Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A word from your sponsor


"In an ominous sign for Gulf residents, oceanographer Ian MacDonald told the probe [on Monday, September 27, 2010] that while much of the oil [from the BP spill] was dispersed, evaporated or removed by burning and skimming, the 'remaining fraction -- over 50 percent of the total discharge -- is a highly durable material that resists further dissipation.'

His assessment implied some 2.5 million barrels of oil -- or 105 million gallons -- was still embedded in the fragile ecosystem, out of the estimated 4.9 million barrels that gushed into the Gulf during the 87 days before the well was capped.
'Much of it is now buried in marine and coastal sediments,' MacDonald warned, adding there was "scant evidence for bacterial degradation of this material prior to burial.'"

(*the sign was spotted at the New Orleans aquarium.)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Congratulations!

I used a random number generator to choose my September winners and (drum roll please) . . .  my prizes go to Debbie V. and  Spindlemaker!   I have emailed both winners and will mail their prizes out as soon as they send me their addresses.   I hope they will enjoy this little taste of New Orleans.    Thanks so much to all of you for your visits!    You are all winners to me!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Well, shoot

I was a peace-nik growing up, with no understanding of the world but strong political opinions and judgments on my elders.   Some of those strong opinions are still part of me, while others have been quietly swept away, along with a variety of youthful embarrassments.   But one thing I was sure of was that Guns Are Bad.   So I was as surprised as anyone when I decided to take a shooting class for women.

And even more surprised at how much fun it was.    I took the class because I had occasion a couple of years ago to physically move some firearms to a safer location in someone else's house, with no idea whether they were loaded or safe.   I wanted to develop some basic understanding for my own protection.

The 3-hour class at a local gun shop, subsidized by NRA's Women On Target, included over an hour of safety training,  and the opportunity to fire a variety of weapons at a variety of targets.    I had never fired a gun, but yesterday I loaded and fired an air rifle, a .22 bolt action rifle, a couple of revolvers, and a semi-automatic.   The teachers were women, and there were several very patient men who worked as volunteers.   They played me  like a fish, encouraging me to reload and shoot and reload until I was comfortable with each weapon.    I shot at metal discs, spinners, a bowling pin target and several actual bowling pins.  I shot a paper target at 30 feet and "hit paper" 4 out of 5 tries.   It took me a few rounds to get the hang of it, but I shot enough bowling pins (at 50 feet) to be sure that the bowling balls in my neighborhood are going to feel  a little less burdened.    As my grand finale, I shot at a small orange sticker (I think it was only 20 feet or so away) on a (slowly) spinning target (the orange disc on the certificate pictured here).   I hit the moving target two times out of four shots -- they hooked me good.   I can't wait to do it again!

New Orleans


My trip to New Orleans was better than I'd hoped.    There were some difficult and disappointing times, but far fewer than expected, so I am more than grateful and satisfied.     But it's so good to be home, with my own bed and my own dirt to kick off my feet at night instead of the dirt of the French Quarter!   

My prizes are ready, my drawing will be after midnight tonight.     I wish you all could win because I am so happy to have you with me!    So I've decided to have two prizes.    Each pack will include 3 "regular" and one chewy praline and a few other little NOLA goodies.   Good luck!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sooner than later- giveaway alert!!

The lady at the praline store told me I should send them out by next week because they have no preservatives and should be eaten(or refrigerated) within 3 weeks or so --

So my "comment-contest" will end on Sunday, September 26, a few days early, so that can mail the prize early next week.   Spread the word, comments will close at midnight (my time) this Sunday!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Today's quiet spot

This is where I went fly fishing today.   Pretty and peaceful.    I could see the fish and they could see me, but none of them asked for my phone number.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Local treasure

I went to a little nature center just a couple of miles from my house for a walk; such a pretty place, it felt a million miles away from civilization but only took me minutes to reach.   I walked down the shortest trail and didn't hear a thing except the rustle of a few squirrels.    So very peaceful.   I hope I will go back.

Hippie chick forever

On a normal day, when you come into my front door, this is what you'd see:
 
 And it bothered me that an unexpected visitor's focus would be on dirty dishes and clutter on the counter.    So, rather than clean and organize, today I put up this: 

 
Makes me feel like I'm in college again.    We'll see how long it holds up with little kids running through as they play their circular games of "Bad Guy."   But in the meantime, when I walk into my front door I'm 19 again!

Only another week before I will draw names for my September giveaway -- don't miss it!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Michigan sky on a beautiful day

What a pretty sky tonight on my drive home!    It was even prettier from a distance, but it took me a minute to get my camera phone open while I was hurtling down the highway (don't tell Oprah!)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Who dat September prizewinner?

Don't forget, I am having a September giveaway and everyone who comments before the end of the last day of the month [corrections: September 26 is the new deadline!]  will be entered.    The prize will include some pralines and a few other goodies from New Orleans.    Comment!  Win!   Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Friday, September 10, 2010

Eating again?!

The squirrels started to eat one of my long-neck pumpkins leaving me no choice but to harvest them -- and so, of course, now I am baking pumpkin bread.    I took a picture of a couple of the pumpkins, but the bread disappeared too quickly to photograph!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Riddle Me This

I was told during my childhood that I am Czechoslovakian on my mother's side because one of my maternal grandparents was from the Czech Republic and the other from Slovakia.    I have always accepted this information, like so much of what I was taught in childhood, without question.    As I got older, I learned that my grandmother was actually born in Poland but, it was explained, it was on the Czech border.    I didn't really think about what that might mean in terms of my heritage.    But last night I found a Bible that was one of many owned by my grandfather, in which he wrote, "Born - Sept 28 - 1892 in Vrbove in Hungary - now. Czechoslovakia."   And for sure, Vrbove is part of Slovakia today.  I have no idea whether that makes me Hungarian/Polish in stead of Czechoslovakian, but it was an interesting reminder of how arbitrary political boundaries can be.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Time flies and a September giveaway!

The weather is beautiful here in mid-Michigan this week.     It has cooled off, there is a strong breeze, and the sky is blue and sunny.    Breathtakingly beautiful weather.  

Today was my grandson's first day of kindergarten.    Is there anything sweeter than a 5-year-old, bursting with pride at how big he's become, and looking littler than ever to his tearful grandma?   I stayed with his little sister while his daddy drove him to school, and I marveled to think that my 4-year-old granddaughter will slip away to that other world, too, in just another year.    It is going by too quickly.      I love these little kids, but I miss the babies.

I've gone out every day to try to find a place to fish, with little success.    I don't know the area around me so these are trips of exploration, lovely long drives in the country looking for bridges over streams and rivers.    I've found some lovely rivers but no easy way down to them, which makes me fear I'd never get back up again when I was done.    But I am finally getting some sense of the counties around me and making them feel like home.    And I did find one lovely little stream that will become my "go-to" place until I find someplace better.

My garden is finishing up, tomatoes are getting scarcer, herbs are flowering, we are eating brussels sprouts, and I harvested 2 of my long-neck pumpkins.    Soon I will need to clear out the vines and stalks and plant my fall crop of kale.    A pond lily opened today, and I suspect it may be the last of the year.

Another New Orleans trip is on the horizon.     It will either be a lot of fun, or if my reason for visiting is in one of her dark places, a horrible waste of time and money.     There are many little bits of the city that I treasure, but, because of the last several trips, I have grown to dread my time there.    I hope this time I will be wonderfully surprised but I am too much the realist to expect it.   

However it goes, at least I'll pick up some pralines for my next giveaway, and a few to keep for myself!   Comments from this minute on will get you an entry, and I'll draw a number at the end of the month[correction: I will draw the number at midnight, September 26!] .

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Light up my life

Last week I bought a set of little solar light bulbs on clearance.   I charged them right away, and finally hung them today -- no simple feat since I am not tall enough to reach the hooks where I wanted them to hang.    I stood on tiptoes on a little step ladder and then used kitchen tongs to lift the lights up onto the hooks that have been up above my little back yard patio since before I moved in.

I live a pretty routine, pretty boring, quite isolated life.   Since I am no longer working, and since I live alone, most days I go many hours without talking to or seeing other people.  So my thrill level is set pretty low, and maybe it doesn't take much to impress me.   Which is not such a bad thing, all in all.

Because tonight, when the sky started to get dark, and my lights lit up, I almost cried.   I had (typically of me) forgotten all about them by then, so it was a wonderful surprise to see them, like a little gift from the night.

It was no big deal.   But it was nice.     Sometimes I like being easy.