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Showing posts from 2015

When Your Spouse Gets A New Hobby.......

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Andy got a new camera this year, and once in a while there are odd "go stand over there" moments, but most of the time it's just very cool.  He took this picture of the living room looking festive,
and, of course, Theo:
who is nothing if not a ham.  I take pictures of things, but while I can manage not-blurry and actual-representations-of-things, that's as far as I go.

I Think I'm a Holiday Behind...

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Though I don't think it's all my fault.  Thanks to Global Warming, our garden was alive until November, so we got things harvested a bit late and with everything else I needed to get done,
the pumpkins got pushed aside.  They do store fairly well, but Monday I noticed one of them was going bad, so yesterday I started on roasting pumpkins. 

Once, in my younger and more foolish days, I used to try to cut through their tough little skins with a knife.  Now I use the easier and FAR more fun bouncing-them-off-the-patio method.  When they're fresh, they don't bounce.  When they've aged a bit, they do, so it can take a couple tries, and is a lovely way to work out frustration....say, that of never getting rid of bronchitis, for instance.

I have also discovered that a grapefruit spoon works REALLY well for scraping the insides clean:
and I can now tell you that our oven has enough room to roast exactly 4 sugar pumpkins at a time.  This was a good thing to figure out before…

Almost There!

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I have read 99 books for the year so far.  A lot of them have been audio books, because honestly that is the only way I would ever be able to do this.  And I usually have more than one book going at any time--there's an audio book in the sewing room, one on my phone, and there was one in our bedroom, but I just made the executive decision that if I still don't care for the book on the third disc out of 6, it's time to call it quits.  Besides, there are others.

I've been rereading a lot, which I've always done.  Not everything is worth reading twice, but some things I can read over and over again.  Like this:
This is a 1945 book of Grimm's fairy tales, mercifully before the era when parents decided children were too "fragile" for these tales which have been around for hundreds of years.  I must have read this at least a hundred times growing up, and still know much of it by heart.  To fair, they don't always have morals--I probably wouldn't hav…

It's the Holiday Season

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So here in America, within a span of 6 weeks, we have 3 federal holidays and manage to make the entire period a season of parties, shopping, and eating.  Maybe I should mention eating twice, as there's just THAT much food.  I don't care how healthy one tries to be, there just isn't that festive atmosphere about lettuce.  Sad, but true. 

Both trees are up,
I have finished the last gift (I hope, because otherwise this means I have forgotten someone), many things are shipped, and now I need to get cracking on the Christmas letter.  Or holiday letter, in case it's a New Year's thing.  I'm flexible that way.  

Wow, Was That A Full Month?

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Here it is already December, and I didn't even get our Thanksgiving picture posted.  This:

is what we did for Black Friday.  We spent the holiday on the ranch with my parents, and visiting my aunt and uncle and cousins.  A really fun time.

Now we're in to the full craziness of December.  And I have shipped gifts!   Not all of them, but most.  In early December.  I am very excited about this.  And surprised, of course, but I prefer not to talk about that............

Decluttering

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I imagine we all have things that are difficult to part with.  For me, it's books. 
I know many people have switched to e-readers, but I just don't care for it.  I love the real thing.  And I reread books a lot, which makes it even HARDER to get rid of any, because what it I want to reread them????

However, I need the shelf space, and there are books I'm never going to reread. Anything by Dostoevsky, for a start.  I'll admit--I actually LIKE his books,but not enough to reread them.  And somewhere in that pile is Centennial by James Michener, which I loved, but every book of his is around 1000 pages long.  I'd like to read all of them, which makes it REALLY unlikely that I will ever get around to REREADING any of them. 

Also in this pile are my copies of To the Lighthouse and some collection of James Joyce's writings.  I get the point of stream of consciousness writing, but that doesn't mean I enjoy it.  I've hung on to anything considered a "classi…

And We're Back!

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Some friends of ours got married on Long Island this past weekend, so bright and early Tuesday morning, we learned that airport security in Boise opens at 4:30 in the morning.  To be fair, I could have lived without this knowledge, but when you live in a smaller city, there aren't always a lot of flight options.  If one flies out of a little airport, one is almost always sent to a big airport somewhere, and if one is traveling east from Boise, those bigger airports tend to be in a westerly direction, so flying 2 hours west to catch a flight east is pretty standard, but dreadful when one has a sore back.  I did find an airline that would send us through Minneapolis, but that's a once-a-day option.  Still, the perk to a 5:00 AM flight is that one can take a muscle relaxer and STILL be no more groggy than most of the other people on the plane.   However, it does not to wonders for knitting, so the new begonia shawl did not get a lot of attention.  Or at least not muc…

I Resemble That...

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It's Time

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The garden and I have broken up. Yes, it's still alive.  Yes, I could maybe get more produce from it.  But between the aphids, voles, and the fact that our irrigation water has been shut off--we're done.

RAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Finally we had some heavy rain (for Idaho) Saturday night and on and off since then, bringing the current fire to 96% containment, so we can breathe again!!!!!!


And Then There's Purple

So this past week, Boise was under a "red alert" for air quality, which is unhealthy for everyone.  Makes sense--it really was nasty.  But Friday, we reached the next level--purple--which is "really unhealthy" for everyone.  I'll admit, I have never looked into this, but I have always assumed that red alerts were the highest one. Did anyone else not know there was a purple level after that?

It turns out, there's even one more level after that:  Maroon.  Maybe it's just because the movies have us so well trained that red alerts mean people running, but does a Maroon Alert sound even remotely scary?

The Thing About A View

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is that you can REALLY tell how bad your air quality is when large chunks of it disappear.  For instance,
there are normally mountains outside this dirty window.  But we're enjoying red-alert air quality because of one last human-caused fire this season. The cats are even limiting their time outside, which is just as well as their fur picks up the smell quickly and they smell like 3-packs-a-day smokers.  Maybe--since nothing else has defeated them--the voles are all getting lung cancer this week.  One can only hope...............

Nine Years!

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Today is our 9-year wedding anniversary.  Hard to believe it's been 9 years already, but that's a good sign.   We always exchange perfume and cologne for our anniversaries, though rarely actually on the day.  We've been very, very late a few times, so this year we picked them out early for a change.  In February when we were down visiting Andy's parents, Andy and I went to a mall, and since I actually heartily dislike malls in general and try for once-a-year visits at most, we decided to pick out scents while we were there.  So, the nine-year fragrances ("artistically" arranged with a dusty engagement photo and some birthday flowers): For Andy, L'Homme by Yves Saint Laurent For me, Acqua di Gioia by Giorgio Armani For the credit card, life support, as fragrances have just about doubled since we got married. These are actually our 10th fragrances, as we exchanged them as our wedding gifts to each other, and it has been a really fun idea.  I can…

Salsa!

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It takes all day, but doing salsa as a triple batch does get it done all at once.

Nine Years on Wednesday!

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Wednesday will be our ninth wedding anniversary!  I really can't believe it has been that long!  Which is probably a really good sign.  And,

we're having a lot of fun.

My back continues to make progress--I even got my first 6-mile walk in yesterday.  It's been at LEAST a year if not several since I could do that.  I do get tired of it after 5 years, but I still had to laugh this week when someone suggested I see a chiropractor.  FIVE YEARS, and really, I'm just struggling along waiting for someone with NOOOOO medical expertise to tell me what I should do.  That does get on my nerves by now. After 5 years, a person with sense would figure out that I'm under the care of specialists by this point.  When DID we become the land of unqualified experts?

The garden took a nose-dive during the last week because it was cold, but it's back in the 80s this week, so I may have a late surge in veggies.  Here's the problem with canning:  when it's cold enough that can…

Day 74...

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It's day 74 of the zucchini siege, and spirits are beginning to fail. Will the frost come in time?

Poblanos!

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Obviously, poblanos do really well on a "general neglect" regime.

The Zucchini Days of Summer

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It's amazing how overwhelming one zucchini plant can be. And it's still July.  So today I made two batches of zucchini-carrot jam.   Tomorrow is  zucchini barbecue relish. Wednesday I start chucking them over the fence at speeders......

Basil-Shallot Mustard

I make large batches of this and freeze it.  Not quite as good as when it's fresh, but still pretty wonderful.

Basil-Shallot Mustard
Makes 5 half-pint jars

¼ cup light mustard seeds
½ cup dry mustard
2/3 cup apple juice
2/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon allspice
3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

1. Combine the seeds, dry mustard, apple juice, vinegar, and water in a glass or ceramic bowl and stir, mixing well.

2.  Let sit 4-6 hours, stirring occasionally. (Cover bowl with plastic wrap.)

3.  Process the mixture in the bowl of a food processor until the seeds are coarsely ground.

4. Cook the mixture in a double boiler over simmering water, adding the shallots, sugar, salt, allspice, and basil.  Cook 20-25 minutes.  The mustard will thicken as it cools.

5. Pour into sterile jars.  Cap and seal.  Allow flavors to marry 2-3 days before using.  Will keep in refrigerator 2-3 months.

I Have Picked Tomatoes in JUNE

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Thanks to global warming,  Idaho's summers have been getting hotter and hotter.  This year we've been averaging a full 20 degrees above average, and everything is running 3 to 4 weeks ahead of schedule.  Even so, tomatoes in June is pretty amazing.  With rising temperatures, tomatoes can get blasted with heat at exactly the wrong time and not put on fruit.  This year the plants are just really, really stunted.  Some are only a foot tall, though they are so stressed by the heat that they are putting on tomatoes.  We were in Colorado for a family event over the weekend, and one tomato plant was just looking so bad that I thought the extreme heat (107 on Saturday) would finish it off.  Instead, it produced tomatoes.  And toppled over, but hey, there are tomatoes.
And, there are more cucumbers ready to be pickled.  For normal people, 3 1/2 months of canning pickles might seem like a lot, but I am a pickle FIEND.  A large harvest just means I'm willing to share with Andy......…

The Good And The Bad

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While others I know were discussing the "old farmer rules" of planting on Facebook (snow must be off a certain mountain, never before Mother's Day), I looked at how warm the spring had been, the predicted temperatures, and started planting about 3 weeks early--which is pretty much the schedule the fruit trees in the area are on, so it was really perfect.  And  it is really, really, REALLY working.  We visited a friend's house last night, and his basil is just now coming up--ours is up and going gang-busters.  I could easily start making pesto this week.  But, the downside to all of this is:  canning season is a month ahead as well.  3 quarts of pickles, 4 pint jars, and 1 pint of dilled green beans.  This is the first year I've ever gotten beans to really grow, and I started them in the greenhouse and they were probably the first thing I moved outside because they just got too big for the greenhouse and any of my containers.  As I've never had good luck with…

That Made My Morning

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I was really excited to wake up this morning to see this:
A hot air balloon ride has been on a friend's "bucket list," and this year she was diagnosed with a scary, advanced cancer.  They've tried several times to do a balloon ride this summer, but they've shown up and the winds were too strong.  But this morning she was up, up, and away!!!

Now if that isn't a great way to start the day, I don't know what is.

I Have A New Zinnia!

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And Andy has a new camera, so:

While Shopping For Reading Glasses....

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Amazon provided me with a list of "attributes" I could select:

Scented?  Aromatherapy?  Organic???????????  Of course, I guess I'm probably even more surprised that I can't select "gluten-free."


George

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Did I sound at all freaked out that there was a mouse under the bed?  Well, it got worse--he got into my closet!
I am not a bold or exhibitionist sort of person, but if it came down to getting clothes out of a closet containing a mouse or going naked, going naked would win--believe me.  I made an unsuccessful dive (which will NOT be mentioned to the physical therapist) to head him off, but I am not the mouser I once was.  Andy stopped what he was doing and we went ON THE HUNT.


Armed with a cardboard box and a plastic lid to slide under it, we found he had taken refuge by one of my old tennis shoes, so Andy slammed the box down over the shoe, slid the lid underneath it, and we hustled downstairs and outside only to find that we'd captured a sheepish-looking old nylon.  Gathering up the shoe and the old nylon, we tried again.  He darted into another part of the closet, where we caught an old hanger.  And the petticoat to my wedding dress got a lovely airing out on the …

Prabook.org - Identity Theft R Us

So Sunday night I discovered a new "social media" website called prabook.org, and the WAY I discovered it was to find out that someone had created a profile for ME--without my permission or knowledge--INCLUDING date and location of birth, who my parents are (including my mother's maiden name), and they even had a copy of an old resume and had uploaded all the details from that. I immediately contacted them to tell them to take it down, which they did, but they said that since anyone can add information, it could be restored, they would do nothing about it, and they assumed no responsibility for anything about their website.

I know there's a lot of information and public records available online, but the resume they got hold of was from around 1997, so it would have been printed on actual paper and mailed to companies.  It was never emailed or uploaded to anything.  So the copy they have, if not obtained illegally, was certainly obtained in an unauthorized m…

REALLY Early Monday Morning...........

4:30 AM: squeaking mouse wake-up call.

4:31 AM: cat drops mouse, which promptly runs under the bed

4:31-4:35 AM: join cat-human task force work on finding mouse

4:36 AM: cat gets bored and leaves

4:37 AM: sleep-deprived human decides a mouse is likely to stay where it thinks it is safe for at least a little while

4:38 AM: sleep-deprived human decides that the idea of a mouse roaming the bedroom is NOT conducive to going back to sleep

Which is why there are two peanut-butter laced mousetraps under the bed and humans and cats are not currently on speaking terms.

Sometimes a Truce CAN Be Reached

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In general, our older cat, Calisto, doesn't really like Theo very much, but it seems when it comes to interfering with making the bed, they can reach a truce:


The Plants Are Moving Out!!!!

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Historically, our last frost date would be May 10, but history fails to account for the drastic increase in temperatures, so I started moving the plants out of the greenhouse and into the garden yesterday.  The cucumbers and pumpkins were most in need of transplantation,
and most likely to die if the weather forecast was wrong, so what better plants to start with? 

This year I tried starting beans in the greenhouse, and aside from them not having anything to climb, 
 they did really well.  I'm going to see if they can shade my lettuce and spinach a bit--I always see great garden designs with beans growing over things, but so much of the time they just don't grow very well for me.  I wasn't sure if they would handle transplanting, but these are the best-looking beans I've ever grown, so at least I'm doing better than I usually do. 

I am trying to be really conscious of my back, so I promised myself no more than 5-6 plants at a time. 
Which means this could take a…

YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I Have Been Reprived!!!!!!!!

I was supposed to see the eye doctor this afternoon, but just got a call saying he was called in to emergency surgery and rescheduling my appointment.  While I am sorry for whomever is having an emergency, there is no doctor's appointment I hate more than the eye doctor--not even the gynecologist.  The gynecologist visit is unpleasant, but then it's over and you go on with the rest of your day.  But the eye doctor dilates my pupils and I can't see a blasted thing the rest of the day.  As an adult it is slightly better because I get the last appointment of the day so there are fewer hours of sunlight left and I can get whatever I need done ahead of time.  But as a kid, it had to be the very first thing we did, then I got to do all my school shopping without being able to see a damn thing, AND with the added bonus of looking like a total idiot with those cardboard shade things in my glasses..  What's more fun than that if you are the only kid in your class with glasses a…

New Recipe Dinner Club

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For over a year now, 6 of us have been enjoying monthly New Recipe Dinner gatherings.  I can't even begin to tell you how much fun it has been.  It's so easy to get into the habit of making "safe" recipes--especially when having people over--so this is a way to shake that up.  Every month, one couple hosts and picks an entree to try, then the other two couples pick recipes to go with it--dessert, side, appetizer, whatever.

On Friday, our lovely host made Spanish Paella, toned down from the usual seafood version as I really don't like anything in shells, so I got out our Spanish cookbook to find an appetizer, and decided to try the only recipe that didn't involve squid or anchovies.  (This cookbook may not be long for our shelves).

The recipe actually had 3 recipes: olives, cheese, and almonds.  Originally, I was just going to make the cheese, but when I couldn't find the correct cheese at the grocery store and had to add a substitute, I decided to try the…

So, That's One Way To Put It......

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Our New Recipe Dinner club is on Friday, and this month the theme is Spanish.  I even have a Spanish cookbook, but I don't think I've used it much.  I'm pretty sure I've have remembered this chapter heading: I'm probably a bit unusual here, but I think I prefer my food not be classified by its fur.  Is it just me?

We Have a New Game

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Theo, the world's least self-entertaining cat, has come up with a new game:
stick-and-laundry-basket. 

Now the thing about cat games is that they make just as little sense as those thought up by a 4-year-old, but children MIGHT explain the ever-shifting rules to you--though cats are far less likely to cheat.  So far the idea of this one seems to be that the cat jumps IN the laundry basket, the human pokes the stick through the holes, and the cat tries to grab it--until the cat freaks out for no reason at all, hops out of the basket, and runs away.  Or this is my understanding so far..


Indiana

Like everyone, we've been following the news regarding Indiana's new law allowing religion-based discrimination and the backlash.  Some weren't surprising--the big gaming convention "Gen-Con" was pretty obvious as young people are refreshingly unbothered by whom other people choose to love.  Angie's List, Apple, Starbucks--all pretty non-surprising, but this week NASCAR condemned the law as well.  NASCAR--pretty much the official sport OF homophobic rednecks.  Man, when NASCAR says your homophobic you have reached the bottom!  They can't even come out and condemn marriages between cousins because of their demographic.  Not that I'm complaining--it is a law condoning discrimination, and hats off to NASCAR--especially since I doubt there are more than 5-6 gay NASCAR fans.......

Well, go NASCAR!


It's Spring!!!!!!!!!!!

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And officially spring--past the vernal equinox AND we just had our first religious person bothering us at the door.  We get a mix of faiths pestering us here every year, but the one thing they all have in common:  the bother-people-in-their-homes part of the faith only applies in warm weather.  It's a perk of the norther climates that we get a break for a few months. 

I've got most of my vegetables started now, including some cold-weather plants,
which are outside the greenhouse but still in planting trays as part of the Seedling Protection Program. Arugula, snow peas, onions, and carrots, so all could have been direct-seeded if we didn't have kitty-helpers who are much faster than carrot seedlings ever DREAMED of being.

Let the gardening games begin!!!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

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Sigh...........

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If you have never read any of Sir Terry Pratchett's work, a sample for you:

“Just erotic. Nothing kinky. It's the difference between using a feather and using a chicken.”

"In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this.”

“I'll be more enthusiastic about encouraging thinking outside the box when there's evidence of any thinking going on inside it.” 

“Many people, meeting Aziraphale for the first time, formed three impressions: that he was English, that he was intelligent, and that he was gayer than a treeful of monkeys on nitrous oxide.”

“Always be wary of any helpful item that weighs less than its operating manual.” 

“The entire universe has been neatly divided into things to (a) mate with, (b) eat, (c) run away from, and (d) rocks.”

“In fact, the mere act of opening the box will determine the state of the
cat, although in this case there were three determinate states the cat
could be in: these being Alive, Dead, and Bloody…

Things I Would Like To Say on Facebook

*  Please don't update your location at the gym, every restaurant, and the airport.  Unless you are on some sort of scavenger hunt--or you are the president of the United States--it really isn't very interesting.

*  Nothing--and I mean NOTHING--I have ever posted or will ever post is an invitation for solicitation for whatever health powder or product you are selling

*  If every picture you post is a "selfie," you're a narcissist

*  If every picture you post is of you drinking, you're a narcissist with a drinking problem

*  If your religion is about friending God on Facebook and still being a jerk to everyone, you're doing it wrong.

*  Not every single step of your vacation needs to be documented.  Unless there is a naked man doing the conga in the next aisle, we don't need to see where you bought groceries.

*  Three posts per day are enough for ANYONE

Mississippi, You're Welcome

And there I was, thinking there would be less political humor with Jon Stewart retiring:


Idaho lawmaker who sits on pregnancy crisis center board, thinks pills swallowed can end up in the vagina. 
Because we do Stupid well.................

We Went Hiking!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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We're having abnormally warm weather around here, so Sunday we went hiking with friends!  This was a VERY big thing for me obviously, as therapy lately is to get my muscles to adjust to my hip being in slightly different alignment than it's ever been in, so uneven ground was a HUGE test.  Our friends who lined up the hike are big birdwatchers, so we knew it would be a stretch for me but since the pace would be generally pretty slow and I walk a lot, we decided to try.

And, it wasn't actually that slow as the majority of the group were honestly hikers rather than bird watchers, and we ended up going around 7 miles by my guess.  The only really challenging spot was a rocky path where we had to go single file and clime up and down the side of a rocky hillside, and that the only place I was genuinely slower than everyone because I really had to be careful about where I was stepping so as to not twist anything out of whack.  My little-red-riding-hood coat might seem and odd ch…

Happy Valentine's Day

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January at the Gym

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I like to walk outside when I can, but
my face can stand about a mile in this sort of weather before going numb.  So, I've been back at the gym, which I try to avoid in January.  No matter how big of a cliche it is, there are always the obligatory wave of New-Year's-Resolutioners and the gym is PACKED.  It's not even a very nice gym, but for just 6 weeks, it probably doesn't matter.  That's how long the regulars are giving them, and it's probably true.  I think a few will stick with it, but it has been sort of entertaining.  Things I've noticed so far:

*  If there is a bottle of "vitamin-enriched" water or something to that effect, it will almost always belong to someone who doesn't work out regularly and isn't working very hard

*   If the hot tub is out of order, one out of three people will still bend down to put their hand or toe in the water.  I counted.

*  The less someone follows the rules, the less likely they are to stick with the …

Today In Our Neighborhood.........

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Now THAT is a sweet tooth!

Monday!

Today I have:

*  fixed breakfast

*  stretched my hip

*  paid bills

*  practiced guitar

*  tidied the bedroom

*  washed the sheets

*  been to the gym to lift weights and walk/run and hour in the pool

*  fixed lunch

*  folded and put away laundry

Now the snag is that it's only a little after 2:00 and I'm exhausted and ready for bed.

Oops.

Hip

My hip problems have just dominated my life for way too long.  Yesterday Amazon suggested a book called "Hip Licks for Guitar" and my first thought was "Hm, I wonder how the hip is involved..............."

Thank heavens I finally seem to be really getting better.  While I will never actually be the other sort of "hip," at least I could go back to remembering that it exists.............

Catching Up

Wow!  SUCH a busy holiday, and with the exception of our Christmas party which I had to cancel because I caught a very nasty bug making the rounds, I didn't miss anything.  I haven't been able to say that in 4 years.  Whoo hoo!

Speaking of not missing things, I felt my first earthquake today!  Challis, Idaho, is a little town in central Idaho that managed to be built RIGHT over a fault line it seems.  In 1983 they had a quake measuring 6.9, but I missed that one.  It happened in the morning and we were in a car riding to school and knew nothing until we found the entire school loaded onto buses in the center of the football field.  Two weeks ago, Challis had a 3.7 quake, but we're pretty far away for that.  Idaho isn't well-known for quakes, but geothermally, we are rather an interesting state.  We have Craters of the Moon, natural hot springs scattered liberally throughout the state, and we're close enough to Yellowstone for the population to start squirming when …