Sunday, March 30, 2008

Earth Hour 2008: North Pole

Well, I don't know what, if ANYTHING anybody else in this town did regarding Earth Hour. It didn't seem to be mentioned at all on the radio, and I rarely watch local news to know if anything was said in that venue about observing Earth Hour locally.

Anyway, about 7:30 pm last night I got my candles out, replaced the tealights in some of my candleholders, including the 2 matching crystal candleholders in my living room windows. At about 10 till 8, I lit the candles, including the two in my windows. Then I sat down to read a book. (Currently reading "The Hungry Years" by T.H. Watkins.)

Also at 8 pm, I noticed that Tay's best friend M. and a couple of neighbour boys from down the street were across pestering T. (Tay's friend/class-mate who lives across from us) and a friend of T's who was over for the evening. Evidently T's Mom & Dad and older sis were out for the evening & they'd left T & his friend home alone for awhile. That was ok, except for the fact that T & his friend had been instructed to be in the house while Mom & Dad weren't home. And M. wanted to talk to T. That meant M., Jack, and the other little neighbour boy were standing OUTSIDE T's front door, and T & his friend were standing INSIDE his front door, with the door wide open. And, T was flipping his porch-light off & on, repeatedly. This lasted about a half-hour before I decided to say something.

I yelled across & asked T. if his Mom & Dad were home. He, of course, responded that No they weren't. I politely reminded him that I don't think they'd be highly appreciative of the fact that T had been standing there for a half hour with the front door wide open, letting all the heat out of the house, AND flipping the front light on & off for that entire time. He was wasting their money burning fuel that was being let out of the house AND the electricity used when a light is flipped on & off repeatedly for an half-hour's time. He took the VERY broad "hint" and went inside and M. & Jack left, though not before I reminded them (because they still WERE outside) that the same goes for them. Even ignoring the ecological implications of burning that fuel, the cost alone means that these children should know better than to be standing there with the door wide open. I know M's parents wouldn't appreciate if she did that at their place. Jake seems to have been born in a barn, though, because he thinks nothing of standing around with a door wide-open for quite a while, even at 30 and 40 deg. below zero. (I've had to talk to him about this a LOT this winter when he comes over for Tay in the morning before school.)

Anyway..... I kinda felt bad, having to chew these kids out. They're good kids, all, but I just couldn't continue to let them waste energy & money in this manner without saying something. (Of course, had they chosen to ignore my protest, there's nothing I could have done except comment to their parents today, but at least I did say something. And since they all acknowledged my wisdom on the matter, I don't think I'll say anything to their parents at this point.)

Anyway, back to Earth Hour. The sun didn't actually set till about 8:45 last night. So I didn't honestly need my candles lit till about 8:30 (when the sun sank low enough that it wasn't bright enough for me to read without artificial light, electric or otherwise). But, as I said, I went ahead & lit them at 7:50 anyway. I sat there on the couch reading till almost 9 pm, when it actually became too hard to read, even WITH candlelight. At which point I simply put my book down & sat, contemplating little more than the flickering candle-fire itself. I actually didn't turn the lights & breakers back on till almost 9:30.

When Scott & Tay got home from the hockey game, Tay realized that her alarm clock was messed up and asked me if the power had gone out. I told her that I'd turned the electric off, at which point Scott made a comment something along the line "Don't tell me YOU did that bull-shit light's out thing too?!?!"

I just reminded him that I'd saved him an hour & thirty minutes worth of electric, so what the hell is he griping about?!?! I didn't turn off HIS alarm clock, and I'd reset Tay's myself, so he had no right to get snitty with me for wanting to save power & money a bit. That kinda shut him up. He just doesn't get it, and lately it's really starting to get to me. (And honestly, I think the fact that I see things so differently from him, lately, is really starting to get to HIM as well. He's been in a bad mood for about a week now.

**********

Well, after I did turn the electric (though, not all the lights) back on at 9:30, I didn't have time to play a movie or any such, so I decided I'd play a bit on my Wii PaperMario game for a bit. Damn-it. That game's not too bad, but it sucks a person in!!! It's not even that I lost track of time, but time seems to fly so much more quickly when a person is doing something like that. Scott & Tay got home at 10:15 and I was still playing my game, actually to a point where I refused to give up before I'd gotten past this point where I kept dying. Well, Tay went to bed, and Scott sat down to watch me play my game. And then he dozed off, and I kept playing. And finally at little after 2:30 am (yes, 2:30 THIS MORNING!) I realized that I was really stuck and I needed to quit for the night and get some sleep. So, I got Scott to wake up & head to bed, then got ready for bed myself, and finally climbed under the covers & turned out my lamp at 3 am. *sigh*

And wouldn't ya know it, I slept like crap, on top of that. I'm gonna be dragging butt by 9 pm tonight.

THAT is why I rarely play video games. I know they suck me in too easily. It's not that they're not fun, but they're a waste of time that I usually don't feel like wasting on something so mind-numbing.

**********

Tay's first Spring League games went ok yesterday. But the whole thing really was like organized chaos. There are 13 kids on Tay's team and Scott's the only coach.

Scott & I already had something said to us by a mom from a different team about how supposedly A. (the little boy who played goalie yesterday, Tay's friend from church) is a very poor sport & she thinks he needs to be kicked out of hockey and Scott needs to keep an eye on him. *sigh* It was Scott's FIRST GAME as coach, his FIRST DAY as coach, and already somebody's giving him crap for the way a kid on his team is playing. (Even though her gripe was really with how this kid has played against her kid in previous "seasons". IE: nothing Scott can do about A's PAST actions.) Scott told her he'd keep an eye on A. That's all the more we CAN do.

And when Scott & I mentioned this complaint to another one of the coaches (a friend, and dad of one of Tay's teammates from our just-past season), the other coach said to give the WHOLE team a talk BEFORE the next game about the kind of sportsman like behavior that Scott expects from the team for the Spring season. That nipping any bad behavior in the bud BEFORE it starts may be all that's needed, and besides.... All we've got for evidence against A. is this one woman's word. One woman that we've never met.

Anyway, the kids play cross-ice (as in, each rink is divided into 2, and the kids play with extremely small goal-nets and only half the ice they're used to) and 3 on 3 for teams. (The goalies make the 4th kid on ice, but only 3 kids are on ice trying to score on each other at a given point.) As I said, it's organized chaos.

**********

Ok.... I've gotta get ready for work.

Have a Blessed Day!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Earth Hour 2008

I meant to post this the other day and entirely forgot. Sorry.

Anyway here's a link: http://www4.earthhourus.org/

Well, tomorrow night at 8 pm I’ll be turning off all the lights here in MY house & reading by candlelight for 1 hour. Think of the energy to be saved in JUST ONE HOUR if we all did this. When Sydney Australia started this last year, their effort ALONE had the equivelent effect of taking 48,000 cars off the road! AMAZING. It’s not hard. It could even be a good time for you & your family. (Or, just you & a loved one!) Make a difference. Take ONE HOUR of your time & TURN OUT THE LIGHTS!

Play a family board game by candlelight (or strip-poker with your sweety). Curl up on the couch & read a good book by candlelight, as I’ll be doing. Or, make a party of it, have a bunch of friends over hang out, chatting & talking & getting reaquainted in 1 hour of dark and quiet. Could be lotsa fun, people!!!

I hope all my friends will participate!!!! And if you decide to participate, register on the EarthHour.org site so they’ll have some idea of how many are doing this.

Just ONE hour. Think of how much can be accomplished in ONE hour of dark!

Have a Blessed Day!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

More "This & That"....

There really hasn't been a lot going on these past few days.

Let's see.... Sunday. Yes, I DID get to eat dinner when I got to the inlaws, but it was all cold except the ham. (Which, the FIL DID try his best to keep things warm, but it'd had 3 hours to cool so..... *shrug*) My SIL had already left with her kiddos. The MIL was bored without having SIL & the nephews to wait on hand & foot. Every time MIL would start to say something to Tay, she'd immediately somehow turn the topic to my SIL & her kids somehow. *shaking head* And she had the NERVE to chew out Scott & myself for not being around more, when SHE'S never home before 9 pm anyway. Whatever.

(Scott DID say that his sis looks like she's 9 months prego with triplets, she's so damned big. Bigger than she was with EITHER of the nephews. And she was damned big with both of them.... We all wondered if she wasn't actually having twins, with both of those pregnancies. Also, though she'd origionally said that her due-date was the end of April, the date has been moved back a month to May 27th. *shaking head* It's no freaking wonder she's been in & out of the hospital lately, if she's that damned big and still has 2 months to go. Of course I'm sure she's still eatting horribly, which is a major no-no when one is gestational diabetic. After 3 pregnancies with out-of-control GD, I'm about ready to start taking bets on how long it's going to be before she's diagnosed as type 2 diabetic. I sure as hell hope she goes through with getting her tubes tied when she gives birth to this one.)

*****

Monday, was all work. *shrug* Nothing really to report about Monday.

Oh, and Scott pissed me off again (after his comments late last weekend about ME spending too much money)! He told me to only buy 3 boxes of Girl Scout cookies this year: one box of Samoas, one box of Thin Mints, and one box of Tagalongs. The Tagalongs are MY favorite so wisely he didn't touch those, but he knows I also appreciate getting at least ONE Samoa & a small handful of Thin Mints, and he usually even shares with Tay. This year he ate BOTH boxes completely without sharing with either Tay or I, and evidently on Friday and Saturday nights. (Because as of Friday morning, they were both unopened.) *shaking head* I've hidden my Tagalongs. I may or may NOT give him any. Though I have shared with Tay.

*****

Tuesday I had to leave work after only 2-1/2 hours because I wound up with a migrain. *sigh* They don't happen often, thank goodness, only about 3 or 4 times a year. And they're not as major, when I DO get them, as some of my coworkers have. They generally only last 6 to 8 hours, max. So, I came home & spent the next several hours vegging on the couch, wishing the pain would stop, and flipping through my seed catalogs. I've only got 2 left to go through, but I think it's going to come down to ordering from either "Seed Savers Exchange" or "Territorial Seed Co." Both mags have the biggest selection of the seed varieties I want.

I made shrimp & rice for dinner on Tuesday night and Ooooooh was it yummy. And we had sliced cucumbers for veggie. Unfortunately, something about it gave Tay & I nasty tummy-aches. Gassy tummy-aches, not food poisoning. And whatever it was about dinner did not affect Scott. *sigh* Oh well.... It was that kinda day.

*****

Yesterday I was back to work without any problem.

I got to spend a bit of time yesterday morning chipping snowpack/ice off the back deck. Tuesday & Wednesday got nice enough that the snow was melting from the underside, leaving these ice-shelves with a gap between the ice & the deck. So, stepping on the edge of the ice-shelf causes the outter edge to collapse & it can be swept off the deck. It's nice, seeing my deck get cleared off. I'm looking forward to the day when I can get out there & sit & enjoy the sunshine.

Or, get back to my morning exercising (which I haven't done since I got sick) & jump-rope on the deck in the morning. I really wanna get out there & make the most of that deck, darnit!!! *grin*

*****

Which brings us to today.

Tay's got a conditioning skate that she's going to tonight for the Arctic Lions Peewee team. It'd kinda allow the coaches to seee what she's got & judge if they think she'd be a good match for their team next year.

We were very disappointed this year with the Ice Breaker's league. It was poorly managed and our team was poorly coached. And there's a possibility that Tay could (would) end up on a team next year with too many girls (and too many goalies!) and a coach that scheduals them for tournaments all over the US. The 12U team this year had to travel to connecticut & San Jose & San Antonio for hockey tournaments and spent EASILY 5000 in tournament fees & travel costs JUST for the girls.

However, if they make two 12U teams next year & put DD on the lower-level team (which is where she belongs, skill wise) then she'd wind up probably being coached by the same guy who coached this year and last. (Last year he did an incredible job coaching, this year, not nearly so well. He really dropped the ball in a number of ways this year, not the least of which was his communicating with us parents & his personal skills with the girls.) Needless to say, we're seriously considering other options for next year's hockey season.

ALSO, Scott will be coaching Tay's Spring-League hockey team. Tay will be one of two goalies. The other goalie is that little boy she's grown up with that I showed in a picture a few weeks back when they faced off against each other. *grin* Now they'll be teammates. They've never been teammates before. Rivals & Friends, not teammates. This oughta be interesting.

And, of course, I have work today.

**********

I was talking to my coworker, CM, about how Scott got pissy with me last week about buying so much craft stuff, and how a good portion of the stuff is actually fabric for clothing, should it come to that point. She suggested that next time I buy fabric, I take Tay with me & tell her that she gets to pick 3 or 4 yards of which-ever fabric (in the variety of fabrics that I usually chose from, the less-expensive stuff) that she wants. THAT way, if the time comes that I'm having to make her clothes from these fabrics, at least she's picked fabric that she likes. Not a bad idea! It's already going to be tough, if that time comes, when she won't be wearing the kind of clothes she wears now. She may well be rather grumpy about having to wear homemades, and as my coworker pointed out, having picked out the fabric herself, at least then she'll have had SOME say in what she wears. Not bad wisdom, that!

**********

As I said, I've gotten my choices for what I want pretty well narrowed down to 2 different magazines. I just have to decide which is the better option. I noticed that most of the packets contain dozens, if not hundreds, of seeds per pkg. I'm kinda hoping that this is the case so I can pass some on. My one coworker (the one mentioned above) lives in a small apartment across from the library and I know she's got it tough even in GOOD times, for buying even the basics. She's on all the public assistance programs and her hubby doesn't hold any jobs regularly. (Though, right now that's working somewhat well for them as this means she doesn't have to find childcare for their 2 boys.) Anyway, I hope the seed packets contain enough seeds that I can then pass some on to CM. Even though she doesn't have a garden (or room for a garden or even some pots of plants) right now, at least if I can pass on some seeds to her, she'll have the ability to start some if the point does come where she can plant them. She's rather socially & economically aware as well, so she has some idea that such necessary times are likely on their way.

And quite honestly.... I wish I could do it for all my friends. I wish that there was some way I could share with Whim & Robin & Dirk & Barefoot Gardner & both Barbs, and so on and so forth.... But we all live in such diverse areas that it would be rather pointless for me to send seeds to Whim that I've picked for their adaptability to Northern conditions. It doesn't do a southern girl much good to have seeds that are suited much more strongly to my Northern conditions. So, I'm going to do what I can to help somebody who lives local, and hope that my more Southerly friends will find help from their area that I would willingly provide were they closer to me.

What worries me, though, is if I were to somehow produce enough to store for the coming winter.... Where am I going to store it?!?! I'd like to use a root-celler, but we don't have a room IN our house that is appropriate, and there isn't room OUTSIDE our house to build one. (At least, not until we build a garage, at which point I may be able to persuade Scott to build a lean-to root-celler on the side of the garage.)

My dad has offered to give us his big ol' chest-freezer when he moves out of his house (IF he moves out, at this point), and Scott & I want it. The only place we'd have for it, though, is on the back deck. What I am considering is putting our frozen goods in the outside freezer (in the winter it can be unplugged & still be used as a freezer), and regulate the temp on our inside (upright freezer) to a slightly warmer temp more appropriate to storing bulk veggies like cabbage, potatoes, onions and other root veggies like carrots, rutabagas, turnips & such. This way we'd have the ability to keep our veggies in the house, in a freezer-turned-root-celler, and our REAL frozen goods OUTSIDE in the big chest-freezer. And, as I said, we'd only have to plug that one in during the summer because the cold winter temps would keep it, and everything in it, frozen anyway.

**********

Then, tomorrow is of course my volunteer day at the school, and grocery shopping. I'm thinking I need to add to my stock of milk-related supplies for now. So, that's where I'm gonna spend a couple of bucks buying a couple extra cans tomorrow. (That, and replace the can of olives that DH used for tacos earlier this week.) It actually doesn't cost too much more, when you're only adding a couple of cans per week to your grocery list. At least for me, 2 cans of something is almost unnoticable in the grocery basket (and receipt). More than 2 cans is still doable, but still not too expensive generally. So, a couple of cans of table cream, a couple of cans of evap. milk, and another can or 2 of olives it is. And whatever I need to replace whatever I use this coming week.

**********

I had occasion to be jealous yesterday. In a purely superficial way, even. *wry smile* I try not to be focused on how folks look, but one of the things that always gets me is how some of the younger moms that come in for Library Storytimes are always dressed so beautifully BoHo. They wear flowing hippy skirts & look like modern (caucasion, in the case of most of them) gypsies..... And I love the style!!! But, unlike them, I'm not skinny. I'm petite, yes, but NOT skinny. Here were 3 different women dressed in this totally hippy-BoHo style that I love with skirts layered over pants & a couple of different tops layered for this incredible (to me) style, and all of them skinny little things. *grin* The best I can get away with, with my rather reubenesque shape, is eclectic scarves & earrings. It just makes me jealous to see other women pulling off a style that I love (some might call it "immigrant" style, all the layering & different fabrics), and knowing that it would make me look a good 30 pounds heavier than I am now. And, 30 pounds heavier would NOT be a good thing on my already pudgy body. *wink*

Ah well..... Like I said.... I occasionally have reason to be somewhat superficially jealous. Not a flattering realization, but at least I don't hate them for their ability to carry this off. (And hey, they all seperately complimented ME on the lovely scarf I was wearing as I sat there checking out their books. *grin* So evidently the style-sense is there, just not the ability to carry it out fully.) Well, at least I guess I can still be happy that it's not the styles of a certain hotel-heiress or a former-pop-star that I'm wishing I could steal.

**********

I think that pretty well covers what little is going on this week.

Have a Blessed Day!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Laid It All Out For Him....

So this morning at Scott & I were getting ready to head out for Tay's end-of-season party, he commented on going to GameStop & getting Tay a new DS game for Easter. I said that if it wouldn't be a problem, I'd like to get over to Joanne's (Fabrics & Crafts) for a couple of patterns that were on sale. He kinda gave me this grumpy look as if to say "MORE craft stuff?!?!" So, rather than trying to gloss over WHY I wanted it, I told him. I flat out told him.

I said that even the most cautious of economists is now admitting that we're in a recession, and a LOT of folks think it's going to hit depression-stage, even if our infamous president himself thinks everything is just peachy-keen.

I told Scott that the last time our country went through a depression, one of the hardest things, according to personal accounts in books I've ready (and he knows I've read them!) was parents having to watch their kids go without decent clothes & food. I told him that I'm not buying all this fabric just for the hell of it. I'm CERTAINLY not trying to break our bank account, but that if it comes down to Tay needing clothes, I'd like to have some fabric on hand to be able to make her some. I even said that if I KNEW what size pants & tops she'd be in next, I'd stock some away, but it's hard to tell that. However, fabric can be cut into whatever size you need, so long as you have enough. And, that's why I wanted the patterns as well..... I may not be an excellent seamstress (in fact, some of my straight lines are decidedly NOT straight) but at least I can sew up some skirts or PJ-style pants, or simple tunic-tops.

I also told him that I KNOW it seems like I'm buying a lot more canned & dried goods than we usually use, but as prices are going up and our dollars are worth less & less, I figure that we should stock up while we can still afford to. And I told him that I KNOW he doesn't like hearing about the possibility of such happening in our town or our country, but that I was raised to plan for the worst & hope for the best, and that's just what I'm doing.

He really didn't say much, but when we got to the craft store, he simply commented "I'll leave you to it, Tay and I are going to walk down to the sporting-goods store." And when I got back into the car after buying my 2 patterns (bought with all the cash I had on me, and I really didn't want to spend any more $$ from the checking account) he didn't even ask how much I'd spent. Though, stinker that I can be, I made a point of telling him that I DIDN'T go taking any more money off the debit card.

Maybe, just maybe I'm getting through to him. He can certainly see with his own eyes that prices are going up a lot faster than normal. (Though, at Walmart I was looking at 5-gal buckets and he asked why I'd want them. I commented "for food storage" and he just gaped & asked how much food I was hoping to store, anyway?!?!)

**********

In the past week or so, Puck has taken to occupying Jenny's kennel (dog-cage) when she's not in it. He seems to have developed a like for that enclosed area, even though it's her bed he was sleeping in. (Which left Jenny very disgruntled about not being able to sleep in her own bed, with her blanky.) So, today at Walmart we went ahead & bought Puck his own kennel. And, here they are, side by side, with Tay's goalie bag stashed on top.

That's Puck inside his, giving me glares for DARING to look at him as he guards his weekly raw-hide treat. He gets rather freakish about it. He'll hid away with the damned thing, grumbling & growling at anybody who dares look at him or talk to him, until such point as he's decided that it's ok to eat it. Then he devours the thing in a matter of minutes. But, right now he's still in the "guarding" stage.

It's very funny because even when he wants attention, he'll growl & snarl & hover over the thing, while wagging his tale & begging for attention. It's like he just can't stand to think that we won't actually take it away for good. He even takes it outside with him when he needs to go potty, until he's done with the "guarding" stage. (It's funny, as I'm writing this Puck is in his kennel asleep, hugging his bone like it's a stuffed animal.)

Anyway, Puck now has his own little den INSIDE the house, and he seems happier. Though Jenny couldn't figure out why we bought her a new bed, when we first brought it in the house & set it up. She kept going from hers, to his, to hers, to his..... And Puck was doing the same thing. But his blanket is in his kennel now, and Jenny's quilt is in her kennel, and they seem happy with the new arrangement.

We'll see how he likes it when he realizes that I'm going to lock him in there when I leave, if I don't put him outside. This will keep him from tearing into things he shouldn't while we're gone, while allowing US to leave him inside on cold days. (And yes, these two kennels together take up only slightly less room than a twin-size bed. Wow..... Between the shrank, the computer desk, gun cabinet, TV & stand, and 2 dog kennels, there's barely any room in here, again.)

**********

Let's see.... Easter plans. Well, the MIL called all in a snit because we hadn't RSVP'd to come over to her house tomorrow for dinner. Never mind that they'll be eatting at 2 pm, and I have to work till 5:15 pm. (And, if she'd bothered to mention it to ME a week ago, I'd have been able to take the time off, but not when the soonest I hear about it is the Friday afternoon before Easter.) Anyway, she's said that if I can't make it, well, that's my problem but she won't have her dinner held up on account of MY work schedual, and her darling, pregnant daughter shouldn't have to wait for dinner. *sigh*

Oh freaking well. Scott is actually really peeved about her attitude and told her that if her darling daughter is having such a hard time with this pregnancy, maybe she shouldn't have GOTTEN pregnant again!!!!! (Her past 2 pregnancies were hell as well, she knows what to expect!) MIL didn't care for that too much, but it's the truth. Anyway, my FIL was nicer about it when I ran into him (no, not literally!) at the grocery store yesterday. Turns out that MIL had only told HIM her plans the night before as well, so he was in picking up all the goods, including ANOTHER ham because the two he had in the freezer weren't going to thaw in time. He's also somewhat annoyed by the fact that MIL goes right on ahead & makes plans & bosses everybody else around and doesn't ever take into account what might be going on for the rest of us.

I just couldn't really care less what the MIL thinks of me or my work schedual any more. I like it, and I don't give a rat's butt if it makes things harder for her. She's made it clear that she doesn't care for her son, myself, or our daughter except on major holidays. The rest of the year it's ALL about SIL and SIL's kids and the rest of us could cease to exist as far as MIL is concerned. (In fact, it seems that there are definite times she'd prefer if she could turn us all off like a DVD and come back to us when she's got a moment to spare. The feeling I get from her, the past couple of years, is that FIL, Scott, Tay and myself are all inconveniences to her life & her fixation on the SIL's life.) *shrug* Whatever. I'm rather sick of her myself.

**********
Oh, so I had an Awwwww!!!! moment at the grocery store yesterday. As I'm finishing up my trip through the store, I always take a moment to stop at the floral dept. and talk to a past coworker of mine who now works there (we worked at Ben Franklin's Crafts together). This also means I get to smell & gaze at the lovely flowers. The hyacinths have been esp. lovely this year, and I spend a couple of minutes just burying my nose in them & breathing deeply, but as I told K. last week.... Flowers, no matter how pretty, are kinda low on the list of things to buy as compared to food, and she completely agreed & said that this is one of the definite perks of working in the floral dept.: she doesn't feel quite so bereft about not having the $$ to take some home with her regularly.

Well, yesterday I was later in getting to the store than usual, as I had some bills to pay & errands to run before shopping, so by the time I got there, K. had already left for the day, according to the floral-dept. manager & her new assistant. I said thank you & asked them to tell her that the woman who always smells the flowers said Hi when they next saw her, and they said they would.

As I was down getting my lunch from the salad bar, the new floral dept. assistant came up to me and asked me to come back when I had a moment. So, I got my lunch together & went back down to see if I'd dropped something. No.... Actually K. had come BACK in and told her manager that I was always there smelling the flowers & chatting & so neighbourly. So, the manager had 1 hyacinth plant that she was going to distress (I'm assuming this means she was going to make it un-salvagable and discard it) and she decided to give it to me instead. Awwwww... So now I've got a free (if slightly battered) pretty purple hyacinth on my kitchen table making my kitchen smell lovely.

Once the foliage dies back, I'm going to plant it out in my flower bed toward the end of the house (where not-so-many flowers grew last year) and maybe next year it'll come back for me! And, if I get a chance, I'll buy another hyacinth next week to show my appreciation for their lovely gesture. (They're not expensive, just $5 per flowered bulb. But that's been $5 that I haven't allotted for "extras" along the lines of flowers. Next week, though, I'm going to do so.)

Anyway, I just wanted to share the loveliness that shows up sometimes in a small town where folks know each other & see each other regularly. THAT is what living in a small town is about!!! (And, that's why I've come to love this town that I used to be so desperate to get away from!)

**********

It's cooled down again. And it's actually snowing this evening. Unfortunately it's blowing so hard that the snow is blowing side-ways. *sigh* NOT pleasant! BUT, the sunlight is getting stronger, the days are getting longer, and it's almost April!!! Not long now before summer is really & truly here!

Hope y'all have a Blessed Easter tomorrow!

Friday, March 21, 2008

What a Crock!

First off.... Enough with calling the hubby & kiddo "DH" and "DD". It's too confusing to keep up. I use their names elsewhere, I've even slipped & used their names here. From here on out, I may refer to them as "the hubby" or "the kiddo", but by & large I'm just going to use their names: Scott and Tay(lor). I'm tired of trying to keep straight what names I use for them, and where.

**********

So, I believe I'd mentioned in the past that the hubby wasn't thrilled about me opening a savings account in my name alone. I've been doing pretty good about staying on top of putting money in, and not spending so much on crafting supplies & books.

In fact, what little money I've been taking out of our combined checking account (into which our paychecks are direct deposited) for pocket cash, has been almost consistently handed over to DD for allowance or to pay for an open-swim session. I think I MAY have 5 dollars on me right now, and this is the most I've had for several weeks.

On the other hand, Scott recently signed Tay up for Spring League Hockey AND Soccer for the summer. That was $150 for Spring League, and about the same (give or take $25) for Soccer. That may or may not include her soccer jersey. He also tells her frequently that she can go swimming, and when she doesn't have the money of her own to go, he hands the cash over as if it's nothing. AND, he's been bringing home a new Wii game, or a new movie, or a new cd, or a new DS game for her every couple of weeks.

Then, today, rather than deposit some $$ in my savings, I spent the $$ at the craft store on some yarn for a girly-afghan in case I need to give one to my sister-in-law for her newborn. (Sister-in-law is Scott's sister.) So, I didn't spend much more money than I would have had I made my savings deposit. I told Scott this when he got home.

He promptly turned to me and said "Since you keep taking money out for your savings, I want you to pay for your own cell-phone from now on!"

WTF?!?! Don't my pay-checks go into the family till???? And I'm taking $60 a month out for myself, and he expects me to give up some of that to pay my cell-phone bill?!?!?! Mind you, I spend $20 every THREE MONTHS for my pre-paid. He pays almost $30 PER MONTH for his cell-phone. AND his cell phone payments come out of the family till. *shaking head* Not to mention the kiddo's pre-paid minutes. (And, unfortunately, the phone company just upped the minimum allowed purchase for minutes from $10 to $20. So even though Tay and I do not NEED this many minutes, we don't have a choice if we want to stay pre-paid. And, pre-paid is STILL cheaper than a monthly contract.)

I just don't know where he thinks he gets off, telling me that the $60 per month I take out for myself (my SAVINGS!) must also pay for my cell phone, but he's allowed to buy himself $30 almost every week during the winter for Ice Dogs games, and lunches out a couple of times a week, and his cell phone, and the fact that his truck guzzles twice as much fuel as my car..... And soccer, and almost year-round hockey for the kiddo, and her cell-phone, and whatever video games or such as she wants. BUT, my stuff must come out of a very strict budget. *shaking head*

I reminded him of all the $$ he spends regularly and said that if he wants to cut corners, maybe he ought to cut down on the amount of activities we pay for Tay to do. Besides his truck and groceries, this is our most expensive non-loan-type expenditure on a monthly basis. Basically told him he could shove it as far as me paying for my own cell-phone minutes out of my $60 per month unless he's willing to make similar reductions.

*sigh* He just doesn't get it. And still he keeps giving me glares & nasty remarks when I discuss my garden ideas for the summer. He grumbles over the grocer bills, and yet doesn't account for the fact that he's the one asking for a lot of highly processed food to eat. (Soda, eggo waffles, canned soups and expensive lunch meats & cheese....) Though, the kiddo's school-lunch diet is by no means cheap either. (Capri Suns, snack bars, sandwich supplies, fruit-cups, and some sort of dessert, though that is frequently home-made.) Grocery-wise, I have 2 to 3 frozen dinners per week for lunch, and left-overs (or nothing) the rest of the time. And yet Scott still gripes over how much I spend at the store. Never mind that the costs rise faster than you can keep track of, and some of the extra I'm buying is stock to have on hand to use when the costs get higher. Food for HIM (and Tay and I) to eat as the going gets tough.

I feel fortunate to have a bit of extra to spend every week, at this point. It's coming to the point where that won't be an option, and try as I might to get us to eat lighter here at home, he's adamant that we shouldn't be cutting back. He's really gonna be hating life when I start making a vegetarian dinner per week, then a couple of times a week. (Though, vegetarian eatting isn't terribly cheap in Alaska, either. It's actually more expensive, a lot of the time, than eatting meat is. Esp. when you've got the option of hunted meat.) But, I'm going to try. Even if this is just meat-free chili or some-such (barley-lentil soup, for example) once a week.... We need to try & see if it helps at all.

(To that end, if anybody has any suggestions that are rather close to what a meat-eatting family has eatten up to this point, I'd be grateful. Any "lentil salad" type things just won't go over well.... It needs to be something similar to the type of food we eat now, but without meat. And, no tofu because that's actually MORE expensive than beef, up here. And the hubby wouldn't eat tofu anyway. Something like a tasty & well-tried Red Beans & Rice recipe, for example.)

**********

Let's see.... I had occasion to be proud of Tay last night (and today). Her school just completed their "pennies for patients" fund raiser, and Tay's class won the competition for most money raised. Well, the class was given the info that they'd be rewarded with a pizza party (funded by the school or school district, I'm not sure exactly which) for being the class to raise the most money for the sick.

Evidently the teacher (student teacher, actually) posed the question to the kids as to whether or not the kids would be supportive of taking the money meant for the pizza party, and donating THAT money in addition to the money raised through the fundraiser. (What the kids WEREN'T told was that the teacher & student teacher were going to treat them, out of pocket, if they DID elect to send this pizza-party money from the school, to the sick.)

Well, little over half of the class elected to use the school's donated pizza-party money for the pizza party, and NOT to donate that much more to the "pennies for patients" charity. Tay was one of the lesser "half" that raised her hand that she'd rather see that money go to support the sick, than for a pizza party. *grin* I'm so proud of her!!! I'm doing SOMETHING right, evidently. And Scott and I told her how proud of her we are for making such an ethical choice. She still doesn't know that her teacher was planning on buying the class pizza either way.

**********

The weather's been kinda funny the past couple of days. Sunny & clear skies, but windy as hell, and cold!!! Oh, you can feel some warmth from the sun and the sunlight is causing some of the snow to melt around the edges, but it's still rather cold. The wind is odd, though. It's only been in the past 7 or 8 years that March has been this windy.

When I was growing up I always felt it was odd that the "March winds bring April showers, April showers bring May flowers" rhyme didn't apply to us. Instead, we got our rain in July and early August, and all the windy weather in August as well, right as we were gearing up for school to start.

Now, however, it's windy as hell in March, we still see a bit of snow (and rain, now!) through April and into the beginning of May, and by the end of May the weather turns HOT! We've actually started having DOOZY thunder & lightning storms in June & July, and hot temps well into August & even into September during the days. Our climate seems to have become much more temperate around here. (Which, would hold true with the whole climate shift issue.)

(The lightning is another "new" phenomena for us. If you recall, I actually posted about a fantastic & long-lasted lightning storm on the LAST DAY of August, this past summer. Growing up, we had few lightning storms, and when we DID have lightning, the bolts didn't arc to the ground. They were also over very quickly. About an hour was the normal time limit. Now, we're getting fantastic lightning storms up to 4 and 5 times a week that last a LONG time. A couple of hours. With loads & loads of lightning strikes that arc to the earth from the clouds. The few Thunderstorms (because that's what they were, more than anything) we had when I was growing up would happen almost solely in June. Now we're seeing them well into August, obviously. Another trippy example of climate shift in the interior of Alaska.)

I wait for the day when we hear semi-substantiated reports of tornados in the interior. Supposedly it "can't happen" around here because the proper cloud formations cannot take place due to the large mountain ranges on all sides of us. But, I'm figuring we'll be seeing reports of tornados (though, probably never a F4 or F5) in the next couple of years.

**********

Ya know.... Regarding peak oil.... I just cannot figure out why our rather pro-active Electic Co-op is not jumping into hydro-electric or wind-farms. We obviously get a good deal of wind around here, even if it is somewhat seasonal. And here in North Pole I live right between 2 rivers (the Chena, and the Tanana). There's even a small dam on the Chena river and a flood-control plain project that was built after a major flood in the 60's. It would seem to me that it'd make sense to get a hydro-electric plant built in correspondence with that dam. And, seeing as we live in a very vast river valley, a wind-farm would make sense as well. But neither option is being acted on (though, they may be in the research stages, for all I know) by our electric co-op. I wonder if I'd have to go to a member's meeting to bring these options up, or if I could do that via phone call or email. It's something I've been meaning to look into.

(We actually have a hot-springs a bit North of us that IS being tapped by the guy who owns the resort based around the hot spring. He also owns the one recycling business in town. He's a jerk, on a personal level, but a very forward thinking person on a business & ecological level. He's actually got the Chena Hot Springs Resort completely energy-self-sufficient and pipes the small amount of left-over electricity into the common grid used by the Electric Co-op. He also uses the radiant heat and property for a somewhat extensive hydroponics farm that produces most of the veggies & fruit used at the resort.)

**********

Ok. I suppose that pretty well covers things for now. I hope all my friends & fam. have a GREAT Solstice and Easter weekend!!!!!

And, HAPPY BIRTHDAY Mom!!!! (Her birthday falls on Easter this year. And she's spending her birthday in AZ with my middle sis.)

Have a Blessed Day!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Tagged!!! (reprise)

So, this time it was TurtleHeart that tagged me. And it's the Around the World Tag:


Instruction:

1. Place your link after the list. If you have more than 1 blog, feel free to add them all here!


2. After placing your blog's address/es, you must tag 5 or more bloggers that are not yet in the list, this is to keep the ball rolling.


3. Here is the best part: Make sure to update your list every now and then, by getting the master list here. I'll be updating the master list every day, or as soon as I see a new blog that's been added to the list. ^_^


Links around the world tag (update as of Mar. 19, 2008 8:24PM GMT+8)1 - Momhood Moments 2 - Business Mars 3 - Pinay Mommy Online 4 - OnlineBiz and Resources 5 - A Simple life 6 - moms….. check nyo 7 - Mommy’s Little Corner 8- Princezz 9 - Princess 10 - Random Thoughts 11 - Paradigm 12 - See Me For What You Will 13 - Pamp's Blog Corner 14 - Pampered 15 - HappyHeart 16 - Qtcotzkie and Baby 17 -tragicseven 18 - s.t.a.r.d.u.s.t. 19 -Twinkletoe I 20 - Twinkletoe II 21 - Kaye's Side 22 - out of the box 23 - Just Saying 24 - Tipsy Tips 25 - Different Angles 26 - Delicious Corner 27 - I Care 28 - Blog Blag Blog 29 - Daily List 30 - Life's Journey 31 -Cecil 32 -Ron & Cecil 33 - Frenchcess 34 -Trendy Momma 35 - Cherish 36 -Dha Maldita 37 - Lovin’ Purple 38 - The Notebook 39 - Saranghaeyo 40 - Welcome to my Crib 41 - Hearts Desire 42 - Island Paradise 43 - Texas Life 44 - Long Journey 45 - D' Cooking Mudra 46 - My life 47- Swept Away 48 - Winged Words 49 - Rainier and Katrina 50 - Life! Learn it. Live it. Love it. 51 - Colour Our World 52 - pinkykei 53 - Choc Mint Girl 54 - The Next Chapter 55 - Painted Life 56 - Jannesse 57 - Shopaholic Pat 58 - A Matter of Perspective 59- Ang Therapist 60- Endometriosis & Fertility Resource Page 61- Freebies Australia 62- Abstract Musings 63 - Joey M.D. 64 - The Working Mom 65 - Online Raket 66 - Ang.Lakambini.Org 67 - Listen to the Beat 68 - The Strategist Notebook 69 - Link Addiction 70 - Ardour of the Heart 71 - When Life Becomes a Book 72 - The Malaysian Life 72 - Yogatta.com 74 - What goes under the sun 75 - Roshidan’s Cyber Station 76 - Sasha says 77 - Arts of Physics 78 - And the legend lives 79 - My View, My Life 80 - A Simple Life 81 - Juliana RW 82 - The Callalily Space 83 - Petra Summer in Blue 84 - Confessions of an Army Wife 85 - Bless’ Sanctuary Happy Life 86 - http://bless519.bravejournal.com/ 87 - La Place de Cherie 88 - Chez Francine 89 - Le bric a brac de Cherie 89 - Little Peanut 90 - Pea in a Pod 91 - The Creative In Me 92 - Me and Mine 93 - Expressions from the Heart 94 - TeacherJulie 95 - Sweetbites by Bang 96 - Paul, Toni and Lance - Bridging the Distance 97 - Our Growing Family 98 - The Uncensored life of me 99 - My Untamed World 100 - Something Purple, A Detour 101 - Something Purple 102 - Changing Lanes 103 -Blog District 104 - The Chic Shopaholic 105 - Gracie de guzman 106 - The Wifey Diaries 107 - Kelli 108 - Sindi 109 - Mark 110 - Mrs. Nespy 111 - My Kids Mom 112 - Bringing up Salamanders 113 - Turtleheart Cove 114 - Turtleheart Crafts! 115 - Dragonflys Musings



And, I choose to tag



My Mom at Hawaiian Musings (but, as she's gone on vacation to visit my sis in Tucson, she won't see this for a couple days).



Marmite Toasty who lives in Britain somewhere.



Whim at The Babblings of Whimsical N Brainpan.



Robin at The Dreamtime.



The Barefoot Gardner at Barefoot in the Garden.



And last but never least, Connie at Ash Lane Farm.



I hope you all chose to participate!!! And hey Whim.... No odd things about you to post! *grin*


**********

One thing I've learnt about so far from the "Hungry Years" book I posted about previously was the creation of Co-ops or Unions for the unemployed. The purpose was to give all these unemployed folks a union in which to work together for the betterment of their families and their communities. This was a Hoover-Era activity that was moderately successful in some areas, considerably less so in others, and was solely community based. Unfortunately, these unions or co-ops eventually came to a demise due to the lack of funding outside themselves. It got to the point where folks just didn't have any more that they could pass on to the next guy, and sooner or later they fell apart. But, it's definitely something to keep in mind.



I guess one of the most successful was in the Seattle area, called the "Unemployed Citizen's League". They quickly accounted for between 40,000 and 50,000 members. Over the course of several months, according to this book, the UCL "cut 10,000 cords of firewood, plucked 120,000 pounds of fish from the Puget Sound, and harvested 8 carloads (rail cars, I'm assuming, not vehicular cars) of produce from cooperating farms." All of which they passed among the families of their own members. They also concocted a barter system by which work would be exchanged for things & services such as haircuts, shoe repare and served "as a kind of clearinghouse for exchangeable work and goods". This book also claims that when a family was evicted, other UCL members would get together to move the displaced family BACK into their homes, often so many times that the landlords relented quit wasting their own time trying to evict that family.

The book DOES go on to say that a lot of these co-ops & unions disbanded because of political differences & the simple inability to continue this sort of effort with ever increasing numbers of people to be supported. It appears that a great many of these efforts just got too big to be sustainable for a prolonged period of time. But, at least it appears that at the time, these unions may have alleviated some of the suffering felt by some of the members. It's only a temporary bandage, though, not a cure for the problem.



**********


One more book that I'm going to suggest, but only partially. I've got a copy of "Alaska's Wild Plants: A guid to Alaska's Edible Harvest". I bought this when I was working at Waldenbooks, when I first started seeing that this may be a necessity some day. I cannot COMPLETELY recommend this book to y'all because I know that I'm the only one who lives IN Alaska. Many of the plants recommended in this book as edible won't be found in other areas of the country. I strongly recommend that you search out a regional guide for your own area. At some point it's going to be an impossibility to continue foraging, because if EVERYBODY does it, NOBODY'S going to get enough to actually survive on, much less live well on. (Like firewood, if EVERYBODY

burns firewood, sooner or later all the trees will be destroyed.)



But, as a stop-gap measure, foraging isn't a bad idea. And hell..... One of our most common weeds is a great source of early spring greens: Dandylions! So, there ARE options. This is just one of them.



**********

Whim had mentioned in the comments of the last post that she knew of a cookbook with Depression Era recipes. I've actually got one as well. This was published in 1980 by the Grashroots Survival Co. out of Sandpoint Idaho.



The title is "A Grassroots Survival Co. Cookbook of Memories, Remedies & Recipes from the Great Depression: To help get us through our own" by Mark & Buffy Nichols.



This cookbook appears to have some usable recipes, but a suprising amount of them seem to be heavier on the meat than I think is going to be possible this time around.



I'm going to be giving some of these recipes a try over the next couple of months, and I'll post them as I try them.



**********

Another option for stretching a grocery dollar is here at The Hillbilly Housewife. She's got suggested "$45 Emergency Menu" and "$70 Low Cost Menu" suggestions. They may be somewhat out of date (ie: before groceries hit the prices they're at now) or lower than prices paid in different regions. (Her "$45 emergency menu" WOULD be more like $70 in my area.) These also feed a family of four, so bear that in mind if you've not got that many, or if you've got more.



Creative Homemaking has some articles & recipes for stretching a dollar.



The Federal Citizen Info Center has an online book of recipes for thrifty, healthy meals.



More to be found at Living On A Dime.



The Peak Oil Solutions forum may have some ideas.



A new, personal favorite blog-read: Casaubon's Book.



And, two personal favorites:



Backwoods Home Mag's article archives & forum.



And Mary Jane's Farmgirl Forum. Anywhere you get a bunch of women together exchanging home-making & crafting info, you're BOUND to find $$-saving & yummy recipes.



**********

I think that pretty well covers it for now.



Have a Blessed Day!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Fun and Funny, a Nostalgic End to St. Patty's Day...

So, yesterday being St. Patty's day, I decided to have some fun & put my hair up in some shamrock printed ribbons I found at the craft store a couple of months back. Not as fancy as Barefoot Gardner's do's, but still fun!

I tried to get a decent picture, but hell.... It seems I don't take decent pictures (either with somebody else holding the camera, or myself!) any more. Go figure.



Well, of course I had to work on St. Patty's day. None of that partying & beer-swigging for me! *grin* That's ok. I'm not a big fan of beer unless you're using it to cook meat or bake bread or some-such. Instead, I was at work till 9:15. This is where the funny & nostalgic part comes in. One of my coworkers mentioned that an upstairs neighbour of hers moved out & promised that she could have one of the dressers they didn't want to take with them. She went into the apartment to retrieve the dresser, and found lots & lots of books left behind as well. As she was looking through the books for some good ones, she found that at least several beloned to the library itself, so she boxed up all the books she could find & brought them over to the library with her, to go through at a more leisurely pace, either for the donations bin or to return to the library's collection.

I was helping her with the last box last night after everybody else left at 6 pm (there are only 8 of us that work past 6 pm on Mondays, my coworker CM and myself, MeB and Judy (reference), DP the security guy and Joe the computer guy, and GK and Steve were the night's circ assistant's). Anyway, CM was on the desk for the first shift of the night, so I was pawing through the books deciding to put in the sale bin, the donation bin, or toss, and I came across 3 old yearbooks from one of the other High Schools in the area. They were 1997, 1998, and 1999. I realized what a chance I had with that 1997 yearbook. I knew a couple of folks that went to West, and in fact the first guy I kissed went to West & should have graduated that year! *grin* Oooooh, what a chance to see what kinda doofy pic he took for his senior pic. And, Yep, it was a doofy one!

So, this is a slightly-fuzzy pic of the guy I shared my first kiss with. (Yes, Mom, I DID kiss a guy before DH, and NO, actually, John wasn't my FIRST boyfriend, OR my first date.) ROFL I can't get over that stupid propeller-topped beanie on his head! I knew he was a bit of a clown & joker when I met him and on the one occasion we went out AFTER we first met, but I didn't think the guy would wear a propeller-topped hat in his Sr. pic. *sigh*

The irony is, my first boyfriend (a class-mate & friend through school), my first date (another guy met at a different party than the one I met John at, prior to meeting John), AND my hubby are/were all very serious guys. In fact, this is part of the reason I didn't give my first boyfriend more of a chance, he was too serious. And too shy to make a move to even hold my hand. (Or, maybe he was just too scared that I'd crack him over the head with a book if he tried anything. Either way, we never even held hands in the 5 days we were "going together" in 9th grade.) The other reasons I didn't give my first boyfriend more of a chance were A) my dad had forbidden me to date before I got to 16, and B) I honestly didn't feel I was ready for a relationship at the point that Dustin asked me to be his girlfriend. I felt it was kind of rediculous to pretend to be boyfriend & girlfriend and only ever see each other at school & never go do things together, and not even be able to introduce the guy to one's parents. Anyway, so I told Dustin that I just wasn't ready. *shrug* Part of me wonders, though, what might have happened with him if I'd given him more of a chance. (And, if not then, at least later, because I found out later that he never stopped holding out hope that we'd get back together, at least while in HS.)

Then there was Denton. Denton was the other guy met at a party (a birthday party) that I snuck out for a date with. He preceeded John (in the above pic) by at least 6 months. I was only 15 when I went out on that date with Denton. He was sweet, and serious, and somewhat shorter than any other guy I've ever been attracted to. And, after our date he asked for a hug. I would have liked to see more of Denton as well, but Dad caught on that SOMETHING was going on, and I wound up grounded for a month. (I don't think Dad ever knew for certain that I'd gone on a date, but he knew SOMETHING was up.) Anyway, I didn't dare call Denton after that, and he never tried calling me, either.

Then came John. I met him at another friend's birthday party. (I was still only 15.) It was a co-ed party, with a girl's-only sleep-over afterwards. Just before all the guys had to be kicked out, I was saying bye to John & giving him my number & he asked if he could kiss me. *grin* I said yes. Ooooooh, sweet first kisses! Not a whole lot to say about John except that he was funny and charming and obviously a bit of a clown. We called each other every couple of days for about a week & a half, then met up once at the skating rink just up the road from my dad's house. That was the last time I talked to John. He wouldn't return my phonecalls after that. I was peeved for a couple of days, went to TaeKwonDo one night & kicked the crap out of one of the wall-mounted pads, and got over him. (Though, a part of me wonders now if his parents saw something happening that they weren't thrilled about. His dad was a preacher at a church in town.)

And, lastly came the man who is now my hubby. Another serious guy. We met while working at the fair. Mom had persuaded me to take a job working for one of the food companies at the fair during the summer between my Jr. & Senior years of HS. I was 17. Two friends from school were also working for the same food-service company that had a half-dozen booths around the fair-grounds, and they knew I was kinda crushing on this guy who was working at the ride right next to my food booth. I was selling pizza, he was operating the gravetron. My friend Bo pointed me out to him one day and told him I was crushing on him. (Or, was it Adrienne??? I don't recall for sure, now.) By the end of the fair, we were hanging out during our breaks and I'd given him my number and he said he'd call me when he got back to town after the Palmer fair. (He was following the fair down to Palmer to continue working for one more 2-week period before coming back to NP for the winter & finding a steadier job.) It took him a couple of months to call, he lost my number & finally found it where it'd fallen behind his sterio at his parents house. (Whom he was living with until we got our first apartment, 4 months after we married and 6 months after DD was born.)

It's funny because I didn't think DH was such a serious guy, when I met him. I didn't want to be with a serious guy. My dad was (and, frequently still IS) too serious for me, and I wanted to find a guy who could lighten up a bit. I thought I'd found that with the guy who is now my hubby. *wry smile* Then again, he seems to lighten up, but frequently at the wrong moments as far as I'm concerned. In so many other ways, it strikes me as true that a girl often marries a guy who's a lot like her dad.

(Which, once again makes me wonder what life would be like with Dustin, who's even MORE like my dad than DH is, even down to spending 10 years of his life in the Air Force as a mechanic. And now working for the Feds as an Air Safety inspector. But, I think Dustin is much too conservative for me, these days. I think I've become too liberal for him, even if we were willing to disrupt our families for each other. Which, we're both smart enough to know would be a very stupid move, though I once again consider Dustin a friend and enjoy email-chats with him every few days or so.)

Anyway.... That picture above has prompted a lot of nostalgia, and some wistful thinking. (I kinda wish Dustin HAD kissed me back when, at least then I'd know.) I kinda wish I knew whatever happened to Denton, and where John's at now. It's all rather funny to think about now. But, I did tell DH that he's got NOTHING to worry about, me wishing I was with John still..... Maybe he was charming & funny, but I don't think I'd do well trying to settle with a clown who wears a propeller-beanie for his senior pic. *grin*

**********

On completely unrelated news.... The temp has dropped again. *sigh* It was 0 deg. when I let the dogs out at 7:50 this morning. And the wind is blowing to such a degree that last night's predictions were of wind-chill-related temps down to -40 for today.

On the other hand, at least the sun feels warm!!! Standing at the window with my face towards the sun, you can feel a bit of it's heat. And we're just a couple of days (literally, on Thursday!) from Spring Equinox when we'll start seeing more sunlight than night.

**********

I've been slowly making my way through my seed catalogs, trying to figure out what I want to grow this summer. I'm hoping to be able to get all my seed from one company, but it doesn't look like I'll get to do that. I'm also kind of thinking that maybe I should order more than I need now, so if I don't have the $$ next year, at least I'll have SOME seed set aside. Gina, can you tell me if that's wise???? I know that some seed doesn't save (potatoes, being one that comes to mind), but I thought I'd heard that it's easy to save extra dry-seed for subsequent years if it's put in an air-tight container like a jar with a fitted lid. So, if I don't use all my chard seed, can I do that & have some for next year????

**********

Gina had also asked that I post some books giving the history of the Great Depression. I've started reading up on this era, hoping to gain a little wisdom from the experiences gone through by those who lived it. (And, more & more I wish I'd been old enough to ask appropriate questions of my Mom-Mom & Pop-Pop when they were of an age to still answer those questions with accuracy. As it was, by the time I was stumbling through some semi-formed questions to ask, they were to the point where they either couldn't or wouldn't remember any real detail to pass on to me.)

So, here's my list.

American Girl's "Kit" books. (Light reading, geared towards girls, but shows how families & communities worked together & helped each other through a very tough time. Just don't plan on gleaning much, if any, new information from this series of books. It wasn't written for that purpose if you're over the age of 12.)

_Women of Valor: The Struggle Against the Great Depression as told in their own life stories_ by Bernard Sternsher (This book doesn't really go into detail of how the average person survived the era, it's actually a lot of exerpts from the memoirs of a lot of prominent women of the era, including Eleanor Roosevelt, Francis Perkins (the first woman to serve on a presidential cabinet, under FDR), and Dorothy Day. A good read. Just not a lot of info there.

_The Hungry Years: a Narrative History of the Great Depression in America_ by T. H. Watkins (This is the book I'm currently reading, but as I'm only in the first chapter, I don't have a lot to say on it yet. The prologue, though, gave some good info on the reasoning behind the stock-market crash of 1929, and how the depression started. It was scary-interesting to see the parallels with the stock-market goings on of this past 10 years, without taking into consideration the current realities of Peak Oil and Climate shift, of course. I'll have to get back to ya when I finish this book, which could be quite a while seeing as it's at least as thick as that last Harry Potter novel, and reading a heck of a lot more slowly.)

_Daily life in the United States, 1920-1939 : decades of promise and pain_ by David E. Kyvig (I haven't even checked this one out yet, I simply looked it up in our collection. Looks like it may be interesting.)

_Down & out in the Great Depression : letters from the "forgotten man"_ edited by Robert S. McElvaine. (More the story of the hobos that traveled the US during this era. Not exactly the info I am really looking for, but may provide something of interest. Of course I haven't actually checked this one out yet, either.)

_Since yesterday : the 1930's in America, September 3, 1929-September 3, 1939_ Frederick Lewis Allen. (Haven't checked this one out, either. This at least appears to be a first-hand relation of that decade by somebody who actually lived it. I hope it's not dry reading.)

_The worst hard time : the untold story of those who survived the great American dust bowl_ Timothy Egan. (Another that I haven't checked out yet. The last of the books I've found, as yet, to read RE: the depression.)

I'd LIKE to find some first-hand memoirs written specifically by middle-class women who attempted to keep their homes & families together in this era. I KNOW there were folks who did keep it together, even if just barely. (I know, because I know that both Mom-Mom & Pop-Pop were 14/15 at the beginning of this era, and I know that their homelife seemed to be pretty steady, if maybe spartan.)

I'm also trying to find books on Russian/Soviet life from the last 40 or 50 years. This area interests me, seeing as how they've weathered some pretty spartan times as well, AND the fact that the climate in much of Russia is similar to the climate in Alaska in many ways. Reading and learning how folks have used their Dacha properties to grow sufficent food to suppliment their meager, government-provided diets seems like it'd be good information to have.

Thus far I have just two books that look like they may hold information of interest:

_Postmarked Moscow: An American Ambassador's Wife Looks at Life in Russia Today_ by Lydia Kirk (Wife to the Ambassador to the USSR 1949-1952. Any information in this book is almost 60 years old. This is one I was fortunate to find in the booksale bin, so I've got it in my possession to peruse at my leisure.)

_Fifty Russian Winters: An American Woman's Life in the Soviet Union_ by Margaret Wettlin. (This one was first published in 1992. Somewhat newer info, and as it covers 50 years, it may well contain something usable for the current situation. Also a booksale bin find to be perused at my my leisure.)

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Ok. That's all I've got for today. (As if that wasn't enough?!?! *grin*)

Have a Blessed Day!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

LOVE This Joke My Sister Sent.....

And, I figure quite a few of my blogger buddies will, as well. (Gina, I'm thinking of you in particular here!)

A U.S. Department of Agriculture representative stopped at a farm and talked with an old farmer. He told the farmer, 'I need to inspect your farm.' The old farmer said, 'OK, but don't go in that field over yonder.'The Agriculture representative said, 'Mister, I have the authority of the United States Government with me. See this card? The card means I am allowed to go WHEREVER I WISH on any agricultural land. No questions asked or answered. Have I made myself clear? Do you understand?'

The old farmer nodded politely and went about his farm chores. Later, the old farmer heard loud screams and saw the Agriculture Rep run ning for the fence and close behind was the farmer's huge-horned prize bull. The bull was gaining on the Agriculture Rep with every step. The Rep was clearly terrified, so the old farmer immediately threw down his tools, ran to the fence and shouted out.....

'Your card! Your card! Show him your card!'


*grin* I hope that brings a Saturday Smile to all my friends!

Thanks for the support re the gardening plans.

Peter, I'll show that to the hubby!!! Maybe with 2 of those type bins in the back yard, we can keep from planting potatoes in the front yard. (Though, I think I'd still plant something else edible in the same bed. Just more a question of what, if we don't plant pototoes there.)

Barb, we have a short growing season in terms of the number of days, but a long growing season in terms of the amount of sunlight. Seeing as the days gradually get longer till the Summer solstice, at which point the sun doesn't set at all for almost a week, before beginning to gradually decrease in the amount of daylight we get, our veggies get a LOT of sun, over a rather short amount of time. This results in some gigantic cabbages & pumpkins & such for fair show-offs. *grin* However, it also means that you can almost SEE the growth taking place with things like lettuce & my sugar-snaps. *smile* However, I'm still rather new to gardening, so I don't know how well things will turn out. All I can hope is that I can grow enough to help provide my family with food.

Have a Blessed Day!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Not In MY Front Yard, he says....

So, I decided that along with the sugar-snaps, rhubarb, and chives I already have along the south side the house, and the big pots of tomatoes & cucumbers I'm going to put there as well. AND the small 2 step planter bed that I'm going to plant in with Swiss Chard & zucchini out back by the shed, on the south side, I want to plant potatoes. I've never planted potatoes before, so I'm currently working on a couple of loaves of sourdough wheat bread, one of which is going to be taken next door to my neighbours J&T in hopefull exchange for J's experience with growing veggies, esp. the questioning I'm hoping to put to him regarding his potato patch last summer.

Anyway, I decided that the potato patch will go in along the front of my house, instead of the lupines & delphiniums that I didn't get to grow last year. And I told DH as much last night.

As I'd guessed, his response was "You're not planting VEGETABLES in MY front yard!!!!"

I told him that it's MY front yard too, and besides, for now it's only the flower-bed on ONE side of the front door that I have plans for. He said "Not in the FRONT of the house!!!! I don't want folks seeing us grow VEGETABLES out there!"

My response was along the lines of how high groceries are getting to cost, and I think this could help us reduce the amount we need to buy at the store, and if HE wants to go hungry because we can't afford groceries, FINE, but I'm not going to see DD and I go hungry because he doesn't want veggies grown out front. I told him that I'm seriously thinking about plowing up a patch in the front yard, and planting in a whole (small-ish) veggie garden, but for now I'm focusing on the potato patch & the couple of new beds out back of the house. I ALSO reminded him that not only can he NOT eat grass like a cow, but it's also a drain on our cash-flow through the fuel needed for mowing it, AND the water needed to keep it watered!!!! If I'm going to use the water, I at LEAST want it to be used in producing something that'll feed us!

He kinda scowled, but he didn't argue with that logic. *grin*

Now to keep after him until he helps me get those beds and the compost bins built.

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As I said, I'm getting to spend a day at home baking & being a home body. It feels SOOOO good!

It started this morning with waking up at 9:30, without the assistance of my alarm clock. After using the bathroom & taking the dogs out, DD called her best friend and I set about teaching them how to make a "Dutch Puff" pancake, which we three shared, topped with mixed berries (frozen from the grocery store) and powdered sugar. It was rather fun, teaching the two of them to make this pancake. M. had never used a electric mixer before, but she's better at cracking eggs than DD is. What WAS NOT fun, however, was cleaning up the mess after DD. She showered my counter with flour, and got mashed mixed berries on my clean kitchen table. *sigh* Then, of course, she & M. took off to M's house, leaving me to do dishes & clean up the kitchen. I DID have a talk with her about that, and told her that the same goes for the mess she's made this week with making her own lunches, then leaving the messes for me to clean up when I got home from work. I told her that if she doesn't start cleaning up after herself (REALLY cleaning up, not a half-assed job), then she'll be limited to sandwiches all summer.

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After the pancake-making, I started in on my sourdough bread. Unfortunately I'd found that once again I set too much sourdough & it overflowed during the night. *sigh* I had JUST barely enough sourdough to get 2 loaves AND a bit to produce more starter. So, now I've got 2 loaves of Sourdough Wheat with Honey bread rising in the oven.

Tonight I'm making meatloaf & Colcannon for supper, and DH and DD will be going to the Ice Dogs game, leaving me to a peaceful evening on my own again. *grin* I LOVE it when they do that!!!

I've also gotten 1 load of laundry done, another ready to go in. And one load of dishes unloaded and a second loaded & run, and need to unload that while I wait for the bread to rise, so I can reload it AGAIN. *sigh* It seems all I ever do some days is dishes, dishes, and more dishes.

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Tomorrow Dad's coming over for supper and we're having that Ham, finally. (OH SHOOT!!!! I just realized that I'd planned on making mashed potatoes with the ham, but we're having Colcannon with the meatloaf tonight. CRAP! That means I've either got to go with a different side tomorrow, or a different side tonight. I can't serve mashed potatoes two days in a row!)

And, I'm doing my grocery shopping for the week tomorrow, instead of today. DH took my car to work so that he wouldn't have to drive his truck, thereby saving fuel. So, I've got no way to get to the store today. *shrug* That's fine. I'm happy to have a day now & again where I just don't do anything, and I have a reason to say that I can't.

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I filled up my car again yesterday, and actually had it down to only 2/10ths of a gallon of fuel in the tank when I filled it. I put 380.7 miles on the car before I had to fill up again. That means that I got 25.72 miles per gallon this past time. *grin* I am SOOOO loving this! My car gets some kick-butt fuel milage, for winter!!! I can hardly wait to see what it gets this coming summer!!!! (On the down side, it took $47 to fill 'er up! YIKES! Glad I got a car with better milage when I did!)

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It seems to be the season for putting our yearly "To Do" list on one's blog, so here are my household plans for the summer:

  • New front door & frame, possibly back door as well.
  • Plant my sugar-snaps.
  • build a compost bin
  • build a planting bed beside the shed & plant in Swiss Chard & Zucchini
  • plant potatoes in one of the "flower beds" in front.
  • Plant more pretty flowers in the other flower bed.
  • Get my clothes line tree set up in the back yard.
  • DH wants to put laminate flooring in the livingroom and all 3 bedrooms.
  • Continue to work on getting DH to go along with a bigger veggie garden in front of my house.
  • Get at least 2 water-barrels set up under the downspouts around the house. Preferably 3.
  • Plant each of my two big half-barrels planted & set along the south of the house, one with tomatoes, one with cucumbers, and "tented" with clear drop-cloth for make-shift green-houses.
  • Continue reading as much as I can on how folks handled the Depression in the 30's, as well as books on canning & preserving, gardening, thrift, and cooking & baking from scratch with base foods such as beans & potatoes & such.

I think that pretty well covers it. At least for now, that's all I can remember. I'd LIKE to get a crab apple or two put in, but that's kind of besides the point, when it comes to planting veggies. Rather more important to have a garden of veggies than a tree that CAN provide crab-apples for jelly. Oh, and I'd like to secretly plant in some wild-roses for the rosehips (and the roses themselves!) but that's also something that'll have to come later. Neither of these two things are something I'm going to figure on doing this summer. But, the above list is what I REALLY must do this summer.

Ok. That pretty well covers it for today, I believe.

Have a Blessed Day!

Tagged!

Well, I've been tagged twice now. First by Whim, with THIS:


Thank You Whim!!!! *snort* I've never been told that somebody "less than 3"s my blog. *wink*

I'm supposed to pass this on to 7 of my favorite bloggers..... I'd love to pass it on to Whim again, but I know, I know, I should spread the love instead of ONLY giving it back to those who gave it to me. SO, 7 MORE of my favorite bloggers.....

Robin: What a wise, sweet woman she is!

Connie: Another wise, sweet woman! And a VERY crafty one!

Turtleheart: because she could USE some love, right about now!!! What with another nasty cold so close after the last. (And besides, she's an all-around great person anyway!)

Princess Banter: She doesn't post often, lately, but when she does there's a lot of wisdom in what she says. And she's so young, too!!! I thought wisdom was only for the elders!!! Not so, as Princess B. proves!

Tori: Dear, Sweet Tori!!! She shows such love to the world, all while learning how to live her life to the fullest with recent blindness. And she lives in Wales, which sounds like it'd be such a great place to visit!

Barefoot Gardner: Well, this almost goes without saying, these days!!! She & I seem to find some pretty funky things we have in common. Things like loving Fraggle Rock & old cartoon-movie tunes. ("The Last Unicorn" anybody?!?!) And the fact that she sometimes plays with her younger daughter's toys even when her younger daughter isn't around. (I did until DD outgrew them to the point where it was embarassing to still have them around, anyway.)

Last but not least:

Slip! Slip is a recent retiree and looking forward to spending his time working on his farms, getting "back to the land" as it were. He seems kinda depressed lately, so stop in & give him some love.

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Next, Barefoot Gardner herself tagged me with a Meme. Here we go....

Rules, because everything has them:
1. Link to the person that tagged you. (See above)
2. Post the rules on your blog. (Right here)
3. Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself. (Check it out below)
4. Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs. (More checkin' it out below)
5. Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website. (Will do as soon as I figure out 6 people).

So.... Six non-important things about me??? Ok. I'll try.

1) As a teen I wanted to be an archaeologist when I grew up. I'd still love to go on a dig in some far-off exotic place some day (and esp. to be a part in a big discovery) but this is no longer my life's dream, which I guess means that it's not very important.

2) I don't like pink. I won't wear it unless it's a kinda dusty, heathered sort of pink, and even then I won't wear it often. Pink & pastels just don't look very good on me. Earth tones are more my thing. Between that & being short & squat, I kinda think I'd make a good hobbit. Except for the curly hair (mine's long & straight) and hairy feet (thank the GODS I don't have hairy feet)!

3) I'm the shortest in my family. I'm the oldest child, and the shortest. My Mom is 5'5", my Dad is 5'8 or 9", my Middle sis is 5'6", and my baby sis is 5'2". And I'm exactly 5 feet tall. It's kinda made for some funny comments like my middle sis saying "No, you're not BIGGER than I am, you're just OLDER!" And me commenting back with "I may have to look up AT you, but that doesn't mean I have to look up TO you!" *grin*

4) My new favorite quote is from a book I read recently, _Luxury Fever: Why Money fails to satisfy in an Era of Excess_. The quote is something like "Mothers regard sleep with the same intensity that a starving person regards food." It was in reference to how we work harder & harder, longer & longer days, just to provide monetary things, and yet in many ways this does damage to ourselves & our families in less tangible ways, such as mom's (esp. moms) lacking in sleep. But, no matter what the background, the statement is true! And it quite appropriately sums up exactly how I feel most days.

5) I'm a hoarder by nature. Maybe its related to how often it seems my dad sent me to bed without dinner as a kid, but I hoard. Only, now it's not necessarily food, but crafting supplies like yarn & fabric.

6) I've always wanted to live by the ocean, and near a lighthouse (though, not necessarily IN a lighthouse-keeper's house). I love lighthouses. I've got pictures & knick-knacks of lighthouses all over my house. But, I also love the look of english cottswald style cottages. I guess I want my house to LOOK like a cottswald style cottage, but be beach-front (or close to) and within close sight of a lighthouse. *grin*

Ok. Are those random enough??? Non-important enough??? I hope so.

I'm supposed to tag 6 people now.

I'll tag: PeppyLady, Whim, Heb, Greg, TurtleHeart, and Heather.

Another post to come soon regarding my gardening hopes & plans, and a conversation with DH last night.

Have a Blessed Day!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Yeah!!! Pictures Finally!

So, these first two are pictures of my shrank, now in my computer room (and already topped with some of our larger, heavier items, including DD's "out" bag). This picture gives some idea of it's width, though the following picture is more color-true.



Again, here it is, not quite showing off the sheer size of this thing as well, but certainly showing the blond color of the wood, better. That light-colored trim around the windows is currently being sanded down, and I'm repainting it a wedge-wood blue. (That's Puck curled up there on the floor below the shrank in this pic.


And last but not least, I didn't want to brag about this until I could show it as well. This is DD's spelling test from 2 weeks ago now. We just got it back on Friday & saw how well she'd done the previous week. We were thrilled!!!! This is (at most) only the 3rd time she's ever gotten a perfect score on her spelling test! And the fact that the teacher noted her handwriting is improving.... YEAH!!! We just hope that she continues to improve her penmanship.

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Let's see, other than that..... I talked to my boss yesterday and she actually gave me positive feedback along with the negative. (That's a first!) She DID say that I'm punctual, I'm reliable, I rarely call in late or sick unless it's an emergency, I'm thorough, I'm friendly, and I'm well aquainted with the computer systems. However, I read too much while checking in books. (I did point out that some, though admittedly not all, of that is thoroughly checking for torn or cut pages, which I have found a lot more frequently than some of my less-thorough coworkers.) And talking too much, though she said that she recognizes this isn't solely MY problem, but it seems to be running issue, and she can understand how hard it is to get sucked in even when one attempts to stay out of the conversations. Her recommendation was to spend as little time in the work-room as possible, thereby minimizing the time spent around others conversing. Ok. I can appreciate that, though it still seems to me sometimes that she'd rather we not talk at all, even when it IS work related. (And even we pages sometimes need to blow off a bit of steam in a rant about a patron. That's just working life.) She said my speed with shelving & pick-up is questionable, but that she HAS noticed how thoroughly I straighten while shelving & pick-up. So, that's something.

(And, on top of that, I had end-of-night pick-up last night & wound up not completing the 'up&down the aisles' part again due to the fact that 1/2 way through my cart was overloaded with 127 LARGE books (a lot of bible reference books & pet-related books, as well as a good number of art books). She actually laughed when I presented my cart to her as my reason for being unable to complete pick-up. Said that it would be ok as long as I made sure to get the mags put away. I responded that I would be completing that as soon as I counted & tallied this cart-full of books.)

Last but not least, she said that I need to take more initiative in my job. I asked her what type things might I take initiative with, as it often seems that our job is so narrow that to take initiative could (would) be stepping across boundaries. She said simply bringing to her notice (or KO's or our other boss's notice) ideas for a better way to do things would be taking initiative. Such as how it was brought up by LG that dividing up the 5 pm pick-up could make it easier on the person who has end-of-night pick-up, and how it was suggested we divy it up. I pointed out to my boss that it was CM and I (during Friday evening pick-ups in the summer), and DB, ME, and I (during our one Sunday afternoon pick-up) that realized these aspects of pick-up and pointed them out to LG in the first place. Evidently LG took the credit for coming up with the idea to divide the library sections up, herself. *shaking head* Why am I NOT suprised?!?!

Ok. So points have been made, and I understand. There is still a part of me though that wonders if any of my good points were passed on to Ingrid, or was it only the bad???? And why were they discussing my personal work-related issues anyway, when all that should have been passed on was the simple acknowledgement of my employment there, and whether or not my boss would re-hire me???? If she answered that she did not feel me rehireable, was it her volunteering information beyond that???? Or was it Ingrid pressing for reasons my boss would not rehire me???? Either way, lines were crossed & I'm not entirely sure what to do about that.

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Other than all this, the weather has been staying beautiful. We've had a lot of sunshine & warmth. It's been fabulous. Unfortunately I've also been working while it's been so sunny. *wry smile* But even just walking from my car in to work, or taking the dogs out for a potty-break, it's nice to be able to stand there & soak up the warm sunshine.

Ok. I think that pretty well covers it for now.

Have a Blessed Day!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

GAH! Blogger is NOT Cooperating!

Well, I was TRYING to post some pictures to share this morning, but Blogger just isn't cooperating. *sigh* Maybe tomorrow I'll be able to share them.

Some of the pictures I'd taken yesterday didn't turn out at all anyway, but I can still tell you of their subject.

DH and DD went to another Ice Dog's game last night, and at about 10:15 the dogs told me it was time for another potty break, so I took them out back, sent them to their kennel, then looked up at the sky as I usually do when I'm outside. Not a heck of a lot else in the back yard to look at, this time of year, so a couple of moments checking out the night sky is a nice break for me.

Well, shock of shocks, the Aurora Borealis was out & VIBRANT! A brilliant green ribbon whisping, shimmering, shuddering across the night sky. It you've ever watched Rhythmic Gymnastics, the way the ribbons flutter on the batons when the girls are doing their dance routines..... The movement of the Aurora is similar to that, it seems, on a good night. It curls around itself, it snakes & shimmies..... Just incredible.

So, once I got the dogs back inside, I headed out the FRONT door to see what else was visible from the front of the house. At the same time, ironically, my neighbour across the street D, was coming out with her camera, and 2 houses down, K. was out on her front step taking in the spectacle as well. K. had never seen the Aurora before. D. and I were in agreement that it's been years since we've seen it so vibrant & active, esp. given the warmth of the night. (We were all 3 out after 10 with only light jackets or sweatshirts on.) D. said that she'd stepped out onto HER back deck for some fresh air after her movie ended (she was having a child & hubby free evening as well) and saw that the Aurora had some incredible pinks in it. But, by the time she ran in, grabbed her camera, and ran back out the front door, the pink had gone. I didn't see the pink at all, as the eastern sky is largely unviewable from my back yard, and that's where the pink had been very briefly. *sigh* Oh well.

I'm sorry I couldn't get any pictures of the awesome-ness of last night's night sky to share with y'all. I took about 15, hoping just ONE would show up somewhat, but in loading them onto my computer this morning, not a single one showed anything but blackness. I told DH, when he got home, that I want a new digital camera. Not today or tomorrow, but soon. My digital is 10 years old and was given to me by mom shortly after DD was born. It's definitely time to replace it. *grin*

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One thought that crossed my mind, as I stood there watching the Aurora, was how some ancestral mythologies have refered to the Aurora as the "Spirit Lights" or similar names. Indicating their beliefs that the spirits travel on these lights and other similar thoughts. The thought that struck me last night, as I watched the vividness of these dancing lights, is that this was a very appropriate night for them to be so brilliant.

Janis died at approx. 4:30 Hawaii time, yesterday. My Mom had flown over to Kaui earlier in the day, and she & Janis' Mom were with Janis when she passed. Mom & Janis' mom had spent the day talking to Janis, keeping her company, and playing her soothing classical & hawaiian music to ease her passing. Mom said she was pretty well completely incoherant. Evidently the morphine drip she was on for her pain was so strong as to keep her pretty unconscious, and Mom or Janis' Mom would push the drip button every 15 minutes to keep Janis from pain. Considering the circumstances, though, it sounds like they attempted to make Janis' passing as peaceful & caring as they possibly could.

Janis' daughter, Sarah, unfortunately was not feeling emotionally able to be there with her mom in Janis' final couple of hours. Understandably, she wsa having such a hard time watching her mom die, that she didn't feel like she could stay in the room, so she left the room & asked them to inform her when Janis was gone. I can understand her feelings, but I hope the decision to NOT be there doesn't haunt her later.

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Well, my recipes for dinner last night turned out well. I had DH look through my recipe box and try to find something new that looked appealing. This is what he pulled out:

Favorite Pork Chops

2 cups soy sauce
1 cup water
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp molasses
6 bone-in pork loin chops, 1-1/2 inch thick (mine were only 1 inch)
(I also added about 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes to the marinade.)

Sauce:
3/4 cup ketchup
2/3 cup chili sauce
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp water
1-1/2 tsp ground mustard (I used a stone-ground mustard.)

In a saucepan over medium heat, bring soy sauce, water, brown sugar and molasses to a boil. Remove from heat; cool to room temperature. Pour into a large resealable plastic bag; add pork chops. Seal bag & refrigerate for 3 to 6 hours. (I wound up abandoning this approach as the pork-chop bones poked holes in the bag. So I simply poured it all into a 13x9x2" baking dish & covered with foil, periodically flipping the chops over in the marinade.)

Drain & discard marinade. Place pork chops in a greased 13x9x2" baking dish. (I greased my broiler pan, instead, and placed them on that, as I don't particularly care to cook meat in all it's fat & juices all the time. Thus, I was unable to cover as in the next step.) Cover and bake at 350 deg. F. for 30 minutes. Combine the sauce ingredients; pour over chops. (I ladled a good 1/4 over each chop then spread it over, after the initial 30 minutes in the oven.) Bake, uncovered, another 30 minutes longer, or until meat juices run clear. (My meat, being thinner cuts, only took about 15 minutes longer.) Yield: 6 servings.

We all 4 (Dh, DD, Dad and I) LOVED this recipe!!! A DEFINITE keeper!

Vinegar Noodles (for 2 servings, for 10 servings multiply by 5, as I did)

1 cup uncooked spiral (rotini) noodles
1/2 cup thinly sliced cucumber
1/4 cup thinly sliced onion (a sweet onion would be good here)
6 Tbsp sugar (please, don't use more than 4 Tbsp per cup of noodles!!!! Too sweet otherwise!)
1/4 cup water
3 Tbsp vinegar (I used rice wine vinegar, though the recipe didn't call for a specific kind.)
3/4 Tbsp prepared mustard (I used Dijon style.)
3/4 tsp dried parsley flakes (dill would be good, as an alternative)
1/4 to 1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp garlic salt (though, seeing how much regular salt goes in, I simply used garlic powder and am glad I did!)

Cook Noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse in cold water. Place in bowl; add cucumber and onion. Combine remaining ingredients in a jar with tight-fitting lid; shake well. Pour over noodle mixture and toss to coat. Cover & refridgerate at least 1 hour. Yield: 2 servings.

After making this once, I would definitely HALVE the dressing mixture. As it is written, there is far too much liquid for the amount of noodles. And, as I said, I would not use more than 4 Tbsp of sugar per cup of noodles, in comparisson to their recommended 6 Tbsp. Even that was almost TOO sweet. (And I have a definite sweet tooth, so that's saying something!) But, otherwise a GREAT recipe as well, that goes well with things like the barbequed pork-chops I made.

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I was going to post some pics of my Shrank, which we did get moved into the computer room last night. It's huge! I guess it's never struck me how danged big this piece of furniture is, when it was out in Dad's garage. But, put it here in our small house and it's enormous!!! DH doesn't want me putting anything in it quite yet, though, as the shelves inside need to have the old contact paper scraped off before we go filling it with anything. DD's "out" hockey bag fits nicely on top, but her goalie bag certainly will not. It's going to be interesting having 2 tall pieces of furniture in this room now. That gives us a lot more shelving room, and floor space that we've never had in here before. Jenny is glad to have her kennel moved back into "her bedroom". *grin*

Maybe tomorrow I'll get to share the couple of pics I'd taken.

Although, if you could keep my dad in your prayers. He and DH were offloading the top half of the Shrank from Dh's truck, and Dad went to jump out of the back of the truck, his feet hit the ground and slid out from under him, and Dad went down hard on his back. Dad said he's feeling ok this morning, a bit tender but certainly able to move about & not too bad. And he said he's going to make an appt. to see his Chiropractor tomorrow or Tuesday for an adjustment, but nonetheless..... Dad's not a YOUNG guy (will turn 60 next year), and he's already got extensive back problems. So, prayers that this doesn't permanently worsen his existing problems...... Thanks!

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And, last but not least, some info I got via email from a friend this morning. Snopes AND the FBI verify this, so it's a valid warning:

JURY DUTY SCAM
This has been verified by the FBI (their link is also included below) Please pass this on to everyone in your email address book. It is spreading fast so be prepared should you get this call. Most of us take those summonses for jury duty seriously, but enough people skip out on their civic duty, that a new and ominous kind of fraud has surfaced.The caller claims to be a jury coordinator. If you protest that you never received a summons for jury duty, the scammer asks you for your Social Security number and date of birth so he or she can verify the information and cancel the arrest warrant. Give out any of this information and bingo; your identity w as just stolen.The fraud has been reported so far in 11 states, including Oklahoma , Illinois , and Colorado . This (swindle) is particularly insidious because they use intimidation over the phone to try to bully people into giving information by pretending they are with the court system. The FBI and the federal court system have issued nationwide alerts on their web sites, warning consumers about the fraud.Check it out here:

http://www.fbi.gov/page2/june06/jury_scams060206.htm

And here: http://www.snopes.com/crime/fraud/juryduty.asp

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I think that pretty well covers it for today. Thanks again for the prayers & positive thoughts for Janis & her family & friends. Thanks again for the positive reinforcement regarding my denial of that job.

Have a Blessed Day!