Here are a few things I've been busy with lately.
I've recently done a T-shirt design for fun that came from a roleplaying forum that I visit. Figured out how to post it up on Zazzle so here it is!
And I finished mulching the garden! Pics to come.
This update courtesy of Glyph.
My neighborhood is very small and used to be very tight-knit. It was a slice of Americana that everyone has heard about from the days where doors were never locked, people helped each other with their problems, and everyone's kids were looked after by everyone in the neighborhood.
Other than some different siding and 'modern' cars in the driveways, the neighborhood probably looks pretty much the same now as it did then. The houses might as well have been stamped out from a die-cut, people mow their lawns more or less constantly, and the neighborhood grapevine is still an institution even if it has been pruned. Kids certainly haven't changed much.
Now, though, there is an undercurrent of unease. We're less likely to know our neighbors which makes keeping the kids safe as they want to run from yard to yard and door to door more imperative than ever. Not to mention, there are certain manners that every kid should learn.
Thankfully, I live next door to a great family who have lived here pretty much forever. They've fostered children and raised their own. Now they act as extension grandparents to my kids. Things started to get a little out of hand, though, when my son got so comfortable there that he would bust into their house without knocking.
I tried to talk to him about it. I disciplined him for it. He still did it, in fact, he got worse.
It was when I got a call from this nice neighbor letting me know that my son was in her house watching cartoons with her grandson, asking if I had okayed him going over, that she said, “You can give me a call if he's coming over to let me know it's okay or send me a note or whatever.” It was flippantly said but a seed of an idea.
So, I made this 'hall pass' and called her to let her know that she wasn't to let him in unless he had it. She thought it was a great idea and it's marvelous to have her on the same page. On the flip side it has my phone number and the authorization for my neighbor to give him a 'swat' with the attached flyswatter if he needs it.
He doesn't stand a chance...he WILL learn manners!
Dogwood blossoms are one of my favorite things about spring. Right now the leaves in the woods are about half the size they will be in summer, you can see dogwoods blooming everywhere in the Appalachian woods.
It's interesting that this beautiful tree blooms right about in time for the Easter holiday. It is said that there is a lot of Easter significance to be found in the dogwood blossom. the cluster of green in the center might symbolize the crown of thorns that christ wore when crucified. The blossom is laid out much like a cross and the notches at the end of each petal are reminiscent of the nail holes from the spikes that affixed Christ to the cross. On many blooms there is even a faint red stain around these 'holes."
Whether or not you believe in the the Christian significance of the dogwood blossom, it's beautiful.
I'm a word person to a great extent so I found the headlines interesting lately. As the names 'Osama bin Laden' (the now-deceased terrorist leader) and 'Obama' (the not-deceased American president) are so similar there is some occasional media tangling of the two.
When I saw 'Osama' written as 'Usama' the first time it was yesterday in a minor news story about who will replace 'Usama bin Laden' on the FBI's most wanted list. I had never seen the name spelled this way and thought it might be a misprint. It wasn't.
Today, under a picture of Barack Obama on a front-page news story was this headline:
Obama Takes Post-Usama Momentum to Ground Zero
Now hang on a minute. Just a day ago it was 'Osama bin Laden' everywhere you looked. Today, however, he's referred to as 'Bin Laden' or 'Usama bin Laden'.
Curious, I Googled to see if this had been happening for a while and maybe I just hadn't noticed. Landed on the Osama bin Laden wiki page which opened right up talking about how Osama's name translated from Arabic to 'Osama' or 'Usama' or a couple other possible spellings. Even curiouser I went all the way to the bottom of the page and found the date stamp which read:
'This page was last modified on 4 May 2011 at 23:38.
Gee, I wonder what was modified there today.
I think that the word has been handed down to the media most likely straight from the White House and by tomorrow you will only see Osama's name spelled 'Usama'. What's more, I think that by the end of this week people will correct you if you try to spell 'Osama' with an 'O'. It doesn't change who Osama/Usama was, it just gives a stronger degree of perceived difference between Barack Obama and Osama bin Laden.
It's not a big thing, maybe, but aren't semantics in action in the media an interesting phenomenon?
This time of year Canada gets cold. And by cold, I don't mean hovering a bit below 0° C (32° F) either. Yesterday morning it was -30° C (-22° F). That usually means you don't want to step outside the igloo, and even then you don't want to stray very far from the fire. However, if you absolutely need to go outside in such circumstances, don't go unprepared.
What's an Eskimo without his parka? A frozen Eskimo. Obviously a large furry coat will be of assistance, but if you're planning on being out and about a lot, you can do better. Layering thinner clothing allows your body to keep more heat in than just one big layer. Most of the lore recommends three layers, though there's no rule that says you should have only three. If you're planning arctic sports, the material that you use for your layers becomes a bit more important. Specifically, you'll want your bottom layer to be a tight-fitting material that will draw sweat away from the skin. The mid layer should provide insulation: use a wool or fleece sweater or hoodie. The top layer is your protection; your parka. It should stave off the wind and possibly provide some ventilation in case you get too hot. While these tips cover your top half, don't neglect your legs, either! You can layer those up with long underwear underneath, and snow pants over top.
Caps, Hats, Socks, and Mittens
You may have heard somewhere that you lose 75% (or whatever) of your body heat through your head. In fact, this is only true while you are beginning to exercise; and the percentage is only 50%. As you begin to warm up, more blood flows into your brain, which thus causes more heat loss. Eventually, though, your muscles will require more blood, and things will level back out. Under normal conditions, you don't lose any more heat through your head than through any other part of the body. Having said that, though, you're still going to want a tuque.
Here, I must stop and clarify that a tuque is a 'beanie'. You Americans talk funny. Basically, though, any reasonably furry item that covers your noggin and ears will do fine. Headbands and earmuffs also work.
Don't forget to keep the extremities warm, too. Your fingers and toes are the first items that are going to want to freeze, since they're farther from your core and it's more difficult to pump blood out to them. Good gloves and good boots will protect them. If you'll be outside in the arctic weather for more than a few minutes, make sure you're wearing foot gear that's rated for low temperatures and lots of snow-trudging. You can also layer up your feet by equipping another pair of socks. You might also want to try bama socks. Hands can do layers, too. Use the elastic thin gloves as an extra layer beneath your larger winter gloves for more warmth. When your fingers still get cold, rub your hands together. Don't breathe on your bare hands to warm them up; the moisture in your breath will condense on them and cool them right off again.
Meanwhile, Back At The Igloo...
Sometimes you'll need to survive in indoor cold conditions as well. And I don't necessarily mean when the power goes out. My particular igloo gets chilly fast. If you need to warm up the typing fingers, you can use a hand-warmer. I have one of the crystallization-type things and that usually works pretty well. Alternatively, you can get a heat bag; which is basically just a sewn-up cloth bag full of little beans or rice. You stick it in the microwave for a couple minutes and it will hold in the heat for a half hour or more. You can even make your own if you're feeling adventurous.
Well, there you have it. A crash course for basic winter survival. Remember, layer up whenever you can, cover as much surface area as you can, and don't get lost when you venture away from your own iceberg!
Now, with a name like Glitch, you can imagine I tend to fit the geek image. I don't, really. I'm tall, not-thin, and I keep my goatee trimmed. One quality that I share with the geek stereotype, however, is fact that I'm very near-sighted. And I mean that literally, not metaphorically. I must wear thick, specially-made glasses at all times. This is usually how you will find me in the morning, looking like a mad scientist with my pajamas on and my hair askew.
However, during the course of the day, I switch to SuperGlitch mode and dispense with the geeky glasses. In their place, I wear contact lenses. But not just any contact lenses. My prescription is so strong that they (i.e. the Corporations), don't make soft contacts for my level of impairment. Thus, I must have rigid gas-permeable (hard) contact lenses ground for me.
The content of this entry is kinda tailored to a specific group of people, like myself, who for some reason have to wear hard lenses. Most of this will probably be told to you by your eye doctor, so be sure to consult with him/her first of all to get your instructions. Any optometrist or ophthalmologist's advice trumps mine. Nevertheless, I'm going to give you a few basic hints and tips for cleaning up your contacts.
Wearing and Handling
First of all, don't wear your contacts to bed. This might be acceptable for some forms of soft contacts, and in some cases may not be as terrible as other kinds of soft lenses, but you need to give your eyes a break overnight. Always give your lenses a good wash before bed and soak them in conditioning solution when you're done with them. You should have a little container that came with them. It should have two separate compartments, one for each, and the lids should be marked with a big 'L' and 'R' so you know where to store which eye. When you wake up in the morning, make sure you wait at least a half hour before you stick your lenses back in. I also recommend washing your face and eyes a little bit with water beforehand to get the sleepy-gunk out of 'em.
Be careful about some forms of physical activity when you have your lenses in; especially contact sports. Hard knocks, sharp movements, or even blinking the wrong way can knock the lens off your cornea and have it floating around somewhere else on your eye's surface. It's usually best to find a bathroom to readjust it on your eye. If the lens has actually been knocked out of your eye and on to the ground, have your friends help you look for it. Believe me, they'll understand.
Finally, when handling your contacts, be gentle, and use careful deliberate movements. Few things are more frustrating than having to look for a contact on the floor or (especially) sending one down the drain.
When you clean your contacts, the very first thing you should do is wash and rinse your hands thoroughly with an antibacterial soap. Make sure all the soap suds are off your hands, then dry them. The next thing you should do after that is plug your sink drain. Either slip in the stopper, or get a face cloth and lay it in the bottom of the sink. As I said, few things are more frustrating than losing a contact down the drain. Very thankfully, I've never ever suffered the agony of losing a lens this way.
Your next step is to lay down a clean hand- or tea-towel on a flat surface, usually the counter. Take your contacts out of your eyes, letting the towel catch them. Have your container ready. Pick up one contact, place it in your hand, apply four or five drops of cleaning solution to it, and rub it around in the solution for twenty seconds or so. In every cleaning, select the same contact first. That way you won't mix them up. I always start by cleaning my left lens first. Once you've scrubbed the lens, run it under the water for a few seconds to rinse it. Grab a clean piece of paper towel, kleenex, or toilet paper, and dry it off. Stick it in its place in the container so that the rounded outer side is down. Repeat the process for the second one.
When both lenses are in their container, add conditioning solution to the two compartments. You just need enough to submerge the lens. Cap them up, fold your towel, and put it all away for next time.
Which brand of cleaner or conditioner you use will depend on location, and you should always go with what your eye doctor recommends. However, I use Bausch & Laumb's Boston brand of solutions; both cleaner and conditioner. They've never let me down. Whichever brand you use, make sure it says 'For rigid gas-permeable contact lenses' somewhere on the container.
Hope this was a helpful bit of article! Enjoy your eyes.
Visiting my mother two days ago I was impressed by the squash plants in her garden. Some of the leaves on these things are about the size of a dinner plate and the tendrils make fascinating corkscrew shapes. I snapped a few shots and thought today would be a good day to share them! I adjusted the brightness a little on the computer but the software's not real exact so oh well. Still, I love the shapes!
It amazes me how the tendrils find holds and grip them determinedly. In another spot the vines were pulling the fence down.
My son loves going to Grandma's for many reasons but one special one is that there is always something new to discover at her house. Sometimes it's a new hatch of fish swimming tiny and dark under the huge yellow water lilies in her pond, other times it's a crop of fruit that's come ready and you can just walk out and pick it like it just grows on trees! And sometimes my mom has rescued items like the most recent thingamabob that was sitting on her kitchen floor, looking like a medieval torture device for toes.
The oxidized cobwebby thing had a long curved handle that, used by itself, might not have knocked out a moose but most likely would have given it a headache and a nasty grudge. It also had a stomper that slid to the side toward a grid. The whole thing gave the impression that the terrified ex-owner had relegated it to the garage where it had intimidated the power tools.
Pretty impressive for something that turned out to be a french-fry maker.
When my son found a white plastic gazebo with a Christmas tree in the middle that had been sitting on the porch he started carrying it around. I didn't pay much attention and, as often happens when I'm not looking, the little gazebo came home with us.
It turned out that it was something that no longer held any meaning for my brother, he was getting rid of things after a major life event. My son wanted me to 'turn it on' and that's when I really looked at it.
It was a lovely fiber-optic light a little smaller than a shoebox. When we put batteries into it and turned it on the Christmas tree lit up, the shrubbery along the outer railing lit up, all along the steps and the roof little pinpoints of color kept changing, and a yellow star crowned the top under a tiny roof of its own. My son's entranced face was all I needed to see to agree with his immediate decision that this was going to be his night light.
As a little boy who swaggers and acts tough but knows the world is a lot bigger than he is, my son is afraid of a lot of things. Water, heights, and The Dark are all on his list.
Suddenly, though, he didn't mind going to bed. He liked going to bed so that he could lie in the dark (no longer in capital letters) and watch the gentle play of lights beside his pillow until he fell asleep.
Sure, we go through batteries like we own Duracell, Energizer, and EverReady combined but it's hard to be scared when you're looking at Christmas all lit up in colors.
I just now came down from his room where he's curled around the light, his hands behind his head, as though he fell asleep watching his favorite thing again.
One of the rules of deciding how to de-clutter is to only keep what 'blesses your home'. This is wisdom learned from the FlyLady who has lots of great tips (that I'm still struggling to follow). My son found what blessed him most from an item I might not have given a second glance.
And I wish mom best of luck with that french-fry maker, I still think it's pretty scary.
We interrupt your browsing session to give you this important momentary departure from regular reality. Well, actually, it’s not really a departure from reality...it’s just kind of a different look at it. This look is brought to you by the minds of two rather eccentric individuals. One, you’re about to be introduced to; half of the creative brains of this here operation, and all of the artistic brains. My duty here, as Glitch, is to tweak the technical end of this place and hopefully supply a few helpful hints to you the reader along the way!
Glyph Off the Wall
Planning is a lovely word with which I have little experience. I like the theory of it; preparedness for the future, the ability to smile smugly as the unknown is diverted, a sense of having your shoes on before life decides to take you for a ride.
However, as my first blog showed with blinding clarity, I rarely plan.
I looked over advice on blogging, got impatient, started a blog and I was off and running. A few entries later I realized that I had no idea what the blog was there for. The rest is a sad tale that I’ll spare you, suffice to say it was one more fizzle in the blogosphere.
This time I have notes, I have an idea why I’m here, I’m armed with ideas and I have Glitch backing me up. God help him...he has no idea what he’s in for.