Friday, January 30, 2009

I need a hair cut

I'm getting a hair cut tomorrow morning, and don't know what to do with it. It grows really fast, so whatever I decide won't last all that long. I'm thinking of just cutting the bottom layer to even up the length. The advantage to having waited about two months longer than usual for a trim is that my bangs are almost long enough to put behind my ears. What was I thinking when I got bangs??
Since my friend, Sher, is the one who cuts my hair, maybe I'll just let her decide what to do.

It's supposed to be really nice tomorrow (50-ish), so I think I'll wash sheets and hang them on the clothesline. That, and getting my hair cut, is the sum total of my weekend plans. I really like weekends like that.

Here's what I ended up with:

The sky is falling!

So, Wednesday night, I was minding my own business and cooking supper. I was washing some dishes and had just turned back to the counter to give my stuff a stir, when behind me there was a huge CCRRAASSHH. I turned around to find lots and lots and lots of broken glass on the floor. As I was standing there trying to figure out where it came from, Tom came running up from the basement to see what had happened.

At just that moment, I looked up and saw that the glass cover on the ceiling fixture had fallen -- right where I had just been standing. Ours is a really old house with really high ceilings, so it had quite a distance to fall. It was one of the kind where there are two light bulbs, and a glass cover that is secured by three set screws. Apparently, at least one of the screws wasn't in tight enough (and fortunately, we're unsure which of us was the last to change the bulbs).

Anyway, glass went everywhere. I'm glad my supper had a lid on it! But now we have a new old light fixture:

I asked Tom how securely this one is fastened, and he assured me that it's much better than the previous one. So, that was my brush with death.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Let's mix it up

Remember a month or so ago, when I said I'd love to have a KitchenAid mixer? Well, looky what Hannah brought me today!!!! She got it from a friend, who got it at an auction and then decided he didn't need it. So WOOTY WOOT!! Now I'm going to have to rearrange some stuff in my kitchen so I can leave it out to use it. The kids all came over today because yesterday was Tom's birthday. Now he's the proud owner of a Zoo Bar hoodie sweatshirt and a DVD of The Big Lebowski (his favorite movie). Also, Hannah wanted to make cottage cheese/dill bread. Hannah has a rather unique method of kneading bread. I must say that any time my kids get involved, it becomes a comedy routine.

It was her first attempt at bread baking, so the loaves aren't beautiful, but the fact that one of the loaves is already half gone attests to the yummiliciousness of this bread.

Then, Tony came over to pick up Hannah, and brought him some new clamps. According to Tom, "You can never have too many clamps."

All in all, it was a lovely day. It's snowing again, which really makes me wish I didn't have to go to work tomorrow. Unfortunately, I live so close to my office that I can't really use snow for an excuse.

Allow me to curmudgeon a moment. It really ticks me off when people just scrape off a little hole of ice/snow from their windshields instead of getting it off ALL of the windows. They make me scared to be out and about. People's stupidity increases in direct proportion to the amount of snow on the streets.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

It's a puzzling thing

Last Saturday I was wandering around in Walgreens and found that they had jigsaw puzzles on sale for $1.00. I really love jigsaw puzzles and was facing a 4-day weekend with nothing that really had to be done, so I bought three of them.

What's kind of disconcerting about me and jigsaw puzzles is that I sort of obsess about them. Tom groans when he sees me dumping one out on the table because he knows that I'm going to be utterly useless until it's done (and NO, I don't want help with it). I started the first one Saturday evening. It must have been too easy, because I finished it Sunday evening. I still had two days, right? So I started the second one on Monday, and finished it during the inauguration Tuesday.

They're charming pictures. Not something I'd want on my wall, mind you, but they're sweet little scenes. They're by an artist named Heronim. The first one is called "Wing Walkers." The one below is "Grandma and Grandpa at Christmas."

Then I had to go back to work on Wednesday. I left the completed puzzles out on the dining room table. I like to look at them for a while. Then I take them apart, put them back in the box, and give them away at next year's White Elephant party.

But every day I kept seeing that third box (called "Harvest at the Mission"). It was crying to me; so when I got home from work yesterday, I started it. I'll probaby finish it today.

These seem to be just the right amount of difficulty for me, because each one only consumes me for a couple days, and they're hard enough to not be insulting -- yet not so hard as to drive me crazy. I think I've got the jigsaw puzzle jones out of my system for a while. Gary tells me, though, that he's got a couple I can do next summer when I go to his cabin in Montana (but I hope he doesn't have anything else he wants me to do while I'm there).

There's a really funny Monk episode where a bunch of kids entertain themselves by dumping about four jigsaw puzzles in a box, jumbling up all the pieces, and presenting them to Monk. Of course, he has to stop everything and put together all four puzzles. That'd be me. Don't ever do that to me.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Wow, I'm actually hopeful!

I don't want this to become any sort of political blog, but . . . just . . . wow. Considering I'm 52 years old, this is the 13th or 14th inauguration I've lived through. BUT, this is the first time I've actually watched it on TV FOR 12 SOLID HOURS! I was very moved at several points:
  • When the camera would zoom in on elderly African Americans, crying.
  • When the camera would zoom out and show the millions of people cramming the mall.
  • The sheer number of people who went to great lengths to be there, no matter what.
  • The beautiful little Obama girls, and what they must be thinking.
  • Watching Bush get on the helicopter and wave bye-bye.

Things that made me laugh:

  • Rolling Dick Cheney around in a wheel chair. I wonder how tempting it was to just "lose control" of the chair at the top of the stairs.
  • Aretha Franklin's hat.
  • Chief Justice Roberts choking on the oath.
  • Reverend Lowery's benediction.

There was entirely too much praying for my taste, however.

I must say, though, that I'm a little apprehensive about how much he has on his plate, and how the right-wingers will blast him for every delay or failure, no matter how slight.

Well, enough of that. I just felt a need to put something down about this momentous day.

Friday, January 16, 2009

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood

There's never a dull moment in our neighborhood!

Tonight I was out on the front porch when I heard someone yelling. I couldn't tell exactly where it was coming from, but it was really loud. So I went out to the sidewalk, and finally saw him. Funny thing is, everybody else on the block came out to look, too; and considering it's only about 10 degrees, presumably everyone had their windows closed -- that's how loud he was.

Anyway, he wasn't being profane at all, but was yelling about how this "nasty neighborhood" would be destroyed if it was in Colorado(?). He wasn't stumbling or acting drunk, just loud and angry. It was weird. Maybe his car was stolen or something. I'll probably never find out. It wasn't quite as weird as when the naked guy came down the street yelling about how his wife had thrown him out without any clothes, but weird nonetheless.

Soooo, Hannah and I made minestrone last weekend. 16 quarts' worth! Below is a picture of it, about halfway through. It was definitely an all-day project, but very yummy.

Hannah asked me not to post this picture, but I think it's cute. And of course, washing dishes is a part of any cooking process.
She's coming over again this Sunday to make cottage cheese dill bread.

Tuesday we get to come out of our 8-year national nightmare. Monday is a holiday, but I also took Tuesday off, since I consider it even more of a holiday (and I admit that the idea of a 4-day weekend was appealing). We have a bunch of anti-Bush stuff (refrigerator magnets, a "Smush Bush," etc.) that we don't quite know what to do with. I suppose we'll keep them around for a while. My cousin sent me a funny e-mail of Bush quotes today. I know they're available all over the Net, but I'm posting them anyway, for old time's sake:

  • 'The vast majority of our imports come from outside the country.'
  • 'If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure.'
  • 'One word sums up probably the responsibility of any Governor, and that one word is 'to be prepared.'
  • 'I have made good judgments in the past. I have made good judgments inthe future.'
  • 'The future will be better tomorrow.'
  • 'We're going to have the best educated American people in the world.'
  • 'I stand by all the misstatements that I've made.'
  • 'We have a firm commitment to NATO, we are a part of NATO. We have a firm commitment to Europe. We are a part of Europe.'
  • 'Public speaking is very easy.'
  • 'A low voter turnout is an indication of fewer people going to the polls.'
  • 'I have opinions of my own -- strong opinions -- but I don't always agree with them.'
  • 'We are ready for any unforeseen event that may or may not occur.'
  • 'For NASA, space is still a high priority.'
  • 'Quite frankly, teachers are the only profession that teach our children.'
  • 'It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it.'

I'm really looking forward to presidential speeches for the next few years!

Saturday, January 10, 2009


And look at the lovely young woman she's grown into!

Friday, January 9, 2009

I prefer winter. I really do.

I was just thinking the other day how much I prefer winter to summer. I HATE hot weather. But I also really hate winter when it's brutally cold and there's no snow — everything looks so dirty and gray. Have you ever noticed how quiet cars are when there's snow on the street? It's bright as daylight, too, especially since the moon's almost full (Sunday).

So, tonight, Mother Nature decided to beautify my environment. This is from our front porch. The red lights in the background are the Crazy Decorator Neighbor's Valentine house.

I decided to take some random photos of weird, quirky things around our house, starting with my husband. Here he is coming home with the weekend's libations. This is actually the same view as the photo of our Christmas tree a month ago.

This is my favorite new appliance, the pressure cooker. Here it is happily cooking kidney beans for Sunday's minestrone marathon.

These are two of the quirkiest things we have: Raymond ("Calendar Cat") and Davey ("Scrawny Varmint").

This is our wedding invitation (October 1981), with a picture of our younger, sexier selves.

And this is Tom's what-not cabinet. How quirky is that? I was complaining the other day about the amount of dust that accumulates on all those tiny things, so he obliged me by making a plexi-glass door for it. Woo-hoo!

Our little girl, Hannah, will turn 24 tomorrow. This is some of her artwork from a few years ago. They hang in our kitchen. I really love these pictures.
Perhaps this provides some insight into us and our space. This was a difficult week — the first 5-day week I've had to work in quite some time. Feeling curmudgeonly in general, rather than anything specific.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Change is good, right?

You may have noticed that I changed the title of this blog. I was sort of feeling that "Consumer" was too limiting. Saturday, I received a book in the mail from a friend (Curmudgeon Woman, which is a compilation of curmudgeonly quotations by women), and it was addressed to "The Curmudgeonly Chronicler," which seemed a more appropriate title for me. Tom also pointed out that he's not doing anything connected to this, except tossing out occasional ideas, hence, it's actually my blog.

So, I'm claiming it as my own; and it is now called "The Curmudgeonly Chronicler."


These boots are made for walkin'

This is an old topic, but it bears repeating.

Nebraska's gas tax went up January 1 by .4 cents per gallon (from 26 cents to 26.4 cents). Big deal. But judging from the brouhaha over it, you'd think people were told they had to give up their first-borns.

My opinion of this is that they should have taken advantage of the fact that people were used to paying high prices for gasoline and raised the gas tax to at least $2.00 per gallon. People were squawking about it last summer, but you know what? They coped. They drove less. They bought smaller cars. They demanded fuel economy from the car-makers. They took the bus. They bicycled. They bought scooters. They, gulp, WALKED.

I suppose they could make some provision for low-income people who need to drive to work, and possibly even for local delivery vehicles, and maybe even for mass passenger transport (e.g., airlines, trains) but that should be the end of the exemptions. To those who say, "What about me? I live in Omaha and work in Lincoln!" I say, that's your choice. If you don't like it, move to Lincoln or get a job in Omaha! (or wherever)

It would have all sorts of positive ramifications. People would be healthier. The air would be less polluted. People would eat more locally-grown foods and buy more locally-produced goods. The roads would be less congested, making less wear and tear on the infrastructure. People would stop buying Humvees. More employers would allow their employees to telecommute.

Of course, we in Nebraska would have to give up (or pay more for) our pineapples, avacados, mangos, bananas, seafood, and other things that can't be produced here, but I think all sorts of good things would come from it. For instance, bartering -- "I'll give you a case of home-canned beef stew if you'll handle this legal matter for me." Plus, those of us who choose to buy locally when we can would be pleasantly surprised at the abundance that would become available, cheaper than it is now.

No concessions should be given to mega-corporations like WalMart. They've made their billions on the backs of their workers. This would be the time for local retailers to step up and shine.

Okay, I'll stop now. Too utopian for most people. But we (Tom and I) are also guilty of driving too much. It's just too easy! Last summer when gas prices were high, we used our mo-ped for errands (and for my 1½-mile commute to work). We have two old Toyota vehicles (a 1991 Corolla and a 1985 pickup). Both have less than 70,000 miles on them. Between the two of us, we drive less than 5,000 miles a year, and we could halve that without much hardship. It's mind-boggling to me that the national average is 12,000 miles per year PER VEHICLE!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Happy New Year!

First post of 2009! I'll start with a couple of updates:

  1. Crazy Decorator Neighbors have morphed their Christmas decorations into Valentine's Day decorations. I'm not going to post a picture of it, but you can probably imagine it -- just think about lots of red lights and hearts. But don't forget about Baachus and Venus (and, I suppose, Uncle Sam and the soldiers)!

  2. Pressure Cooker worked GREAT on the pot roast; and I tried Swiss steak, which was also wonderful. I haven't been this tickled with an appliance for a very long time. Hannah and Beca are coming over next weekend to make and can minestrone, so I'll give it the acid test of cooking kidney beans and garbanzos (chick peas) from dry.

I'm going to talk a little about video games. I'm finding them slightly disturbing. They are so cool, and I totally understand the attraction, but I fear that all the technology is taking the place of actual human interaction (and I'm speaking as someone who was hopelessly addicted to "Legend of Zelda" some years ago). The Wii games are amazing, and I have to say that I'm at least glad to see that it's getting people off their asses. For example, bowling. But you know what? Getting a bunch of friends together and going to a bowling alley is one of the funnest and cheapest nights out I can think of.

Another one that totally boggles me is Guitar Hero. Hannah brought it over here one night, and Tom and I just sat shaking our heads. Günter, who is an accomplished guitar player, wasn't any better at it than the others (it's really hard). So, here's the question: If you're going to invest that much time and effort into getting good at the game, why not just learn to play the guitar?

Well, I could get myself in trouble if I go on, so I'll stop. It's just one of those things I think about, and I know it shows my age (and curmudgeonliness).