Showing posts with label Miscellaneous. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Miscellaneous. Show all posts

Monday, January 6, 2014

Getting Started in the New Year

With the new day comes new strength 
and new beginnings. - Eleanor Roosevelt

Welcome to 2014.  A new year, new adventures, new beginnings and new memories.  Do you make resolutions?  Do you start hitting the gym, begin diets, make a bucket list?  Do you suffer the disappointment of not keeping your resolutions, your diet stalls and you end up as a couch potato by the time the Super Bowl rolls around?

The new year is a good time to begin afresh, but the best of intentions fail when you try to implement too much change at once, at least this has been my experience.  

So I don't make resolutions for the new year.  Instead I set goals and continually strive to eat better, exercise more, stay positive, be nicer, be more organized (stay organized) and a whole host of other things.

Every time I fall off the wagon, I pick myself up, brush the dust off and remind myself that I can do this.

Here are some tips on how to start small and accomplish your goals (not resolutions).

  • Pick one or two things that you think you can do regularly. If you don't exercise, try walking for 15 minutes every day.  If you do work out, add a class, increase a weight, time or distance.  
  • Instead of a full blown diet, choose a healthy snack such as yogurt or nuts over candy and chips or water over sugared beverages.
  • Skip the numbers.  Forget the holiday statistics.  Don't focus on your weight in pounds.  Let your body be your guide.  You will know when things are working for you.  
  • Get organized one project at a time.  Change is overwhelming so don't decide to do a major overhaul in January and find yourself afloat in chaos come Spring.  Make a list. Compartmentalize each project so that you start and finish one before moving on to another.  This will keep your house in order and your sanity intact.
  • Try something new.  This can be anything from creative arts to taking a cooking class, learning a foreign language, travel or volunteering.  Find your passion and embrace it.
  • Relax.  This is something many of us need to work on.  We think if we are relaxing, i.e. "doing nothing" that we are wasting time, not being productive or just lazy.  Not true. Relaxation allows you to restore your balance, reduce stress and increase focus when you return to your activities.
Remember, starting small doesn't mean thinking small.  Whatever you dream, you can do.

Wishing you all a Happy and Healthy New Year!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Cartoon Rosie

Do you remember when the primary function of a phone was making calls?   Not too many decades ago, phones were wired directly into the walls.  Now we walk around not only carrying our phones in our pockets, but the internet and multi-feature cameras as well.

I was playing around with the cartoon setting on my phone's camera the other day and this was the result.

This is what my Rosie looks like after having been cartooned.  It reminds me of an old paint-by-number picture.

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Fluffernutter

This was my lunch the other day.  Hopefully the nutrition in the peanut butter offset the empty calories of the marshmallow creme - a gooey layer of carbs and sugar slathered on a slice of white bread.

The Fluffernutter was a phrase coined in 1960 for the peanut butter and marshmallow sandwich.  Marshmallow Creme (also known as Marshmallow Fluff) was credited to several inventors Emma and Amory Curtis in 1913 and Archibald Query in 1917, both from Massachusetts.  During World War I Emma Curtis created a recipe using peanut butter and marshmallow creme on white bread, which she then sold to Durkee-Mower Inc.  They changed the name to Marshmallow Fluff, which paved the way for today's Fluffernutter.  It soon gained popularity and has been proposed as the official state sandwich of Massachusetts.

The Fluffernutter is still most popular in New England, so what is a Southern gal doing eating one?  My Mom was from Maine and she would occasionally make them for lunch as an alternative to the many, many bologna sandwiches I ate.

Now that I've admitted it, who else enjoys a Fluffernutter?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Stalker

Stalking is something that happens to other people.  You know famous people, important people.  I never figured that would be me.  She is beautiful, I will admit, and I suppose I'm partly to blame for my situation.  I took pity on her and friended her because...well she lives with a bunch of real dogs.  

Now I find her waiting for me when I get home.  She appears from out of nowhere whenever I venture outside.  She boldly shows her affection for me and tries to force her way into my home. To get my attention, she throws herself at my feet, and when I try to leave her, she chases me down and trips me.  She even attacked my hubby.

To make matters worse, she lives next door and can scale the fence in two seconds flat.  Who knows...I may have to become a hermit.  Where is the "unfriend" button?

This is the face of a stalker!

She really is beautiful.

You know I'll find you!

Her moods can be as explosive as the pistol she was named for, but in all fairness to the lovely Beretta, she has calmed down some, and I no longer fear a feline home invasion.  Maybe living with six humans and a pack of dogs is sometimes just too much for her and she needs a little one-on-one with a cat person.  I can understand...that would make me a little nuts too.  I guess she could use a friend.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Beneath the Poplar Tree

I planted this tree a little more than 20 years ago as a seedling that I dug up from the woods next to our house.  It started out in a large soft drink cup and when it outgrew the cup and looked like it was going to make it, I planted it.  My guess is that it's nearly 2 feet in diameter and at least 50 feet tall.  Although the tree did all the work, I am very proud of having grown it from a mere sprout. 

So many people around here now are cutting down perfectly good trees and leaving their yards looking sad and naked.  It just breaks my heart when I see those lovely, healthy trees destroyed, leaving only ground out stumps and piles of sawdust.  I guess it is the fear of what might happen one day.

We are having a tree taken down, too, but for safety reasons only.  If it were healthy, that old maple, with all it's interesting character, would remain there shading the house for many years to come.  Fortunately, it is on the north side of the house and the neighbors have a large elm nearby so there will still be some shade. 

This is why it has to go.  It is so hollowed out it's a wonder it's still standing, but to look at the top of the tree, you'd never know it.  We (mostly me) have been putting this off for a long time but each year the hollow gets bigger and bigger and sooner or later, something will set up housekeeping in there, or it will go over in a big puff of wind...not a pleasant thought.  So Friday down it comes [sniff].

For now, cheers from beneath the poplar!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

It's Magic!

Captain Jim's Magic Show

I've written about Magic Carpets and Magic Apples, both the product of rubbing my two brain cells together.  But this, ladies and gentlemen, was magic up close and personal.  Not on TV, not from an elaborate stage.  Nope, this was my first live and in person magic show.  

Our dear friend, Sallie, generously opened her home and arranged some magical entertainment for our enjoyment for our latest Cheers get together, and it was a blast.  

Captain Jim has an interesting story, and magic is his second career, but that's all I'll say as he prefers to weave his story into the show.

After he had introduced himself and told a little about the show and how he got started, he chose a volunteer from the audience.  "What is your name?" he asked.  

"Jim," replied the volunteer.

" know JIM stands for Jim Is Magic!"

Moving on to the next act, he chose another volunteer.  "What is your name?" he asked. 

"Jim," responded the next person.


Three of the four Jims in our group were present that night, and you know it can get interesting when someone calls out "Hey Jim".  All heads turn and three guys respond.

Getting back to the show, Captain Jim did mind tricks, rope tricks, card tricks, appearing dove tricks, and made objects move through solid surfaces, each with carefully chosen musical accompaniment. 

It was a magical night of illusion and fun.  Many thanks to Sallie for setting this up.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Upside Down Sophie

If we could all just relax like a cat.

It's Friday!  Have a great weekend.

Friday, April 12, 2013

A Season of Growth

When you put aside your fears you grow stronger.
When you put aside your doubts you grow more confident.
When you put aside your prejudices you become more open minded.
When you put aside your negative thoughts you become a more positive person.
Embrace your new identity.

I wrote that about a year ago as my analysis of this quote "When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be."  When I reread those words, I felt compelled to share them again.

Sometimes there are issues or situations in our lives that cause us to feel afraid or lose confidence in ourselves.  We may have formed opinions based on something we have read or simply accepted what we've been told we should believe.  

We often fear what we don't understand, and our doubts and prejudices can grow from that fear.

As we enter into Spring, a season of growth and renewal, let's enter into a new season in our lives as well.  We, alone, are responsible for ourselves, so let's put aside the negatives, embrace the positive and reap the rewards. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Hyacinth and Greek Mythology

These beautiful and fragrant flowers are native to the Eastern Mediterranean from Turkey to Israel and Northeastern Iran.  As pretty as they are, their bulbs are poisonous, containing oxalic acid which can irritate the skin.

The Hyacinth also has history in Greek Mythology.  It was said that Hyacinth was a young boy loved by both Apollo and Zephyrus, the wind god.  Hyacinth was throwing the discus with Apollo when he missed Apollo's throw and was struck by the discus and died.  This was not accidental, though, for Zephyrus, being jealous of Apollo, caused a shift in the wind which forced Apollo's discus off course, thus causing Hyacinth's death.  Apollo did not allow Hades to take Hyacinth, instead making him a flower.*

The hyacinth is sometimes associated with rebirth; maybe this is why.

*information source:  Wikipedia

Friday, April 5, 2013

Too Busy?

I've been busy at multiple tasks this morning, and thought there's no way I can get a post up today.  I don't have any ideas, and I'm just too busy to take the time, so I figured I'd just share a picture.  In looking for just the right one, I found this one of Dood when he lived outside.  

It reminded me that no matter how busy we are or how long our "to do list" is,  we should remember to take time to relax and enjoy the good things in life.  

So as you face the busy day ahead or look forward to the weekend activities, take a little time to stop and smell the flowers.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

What Did You Say?

What did you say?
Did you ever play the game in school where a phrase is passed down from one kid to another?  When it reaches the last person and he repeats what he heard, "the monkey ate a yellow banana" may sound like "the donkey's name is bandana". Well quite often we have that same experience. 

At dinner last night, it went something like this as I put my plate into the microwave to reheat it (I like my food to be hot).

I said "I want to put a little heat on that".  What hubby heard was something completely different, so while the microwave was running, he repeated what he thought I said.  When the microwave was stopped, I said "What was that about feeding a rat?"  He laughed and repeated himself, "What was that about beating the rap?"

After I cleared up the confusion, he said "I was wondering what you had gotten into while I was at work."  In case you are wondering, we can't blame the microwave for our auditory issues.  This happens with or without interference.

It's amazing how twisted our words can get.  If this happens to you, please share.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Spring has Sprung: The Vernal Equinox

Spring, otherwise known as the Vernal Equinox, arrived today at 7:02 a.m. EDT.  Every year, I post in honor of the arrival of Spring, and every year I learn something new.  

The word Equinox comes from the Latin words "aequus" meaning equal and "nox" meaning night. This means that the day and night are of equal length everywhere, and that the sun rises due East and sets due West.

There is a bit of folklore that says that on the Equinox you can set a raw egg on its end and it will stay upright.  Some folks performed experiment, and they were successful, but when they repeated it 3 days later, the results were the same.  Perhaps the days immediately surrounding the Equinox work equally as well.  So, having a dozen eggs in the fridge, I decided to give it a try.  Well guess what?  All my eggs fell over onto their little white faces.  Not one would stand up and salute Spring.

What are some of the signs that Spring has sprung, well besides the daffodils and tiny red buds on the maple trees, that is?  This is when the worms come forth from the ground, and ladybugs are seen on the fresh new sprouts.  The birds are gathering bits of straw, string and whatever looks like good nest building materials to create homes for their new families.

Yes, Spring is a time of rebirth and renewal of life.  Although depending on your location, Nature and the calendar may not always be in agreement.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Here Kitty Kitty

For all the cat lovers out there, here are just a few of the funny cat pictures in my seemingly endless collection.

 I can haz french fry?  Purty pleeze?

You can't really see me can you?


Look, I got the girl.

I said "NO". 
Sometimes bad shots are funny.

You should see that feather now.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Bon Jovi -The "Because We Can" Tour

My birthday was a few weeks ago, and this was my present.

By 6:30 p.m. the line stretched from the Time Warner Cable Arena down the sidewalk to the BOA parking garage where we were parked and had u-turned back up the sidewalk.  The forecast was for rain that evening, but mostly it was a cold wind accompanied by an occasional light mist.

The show was supposed to start promptly at 7:30 but, for whatever reason, did not start until 8:10.  As the lights went down and Bon Jovi took the stage, nearly 20,000 screaming fans rose to their feet.  Amid the thunder was heard "Shot through the heart and you're to blame", the chorus of the well-known "You Give Love a Bad Name".

A packed house.

They performed a number of songs from their new album "What About Now".  Among those were "Because We Can" and the title song "What About Now".  They were on stage for nearly 3 hours, and while the sound quality at the Time Warner arena left a lot to be desired, the band put on a fabulous show.

So many lights.

Behind them on stage was a video wall made up of forty 80-foot polycarbonate plastic columns covered in 3d fabric.  Using 10 hi-def video projectors they can create all sorts of amazing backgrounds.  This wall is automated and the columns move up and down independently from one another.

Skyline on the video wall.

There were 20 songs on the set list (click for links to videos), plus another 7 in three encores.

We arrived just in time to get in line, so "dinner" was high-dollar concession food eaten standing up in the corridor.  

After getting out of the parking garage, we went looking for some place that served "real food" at midnight.  After trying at a place that had stopped serving at 12, we were directed to Skyland's, a 24-hour restaurant.  It's not often we finish up our dinner at 1:30 a.m., but hey, a good time was had by all!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Under the Weather, Again

Today is day 23 of the 30 minus 2 days of writing hosted by Nicky and Mike of We Work For Cheese. Today's prompt is "Absurd". Visit Nicky's post to read stories from the other participants.

This is a repost from several years ago, and it seemed fitting for today.  You see I contracted yet another nasty bug, and am somewhat under the weather today, so the mere thought of manipulating words seems positively absurd.

Ever wonder where the expression "under the weather" came from?
With everyone waxing poetic about the beauty of fall, there is also a down side of this lovely season; it heralds the coming of the cold and flu season.  When we fall prey to these nasties, we tend to say that we are "under the weather".  Just this past weekend, I used that phrase myself and began to wonder of its origins.

The phrase "under the weather" dates back to the 1800s.  When sailors would become seasick, they would be sent below deck to get away from the weather, thus literally being "under the weather".  Author Donald Grant Mitchell was the first to use this phrase in his 1850 book Reveries of a Bachelor, and it has since been used for everything from being "ill" or "indisposed" to "financially embarrassed" or "drunk".

Some state that the correct term is "under the weather bow".  The weather bow is the side of the boat being hardest hit by the nasty weather.

Also there is the belief that the weather can affect one's health, so a sick person is deemed to be "under the weather".  From this theory, it stands to reason that the weather can also influence a person's mood, rendering them under the weather as well.  This is documented as SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder, which I touched on last fall in my post Just Another Monday.

We all know the steps to staying healthy during the cold and flu season, but here's a recap so we don't have say, "Sorry, I can't.  I'm under the weather."
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water, or use hand sanitizer when you can't wash.
  • Do not touch your face - nose, eyes, mouth - that is the germ's way into your system.
  • Keep your distance from those are already sick.
  • In turn, if you do get sick, stay home away from others.
  • And of course, cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

A Musical Birthday

It is day 16 of the 30 minus 2 days of writing hosted by Nicky and Mike of We Work For Cheese.  Today's prompt is "Music".  Visit Nicky's post for more musical entries from those still able to string two words together.

Music is a broad topic and covers a lot of territory.  I don't have one favorite type of music, nor one favorite song, genre or band.  But for today's prompt I chose Bon Jovi.  For over ten years now I've been a fan, from the first time I heard "Thank You For Loving Me", to their latest single "Because We Can".   

So for my birthday this year we have tickets to a show in the "Because We Can" Tour next month.  This will be our second Bon Jovi concert.  

"Because We Can"

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Mayors of Winston-Salem

It is day 10 of the 30 minus 2 days of writing hosted by Nicky and Mike of We Work For Cheese.  Today's prompt is "The Mayor".  Visit Nicky's page to see what the other long-suffering participants have written.

Winston and Salem merged into Winston-Salem and was officially incorporated in 1913.  Oscar Eaton was elected as the Mayor of Winston before the incorporation, and he served until 1917.  Until then there were mayors for both Winston and Salem.

Oscar B. Eaton
During Mayor Eaton's tenure, a lot was done to bring Winston-Salem into the 20th century such as the paving of First Street and the opening of the Salem Water Plant.  Also the Public Works department was established, and in 1915 the first police cars were purchased.

During our official 100-year history, Winston-Salem has had 18 mayors.  Of those 18, George Coan served two non-consecutive terms during 1929-1935 and 1943-1945.  There were two who served one-year terms.  R. J. Reynolds (I think you'll recognize that name) from 1941-1942, and J. Wilbur Crews from 1942-1943.

There were two mayors who served for 12 years each, Marshall Kerfees 1949-1961 and Wayne Corpening, 1977-1989.

The current mayor, Allen Joines has been in office since 2001.  The majoral election is coming up later this year, and Joines is seeking a fourth term.

Image Source:  Winston-Salem Mayors' Biographies.

Thursday, February 7, 2013


 It is day 7 of the 30 minus 2 days of writing hosted by Nicky and Mike of We Work For Cheese.  Today's prompt is "Texting".  For me it was more like a test I didn't study for.  Visit Nicky's page to see what the other long-suffering participants have written.

Way back in the dark ages before smart phones and home computers there was shorthand.  The Gregg version was invented by John Robert Gregg in 1888.  I took it in high school, (more recently than 1888) and it was probably my favorite class.  All the letters and sounds of the alphabet are represented, but the key to shorthand are brief forms.  Brief forms are words or phrases represented by one symbol, which increased efficiency.

After learning the alphabet and brief forms, we took dictation.  This was the fun part.  We started out at around 40-60 words per minute, and worked up.  I think my max rate was 140 words per minute.  We had to take and successfully transcribe 120 wpm to pass.  The funny thing was that after taking it at 110 or 120, going back to 90 or 100 was actually harder.  I think it was because we were used to the higher speed and had to recalibrate.

Thanks to modern technology, shorthand is a dying art.  Now we have computers and automated dictation equipment.  So how does all this tie in to texting?  Although serving different purposes, the brief forms used in shorthand are similar to the shortened words and phrases used in texting.  This new language allows us to convey our thoughts in 160 characters or less.  That's important when we're typing with just our thumbs.

We've actually used abbreviations like these for years such as FYI, BYOB, ASAP.  BTW, there are enough out there to MEGO.  I'll leave you with this list of shortcuts so you can tune up your texting skills.  TAFN.  CUL8R.

PS - What are some of your favorite texting short cuts?

PPS - Did anyone else take shorthand?

Sunday, February 3, 2013

How Doth the Time Pass

It is day 3 of the 30 minus 2 days of writing hosted by Nicky and Mike of  We Work For Cheese.  This is written for the prompt "And the next thing I knew".
Time is a funny thing.  Sometimes it passes so slowly you are certain the entire Redwood forest will be petrified before you advance to first in line at the checkout.  The girl with pink hair and enough body piercings to rival a punk rocker gives you a surly look, then calls someone from the cosmetic department to determine whether the brand of lip gloss you are purchasing is actually the one on sale.

What does this have to do with today's prompt you ask?  Well, it is all about how fast or slowly time passes in relation to a particular event.  This challenge was announced on January 12, giving the industrious person ample time to prepare.  I read the prompts and assured myself I would have several posts pre-written  so I wouldn't be always be writing by the seat of my pants.  I mulled, pondered, ruminated, cogitated and ultimately procrastinated.  I've got plenty of time.  Well, time has a way of speeding up at all the wrong times, and the next thing I knew it was January 31.  Oops!  I had nothing, nada, zilch.  So here it is day three, and yep, I'm writing by the seat of my pants...again!

Check out the list on Nicky's post for some good reads.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Up a Tree

This picture makes me happy!
Rosie will be 16 years old in June.  As you know, he has been struggling with diabetes for several years now, and he is currently on insulin about twice a day depending on his blood sugar levels when we test him.  In addition, he suffers from allergies, chronic sinus issues and ear and skin conditions which cause him to cough, sneeze and scratch.  He goes to the vet regularly for shots to control his symptoms.  These shots in turn raise his blood sugar.  

In spite of all this, Rosie is still a happy cat, or as we like to say "an awesome cat".  He still loves life.  However, he has good days, and not so good days. 

So why does this picture make me happy?  This was one of his very best days lately.  He loves Sophie and he was chasing her around the house.  But amid chase, Sophie went up her tree.  Uncharacteristically, Rosie followed - at least to the first perch.  He's feeling good, and that makes me happy!

On top of the world.
Sophie is the only one who uses the cat tree.  It is her escape and a good place to oversee the outside, or just catch a few uninterrupted zzz's.  Occasionally, Rosie will lay on the base and soak up a few rays.

It's nappy time!


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