Thursday, April 22, 2010

I Never Forget Earth Day....

....because it also happens to be my anniversary.  Mr. Willoughby and I were married 21 years ago, on April 22, 1989.  Honestly, at the time, I had never even heard of Earth Day, so we didn't choose the date for that reason.  It is kind of nice, though, to think of people making the world a more beautiful place by planting trees and flowers on the anniversary of the day we began our life together.  100 years from now, after we're long gone, this day will still be celebrated.  I think that's pretty special even if it is just a coincidence.


*If you're curious what Mr. Willoughby and I looked like 21 years ago (unlikely, but possible), you can click here to see my anniversary post from last year.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tuesday Tidbits

A little bit of this and a little bit of that.....

"Mom, is my cheese supposed to be glowing?"

Ever since my last post, I've been thinking about that mysterious radioactive kitchen utensil.  I wondered if I could be using it in my kitchen or if you could be using it in yours.  Since I don't have a Geiger counter, I embarked on some extensive research (which means I spent 2 seconds Googling it) to find out what this mysterious utensil was.

It turns out that it is a cheese grater.  For the full story, click here

A Few Personal Notes

To the teenage boy driving past my street this morning - Slow down!  The speed limit in residential areas is 25.  If I had pulled out of my street a second sooner, you would have hit me.

To the teenage boy at the intersection near the elementary school this morning - Learn right of way.  It was my turn to pull out and I had to slam on the breaks to keep you from hitting me.

To the guy driving the big truck at school this morning - There are plenty of parking spaces.  You don't need to accelerate and swerve around me while I am backing into a space.  You almost hit a woman walking through the parking lot.

To the woman who blocks traffic to drop her daughter off at school - The world doesn't revolve around you.

Spring Is In The Air And It's Creating A Dilemma

Now that spring is here, I find that I have less time to spend in front of the computer. Whether I'm doing some spring cleaning or just want to be outside enjoying a warm day, I'm not spending as much time on my blog. I don't think I'm the only one, I've noticed fewer comments and fewer new posts on many blogs. Sadly, a few of my favorite bloggers have even decided to call it quits.

When I do have some spare time, I'm struck with a dilemma. Do I catch up on other's blogs or work on my own? If I read and comment on other blogs, I run out of time to post on mine. If I write a new post for my blog, I run out of time to read and comment on others. I never seem to have time to do both, lately.

Does anyone else run into this problem? How do you handle it?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Crazy or Brilliant?

It's spring, so of course that means I've been doing a lot of spring cleaning.  I've found that while I'm doing menial tasks like dusting, vacuuming and washing windows, my mind tends to wander.  Here are some not necessarily cleaning-related things I've been pondering.
  • Flea collars and miscellaneous flea prevention products - If they work to repel fleas and ticks on animals, would they work for people?  Let's say, for example, that you wanted to go for a walk in the woods.  Instead of tucking your pant legs into your socks to keeps ticks from getting on your legs, could you put flea collars around your ankles to repel them?  Or could you rub the liquid flea and tick preventer on your jeans?  If you're wearing shorts, could you rub it on your legs?  It's safe to use on your cats and dogs, after all.
  • Vacuum cleaners - My vacuum cleaner has a great habit of shooting debris back out at my feet after it's passed through the rotating bristles.  I'm beginning to think of it as rearranging the crumbs on my kitchen floor more than removing them.  I propose rating vacuum cleaners on a "suction" scale instead of by the amount of amps they have (higher amps are supposed to indicate increased suction, but I have not found that to be the case).  Wouldn't we all prefer to have a model that really sucks instead of one that really sucks
  • Languages - I can speak a little bit of several different languages, but not nearly enough to call myself fluent in anything but English.  If I make up my own language, can I call myself bi-lingual?
  • Commercials - 1) Have you seen that commercial for the refrigerated dog food?  The one where the mom is feeding her kids dry food out of a bag?  They rationalize that if you wouldn't feed dry, bagged food to your family, you shouldn't feed it to your dog.  I have no problem with their product, but I think the comparison is a little off base.  Dogs and humans have very different palates.  I've never found my kids eating the hot dogs that fell off the grill into the dirt.  They don't lick their hindquarters, either (not that my kids have hindquarters.....oh, you know what I mean!).
  • Commercials - 2) There's a commercial, I haven't seen it in a while so I don't remember the brand, but it's for shampoo.  The actress, sporting a lather covered head, says that they guarantee the shampoo will respect every strand of hair on your head.  I think that's one of the stupidest things I've ever heard!  How could you prove it one way or the other?  Could you take legal action?  And what would people say if you told them you were suing because your shampoo disrespected your hair?
  • Local news - I was listening to the radio, one day, and I heard a promo for the local news.  It went something like this (and I'm not making this up), "You may be poisoning your family with a common kitchen utensil found to be radioactive.  We'll tell you about it today at 6:00."  Wha??  In the name of ratings, this channel is going to let me (potentially) poison my family by flipping our burgers with a (potentially) radioactive spatula if we eat before 6:00?  I forgot to tune in at 6:00 that day.  I may still be using a radioactive kitchen utensil!  
  •  Butterfly - The name doesn't make sense, Flutterby is more logical.  Could they have been called flutterbies, originally?
  • Why do we have words with multiple meanings?  Rose, for instance.  Whether your talking about the flower or the past tense of rise, rose is the appropriate word to use.  Other words have the same pronunciation, but different spellings, like threw and through.  Why not have a completely different word for everything?  I'll keep that in mind as I create my own language.
 Crazy or brilliant, I'll leave that for you to decide.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Bugging Out

Spring is such a wonderful time of year.  The birds have returned and greet each morning with their lovely songs.  The tree branches are covered with green buds ready to burst into life.  The grass has shed it's yellow/brown pallor in favor of a lovely emerald.  The air is warm and breezy.  It's all so lovely except for one thing.  The bugs.
Because of our nearly uninhabitable climate during the winter months, we don't see many bugs from late October through early April.  I almost forget how much I hate them until they come back.  And they know I hate them so they taunt me.  Ever since the thermometer hit the 60 degree mark, we've had flies congregating around the back porch.  I can't sit out there and enjoy my morning coffee without having them buzz past me.

Now, flies I hate, but spiders I absolutely loathe.  Friday morning I walked into the bathroom to dry my hair and spotted what I thought was a bumble bee on the wall.  Upon closer inspection, it turned out to be a huge, black spider.  I looked for a picture of one online and found that it's a Daring Jumping Spider.  I've seen them outdoors before, but this was the first time I've ever seen one in the house.  I managed to suck him up with the hose of the vacuum cleaner before he could get away.

Daring Jumping Spider
photo courtesy of Google Images

Today, I was sitting at the bar on the back porch, enjoying the beautiful weather and working on a word puzzle when a spider dropped down from the ceiling.  I thought it was a fly and batted it away, but it was attached to a long piece of web, so it bungeed right back in front of my face.  Several minutes of slapstick style jumping, swatting and yelling ensued (me, not the spider) before I lost sight of it.  I've been imagining that it's crawling on me ever since.

When we were renovating our house, we had the whole place gutted right down to the studs, and while I don't remember seeing all that many, I'm sure we disturbed more than a few spider webs.  Those walls had been closed up for more than 140 years, after all.  One day I was working on staining a door which I had  set up on sawhorses in, what is now, our home office.  I was brushing the stain on the door when I felt something like a hot needle being poked in the base of my left thumb.  I had semi transparent gloves on, but they were covered with mahogany stain, so I couldn't see anything through them.  I pulled them off and found a small black thing (stinger? fang?) sticking out of my skin.  I yanked it out and tossed it aside.  Without thinking about it, I pitched the gloves, too, so I don't have a clue what sort of creature might have been inside them.  I just assumed it was some kind of spider.

My dad and my husband were ready to break for lunch so I went outside and sat at the table on the back porch.  When I showed the spot on my thumb to them, I was surprised to see that it had turned bright red and had a drop of blood oozing out of it.  By the time my husband came back with lunch, about 20 minutes later, the area had gone from red to blue.  When lunch was finished, it had become blistered and purple.  We were all a little concerned about it, but I didn't want to stop working to sit in an emergency room for the rest of the day, so I put on a fresh pair of gloves and went back to staining the door. 

That night the bite area started to look pretty scary.  It was beginning to swell so badly that I could barely flex my thumb, and the blister and surrounding skin were now black and shiny.  My husband tried to convince me to lance it, but it was so tender I wouldn't even consider it.  I wanted to get some sleep and see if it looked better in the morning.

When I first woke up on Sunday morning, I didn't notice any pain, so I thought maybe it have gotten better, but when I looked at it, it scared me.  The wound was much bigger than it had been the night before and a lot more of my skin was turning black.  What really concerned me, though, was that I had dark streaks running up my arm.  There was no more putting it off, I had to get medical attention.

The doctor looked at my thumb and then poked and prodded it for a while.  I asked her if she had any idea what could have bitten me and she said she wasn't sure.  What she did know for sure was that I had an aggressive case of cellulitis (bacterial skin infection).  She told me it was a good thing I hadn't waited any longer to get treated because the streaks on my arm were caused by the rapid spreading of the infection.  I could have ended up with septicemia (life threatening blood poisoning).  She prescribed strong antibiotics and told me to soak my hand in hot, soapy water twice a day until it cleared up.  Luckily, the treatment worked quickly.  It healed without leaving so much as a scar. 

That was nearly 10 years ago, but I still feel like I've got a score to settle with the insect community.  The butterflies, moths and bumble bees get a free pass, but everything else is fair game.  I used to think lady bugs were okay, but then I found out about the imposters that only look like lady bugs.  They aren't the cute little helpers that they appear to be.  Not only are they destructive to garden plants, they bite.  Since I can't tell the difference between the real lady bugs and the clever look-alikes, I don't want any of them around.  Don't even get me started on mosquitos...or wasps....or June Bugs.....

New Look

I'm sure you've noticed that my blog renovations are complete (I'm trying desperately to catch up on all of your blogs I missed while I was renovating).  What do you think of the new look?  Is it "springy" enough for you?  I had one problem I was not able to overcome.  I cannot change the font on the titles of my posts to a "designer font".  Well, actually, I can do it, but if you don't have the same font downloaded into your font files, you'll never see it.  There is a tutorial on how to do it here, but it hasn't worked for me.  If you know of an easier way or have any suggestions on why these instructions didn't work, please let me know.