Thursday, March 31, 2011

First Snake of the Season

The chatter about the escaped cobra in NYC reminds me that we saw our first snake of the season a couple of days ago.  It was pencil-thin, poking its head out of a corner of the siding on our porch.  Probably another rat snake.  We seem to have a lot of those around here.  (Four or five have gotten stuck in the weird, clear caulk around the outside edges of our windows-- mostly the bay window and small kitchen sink window.)

Actually, I just remembered that this wasn't the first snake of the season, because Donald found another small rat or corn snake when he was moving things out of the shed a couple of weeks ago!  So this makes number two.  Still, I'd much rather have multiple rat snakes wandering around the yard than a single moccasin.  (Grandpa has already seen the first one of those for the year, too, down at the pond.)

...This has been the Snakes-to-Date report for March 2011.  ;o)


(That's why I'm writing about it.)

So, the guy (David Ferrer, whose name was new to me today-- because that's how much I care about tennis) who "lobbed" the tennis ball into the stands in the general direction of a baby who'd been crying and (I guess) disturbing his concentration...

Point 1: 
Who brings a baby to a big sporting event?  (Honestly, though, who brings a baby to even a high school sporting event, if they can possibly avoid it?)  Maybe I'm stupid and everyone does that all the time... but it does seem a little rude.  If I pay good money for a seat and someone's baby is crying right next to me, I have to admit that it gets on my nerves.  (It also annoys me when the woman behind me on an airplane coughs onto the back of my head.  So don't do that anymore, lady.  Seriously.  Just put your hand over your mouth, next time.  It's not that hard.) 

Point 2:
Yeah, the player shouldn't have done that.  I wonder if he was penalized in any way.  (You'd think that would be against the rules...) 

Point 3: 
Oh, please.  Are you telling me that you require absolute silence to play your silly little game?  Why are tennis and golf players so precious, yet in football, baseball, basketball, hockey, and so many other sports, the players somehow manage to function amid thunderous cheering, boos, and general noise?  It took those nightmarish vuvuzela things to faze soccer players, for instance.  But apparently tennis is a matter of life or death.  "Ladies and gentlemen, the tennis player will now attempt to hit the ball with the racket.  This is very dangerous and requires intense concentration. We ask that you remain silent..."  

...And then when most of them hit the ball they shriek, groan, and grunt in ways that must be calculated to distract the opponent (not to mention embarrass the more prudish members of the audience).

...For someone who never watches tennis, I still managed to work up a nice rant.  It's one of my special gifts.  ;o)  Anyone wanna trade?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


My day so far:

  1. Sort & start laundry.  
  2. Paint lumber (for finally finishing the patio cover).
  3. Stop to switch around laundry.
  4. Paint. (Because of the way things are set up and the dimensions of the lumber, some of it can only be painted on one side at a time, so each coat is a four-step process.)
  5. Complain to Molly about my aching back.
  6. Stop to switch & fold laundry.
  7. Paint.
  8. Complain to Trixie about my aching back.
  9. Repeat until sanity hangs by a thread. 
Oh, and did I mention that I have to wash out the brush after each painting session?  I do, because I've learned from past brushes ruined that putting it in a bag in the fridge doesn't work that well for me.  I tend to let them wait around too long, and after that, they're niver the same again (as Judy Plum would say).

I need to get these boards painted and done.  They're set up in the middle of the kitchen (with cardboard underneath to catch drips-- as if I ever dripped paint! Ha!), which means that my Kitchen Work Triangle is all messed up.

I feel like I'm walking around in circles in there (because I am), and Molly keeps getting in my way.  Now, Molly tends to stand right in my path, anyway, but now that the kitchen is doubling as a lumberyard, the spaniel speed-bump effect is exponentially more noticeable.

Well, I think I can get this bundle of lumber painted and finished today, if I keep at it.  Then there are three more ("differently dimensioned") boards all primed and ready to paint, oh boy.  And... I'm trying not to be aware of it, but there are even more boards out on the back porch.  Will it never end???

I guess I can set those up to be painted outside, at least.  (The only reason we put this first batch inside was to avoid the rain that has already come through.)

...Or maybe the painting will just slip my mind altogether for a day or two...

Ah.  Time to go.  The laundry's buzzing!

Monday, March 28, 2011

All the News That's Fit to Tweet

...because everyone knows that Twitter is the best source for news.

Prince William slips off for secret stag weekend...

No comment.  Actually, I don't see why anyone would care.

President Obama speaks on Libya tonight from the National Defense University in Washington.

Yay.  I'll plan my entire evening around this.  Maybe even figure out how to use the VCR again so I can have a copy to watch over and over again until the tape breaks.  (Because we are the Flintstones, living in 2010 without a DVR.  TiVo?  What's that?)


That sounds about right.  Yeah, that's pretty much what you'd expect from a Soros-led group.  Ah, I see; it's Media Matters.  Long have they held a cherished spot in my conservative heart!  ...But is this really "news", at this point?  ...I see.  Now even the founder is admitting the whole "guerilla war" and "sabotage" thing, apparently.  Well, that's nice.

Poisonous Egyptian cobra escapes Bronx Zoo...

It wasn't a pregnant female was it?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sweet, Simple Things

Sometimes it feels like it doesn't take much bring you down and practically ruin your day, but at least it doesn't have to take much to make you happy, either. 

“It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all.”
--Laura Ingalls Wilder

Sweet, Simple Things from This Weekend:
  • Playing Saint Petersburg with Donald
  • A handful of malted milk balls to munch on while we played
  • Working on my new doily-- the first "for me" project I've done in quite a while
  • Learning that I can follow written patterns for doilies (Yay!)
  • Trixie's obvious joy in a simple game of "Find It"
  • A breezy yesterday
  • Crisp green pepper slices and pickles on a sandwich
  • British mystery novels of the 1920s and 1930s 
  • Nearing the end of a month (which means a fresh challenge for the photo blog)
  • Feeling interested in and even looking forward to some of my "need to do"s for the week to come

Friday, March 25, 2011

Humble: It's a Funny-Sounding Word

Humbling Things, Should I Begin to Think Too Highly of Myself :

  • Trying to brush Trixie's teeth when she doesn't want them to be brushed.  (I was trying because I'd noticed that some of them are looking a little dirty around the gum line).  She can make her mouth tiny, and I never dreamed she had such muscular lips.  

  • Working hard at cleaning the floor, only to find that it's already getting dirty again by the end of the day.  Or (in some cases) by the end of the hour. 

  • Stepping into the front yard and finding 2- or 3-foot high weeds in the foundation plating, where I could swear there were no weeds a day or two ago.  

  • The seemingly self-propagating piles of papers and stuff I need to go through, sort, and Do Something With.  (Where do they come from?!)

  • Good intentions.  Lack of follow-through.  (That says it all, really.)

Oh well.  That's just life, I guess.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


I know-- some "experts" swear dogs are incapable of feelings of guilt. "That dog doesn't feel guilty! Even if he did eat the cat treats, he forgot about it two minutes after it happened! He can just tell by your tone and body language that you're displeased, so he reacts accordingly." Personally, I'm not convinced, but either way, this video gave me a good laugh.

Little Miss Sunshine, That's Me! ;o)

Dez Bryant Kicked Out Of NorthPark For ‘Pants On The Ground’

He (apparently) is an NFL player.

Bryant and three of his friends were ejected from the NorthPark shopping center Saturday after a dispute between Bryant and two off-duty officers over the men sagging their pants below their hips, exposing their underwear.

A Tuesday police statement says officers working off-duty Saturday as security at NorthPark encountered Bryant and three companions wearing the drooping pants.

When the officers asked the four to pull up their trousers, Bryant launched into a profanity-laced tirade. According to the statement, when confronted, Bryant told officers. “What the ****, you stopped me like I stole something.” That prompted the officers to escort the four from the mall.

Police say Bryant refused to leave, however, until his “representative” could arrive and he parked in a fire lane until a friend arrived and persuaded him to go.

No charge was filed, but a Miscellaneous Incident Report was filed.

Classy.  (And I would expect no better from far too many of these "modern-day gladiators", unfortunately.)

When will people finally realize how utterly ridiculous (and trashy) it looks when you don't keep your pants pulled up?  Exposing the top three or four inches of your underwear is an insult to everyone around you.  (Also, I thought it was widely publicized about a year ago that if you "sag", then you're "lookin' like a fool with your pants on the ground"...)

Even if you defend his right to "sag" (oh, gag!), it sounds like he has no respect for authority (or probably anyone else).  Hey, I don't care if they were off-duty officers at a shopping center.  If an average person (read "not a very well-paid athlete) attracted the unfavorable attention of those officers, I doubt he'd be treated gently after "launching into a profanity-laced tirade". 

But whatever.
I guess we have bigger problems to deal with...

Like Obamacare and this, for instance.
(But back when it hadn't been passed yet, you thought Obamacare was such a wonderful idea, Rep. Weiner...  I'm confused.  If it's so wonderful, why are you considering getting a waiver for New York City, should you become mayor?)

...And then you're reminded that so many of our problems are due to people like this one member of a craft-related Yahoo newsgroup I'm subscribed to.  Yesterday, she posted a message about how if you're at risk of losing your home, you might want to check out this website, because there are some very old laws in some states that might help you.  And then there's a little snippet that she forwarded:  "Very interesting.  Took this out of an article on AOL about how a couple gained title to their new home after only one payment, and now owns it free and clear. It pays to check out these questions and answers."

Yeah, it paid for that couple.  What about whoever ended up picking up the rest of the tab for their new home, since the couple who now "own" it "free and clear" only made one payment (which obviously wasn't for the entire cost of the house)?

Now, let's just say the tease about the couple with the one-payment home isn't legitimate.  (It sounds fake to me, but who knows.  Maybe in some very, very rare circumstances, it could be true.)  My point is that some people-- too many people-- like this woman-- read that and think, "Wow!  What a great deal, if you can get it!  Maybe I can get my house almost for free, too!  Maybe I can get away with paying for only a quarter-- a half-- whatever percentage of the original price of my house!"  Never mind that you agreed to pay X amount of dollars for the house.  Never mind that someone is going to get a raw deal, if (1) you don't pay a fair price for the house, and (2) you keep it and live in it anyway. 

Maybe I'm just being mean.  (Wouldn't be the first time...)  Maybe I'm just jealous, because we had to pay for all of our house.  No magical old law came along and let us thumb our noses at our creditors with a merry round of "nanny-nanny-boo-boo".  (Then we'd just have had to figure out how to live with the shame.)

Look, I know times have been tough, but for most people, if you find yourself unable to pay your mortgage, at least some of the blame falls on your own shoulders, whether you want to admit it or not. 

Whatever.  I'm just sick of people feeling entitled to this, entitled to that.  I'm tired of the "If I want it, I should have it, by golly" mentality-- the "I'm owed this, simply by virtue of my fortuitous existence in this country" attitude.   If so-and-so has one, you should have one, too!  'Cause otherwise it's jut not fair.  Why should you have to work for it-- to pay for it, really?  There's no need.  Not with good old Uncle Sam to foot the bill, thanks to the redistribution of wealth and the printing of more moolah.  Just put it on the tab!  We're only $14,240,283,447,859 (give or take a few) in the hole.  Once you're in for $14 trillion, what's a few thousand more, right?  Obama can just pay for it out of his stash-- his special Obama-money stash

Ugh.  People.  No wonder I prefer my dogs to most of  'em. 
(...And, no, I don't wonder why I don't have more friends.)

Ah.  I looked it up (brilliant of me, really) and found the story.  It's true, and I have to say, after reading it, I still don't feel all warm and fuzzy over their "luck".  (Good grief.  Am I even human that I not feel the warm fuzzies?!)

Things like this are what stop the cozy feeling:

Matt acknowledges that at the time they bought a larger, previous house in 2003 "we couldn't afford the property." But like many Americans, they say they were a product of the mortgage industry, which at the time was handing out loans to almost anyone with a pulse.  

Oh!  Well, that explains it, then.  You were duped, you poor darlings!   You were merely a "product of the mortgage industry", so obviously you bear none of the blame for the unfortunate circumstances in which you found yourselves.

And also like many Americans, they used their home like an ATM, refinancing into a larger mortgage as equity climbed with rising home prices (and the extensive remodeling they did) just so that they could have money to pay for the upgrades as well as purchase the vacant adjoining lot.

Well, I don't know about you, but that makes perfect sense to me!  Home = ATM.  Yep.  Got it!

This part amused me (beastly person that I am):  They got their first loan on "their 6,000-square-foot dream home" (with a "vacant adjoining lakefront lot"-- courtesy of the ATM-home) through the wife's employer (First Horizon Bank)... so when that didn't work out, "it was awkward".  (You don't say!)

"I owed them money and I defaulted, so I didn't want to pursue another loan through them again." The 32-year-old was also embarrassed and decided it would be better to keep her personal finances separate from her workplace.

 ...Yeah.  Probably so.

"I don't like people saying we won a 'free' house," says Matt. "It's not like we entered a raffle and won. We lost practically everything we ever worked for."

Fine, but don't pretend that you were merely innocent victims.  There's a reason you "lost practically everything".  You (and your wife, who is a mortgage loan originator) should have known better.  Sorry.  It may not be pleasant to admit, but that's the way it is.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Dude is Psycho.

Crazy ol' Chavez-- always good for a laugh:

Chavez says capitalism may have ended life on Mars.

Capitalism may be to blame for the lack of life on the planet Mars, Venezuela's socialist President Hugo Chavez said on Tuesday.

"I have always said, heard, that it would not be strange that there had been civilization on Mars, but maybe capitalism arrived there, imperialism arrived and finished off the planet," Chavez said in speech to mark World Water Day.
You have to wonder if certain people know how ridiculous they sound and just pretend not to be aware of it... or if they're truly, legitimately that out-of-it.

...Personally, I've long suspected that the vast and advanced (subterranean) civilization of Mars fell prey to a vampire-zombie-plague outbreak that wiped out the entire population in a matter of days.  It happened about 1,673 Earth-years ago, in fact.

In Which I React to More News Tweets

"Scientists create animals that are part-human."

Yeah, I'm sure that will end well.

It's probably not (yet) quite as bad as it sounds--  as usual--  but still...
You think any of those scientists saw Splice?

"FBI's Next Generation ID system launched: Fingerprint, iris, VOICE, tattoos, palms, face..."
 ...Wait.  So you mean all those old "futuristic" movies in which someone sneaks past security with just a pair of "borrowed" eyes, possibly a spare thumb, were pure hokum??  

Also, I gather that we're supposed to be surprised that they apparently have such effective voice recognition.  But somehow... I'm just not.

Incidentally, that story reminds me of this one ("The Government Wants To Buy Software To Fake Online Grassroots Social Media Campaigns"), which I only heard about yesterday, through Donald. I haven't read much about it, but my first reaction is that it's creepy:

    "HBGary Federal wanted to create software that could make it easy for staffers to create and maintain a massive number of fake online social network personas, allowing them to control virtual armies of totally fake people, whose only mission is to spy on others and spew paid-for propaganda. But, what's even more amazing is that not only did the emails reveal HBGary Federal employees talking about building a platform for letting people more easily manage an army of fake personas, but that the US government put out a request for exactly that kind of software last June, with its request for 'Persona Management Software.'"

Like so many things, it could have uses for good, but what about when it falls into the wrong hands?  People are so easily swayed by popular opinion/peer pressure. When a fake "popular opinion" starts popping up everywhere, will they bother to think critically about it, or will they just go with the flow?  (That's a real tough one, huh?)

"Libya War Cost Headed for the Billions..."
"'Gold Bug' Gaddafi can afford mercenaries for months, perhaps"
"Portugal braces for govt collapse amid debt crisis..."
"Nuclear Plant Contaminates Sea After Damage to Fuel Rods..."
 (...and so on...)
You can always count on the news to cheer you right up!

 "First Calls for Obama to be Stripped of Nobel Peace Prize..."
Well, he never should've received it to begin with, but honestly, who cares one way or the other, at this point?  History will still be history, regardless of their silly little prize.  (Even Donald, a Swede, scoffs at the Peace Prize.  How much of this is due to the fact that it alone of the Nobel prizes is awarded by the Norwegians instead of the Swedes, I leave you to decide... ;o))

"Man shows up for DWI hearing -- with an open can of beer!"
That is so pathetic that I can't even make a joke of it. 

"Report: Majority Of Newspapers Now Purchased By Kidnappers To Prove Date"
 Oops.  That one's from The Onion.  ;o)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

What's in My Bag

What's in Your Bag?

Hey, I actually did it!
And it's such an accomplishment, too. ;o)


If you want to make your own washable, reusable cleaning pads for the Swiffer WetJet, you don't have to fiddle around with elastic or velcro strips to hold them into place.

I found someone blogging about how she made hers from scraps of fleece (polar fleece-- not genuine fleece, by the way ;o)), and found that they stuck to the velcro-y stuff on the Swiffer just fine (especially after being pushed around the floor a few times).

I didn't have any fleece scraps, but I did have some old, unwearable flannel pj bottoms in the rag bag, and flannel seemed at least as sticky for velcro as fleece, so I gave that a try.  And yes!  It works!  No velcro!  No elastic!  Just flannel on one side and old towels (terry cloth) on the other, and it stuck perfectly.

And because (out of consideration for my readers) I believe this will conclude the saga of Swiffer, I'll conclude this entry with... "and they Swiffered happily every after (except for those times when nothing but a really thorough mopping would do the job)!  The End."

Argh!  Well, the first one I tried worked great.  Then I used a couple more today (after publishing this post, of course), and they were less amazing... In fact, the towel side stuck to the velcro fairly well (after a little doing), but the flannel's sticking ability was less than impressive.  Oh well.  If all else fails, I have plenty of cheap elastic to use up. 

Amusements du Jour

Via an "anonymous" designer:  Clients from Hell
Enjoy the weirdness, rudeness, and/or cluelessness of a certain percentage of the public, as witnessed by those who design for a living.  (Anyone who knows the joy of explaining computery, techy things to decidedly non-techy people might also get a kick out of it.)  Admittedly, some of the snippets deserve a response along the lines of "um, okay... I think you were the odd one in that situation".  But then you have classics like...
  • "Isn’t it as simple as putting in a button to select different languages? Just look at Facebook."
  • "We want to know for sure who we are dealing with here. After registration, users need to send a copy of their passport or identification to us by mail."
  • “How do you spell HTML?”
  • "I’m afraid of Facebook, people can find you through it. They could have complaints and I don’t want to be hunted down by the Facebook people."
  • "We are on a bit of a rush for this one, I’m going into jail on Tuesday."
  • ...and many, many more!  ;o)

Via being alive and on Flickr circa 2008:  What's in Your Bag?
There's no single link for this one.  If you're interested, just go to Flickr and do a "groups" search for "what's in your bag".  You'll find quite a few variations on the theme.  Basically, a person pours out everything in his/her bag/purse, arranges it (neatly or not so neatly, according to taste), and gets it all into a single photograph, which is then put online for the whole world to admire.  I'm not sure when this actually became a "thing"/meme, but I know it's been a few years, at least, since I first heard of it. 

Though looking at such similar photos from so many strangers can get boring after a while, the idea itself is interesting, and you can sometimes get a real sense of a person's life-- or at least his or her sense of style-- based on the little things s/he carries around on a daily basis.  (Also, it's like snooping, but with no guilt. (g))  Of course, then you have people like me who probably don't have anything interesting in their bags at all-- not much to provide a clue to the person's interests in life.  I don't usually carry "fun" things in my purse-- just the basics I need (or think I may need) when I leave the house.  ...Which reminds me that I've never done this myself.  Maybe I will, today.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Mish-Mash of Subjects

The video and photos from Japan (following a magnitude 9.0 earthquake, a devastating tsunami, and problems at a nuclear power plant [to remind Future Me of what's been happening in the present]) continue to astound and horrify.  There's nothing to say that hasn't been said already, really-- especially regarding the loss the life.  It's just incredible, the level of damage created by the tsunami, in particular.

I remember how tired I was in those first days after Ivan (which doesn't even begin to compare, but is the most violent natural event I can remember experiencing)-- how dispiriting it was-- how it sometimes felt like we'd never get everything back to normal again-- so I can't even imagine how physically and emotionally exhausted so many of the Japanese must now be feeling.   I hope they know (as I think they must) that the rest of the world is praying for their recovery from this disaster.

- - - - - - -

On a much lighter subject (most subjects would be, compared to the previous), Donald and I spent part of the weekend cleaning out our shed.  It really needed it.  There's still work to be done (isn't there always?), but it's already much improved.  

There's no telling how many dead or dying wasps Donald removed.  Hundreds, at least.  Maybe thousands.  It makes me feel all shuddery just thinking about the piles of horrible little crispy wasps.  (I loathe wasps.  I expect most people dislike them, but I'm somewhat terrified of them.  They and mosquitoes are a large part of the reasons I don't look forward to summertime.)  Oh!  We also found a small snake in the shed.  We think it was a corn snake.  (There seem to be quite a few of those around here.  Those and hog-nosed snakes.)  It's probably still in there, but that's ok.  I'd rather have the little corn snake than something worse. 

In the process of cleaning out, we discovered quite a few things we need to dispose of.  I guess we'll get rid of it gradually by putting out a little each week with the garbage. 

We also "found" (in quotation marks because, really, we already knew they were in there) all my hypertufa-making supplies.  I'm going to hunt out my 'tufa notebook, remind myself how to do it, and get busy making fake stone containers.  :o)

- - - - - - -

I've begun doing a little yard work.  (Finally.)  I'm trying to do just a little at a time and not push myself too hard.  (Ha ha, very funny.  Yes, I can hear you laughing.  "You'll try not to push yourself too hard!" you snort in delighted hilarity.  You know me too well.)

Seriously, though, I don't want a repeat of last spring's horrible back pain-- and it's so easy to do something bad without realizing it is bad until it's too late.  My first day working outside (Saturday), I must have spent too much time using the loppers, because I ended up with an irritatingly achy shoulder/upper arm and neck that night and the next morning.  So.  Only a little at a time!  Fortunately, even a little does show.  There's just so much to do!

- - - - - - -

Just after healing from biting one side of my tongue, I think I just managed to bite the other side, now (but not with quite so much force, this time).  Incidentally, I can't even remember the last time I bit my tongue (just so you don't think I make a habit of it).  I guess I was overdue for a couple of tongue bites... Might as well get two or three of them over and done in a handy one-week period.  ;o)

- - - - - - -

Apparently, AFLAC fired Gilbert Gottfried over some "insensitive" (not to mention unamusing) tweets he made about the tsunami.  They'll be looking for someone to replace him as "voice talent" for their commercials, according to the story I read.  That shouldn't be too difficult, considering that the duck never says anything but "AFLAC"... Just pull someone in off the street, right?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Musical Resemblance

Do you ever listen to a song and think, "Wow, this really sounds like so-and-so (another band or singer).  I know it's not them, but there is definitely a resemblance!"?

The lead singer (only singer?) for The 88:

...sounds a lot like Rod Stewart to me:

(Maybe not particularly in that song, so much, but just in general.)

Then there's "Change of Heart" by El Perro Del Mar:

...which feels very Fleetwood Mac to me:

(Though "Dreams" may be a better match...)

Agree? Disagree? Don't care one way or t'other? ;o)

Pet Peeve of the Day

The Pet Peeve of the Day is a doozy, and I have to warn you, if you're eating breakfast, second breakfast, fika, lunch, dinner, supper, high tea, low tea, elevenses, or what-have-you, or if you have a weak stomach, you may not wish to read further.  ;o)

Basically, it's this-- people who think that watching someone vomit is hi-lar-ious and-- furthermore, because honestly, I don't mind if they sit guffawing at it all day long-- insist on inflicting it upon others.  They do this sometimes on AFV (the "funniest home videos" program), for instance, and in some movies.  Most TV programs I watch have the decency to at least provide the buffer of a waste basket, but the sound and mental image is bad enough.  Look, I felt a little queasy just seeing that hideous spot left on Don Draper's shirt after he tossed his cookies.  ~shudder~  (Considering how often the character drinks to excess, I have a feeling this may have happened more than once, so just choose your favorite instance.) 

Then there are people who use-- as their avatars-- animated gifs of someone vomiting.  I don't care if it's real or not-- why would I ever want to see it once-- much less over and OVER again in a loop?  It's horrifying, and it has to stop.  (Well, ok.  It doesn't have to, and I'm sure it won't, but I certainly wish it would.)

...This has been the Pet Peeve of the Day. 
And no, I don't intend to make this a regular feature of the blog.  You can thank me later. ;o)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Told Ya So. ;o)

Well, ok, not really, but some of yesterday's storms were nasty-- worse than your average run-of-the-mill thunderstorms.  There was a tornado (EF2) in Mobile (well, Theodore-- close enough) and (the last I heard) what was likely another EF2 tornado in Silverhill.

Weather being what it is, we had hardly any wind at all at our house (thank goodness).  It was much windier a few hours before the storms came through than during them, I think.  It did pour buckets of rain, but that's nothing out of the ordinary.  The local TV news people (meteorologists in particular) were very excited, though, and spent probably the whole first half of the day on the air.

On the way to grocery shopping, I drove through Silverhill this morning and saw some damage to property on the main road (104)-- trees ruined on either side of it, roofs with shingles ripped off, smaller tree limbs piled on the edge of the road for pick-up.  (This was on the eastern edge of the town, by the way.)

Anyway, it's all over now.  The sky is bright, north-windy blue and we're back to highs in the 60s (for a day or two, until they creep back up into the 70s again).

ETA:  Maybe I should've mentioned before that as far as I've heard, there were no serious injuries from yesterday's storms.  (Journalism students everywhere shuddered when I left it out that first time.  They never saw this blog, but somehow they just felt that something in in the universe was Wrong.)

ETA again:  Ach!  Um, that should've been "EF2"-- not "E2"...  So I've gone back and fixed it.  Because this is the type of thing that gives me no peace until it's rectified.  Because it's obviously so important.  

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Local Radar, This Morning

This is the type of thing that can put my stomach into knots...

But at least I'm not as terrified of thunderstorms as I used to be.  (This may not be the best place to live if you're scared of lightning.)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happy Thought

Diaries, journals, and blogs (or my blog, at least) can tend to become a little too grumpy or gloomy, sometimes.  It's too easy to write only when something's gone wrong or you're not feeling your best-- because when you are happy, you're likely off doing something else.

To counter-act that, a few Happy Thoughts:

♥  The laundry's happily chug-chugging along.  I like laundry on a dreary day.  It adds to the atmosphere of cozy indoors.  Plus-- every load laundered and folded is its own little accomplishment.

♥  There are two snoozy puddle-bugs in the house.  Molly's in her dog bed in the kitchen.  Trixie just lies down anywhere-- right now, she's on the carpet beside her crate. 

♥  That reminds, me-- a couple weeks (or so) ago, we made a doggy bed/pillow for Trixie.  She doesn't use it very often, but every now and then she'll go lie on it for a minute or two.  Which is pretty adorable-looking, I think. 

♥  The crown molding in our kitchen/breakfast room is up and pretty much done!  This goes nicely with our beadboard/chair rail and fresh paint in those rooms, and we are happy with the results.  (Now I need to paint the cabinetry and put things back on the walls...)

♥  Once I finish putting that afghan together (which would go faster if I actually worked on it instead of putting it off every evening), I'm going to choose a pretty doily to make.  I like making doilies, and I'm not ashamed to admit it.  ;o)

♥  I've taken at least one photo a day every day this year, so far.  It's not an important thing to do, of course, but it really only takes a minute or two each day, and I enjoy it-- and being able to say that I've done it. 

♥  I like putting things into order, and boy-howdy do I ever have stuff to put in order... (g)  (This is what they call looking for the silver lining, I believe.)

♥  I have a practical sewing project (more Swiffer pads), which is actually my favorite type of sewing.  I like making things that don't have to be perfect or even pretty.  (This is mostly because I'm not a very good seamstress, but that's ok.  No-one really cares how a practical project like a Swiffer pad looks.)

♥  We haven't had to use our heater (or A/C, for that matter) much over the past however-many weeks, which is nice.  We were even able to have the windows open for a while and air out the house a bit.  I love having the windows open. 

♥  There are flowers in our yard.  Some of them are weeds (wild violets, henbit, widow's tears, some unknown teensy blue flowers in the grass), but hey, they're still nice to look at, for the time being.

Here's hoping you're enjoying some happy thoughts of your own!

Cryptic Remarks

(Though sometimes guilty of it myself) I hate it when people (online) make cryptic remarks about how someone else online is being annoying.  If I have any contact whatsoever with the person, I can't help but wonder (illogical and self-centered as it may be) if I'm the horrible person they can't stand.  *sigh*  I mean, I know that chances are it has nothing to do with me (how many people can I annoy in one day, right?), but you can't help but wonder...

...And this in itself may be construed as a mysterious "I don't like so-and-so"-type comment.  Oh well.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Monday Random Stuff

Thoughts and "I/we did"s...

♣  It's funny how you can't help but notice which card games were popular during certain periods of history, based on how frequently they were mentioned in contemporary literature.  Whist is always popping up in Austen, for example-- and in books set "between the wars", bridge seems to be the game of choice.  In at least one of the E.F. Benson Lucia novels, all the characters are obsessed with it, and now I've just finished Agatha Christie's Cards of the Table, in which bridge plays an even more important role in the story.  I don't guess I have any interesting commentary on this subject, though.  It's just amusing to notice. 

♣  The most recent (only?) TV adaptation of Cards on the Table is awful.  I mean, I'm really fond of David Suchet as Poirot, so as far as that goes, I was happy, but did the writers have to change so much of the story?  Nearly every aspect of the novel was distorted, often beyond recognition.  This is the second time I've seen an adaption of an Agatha Christie that I'd actually read.  That one was also altered significantly... and horribly.  (Interestingly, both of these adaptations saw fit to inject homosexual themes where they didn't exist in the novels.  I guess the writers thought that would make a juicier story for modern audiences.  ...?)  The downside:  It's disappointing that it may be difficult to find a faithful adaptation when I want one.  The upside:  Maybe this means I can read all those Poirot novels I've watched adaptations of and still find the plot virtually unspoiled.  (g)  (My remarkable ability to forget things also helps in this respect.)

The main reason I don't understand major rewrites in adaptations (particularly in these Agatha Christie mysteries, where the plot is pretty much everything) is this:  You have a carefully plotted story all ready to go.  It's been proven successful!  Yay!  All you need to do is figure out how to transfer it to the screen.  But no.  You decide to change how characters behave-- their relationships to one another-- the motive of the murderer-- maybe even the murderer's identity.  But why?  Your audience can be divided into two groups-- those who have read the novel and those who have not.  For those who have not read the novel, the original plot will be entirely new.  (See?  No need to change a blessed thing!)  And those who have read the novel, yet still decide to watch an adaptation must've liked the original plot, right?  I mean, if they hated it, why would they bother watching it on TV?  It makes no SENSE

♣  Sometime within the past few weeks, we (mostly Donald) put up a ceiling fan in the breakfast room.  Last summer, we decided it would be a good place for one-- so now we're all set! 

♣  I spent a portion of the morning cleaning out and reorganizing our pantry-- with the result that it is probably the most organized "room" in the house, now.  (Probably ought to do something about that...)

♣  I sewed a washable pad for my Swiffer Wet Jet from a piece of an old towel and a couple snippets of elastic.  It seemed to work pretty well (cleaned the floor, stayed put on the Swiffer during cleaning), so now I'm interested to see how it holds up in the washing machine.  If the elastic doesn't work out, I may try velcro... but I have a feeling elastic is much cheaper (even if I have to replace it every so often.) ...Or I may try making one side of the pads out of some fabrics that tend to cling to the velco on their own...

Saturday, March 5, 2011


I'm amused every time I hear a story in the news about how more people are choosing to buy generic-- or "store brand"-- products to save money in leaner times.

The way the reporters talk about store brands, you'd think they'd just discovered something new:
  • "They often cost significantly less than their brand-name counterparts!"
  • "They look almost exactly the same!"
  • "They actually taste ok!"
I've been buying generic since before it was "cool"... or slightly more common than it supposedly is now.  (I am such a trend-setter.)  I can't take the credit, though.  That goes to my store-brand-shopping mother.  I was raised on generic brand-- and I have to say, sometimes the generic tastes even better than the brand name.  Now, that's not to say that I never buy brand names, but most of the time, I'm more than happy with the cheaper store brands.  Whether one brand is better than another is often just a matter of what you're used to.

(I haven't been paying close attention... I wonder if these reporters have blown the lid off the fact that there are also generic brands of other products-- toiletries, for instance.  When will I see the exposé on shampoo or paper napkins?  I'm on the edge of my seat!)

Friday, March 4, 2011

I Just Don't GET IT

Five Random Things I've Never Really "Gotten":

#1:  "NKOTB" and "boy bands" in general
That's just not my style of music. Besides, I thought the NKOTB guys were gross (and wasn't shy about saying so, I'm afraid).  New Kids on the Block were big when I was in about the 5th and 6th grades.  I was one of (I think) only two girls in our class who didn't swoon over them.  (You'd be surprised how big a deal that sort of thing can be for girls at that age.  It certainly played a role in who I spent time with and how I related to my female classmates for years to come.)  I still haven't completely forgiven NKOTB for existing. ;o)

#2:  Waxing
Nope, just not worth it-- not by a long shot.  Give me a good old-fashioned razor instead.  (Maybe this is TMI.  Oh well.)  Many women say something silly like, "This is the price we pay for beauty.  Bring it on!" (followed by the sound of hair being ripped from follicles-- and a stifled scream)... to which I reply, "I'm beautiful enough as I am, thanks all the same."  (Well, as beautiful as I'm going to get, waxing or no waxing.) 

#3:  Sunbathing / Tanning Beds
I probably have my mother to thank for this.  (And no, I'm not being sarcastic.  Seriously, thanks, Mom.)  She taught us young that cigarettes and sunbathing (among other things) were Bad For You.  We used sunscreen at the beach-- so on and so forth.  Result: I've never been tempted in the least to sunbathe or use a tanning bed.

(Some might argue that this isn't much of a feat, since my natural skin tone isn't that light.  Maybe... But I never understood why people thought being pale was a bad thing.  In fact, I've sometimes felt that those who hold out milky arms and legs, bemoaning their lack of a tan, might actually be fishing for compliments on their perfectly creamy complexions.  *shrug*)

#4:  SPAM & Pop-Ups
No, I don't love the edible SPAM, either, but what I really meant was computer SPAM-- and those incredibly annoying pop-up ads that some sites still persist in having.  I know in theory that the reason they exist is that someone, somewhere is clicking and buying the junk in the ads, but I just don't get WHY anyone would do so.  WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE??

#5:  Disease/Death-Centric Novels
You know the ones I mean?  Novels in which the main character or his/her love interest (or his/her family member or close friend) has a very limited life expectancy-- and that's the whole point of the book, apparently.  For examples, look at practically anything Lurlene McDaniel has ever written.  With titles like Mother, Please Don't Die...  Don't Die, My Love...  If I Should Die Before I Wake...  She Died Too Young...  Sixteen and Dying...  and Why Did She Have to Die, how can you go wrong?

I recognize that there may be a need for this type of book... When an adolescent has to deal with serious disease or death in her own life, she may benefit from reading about similar situations and how characters deal with them.  One could even argue that reading such books gives those as yet untouched by tragedy a better sense of what her friends may go through.  ...But the thing is, most of the teen/pre-teen girls I knew who read those types of titles didn't seem to be doing it for therapeutic reasons or to gain greater empathy.  They just liked the melodrama.  I, on the other hand, did not.  Nor do I now.  This is one of the reasons I don't watch medical dramas-- and if I start reading a book, only to discover that it's going to focus on something so utterly depressing, my first instinct is to get rid of the horrible thing ASAP.

(One exception:  The Blue Castle, by L.M. Montgomery.  But that one doesn't really count, for reasons I can't go into without spoiling the whole book.)

"The Deep"

If you haven't already seen this guy-- PES's-- other stop-motion videos, you really ought to give them a look.  (And if it's been a while, some of them are worth a re-watch.)  They're amazing!

How It's Made: Amigurumi

Apparently, this is one of the things that can happen when I wake up (way) too early and can't get back to sleep-- I flood my blog with stop-motion videos.

Organizing the Bookcase

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Random Thoughts

(When all else fails...)

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I tried out my new Swiffer WetJet this afternoon.  I hope that it will encourage me to clean the hard surface floors (mainly the kitchen and breakfast room) more often than I tend to do with the mop or scrub brush.  I have sneaky intentions of either crocheting or sewing some reusable pads for it-- anything to avoid having to buy the disposable pads.  Also, I've found a tutorial that allows you to refill one of the bottles of cleaning fluid yourself rather than buying a new one every time.  (A penny saved, etc., etc.) 

Maybe it's just me, but the WetJet liquid smells like an odd mixture of fruit (sour apple?) and beer.  And yet it's not unpleasant.

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Further proof that I am an über-introvert / hermit:  I got a lot (by my standards) of comments on my crochet/sewing blog a while ago, back when someone must've noticed and spread the word about my Circle of Friends-based afghan.  It's flattering and all, but I haven't even read the comments there or at Ravelry, and now I'm avoiding that blog so I won't have to deal with it all.  Surely I'm not the only person who has this love/hate relationship with comments.  (Right?  Or, ok, maybe I am.)  This is part of the reason I decided that Facebook wasn't my cup of tea.  Practically the whole thing seems to be centered around comments. (I may start going there to lurk, though.   ...Maybe.)

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There is a reason that crocheters don't typically make blankets using a mixture of motif shapes.  This afghan I am currently piecing together has octagons, squares, and triangles, and it is taking for-ev-er.  I long for simple columns and rows of squares!  (But I'm not "allowed" to start another project for myself until I get this thing pieced together.  ...And when I do, I think I'm back in the mood for thread crochet.)

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What's this about an NFL lockout (whatever that is)?  Fortunately, I couldn't care less about football (especially NFL football) if I tried, so I don't have to bother about this (incredibly boring) subject. 
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My take on the situation with the Wisconsin senate democrats hiding out-of-state to avoid doing their jobs is predictable:  It's simply infuriating. If they refuse to fulfill the obligations of their positions of political power, they need to step down (or be removed from office).

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How does spring manage to sneak up on me every year?  
Ugh.  There's so much I need to do before the summer heat sets in.