Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Late Addition to the "What's Going On" Department

This was too bizarre not to share...

   Boulder, CO police are looking for a leprechaun. Yep, an honest-to-goodness little green man. He's been seen at the local King Soopers parking lot, peeking in and around cars. Our Hero may have lost his pot of gold -- he was pretending to 'shoot' people with his fingers, with an obscene gesture now and then to liven things up.
    If you find him, try humming a chorus of "Danny Boy." That should keep him calm until the cops arrive.

A New Day's Dawned

...and I feel much better!

The colonoscopy showed everything was fine. I could have told them that, without all the poking and prodding...

Other Items from the "What's Going On" Department:

*Four books donated to an Oxfam charity shop in England turned out to be Cricketer's Atlases from the 1860s...and sold at auction for about $12,000. Gives you incentive to keep looking at thrift shops and garage sales, huh?

*The official report's been released about the Henry Gates Jr. incident last year. (If you'll remember, Gates was stopped by an officer while trying to get into his own home, spoke rudely to him, and was promptly arrested. The charges were later dropped, after President Obama called a "beer summit" meeting between the two.) According to the article:
"The situation at Gates' home quickly escalated when it shouldn't have, according to the review put together by a 12-member panel assembled in September. The panel was made up of law enforcement personnel, academics, and experts on race relations and conflict resolution, none of whom had direct ties to the Cambridge Police Department.
The report suggests that [officer] Crowley could have more clearly explained what he was doing and why he was doing it, especially after being shown Gates' license and university ID. For his part, Gates could have used a more respectful tone to address the officer.
        Neither man, in interviews with the panel, said he would have acted differently."

A dog cuckoo clock. (Wish they did it in Weimaraner.)

 Donald Duck's been arrested for drunken driving. Again.

Oh, and we're all responsible for BP's oil spill. (I love it when someone says that, and mid-post adds, 'of course, I don't have much information about all this...')

It's a beautiful, really windy day in this neighborhood. I just got a new gig: I'll be teaching on the Princess Cruise's Golden Princess -- a cruise to Hawaii and Mexico! Ship leaves Sept. 29 from Los Angeles, and returns Oct. 13. There are a few spots left...but not many. Are you interested? Check here -- would love to have you along.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Aloo Gobi...and Who Knows What Else

No food. No drink. That's me, for most of today.

I find myself reading food articles, as if that will somehow make up for the gurgling and empty feeling. MFK Fisher has been a godsend, one of the few writers who cooked as beautifully as she described.

Husband came home from his physical with the cheerful news that his cholesterol is higher than the last time it got tested. An ultrasound on his neck showed a little plaque buildup in one artery. (I had no idea they did these.) Not terrible, no surgery needed, but a consideration, nonetheless. Which means a stricter diet, more exercise and meds. (The latter to add to the handful of pills he already swallows each morning.)

     We needed the diet and exercise, anyways.

Aloo Gobi showed up as a mention in an article on the merits of group cooking. I was intrigued enough to go looking -- turns out it's a sort-of potato and cauliflower curry. Sounds different, doesn't it -- but it's beloved in India. Unusual, fast, easy to make. I intend to try it once I'm out of this colonoscopy.


  • 3 potatoes, chopped
  • water for boiling
  • 1 cauliflower, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup water


Boil potatoes until tender; drain. Meanwhile, heat olive oil and spices in a skillet. Add onion, cauliflower and potatoes. Cook for 3-5 min., add lemon juice, water and cook for another 6-8 min. (You'll know it's ready when the cauliflower is done.) Serve by itself, or with rice.Serves about 4.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Medical Procedure, Here I Come!

Here's Daughter #2, looking cool and relaxed...

Wish that was me.
I had a physical Friday...primarily because our new insurance plan (Less Coverage -- after a $12,000 Deductible, That Is!) does not cover physicals. And Husband fussed that I hadn't had one (a physical, not an insurance plan) for a while. It is easier to go do this, than live with 'helpful' reminders and long speeches about Caring for One's Health, Just in Case, etc. etc.
   After being "inspected, injected, neglected and see-lected," everything looks fine. But because I'm over 50, the doctor started fussing that I needed a colonoscopy.
   Hoo boy.
   Yep, that's high on my bucket list, right next to the Great Wall of China.
   So, since insurance will cover it now -- but not after July 1 -- guess who's going for a colonoscopy tomorrow?

I've gurgled my way through that nauseous mixture of stuff you need. (One more batch this evening.) No food. Just clear liquids. For the next 24 hours.
   Oh goody. Yes, I'll report in afterwards.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Transportation...What Next?

I woke up this morning, jammed up against silky furriness...nope, it wasn't one of the dogs. Husband, with his glossy hair, hairy eyebrows and goatee, is home! Gee, I missed that man. And he missed me, too.

We had a luxurious sleep-in, waffles for breakfast, and now I'm trying to get my act together and finish some work before it gets dark.

We have an interesting problem looming. Currently there are two vehicles parked in the Brick driveway -- the 2000 Jeep Cherokee that's been our mainstay car, plus a low-slung Toyota Celica sportscar owned by Daughter #1. She hasn't been driving it for more than a year...she had no place to park it in Denver, and was getting by easier using the bus and lightrail system. She made a deal with us -- if we'd store it, plus pay for insurance and any repairs, we could use it anytime we wanted.

That's worked out very well for the past year. Husband often takes the Celica to work; he enjoys driving a sporty car, and that leaves the Jeep at home for when I need it. That tune will be changing this weekend -- one of Daughter's buddies at work wants to buy it. We'll drive the car into Denver tomorrow for him to take a look...and, I assume, finish the transaction.

Which puts us back to one car. The extra vehicle has been a help, but is it worth it to get a second car?

*We'd have it when we needed it
*We could get a make and model that does better on gas (the Jeep only does about 18 mpg at best)
*I could use it for driving to gigs further away
*We have the money -- if we take it out of the retirement account

*What about colder weather -- especially winter? Will we want to walk, bike or 'scoot?' (see below)

*THE COST -- not just for the car, but for the license, title and all those goodies of regular ownership.
*I often don't use the Jeep sitting in the driveway, and could do many jobs in the hours between dropping Husband off and picking him up. (Husband's office is only about 2 miles away.)
*It could be just as cheap to rent a car for longer gigs
*Business errands can often be done in the evenings -- along with many other errands

Husband isn't thrilled about the idea of me home without a vehicle, but I think we'd be fine. We live on a hill above a shopping area -- the grocery store is only about 15 min. walk away, along with Home Depot, Michael's and a dollar store! (And frankly, I could use the extra exercise.) The employees for Brickworks can help out with pickups and dropoffs at the post office. (Or I can do it at night, especially for shipping orders.) If things get extra busy, our mail lady will pick up priority boxes directly from Brickworks.

There are also bicycles and scooters to consider. Either would be cheaper than a second car, wouldn't require insurance, and Husband has been talking about biking to work, anyways. (He could use the extra exercise, too.)

I think you can see which direction I've been leaning towards...but is this the right one? I have to do a day's worth of appraisals early next week, as well as get a colonoscopy on Tuesday. (Thankfully, a friend will take me to and from the latter.) It would be so much easier to get these done without worrying whether I have a car to do them with.

What to do, what to do...

P.S. Someone else went through this dithering. But his issue was whether to replace a previously reliable vehicle that was getting old -- and starting to act up. Has some parallels to our situation, though. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Reuse, Make It Do

This business of not having Husband around is freeing...and lonely...and wacky...and lonely. (He's out of town on a bus drivers' conference.) I can't sleep, so wander around, picking up stuff I should have taken care of weeks ago. Go out and dig in the garden after sunset, figuring the plants will handle it better during the cool temps -- I have to wave a shovel every now and then to keep the motion-detector floodlights from turning off. (The neighbors must think I'm nuts, or Hiding Something.)
     Or I follow all sorts of odd threads online -- like famous plagiarizers. (You'd be amazed at the number of famous names who cropped up here, including Martin Luther King, Joe Biden and Stephen Ambrose.)
    The food choices are a little odd, too. SpaghettiOs. Fish sticks and a few leftover eggrolls. (I was cleaning out the freezer.) Iced coffee and fruit smoothies. Leftover tacos from the latest Rockies special.

    Went for a walk late last night -- part of a promise to Husband that I'd exercise every day. We live near the top of a steep hill, and Goonie, one of our pair of elderly Weimies, came with. He's been having hip trouble, and you guessed it -- his legs gave out halfway back up the hill. Picture to yourself someone dressed a bit oddly (I'd been digging in the garden in raggedy shorts and a stained t-shirt), trying to lug a 100-pound Weimaraner out of the middle of the street before a passing car hit us both. Unfortunately, Goon's toilet training often lets go when his legs do, so he was leaving a stream of poop while I was trying to get him on his feet. Not a pretty sight.

    By the time we both tottered in the front door, I was more than ready for another iced coffee and a few post-a.m. episodes of Cheers.
* * * * * * * *

Got a wonderful t-shirt you just can't let go of? Make it into underwear. I wish I was making this up, but the panties really do look cute -- it's part of Grocery Cart Challenge's recurring "10 ways to reuse..." series. Here's her "t-shirts" post; she's got more, including bedsheets and tires. (I am still trying to figure out how I can use that Celtic-looking bicycle tire weave headband in something textile!)

* * * * * * * *
  Husband gets home Friday night -- not a moment too soon, as far as I'm concerned. If he stays away any longer, he might find me trying to pull the tires off the Jeep while wearing a pillowcase dress. 

Buck (l) and Gunther (r), the Brick boys, looking properly penitent

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Summer Ditherings

Whoa, it's hot. We've got a hard breeze now, but it's a tad stifling. And the thunderstorm-of-the-afternoon is leering on the horizon. We haven't gotten rain out of it for days...just tornado warnings.
   It's been so hot that I've taken to reading Christmas novels and stories, just to cool down, and thinking about present ideas for the holidays. Helps me prepare for The Birthday Month, as well -- both girlies, plus Mom, have August birthdays, making it a labor-intensive month.

   No trip to Michigan -- that was the final decision. Husband is at a conference through Friday night, mostly teaching training courses for bus drivers. (Plus judging at their annual rodeo today. You haven't lived until you've seen drivers roar through an obstacle course!) He'll have to spend a lot of hours at the office next week on a current project. In the meantime, it gives me more space to put the business back in order, write one article and finish editing a book that's been in progress for years. It's the right thing to do -- just a hard thing to do it. Hopefully, we'll head to Michigan in mid-August, instead.

Hope your day has been much cooler than mine.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Another Friend Gone

We lost an old friend last week: John Ray, of Lubbock, TX. We met John and his first wife Alma when the girlies were little, and shared their interests in hunting, the backwoods and general adventure. We went to the same church, and shared the same circle of friends.
     Alma died of cancer, and John eventually moved to southern Colorado. We went to see him and wife #2 there, on their buffalo ranch. After their divorce, John moved back to his beloved Texas. Although the ties were stretched, he would stop and visit occasionally, and we always considered him not just a "friend," but a good one.
    He was diagnosed with terminal cancer back in February...and went far too quickly. Our loving thoughts are with him -- and his wife Dona, who he left behind.
    I bet you've already gone out big game hunting in Heaven, John. P.S. I've already got plans to tease you about the middle name you never mentioned!

From the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal:

        John Steven Morningsky Ray, 61, of Lubbock, TX was born in Norman, OK. His primary school years were spent in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, after which his family moved to Lubbock, where he graduated from Monterey High in 1966. John attended Texas Tech and graduated from Texas A&M with a degree in Business. He married Alma Boyd after graduation, and they moved to Colorado. He served in the United States Army Reserves as an E5. An entrepreneur, John started and owned several businesses. In 1992 he retired to enter into full-time Christian service with Overseas Christian Servicemen's Centers (OCSC). After his wife's death, he moved to the San Luis Valley where he raised cattle and buffalo and operated a hunting lodge and guided buffalo hunts. In 2002, he returned to Lubbock and began investing in real estate.
John was a member of the Safari Club and Gideons International for more than 30 years, serving in several leadership positions. Although a successful businessman and avid hunter who has hunted on 6 continents, his passion was to share his faith. Whether handing out Bibles as a Gideon or pursuing short-term overseas missions, John has been a "missionary" wherever he was, ever-ready to share his faith in Jesus to anyone he met.
John went home to be with the Lord Wednesday, June 16, 2010 at his home in Lubbock after a short battle with cancer.
Survivors include his wife, Dona Rayne Ray, who he married in August 2008; an aunt, Mary Kinnaman of Delta, CO; a nephew, Mark Bond of Plano, TX; 3 step-children, Richard Rayne and his wife Kris of Tallahassee, FL and Celeste Rayne Dove and Lynelle Elliott, both of Berlin, MD. He had seven step-grandchildren, Ronald and Kenneth Rayne, James Hill, Kinsey Camelio, and Brooke, Trace and Ava Elliott. His sister, Dr. Cathy Ray, died in 2005 and his brother, Joseph Ray, died in 1995.
Memorial services will be at 1:00 p.m., Sunday, June 20, 2010 at Redeemer Church, 6402 Elgin Ave., with Pastor Dusty Thompson and Pastor William Hamilton officiating.
In lieu of flowers the family suggests memorials go to Gideons International, P.O. Box 64291, Lubbock, TX 79464.

Consider Your $$ Monday

Everyone and their brother seems to be doing this in the past few days -- is it the result of a hang-free weekend that's now bringing remorse?

Trent's mailbag comments on The Simple Dollar are probably the best overall, but I enjoyed this MSN article on people who live on $18,000 or less a year. Another post lists ten (fairly easy) ways to cut your expenses. Lots of excellent links, including one on summer jobs for kids, here. And so you can keep your bucks a little longer -- 5 overseas spots that let you live comfortably for $1200 a month -- or less.

Then, of course, there are the things that money can't buy!
(Like this amazing commercial from Nike.)

We kept to a pretty frugal Father's Day. Husband and I are still not sure what's going on about his job. So far, he's had extra hours these past weeks, thanks to a new project he's been working on. It seems as if it will continue...but so far, no guarantees. That makes us both want to pull our belts in a little tighter.

So, for Father's Day, we:
*ate steak -- but cooked it ourselves. Menu: twice-baked potatoes, steak with sauteed mushrooms, corn on the cob, cheesecake with whipped cream and a bottle of white wine. Much appreciated by all -- and except for the steak ($3.99 a pound), it was ok, price-wise.
*went and saw Iron Man 2 (which wasn't nearly as good as I'd hoped) at one of the discount theatres. Even had a coupon for a free bag of popcorn!

The Father's Day boy will get his choice of grill off Denver's Craigslist. (I did some extra quilt work to be able to afford it, and Daughters chipped in, too.) The last two gas grills we've had both came from the curb, and were fixed by Husband. For once, he can get one that works from the getgo!

Quote of the Week: "I have failed over and over in my life. And that is why I succeed."
                                                     Michael Jordan

Saturday, June 19, 2010

For Dad

Happy Father's Day, Pa! I will always be thinking of you on this special day.

It may be just a bit, or decades before I see you again...but I have this feeling it will seem like only a few minutes to you.

Love you so much.
Yer kid

Friday, June 18, 2010

Making Progress...Yay!

One more quilt off the restoration list. Two appraisals done, two more written, two updates done...just a few more to do, and I'm caught up. Just in time to leave for Michigan on vacation next week!

This is a tough one. We've been planning for months to go to Michigan. (My family, including Little Brother and Mom, plus a boatload of uncles, aunts and cousins -- about 160-plus -- live in the Grand Rapids/Sparta area.) We were planning on driving there -- Husband (who has been antsy as all getout to hit the road) and yourself truly.
   Now, because of a VIP project he's involved in at work, Husband is pretty sure he can't go.
   What to do?
   Obviously, if I'd known this would happen, I would have bought a plane ticket -- it will cost about that amount to drive. (I was thinking that if two of us went, it would save -- if the girlies went too, it would save even more. Big help now.) I can still buy a ticket, of course -- but it will be much bigger bucks. I do the 18-plus hours myself? I could. Do I stay home? I would...but now Mom has a project I need to help with week after next. (Put steel siding on the toolshed.)

I hate to leave without Husband...we get to travel together so rarely, and he was really looking forward to this. But there's no choice.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Uncle Dean, another writer, is in the news! (Fine, I'll be formal -- Dean Cumings, M.A., counselor, log house builder and grandpa to umpteen grandchildren.)  Take a look at his profile -- and newest book, Ellie: A Pioneer Girl's Journey West. (He's currently working on the sequel. You go, Uncle Dean.) Here's his website, as well, if you'd like to learn more.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *
And if you want to go see a movie that actually makes you think -- try Russell Crowe's take on Robin Hood. This is a totally different Robin than the others...and a much more realistic one. We've done more talking about this movie -- and studied up on Richard the Lionheart (who isn't the Good Guy in this version that he's portrayed as in others) and Prince/King John. (Ok, he's still a scumbag.) The movie hasn't had a huge amount of publicity about it lately -- I'm not sure why. Maybe it makes you think too much?? Run, don't walk, to the movie theater before it goes into video -- all those zipping arrows and armoured fights deserve to be seen in large screen form.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Father's Day Without Dad

While Daughters and I have been scurrying about, planning Father's Day surprises for their parent, one person is conspicuously absent from the father.

He died in late Feb. of 2009, almost 1 1/2 years ago. It was multiple melanoma, a horrible bone cancer that took his strength and mental quickness, bit by slow bit. He fought it for a little more than three years before it won. In May, he and Mom would have been married 50 years.

Dad was a big, quiet Dutch farmer who grinned a lot, and said very little. (Except to his family, in private where no else could hear.) He endured decades of silly Father's Day presents, included scribbled pictures, painted plaques ("God made only so many perfect heads...the rest he covered with hair"), weird ties, socks -- and books. He loved reading, especially Westerns and history, and liked to point out, in spite of his widespread knowledge, that he was only a "dumb Hollander" because he'd dropped out of school after eighth grade. (He hated it, and his South Dakota farmer dad needed his help, anyways.) Even after his kids grew up and started presenting him with more "normal" presents, like steak dinners, tractor books and Bit-O-Honeys (he loved those), he had to endure a whole new wave of homemade oddities from his grandchildren.

The pain of missing him has subsided to an ache now. I still wish that he would walk through the door on Sunday as we put the steaks on. He'd call me "cwazy," while Mom says I'm a "good Hollander," as I brag about the grill from Craigslist, or the fresh strawberries found on sale.
     Husband and I could use his advice on a second vehicle...whether we should do this or that...what he thinks about the latest shenanigans in Michigan and Colorado politics. (Not to mention the whole BP thing.) Husband and Dad would probably sit off to one side, talking quietly with thoughtful pauses, as Daughters bustle out to the table, silverware and paper napkins in hand. One daughter would flip her long hair over her grandpa's gleaming head, teasing him for being a 'hippie' before she says "Dinner is ready."

I want to feel Dad's strong arms holding me tight -- something he could not do the last year from weakness. (It was hard for him, anyways -- his stoic Dutch forbears rarely told who they loved, let alone TOUCH them.) I want to catch that mix of scents around him: diesel oil, sweat, Old Spice and an overlying, clean smell of fresh-mown hay and wide open spaces. I want to smile at the fashion plate he makes, wearing the dark blue work clothes he's favored since I can remember, "Pete" embroidered in fancy script on the shirt pocket. His clunky work shoes, crusted with dirt and cow manure, would be dropped at the front door, just before he came in.

But he can't -- not now. And I can't, either. But I can:

*Never stop thinking about him. Refusing to remember will not make the pain go away. This ache is the price of loving him for all my life. Was it worth it? Would I do it again? Of course.

*Never stop speaking of him, either -- especially to the girls, Husband and Mom. People have stopped mentioning Dad to my mother, thinking it will ease her. She worries, instead, that they have forgotten him.

*Keep his past advice in mind for future decisions. Dad was lightning-fast and unmoving on certain subjects:
             --tell the truth. no matter what.
             --don't give your word unless you mean to carry it out.
             --bargain things down, or get them directly from the source.
             --don't argue with idiots or bigots; they won't understand, anyways.
             --pay your bills; they come before fun things.
             --save money regularly, even if it's just a little at a time.
             -- your good name, and your faith in God, are of inestimable value. 

*Honor his memory. And his example.

Dad, I love you. Happy Father's Day.

Is the Search for Noah's Ark Afloat Again?

Has Noah's Ark been discovered...again?

A team of Turkish-Chinese explorers, also billing themselves as evangelists, have produced wood and other samples, as well as photos, showing several areas of a wooden structure they say was found deep within a glacier.

Some photos, plus a spare description, accompany most articles about this -- because, I'm guessing, the team isn't coughing up much information. Although this site has a detailed video that is just fascinating of the team exploring inside this structure.

I don't know what to think. There is certainly some evidence that the Ark may have been seen and/or touched before by people on Ararat. (There's other evidence that sure looks made up, too.) Could the Ark actually have survived? If so -- and this report is true -- this is by far the longest look at it. Mr. Ararat is not exactly the most user-friendly spot -- not only is there poor weather and climbing conditions to deal with, but the local Turkish authorities have severely limited access, since it sits uncomfortably near a border shared by Iran and Armenia. That area has been known for political unrest and uprisings in the past, as well.

More info on the search for Noah's Ark hereHere, too. This theory hasn't just surfaced in modern times -- bear in mind that the oldest extant reference (other than the Biblical account) to the Ark landing on Ararat is dated 425 A.D.

It will be interesting to see what happens next.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Illuminating Jewelry

Some surprisingly lovely jewelry, made out of old eyeglasses... take a look!

It's about time all those old glasses earned their keep.

(thanks so much for sharing, In My Own Style.)

Father's Day Freebies

Take your dad out to eat, with these special freebies, including a free entree at TGI Friday's!

There are more freebies here.

The Denver Dumb Friends League has some wonderful kitty specials right now, too -- not only can you get an older cat for free this summer, but from June 18-20, there's a "Purrs for Pops" special that lets your dad get a young kitty for half-price! The nice part about this offer -- it includes spaying/neutering, shots and general care.

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Terrific Party Idea!

One of the funniest parties I've seen yet -- come as your greatest fear!

Guess what the lovely hostess feared most??  (Check above for the answer -- thanks for sharing, .)

Cheap Tacos Tonight, if You Live In Colorado!

Yep, the Rockies did it again...this time, they scored more than 7 runs during their 10-3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.

And Taco Bell will be offering 4 tacos for $2 from 4-6 p.m. tonight. The deal's changed -- you don't get the drink anymore (it's 50 cents extra), but the total is very close to the old arrangement. No worries; we usually order water, anyways.

I haven't seen this offered in any other state -- but Taco Bell should. Half of Douglas County lives on tacos when the Rocks are cookin'. Luckily, they're not playing here tonight; we have had some really bad thunderstorms over the past few days.

Back to Work

...and there's a lot of it to get done. Much is half-finished; just a few touches, and I get a bunch off my plate. Goody.
   Meanwhile, from the Stuff on the Way to Other Stuff Department:

Orphan Annie is no more. I liked the musical, loved the movie (though Harvey Korman would have been a much more interesting choice for Daddy Warbucks), thought the comic strip a little stupid. But she has been around a very, very long time.

A new website that lets you get -- and offer -- all sorts of things for five bucks! Yep, you read that right -- everything from a voiceover to a personalized song to professional evaluations for five measly dollars . The offers tell you about the person's background, as well, so you can pick the best ones. Skip the article, if you like, and go straight to the site: . An intriguing idea that may well be the  best bargain this year.

The 16-year-old who was attempting to sail around the world, Abby Sunderland, had to be rescued after a storm snapped her boat's mast off. (She's safe; the boat is abandoned and drifting.) Mom and Dad have taken a lot of criticism for letting her go...but they argued that she was perfectly capable of doing it. And besides, her brother had done the same thing at about the same age. (I also notice, though, that the parents were the loudest voices urging that Something Should Be Done when Abby's emergency beacons were activated. Did they pay any part of the rescue effort, I wonder. Yes, I'd do the same thing if one of our girlies was in trouble -- but would I have been as casual about her leaving in the first place?)
    From Abby's blog:
"The captain [of the rescue boat] is a big, friendly, bald guy with a big beard. He speaks English pretty well and he says, 'Is no good to worry about the boat. Is just a boat, you is safe. You should not think about the past.' Which is true, but its hard to keep my mind off everything that's happened."

   I wonder how many 16-year-olds could really handle pressure like this, including the inevitable interviews. Hang in there, kiddo.
   Now it turns out that Dad has signed up for a reality show. Great day in Heaven, what a surprise...

Seven things to do when preparing for an emergency. (I'd add food, canned or bottled juice and water. Maybe even a copy of M.J. Fisher's How to Cook A Wolf.)

An insanely cool bookshelf that doubles as a staircase. (It's in London. Yes, you can have it too, with some planning and design work.)

A (very funny!) retrospective of knitting magazine poses -- i.e., the "Spinnerin Straddle."

And the frugal value of going to a drive-in movie.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Quote of the Day:

"It takes a certain type of person to be a television star; I didn't have whatever that is. I come across as kind of snobbish and maybe a little too bright. . . . Give me something bizarre to play or put me in a dress and I'm fine."
                  Harvey Korman, 2005

Yes, We Have A Winner!

And the winnah of the Carolina Pad stationery package is...


I've e-mailed you privately, but don't hesitate to contact me via a comment, too.


It's been dripping, drearying and just plain raining for the past two days...and am loving it. We get rain so rarely that you can almost hear the plants sucking up the moisture. On the other hand, it meant hauling out sweatshirts that had been put away, and firing up the fireplace again. (Hint: we just throw anything financial, including unsolicited credit card and loan applications, in the fireplace...then use the papers to kindle the next blaze. That way, we take no chances that someone going through our garbage will find anything but -- garbage!) Chili in the kettle, a comfortable book and a Sunday nap...aahhh.

Here's hoping your weekend was just as comforting.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Free Red Robin E-Cookbook

Want a new approach to burgers? Red Robin has been sponsoring a kids' cooking contest...and now you can download the resulting cookbook free!

Here it is...enjoy.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A New Way to Display Quilts...and the Giveaway's Deadline is Here!

First things first -- the Carolina Pad giveaway ends Thursday, June 10! All you have to do is leave a quick comment on any of the past week's posts...and you're entered! Find out more here about specifics.

* * * * * * * * * *
I just got an online request for ideas on quilt display. Adding sleeves...building a frame (leave at least 1" of airspace between quilt and glass)...these are all options for larger quilts. But one of the newest -- and easiest on the quilt during display -- is a slant board. Learn how to make it here. Takes up a bit more room...but it's worth it. (And a lot of museums are now going to this method!)

The Latest on the Greatest (Or So He Thinks)

Feeling nauseous?
Need to get rid of some food?
Feeling too happy? 
Want an excuse to punch someone...or something?

Use this interview with Bernie Madoff as your inspiration. The man's having a great time -- walking the circuit with spies and crime bosses, smiling at his groupies, making fun of his victims...

Oh yes, and feeling a great sense of relief because he doesn't have to keep up a sham. Now he can openly confess he enjoyed working over his rich (and trusting) clients.

Hmmm...wonder how they'll feel about that?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Lost and Found

These treasures were found...but in very weird ways. Here's another batch -- including railroad signs used as floorboards (more than $200,000 worth!) and some beautiful silver treasures found underneath a destroyed synagogue.

These are still lost -- but could very well show up, provided you're in the right spot.

And these people were in the right place at the right time, discovering everything from gold coins to a copy of the Declaration of Independence.

Think I'll start combing Ebay for a copy of Tamerlane ...only a handful of copies found so far of this early Edgar Allen Poe booklet. The last copy sold, in 2009, fetched $662,500!

* * * *
Went to a Rockies game last night, with Husband, the girlies and Angel's friend Keith. The thermometer hit 100 degrees on the way there, and the humidity was thick enough to make a fish choke. I've rarely seen so many people sporting a layer of sweat.
(The Rocks toasted the Houston Astros, by the way.)

Woke up this morning to overcast skies and blissfully cooler temps. Whew.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Hot. Hot. Hot. And Windy.

How did we go straight from cool spring nicey temps to this?? 80s. Shoot, 90s...and all with a very humid feel, in spite of little or no rain. The high winds show up for at least part of the day, knocking over flowerpots and sending any clothes on the line straight to Kansas. No long-time cooking, and the freezer suddenly holds more ice cream and fruit bars. Hot...

Thankfully, I just have a few quilt jobs to finish up, plus a Hanky Panky small piece for a client. Working on a book, too. Life goes on.

At least there will be green beans and fresh tomatoes sometime in the near future.

This girl is having issues with the weather, too... but that's not why you should read her blog. She's trying to survive on $365 in food costs -- for the year! Sometimes she slips up.  She eats a lot of vegetarian food, too. But there are some good ideas here.

I'm so glad it cools off a bit, when the sun goes down. Everything feels hot to the touch. Including me.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Something New in the Animal Kingdom

From the "You Don't See This Very Often" department:

The only second-generation grizzly/polar bear hybrid found so far, bagged by an Inuit hunter. (Who's accompanied by his hunting partner -- his wife!)

Grizzly/polar bear hybrids or other bear hybrids are  more common than you would think...although they're observed far more in zoos than the wild. As for the grizzly/polar mix, the first one was confirmed in the wild in 2006.
    DNA tests say the 2010 bear is the product of  a grizzly/polar mother and a grizzly father. I'm not going to moan about its killing -- the man is a professional hunter, and he won't waste the skin or meat. My bet is that they've been out there before; this one was just discovered first.

Columbian Exposition Quilt!

Every once in a while, a Really Unusual quilt comes along on Ebay --

take a minute to look at this Chicago 1893 World's Fair piece. Different inventors, plus the perennial favorite, the Father of our Country (George, of course!) are featured through, plus scenes from the fair. Early American Auctions, the seller, is positing that it was a one of a kind piece:

"This whole designed  [sic] is labeled, "Souvenir World's Columbian Exposition Chicago 1893." Hidden in the design near Stephenson's portrait is an advertisement for "Cochrane's Turkey Red Works, Malden, Mass." Founded by Alexander Cochrane in the late 1850's, the Cochrane Chemical Works (also known as the Malden Chemical Company) produced Turkey Red dye for textiles. This quilt must have been made for the Cochrane company, which, likely had an exhibit at the Fair, as there is another quilt with a different Columbian Exposition design, which was also made for Cochrane..."
    They could be right-- in nearly three decades of studying quilts, I've not seen one like it. And I own a Columbian Exposition printed fabric quilt myself -- or does it own me?

Of course, the price reflects that scarcity...a rare piece. Go take a look.

(thanks for EAU for the photos)

Maintaining...and a Little Hanky Panky!

Hard lesson yesterday -- turn the calendar page by June 1, or face the consequences! A new batch of piano/voice students was supposed to start yesterday...but because I am a doofus, and waited until late last night on the 2nd to check the calendar...well, let's just say they have to wait for another week now.

The garden is slowly getting weeded and planted. House stuff is slowly catching up. Nothing exciting happening around here, but at least I'm doing my job. This is a slow time for office work, so the staffers are off putzing around in their gardens, or on vacation. I honestly don't mind the quiet, though -- this spring, life was way too frenetic. It's nice to have a little peace.

If you're interested in an afternoon session of Hanky Panky (smirk), there are a few spaces left in my class at the Creative Needle in Littleton them asap. Class goes from 12:30 - 3 p.m., and gives you the basics of the Hanky Panky technique, plus a pile of freebies. Only $25.

Back to work. Hope your day's going well.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Do A Fiver -- Win A Package!

Here are some "fivers" to get you started:
     *Five things you like about summer
     *Five facts that might surprise people who know you
     *Five of your favorite movies

And since I started it, here goes:

Summer -- gardening (especially flowers), Rocky Ford muskmelon, iced coffee, suntans and outdoor swimming pools

Five facts -  I used to teach rockclimbing
                   I once saw a New Orleans-style funeral
                              on a main street in Romania
                   I could join the DAR
                   I'm a huge "Cheers" fan
                             ("King of Queens"  runs a close second)
                   I was adopted

Five movies -- Raiders of the Lost Ark, Pride and Prejudice (that Mr. Darcy!), The Upside of Anger, The Postman and Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.

Now it's your turn!