Saturday, June 28, 2008

Hand-Dyed Trim

I came across this just now and thought it looked interesting.

Basically, you water down acrylic paint, use it to thoroughly tint your trim (such as lace), let it dry, then "set" the paint in the dryer (on high). I wouldn't have thought it'd be washer safe-- or permanent-- but supposedly it is. (I guess it makes sense that it would be, considering that spills of acrylic paint dried on clothing are usually there to stay.) Could be a fun way to get just the right shade of lace. . .

Knitting Vs. Crochet

I've crocheted about 15 simple granny squares (not counting three or so "practice runs" in scrap yarn). I think I've got the simple granny down pat. I'm not saying they're perfect, but they're good enough in my own estimation. Once I've finished my current project, I'll look into using different colors for different rounds. (Since the yarn I'm using now is variegated, I haven't bothered with that, so far.) I'm also planning to try a couple different types of granny square/motifs.

While working that basic pattern over and over again, I gradually have come to the point that I don't have to think so much about what I'm doing. I can listen to music or TV, or just let myself daydream.

Sometimes my thoughts have wandered to the public opinion of crochet versus knitting. I don't know much about knitting, and I know only a little more about crochet-- but even I know that knitting is currently "hipper" than crochet. For whatever reason, the re-popularization of crochet hasn't been quite as strong and widespread as that of knitting.

Personally, I've always felt more of an interest in crochet-- maybe because I remember seeing my mother crochet (rarely-- it wasn't one of her biggest hobbies). I give most of the credit to the nostalgic, retro appeal of the granny square and similar motifs. That's still just about the limit of my crochet ambition. I'm not interested in having to check gauge-- or in following elaborate patterns (esp. those that would require me to keep count, which is something I loathe)-- or in making clothing. I just want to make a few accessory-type items, from time to time. (Maybe someday I'll look into doily-making. For now, I think that's too finicky for my abilities. Fortunately I'm not one of those poor souls who can't bear to have a little "fussiness" around the house, so doilies are welcome in our home. (g))

Anyway, as a relative new-comer to the "fray", I've been interested in reading the various arguments for each craft. One argument against crochet seems to be that it uses more yarn than knitting. While this is true, it's apparently been blown out of proportion. Some have said (and even printed!) that crochet uses three times as much yarn as knitting. The truth of the matter seems to be much less dramatic-- crochet uses about 1/3 more yarn than knitting. (Either someone's out to scare people away from crochet or they got confused and only remembered that the proportion had something to do with "3". . . )

I was interested to find that someone actually wrote a blog entry on the subject. Five different stitches were put to the test: single crochet, double crochet, knitted stockinette stitch, knitted garter stitch, and plain tunisian crochet. Skipping all the other details (which you can find at the link above), the results were as follows: Knitted stockinette stitch was the clear winner (if by "winning" one means using the least amount of yarn to make a specified size swatch of fabric). Double crochet came in second place. Single crochet and knitted garter stitch were almost exactly equal-- third place in economy. Tunisian crochet came in last place.

Interesting. . .
Well, enough rambling on this subject. . .

Hope your Saturday's off to a great start! :o)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Mad Lib-ish Meme

Sometimes it seems all I do is meme! ;o)

Yep, here's another 'un!

This time I spotted it here: One for Sorrow, One for Mirth.

There are lots of "instructions" for this one. I'm going to list those first, then put my "answer" at the end. (This one could be fun for kids, but you'd want to change some-- eh, most of the options, first...)


Before beginning, pick a friend, any friend,
and then choose the correct answer, and fill it in the blanks in the message at the bottom.

1. What's the color of your shirt?
Blue - Our romance is over
Red - Our affair is over
White – I’m joining the Convent
Black - I dislike your eyelashes
Green - Our socks don't match
Grey - You're a pervert
Yellow - I'm selling myself for candy
Pink - Your nostrils are insulting
Brown - The mafia wants you
No shirt - You're mean
Other - I'm in love with your cat

2. Which is your birth month?
January - That night you picked your nose
February - Last year when you peed your pants
March - When your dwarf bit me
April - When I tripped on peanut butter
May - When I threw up in your sock drawer
June - When you put cuffs on me
July – When you smacked my ass
August - When I saw the purple monkey
September - When we skinny dipped in the bathtub
October - When I quoted Forest Gump
November - When your dog humped my leg
December - When I finally changed my underwear

3. Which food do you prefer?
Tacos - In your apartment
Lasagna- In your car
Pasta - Outside of your office
Hamburgers - Under the bus
Salad – As you were eating Kraft Dinner
Chicken - In your closet
Kebab - With Jean Chrétien
Fish - In a clown suit
Sandwiches - At the Elton John concert
Pizza - At the mental hospital
Hot dog - Under a street light
Annat- With George Bush and Stephen Harper

4. What's the color of your socks?
Yellow - Hit on
Red - Insult
Black - Ignore
Blue - Knock out
Purple - Pour syrup on
White - Carve your initials into
Grey - Pull the clothes off
Brown - Put whipped cream on
Orange - Castrate
Pink - Pull the pants off of
Barefoot - Sit on
Other - Drive over

5. What's the color of your underwear?
Black - My boyfriend
White - My father
Grey – The Catholic Priest
Brown – Your ‘My Little Pony’ collection
Purple - My corned beef hash
Red – My knee caps
Blue - My salt-beef bucket
Yellow - My illegitimate child in Ghana
Orange - My Blink 182 cd
Pink – The Montreal Canadian’s goalie
None – My prized statue of Michael Jackson in the nude
Other - The elephant in the corner

6. What do you prefer to watch on TV?
Scrubs; Man
O.C.; Emotional
One Tree Hill; Open
Heroes; Frostbitten
Lost; High
House; Sly
Simpsons; Cowardly
The news; Scarred
Idol; Masochistic
Family Guy; Senile
Top Model; Middle-class
Annat; Ashamed

7. Your mood right now?
Happy - How awful you are
Sad - How boring you are
Bored - That Santa doesn't exist
Angry - That your smell makes me vomit
Depressed – That we’re related
Excited - That I may pee my pants
Nervous - The middle-east is planning their revenge on you
Worried - That your Ford sucks
Apathetic - That you need a sex-change
Ashamed - That I'm allergic to your earlobes
Cuddly - That I get turned on by garbage men
Silly - That there is no solution to you being a dumbass
Other - That your driving sucks

8. What's the color of your walls in your bedroom?
White - Your toe ring
Yellow - Your love letters to me
Red - Your Elton John poster
Black - Your pet rock
Blue - The couch cushions
Green - The pictures from Vegas
Orange - Your false teeth
Brown - Your nose hair clippers
Grey - Our matching snoopy underwear
Purple - Your old New Kids on the Block blanket
Pink - The cut toenails
Other - Your car

9. The first letter of your first name?
A/B - Your photo with the moustache drawn on it
C/D - The oil tank from your car
E/F - Your neighbour’s dog
G/H - My virginity
I/J - The results of that blood-sample
K/L - Your left ear
M/N - Your suicide note
O/P - My common sense
- Q/R - Your mom
S/T - Your collection of butterflies
U/V - Your criminal record
W/X – Your glass eye
Y/Z - Your credit cards

10. The last letter in your last name?
- A/B - Told my psychiatrist about the bruises
C/D - Never will forget that night
E/F - Always wanted to break your legs
G/H – Hate your cooking
I/J – Mocked you behind your back constantly
K/L - Will tell the authorities that you did not steal that whale in the back yard
M/N - gave my confession today about the moose poaching
O/P - Was interviewed about the car you stole
Q/R - Always will remember the pep talks
S/T - Get sick when I think of your feet
U/V - Will try to forget that you broke my heart
W/X - Haven’t showered in a month
Y/Z – Am better off without you

11. What do you prefer to drink?
Water- Our friendship is ruined
Beer – you should stop picking your nose
Soft drink – I’m off to lead a new life as a lemur
Soda – I will haunt you when I’m incarnated as an Eskimo
Milk - ...the apartment building may be on fire
Wine – Thanks for the Cocaine
Cider – I have a passionate interest for mice
Juice – I love Oprah Winfrey
Mineral water – You should get that embarrassing rash checked
Hot chocolate – Your Cucumber-fetishism is weird
Whisky - You ruined my attempts at another world war
-Other – I'm scratching my ass as you read this

12. To which country would you prefer to go on a vacation?
Thailand – Warm tingly sensations
Italy -- Ciao, baby
USA - Greetings to your frog Leonard
England - Good luck in jail
Spain - Go drown yourself
China – You make me sick
Germany – Please don’t hurt me
Japan - Go milk a cow
Greece - Your everlasting enemy
Australia - Best of luck on the sex-change
Egypt – Kiss my ass
France – With tears of sadness

Now, FILL IT IN ..

Dearest (Friend's Name) ,

I don't really know how to tell you this, but ___1___. I think I realized it ___2___ ___3___ and I saw you ___4___ ___5___. I'm sure you're ___6___ enough to understand ___7___.

I'm returning ___8___ to you, but I'll be keeping ___9___ as a memento.
You should probably also know that I ___10___ and ___11___.

(Your Name)

~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~

Ok, and here's my "answer":

Dearest Donald,

I don't really know how to tell you this, but your nostrils are insulting. I think I realized it last year when you peed your pants at the mental hospital and I saw you sit on the elephant in the corner. I'm sure you're high enough to understand how awful you are.

I'm returning the pictures from Vegas to you, but I'll be keeping your suicide note as a memento.
You should probably also know that I will tell the authorities that you did not steal that whale in the back yard and I’m off to lead a new life as a lemur.

Good luck in jail,

~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~

Hee hee. (g)
I may have to "re-do" the "options" and basic framework, sometime-- make my own version of this. . . It's a nice change from the usual Mad Lib. . .

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Photo Mosaic Meme

Seen on Rachel's website.


* Answer each of the questions below.
* Surf over to Flickr (set up an account if you don’t have one — it's quick and easy) and type your answers (one at a time) into the search bar.
* From the choice of pictures shown only on the front page, click on the one that moves you.
* Once the page with your picture opens, copy the URL.
* Surf over to the Mosaic Maker, set up your mosaic, and paste your URLs.
* Click “Create!”

Here are the questions:

1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you attend?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. What is your favorite drink?
7. Where would you go on your dream vacation?
8. What is your favorite dessert?
9. What do you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. Choose one word to describe you.
12. Your Flickr name?

Here's my mosaic:

Photo Mosaic Meme

Photo credits:
1. Michael in the morning light, 2. Shakey's Pizza, 3. Spring @ Eden_Z13512, 4. Mallorca 2007 -- Waiting for summer (Part 2), 5. T R A G E D Y, 6. Offering to the Gods (who must be crazy!), 7. G´day.., 8. HAPPY BIRTHDAY (found at a thrift store), 9. Mom at the enlarger, 1949, 10. Andalusia Landscapes 2, 11. Shadow Dance, 12. peace, hope, love magnets


Donald's taking tomorrow off, so this is another "Friday" for us. :o) (He's taking a day here and there, this summer, to use up a reserve of off-time that would otherwise expire soon.)

** ** **

Tuesday evening, right before going to bed, I measured a hot dog pendant (sounds weird, I know (g)) so I could send all the information to the person who ordered it. Yesterday, when I woke in the morning, pretty much my first thought was, "I made a mistake when I measured that hot dog!" I checked, and I was right; just as I "knew" when I woke, I'd been off by a quarter of an inch.

I've always heard that when you sleep-- or just leave something for a while and return to it later-- you allow your brain time to work things out. Things like this have happened to me before, of course-- suddenly understanding how to do a math problem, for instance-- or waking up and realizing that I'd used the wrong spelling or even the wrong word in something I'd been writing-- but it's always a strange sensation.

These brains of ours are mysterious things!

** ** **

Still need to do something about those ground wasps. . . Maybe over the weekend.

** ** **

Molly has some weird little scabby things on her back. I'm not sure what they are. You don't see them so much as feel them when you pet her in that one spot. It's hard to get a good look at them, because she doesn't want to sit still when you start focusing on the area you really need to see. They're also difficult to see because they're kind of "under" her hair-- or her hair's growing through them. Since her hair is all still there, I don't think they're regular scabs. Maybe some type of skin problem-- excessive dandruff or even psoriasis. . .

(sigh) Even researching doggy maladies online depresses and worries me! I know better than to use the Internet to research my own aches, pains, and other physical complaints. Now I know I shouldn't research Molly's issues, either! (g) I'll just keep an eye on it for the time being. She is a cocker spaniel, after all, and I think they tend to have skin problems.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Yesterday, Mom came over and helped me clear the jungly mess around the shed. I should really write that I helped her, because she was the fearless, ax-wielding leader. (g) I don't think I'll ever be as good at garden and yard work as my mother and grandmother have been. My excuse is that my generation is too spoiled and pampered to compete. ;o)

Seriously, though, that area of the yard is greatly improved. I need to mow there (and elsewhere), now-- and we're also planning to kill the weeds and grass around the shed to make it easier to keep clean.

It does feel good to accomplish something outside. I haven't been doing enough of that, lately. I need to get in the habit of doing an hour or two of yard work early in the morning, before the heat really sets in-- at least a day or two a week. I've done it in the past, so I know I can do it again... I should look at it as multi-tasking-- getting yard work done and getting in a little exercise, too. ;o) (Of course, I think "multi-tasking" has fallen out of favor after its brief period of popularity...)

Some neato local photography. . .

Donald knows this guy because he used to work for the same company (where D. still works). He takes some nice photographs of this area. His photos are regularly featured on one of the local news stations (channel 5). (I think he works for them now.)

Anyway, here's a link to his photostream:

I especially like the long exposure nighttime shots. :o)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Another Meme!

The Ten on Tuesday subject for this week is "Ten Inventions That Have Made Life Easier"

I think I can easily come up with ten. (Some of them duplicate Yano's, but I can't help it that some of the best answers were already taken, can I? (g)) I'm including inventions that have made life more comfortable. (Being comfortable does make life easier.)
  1. "Climate Control"-- Air conditioning in summer and heating in winter. Where I live, I consider A/C a must-have. I don't see how people lived without it. Maybe you get somewhat used to life without it, after a while, but I don't think you could ever be truly comfortable in sticky heat.
  2. Computers-- Not just the personal computers we use for work and play, but computers everywhere. They do so much of the hard stuff-- and the boring stuff-- for us. I just hope they don't try to take over the world, someday. ;o)
  3. The Internet-- Makes it so easy to find information on almost any topic, keep in touch with people all over the world, buy and sell goods without leaving home, etc.
  4. Digital Camera (and Photoshop)-- Makes photography so much easier and cheaper! I can take photos and process them myself in almost no time. If you have the right printer and paper, you can even print them off at home! And you can take as many photos as you like without worrying that you might be wasting film.
  5. Washing Machine & Dryer-- I don't think I want to imagine having to heat water and scrub clothes by hand. . . What a labor-saver!
  6. Dishwasher-- Not a necessity, but it sure is nice to have one!
  7. Cell Phones-- Again, not a necessity, but when leaving the house, I feel safer knowing that I have a means of calling for help (without having to walk to find a telephone).
  8. Refrigerator/Freezer-- An "oldie", but have you ever stopped to consider how much harder life would be without one? It keeps our food safe and preserves it for days-- weeks-- months (in the case of the freezer).
  9. Airplanes-- I hardly ever fly-- and I don't even really like to fly-- but they do make travel faster. . . and I guess that qualifies as easier. However, I still think someone needs to invent some type of teleportation device. ;o)
  10. CDs and DVDs-- It's hardly a "big deal", but I like not having to fast-forward or rewind things to find the song or scene I want to see.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Manic Monday

Because you can never have enough memes ;o), here's another one-- Manic Monday.

Are you a talker or a listener? Is it ever possible to really be both?

Depends on who I'm talking to and how I'm feeling at the time. With most people, I think I'm usually more of a listener-- unless I'm in an "information-gathering" mood.

I imagine that I strike my readers (you, my vast reading public ;o)) as more of a talker-- but that's because I find it easier to write than to talk, in general. Besides. . . you can't really "listen" on your own blog, can you? (g)

I think it's possible to be both a talker and a listener, if (like me) you have different tendencies based on who's around you at the time, your mood, etc. I think very few of us manage to do both equally well with everyone. (I know I don't.)

Do you think God has a sense of humor?

Yes. There seem to be instances of it everywhere. Besides, I don't think we could have a sense of humor, if He didn't.

Do you believe in love at first sight? Have you ever experienced it?

I believe in instant attraction. I also believe that two strangers can make an immediate connection with nothing more than an exchange of glances. Both of these things can lead to friendship or even love, but I don't think people can really truly love one another at first sight. My idea of love requires that you know one another a little more deeply than that.

Since I don't believe in love at first sight, obviously I haven't experienced it. ;o) Immediate attraction and a feeling of knowing that I'll like someone? Yes.

Crochet Update

Because you've been sitting on the edge of your seat, right? ;o)

Tried a little more crochet after lunch, and this time there was no numbness. So maybe I'll be able to handle a little at a time. I'm not that ambitious, as far as crochet goes, but I would like to be able to do a little now and then, for fun.

Does crocheting cause numb fingers?

I knew that crochet was one of those things that could potentially lead to carpal tunnel syndrome or similar problems, but I thought I'd have at least a few good years before it would strike.

I was working on a granny square this morning when I noticed numbness in my thumb and one or two fingers of my right hand. I haven't even done much lately! (I crocheted maybe one square yesterday, total-- and none for a few days before that.)

How annoying!

I'm hoping this is something that won't be a perpetual problem. I don't think I'll be crocheting much, if it causes numbness. I hate that tingly sensation!

Maybe I was holding my hands incorrectly and that caused the numbness. . . Or maybe I'm just cursed with bad wrists/fingers. (sigh) Seriously, I'm not even (quite) 30 yet. I thought you weren't supposed to start falling apart until then. ;o)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Swedish kids singing, etc. ;o)

Listen to this and see if the kids' singing doesn't get stuck in your head. ;o)

Ha! All this time I thought I couldn't find any mention of a particular Swedish group online because they were obscure (or something). Now I think I've been misspelling the group's name. (blush) Here's a link to a video featuring Ainbusk's "Lassie":

. . . I'm not sure anyone will think it was worth sharing, but there it is, anyway. (g)

Friday, June 20, 2008

More important stuff ;o)

When we played Yahtzee a few days ago, I rolled two "Yahtzees" of sixes in one game-- one of which came out all sixes on my first roll that time around. This is obviously an occasion worth noting. ;o)

~~~ ~~~ ~~~

We found a nest of ground-dwelling wasps near the easement, today. Fortunately we saw it before anyone got stung-- and it's outside the yard, so there's no chance of Molly getting into it-- but now we'll have to figure out how to deal with it.

~~~ ~~~ ~~~

Seeing as this is ancient (i.e. from August 2004), you've probably watched it and gotten bored with it, but we just found it for the first time tonight and think it's hilarious. It's probably only funny if you're familiar with the Lord of the Rings movies. . . and if you have a silly sense of humor. (g)

Anyway, here it is: Mashed Taters. (Boil 'em-- Mash 'em-- Stick 'em in a stew!)

~~~ ~~~ ~~~

Friday's Feast - #194

Here are my answers to this week's Friday's Feast questions:

If you could live on another continent for 1 year, which one would you choose?

I'm going to be a bit boring-- but honest-- and choose Europe. (Not to say that Europe is boring, but you know what I mean. (g)) My second choice would be Australia.

Which browser do you use to surf the Internet?


On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being highest), how much do you know about the history of your country?

I never know how to answer these "scale" questions. . . I'll say seven. I may be grading myself a bit too high, here. I know I've forgotten a lot that I once knew-- and there's plenty that I know I don't know.

Main Course
Finish this sentence: Love is. . .

Love is a choice we make every day.
Love is a touch of the divine to give us hope here on earth.
Love is what makes life worth living.

Have you ever been in or near a tornado?

Not in, but near. More than once, I think. Of course, these tornadoes were not the huge monster ones that you see on TV. Usually, tornadoes in this part of the country aren't as big as the ones in the central US. They're still scary, though-- especially since few people here have cellars/basements to go to when there's a tornado warning. We just have to go into a small room (bathroom, usually) in the middle of the house and hope for the best.

I can remember a couple of specific times when we had a tornado warning while I was in school. We had to crouch in the hallways (in a very awkward "head-protecting" position) to wait it out. . . Not fun!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Today's Tidbits

1. Twitter has eaten my last two tweets! Or at least it looks that way. Maybe they just got temporarily lost in some sort of Internet wormhole, and they'll pop up in the middle of the night. . .

2. Today we've had low humidity. (Low for this area.) However, 90 degrees (F) with 35-40% humidity still feels pretty hot to me!

3. The stamps I ordered (via the orange envelopes that you leave for your mail carrier) yesterday were in our mailbox this afternoon. I think it may be a bit sad that I'm excited to get new stamps. I obviously don't get enough fun mail. . . ;o)

4. I've been putting off making some things "to order", today. I've come to the conclusion that I don't enjoy making custom orders. I'll do them, but I worry that they're not going to come out right, whereas if I'm just making something to list independently, I'm not worried at all. Silly of me, but I imagine it's a common problem. (Maybe?)

5. Yay! Donald has tomorrow off, so today is Our Friday! ;o) (That's Thursday for the rest of you. . . Sorry. (g))

Booking Through Thursday: Flavor

This week's Booking Through Thursday writing prompt:
Think about your favorite authors, your favorite books . . . what is it about them that makes you love them above all the other authors you’ve read? The stories? The characters? The way they appear to relish the taste of words on the tongue? The way they’re unafraid to show the nitty-gritty of life? How they sweep you off to a new, distant place? What is it about those books and authors that makes them resonate with you in ways that other, perfectly good books and authors do not?
I love authors who write in depth about their characters, giving me at least a glimpse (if not the whole picture) of life from those characters' eyes. I love authors who constantly make me say, "Yes! I know exactly what you mean! I've thought the same thing so many times!" or "You're right. I've never seen things that way before, but now that I read this, I know you're right." I love authors who know how to make me smile-- even laugh. I don't mind crying a little, but for me to love a book best, it can't be one sorrow after another. I love authors whose descriptions are so perfect that I feel as though I'm living the story myself.

From time to time, I "visit" authors with a gift for readable poetic prose-- but more often I prefer a good sense of humor. Tight plots that keep the pages turning are good, but the books I love and return to on a regular basis tend to be slower-paced. (They're more character- than plot-based.) Books I love best are set in the real world-- though usually in another period of history-- and their version of "the real world" often comes with a few unrealistic bits.

I love books that are rich enough (in characterization, plot, setting) that they envelope me and melt away real life, for a while.

ETA: I forgot to answer the last part of the question!
I think the reason that some books with these characteristics resonate with me more strongly than others do lies partly with timing (meaning I first read them at just the right time of my life-- or that when I re-read them, I'm taken back to a pleasant time in my life), but mainly with the "recognition" factor. (The part above about "I know just what you mean!") If I find myself frequently "recognizing myself" in a book's characters or narrating voice, I tend to like it. It may sound conceited, but I don't think it's unusual. Most of us gravitate toward like-minded people. Why should it be any different with books and authors?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Weird, weird story. . .

Have you heard about this?

Sixth foot washed ashore in Canadian mystery

What a strange story! Sad too, of course-- but just incredibly bizarre!

Little bits of nothing.

Puppy-lovers: There are some new photos of Soffi (Donald's parents' new puppy) on this page of Thorbjörn's website. :o) The last photo is Lukas and Soffi together. Looks like maybe he was trying to find a place to hide. ;o)

~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~

I meant to get a larger crochet hook (or maybe even a set of a few larger ones) today. I think a larger hook might be better for crocheting some of the novelty yarns I want to use. However, the store I looked in didn't have much selection in larger crochet hooks. Guess I'll have to wait until the next time I go to a larger craft store. . . Poor me, I'll have absolutely nothing to do in the meantime. ;o) (That was a joke, of course.)

~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~

I feel so exasperated with myself, lately. It seems like I keep doing things wrong-- accidentally leaving something out of the fridge, saying things without thinking, putting things in the wrong place-- mostly just making careless mistakes, but also constantly second-guessing myself. I'll be glad when I get out of this whatever-this-is!

~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~

Does anyone want to come over and cook some chicken for me tonight? ;o) I have some defrosted in the fridge, and I really need to cook it this evening-- chicken fried rice-- but I can think of about ten things, off-hand, that I'd rather do. Cooking is definitely not something I look forward to doing, even though I sometimes enjoy it, once I'm started.

Defrosting, handling and cutting the raw chicken is the part I like least. (You may remember that I find "chicken germs" particularly repugnant. (g)) I just need to remind myself of how lucky I am that I didn't have to kill, pluck, and clean it, first! (Not to mention how good it is to have food so readily available.)

~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~

Donald has Friday off, which means that Thursday is "Our Friday" this week. Which would make today Our Thursday. . . Thursday is better than Wednesday (though it grieves me to say it, as Wednesday's child), so that ought to boost my mood.

It all makes perfect sense. ;o)

~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~

There is nothing more to say that I care to say, today, so I guess that's it for this fascinating blog entry.

Thank goodness this is Our Thursday! I'm ready for the weekend. . .

Monday, June 16, 2008

Nothing in Particular

== == == == ==

Donald noticed over the weekend that mockingbirds have been pecking at our tomato plants. Annoying! He put up a makeshift "cage" around all the tomato plants, and that should work for now.

I've read a little online and found a few other ideas, too. Some people suggest hanging junk CDs, foil streamers, etc. on fishing line to frighten the birds away. My personal favorite, though, is a rubber snake. Just move it around every day or two, and the birds are supposed to think it's the real thing. (Of course, we'd have to put it so that Molly couldn't get to it, or it'd be her newest toy! I can just imagine her running around with a fake snake hanging out of her mouth! It wouldn't be good for my nerves. (g))

== == == == ==

Donald's parents are getting a puppy today! (Already have it by now, I'm sure.) There are photos on this page of Thorbjörn's website. Their puppy is the one sitting by herself in two of the photos. I think Donald said her name is Soffi (spelling may be wrong), but I'm not sure if that's what they're calling her or just what the mother-dog's owners have been calling her.

== == == == ==

I just remembered something that happened one of the evenings we were taking care of Prince and Skipper, recently. We were driving away, and the dogs had "escorted" us to the front of the yard, near the fence. Suddenly, I saw a bird "dive-bombing" poor Skipper! He must have been near a nest. I've seen video of birds attacking cats that way, but not dogs. Fortunately, he seemed to be fine, though I do think he was aware that the bird was fussing at him.

== == == == ==

We watched The Invasion the other night.

Don't read this section if you haven't seen The Invasion yet and don't want it spoiled.

Afterwards, I checked out what people were saying about it on IMDB (Internet Movie Database). Just because I like doing that. (g) I don't know what I expected, really, because, well, many of the people who comment there are. . . well, let's just say they're not all the best or the brightest. Still, I allowed myself to feel shocked when some of them expressed the opinion that the virus was actually a good thing. Yeah, what's so bad about something that takes away the essence of who you are? I mean, it was bringing about world peace! Who cares if we cease to be who we are-- lose emotion and autonomy-- if it means the world's at peace?

I knew the concept of the rights (and the value) of the individual was being steadily brainwashed away, but this has brought it into even sharper focus for me.

== == == == ==

I'm trying to learn to crochet granny squares. I got a little demonstration from Mom and Aunt Cathy on Friday, and since then I've also found a couple of helpful tutorials online. (I'm sure there are lots more.) I guess I'm making some progress, but I'm sure my tension is off, because I can't seem to hold the yarn comfortably-- and my work so far is not very pretty. I'll probably improve if I just stick with it for a while, but it's hard to want to work on it when the results aren't that great. I don't think I'll ever be known for my patience in learning new skills.

(I've made two "complete" squares, so far. Still not perfect, but at least they're square. ;o) There's a photo on my Flickr page, if you're interested.)

== == == == ==

We have a new camera! It's a Canon XSi, and of course it works with all the lenses we've been using with our older camera. So now when we go somewhere, we can both take photos. (g) The bigger display is really nice-- and of course the larger photos are a plus, too.

== == == == ==

I'm sleepy tonight. Maybe going to bed a little early would be a good idea. . . Hope your week's off to a good start!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Couple of Links

Link #1:

(If you're family, you've already seen this one.)

My mother sent us this link a few days ago. It's a video taken by someone walking a very scary, dilapidated trail called "El Camino del Rey"-- somewhere in Spain. I can't imagine walking this trail willingly!

Link #2:

I frequently visit (especially in summer) to check out the local radar. It's very useful for seeing exactly where that rumble of thunder is coming from and whether or not it's headed your way. It even predicts the likelihood of hail from specific storms. (Not sure how accurate it is, though.) You can zoom in pretty close to your exact location-- or of course get a wider view. (I think this kind of thing is available at the local news channels' websites, these days, but by now, I'm used to Wunderground. . .)

Well, Donald recently discovered something called WunderMap. Basically, it's radar on top of GoogleMaps. The map also displays temperatures from various reporting stations. I think I prefer the "classic" radar (g), but this might be fun to play around with, too.

Friday, June 13, 2008

It's perfectly clear. . .

I can see right away that this is going to be an agonizing election year. I don't dare look too far into the future, because the "good" result isn't very promising-- and the "bad" result is terrifying.

If you have the stomach for it, you might like to read about how many "spiritually advanced people" have determined that Obama is an enlightened being. (It's funny. I've always thought he looks like a regular flesh-and-blood man, but I must have been mistaken.) If you can't be bothered to click, here's a taste:

"Many spiritually advanced people I know (not coweringly religious, mind you, but deeply spiritual) identify Obama as a Lightworker, that rare kind of attuned being who has the ability to lead us not merely to new foreign policies or health care plans or whatnot, but who can actually help usher in a new way of being on the planet, of relating and connecting and engaging with this bizarre earthly experiment. These kinds of people actually help us evolve. They are philosophers and peacemakers of a very high order, and they speak not just to reason or emotion, but to the soul."

Feeling queasy? You're not alone.

(I particularly loved the part where the author insinuates that if you're not overwhelmed by the godlike Obama, you must be a "scowler" or a "
miserable, deeply depressed Republican". Ugh.)

And while I'm on this subject, have you heard about this (taken from this Politico article)?
Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.), son of the one-time presidential contender, said Obama’s victory overwhelmed him.

“I cried all night. I’m going to be crying for the next four years,” he said. “What Barack Obama has accomplished is the single most extraordinary event that has occurred in the 232 years of the nation’s political history. ... The event itself is so extraordinary that another chapter could be added to the Bible to chronicle its significance.”
I don't think any commentary on that is necessary. (g)

Friday's Feast - #193

Here are my responses to this week's Friday's Feast:

Do you consider yourself to be an optimist or a pessimist?

Neither, really. (Guess that makes me a realist? Ha!) I can sometimes be a pessimist, certainly, but I don't think I go around with a perpetual thunder-cloud hovering over my head. I hope for the best, and though I often fear the worst, I don't really expect it to happen all the time. (Most of the time, there's something worse that could have happened, even if things don't turn out perfectly.)

What is your favorite color of ink to write with?

Assuming I have a choice, I prefer black ink. Blue is ok, but it's just not as attractive to me. Red is also alright, but it's harder to read. Green, purple, and other colors are ok for jotting notes and things, but I find that purple ink tends to bleed pink through the other side (maybe I've just had bad luck). I like the old-fashioned stability and versatility of black ink. (Of course, when I was a kid, multi-colored ink was fun. I loved those pens with a choice of four colors of ink!)

How often do you get a manicure or pedicure? Do you do them yourself or go to a salon and pay for them?

I'm very low maintenance as far as things like this go. I trim my own nails as they need it. I pretty much never wear polish because when I've done it in the past, it just hasn't looked that great. Besides, it doesn't last long enough to be worth the effort, I think. If someone wanted to give me a manicure or pedicure for free while I relaxed at home, I wouldn't object ;o), but I don't have the money or time to waste on a trip to the salon. (And yes, I would consider it a waste, since I'm perfectly happy with my plain nails.)

Main Course
Have you ever won anything online? If so, what was it?

I can't think of anything I've won online. . . Nothing comes to mind.

In which room in your house do you keep your home computer?

The newer, faster computer is in our home office. The older computer is in the "main room" of the house (family room/living room), and that's the one I use most of the time. I prefer the openness of this room, most of the time. Besides, when Donald's using the computer at home, he works in the office. I hate not having the "stuff" I need on the computer I'm using at the time, so I find it's easier if I just stick with this one for most things, as it's always available.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Just a piece of paper. . .

Here's something we got in the mail a couple of days ago:

You may have to click it to get the text up to a readable size. If you'd rather not be bothered ;o) here's a partial transcript:

This letter is to acknowledge that Chase Home Finance (Chase) has received the funds to pay off your mortgage loan referenced above.

I think it will only really sink in for me when we've gone a month or two without receiving a mortgage bill!

Bloggity Blog

Feelin' kind of bloggy (bloggish? bloggity? bloggerific?), but I don't have anything in particular to say, at the moment.

I could tell you what I did yesterday, but I feel a little guilty about that. (Besides, it's not that interesting to read about. Oh well, looks like I'm gonna write about it anyway!) I was gone shopping most of the day. I promise, I really don't go shopping that often. But everyone else was going (maternal grandmother, Mom, Aunt Cathy and Aunt Debbie) and I hardly ever shop with all of them, so it was a little bit of a family get-together. (g)

What with Donald having Monday off and me going shopping Tuesday, I'm behind on work around the house and yard. (Well, ok. I've been behind on some parts of that for much longer than that, but you get the idea.) Today there will be much general cleaning and some laundering. I also have some work to do at the computer. Oh, and there's about a lifetime of work waiting for me outside. (Or at least it looks that way, right now!)

Let's see. . . What other fascinating news can I dish out for you lucky readers? ;o) Ooh, how about some weather? (This is just the sort of edge-of-your-seat writing you've come to expect here at Odds and Ends, I know.) Yesterday (pause for effect) it rained. It rained a nice little bit early in the morning, and I'm pretty sure it rained while I was gone, too. We have a decent chance of rain for the rest of the week-- and in fact, I can hear the rumble of thunder as I type.

Well, time to get breakfast ready! Halfway through the week!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Tangents from a Flickr Greeting...

This morning, Flickr greeted me in Swedish:

Got me to thinking about another way to say "hello" in Swedish: "Hejsan!"

And "hejsan" (pronounced kind of like "hay-son") has always made me think of Japan and the Japanese tradition of adding "san" to someone's name as a sign of respect.

And that reminds me of a couple of other (generalized) similarities between the two cultures. . .

Such as, both have traditions of removing outdoor shoes before entering someone's home.

Both countries are also known for producing quiet, reserved personalities.

I believe I had at one time noted other similarities, but I must've forgotten them. . .

Aha! Here's a link to a "presentation" of the similarities between the Swedish and Japanese cultures / national identity or mentality. It's based on (or taken directly from-- not sure which) a book I've read before-- Åke Daun's Swedish Mentality.

Note: Swedes may not agree with this calculation of their cultural characteristics. (g)

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Creepy Crawlies

Something I came across earlier this week, while trying to ID a bug:

The two-striped walking stick (aka musk mare, prairie alligator, devil's riding horse, or witch's horse) can "shoot a noxious substance from glands in the "neck" region with amazing accuracy"-- up to 15 inches away! They aim for the eyes of pets or people who disturb or threaten them; the resultant "irritation and blurry vision may last for hours". (They can also be pretty stinky, apparently. And someone who got the spray in his mouth reported that it has a disgusting taste, too. (g))

Sounds like something from the latest sci-fi film! These things live along the coastal plain from Florida to Texas, and as far north as South Carolina. If you see them, you'll probably want to avoid them-- or at least put on some safety goggles before you get close. (g)

Note: They don't always spray when handled. Many people report "friendly" encounters with these insects, only to learn later on that things could have ended badly. Still, it's best to be on the safe side. Some of those who have been sprayed were not even handling the insects. They simply got too close for the bug's comfort-- an easy thing to do, considering that they're camouflaged.

Friday's Feast - #192

I missed yesterday's Friday's Feast, so I'm answering now instead. :o)

When you drink soda/pop/coke, do you prefer to drink it from the bottle, a can, or after pouring it into a cup?

I never buy it in a bottle, these days, so my options are really can or cup/glass. I usually pour it in a glass. If I've chilled the can in the fridge, I probably won't add any ice. If the can hasn't been chilled, I usually put three or so ice cubes into the glass and pour just a little of the drink at a time. (I don't like watery coke!) Pouring it out a little at a time helps me enjoy it more, I think. I'm trying not to drink as much cola as I used to. :o(

What television show are you willing to stay up late to watch?

Lost, I guess. It's not late-late, but in it's most recent time slot, it doesn't end until ten, and that's late for me to watch something other than the local news, sitcom re-runs, or late-night comedy/variety shows.

Name one person, place, or thing you think of as brilliant.

I hardly ever think of or refer to people, places, or things as "brilliant". You see, I'm not British. ;o) No offense to the British. (g) It does rather irk me, though, when people constantly say "brilliant" and you can just tell that they're doing it because they think it makes them sound cool. Ugh!

Anyway, when I hear the word "brilliant", I think-- "brilliant scientist", "brilliant diamond". . . and that's about it!

Main Course
Would you be willing to work 4 10-hour days instead of 5 8-hour days in order to save gas?

As I'm not working outside of the home, I have a hard time answering this. (Of course, unless someone has worked on both schedules, I guess no-one truly knows which they'd prefer. The grass is always greener, etc.) I think I'd be ok with 4 10-hour days a week instead of 5 8-hour days, but it would depend on the job. In some cases, those two extra hours might be too much.

Based on discussions I've had with Donald (my husband), I think he would prefer a shorter work week with longer hours-- or even some arrangement whereby he could work from home one day a week. Unfortunately, from what I hear most companies are unwilling to go this route. Maybe that'll change soon. (Saving commute time and headache might be as much of an incentive as saving gas, for many people.)

If you were a superhero, what would you call yourself?

It would depend on my super power. ;o) I think I'd just "do my thing" and let the world decide what to call me. No decent superhero has the time (or the ego) for sitting around, sorting through names.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Booking Through Thursday: Trends

This week's prompt from Booking Through Thursday:

Have your book-tastes changed over the years? More fiction? Less? Books that are darker and more serious? Lighter and more frivolous? Challenging? Easy? How-to books over novels? Mysteries over Romance?

Yes-- and no.

Explanation of "yes":
I definitely read more "new-to-me" how-to books than new-to-me fiction, these days. When I do read fiction, I'm less likely to pick up a heavy "classic" than I was in high school. This may be partly because the new-to-me classics I have ready at hand just don't interest me that much, right now. Excuse for book shopping? ;o)

Explanation of "no":
When I read fiction-- not that often, lately-- I tend to turn to the same books over and over and over again. It's the same collection of books I've been reading since middle and high school! So I guess my tastes haven't changed much since then. . .

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Musical Interlude

Enya's "La Soñadora" just came up on my iPod impostor (aka the Meizu). It's such a beautifully peaceful melody!

And since I'm already on YouTube. . .
The song from "Bumbo II" popped into my head while I was in the shower this morning. Where it came from, I cannot say, since it's been a long time since I've seen the video or heard the song. It must be a sign that I should post links to the Bumbo videos. ;o)


Ready-Set-Bumbo II:

Ready-Set-Bumbo III:

Heat, Twitter, Spaniel-Dog & Punctuation

** ** ** ** ** **

It is sooo hot and humid, lately. Summer's here, with a vengeance. It'll probably be a few months before I spend any truly enjoyable time outside. ;o) I may exaggerate a bit. . .

** ** ** ** ** **

I guess Twitter is another of those places where people try to build up some sort of reputation for themselves. That's the only thing that would explain why random strangers (seemingly with little or nothing in common with me) suddenly decide to "follow" my twitterings-- or why, when I look at their profiles, I see that they're following thousands of other people. (One person is following over a hundred thousand twitterers!)

I don't necessarily mind if they "follow" me; I simply don't understand why they do it. They can't actually be reading all those twitters. I can barely keep up with the few people I'm following! ;o)

** ** ** ** ** **

My lovely psycho spaniel-dog decided this morning to go into the jungle behind the shed-- and stay there for a while. (She does try my patience, sometimes.)

I'd just come home from a quick errand. Even though it wasn't yet 10 a.m., it was already hot and steamy, and I figured Molly would want to come inside with me. I called her and soon heard her barking from behind the shed, but she refused to come.

My first thought was, "Oh great. She's found a snake!" That would be bad news at any time, but for her to find one now would be particularly bad timing, as it would be hard for me to get someone to come help quickly, today. (We really need to get a gun appropriate for shooting snakes. . . If I could even manage to get my crazy dog far enough away from the snake for me to try shooting it!)

Anyway, she soon stopped barking-- which made a snake seem unlikely. (She barks herself hoarse at snakes.) So then my pessimistic brain presented me with images of her lying in a stupor after being bitten-- or (even weirder) being constricted by someone's former pet python. (I think the heat was getting to me at that point.)

Peeking through the dense growth, I finally glimpsed her. She seemed fine, from what I could see, so I decided that she was either being obstinate (she has an admirable single-mindedness that is sometimes mistaken for pure stubbornness) or had become tangled in briars and was unwilling to pull herself loose.

After much fruitless finagling (with a squeaky toy and treats), I decided that I'd have to clear a path to reach her. Fortunately, her dominance proven ;o), she came out on her own before I had to get very deep into the jungle. I didn't see the big moment, as I was focused on cutting a path with a machete (or maybe something not quite that extreme), but she wasn't trailing briars, so I'm inclined to think she may have just been stubborn!

That settles it! The jungle behind the shed must be cleared. It hasn't been "pretty" for quite some time, but I honestly didn't realize it was that bad, as I tend to avoid that part of the yard. Things can spring up so fast, this time of year! And with a dog lacking the sense to stay out of jungles, something has to be done. . .

** ** ** ** ** **

I used to have a serious addiction to dashes (--), but now that seems to be overshadowed by my newer over-dependence on parenthetical statements (like this one).

. . . I mention this merely in passing, as I have no serious intentions of cutting back. Hyphens-- and now parentheses (what an odd word!)-- are some of the cheapest luxuries in my life, so I refuse to skimp. ;o) (Emoticons fall into this category, too, as you may have noticed. Only I do feel a bit ashamed of my addition to the smiley, the wink, and the "(g)". . . I fear I'm too far gone to be helped, though.)

** ** ** ** ** **

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

10 Ways the World Has Changed Since I Was in School

This week's prompt from Ten on Tuesday is "10 Ways the World Has Changed Since You’ve Been in School". I'm going to say that means "since I was in high school". I graduated in 1997, which already makes me feel a little frantic at the speedy passage of time. (I can only imagine what it'll feel like when it's been thirty or forty years since I graduated!)

10 Ways the World Has Changed Since I Was in School
  1. A new millennium has begun.
  2. "9/11" happened.
  3. The whole global warming thing has risen to hysteria levels.
  4. My area was hit by the worst hurricane (Ivan, 2004) since the one that hit the year of my birth (Frederic, 1979).
  5. Technology continues to improve. Flat screen TVs are becoming the norm, the iPod (launched in 2001) and similar devices are everywhere, and it is even possible to take photos and access the Internet on many cell phones.
  6. Almost everyone (including many children) has a cell phone, now.
  7. The issue of cloning has (temporarily) moved out of the limelight.
  8. Organically grown food is "all the rage", and some are willing to pay a hefty mark-up for everything "organic".
  9. Same-sex marriage has become legal in five countries since 2001.
  10. Public awareness of illegal aliens-- particularly the huge numbers entering the country through our border with Mexico-- has risen, but as yet, not much has been done to address the issue.
Those were the first to come to mind. I'm probably missing some of the biggies, though. . .

Monday, June 2, 2008

In which I turn "fashionista". . . Not! ;o)

(Forgive me for the "not". I just had a flashback to the 90s. . .)

Last night's dreams involved a woman who decorated/painted her house so it coordinated well with her personal coloring-- specifically, with her flame-red hair.

I wonder if anyone actually does that? I suppose it makes sense, in a way, but it still seems odd to me-- not to mention vain. Besides, I'd rather have colors that I like to look at-- which aren't always the ones that are most flattering for me to wear.

I remember that in one of the Anne books (I think), a character makes sure that the bed linens complement each guest's hair color and complexion. . . And Anne herself laments that she won't ever be able to wear pink (because she's a redhead). And then there's Pat, who can't wear. . . green, was it? (Must be time for a re-read, because I can't remember, exactly. (g)) Then there's the Little House books, in which Ma chooses which ribbons Laura and Mary wear based on their hair color.

Fortunately, I don't worry much about those types of things. ;o) I just wear any color I feel like wearing, as I think most of us do, these days. Of course, we may put less thought into the colors of our clothes because they're often cheap and nearly disposable. When someone from Laura's or Anne's time bought a dress (or fabric to make a dress), she knew she'd have to make it last for years, so naturally she gave it more thought than I do when I choose what color tee-shirt I want.

Yes, this was particularly pointless. (g)