Friday, December 12, 2008

The Holidays

This time of year always makes me think about the people that I have lost touch with. Friends that have slip out of my life and before I realized it I had no idea how to contact them. I am not a phone talker. In fact I hate to talk on the phone. I guess I just took it for granted that they would always be there. One such friend just found me the other day on Face book and it was thrilling. I missed her a lot and we had not talked since I moved to Springfield. Honestly I thought I would never find her again. I have one high school friend that I would like to find and maybe through face book we will find each other. What a great thing to find someone on face book.

Yesterday, I was on face book and my godchild Kristina started up a chat with me. Now neither Kristina or I talk a lot on the phone. For some reason we stall during live conversations but the instant message feature we talked more that way then we ever have live. It was great and the best part about it is that my neck did not ache and I did not have a headache after we finished.

I joined face book because Rayna wanted to share with me photos and things happening in her life. It is an honor for me to be invited into this part of her life. She is someone that I think about every day and have for the past twenty three years. Before she was born I talked to her every day. I knew that she would be a girl and I even knew that she existed before the doctors did. I had three pregnancy tests and the first two came back negative. The third one a sonogram showed her no bigger than a peanut but with a heart beat and I told every one "I told you so." She had a strong heart and I felt deeply connected to her and devoted to giving her the best life possible. I am able to see now that I did that and face book has been the tool that could give me the glimpse into her life just to be sure that it did indeed turn out well. I couldn't be happier for her. Merry Christmas Rayna as you feel for Hayden I feel for you.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Chrysanthemum Festival



Yesterday was the second free day of the season at the Japanese Stroll Garden in the Nathaniel Greene park. The day was windy and a cool 40+ degrees but the sky was bright blue. Not at all like this photo taken on a different day.
I was invited to attend at the last garden club meeting. It was supposed to be the Chrysanthemum Festival. I believe that the original idea was to see a display of unusual mums grown for the occasion but it was my understanding that they did not grow too well this year. So in lieu of the original plan the organizers went to plan B and that did not fall short.
If you made a donation you got a free 10 inch potted mum to take home. In addition to the mums there were several artists with displays set up. There were potters with raku pots and base relief sculptures, a jewelry artist, a painter with paintings that were reminiscent of Georgia O'Keeffe, landscape artists ( www.gardenadventuresnixa.com) and even a face painter for the kids.
By far my favorite artist and the one I talked to the longest was a Bonsai gardener. She had an interesting display on approximately 30 Bonsai trees in various sizes. The tree I thought was the most unusual and beautiful was the miniature pomegranate tree. It was adorned with flaming orange red blossoms that turn to tiny bulging ornamental pomegranates. They were about an inch in circumference. The display was gorgeous.

One thing that was great about the day was that I noticed something about the stroll garden I had not noticed before. It seems to have a year round appeal. Even though it was in its fall glory there were enough trees and plants that don't lose their leaves, berries or blossoms and stay beautiful year round. I could see how that type of landscaping would work very well in Southern Missouri. It gave me a lot of ideas about things that would be nice for my own backyard.
One of my chief complaints (aside from the cold and grey days) about living here is that I feel like I am living in the sticks during the winter. It seemed to me that this would be an ideal garden and type of landscaping because enough of it would stay pretty year round and would help lessen that feeling. This is certainly something to ponder as we intend to landscape our backyard someday.
All I can say now is I can't wait for the free day in the spring.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

reading so i can write

For weeks I have been concentrating on writing a novel. It is loosely based on things that either happen to me or things that happened to friends and that I was somehow a part of. In the words of Woody Allen it is "thinly" based on my life. I have to crack up a little when I think about Kristi Ally yelling at Woody Allen in Deconstructing Harry (one of my all time favorite films) because he devulges too much personal information in his stories and his ex-wife is pissed because all their friends know who each of the characters is and the terrible things that they did behind each others backs. I am trying not to make my characters so thin that anyone will recognize who they are in my characters but that is proving a lot harder then just generally changing their appearance. There personalities seem to shine right on through. Fortunately, I am not in touch with several of these people any longer so it may never be a problem. Okay I am not saying that my story is going to be so great that it gets published or ends up a best seller but one can hope and dream, can't one?

I hid out yesterday. It was a rainy day and I felt like I need to unplug or hang up so to speak so that is what I did. I turned off my cell and the television and I finished Pride and Prejudice. I was lost in the world of the Bennets, Bingleys, Darcys, Collins etc. It was fantastic. I am also still reading Confederacy of Dunces and now also On Writing by Stephen King. The only problems is I really am longing for another Jane Austen. I finished my series on famous Romans and I need to get another for my car. I like to have a book for every situation.

I have an HP IPAQ that I read from for late at night because it does not disturb Steve and it is backlite so I have no need of a book light. But I have one of those too for a traditional book. I usually like to have a book in the car for the times I am driving or in the car waiting on someone. The IPAQ is really cool because you can download books off the internet and a lot of the classics are free. That is how I read Swiss Family Robinson, Pride and Prejudice and Great Expectations. It has a fairly good dictionary ( I would love a more advanced but that costs the big bucks). What is neat is that you touch the word you are reading and the dictionary opens right to the word, when you are finished touch the small done on the bottom of the screen and back to your story. It also dogears your place and opens right to it when you come back to it. It is light weight and very easy for me. I don't get a headache when I read from it and it has a ton of memory so it holds a lot. It is small about 6" by 3.5" and the screen is about 3x5. Really it is a tiny little PC because it has word, excel, internet explorer, outlook, email (but I don't use it on this because I get too much junk) and it does everything in a very compact little unit. I mainly use it for reading and playing games.

Monday, October 13, 2008

keeping secrets


Sometimes I get a little mad because I think there is too much emphasis on other people's feelings and not enough on straight talk and honesty. I can appreciate not wanting to tell someone something because they don't want to hurt feelings but sometimes not telling them is worse. In most situations it would be better to know certain information than be left with feelings that may or may not be the truth because there was not room enough for honesty and integrity. I would appreciate the information rather than being left with feelings that may or may not be true.
Then there are others who want to keep everything secret but they themselves don't keep the secret. If you really require secrecy in your life then tell no one. I mean no one. If you want to share the information with a select few then it is no longer a secret and you will have to accept that at some point the people you are attempting to keep secrets from often find out any way.
When you who prefaced your secret with, "I am going to tell you something but you have to swear not to tell this person or that person." Well that is silly and should be left on the junior high play ground. If you are living your life with that much secrecy required maybe you should look at how you are living. Be honest with yourself and with others and you won't need all that BS.

For the record I have decided that if you do not want your secret told and you make that statement then tell your secret you are either not serious or you are stupid because you just told a fallible human your secret. If you tell me that you have to tell me but preface that I cannot tell anyone else, well do me a favor and don't tell me. I don't have the energy or patience to play that game.
I look at it this way. If you tell me something that are you feelings and you just need an ear I am certainly smart enough to keep that to myself and out of respect for you and others around me, I will do my very best to keep your feelings to myself.

If you tell me something that you are telling everyone anyway then you have to go and interrogate everyone after the people who you don't want to know get in the know. Well like I stated I don't have the time or the patience for that and I will be offended if you interrogate me. I am generally a smart person occasionally I slip up I am after all human but for the most part I try really hard to hear people and respect them and with that said tell me or don't either way is okay by me but don't ask me to play your game.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

attracting butterflies

Today I attended a lecture about butterflies. It was hosted by the Cherry Court Garden Club. It was the most interesting lecture not just because of the topic but because the speaker was extremely entertaining. Dr. Mario Canlas is a retired neurosurgeon who uses some of his time gardening orchids in a green house. His property apparently attracts butterflies and he and his wife have taken great measures to welcome these fascinating creatures into their lives.

What makes this doctor so amusing? Aside from his obvious passion. He has photo-documented, researched and eloquently explains the mating habits, the life cycle and their extraordinary method of becoming the royal creatures that they are.

He talks to his flies and they talk back. They lead him on a journey through his property and they show him the tiniest things that his observant eye has taken the time to catch on film. He lovingly referred to one of his flies as his girlfriend.


His little idiosyncrasies make him so amusing. He is a tall, handsome, older, Filipino gentleman with a bit of an accent who is somewhat challenged by computer technology. His passion to share with us and educate us never once was over shadowed by the occasional slip of a four letter word that would pass his lips when his software was not performing the way it was intended. Much to some of the mature ladies who at first seemed a little taken back then social moray demanded that one must simply overlook what he was actually saying.

His frustration simply took a backseat to his passion. He did however, understand on one level that it must be operator error but software shouldn't require an advanced degree to operated and this program was baffling. It was painful for him but delightful for his audience as we did not care. The education he provided us was like a fine gem.


We got to see the magic that he captured but in smaller images with the software's editing mode visible on the projection screen.

I truly wanted to help him but I had no idea from looking at it how it even worked. If it would have been a PowerPoint presentation I might have been able to offer some assistance.

I had to laugh at the very end when one of the members of the hosting garden club made a statement, "I can't wait to read the minutes at our next meeting."
None the less it was comical yet serious, very educational and utterly delightful. I learned how to determine the sex of a monarch butterfly. I saw the entire process from his identifying the attraction pheromone on the male, mating, egg laying, larvae, chrysalis, on to glorious butterfly.

The monarch above in this series of photos I took a few years back is a female. Until this day I would not have been able to identify the sex.

I am not sure what this butterfly is but I feel certain that Dr. Canlas would know. I hope I get the opportunity to hear him speak again. He was fabulous.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

living within the limits



At times I really get disgusted with muscular dystrophy. Most days I do okay with it but the number one thing I absolutely hate about it is having to live without spontaneity. Back in the day (Before MD) I was a free spirit and I could go and do whatever I felt like doing. If I wanted to go walk on the beach, I went. In fact, without going into too much detail I did most things on the spur of the moment. I miss that.
Right now at this very minute if I could do anything without limits I would pack a bag, get in my car and drive away. I would pull a Forrest Gump. I would drive until I wanted to go back home and that might take years. I would go see everything I ever wanted to see but for whatever reason did not see it.

I remember driving to June Lake and I wanted to see Death Valley but I didn't. I would go see it. One time I wanted to see Hearst Castle. I drove right by it but did not stop. I would go see that too. I lived in Southern California for most of my life and did not make it to half the places I always wanted to see. I also never traveled to Europe, Asia or South America. I have never been to an Island. At 20 I had the opportunity to go sailing to Catalina on a private yacht with an unhappily married handsome 40 something man and I couldn't do it because he was married. If I was 20 I would do it now and I wouldn't even feel bad about it. Of course all I would do is go sailing as long as he was married to someone else and of course I wasn't yet married.

I had many opportunities as a young woman to live free and some I did but looking back most I didn't. I feel sad about that. I guess you are not suppose to regret your decisions. The ones you make when you are 18 or 19 or 20 but now at 41, I sometimes fantasize about what my life might have been like if I made opposite decisions. Sometimes I wonder what my life might have been if I was born to different parents. Now I realize more than ever that it is because of who my parents are as people that I made the decisions that I did.
All very interesting thoughts that do nothing at all except make me write my novel and answer those very questions in the lives of my characters.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Writing


Writing is hard work. Four small words that speak the truth. I am continuing to write and reading is such a large part of writing that I am doing a lot of that too.


I am reading a great book recommended to me by Valerie titled A Confederacy of Dunces. It was written in the 60s by John Kennedy Toole. Toole committed suicide before it was published and won a Pulitzer Prize. It was his mother that peddled his book and went to necessary lengths to get it published. In 1976 she contact Walker Percy a Loyola Prof and asked him to read it. He asked her why she wanted it published she simply stated "because it is a great novel". It is rich with character description and when reading it you can actually see the characters and the places they are. I have only encountered that feeling at this level a few other times in books.

I obviously intellectually get the characters and scenes in what I read but to get that level of visual while reading a book, that I savor. I will read it slower than usual because I don't want to miss a beat. I will look up every single solitary word that I am not 100% sure about. Why do I go to great pains for a novel? Simple, I don't want it to end. It starts out "A green hunting cap squeezed the top of the fleshy balloon of a head." From there it just gets better.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

taking a break


Lately I have been thinking about the story I am working on but not getting any actual writing done, at least not this week. I am doing a lot of reading and I am listening to a Great Courses Cd's in my car. All of this does indirectly help me with my story and even posting on the blog helps a little too.
The Great Courses CD I am listening to is about the Roman Empire around 200 BC. I am not going to write a synopsis on the Cd's but I am learning a lot. One thing that I found particularly disturbing aside from the usual torture and crucifixions was the brutal use of animals in war especially the elephant. On some level I knew it existed but this lecture was told in such away that I could imagine how brutal it all really was. Elephants were used in battle like tanks can you imagine? I couldn't until I heard the lecture and many poor elephants died in battle. When Hannibal fought and conquered the Romans, he started out with 42 elephants and only one creature survived that battle. The Romans made it there business to take these creatures down or be trampled on. I guess if you don't want to be flattened your going to kill all the elephants.
I am not sure why I am writing about this or if it is even interesting to read but that was what I learned today. Too bad we can't all take what we learn each day and use it for the betterment of mankind. War it all seems like such a waste of human and animal lives. I am tired to people dying in war and I wish, wish, wish we could find some world peace. I would be happy for one day of no violence anywhere in the world.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

deported to the middle



The first time I got deported to the middle I was fifteen years old. You don't have to be an illegal to get deported you just have to be a free spirit living in San Diego, have a whole lot of time on your hands, and have one parent living in Kansas.

My mom a single mother with numerous part time gigs and full time nursing school could no longer handle my free spirit and contacted my dad. Her chief complaint, this kid never comes home and I have no idea where she is half the time (that's how I imagine the conversation went).

Being a card carrying member of the night owl club for teens and making good use of my bedroom window, I would sneak out late at night. There was a whole group of us that did this and to some extent I look back with relief because there is safety in numbers. Fortunately, nothing bad ever happened to us. I can't remember ever a time that we vandalized property or harassed anyone. We probably looked like a gang because everyone of us smoked and we trolled the city streets late at night. We lived near Balboa park so we ended up there a lot. Occasionally, one of us would get a car from a sleeping and unsuspecting parent and we would make it to the beach.

The beach was always great because there was always something going on there, like a bonfire or some interesting weirdos to talk with. The tide changes made for a good time of exploring. I remember walking out during a really low tide and climbing through some of tide pools at Sunset beach. It was magical at night and if the night was clear it was perfect.

Another memory was the time Jenny and I needed to acquire some roses for her mother's birthday. So we opted for the best free roses money can buy the rose garden at Balboa park. There I found a brown paper grocery sack sitting on the edge of a brick raised rose bed. It was obvious that something was in it. I called out to Jenny and some punk rock guy, whose name I have long forgotten. I just remember his phony English accent. " Hey you guys check out this sack" and having an arm reach out from within the rose bush and grab the sack yelling "leave it it's mine." Needless to say I screamed, Jenny screamed and we all fell into the rose bush. Fortunately Jenny and I landed on the punk who I distinctly remember him saying "Cool!" I can't remember if we ended up with the roses for her mom or not because we got the hell out of there fast.

Getting deported ended my night trolling permanently and saddly I left behind all of my friends in the neighborhood. Friends move and neighborhoods change so it was never the same when I got back to San Diego but I did get back. I was 18 when I got my green card aka a high school diploma and back I went. What happened after that, well that is another story altogether.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Some sad news


Yesterday Steve and I lost our step-sister Darlene. She past away on her birthday from complications after surgery. We are very saddened by her passing. She was a great lady who served our country and retired from the military as a Colonel. She was a nurse who served during the Vietnam war so you can imagine the number of people she helped.

She received last rites and goes to heaven where she will join her mother Rita. She leaves her father Richard, sister Valerie and nieces Rita and Regina. Of course she leaves all her extended family Step-mother Lois, Step-brothers and their families, Ken, Steve and Jeff. Please keep Richard in your prayers as he grieves for his beloved daughter who bravely followed in her dad's footsteps. Also, please remember Valerie and Reggi as they cared for Darlene when her health diminished in the last years of her life. Your prayers are appreciated.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Great Courses "Famous Romans"

Sometime back I wrote about the "Great Courses" catalogue and that I wanted to get one. Well I borrowed one about famous Romans. I am listening to it in my car and so far it is very interesting. I found it at the Library, checked it out and I plan to listen to it while I am driving until it is finished. I will report later my opinion because I have only heard about 15 minutes or less so far. I am still working on my story. So my blog is suffering just a bit.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Happy Birthday MOM

Happy Birthday Mom!
You are talented, lovely, caring and very special to us.
We can not wait for your visit!

We love and miss you.
Steve and Kristen

This is my cat Bougie that I photoshopped into a pencil drawing. I think it is pretty neat so I decided to share it.
The color of this font is very close to the color of Bougie's eyes.

not a word from me in 1/2 a month

I have had the most creative surge of my life, so why no word from me. Well to be honest I have been writing just not here. I started a new story with characters that are fascinating, dangerous and obstinate.

First fascinating because one element of their personality is me and the rest of their personality is someone else entirely. Dangerous because some of these characters are not the most honorable or morale people and I am not even sure I can attach to my name to them without blushing just a little. If they were real people I would run away from them. I certainly would not associate myself with them. Yet I have to write about them because without them the story just doesn't work. Obstinate because I wake up thinking about them, I dream about them, I see them in my mind's eye and they invade my day. I can not get away from them or their story. So why am I here blogging and not working on their story because of Jabba the Cat.

I was doing research on the Internet while also reading Anai's Nin and the Remaking of Self when I came across this picture. Being the Star Wars fan that I am, sans episode one which I felt was mostly a toy commercial, that is one of my truly favorite film series. Rich with characters and a little something something for everyone in terms of those characters. Jabba is a great character but not a great being in fact he can not be trusted and if you need him you better be prepared to pay big because when he comes to collect your too late.

Now the juxtaposition between the tabby and Jabba is easy if you really think about it. The tabby will play with a moth while it suites him and the moth is happy to flutter about when the tabby gets board he will eat the moth. Jabba will do the same figuratively and literally(if anyone who has seen the movie must remember the Hensen created pet that delights Jabba but once he is board down the hatch he goes). I have never met two tabby exactly a like yet they are a like it is those slight differences that makes them unique characters. Jabba on the other hand is only one character but you've all seen him in other movies. To name a few Jhatak aka godfather in The City of Joy or Merovingian in the Matrix: Reloaded (2nd film in the Matrix series). Both films that I also loved by the way. They are characters that hold people down while using the guise of being helpful. Kind of like welfare if you ask me.

But back to my point and I admit I do digress a bit. Writing characters is hard and inspiration comes in many forms. This Jabba the cat has character traits that one of my characters has only she was flat now with this inspiration she houses a little more of Jabba in her personality and my story will be richer because of that.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Jail Bird Jack Made Bail





Thanks to all his kind supporters jail bird Jack exceeded his $500.00 bail. At last count he collected about $800.00 He sends out a word of thanks to everyone who generously supported the MDA.

Monday, August 25, 2008

a special note of thanks

This is a special note of thanks to all those who generously pledged money to the MDA. Jack, Billy and I really appreciate your kindness.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

warming things up

Today I woke up with the feeling that fall is in the air. That always makes me nervous because I don't care for winter at all. Okay when the sky is blue, sun shining, and there is a fresh powder on the ground then it doesn't seem that bad. Living where I do I don't get a lot of that in the winter time. This place is known as the sticks because that's what it looks like. The sun is almost always hidden behind a thick blanket of gray and the millions of bare trees look like sticks. So I thought to myself, "self, what can I do to pass the winter with the feeling of coziness instead of dread?"


For a while now I have not been reading as much as I would like and I am just now starting to pick up writing again. When I am home and I need to relax I spend my time in our bedroom. With adjustable beds it is like sitting on a chaise instead of being in bed. This is where we watch movies, read and relax because it is the most comfortable place for me. Yet our room always seems cold to me. That might have something to do with the light aqua walls and the two water paintings hanging of the walls. Now I don't want to remove those paintings because they exude a great sense of peacefulness and they were painted for me, one from my mother and the other from my dear friend Valerie. I love those paintings so they stay.


I visualize myself reading more this winter and I would like to do that in front of a fireplace while listening to Mozart, which I find particularly helpful when reading. So I decided that I am somehow going to make a movie I can pop into my DVD player. The movie is going to be my fireplace and in the background I plan to have the crackling sound of a fireplace coupled with Mozart. I am going to put it on a continuous loop so that I can enjoy it for hours. This will be a lot less expensive than remodeling besides we don't have the space to add a fireplace. In addition, my hot blooded husband couldn't handle the extra heat. Did I really just write that?
video

Thursday, August 21, 2008

celtic knots



I found these celtic knots in various freeware sites. I am trying to do some research about these interesting and I think beautiful knots. If anyone can recommend a good book about these knots please email me at k.haskell@mchsi.com. I would like to design some stationary and business cards influenced by Celtic design. The interesting knot at the bottom is supposed to be a dragon knot according to the site I lifted it from.




raspberry chipolte covers a multitude of sins

I came home from work tonight my mother had prepared a pan of chicken. She cooked the chicken in olive oil and used no other seasoning. I asked her, "how many pieces did you cook?" She told me, "well about 8 or 9."

I had to laugh because 8 or 9 pieces of chicken is a lot of chicken hanging around for three people who only eat 4 ounces of chicken at a time. That is about half of a breast. Then to have it with no seasoning I thought oh my God what is that going to taste like? Then I found out that it was cooked well done, really well done. We both started to laugh because she told me I've been eating lean cuisines for the last 2o years and you can season it after it is cooked. She stated that she shouldn't cook and wondered if the dog might like some chicken for dinner too?

I told her I hated Steve's night schedule because he is such a good cook but he is not home to cook, I physically can not cook and she really shouldn't cook. I pulled out the raspberry chipotle sauce from the depths of the fridge heated a little in the micro and poured it over my rubber chicken and you know it wasn't half bad. In fact it was really very good. It even some how managed to help unrubberize the chicken. All in all it was a good dinner but it reminded me of the Sugar Hill gangs very first rap Rapper's delight. If you have never heard it and want to hear the part I am thinking about it is 4:45 minutes into the six minute song. You can hear their rap on youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-MEL84yXh0 It is funny to watch because it is from the seventies. Check out the dancing, clothes and hairstyles. Too Funny for words!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

An Email from Ireland



An email from Ireland to all brethren in the States ... a point to ponder despite your political affiliation:


'We, in Ireland, can't figure out why you people are even bothering to hold an election in the United States!
On one side, you had a pants wearing female lawyer, married to another lawyer who can't seem to keep his pants on, who just lost a long and heated primary against a lawyer, who goes to the wrong church, who is married to yet another lawyer, who doesn't even like the country her husband wants to run for office!
Now...On the other side, you have a nice old war hero whose name starts with the appropriate 'Mc' terminology, married to a good looking younger woman who owns a beer distributorship!!!
What in God's name are ya lads thinkin over in the colonies !

MDA Lock up



Jack Langley is being locked up for Jerry's kids. He pointed out that since I am one of Jerry's kids I better let everyone know that he going to need some donations to get out of the clink.

Here is a little poem from Jack to everyone who reads this blog:

I've been busted, incarcerated, locked up

My crime is flawed family genes
I got spared cause I am the kid in between

You may think I got off Scot free
But not likely, I got a brother and sister doing time with MD

There is only one way I'm gonna get free
Gotta raise $500 big ones from my friends and family

So people if you have the time
and can spare the dime

Dig deep and give freely
and one day you can be sure
The MDA will find a cure

Donations can be made for my August 26th Lock up.
Please email Jack@mwls.net and
note "donation for MDA lockup" in the subject line.
Additional instructions will be sent via email.
Thank you for your generosity.

Friday, August 15, 2008

working the 4-10

Lately there has been a lot of discussion about employment, money and security. Almost everyone I know is gainfully employed which I am grateful for, still the business environment has shifted. With that shift stress occurs. Honestly, I don't pretend to follow the economy or the business environment that close. What I do follow is what I sense from those around me and that is increasing stress. Some people are busy and they seem to feel secure in their jobs but there is an undertone of stress. I sense from others that they are just hanging on. It got me thinking the other day about productivity and happiness in the work environment and I had an idea.


It is not a new idea but certainly one that is being entertained by a few large companies and universities. I was able to determine this from all my Internet research on this topic. It is the 4-10 or compressed work week. What is the 4-10 well it is something a lot of people are almost doing anyway. It is working 10 hours a day but only 4 days a week.

This week Steve and I experienced the 4-10 by default. His company gave him Wednesday off with pay in addition to the normal weekends that he already has off. Now they did not do this to get him to work the extra two hours for the other four days. It just kind of happened on its own. It was a nice gesture in appreciation of their trainers. The day was ear marked for the whole group including spouses and children. So we all went to Silver Dollar City in Branson. We attended for four hours and that was sufficient for us.

Our good friends Mike and Patti call it steal your dollar city and I have to agree with them except in our case. Silver Dollar City makes no bones about its accessibility or lack there of. Out of fairness to some of their patrons, individuals that state they are in a wheelchair full time get in free. Okay I fell off track here so back to the 4-10. I did a little research and I found out a few things I wanted to share.

Large companies like Mitsubishi Motor Corp. and Metropolitan Life have adopted this compressed work week for their employees and they are pleased with its success. What they report is that the flexibility of this type of scheduling seems to make happier more productive employees. In addition, those employees take less personal time off during their scheduled work times. They also determined that many of their employees were already working longer hours and the adjustment from an 8 hour day to a 10 hour day did not take long. Efficiency improved because employees could get in the grove of what they were doing and the extra time uninterrupted help them complete tasks. Henry Ford once said, "the harder we crowd business for time, the more efficient it becomes..." I guess these companies are finding this to be true.

This work schedule will not work for every company but there are many that are not trying it and maybe they should consider the possibility. A few additional benefits of the 4-10:

  • A potential of a 20% fuel savings per week

  • 50 to 52 extra days per year of free time

  • fewer commuter cars during rush hour

  • Personal business can be handled on scheduled weekday off

  • Additional rest and relaxation to recharge your battery


The disadvantages reported were:

  • More difficult for single parents with children

  • Daycare scheduling and after work activities become more difficult

  • Customer Service could become a problem if scheduling is not handled properly

  • Fatigue from longer work day

Employers that can offer a 4-10 work schedule should because it is basically a free benefit to their employees. Employees who desire this type of schedule would appreciate the benefit and retention of that employee is more likely. As long as there is adequate coverage for the customers, the benefits seem apparent for both employer and employee. Where there are several employees trained for the same type of work customer service coverage and scheduling would not present too much of a problem. Large work environments where job sharing is already taking place are good models for the 4-10.

What Steve and I found is that the day off in the middle of the week was great because he was able to play a little, rest a little, go back and finish out the week with greater productivity. It would be nice if we could convince his employer to consider this as a permanent schedule.

I personally would love to see this happen at my husband's company and I am curious how many others out there would like this too. Please email me your thoughts about this at k.haskell@mchsi.com . I would ask that you allow me to post your thoughts on my blog. If you want to comment and prefer not to be posted just state that in your email and I will respect your wishes. Anonymous postings are acceptable too.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

basking in the sun

Okay so one day my friend Laura was visiting from Cali and we were driving down Republic Road when low and behold there was one of these fellers basking in the sun.

We both had the same thought at the very same time. This is something that has happened to us throughout our friendship. We didn't even have to talk the other person into this it was unanimous. Being two gals from the west coast seeing one of these guys was about as good as seeing a martian land in a UFO. There he was upside down and barely dead best of all he was ours for the taking.

So we strategically planned out the capture. We had multiple challenges in obtaining our prize. Now this guy was not on the grass as pictured here. He was in the center of a road that gets a lot of traffic. Our forensics were a little rusty so we could not determine from the inside of the car how dead he really was and where the potential stink factor would fall. All of these variables had to be considered carefully before we could apprehend our treasure.

We circled the area first and determined that a trip into Price Cutter for a few supplies would be necessary. We determined that we needed heavy black trash bags to carry our gem away and also some heavy gloves. We had to see this guy up close, everything about this creature had our curiosity peaked.

With our supplies in hand we make an initial Reconnaissance. Our plan was set in motion, I make a slick maneuver by getting into a left turning lane and pretend to be chicken about making the turn. You know that type of driver that forces you to yell at them out loud "you can go! just go!"
We were relatively close to our subject in this lane so Laura jumps out of the car.

Now all the drivers around us are thinking what the heck. Laura makes a beelines for Fred with black bag in hand, and make a sweeping play as if he were a loose football on a field. I make the turn finally while she trots him across the street dodging oncoming traffic and holding our prize as far away from her as humanly possible.

I am certain that if the 50, the Man, the Cops would have been driving by we would have been ticketed at the very minimum or taken for a short ride to county health. The scene we caused was enough to provide another bad Springfield driver with a great excuse. Fortunately there were not any bad Springfield drivers driving by because no accidents occurred.

So we drag Fred there to the Price Cutter lawn to get a better inspection. What a trippy animal. First let's address the smell. Fred was dead and Fred had been dead for at least a few hot sizzling July morning hours. We no longer needed our black trash bag because Fred permanent resting place was the lawn at Price Cutter. I am so sure that their gardeners were livid when they had to remove Fred's rotting smelly Carcass from their lawn.

Second he was weird. He was wearing a little armour suit probably why he got his name. In addition to that, he had straight wiry hairs sticking out of all he crevasses, beady eyes, talon like feet, dagger tail and sharp little teeth. I felt kind of sorry for the guy. He looked hot and stinky. Okay so he was dead but he looked like he had BO even if he was alive and still he looked hot. I think that is why they play chicken with cars they are so depressed. Wouldn't you be? being born so ugly and wearing a suit like that in the heat?

What I learned from this experience. Reading about your prize on the Internet is a lot less smelly but the experience itself was priceless.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The F-Scale


When you live in the middle especially so close to tornado alley you learn a lot about the Fujita scale used to determine the strength of a tornado by what it destroys. There are certain types of dwellings that can not sustain the lower end of the scale very well and will be wiped off of the face of the earth when dealing with the upper end. The dwellings I am thinking about are the mobile homes. That is why the residents of these homes need additional shelter for storms.

Warning systems are in place to try to prevent death and injury in these storms. The weather service will announce a “watch” or a “warning”. For the a short while I didn’t bother to distinguish between the two the word tornado was enough to send my southern California self out of bed at 3 am. That gets old quick in the spring time when there can be a watch or warning every time you turn around. So I made the effort to learn more about this.

It breaks down like this, a watch means keep at least one eye open but stay in bed conditions are favorable for a tornado. The warning means the funnel has been sighted, haul your heiney out of bed, and go somewhere safe.

The other day Steve and I determined there is more than one F-Scale because we put ourselves under a “watch.” We were at Wal-Mart, it was late, we were both tired, and conditions were right for a fight. It occurred to us that there are now two F-Scales the Fujita Scale and the Fight scale and they parallel each other beautifully. Consider the similarities Wal-Mart is the trailer park, when you mix that environment with “tired = the High” and “late = the low” the conditions become correct for a marital fight. How bad the fight is really depends on how tired and how late it is and of course how crazy Wal-Mart is.

The official watch was announced and it flared into a small F-2 warning. The "Low" did have to leave the grocery area and go directly to the card area for a few minutes so that the "High" wouldn’t turn into an F-3 or F-4. F-5 someone’s getting left at Wal-Mart. About five minutes later a cell phone rings to determine where "High" was in the store and of course the "Low" was still spiking. The warning was announced and both the "High" and the "Low" got back together peacefully and made it through but not before making the official NOAA announcement.

The "High" and the "Low" talked about the developing F-Scale and we determined that relationships need to have the scale too. That way the "High" won’t sneak up on the "Low" and cause flat out devastation or vice versa. It was also determined that a scale is necessary because you can not take appropriate cover if you don’t really know how strong the High and Low are going to be. I mean who wants to get out of bed at 3 in the morning if the storm is just in the “watch” stage. For heavens sakes you don’t want to be leaving your "High or Low" in a grocery store, at some point someone's got to go back and get the "High or Low." By then it is certain that what was an F-2 will increase in power and strength and is sure to turn into an F-4.

Making the announcement is helpful when conditions are right because devastation can most certainly be avoided especially if the warning system is in place and well understood by the High and Low. One other tip as mobile homes should be avoided during stormy weather Wal-Mart should be avoided during "late and tired" conditions.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

baby picture


Buster Joe is truly the cutest kitten I have ever had. His personality can really be seen in this shot. He got into the washing machine with the whites. He loves confined spaces he wedges himself in the TV stand where the DVD player would normally be housed. He hops into baskets or brown paper sacks whenever possible. If you walk by him he will extend a paw to let you know "here I am but don't tell the silly dog."

small businesses

Small businesses are the backbone of this country. I think people should patronize any and all small businesses that do a good job. I say keep their doors open, support your small businesses. Many of my neighbors and even my own brother is a small business owners. They rely of their customers to make a living. I think it is important to reward the small business owner who does a good job. One thing for sure they sure work long hours and sacrifice a lot to keep those doors open, employees employed, and the lights on. That is why I want to tell you a couple of stories about two businesses that I think go above and beyond. I know what you are thinking one of those businesses belongs to your brother and that is nepotism. Well true but rest assured I wouldn't even bother with a plug for his business if I had not witnessed so many satisfied customers this myself.

Last week I went into my brother's office for a few hours to see everybody that works there and to volunteer and help out where I could. I notice a few things that I thought was very interesting and definitely worth writing about. One of my brother's repeat customers was so happy that he could help her with a refinance and her reaction was heartwarming to me. He had done a really good job for her the first time he helped her with a home loan and an even better job the second time around. So much so that she really had very little she needed to do to get her loan completed. This was a relief to her because she was facing some medical issues and dealing with her home loan was the last thing she wanted to do or worry about. He handled everything for her and you could see the relief on her face. It is that level of service that makes him so successful during this period of mortgage lender uncertainty. I was really proud of him and the best thing was this was not an isolated incident I have seen him do it before with many others. He works hard for his customers and they send him their friends and family and when they need him themselves they are back. That says a lot.

Another business that impresses me like that is the Treasure Chest. They have the most incredible and unusual jewelry and gifts. Their prices are great too. Whenever I need a gift like that they are the first place I think to go to. They are also a wealth of information about lapidary, gemstones and jewelry making. They have beautiful pieces for your home. They sell the work of artisan from all over the world. The people at the Treasure Chest are fantastic if you go in you will meet friendly Floyd, Vicious Val, Terrible Tracy and Mean Martha (names supplied by Floyd) but if you ask me it should be Venerable Val, Talented Tracy, Marvelous Martha and Facetious Floyd. There is something special about this business and I believe it is when you step in the door you feel like you belong there. They are so welcoming and quick to befriend. It doesn't matter if you spend $10 or $1,000 they make you feel like a VIP. That says a lot.

jewelry fsbo




This necklace is very long it measures in at 26 inches. It is ideal for fall. It can worn over casual or dressy sweaters. I know that it is hard to think about wearing a sweater in August but with Fall right around the corner it would be a lovely addition to your fall wardrobe. The stones are red jasper, with a large multi burnt-red jasper pendant, the black and white stones are zebra jasper and the cream stone is made from bone. All of the silver on this necklace is .925 Sterling Silver. The clasp was handmade and shipped from Bali. It is very affordable for genuine stones and silver for $75.00 plus $5.00 for shipping.




If interested email me at k.haskell@mchsi.com with questions or to make arrangements to purchase.




Wednesday, August 6, 2008

pet of the week finally awarded with own column


This girl, Annie we lovingly refer to as "fire starter" because she is on the spot when it comes to alerting us to anyone misbehaving within a 10 yard perimeter of our house or yard. She is first on the scene and she brings in the "Big Guns" Tobie when he deems she is right. First let us define misbehaving in dog it is a verb and it means at the very minimum to breathe or move within ear shot or sight of our property, the sidewalk or across the street. All of these behaviors UNACCEPTABLE! If she sees you and you are doing the minimum stated above well she is on it. If you go beyond like for instance you happen to be walking another canine, God help you. She can be heard in the next neighborhood and Tobie will join her choir.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

happy birthday to the sweetest boy i know


Happy 47th and 1st birthday to the sweetest boy I know. This is an extremely important year for this guy. It is a year of renewed health and happy birthday wishes. After all he has been through this year and for as dear as he is to me, I thank God for all the blessings we have received this year.


Proof that this boy is sweet, a little story perhaps... In 1994, Steve and I were walking through a JC Penney in Fashion Valley Mall when he turned to me (weeks before my diagnosis with MD) and he asked me, "Would you marry me?" I said that I would but was he really sure that he wanted to take me and my health issues on? He told me that in his heart he was already married to me and that to him it was important to stick by me in sickness and in health. And boy has he done just that.



Need more proof, well when most men would buy an expensive sports car to ease the blow of turning forty, not this guy he bought his wife a ramp van and drives an older sable to and from work.




Okay sometimes he is not an angel exactly but to me he is. I love him dearly and I feel blessed that he is my husband.




Happy Birthday Steve, I love you! Have a great year you deserve it!

Okay I'm a little early his actual birthday is on the 7th but what the hay he deserves a little blog time!


(this is Steve his first week home after open-heart surgery the photo above was taken summer 2007)

natural talent


I drove over to my brother's house yesterday to drop off my nephew Mitch. Since Steve's open-heart surgery last May Mitch has been helping us out by mowing our backyard. He is such a great guy. He has a good heart and natural talent too. He draws beautifully, he is very athletic, a great skater and plays the drums very well with energy and enthusiasm. He possesses a lot of intelligence physically, musically, and artistically. He is 15 years old and starting his sophomore year this fall. We talk about his future a lot and he desires to utilize his talents by going to art school. I told him that was a fantastic idea. Do what you love. I have always read and heard that if you do what you love for a living you will never be unhappy at your job, you will excel in your field no matter what that field is, and your living will be made.

For years my husband worked in the computer field managing networks and technicians. His education was geared for this type of work, it paid very well but at times it was thankless and did not feed his soul. After a few re-inventions and a little soul searching he found his niche and has a job he loves. His education and experience are still viable in his job. It is not the highest paying job but it is certainly the most rewarding job he has ever had. Best of all he is happy and we are doing well. He is great with people and excellent at training them. He has the heart of a teacher and now he is a technical trainer and teaches adults for a large company. Employment can't always be about the money, in fact, I think when you find your soul's purpose the contentment and peace coupled with the intrinsic value far out way any paycheck. Best of all when you excel in your field, at your true purpose, you will make a living and you will love the way that living is being made.

On another front my youngest brother "Sweet William" working in his garage waved me over to see his latest creation. There have been many. He loves to build furniture and he has filled his house with gorgeous custom pieces. I have to admit I am envious of my sister-in-law because the best of what he makes is in their home. He is a natural artisan woodworker. His patience and problems solving skills make his work stand out. He had just finished making a few custom picture frames out of maple and padauk. They are not your ordinary frames they are stunning. The detail is amazing. Somehow he managed to meld the two woods together. Padauk is an exotic African hardwood that has no need for stain because in its natural state it is exquisite and when married to the lighter tiger stripe maple the result is elegant. I don't pretend to know much about the wood types he chooses to use or how he does what he does but what I can tell you is that he loves it and it shows in his work. He has a natural born talent when it comes to designing and creating with wood.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

CATHOLIC SHAMPOO



While shopping in a food store, two Nuns happened to pass by the beer section. One asked the other if she would like a beer. The second Nun answered that, indeed, it would be very nice to have one, but that she wouldn't feel comfortable about buying it.

The first Nun replied that she could handle that without a problem. She picked up a six-pack and took it to the cashier. The cashier had a surprised look on his face, so the Nun said, 'We use beer for washing our hair....a sort of shampoo if you will.'

Without blinking an eye, the cashier reached under the counter, pulled out a bag pretzels and placed them in the bag with the beer. He then looked the Nun straight in the eye, smiled and said, 'The curlers are on the house.'

p.s. I got this joke from a friend via email. I thought it was pretty good so I posted it.

Pyrite

To see it here you might think it looks like a gold nugget and you would be half right. Often it gets mistaken for gold but it is not gold it is pyrite some refer to it as "fools gold." Its mineral composition is about 47% iron and 53% sulfide. Which explains the fact that when it is rough it looks like a chunk of iron with some gold thrown in. It got its name from the greeks "purites" and means "in fire" or pur = fire. It really has nothing to do with it looking like fire but because it was used in early weapons. When struck with a flint sparks would fly.


It's an opaque stone with a metalic luster and that makes it fun to work with for boy jewelry. There is something rugged and masculine about the stone and I have yet to have a boy tell me "that's too girly" for him. But don't think for a minute that only the boys want this stone, in some feminine beading designs it looks fantastic. It has a very "real" appearance and no one ever mistakes it for glass or thinks it is man-made. I believe that it looks great with other stones of opaque nature like chrysocolla, many of the jaspers, or turquoise. I also love to pair it with black or green onyx. I could list off another 20 or so stones it would look great with but that's not the focus. It is pyrite.

hidden gems and unrealized dreams


I recently made a lanyard for Steve's MP3 player and a bracelet for Mitch. I thought to myself, self why don't I make more boy jewelry? Both Steve and Mitch were happy with what I made them. I was somewhat limited because most of my beads seem too feminine. I did manage to find some that worked but I decided that I need to find more boy beads.


So I went on a quest to find boy beads on the Internet. Most of what I discovered was not new to me. I did run into one site that shall remain nameless that had something I had never seen before. Having made more than a thousand necklaces, bracelets, and earrings I have seen a lot! Not to mention that I can spend copious amounts of time window shopping on the web for beads. ThAt's funny window shopping, get it? No oh well only funny to me then.


So now to the gem hidden in the depths of the web It was a something that was so inspiring. I am starting to feel that itch again. You know that itch to finish something you start except that it really doesn't serve a purpose to finish except to fulfill that little personal goal. Albet an expensive goal at that. And that is really what stops me. My little voice saying "Go back to school and resume your BFA in metalsmithing and jewelry making." You can swing a hammer for a hundred hours (well I know that I can not and that is what really stops me). Nevertheless the jewelry ideas floating in my head are overwhelming. I dream them, I write about them (privately) and occasionally I realize them.


I can't say much now about the inspiring beads yet because I am not sure how I am going to pull it off but give me time I will figure it out.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

on the menu tonight


Quite a few people in my neighborhood are growing tomatoes. The need to add tomatoes to every single meal is becoming necessary as they are all starting to ripen and there is no lack of abundance. Tonight we used some fresh basil, fresh parsley and some elephant garlic to season most of what we made for dinner. The Amish pasta we prepared with parsley, Romano, and elephant garlic. I made a vinaigrette with garlic, fresh basil, EVOO and rice wine vinegar that we drizzled over fresh tomato slices warm from the vine. Steve grilled some shrimp and zucchini and the entire dinner we calculated was under $10.00. Best of all it was extremely fresh and it fed three people with leftovers for lunch tomorrow. It was fantastic.
This morning Steve went to the Farmer's market and wanted some fresh garlic but not much was available so he talked with a farmer who showed him the fresh elephant garlic just picked this morning. It is very subtle, extremely juicy and one clove minced yields almost what an entire normal bulb would yield. It minced up so quickly and its lite flavor was a nice change. I have purchased elephant garlic before and I have to tell you I wasn't impressed. It was old, rubbery and lacked moisture at the time I had no idea what to expect. It was there at the store so I bought it and tried it. I never bothered to use it again.
I believe the key to anything good is the source. If a farmer picked it this morning and you are using it for dinner that night chances are that's about as good as it gets. I believe this whole hearted because last year I purchased some mushrooms the same way (haven't seen them this year) and they were like morsels of heaven in your mouth. Now it is a hundred degrees outside, humid and there is a swarm of mosquitoes in my backyard that look like a dirt devil. Many people do not like this time of year for these very reasons but I would love this 365 days a year if I could eat this fresh year round. The fruit and the vegetables are never better than they are in the summer time and that means the menu tonight is never better.

Friday, August 1, 2008

i was shot

Yesterday I was shot. I had what we called a down day. So there is no post for yesterday because I never even made it out of bed. Today I feel a whole lot better. I drank a ton of water, some green machine and took some extra strength Tylenol. I am back in business today. When I feel that bad I play my PS2 Sims. It is just mindless enough to get through a tough patch. Yes I am one of the millions of 4o something women addicted to Sims. I try to limit my habit to down days but I am up and already thinking about retiring early tonight so that I can continue my game.

There are entire sites dedicated to women who game. It is a interactive yet passive past time. If you play it enough you pick up little tips to make the game progress quicker. Something I stopped doing is paying for food. I buy a tree that grows fruit and a fish tank. From both of those sources I have enough food that it doesn't cost to feed your sim. The other thing I did was I turned them into raw foodist. That's right I don't cook a thing so I don't need an oven or microwave. The other upside is that if you don't have a microwave or oven you won't have fire. My sims never die now and I don't have to pay the grim reaper to get their bodies back. Just make sure that when you pull the food out of the fridge it doesn't have green fumes coming off the food because you can poison your sim and they can die that way too. So my kitchen has a fridge and counter in it and that is it. I run the dishes out to the can because I don't want to waste time cleaning up a flood when the sink breaks. And the sink always breaks.

If you have never played sims and do not have hours of time to waste I don't suggest you start. I never thought that I would get hooked on something like that but when you have pain it is hard to concentrate on reading and I have seen just about every movie I want to. This is a nice diversion for me.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

learning to garden as we go

Deep inside the bush they seemed really red so naturally we picked them. Amateur tomato growers is what we are. We have enjoyed this years garden so much that we decided that this fall we are going to build a raised bed and get it ready for next Spring. Gardening is soooo relaxing when you are not getting stung by mosquito's and other flying biters.



This year's container crop included:



Bell Peppers

Banana Peppers

Tomatoes

Mint

Basil

Dill

Oregano

Sage

Parsley

Rosemary



Next year we hope to expand our horizons a little and add some yellow squash, zucchini, jalapeno, and a variety of lettuce. We also plan to use a product called mosquito barrier to help combat some of the biting insects. I found mosquito barrier on the EPA's website as a link. It seems kind of expensive but it is organic and we like that idea a lot. It is made from super duper high concentrated garlic juice which to a mosquito is supposed to act like acid. You dilute with water and spray your trees, bushes and grass. It is supposed to work and at the very worst my yard will smell like a buca di beppo. We also want to do a little composting because our tomato's soil is the product of five years of dumping old soil and clippings in that very spot. When my good friend Valerie planted that tomato for us we notice big fat earth worms. The only other thing I want to do next year is give my peppers more space and a ring to lean on. The weight of the pepper makes the plant droop and it really needs some support. We sure have been enjoying our salads a lot more with all these fresh picked veggies.

ok i'm coming you silly dog


Words I hear frequently from my mother when Tobie's lost patience and wants in. Tobie will woof until he gets his way or chicken at the very minimum. On really bad days (hot and buggy)we have to take him for a ride. Sometimes a ride involves a doggy cone at Andy's, a jr. burger at sonic or mcnuggets. He is not spoiled he just has needs that have to be met. It doesn't matter if gas is $3.50 a gallon when Tobie is ready and he is always ready off we go.

parking in the blue spot





I remember the first time I received a disabled placard. I was walking then and pretty good at that except I had unpredictable moments of weakness. I just started using a cane because I found that with the cane I felt a little safer and I would fall a little less frequently. It was Christmas 1994 and I had a few packages to mail so I pulled into the Hillcrest post office in San Diego, put my placard up, gathered my packages and cane, and got out of my car, when I was accosted by a 30 something. He yelled at me about parking in that spot and said, "there is nothing wrong with you!" He did this at the top of his voice and in front of a parking lot full of people.

At this point I am 27 years old and I had just been seen by a doctor who told me that she thought I had muscular dystrophy. I had not even received the official diagnosis so I was not prepared emotionally to deal with this man. He caught me off guard. I am standing in line and he is right behind me making rude comments about me to his companion. I am feeling completely freaked out, mortified to say the least. My feelings are hurt and I am wondering why some stranger would assume the worst of me. But I am stunned and I can't even speak to him.
I get out of line upset with my packages unmailed, get back in my car and I start to cry. I am stunned by that man, so much so, that I want to yell at him but those feeling surface an hour after and I am long gone. I know that I will never see him again. What would I say to him if I could turn back time it would sound like this “Don’t assume you know everything because I am parked in that spot legally and furthermore what I have has no cure and is none of your business anyway!” Now at 27 I would have called him a jerk at 41 I’m pretty sure I would have called him an as-h-le. I am so glad that I have matured. What happened instead was something even better.
I use my placard everywhere and not one person has ever done that to me since. But things for me are a lot different now. I am in the wheelchair fulltime and I use a ramp van. Let’s face it you don’t go out and buy a ramp van and a power wheelchair just so you can fake a mobility impairment to get the blue spots upfront. What this experience did for me was make no assumptions about anyone. If someone parks in the spot, gets out of their car and they appear fine it could just be on the surface. There are a lot of diseases that happens with so don’t make any assumptions. For God sakes if someone parks illegally and they feel they need that spot bad enough to take it from a disabled person then I say let them have it.

I had a recent experience with that situation too. One of our local news teams was parked at Nathaniel Green Park in a disabled spot without a placard. My husband took the photo because he really gets mad when he sees that. People please there are only a few of those spots in every parking lot and millions of people that need them. Don’t test fate by parking in one just to save a few steps. It's bad luck, there are a ton of bad diseases that have a later in life onset. So to the man who drives the KY3 Blue Ford Explorer if you forgot to put up your placard I am sorry to post this. If you just tried to save a few steps please try to remember there are alot of people that can't take those steps themselves and really need that spot.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

annie back in the running

Well for the past two nights Annie has slept through the night. She has been so sweet that she is weaseling her way back in the running for next weeks "pet of the week" award.

Its been blazing hot, humid and buggy. When I say buggy I mean big bugs with teeth. Even the poor dogs have bites on them that have puffed up. So indoors we all stay, air conditioning humming and outside the cicadas a buzzing.

labradorite



The stone is in the feldspar family in fact its mineral composition is calcium sodium feldspar, which means little to most people. Often it gets overlooked because from a distance it can seem grey, cloudy and striated. Sadly if you don't inspect it closer you might miss that fact that it has enormous fire when the light hits it just right. The fire can be olive, turquoise, orange, cobalt and even at times appear like the sun. I have read that some rare stones display all these colors at the same time.
How this color display happens is when compatible high temperatures become incompatible at lower temps and lamellar (a thin, plate-like part, or layer) inter-growths form inside the crystal and there is some light ray refraction thrown into the mix. I am no chemistry major so this is my elementary understanding of how this happens. Nevertheless it is so beautiful and the jewelry is even more so. When worn it can go with just about everything because on one level it appears neutral and then out of nowhere it becomes spectacular.
I just made a necklace that I showed my lapidary experts and they tried to keep it. In fact, friendly Floyd as he likes to refer to himself (owner of the Treasure Chest and veteran stone smith for the past 50+ years) said, "when you make something that fine you have to leave it in my store." I said, "no way buddy that piece is mine."
Its chatoyance is outrageous and as soon as I can get it photographed I will post a picture. I have not worn it yet because I need more stones to make the earrings and bracelet and also because it is so special I am not sure I can just wear it. Oh nonsense I think I will wear it tomorrow.
Be on the lookout for this stone and if you are interested in a strand of your own the link I posted (great bulk pricing) has some lovely strands. Or if you live locally you must visit the Treasure Chest because that store is filled with experts and the most beautiful stones in Springfield. Perhaps you want a pendant they have lots of those too or if you are not local just search the site mentioned using "labradorite pendant" and a whole page in various shapes, sizes, and price points will come up.

Monday, July 28, 2008

the grilled pork tenderloin

We had it for dinner last night and it was DELICIOUS! The trick is to turn it every 15 minutes on the grill and use a meat thermometer. When it registers 160 degrees it's done!

posting to a blog is not a waste of time

Anymore than taking the time to read what someone else is thinking is not a waste of time because it is a time of reflection for the writer and sometimes that can trigger reflection time for the reader. Coming up with things to write about is not always easy but to maintain an interesting blog necessary. I am contantly thinking about things to write and because I enjoy this activity so much I want my blog to be interesting enough that I get readers on a regular basis. My brother told me that writing about how to water a tomato was not interesting. I have to agree with him but my blog has not interested him enough that he has bothered to read it. If he had he would realize that I never wrote about that.

He does not have time to read my blog but he does have time to attend a Taze-a-Que 2008. What is a Taze-a-Que 2008? Well simply put it involves a bunch a red necks getting together to see what will happen to their buddy when they shoot him with 50,000 volts of electricity from a a taser gun. After which they grill some meat and have a barbeque. Well for thirty seconds they all got a scare because they thought they killed him. I am not sure why they thought this was a good idea to attend but they did in fact most of Jack's office left work earily to attend. If you want to see what happened the "youtube" link is listed below. I am sure that if the stunned had done some reflecting prior to taking that 50,000 volts the taze-a-que might have just been a barbeque instead. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGDWwcJINUs