Merry Christmas!

From our house to yours – have a happy Christmas! And yes, at our house that includes the pups 🙂

Merry Christmas from oiur house to your house

May your holiday be silly, and fun, and peaceful, and warm, and did I mention safe? happy? and full of love? That’s the important part of Christmas. Presents are nice – but fun and warm and love is major 🙂

Have a wonderful holiday and a super new year!

Easter Wishes

Spring is finally here – yes it’s rainy today and chilly, but there’s fresh green out there too – it’s springtime in Missouri 🙂

And this is Easter week – for everyone who celebrates it, have a wonderful, happy, and loving Easter!

And – you probably know what I’m going to say. It’s a lovely tradition to give gifts at Easter.

These are often considered gifts:

Bunny Rabbit
Bunny Rabbit

Baby Chicks
Baby Chicks

These are living creatures. Please, please, don’t give them as gifts. They’re not toys.

Have a wonderful and loving Easter.

The Challenger

It’s January 28, and of course I’m rememering the Challenger.

This pretty much says it all:

The Challenger astronauts - civvies here

Why did I put that pic first? Because before they were astronauts – even more important than that they were astronauts – first they were just people. Courageous, outrageous, fun-loving, silly, ordinary people. Well. Maybe not ordinary.

And here’s the official one:

The official Challenger Crew pic

Yes, they are heroes. Not because they died. That was just – stuff happens. Bad stuff happens. They were heroes because they wanted to go, and worked for it, and knew it was risky, and WANTED to go.

So this is for Greg Jarvis, Christa Mcauliffe, Ron McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Judy Resnick, Dick Scobee, and Michael Smith. Thanks, guys. You’re not forgotten. R.I.P. and God bless.

Boycotting Smithfield Foods And Smithfield Farms and WHY

It’s all over the web right now – the Humane Society worked undercover at a farm owned by Smithfield Foods, probably the main pork producer in this country. The Yahoo News article can be found here:

Undercover investigation of Smithfield Foods reveals factory farm horrors. If you enjoy eating pork occasionally, you might not want to read any further. But you probably should —

And yes, you probably should. I did. I’m writing to Smithfield Foods to let them know why I’m boycotting all of their products. And am researching right now to find local farmers who sell retail groceries (at farmers markets and such) as well as to stores. I’ve been meaning to do it for a while – now I’ve gotten a kick in the butt.

I’m not a vegan – leaning more that way as time goes by, but not yet. I just don’t want to support companies that torture animals, every day, all year long, because it makes them a little more money.

I’ll pay more. I’ll sleep better. Support local farmers!

Rare Pink Diamond – or, What Planet Do You Live On?

Saw this in the news today: Sotheby’s is going to be offering a 24.78 karat, uber rare pink diamond for sale next month:

Rare Pink Diamond offered at Sotheby's

Just for giggles, let’s compare it to these:

Pink Octagon Vintage Glass Jewels

Pink 12mm x 10mm vintage glass diamond jewels I have available in my Etsy shop.

Of course the two are worlds apart, and the cut of the diamond is incomparable.

However – the diamond is expected to fetch up to $38 million dollars at auction. Yes. That was “thirty eight MILLION”.

The vintage glass jewels sell for $3.19 a pair.

So my point is, both are pretty. Yes, absolutely, the diamond is rare and incalculable and like that, but — who buys stuff like that? This isn’t even sour grapes on my part. Why would a person want something like that? Just to show it off? Well, yeah, but — I mean, who cares? It’s simply a cultural / ethnic / socioeconomic gap so wide it’s funny.

I mean – what planet do THEY live on?

Let Vermontasaurus Live!

I’m probably joining a very big bandwagon here, but I don’t care – they need to find a way to let Vermontasaurus live.

You’ve probably heard about it, but if not, here’s the short form: Brian Boland, a gentleman in Vermont, decided to turn a bunch of trash, scrap lumber, discarded broken ladders, and you name it, into a… well, a dinosaur-ish creature. This was apparently a spontaneous idea, and a fun one, and the stuff was just trash and junk, and he (and a bunch of volunteers) made – Ta Da – Vermontasaurus:

Vermontasaurus, The Only One Of His Kind

And they – the guvmint, the revooners, the permit people, the Official Nameless Ones, are probably going to make him tear it down. It’s probably a fire hazard, or somebody might stab themselves on a rusty nail, or maybe kids will god forbid play on it.

Yes, kids should probably stay off it. And I guess they have to think about the fire thing – although the ‘raw materials’ trash was allowed to collect, and nobody hollered about it. But either way, dammit, this is Art, or at least Fresh Air, this was spontaneous or so we’re told, and it’s fun. At a time when we could use a little of that – well we always need fun, truly – but right now? with all the bad news out there? Come on.

Let the Vermontasaurus live.

A Silly Question about the U.S. Census

Only, maybe not so much. Like most of us (well here in the U.S. anyway) we recently got a letter from the U.S. Census Bureau (or whatever their official name is) telling us that we were going to get a letter from them soon, requesting accurate updated census information about our household.

Then we got the census form. Then a few days later, we got another piece of mail from them, reminding us how important the Census Data is, and saying if we hadn’t mailed it back yet, would we please remember to do so Real Soon.

Now first off this seems like a lot of (expensive) mail for them to generate. The guys on the news say it’s worth it because there are so many people who won’t bother, and the census people have to send real live humans to each house that doesn’t respond, to get accurate data, etc etc. Okay fine, I’ll go along with that.

But: the instructions on the census form very clearly state that you are supposed to fill out the form with accurate information AS OF APRIL 1, 2010. And they’re already asking why we haven’t returned the form. Note that I am writing this blog entry on March 27, 2010 – and we received the “why haven’t you returned your form yet” postcard FIVE DAYS AGO.

Well, duh, it’s not April 1, 2010 yet. (Gotta wondered who picked April-Fools-Day as a return date, too.)

I know a lot of households won’t change from, say, March 20 to April 1. But, sadly, many of them will. People die, people move out, people split up. The kids leave. The kids come home. His or her kids come home – and need to be counted in census because they have to fit into classrooms.

So is this a case of “you can have it now, or you can have it right”? Do they want us to follow their instructions? If not, why did they include them? And if they DO want us to follow their instructions, why are they bugging us?

Dryer Sheets – don’t use them – but if you do, REuse them!

So first off I should say that I never use dryer sheets. I don’t think we need them (the only thing that ever gets static-y is the few silk things we’ve got, and I’m totally willing to deal with that). I think it is a deliberate Proctor-and-Grumble-ish advertising invention to make us think we need them. And, we have birds. The fake perfume in the dryer sheets is poison to birds (and to us too, only we are bigger).

But a whole lot of people do use them, and think they need them. So I’m just asking, if you buy them, please do reuse them! Turns out there are a bunch of nifty things to do with them. These ideas aren’t original with me – I’ve gotten this handy list from Daily Green Cheapskate over on Yahoo. (Love that name, by the way.)
Dryer Softener SheetsA few highlights from the “how to reuse dryer sheets” list:

1. Use them more than once. (Back when I did use them, years ago, this totally worked. They’re good for three-four washes at least.)

2. Anti-static dust wipes (use them to clean your monitor and TV screen – they’re great for that).

3. Pot scrubbers and sink / tub scrubs.

4. Dust-free blinds: Not only do spent dryer sheets make a handy wipe for metal and plastic blinds, but the chemicals in them help to repel dust.

5. Get your shine on: When used as a polishing rag, dryer sheets make mirrors and chrome appliances shine. They’re also great for cleaning windows and other glass.

They’re also recommended as sort-of-sachet. Put one in your glove box or underwear drawer so you can smell that creepy sweet scent for ages. (Can you tell I don’t like the smell? Yeah.)

Check out the full article here.

And for even more super useful info on how to go green easily, go to The Green Cheapskate Blog. There are TONS of good ideas there.

And it’s fun. And you’ll feel good about it 🙂

Always check your site!

Once a site is running, a lot of it’s automatic – and it’s a relief to have it be that way. You add new things sometimes, of course update your blog (hopefully!), add Twitter comments, and like that… but the site is good, it’s active, it’s running….

It pays to check through it once a week or so, anyway. It’d been an unusually quiet early July, but hey, that happens sometimes. People are out at the beach, not so much with the shopping, and people are broker these days, and that’s understandable, and…like that.

So thankfully my DH mentioned something that made me go in and doublecheck – and my shopping cart was gone! Well it was an easy fix, it was a silly glitch thingie (which was my fault), and it was fixed presto as soon as I took the time to look, and fix. But suppose I hadn’t? Suppose I had gone weeks and weeks, wondering why no sales, wondering what I’d done, wondering why… well, you get the idea.

An easy fix. I just had to go LOOK.

Check your site periodically! Pretend you’re a customer. Are things still working? Is it easy to use? Are there bad links? Go check!!

A Tea House – made entirely of recycled paper

I saw the most amazing creation over at This building is a teahouse, very much in the tradition of a handcrafted Japanese structure – but this one is made entirely of recycled paper.

Recycled paper tea house
Recycled paper tea house, view 2

Now this time I’m not suggesting we should go build our house out of recycled paper – at least, not without an engineer’s knowledge of materials and how to adapt them to building techniques. But I do suggest that we could all be inspired by this structure.

One, we can learn – or remember, because we already know it – the all-important concepts of reuse, rethink, recycle… and “rethink” is a real important part of that trio. Take a look at some of the stuff you’re about to discard. Some of it can have a new life. Some of it can have a very COOL new life. 🙂

And if a building out of recycled paper isn’t in your immediate future – what about an ottoman or footstool, built with “bricks” you made yourself of paper? Or… well, you’ll think of things. Unleash your Mad Creative Scientist and make something for yourself!