Category Archives: Life ‘n’ Stuff

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.


This is one of those days when I have nothing in particular to say so I’m just going to start typing and see what comes out. I feel that I’m really not any good at this “stream of consciousness” kind of writing. (Is it still stream of consciousness if you go back and edit?)

Can you believe it’s the last week of October already? October has been nice. I would say almost summer-like most of the time but, actually, it has been just right for turning off the air-conditioning and opening the windows and we never do that here in the summer. There’s something about living with the windows open that feels so perfect – like this is the way life should be. Of course I live out in the boonies. It’s probably not like that in town and certainly not in a big city. I especially like sleeping with the window open and hearing all the night sounds.

I have a truckload of stuff (figuratively speaking of course) that I want to sew and get done right now but I am stuck on one thing. It’s not that it’s difficult. I’m not sure why but I keep doing just one little step at a time then stopping and waiting for a day or two before going on to the next step. Maybe I should put it aside for a while and move on to something more motivating but I have always had this fear of unfinished projects. I feel like I have to finish each thing before I move on to the next thing or it will never get done at all. Like that one quilt that I have been working on for years, and the little quilt that I started last spring that’s almost finished but I just can’t seem to get around to that last little bit.

Speaking of truckloads of stuff, I have a truckload, no a trainload, or maybe a starship load – yeah that’s it, a starship load, not like the starship Enterprise but more like a Borg cube – load of just general stuff taking up space in my house. And I love it all and don’t want to get rid of it. There are some books I could stand to part with, I suppose. I think about selling them on eBay or maybe Amazon but I worry that no one would buy them for months or even ever and I should just donate them and get it over with but I think of the money I could possibly make which wouldn’t be a lot but hey – money! for more books! – so I don’t do anything and they’re still taking up space so I don’t know where to put the new books I’m getting.

That’s the good thing about Kindle – Kindle books don’t take up space but if it’s a book that other members of my family would like I’d rather get a real book because they’re easier to share. I did once share a Kindle book – you can do that – and it still shows it as being “on loan” after months. It was supposed to be only 14 days, I think. I really need to contact Amazon about that but it hasn’t been a priority so I keep forgetting about it but it makes me hesitant to loan any more Kindle books.

It’s crazy that Christmas is only two months away. I hate to start even thinking about it until after Thanksgiving because it just seems wrong but the reality is that I really do need that much time so I’ve started doing a little online shopping. Christmas is a motivation for wanting to get rid of some stuff to make room for the inevitable new stuff but, as I said, I still love the old stuff. No, I am not a hoarder, not like those people on TV with stuff piled up to the ceiling in every room. I have gotten rid of stuff in the past and I still miss some of that stuff. When I was a kid I dreamed of someday living in a huge Victorian mansion – like this one maybe? No, even bigger! It never occurred to me when I was kid how practical it would be. I would have rooms for all my stuff. Yes, I know there would be more to dust. Shush.


Living in the Future

It seems a lot of people are excited about today being Back to the Future Day. It is cool that a specific date, not just a year, in science fiction has arrived in real life, but, to be honest, I have never been a huge fan of the Back to the Future movies and don’t remember them in much detail. I’m not even sure I saw BTTF II. Now I do definitely want to see it.

I wish I did remember the movies well, and that I was a fan, so I could feel like I’m in on the fun. It is a very cool day and cool to be here, in “the future.” Aside from these silly movies, I actually do feel like I’m living in the future every day. Computers, smartphones, e-book readers, the Internet, GPS, and yes, even flat screen TVs – these are all things from science fiction and here they are right now, a part of our everyday lives.

There are things that are not so great about this future, mainly that so few people appreciate what we have and so many people make it their life’s mission to try to make everyone feel either guilty or afraid all the time. Sometimes, I swear, I just want to slap some people! (I don’t ever slap people for real. If I did they would just laugh. Not much power in these noodle arms.) I want to send some people to their rooms and tell them not to come out until they learn to stop bothering people about nonsense. There’s a lot more, of course. I could go on and on but I’m not going to, at least not today.

It’s the future, people, and it’s fantastic. Stop rushing around and worrying and just enjoy it.

Of All the Things I’ve Lost It’s Bacon I Miss the Most

We have a bunch of wonderful home-grown tomatoes so of course one of the first things I think of is BLTs. We don’t have a properly working range hood so even with all the windows open the house fills up with smoke whenever we cook bacon either on top of the stove or in the oven so I have taken to buying the so called “fully cooked” bacon. I suppose there must be some legal definition of fully cooked and that this product does meet the legal requirements to be called fully cooked but it’s not anywhere near it in my definition. No matter; it takes about 45 seconds in the microwave to turn nearly raw bacon into edible bacon.

So anyway, I bought a package of this microwave bacon. The package said it had 11 to 13 slices. There was a tempting “mega pack” that had 28 to 32 slices but I had bought the smaller size before and it has been enough for the three of us. But this time when I was done cooking it and we were assembling our sandwiches we discovered that there was only enough bacon for us to have 3 slices each. Terribly disappointing, as you can surely imagine, – I was really regretting not buying the mega pack – but we made the best of the situation and moved on with life.

The next morning I got up and was walking down the hallway and before I could even make it to the kitchen I heard my husband cheerily call out, “Guess what I found in the microwave.” At another time I possibly could have remembered the last thing that was cooked in the microwave and correctly guessed what he had found but I had been awake for maybe five minutes so, not really wanting to know and thinking it was way too early for guessing games, I said, “What?” probably somewhat grumpily. So what do you think was in the microwave? Have you figured it out? Huh? Huh?

It was a plate full of bacon!

How the heck did that happen?! It didn’t seem possible. If we forget something in the microwave it chirps every two minutes until you either turn it off or open the door. I suppose I must have hit the off button to stop it from chirping while I was getting out the condiments, just sort of running on autopilot like I do sometimes. Anyway, maybe next time I should get the mega pack anyway, just to be safe.

A Fall Ramble

It feels like fall. I have been hating to see summer ending but the weekend, especially yesterday, was cool and damp and I have to admit it feels sort of nice. We have been sleeping with the window open for the past two nights and I love that, but I still don’t want summer to end. I think it’s about time we had an unseasonably warm winter. I don’t mean ridiculously warm, like almost summer-like; just flannel shirt weather would be okay. No need for bulky coats and jackets, please. Well, anyway… I don’t get to choose do I? But that’s what I want.

The fall TV season is starting and as usual everything good is on Monday night. I know that’s not a problem for most people but out here in the boonies with our limited bandwidth we have to make choices, just like they did back in the dark ages before streaming. We did finally buy a BlueRay/DVD/streaming player* and we’re going to give it a try and see how much we can stream before we use up all our bandwidth but Longmire, formerly on A&E but now a Netflix exclusive, (&%$#!) gets priority. But in the non-streaming world we have chosen NCIS: Los Angeles over Castle and Gotham over Big Bang Theory. [sigh] I’m hoping to catch up on what we’re missing on DVD later.

(* Our ancient DVD player quit a while back and I had been procrastinating about replacing it because I really don’t know what I’m doing when picking out tech stuff.)

Saturday we went and ate lunch at the McDonald’s over the turnpike. This is a tremendously fun place to eat and it has always disappointed me that it’s a McDonald’s and not something unique. It also has a Subway. There is a single huge seating area with the McDonald’s on one side and the Subway on the other. It had been closed for renovation but has been open for several months. I have complained before that McDonald’s always gets my order wrong, no matter which one I go to, so I have to make a point of saying that this time I did get exactly what I ordered – a bacon chicken wrap. It was actually very good.

The most disappointing thing about the newly renovated space is that the decor is horribly dull. Everything is gray and white. There’s no color anywhere except on the signs and menus. If it weren’t for the huge windows overlooking the turnpike you would swear you were in a hospital cafeteria. Seriously, what is with all the gray everywhere lately? It seems like every time I turn on HGTV someone is doing a gray kitchen. Is the whole world suffering from depression? Okay, so a lot of stuff that’s going on in the world is depressing but it seems to me that should be all the more reason for making our homes and our businesses colorful and cheerful. And so, now, I glance over at my yellow and blue curtains and smile. It’s always summer in my kitchen.

Rant and Sermon

One thing eating dark chocolate can’t cure is sanctimonious proselytizing.

I was going to put that quote in my weekly quotes post with a note that I like dark chocolate but then I decided that I have more to say about this. I do like dark chocolate. I always have, even when I was a little kid. I loved the little Hershey’s Special Dark mini bars. They were one of my favorite things to find in my trick-or-treat bag and when we bought a bag of mixed Hershey’s mini bars I was torn between wanting to scarf down all the Special Dark before someone else got them or making them last for days because it would be months before I would get any more. It has always bugged me that you can’t get Special Dark in regular size bars. Heck, king size. They should come in king size. But then, would they be as special as those tiny bars that you can only have a few of once in a while?

The author of the article mentions that when he was a kid treats were rare and that was my experience too. Now days kids think they need a treat every time their parents take them to the store. They get a weekly allowance equal to (or even more than) what I got in a whole year and spend most of it on candy and soda then they come home and play video games and surf the Internet. It’s not so much what you eat as how much and how often. The same goes with sedentary activities. An hour or two of playing video games is fine. Six hours every day is not.

Moderation could be a cure for a great many of society’s ills. Moderation in treats, moderation in hobbies and passions, moderation in politics, moderation in religion, moderation in everything. But how can you convince an entire society of that when we all have people screaming at us from every side, “More! More! More!”?

By the way…

Not So Healthy Healthy Cereals

I really hate that I’m about to link to Eat This Not That because I really fricking hate that site but here goes. Apparently, Froot Loops are better for you than Cracklin’ Oat Bran. Less sugar, less sodium, and a lot less fat and fewer calories.

Actually, this is a bit disappointing to me because I like the so called healthy cereals a lot better than the colorful kid cereals. I like the crunchy flakes and granola and dried fruits – all the different textures and tastes. But I do read labels and I find it frustrating that the better I like a cereal the higher the calories. (I hadn’t read the Froot Loops label, at least not in the last 20 years or so.) It just goes to show it’s true what they say: “Calories are what they put in food to make it taste good.”

Ah, Life in the Country

Sunday morning I spotted a small frog hopping across my kitchen. A tiny thing, not even as big as a grape. It hopped under a rolling cart. I moved the cart but the little critter was nowhere to be seen. Then I got busy and forgot about it. And then yesterday I remembered, “There’s a frog inside my house.” It’s possible that one of the cats got it but not likely. They are in outdoor mode this time of year and refuse to stay in the house for very long. So… there’s a frog inside my house.

Oh August, Do Not Forsake Me

I like August. Is that weird? Most people in my part of the world hate August and I do understand that. Generally, August is our hottest month and farther south and east it’s really humid too. And, honestly, I spend most of the time in air-conditioned spaces just like everyone else but when I walk outside, for just the first couple of minutes, the heat actually feels good to me. But it’s more than just the weather. I can’t say exactly what it is – something about the overall feel and character of August.

For many people it’s back-to-school month and that seems wrong to me. When I was in elementary and part of junior high, until we moved from Texas to Arkansas, school started the day after Labor Day and that will forever be the way it should be. Back-to-school is not part of my life anymore though, so for me it’s just the last full month of summer, hot, dry, and pleasantly long and laid back. There’s very little that I have to do in August.

But yesterday and this morning it feels more like October. Yesterday’s high was in the low 70s F. This morning when I got up it was 52°F. That’s not really bad and I know most people consider it really nice weather and a welcome break in the middle of the hottest month but I keep thinking, “Nooooo! There’s still a little summer left; it’s supposed to be hot!”

Weather like this is an unwelcome reminder that winter is coming eventually and a hint that it might be colder than normal. Whatever “normal” is around here. Come on, August, stay with me for a little bit longer.

They’re All Around Us!

A scientist studying the brains of psychopaths accidentally discovered that he was one himself. The interesting thing to take away from this is that a person can be born with something wrong in their brain but if they are raised by loving and responsible parents and manage to avoid triggering events or situations they can and often do live perfectly normal lives. (tip: Never complain to the chef about your meal.) This is also a good reason why we should always treat everyone we meet with respect and kindness whether we think they deserve it or not. You don’t want to be some latent psychopath’s trigger.

All of these psychology terms that we hear all the time – psychopath, sociopath, etc. – are more complicated than most of us realize. There are people all around us who have “issues” but most people manage to live with those issues without turning into the Criminal Minds un-sub of the week. But it takes very little to push some people over the edge and it seems like the world has a lot more triggers than it used to have – not just violent movies and video games and questionable websites, but just a lot of people being more stressed out and rude. There’s not much we can do about it except maybe be a little more aware and a lot more courteous and kind.

Comment Woes

Want to know why I hardly ever comment on other blogs? Here are a couple of reasons. One is that I am commenting but my comments are disappearing. Somehow, on sites that have comment moderation and require me to sign in with Google, my comments just never appear. Another is if a blog requires me to sign in with Disqus or some other thing that I haven’t already signed up for. Sorry folks but I have more than enough usernames and passwords to remember. I am done! I am not signing up for anything else unless it is absolutely necessary. Much as I like being in on the conversation, blog commenting is not a necessity. On the other hand, if there was a system that absolutely worked all the time – unlike Google – it might be worth it to sign up for just one more. But if even Google doesn’t work how can I expect anything else to and how many more do I have to sign up for? It’s just not worth the hassle.

I blame spammers and trolls for this situation. Someone once said that spammers should be crucified alongside the Interstates. Honestly, I don’t want to live in a society that crucifies people but a little part of me thinks that this would not be too harsh a punishment for spammers. And you can put trolls right there with them. Anyone whose behavior makes it necessary to restrict free and open communication. You know what we really need is some kind of device that these people could be sentenced to wear – like a type of ankle bracelet – that would automatically shut down any electronic device when they came within, say, three feet of it. If this sounds like too humane a punishment just imagine for a minute never being able to use a computer or smartphone again. Hey, all of you clever inventor folk, get on that will you?

Thought for the Week

I don’t entirely agree with everything said in the video, by the way. We can all learn to really see our surroundings even if we don’t try to draw them. We just have to want to see.

They’re Kidding, Right?

The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council says that there is one Proper Way to Eat a Hot Dog. I would like to believe this is tongue-in-cheek but I fear they are serious.

First of all, they tell us that we must use only “plain buns or those with poppy or sesame seeds”. I use whole wheat buns. Is that okay, Your High-and-Mightiness? I haven’t seen any sun dried tomato or basil buns but I would try them. Then they tell us the exact order in which the condiments must go on the hot dog. Sorry, I put the onions on first, then the chili. And I’m right; the Hot Dog Council is wrong. Putting the onions on first keeps them from falling off.

But they’re not done yet. They tell us what kind of dishes to use: paper plates or every day dishes. That makes sense and that’s exactly what I do but I’m wishing I actually had some fine china because I’m feeling rebellious right now and want to eat my hot dogs off of forbidden dishes.

I am a bit grossed out about this next part. They tell us that we should take no more than five bites to eat a hot dog, seven if it’s a foot-long. Seriously?! I just… I can’t even! I hardly know what to say about that. I suppose if you’re a really big guy and you normally take bigger bites than the average person just five bites might be acceptable but normally if I saw someone eating a hot dog like that I would think, “What a pig!” If you’re going to eat something that tasty and bad for you slow down and enjoy it.

Finally, there are notes on what to drink and what to do after the meal. You know… this is an example of one of the biggest things that is wrong with the world today: rules. Now personally, I like rules. We need rules. But we don’t need rules for everything and the fact that there are so many lists of rules for every aspect of our lives causes people to just give up and decide that it’s a good thing to break all the rules, even the good ones that we need. Want anarchy? Just start making rules for everything.

Summer Random

It’s the last week of July already? I was just starting to feel like summer is finally, really here now that it has stopped raining and we’ve had a couple of weeks of good, hot weather. I know officially, according to the calendar, we still have almost two months of summer left but Labor Day feels like the end of summer and the weather usually starts to cool just a little bit in September. Actually, September weather is typically just about perfect – still warm but not too hot – but psychologically September still feels like “the end is near.”

I’m starting to think about all the summer stuff I was planning to sew and haven’t done yet because I got distracted and sewed other summer stuff instead and I’m thinking there’s not much time left for summer sewing. Oh, there’s still lots of warm weather left but since I didn’t get all this stuff done early so I could wear it all summer I feel like I’m late and running out of time. I posted the latest thing I made on my sewing blog. I’m really loving it.

Saturday we dehydrated some apples. Everyone loved them and they’re almost gone. Must make more next time. We bought a huge commercial dehydrator because I could not make myself spend nearly $100 for something that is mostly plastic so instead we spent several hundred on a good quality, all metal dehydrator that we have to keep out in the shop (i.e. garage) because we have nowhere to put it in the house. I’m also thinking about drying strawberries and bananas.

We also dried some tomatoes. We have lots of tomatoes, more than we can use fresh. They came out okay and I used some of them in pasta last night. We have had the dehydrator for several months and haven’t used it all that much but now I keep thinking, “What else can we dehydrate?”

We watched Zoo for the first time last night. It was the fifth episode of the series but it wasn’t hard at all to catch on and I’m going to keep watching. I’m also thinking I need to read something by James Patterson, an author I never considered before.

Excuses and Complaints and Random Stuff

I was going to post some pictures but Flickr is being extremely uncooperative today. I swear sometimes I’m tempted to switch back to a Blogspot blog. At least I wouldn’t have to deal with Flickr when I want to post pictures. But then I think of the drawbacks and that in the past every time I switched platforms I lost half my readers. And then sometimes I think, “Maybe I’ve had enough of this.” But, I think I would always want some site that I am somewhat in control of where I can share and sound off occasionally. Facebook and Twitter just aren’t enough for me. And yeah, I could upload the pictures to my host’s server like I used to but that’s a whole different kind of hassle.

So, I have nothing to say today – at least not enough for a coherent and interesting blog post. Strange weather we’re having this year. * Donald Trump is a buffoon and that makes him different from the other Republicans how? * I have watched 9 episodes of Criminal Minds so far this week. * Watched a pretty good movie last night: Flight * Saw two rabbits in our back yard yesterday. Our dog slept through their leisurely visit and they got away safely. * I’m working on sewing another very pink dress. * And… That’s it. I’ve got nothin’.


Yesterday, July 13th, was my dad’s birthday. He would have been 90 years old. He passed away in the spring of 1984. He missed getting to meet his second grandchild, whom he correctly predicted would be a boy, by just six weeks.

Strangely, my dad was not a sports fan. In fact, he hated the very idea of professional sports. In his mind, kids should play sports; grown men should get real jobs. But he didn’t even watch high school or college games. And yet, he correctly predicted the winner of every Arkansas vs. Texas game during the years we lived in Arkansas. He always said he just knew. I think he also predicted presidential elections but I don’t remember that as well. Anything about which people around him were emotional and that involved just two possible outcomes, he always “just knew”. I once asked him, if he always knew, why he didn’t bet on the games. He said that if he did he would lose the ability.

It always used to drive me nuts that he could do that. From an early age, I was a skeptic about psychic or paranormal abilities. I knew it was all just a bunch of hooey and yet here was a guy who didn’t even like football, didn’t know a thing about it, and he could always predict the winner of this one important game. I was sure he was just guessing but how could he guess correctly every time?

I can’t say my dad and I were close. We didn’t really have the chance to be. He always worked second shift so during the school year I only saw him on weekends. When he was home he wasn’t very talkative. He watched all the country music shows on TV on Saturday afternoon. There were about half a dozen of them in the 60’s and 70’s – The Porter Wagoner Show, The Buck Owens Show – I can’t remember any of the others right now. He would joke and act silly sometimes. He embarrassed my mother in public, acting like he was “touched in the head.” And, of course, like all dads, he would occasionally get angry about childish misbehavior. But I don’t remember any serious conversations and he almost never talked about his childhood. But I wonder what kind of old man he would have been. Maybe he would have gotten around to it if he had had more time.

Random Linkage

Vintage Airline Posters – a huge collection

Thought and Sight – travel and vintage stuff; a wonderful site

America’s Most Exclusive College – Interesting.

POSYDON – a proposed “positioning system for deep ocean navigation”

Rainbow Mountains of China – Amazing

Space Travelers – 10 people to claimed that they visited other planets; probably no one you’ve heard of but interesting anyway

Miniature Pottery – Wow

Caterpillars – Amazing photographs of caterpillars

Childhood photos of rock stars

Honeycomb Maps

Thoughts and Catchphrases and Such

A few days ago on Facebook I suggested that people who are getting way too worked up about certain issues should “just go kiss some puppies”. That slightly odd phrase had just popped into my head somehow and I didn’t give it even a second’s thought. But later it occurred to me that it’s actually a pretty good silly catchphrase. You know what I mean? Chill out; get over it; get a grip; take a chill pill; get a hobby; go kiss some puppies.

I’d love to see it catch on but I know it won’t because I’m me, not a famous Hollywood script writer but I’m going to use it whenever it seems appropriate. It will be my catchphrase and the way the world is now I’m thinking there will be many opportunities to use it.

It also occurs to me that it might be a good “Thought for the Week,” a cute way of telling people to just let go of whatever’s bugging them or a suggestion for a quick stress buster: Go kiss some puppies.

(I need a nice, shareable image to go with that.)