Mark Twain

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do ...
Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

A Rant: Time to build that wall!

Fair Warning 
to readers.
If you are a Trump supporter, please stop reading now.  
This is a rant.  It is my personal opinion.  
It won't be repeated in the future on this blog,
 but it needs to be said.


I am putting up my own "wall,"
 on the crazy and depressing political scene,
 on this day,
 with this blog post.

I have lived in a state of disbelief that Trump was elected President.   My gut said this man was wrong for this job.  But in the beginning - without a track record to measure against - it seemed unfair to judge him.

Over the first year, I have watched all the repeated 'political fire storms' of this administration on the news and in social media daily.  Every single day!  It never ends.  This President intentionally creates most of his own problems and seems to thrive on it.  He has made terrible picks for many of his most important positions.  He says things that have to be 'translated' by his staff, because the general population finds his words at times shocking.  This past week I watched "Trump: An American Dream" on Netflix.  The series followed him in his business and personal life up to the point he entered politics for the Presidency.  It highlighted the fact that his ideas, his words, his behavior,  has not changed a smidge since he learned to walk and talk.  Granted - you can argue that any sources of information can be slanted.  But I have heard enough words said from his own mouth on camera  over and over and over again to know that my gut was right all along.  This is the wrong man for the job of leader of the free world! (which, by the way, we are not any more.)

This month, in a string of upsetting stories (as if the threat of a nuclear war with North Korea and making friendly nations adversaries while admiring our historical adversaries ... if that wasn't enough), I saw a video clip where Trump was admiring the North Korean dictator's followers - all those people who sit up and take notice when their dictator speaks.  Setting aside the fact this dictator will kill you if you don't 'sit up and take notice,' our President (in his own words - on tape so that there can be no misunderstanding) wants "his people" to do the same for him.  The President's interpreters wanted us to think he was "joking."  Joking - no one with two brain cells would believe that after the last year.  Then the stories of immigrant children being separated at the border from their parents.  And from the UN yesterday - we have withdrawn our representation on the UN Human Right's Counsel.

And that, folks, was just this last month!

I am just done.

I can't continue to watch our country sink to a new low - every single week - for another 3 years.  I have all the information I need to confirm that my gut was absolutely correct in 2016.

So I am building my own wall - a virtual wall to separate me from the grim drama in our government and the man who creates it.  I am banishing all Trump information as much as possible - from my life.  I have seen enough to know that I will vote against him and against anyone who supports him.  I don't need to hear more.   I deleted all Facebook postings (including a few 'friends') from my newsfeed ... people who routinely push Trump stories.  I will not forward any more Trump posts on Facebook.  I just add to the stress of others by doing so.  I no longer watch CNN. I agree with their point of view, but it is Trump, Trump, Trump - 24/7!  Just can't have a steady diet of it anymore.

And I will take the only action available to me - I will vote!

It must look to some like I am sticking my head in the sand.  They would argue that all citizens remain continually informed and ready to fight against America's wanna-be dictator.  They believe keeping the electorate in a constant of agitation and frustration is the way toward change.  Maybe ... I hope so.

But for me personally, and for my own health and peace of mind, I must look at this situation through a different lens.  I will vote.  I will encourage everyone to VOTE.  My elected representatives already reflect my point of view.   They are doing what needs to be done: RESIST.  In fact, our Governor, Larry Hogan, (a Republican Governor in Democratic Maryland) has pulled our National Guard Troops and a helicopter from the Texas border until the current policy of separating immegrant children from parents is changed. Thank you Governor Hogan.  It isn't a large gesture because our commitment wasn't that big.  But it is a stand and a statement!  Governor Hogan has my vote.  I look for other states to take the same stand.

Voting - the only tool I have.  I leave all the rest to younger more energetic citizens.

VOTE is my mantra!

And as for my wall ...  for the record - I am not asking for anyone else to 'pay' for it or to join me in building one.  What I am asking of everyone is to

VOTE
 everyone!!
 VOTE!

Stepping down off my soap box now.  I won't be tarnishing my blog with his name ever again.

VOTE

An apology and a disclaimer:
My apologies to any readers who are ardent Trump supporters.  
It is not my aim to make your position somehow wrong.
  But, this is my blog, and my peace of mind has been negatively affected by this elected official
 and I have a right to express my opinion on it - on bended knee if I choose
because the Constitution allows it ... 
at least at this point it does.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Commenting Problems.

Since returning to blogging I have received a few emails saying they couldn't find a way to comment on the blog.  Obviously this is not a problem for everyone.  But I wasn't sure exactly what was happening.  I checked all my settings and everything seemed fine.  I send an email message about this problem to Blogger Support Forums.  Here is their response.

*****


Your readers need to be identified, using their Blogger / Google accounts. Unfortunately, some readers security settings block their identity, inadvertently, from the commenting script.


Any filters are subject to update, by the creator.  If the problem started a few days ago, your readers may have to look on their computers, and find out what product or accessory was updated, a few days ago.


First, as individually possible, each reader should clear cache, cookies, and sessions (yes, all 3) - then restart the browser, and check again.


The Blogger / Google login status, and the ability to post comments, is sensitive to both cookie and script filters.  Your readers may need to enable (stop filtering) "third party cookies", in their browser and on their computer. And, have them check their script filters, too.



Third party cookies filtering, in a browser setting, is the most common solution, overall - but your readers may have to search for other filter(s) that affect their use of Blogger / Google.


If any security product has a "block" list, ensure that "blogspot.com" (and any variants, as suggested above) is not in the "block" list.


Trying a different browser or computer is a good diagnostic technique - though not always a permanent solution.




*****
Yikes!! 

I had to read this message a few times because I didn't understand it all.

I have made one change. For a few years I had "Comments Moderation" checked in my settings. I did this because I started getting targeted with unrelated comments that sounded like a spamming computer created them. As comments came in, I could review and approve them and post them to the blog ... or delete them after I labeled them as Spam. One suggestion above was to remove Comments Moderation. I have done that ... for now. But I did add "Word Verification" - which will involve you taking an additional step before your comment is posted to my blog. This step usually filters out automated spamming as well.

I would appreciate a few of you checking out your ability to comment on this specific post. Let me know if you can post AND if the Word Verification step shows up. I have temporarily added my email address to the right side of my blog. Let me know what you experienced.

Thanks all


Monday, June 18, 2018

The Eaglet!


Look at that face!! 
Isn't it the most beautiful face ever!!

I am talking about Eskarina, of course, my beautiful grand daughter, but the post is actually the story of this baby eaglet!  This stuffed toy baby eaglet!  It has a story.

You see ... about 37 years ago I was walking down the isle of a grocery story.   Yes, a grocery store.  (Don't you love it when a story takes an unusual turn.)  I had both my children with me.  My son was about 7 and my daughter was about 4.  Grocery stores back then had a child's section of toys that was designed to snag a youngster's attention and increase sales on non-food items.  Really, it was designed to create an argument over buying this, that or another thing.   On this day 37 years ago, it fulfilled its mission.

I was about half way down the isle when my son called to me that "this baby eagle needs a home."  
I remember turning around still staring at my shopping list and eager to finish up.  I had no intention of being sucked into purchasing a bit of fabric stuffed with artificial polyester - because 'it needed a home.'

He did not throw a tantrum - that would have been the quickest way to defeat - he knew that!  I remember him pleading towards my sympathies.

There was no other eagle in the display.  
This 'baby' needed a friend.  
We couldn't just leave him there.  
Who would take care of him.   
And so on and so on and so on.   

He was so sincere and I could tell he was near tears over this obvious abandonment of a baby eaglet!  (Remember folks, this is a stuffed animal.  Just to hammer the point home - it is still a baby stuffed animal 37 years later!!)  But, no matter.  My son had instantly bonded emotionally with the plight of this poor baby eagle.

Now it should be stated clearly ... I am not heartless.  I bought that baby eaglet (stuffed animal) ... my son took good care of him AND, after my son had outgrown his stuffed animals, that baby eaglet survived my purge of stuff - actually several purges of stuff - right up to the move to the condo.

This past weekend we took our adult children and our grand daughter out to eat - celebratory for an anniversary and a birthday.  I brought the eaglet to the dinner for Eskarina!

And when I pulled it out of the bag, my son got a small smile on his face.


Priceless! 

 Well worth the cost paid 37 years ago!

I do it again in a heart beat!!!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Father's Day


Happy Father's Day Dad.

It has been 48 years since I saw your face.

You died about one year after this picture was taken.

An accidental fall took you from your family way too soon.

You missed so much.

You were a troubled man, but I remember the father who tried.  

You were not the best of husbands or the best of fathers
 because of alcoholism but the seeds of that 'best' man were there. 

I saw and remember those seeds.

I honor those seeds.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Eating out of a cooler - and a lesson for everyone.



So here is my beautiful newish refrigerator - dead!
That is why it is propped open.


And here is my current refrigeration system.  

Actually my current refrigeration system has shrunk considerably since June 1, when my 19 month old state-of-the-art refrigerator died full of food in all its compartments.  On June 2 we started with these two coolers, 4 styrofoam cold chests and two cooler grocery bags.  And since June 2 (14 days ago) we have purchased ice every single day - for a total of 45 bags of ice (10 pound bags or 450 pounds of ice ... so far!!!)  

Buying ice. 

Every day.

Changing out the coolers. 

Every.Single.Day.

What a chore!

I am so over it!

But somewhere around day 10 - after we threw away or ate most of the perishable items, I began to think on this experience as 'camping out' in my condo.  The upside - I have air conditioning, and there is no sleeping on the ground.  I don't get rained on.  No bugs.  I have cable TV.  Not too bad for camping.  And we eat some of our meals as take-out from restaurants.  Normally eating out is a plus.  But even restaurant take-out food is getting old.  

Just in case you think we aren't pursuing a fix for this equipment - let me assure - you we are.  The latest update on the repair - we don't anticipate any forward progress until hopefully next week.   It is only a hope now because the last 2 visits from the repairman resulted in disappointment.  There is an electronic computer board that controls everything (a very expensive piece that is covered completely by our appliance coverage) has come in twice - but was the wrong board.  What was ordered was right.  What was received was not.

The story gets more complicated because this unit is an LG - and was highly rated by consumers, BUT getting parts is way more difficult than a GE or a Frigidaire unit.  LG has 3 suppliers in all of the US - one is in New Jersey.  If the part you need is out of stock, you might have to wait for it to arrive from .... wait for it ... Korea!!  KOREA!!  I should have ask Trump to bring one back with him.
And the repairman suspects that the reason we keep getting the wrong number - an 07 board - is because LG refrigerators are built in Korea (except when they aren't) and the 07 is a substitute for the 01 which is what we need.  Ours was built in Mexico and just won't accept the substitute board of 07. If it isn't an 01 - it won't make our fridge run.  

Everyone still with me?

Actually the only thing that is important for you (and for us if we are forced to buy another unit), is that when buying appliances, buy brands like GE or Frigidaire.  As the repairman remarked - really, everything being produced now is trash - even if the consumer ratings are very high (like ours was), and it is better to get a unit where replacement parts are easy to get.

Yesterday we went food shopping.  It was a challenge an adventure.  Buy only enough fresh veggies for 2 or 3 days.  Buy only items that are packaged and don't need refrigeration.  Buy only the smallest  containers so that once it is opened, it is used up and doesn't need to go on ice.

For dinner tonight??

Hamburger Helper!  Yes, I am reduced to Hamburger Helper.  (My apologies to anyone who buys and enjoys this.  We used to have this when I didn't know how to cook.  It was pretty wooden then.  Doubt things have improved.)  This one is called Salisbury Steak.  We will have a tossed salad and some crusty bread with butter.

I am planning on topping dinner off with a stiff Vodka Tonic!  Over ice!!

Maybe two!




Thursday, June 14, 2018

49 years!

Today is the 49th Wedding Anniversary for my husband and me.


Sometimes I just can't believe what a big number that is.  Of course, we will be approaching 50 years married next year.  Yikes.  We met in 1967 - so I have known him for 51 years.

We have had our ups and downs - but we are still together - standing side by side - learning to live as two old timers who have changed greatly from the happy couple in that picture - and have created a great family.

An achievement.  

Happy Anniversary to us!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Zookeeper's Blanket by Justine Walley

I am a knitter!  

Not a weaver or a crocheter or a spinner ... 
although I sometimes dabble in those other crafts.

Sometimes non-knitting projects grab me ... and won't let me go until I have done them.

Crochet is one of those non-knitting project offenders.  The first project was called The Island Playset and here is the link to that project.  I owned the pattern for a year before I had a special little boy (a grand nephew born in 2017) that I could make it for.  When I started it I had to relearn crochet.  I had to put ice on my left thumb to stop the pain.  I had to have this project so I pushed on.

This year a second project caught my eye called The Zookeeper's Blanket.  My eyes said "Ohhh.  You must do this."  My thumb said "Hell, no.  I am warning you."

This is the Zookeeper's Blanket as created by the designer.
I have already identified 3 animals that I will not make
 because I think I can find better ideas.
But the blanket, even as shown, is darling.

"Caught my eye" is really downplaying its impact on me.  I purchased it right away.  No thought.  Must have!  Must make.  Must set my knitting aside (did I just say that??).  And a worthy recipient, my darling grand daughter, was already on hand.  Is this Kismet or WHAT!

Now here is what I objectively think about crochet ...
  • Love the look
  • Not good at it.
  • Hurts my left thumb.
  • Struggle with the instructions.
  • Not relaxing.
  • Hurts my left thumb.  
  • Able to make designs/shapes not easily made in knitting
  • Great for toys and blankets
  • Not so good for wearables.
  • Hurts my left thumb.
But I wanted this Zookeeper's Blanket -  I pulled out my hooks and my crochet cheat sheet and plunged in.  Low and behold - I found I was enjoying the process.  Actually excited about the blocks that were developing from my hands ... now I am looking for yarns to use that would add color and texture ... and ... pushing myself to develop some animals that weren't part of the original pattern just because I think I can.

My lobster block.

Feels like the Crochet Fairy dropped in and sprinkled me with her fairy dust!

My bear block.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the pictures of my progress and where I am going with this blanket in the future.

My octopus block.

The down side of this project is there are lots of colors and shapes.  Lots and lots of ends to weave in.  Lots of sewing.  A very fiddly pattern.  I usually hate all that, but because of the fairy dust - I am not having a problem.  As others who completed this pattern noted:  The pattern has a lot of ends to weave in - but it is worth it.  I agree.

My cat block.

The blocks are so darn cute, when I finish one I can't wait to start another one.


Sample of another's interpretation of the project using all sheep and one dog.
So darn cute.

And what I love most of all is seeing the originality of others who have done this pattern.  Some used one theme - many sheep and one dog.  Very cute.

The sample the crocheter made up some of her own animals
not used in the original.

Some alternated animal blocks with plain blocks.  That is my choice because I don't care for some of the animals in the original pattern.  So unless I can find some replacements (which I have), the blanket would be too small.  And alternating with plain blocks allows for less ends to weave in - and a focus on the cutest animals.

My grand daughter's room is done in green.  My plain blocks are green.
This picture gives a sense of how I will put my blocks together.

Some crocheters suggest putting a backing on this blanket since one side is cute and the other side is - well, not cute.  I am actually considering that!!  Crazy but I always hated extra steps that didn't involve knitting - like linings and extra sewing.  That darn crochet fairy dust is powerful stuff.

An original design, a butterfly, created by a crocheter.
Hoping to copy this one.

 And my thumb??  I think the fairy dust has healed it.

I wonder if there is fairy dust for cleaning your house.  Or fairy dust for cooking dinner night after night after night!!  Or can I send that fairy off to my exercise classes for me - and bring back the benefits while I sit making this blanket??

If you think you have the answers to these question (and they involve common sense) don't bother saying them out loud.  Fairy dust has blocked any reality checks!

My deadline: - Christmas.