Monthly Archives: April 2011

Childhood Treasures

The simple pleasure of collecting stickers. I completely missed out on the sticker collecting phenomenon. I have boys and they were never into it. At least once a week it seems like, one of them would come home with a sticker on his shirt and inevitably I would forget to take it off before putting it in the laundry so almost every shirt they had had a spot of adhesive on it that wouldn’t come out. That’s my only experience with stickers.

While I was reading that post I suddenly thought of the paper dolls I had in the 60’s and I was a little sad that my parents moved several times when I was a kid and my mom lives in an apartment now so there’s no attic for me to go to and discover my old stuff. Here’s a Flickr pool for paper dolls. Isn’t it funny how much fun something so simple can be?

For a moment I thought, “Today’s kids don’t understand the joy of simple things,” but then I thought of those shaped rubber band thingys that all the kids collect. I don’t see the appeal myself but I think every generation of kids has something like that – something simple and cheap that all the kids “must have.” I don’t think paper dolls are in that category though. I didn’t know any other girls who had any. I think it might have been just an odd thing from an earlier era that only I was into. I was always rather “uncool”.

I suppose I outgrew them at some point and voluntarily threw them away. My mom never made me get rid of anything. It’s kind of silly I guess but now I sort of wish I had saved my paper dolls.

Secrets Near the Ground

I don’t know what these “weeds” are called. Some people around here call them Maypops ( but that’s not right. These are Maypops) They pop up all over the place in April. (I suppose “Maypop” sounds better than “Aprilpop”)


I had never seen them before we moved here and I immediately thought they were rather interesting – about 8 to 12 inches tall, just a single stem with one or two large leaves, like little umbrellas. But there’s more. Underneath the leaves, hidden from the eyes of adult humans is a very lovely little flower. It’s about two inches across. Each plant has only a single flower.

May-Pop flower

I think this is a perfect illustration of the fact that, while we may enjoy flowers, their purpose is not to please humans. This flower is pretty enough to be a garden plant but it never will be. This one is just for the bugs. And the fairies, of course.

Update: The common name is “Mayapples”. (See the comments.) Maybe I was thinking “Maypops” because they seem to pop up overnight.

I Thought of a Perfect Title For This…

…while I was eating breakfast but I forgot it by the time I sat down at the computer.

Look! A Baby Wolf! is one of my favorite blogs. It’s very funny but it’s not often that I find something there that I can describe as sweet. This is sweet.

H is as addicted to Lord of the Rings Online gaming as I am to World of Warcraft. We usually sit opposite each other, contentedly killing monsters in our own little worlds.

Awww… what a lovely, perfect couple. I have heard so many women complain about their husbands’ hobbies and I’ve never understood that. Why would you complain about your husband leaving the house to go hunting, fishing or golfing? That’s your “me time”. Help him load his stuff in the car, push him out the door, send the kids, if you have any, to grandma’s or out to play with the neighbor’s kids and you have the house all to yourself for a little while. And you have a problem with that? I don’t get it.

Even more, I don’t get women who complain about their husband “spending too much time on the computer,” unless it’s that you wish he’d go fishing and get completely out of your hair. I mean, he’s there, in the house, with you, not out running around somewhere. You know where he is! That’s a good thing. If it’s a matter of him not getting around to the Honey-Do List, that’s simple – get on the computer before he does and don’t get off it until he knocks a couple of items off the list. And if it’s a matter of wanting to spend more time with him, well go spend time with him. He’s right there! Just go sit down next to him and suddenly you’re together. Computing is something you can do together and you don’t have to touch any slimy worms or icky dead animals or anything like that. What could be better?

For what it’s worth, we’ve been married almost 34 years so #1, we both must be doing something right, #2, all of you younger women need to listen to me because I know what I’m talking about.

Spring is in the Air

Ah, what a lovely time of year. It’s skunk suicide season – that time of year when multitudes of smelly little black and white martyrs head for the roads and highways to throw themselves under the tires of speeding cars. Oh, you didn’t know that there is a season? I know, we see dead skunks on the highways all year long but in the spring you can hardly drive a mile without seeing and smelling one. And since the smell carries for at least a mile the whole trip to town smells like skunk.

They’re nature’s terrorists. Oh, they have their apologists who insist that they are just shy little animals with a strange defense mechanism, innocent victims of our automobile centered society. But anything that smells that bad can be nothing but evil. Evil, I tell you! We ought to hunt down every single skunk in America, tranquilize them and ship them to Afghanistan. Or Libya maybe.

This ‘n’ That

I instantly fell in love with this dress pattern because of the yoke – that shoulder detail – but then I almost immediately decided that, overall, I don’t like it so well. I don’t like the wrap style or the big flowing sash. I thought, it looks like a fancy housecoat. And then I realized that’s exactly what it is. Well, it does come up when you click on “Dresses” so of course that’s what I thought I was looking at.

I started this on Friday. I thought that over the course of a day or two I would have lots of this ‘n’ that but nothing else came up that I wanted to share. So here I am finally trying to finish it and I don’t know whether it’s going to turn out to be more like a Random Linkage or a Random Thoughts but anyway, here we go.

It occurred to me this morning that I am not all that different from my cats. The silverware is no longer located in the same place it was before we tore the kitchen apart and started rebuilding it but whenever I want a spoon I keep going to the drawer that is in the same relative location as the old silverware drawer. And a couple of the new cabinet doors don’t open the same way as the old cabinets and we haven’t got around to putting the hardware on yet so I keep trying to open those doors the wrong way.

Cable was back on last night. Yay. Now we can go back to channel surfing and complaining that on 75 channels, for which we are paying over fifty dollars a month, there’s nothing to watch.

My number four/dollar sign key still doesn’t work. Yes the “four” on the keypad still works but it’s all the way over there and it doesn’t have a dollar sign. Wait… is there a code for the dollar sign? Nope. Darn. I tried turning the keyboard upside down and shaking it. That works sometimes but not this time.

Wow. I have a lot of bookmarks but nothing really interesting. I need to clean those out sometime.

Socialism and/or Barbarism is better than that title suggests.

Weirdest name ever for a fabric store – Urban Burp. I really do not need to be looking at that site. It doesn’t look like you can buy fabric online though. When you click on a picture you just get a bigger picture, no price per yard or “click here to order” or anything like that which makes me not even want to look at it. When I look at an online fabric store (or any online store) I know I can’t have everything I see that I want but I can look and think, “maybe”. But with this site there’s no “maybe”; I only get to look at stuff I definitely can’t have. But they have some really nice stuff for people who live in San Francisco. Found it at A Dress A Day. I love this line: UB is heavy on the mid-century barkcloth, great for upholstering chairs, but not so much for upholstering one’s self Okay, maybe I’m not all that interested after all.

Ooooo! Sunshine! I think I see sunshine, just a little bit. Oh. It’s gone. I should go to the store this morning and get the few things on my list while it’s not raining.

The guy from the flooring store said when I ordered my new linoleum… er, I mean “vinyl flooring”… last week that it would be in “early next week” so he had better call today. Tuesday can still be considered “early” in the week, I suppose but Wednesday is definitely mid-week. So he had better call today or else… I will be annoyed.

Just Thinking

I will be so glad when the kitchen is finished. It won’t be a dream kitchen. We didn’t set out to make it a dream kitchen, just to make better use of the space we have, but I feel like this will probably be my last chance to get any of the things I want and so I’m feeling sort of desperate about certain things. On some things – most things – I don’t have a problem compromising but a few things are more important to me and I feel like if they’re not exactly the way I want them I might start crying and never stop.

Actually, I’ve gotten my way on so many things, and not only those “important” things, I feel like I’m being too demanding and I don’t want to be that way but there’s that desperate feeling… And getting my way on several less important things does not make up for not getting my way on even one of those really important details. On the other hand, if we were paying someone else to do all the work I wouldn’t feel bad at all about being demanding. I’d feel that paying someone a lot of money to do something gives me the right to demand that it is absolutely perfect. Oh yeah, I’d be that client – the one they’d call “That Bitch” back at the office. But on the third hand, it seriously annoys me that demanding that things be done the way you want them is usually considered “bitchy” if it’s a woman doing the demanding.

But anyway… so far I’m liking the way the kitchen is shaping up. As I compromise on one thing after another what I settle for turns out to be something I can live with, and even like. The floor for example – I wanted a blue floor the same or similar to what I had and was not willing to consider any other option but there was nothing anything like what I had in mind available anywhere. Now I like what I finally picked out as well or maybe even better. After the floor is installed (who knows when!) there will be only a few more things left to do – a few more compromises. I’ll be glad when the last compromise is over and done with so I can start simply living with my new kitchen, so it can come to seem merely normal.

For many years, starting when I was about 12 and continuing until long after I was old enough that I should have been more realistic about things, my favorite hobby was “planning” the house I wanted to live in. I drew floor plans and planned the decor. The “dream house” changed from time to time. Usually the floorplan was something I considered practical and reasonable, though sometimes the decor would be unrealistically high-end. I know this is terribly melodramatic but it was always such a big deal to me, almost like a religion, that it often seems tragic that I have never lived in and never will live in a house that I really like. For a long time I didn’t want to make even the smallest improvements to this house because it would mean I was giving up the dream. So I guess I have given up the dream but I’ll still keep dreaming it. I guess I got it from my mother. She is almost 77 and I think she still thinks about what kind of house she would like to live in if she could have any house she wanted.

So now I guess I’m trying to make lemonade out of my lemons but still wishing I had started out with… what? I don’t know… If I was a wine person I would say “wishing I’d started out with grapes so I could make wine” but I don’t drink wine (I’d rather have lemonade) so that doesn’t work for me. Tea, maybe? So I’m at a loss for a good analogy and that itself somehow seems appropriate.


We celebrated Easter mainly by the sinful overindulgence in candy Easter eggs – Reese’s, Nestle’s, Whoppers and jelly beans. Saturday my older son and his wife were here. They’re always fun to hang out with. It rained Saturday night, all day Sunday and is still raining this morning. We’ve had over two inches of rain since Saturday night. We might not see the sun before Thursday (maybe a little bit on Tuesday) but I’m not complaining. Yet.

TV cable has been out since Saturday evening. Saturday we watched the first three episodes of Firefly and Sunday we watched the three original Star Wars movies. We have the digitally messed with version, which was all that was available at the time it was purchased. We don’t have very many DVDs and I keep thinking I need to buy some more but I want to get the HD versions of anything that is available in HD so I keep holding off until we get an HD DVD player. The movie rental place in The Nearby Small Town closed sometime last year. I think there are some other places but I’m always reluctant to sign up with another place. It bugs me that you can’t just go in and rent DVDs; you have to have an “account”. I can understand why they do it that way but it still bugs me.

Of course there was more work done on the kitchen, stripping off the old vinyl flooring and preparing the sub-floor for the new stuff. (smoothing bumps, patching holes, etc) I’m very nervous about this step. I guess it’s because we’re having someone else install it. We have installed vinyl flooring several times before and it’s always been very stressful so I’m glad we’re having the professionals do it this time but I’m still nervous about it. First of all, are we doing a good enough job getting the sub-floor ready? I think so but will the installers be satisfied with it? Then, will they do a good job? And when will they do it? How long will I have to walk around on just a sub-floor and will we damage it by walking around on it, spilling stuff on it, etc? Also, a sub-floor, no matter what you do, never seems clean enough. I’m not wanting to have to live with this very long.

Work on the kitchen required us to relocate the cats’ food and water. Cats are funny creatures. Location is extremely important to them. The girls didn’t have a lot of trouble adjusting to the change but Three kept going back to the old place. I showed him where the food and water was, he sniffed it and then walked back over to where it used to be. He did this several times and would not eat until he saw the other cats eating. All three of them still occasionally go to the old location first. We’ve decided that we’re not going to move it back to where it was. The new location is less in the way. It should make the cats happy not to have to readjust again.

My future looks… stupid

I finally bought some flowers and planted them this afternoon. Usually this time of year gardening is one of the main things on my mind (The enthusiasm only lasts until the high temp reaches the low 90’s.) but this year the kitchen project is taking up most of our time and energy. But I have been thinking about it and there’s at least a 40 percent chance of rain every day for the next seven days so I thought this would be a good time.

I’ve been wishing that I had the pickup during the week to go buy plants. I used to drive it all the time but a couple of years ago we switched and now most of the time my husband drives the F150 and I drive the nice, new, reliable and formerly clean Subaru. I hated to get the back of it all dirty from carrying plants but it seems like we’re always too busy on weekends. So today I drove to Ace to get “just a few” plants and came home with the back of the car full.

I planted them all as soon as I got home and as I was gathering together the usual planting tools and figuring out where I wanted to plant everything (Plan ahead? You must be joking!) I thought, I really need to get several bags of mulch and I have to have the pickup for that.

And that’s when it hit me. The pickup is sitting right there in the driveway right next to the car. My husband has been driving his company truck for the past three days and I could have used the pickup at any time!

Yesterday I saw a guinea in our front yard, running along inside the fence (No, I’m not changing the subject; bear with me.) desperately trying to get out to join another guinea that was on the outside of the fence and equally unhappy. I knew that the silly thing would probably be scared of me and would remember that it could fly if I walked toward it so that’s what I did but instead it squeezed through a hole in the fence that was smaller than I thought it could squeeze through. Then I told my son about the incident and we both laughed about how stupid guineas are. Well, right now I don’t feel very much smarter than that guinea.

I am over 50 (Wait… really? Dammit!) but I still feel like I’m too young to be that absent minded. So what am I going to be like when I really get old? I hope I turn out to be something like Walter. He’s kinda sweet, and still smart when he really needs to be. Unfortunately, I’ll probably be the opposite – really hard to get along with and pathetically stupid.

Random Linkage

R2D2 hot tub party

Ads of the World – Like we don’t have enough of our own, here you can see ads from all over the world. Interesting and fun site.

But Does It Float – Odd, fascinating and awesome modern art blog

Contrary Brin – David Brin’s blog

New car engine – Engine of the future or just another amazing innovation that will be forgotten and left on the scrap heap of What Might Have Been? (via)

World recipe database – Wow! Measurements are metric but it looks like it will be worth going to the trouble of converting. (Another one from DRB)

Bacon Roses – At first glance they don’t look half bad then after you realize what they are they seem a little bit… well… wrong.

Biocoture – Growing clothing in a lab. #1. I’m attracted to the futuristic, sciency aspect of this. #2. I have a warm emotional attachment to plain old-fashioned cotton and I’m slightly repelled by the notion of lab-grown clothing. #3. That’s a really ugly blouse.

TV Notes

Last week’s Fringe was awesome. I can’t think of anything to say about it that wouldn’t be at least a bit of a spoiler but I can say, about the last several episodes, that I have been rather enjoying Anna Torv’s impersonation of Leonard Nimoy.

I just discovered this past Monday night that Stargate: Universe is back – has been back for weeks! I’ve missed almost the entire season. We haven’t been watching anything on siffy SyFy for a long while so I hadn’t seen any ads for it and never thought to check and see if it was back on. I’ve always been on the fence as to whether or not I think the show is a total waste of time but it looks like this season might have been better. Now I’m hoping for one of those catch-up marathons the cable channels have once in a while.

Is it just me or are the plots on Chuck getting increasingly forced and implausible? Two CIA agents, one of them the daughter of a professional con artist, get conned out of over 26 thousand dollars by a fake wedding planner? Whom they found on the Internet? Really? It is still a fun show in some ways; I just think the writers could do better.

It looks like we’re heading into TV land’s usual summer drought. Neither Castle nor Harry’s Law were on this week. The last Big Bang Theory was a rerun. (The local CBS channel, which had preempted it for storm coverage did show it later.) Other than those and the other shows mentioned above there’s been very little on lately that interests me. Once in a while there’s something on one of the cable channels besides Drama Queens With Chain Saws (Ax Men) or Drama Queens With Motor Bikes (American Chopper) or I Was Eaten By a Giant Shark (or snake or bear or jellyfish or mysterious monster) and Survived (just about every show on Animal Planet) or Spending Mega-bucks Fixing Up Over-priced Houses for Sale. (over half the shows on HGTV) Oh well… more time for reading, sewing and all that good stuff.

Finally Finished… Again

I finally finished reading Moby Dick late last week. Moby Dick is a short story interrupted by a book length digression on whales and nineteenth century whaling. Other than that I don’t have much to say about it. My second reading was more enjoyable than the first because I knew what to expect – very little story, but the digression was interesting enough by itself. Still not one of my favorite books but worth taking the time to read again.

A Couple of days after I finished reading Moby Dick I was watching a show on the Discovery Channel in which they mentioned the Essex, which is said to have been the inspiration for Moby Dick. I hadn’t heard about that before. Isn’t it interesting how sometimes things just happen to come up at the right time?

Word Invention

One of my email spam subject lines this morning contained a new word: attemption. They said that it was their “second attemption” to contact me. Well at least this time they got my attention with the word “attemption” but they still didn’t get me to read it; I just deleted it with all the rest.

While that usage was obviously incorrect – they should have said “attempt” – I’m not completely dismissing “attemption”. Perhaps we could use that somehow. The world is so full of attemption – people attempting things but giving up before they accomplish their goals. Or perhaps the world needs more attemption. Many of us dream great dreams but never make any attempt to make those dreams come true. More attemption is what we need. Let’s start a whole attemption movement. Up with attemption. Get some attemption going. I’m definitely going to practice my attemption later today as I cut some quilt pieces and attempt to make them exactly the right size.

Perfect Moments

It’s been raining, yesterday and today. We needed it. Now the people on TV can stop going, “Oh no! Panic! Potential Fire Danger!” and instead go, “Oh no! Panic! Possible Tornadoes! Damaging Winds! Golf Ball Size Hail!” for a while. I really shouldn’t make fun of them like that because all those things are possible but every time there’s a storm around here the local TV stations preempt everything that’s supposed to be on (I missed Big Bang Theory last night, dammit.) for their continuous weather reports and it really seems like they’re enjoying themselves. They live for the big storms.

Anyway, no storms today. It’s cold and there’s light, steady rain. When I was out earlier, before the rain started, it was windy and I was not happy about it. Bummer. Windy, cold, not a nice day at all. But this afternoon I decided to goof off and sit down and read for a while. Shortly after I sat down and started reading Three jumped up in my lap. Did you know that a Kindle is perfect for reading with a cat. One hand can be holding the Kindle and the other hand need not pause in the performance of human-kind’s most important duty – petting the cat. And I thought, “This is absolutely perfect.” The rain, a book and a cat. Everyone should take a little break like that once in a while.

Quotes From Here and There

I even remember reading commentary on Usenet, back during the first couple of seasons, in which Mulder was made fun of for always having his cell phone with him!here (It’s amazing how quickly we go from, “Can you believe those people?” to being one of those people.)

The thing that frustrates me a bit about the trash-off days is that the population of people who PICK UP trash, and the population of people who TOSS OUT trash from their cars are two different populations. So no one ever learns the lesson that there is someone out there arduously picking up their old Sonic drink cups, or their empty cigarette boxes, or the beer bottles they decided they had to ditch before getting home…there

And we just sprayed for goats last week,

Order and Randomness

From Posy Gets Cozy:

What I like is randomness. I like quilts that feel like you threw a bunch of little pieces of fabric up in the air and then stitched them together sort of where they fell. I don’t like quilts that follow a super-dedicated color scheme or pattern or make a picture of something else. I like it when things are more sort of controlled-chaos.

I like both planned, well color-coordinated quilts and those that look unplanned but I think I’m a compulsive planner. When I see a quilt pattern that I like I always start thinking about colors that would work well together and when I see a fabric I like for a quilt I look for other fabrics that would go with it. My first quilt (which I made mainly as an experiment to see if I would really like quilting) was made of scraps I had left over from sewing clothes, but even with that one I kept thinking “Does this fabric look good next to that one?” as I was making the top. (I remember reading somewhere that for something to appear random requires careful planning.)

I do need to make another random quilt to use up some scraps but I keep coming up with plans that require just the right colors.


I don’t like quilts that look like pieces of art. I like quilts that look like you just rolled out from under them in a nice warm bed.

I’m sort of on the fence about this one too though I tend to lean toward the “quilts as practical art” side. A quilt that just hangs on the wall looks nice but it seems kind of pointless, and a little bit sad – like someone went to all that trouble to make a nice, cozy handmade quilt and then just hung it on the wall and never used it.

Random Thoughts

I don’t think there has been any significant improvement in plumbing technology since the Roman Empire. Oh sure, we’ve invented a few fancy new gadgets to attach to the ends of pipes (toilets, dishwashers, etc.) and we’ve stopped using lead pipes but the actual plumbing hasn’t really changed all that much.

What? It’s Wednesday already? Seriously? Wednesday?!

When you get something new, are you ever reluctant to use it for its intended purpose? Like when you get a new carpet you don’t want anyone to walk on it? It seems like new things should just be looked at and admired.

It’s going to snow soon. I finally put away the pair of winter boots that had been sitting near the back door for three months. So it’s going to snow soon.

They should teach kids quilting as part of geometry class.

I found Mahjongg for Android a few days ago. Now how am I supposed to get anything done?

40° in the morning, 85° in the afternoon. Ah, springtime in Oklahoma.

The “4” key on the top row of my keyboard still doesn’t work but the one on the keypad does. I knew they put those keys there for some reason.

I need to think of something to write for the blog. Come on inspiration…

Why does the word “inspiration” look like it’s spelled wrong?

Kitchen Remodeling

We have countertops and a sink! Here’s a shot of the countertop being built by my husband. He’s using a roller to make sure the Formica is firmly glued to the board.

Kitchen remodeling

The new sink was a problem. We’ve installed sinks before. It normally takes about fifteen minutes. This one took hours. The whole sink was not entirely straight so the rim wouldn’t sit flat on the countertop and the clips that are designed to attach it would not work. The problem was finally solved by having my son sit in the sink.

Kitchen remodeling

So now we have a fully functional, though still far from finished, kitchen. I suppose I would be betraying The Sisterhood if I admit that I’m excited about something as domestic as a sink but you know what? The Sisterhood can kiss my big fat lily-white hiney. I love my new sink and it’s not just because I’ve been without one for over a week. It’s awesome – a big deep single-bowl. I love the faucet too. You can’t really see it in this picture. It’s mirror-shiny chrome with a lovely curve. Love it. Love it. Love it. Take that, feminist sisters!

Um… anyway… The project is coming along. I guess we really didn’t accomplish a lot this weekend since the sink took longer than expected but it feels like a lot because the sink and countertop was such an important step. Now finally I can actually cook meals, not just stick stuff in the microwave.

By the way, my original dream sink was white enameled cast iron but I got to thinking about it and, aside from the expense, every installed enameled sink I’ve ever seen had a chip out of the enamel. It would probably be years before that would happen but I thought about it and decided I didn’t want that.

Now I’m getting really antsy to get the rest of it done. We haven’t touched the island yet and there’s a big floor to ceiling cabinet to install; there’s trim and all the little details and of course the floor. And we still have to put up the new beadboard paneling in the dining area and paint that. So we’ll still be working on it for a while. I hope we don’t lose our sense of urgency now that the main functional stuff is done.

Quotes From Here and There

I find my day goes a whole lot better if I start it by reading only Cute Overload and LOLCats and blogs. None of this news

We forget that there are still those impulses in humanity that make us amazing.there

Hint: If you feel stupid, there’s usually a damn good reason for

I like knowing that part of me now is still the little me I once was.there

Random Linkage

I really love the photo in this post. It’s simple but there’s something about it that makes me wish I could literally step into it.

Too good to be true – Sadly, this was only an April Fools joke.

Mysterious tower – Fascinating.

Bits and Pieces has a hilarious series of US Tax Forms for Corporations, Liberals, Conservatives and Tea Partiers but you’ll have to scroll down to find them because the permalinks aren’t working. All are dated April 6th. (Update: Well darn. Now the whole site isn’t working. I’ll leave this anyway in the hope that the problem will be fixed soon.)

Vintage April Fools and modern office pranks

Beware of dog – Hah!

Clothes kitty – Your cat will sleep on your clean laundry – no matter where it is.

10 Strange Creatures – I saw a TV show about #2 recently. I forget which cable channel it was on.

More about Colony Collapse Disorder – Interesting.

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