Sunday Seven: Goals for April

My goodness, time flies when your having fun sleeping off drugs.  I have several Sunday Seven posts in the works, but they require time, care, and love to complete in the manner which they deserve.  Since I completely missed last week, let’s do something quick and dirty today.

A newly green tree adorns a calendar for April .2014

April showers bring… newly green trees.

Seven Goals for April

(No, filing taxes does not count.)

  1. Get up by ^^’ o’clock every day.  (The actual time is too embarrassing to post.)
  2. Eat more fruits and vegetables.  It’s not a “well-formed” goal, but it’s good enough for now.
  3. Reboot my Kitchen Survival series, searching for healthy substitutions to The Campus Survival Cookbook recipes and menus.
  4. Post at least once a week here and once a week at SciFi Chicks.
  5. Spend 15 minutes a day cleaning out the kitchen and/or paperwork.
  6. Make one trip to Goodwill.  Should be easy—the car is nearly full.
  7. Get out and walk twice a week—preferably with camera.

And let’s not forget—no television shopping!

I think that’s a pretty good list.  Let’s hop to it!  (Easter-ish pun intended.)

[Adorable calendar found at freedesignfile.com.]

Hiccup takes Astrid for a ride on Toothless

Sunday Seven: More Dragons!

Yes, it’s another How to Train Your Dragon Sunday Seven list.  It won’t be the last.

Last June, in my first How to Train Your Dragon Sunday Seven, I listed seven unexpected or moving moments from the film.  Yet the movie is so rich in its story and animation, there were several things I missed upon first viewing.  So here are seven things I noticed upon watching the movie a second time.

Seven Things I Caught When Watching How to Train Your Dragon for a Second Time

  1. During the DreamWorks logo/credit, after the boy in the moon casts his fishing line,  a Night Fury flies across the night sky.
  2. Hiccup is left-handed.  At the time I hadn’t read any of the books, so I was curious as to why the creators made this choice.  Once I’d read How to be a Pirate (the second volume in the How to Train Your Dragon series of books), everything made sense.
  3. Gothi, the village elder, watches the teens’ dragon training session with the Deadly Nadder.  She also observes the Zippleback training session, and thereafter is joined by more and more villagers.
  4. Also during Nadder training session:  when Snotlout, trying to impress Astrid, throws his weapon at the dragon and misses, the Nadder laughs at him.
  5. Towards the end of the “Forbidden Friendship” scene (when Hiccup tries to befriend the dragon in the cove), after Hiccup has made it successfully through the dragon’s maze, his hand reaching out is in 3-D.  Since I’ve only seen the movie in 2-D, I hadn’t realized this was an obvious  3-D “gag.”
  6. When Hiccup and Toothless race through the archipelago without the aid of the cheat sheet at the end of their “Test Drive”), Toothless does a 360-degree barrel roll.
  7. After the teens arrive at the battle scene with the Green Death, Astrid throws a salute to the others when she and Hiccup peel off to save Toothless.

There you have just some of the delightful wonders this film provides.  What are your favorites?

And just because it must be said:

Only 88 days until How to Train Your Dragon 2 is in theaters!

In a scene from How to Train Your Dragon 2, Toothless plays with a large, colorful dragon.

Could it be that Toothless has a girlfriend?

Fishlegs joins Hiccup on the back of Toothless to save Meatlug from capture.

Back on the Dragon Train!

The second season of DreamWorks Dragons: Defenders of Berk wrapped up this week, and FX aired How to Train You Dragon last Friday.  So this seems like a good time to return to my Dragons obsession.  This week we’ll look at the television series.  Next week we’ll revisit the movie, and after that we’ll take another look at John Powell’s fabulous soundtrack.

I wasn’t terribly consistent in reviewing the Defenders of Berk episodes at SciFi Chicks, but I never missed an episode (unless thwarted by electricity), and my obsession love for the franchise continues.  And so I present…

My Seven Favorite Defenders of Berk Episodes

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Sunday Seven Is Back!

Downton Abbey.  It’s one of those shows I dislike, but always end up watching.  Given the unremarkable season 4 finale of television’s Second-Most Overrated Show (Game of Thrones being the first), I’ve come up with some ideas to make next season less predictable, more enjoyable and unexpected.

Seven Ways  Downton Abbey Could Improve… But Won‘t

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Sunday Seven: Winter Is Coming

Mega-Fluffies are available at QVC.

Fluffies come in all sorts of colors. Mine is yellow.

It’s snowing here in Northern Virginia.  To celebrate, here are:

Seven Things I Like about Cold Weather

  1. Drinking Cafe Escapes’ Chai Latte.  It’s warm and cinnamony, just perfect for a cold, wintery afternoon.
  2. Snuggling under my Mega Fluffie while watching television.
  3. The bottle of water in my car stays cold.

Yep.  That’s it.  Hurry up, Spring.

 

The hibiscus bloom is pink.

Sunday Seven: Around the Neighborhood

Picture #2 is so pretty I had to feature it.

On Columbus Day, I took my new camera on a stroll around the neighborhood.  It was the first sunny day in about a week.  Here’s what we (my camera and I) found.  (Picture #2 is above.)

  1. A potted plant (it’s a hibiscus, I think) in our pool area.  We filled in the kiddie pool years ago because it was too expensive to repair.
  2. The hibiscus bloom, taken from the same spot as #1, but with the zoom.  The photo is unretouched, except for size.  It turned out so lovely, it’s featured at the top of the post.
  3. A dry cleaner that delivers!  I took the photo to remember the name and contact info, since I’m always forgetting to take stuff to the dry cleaner’s.
  4. Lulu!  Is she not adorable?  She’s part Yorkie, part chihuahua. She looks it, doesn’t she?  (I also met Pepper, a shih tzu, and her owner, a Coast Guard officer who had the day off; but was too embarassed to ask if I could take Pepper’s picture.)
  5. The Leaning Tower of Alexandria, er, the George Washington Masonic Temple.  The fence between our property and theirs was recently reopened.  There had been a pass-through when I first moved in, but they closed it up years ago.  On my walk, I met a man coming out of the bushes, and voila!, learned the fence had been opened once again.  Yay!
  6. The Masonic Temple, full optical zoom.  Still tilted.  It’s claim to fame is an elevator that runs diagonally.
  7. And once again, this time using the “intelligent” (i.e., digital) zoom.  It too was tilted, but I straightened it (a little) with my graphics software. (Although I have Photoshop, I prefer Paint Shop Pro.  Simpler software for simpler minds.)

A Supernatural Sunday Seven

I have nothing planned for today’s list, so I’m going to cull from elsewhere.  Two recent posts at SciFi Chicks discuss the best episodes from season 4 of Supernatural (as determined by IMDB, TV.com and me).  Now I’m going to focus on just me.  Here are:

My Seven Favorite Supernatural Episodes
from Season 4

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Summer’s End

A Sunday Seven Post

[I can no longer write a post unless it’s in list form. I attribute this affliction to writing only Sunday Sevens for the past month.  I started a post earlier this week, but couldn’t seem to finish it.  Since I have nothing else planned for today, here it is in list form.]

It’s official.  Summer is over. I know this not because Labor Day has come and gone, not because school is in session once again, not because September hails the start of meteorological autumnNope.  I know this because I can’t breathe.

fucking-fall-allergies

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Sunday Seven: Grammar Lessons

The English language provides endless opportunities to misuse grammar.I like to think I’m a pretty good writer, but I have my idiosyncrasies.  I begin too many sentences with conjunctions,  I overuse parentheses and commas, and I probably misuse semicolons, em-dashes and ellipses.  I blame my piss-poor capitalization on my years in the U.S. Navy.

If you look at any of the myriad of grammar sites around the web, there are a hell of a lot of rules.  In the first grammar post I started (but never finished), I used the term “bad grammar.”  Was that the correct term?  I researched and discovered there are thousands of pages of discussion and disagreement, with an equal number of self-proclaimed grammar experts.  (I’m not talking about English teachers.  I mean folks like me.)

Some grammar rules are very complex.  Even as a fairly educated person with a reasonable grasp of the English language, I have difficulty understanding them—let alone using them.  Since the rules are so many and varied, let’s start at the macro level.  Here are:

Seven Grammar Sites Worthy of Further Investigation
(with snarky commentary)

[Caveat:  Some of these websites may not be completely accurate.  In the past, I’ve found grammar articles with poor—or bad—grammar.]
[Caveat #2:  There are punctuation and capitalization rules for lists, many (all?) of which I may not have followed.]

  1. Grammar rules everyone should follow.  Why doesn’t every word in the title begin with a capital letter?  Is this a new rule?  Like Pluto no longer being a planet?
  2. 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to.  Ditto above. Not to mention starting with “7” vs. “Seven.”  (It is ok to end with a preposition.)
  3. Grammarbook.com.  Hey!  There’s even a caveat stating grammar rules vary!  😀
  4. Grammarly Handbook. Even though “grammarly” isn’t a real word.  But Grammarly is a great website.
  5. 2o Common Grammar Mistakes That (Almost) Everyone Makes. Hmm, should the word “that” be capitalized?  Or even used?
  6. Grammar at the Purdue Online Writing Guide (OWL)Go Big Ten!  (Even though it now consists of 12 teams.  My father would be turning in his grave if he hadn’t been cremated.)
  7. Top Ten Grammar Myths.  At least here “ten” means 10.  😉

Have at it, grammarphiles!  Depending on the direction this blog goes, we may delve further into the nuances of the English language.  I might learn something along the way, which always makes for a good day.

Sunday Seven: Getting Back on the Wagon

How am I doing with the plan to get my home in order?  I’ve made some progress, but hit a plateau in the last couple weeks.  The home appraisal came back (it rose slightly in value, which is nice; but also means higher taxes) and closed on the mortgage refinance.  Now that I’m not distracted by all the paperwork a refinance entails, I can get back on track.

I "bought" a Shark upright vacuum with points from my credit card.

My new vacuum, which I got for free with credit card points*

Like most people, I do much better when I have a plan.  So let’s take the time to plan things to do for the upcoming week, and let’s do it in the form of a Sunday Seven (since I don’t have anything else to write about).

Seven Tasks for the Week

  1. Reschedule the couple to help remove heavy items from my living room. A plethora of problems prevented them from coming when originally scheduled.
  2. The couple will remove the items, but they won’t haul them to the junk yard.  So I need to make arrangements with our trash disposal company to make a special pick up—if they do such a thing.  If not, I need to find a junk hauling company.
  3. I wanted a Shark vacuum with swivel steering, but would have had to pay for it.

    The vacuum I wanted, which would have cost real money.

    Our property manager mentioned his cousin started hauling metal items.  The televisions aren’t metal, but I do have a few things that are.  And he doesn’t charge!  (Apparently there’s good money to be had in scrap metal.)

  4. Finish sorting through the extraneous items in the living room.  If I take one section of the room at a time, it’s not so overwhelming.
  5. Wash my bed’s quilt at the laundromat.  It’s not really part of the decluttering plan, but it takes time and I have to do it.  My own  washer and dryer, although they claim to be “heavy duty,” don’t do such a great job.  A bonus: the laundromat is near my favorite pizza place.  (They also make delicious gyros and baked spaghetti.)
  6. Give my new vacuum a tryout.
  7. Take my sweet 19-year-old cat Gigi to the vet.  It’ll be stressful for both of us.

*The credit card is from Navy Federal Credit Union, one of the perks of being a Navy vet—now open to all military services and Department of Defense employees.  Their redemption program also had a Bose iPod sound dock I coveted, but it’s no longer available.  Damn my procrastination!