Sunday, February 28, 2016

Cool Beans ...

Last night I decided to sort through my vanity table. My make-up has been taking over, so I needed to get it organized better. Even after ripping out some section dividers in my vanity, I still didn't have enough room for all my junk. So, this morning I looked on Amazon for cosmetic organizers. I didn't see anything I really liked, and a lot of the reviews said the products were smaller than they had hoped. Then I thought of officer organizers, so I looked at a few of those, but didn't see anything I liked all that much.

We went up to town today, so we stopped at Staples to see if they had anything. I was getting pretty discouraged when we walked around a section in the very back of the store and I saw this desk organizer on clearance. It was exactly what I was looking for. And the best part ... it was only $6! They had three designs to choose from, so I went with the leaves. Had we not walked around the very back of the aisle, I wouldn't have seen this. It holds a ton of stuff.

I also got my wall candle sconces fixed up today. For my birthday, Rick had given me some of those battery-operated candles. I loved these sconces, but they're designed poorly because when you light the candle, it heats the one above it. We only light them when the power goes out. Once we found out how hot they get and how they melt the candles above them, we stopped doing it. So, the battery candles were a better choice. Of course, they don't really light up the room all that well, but at least they'll show us where the wall is so we don't run into it. They look kind of cool, and they flicker too. I have three more wall sconces downstairs, so I'm going to change them over also.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Little House in the Big Woods

As part of trying to read more this year, I've found myself reading in different parts of the house. I read everyday to the boys at the end of school, usually while they draw or do an art project. We just started Mystery of the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks. Then I also like to read while peddling on our recumbent bike. I can't do that on the TreadClimber, so I listen to music then, but I can read while I peddle. I just finished Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I hadn't read that one in years. The last time I probably read it was to the girls when they were in school. 

The whole Little House series has always been a favorite of mine. I loved both the books and the television show. I've always related to Laura Ingalls. We were alike in so many ways, both physically and emotionally. I could relate to Laura always thinking her sister was prettier and better than she was. I could relate to wanting to run around barefoot all the time. I grew up thinking it would have been fun to live in early pioneer times. Everything was so much more simple back then. Laura's house was small and cozy, but would have been better than what I grew up in. In the books illustrated by Garth Williams, I always felt I looked like Laura ...

Of course, this isn't the first time I've blogged about how I've thought I resembled Laura. Click here to read my post titled: They say everyone has a twin. which I posted two years ago. As much as I always felt I resembled Laura Ingalls in the original books, even more so in the television series. It's kind of creepy how much, too. The only thing I really couldn't relate to was growing up in the deep woods of Wisconsin. That type of environment was foreign to me. Those were images I only saw on Christmas cards or television. I can certainly relate to the imagery now that I live in Montana. The descriptions of the forest, the animals, even the weather makes total sense to me now.  

But anyway, I haven't decided if I'm going to start reading Little House on the Prairie next, or wait awhile before getting into that one. The Secret Garden has been calling me from the shelves, and since I haven't read that one since I was a kid, I might start it up. I also went to look for our Ramona the Pest book, but I can't find it. Maybe Nicole has it with her. Ramona was another one I totally related to as a child, with her free-spirit, almost wild, mannerisms. I might have to find another copy of that one sometime. We looked a lot alike too ...

How about you? Was there a book character you could really relate to as a child, whether it be how they acted, thought, or even resembled?

Monday, February 22, 2016

Weird ...

First off ... I apologize for the picture of my ugly ear. Ears are weird looking, especially mine. The Seahawks earrings are cool though. I got them at the Pro Shop in Seattle recently. Anyway, what is really weird is the stud earring. I've had double holes in my ears since way back in the 1980s. However, I haven't worn earrings in them since before we moved to Montana. We've been here over nine years now, so I'm guessing I haven't worn earrings in my top holes for 10+ years. In fact, I can't even remember the last time I put earrings in. I decided to try yesterday, just out of the blue. I was shocked they went in without any struggle.

For some reason, I figured after 10+ years, the holes would eventually close up. I was wrong. So naturally, I had to Google to see if piercing holes close up or not. I've read all sorts of mixed opinions. Some say they'll close, but others say they won't. It also depends on the type of piercing. I read one comment where a guy said his tongue piercing closed up completely in two hours. I guess the tongue and ear lobes are pretty different. I'm not really into body piercing, so this is all I'll ever get. I just thought it was strange that the holes hadn't closed up at all. I did find some interesting articles in my search, including this one ...

Saturday, February 20, 2016

For The Birds ...

This morning I've been seeing white-breasted nuthatches at my feeder. This is unusual. I don't recall seeing them before. We have red-breasted nuthatches year-round, but I've only seen the white ones further south. The last one I remember seeing was at the Grand Canyon. I know they're common almost all over the US, but they simply don't come to my feeder, that I know of. We've been having a strange winter (probably because of El Nino), so maybe that's why they're showing up. Below are some sea birds I photographed while in Seattle.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Seattle Aquarium

Rick and I spent last weekend in Seattle. Valentine's Day was our 28th wedding anniversary. We went to the Seattle Aquarium on Saturday. We got there about fifteen minutes after it opened. It's not a huge place, and I'd say it takes less than two hours to see everything. We were in and out within an hour and a half. It was good because by the time we left, the line to get in was crazy long. I couldn't believe it. I'm sure it was a madhouse the rest of the day. 

I had my Canon with me, but I really didn't use it much except for when I went outside. It's funny to see how the majority of people use their cell phones to photograph with. Hardly anyone carries cameras anymore. I ended up using my iPhone 6+ to take most of my indoors pictures. It's hard for me to adjust settings in the darker areas with my big camera.

They had a couple of red octopuses (above), but both were sound asleep when I saw them. I guess they were asleep. Their eyes were closed. Unfortunately, I forgot to take notes the names of other critters I saw. I usually do that, but for some reason I forgot this time.

The sea otters are always my favorite to watch at any aquarium. This isn't a big place, by any means, but they have quite a few sea otters and seals. They're always so comical. Sea otters remind me of Denny sometimes, especially when they're on their back.

I didn't post any pictures of Sea Cucumbers. A guy walked up to me with what looked like a Tupperware container. He said, "Do you want to pet a Sea Cucumber?" I told him no, but I wanted to say, "What kind of sicko are you?" Sea Cucumbers indeed. Slugs. That's all they are. You can call them Sea Cheesecakes for all I care—they're still slugs. Freak.

The aquarium had a lot of tide pools where people could touch the sea creatures. I'm just not into that, although I know kids love it. I had a bad experience as a child when my school took us on a field trip to the Queen Mary. I was totally content just looking at the critters—but no—one of the psycho staff members decided I just had to pick up a starfish. I was little. She grabbed my wrist and literally shoved it into the water, forcing me to pick one up. Scarred me for life. Now mind you, I will pick up a sea critter on my own, especially at the beach. The condition is that I do it on my own. Force my hand again and you might lose an eye ... or two.

The photo above is of salmon. This was a cool feature because it was directly over your head. Below are some jellyfish. They had them in a hallow arch. I tried to get a picture of that, but there were too many people walking in and out of it. There were different colored lights that came on, so the jellyfish went from being clearish-white to bright blue, green, pink, etc.

Below is the crazy line to get in. The aquarium opened at 9:30am. This photograph was taken about 11am. I guess Valentine's Day weekend is pretty busy in Seattle regardless where you go. Even so, I'm glad we got in when we did. I couldn't imagine being in there with all these people.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Her Pink Hair

"Long brown hair, short brown hair, no hair, short fuzzy hair, pink hair ..."

Her Pink Hair is the story of a young girl's perspective of her best friend's battle with cancer. Through a poetic text and mixed-media clay illustrations, experience the story through a unique lens. Suggested age for readers: 5-8 years.

I received this book from a drawing on Instagram. I didn't expect to win, but I did. Being a picture book author myself, I'm always delighted to see other people's work. What I loved about this book was how the illustrations are done with clay. It reminded me of watching Gumby or Davey and Goliath as a child. The book doesn't go into any of the harsh details surrounding cancer, but it's a wonderful way to introduce and open up the discussion with younger children who might be dealing with a sick loved one.

Jill Dana is an author, illustrator, artist, teacher, and filmmaker. She is a certified elementary educator with a Master of Education from FAU. She is an award-winning filmmaker with an MFA in film and television production from USC. She also studied psychology and motion pictures at the University of Miami. The author will donate a portion of the proceeds from the sale of Her Pink Hair to a children's charitable organization.

Please visit her website @

Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
eBook ISBN: 9781616335694
Softcover ISBN: 97816163335687

Monday, February 8, 2016

BB-8 on February 8!

Today is my 51st birthday. I've never been one to be bothered by my age. I know it bugs some people to get older, but I've never cared one way or another. I've always been comfortable getting older. I certainly don't want to go back and be younger—not in today's world, that is. Anyway, I had a really nice birthday. I just spent it at home with my family (minus Nicole, who lives in Billings) and we did the cake and present thing after dinner. It was nice. I got a lot of cool things too, including this awesome BB-8 cake above—I'm a total Star Wars nerd!

Here's a photo of all the goodies I received. Rick got me a Kindle Paper White, which is currently charging. I'm looking forward to giving that a try soon. I also got lots of football stuff, which might keep me busy now that the season has ended. I'm always asking Rick questions he can't answer, so now I have a Football for Dummies book. Maybe I can answer a few questions for him next season. The puzzle is awesome too because it's all of classic book covers, many of which we have. Nichelle gave me The Force Awakens mug. It's holds both hot and cold drinks. Awesome! And the Rebel Alliance earrings—did I mention I'm a Star Wars nerd?

Rick brought me home some roses too. I need to put them in another spot before I go to bed. Denny loves them, and I'm sure he'll be up on the table trying to rub his face on them. 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Just one look ...

I'm sitting here listening to my Very Best of Linda Ronstadt album via iTunes. I don't know how I stumbled across Linda tonight while on my computer, but I did. I saw a recent photograph of her and was shocked at how different she looked. I guess most of that was weight-related, which I totally understand. After all, the woman is sixty-nine. What I did NOT know is that she is suffering from Parkinson's Disease. As much as I've always loved her songs, I never really followed her closely, so I had no idea she was sick. I found this article—click here—on her condition, although it's from 2014. My father-in-law suffered from Parkinson's. Just like Linda says in this article, it takes a long time to die from the disease, and most die from something else first, just as my father-in-law did with his cancer. But anyway ... I wish Linda well.

Monday, February 1, 2016

February Books

As per my casual New Year's Resolution, these are the two books I've chosen to read during the month of February. I've started Rebel Queen already, but I haven't gotten far with it yet. I bought The Nazi Officer's Wife sometime last year at a bookstore in Billings. It sounds really interesting. I ended up reading about four books during January, even though I set my goal at just two. I figured any more would be pushing it. Two is doable ... at least for me.

Unfortunately, I didn't read much this past week. I've been sick with some sort of cold or sinus crud. Lying in bed at night with my head propped up hasn't fit in very well. One night I was hit with a migraine-type headache that was so bad I couldn't even get myself up to take anything for it. I hadn't had a headache like that in a long, long time. Because of being sick, I found myself online more, which was the main reason I decided to read more books. Frankly, social media sucks during election years. I've watched family members fight, and seen people leave ultimatums regarding who can be their friends by who they vote for. It gets ugly. Some of my writer friends on Facebook are only interested in pushing their candidate. That gets old fast.

If being sick wasn't bad enough, I slipped on the driveway yesterday and fell right on my back. I knocked my head pretty hard, but at least it hit lots of snow. Considering how close I came to the bumper of the van, I think I was pretty lucky. I woke up sore this morning. Rick and I were going to run up to the store, so I just slipped some UGGs on, thinking we'd take the Jeep in the garage. Rick had the Subaru running when I came out, so I walked carefully down the driveway, even though I knew better in those stupid boots. One second I was upright, and another second I was completely down. Ugh ... literally. That's why UGG boots were originally designed by a surfer and meant to be worn at the beach. I knew better too. It was just a mix-up on which car we were taking. But anyway ... I'm paying for it today.