Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Men Having Fun

I adore when people have a great sense of humor.
I love it more when it is a bunch of men, flag footballers to be exact, lip synching to a Britney Spears song.
The cherry on top is that a few of them are hotties.

Work Bitch indeed.


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Sewing a Nice Gift and Knitting Humor

Sometimes I like to just bop around the web hoping to come across things that strike my fancy. This Lap Duvet sewing project from Purl Bee counts as one. This is something I may bookmark and do down the road because it seems so easy and would be a nice gift to myself or to someone else.

Hilarious post on Madman Knitting that I got to via Down to Earth. The title alone piques one's curiosity.

I Was Questioned By The Police

God Bless some people.


Friday, November 22, 2013

Sometimes It Is Easy To Judge

At least that seems to be the case with those considered poor. You know them, those lazy good for nothings that take all the SNAP and WIC and go get their nails done or own an iPhone instead of looking for work.
"Welfare stereotypes" that get trotted out every time a bill come up or there is an election.

Yeah, those people.

Those few rotten apples that have helped to tarnish the working poor to no end here in America. And sad to say a lot of folks in varying classes are about a paycheck and half away from joining those ranks. Life has not been cheap for some time, but some people have it way harder than the rest of us. Parts of this country are prohibitively expensive and in some cases, that is also where specific well-paying jobs are. No one wants to go broke trying to live, but it does happen.

An article about poverty in The Atlantic directed me to post on Gawker's Kinja platform titled: Why I Make Terrible Decisions, or, poverty thoughts.

I do not care what country you live in, what political party you back or what your economic status is in any way. What matters is that you take a few minutes or so and read this account from a member of society who describes what it is like to be in the cycle of poverty. I am honestly appalled, horrified and saddened by this person's lot in life. We are a wealthy nation and we are barreling towards destroying who we are by eliminating the middle class which I am and always have been a part of.

No matter how frugal one lives, when it gets to a certain level, hope is no longer affordable. You are a cog in a machine that does not get the luxury to dream or think.

My parents were not wise in any way with financials, but they did try here and there. Divorced by the time I started high school, my mom ended up becoming a touch more savvy and was smart enough to take advantage of 401(k)'s when they started. She also encouraged me to invest in the 401(k) and there began my better path. My dad tried to invest here and there and did put some money aside as well.

My husband has a good head on his shoulders and we always discuss how we will spend the one income we live on at all times. No, it is not easy, especially with a little one, but we manage. Would it be better if I could work? Sure. Two incomes are always better than one, but I rather raise my child than have someone else do the job. Of course, if things got extra tight, there is no question that I would do what was necessary to help maintain and secure the financial health of ours and our son's future.

Anyway, go grab a stiff drink, read the articles and have a good weekend.


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Handmade Goodies

It is late. I am tired.

And for some reason I am perusing Houzz, yet again.
This is my version of porn and I am not ashamed.

Well, maybe a little.

So, in an attempt to not get caught drooling over someone's kitchen, I decided to open some tabs. I bounced from one vintage clothing site to another and somehow ended up on a blog called Handmade Jane.
Her most recent posting is about things to make for craft stall sales, but since we are just about into the holiday swing of things, these said items would be great gifts if you are a crafty person and wanted to make one of them.


That is all I have for you. My dog is snoring and I can barely keep my eyes open.
Thank God for spell check.


Monday, November 18, 2013

A Tasty Dinner

Swiss Chard, Onion and Cheese Frittata via Taste Williams-Sonoma

Yes, you have to make this. Light, great combos of flavors. I threw some cumin and kale in mine as well. Our chard has white stems, but damn if mine did not look just like that picture. :)


Sunday, November 17, 2013

A Nice Gesture That Could Be Done More Often

Last week I had received a newsletter in the mail from my chiropractor that all week they would be giving patients a free adjustment if they brought in a bag of groceries for the local food pantry. Since I was already booked for Friday I went off to the dollar store, bought cans of beans, vegetables and sweet potatoes as well as a bag of rice, black pepper and a jar of beef bouillon cubes. I was happy to see a nice pile of bags when I got there and added my lot to the bunch.
They were also giving away free frozen turkeys that day but had run out. Since we are vegetarian I would have asked ours to be donated to the food pantry instead.
After a wonderful adjustment by the new female chiropractor who palpates vertebrae like no one I have ever met, I got to thinking about why more businesses do not offer such a deal.

We have all seen the barrage of opinion pieces about the ludicrous hours that stores will be opening on Thanksgiving Day. America's obsession with shopping and seemingly being complicit in doing away with the holiday is in direct contradiction of our various politician's obsession with family unity. Holidays should be enjoyed. Whether it is with family or friends or both or even alone. But no, according to consumers and retailers, they would rather be on line at a store than sitting with Grandmom and eating pie. The best part is, I am sure lots of hardcore family values folks will be on line to get that television. The whole shebang is also a nice meaty bone to those that love capitalism and free markets. You can choose not to shop of course, any Libertarian will tell you so, but the pervasiveness is appalling.

The earliest opening I have seen announced will be from my old employer, Toys R Us. 5pm that day. Because God knows you just NEED that toy. Okay, let me stop and not head into a serious rant.

My idea was that the big retailers participating in this insanity offer a deal where you can get 20%, or more, off your total order if you bring in two cans of non-perishable items, even toiletries, for a local food pantry. The reason I am not suggesting a whole bag is because I can see that being a massive fail. Have you seen the stampede that happens when those doors open in those stores? Here is an example from Thousand Oaks Mall in California. Seriously, what the hell do you need that bad???????? A t-shirt????

Back to charity.

Granted, I do not know if most people will bother to give a rats ass about strangers that day, the video above would indicate a huge NO, but it wouldn't hurt to for the stores to ask. You bring your donation to the register with your purchase and everyone benefits. The companies make more money and those in need receive much needed necessities to get them through rough times.

A gal can dream right?


Thursday, November 14, 2013

What I Am Reading

Picked up three books from the library yesterday. The first one I actually browsed through when I got home was "Knitting Little Luxuries" from Louisa Harding. While the designs are pretty, I have to see if I have any comparable yarns in my stash since I am in no position to spend some bank on high quality yarns.

My other book is something I have wanted to get my hands on for a very long time.
Madeleine Vionnet by Betty Kirke.
I am excited to read all about this cutting edge fashion designer AND there are actual patterns in the book. Now, my sewing skills are not that great, but it would be something to recreate a dress of hers to wear. Dream Miss Fifi, dream!

On a few blogs I have read about the River Cottage series of books. Recently I decided to look them up and saw there was one on vegetables so I had my library get me a copy of River Cottage Veg: 200 Inspired Vegetable Recipes.

It rocks.

I cannot WAIT to make the kale and onion pizza or the spicy chickpea and carrot pita pockets. My husband liked what he saw so much that he wants to order us our own copy.

I am hoping to ship my knitted goods out to Ohio by the beginning of next week. I still have to make the actual pins, but thankfully the flowers are done for that already.

Hope your day is a good one.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

It Is Your House, Do What You Want

My house is old. Not UK/European/Middle East rest of the world old, but old in how Americans view things. Hell, a house from 2000 is considered old here. Odd, but that is how we roll.

Our 1920's bungalow has come with many a problem that I have talked about before. As of now, the electrical is the biggest issue and anyone who has worked on an old home knows, it gets pricey. As does plumbing and mold issues. To upgrade and bring things up to code is not cheap. Let alone having to fix things that were done in such a way that one wonders how the house never caught fire or blew fuse after fuse.

In many ways, I feel like we are building a home from the ground up. Scary, but necessary thanks to the idiots that wired the home so shoddily. This of course allows us the opportunity to redesign as we see fit.
Now, let me be clear, while I LOVE Houzz, I have no desire to have a bathroom that I can drive my car into. Nor do I want a kitchen that large. I am very happy to keep the footprint of the home. What it comes down to is functionality and back in 1920, no one thought of that. Even now, I think some people do things they do not really like, but since it is safe or a trend they go that route.

This then made me consider something that many people seem to truly believe. No matter what you do to your home, you have to make sure it doesn't hurt resale.

How about no?

How about I want the bathroom in the colors I want and the layout I prefer? If I do not want a bathtub I do not have to have one. Nor do I care if it makes the home harder to sell. I think that is rubbish. There is a buyer for every home out there, warts and all.

You can argue with me until you are blue in the face and I will tell you how my brother, the gifted drafter, has informed me that people purchase million+ dollar homes and gut kitchens that are all of five years old because it is not their style. You are talking about $100K kitchens here.

Imagine the home you just bought comes with this kitchen.

And you hate it so much so you do this instead.

Or maybe you bought this house because you love the property it is on and perhaps you like the style, but you want something grander.

And now you do this.

Now obviously I am not working within the correct dimensions or anything, but I think you get the gist of what I mean. Your taste is your taste and no matter how new or glamorous or large something is, you will change it to suit your needs. It can be as simple as painting the wall to literally ripping out a wall to actually modifying the whole structure.

Look, we bought a house where not much was done to give it personality, but we saw something in it. We just do not have the bank account to turn it into what we think a bungalow should look like right now. We may not ever, but with the new bedroom and new wiring and other things that have been done by landscaping and jobs done by my hubby and brother, things are looking up for this long neglected casa.

This is what it looked like when we bought it. I will post a newer picture soon to show you how far it has come.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Can We Stop Treating Tech Companies Like the Second Coming of Christ?

Ironic considering I am using Blogger which is a Google company.
The reason I have a bee in my bonnet is  recently Fortune magazine featured the 50 most powerful women in business and of course, Sheryl "Facebook" Sandberg was on the cover. You know, because other women who have been doing their jobs for longer and maybe even better are doing it in the non-tech sector and that will not do. American has a sick love affair with Silicon Valley. While I appreciate the innovation, I do not believe it so amazing it could be considered a miracle in biblical terms.

What got me started on such a tear is that my toddler was on You Tube  watching a Sesame Street ABC video when he tapped something in the feed. It was a video of a woman, showing off her latest find of Disney Collectibles  (see: crap)  from Target. They were plastic Angry Birds eggs filled with God knows what.


What the hell?

Clearly the people who aggregate data and set up search words are pretty friggin' lazy. I imagine some youngster sitting at his desk or maybe lounging in some Eames chair, all excited because the cafeteria is offering pure raw vegan lunches today. He has been given the job of setting up keywords to help people have a better viewing experience. Considering this is his first real job he is bound to have mishaps like the rest of us, but in his case, he sees himself as genius. "Let's see, someone types in "Disney" so that means movies, tv shows, music videos, parodies and collectors'. Perfect. I am done and so boss."

It reminds me of when I worked at Toysrus. com and members of IT were tasked with creating a intranet for us executive assistants to use to set up meetings. We were called in for the "reveal" and they sat there, so proud of what they came up and by the end of the meeting with us, they were deflated. Why? Because they left out a few key uses. Like allowing each assistant to be able to check for room availability or to order food for said meeting or to send out the actual meeting request via this program. Yeah. Not small mistakes. But this is what happens when you take a group of people who just may be brilliant with coding, but have no idea how to apply it for practical application.

Facebook was no better. I could post an article about cancer and then all the ads on my wall would be about hospitals and treatments. Really? One post or search and THAT is what you use? Idiots. I was always hit with Wal Mart ads and I would always tick off that it was offensive or that I do not shop there when asked "Why I Did not Like the Ad?" I get that all these services are free, fine. I do not mind an ad on You Tube or Pandroa, that never bothers me. I only get miffed when I think your service can be way better than what you offer. These companies are considered leaders in their fields when to me they have half assed it and no one is able to tell the Emperor about his New Clothes.

Netflix gets it right. They offer me movies based on what I have watched before and it is not that far flung like You Tube. Sometimes I wonder how certain things end up in their respective genres, but a black comedy is not always easy for some to pigeonhole I guess.

I know I sound like a "get off my lawn" type, but lately it seems the news is filled with how smart and savvy and awesome all these techies and their start ups and apps are. Maybe, but I believe we need to keep these companies on their mettle. As an "older" user, I think we need more folks with real world business experience to help with practical use or we will all end up with someone showing off their Disney Christmas presents after watching a video of Handel's Messiah.


Friday, November 8, 2013

Humor Is Best

Things go well here at our casa. The room is progressing, I am sort of getting some writing done. I am knitting like a fiend and hope to have most of the projects done this weekend. Our son continues to make me wish I had a way to bottle his energy and drink it. I have not gotten to the gym lately,  BUT I started doing some cardio and core exercises this am thanks to You Tube. Have to find a way to build up my poor pelvic floor. (Let the Kegel jokes begin.)

In the meantime, I feel like things should be bright and light today. And with that, here are a few funny clips from some favorite films of mine.

The Witches of Eastwick

Death Becomes Her

The Women (1939)  - Witty Lines

The Sure Thing

Pineapple Express

Auntie Mame

Ocean's 11


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Spread For The Bread

Sounds like a cheesy porn movie title eh?
I was making a stunning loaf f bread this am when I realized I have no butter and half a tsp of almond butter left.
This will not do.
While I will eat warm bread sans anything, I wanted something to spread on my bread this morning.
I have honey so there must be something else in my pantry that I can combine it with. Lo and behold, I found a wonderful quick recipe for honey and coconut oil on the Hauser Homeopathy blog. I cannot wait to eat all of it.

Creamy Coconut Honey Spread

Many people go to bread and honey as a comfort food.  Coconut oil makes this treat more balanced and adds a fat-burning boost.
3 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp unpasteurized honey
In a small bowl combine the coconut oil and honey.  Place the bowl in the freezer for two to three minutes, remove and mix some more.  Return bowl to freezer for another one to two minutes.  The mixture should be creamy and spread like a thick butter.  Use immediately on fresh whole grain bread for a sweet snack.
And while I am at it, I was looking at maybe making homemade almond butter. Detoxinista had the most basic recipe, but I just wasn't up to it at the present time. I am sure it is delish though.


Monday, November 4, 2013

Pandora's Box

When a neighbor heard we were redoing our bedroom we were discussing some issues that had come up early in the process she declared old houses to be like a "Pandora's Box". Her own home is from the 1800's so she can relate.

Man, she was not kidding.

Our contractor has uncovered even more electrical nightmares. Honest to God, it is amazing this house has never burnt down to the ground. **Dear Universe, I am NOT testing anything and would prefer to never experience a house fire. Thank you very much.**
Uncovered wiring, outlets installed incorrectly and a wire from our brand new panel that got accidentally cut in half. (Well that explains why our sons air conditioner stopped working.) This is all but a taste of what our contractor has come into contact with. He already closed off one bad outlet in the living room. Seems prior owners left uncovered and uncapped wires in the wall. Seriously, what the hell is wrong with people????

Here is an outlet from our upstairs bath. The last few times I plugged the vacuum into the outlet, a funky, electric-y smell emerged from it so we stopped using it. The other night we plugged the electric heater into a brand new outlet in the hall and low and behold, the bathroom began to smell and the outlet got hot. I speak to the contractor today and he decides to remove to the evil outlet completely. Here is what he discovered.

Basically someone did not install the wires correctly and it was loose and there was oxidization...he began electrician speak and kind of lost me, but I got the gist of what he was relaying. All I know is that the outlet you see is burned and melted and it could have taken me and mine out one day or night.

Sons of Idiots. Cheap bastards who owned this home for years didn't want to do repairs right and this is what I get left with. Right now I want to have every wall in my home ripped out to repair all possible faulty wiring. 'Cause you know there is more. Without a doubt there are half assed jobs/repairs everywhere. But I lack such bounty to do so, damn my middle class lineage!, So all in good time. The contractor will NOT be letting power back into our son's room, the guest room or bathroom simply because as he said, "I can't in good faith do that." Fine by me. Our son is happy to read by a lantern in his room when it is bed time. I would rather keep the juice from flowing than take a chance.

Friends of ours who also own a 1920s home are also in the middle of doing a renovation of a bedroom as well and uncovered wiring behind their baseboard heating that just gets capped off because the folks were too lazy to wire it all the way through.

Sons of Idiots. Honestly, I know people bitch about codes and regulations, but man, I am all for it when it comes to the safety of my dwelling.

On the plus side, we did pick a carpet out over the weekend and he went to pick it up today. Hooray!

And, on a lighter, haha, note, I made this delicious Butternut Squash Potato Soup. I used three potatoes and extra paprika. It was superb and perfect for the cold nights ahead. Make some warm bread or biscuits to go with.