Shall We Write?

This blog needs some fresh blood, yeah? So how about a new theme? That’s the problem. There are so many themes available on WordPress.com, it takes a long time to sift through them to find just the right one. I end up spending so much time trying to pick a theme, I become overwhelmed. And then I don’t write anything. That’s back-ass-wards!

The blog needs new content! That’s more important that a new theme! But what’s there to write about? I’m not particularly interested in Outlander any more. Now, if Starz decided to do a Lord John Grey spinoff (he does have his own set of novels), I’d be there in two shakes of a martini lamb’s tail. But I’m afraid Lord John is destined to be just another Jamie Fraser fangirl.

I’m amazed at how commentators always find something to talk about every day. (Well, every weekday.) Granted, this is the nation’s capital region, so the federal government usually provides fodder for discussion. But oftentimes, the commentators discuss the frivolous. For example, one spent some time last winter discussing the weather, and how we mid-Atlanticans are wimps, complaining about 20-degree temperatures when Minneapolis boasted something like -30 degrees. (The commentator even chided himself for being a wimp, especially since he’s from Iowa and suffered through University of Wisconsin at Madison windchills.)

And see, right there? How I get sidetracked? Happens all the time.

I had an epiphany today. Why not try to write something every day this month? Yes, there is such an animal. It’s called NaBloPoMo, and I did it once, six years ago. But since today is May 1, it’s not too late to start this month, right? Heh. We’ll see how long this notorious quitter lasts.

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Sunday Seven Shopping

NaBloPoMo's theme for June 2013 is "Roots."It’s the last day of NaBloPoMo June 2013.  I made it!  ~⚛throws confetti⚛~  It’s also Sunday, and that means another Sunday Seven.

After my successful 4 week shopping embargo, I realized I hadn’t bought myself anything for my birthday.  So I lifted the embargo.  (Wouldn’t you, too, for a birthday?)  Here’s what I bought electronically.

Seven Birthday Gifts
(from me to me)

I’ve posted pictures on Pinterest and Springpad.  (I’m not sure if it was less work than posting them here, or more.)

  1. A pair of slide sandals from Zappos.  I live in slide-on shoes—sandals in the summer, clogs in the winter.
  2. A New Yorker artwork beach towel from QVC., as homage to a beach towel I received for my birthday years ago.  It was a sailboat with red sails at sunset.  I loved it!  It’s worn and threadbare, but I don’t have the heart to throw it out.  This new towel has lots of sentimental value, too, because my favorite uncle gave me a subscription to the New Yorker magazine from many years.
  3. A “painter stripe” tunic t-shirt from QVC.  Because you can never have too many t-shirts (in retirement).  Plus, it matches a turquoise pair of shorts I have.
  4. Two pairs of Bermuda shorts from QVC, one in dark denim, and one white.  But they’re too big, even though I ordered a size smaller than usual.  So they’re going back.  😦  (I’m sure I’ll find something to replace them.  😉 )
  5. A Randy Jackson timepiece (watch) from HSN.  He has some beautiful watches, and I’ve been wanting one with a white watch strap for a couple years.  And it was on sale.
  6. Those moonstone & amethyst Nicky Butler earrings I longed for at the beginning of my embargo.  They were still in my HSN “cart” when I ordered the watch.  It was meant to be:  moonstone is my birthstone, and amethyst is my mother’s.
  7. A summer weight cotton blanket and throw from HSN.  (Check the second picture for colors.)  The throw is for when I nap on the sofa (my acrylic “fluffy” being way too warm), and the blanket will be cooler than the quilt currently on the bed.

Home Again, Home Again…

…Hippity Hop

NaBloPoMo June 2013 is coming to an end.  Today’s prompt is the last for this month, since Saturday and Sunday fall on a weekend, and are thus saved for “free-writing.”  Of course, I’ve spent most of the month free-writing, so why should it matter?  It doesn’t.

Anyway, heeere’s the prompt:

Are you still living in the town where you were born? Tell us about why you did or didn’t move.

The Dairy Mart in Glidden, IA, is a local landmark
Dairy Mart: hometown landmark and site of my first job. Which I sucked at.

Actually, I never lived in the town where I was born—because the town doesn’t have a hospital.  😉 However, the house in which my family lived when I was born was the same house we lived in when my mother died and my father went into a nursing home some 38 years later.  You’d think it was a magnificent house.  It wasn’t.

Perhaps my preference for staying in one place is inherited.

I’ve thought about returning to my hometown in my golden years, but growing up there really wasn’t a happy experience.  And besides, there’s those damn winters.

To Move, or Not to Move

That is today’s NaBloPoMo question.  (Sort of.)

Do you like to stay in one place for a long period of time, or do you like to move around?

As with nearly all things in life, moving has its ups and downs.  The upside:  you’re forced to pare down your belongings, eliminating those extraneous items that tend to accumulate over the years.  The downside?  Moving is stressful.

For the first 11 years after college, I never spent more the two years in one job, and the longest I stayed in one place was 3½ years.  Moving every few years is a part of military life; and for most of those 11 years, I was in the U.S. Navy.

A picture of snow drifts on my car from the "Snowmageddon" of 2009.
Snowmaggedon: If summer gets too hot, I just gaze at this photo of my car.

All things considered, though, I prefer to stay in one place.  Which is why I’ve lived in the same place for the past 25 years.  It’s a nice, largish condo with two drawbacks.  No elevators (and I live on the top floor), and no covered parking.  (See photo)

Where will I live next?  I’ve thought about moving back to Iowa.  I like the slower pace of life there, but the winters can be a bitch.  Plus my liberal self is torn.  While Iowa recognizes gay marriage (a hot topic currently in the news), it doesn’t recognize the Health Plan for America (i.e., Obama care).  Yeah, that’s right.  I support Obama Care.  Don’t worry, none of my friends do.

Running on Empty

A beach umbrella, pink inner tube, and beach towel are set near the water.

The day is drawing nigh and I still haven’t fulfilled my NaBloPoMo duty yet. I started to write about today’s Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage,* but quickly realized that to do the topic justice would take more brain power than I currently have.

So, how about a photo?  I searched through my pictures and found that Paint Shop Pro has provided me with several.  The one chosen totally at random seems to fit the month and mood perfectly.

*If the Washington Post link works, be sure to play the video if you haven’t seen it.  It’s a fascinating look at how news of Supreme Court rulings reaches the masses.

Summer Blankets

NaBloPoMo prompt for the day:

What are your favourite family dishes?

Pillsbury's Pigs in a blanket call for crescent rolls.
Not my mothers Pigs in a Blanket.

Yesterday I made—for the very first time—what is possibly my ultimate favorite family dish, my mother’s famous Pigs in a Blanket  Famous because the recipe was published in Good Housekeeping magazine many years ago.  I’m not sure why I’d never made them before.  Probably because I hadn’t discovered Bob Evans mashed potatoes, and am too lazy to make them from scratch.

Mashed potatoes!?!  For Pigs in a Blanket?!?  Yep.  Mom’s famous recipe called for mashed potatoes and not crescent rolls.

I made them not because I’d planned it, but because it’s what I had and didn’t have on hand.  Had:  two hot dogs left over from Memorial Day; a package of Bob Evans mashed potatoes I hadn’t cooked heated yet; and some single-sliced, individually wrapped processed cheese-like product.  Had not:  any buns or bread to make a sandwich.

Since I never paid attention when Mom made hem, I had to wing it.  Here’s what I did:

Heat up Bob Evans mashed potatoes in the microwave.
Partially cook hot dogs also in the microwave.  (As a hot dog connoisseur, I prefer Nathan’s).
Slice cheese (or cheese food) into thinnish strips.

Slit the hot dogs lengthwise down the middle.
Stuff the mashed potatoes into the slit.
Top with cheese strips.
Broil the entire concoction on a broiler pan.  (I placed the pan as close to the heating element as possible).
Cook until the cheese melts.  Or if you’re like me, until the cheese is burned.

They tasted pretty darned good!  So good, I wish I’d  had more than two hot dogs.  And taken a picture of them.

[Photo credit:  Pillsbury]

The Ides of June

NaBloPoMo Mid-Month Check-In

Cartoon William Shakespeare asks, "To blog, or not the blog.  That is the question."
Alas, I know not who created this; ergo credit cannot be forthcoming.

Wow, I’m 15 days into NaBloPoMo June 2013, and still going… maybe not strong, but going, nonetheless.  Fifteen consecutive blogging days has to be some kind of record for me. So, yay!

What have I gained from the experience?

  1. I found two photographs of my parents I’d been searching for.  One is their wedding photo.  (The other is a great story, too, which I’ll tell later. )
  2. I’m finally starting to scan pictures from old family photo albums into the computer, something I’d been thinking of doing for a very long time.
  3. Along the way, I’m sorting through some of my digital photos and trying to get them organized, as well.
  4. My “nibblings” (two nephews, one niece) now know about the blog and seem pleased to learn more about their paternal grandparents.
  5. And lastly, I’m not watching as much shopping television, which helps my self-imposed shopping embargo.

Anything else I hope to learn?  I’d like to find my passion.  What do I love writing about?  What do I love doing?  Is it enough to write a Greatest Generation memoir, or do I need something else to motivate me?  This can’t be answered in a month, but it’s a start.

Fallen Idol

My brother, home from college, poses for a picture with me and the family dog.
What a couple of sour pusses!

At a loss for what to write about today, I opened a photo album to a random page, scanned it, and planned to write about it.  The page I opened had six pictures on it.  I chose this one for a variety of reasons:  1) it was the “youngest” of the photos on the page, 2) I don’t look hideous, and 3) it accurately depicts life before digital photography, when you had to shoot a whole roll of film and get it developed to see whether the picture was centered or not.

The photo is dated November 1965, but I think it was taken earlier in the year.  Both our noses are sunburned and my arms are tan, so it may have been the end of summer.  If so, my brother was heading off to his sophomore year at Dartmouth.

Continue reading Fallen Idol

Sunday Night TV Lights

NaBloPoMo Daily Prompt:

Tell us about a tradition passed through your family.

Timmy hugs his collie Lassie.
Have you hugged your collie today?

Researchers tell us traditions are easily established in children.  Meaning, you need to repeat an activity only a few times for it to become routine, or customary to child.

Case in point: my family’s Sunday night tradition of gathering in the living room for a supper of fried egg sandwiches and hot cocoa while watching Lassie.  In my memory, this went on for three years.  In reality?  It probably happened three times.