I may chat about my books, what I'm writing or reading, or just general thoughts. You may read posts about my cats or just my crazy life in general. Comments are welcome, if anyone wants to interact with me. Maybe we can share war stories, whether it's writing related or just about life in general.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Reflections on the A to Z Blogging Challenge and other news



I did participate in this year’s challenge although there were times that I wondered if I’d finish.  I wasn’t able to write any posts ahead this year due to my work schedule, so I winged it pretty much and usually wrote them the night before. 

Also due to time restraints and no linky list this year, I didn’t get to visit many blogs.  I really wanted to and probably would have if we had the list.  It just makes people easier to find on the World Wide Web.  But I know why the moderators changed that this year.  They almost had to because there’s really no way to monitor a list that size on a daily basis to make sure everyone’s posting.  This is too bad and unfortunate.

I’ll look up some past blogs when I get a chance and see if they participated this year.  Sometimes I wish I wasn’t so busy all the time.  This would be a lot easier to do.

On another note, I’ll be leaving to visit family out of state this coming Tuesday.  I may not be able to get on the internet much while I’m gone.  I have to take that day-by-day.  Usually family can run you ragged with all the people to see and places to go as the days quickly tick by.  It’s been almost five years since I’ve been home, so it’s time.  Everyone is growing up and Mama is now living in a nursing home.  Her dementia is getting worse.  I’m sure seeing her will be a shock, but I have to do this before much more time goes by.  None of us are getting any younger.  I just hope she still remembers me.  May’s a good month to go because she just had her 86th birthday.  I missed that but will be there for Mother’s Day.

I can’t wait to see my family and haven’t slept well in over a week now.  My brain is working overtime and my nerves are on edge.  This is mostly due to the fact I have to fly to get there.  This isn’t something I enjoy doing at all.  My ears are ill-equipped to handle the altitude.  I’ll be lucky if I can make it there and back without getting dizzy and sick.  My fingers are crossed.  I’m thankful I could get a nonstop flight at least.  That may help.

I should have new stories to tell and pictures to post when I return.  Stay tuned.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Z is for zipper


This photo from Wonderopolis


This is something that most of us use every day when we put on clothes to wear.  It’s so fast and easy to wiggle into those jeans, or slip on a skirt and zip it up.  I’m sure before this was invented, clothes fastened with ties of some sort and maybe later an early button type closure.



 This photo from wikipedia
 
Zippers play a big part in life today, whether it’s clothing, tents for camping, sleeping bags, etc.  So you might want to know a brief history about how the zipper came about.  The zipper was actually thought about as early as 1851 by the inventor of the sewing machine, Elias Howe.  Forty years later another man, Whitcomb Judson, decided to improve on the idea.  He started the Universal Fastener Company to produce the new invention, which he called the clasp locker.  It debuted at the Chicago World Fair in 1893.  The modern zipper was eventually designed by Gideon Sundback in 1913.  He worked at the Universal Fastener Company and got a patent for the device in 1917.  He designed two rows of interlocking teeth that would hook together using a slider.  B F Goodrich Company actually came up with the name for the device.  They used it on a pair of rubber boots and called it the zipper.



 Zipper pulls - photo from wikipedia
 
Twenty years later the fashion industry began using the device.  Look how many zippers we see today on all sorts of things.  We have small zippers and large zippers and zippers in many colors and lengths.  We even have separating zippers for jackets.

Most of the information was researched on Wonderopolis and Wikipedia.

This concludes the A to Z Challenge this year.  I wasn’t sure I’d actually be able to post all the letters this year due to my work schedule, but I made it!  I hope you’ve enjoyed reading.  I still have a lot of blogs to catch up on because I haven’t read near as much of the A to Z as I’d like to.  I will get around to as many as time permits.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Y is for the Yucca.



This is common desert plant, although I had them in Texas when I lived there years ago.  I suppose they might grow anywhere.  I remember digging holes to plant them in Texas and pouring ash or something into the hole to create the right environment.



 Isn't this beautiful?  Typical of all yuccas, the leaves are spiny with thorns.   The Indians used to use parts of this pant for food.  The leaves were woven into baskets or mats.

We have them all over here in the desert growing wild as they do in this climate.  We brought one of the yucca family from California when we moved here and have planted it in the ground.  It’s very happy there and rewards us with beautiful blooms every June.  The flower reminds me of a bridal flower, or bouquet.  As with any desert plant, you can watch the bloom forming for months and then it only last a few days, or a week if you’re lucky.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Xeriscape





When you live in the desert it’s hard to keep anything looking green, especially lawns.  Ours looks pretty bad.  We’d love to have a bit of lawn but have decided to take it out and xeriscape the whole area with rocks and desert friendly plants.  I’ll leave a small space for seasonal flowers to add some color. 




We haven’t started this project yet because we have to rent equipment to remove the dead lawn.  We haven’t had time to do this job.  Hopefully it won’t get to hot before we can tackle this, or it might be this fall before anything happens.

As it is we got two days off in a row so we could cut back bushes and take out dead plants.  We filled up three trash cans with stuff, got sunburned in the process, and scratched all over by twigs and wayward branches.  We were a sight at work the next few days.

The good news is once we can do this project we’ll save on the water bill.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Working - the Good, the Bad, the Ugly



When I retired a few years ago I was so busy that I wondered how I ever worked and managed to keep the house clean, do the laundry and cook meals.  There was no time for anything else.  So retirement was bliss for a while, aside from the issue of not having enough money.  I don’t really need anything though except groceries and to pay the household bills, but it’s still nice to be able to do extra things and not have to watch all your expenses so closely.  That’s when I decided to start working part-time.

I did freelance jobs for a while, which was great, but working at home isn’t as easy as you think, especially when you’re not the only one in the house.  So I got back into the work scene by taking a demo job at Costco.  It wasn’t long and my eyes were really opened to what the public is really like.  Now I did work retail for quite a few years, in the jewelry industry mostly, and had to deal with people.  Some were nice and some were contrary individuals, which is always how it goes in any job.  However, if you really want to see what humans can be like, a job doing food demos will show you in a hurry.  People do amazing things just to get free food.  I think I have enough material to write a book already and I haven’t been there quite two years yet.

Thank goodness it’s easy to get along with most of the people I work with because very few of the customers ever thank us for being there and handing samples out, etc, even though we have eaters that come in the store daily just for free food.  There are some who never buy anything, but I guess it gets them off the couch and out of their house for a while.  I just hope I’m never in the position where all I have to look forward to is my daily visit to Costco for free food samples.

Costco store front

Despite all that, I do enjoy what I do, even though we encounter the rudest human beings you ever saw.  We do get paid well for standing up all day to prepare food and that has allowed me to do some things I wouldn’t be able to afford otherwise.  But this part-time work has turned into way more hours than I thought it would when I started because we’re always shorthanded.  It sure feels good to sit down at the end of the work day and after five or six days I really need a break from the public.  The food division can also be very chaotic and disorganized sometimes.

Working isn’t all that bad except for the standing and the grumpy customers and not having time to clean house, or do much of anything else.  So I currently live in a pigpen most of the time.  I cook as little as possible when I’m home.  I haven’t had much time to work on my book either so that’s not a good thing, but hopefully I’ll get it finished one of these days.

So there you have it, money and no time, or lot of time and no money.  I guess that’s where everyone of us needs to decide what’s more important.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

V is for Vinegar




As we all know vinegar has been around for years and is used for lots of things.  It also comes in many flavors today and isn’t just plain white vinegar anymore.

They say it cleans windows better than any window cleaner, but I can’t stand the smell of vinegar.  Honestly, I would never use it if I could avoid it.  The odor makes me very ill.  But I use it in salad dressing and things like that and we use it at work all the time to soak pots that get burned on the bottom while doing a demo.  Vinegar is so strong it wafts all over the store.  I do everything I can to avoid burning anything so I don’t have to get near this stuff.

I have a personal story concerning vinegar that I don’t know if I should share or not.  It all started with having to wear socks and closed in shoes at work, preferably some type of sneaker with a good non-slip sole.  Let me tell you this, my feet aren’t designed to wear closed in shoes and sneakers all the time.  I’m working far too many days than I signed up for because we’re always shorthanded at work.  I much prefer wearing sandals or going barefoot, which I always do when I’m off work.  I do understand the need for all this footwear in a professional environment where food is served, but I still hate it and my feet hate it more.

This issue has caused me a lot of grief due to the fact I contracted the worst case of athlete’s foot I’ve ever had in my life.  I couldn’t seem to shake it so I decided to confront my friend, Google, and see what I could come up with.  I ended up on a chat board where this health issue was being discussed.  There were two options, soaking my feet in Clorox or white vinegar.  Well somehow the Clorox seemed a bit harsh, so I decided on the vinegar. 

Every night, for two weeks, I soaked my feet in this white vinegar and warm water bath.  I figured if this would do the trick I could put up with the smell of vinegar that long.  It stung like the devil for about the first ten minutes, but I kept at it soaking at least twenty minute a night.  Then I would dry my feet well, put on my athlete’s foot cream and socks and go to bed.  I was supposed to do this twice a day, but with my schedule I was doing good to do it every night.




It got less painful as time went on and in two weeks I thought I was a bit better, so I put on a pair of flip-flops and went out on a Saturday to clean up the patio.  This turned out to be a big mistake.  My toes were so irritated from the vinegar that I got the worst blister on my big toe.  I also had three other smaller blisters on other toes.  The athlete’s foot was better, but not gone, and now I had these wicked-looking blisters to deal with.  I finally had to break down and go to the doctor on my next day off. 

Of course he told me the vinegar helped to kill my athlete’s foot fungus, but it also damaged my healthy skin and that’s why I got the blisters.  He told me to stop the home remedies and gave me two cream prescriptions, plus an anti-fungal pill.  I was also instructed to soak my feett in Epsom salts for the next two weeks, preferably twice a day. 

I finally got the prescriptions two days later and I did soak my feet once a day for two weeks.  He told me I had to wear socks until the situation was healed up.  So I do wear sock at home, but no shoes.  It’s still the usual socks and shoes at work daily.  It’s been almost a month now and I’m still dealing with this issue, although it’s ninety percent better than when it started.  I’m hoping to have it completely cleared up in the next two weeks.  Fingers crossed.

The whole purpose of this post is to caution you about using vinegar on your body.  Perhaps I had the solution mixed up too strong, but I wouldn’t want to go through all this again.  I think the vinegar would kill the athlete’s foot, as well as the Clorox that a friend at work swears by.  But, a little bit goes a long way.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

U is for umbrellas




Somehow when I think of this word Mary Poppins comes to mind.  We have little rain in the desert, so an umbrella isn’t needed often.  When we lived in Oregon, we needed one every time we left the house.  I never saw so much rain in my life.

The umbrella originated in China years ago.  It’s also called a parasol, but generally the parasol isn’t waterproof and is used as protection from the sun, not rain.

Umbrellas can be collapsible, including the handles, but some are made so just the canopy is collapsible.  They’re used on patio tables, picnic tables and at the beach in the summer.  Handles can be wooden, plastic or metal.

The earliest records about umbrellas dated back to 21 AD, but parts for a Chinese collapsible umbrella were found in an old tomb on an archeological dig in the 6th century BC.

Umbrellas were also used in the Middle East, ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, India, Siam, in the Aztec Empire and Europe.




Today the original silk canopy is usually replaced by cotton, nylon, or plastic.  Currently the US Patent office employs four full time employees just to oversee all the different patents coming in for umbrellas.  Today’s umbrella has been streamlined to improve their response to wind.  This is a good thing, as I had an umbrella years ago that would invert in heavy wind, thus not doing the job of an umbrella at all.

In 2005, A Dutch design student invented a storm umbrella that can withstand winds up to 70 MPH without turning itself inside-out.  This umbrella is sold under the license by Totes in the USA.  I have no idea how much one of these new umbrellas cost, but I suspect it’s quite a bit.