Category Archives: Life ‘n’ Stuff

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’.

Memories

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.)

Oh No, She’s Talking About the Weather Again

We have every possible kind of weather here in Oklahoma. Literally every possible kind of weather. Rain, drought, tornadoes, blizzards and now we’ve got a freaking hurricane. Okay, honestly, by the time a hurricane gets here it’s technically a “tropical depression” (What an appropriate name: “depression”) and this one isn’t any worse than the weather we had for the entire month of May – nothing but more rain and not as heavy as they were saying on the news last night. But still – look at it on the weather radar and you can see that it’s a freaking hurricane. It’s not even raining at the moment; it’s just damp and gloomy. But I’m tired of it and, somehow, it makes me feel a tiny bit better to say, “It’s a freaking hurricane!”

Cat Envy

I’m sure it’s happened to all of us. We see another human’s Furry Overlord and fall in love. We have disloyal thoughts about how much prettier and sweeter he is than our own Furry Overlords and we wish we could be his human. We feel guilty and return home wondering if our Furry Overlords will smell our disloyalty on our hands.

This is my brother’s cat. His name is Garfield. He’s chubby and has a thick neck. He’s slightly long-furred but the fur on his tail is much longer than the rest of him. He came to me immediately for petting and cuddling and he didn’t make a sound the entire time I was there. Well, at least I get to visit him once in a while.

My Brother's Cat

Anxious

My favorite holiday is coming up soon. The 4th of July (American Independence Day) is my favorite holiday. Not by a huge margin. I do love Christmas and Thanksgiving, but July 4th is the best because you get to just hang out with family and relax. And the weather is nice. No coats and snow chains required. And, although there is always lots of good food, it’s not such massive quantities that you end up over-eating for a month and a half.

Unfortunately, I have missed the past two Independence Days. Two years ago stuff happened and we didn’t get to go to the family party. Last year something minor but unavoidable got in the way and, again, we didn’t get to go and it was just like just any other day, which made me feel a little bit sad and upset. One’s favorite holiday should never feel like just another day.

By the way, of all the holidays the 4th of July is the one I would most like to host at my house but for a couple of reasons it’s never going to happen. One is that I live so far out in the woods that nobody wants to come to my house. The other reason – the most limiting reason – is the Oklahoma weather and our summer tradition of burn bans, which includes a ban on cooking outside. It depends on the weather and we don’t have one every year but we wouldn’t be able to plan more than a week, maybe two, ahead of time. Otherwise, here would be the perfect place because it’s legal to set off fireworks. (if there’s no burn ban)

But anyway, that was a bit of a tangent. I don’t want to be superstitious but it’s hard to not feel like the universe is conspiring to prevent me from enjoying my favorite holiday and I keep thinking, “What’s going to happen this year?” Two years ago I made a dress that I intended to wear on the 4th of July and when we didn’t get to go anywhere I decided to save it and wear it the next 4th of July but again didn’t get to go. This year I’m starting to think I might want to wear something else anyway, which kind of bugs me because I’ve been saving this dress for two years. It kind of makes me look fat, though (Shut up. Fatter) and I have other dresses I’d rather be seen in. I have pretty much decided to put off the decision until that morning but I know until then I will not stop thinking about it along with everything else.

Oh Sunny Days!

I have to mention this, because I was complaining about the rain last week and wishing for “just three warm, sunny days in a row”. Well, I’m getting my wish and more. But, of course, that puts a little pressure on to get out and do something. Weed those flower beds! Plant more flowers! Pick up that trash that blew in from the next county. But, you know, it’s really humid out there, plus, the mosquitoes and ticks are really bad…

Still, I’m really happy about the change in the weather. I love warmth and sunshine.

“Just Shoot ’em”

The husband and I spent this morning doing what we call “running around,” which means, “going to a lot of stores and only buying stuff at a couple of them.” When we were done with the running around, we noticed that it was a few minutes after noon and decided to stop at a fast food restaurant for some minimally nutritious tummy filler. Among the few other people who were eating in was a pair of not sweet, not little, old ladies who were forgetting to use their inside voices as they conversed about all manner of topics, about which they knew more than anyone else in the entire world, at least according to themselves. Though the volume made it a little difficult, we tried to ignore them and have a conversation of our own and were partially successful but a couple of sentences stood out: “Anyone who runs from the cops oughta be shot,” and “Just shoot ’em and get it over with.” One of the women repeated the last one several times.

Let’s start with the first statement: “Anyone who runs from the cops oughta be shot.” I’m not a saint. I will confess that the thought has crossed my mind that, “If you run from the cops of course you’re going to get shot. Don’t run! Duh!” But let’s consider the reasons a person might run. 1. He (or she; that’s the last time I’m going to say it) is guilty of murder. I don’t have any statistics to back this up but I’m guessing that this is the least likely reason. 2. He is guilty of a crime that does not carry the death penalty – for example, robbery, drug possession, being in the U.S. illegally, failure to pay traffic fines, etc. 3. He is not guilty of any crime but has been raised in an environment where he has learned to fear the cops. So, what these women were saying is that running from the cops merits the death penalty regardless of whether or not the runner has committed any other crimes. Further, they are saying that every cop has the right to be judge, jury, and executioner in all situations.

Now regarding the second statement, a notion which the woman seemed particularly proud of: “Just shoot ’em and get it over with.” In a certain kind of mind this is perfectly logical. If they’re obviously guilty why waste time and money on a trial? Make the world a safer place for law abiding citizens by taking the criminals out quickly and efficiently. But, aside from the obvious moral problem with this, in places where this is the way it’s done, the crime rate is not lower than in countries where it is left up to courts and juries to decide who is guilty and how the guilty are to be punished. Quite the opposite, in fact. I’m sure these two old bats are confident that they would never have to worry about getting shot by the police because, “obviously,” they are not guilty of any crime. This attitude is, at best, extremely naive. It’s been a long time since those two were in school and I’m thinking they have forgotten everything they learned in history class, if they were even paying attention in the first place.

As we were leaving the restaurant, the husband made dire threats of what he would do if I ever turned into that kind of old lady. He needn’t worry. However, there’s a distinct possibility that in another ten or twenty years I might turn into the kind of old lady who doesn’t hold back from giving other old ladies a good tongue lashing when I think they need it. Right now, I’m actually thinking it’s too bad those two old biddies will almost certainly never read this.

Lame, Lazy Weather Blogging

Yeah, I know… I’m a terrible blogger and that’s why no one reads this nonsense anymore. But the only thing that’s going on in my world is that it’s raining. Well, it seems to have stopped for the moment but the weather forecasts show no real break in sight. I’m trying to think about the drought years and be thankful for the rain but all I can think is, “Just give me three days without any rain. Just three days.” Okay, seriously? I would like a week or two but even just three warm, dry days would be glorious.

Go look at this satellite image of flooding on the Arkansas River and the one from a year ago for comparison. They’re not terribly impressive until you really start looking and realize the large areas covered. I live on top of a small hill, myself, and have not actually seen any flooding personally. Even the lower part of my yard is just wet with a few puddles, not totally under water like it has been in previous wet years.

So… not too bad here, really. But I really, really, really, really would like to be complaining about the heat for a while instead of the rain.

Thought for the Week

This one isn’t a quote (At least I don’t think it is) it’s just something that came to me.

No matter what you do or how you do it there will be people standing in line to tell you you’re doing it wrong. If you really don’t need any help just smile and ignore those people.