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January 2011

31 Down . . . 334 To Go

I like photography.  I'd like to be good at it -- but I'm just starting out.  I don't have a lot of time for photography, and I tend to stumble around with my camera.  I do, though, always enjoy messing around with it


I'd like to become a better photographer.  I'm interested in learning more and trying new things with my camera.


So this year I decided to challenge myself by signing up for one of the photography 365 projects.


I'm not quite playing by the rules, though.  You're supposed to take a photo and post it each day.  One photo.  Each day.  For a year.


I have a hard time with that restriction, though.  I don't always have time to take photos every day.  Especially photos that I'd want to post on a 365 site!  I like to take some time; to think about my photography.


So I've got my own set of rules (for just myself) for MY 365 Project.  I'm thinking about photography every day.  I'm keeping my camera at the ready every day.  I'm becoming more aware of possible shots every day.  I'm organizing my photos on the computer every day.  I'm choosing a recent shot to upload every day.

I think that's good enough.


I've just finished the first month of my 365 Project.  So far, so good!


If you want to follow along, there's a little button in my sidebar that will take you to my 365 Project page.


Otherwise, I'll post some of my shots here on the blog at the end of each month.



Where My Tuition Money Goes

For Christmas, we gave Brian a Flip video camera.  Now we get to see for ourselves. . . just where that tuition money goes!  This time, it appears to be going to drumline practice -- in the bathroom. . .


(Brian is in the brown t-shirt.)

You know, I haven't really missed Brian's drumming since he left for college.  Now, though, thanks to the Flip video camera and YouTube, I can 'bring in da noise; bring in da funk' whenver it gets too quiet in the empty nest!

Enjoy the weekend!


And the Memories. . .

Soundtrack. . .


As soon as I saw Kristin Kapur's new hat design (Ida's Kitchen) I took a quick detour right down Memory Lane.

1970.  Harvest Gold and Avocado Green appliances. 


Wall-to-wall carpet. 


My Mom's knit ripple afghans. (She always seemed to have one on the needles; they were very popular back then.  The one I remember most was in two shades of orange - light and dark, plus brown and yellow.) 


(This is a knit kit currently available from Herrschners.  Sadly, we have no photos of my Mom's lovely afghans.)

And, of course, Freda Payne singing "Band of Gold" on the radio.

Needless to say, I HAD to knit Kristin's new hat pattern!


I toned down the colors a bit.  They're still a bit 70s-ripple-afghan. . . but in a tweedy, trendy, 2011 kind of way.


I used Knit Picks City Tweed DK yarn in a variety of colors.  I really love this yarn!  It knits up nicely, looks great, comes in a huge variety of appealing colors, and. . . is inexpensive.  (It also doesn't itch -- a definite plus for a hat!)


I love this hat!  And it's the perfect thing to wear . . . on a stroll down Memory Lane!  (My Ravelry link here.)



One of my favorite Glee episodes last season was about . . . hair:


Not surprising that I liked this episode.  I've been a bit, ummmm, fixated on my own hair for a couple of years ago.  Losing it.  Growing it back.  Dealing with new curls.  Embracing the grey.  Figuring out what to do with it.

Yeah.  About that one.  Figuring out what to do with it.  So far, I've just been letting it grow.  Getting it styled and cut periodically, to keep it in some semblance of a "hairdo" . . . but mostly, just letting it grow until I figure out what I want to do with it.

I've moved through so many "stages" of chemo hair re-growth.  Starting with the Mother Theresa look.

Images Last Day of Chemo Feb 4 2009 016

Moving on the Jamie Lee Curtis look.

Jamie lee Kind of Blue Fini 015

Through those awkward "where's the beef" months.

Whereb Kodachrome finis 012

And the getting-longer "Mozart hair" phase.

Mozart Hanging on the telephone 005

I finally settled in for a long time with the Paula Deen look.  But just to let my hair grow some.

Pauladeen01 IMG_1216

Now, though, I think my hair has grown long enough to do what I WANT to do with it.  To go for a style of my own choosing!  After two years, I'm finally ready to walk into my hair salon and say, "I want THIS hair cut."

Yep.  This time, I'm going for Helen Mirren!


On purpose!



Mirror, Mirror on the Wall


. . . who's the fairest of us all?  This week at Ten on Tuesday, we're taking a look at our Ten Favorite Health & Beauty Products.  While this seems like a simple little stroll through our shower stalls, make-up stashes, and gym bags. . . it's a little more complicated than that.

At least, it is for me.

I struggle with the whole "beauty" game.  On the one hand, I'm vain.  I use health & beauty products.  On the other hand, I hate supporting the whole "industry" of "beauty;" I hate how the "industry" creates impossible standards of "beauty" . . . and how those standards make women and girls FEEL about themselves.


And it's not just our bodies, of course.  It's the hair.  The skin.  The whole package!


Sure, I play along.  I buy the stuff; I use the stuff.  But I get grumpy when I think about it too much.  Because, when it comes right down to it, I'm vain.  But I wish I weren't.

Okay.  Now that I've had my little temper tantrum, here's my list of Ten Favorite Health & Beauty Products:

  1. The Wise Woman skin care line from Body Shop.  Really great products; good company (or, at least one I can get behind in the "industry;" at least they TRY).
  2. Almond Milk Body Lotion (again, from Body Shop).  I LOVE this stuff and stock (way) up whenever it's on sale.
  3. Almond Oil Daily Hand & Nail Cream (from . . . guess where!).  Love.  Worth every penny.
  4. Most of my makeup also comes from Body Shop.  It just works for me.
  5. Except. . . I'm sort of liking this mascara from Cover Girl!
  6. As a general staple, I love Vaseline Intensive Care lotion.  Any formulation.  Love the big pump bottle, the way it works, and the price!
  7. Another staple -- a product I'm never without -- is Burt's Bees lip balm (especially the replenishing formulation -- with pomegranate oil).
  8. When it comes to my hair, well.  Since my hair came back in. . . you could say I've been playing the field quite a bit.  Lately, I've been using Pantene products.  Shampoo.  Mousse.  Hairspray.
  9. I'm really a sucker for nail polish.  Not for my fingers (gardening and chemo have conspired to ruin my nails forever) -- but for my toes.  I do my own pedicures . . . and I use OPI nail polish. 
  10. And when it comes to . . . taking it off. . . I really like these little eye makeup remover towelettes from Neutrogena. 

Just remember, though.  We're beautiful just the way we are.  We don't need an "industry" to tell us what we should look like.  And sometimes we just need to make our peace with it all!


A Requirement for the Woolen Garments

Tom's work extends well beyond the US borders. . . and he spends a significant amount of his time interacting with co-workers in Mumbai.  From time to time, travel is involved.  Either he makes his way to Mumbai. . . or  his co-workers make their way to the US.

Earlier this fall, Tom was making arrangements for a Mumbai visitor to spend several weeks in Kalamazoo.  Although I can't quite remember the timing of this particular trip, I do recall that it was beginning to get cool; not cold by northern standards . . . but cool.  One day, Tom received an email from the soon-to-be traveling Mumbai co-worker asking if there would be a "Requirement for the Woolen Garments" while he was visiting.

Well.  No.  There wasn't a Requirement for the Woolen Garments THEN. . . but there sure is NOW!

Working on my computer near a slider door?  Requirement for the Woolen Garments!


Going outside for any length of time?  Requirement for the Woolen Garments!


Even dogs have a Requirement for the Woolen Garments* (although this photo was taken early last month -- before there was much snow on the ground).


And. . . even Puck. . . yes, birds, too. . . have a Requirement for the Woolen Garments.


Puck is a tropical bird, and he gets cold very easily.  He likes to sleep up in this corner of his cage . . . so I built a wall-of-wool by tucking in an old, wool scarf (it's the scarf I learned to make cables with so long ago).  It keeps him toasty warm and provides a bit of a barricade against drafts and chill.  He snuggles right up against the Woolen Garment.  (I know.  It sounds like we've bonded.  And, well, maybe we have.)

Anyway . . . if it's as cold where you are . . . as it is where I am. . . get out those Woolen Garments.  It's a Requirement!


*  I did not knit Jenny's sweater.  I looked around for a pattern for a BIG dog sweater, and didn't really find much to choose from, and none that suited Jenny.  When I found this one in a catalog, I ordered it. . . with the intention of copying it to knit my own BIG dog sweater for Jenny.  So far, that hasn't happened.  But it might.  Someday.


Getting Old

Soundtrack. . .


I like living in a climate where there are four distinct seasons.  I actually like them all.  Even winter.  I like snow (the more, the better actually); I don't mind cold temperatures (I have plenty of wool); and I like "hibernating" inside for a couple of months.

But, man, January is a drag!


I know it has 31 days . . . same as July.  But doesn't January seem to stretch on forever?  In a way July never does? 

The grey, dreary skies.


The freezing rain on top of melting snow.


The piles upon piles of dirty, melting plowed snow.


The ice.


The ice.


The ice.


And, perhaps most annoying of all, the January People at the gym!  I'm so ready for the January crowd to give it up and stay home.  Quit hogging the cardio machines I like best.  Quit slogging around the track.  Quit jamming up my Zumba class.  And, for the love of Pete, quit filling my Spinning class before I make my reservation!


(This was my gym parking lot last night.  See that building waaaaaay in the back?  That's the gym.  The huge parking lot is always packed in January. )

So. . . January?  You're a fine month and all.  But you're getting old.  I'm ready for you to end.

A Changed Landscape

As a gardener, I know my "home landscape" intimately.  I know the plants, I know the micro-climates, I know the shade conditions, I know where the sprinkler heads are, I know all the little ups and downs of my garden. 

I know that what looks like THIS in the summer. . .


looks like THIS in the winter. . .


And yet. 

The other day I ran home from work to get Jenny to take her to the vet for her annual check up.  I changed my clothes and ran out into the yard to pick up a recent "stool sample" to take with me.  I was in a hurry.  It was snowing.  I couldn't find any poop (unbelievably. . .).  Finally, I spotted one -- and I ran over to pick it up.  Ker-SPLASH!  I stepped right into that dang little pond! 

So much for intimate knowledge of my landscape!  (As for the poop?  It was just one of the rocks lining the pond. . .)


Games People Play


It's time for a little Ten on Tuesday.  Sit back, relax, reminisce . . . as we explore the Ten Favorite Games from our Childhood.

First, a little soundtrack. . . .


Next, let's play with This Girl (and her little sister). . .

Kym and Diane 1966

This Girl grew up in the 1960s.  Before electronics, computers, cable, VCRs. . . before ANYTHING, really.  This Girl?  She played games!  She was a Gamer. . . before Gamers had been invented!  What did she play?


1 -- Jacks!  Best game EVER!  This Girl played jacks everywhere --- on the porch, on the playground, in the kitchen.   (She drove her parents mad.)


2 -- Hopscotch!  Give This Girl a stretch of pavement and a piece of chalk and you had some serious hopscotch going on.


3 -- Four Square!  Was there ever a better playground game invented?  This Girl spent every recess involved in one of four activities:  jacks, hopscotch, Double Dutch, or Four Square!


4 -- Checkers!  King me.  Need I say more?


5 -- IQ!  Long before Tetris, eons before Angry Birds. . . This Girl passed quiet time with an IQ peg game.


6 -- Knock Hockey!  Oh, yeah, baby.  This Girl played "air hockey" before electricity was invented!


7 -- Tag (all varieties)!  When This Girl was a kid, the neighborhood kids gathered in a yard after dinner and played tag til the sun went down.  Regular tag, freeze tag, color tag, TV tag, statue tag, team tag. . . you name it, we played it.


8 -- Clue!  This Girl played Clue back when Miss Scarlett was nothing but a red game piece.


9 -- Yahtzee!  This Girl loved Yahtzee . . . the FUN game that makes THINKING fun!  (Who knew. . .)

10 -- Heads Up Seven Up!  This Girl loved playing this one in the classroom.  I wonder if they play it still?

I don't know about you, but This Girl is off to find some jacks!