Monday, May 31, 2010
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Friday, May 28, 2010
Finally, after weeks of gray and clouds and moisture, I got up to great weather.
I took the windows off but not the top. I decided it was a ways to drive home and I wasn't quite ready to have a sunburn although my left arm did get pink.
This was taken at the scenic overlook north of Guttenberg. The sky was as clear as I remembered it. Clouds would have been embarrassed to be on the horizon. The air temperature was perfect for driving with the windows off. I couldn't have asked for a better day to travel. It was so worth the stiff back and tired legs when I got home.
Beverage: Dr Pepper
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
It also could be argued that if I didn't pick a gigantic task such as "clean the basement", that is nebulous in scope and composed of a large number of smaller tasks, then I would feel as if I have accomplished something. I've tried to look at large tasks like "clean the basement" as a composition of smaller things; clean off the shelves on the west side, organize my tool area, remove unused boxes, as for instances; then the overall goal becomes much more attainable. Perfectly logical. I'm not logical. It may be crystal clear to you and muddy as the Mississippi to me.
But, I set out to do a task on Sunday that I had been postponing. I have been griping to myself that I could never find decent sized food storage containers and that I would have to buy some at the end of this month. I made exquisite teriyaki chicken and rice for supper, including home made teriyaki sauce of which there is extra. I have enough leftovers for several lunches, which is a wonderful thing and it was just so good. Well, I needed the right size container and I couldn't seem to find lids, you know the problem. I decided I simply had to organize the containers.
I wound up with two containers missing lids and that's it. The sizes I use the most often, lunch-size, I guess you'd say, have been moved to the front. The freezer boxes you see are going downstairs on the shelf unit. If I have the cash to buy something in quantity that requires boxes, I will know where they are. I don't need them upstairs with all the other containers.
It was quite liberating, really. I have perfectly adequate storage, a delightful surprise. I don't need to buy anything. One task accomplished.
Beverage: Chocolate Hazelnut tea
Monday, May 24, 2010
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Friday, May 21, 2010
Artie Shaw was interviewed and profiled extensively for the Ken Burns' Jazz series on PBS. As one of the last remaining band leaders of the swing era, his memories formed a core around which that era could be examined in the limited amount of time allotted to it. He said one of his fondest memories was of giving a concert on an aircraft carrier somewhere in the Pacific. The sailors had seen some of the bitterest fighting and a lot of men were not coming home. The USO arranged for Shaw and his band to give the guys in this battle group a taste of home.
The band was set up on one of the flight decks which was lowered into the carrier. The sailors weren't told which band was coming only that a jazz band was coming to play for them. As the deck rose to the top, Shaw and his band started into their signature song "Begin the Beguine". He said he remembered the roar that went up from the men. He said he could still hear it 60+ years later. There was film footage of that event shown in the program. Men sitting everywhere on this carrier and Shaw standing front and center starting the song.
"Begin the Beguine" is one of my top 10 favorites. It's a song I love to play when the top is down on the Jeep and I'm driving along at 60 miles per hour. I think of Mr. Shaw and his story every time I hear it and I think about those guys in the Pacific Ocean, thousands of miles from home, doing something I wonder if I ever could because the world's freedom depended upon the performance of their job. Shaw said he never wanted to be a "popular" entertainer because he felt you gave away too much of your music. Yet one song cheered thousands of guys and has gone on to cheer millions. That's my definition of "popular".
Happy 100th Birthday! I'm sure the concert you're giving on Sunday will make the angels sing.
Beverage: China Black Tea
I've had this tradition for the last 8 or so years of wearing Hawaiian shirts for the week beginning with the first day of spring. Most of the time I have to wear a turtleneck under them or a sweater over them, but there have been a handful of days where I can wear just the shirt. Wearing loud and flowery is a mood brightener. I also like to think of them as talismans, that good luck will come with loud and bright. It hasn't always worked but, like anything else, it's about mood and point of view.
In this gloomy May weather, I have resorted to the Hawaiian shirts again. I made this shirt over 15 years ago. It's held up quite well. That's a heavy duty cotton fabric. It was for my ex-husband but he didn't wear it very much. He didn't share my like of loud and brassy.
This shirt is a guy's shirt. A college friend who was a Navy nurse got this in Hawaii for me at the PX there. So this is my only real "Hawaiian" shirt. I've had it for 9 years, I think. The only problem I have with it is that the buttons don't stay buttoned. The top and the bottom ones do, but the 2 in the middle have a tendency to come unbuttoned. It's not due to strain. The shirt is, in fact, the perfect size. They just don't stay buttoned. I wear it when I'm not going any place other than the office. "Free shows" are for Madonna, not me.
These shirts are from the men's department at JC Penney. One of my complaints about women's shirts is that their current crop of what they call "Hawaiian" shirts are simply not distinctive. These are muted with the one on the left having a sage green background. These are great for attending meetings. I can express myself via dress without having the boss roll his eyes. I don't want to wear the company polo shirts all the time. They are nice, to be sure, but boring. A pressed muted tone Hawaiian shirt is just as nice and so comfortable.
JC Penney used to have women's Hawaiian shirts that fit my definition of "loud" or "bold". I've had this one for, I think, 20 years. The fabric is more silky. I have to iron this shirt, even if it's dried in a dryer. Most women's Hawaiian shirts tend to be like this. They favor these kinds of flowers but not in bold colors. And they have what are called "cap sleeves". Oh please. My arms are not the firmest anymore. Cap sleeves just emphasize that fact. Women's shirts tend to be tapered through the waist. There's nothing "tapered" about me. So, I gravitate to the men's department where I can get bold, brassy, loud shirts that fit right.
These last two I have had since the late 1990's. I got them both in Target's men's department. They are also of a silkier material and I have to iron them before wearing although if I have the foresight to hang them in the bathroom for a couple days before wearing, the steam from my showers will relax the wrinkles some. The white one has a button problem too, but not to the extent the one at the top does.
I have 12 Hawaiian shirts, total. I went through them this spring and got rid of a couple that simply didn't look good on me anymore. I must confess that walking through a department store and seeing the bright colors will draw me over to the rack. My friends remind me of my vow, "If I bring clothes into the closet, I have to get rid of others to make room." I probably should get rid of some anyway, but that anguish is not something I want to do now. So, no new clothes. Plus, it's easy to walk away when you don't have ready cash to spend. Now if they were to give the shirts away...
So, here's to hoping Hawaiian shirts will brighten the day. The weather, according to the Weather Channel, is to be HOT on Sunday, near or above 90. I just want to be able to turn off the heat. I'm remembering last year and having to turn it on in August just to take the damp out of the house. Could we not have a repeat of that?
Beverage: China Black Tea
Poking about the web this morning and I stumbled upon the following...
4 Amazing But Completely Unnecessary Kitchen Gadgets
A typical toaster costs $15, and does a fine job of crisping your crusts. But for just $285 more dollars, you can watch your bread burn from behind a double-paned glass window. Unnecessary? Definitely. But boy is it fun watching the bread brown. Here's the toaster of the future-and three other expensive, over-the-top, but still awesome kitchen gadgets.
Sure, you can make tea by heating water on a stove top-or you can pay $250 for a single-purpose tea maker. That being said, this product is kind of amazing, and probably the most futuristic way around to drink a decidedly ancient beverage. Fill the tea basket with loose leaves, press a button, and the basket automatically lowers into the hot water like an elevator before pulling back up when the seeping is complete. I've tested it, and believe me when I say that this thing is a conversation starter. As with many coffeemakers, you can program this tea maker to have perfect tea ready and waiting when you wake up in the morning.
When images of a transparent toaster hit the Web a few years ago, they went viral, proving that there was a definite desire amongst consumers to see their bread brown before their eyes. Sadly, the pellucid product in question was just a concept, one that inspired Magimix to create its own see-through toaster — a $300 countertop showpiece that toasts the bread behind a double pane of glass.
Wesco Spaceboy XL Trashcan
At PM, we're suckers for all things space. So when we saw this rocket-like trash can (which will give a whole new meaning to "space junk" when it comes to the U.S. later this year), we were almost able to justify the space-high price. Almost.
Cut Brooklyn Knives
To some people, a kitchen knife is little more than a way to slice and dice. To others, it's a work of art, and a culinary samurai's most valuable tool. Cut Brooklyn knives are handmade by a single Brooklyn-based craftsman, and have earned a reputation for delivering some of the best-quality cutters on the market — a fact that has also earned them price tags that range in the ballpark of several hundred dollars. Still, even at these prices, would-be owners will have to wait-demand has so far exceeded the supply a single craftsman is capable of delivering, that he's suspending new orders until at least the summer.
Actually, knives could justify a high price tag. I paid a lot for a Cutco knife but I love it and would actually gradually replace all my knives with Cutco if I could afford it. I never have to sharpen the knife and it goes through everything. I have a Cutco potato peeler and scissors and they are incredibly durable. If I have to pay more for something I'll probably never replace, I think that's cost effective.
Now the tea pot....
Beverage: China Black Tea
Thursday, May 20, 2010
No. Really. I. Don't. Care. Will you wake me when it's over?
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
If you go to the organization's web site, needitkeepit.org, and sign up, you can get a copy of the letter to go with the dollar.
So simple. Anyone can do this with any amount. As I poked around and signed up for their Facebook site, I discovered Yahoo has just done a story today about this. I'm sure there will be more. 5 dollar bills, 5 letters, 5 envelopes, 5 stamps and a phone book. I could do this. You would have no idea if your dollar hit someone really down on their luck or someone for whom money is no object to material goods.
I am reminded of "Hello Dolly". Dolly Levi says, "Money, pardon the expression, is like manure. It's not worth a thing unless it's spread around, encouraging young things to grow."
Beverage: Dr. Pepper
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Which lead me to this little gem.
"How Rich Are You"? This article profiled a little widget that takes all known salaries of everyone on the earth, adds yours and comes out with a graphic that shows you where you fall in the richest category. Yes, most of us could stand to have a few more pennies, but this really opens your eyes when you see where you rank, even at your current salary.
I'm the 86,086,957 richest person on earth!
Discover how rich you are! >>
Beverage: China Black Tea
Now, I admit to my heart jumping a bit. Who wouldn't, in this economic climate, like to be recognized as a valued part of the business community and to be recruited for a better paying job? That would be wonderful. More money would certainly help my finances and I know I can run an office. I like what I currently do, don't get me wrong, but I'd also like a few more challenges.
I couldn't completely hear what Steve said. Sometimes the kitchen phone seems to garble conversation. I saved the message and went to listen on the office phone. That phone gives me fits. It's cordless and sometimes the battery just doesn't want to charge. I tried to listen to the messages but the phone kept dying. I set this task aside as one to do later, and then promptly forgot.
Last night, I listened to all my messages. There was Steve's perky voice again. "Hi Debra. This is Steve and I'm a recruiter." He went on to ask if I was still in the market for full or possibly part time employment. "Call me and we'll talk." As Scooby-Do would say, "ruh roh."
#1 - A legitimate recruiter would know that I'm interested only in full time employment, an 8-5 job, with benefits. They would say, "I represent a client with an opening in your field" or some such thing. Hearing his pitch clearly set off alarm bells that this "full or part-time" employment opportunity was selling newspapers in front of Walgreens.
#2 - No phone number was left. That's right. Dear ol' Steve, perky and happy, left me a message with a "Call me" and then didn't leave his number. I actually listened to the message twice to make certain I did not miss anything. No. There is no phone number given. The alarm bells turned into laughter. Even if I was desperate, which I'm not, for a part-time job, I couldn't get a hold of Steve.
If I'd heard the full contents of the message on Friday, there is the possibility I could have hung up and dialed *69. This gets you the last recorded phone number which called you. But, even that is no guarantee I'd get the elusive Steve. I've been going 'round and 'round with 5th 3rd Bank and if I don't make it to the phone to get the call, they don't often leave a message. I could have found out the last person to call me was 5th 3rd or some charity trying to part me from my non-existent excess money.
Folks, this is highly effective recruiting, NOT. I think my initial instincts on this call are correct. I'll let it pass me by.
But thanks for a good laugh, Steve.
Beverage: China Black Tea
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Monday, May 10, 2010
The following, while probably not considered at the top of her resume, brought Ms. Horne to a wider audience.
Lena Horne on The Muppet Show. Part 1. Part 2 and Part 3. Given her life, the song selection in the show could be considered autobiographical.
A toast to an incomparable legacy.
Beverage: China Black tea
Sunday, May 9, 2010
That's Bill's gnome character, Bilmo, to the right.
Saturday, May 8, 2010
Friday, May 7, 2010
He gave a a huge, huge scare last night. On Monday evening, once the kids had brought in their things and gotten settled, we let him out of the bedroom and followed him as he struggled to remember places and things and look around for the cats I'm sure he expected to be here but who aren't. He went into the basement, which probably smells more like old home than the upstairs which has Mija and Pilchard scents all over.
The kids stayed an extra day and we went to the Brookfield Zoo. When we came home, the screen in the window in the office was outside and the window was standing wide open. Mija was nowhere to be found but Pilchard was sitting on the table in the office just looking at us. She would not come to me. We felt panic rising.
I closed the window and started calling. Mija took an agonizing 5 minutes to come. Faux was nowhere to be found. We felt, given his knowledge of the house and the yard, he probably seized the opportunity to get out of the house due to the open window. You have no idea how upset we were.
DuPage County Animal Care and Control said cats that are pets generally do not wander more than 3 blocks from home so Carole walked a circle three blocks in all directions from the house. David went to every neighbor and asked to look in their back yard. I got on the phone with the Wheaton police and the emergency vet as well as the county. No Maine Coon cat had been found and turned in. We were told to put his litter box outside as he could be lost since he hadn't lived in the area for almost 3 years. I filled out the "Lost Pet" form.
Carole felt he would come back, that he wasn't very far away from us. He was just being a cat and deciding when he would put in an appearance. She found a 4-leaf clover in the yard and said that was a sign he would return. She asked that I make homemade macaroni and cheese for supper. It's her favorite dish.
While I was draining the pasta, I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. There, at the top of the basement stairs, sat Faux, looking at me as if to say, "Hi. Did you want me earlier?" My cry of "FAUX!", scared him and he ran into the bedroom where Carole was. She scooped him up, hugged and kissed him and started a lecture on coming when called which, we all agreed, went in one ear and out the other. So, we had to call everyone we'd notified to let them know he'd come home.
After putting up with the hugs and kisses, he went into the living room and plopped down on the rug.
He's a wonderful cat, really. Today, he wanted scratches and tried to get into the basement, but we closed the door last night to prevent that. He was not amused as the luggage and a few things Carole is taking with her from the house, were moved to the car. He could tell, after a 3 day respite, he was going back in the moving box. She scooped him up for the requisite photo and he growled, loudly and long.
We remembered the kitten we got in August of 2007. Oh that he fit into a shoe box now and could be easily transported.
And here he is 3 days after he was dropped off on the front porch.
He was the length of her piccolo.
He very much is her cat, but we do think, had he actually gotten out and not come back, he could have lived with my cats until such time as she could come back and get him. It certainly would have been interesting.
He may be complaining about being in the car for another 12 hours until they get to their next stop, but he's traveled fairly well. People have posted to Carole's Facebook posts that they could never travel with a cat. Well, we can't verify how travel works with a dog but as long as you give the cat some room to move, the ones we have traveled with have been good. You can get a tranquilizer for the animal, but we've never found a need for it. We provide a spot for the litter box, food and water and the cats have always found a place to go to be comfortable. Faux just needs to tolerate 3 more days and he'll be in an apartment where he won't be moved for some time. It might even have a big windowsill to sit in.
Beverage: Huckleberry Tea
Thursday, May 6, 2010
If Carole had to leave him, I could make this work. They have not gone at each other with claws or teeth bared. Faux is a bit confused because the room where he lived is not as it was when he left and the house certainly doesn't smell of the cats he remembers. But we are very pleased with how well the visit went.