Monthly Archives: December 2012

Goodbye 2012

I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions, at least not “officially”, but at the end of every year I do think about things I want to do better or differently in the coming year. Of course, just like actual resolutions, my New Year’s thoughts turn to nothing. I keep doing the same things, the same way I have always done them. But I thought I’d share a few of this year’s thoughts.

I’ll start with the blog. Not that it’s a priority but, you know, since I’m here… There have been lots of times when I’ve thought, “Why am I doing this? It’s been over 10 years now. I’m running out of things to say and I only have maybe a dozen readers anyway. Maybe I should just quit.” But those few readers, most of them strangers, are important enough to me that I don’t want to disappoint them. So how can I be a more interesting blogger? Of all the blogs on my long list there are only five or six that I read anything like regularly and maybe another ten that I look in on occasionally. But there are all those others and they are good or I wouldn’t have put them on the list in the first place. So I’m thinking maybe instead of worrying about making this blog more interesting I should concentrate on reading more blogs and then maybe I will be more inspired.

I feel like I did a lot of sewing in 2012 but when I look at what I’ve done and compare with what some of the sewing bloggers have been doing I realize that I really haven’t done all that much. (I have several things I need to photograph and show off.) But, for me, I have done more than enough. I have more than enough clothes. I still have fabric in my stash that needs to get done sometime though. I’ve slacked off on quilting. I did not even finish one quilt in 2012. I failed to finish the one I was working on for Christmas. So, in 2013 I want to try to do more quilting. I want to finish the one I’ve been working on for a year and to start a couple more. I actually have made a start on a top and I have all the fabric for another one. One of them will be similar to this awesome pattern and the other will be another oversized tumbling blocks. It probably would be too ambitious to say I’m going to finish all three of those in the coming year but maybe I can at least finish the quilt I have been working on for a year, make the two tops, and start quilting one of those.

There will be clothes sewing though. A few weeks ago I was already thinking that maybe I should take a break from it. I was thinking, I’ve lost 10 pounds this year and if I lose more I might need new, smaller clothes. But I’ve probably gained back most of that 10 pounds in just the past week and it will probably take another year to lose it again. [sigh] But, I don’t know… maybe forcing myself to take a break from clothes sewing will give me incentive to try harder? But try harder how? I really don’t know what more I could do.

My third, and probably most important, thing that I want to do in 2013 is save more money and I really think that will be the easiest. I know it’s hard for most people but when I decide to I’m pretty good at saving. I think there will be fewer big projects this year as we plan and save for a future big project.

And what about 2012? It was a better year than 2011. There’s actually very little I can complain about in 2012 as far as stuff happening to me personally. In the world as a whole some bad stuff happened but bad stuff happens every year and if something good happens we either don’t hear about it or it gets overshadowed by all the bad stuff and forgotten. And sometimes we just can’t agree about which stuff is good. So, in that respect, 2012 was like every other year. And now we’re about to be in the teens! Wow, this millennium is rushing by. I have high hopes for 2013 because 13 has never been an unlucky number for me.

A Close Look at Breakfast

This is a piece of Corn Chex cereal at 60X magnification.

Corn Chex, 60X

And this is my new toy. It’s rather cheaply made and megapixel-poor but as you can see it’s working pretty good so far. Expect to see more closeups of junk around my house.

And a Merry Little Christmas Was Had By All

Just a brief note, mostly not related to Christmas.

A few weeks ago I suddenly started getting tons of spam comments so I changed the filter to hold all comments containing even one link in moderation. (It was formerly set at two links or more) Then suddenly a few days before Christmas I stopped getting spam comments. I haven’t had a single one for almost a week. Could it be that even spammers have a little bit of the Christmas spirit? Nah. I doubt it. But anyway… hardly anyone ever posts links in comments but if you do it might take a while to appear.

A couple of years ago Fillyjonk called the week after Christmas, “the quiet week at the bottom of the year.” I like that. It’s much better than thinking of it as “the big let-down after Christmas”. We hear that there is so much depression this time of year and I know that some people really can’t control it but normal people who do not have anything clinically wrong can control their own thoughts and attitudes. It is possible to look on the bright side, to appreciate the calm, the quiet, the solitude if you are so blessed. It might seem hard to do at first but if you force yourself, like most efforts, it gets easier and soon becomes a habit.

Okay, that’s my preachy bit for the week. I should do that more often, it felt good. It would feel even better if thousands of people would listen to me but never mind that. I’m starting to babble because I have nothing to say. Have a wonderful quiet week and a cheerful New Year. I might or might not neglect this site for the next week.

A Lost Childhood Favorite

The lyrics you heard as a child will always be the right lyrics. Everything else will always sound wrong. My mother had a two record set of Christmas music by the Longines Symphonette. (I don’t know what happened to it.) One of the songs on it was Oh Holy Night. One line of the lyrics was different from every other version I have heard. Instead of, “A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices,” it was, “A song of joy through all the world there echos”. I have searched for years and still can’t find another version with the “right” lyrics.

However, I couldn’t resist Jim Nabors. You probably have to be at least my age to understand why this is surprising.

But I think from now on this will be my favorite recording of Oh Holy Night. You can’t be annoyed by the lyrics if you can’t understand them.

My Mother’s Fruitcake

Don’t you dare make fun of my mother’s fruitcake! If you make jokes about fruitcake and you don’t immediately say that some of them are good then you are making fun of all fruitcakes, including my mother’s. Don’t make fun of my mother’s fruitcake.

I suppose it’s not really My Mother’s Fruitcake. She didn’t invent it. She found the recipe on a sweetened condensed milk label. It’s this fruitcake recipe, except I think she added a cup of raisins. And she used the mincemeat with imitation brandy and rum extract. She always felt obligated to tell any guests she served it to about the brandy and rum extract. That used to bug me a little. I felt that anyone who’s that silly deserves to have secrets kept from them.

Even though she merely found it, and thousands of other people use the same recipe, I will still always think of it as My Mother’s Fruitcake. And even when I make it and make my own little changes, like using dried fruit instead of candied, as I usually do, it’s still My Mother’s Fruitcake. The fruitcake was a really big deal when I was a child. It was the first Christmas treat I was allowed to have on Christmas morning. We had to wait for after dinner for the pies but I could have a piece of fruitcake first thing Christmas morning. Sometimes even before opening presents, while I was waiting for the rest of the family to wake up.

Now most of my family doesn’t like fruitcake so I don’t make it every year. I feel a little bad about eating the whole thing myself. (Although I must admit my inner six year old is thrilled to have a whole fruitcake all to herself.) But this year I had to have some of My Mother’s Fruitcake. Respect the fruitcake.

Waste Not

Ideas for using selvages. I hate when the selvages are too wide. I can understand a manufacturer wanting to put their brand on their products but it seems like they have been making them wider in recent years and it really bugs me. When I pay for fabric that is 44 inches wide I want the whole 44 inches not 43 1/4 inches. Anyway, I do like the orange quilt. I can’t see myself saving selvages to do something like that though.

Old As You Feel or Old As You Look?

I saw this article recently and now Charles has commented on it and posted a picture of a certain 66-year-old who dresses as she damn well pleases.

The article cites a survey (Why do they never ask me?) in which 2000 women said that at a certain age you should stop wearing lots of makeup, high heels, tight clothes, etc.

Women shouldn’t wear baseball caps or apply a fake tan after age 40, respondents said. Miniskirts and leather pants are off the rack at 41, knee-high boots and even conservative tight tops should be retired by age 45. And tattoos start to look bad by the mid-50s.

Every woman has had her own moments of confronting age in fashion and beauty trends. We’d say that some looks expire much earlier than 40—such as braids (only in your earlier 20s), maxi skirts, pants that say “pink,” or anything, for that matter, on the butt, certain light, short, flimsy dresses as the upper thighs…change…with age, and so on.

I have mixed feelings about this. I would like to see everyone at every age dressing appropriately, but at the same time, I think it’s nobody’s business what other people wear. (so long as all the naughty bits are well covered, of course) And, I sincerely think women like this are delightful. Why should older women simply disappear into the background? I think, in the final decades of your life you have the right to enjoy yourself a little as long as you’re not hurting anyone, and how can the clothes a person chooses to wear possibly hurt anyone?

I don’t think anyone of any age should wear pants with a word printed across the butt. No matter what the word is they all say the same thing: “Look at my butt!” If you are three years old and you’re wearing pants with a word on the butt someone should slap your parents. In this case forget what I said about it being nobody’s business what you wear. No words on your butt! But some of the items mentioned in the article are just plain silly. No braids after your early 20′s? Why? I don’t get it. No baseball caps after age 40? I don’t like baseball caps myself but I don’t see how age has anything to do with the wearing of one. Maxi skirts? That one is just completely puzzling. I can understand the objection to mini-skirts after a certain age but maxi-skirts? Weird. (And by the way, can we please stop calling them maxi-skirts now? That term is so 70′s.)

Appropriate dress is not solely dependent on age. We don’t all age the same. I would say that every woman should be aware of what looks good on her and what doesn’t but naturally opinions on what looks good will vary greatly. So, bottom line, wear whatever you like but be aware that, while you do have the right to wear whatever you like, other people have opinions about what you choose to wear in public and that is a right too.

One Year

It has been one year since. How am I supposed to feel at one year? After the funeral my aunt said to me, “It gets easier.” She was wrong. It gets less shocking. You somehow learn to step around the huge hole in your life so as to not fall in. You learn how to keep from crying in front of other people because you know they expect you to move on and because you can’t stand them asking you, “What’s wrong?” and “Are you okay?” Maybe that is what is meant by, “getting easier”.

I thought I would be writing a lot more about my mom, posting more pictures. I intended for this to be longer. I have all kinds of things I want to say but as soon as I sit down and start typing I suddenly forget how to say them. Maybe next year. Yes, definitely next year.

* * *

A strange thing happened last year, just before… or maybe it wasn’t strange at all but…

I’m not superstitious but sometimes the temptation to believe in something that is certainly nonsense is irresistible. I had put up the Christmas tree just days before my mother passed away. This little wooden angel was missing. I don’t even remember where I got it. I think it was a package decoration. Generally, I’m not a big fan of angels but I’ve always liked this one for its crude, handmade look. (Come to think of it, I’m not fond of things that look crudely made either but for some reason I really liked this odd little angel.)

We keep our Christmas ornaments in a big plastic crate with a snap on lid. There is really no way this ornament, or any of the others, could have gone missing. We have an artificial tree so it couldn’t have been accidentally thrown out with the tree. And yet, it’s gone. I know it’s silly but I like to imagine that my mom took it with her. I miss seeing my funny little angel on the Christmas tree but if mom has it she is more than welcome to it. She gave me so much.

Sewing Bloggers

A year ago I only knew about, maybe, two sewing blogs. Lately it seems like I find half a dozen or more every week. And here’s a list of even more sewing bloggers.

I don’t expect that I’ll ever attract any of these wonderful ladies to my humble little everything-and-nothing blog but if any of you find your way here you can click on the “Craftiness” link to the right if you want to see some of my sewing. Oh, yes, there are pictures, just not in the past few months. I think the last ones were in August. And check back early next year. I hope to have posted some more sewing by then.

Beautiful, Not So Much

The title claims, These May Be The Most Beautiful Hamburgers You’ll Ever See but, to me, most of them look slightly horrifying. I might actually be willing to try the Yin and Yang Burger. The ingredients don’t sound too bad. The Heatwave Burger has nothing scary in the ingredients but it looks like it might be a challenge to eat. The Hawaiian Burger, after you remove the pineapple top garnish of course, seems edible, if a bit weird. The green burger? Well, it’s… it’s green. Hamburgers are not supposed to be green. Some of the others are even weirder.

Dream Car

This may seem a bit strange for a girly, feminine type person such as myself but I have a bit of a thing for old cars, especially from the 40′s and 50′s. If I was a millionaire I would probably have a twenty car garage full of classic American beauties. And right now I’m really wanting one of these.

Of course there’s no chance, not even if I won half a billion in the lottery. There are only 47 of them still in existence. Francis Ford Coppola owns two!. Is that fair? He should donate one to me. I’d settle for getting to drive one around the block. Seriously, for overall looks it’s not my favorite car ever but it is really nice and I’m in love with the third headlight.

Fun With Dates

I meant to say something yesterday about the Big, Cool, Once In A Century Date 12/12/12 but never got around to it, mainly because I couldn’t think of anything interesting to say. It’s funny… I was thinking that if the world was going to end it couldn’t pick a better day than 12/12/12 but I really don’t think the universe (or God, if you prefer) is as obsessed with numbers as we are, or maybe He/She/It uses a different calendar. But anyway, the end of the world is supposed to be 12/21/12. I kept forgetting that because 12/12/12 seemed like such a perfect date for the event. It should have happened at 12:12 on 12/12/12 but it didn’t. 12/21/12? Well, it’s still all ones and twos but it’s not as perfect so the world can’t end on that day. We have another hundred years to go before we get to another 12/12/12.

I think we are out of cool dates for the rest of this century. Next year there will be 11/12/13 and the year after that 12/13/14 and then…? But those can’t compare with The Great 12/12/12.

A Not So Big Idea

I have to admit I rolled my eyes at this “big idea”. Perhaps this would have been a big idea in the 70′s. Now, I haven’t read the book but I’m thinking “teenage, steampunk Charlies Angels.” And at first I thought what would be really daring would be a book in which women don’t have to kick butt to be respected – women who sew and knit and drink tea while wearing pretty dresses, and I swear I’m not just thinking this because I’m “old”; I was thinking pretty much the same thing when I was a teenager in the 70′s and the notions about what a woman should be started to change.

But of course it’s a novel and a novel about women sitting around sewing and knitting and drinking tea while wearing pretty dresses wouldn’t be very interesting. I honestly can’t think how anyone could make it interesting. It’s just that, in the history of female role models there’s only ever been one kind of role model at a time. At one time a woman who was very good at all the domestic arts was considered a good role model. Now Hot, butt-kicking women are the role models. Why can’t we have more than one kind of role model? Why does popular culture have to present one certain kind of role model and say, “This is what you should all admire and aspire to be”?

I do give Ms. Kress points for a couple of things though.

On the off-chance that the FMC does have female friends, they are often represented as frenemies (I really hate that word). Relationships between women are evidently supposed to be catty, manipulative, and just all-around unpleasant. By contrast, there is a beauty to men’s bromance. It is held up as an important and wonderful thing, whether it be a Fellowship surrounding, say, a piece of jewelry, or someone to whom you can say I Love You, Man. But the female bond is derided, considered a necessary evil. Something to mock. It’s actually why I believe so many women love bromance books and films. We so rarely see our own friend relationships represented as high-quality and fulfilling, that we relate better to watching the way male relationships are represented.

And…

You can imagine my shock when one day it occurred to me that my considering typically feminine things less important meant that I was perpetuating a pretty darned sexist attitude very common in our society. There is a notion that things that interest men are more worthy than things that interest women.

I decided to embrace the part of me that was more feminine. And doing so meant also embracing it in my book. Nellie loves being girly, loves playing dress-up, loves sparkles. None of this takes away from her ability to be strong, intelligent and get the job done. In fact, I truly believe her more girly qualities enhance these three powerful ones. Quite frankly I think she’s an utter delight. If I do say so myself.

So maybe I’ll read the book. It’s YA, far from my usual thing, but I’m a bit curious.

A Nearly Perfect Weekend

Saturday we went to Silver Dollar City with both of our sons and daughter-in-law. It seems like we spent 90 percent of the time walking around searching for specific things we wanted to see or do. The place is laid out so as to make everything really hard to find. You can go there dozens of times and never memorize where everything is located in relation to everything else. My preference would be for walking around and doing things as we come to them but it was okay. I’ve been there many times before so I didn’t really miss out on anything. I enjoyed getting to see all the Christmas lights. Silver Dollar City after dark in December is spectacular. It used to be primarily an arts and crafts park and I guess it still is but in the last couple of decades they’ve added a number of rides.

Of course we got home very late. I got between five and six hours of sleep Sunday morning so I was happy to be able to veg out in front of the TV all day. It was a pretty good day of football. We watched the Ravens vs. Redskins. I didn’t really care who won that one but it was a fun game to watch. I took a break in the middle of it to do some laundry and ironing. Then it was the Saints vs. Giants. I was hoping the Saints would win but I don’t dislike the Giants either. Then of course the Packers beat the Lions. (Yay!) We managed to stay up and watch the whole game but I was pretty tired by the time it was over.

And this week the husband is on vacation from work so things are not going to get back to normal around here anytime soon. I have just a little more Christmas shopping I want to do and hopefully will get it done this week.

Quotes From Here and There

What are we looking at? The optimistic future? A future of science, and of exploration? Or are we looking on twisted, mangled wreckage with some bad-ass villain standing in the middle of it?here

Things do not become “classics” by fiat of the advertisers. You can’t declare it and make it so. Things become “classics” because they are GOOD, or because they capture a moodthere

“Consider the criticisms of policy, the assertions of dogma, the declarations of fact that you hear every day — and just imagine if all of these could be infused with the proper intellectual humility that comes from appreciating the amount unseen.”here

Sometimes I think that I am the only female in America, from infant to ancient, who doesn’t wear jeans.there (And I thought I was the only one.)

Random Linkage

Future Geek – What is this doing on Worst Things For Sale? That’s great. Get ‘em started early.

American Kabuki – an interestingly weird blog

The Nature Animals – articles and lists, mostly about animals, both wild and domestic

Guide to Understanding the Introverted

Your Superhero Name – Darn. I am The Teal Mouse. I could cheat just a little bit and I would be the Teal Modem. (or whatever that thing with the flashing lights is called. Is it still a modem if you’re on satellite?) Cheat even more and I’m the Teal Printer. I guess I’m just too geeky to be a superhero. Maybe I should go change shirts.

The cure for our weak economy – I doubt Congress would pass this.

50 Best Animal Photos of 2012 – Hey, wait! 2012 is not over yet. I still have time to take the greatest cat photo ever. Seriously, these are really good. (though I suspect Photoshop in a couple of them)

The A**hole Discount

You know, I can understand the “get them out of here as quickly as possible” approach to doing business, but I really seriously hate when store managers give in to badly behaved 300+/- pound spoiled brats. It almost makes me want to be waiting in line when such an event occurs so I could shout out, “Hey, look! She got the asshole discount!” I wouldn’t even care if they threw me out. Just getting to say that would be worth it.

Toe Shoes

What do you think of toe shoes? Both of my sons have them now. I don’t think I would like having my toes separated like that. Other than that, though, they look comfortable – lightweight and flexible.

So far only some athletic shoes have the separated toes but can you imagine fashion toe shoes? Maybe even high heels? Yeah, my mind went there.

Bored?

The History of Boredom is not completely boring. Not surprisingly, it is something that has been worrying people since ancient times.

My favorite quote about boredom is by Gian Vincenzo Gravina (I didn’t know who that was until I looked him up.)

A bore is a man who deprives you of solitude without providing you with company.

That’s one of those quotes that make me think, “Yes! Exactly!” About the only time I have to deal with that kind of person is when I’m waiting in line somewhere and another person in line near me wants to pass the time by talking about how much they hate waiting in line while I want to pass the time silently thinking about all sorts of interesting stuff.

I don’t think I am easily bored. I can always entertain myself with my mind and it has always puzzled me that other people can’t seem to do that. It makes me wonder what it’s like to have a mind in which there’s nothing much going on.