Thursday, December 31, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
It seemed silly to put up a tree or lights when we left home days before Christmas and normally didn't come back until after the New Year. That is a busy time anyway, and it just felt like more work than fun. After flying from one coast to the other to play with grandkids, coming home to taking down decorations was too big a bother.
This year will be a bit different and hubby thought we needed a few decorative touches--weird coming from him. We are leaving on the 19th to go to Florida, but after Christmas my California kids are coming back this direction. The kids want to play in the snow and the 12-year-old has plans for a snowboarding lesson. So, we bought a couple of 4-foot topiary trees, some cute little solar-powered snowmen for the walk, and I dug out a few things from my Christmas boxes. I can't compete with neighbors who go all out, but it feels kind of nice to have a little holiday inside and out. Besides, it isn't enough to be a big deal to put away.
Next year? Who knows.
Friday, November 13, 2009
She says that when Dawn detergent first came out, it was much better than the competition. It made lots of suds, was very tough on grease, and only a little squirt was necessary. Since that time, however, the quality has slipped away until it is like all other dish washing products. My mom loves to cook so she speaks with some authority about dish washing.
Charmin introduced Plus bathroom tissue (that's the correct term for what used to be called toilet paper). When it first came out Mom said it was very soft and one could actually feel the lotion/aloe. Now, however, when one can actually find the Plus version of Charmin, it is nowhere near as wonderful as it once was. She even sent a hand-written letter to the company to complain.
Mom, who is an excellent cook, also decries all the sneaky changes in container sizes. She has family recipes that call for a "can" of Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk--not any more, the cans are smaller. Who knows what amount to add now? Same for cans of pumpkin and pie fillings, condensed soups, and evaporated milk. I guess the people who first wrote the recipes didn't foresee that the companies would ever change their packaging. Who could have predicted that rather than raise the price of a product they would choose to instead make the container smaller? Did they think we wouldn't notice? We did, and found it extremely irritating.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Of course, unless they are paired with the really smart teacher.
Naturally, those same smart kids also need savvy parents.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Friday, October 9, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
But watch out for the twinkle in her eyes and big smile on her face....she can also be a ball of fire.She loves fancy princess dresses and tiaras, lip gloss, shoes, make believe games, pre school, jumping, running, dancing, and riding her bike (training wheels don't slow her down).
Saturday, August 29, 2009
I had to laugh. I thought the postal service was struggling because of a declining volume of mail. I've contributed to the decline, but this year has not made me more confident. I use UPS more because they can actually track packages. Yes, it is more expensive, but I haven't had anything disappear or arrive as pieces in plastic.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
Grandpa knew where to go and we ended up in a lovely meadow.
Naturally, one cannot possibly camp without making S'Mores over a fire. Who cares if they are messy, they're required.
We also caught a few fish, played games, went for rides on the ATV (with helmet), practiced our target shooting, ate lots of good food, got a bit dirty, talked, and laughed a lot.
Some of the formations are called HooDoos and we thought this one looked like two people standing on a precipice.
It was a fun time with three wonderful kids who don't get to see each other very often. We were sorry to have to send them back to their parents and sisters.
The three younger grandkids are our granddaughters (8, 5, and 3). We'll soon need to find a way to do something fun to get them together too. Darn these sons who end up on different coasts. The boys (and grandpa) are already planning to camp again next summer.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
This view is carrots, beets, (you can still see the peas), with the pole beans, and two other kinds of beans at the end. Off to the picture's left are about 50 tomato plants (there may be more, I'm just guessing), and we've begun to enjoy the fresh tomatoes.
The radishes are gone, as is the Swiss Chard, and I'm sure I've missed stuff.
Monday, July 13, 2009
I was saved from severe embarrassment holding up oversized denim capris, and probably no one even knew what we had done. Thank goodness that some people accidentally leave clothes for those of us who send too many away. It was a rocky end to a lovely trip, but all's well that ends well.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
I admit that I don't remember the name of this lake (there are so many), but it was so calm that I got a beautiful reflection picture from inside the bus.
Our last shore excursion took us to this gorgeous Cirque. That is a steep-sided, half open valley where a glacier once began. We were very lucky to get a sunshiny day, but it is so difficult to get the majesty and size of everything from a 2-dimensional photo. Clicking to enlarge will help, but one truly has to be there.
We spent a day on the ship while visiting Glacier Bay. It is so cool (pun intended) to be close to these rivers of ice. I was taking the pictures from Deck 10 so you have to enlarge the picture to see some kayakers. Every so often we'd hear the cracking sound and hurry to look, but the park rangers on board told us that meant we had missed the ice falling: you could see it before you could hear it.
Those of us who had brought binoculars enjoyed watching several large brown bears wandering along the edge of the water. The biggest one had an interesting black and brown coloration.
Hubby's sister wanted to show her family how pretty the inside atrium of the ship was, so we took a few (this one with her dad and sister hiding behind). She has MS, but she got along beautifully and loved everything about the cruise--her first.
I've spoken to a number of people who have done way more cruises than we have, but I've not met anyone who didn't love the Alaskan Inside Passage. If you like magnificent scenery, it is one to try.
Monday, July 6, 2009
Holland America really knows how to take care of its guests. My father-in-law celebrated his 82nd birthday and, without our saying anything, he was brought a birthday cake and fussed over and sang to.
The dining room option was nice. They had two formal nights when we dressed up, but the food every night was fabulous. This picture is a little dark because of the light from the window (stern of the ship), but that's okay because I didn't ask permission from the family to put their pictures in here anyway. If a dining room was a bit too...serious....there was always the more laid-back buffet, or the grill, or the taco bar, etc.
This cruise took us up into what is called the Tracy Arm. It was just beautiful with the glacier and all the mini icebergs. The ice in the bottom of the glaciers is very blue because of the pressure from above. Something about the way the crystals change and oxygen is forced out.
Our first shore excursion was in Juneau. Of course we had to visit the Mendenhall glacier. There is a trail that leads clear out to the ice, but we didn't have quite enough time to walk it. All the pictures can be bigger with a click, if you enlarge the one below, you can see some people in a canoe. If you enlarge the glacier above, you get a much better look at the blue ice.
We had to take our whale-watching dinner cruise. That was very exciting because we saw humpbacks bubble-net feeding. The person narrating the trip said she had been doing these excursions for three years and this was the first time she had seen that behavior. Hubby and I were lucky enough to have seen it before on an earlier trip, but it was just as cool the second time. We also caught a very young whale playing near the surface. It wasn't at all shy and gave us a lively show. It is, however, very difficult to have the camera pointed at the right place at the right time. Hubby did get a little video of the youngster.
Friday, June 26, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
This was the way it looked on Sunday. He was disgusted with the wind blowing because it was drying things out too quickly.
It is too big to get in one picture, so I snapped from a couple of angles. The corn rows are separated by rows of potatoes. The corn was planted at slightly different times to try and keep it from all being ready at the same time. Sometimes it doesn't work.
There are rows of tomatoes, carrots, radishes (won't be good for much longer), beans, onions, peas, cucumbers, squash, Swiss chard, beets, cabbage, and other good stuff. What you won't see are weeds.
Monday, June 22, 2009
Friday, June 12, 2009
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Believe it or not, this is the sun. It has been windy all day and I love the variety of the sky. We have high cirrus, fluffy-looking cumulus, and kinds in between. It is still warm at 7 p.m.--I'm guessing low 80s, but hubby says I always guess too cool--so I had a lovely walk.
Monday, June 1, 2009
Friday, May 29, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Apparently, my recent column on weird people names struck a nerve. There are strong feelings about alternate spellings — Soozy, Mychal, Stefanee, Arika — and “made-up” names— Diggery, Moon Unit, Lea (I’ll explain later) and so forth.
One reader wrote: At my job, I take appointments, and I’m required to write down the person’s name with correct spelling. The strangest spelling I’ve ever seen is the name “Susie”— spelled “Siouxzy.”
That poor girl would automatically have to spell her name every time! He continues:
From a reader named Jo Ellen: Two true stories from a niece who worked as a nurse in a St. Louis, Mo., hospital: A baby named “Le-a.” Want to try to guess the pronunciation? “Ladash- a.” (Note: This name was reported by several readers, as was Da-Da or “DaDashda”). There was also a baby boy named Marco. Want to try to guess the pronunciation? “D-marco.”
To quote the mother, “The d is invisible.”
Invisible letters...quite a trick. Besides, Le-a should really be pronounced Lahyphena, but maybe I shouldn't give anyone ideas.
He has some general guidelines he thinks parents should follow. I think they are pretty darn sensible.
1. If you can’t walk into a truck stop or gift shop and find a key chain or a coffee cup with that name or the same spelling, then try something else. 2. You must be able to determine the gender of the child when you hear/see the name.
No more girls named Stevie, Mychal, Jordan, Chase, Devon, Drew, Kyle or, for all we know, Harold and Arthur.
There are lots of unisex names: Morgan, Tyler (yes), Tracy, Kelly, Kris (Chris), etc.
3. You must be able to say it when you see it. Use of punctuation doesn’t even come up for consideration. Le-a is out. If you plan to name your next kid “& Smith” or “* Johnson” and expect anyone to call him/her “Asterisk” or “Ampersand,” think again.
4. You should be able to spell the name when you hear it — for the most part, people should not have to ask. Let’s nationalize the spelling of some names and move on — is it Shayne, Shane, Shain, LeShane? Attention, future parents, if you have doubts about the spelling of a name, ask for help.
Different can be good, but it can also be a real pain. He has more general rules.
5. Please, enough already with using last names for first names — Taylor, Kennedy, Madison, Johnson, Anderson, Lincoln.
6. No naming kids after weather phenomena— Misty, Dusty, Smoky, Winter, Autumn (Autymn), Spring, Stormy (Stormee), Windy (Windee), Nimbus, Precipitation, Humidity (Humiditee) and so forth. Those are pony names, not human names.
7. It must be a name for people, not for objects, etc. “Apple,” doesn’t cut it, and neither does Avocado nor Celery nor any other fruit or vegetable.
8. If you get too cute with the name, you’re probably trying too hard. A reader named Derek (Darrick?) reports that a co-worker gathered these names from his Facebook account: Jermagesty, Tequila, Bacardi, Champagne, Abcde (pronounced like “rhapsody”).
I heard a young mother in a store, calling to her runaway toddler, "McCartney, come back." Obviously, I'm not sure of the spelling, although I thought immediately of Paul--must be my age.
His last bit of wisdom was about using great characters, like from the Bible, for names. Lots of pressure for Abrahams, Isaacs, and Jacobs.
Mom and I have talked about this too and we agree that if a child is exceptionally bright, friendly, and beautiful, he/she can survive a weird name. But, woe be to a child who has any weaknesses.
As I have many young nieces and nephews who are planning parenthood, I hope they read his last thought: “A man’s name is not like a mantle which merely hangs about him, and which one perchance may safely twitch and pull, but a perfectly fitting garment, which, like the skin, has grown over and over him, at which one cannot rake and scrape without injuring the man himself.”
He ended by signing, Duhg Robynson, but he could have used another y.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Friday, May 8, 2009
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
I'd better go now and check my Facebook page to see if anyone wants to be my "friend." Then I think I'll go out and actually converse with people for a while. Moderation in all things.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
I'll be interested to see what's in tomorrow's newspaper. In the meantime, I'll try and figure out something to post that actually belongs to me.