Thursday, January 31, 2008

Random Thuursday

Because I had nothing substantive to say yesterday, I've made note of a few random thoughts from the drive in to work...

LOST, the television phenomenon that has swept the nation (without me!) - I have finally succumbed to the teevee. Well, I watched the special "Looking Glass" episode of LOST anyway, and I loved the snarky subtitles! And thank heavens for the DVR so I could back-track every time I looked away and missed a critical element in the Cliff Notes. This was a very clever way to catch up the Neanderthals (me) who managed to miss last season (and all seasons leading up to that one). So will this season take place off the island? I'm not sure I'll stick with it, but I have set the DVR to record tonight's episode should I choose to watch it. We'll see. If there are no subtitles, it will probably lose me pretty quickly.

Britney in the news - again - gasp! This girl has enough problems without the 24/7 spotlight hysteria from the media. I'd go stark raving mad also if that was my life! Brit Brit needs to hole up in a bunker someplace and not come out for a few years. Poor girl. I'm afraid she's not long for this world. Poor kids. They are the real losers in all of this.

Election Predictions - Two days ago, I was all ready to call my prediction for a "Nick-Osama" race. But following the Florida primary, I'm now predicting a McCain - Clinton race. Not nearly as exciting, in my opinion. And while Jen claims to be bound by the Heath Act, unable to voice her opinion, I will share mine...I don't think Clinton has a chance against McCain who has gathered a lot of support from across the aisle. He may not be a true-blood Conservative, but if what we're really afraid of is another Clinton administration, I don't think we will have to face that horror. Republicans will band together and vote for anyone who is not Clinton. And Democrats/Independents will be split between the two. So I'm predicting a McCain win in the end. Not that this is who I am voting for in the primaries, mind you, just my prediction, for what that's worth.

Fox News XM Radio ads - too much Viagra! My. Word. Every other commercial is for some form of "male enhancement" or "performance" drug. I've stopped listening to Fox News. It's all blues, all the time, from now on. Exit 74 on your XM dial. Good stuff!

Study shows that all blue-eyed people are related - oh, really? I suppose some government grant money funded this study also. Another reason why I no longer need Fox News in my life. This is what news has boiled down to. Well, this, and all Brit, all the time. It seems that about 10,000 years ago, some mutation took place in the human species resulting in the loss of pigment in the brown eyes which caused them to appear blue instead. And ever since, the recessive blue eyes have been passed down through generations leading researchers to claim that all blue-eyed people are related. Am I missing something here? Because if we push back a few more years, aren't we also saying that we all descended from the original brown eyed folks, possibly the two found sharing an apple in the Garden? And doesn't this make all people related? Not surprising I guess is that the study arose in Germany where, if my history serves me well, it was also once claimed that the Aryan blond-haired, blue-eyed race was superior.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Gall of People

I just received this email from a friend...apparently these 9 puppies were dumped behind a store where her friend's daughter works and she found them this morning. Fortunately, the temps last night were unseasonably warm, but today, it is frigid cold again. They are so lucky to have been picked up by someone who cares enough to house them until they find good homes. 2 down and 7 to go. But HOW could anyone be so cold hearted?!?! Anyone wanna puppy? Aw, come on. You know you do. ;-)


Monday, January 28, 2008

10 Stress Reducers (From the AICPA Insider)

Words of wisdom, to help you all reduce the stress in your life. Sometimes, it amazes me what passes for wisdom. Other times, admittedly, we overlook the simplest things. So, without further ado, here are the 10 things you can do to destress your life:

First of all, prioritize. "We can only do one thing at a time." This was suggested by researchers at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England. It takes rocket science to figure this out? So much for multi-tasking, the nemesis of us all.

Focus on what you have accomplished..."rather than on all the things not yet done." I think this is the most important one on the list. At least in my little world, a few minutes of positive self-talk about what I've managed to get done goes a long way. It's why I always try to finish something or at least get to a good stopping point before I quit for the day.

Maintain a healthy and balanced diet. "Avoid sudden high intakes of sugar as it causes the blood sugar level to rise and then drop sharply, which can cause drowsiness; get regular exercise; drink plenty of water; and try to maintain regular bedtimes"...yada, yada, yada. Again, not exactly rocket science, but still...there are times when only an M&M fix will do.

Get comfortable. ~zzzzz~

Clear clutter. I spend so much time clearing clutter that I don't get any real work done. They say there's an inverse relationship between an organized desk and an organized mind. I believe this, because to see my desk does not give anyone insight into the clutter that fills my head.

Take regular breaks. Like blogging, for example? :-)

Be sure there’s adequate light. Aha! That was the problem. I was once in the darkness, but now I can see!

Rest your eyes. ~more zzzzzz~

Check your meds. Am I the only one who thinks this is funny?

Let go. Here, I just have to quote the article (emphasis added by me)..."If a lack of concentration is a concern, there are some techniques that may help improve it, such as one dubbed, “Be Here Now.” University experts note, “When you are thinking about not concentrating, you are not concentrating. Do not try to push any particular thought out of your mind. When you are trying not to think about something, your mind is occupied and you are not concentrating. Just let the thought go like a breeze, say to yourself, ‘be here now,’ and return to the present.” University experts said that. Just, wow. Like, that's really cosmic.


Friday, January 25, 2008

It's Never Boring Around Here

For those of you waiting for a wedding update, the latest is there won't be a wedding on Valentine's Day. There may be a wedding sometime in the future, but it won't be on Valentine's Day of this year. The fiance has just up and disappeared. She doesn't know where he is (but doesn't suspect foul play or anything). There was a dispute of some kind and she says "he'll come back to her eventually." Well, I have all kinds of words to say about the relationship already, none of which she wants to hear, so I'll keep my mouth shut. Mostly. But I'm on my way out the door right now, to pick her up from her friend's house (where she is living these days) and try to console her.

Life as a teenager is never boring. One day, the plan is "X," the next day it is "Y." One day, life is rosy and the next, all doom and gloom (sometimes the doom and gloom is imagined and sometimes it is very real). I never know what the next phone call will entail.



Thursday, January 24, 2008


From the e-mail inbox...too cute not to share although you may have seen these before:

Answers given by 2nd grade school children to the following questions:

Why did God make mothers?

1. She's the only one who knows where the scotch tape is. :-)
2. Mostly to clean the house.
3. To help us out of there when we were getting born.

How did God make mothers?

1. He used dirt, just like for the rest of us. :-)
2. Magic plus super powers and a lot of stirring.
3. God made my Mom just the same like he made me. He just used bigger parts.

What ingredients are mothers made of?

1. God makes mothers out of clouds and angel hair and everything nice in the world and one dab of mean.
2. They had to get their start from men's bones. Then they mostly use string, I think. :-) :-)

Why did God give you your mother and not some other mom?

1. We're related.
2. God knew she likes me a lot more than other people's moms like me. :-)

What kind of little girl was your mom?

1. My Mom has always been my mom and none of that other stuff.
2. I don't know because I wasn't there, but my guess would be pretty bossy.
3. They say she used to be nice. :-)

What did mom need to know about dad before she married him?

1. His last name. :-)
2. She had to know his background. Like is he a crook? Does he get drunk on beer?
3. Does he make at least $800 a year? Did he say NO to drugs and YES to chores?

Why did your mom marry your dad?

1. My dad makes the best spaghetti in the world. And my Mom eats a lot.
2. She got too old to do anything else with him. :-)
3. My grandma says that Mom didn't have her thinking cap on. :-)

Who's the boss at your house?

1. Mom doesn't want to be boss, but she has to because dad's such a goof ball. :-)
2. Mom. You can tell by room inspection. She sees the stuff under the bed.
3. I guess Mom is, but only because she has a lot more to do than dad.

What's the difference between moms & dads?

1. Moms work at work and work at home and dads just go to work at work.
2. Moms know how to talk to teachers without scaring them.
3. Dads are taller & stronger, but moms have all the real power 'cause that's who you got to ask if you want to sleep over at your friend's.
4. Moms have magic, they make you feel better without medicine.

What does your mom do in her spare time?

1. Mothers don't do spare time?
2. To hear her tell it, she pays bills all day long. :-)

What would it take to make your mom perfect?
1. On the inside she's already perfect. Outside, I think some kind of plastic surgery. 8-{
2. Diet. You know, her hair. I'd diet, maybe blue. :-)

If you could change one thing about your mom, what would it be?

1. She has this weird thing about me keeping my room clean. I'd get rid of that.
2. I'd make my mom smarter. Then she would know it was my sister who did it and not me.
3. I would like for her to get rid of those invisible eyes on the back of her head.

I especially liked the "string" theory.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Phone Survey

Today, I was interviewed by the Taxpayer Advocate Service (a division of the IRS that exists to help taxpayers resolve their problems with the IRS...this is your tax money at work...rather than fix the agency that is broken, create another agency inside of the broken agency to fix the problems of the broken one...job security).

Yesterday, I received a call at work much like the calls we get during dinner time ("supper" for those of you in the South) at home. After the introductory remarks, I said that no, I didn't have 5 minutes to take the survey. When asked if they could call back, I said "yes, tomorrow at 1:30." Why?! Why did I think that I would feel like taking a survey today at 1:30? I don't know. But a different interviewer called 1:30, today. So I took the survey.

Every single question included the phrase "Taxpayer Advocate Service employee that you last spoke to," at least once. And was often followed by "not any other Taxpayer Advocate Service experiences you may have had." When I am at work, I have a particular hatred for the phone and all of its interuptive powers. And taking longer than 5 minutes to phrase each question is one reason for the hatred. But I listened and answered each of the questions. The entire "5-minute survey" took about 30 minutes.

Mostly, the questions or statements were posed and then the interviewer would tell me to answer "1 if I strongly agreed, 2 if I agreed, 3 if I neither agreed nor disagreed, 4 if I disagreed, or 5 if I strongly disagreed" (and he gave me these options after each. and. every. question.). Sometimes, I interrupted with my answer before he finished giving all of the options, hoping to speed up the process, but like a good test taker, I mostly waited for him to finish with all of my choices before picking the "correct" answer. Like he might change up the choices at any moment, without warning. Like it mattered, my answers. Like this survey will result in the IRS doing anything any differently than they have done for decades.

He concluded the survey with an open-ended question, "what would you have liked for the Taxpayer Advocate Service employee that you last spoke to to do differently?" My answer, "I would have liked her to return my phone calls more promptly" took a full 5 minutes in itself for the interviewer to type up, and he recited it back to me as he typed. I swear, he was not only typing with one finger, hunting and pecking around the keyboard, but also eating lunch at the same time. Then, he asked if there was anything else I would like to see improved. Um. No. No, thank you. I did not have that much time to expand on my already "lengthy" response.

And then, the Grand Finale question from the Taxpayer Advocate Service office was, "How was the sound quality of this phone call today? 1 if it was Very Good, 2 if it was Good, 3 if it was neither good nor bad, 4 if it was bad, or 5 if it was very bad." The sound quality? Okay, that's a joke, right? Actually, I had to hold the receiver a few inches from my ear the whole interview because it was so loud. I thought I must be on Candid Camera. But rather than perpetuate the discussion about sound quality or any of the other qualities of this interview that annoyed me, I just said "3" and hung up.

Now, I've extended the 30 minute "5-minute' Interview into a 30 minute sequel by writing all about it. But I feel better having gotten it off my chest.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Word Play

I recently purchased the scintillating, action-packed video game of...wait for it...

Scrabble! Woot!!

(Merriam Webster's word of the Year, wOOt!, is not in the Scrabble dictionary by the way)

Who invented the Scrabble dictionary anyway? The Scrabble people? How is that really fair play? I insist on playing with a real dictionary. Which is why, now, I play alone.

After exhausting my trial 60 minutes worth, I had difficulty purchasing the game which was unavailable for a spell. Finally (after accidentally installing it on Dad's computer while trying to show him how it wasn't available), I managed to download it on my own.

Which leads me to this...

Since when is "Qat" a word? It means "kat," according to the Scrabble people...which means what, exactly? "Cat" perhaps? Sheesh. Where's the "U"? Isn't there some rule about that? What has happened to everything I learned in kindergarten?

And "Biz" (plural = "bizzes," I kid you not!) This means "business" for the undereducated.

And "Qi"? Qi, if you are wondering, is the "vital force that in Chinese thought is inherent in all things" Ah yes, the ubiquitous qi. I guess "qi" is fair if "Tao" is a word (it is). But "Te" is not. What would Piglet say?

"Hyp," meaning hypochondria? Who decides which abbreviations get into this dictionary? "Hyp" is in, but "ADHD" is out. "Ed" (education) is in, but "org" (organization) is out.

Which brings me to the real source of angst this evening. "Jews" is not a word, according to the Gentile Scrabble people. And that's important because if it was, I would have won 66 points for playing it on a double letter/triple word box! Sheesh.

See what I mean? I can't even play alone, without getting into a fight.


Carne Asada and The Fiancé

The "kids" finally arrived last night, ready to prepare us a wonderful dinner...they arrived carrying 15 pounds of thinly sliced and marinaded beef and 8 dozen tortillas, flour and corn. 15 pounds of beef (no bones)! Seriously. Always up for a party (not), I started in with the questions. "Um," I asked, "how many people are coming over?" "Just us," said our daughter, noting that there were 5 of us since the fiance's cousin decided to join them on this outing to meet the future in-laws (for reasons unclear to us). "Oh, so we'll have to ration then...just 3 pounds of meat and 19 tortillas a piece, what a shame...maybe I can fill up on mixed nuts."

Anyway, since the meat was already sliced and marinaded, it didn't take as long as we expected, and it was super tasty. Here's the fiancé putting the last batch on the grill (it's too bad it was too cold outside to fire up the real grill, with wood coals, because that would have been especially delicious). We enjoyed the finished product with 2 kinds of tortillas and 3 kinds of salsa (hot, hotter and hottest). And then we finished it off with a nice pecan pie. Mmmm. Delicious!

The Fiancé (nice Stetson!)

The Engaged

Here is what we now know about the engagement that we did not know before yesterday...

They are "planning" to get married on Valentine's Day (less than a month away) and have not yet reserved the church (Me: "Are you planning to get married in a church or at the courthouse?" Daughter: "At a church. At your church. I'm not getting married in a courthouse!" Me: "Oh? Have you talked to anyone at the church yet?" Her: "No" *exasperated sigh*). When asked if they had their marriage license yet, she acted like that was the first she'd heard of such a thing (Her: "Who has to do that?" Me: "Well, you do, honey." Her: "Both of us?!" Me: "Yes. Maybe you should pick up a bridal magazine or something") And so the conversation went. No dress, no flowers, no music, no cake, no reception hall, no food, no ring for the groom (apparently, her ring has been purchased and is being sized...girl knows what's important, I guess). Granted, all of this stuff can be bought on a moment's notice if you're not too picky, so I guess there's an outside chance that a wedding will take place on Valentine's Day, but I have my doubts. It sounded as if they were in love with the idea of a wedding on Valentine's Day, but hadn't actually thought through any of the details yet. I hated to ask (not that this stopped me) the important questions, like, do you really love this guy and think he's the one you are meant to spend the rest of your life with???

Nevertheless, we could tell that they are very much in love and he seemed like a very nice and loving and supportive man. He seemed serious about wanting to take care of her and provide for her. Of all the boyfriends she has had, we both agreed that he was one of the few we actually liked (he's one of the few that doesn't dress like a gangster, which might have a lot to do with our willingness to be open minded about the prospect of giving her away). But still...she's only 19 (or will be very shortly). She's barely an adult and not yet finished with her education. So we have some serious concerns, but then it's really not in our hands, I guess. We are trusting God to guide them.

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Sunday, January 20, 2008

Cooking For Two

Heh. The pot is overflowing. You would think I'm cooking for a large gathering. I could make this a contest...what am I cooking?

It's Jen's Texas Chili...a double batch (that's an 8 qt pot!). It's yummy. We make it all the time (with ground turkey instead of beef and with chicken taco seasoning instead of has a little lime kick to it) because it is super easy and we love the leftovers. We're making this for the coming week. Chili for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But we are supposed to be eating carne asada for dinner tonight. That is, if our cook ever gets here . Our daughter and her fiance (yes, well, that was news to us also) were supposed to come over and fix dinner for us. The fiance is Mexican and sounds like a good cook, and we're looking forward to sampling it. They were supposed to be here at 3:00 but it's now 5:30...they just called to tell us they're on their way...doesn't carne asada take like, a long time to cook?! In the meantime, I guess, we have our back up pot of chili.

I laughed as I "assembled" the chili, because of this post, the funniest post about baked beans I've read in a long time. It's true, if you have to open a can, it's probably not technically "cooking" (the trash can was full of cans after this picture was taken...14 in all!). But I say, if you have to cut up an onion, it's cooking. And I outsourced the onion cutting to my husband. ;-)

Okay, the cooks have finally arrived. I'll be back tomorrow.


Saturday, January 19, 2008

New Year's Resolutions

I guess it's finally time to drag out the New Year's resolutions. I didn't make any. I never do. There, I've said it. Done.

But for good measure, I just ordered this. The old treadmill motor died about a year ago and my weight has gone uphill ever since. So for the price of a new motor in the old one, I ordered this lesser new one, which has a 12-year motor warranty. That ought to hold me over. I mean, all I need is a place to walk uphill without actually, you know, walking up hills (in the cold snow and rain, or heat of summer). Plus, I can watch teevee while I do this and that helps take my mind off of the complete and utter misery of walking up hills. Sort of.

I've also "resolved" to be a better blogger. I'm going to try (TRY, I say) to post on a daily basis. Notice I did not say anything about quality of posts, which I recognize as an important trait in becoming a better blogger, but I'm not there yet. One step at a time. :-)


Friday, January 18, 2008

Disaster Averted

I had nightmares last night. And with good reason. I nearly killed the dog. In real life. After nearly killing the dog in real life, I had nightmares that the dog was dead. It was a rough night.

After a good evening with a couple of friends who wanted to see my jewelry (and ended up buying 7 pieces!), I drove home carefully on the still semi-icy/slushy/snowy roads. When I got home, our dogs were both outside, running around. Smokey (I've added a link to a post containing Smokey's mug, but you have to scroll down the post to get to it) is getting more arthritic, blind and deaf by the day (he's about 14) and was limping as he ran. After he ran down the small hill and into the driveway, his normal routine is to get in front of my car and guide me in. He's a herding dog. I guess this is what he's supposed to do. But this time, instead of guiding me into the garage, he collapsed into the snow and lifted one leg up as if it was especially painful, or frozen or something. Feeling sorry for him and knowing that he had overexerted himself getting into position, I put on the parking brake and jumped out of the car to help him. Only I forgot to put the car in Park first! Gahhhhh!!!! I was already out of the car and walking toward him when I realized the car was MOVING!! And it was about to run over Smokey!!! I rushed to get back in the car, sliding around (in my dress shoes on the icy snowy driveway, no less), clawing with my hands for the brake pedal in fear that I couldn't get in the car fast enough to put my foot on it, and finally (FINALLY!) managing to jump in and stop the car, all just in the nick of time. At any rate, it was a close call and too scary to think about what might have happened. My husband would have killed me shortly thereafter, I'm sure of it.

My profound sympathies go out to others who have lost their dogs recently, to disasters that were not averted. I'm so sorry to Beth and to Jim and to others who, on a regular basis, lose their most loyal friends to accidents such as these.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

When You've Got Nothing Else to Blog About

Does everybody's kitchen look like this? Or is it just mine and Jim's? My shot is not as "Kubrickian" as Jim's, but still, the resemblance struck me as almost eerie, especially in the context of Kubrick. I thought about posting a side by side, but that proved too difficult at this late hour, so you'll have to do the work yourself. ;-)


Monday, January 14, 2008

Dancin' With the Gub'ner

On Saturday night, my husband and I boogied with the gub'ner of Kansas. And not at some hoity-toity liberal gubernatorial event either. Nope. We were at Knuckleheads (again), to see the great Marcia Ball (again!) . Now, honestly? My husband and I did not actually dance. Because that would require...well, dancing! And I don't dance (I may have attempted a few times, but for anyone out there who has seen me make such a spectacle of myself, I apologize). But there were assigned seats. Imagine walking into the seediest of all dive bars [I've linked to this definition of dive bar before, because I remember laughing when the picture used to define "dive bar" pops is a bar in my old stomping grounds on the Central Coast of CA and I can attest that Knuckleheads has the Merrimaker beat, hands down]...where was I? Oh, yeah...walking into the seediest dive bar and being told that you have "assigned seats" (with your names on them even). We laughed and joked that we were probably assigned to the back of the "room" which is actually outside (tented for the concert), next to the outhouses (not joking...the outhouses are next to the single wide that is next to the you get the picture?).

To find our assigned seats, the gal at the door pulled out her various seating charts and looked up our name on the list (we had to purchase tickets in advance...Knuckleheads is really going all uptown on us), and eventually took us to our assigned seats, on the dance floor, literally 5 feet away from where Marcia would play keyboards in about 2 hours!! Ahem. Yes, 2 hours. Because, you see, we didn't know there would be assigned seats and in order not to be the ones sitting out back by the outhouse, we arrived early for dinner and a drink and a good seat. The place was already half full, but we were the only groupie nerds sitting on the dance floor. Not on the floor directly, but in chairs lined up along the short wall that separates the dance floor from the rest of the bar. We were in front of the wall and everyone else was behind the wall.

We stayed in our assigned seats all night, mesmerized by Marcia's fleeting fingers and bluesy voice. But as the music heated up (by the second song), the small dance floor was full of people and we could barely see Marcia. And not only that, but there was a couple dancing squarely in front of me, completely blocking my view. The husband's very large and excessively jiggling derriere was directly in my face. I have never seen anyone, particularly a man, dance in such a looked like an even more twitchy version of the "Elaine" dance. So much for the "good" seats. By the end of the evening, I was not quite as euphoric about our "great fortune" as I was when we learned we would sit so close to Marcia.

This Close *

The gub'ner and all of her friends were among those who danced the night away, tripping over our feet and falling in our laps. She's a good dancer, for what it's worth. She was not the one who tripped or fell. But her friends did. I think Marcia is a friend of Kathleen's (they were wearing matching bracelets(!) and talked before and after each set). Marcia performs at Kathleen's fundraisers on a regular basis, or so I hear (even if I had been to one of her fundraisers, I would not admit it ;-). Knuckleheads is not Marcia's destination when she comes to Kansas City, but we sure do appreciate that she makes the time to put in a performance at this venue. She's a treasure.

Signature Leg-Crossing *

* Please excuse extremely poor quality camera phone pics. They're all I have.


Saturday, January 12, 2008

Fantasy Band Redux

As I was correcting my links in the last post (it's no wonder the important things in life don't always get done), I tested them and couldn't resist taking up this latest iteration....

Band name: Pastured Poultry (Heh. I'm thinking the genre has to be Old Hippie Rock, no?)

Album name: You're Choking To Death (isn't this is how Mama Cass died? Hmmm, I guess not)

And the album cover art (courtesy of which I believe to be a photo of "magic" mushrooms. Psychedelic Hippie Rock, then:

That was fun. :-)

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

New Music Release!

Updated to fix the links and add a few new ones at bottom of's interesting that all of the assorted albums I've seen so far look like honest to goodness albums...just goes to show the very eclectic nature of the music biz, I think. Fun stuff.

Via Eric of Fire Ant Gazette, via comes this meme of serious consequences (when you have finally had it up to HERE with election "news," take a break and play along at your leisure. Build your own band, album, and album cover, using the vast resources of the interwebs...chosen at random.

Here are the steps:

For the name of your band, go here (Wikipedia) and take the name of the first article that appears on the screen.

For the name of the album, go here (The Quotations Page) and gather the last four words of the last quote on the page (you might have to hit refresh or something to get a new page of quotes to appear)

And finally, go here (Flickr) for the album cover art and pick the third picture on the screen.

If you would like, follow Eric's directions to find out how well your band's album is doing on the Billboard charts via this random number generator (Kalamunda Road's new release is # 38 on the charts!) and what genre your band messes around in, just for extra good measure. Kalamunda Road is classified as "Drone." Drone? I don't think that really captures the spirit of Kalamunda's driving beat. I'd call it Nomadic Grunge.

Coincidentally (or not), Kalamunda Road "provides access to Perth City and Midland," from whence this meme derives.

The band's album name comes from the full quote by my favorite children's author, A.A. Milne:

"If the person you are talking to doesn't appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear," from Pooh's Little Instruction Book, inspired by A. A. Milne (I modified the gender to fit the image).

Wise words. :-)

See also others' new releases:

Jim at Serotoninrain
Beth at And Then I Woke Up
Brian at Beanquest
Foo at Random Synaptic Misfire
Verging on Pertinence
Whisky Prajer

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Monday, January 07, 2008

Road Trip Anyone?

This Friday is open mic night at Java's Brewin. Anyone up for a road trip? We have 5 days.


Thursday, January 03, 2008

Why Didn't I Think of That?

Darn! I missed the boat on this one. Not only a cute idea, but probably some very helpful tools available at this site on Etsy. Of course, I'm too lazy and cheap to order and try any of them. It's not like there's a whole lot of number crunching that needs to be done at this point. But bonus points for creativity for the CPA who thought of it first. I'm "hearting" him. ;-)


Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Shameless Self-Promotion

I've updated my banner over on my Etsy site and am so excited about it, I just have to share. I'm a complete novice at this stuff, so using the free tools at, and an image I found on this site a long time ago, I was finally able to put together the image that I originally had in mind for my banner. Up until now, I've limped along with a banner I generated on one of those random text generators, but was never really completely happy with it. I loved the colors and the image, but it was difficult to read the text.
In addition, with some helpful suggestions from my friend, Jen, I'm working on improving the photography on that site. It's been frustrating trying to work out the white balance, lighting and just overall picture quality. While I'm happier with some of the more recent postings, this is very much still a work in progress. Given the limitations of my camera, I think I'm going to forego trying to achieve a true white background, much as I like the effect of "floating" jewelry, and devise a more interesting but still somewhat neutral background. If anyone has any ideas, I'm open to any and all.

While I'm not very productive yet, I'm certainly not having any difficulty keeping up with sales, so feel free to stop by anytime. ;-)


Too Much Mango in the Chili

There may be worse problems, but this is a new one for me. Too much mango.

I found a great (read "simple and tasty") recipe for Carribean Turkey & Sweet Potato Chili which I've now made several times. It's super easy and we love the leftovers. But this time, I accidentally used one "can" of mango nectar, instead of just one "cup." In an effort to compensate, I reduced the chicken broth, used more sweet potatoes, added more beans and finally, threw in some Sofrito for good measure. So it's no longer really the same recipe, but I can still taste the mango a little too distinctly. I highly recommend this recipe as it was written (you'd never guess this has mango nectar in it), from Sandra Lee's Semi-Homemade 20-minute meals:

1 T. extra virgin olive oil
1.25 # ground turkey
1 t. minced garlic (or if you live in our house, 3-4 cloves :-)
1 15 oz can rinsed and drained reduced-sodium black beans (add another can if you like beans)
1 15 oz can sweet potatoes, diced (I can only find sweetened yams, so I rinse them off before dicing and a 29 oz can works also)
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes with green pepper and onion
1 14.5 oz can reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 CUP mango nectar, Kerns
1 packet (1.25 oz) mild chili seasoning mix, McCormick
1/2 t. ground allspice
Chopped fresh cilantro

Saute turkey and garlic in oil until turkey browns. Throw in the rest of the stuff and simmer for at least 10 minutes. That's it! It's delicious!!