. When I need help, I prefer to suffer in silence. Or suffer loudly, if anyone's around to listen. (g) (Just kidding! Kind of. . .)
Anything at all--
Food labels (especially one or two of the "nutritional facts" that I'm always keeping an eye on), subtitles (in foreign films-- or if Donald or I can't understand a heavy accent-- Sometimes we have to have them, but then I end up reading the dialog instead of watching the movie or program, because text draws my eye), medicine labels (dosing instructions), catalogs (sometimes, mostly I skim them), the occasional magazine (preferably those with no health articles, because I hate those things with a very passionate passion, to the point that I'd rather not even look at the magazine at all), my own notes (of which there are way too many floating around the house = I need to sort through them, consolidate the "good" ones into a few categorized stacks, and toss the rest), blogs, "twitters", comments on "my stuff" (my blogs, my photos at flickr, etc.), and so on.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
These photos are very blurry (especially the first one), but they're the best I could get without going to great effort-- and we all know I'm too lazy for that. ;o) Anyway, once I took a closer look at the nest, I realized that it's gotten fairly gross, and I don't know if you'd particularly want to see a very clear, crisp macro of it. (Eww. . .)
If the crazy girl would just lie still and have a nap for an hour or so, we could have the job done in one session, instead of doing a little at a time.
She's looking a little ratty, right now, but she has to be more comfortable than she was before.
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Nothing else demands to be reported. Things are going along pretty much the same as usual, around here. We're peaceful, especially in contrast with the cyclone, tornadoes, earthquakes, and fires that have been filling the news, lately. I'm thankful that a broken tomato plant and the annoyance of increasing prices and heat are the worst we have to complain of. . .
Friday, May 9, 2008
When someone smiles at you, do you smile back?
Yes, usually. The only exception I can think of is if it's a "mean" smile-- one of those "Sure, I'm smiling, but even a toddler would have the expression-reading skills to know that I loathe you" smiles. Fortunately, I don't get those that often. ;o) So yes, I smile back.
Interesting that this subject should come up today, because only yesterday I was thinking about the opposite-- why some people don't smile back when you make that friendly gesture. Maybe sometimes it's shyness-- or they're startled and don't have time to reciprocate until it's too late. Maybe it's just that they aren't used to positive interaction with people. Or maybe they're just mean. (g)
While grocery shopping yesterday, I twice came across the same grump. The first time, I waited as she exited an aisle so that I could enter it. As she left, she gave me a weird look. I guess I was supposed to try to squeeze in and not wait courteously so that we'd both have plenty of maneuvering room. Maybe she felt I was rushing her. . . by waiting? (shrug) I rolled my eyes at the canned goods (they knew exactly what I meant-- What a grump!) and went on with my business.
Later, in one of the frozen food aisles, I saw her again. She was totally engrossed in frozen , but I couldn't help noticing that her little girl (seated in the "shopping cart seat") was joyfully shaking a box of animal crackers and scattering them onto the floor (where they clattered rather noisily). I decided that she wasn't the type of woman who'd appreciate a kindly spoken alert ("Uh-oh, you're gonna loose all your cookies!"), so was placidly making my way onward when the mother finally re-emerged from the wonderful and fascinating world of frozen food, saw what her little darling was doing, and then looked directly at me. I smiled in an "Oh, kids! What can you do?!" sort of way, and for my troubles was favored with a second weird look. What? Did she think I was an undercover cop for the Grocery Police, come to reprimand her for letting her daughter muss up the store? Soon I was alone in the aisle with the abandoned cookies. At least they didn't glare at me as I walked past. ;o)
Describe the flooring in your home. Do you have carpet, hardwood, vinyl, a mix?
Carpet and vinyl. A very neutral beige carpet is in the main room and all the bedrooms. Everything else is vinyl-- two different "faux tile" designs. We'd certainly like to upgrade, but there are too many other things we want/need to do first-- and the house isn't really old enough to require new flooring, so we'll be keeping what we have for a good while.
Write a sentence with only 5 words, but all of the words have to start with the first letter of your first name.
My mother made my meals. (When I was a kid, of course.)
Do you know anyone whose life has been touched by adoption?
I can't think of anyone I know intimately who adopted/was adopted. . . I know a couple who considered adopting, but it didn't work out (it was a complicated situation with the child's biological family, I think). As it turned out, they ended up having children, not long after.
Name two blue things.
1. A folder on this desk (full of notes I've taken at the computer-- polymer clay stuff).
2. The frame and background of a ribbon-embroidered heart of rosettes sewn by Donald's mother. It was a wedding present. (It's on a shelf above the monitor-- the first thing I see when I look up.)
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Writing guides, grammar books, punctuation how-tos. . . Do you read them? Not read them? How many writing books, grammar books, dictionaries-- if any-- do you have in your library?
I've read parts of some of them, but mostly I treat them as references. Since I do most of my "real" writing on the computer, these days, with the Internet at my fingertips, I tend to look up things online. Still, it's good to have a few good resources available.
Dictionaries-- At least 2 in English. One nice, hardcover "collegiate" dictionary I was awarded at the end of high school (for participation in an honors program). One tattered paperback that got me through high school! At least 2 in Swedish. A French-English/English-French dictionary that hasn't been used in years. A Swedish-English/English-Swedish dictionary that also hasn't seen much recent use.
Writing Books-- I can think of about four right now. There may be more. Most of them were purchased (very cheaply) second-hand, and to tell the truth, I haven't read much of them, yet. Maybe someday. One is the well-known Elements of Style; the others are guides for writing more specific types of fiction.
Grammar Books-- I know of at least one on my shelves-- a "commonsense" guide written by one of my college professors. (My copy's an earlier edition than the one linked, of course.) I enjoyed his class and thought the book was useful enough to be worth keeping. I hardly ever open it, these days, but if I ever want to be certain that my grammar's correct, I know where to look.
Then there are several related books-- a thesaurus (one book I've actually used, along with the tattered paperback dictionary) and four books of quotations (one in Swedish). Oh, and I have a handful of books about Swedish grammar and usage, too. . . We have at least one dictionary of names, also.
Mostly these books just take up shelf space, but they have the potential to be useful, so we keep them. ;o)
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Clark Howard says electricity prices will spike this summer-- especially in warmer climates. Great! Just in time for the most miserable time of year, too. I appreciate the fact that he tries to put a positive spin on it (in the article linked above) by suggesting ways we can lower the bill, but I'm finding it difficult to be optimistic. I already obsess about how often the A/C kicks on, and this is going to make it even worse.
I've been considering closing off the A/C vent in a couple of rarely-used rooms. (And then, of course, keeping the door closed and using a draft-blocker-thing-a-ma-jig.) I've done it before-- and it's still shut off in the utility room. However, I've always been a little unsure of whether or not it's such a great idea. I know I've read somewhere that the A/C works more efficiently if all the doors in the house are open (in situations where all the vents are open). Could it be bad for the A/C or actually cost more, somehow, to shut off vents and rooms? I need to research it. . .
(sigh) When will all these increasing expenses level off? (I'm not holding my breath in expectation of a decrease, but at least they could hold steady for a while!) I'm feeling pretty discouraged. . .
We still haven't ordered eyeglasses! We need to do that. . . All we have to do is measure one another's pupils (or something-- it's a measurement required to make sure the lens are aligned correctly for our individual faces), make the ultimate choice, and send the order winging off through cyberspace. So we should manage to get it done by Christmas or so. ;o)
Fritzl insists that he is not the "monster" he has been made out to be by the media. He doesn't deny what he did, but apparently he feels that because he allowed the children of his incestuous crimes to live, he deserves some sympathy points. "I could have killed all of them, and no one would have known," he reminds us.
Oh, no, he's not a monster!
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
A few weeks ago, Donald and I found milk in a new type of package, at our local Sam's Club. It's cheaper, so we've been buying it, even though the jug looks a little odd:
I wouldn't hold its odd appearance against it if it weren't for the fact that it seems to be a very poor design for reasons other than aesthetics. You see, we find it difficult to pour from this jug without dripping a bit. (And no, it's not our faults. (g) We've both been pouring liquids without spilling for several years, now.) True, it's a very tiny bit-- but it's still annoying to have to wipe up every time you eat a bowl of cereal or have a glass to drink.
To add insult to injury, the last jug we bought had this label on one side:
"JUST TILT & POUR"!
Gee, thank you, Mr. Milk Jug! Thanks so much for the lesson in how to pour milk! I feel like such an idiot, now! I'd been trying to pour it by getting Donald to hold the cereal bowl a yard away and sloshing it at him. (Too much sarcasm? Sorry about that. In future, I'll try to hold back.)
Well, ok, I thought. I'm pretty sure I've tried that "just tilt and pour" method before, but I'll give it another go. . .
Nope. Still very nearly impossible to pour without a little dribble or drop of waste and annoying dairy mess! And the very fact that they have this informative little label suggests that it isn't just us-- that they may have actually been getting complaints about their defective design.
It's a little thing, but still I manage to make time to grumble about it. ;o)
Then, the last time we were discussing it, a totally new idea presented itself. Shade cloth. It's pretty fancy stuff. Depending on the type (and color), it can block as much as 90% of sunlight and harmful UV rays. It's supposed to be very durable. It's not cheap, but it could be cheaper than buying lots of wood to make a more traditional pergola roof. Plus we wouldn't have to paint (and repaint) so much wood. And it would provide more complete shade than the wood, most of the time. (Donald is fair-skinned; I don't want skin cancer, either = We luv shade. (g))
My main concern is how it would hold up against violent thunderstorms and, of course, hurricanes. I hope we won't have another major hurricane here for years to come, but you never know. . . Of course, even an all-wood structure could be completely destroyed, if we had bad luck.
As you can see, we still have some decisions to make. Unfortunately, I seem to be incapable of doing anything without considering all the possible resultant problems. ;o)
One thing has been absolutely decided-- When we buy supplies for the patio, we're also getting supplies to build for a pump house. (Still no concrete plans for how we'll build that, either. . . Maybe I'll ask for advice at the family get-together this Friday. Family, you have been warned. (g)) It has taken way, way too long for us to do that. Once it's done, there'll be one less reason for me to hang my head in shame (figuratively).
There's another bird nesting in the decorative birdhouse Grandpa W. gave us a few years ago. Seems like there's a bird in that house every year. This time, it's right outside a window! Of course, it's almost always covered by a closed mini-blind, so I guess they don't feel they're being scrutinized too closely. (g)
I was walking a dog/puppy, and was worried the snakes would bite it. One of the snakes was very exotic-looking-- purple and dragonish and sort of "hinged" (like those plastic toy snakes that kids have-- the ones that seem to move on their own). I went inside to look it up and blog about it (g)-- but on the way, I discovered weird burned/singed spots on the floor-- and in an "it made sense at the time" flash of brilliance, immediately deduced that there was some bizarre geothermic phenomenon at work and that was what brought the snakes out in hordes. (Apparently, in my dream-world, there are lots of snakes living in holes in the ground around our house.) At that point, I think I forgot the snakes and began worrying that the house was about to erupt. ;o)
And I just realized where the burned floor bit came from! Last week's episode of CSI. On the one hand, I'm mildly disappointed that it wasn't my own concoction but something I recycled from TV. On the other, at least I can be fairly sure that this wasn't a vision from God warning me to vacate the premises because of impending destruction of hearth and home. (g)
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I felt a bit confused by some aspects of last night's episode of Lost. Well, that's not so strange, perhaps ;o) -- but I mean more confused than usual. Like I'd missed an episode. Which it turns out I had. But thanks to the online episodes, I'm all caught up now.
Um, if you follow the show (or plan to) and aren't up to date on it, beware of the next bit.
It will contain. . .
So Alexis died last week, and I didn't even know it! I guess "they" think that as long as they continue to introduce new characters into the story, we viewers won't mind if they kill them off right and left. Personally, I'm getting tired of it. They've already killed some of the characters I liked best. Yes, it's a powerful plot device to take someone out just when we least expect it, but I think they run the risk of overusing that little trick.
I got the impression that we were supposed to be really touched, or something, that Kate and Jack were finally together, living a happy, normal life. But I didn't particularly care. I don't know what it is about those two, but I'm not especially rooting for them to "get together". In fact, I wouldn't mind if they went their separate ways. I think I'm actually more interested in the "bad guy" (Ben) than I am in Jack.
And remember the sinister warnings about Aaron before he was born? There seemed to be an insinuation that he was somehow evil or was possibly destined for some evil fate. I wonder when that will come back into play. . . Looked it up. People say that the psychic insisted that Claire must raise the baby herself to prevent danger. So maybe now that Kate has Aaron, bad things will begin to happen. (Well, like they haven't been happening all along. (g))
On a similar note, Walt demonstrated some strange psychic (?) abilities, but it's been a long time since there was any mention of that-- possibly because he's been off the island for a while. (Though I guess his occasional ghostly "appearances" could count as more recent bizarre phenomena, come to think of it. (g)) And now there's the new guy from the boat who is obviously psychic. . . not to mention the whole Jacob thing and the appearance of "ghosts" to Flashforward Hurley and Flashforward Jack. . .
While listening briefly to "regular radio" (i.e. not talk radio, which is almost the only thing I listen to on the radio, these days), "Big Girls Don't Cry" by Fergie (?) came on. I've heard bits of it before, but not until today have I heard enough to realize that it is the most annoying song in the universe (for today, at least). The stupid lyrics-- the whiny tones of her voice-- just every little thing about it is ir-ri-tat-ing!
Why must Molly bark and bark and bark? After putting in a long night's work of barking, you'd think she'd be all barked out-- but no. She's become really bad about barking at night.
(I finally gave in and let her come in one night, when we were expecting bad weather. Needless to say, we're now back in the habit of letting her in every evening. At least it keeps her quiet at night. . .)
Friday, May 2, 2008
What was your favorite cartoon when you were a child?
I grew up in (what I consider to be) the golden era of the Saturday-morning cartoon. (g) (Maybe everyone born since the beginning of Saturday-morning cartoons thinks that.) And not only were there Saturday morning cartoons, but a couple of hours of cartoons in the afternoons (on one or two non-cable channels). I don't remember which cartoon was my favorite at any given time, but I'm sure it changed over the years.
Anyway, I'll just list some of the ones I remember particularly liking: The Smurfs, My Little Pony, She-ra, Chip & Dale's Rescue Rangers, Gummi Bears, Scooby-Doo, Ducktales, TaleSpin, JEM, Moonbeamers, Inspector Gadget, Rainbow Sprite, The Littles, Care Bears, The Chipmunks, and I'm sure there are more I'm not remembering at the moment. . .
Hm. I finally discovered the identity of a cartoon I've remembered watching but been unable to name. Beverly Hills Teens. I think this was briefly popular among the girls in my elementary school class. I don't think it was thoroughly approved of at home, though. (g)
Pretend you are about to get a new pet. Which animal would you pick, and what would you name it?
This one's easy, since we actually are planning to get another pet (or maybe two-- we'll see. . .), when we find what we're looking for. Now that my sweet Daisy is gone where good dogs go, I miss my daily dose of Eskie love. I know I can't expect another Eskie (American Eskimo Dog) to be just like Daisy or to "replace" her, but I'm ready to make room for another "pupsonality". We may also get a beagle. (Then we'd have three dogs. Are we crazy to contemplate this?)
As for the name, I have no idea. I'd have to discuss it with Donald, since it would be a shared pet. I'm sure he'd let me name it whatever I liked, if I was really set on a particular name, but I'm not. Nothing snow-related. This is a common choice for Eskies, since they're so white and fluffy. Nothing wrong with that, but I'd prefer something else.
On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how much do you enjoy getting all dressed up for a special occasion?
If I like the way I look and don't have to stay in uncomfortable clothes for too long, 7 or 8, maybe? It's nice to get dressed up from time to time. That said, I hardly ever do it, and by the time I get home, I'm yearning for jeans and tee. If I had to do it very often, I'd probably hate it.
What kind of music do you listen to while you drive?
Often, it's not music at all, but talk radio. If I get to the point that I can't take it any more ;o) I gravitate toward 70s/80s/90s/early2000s pop and rock. Something I can sing along with-- something that keeps me awake. That's if I'm alone in the car. (g) Otherwise, I may not listen to anything, because I don't want to impose my musical tastes on the passenger(s).
When was the last time you bought a clock? And in which room did you put it?
Hm. I think the last one was a digital alarm clock, which we bought a year or two ago. We put it in our bedroom so that each of us could have a clock on our respective nightstands. (We both like to be able to see what time it is when we wake in the middle of the night.) Right now, though, that clock is in the guest room. I put it there when we were expecting our visitor, and I haven't moved it back, yet.
This week's Booking Through Thursday is on the theme of "Mayday":
Quick! It’s an emergency! You just got an urgent call about a family emergency and had to rush to the airport with barely time to grab your wallet and your passport. But now, you’re stuck at the airport with nothing to read. What do you do??
And, no, you did NOT have time to grab your bookbag, or the book next to your bed. You were . . . grocery shopping when you got the call and have nothing with you but your wallet and your passport (which you fortuitously brought with you in case they asked for ID in the ethnic food aisle). This is hypothetical, remember….
The answer seems obvious, if it's a fairly large airport. If I had to read, I'd seek out a bookstore-- or any shop that might have books, magazines, or newspapers-- and see if they have anything remotely interesting. I suppose you may pay more for something you buy in an airport (don't think I've ever actually done it before), but it could be worth it.
If I couldn't find anything to read, I'd have to content myself with walking around, looking out the windows, and people-watching. Airports are interesting places to watch people. Besides, I'm usually too excited and nervous when anticipating a flight to feel like sitting down for a long read. Walking is a good way to release some of that nervous energy.
Thursday, May 1, 2008
I guess that means it's on at 10 p.m., Eastern? Nine is late enough. I do often watch a little TV at ten, but most of the time, by 10:30 I'm getting pretty sleepy. I'm certainly not in the mood to watch something like Lost until eleven o'clock.
Why do TPTB insist on scheduling so many of the best shows for Thursday night? It just doesn't make sense to me to compete that way rather than space them out through the week. Who decided that Thursday is the only night that people want to watch television? I guess it matters less these days, since so many people have TiVos (or some equivalent). But what about us people who are TiVo-less and too lazy to set up the VCR? ;o) Fortunately, most programs can easily be found online.
Still on the subject of Lost, have you seen this?
I never realized how much they use that word! I suppose it makes sense, considering how many "shocking revelations" and generally odd situations there are. ;o)
*Incidentally, I wonder if the title of the show is supposed to be written in "all caps". The intro shows it that way-- LOST-- but it just feels weird writing it that way all the time. . .
Of course, if you're like me, things are pretty quiet, and you look a little bit pathetic because you have just one person on your list. ;o) Most of the people whom I know read this blog aren't twitterers. As far as I know, they aren't, that is. If you are-- and you don't mind getting my silly updates-- please consider clicking the appropriate link in the column to the right. If you "follow" me, I promise to "follow" you back. (g)
Yes, I could go around adding random people, but I don't want people to think they're being stalked-- and why would I care what some random person is doing? It would be nice if there were some way of searching twitters by subject. You know, so I could find other people with similar interests. The closest search tool I've found so far is Twits Like Me, which generates a list of possible candidates based on what you've been twittering about. (People writing about the same things would go on the list.) It seems potentially useful, but if you're just getting started, like I am, there's not much for the program to go on, so you end up with a very nearly random list. Maybe I should do a little strategic twittering to build up my profile. . . Either that, or I can see that I probably won't be twittering for long. (And that would just be tragic.)