I love catalogs. I always get a lot of them but starting in October or November, not surprisingly, I start getting really massive numbers of catalogs. I still don’t mind; I just wish several companies would stop sending me the same catalogs almost every day. Come on people, one a week is more than enough.

In addition to old favorites, every year I get a few catalogs from stores that are new to me and that’s great. Sometimes we discover new favorites that way. For example, two or three years ago, out of the blue, we received a Garrett Wade catalog and they’ve been costing us occasional semi-large amounts of money ever since. Sometimes I get a catalog that makes me wonder how the heck I got on that mailing list, like the industrial shelving and storage catalog I got earlier this year, but even those are usually fun.

But in the last month or so I’ve been getting some fairly high end clothing catalogs and I would just like to ask someone, “What is there in all of my ordering history that makes you people think I would spend $90 for a pair of sweatpants?” Or $200 for a shirt? That actually sort of makes more sense than $90 sweat pants but if I wanted a $200 Egyptian cotton ladies shirt I would make myself one for $30.

One high priced catalog I’ve been getting for many years is Hammacher Schlemmer. It’s really fun. I look through it and keep saying “Really?” Really?! They do actually have a few things that are tempting and not ridiculously expensive. I’ve never ordered anything from them but who knows. Maybe someday. Keep sending all your catalogs full of ridiculously expensive stuff. You never know when I might win the lottery.

Quotes From Here and There

But if the Internet has taught us anything, it’s that crazy people have a great deal of free time on their hands.here

We can all walk outside and look up and admire the same stars, regardless of the stories we inscribe upon them.there

…it’s madness to demand free speech, even as we demand silence from those who say things we don’t agree with.here

Warm Thoughts, Cold Days

I have had this picture on my desktop this month. I took it several years ago.

Oak leaf, autumn

A happy, peaceful, and overstuffed Thanksgiving to all my fellow Americans and to everyone else a happy and peaceful week and weekend.

November Tomato

We’re still getting a few tomatoes. I took this picture last Friday.


As you can see this one has a huge crack but other than that these are really excellent tomatoes. The variety is “Celebrity”.

* * *

I’ve been busy this week and might be next week too so you’re going to be seeing mostly pictures here for a while and maybe a few links and maybe a few days with nothing at all but please keep coming back and please comment.

Out of Words

So… Paris. I am out of words for this sort of thing. All I can do is fall back on the much repeated line, “Terrorists are like cockroaches.” You’ll never be able to kill them all but you have to keep killing all of them that you can find.

Quotes From Here and There

…I will confess it irks me that an “old lady craft” becomes interesting to people when a man does it.here

It is sort of remarkable to me how much grief can well up when a pet dies, until one remembers that they are in fact people, who just happen not to be human.there

So if the Devil is handing out tasks willy-nilly, I’d bet my immortal soul he’s giving them to impatient hands instead.here

I checked the actuarial tables, and the lowest death rate is among six-year-olds. So I decided to eat like a six-year-old.there

Autumn, Above and Below

It was very windy yesterday. Clouds started blowing in and soon it was almost overcast except for a couple of patches of blue.


But then, a short time later they were all gone, not a cloud in the sky.

The leaves stayed mostly green throughout most of October and even into early November but now it’s finally starting to look like the Novembers we are used to seeing.

Fallen leaves


I have never been in a Starbucks but now I almost wish I liked coffee. I would like to support them and tell them how much I like their lovely red cups – so bright, so simple, so Christmasy. Some people are actually angry about Starbucks’ seasonal cups. Frankly, I don’t get it. Red is still a Christmas color, isn’t it? Did someone change that and not tell me? So how can bright red cups be an attack against Christmas? If red is no longer a Christmas color what does it represent now? I know! Communism, right?

I am getting extremely tired of every little thing being perceived as part of a “War on Christmas” or “War on Christianity”. There are countries where Christians are oppressed. I suggest that any American Christians who think they are being oppressed go to one of those countries and live there for a while to get a more realistic perspective. You’re not really worried about losing the freedom to practice your religion; you’re just pissed off because it’s not the only religion in America.

Yes, there are some instances where political correctness goes too far. This is not one of them. This is not even political correctness at all. Red is a Christmas color, with or without snowflakes and pine trees. And it is okay for people to say “Happy Holidays.” Christmas is a holiday. I have been seeing “Happy Holidays” on Christmas decorations and Christmas cards all my life. People never used to get offended by those words. Why would you be offended by them now unless you wanted to make certain that everyone understands that Christmas is the only legitimate holiday to celebrate in December? And why would you care what other people are celebrating? Many Christmas traditions, including the date itself, are actually pagan. You are actually celebrating ancient pagan holidays without even realizing it. And you’re getting upset about a simple red coffee cup? How bizarre.

* * *

It doesn’t matter where our holiday customs come from, but it’s fascinating (and fun) to trace their various origins. Some of them are only a few hundred years old or less, and some are literally thousands of years old. Decorating with holly doesn’t suddenly make one a Pagan, nor does using the word Christmas make one a Christian. Christmas is a confluence of religious traditions, capitalism, story telling, and the human need to simply connect with those we love. Christmas is more powerful because it reflects a wide range of influences.

Random Linkage

The Ladybird Book of the Hipster – a fun kids’ book for grown-ups.

Autochrome – early 20th century color photographs

The Still Room – a great history and culture blog

Map Portraits – I love these.

Paranormical – Looks like something I might want but I haven’t watched the video yet.

More early color photographs – These are from England.

Misunderstandings – People admit facts they learned embarrassingly late.

English Names for Fungi – Interesting and sometimes funny names: pink disco, earpick fungus, flea’s ear, chicken run funnel…

What is this?

It’s not a guessing game. I have no idea what this is and I’m hoping someone can tell me all about it or at least tell me what to Google. I often find these clinging to oak leaves or just laying on the ground but I’ve never seen them on the plant they originally grow on.

I have no idea what this is

It’s hollow on the inside except for a clump of fibers. I assume there are tiny seeds in there somewhere.

I have no idea what this is

In My Pocket

I carry my son in my pocket. He’s nearly six feet tall but he’s right there in my pocket so, at any time, he can show me pictures of his daughter or his dogs or what he’s doing at work or we can talk about what we’re reading or make fun of something we saw on TV or just share a silly joke. I don’t get sad and lonely because “he never calls” because he’s always right there in my pocket.

I also carry my other son in my pocket. He’s a lot quieter but he does always tell me when he’s going to be late. Their father is in my pocket too. It’s so convenient having him there. And I have several other people in my pocket – my daughter-in-law, my grandson and my sisters-in-law. It may seem crowded in there but there’s always room for more, if any of my cousins ever decide to stop being techno-phobic.

There are other things besides people in my pocket. There’s my grocery list. I like having it there where I can update it anytime and I never forget it when I go to the store. And speaking of stores, I have thousands of those in my pocket too so I can read reviews or compare prices anytime, anywhere I might be. I also have all the world’s libraries in my pocket so I’m never stuck somewhere with nothing to read.

Maybe you’ve seen my husband and me at a restaurant, both of us looking at our phones, and made assumptions about us. What you don’t understand is that there are more than just two people at the table. We are not ignoring each other; we’re spending time together with family and friends. And maybe you’ve seen me in the dentist’s office or in a car dealer’s service department waiting area looking at my phone and thought how sad that I’m not talking to you instead. What you don’t understand is that I probably wouldn’t be talking to you anyway. Without my phone I would be either reading a book that I brought with me or flipping through the world’s most boring magazines wishing I had something good to read.

So you don’t like my phone even though you don’t even understand what it really is. I wonder, how is it any of your business? People going about their own business, not bothering anyone. How is that any of your business. Don’t disrespect my phone. You don’t understand what it really is, and it might be keeping me from biting your head off.

Monday Night Adventures

Sometimes I feel lucky. Oh, I’m not lucky enough to win the lottery or anything like that (dammit) but every so often things happen just right and I think, “How could I have gotten that lucky?” We had a smallish upright freezer that lived in the storage lean-to attached to our shop (like a detached garage) because there’s no room for it in the house. I often go as long as a week without looking in it. Yesterday afternoon I went to put some leftover sandwich rolls in the freezer (They come in packages of six and I needed seven.) and found that things were starting to thaw out.

Well, to make a longish story shortish, when the husband got home we rushed out to Lowe’s and bought a new freezer. I would have been happy with one the same size as the old one because we never had it completely full but I absolutely insisted that it be frost free. We ended up getting a much bigger one. The old one was – I’m totally guessing – about 12 cubic feet. The new one is 17 point something cubic feet. I still think it’s bigger than we need but I love it. It’s frost free and it even has a light in it. I suppose that’s standard now but the old one didn’t have a light.

Of course the whole ordeal of buying a new major appliance and getting it home and in place took some time but we did manage to have supper before 9:00 PM so, all things considered, I suppose it was a good evening. We could have had Lowe’s deliver it, probably the next day, but we needed it immediately.

And here’s the lucky part: We saved all the food except for a little bit of stuff that needed to be thrown out anyway. I went to put something in the freezer at just the right time to find out that it wasn’t working. If i hadn’t had the rolls to put in the freezer it might have been days before I found out. On the other hand, if I had put the rolls in the freezer first thing Monday morning instead of procrastinating until after 4 o’clock in the afternoon I might not have noticed it wasn’t working or it might not have quit yet. It is slightly amazing to me that I had such perfect timing.

Most of what was in the freezer was venison and since it was thawed it can’t go back in the freezer so we brought it in and put it in the refrigerator and we’re going to make jerky to get rid of it fast.

Random Linkage

The Year 2000 – as seen from the year 1900. Charming illustrations. Interesting that they didn’t foresee fashion changing. That is rather hard to predict.

Edelweiss Pirates – Anti-Nazi youth gangs. Interesting history.

Float Paintings – Beautiful!

Be a Doll – Get an action figure that looks like you. Or anyone else. Fun idea but too way too spendy for me.

Textless Movie Posters – Just the art, no words.

Rhads – A beautiful collection of paintings on Deviant Art. I love these.

Insect Eyes – Amazing close-ups.

Four Facts About Bagpipes

Colorful Felt Collages

40 Years Ago Today

I have to admit, I have always loved this silly thing. Somehow it seems appropriate that it came out on Halloween, even though it’s not a Halloween song. But 40 years? How can it be 40 years? I can remember when it was new and I’m not even… Oh. Wait.

Quotes From Here and There

Fundamentally, conspiracy theories haven’t actually changed much over the course of hundreds of years.here

For years I dwelled inside the walls of my inadequacies, attempting to dismantle them brick by brick.there (Lots of annoying ads but worth it)

How is it possible, with so many able-bodied people not working, to feel “embarrassed” by choosing to learn a skill that’s actually in demand? We simply MUST eliminate the stigma currently attached to a host of worthwhile careers. If we don’t, we’ll get exactly what we deserve – a workforce with no balance, a crumbling infrastructure, a widening skills gap, and a country that can’t make or fix anything.here

I am troubled by the increasing levels of hostility toward science in America today, and part of this is the general dearth of real science coverage in our major news media.there

Music of the Spheres

I heard this on the radio a couple of days ago while I was driving. The DJ sort of mumbled the name of it and the name of the composer, as classical DJs tend to do. I guess they’re trying to sound reverent or respectful or something but I wish they would knock it off and speak up! Anyway, all I heard was, “Mumble mumble mumble by Michael Mumble.” So, later I looked it up on the radio station’s website. It was Music of the Spheres by Mike Oldfield. I haven’t heard that name in a while. Remember Tubular Bells? For some reason I’ve always had the feeling that Tubular Bells is one of those works we are supposed to hate to prove how sophisticated we are but I like it, which I think makes me more sophisticated; so there! Seriously, if you don’t like it you’re just not sophisticated enough to understand. 😉

I also like Music of the Spheres. This is just a sample. You can also listen to the full album, which I might do sometime. Or maybe I’ll just buy it.