Wednesday, January 30, 2013

30/365 - After the Storm

30/365 - After the Storm

A windy, rainy day gave way to cool, refreshing air.  Goodbye (for now), heat and humidity!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

29/365 - Under the Oak

29/365 - Under the Oak

This is the same oak from yesterday's photos-- but this time with a wide angle lens.

I think we've decided to let the tree stay put for now.  It's not near the house, so if it ever did break in half, it wouldn't be a catastrophe. 

Musical Obsession of the Week

Last weekend, I caught a few minutes here and there of an old movie (The Black Cat). I didn't see enough of the movie to say anything about the plot, but whoever was in charge of the music did a good job of choosing memorable bits of classical music.

I recognized the melody of this one, but couldn't remember the name or composer.  A little investigating online-- and here it is!  ...And now it keeps coming back to me.  (There are worse things to have stuck in your head. (g))

The best part (imho) is the first two and a half minutes. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

28/365 - Live Oak Macro

Live Oak Macro

The little black squiggles remind me of the characters of a foreign language...

I'm wondering whether this tree should stay or not.  It's a volunteer in our yard-- a bit crooked, but straightening out.  The potential problem is that it's forked at about my height, and I'm concerned that it might be destined to fail, at some point.  We could just remove the smaller of the two branches, but the larger one's forked, too, further out. 

Decisions, decisions...

Sunday, January 27, 2013

27/365 - Magnolia Fuzz

27/365 - Magnolia Fuzz

We did a little yard work today, including planting a new "Little Gem" magnolia.  That involved me giving our existing magnolia a look-over (and a small bit of "limbing up").  One of the limbs removed was young enough to still be wearing this delicate fawn-colored fuzz.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

26/365 - The "Old" Red Shed

26/365 - The "Old" Red Shed

Not really old-- though it does need a lick of paint here and there...

I am officially in a Project 365 rut.  Was shopping most of the day, and by the time I bothered to pick up the camera, I just didn't care. 

Hm.  May have to resort to list-making, soon.  In the meantime, hey, it's a photo taken today, so it still "counts".

52 Weeks of Happy (4/52)

Four Things That Made Me Happy This Week: 

1.  Good deals.
This week brought good deals on clothing, decorative plants for the garden, thrift-store sweaters for felting and unraveling, and more.  Finding a bargain is always a mood-lifter!

2.  Making progress on the afghan.
I'm still not finished-- just not putting in enough crochet-time every evening for that-- but I did finish attaching all the whole hexagons, and I'm on to crocheting in the 10 half-hexagons I need to even out two sides of the blanket.  It sometimes feels like I'm crawling on this project, but the end is in sight.

3.  Open windows.
Three days this weeks, the weather has been warm and nice enough for us to open some of the windows.  Having them open again has literally been a breath of fresh air!  (Downside: Trixie barks noticeably more when the windows are open, because she can hear more little noises/dogs barking/etc.)

4.  Rediscovering music.
The mp3-player surprised me by playing some music that I hadn't listened to for a long while.   ("The North Wind Blew South", by Headless Heroes, for instance.)  I'm glad to be reminded.  I think it's time to rearrange the contents of the mp3-player, one of these days.

Friday, January 25, 2013

25/365 - Partly Cloudy

25/365 - Partly Cloudy

Too tired from shopping to be creative.  ;o)  The plants will have to wait for another day.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

24/365 - Pink Snow

24/365 - Pink Snow

Mom and Granny went to a plant sale at a closing nursery-- and kindly offered to pick out and bring me back some plants. 

Tomorrow I'll find spots in the yard for a "Little Gem" magnolia and two pink camellias that we're told are the "Pink Snow" variety.  (One of them has an open bloom.  Instant Project 365 photo!)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

23/365 - Hard-Boiled

23/365 - Hard-Boiled

Sometimes you just want a hard-boiled egg.  (Unless you're Donald.  Then you just want to give the resident hard-boiled-egg-eater a "how can you eat that?" look.)

And no, I'm not going to eat them all at once, in case you were wondering.  (g)  I was just using up some "you're no spring chicken-- er, egg-- yourself" eggs.  We don't use lots of eggs in our house, except for those times when we do, and this half a carton was getting a little old.  So if you think about it, I'm really doing a service by eating these eggs before they go bad.  

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

22/365 - Sleeping Dog

22/365 - Sleeping Dog

I should have let sleeping dogs lie, but the intrusive beeping and shuttering of the camera disturbed her, and now she's muffing and biffing at every little thing.  Silly girl.

This is one of her favorite snooze spots-- under the breakfast room table.

Monday, January 21, 2013

21/365 - Winter Twilight

21/365 - Winter Twilight

Sunset creeps up on you, sometimes, and you realize you haven't yet taken a "photo of the day"...

I just realized that this is the third day in a row that I've focused in on (mostly) bare branches for my Project 365 photo.  (g)  What can I say?  I'm a creature of habit!  (And I like photos of trees and shrubs, apparently.)

Trying to Stay Away From *IT*, But...

...I couldn't resist the pull of Twitter... and then the trending topics.

As always, it was a bad, bad idea to click the trending topics.  It truly makes you fear for our future.

One random woman (among many of the fawning):  "He looks every inch a President!!"

Yes, looks are all-important.  So long as he looks "presidential", we're in good shape.

(For the record, I don't recall hearing anyone deny that he looks "every inch a President".  The problem is that his looks seem to be almost all that so many voters care about.  His physical appearance and the big "D" by his name.  But whatever.  We're in for another four years of this utter crap, so at this point I might as well shut up.)

And apparently he's addressing climate change in his inaugural speech.

To quote the Twitterverse:  "YES!!  Finally!  Thank you, O Glorious One!"

(Well, ok, maybe that last bit was a mild exaggeration.  They didn't tweet that; it's just what they were thinking.)

...But I thought that the rise of the oceans had begun to slow, planet began to heal, etc., etc. way back in 2008, when he won the primaries... So confusing...

Sunday, January 20, 2013

20/365 - Bare

20/365 - Bare

Most branches are still bare.  It won't be much longer, though... Must get outside and work in the yard more often!  These cool days are in limited supply.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

19/365 - Blueberry Bush

19/365 - Blueberry Bush

I was admiring all the little buds on our blueberry bushes when I noticed this sweet, heart-shaped leaf.  Sure, it's only heart-shaped because something happened to the leaf (eaten away by an insect?), but still. ;o)

52 Weeks of Happy (3/52)

(Almost forgot about this, and I'm only three weeks in.  Doesn't bode well for the future of "52 Weeks"...)

Four Things That Made Me Happy This Week: 

1.  Going to the Duck Pond.
Donald and I went to the "duck pond" (in one of the parks beside the pier in Fairhope) one afternoon this week.  I was surprised how many birds there were.  The whole area was bustling with activity (ducks, geese, Canada geese-- and a heron and a squirrel, too).  It was a very nice place.  Plenty of things to photograph, birds moving, interacting with one another and quacking, etc.  I'd definitely like to stop by again. 

2.  Two slices of Vitolli's Pizza.
New York-style pizza.  Pepperoni and ham.  Cheese and tomato sauce.  Yum.  Definitely not a healthy, everyday sort of lunch, but an oh-so-delicious one.

3.  A Blunt Instrument, by Georgette Heyer.
That's the book I'm currently reading-- mostly while walking on the treadmill.  It's a light mystery with some wonderfully humorous and memorable characters.  I'm really enjoying it, so far, and I'm happy that the author wrote quite a few other books, so if this is representative of the quality of the bulk of her work, I'll have lots of fun reading ahead of me. 

4.  Cool, crisp air.
The humidity went away!  (Well, for a while, at least.)  Even if we somehow lost the ability to detect the temperature and humidity, ourselves, we'd be able to tell when there'd been a significant improvement in the weather, because Molly will suddenly want to stay outside and run around longer in the morning, rather than trying to break the world record for Speediest "Toileting" by a Cocker Spaniel.  ;o) 

Thank You, Mr. Internet

Donald and I were talking only yesterday about how much modern technology has changed the world, even in just the past ten or twenty years.  It's amazing-- and it creeps up on you while you're not watching.

(You know, the fact that Penny's "computer book" is now a very real thing-- only it's not nearly so bulky as hers was.  Or the way we take for granted the ability to research any subject at any time on the Internet... and from almost any place, if you have a smart phone, tablet, etc.  As silly as it sounds, it truly is the Information Superhighway.  Then there's the ease of finding and ordering products online.)

You think you've got a grasp on things.  You think you're aware of just how mind-boggling it all is.

And then you stumble upon Not Quite What the Doctor Ordered, a blog devoted entirely to Dr. Pepper copycats...

And your mind is blown all over again!  ;o)

Mr. Pig!  Dr. Good Guy!  Dr. Whatever!  Mr. Sipp!  Dr. Aahh!

I tried to find a similar blog for Mountain Dew copies, but failed.  This and this were the closest things I could find.  (And there seems to be a Wiki page on the subject.  Of course.  I should have known.)

Friday, January 18, 2013

18/365 - Peek-a-Boo

We stopped by the duck pond at Fairhope Pier this afternoon.  There a a lot of birds there!  Ducks, geese, Canada geese-- and one heron (?) that decided to stay around, too.  (Next time, we'll have to bring the super-zoom lens.)

(There are quite a few more photos from the pond over on Flickr.  I had a hard time choosing one for Project 365.  I don't think this is my favorite, but it's probably the most "dramatic" of the group.)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

17/365 - Red Thread

17/365 - Red Thread

A book of motifs + a crochet hook + some remnants of crochet thread = hours of amusement.

I'm planning to use these floral motifs as decorations for a basket or two, eventually.  Maybe I "need" to make more to go along with them, first...

Relax; You've Already Got the Job (More's the Pity!)

"Obama names 8 citizens to highlight his successes"

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is featuring eight Americans as "citizen co-chairs" of his inauguration, a new role created to highlight his first-term accomplishments with examples of lives that have either been improved by his actions or inspired his presidency.

Inaugural planners say the honorees include a woman with a brain tumor who no longer is denied health care for a pre-existing condition; an autoworker who got her job back after the General Motors bailout; and a gay pilot-in-training kicked out of the Air Force before the president repealed the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

Inauguration officials said Wednesday that the president has met most of the eight individuals during his first term and their inclusion in inaugural events is meant to showcase his administration's core values through real-life examples that people across the country can relate to.

I have to admit that I don't know enough about inaugurations in general to be sure... (because I care about their silly, expensive parties only marginally more than I care about all those incredibly boring entertainment awards programs) ...but has that sort of thing been typical of past inaugurations?  I doubt it, but maybe I'm wrong.

It feels more like what you'd expect during campaigning than months after election day-- and it seems awfully self-congratulatory...  (Especially with the still-dreadful economy, among the other problems we face.)

The common diagnosis of narcissism seems more credible with every day that passes!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

16/365 - Dishes

16/365 - Dishes

Here's one of life's constants: There are always dishes to be washed.  (And today I'm actually caught up, for a change.)

Political(ish) AGAIN.

(I know, I know.  Twice in one day.  I should be ashamed.)

This time it's about this

Look, Matt, what it boils down to is this: You're just plain wrong. 
(Calm down; you should be used to that by now.)

No, the "First Kids" are most certainly not more important than any other kids-- or any other people, period.  They are not more important to the country than anyone else's kids. 

Would it be bigger news if they were kidnapped (to use your example)?  Yes, obviously.  Would there be a bigger reaction-- larger scale, more costly, etc.?  Well, duh.  However, I think it's safe to say that if a celebrity's child were kidnapped, that would also get a bigger reaction than the abduction of the average kid down the street.  Are you also willing to say that a celebrity's child is more important to the country than any other American child?  (I hope not, but who knows...)

So no, they're not more important. 

Ugh. (Political)

"White House Releases Letters from Little Kids Pleading for Gun Control"

As usual, a classy move from a classy administration.
That's not cheap or manipulative at all.

Clearly, we're supposed to weep and wail.  "The children!  THE CHILDREN are asking for gun control!  Out of the mouths of babes... or something..."

I won't say that there should be no changes at all, but if people can't see this for what it is-- "never letting a crisis go to waste"-- scurrying to take advantage of raw emotions in the wake of tragedy-- they're just not paying attention.

Personally, I wonder how all these kids heard about the shooting, to begin with... Most young children don't watch or pay attention to the news, and I think that if I were a parent, I'd try to shield a young child from this kind of thing, as much as possible.  What I'm saying is this: I wonder if a single one of those kids wrote his or her letter without being prompted to do so by an adult.   

From the article:  "The White House appears not to have released a single letter to the AP in opposition to President Obama's gun proposal."

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

15/365 - Raindrops on Roseleaves

15/365 - Raindrops on Roseleaves

We've been stuck in a warm, humid, mostly overcast, and occasionally rainy pattern for days.  It feels more like springtime than the middle of January. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

14/365 - Rust

14/365 - Rust

I need to paint the obelisk again, but it's low on my list of outdoor priorities.  Also, I'm wondering if I ought to try to scrub the rusty bits with a wire brush, first... The Internet knows, I'm sure; I just never remember to "look it up".

Sunday, January 13, 2013

13/365 - Leaf-Footed Bugs

13/365 - Leaf-Footed Bugs

I loathe these things.  They don't bite, but they're everywhere right now-- and they'll fly right at you-- and they're terrifying-- and they're gross-- and they can make a horrible stench-- and I just plain don't like them even one little bit.  Yuck.

Thought of the Day

Leaf-footed bugs MUST DIE.

Every last sinkin'* one of them within a ten-mile radius, if I had my way. 

Yuck yuck yuck yuck yuck yuck YUCK.

*(Figuratively and literally stinkin', I might add.)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

52 Weeks of Happy (2/52)

(No "illustrations" this time, either.  It looks like I'll be doing well to even remember to write these weekly posts... and I'm already doing Project 365 this year, so let's call that good enough. (g))

Four Things That Made Me Happy This Week:

1.  Relaxing with a new crochet book.  Helpful hints, crisp and orderly lay-outs, pretty pictures, new motifs!  Ah, nothing like a new craft book (or two)!  I foresee many hours of happy browsing.

2.  Ibuprofen.  This is a weird one, maybe, but gosh, I appreciate that stuff.  It may take a little while to kick in, but once it does, it makes a world of difference in some of my occasional aches and pains.  I'm happy to live in a world with ibuprofen!

3.  Slow-cooker stew.  Or slow-cooker anything, really.  I love that feeling of accomplishment when I get it all set up and turned on in the morning... and the pleasant smells of cooking food wafting through the house later on... and then the utter joy of not having to figure out what's for supper in the evening.  ;o)  Sure, you may have to make a pot of rice or something to go along with the main dish, but the bulk of the work is already done.  (I really, really love not having to cook in the afternoon/evening.  Can you tell? (g))

4. Walking on the treadmill again.  It was the first time in far too long (though we take short walks outside fairly often, this time of the year).  It's amazing how little it takes to make you feel that you're on the right track.  I need to make it a habit again-- part of the usual routine-- but I did spend time doing yard work two days this week, and I'm counting that as exercise-ish, too.

I'm not going to tell myself I should really be running on the treadmill, because I pretty much hate running (because it makes my stomach hurt... because I push myself too hard, too fast... because I'm too much "all or nothing" when it comes to running).  Walking while reading a book, on the other hand, is something I actually enjoy.  If I enjoy something, I'm more likely to do it.  It's much better to get light exercise regularly than heavy exercise hardly ever, so in my case, walking is better than running.  (Any questions?  ;o))

12/365 - Oak Leaf

12/365 - Oak Leaf

There's still the odd colorful leaf clinging to a branch, here and there.  This one happens to be clinging to a tree that we've (most unkindly-- and unsuccessfully) tried to do away with.  Why is it that the tree you want to remove persists in springing back up again, while the sapling you've taken a special interest in gives up the ghost at the slightest inconvenience?

Friday, January 11, 2013

11/365 - Beyond the Square Crochet Motifs

Beyond the Square Crochet Motifs

Today I discovered two "book review" posts I'd written (but neglected to publish) for my crochet/knitting/sewing blog.  I snapped a few photos to illustrate my points.  Started in 2011, finished in 2013.  What a pace!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

10/365 - Pebbles

10/365 - Pebbles

I spent part of the day trying to Do Something about the spot by our front door where a tremendous amount of water comes crashing down every time it rains.  Grass can't grow there, and previous (admittedly feeble) attempts to toss a few stones in the general vicinity to take the brunt of the deluge have proven less than effective.  So today I was hauling stones and bits of old broken concrete... then soil... then pavers and more stones... then getting down on my hands and knees in the red dirt.  I'm only just starting, though.  We'll have to make a few decisions about the final solution, but at least the ball is rolling, now.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

9/365 - "A-Gypsying" Along

9/365 - "A-Gypsying" Along

The supply of paperweight grannies has been replenished (not that it was ever actually depleted...) and the joining of motifs continues.  I'll have to stop and make a few more, I think-- as well as some half-motifs-- before the blanket's done, but this basketful should be enough to work up the bulk of the afghan.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

8/365 - Pineapple Guava

Pineapple Guava - Greenery

Last autumn, we had a small harvest of pineapple guava fruits from this little tree.  (Once the dogs learned that it was dropping fruit, they were very interested.)  My mother gave it to me some years ago, and it makes for an unusual addition to our back yard.  Its flowers are a bit odd, too-- drooping white petals with red fringe centers.  (Evidently the petals are edible, but I'm not much for eating flowers...)  As an evergreen, it remains fully clothed in pretty leaves-- waxy on top, slightly fuzzy underneath.  An interesting transplant from South America.

Monday, January 7, 2013

7/365 - Brighter Skies

7/365 - Brighter Skies

A slightly different kind of day (from yesterday's drizzly gray).

Sunday, January 6, 2013

6/365 - Gray Day

6/365 - Gray Day

Our walk to the pond today-- overcast skies, the very lightest sprinkling of drizzle, and a temperature of 52°F.   Still preferable to our average August afternoon, in my humble opinion.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

52 Weeks of Happy (1/52)

I just saw this idea on someone else's blog (where she mentioned that she'd found it on another blog, via another blog, etc.), and it struck a chord. 

52 Weeks of Happy:
Every week of the year, write a post mentioning four things that made you happy.  They don't have to be big things; they don't have to be momentous things.  Just four things, each week, that made you happy.  (Photos or other illustrations are a plus.)

It seems like a good way to make yourself stop and appreciate the happiness in life. 

Since I just now saw this idea (and it's too dark/I'm too lazy to get up and scramble for photos right now), I'll have to do my best to muddle through for the first week-- without photos.

1.  Trixie lying in my lap.  She wasn't invited-- but as far as she's concerned, there's a standing invitation, so she doesn't let that stop her!  She doesn't do it that often (and if she did, it might become a nuisance), but this time she came purposefully of her own volition-- and it was pleasant to be cozied up with a warm Eskimo dog who so obviously wanted my attention.  Silly, sweet little dog!

2.  Working on my current crochet afghan.   I found out I wasn't so far along in it as I'd thought, but that's fine.  There's no deadline-- another happy thing. (g)  I always enjoy making motifs, playing around with color combinations, and getting into the rhythm of a memorized pattern. 

3. Sleeping in this morning.  I'm not always (or even usually) a "sleeping-in" person.  I tend to wake and want to get up right away (though I can and do get sleepy again later on), but occasionally it's nice to drowse, luxuriate in the warmth of bed, and retreat to just the outskirts of Dreamland...  (I really needed to catch up on some sleep, after waking up far too early on Friday!)

4. Playing Dominion: Prosperity with Donald.  It's always fun playing games with Donald-- who is simply the best game-playing partner a girl could hope for! :o)-- and breaking in a new one, like this, is extra-fun.  Especially because it was just "new enough".  We already knew most of the rules, since this is an expansion of a game we've had a while.  The differences were enough to make it interesting, but not so much that we had to struggle with a new set of rules. 

5/365 - Prosperity

5/365 - Prosperity

This afternoon, we broke in a new expansion for Dominion (a deck-building game)-- Dominion: Prosperity.  It was lots of fun, and as the name would indicate, you find yourself with plenty of money to play with, early in the game.  Not nearly so much scrimping and saving.  (Goodness knows there's enough of that in real life...)

Friday, January 4, 2013

4/365 - Paperweight Grannies

4/365 - Paperweight Grannies

My current "main attraction", crafts-wise, is a crochet afghan made of motifs that are known as either "African flowers" or "paperweight grannies".  I thought I was ready to join them, but it turns out I need even more to reach the intended blanket size, so I'm whipping up more of the flowers.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

3/365 - Tattered Banana Tree Leaf

3/365 - Tattered Banana Tree Leaf

It's been a cold, damp day, but now the sun is peeking out again.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2/365 - Old Pavers, New Plans

2/365 - Old Pavers, New Plans

These are from the patio we had beside the trailer.  They're waiting to be placed somewhere else.  I think I have to finally do something with them this winter/early spring.  I have a lot of plans for things that need doing outside, and I'd so much rather do them in winter than in summer!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

1/365 - Withered

1/365 - Withered

2012 is done-- withered, faded, and in tatters.  Let's see what 2013 has in store...

(Oh, and um, I'm going to give Project 365 a try this year, and rather than posting the photos in their own separate blog, I'll just pop them up here.  And on Flickr, too, of course.)