Archive for August, 2010

“O” The Famous Photographer

August 31, 2010

The following video gem was taken by Ollie, aged 5, last year during our family reunion in upstate New York.  So here we have “O”, “Makin’ a bideo.”

A UFO Visits the Cat Station

August 29, 2010

On 7/24/10 at 3:35 AM, something unexplainable happens at the cat station.  Watch the quick little 30 second video and explain to me what the little bubble is, near the end of the video. 

I have a friend who has taken flash photography at night, and there are circular “bubbles” in her photos.  I tried it myself, and I was able to photograph the same phenomena at night.  This is the first time I’ve seen it on video. 

Simba?  LilSis?  CrazyCatWoman?  TeamDeno?  Can anyone ‘splain this?


August 29, 2010

Important Office Worker

“Recycling Country Schools”

August 28, 2010

I am a policy holder with the SC Farm Bureau Insurance Company.  They publish a nice, slick, quarterly publication called South Carolina Farmer.  This quarter has an interesting article which I have scanned to share with you.  It’s about recyling country schools, and in the interest of recycling schools and paper and magazine articles, here we have “Recycling Country Schools”.

(Click on any image to enlarge.  Click again on the image to enlarge yet again.)

Inside My Sphere of Smelliness

August 27, 2010

About three weeks ago, something happened that caused me to stop writing blogs for about a week, until I got my head twisted back on a little tighter.  It was a Wednesday, I was at work, and the phone rang.  I recognized the caller ID (foreshadowing).  It was my employer’s wife (thus also my employer and the power behind the throne), who also works in the office paying bills and shopping online.  She hadn’t come in to the office that day, and she said that she had to talk to me.

She explained that she had been wanting to talk to me for a while, and that it was hard for her to talk about this, because she struggled with the same problem.  She explained, “You have a bit of *body*odor*”.

I didn’t hear anything she said after that.  My neck, starting at the nape, filled with giant prickly needles  that quickly spread around to the front of my neck, constricting my throat, then flashing upward to cover my entire head.  My ears roared with the noise of it. 

When it subsided, after what seemed like hours, she was still droning into the telephone.  I found myself saying, “Oh, thank you for telling me you had a problem” like the good customer service person that I am.  The conversation ended.

By this time I am sitting at my work station, crunched up into a little ball.  My head is ducked down, my arms are glued tight to my body, and I make myself invisible. 

What would you do next?  That’s what I did, too.  I started smelling myself.  I smelled my shoulders, I smelled my clothing, I looked down into the V-neck of my scrub top and took a deep whiff, I stuck my nose into my armpits.  Nothing.

For the next week, I avoided people.  I went home at lunchtime and took another bath and changed my clothes.  I went over, over, over all this in my brain.  Maybe I did smell.  I make my own laundry detergent – but I don’t put a scent in it.  I use well water that can smell like sulphur – but the smell dissipates.  I hang my clothes up to dry – maybe they smell musty or dampish.  I wash my hair once a week with organic shampoo and conditioner – maybe it’s my hair.  I use organic deodorant – maybe it’s no good. 

Then I got angry.  If I smelled, it was because I had earned it.  We had the pit bull that was living at the office.  I walked her every day, in July, people, in the heat of the day, at least twice.  I walked to the bank to get change for the office, again in the heat.  I volunteered at the shelter once a week to bathe shelter dogs during my lunch time.  I assisted in the exam rooms, holding and restraining dogs and cats.  And to add insult to injury, after all I’d done to help build the practice, I was told that basically I stunk.  I had paid the bill for people who had animals in need but had no money, like the pregnant chihuahua that needed the C-section, and the owner had $50.  I paid the bill so the doctor would perform the surgery and not turn the dog away to die in childbirth.  I paid the bill for a cat whose owner went to jail for writing bad checks, and someone else who was supposed to be taking care of the cat broke its tail, put it in a crate, and left it in a crate on an animal lover’s doorstep with a note to please shoot the cat.  I buy 40# bags of dog food for my dogs so that we can get enough weight on our weekly food order so that we can meet the food order delivery weight minimum.

I was DONE.  I stopped. 

I know what you are doing right now.  You are smelling your armpits.

If the Dogs Answered the Telephone…

August 25, 2010

Once upon a time, I lived in a house with a real wall phone and an answering machine.  I decided to have some fun with the answering machine, so I recorded the following message:

“Hello!  I’ve been really busy lately and have decided to delegate some household responsibilities.  From now on, the dogs will be in charge of answering the telephone.  If you have received this message, it’s because they are shirking their responsibility.  They are probably sitting on the couch watching television and drinking beer.  Please leave a message, and, maybe, someone. will. call. you. back.”

The first caller was a cousin who snorted Pepsi-cola out her nose when she heard the message, and then she convulsed into laughter.  She wondered if they weren’t answering the phone because they couldn’t reach it up high on the wall, and couldn’t I get them a little stool. 

There were three dogs at the time, and all they had to do was stand on each other’s backs.  Big Fatty a/k/a Aircraft Carrier could be the base, Mr. Packett could be the sandwich filling, and little Daisy on top could answer the phone.  Seemed like a perfect system. 

Ungrateful dogs.  Wouldn’t even answer the phone.

Organic Aerosol For Sale (Edited on 8/25/10 to read: Organic {Non}Aerosol! Read the Comments!)

August 24, 2010

Organic Batter Blaster

Sunday usually finds The Sugar and me on a trip to PetSmart, Lowe’s or Home Depot, and Kroger.  I have not been one of those people who takes pictures of objects in stores and then posts them online, until… now.  I couldn’t resist taking a photo of an aerosol can of organic batter blaster wedged in between the cage-free eggs and egg-whites-in-a-box. 

Kroger has a newly-redesigned organic/natural section.  It’s pretty much just a short aisle-and-a-half.  In addition, there are random organic/natural products sprinkled throughout the store, like an edible hide-and-seek.  But this batter blaster thing, this organic conundrum, really stopped me in my tracks.  Oh, I like the organic part.  The thing that gets me is this: are you kidding me?  How focused does one have to be on oneself in order to buy this?  Do you need to brag to your friends online about what good care you take of yourself?  And then throw the can in the landfill?  This seems to be like saying what a great recycler you are because you recycle all your plastic individual water bottles.  How about the first two of the magic trio “Reduce – reuse – recycle”? 

The creative marketing forces at work in the world today just amaze me.  I am a business major, not by choice, but by choice.  I wanted to finish my degree, and the only program at the local university that fit my schedule was the newly-created Saturday Degree Completion Program in business.  It’s ironic that the only choice available is the major that I started in 1974.  I changed my major in 1976 near the end of my sophomore year when I realized that I was hopelessly mismatched as a business major.  I had no clue what those professors were talking about.  The GNP, the gold standard, the stock market, etc.  They all relished the mighty business world, and my professors in my classes now are the same. 

In my last class in Strategic Management, one of our case studies was McDonald’s.  I was of little use because I refuse to eat at McDonald’s, and I could care less about their products made of grease and high fructose corn syrup, and I really didn’t want to worship their business model.  Fortunately we worked in teams, and my team pulled me through.    

And now, here I am at the Kroger grocery store, staring in disbelief at a can of batter blaster.  No muss, no fuss, no bother.  Wonder how long that one stays on the shelf.

What’ll They Think of Next (Or, In Which I make Home-made Laundry Detergent)

August 19, 2010

Niece Kari a/k/a Domestic Goddess can squeeze a nickel, and a quarter pops out.  She makes her own detergent, for cryin’ out loud.

Hmmm.  Maybe that’s not such a bad idea for me, too.  I hate carrying stuff in from the car, because I have to run the gauntlet.  Depending on the general population here, there are at least two dogs and assorted cats at the gate when I pull in the driveway.  It’s an extra-wide drive-through gate, custom made by Sir Richard of Garnett, when he installed my chain-link fence system two years ago, because I needed it wide enough to drive out the RV in case of a hurricane evacuation.  Then there’s the jostling of the stuff that I’m carrying in, like my purse, dog food, cat food, a backpack with my laptop – you know, normal stuff.  Invariably something gets hung up going through the gate, like a purse strap, or the dog food gets unbalanced and I have 3 or 4 little bags, or one huge bag, sometimes donated dog or cat food, tumbling about into the whirling midst of the animals, and, well, you get the mental picture. 

So my goal in life is to simplify.  I found a recipe on the internet, and I gathered the ingredients and materials.  It worked pretty well and the clothes are clean.

Today I made my fourth batch, and I think I’ve got my system refined.  You need a few things to perform this feat of chemistry.  Start with a bar soap, like Fels-Naptha or Octagon soap; washing soda (not baking soda); borax (these 1st three ingredients are found in the laundry aisle at the sto’); water (or H20 as us chemists like to call it); measuring cup (I like a 2-cup measure); container for mixing the soap mix; large container for final stirring of soap/H20 mix; and container(s) for storage. 

1.  With the Fels-Naptha soap or Octagon soap:  grate 1/3 bar into flakes.  Or do like I do and whittle it up with a steak knife into a crock pot with a removable liner.

2.  Add 6 cups water to chipped-up soap, stir, cover, and heat on high.  If you fall asleep like I did during the heating part of our program, it’s probably okay.

3.  Add 1/2 cup washing soda and 1/2 cup borax to the soapy mix and stir. 

4.  Add 4 cups water to a clean kitty litter bucket.  I do this outside by the well for a handy water source.  Also, I am a slob during the mixing/filling-the-containers portion.

5.  Take the soapy mix outside and dump it in the water in the clean kitty litter bucket.

6.  Add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water to the kitty litter bucket.  You can add a few drops of essential oil for fragrance, but I’ve never done that.

7.  Slosh it around to mix, and pour the mix in those plastic laundry detergent jugs that you have left over.

8.  Use 1/2 cup per load, more if you want. 

9.  You are the boss of the laundry detergent.

“Cool Breeze” Miller Speaks Up

August 18, 2010

A Cool Breeze for Miz Florrie

August 15, 2010


Three weeks ago we paid a visit to Miz Florrie.  We knocked on the back door as usual.  No one answered the door because we found that they were all sequestered in the living room on the front of the house where the only air conditioning in the entire house was located. 

Miz Florrie sat on the couch in a cotton house dress, unruffled by the heat.  The little air conditioner at 5000 BTU’s was going full blast, but the thermometer read 82 degrees.  It was hard to catch your breath. 

We decided to get another window unit for her.  We went the following week to Lowe’s to check out their models, and then we checked online for Home Depot.  We decided to buy a 6500 BTU unit for the living room at Lowe’s because it was an EnergyStar appliance. 

Sugar picked up the unit later that week, and last Sunday we went to Garnett, unsure if we were really doing the right thing.  Sugar had talked to Richard, Miz Florrie’s quirky neighbor, about the new unit.  Richard thought it was a good idea, and he talked to Miz Florrie’s oldest son to get his opinion and possibly to get him to kick in a little money toward the project.  The son said his mother didn’t need a new air conditioner because she liked it hot.  (Red flag) 

Now we were in a quandry.  Did she really like it hot?  Is that why the room was 82 degrees in mid-July?  Or was the existing air conditioner simply not capable of cooling even one small room, since the coolness would be sucked up by the rest of the blazing inferno of a house?  We decided to go be do-gooders, and if she didn’t want it, we wouldn’t install it. 

We found her in the kitchen this time.  When we walked in, the room facing south was a hot box.  She sat at the table, a cold jar of water nearby, as she and Harold finished the midday meal.

The queen in her kitchen

Sugar offered her the air conditioner by saying if she didn’t want it, we’d take it back.  She decided that indeed she did want it, and it seemed easiest to put the unit in the kitchen window.  Richard measured, and found that the window was too small.

Out with the old

The kitchen window

This window is tooo small.

So the old one in the living room would need to be moved into the kitchen, and the new one installed in its place in the living room.

Miz Florrie’s son Edgar moved the old unit so that Richard could install it in the kitchen.  He left a trail of dripping water.  Part of it was probably sweat.  Wow, it was even hotter without the tiny unit working.

And the new one goes in... (By this time, Sugar has completely sweated thru the brim of his cap and the sweat is dripping in his eyes.)

The queen checks out the new unit. (Note the pen in her hair. She still does her own book work and pays her own bills.)


I sincerely doubt that these two air conditioners can make a big difference, but even a small difference is better than nothing.  Maybe she IS used to the heat, but she’s still 97 years old.