Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Everyone is Interesting

Maybe I should say most people are interesting. At some point, you will come across a person that is 'vanilla' plain, but not if you know what to look for. Everyone has a story. Everyone has a life. Everyone has had occurrences in their life, and those occurrences are great stories. Sometimes, it's the person's manner of speech that may put you off, but the story usually never does.

It's all in how it is told. The key is to get the person talking about something they WANT to talk about. This is not the weather or sports. I'm talking meat. Get to the meat of the person, to what trips their trigger and you will find an interesting person with an interesting story. And the boring speech usually fades to reveal the person underneath.

Usually, the good stories are the ones that tell you one of two things. One- something about the person you never knew before or Two- something about the world you never thought of.
I never thought I was an interesting person. But I am. Very much so. And this is not ego or self-confidence talking here. Nope- I actually have led a boring/struggling/normal but interesting life (for instance, did you know I was a carney?). None of which comes across on my blog. When I talk, I enunciate and pronounce things in weird ways. I emphasize certain words. I say EYEther not E-ther (either). I talk with my hands. I get quiet and speak low, or I get LOUD and large.
All to make the story more interesting. Because really, what is a story for if not to teach and or entertain the listener?

So next time you run across someone you believe to be plain and vanilla, talk to them. Find out their story. It could be more enlightening than you think.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Born in the Fall, Probably September

I've often wondered why Christians celebrate the holidays (holy-days) they do. Don't get me wrong, I hold no ill will. I used to be a Christian. A big one. And I am about to probably piss off a lot of people when I say, the Bible is a good History book. There are verifiable occurrences. Isn't that what a history book does? Tell you about an event that you can verify?

I agree with the basic principle of Christianity- love all. Do good.

But I must wonder at the masses when they insist on events occurring at a certain time when they did not, or certain phrases being important they way they are spelled.

For instance, most people believe christmas is December 25. But why do we celebrate it on that day? Most will tell you it is the anniversary of Jesus' birth.

But it is not.

Several clues in the Christian bible tell you Jesus was not born on December 25th. We do not know the exact day, but we know it is in the Fall. One of the better explanations I have run across can be found here.

So why is christmas celebrated on December 25th? Can it be that they early church wanted to cover up the pagen holiday called The Worship of the Sun and Winter Solstice? Probably so. Pagens called Dec. 25th the Worship of the Sun because every day after this day gets longer.

The early church wanted to counteract and cover up Pagen celebrations. Behind every Christian celebration, you can find a Pagen one. Usually. The link I gave is a substandard information site, but it gets the point across.

I find it funny that the early church did everything within it's power to cover anything not like them. They still do to some extent today. I just do not like the dissemination of misinformation. I don't care that Christians celebrate christmas, just do not stand on laurels that are untrue or dig in heels on inaccurate information.

I must admit though, that I do love the holidays. It is a time for family and friends and food. No matter your belief system, it is a special time. And even though I am not a Christian (nor Pagan, btw), I think the overall validity of christian teachings is sound- do good, love thy neighbor, do not covet, etc etc.

Sounds good to me.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Windshield Wiper Workout

I have a pet peeve with windshield wipers. I never knew I did. But apparently I do.
Several times over the past couple of months, Grau and I would be be-bopping it down the road to somewhere. It may rain, but more likely snow.

So he turns on the wipers.

But then it stops raining or snowing.

And he doesn't turn off the wipers.

And it goes Squeek.....Squeek....Squeek....across a dry windshield.
It's like nails on a chalkboard to me!

So I remind him to turn them off.

This afternoon, it started snowing. Heavily. And it was wet snow, smashing into the windshield and immediately making little wet spots all over.
Grau's side of the wipers had snow caked onto I could see, but he couldn't.

'Hon, I think you need to snap! your wiper.'

So he opens his window, waits for the wiper and snaps it when it gets close to his outstretched hand.

A few minutes later....he turns off the wipers....or puts them on slow. And I don't mean, slow-intermediate. I mean like the wiper may move once every five minutes slow.

'Hon, are you going to turn on your wipers?'

He looks at me...and I start laughing. Apparently I have a wiper fetish...they must be going just the right speed or I am not happy.
I never knew this about myself until today.

Grau and I decided that wipers need dimmer switches installed...not those click for each level ones they have now. That way, wiper nazi's like myself can be happy and set it to just the right speed.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Lady Poker Gaga Face

I live under Bou's rock sometimes. I'd heard kids talking about this Gaga lady, but never knew what she sang or looked like or why people were so gaga over her.

I've avoided listening to her music for as long as I could....until this video showed up.

I first saw it a couple months ago. I must go back every so often and watch it, I love it so. It is catchy, and the guy is hilarious and amazing. So, here ya go, enjoy along with me...

Friday, December 10, 2010

New Year, No Resolution.

I've been toying with the idea of becoming healthier. I don't mean skinnier, although that will be a fabulous side effect. I mean healthier. I know I am a sugar addict. So I want to cut out sugar, which is actually in more food than you think.

I'm a semi-healthy person now. I rarely get sick (sick). I have allergies. Those suck. I might be getting a bone spur in my left foot. That definitely sucks. If I walk too much, I limp. So running is out, for now. Not that I *could* run, just that it is off the table of possibilities, even if I wanted to.

No, I mean healthier-healthier. Currently, I rarely eat red meat. I prefer chicken to anything else out there, and on the odd occasion I eat red meat my body lets me know immediately. So I am one-up in the meat department. Although I rarely eat fish, either. My motto is, if it comes out of the ocean, chances are, I'm not eating it. Once in a while I get a craving for fried fish, but not often.

I need to eat more vegetables. Unlike Bou who recently had all the vegetables she can handle, I need to increase the amount of veggies in my house. I dislike vegetables. Always have. But I think I need to start trying them again to see if I still dislike them.

I need to increase the amount and varieties of fruit I eat. Quit drinking sugar drinks like soda or fruit juice.

I need to cut out white flour. Switch to whole grain everything. Even add nuts into my daily intake of protein.

So there's my non-resolution for new year. Get healthier. More fruits and vegetables. More whole grain, less sugar and sweet things. Less processed foods. Read labels. Visit the farmer's market here.

And I am not ignorant to believe that I can do all this immediately. No...I will need to do this slowly, one item at a time. I gave up soda two days ago. That's one. Next will be eating more fruit.

I'm like the fat engine that could. I think I can I think I can...and I will. I just told the world...I either will, or I look like an ass. :)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

To Tree or Not to Tree

For the past couple of weeks, I have wanted a Christmas tree. Bad. When I left the ex, I left all holiday decorations with him. And I do mean ALL. I took none of my beloved halloween decorations or any of the Christmas ones handed down or made by the kids.

I just wanted out.

So the past few weeks, I've been on the 'I want a tree....' band-wagon. But now I am not so sure. What is the tree for, anyway? It's something to decorate, look pretty and place presents under for your loved ones, mostly children.

I don't have my children here. Besides, they are grown up and have their own lives. Grau has his boys, but only one day a week (he works six of seven days a week, every week). For Christmas we will probably have the boys one day, and because Grau will most likely be working the night before, they won't spend Christmas Eve with us.

Which means it will be just Grau and I until he goes to get his boys. And I am okay with that. But I got to thinking about the tree. Why go through so much trouble? We can't afford a good artificial tree, and why spend the money on a real tree when we will also need to buy the stand, ornaments, garland and the like too?

It seems...cost prohibitive, to me. So I think we will go get a small tree I saw in the store...

I think it's perfect! (at least for this year....)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Snow Tears

I love snow. I always have. I guess it comes from growing up in Southern California and only seeing snow when we would take winter vacations in Big Bear. OH! How I loved the cozy 2-story cabin we rented, building a snowman with my brother, hot cocoa and the fireplace.

I still love snow. It started here last night after I went to bed. I woke up this morning to at least three inches on the ground, and it is still snowing. They forecast 4-6 inches. I am in heaven!

And as I sat on the love seat, looking out the window at the gorgeous snow-laden branches of bare leaf trees, grooves in the road caused by the determined soul (or the mailman...), I smile. I smile because snow always takes me back to being a kid. To Big Bear. To snowmen and hot cocoa and cozy warmth and fireplaces.

And suddenly I started to cry. I remembered I used to wake up earlier than everyone else in my house, my kids tucked away, snoring, the then husband just going to bed an hour earlier....and I would wake up... see the snow and get excited...

I would go to the kids, Wake up! Wake up! It's snowing! It snowed last night!

And together the four of us would run to the windows and sigh....suddenly there would be a flurry of activity...pants and coats and three tube socks on each hand and out the door they would go.

One year, we built an igloo in the back yard. We've built snowmen in the front yard, 'brick' walls for snowball fights, snow angels...everything. Everything and anything we could think of, we built together.

And now, my kids.....are grown up. They have their own lives...and their father to whisper in their ear how horrible I was.

Do they remember those mornings? Do they remember how we took an aluminum bread pan to make brick walls? Do they remember trudging out behind grandma's house and cutting down our own Christmas tree? Do they remember using their own hats and gloves on the sickliest looking snowman the year we had only 2" of snow?

I do. And I hope they do, too.

Darn Hallmark Christmas shows... I shouldn't watch them. They make me weepy.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thoughts & Remembrances

Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks for all that is in your life. Not just the good things. Everything. With that thought in mind, I give you the following brain waves:

I am extremely thankful for Grau. He is truly the Yin to my Yang. The old corny lines like 'you complete me' come to mind. I am finally at peace and happy, and it is all due to him.

I am thankful for the little things.
The cat we didn't catch.
The cat we currently have.
The two flights of stairs to do laundry, because unlike a friend of mine who recently had her leg amputated, I *can* walk them.
For Freecycle and the unbelievable finds that now adorn my house.
For my mom and her little comments when I was married to asshole. I now know what she spoke of, and I recognize in her own way she was telling me something without saying it outright. I get it now.
For Grau's boys, they are each unique and interesting.
I am thankful for the ability to cook for Grau's dad and family.

And believe it or not, I am thankful for my asshole ex. Without him, I wouldn't be where I am today. I hold no hard feelings.

I am thankful that my daughter is not pregnant. That, even though she is making poor life decisions, she is healthy and still in school.

I am thankful for my friends, old OK friends and new IL ones. The new ones accept me as I am, warts and all.

And I remember Thanksgivings I would do all the work and receive no help. Because it makes me appreciate all that I have now.


Three more batches of fudge....done, cut and ready to pack away. Chocolate fudge, Peanut Butter/Chocolate fudge and Dark Chocolate/Mint fudge.
We are going to Grau's dad's for Thanksgiving. I am cooking the meat, Grau's sis is doing veggies and taters.
Oh, and gravy. I suck at making gravy.
No, I don't suck at it...I plain-'ol can't do it.

I have a gravy block.

Many times my father has tried teaching me how to make gravy. Once, in 30 years, he's been successful, and I have not been able to duplicate whatever it was that I did.

Seriously, when I make gravy these days, it comes from a package and I add water. Yeah, I know, I suck. Get used to it.

So, anyone else have I can't make that if my life depended on it blocks?

Monday, November 15, 2010

In the Kitchen

The holidays are coming up and I have been scurrying around in the kitchen when I find the energy. I made two batches of fudge, one of which is sea salt fudge. OMG! Can you say crack? Wow. If you have never tried sea salt fudge, go get some right now....go on, I'll wait..... it? Good. Now if you eat it, you will be in fudge bliss for about two minutes until the sugar kicks in. It IS fudge, after all.

So, I made two batches of fudge. The first I shared at the twisted food party Grau and I held last week. I should post on that, I just haven't had the time or the memory.
The second batch, well, let's just say that I only cut up half and put into a container in the freezer. The second half? Not cut, but in the freezer. This way, I can't steal a piece. Am I smart or what?

Next I made Faux Toffee. If you have never made this? Again, it's sugar crack and so easy you're going to want to forget the recipe. Personally, I try not to have graham crackers in the house because I want to make Faux Toffee. (It consists of 1 cup butter & 1 cup brown sugar, boiled for 1 minute; pour over broken grahams, and bake for 15 mins at 400. That's it. If you want to add chocolate and nuts? Go for it...when you take the toffee out of the over, place broken chocolate on top, wait a minute then spread. While the chocolate is still warm, add nuts.)
Well, Grau took some Faux Toffee to work, because I messed up and boiled the sugar too long. His coworkers said they would be happy to 'dispose' of any more mistakes I make....too funny!

Over the weekend I cut, cooked, peeled and mashed pumpkins. I put them, spices included, into individual pie-ready measured bags and set them in the freezer. I need to make at least one for Thanksgiving. I have five.

Today I decided I want to try my hand at making candied orange peel. I've been researching recipes, and a few sound promising. Do any of you have a recipe you know works well and is not that difficult to prepare?

Do you have any specialties you prepare around this time of year? I'd be curious to know what they are (and the recipe!).

Thursday, November 11, 2010


As many of you know, Grau and I adopted a kitty. The previous owners called him Lily, before they knew it was a boy. They said Lily never really answered to his name.
Hmmm, wonder why?

So, about two weeks ago (three this Saturday), we drove to the next town over and picked up Lily.
He hyperventilated in the van on the way home....literally. Mouth open, heavy breathing, panting like a dog. He emitted only a few gutteral meows. I did keep my hand inside the travel carrier petting him on the way home....I think he appreciated that.

So, we've had this cat not quite three weeks. We changed his name, as I mentioned to Cal Techgirl whose friend inspired kitty's new name....his name is Askhim. What should we call him? I don't know, let's ask him!

He took to his new name right away. He actually comes when you call him! He understands what NO means. He must follow me from room to room, like a dog. And when Grau gets home at night, Askhim goes downstairs to say hello and play before coming back up to bed. It's adorable.

Askhim is pure-bred dork cat. He doesn't lie down, he flops like a dog. He follows you from room to room, like a dog. He 'sits pretty' to get a treat, like a dog. He is definitely a good fit for our little family.

The week before we got Askhim, Grau and I saw an adorable cat in the forest preserve....skittish and alone, with no collar or apparent owner. We went back with tuna fish to try and capture it. No luck...and when I came across Askhim, it is apparent why- we were meant to have Askhim.

Everything happens for a reason.
Askhim was ours. :)

Project Update

The project I have been working on the past few weeks is still in the developmental stage. I know I mentioned tidbits here and there, and if anyone cares, this is a business venture.
I have an idea for a product. I have a idea, theme, design, name, logo and Grau and I are working out a few of the small details.

I do not yet have a prototype..because some of the small design details have not been ironed out just yet.

I feel very strongly about this product. Grau and I are determined to make it work, even if it will be a year from now before we can get it 'to market.'

Just...wish us luck.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Experiment(s) Update

In case anyone is still interested- the two experiments I tried (to save money) were 50/50.

First off- the baking soda hair wash/vinegar rinse was effective. But it did dry out my hair so much that I am now using argan oil to correct the fly-away hair (you cannot rehydrate hair except from the scalp...healthy scalp, healthy hair).
Side note here- I know a young East Indian girl- and her hair is fabulous! She uses coconut oil and massages it into her scalp once a month (but it takes a while to wash out!).

Okay- so while the baking soda experiment works, I would recommend using 1/2 tsp vinegar in a cup of water in the rinse water to start. Otherwise, you risk doing what I did- drying out your hair.

Second experiment- the cinnamon hair color.
While my hair smelled fantastic...the results were minimal to non-existent for the amount of work I had to do. (The bag was on my head for six hours.)

For those of you who care to know, as soon as I purchase the right oil, I plan to try dying my hair with Henna. When I get around to that, I will let you know.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Craft Update

So far, I am 90% finished with the sign. I dislike my lettering. I had to freehand it, and I suck at freehand. Grau says it looks just fine. But he's male...and can't paint....I love him dearly though...for telling me it looks good. The letters at the bottom are off center. Who knows, I may paint the orange again and start over. I took liberties with the witch. You've undoubtedly noticed it does not look like the original I saw in the magazine. Several things are different; the wood base on mine is curved top and bottom (original only on the top); lettering is curved top and bottom (only bottom curved on original), etc.

You decide:

Saturday, July 31, 2010

No Poo Update

How fitting...I log on to post an update on the no poo experiment, and there's a commercial for a 'no sulfate, good for your hair, gentle shampoo.' Yeah, like that's gonna happen.

Most people do not realize that soaps and shampoos are more along the lines of detergents. Check out the ingredients...match them with your laundry soap. Seriously.

Anyway- so today is day six, having started last Monday. A few things I have noticed:

  • My hair does not smell like vinegar. A big plus.
  • My scalp feels better. Must be because I massage the baking soda into my scalp. It's like a mini-therapy session for my head.
  • It's better to mix the vinegar with your shower's warmer.
  • Hair feels thicker, yet lighter at the same time. I guess because it is not being weighted down with wax and chemicals.
  • I'm having a slight dryness problem. But instructions mentioned if this happened, decrease the amount of vinegar or add a drop or two of honey to the vinegar rinse. Instead, I have used one drop of argan oil after I blow dry to combat the dryness. Plus side to argan oil is it smells great.
  • I increased the amount of water I mix with the baking soda. Because as soon as you put the baking soda on your head, your scalp soaks up the water making it harder to massage the baking soda into your scalp. So, I don't necessarily use a paste of soda and water...more like a very liquid creme. It definitely works better.
  • My hair is LONG. So getting the vinegar rinse only on the ends is not that difficult, but I still found pouring it over my hair and avoiding the scalp works best.
  • My hair stays cleaner, longer.
  • It holds style longer.
  • It is softer, with the exception of the very ends which are dryer. I definitely need to trim the ends, anyway.

So far, I think the experiment is working very well. And cheap! Holy can purchase baking soda for pennies! And a little goes a long way. Apple Cider Vinegar? Cheap, too.
I also want to know how long before my body (scalp) starts creating its own oils, instead of being stripped away by conventional shampoos and conditioners. I would say my hair is healthier. But I am still going to keep this up for another two weeks or so. I want to see how my hair fares in the long term.

My next experiment? Mixing olive oil and cinnamon together for a natural hair dye. I have red/brown hair. So this should be an interesting experiment, too.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Go No 'Poo

I am going no poo.

No, that doesn't mean I am constipated. It means that I am forgoing shampoo and conditioner for the next few weeks. I have always liked making things myself. Candles, lotions, etc. and this is just another way for me to try something new.

I got the idea from here. Seriously? I have nothing to lose. And my hair could use a time-out from all the chemicals and such in shampoos and colorants. I have always tried to make my hair softer. But I was putting more and more things ON my hair. I decided I needed to start at the base, from the beginning.

Here is the general idea.
Use baking soda dissolved in enough water to make a paste. Lightly scrub it into your scalp then rinse. Then use 2T apple cider vinegar in 1 c water to rinse the ends of your hair.
That's it.

I have done this for two days so far. And while not long enough to form a decision, I have noticed that my hair doesn't smell like vinegar. That was my biggest worry. And my second noticeable was not by me, but by Grau. He played with my hair stating how soft it was.

I think that is a positive review for now. So I will keep it up and see how my hair fares. I'll let you know how it goes, if you're interested.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Crafting Fairy Update

So this is what I am trying to make:

And this is what I bought to make it with:

And this is how far I am right now:

Whatcha think? Not bad, huh?

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Crafting Fairy

Grau and I went out last week to find me something, anything, crafty to do. Well, I couldn't decide. Especially since I have a lot of crafting items in my storage unit and I just can't see spending money on something I may already have in storage.

Well, today I couldn't stand it. I woke up from my nap (two bloody noses and a killer headache will do that to you) and I had crafting on the brain. So, within twenty minutes of getting up, I was out the door headed to Hobby Lobby.

I came home with two pieces of wood, three tubes of paint, brushes and a black piece of cardstock.

What will I do? What will I do?
I have something in mind.
I saw it in a catalog today.
Which is why I bought specific items.
Wanna know what I plan to make?

The real trick is seeing how close I can get to the real one!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Lasts, Part 1

Last night I mixed up a batch of plaster and filled the flats to make my first pair of lasts. It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. About two hours after the plaster had set, it was strong enough for me to tear apart the shoe.

This required a box knife and patience.

I had both. And what was funny about the whole thing is my mom coming in to watch me.
She watched me mix the plaster and fill the shoes. Then I jokingly told her to come back in two hours and watch me tear the shoes apart.

And she did.

Did I mention that she used to work in a shoe factory? I asked her what she did and she said that she sewed the tongues and heels in mens shoes.

I think her knowledge will come in handy when I get to that point.

Here is a picture of the filled shoes, prior to my tearing them apart to get the last out. I forgot to take a picture of the 'tearing apart' part.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Last Cordwainer

I am sure most of you have no idea what a cordwainer is, am I right?

How many of you know what a cobbler is? No, I don't mean the peach or apple kind, either!

A small lesson here:
A cobbler is someone who repairs shoes.
A cordwainer is someone who makes shoes.
A last is the form they use to make the shoe.
A cordovan is a type of Spanish leather.

So, I, Cordovan Cobbler, formally welcome you to the Last Cordwainer.

Why did I pick this name, title etc? (BTW- any name you may have previously known me as shall hereby be stricken from your vocabulary or suffer a slow and painful death.)

Because I am trying my hand at making shoes. Yup. I decided that I want to make shoes.
Today was the first day. I bought a pair of flats in my size at a thrift store and took all embellishments off. Then oiled those puppies up and filled them with plaster to make the last.

I should be tearing the shoe apart in about an hour.

Please stay tuned for further updates on my shoe-making process. I am sure it will be full of surprises and stories.