Category Archives: Life ‘n’ Stuff

Gift Wrap

Someone on Facebook expressed a strong dislike for wrapping Christmas presents. That surprised me a little bit. I know it shouldn’t. It’s obvious that not everyone would but it just never occurred to me that some people might not enjoy it. I’m not very good at it but it’s about the third or fourth most fun thing about Christmas. So, what about you? Love it, hate it, or somewhere in between?

I also wanted to mention, but never got around to it, that gift wrap is becoming more attractive again. I mentioned the gift wrap ugliness/attractiveness cycle during some previous holiday season. For a decade almost all of the gift wrap you can find is ugly and then it starts getting more attractive until one year you look around and think, “Wow, there’s some really pretty gift wrap this year!” and then it starts to decline again. Last year I managed to find some that was not totally hideous and this year, a few rolls that I actually like. I like the new double sided rolls, or at least I like the idea. I only found one that I liked both sides of. (I know, I know! Shut up.)

I might need to buy more. I’m almost done with wrapping gifts and almost out of gift wrap and wondering if I have enough or if I will have to go buy more and end up with nearly a full roll to start next year.

Thanksgiving Week This ‘n’ That

I’m not in the mood for the Internet. Actually, it’s not that I’m not in the mood for the Internet at all; it’s just that I’m more in the mood for other things, mostly sewing and reading. And then there’s Thanksgiving and the day after, the infamous Black Friday. Today I need to go to the store and I’m in a bit of a panic about what to get and about remembering everything I need for the whole week so I won’t have to go back out on the day before Thanksgiving, or worse, the day after. Although, the grocery stores shouldn’t be too bad on Black Friday? Also, I’ve noticed in previous years when we drove past Walmart later in the afternoon on Black Friday that the parking lot is almost deserted so I guess all the craziness happens early in the morning then everyone goes home and passes out or something.

Anyway, I’m not saying no blogging this week but maybe not every day. I will definitely – well, I will try to – find a nice music video for Mid-Week Music Break and I will try to come up with some quotes for Friday. I bookmarked several articles that I wanted to rant or preach about but I don’t know if I will ever get around to those. But maybe. I am being a lame blogger. Sorry. Here are a few links.

11 Unsettling World Mysteries – Well, they are interesting but they don’t really “unsettle” me. I’m not even sure I believe all of them even happened, particularly #’s 1 and 7.

And how about some recipes? (My online recipe collecting is getting totally out of hand)

French toast stuffed with Philadelphia Bacon Cream Cheese Spread

Family Friendly Sweet Potato Casserole – That name seems rather odd. Since when are sweet potatoes not family friendly?

Another sweet potato recipe. This one has cranberries.

Cheddar Stuffed Turkey Meatloaf Meatballs

Salted Caramel Cinnamon Rolls

Pumpkin Cheesecake

This ‘n’ That

It’s cold. It is gorram awful horrible effing freaking fraking damn cold. Should I have used commas? My brain is frozen. It’s 10 degrees outside… no wait, 13. Fahrenheit. Inside it’s up to… wait… 70 now. Really? It feels more like 40. Five degrees warmer than it was an hour ago but I’m not feeling it. I’m feeling… cold. Have I mentioned that it is cold?

I got a new phone yesterday. Samsung Galaxy S5. Not too different from my old one, which was also a Samsung. A little bigger, has a nicer camera but I haven’t used that yet. There’s just one thing. So far. Yesterday I put the apps I use most on my home screen – just four, I think, except I can’t remember now what one of them was – and a nice wallpaper, but when I looked at it this morning my apps were gone and there were a couple of new Google icons and the upper half of the screen had a different wallpaper. I hate you AT&T. Damn fraking, intrusive, control-freak corporation! Leave my effing phone alone! It’s mine!

While I’m bitching about stuff, can anyone recommend a good hand lotion? I did have a tube of some kind of gardenia scented “body cream” I bought at Walmart. It smelled nice but that was all I could say for it so when it ran out I bought a huge pump bottle (because huge bottles were all it came in) of Nivea lotion. Oh, I forget which one and I’m not going to go look. It has almond oil in it so I thought that meant it would smell good. It does not. It also does not do what lotion is supposed to do, which is make my skin be not dry and sandpapery.

And I’m cold. Did I mention that it’s cold this morning? Awful, horrible, effing, freaking, fraking…

Scary People

Last night’s episode of Criminal Minds was far from being the creepiest ever but it could be pretty scary for anyone who’s active in social media. The killer, whom the media dubbed The Selfie Killer, targeted people who posted selfies online, in particular those who displayed a certain arrogance or vanity.

If you’re paranoid you might be tempted to stop posting online. I know people who are afraid of social media anyway, for this reason. You could also lock your doors and windows and never leave your house but do you want to live like that? There have always been and will always be scary, crazy people in the world but the media, merely by informing us of their existence, tends to exaggerate in our minds the likelihood of ever coming into contact with these people. Sure, it’s possible and one must be reasonably cautious, but the majority of the people in the world will live their entire lives without ever coming into contact with or being affected in any way by a serial killer and it is no more reasonable to avoid all social media than it is to lock yourself in your house and never go out.

The best defense against crimes motivated by envy or revenge is to adhere to what has been the standard of behavior since long before the Internet existed. Be courteous, be humble, (not self-effacing because that’s annoying and always comes across as fake) do not make fun of or harshly criticize people, not even nameless people such as “anyone who likes Twilight or “people who don’t know the difference between your and you’re (I know… that’s really really hard) and only post pictures that you would be proud to show your grandmother. (Oh, and never, ever tell people on the Internet where you live.)

Yes, I know, I know… “freedom.” But I think we were actually more free when our concept of freedom did not include the freedom to be mean to each other. I never claim to be perfect or above anyone else. Believe me I know the temptation to give people a piece of my mind, to tell people how stupid they are, to preach at people (I guess that’s what I’m doing right now, isn’t it?) and it’s so easy to do on the Internet. But wouldn’t the world be a nicer, maybe even a bit safer, place if everyone (or at least most people) would just be nice?

This ‘n’ That

Winter is here. Yes, I know, I know. It won’t be officially winter for more than a month, but when it’s below freezing when I get up in the morning – or even below 45°F – it’s winter!

I don’t know if there’s a name for this particular universal law of life but there should be: If you state anywhere on the Internet that you plan to finish a project by a certain date you will not finished it by that date. I did not finish it by the next day and I did not finish it by the middle of this week. So I’m not going to say that I only have to sew the buttons on and I will definitely finish it today. No, I did not say that, will not say that.

Yikes! It’s November. I need to start Christmas shopping already. I have lots of time even for online shopping but I usually start in October, “just in case” something is back ordered or out of stock for the rest of the year and I have to think of something else. I have bought one gift so far and I have two more ideas. That’s it. And there are also two birthdays in our family in December. People, plan ahead. Don’t have babies in December. Or the first week of January.

I can’t remember if I’ve linked to this or not. Found it in my bookmarks. 25 Strange Superstitions From Around the World. It amuses me that Tuesday, not Friday, the 13th is unlucky in Spain and the number 4 is unlucky in China.

[sigh] I have way too many bookmarks. But I will get around to visiting all those sites again eventually. I will! Stop laughing.

I Want My Extra Hour

I like Daylight Saving Time but it has come to an end, as it does every year. Every fall you hear people saying that we will get an extra hour of sleep because we turn the clocks back. Well, it doesn’t work that way for me. I always wake up between 6:00 and 6:30. Sunday morning I woke up just before 6:30, like normal, except it wasn’t 6:30; it was 5:30. I was fine all day, didn’t feel tired because I had woke up at what felt like the normal time. I didn’t feel any need to go to bed “early” so I went to bed at the correct time to get used to Standard Time. No problem. Except, all day yesterday I really felt like I had missed an hour of sleep. I usually cannot sleep in so, yeah, I missed an hour of sleep instead of getting an extra hour.

This ‘n’ That

Comment spam has been really horrendous lately. I used to get, usually, no more than 20 a day. Since last Saturday it’s been 300 – 500 a day! The first time comment moderation is stopping it all but I still have to take the time to delete all of them.

Someone once said that spammers should be crucified along side the highways. Right now that seems like a pretty good idea. But then I think, why litter the countryside with so much garbage. Let’s just publish their real names and addresses. But then I think, no I have a better idea. Let’s make them pay. Literally. Someone needs to come up with a system to automatically charge spammers by the minute, with the proceeds going to the website owner, minus a small percentage to maintain the system. Five cents for each minute until the spam comment is deleted, even if it is held in the moderation queue for that time. I would be wealthy!

* * *

As you probably know there will be a partial solar eclipse late this afternoon. So of course it’s raining today. They do say that the clouds might clear out in time for the eclipse and I bought some eclipse shades so I’m ready just in case. I tried them out yesterday. These things are really dark. Put them on and you can’t see anything at all except a dim orange disk in the sky.

* * *

A new creepy high tech way to power high tech devices. Actually the article calls the devices “theoretical” and the inventor said she did it “to provoke the thought about how far will we go to in order to ‘feed’ our addiction in the world of declining resources.” Okay, yeah, whatever. Maybe I read too much science fiction (Come on, that’s not really possible.) but it seems like a reasonable idea. Not that I would ever use one of them myself.

* * *

I do like one of these 10 British Flavors Americans Will Never Widely Appreciate and there are a couple of others I would try. I went though an Earl Gray Tea phase for a several years, actually starting before Captain Picard made it popular. I still like it okay but not as much as I used to. Kedgeree doesn’t sound too bad except maybe the egg, though I could probably tolerate that part of it. I have always wanted to try Marmite just out of curiosity though I’m sure that I would hate it. But the one I really want to try is Irn-Bru – “sort of citrusy with a hint of ginger that leaves a long lingering finish”. That actually sounds very good.

* * *

I think most of these Forgotten Words should probably remain forgotten but I really like tardigradous – “Slow-paced; moving or stepping slowly.” It reminds me of one of my favorite animals.

Calories Don’t Make Sense

Dear Fiber One,

Regarding your “90 Calorie Brownies”: First of all let’s get our terminology straight. That is not a brownie. It is a soft cookie. Actual brownies are about twice as thick. The main point I would like to make, however…

WTF?! 90 calories? In that tiny little thing? How the heck did you manage to stuff 90 calories into a little cookie? (Yes, it’s a cookie, like I said, not a brownie.) And you put it on the box in great big letters as if it was a good thing. Wow. That’s some really audacious marketing.

Also, how do you expect a person to eat just one small cookie? Or even just one brownie if they were actual brownies, which they’re not. So two of these things would be 180 calories. That’s getting to be a bit much for a little snack. Might as well eat ice cream. Or real brownies. (I know, I know… fiber. So I’ll make it a banana split) And if you eat the whole box, which is what a normal person would do, (Thank goodness I’m not normal.) that would be 540 calories. Yeah, I’m definitely eating ice cream instead. I wonder how much fiber there is in a pint (okay, half a pint) of Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey.

Thank Goodness It’s Monday?

It was sort of a sucky weekend. There was no Big Bad thing that happened, just several small and medium bad things that felt hugely bad for some reason. I guess it actually started the middle of last week with the antique indigo stretch denim that I didn’t get. I did search to see if I could find it anywhere else. I couldn’t but even if I had found some the same color on another website there wouldn’t have been any way to be sure it was the exact same thing. The denim I missed out on had 35% stretch. Most online fabric retailers don’t tell you the amount of stretch and in my experience “stretch” denim is usually not actually very stretchy at all. Maybe 5%?

Anyway, as I said, I did order some of the light blue stretch denim. (20% stretch) It was supposed to arrive via US Mail on Saturday. But Friday, as I was headed out to go buy groceries, I noticed that our mailbox had fallen down. There used to be a huge problem with mailbox vandalism in our area so we made a super vandalism resistant mailbox. It totally worked for vandalism prevention but it weighed well over 100 pounds so I couldn’t put it back up by myself. We decided to buy a new, lighter weight but still sturdy mailbox to replace the old Superbox but didn’t have time to put it up until Saturday afternoon so we didn’t get any mail Friday or Saturday. This is not a big deal. I wouldn’t have got around to doing anything with the denim for several days or possibly a week or two anyway but still… I was expecting it on Saturday.

Saturday I went to a local quilt show. That should be fun, right? Well, it was nice. I did enjoy seeing all the gorgeous quilts. But there were two things that partially spoiled it for me. First of all, it seemed like I was the only person there who didn’t know anyone else and I felt alone, left out, and a little like I didn’t belong there. There was one woman there who started a conversation with me but she saw someone she knew and abandoned me mid-sentence. I can understand that. I really can. When you see a friend in a public place you don’t want to let her get away without talking to her, but still, it sort of made me feel like I was still that little girl who was only good enough to talk to if there was no one else around.

The other thing… I’ll be honest, a big reason why I even went to the quilt show was that a local quilt shop that I’ve been to a couple of times said on their Facebook page that if you stop by their booth at the show you could get a 25% off coupon for their store. 25% off? That’s huge! Well, I stopped by their booth and I didn’t see any coupons. The person attending the booth was talking to someone and I didn’t want to interrupt so I walked around a bit more and came back and she was still talking. I hung around for a bit and finally gave up and left without a coupon. It’s just as well. I certainly don’t need any more quilting cotton and yet I’ll probably buy some from eQuilter pretty soon because they have several fabrics that I’m finding particularly irresistible right now. But you see, this was a multi-level disappointment. Thursday I went to visit my brother for a while and I refrained from going to the the quilt shop over there in his town because I knew I was going to get a 25% off coupon from this quilt shop over here. And I like the selection of fabrics at Sager Creek Quilts better. (I don’t like their website and have never ordered from it because their images are too small and I can hardly see what I’m getting.)

The people who work at the local quilt shop are all very nice and one lady in particular is especially friendly and always seems so happy to see me, it makes it a pleasure to go there. Without the coupon as an excuse though, I probably won’t go there at least until next spring. Sager Creek Quilts, while they have a better fabric selection, the guy who is usually working there when I go there (I think he is the owner or is married to the owner) is sort of dour and reserved. Not really unfriendly but not fun and makes me a little uncomfortable to try to talk to him so it’s usually all business when I go there. It’s almost an hour and a half away so I probably won’t go there again anytime soon either.

Finally, to top off this less than fun weekend, my granddaughter was sick yesterday. She was supposed to have her 1st birthday party. I wasn’t excited about the party itself. There would have been a bunch of people there I didn’t know or barely know but I’m disappointed for her sake and sorry she’s not feeling well.

So that was my weekend. I’m actually glad it’s Monday but I’m a little nervous, wondering what else can happen.


Okay, I do have something to say about that after all.

Yesterday I linked to this article, 10 Interesting Facts About Lucid Dreaming, and a commenter, Ken, said he was surprised that I didn’t have anything personal to say about the subject. Actually, I bookmarked that article a long time ago with the intention of saying something about it but I could never think of more than a short paragraph, a couple of sentences at most, and I thought, “No one likes dream posts anyway,” so I finally decided to just link to it. But…

I do usually, at some point in my dreams, realize that I am dreaming. When I was a kid I learned to wake myself up when I was having a bad dream but I have never controlled what was happening in my dreams. Most of my dreams now days are pretty cool – like my own personal sci-fi movies. I once had about a dozen or so Klingons over for dinner but most are more original and really weird and I often wake up wondering, “How did my silly brain manage to come up with that?”

Besides the “sci-fi” dreams I sometimes dream about houses, usually like we are looking at a house to move into. The last time we did that in real life was almost 19 years ago but we spent six months at it and it doesn’t seem like it was that long ago so maybe that’s why it has stuck with me. It has been a while since I had one of those but I actually had one last night. This one was a little different. Someone wanted us to “house-sit” for them while they were away and the house was huge and luxurious and had awesome closets. One was so big it even had a clothes conveyor. The whole dream was mostly about the closets, which makes sense because lately I have been desperately wishing for bigger closets.

A couple of things about my dreams that might or might not be a little odd: 1, I almost always dream in color. I don’t think that’s so strange because of I’ve heard a lot of other people say they dream in color but I used to hear and read that “most people” don’t. 2, I often see and read words in my dreams, usually on signs or product labels but sometimes books. I have read a number of times that one way you can tell if you’re dreaming is that words are all jumbled and unreadable but that’s not true for me. Sometimes they start out sort of indistinct somehow but I can stare at them and make them clear enough to read.

Random Thoughts, Observations, and Complaints

To whom it may concern: When you are turning, please move all the way over into the turn lane. (if there is one) Don’t slow down to two miles per hour with two wheels in the turn lane and two in the regular traffic lane. We can make an exception for 18 wheelers but anyone with four wheels or fewer… no excuses.

Dear Mother Nature: Are you drunk? Have you been doing drugs? It’s October! Not that I really mind 85°F. I’m a warm weather kind of person. I just worry that you might try to make up for all this nice weather a couple of months from now with several weeks of -10° and a foot of snow, or worse, half an inch of ice. Please don’t do that.

Chocolate flavored cereal is always a little disappointing to me. It seems like an awesome idea but it’s never quite good enough. That said, Fiber One 80 Calorie Chocolate cereal is not bad and 80 calories per serving? That’s almost kinda like a little miracle. (This is not an advertisement. If it had been an advertisement I would have used the word “awesome” again.)

October? OMG! It’s October! I need to start the online Christmas shopping already or at least start thinking about what to get everyone. (And there’s a very important birthday in the family in less than two weeks!)

Speaking of early Christmas shopping, Lowe’s had their Christmas decorations out already in September! Way, way too early. At least wait until after Halloween. Halloween decorations are nice too.

Though I haven’t mentioned it lately, I have been sewing. I’m actually working on several things. I usually never work on multiple projects at the same time. It just makes me feel more like I’m not getting things done. Anyway, I might get around to showing off something tomorrow. Or Friday. Or someday.

The Curious Brain

Interesting article about curiosity and learning.

The study revealed three major findings. First, as expected, when people were highly curious to find out the answer to a question, they were better at learning that information. More surprising, however, was that once their curiosity was aroused, they showed better learning of entirely unrelated information (face recognition) that they encountered but were not necessarily curious about. People were also better able to retain the information learned during a curious state across a 24-hour delay. “Curiosity may put the brain in a state that allows it to learn and retain any kind of information, like a vortex that sucks in what you are motivated to learn, and also everything around it,”

I think it’s interesting that they also found that the brain’s reward system is involved in curiosity and learning. My immediate thought: “Well, I could have told them that!” Finding out stuff feels awesome. People who don’t seem to be curious about anything puzzle me. I always wonder what’s going on in their heads if they have no curiosity. What do they think about if they’re not wondering how things work or why things are the way they are? Their lives must be so dull and sad.

What makes some people curious and others not? Everyone is born curious but as we grow up we are gradually conditioned to be less curious. Most parents encourage curiosity, up to a point, in very young children but I think there are probably very few parents who actively lead their children in satisfying their natural curiosity. Busy parents often give short answers that really mean, “Don’t bother me right now.” As children get older and peer pressure kicks in the number of things about which it is acceptable to be curious is greatly reduced and open displays of curiosity are considered “uncool”. Even among adults, people who are openly curious are considered a bit weird.

Lucky is the child who grows up observing his or her parents being curious. Just as the children of people who read books grow up to be readers of books, the children of curious parents retain their early childhood curiosity into adulthood. A few of these children grow up to be scientists and inventors. Many more simply grow up to be adults who continue to find wonder in the world and are rarely bored.

On Being Positive

Here’s an excellent, thoughtful post on choosing to be happy. I sort of want to disagree with it but I can’t, not completely at least. Too often, exhortations to “look on the bright side” sound like “Don’t bother me with your feelings.” Maybe there would be fewer sad and lonely people in the world if there were more people willing to just shut up and listen for five minutes.

There is a quote, attributed to Abraham Lincoln – “Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Of course, it is likely that he never said it and I hope he didn’t because it would bother me to think that he said that. Did he think slaves could just “make up their minds” to be happy or did he not think of them as “folks”?

Anyway, I think it’s more complicated than simply, “Can you choose to be happy or is it out of your control?” Everyone has both sadness and happiness in their lives. At any given moment in your life you have little or no control over how you are feeling at that moment. And it’s not necessarily a good thing to suppress sadness or other negative feelings. To try to do so will probably make you a sadder person overall.

In your life as a whole, however, I think it is possible, at least to a certain degree, to choose to be a happier person, not by “bottling up” unhappy feelings and forcing happiness but by savoring the happy moments that come naturally in your life and being more aware of opportunities for happiness – to “stop and smell the roses” as the old saying goes. My personal philosophy is, “The secret to lifelong happiness is to learn to love weeds.” (literal and figurative “weeds”) There are billions of things in the world that have potential to make you happy and most people don’t even notice them.


I am a somewhat “matchy-matchy” person. (though I hate that term, “matchy-matchy”. It makes it sound like a bad thing.) It’s not about how other people see me. Even when I’m at home, with no one else here to see me, wearing sloppy sweat pants and a ragged t-shirt and fuzzy house socks (my standard wintertime attire) it all has to be color coordinated. (I have relaxed a bit about the socks in the past year.)

Yesterday morning I needed two grocery items and decided to go to the Dollar General five miles away instead of to one of the grocery stores in town 12 miles away. I had on a black and white paisley dress. I had been wearing my single strap Birkenstocks around the house but I don’t like to drive in sandals. Normally I would have worn black shoes with this dress (since it’s after Labor Day so obviously I can’t wear white shoes) but I thought, “If I wear the black shoes I’ll have to transfer everything in my purse to my black purse and I’m only going to Dollar General.” So I wore brown shoes with my black and white dress. I felt uncomfortable about it but I did it.

At Dollar General, as I was in my car about to back out, I noticed a woman walking across the parking lot. She was wearing denim shorts and a loose red t-shirt. She appeared to be in her 60’s. Overall, she was heavy but not grossly huge. But she had boobies the size of basketballs and they were on the loose, swinging free and lively, swinging and bouncing in a disgustingly mesmerizing dance, back and forth, up and down, across her chest. And I thought, “And I was worried about wearing the wrong color shoes? I really need to get some perspective.” But denim shorts and a red t-shirt… those definitely go together. I’ll have to give her that.


Have you ever had a day when you had nothing at all to write about on your blog and then life hands you something?

Yesterday I saw a recipe on Facebook for some kind of fiesta bean casserole that looked pretty good but like most bean recipes it calls for canned beans. I like to use dry beans because canned beans are horrendously high in sodium and they don’t taste as good. I don’t even know why I bothered to say anything. It’s no trouble to substitute cooked dry beans. I always just guess how much to use and I’ve never had any problem doing that. But I guess it bugged me just a little that all bean recipes say to use a can of beans, so I politely suggested that it would be helpful to include the equivalent measure of dry beans for those who would prefer them.

So this morning I checked Facebook and two people had responded to my comment, telling me that low sodium canned beans are widely available. Wow! Really? Who would have thought?! Seriously, how freaking stupid would you have to be to not know that there is a such thing as low sodium canned beans? Is there anyone in the developed world who does not know this already? Besides which, that’s not what I asked. Actually, I didn’t ask anything; I made a suggestion. I did not ask for an alternative to regular canned beans. I have an alternative already. I asked for a measurement. (Or rather, suggested that a measurement be given) But anyway, I ask for a measurement, they give me an alternative. People do this all the time! If you’re going to answer a question, answer the question that was actually asked not a related question that you came up with out of your own head. (or some other part of your body) And most of all, don’t insult people by telling them something that everyone already knows!

As for the beans – are “low sodium” beans really low in sodium? I haven’t checked beans specifically but I know “low sodium” or “reduced sodium” canned soups are not low sodium at all. The regular soups may have 33% or more of the “Daily Value” of sodium per serving while the reduced sodium soup has 20%. (I happen to have a can of reduced sodium tomato soup. I checked the label) That’s still quite high when you consider that the official “serving” is only about half what a normal adult would eat and add to that the sodium in the crackers you’re going to eat with the soup and all the other sodium you will consume from various sources in a day. Personally, I do not have to limit sodium in my diet but it just seems like a good idea, at my age, to cut down when I can.

Thought For the Week

One of my high school classmates, trying to start an off topic conversation, commented that we have no way of knowing whether the colors we see look the same to everyone. We all learn when we are very young that the sky is blue but might not what we call blue look completely different to other people? (This particular teacher often allowed us to spend the entire hour off topic but not that time.)

That is sort of an intriguing idea. I’m pretty sure we all see the same colors but what about taste. To some people (me, for example) onions are absolutely essential. Some foods just need onions. A hamburger without a nice slice of onion on it is sad and disappointing. But to other people onion is apparently one of the most frightening things on Earth. Seriously, in the grocery store deli where I worked in the early 80’s one customer became violent and had to be escorted from the store because my co-worker could not tell her whether or not there were onions in the potato salad. (Okay, so she had other issues.) But anyway… Is this merely a difference in preference or do onions actually taste different to different people?

But back to color vision. Because they see fewer colors than we do, we can get an idea of what dogs see by manipulating photographs. But what do butterflies see? And mantis shrimp? Frankly, I am eaten up with curiosity to know what the world looks like to the mantis shrimp. But we can never know, just as we can’t really know exactly how anyone else, human or animal, experiences the world – not just taste and color but all our senses and our emotional reactions.

That is my thought for the week: We can’t know how anyone else experiences the world. It might be helpful to keep that in mind when trying to deal with difficult people.

Thought For the Week

Ever notice how it’s so much easier to think about the things we don’t have than it is to think about the things we do have? It has occurred to me that we can blame this on evolution. Just as we evolved to crave foods that are not good for us, because those foods were harder to get in prehistoric times, we evolved to want things we don’t have. Every bit of progress in the history of the world happened because someone was dissatisfied in some way. Most of the jobs in the world exist because people want things. So wanting is not entirely a bad thing; only overindulging in it is bad. Just as we can decide to pick up an apple instead of a chocolate bar, we can decide to spend more time enjoying what we have and less time wanting. Not that we should stop wanting; just that we should not spend so much time wanting that we don’t think about what we already have.

Perfect Forgiveness

He’s had a rough week. Saturday evening he came in on three legs, not touching the floor with his left rear foot. The first cruelty (from his point of view) was that I would not let him go outside. Then Tuesday morning I forced him into a carrier and took him for a car ride (horrors!) to the vet who pressed and pulled on his sore leg and gave him an antibiotic shot. And now I have to shove a pill down his throat twice a day. (Prednisolone to reduce swelling) And through all this he’s still been my little buddy – cuddly, affectionate, and always happy to see me. This is why we love cats and dogs.

He’s actually really good about taking the pill. Tip (from our vet): if you ever have to give a cat a pill, coat it with olive oil to make it go down easier.

Never Tell Me What Not to Say!

I am getting really tired of all the Things You Should Never Say lists. Some of them contain good advice but my immediate reaction when I see one of those titles is, “I’m an adult and I’ll say whatever I damn well please.” Okay, so that’s my issue. But seriously, a lot of them are basically just, “I don’t want to hear it and I don’t want to put on my big girl panties and deal with it.”

So, just for fun, let’s go through a list that applies to me. (or could have at one time. My kids are adults now) 13 Things Non-Parents Should Never Say to Parents

1. Ugh. No way. I don’t ever want to have kids. Like, ever. – This is just fine. In fact, if this is your opinion it’s likely a good thing if you don’t reproduce.

2. What do you mean you haven’t seen that movie/heard that song/checked out that new TV series yet? – I actually love when people do this. I get a little snob cred for not having seen the show that everybody is watching.

3. You never call anymore. – No one ever says this to me because I rarely call anyone but I can see how this could be annoying. It sounds needy.

4. We’re having an afternoon picnic in our back yard, but it’s strictly an adult-only event. – There is absolutely nothing wrong with having an adults only event. Yes, it might be a hassle for parents but most parents do enjoy getting away from the kids for a couple of hours once in a while. However, the article does have a good point about outdoor events and if all of your events are adults only your friends who have kids might not continue to be your friends.

5. We’re thinking of having a baby, so we’re getting a puppy first to see if we’re cut out for the job. – Okay, this is just stupid but go ahead and say it. We parents will have great fun talking about you later.

6. You’re not going to start buying “mom jeans”/”dad shorts” now, are you? – Well, you know… some of us grow up and some of us don’t. Whether or not we have kids doesn’t have much to do with it.

7. It must be so relaxing to be home all day with the kids. – This one just makes us feel smug so please do say it.

8. Don’t be so lame! You’re kid-free tonight! Light weight… – Kind of pushy and rude but if you would say this I’m sure we already knew that about you.

9. That kid is OUT OF CONTROL! – Very often justified. It’s true that even good parents have kids who are not always good in public but these days too many parents just don’t even try. So please do say this. Say it out loud so everyone can hear. The innocent will understand. The guilty will be offended. But maybe if they hear it often enough… (ADDED: It depends on the age of the kid. You must keep in mind that until about age 3 or 4 “out of control” is completely normal.)

10. Try to be here on time. – Oh yes, everyone please do try to be on time, always. Having kids is no excuse for habitual lateness. I was almost always on time when my kids were little because I allowed myself extra time for the inevitable delays. And because I was almost always on time my kids are now adults who understand the importance of being on time.

11. I didn’t invite you because you never say yes. – Well, this one is a little sad.

12. You look tired. Are you feeling OK? – A polite expression of concern. Nothing wrong with it. I do hate to be asked “Are you okay?” If I’m not lying on the floor turning blue then, yes, I’m okay. But a simple, “You look tired”? A little sympathy is always nice as long as you’re not creepy and smothering.

13. Well, when I have kids, I’m gonna ____, and my kids will never ____, and the rules will be ____. – Ah, this is another one of those things that make us feel smug and superior. Please go ahead and say it. We parents will have a good laugh at your expense later.

So you see, it’s all about attitude. You can spend your life whining about how mean people are to you and how they just don’t understand or you can respect other people’s right to have and express opinions and find ways to deal with them or even have fun with them.

Wait! What? September Already?!

It seems like August just started a few days ago. And summer just a few weeks ago. I keep seeing all these things on Facebook that say, “Share if you are ready for fall?” No! No, I am not ready! I’m a summer person. Yes, fall is nice – pretty colors and all that – but it doesn’t last long. You get four to six weeks of nice weather, maybe two or three weeks of pretty colors and then the leaves all fall off and it gets COLD long before official winter arrives. And don’t tell me, “Cold is better than heat because when it’s cold you can put on more clothes.” That’s not a feature; it’s a bug! That’s part of the problem. I don’t want to put on more clothes! As long as it’s just “shirt sleeve weather” that’s okay but I hate coats and jackets.

Okay, sorry, I didn’t mean to complain that much. It just all came out. Today is pretty nice. It’s raining. We needed that. Yesterday we had a lovely family cookout. I wish more of the family could have been there but it was nice anyway and I ate too much. As Kelly said,I can generally eat about two of these before I get that “OMG I just ate an entire hippopotamus” feeling. (except we didn’t have s’mores) In my case it’s two of, or in some cases only one of, almost anything. And yet, that usually doesn’t stop me from eating several. (Those cookies were so good and, gosh, I really want another piece of that cake.) Well, anyway, that was fun but for the next month or two I need to try really hard to be “good” and not eat every delicious thing in sight because the food holidays are coming! Oh no!

Well, anyway… I hope everyone is enjoying the long weekend. Just goof off today if you can. That’s what today is for.