Casual Sundays with Mr Curry
Today's headlines are filled with the news that it's cold. It's cold and there's a chance of snow. And ice!
Despite the fact that it happens every single year, the news media in this country is on the verge of panic that it happened again this year.
That's right; when December arrived, winter snuck in the door right behind it.
Remember winter? The days get shorter, the trees drop their leaves, Christmas decorations pop up everywhere and it gets cold.
Remember cold? Despite the hype, it turns out 'Global Warming' is just another broken promise, made by politicians who were trying to sell us something.
Some of my out of state Facebook friends posted this morning that it was "Minnesota cold" where they live now. One, who resides in Texas, said "It's only going to get up to 31 today!"
He doesn't remember cold. Here in Minnesota, I woke up to -5. And that was in my bedroom.
Okay, it was outside but still. I have a feeling that it will be months before I see 31 degrees above zero and when I do, I'll be out in shorts and flip flops thinking it's hot.
"One more degree and ice will turn back into water! Woo hoo! Let's barbecue!"
That's Minnesota cold.
It happens every year. Every flippin' year. This is why we don't throw out our winter hats, mittens, scarves, boots and coats when the fourth of July rolls around. We know we'll need them again.
But there are the hysterical headlines, warning us all that we'll die if we're not careful because, you know, it's cold out. No, seriously, it's really cold out there.
What would we do without these intelligent, intuitive professionals, dedicating their lives to telling the rest of us that winter is cold?
We'd probably hop into our polar fleece bags and get on with life.
|My mother is a brilliant seamstress. She made a lot of my clothes when I was little but after she filled the house with kids she didn't have a lot of time to sew and I forgot all about it.
Then I told her one day I was getting married and she bought herself a new machine and got busy.
She made herself dresses for both my wedding and my older brother's wedding. He got married a few months before I did.
She made my wedding gown and the dresses of all four of my bride's maids and my flower girl.
Since then, she's made at least three wedding dresses and more prom dresses than you can shake a stick at. When Zack was little, the kid grew so fast I couldnt' keep up with him so she designed clothes that would grow with him. Lots of elastic and cuffs at the wrists and ankles.
There was a cupboard in the kitchen which was her sewing station. Not only was every shelf taken up with notions and boxes of patterns but the lower half housed her rolling fold up table that held her machine. She designed the whole thing herself and she was light years ahead of the rest of the country. Now, watching HGTV, lots of designers draw up plans for office space or hobby stations that are compact and can be hidden away when not in use but my Mom drew up hers over three decades ago.
This is a woman with vision.
She understands that form follows function and sometimes function is all the form you need.
Her new sewing station is in the basement of her house and it gets cold down there. She doesn't like sleeves getting in the way when she works so one day not too long ago, she grabbed a length of polar fleece, folded it in half, cut herself a neck line, stitched up the sides and voila! She had a sleeveless tunic to keep her warm while she works. It took her all of three and a half minutes to make.
She knows that I, too, have no use for sleeves while working. She asked me, shortly after I returned from Texas, if it gets cold up in my office while I paint. I said it did, so she cut another length of polar fleece and in less time than it takes to bring in the mail, she'd made me a warming bag, too.
It's a bag. It hangs half way to my knees, it has no pockets, no buttons, no nothing. It's polar fleece so it doesn't even need a hem. It has no shape. It's just a bag. It's light weight, doesn't inhibit movement, has no parts to get in the way of my work and it's warm, warm, warm.
I LOVE IT.
My Mom's a genius.
|Before the kids came up for the holiday, I had to clean the basement. Zack did most of the work but I cleaned the bathroom down there, as my definition of a clean bathroom is different from that of a young man. While I was scrubbing, Jay decided to clean out the dryer vent. He took it apart and vacuumed it out so we don't have to worry about dryer lint catching fire and burning down the house. That would be annoying.
Unfortunately, after reaming out the twenty foot length of aluminum venting, we couldn't put it back together again.
We're thankful for Settergren's hardware. Not only did they have just the product we needed; flexible venting, they had a list of local handy men to choose from when we wrecked the flexible venting and decided to pay someone who knew how to put the whole mess back together.
I'm thankful for handy men.
My daughter in law, in addition to being pregnant, has some issues with her back, due to her years of horseback riding. This makes a mattress on the basement floor a less than optimum bed for her. Unfortunately, we discovered a few years ago that there's no way to get a full sized box spring down the basement stairs. Narrow stairs are one of the drawbacks to living in an old house. Ikea has a system of springy slats that act as a box spring. They're not as comfy but the advantage is that you can take them anywhere. Jay went out and bought a frame. Zack slapped the outside of the frame together before he went to work. I tried to finish it.
To keep the frame square, the bed came with a series of metal struts that had to be attached to the head, foot and sides of the bed. Screws were supplied.
It was simple as pie and would have been easy if any of the screws had actually fit through the holes in the struts.
After much testing, switching, forcing, swearing and questioning as to why no one has nuked Sweden yet, I got the struts attached to the frame. My fingers were very sore. Too sore to even be thankful for Ikea.
That's when I noticed that Zack had put one of the sides of the frame on upside down. I was going to ignore it until I realized that the upside down frame meant that one side of the mattress runner was an inch higher off the floor than the other side.
Question; would our effort to provide Megan with a comfortable bed be nullified if I was lazy enough to leave the bed lopsided?
I took apart the struts I'd just spent ninety minutes wrestling with, found the proper tool, studied the directions and took the bed apart without breaking anything but two of my fingernails.
Seriously, why has no one nuked Sweden?
The good news is that the struts all went together fairly easily the second time. They should; I'd bent those suckers to my will in no uncertain terms.
The new bed looks great, especially with the new set of linens I bought. I found one full sized sheet set at the BCF marked down to $12.99!
I'm thankful for the Burlington Coat Factory.
On Tuesday, I was hanging some really cute metal hooks in my kitchen. I got them at the World Market. They have colorful ceramic knobs and they're perfect to put on my kitchen island so I can hang hot pads, hand towels or a fly swatter next summer. I squatted beside the island, happily working on screwing in the new hooks when my feet slid out from underneath me.
It was very strange. One second I was drilling a hole for a screw and the next, my feet began to slide forward as the rest of me tipped backward
This is what I remember thinking;
Yep. I'm slipping. I'm going down. If I straighten my knees a little, my shoulder will hit the wall instead of my head. That seems better.
So I did; I pushed back just enough so I didn't smack my head. My right elbow hit the floor and my shoulder hit the wall. I never lost my grip on the power drill. The new hooks look great.
I'm thankful for the World Market.
I'm not surprised that my elbow is bruised. I am surprised that it's not black. I'm also surprised by how much I apparently wracked myself when I hit the wall. That was four days ago and I'm still all bent out of shape. I must have wrenched my left arm as well when I went down because both arms are so sore that I can barely lift anything. It feels like I pulled all the muscles in my forearms.
It doesn't affect my painting, so it's no biggie. I'll get over it.
The kids from Texas were driving in from Sodak on Wednesday night. We got the basement all cleaned, prepped and ready. They were due to arrive at dinner time so I called Ty and asked what they'd like. Megan said nothing too spicy.
That's not as helpful as she thinks.
Zack suggested homemade mac and cheese.
I haven't made that for them in years but it was a huge favorite so that's what I made.
Josie came in from school around 2:30 and I picked her up downtown. The bus stopped in a place that is only accessible from one direction but I don't know my way around downtown well enough to know that. I looked up the directions on mapquest and thought I knew what I was doing.
Turns out, I didn't!
At one point, I found myself driving on the light rail line. I was pretty sure that was wrong, so I turned around and almost drove right over a knot of pedestrians. They were very nice about it and didn't take it at all personally.
Minnesotans really are nice.
One more wrong turn and I found myself on I94 heading toward St. Cloud. At that point, Josie called me, wondering if I was ever going to pick her up. I told her as soon as I could get off the highway, I'd try again. She told me how the bus got to where she was and I vowed to follow that route. The nearest exit was four miles up the highway and when I back tracked I was at the wrong end of downtown so I was a half hour late picking Josie up but I finally found her.
I'm thankful for cell phones.
Josie, Katie, Zack and I played Yahtzee while the mac n cheese baked.
When it came out of the oven, the three kids burst out laughing.
I'd made the same recipe I always made when they were little.
Well, they're big now and it wasn't anywhere near enough food. I baked a tube of crescent rolls and we had salad but it didn't really help. Zack inhaled half the food I'd made before Ty and his girls even got home. So we called Kwan's and ordered dinner. Jay picked it up on his way home from the gym and when the travelers arrived, there was plenty to eat.
I'm thankful for Kwan's.
Thanksgiving morning, Megan and I ran out to my Mom's house so MJ could give haircuts. MJ also gave us two bags of clothes that Bananas and Punkin had outgrown so when we got home, Megan went through them.
I'm thankful for second hand clothes.
At the bottom of the bag was one silver and one red sequined shoe. Shoes are Babydoll's favorite thing (after dogs) and she was delighted! She didn't care that they didn't match, she put them right on her feet.
She did care that they were both left shoes. She lifted her right foot up and said very sadly "No, no no."
I baked some ginger snaps and at 1:00, we took off, over the river and through the woods.
Steve and Pam have been hosting all the Pivecs for years now and they have it down to an art. I got to spend all afternoon with nieces and nephews I rarely get to see and it was really fun! Babydoll had a blast. She was not the only small child there, as the twins from Indiana had come up for the Holiday. It's always fun when Matt and Janelle visit. The boys are growing up too fast.
After first dinner, we packed up and headed back to our neighborhood where the Hubbell side was meeting and eating at Andy's house. Andy and Vi bought the house a year ago and remodeled the kitchen last summer. It's wonderful. Huge, lots of open space, big rooms to cram all the family into and an enormous basement (walkout) so the kids can escape from the grownups when they want to.
As usual, the food was spectacular and despite being too full to eat again, we tried.
I'm thankful for my huge family.
Zack didn't make it to Andy's. He went home to get a few hours sleep before going to work at midnight. I have nothing against Black Friday but I draw the line at allowing it to actually ruin Thanksgiving.
I'm thankful for employment.
On Friday, as Zack was crashing into bed, a bunch of the Hubbell boys met for some touch football. Old guys vs. Young guys. Ty is now an old guy. Despite having Martha (the best athlete in the family) on their team, the old guys were no match for the young guys. So they proved that wisdom and experience beats strength and flexibility by yelling "Next score wins". Ty promptly picked off an interception for a touch down, the win and the MVP award. He was so sore he could barely move for the rest of the day.
That's how he knows he's an old guy.
I'm thankful for old guys. Young guys too.
He and Megan went Christmas shopping later, so Babydoll and I hung out together. We made more ginger snaps, since all the Thanksgiving cookies were gone. She came up to my office and sat on my lap while I did some drawings. She sits very nicely and watches me work but I have no intention of tempting her with wet paint. Back downstairs later, we watched Toy Story. We chased each other around a lot. It was awesome.
Jay cooked our turkey on Friday so we have just as much leftovers as anyone.
Saturday morning, the Texans flew out bright and early. It's not too bad; they'll be back in three weeks. I think I need to find a bigger bed for Babydoll. She's getting so long the port-a-crib is like putting her in a shoebox.
In the afternoon, Josie and her boyfriend helped me put up the tree. Actually, I helped them a tiny little bit. My arms are still so sore that I wasn't much use in putting on lights or anything. Josie does a brilliant job of lighting the tree. She got ten strings on it, then they put on the ornaments.
Half the ornaments were on the tree when two of the strings of lights went out. One string merely needed a new bulb but the other we couldn't fix. We weren't about to undo the whole tree and take off the dead string (It was on some midlevel branches) so we just turned the tree so the dark side was in the corner. Sometimes you just have to roll with it.
I'm thankful for the ability to roll with it.
In an hour, I have to take Josie to the bus. I baked her a batch of chocolate chip cookies to take back to school and she has a big tub of cocoa mix. She'll be back in less than three weeks.
Hopefully by then, my arms won't be sore anymore and the bruise on my head will be healed. That's right; I leaned over to pick something up and misjudged where the wall was. Slammed my own head so hard I saw stars. I didn't even play in the football game on Friday morning but I'm more beat up than the guys who did.
I'm thankful for all of it, even the soreness.
I'm thankful for leftovers.
This has been a fun, hectic, exhausting week and I'm thankful for every minute of it.
|Last week, MJ and I dashed out and met my daughter Katie and two of her friends at a bridal shop on Lyndale to watch as Katie tried on dresses. She and her beaux of several years are engaged and the wedding will be next summer.
It was really fun watching her try on dresses. She has a pretty good idea of what she doesn't want; no stark white, no layers of lace, no puffy sleeves...she's not real interested in an old fashioned traditional gown.
At the shop, she found seven or eight dresses that fit her vague idea of what she wants. They were all shades of cream or ivory, some were long and some short. Only one was silly. They were nearly all strapless with a sweetheart neckline, which looks fabulous on her.
One dress was an updated version of the dress my Mom wore 57 years ago. I nearly clapped when she walked out of the dressing room in it.
The silly dress was actually a great dress, it just didn't look like a wedding dress. The skirt was above the knee and looked like it was made out of a million pringle potato chips. In a bright color, it would make a wonderful cocktail dress. But for a bride?
"Adam won't marry me if I'm wearing this!" Katie laughed.
With all the dresses, she wore a gorgeous beaded sash that added the dash of bling she wants.
She actually wants to wear a gold, sequined dress but is willing to look at dresses a bit closer to tradition first. The beaded sash had some gold in it, I think. It was beautiful.
Afterwards, the five of us went across the street for dinner and discussed all the dresses. They were all lovely but we all liked the same two the best; they just looked the best on Katie.
And the sash made them all.
At $300.00 it should.
So here's the thing; these days, with shows like Say Yes to the Dress and Kim Kardashian spending a hundred million dollars on a wedding every six weeks, the price of wedding apparel is insane.
My daughter is neither insane nor made of money.
She has a pretty good idea of what she wants her dress to look like now and she's determined to get the look without spending thousands.
The next several months, we're going to play our wedding version of a show that used to run on HGTV where they showed a designer room that cost tens of thousands of dollars, then copied the look of the room on the cheap.
We've been playing that game our whole lives and we're damm good at it.
Sometimes I'm amazed by my own stupidity. I was cruising craft and fabric store's bridal sections, looking for ways to make a sash for whatever dress Katie winds up with. Satin ribbon, glitter, beads...You can get actual swarovski crystals for a lot less than the sash the bridal shop has; you just need to know how to do it.
It took me two days to realize that that's what I do FOR A LIVING.
Yes. I'm an idiot.
So, I called Katie and told her my idea. I can design and needlepoint a sash for her using metallic and pearlized threads which we can also bead on top of. The design can incorporate silver, gold and hints of whatever colors she decided her flower arrangements will have. It'll be needlepoint with ribbon ties that can be as long as she likes.
She loved the idea.
The ladies at the shop loved the idea. G asked me to design a couple for after Christmas.
The needlepoint won't cost me anything so I could put all the money into the beading. Like I said, you can buy swarovski crystals but they're not cheap.
Then I was in Value Village the other night, checking out the Christmas stuff (I always stock up on bowls for gumbo) when I wandered into the women's clothes section. Last year I bought a velvet jacket with fur cuffs that I love. I plan on wearing it every Holiday season until the fur falls off.
I found a vintage ivory silk dress with a top covered in beading. I think the dress was from the eighties; it has a drop waist and shoulder pads. It looks like something Krystal Karrington would have worn on Dynasty. It's ugly as all get out but the beading is fantastic! The entire bodice and sleeves are covered in pearl beads, bugle beads and crystals, plus at least two kinds of sequins and all keyed to an ivory dress. In short; exactly what I need.
I paid $12.99 for at least a hundred dollars worth of beads.
This is going to be so much fun!
|Feels kinda like winter only not really. It was 7 degrees when I got up this morning, which is really cold. But with the sun coming up, it will warm up. In winter, when it's 7 degrees, it tends to stay that cold. Plus, there's only a light dusting of snow on the north sides of buildings. Nothing has stuck.
That will all change.
The news lately has all been about the disastrous roll out of Obamacare.
Huge, government program designed for all 300,000,000+ Americans doesn't work. Huge surprise.
I've said since Hillary tried it in the 90s that my objections to nationalized health care is three pronged; economic, practical and philosophical.
1. There's no way you can add 20,000,000 free riders to the ranks of the insured without costs going up for those who actually pay. No way. Medical procedures are expensive; Doctors go to school (extremely expensive post grad school) for years, sometimes decades to learn and develop the skills necessary to do the things that now happen every day in American hospitals. Making all that knowledge and skill available to everyone, regardless of ability to pay is a recipe for disaster on a level with the brilliant idea of allowing everyone to qualify for a home mortgage. In fact, it's much worse since the housing bubble merely brought us within a hair's breadth of toppling the global economy. With health care, we're talking actual lives, not just money.
2. Logistically, when you add several million people to any system, without making the system larger, ie; adding doctors, clinics and hospitals, none of which we are doing, you end up with an overcrowded system that slows to the point of breaking. Visit an emergency room in any large city; too many patients, too few doctors mean even broken bones have to wait. I'm not saying people without insurance shouldn't get treated. In fact, it's been illegal in this country for people to be denied emergency care due to inability to pay for decades. I'm saying that when people think a service is 'free', they tend to abuse it. Office hours will be choked with folks who want doctors to do something about little Teddies' sniffles, or that weird feeling in their gut whenever they eat spicy food...in other words, perfectly normal functions of the human body. See Canada and the UK and how long it takes to get medical services we currently can get access to almost immediately here. There's a reason those national systems are sclerotic and it's inherent in the system.
3. No nation of free people has any business allowing much less asking for the government to take care of them. That's the opposite of liberty.
If Obamacare stands, do you really think it won't be used as political leverage? Ever? Look at the IRS. Look at the EPA. Those entities merely deal with our money and our property; we're talking about our bodies, here. You really think fear of losing access to medical treatment will never be used to silence opposition or coerce the electorate? It's already being used this way!
So I was against this obamanation of a 'law' years before millions of folks began to lose their policies. This was not hard to predict. In fact, it fell pretty much into the same category as playing in traffic.
Therefore, I'm not paying a ton of attention to the current caterwauling.
When one is confronted with tricky political questions, it helps if one has principles one actually understands and believes in. I'm a Conservative; this means that I don't think government should be trusted with most things and when we must delegate to such bodies, they should be as small and local as possible.
I just want to enjoy my life as much as I can before total societal collapse.
Work is going great! When G took over the shop from J, the most significant change she made was her determined effort to keep up with sample inventory. This seems to be paying off in spades. As salesmen have probably known forever, samples sell products. You can have a great canvas on the wall for months but if you have an example of what that canvas will look like finished, you'll take orders on it forever. I've been designing for nearly forty years and believe me; it's better to sell something a dozen times than to sell it only once.
I've also got lots of orders for new things, which is always fun.
I was gone for a month and while Jay kept the house tidy and he vacuumed, he didn't dust. He doesn't notice dust. I do. This place is a cobwebby mess.
I've been home for three weeks and I've been working my way through one room at a time, dusting. I like to leave stuff like that until it's unbearable. If you dust all the time, you never see a difference! I like to forget what my furniture even looks like then I dust and voila! Oh yeah, I remember how cute that table is! Now that I can see it.
I've also tackled the finishing of my harp backed wooden chair. I put two coats of stain on it but it's not the color I wanted so I'm heading to the hardware store for something else.
I finished Joyland, by Steven King this week. It was good. It's not scary, although there are some ghosts. It's more just a coming of age tale, with some supernatural elements. He's such a great story teller! But his scary stuff can be too scary for me. This one was far more like Stand by Me, which people tend to forget was Steven King.
I've been told by many people that I have to read The Green Mile. I'm sure I'd like it.
The coffee's all gone. That means it's time to go to work.
|Zack has Wednesdays off so we finally went and saw Thor, the Dark World. It came out a couple of weeks ago and we really wanted to see it but hey; we've been busy!
It's such a drag that everyone has a job now. I have to wait around to see a movie, walk around the lake...all because of other people's jobs. Everyone should have a job with flexible hours, like mine! Sure, today I stayed at my drawing board until 8:10 p.m. but I could have walked around the lake at noon if there had been anyone available to walk with me. (walking alone is doable but kind of dull.)
Zack and I liked the first Thor movie but it was kind of schizophrenic.
This second installment is much better!
Maybe it's the fact that the Avenger's movies have added so much to the story, what with all the different movies, including the one with everyone in it.
This movie gave the characters more dimensions and it had a much better sense of humor than the first one. Even Natalie Portman (whom I believe is a dreadful actress) was not bad. Her sidekick totally outshone her, though.
Best of all, Loki was awesome. The Trickster who caused all the trouble in The Avengers played a huge part in this story and he was great. Why have I never heard of Tom Hiddleston before? He's terrific. Smoking hot, tons of charisma, perfect comic timing...
The relationship between Thor and Loki isn't so much hero/villain as it is a case of sibling rivalry run amok. When push comes to shove, these brothers are a lot like Raylan and Boyd. They might want to kill each other but they're not going to let anyone else do it.
As with the first Thor movie, a big part of the fun was watching people in the 'real' world react to the crazy things that happened. Kat Dennings is particularly good as Natalie Portman's intern. She's way better than the academy award winning hacktress and every line she utters is comedy gold.
The only thing I didn't like was that we saw a 2:00 movie and it was dark out when we left the theater. That's not the movie's fault, it's only two hours long. I just hate the fact that it's dark out by 4:30 these days. On the other hand, in five weeks, the days start to get longer again. Yay!
Like most parents, I'm very proud of my children. Based on observation, I'd say that unlike most parents, my pride is well placed.
Yes, I've been wandering around the planet for over a half century now and what I've seen of the rest of the species makes me very comfortable declaring that MY KIDS are better than yours. Probably by several orders of magnitude.
The only fact that renders the above statement false is that I happen to know the people who read this blog have children that are highly exceptional, too.
I just thought it would be funny to see it in print.
The only way that I can take credit for how my kids turned out is that Jay and I were smart enough to pass on to the next generation the things that our parents and grandparents taught us.
1. "Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me."
This is a very handy and useful truism that is more needed than ever in our public life. I'm not talking about school yard bullying, here. I don't doubt that bullying has gotten worse than it was in my youth. No, I'm talking about the hypersensitive little flowers who run to the judicial system every time someone expresses an opinion they find 'offensive' or 'hurtful'.
Every last one of us is a bonehead and life is far more interesting if we allow each other to be so every once in a while without fear of social decapitation.
We take our feelings way the hell too seriously.
2. "There's no free ride."
This has always and will always be true. I've told my kids since they were old enough to hear that 'Free' just means someone else paid for it.
So much anguish could be avoided if we had all taught our kids this truism.
P.T. Barnum famously said "You can't cheat an honest man." What he meant by that was that a con man's success depends upon his mark wanting to get something for nothing. Honest men don't fall for that.
My Father in law was a great man. He's still remembered fondly by all those who knew him and one of the things he taught his kids was "It's easy to make a living working half days; you just have to decide which twelve hours you want to work."
My son Zack worked at the Green Mill for nearly five years during high school and college. The fired him a year ago. He admits he was rude to a customer. He was tired of that customer calling with a complaint at least once a week, in order to score a free sandwich. He doesn't know why he cared about the scam, since the GM clearly didn't. What he learned from the experience: Corporate isn't a bad thing but Bad Corporate is the worst thing.
Corporations are people, Zack.
In the last twelve months, he's put together a fairly diverse resume.
He's worked a counter at a bakery, been a roadie for a heavy metal band, coached at several basketball camps, sold merchandize for a traveling broadway show and recently started a stint as an assistant manager for a clothing retail store.
Before you get the wrong idea; he was fired from NONE of these jobs. Most of them were seasonal, one of them he quit due to being overworked and underpaid. He must be getting really good at job interviews because his time between gigs keeps getting shorter.
Yesterday, he had to be at work by nine a.m. He called me at nine in the evening and said he was on his way home. I asked why such a long day and he said "You know me; if they ask if anyone can stay longer, I always say yes."
That's true; it's why he was so easy to abuse at the bakery. He said yes until he said "I quit."
Then he went on "You know, Mom; it's easy to make a living working half days..."
His Grandpa Frank would be so proud of him.
|While I was in Texas, I bought several Ebooks for my kindle. I'll never give up the joy of an actual book and I definitely prefer being able to flip the pages, skip to the end, go back and find a detail in the beginning...all possible but a lot harder to do with an Ebook. But...I do love as in LOVE the ability to think of a book and like magic be reading it within seconds. Seconds!
That part is awesome.
But as I told my kids; real books never run out of batteries and you don't have to put them away during take off and landing on a plane.
Hell would be getting stranded on a desert island with a kindle. What if the electrical grid were to fail? What then, smarty kindle pants??
I told my daughter that and she said "Armageddon? That's your reason for preferring print books?"
As though that weren't a perfectly good reason.
And if you were freezing to death, burning your kindle would not only not generate enough warmth to stay alive, the fumes from burning plastic would probably hasten your demise.
So I ordered a few real books online as well. While I love the immediacy of an Ebook appearing on my kindle the moment I order it, getting a book you forgot you ordered in the mail is even more fun!
Especially when that book is An Excorcist Tells His Story.
Today, I got a message from Amazon letting me know that a tv show I'd completely forgotten pre-ordering was shipping. It's exciting to know that Dexter 8 is on it's way! It's on it's way to my son's house in Texas but hey, it's in the mail!
And Ty is coming home next week.
In addition to the email alerting me to Dexter's imminent arrival, a book I'd ordered on Friday showed up, the canvas I ordered last Wednesday arrived, the clogs I ordered came; and volumes I and II of the soundtrack from Nashville arrived.
It was like Christmas and all the presents were for me!
Best Christmas, ever!
I printed out the first 70 or so pictures on my flash drive that holds all the photos my sisters and I took while in Paris a year ago.
That's right, it's been a year and I haven't done it yet. Why? Because I'm a moron.
I knew that between the four of us, we'd take over 700 photos and that would cost me an arm and a leg to print but most of all, I knew it would take time to edit them; there have to be lots of redundant photos and not all of them worth printing.
For some strange reason it never occurred to me to print them out a few at a time.
I repeat; moron.
So this week at Sam's club, I began the process. I'm glad I chose to do it this way; it was really fun to slowly sift through the first batch, seeing us all wandering the streets of the city, or Luxembourg Gardens. It was so much fun! I can't believe it's been a year.
I'll continue to work my way through the mass of photos until I've gotten all of them, then put together an album for myself.
My Big Adventure! (with mom, dad, margy, katie and mary jeanne)
That's the title.
I got around to a few other things I've been meaning to do this week, also.
I ordered a pair of clogs from Hanna Andersson online. I've had a pair of their clogs for years, I love them to death and they're falling apart, finally. The ones I have are red with white and yellow daisies on them. Margy actually bought them for me years ago, on a discount rack at an outlet store, saying "Jay won't borrow these from you!" she's right; he never has.
They cost ten bucks. But again; years ago, outlet store, discount rack.
I didn't pay full price for the new ones but I would have. I just got lucky and there was a sale on this week.
Before Thanksgiving, my plan is to paint a book case that has been sitting empty shelved in my living room since Zack moved back home last December. We kept thinking he'd move out again but the situation changed. He'll go eventually but he won't be taking that particular book case with him.
I also have to stain the harp backed chair I bought years ago. I stripped it this summer and bought the stain (ebony) but never got a chance to finish the chair. I finished the needlepoint for it. I picked it up before I left for Texas the last time and I'm excited to get the piece finished and upholstered.
I need to take my sister out and choose some fabric for her Moulin Rouge purse, which was my needlepoint project while in Paris. Since I finished working that piece, I've painted, stitched and finished a Chicago purse for my daughter in law, the above mentioned chair seat and a Christmas stocking for my grand daughter. I hardly even count the handful of Christmas ornaments I've done. It's time to finish the darned Moulin Rouge purse!
My nemesis (the delightful and talented other grandma) put together the Chicago purse and has agreed to stitch up more purses for me. I'll have to design something nice for her to pay her back.
Work is going well; orders are pouring in. I have no idea who can still afford to do this stuff but I appreciate it. A year from now, when everyone in the nation has lost their health insurance and been forced into government programs at three times the cost, I have a feeling the needlepoint market may dry up. I guess we'll see.
I've been wrong before.
Last night, I met Jay and a bunch of our friends down at our favorite U.K. themed bar. We had drinks and hors d'oeuvres but didn't stay late. We swung over to Famous Dave's, picked up dinner and caught a few songs by the Steely Dan cover band performing.
The ribs were excellent but as I looked around the place, I really couldn't understand why folks go out. Yes, it was fun but I can listen to the real Steely Dan at home, where it's quiet and comfortable and drinks don't cost seven bucks a piece. I've never really understood the 'going out' thing but that's just me; a hermit. It's amazing that I ever met Jay. It's even more amazing that he likes me. Or maybe not; he's so social that it balances us out.
At home again, full of ribs, I watched Rock of Ages. What a fun movie! Tom Cruise has never been better!
Today I have to buzz over to the art store and get a new brush. My tiny fine tipped one has frayed to the point of useless. Oh, and I'm crashing a baby shower this afternoon. I never RSVPd because I wasn't' sure I'd be back in town but I think (hope) that no one will mind me showing up if I remember to bring a gift.
Also, I'll be arriving with my daughter and people are always happy to see Katie!
I was going to start running again when I returned from Texas; my lower let injury is all healed. But it's been really cold and windy so I haven't. Another thing to love about winter; it makes being fat seem like a good idea.
|I apparently suffer from Babydoll withdrawal and the symptoms are exactly the same as a terrific head cold.
This is the second time in a row where my sinuses filled with crud within twenty four hours of leaving her, so there's your proof.
Either that or I should start loading up on zicam the day before I fly.
I think I traveled more in the last twelve months than I had in my previous 52 years. I went to Texas three times, Wisconsin at least twice, South Dakota twice and Denver. It was also within the last twelve months that I went to Paris.
I discovered a few things. I hate flying. It's boring as hell and at least as uncomfortable. Lake of Fire? Will there be leg room?
I've flown big fat planes (the one to Paris had two aisles and six seats in the middle row) little tiny planes (Frontier has no first class) and several in between. First class is the only way to go if you can afford it.
I don't mind the little planes; the big ones are just as uncomfortable, they just cram more people in, all breathing and sneezing the same air. Frontier has the worst possible seating arrangement. First they assign your seat, then they make the passengers board front to back, so no matter what you have to crawl over someone to get to your seat. It's horrible and I have a feeling the airline is funded by a psychological grant studying how long passengers will go before they resort to cannibalism.
Southwest doesn't assign seats. They let passengers board in flights of 60 and it's first come first served. For a very small fee, you can buy your way into the first bunch to board. I like this arrangement. It suits me very well because I've discovered that I don't care a bit about getting either a window or an aisle seat; they're all equally tiny and cramped. What I care about is being as near to the front as possible so that once the plane is at the gate I can get the hell off it as soon as they open the door.
So I pay the early boarding fee ($12.50; totally worth it) and sure enough, every window seat gets taken first.
Think about it; you're in a window seat near the back of the plane. It's going to take you a half an hour to get off that dam thing once it lands. Is the view of clouds really worth sitting in that torture chamber of a seat for an extra thirty minutes while the giant whose arm fat slopped over the rest into your book struggles to get his bulging bag out of the overhead bin?
After the window seats, the aisle seats get taken. Again; is fast access to the bathroom worth it? Sure, when the plane lands you leap to your feet, throw open the overhead and grab your bag lickety split...only to discover that forty other lucky aisle seat winners are stuffed into that tiny little corridor between you and the door.
Nope, give me a middle seat near the exit, please; I just want to get off that plane as fast as possible.
I almost took the first row for the leg room but I realized I'd have to stash my bag up top. Nope, that takes too much time. Middle seat, second row, no carry on but my shoulder bag and boom! I'm out that door as soon as the
waitress stewardess flight attendant gets out of the way.
"Flight attendant" is a stupid title. I guess stewardesses got tired of the stereotype of sexy, mindless pilot's harem of the sixties. Who can blame them? Sure, they liked the cliche back in the swinging '60s and '70's, when they first got liberated but it's a ridiculous idea now. Most flight attendants are middle aged; they never leave those jobs.
"Flight attendant" sounds like they're surgeon's assistants or something. If they don't like 'stewardess', how about 'flightress'? The males (who still seem to be a fairly small percentage of the profession) could remain 'stewards'. Why do we have to make every stupid job sound like it requires an advanced degree to perform?
I'm not a 'textile design expert', I paint pictures. A monkey could do what I do. He'd have to be a well trained, extremely talented monkey but still...
So I've hung out in the Austin TX airport quite a bit in the last few months and it's a nice airport; small and easily navigated. Like most ports, it has a gift shop every ten feet in which to buy souvenirs. Every shop has the same assortment of T-shirts, coffee mugs, key chains and sports memorabilia. I could have gotten myself each of those items emblazoned with the city motto "Keep Austin Weird".
I like Austin. It's just like Minneapolis; parks, trees, hills, water, pretty neighborhoods, a vibrant restaurant and music scene.
The biggest difference in the two towns is that while Austin takes great pride in it's weirdness, Minneapolis has no idea that it's weird.
This of course makes Mpls several orders of magnitude weirder than Austin.
Sure, both cities sport their demographics of young turks with tats and piercings and alternative life styles but that's really nothing more than prevailing fashion. I mean, come on; a blue mohawk? that's so 1980s.
"Keep Austin Weird" is really just Austin's way of telling the rest of the country that they're not Texas. "Lookit! lookit! See how weird we are? hahahah!"
How does one go about being weird in a city in which weirdness is the official motto? The truly weird spend their time trying to fake normal.
Minneapolis is truly, deeply, inherently weird. I love it. I blend in here like a tiger in the tall grass, waiting for the next hapless monkey to swing low so I can pounce and peel the meat off its bones.
Austin, you have no idea.