Jul 30, 2012

No One Will Ever Call Me An Artist

Are you an artist?? Show some artwork or doodling you've done. Don't do art, share something you like then.

I am NO artist. I have an eye for color and composition. It just doesn't translate itself to the paper. I'm glad I can craft, so that I have an outlet for these qualities. They also help with things like arranging pictures on the wall and arranging furniture. I like balance and symmetry. I like movement.Those things attract my attention. But color is always first. The more colors in something, the more I'm attracted to it. My shop logo and my business cards both have a lot of color in them.

I like impressionism, but my husband doesn't share my taste. He likes photos, so much of the work on our walls is photos. I don't mind it too much because they are usually photos of places we've been. I took some photos of some of the artwork on our living room walls. I couldn't help the glare.

Jul 29, 2012

Some Things I Didn't Know When I Was Young

July 29- How does your life measure up to the vision you had when you were younger?

When I was younger, I never thought I would be so, so tired
When I was younger, I never thought I would be fat
When I was younger, I never thought I could be so happy
When I was younger, I never knew what it meant to love---until I had children
When I was younger, I never knew what a marriage was meant to be---until I married Mike
Mike, on our 25th wedding anniversary
Me, on our 25th wedding anniversary

Jul 27, 2012

Say Yes to Nuclear Energy

July 27- Write up something about an alternative energy source

(I wasn't sure if I was going to write a post today because of the pain from the tendonitis in my right elbow. But it is tolerable tonight, so I guess I can't back out. I rested it a lot and took my anti-inflammatory meds.)

When I think of an alternative energy source, the first thought that comes to my mind is when I was in college beaucoup years ago, we talked a lot about nuclear energy. It was going to be safe, clean, and cheap. Then we had the Three Mile Island meltdown. Coincidentally, the movie China Syndrome had been released just 12 days before. According to one source, no nuclear power plant  in the US received approval to be built from1979 to 1990.

Now with new designs, smaller plants, and closer regulation, nuclear power plants are being built or consolidated. There are 32 companies licensed to operate power plants in the US. The Nuclear Energy Institute offers the following statistic:

Amount of electricity generated by a 1,000-MWe reactor at 90% capacity factor in one year:
7.9 billion KWh—enough to supply electricity for 690,000 households.

If generated by other fuel sources, it would require:
  • Oil: 13.7 million barrels – 1 barrel yields 576 KWh
  • Coal: 3.4 million short tons – 1 ton yields 2,297 KWh
  • Natural Gas: 65.8 billion cubic feet – 100 cubic feet yields 12 KWh
    (based on average conversion rates from the Energy Information Administration)

PTL Thursday

Ephesians 1:3
Psalm 106:1

Revelation 11:17

Jul 26, 2012

Super Woman

July 26-If you could have a super power, what would it be?

Has it really been a week since I last posted? Well, it doesn't surprise me too much. On the weekend, I participated in a small fundraiser then dashed off to church for choir rehearsal. The choir sang in one service Saturday evening and three services Sunday morning. It was all I could do Monday to summon myself to the bathroom. When I do so much at once, the fibromyalgia reacts by putting me to bed.

I've also been crocheting like mad to increase my inventory. Do you want to know just how madly I've been crocheting? Enough so that I've got wicked tendonitis in my right arm. I have been miserable today, not to mention anxious as well because I can't crochet.

So, super power, huh? Is there such a one as Mad Crocheter? Certainly at one time I wanted to be Super Mom. Some days I'd settle for Captain Green Thumb, or Master Chef. I didn't participate in the Super Hero comic book life style. I didn't have brothers to encourage me, and the only time I got comic books is when I happened to go to the grocery store with my grandmother. Back then it was Archie and Jughead, Little Lulu, Richie Rich (the poor little rich boy), and Casper the Friendly Ghost. Pretty tame stuff, right?

Is there a reverse of the Incredible Hulk, where you lose weight faster than a speeding bullet? How about a Flash for housework? Yeah, that would be cool. I could be like Scooby Do and find all the missing socks that have disappeared into the washing machine black hole. Oh, no, Scoob, that's not a real super power.

This really isn't a super power either, but I'd like to have something like Floo Powder that would allow me to visit all the people that are far from me.  I could pop in on my Mother when she was having a bad day, or show up on my son's doorstep when he is being bad. No, revise that. I'd show up when he is being good--reward the good behavior, right?

There you have it. I hope you have been more creative than I have.

Jul 19, 2012

Into My Pocket It Goes

July 20- What would you do with the $ if you won the lottery?

After yesterday's seriousness (yes, I read every blog that posted on FB), why not inject some levity into the blog. So I'm going to be downright selfish in what I would do with lottery money. No giving to the poor, no  Habitat for Humanity donations.  Nope, in my pocket it goes. Then I would
  • 10% to God
  • pay off our mortgage and other debt
  • pay off kids' school loans
  • buy vehicles for me and hubby
  • fix a little house in the back so my mother can live with us
  • make repairs to our house and yard
  • buy a horse
  • take several cruises
  • get a wardrobe makeover
  • spend money on the kids
  • ok, so I'd put some in savings
  • buy yarn
  • donate to Fibromyalgia Network
  • get central air installed
  • get new computers
  • buy hubby the ginormous screen tv he wants with surround sound
  • new furniture
  • hire a yardman and cleaning lady (yeah, those are stereotypes)
  • put some more in savings
  • donate to the local Girl Scout council to fix up the camps
  • travel

My selfishness has run its course. Hopefully, I have some left to give to a charity, but which one? I could just give it to the United Way. You know, I had a friend who was raped a couple of years ago. She would appreciate it if I gave to the Rape Crisis Center. I would like to support the prison ministry from my church. If the amount was a super win, I would create a free shuttle service for homebound people to get to the store and doctor appointments.

PTL Thursday

Psalm 103:1

1 John 3:1

2 Corinthians 4:18

Do I Want To Be Responsible For Changing Any Law?

July  19- If you were president or prime minister for a day, what's one law  you would change?

Laws. Chaos would reign if we did not have them.  According to one site, New Mexico has 77 chapters of laws, with each chapter having multiple articles and each article having multiple sections. For example, the chapter on elections has 24 articles; article one under elections has 25 sections.

Would I want to change any of them, one of them? When faced with so much to dig through just for one measly state's laws, I can't imagine how much I'd have to dig through for federal laws. Look at Obamacare. There were so many pages (over 2000) on that one law that none of the representatives and senators read it. At least, that's the rumor.

I couldn't just willy-nilly pick a law to change without knowing the full extent that the change would have on society. Law isn't black and white. There are so many grey areas, and that's why lawyers outnumber physicians in the US.

A site called Legal Reform Now states that  as of July 2012, we have "1,143,358 lawyers. And our nation's 192 accredited and often subsidized law schools are graduating 40,000 new lawyers each year as they have consistently for the last 20 years. In a decade we will have 1,500,000 lawyers. A 50% increase."

Jul 18, 2012

Of Tea and Power Outages

July 17---5 things to do if the power goes out

1. Holler at your husband: "Did you try to run the microwave and toaster at the same time I had the tea kettle on again?"

2. Reset the kitchen breaker.

3. Turn the computer back on and fume silently because it takes so long to boot up.

4. Might as well pour the tea while waiting on the computer.

5. Crochet a few more rounds while drinking tea and still waiting for computer.

Jul 17, 2012

Ranting on RAOKs

July 17- A random act of kindness

Kindness is a virtue that spans the globe as gleaned from sayings of Confuscious, Shakespeare, Mark Twain, and Mother Theresa, to name just a few. A quick internet search turns up numerous quotations from a wide variety of people and cultures. Yet I could not find one quote from Jesus Christ. It was as if He didn't exist, or someone with a liberal bent couldn't admit that He had anything worthwhile saying on the subject of kindness.

Jesus had so much compassion that He couldn't help but practice random acts of kindness. Whether it was healing the blind, raising the lame, opening the ears of the deaf, or cleansing skin from leprosy, Jesus did it because He loved and had compassion.He had compassion on the crowds who walked miles to hear Him teach, so He performed the miracle of the loaves and fishes. He had compassion on the woman who touched the hem of His robe. He had compassion on Mary and Martha when He raised Lazarus from the dead.

I got both sad and upset in my search. Even if you don't believe He is the son of God, He had some awesome things to say about kindness. Actually, He didn't have to say anything at all---all you had to do was observe His actions. We are to imitate Him. We are to reflect His light onto the world. We are to love our enemies.

Jul 16, 2012

The Room-With-No-Name

July 16- Favorite room in your house

 In the 1930s when the first part of this house was built, it looked like a shoe box stood up on its end. One large room downstairs and two bedrooms upstairs. Legend has it that to reach the upstairs, you had to go outside because that's where the staircase was. There is still an outside door on the second floor.

The upstairs door to nowhere
The owners eventually added a downstairs master bedroom with bath, enclosed a porch, and added a great room. I'm not sure of the order they were done in. The man was a cabinet maker by trade, and all the woodwork done in this house is superb. There are built in bookcases, and the dining room has a built in china cabinet with a glass front.

All the rooms had been painted white, and every room in the house had carpet. Yes, the kitchen and bathrooms had carpet. That is not a great mix for a family with two small children. You add one 5-year-old-boy + one gallon of milk + a carpeted kitchen, and you get a smelly mess that is way too hard to clean up. So that was the first carpet to go.

Now, we have beautiful Italian tile throughout the downstairs, and the great room walls are painted two shades of blue. 
In 2004, the walls of the great room were still all white, and we had this hideous pale green carpet

Same space in 2006
It is hard for me to decide which room is my favorite. Most days it's my cozy desk in the room-with-no-name. It is this rectangular space, right off the kitchen, so it may have once been a small dining area. Really small. What happened is, when they moved the staircase from the outside to the inside, they used up quite a bit of space. This room-with-no-name is about 2/3 its original size, just enough room for an L-shaped computer desk. If you're not careful walking by, you can bump your leg into the corner of the desk. Oddly, coming from the living room, you have to step down a small step. And going out through the enclosed porch we call our den, you have to step up. It's my sunken room, and I'm always having to tell people to watch their step.
The room-with-no-name
This photo was taken in the winter of 2006, I think. You can see the staircase behind us. The picture was taken from the kitchen. It's where I'm sitting right now. We have a wireless printer now, so I have more room on the desk. I've lost 40 pounds and the daughter has grown up. Huh, I just realized I have a different computer and monitor too. Same desk, same dog, same water cooler on the left, same chalkboard on the right. Some things change and some things stay the same. But it is home.

Jul 15, 2012

AllFree Crochet Giveaway

All Free Crochet is having a giveaway for the Leisure Arts book 63 Easy To Crochet Pattern Stitches. Click this link if  you would like to enter the contest.

 "No matter your crochet skill level, you are sure to learn a lot about crochet with this booklet," says the description of the booklet. I'm always looking for some new stitches, so I look forward to winning!

Routine? I Don't Have No Stinkin' Routine

July 15- Got any good makeup tips/routines?

Oh, man, seriously! You are asking me about my makeup tips and routines? After almost 60 years, I don't have a routine. I have few wrinkles, though I do have rosacea. When I was younger, the rosacea would make me break out, but nothing like some people get acne. My skin has changed over the years so that it is much drier and less resilient, but that is just age.

I actually do like wearing makeup. It's the taking off that I don't like. I just hate routine of any sort. So to expect me to always wash off my makeup is unrealistic. The best thing for me to do is to not wear makeup if I know I'm going to be too lazy to take it off properly.

Fortunately, makeup has evolved to be less toxic for our skin, so the occasional night of laziness hasn't hurt me. The makeup I like to use these days is mineral makeup. As long as I moisturize well before putting it on, I don't have to worry about it looking too dry. That is preferable to me than looking like I've got goo in what wrinkles I do have.

Then, joy of joys, I discovered disposable face washing cloths. I can't believe I'm saying this, because I'm such a stickler for not using disposable anythings, but having these around means I get my face cleaned more often than than not.

On particular thing that has changed the way I wear makeup is that I can't see the way I used to. And, you know, you have to take off your glasses to put your makeup on---especially mascara. I remember an occasion when I was with my cousin about 10 years ago. We were getting dressed in a hotel room, and I didn't have my magnifying mirror. She was horrified when I got done with my mascara, and I had more on my face than my eyelashes. "Don't you know where your eyelashes are?" she exclaimed as she tried to get the specks off my face.

So I guess my best tip would be to invest in a good magnifying mirror, and keep plenty of Q-tips handy.

Jul 14, 2012

What Did I Teach My Children?

July 14---One piece of advice you want to give to your child

 When I was learning to be a La Leche League Leader, one of the pearls of wisdom I came away with was regarding giving advice. We were warned away from giving advice to moms that came to us for help. Now that may seem the antithesis of what LLL stood for, right? If you go to someone for help, you usually want advice.

Well, maybe not. Look at it this way. If someone gave you some advice, and you took it, and it proved to not work out for you, who are you going to blame? However, if someone offered you a choice, perhaps a suggestion that has worked for some or one that has worked for others in the same situation, are you less likely to blame that person if the choice you picked didn't work for you?

So, when the blog prompt was about giving advice, that scenario popped into my head. And along with that, I wondered, "Did I give advice to my children, or did I try to teach by example?" Also, did I aim to give my children tools to live by, or did I simply teach them by rote?

What is advice, really? Merriam-Webster's defines it as recommendation regarding a decision or course of conduct. Dictionary.com is not much different: an opinion or recommendation offered as a guide to action, conduct, etc.

Sure, I gave my children advice on more than one occasion, but it usually wasn't in the form of advice as much as it was an expectation of behavior. I mean, I wouldn't say,"Son, I advise you to go to school." No, it was more like, "Son, you don't have a choice in this matter. You WILL go to school. And you will thank me for it later."

But when you give them tools for living, you show or tell them why they should make such and such decision. A very simple example would be to explain why you sort your clothes before washing. I have it on authority that despite giving my kids this excellent tip on laundering their clothes, they seldom do so now that they are away from home. Come to think of it, I didn't sort much laundry when I was their age either. I think it was because I had to use a laundromat, and it was cheaper to throw all my clothes into one washer. 

My daughter was sitting here with me when I started on this post, and naturally I asked her what was the best piece of advice I gave her. "I dunno," was her answer.  I think it means either 1) my teaching was balanced, or 2) she was too lazy to think. Great, all that mothering for all those years, and no one thing stands out in her mind. *sarcasm*

Finally, it came to me. I could say it was "Love others," "Follow your heart," or even "Do it right the first time" (a favorite of my father's). No, what I want my children to know is how to think for themselves.That their decisions have consequences with which they will have to live. Look before you leap. You made your bed, now lie in it. What are you going to do if everyone else is jumping off the bridge? They all say the same thing. It's what parents for millennia have been trying to teach their children.

Jul 13, 2012

A Pictorial Walk Through My Life

July 13 Me---then and now

I did not grow up in a digital age, so I don't have many pictures of myself when I was young. And the ones I do have are ones that I've scanned, so the resolution is really bad. When I went to look for pictures on my computer, I was surprised to find a couple that I had scanned but had forgotten about.  Also, several of them are photos of photos.

This first one is me when I was around three years old. My dad owned a photography studio, and he was always taking pictures of me. This pair of photos was actually on a poster that my mother put together for my 50th birthday. So you can see a couple of other photos tacked to the board.

Now, we jump to when I was going on 11. My father was in charge of the annual Corpus Christi New Year's Day Swim. I was an honorary contestant in the beauty pageant and got to hang out with the older contestants. My swim suit was trimmed with rabbit fur and my photo went in the newspaper. My 15-minute claim to fame.

Jul 12, 2012

July Mug Hugs--What Makes Them Special

I got busy and crocheted some more Mug Hugs for my Etsy shop, Cozy Corner Crochets. Mug Hugs are 100% cotton and come in different, original designs. Note that my cozies have a coaster bottom. Also, they are made with a variety of stitches---not just your plain double crochet that most people market---so this makes them very special and unique. Another feature is my decorative buttons. I place emphasis on finding the most attractive and fun buttons around.

As you can see, there are a few features that set my Mug Hugs apart from the crowd.
Love your Mug--give it a Hug ©

My Favorite Vacation

July 12--Talk about a favorite vacation you have taken.

Definition of SERENDIPITY the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for; also : an instance of this
  1. They found each other by pure serendipity.
  2. As they leapfrog from South Africa to Singapore in search of local delicacies, the authors prove again and again that serendipity is the traveler's strongest ally: many of their most memorable meals issue from the hands of generous strangers … —Sarah Karnasiewicz, Saveur, June/July 2  
Origin of SERENDIPITY: from its possession by the heroes of the Persian fairy tale The Three Princes of Serendip. First Known Use: 1754

Why am I going on about SERENDIPITY when this is supposed to be a blog about vacations? Because yesterday I had the urge to blog about our trip to Ireland, and that has been my favorite vacation. So it was serendipitous that I already have a blog to post for today. Yay! I'm not only caught up, but I got ahead. 

PTL Thursday

Romans 8:18
Proverbs 3:5
Psalm 100:1

Jul 11, 2012

The Search for the (Perfect) Ten

July 11--Share 5 or 10 of your favorite blogs or websites.

Since becoming a blogger myself, it has been my pleasure to be introduced to so many other bloggers. The Summer Blog Challenge has been the primary source of my new blogs, as has Pinterest and Facebook.

I can't tell you how I fell into this group of charming young moms that make up most of the Summer Blog Challenge. Just by chance I read someone who mentioned someone, and the next thing I knew, I was on Going Green With the Grizls , the orginator of this blog challenge. Over 140 bloggers signed up for the challenge. Names like mum, mom, mommy, baby, diaper, frugal, green, and giveaways pepper the list. Through this medium, they have formed a small world, a community, a village in which to raise a child.

I started my blog though to promote my Etsy business. Naturally, I searched for crafting and crocheting blogs. Anything that had to do with yarn and selling, I gravitated towards it. Handmadeology, which calls itself the Science of Handmade, is one of the first I found. I also stumbled across Regretsy (Where DYI Meets WTF) which I read for lessons in what not to do and to get a chuckle at someone else's expense.

From Regretsy. Why a proofreader is helpful. (The error has since been corrected on the seller's site.)

Trip of a Lifetime Part 1

Blarney Castle in Ireland
An acquaintance on Facebook asked where would I like to go, and without hesitation, I responded, "Back to Ireland!" We had so much fun on our first visi t in June of 2007. The trip included myself, my husband Mike, our son Colin, and our daughter Molly.

Mike, Molly, and I took the train from Albuquerque to Chicago where we met up with Colin. He was attending the Illinois Institue of Technology on a scholarship. We planned to spend the night in Chicago and catch the plane to Shannon the next day. Some friends that we had known forever came to our hotel and we all ate Chicago-style pizza.

One of Chicago's Cows on Parade
We arrived at the Shannon airport where we rented a car to begin our travels about the island. Mike had booked rooms for us, and our first stop was a bed and breakfast on the southern coast. On the way, we stopped at Blarney Castle. I couldn't manage the steps so Mike and I toured the ancient garden while the kids hopped-skipped-and-jumped up the stairs and scouted out the castle's rooms. Yes, they kissed the stone.

Jul 10, 2012

The School of Hard Knocks

July 10--What is the hardest challenge you have been faced with?

After reading some of the other blog posts on this topic, I am humbled by what people are willing to share. There are definitely awful challenges that I have faced that I am reluctant to put out here for people to read. I don't want to be judged for what I've done or what I've gone through. What it boils down to is that I grew up in the school of hard knocks. But I met each challenge, though sometimes reluctantly, and moved on.

Getting through some poor health issues was going to be the one challenge that tried me the most, but in retrospect, perhaps my father being killed in a plane crash when I was pregnant with my son was much more acutely painful. This issue with the fibromyalgia and nerve damage has had a longer impact on my life and continues to try me daily.

Jul 9, 2012

I Am Feeling Peevish Today

July 9--What are some of your biggest pet peeves?

You know, I started to say that I'm a grammar-nazi, but I'm not, really. What I dislike is improper word usage. I have the usual favorites: their/there/they're and your/you're (I think that is the worst one). But one that gets me that most people don't have a clue about is fewer/less. You use fewer when it refers to things you can count, and use less when it is about amounts. Here are some examples.
  • Fewer raindrops but less rain
  • Fewer items in your cart but less groceries
  • Fewer miles to drive but less distance to go
  • Fewer nurses but less staff
  • Fewer pennies but less money
  • Less clothing but fewer shirts
  • Less pets but fewer cats
  • Less fruit but fewer grapes
  • Less children but fewer sons (I'm not 100% sure about this one)

Anyway, you get the idea hopefully. When you see that sign at the checkout that says "10 items or less", you can now say, "That should say 10 items or fewer." And you would be correct.

Jul 8, 2012

Memorable, Meaningful Music

 July 8--Song lyrics that you find some meaning in.

Music has played an integral part of my life, even before I was born. There is no doubt that I heard my mother playing the piano, felt the movement and rhythm of her body as she played, experienced the vibration of the piano strings as the sound waves passed through her belly into my being.  As a child, I learned to read music and sing, and I even was able to play the piano and violin passably. Later, I taught myself some guitar chords because I loved to sing along with Joan Baez.
Similar to the radio I grew up listening to.
 I still love music though I don't play or sing much any more. I just this year started singing at church again after having been away from choir for over 10 years. I haven't played the piano either since I started working on Cozy Corner Crochets (Etsy). I can still play the radio, though!

When I wrote my post on tradition, I linked a YouTube video of Tevyev singing from The Fiddler On The Roof. That musical made such an impression on me that the tunes are readily recalled. Other musicals, such as The Sound of Music, left me with many memories. Cats is another one that I can play over and over. I haven't seen some of the newer ones, though I did catch some of a televised live performance of the Phantom of the Opera.

Jul 7, 2012

Do or Do Not, There Is No Try

July 7---Something you would attempt if you knew you couldn't fail

Believe it or not, a perfectionist has a fear of failure. Some will not attempt a project for fear that it won't be perfect. That's often a cause of procrastination. I should know.

How many times have I not even begun a project because I was afraid of failure. And this has been a problem all my life. Now my son is cursed with it too. But he has had a lot of encouragement his whole life from a stable family home, caring teachers, and skillful coaches. I recently complimented him on his LinkedIn profile, and this is what he had to say. " Thank you! I may not have made it through college but I was well supplied with the life skills and tools needed to succeed in pretty much anything."

So, what would I do if I absolutely knew I couldn't fail---why, everything! I would write, climb rocks, scuba dive, grow all my vegetables, have five babies instead of two, own horses, ride horses, play the piano, sing, travel, have a successful business, be a doula, and help all the babies stop crying. I mean, if I'm going to dream, I might as well dream big. I would sew clothing, spin the finest yarns, drive a race car and win, ride a bicycle across country, and memorize the Bible.

The only thing that would stop me would be too few hours in a day.