Monthly Archives: May 2011

Kes 199? – 2011

Our poor old cat, Kes, died Sunday morning.

Cat on back porch rail.

To be honest, I’m mostly just feeling relief that it’s all over with. What I enjoyed most about her was looking out a window and seeing a pretty little calico cat sitting against the south side of a tree trunk, or in the grass in front of the flowers, or on the back porch as in the picture above, taken last summer. I think, for a long time, I will still look out the window half expecting to see her somewhere.

I sort of lost track of exactly how old she was. We got her as a kitten sometime in the late 90’s.

Living in the Past

We didn’t have an Internet connection for most of yesterday, and it’s intermittent this morning; I had a wireless signal for about 10 minutes yesterday; and about half our cable channels (all the good ones) were “unavailable”. We spent a long boring weekend just hanging around the house, doing a little painting, a little mowing, (the husband) a little sewing and a lot of laundry (me). More blogging later if my connection holds out but I’m going to go ahead and post this little bit now while I have the chance.

Quotes From Here and There

Not being heard is one of humanity’s greatest problems. It always has been. That’s why everyone is so crazy. Loud car stereos, loud ring tones, yelling, shouting, bad behavior–even Twitter and Facebook. HEAR ME! I MATTER! I HURT! I’M AFRAID!here

…it is a curious thing that many Americans who are deaf to the pleas of ordinary mendicants seem to be unable to resist the importunities of brokers, who generally have less to offer in return than a street beggar.there

As you can see, the river is a bit of a commitment-phobe. . .here

As a weak and feeble professor of archaeology, I was spared. But not by chance. Her red cloaked guards seized me, led me to the village common, and threw me to the mud. She demanded of me the Riddle of Prehistory.there

Biofuels Debate

Here’s a skeptical article about biofuels with a long debate in the comments. It might turn out to be true that biofuels are not practical but the “don’t even try” attitude seriously annoys me. I suppose he thinks it would be a perfect world if we all threw out our toys and moved to little organic farms and lived in one room cabins with only candles for light. And who knows? Future generations might be forced to live that way but I’m not ready to give up yet. Excuse this little burst of patriotism but we’re Americans and we don’t give up. We try things, we fail, we try again, and again, and eventually we find a way.

via

Reading

I recently finished reading Booker T. Washington’s Up From Slavery. I expected it to be interesting (or else I wouldn’t have read it) but I was a little surprised by how unputdownable it was in the first half of the book. The later chapters were mainly about speaking tours and fund-raising for the Tuskegee Institute and was less interesting to me.

Overall it was a worthwhile, educational read. You get from it a slightly different picture of the era of slavery and the first decades after emancipation. Of course, Washington himself may not have had the complete picture even though he was there. He seems to have been well-treated by white people. In his writing he comes across as a polite and optimistic person. In some ways also, he seems naive but I don’t think he actually was. He just saw the value of looking on the bright side and believing that the near future would be much better. Here are a few quotes:

The individual who can do something that the world wants done will, in the end, make his way regardless of race.

When bills are on the eve of falling due, with not a dollar in hand with which to meet them, it is pretty difficult to learn not to worry, although I think I am learning more and more each year that all worry simply consumes, and to no purpose, just so much physical and mental strength that might otherwise be given to effective work.

No race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem.

No man who continues to add something to the material, intellectual, and moral well-being of the place in which he lives is long left without proper reward.

* * * * *

Last week I downloaded, from Project Gutenberg, several classic science fiction books and stories. The Burning Bridge by Poul Anderson is a fairly simple story but, though it is over 50 years old, it does not seem especially dated. A group of political dissenter colonists are on route to their new home when they receive a transmission from Earth informing them that there has been a change in leadership and that they should turn around and come back to Earth so they must decide whether to return or continue.

Two nights ago I started reading City of Endless Night, a novel by Milo M. Hastings. It was written after the end of World War I but well before the beginning of WWII. It has WWII not happening until 1988. The action takes place decades after that. And it seems the Germans are still the bad guys. That’s about all I know so far. More after I have finished it.

It’s Benadryl Season

This past Saturday we went to our nephew’s high school graduation. Whenever you get an invitation to a high school graduation, go. They’re not fun events for the spectators and the occasion may not seem important to those of us who’ve been there many years ago but it really is a big deal. One does not literally become an adult in one day but when you graduate from high school it feels like you are finally leaving childhood behind and becoming an adult. Of course, it doesn’t take long for you to realize that you’ve got a ways to go yet but still, the day is important.

This graduation was in a small gym with no air conditioning. We got there a bit early but not early enough. We had to stand in the back and couldn’t hear or see very well, and it didn’t help that a lot of people were very rude and talked through the whole thing, but I’m still glad we went.

Some of the people who, like us, had to stand kept moving around trying to get a better spot. For a few minutes there was a woman standing in front of us who was wearing one of those tops with a large, elastic neck opening and she had it pulled wide so her bra straps showed and I had an overpowering urge to reach up and adjust her clothing for her. Fortunately she moved before the urge became absolutely irresistible. When I am dictator of the world letting any part of your underwear show in public will be, by law, indecent exposure and those found guilty of the crime will be sentenced to wear a burka for one month for the first offense, two months for the second offense, four for the third offense and so on. See, I would be a gentle dictator – no stretching people on the rack or any of that sort of thing. Anyway… Where was I?

After the graduation we went to my brother-in-law’s house and had a light lunch and I had lots of fun hanging out with my wonderful sisters-in-law. Later when we were standing in the front yard, in the process of leaving to go home my eyes suddenly started burning. Until that moment my sinus allergies haven’t been bad at so I was sort of hoping that this would be the year without red eyes and sneezing fits. At first I thought, I’m just allergic to Arkansas and after I get home I’ll be fine, but no, allergy season just came a little late this year.

I’m not sure if Benadryl actually works or if it just makes you not care. Actually, it’s kind of strange – if I take Benadryl and stay relatively active it doesn’t make me drowsy at all and it does work but if I take it and sit down in front of the TV or the computer for a while I get that groggy, zoned out feeling.

It’s a lovely day today. We had thunderstorms last night but not as bad as in some areas. I should get outside and do some stuff while I have the chance but I’m probably going to spend much of the day sewing since I didn’t work on that any at all yesterday. I also need to do some rearranging in the kitchen since all the cabinets are in now and I still have one box of kitchen stuff that I have to make fit somewhere.

Closed Due to Flooding?

My plans for today included lots of blogging but my husband’s place of work is flooded, or at least the driveway, the parking lot and the highway in front of it are flooded, so they called him and told him not to come to work until later. And you married ladies know how husbands are – they’re adorable and often very useful but they can seriously disrupt your routine when they’re around. :-) It might be a while before I get around to any “important” stuff like blogging.

Professor Elemental

This performer calls his style “steampunk hip-hop” which, I suppose, proves that almost everything is cooler with a British accent.

Thanks to long-time reader Harvey for sending me the link to this one.

Not Supposed to Be Funny

At Wal-mart I noticed a sign that said “Infant and Toddler Hangers”. It was on a display rack of very small clothes hangers but you know the first thing that crossed my mind, right?

Wardrobe Stretching

It seems like I often find myself with a closet full of shirts and blouses for which I have no matching pants. I’ve been in that situation for quite some time now, especially with the warm weather blouses, so I finally bought three pieces of stretch twill to make new pants.

Remember when we thought stretch pants were so horrible? Well, I never really thought that but I have heard a lot of derogatory remarks about stretch pants, the general consensus among the “fashionable” people being that only old, fat redneck women wear stretch pants and of course only garments worn by young, thin urban women are deserving of any respect. Everything else must be ridiculed. But anyway… The neat thing about this stretch twill is that it doesn’t look like a stretch fabric. Pants that don’t stretch are extremely uncomfortable and even though I like to think I don’t care anything about fashion I have to admit that the “stretch pants = old, fat redneck woman” connection bothers me a bit. So stretch fabric that doesn’t look like stretch fabric is a miracle.

The fabric came from Denver Fabrics. (which is actually located in St. Louis, not Denver) I was going to say I love/hate Denver Fabrics but honestly I don’t hate them; I’m just a bit wary of ordering from them because their fabric descriptions are minimal and some are inaccurate. I’ve actually only been disappointed once but you know the old saying – “Once bitten, twice shy.” I ordered some fabric that was listed as “shirting”, which I assumed to mean that it was suitable for making a man’s shirt but it was actually way too thin. Otherwise I’ve always been pleased with the fabric I’ve ordered from them.

They have lots of hard-to-find fabric, like this stretch twill. They have it in literally dozens of colors. My order this time turned out to be exactly what I wanted and the quality of the fabric is excellent. It’s 97% cotton, 3% lycra and I wasn’t sure how much stretch it would have. I was afraid it might be like the denim in so-called stretch jeans which actually only have barely enough give so that the manufacturer can legally get away with calling them “stretch jeans” but unlike that this twill is nicely stretchy. It’s a bit heavier weight than I had expected. Denver Fabrics’ description says “suitable for dresses and slacks” but it’s heavier than anything I would consider using for a dress. That’s both good and bad. Good because it is perfectly suitable for pants but bad because they might be a bit heavy for hot summer wear.

My fabric colors are pink, light green, and dark royal. I took a picture that I was going post instead of linking but the colors in it turned out all wrong; the green looked yellow and the pink looked orange. I finished the blue ones yesterday. Strangely, it’s been years since I’ve had any blue pants other than jeans, which I only rarely wear.

I think I’m going to make the pink ones next. I have a pair of bright pink pants but they’re too short and sort of baggy and I don’t like the way they look. They’re made of regular non-stretch cotton. Surprisingly, making pants looser does not make them comfortable enough. They have to stretch, darn it.

DF did have a kelly green stretch twill that I really wanted but I procrastinated too long and they sold out. This nice spring green will go well with several of my tops though. (hmmm… maybe I’ll make the green ones next.)

I suppose some of my color choices say, “old woman”. I used to joke that when I get old people will refer to me as “that crazy old woman out there with all them cats,” but, though I love cats, I find that two at a time is about all I can stand. (which is why I have three) So instead of being the Crazy Cat Lady I’m going to be the Crazy Colors Lady – the one about whom they say you need to put on sunglasses whenever she passes by.

This ‘n’ That

Oooo… it’s looking really gloomy outside, which means I’m going to lose my “wonderful” satellite Internet connection any time now. Or perhaps not. Lately it’s been in the habit of suddenly cutting out for no reason on bright sunny days. So for now I’ll just keep going and we’ll see what happens. Thank goodness WordPress saves.

Great picture. I want a poster of that to put in our combination, guest room, sewing room, junk room, grandson’s playroom. For the grandson, you understand.

Another one from Leeann – just a bit of wisdom. Yeah, that’s the spirit!

The economy really can’t be all that bad when there’s someone out there who has the nerve to ask $800 for a plain, unadorned denim dress.

My little buddy just came in out of the rain. Don’t you love how cats are always especially affectionate when they’re all wet?

I bookmarked this a while back and can’t remember now if I’ve mentioned it or not: 12 Foods With Super Healing Powers. Several I already eat and would be willing to eat more often and those that I don’t eat I’d be willing to try. Not that I really believe the “super healing powers” claim but maybe they’re at least good for you and I do need more variety.

Kameleon – Quilt patterns from Norway. Beautiful! Very colorful.

Two Season Finales

No spoilers, I promise. I just have to say that the season finales of Chuck and Castle were both great.

I think I like the way Chuck keeps evolving. Sure, there have been times when I’ve been a little down on the show because I felt that it wasn’t as much fun as it was in the beginning and I didn’t like the direction it was going but they keep finding new directions and new twists so it never stays bogged down for very long. It looks like next season will be very interesting. I do have one complaint but I promised no spoilers so I’ll save it for next season.

The season finale of Castle was, of course, awesome. It was a very dark episode that gave Nathon Fillion a chance to really show his stuff as an actor. Generally I prefer the more fun episodes and I hope there will be many more of those but I’m not complaining because this really was an excellent episode and was a part of the story that needed to be told.

Two More Fabric Stores

I found these just surfing around recently.

Fabric Direct features mainly decorating fabric though they do have a few fashion fabrics and cotton broadcloth. They have some interesting stuff: drapery and upholstery fabric, fire retardant fabric, “high performance” fabric. Unfortunately, I have to say I’m not in love with their website. It takes way too many clicks to get to what you want to see. Also, many (most? all?) of their fabrics are available by the bolt only which mostly rules them out for me.

Hart’s Fabric has a lot of “organic” and eco-friendly fabric, including apparel, quilting and decorating fabric. Lots of beautiful stuff to “Ooooo” and “Ahhhh” over. Prices range from “a bit pricey” to “OMG! You gotta be kidding me!” but I’m not completely ruling them out as a possible future indulgence and I will definitely spend more time at this site just wishing and admiring.

What Every Kid (and adult) Should Know

25 Manners Every Kid Should Know By Age 9 – Wow, some of those are so old fashioned. And wonderful. #11 is a particular pet peeve of mine. “When you make a phone call, introduce yourself first…” I’d be happy if most adults knew to do this.

#6 is another favorite. I don’t think it would be realistic to expect everyone to keep negative opinions to themselves all the time. We all like to let off steam, but limit it to about 10 to 15 percent of the time and only among people who really care. Strangers standing in the checkout line with you at Wal-mart really don’t want to hear it; most of your co-workers don’t want to hear it and even friends and family will get tired of it after about five or ten minutes. In the case of kids stating their negative opinions about school, teachers, parents, other kids and the world in general, it makes a very, very bad impression. Of course the limiting negativity rule doesn’t apply to blogging because when it’s just words on a screen everyone is free to read or not read it. Someone standing in the same room with you might not have the choice to escape.

They’re all good rules but I want to mention just one more: #15 Do not make fun of anyone. You would think that this is one that people would outgrow as adults but it seems like making fun of people is considered almost acceptable. (And yes, I know… sometimes the temptation is irresistible.)

Sadly, I doubt we can ever go back to these 25 rules being standard (and I know they were never followed by everyone) but it’s nice to see a list like this posted on the Internet. It shows that some people still value courtesy and at least a few people are still trying.

Oops

I’m not sure but I think that while I was deleting spam I might have accidentally deleted a legitimate comment or two. If I did I apologize. Please comment again. I had several spam comments and was just going through them, spam, click, spam, click, spam, click and at some point I stopped paying attention to what I was doing.