Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Revealing Side of Travel

Every time I travel, I learn something.  Usually multiple somethings.

For example, when I traveled with my sister Rachel and my mother to Europe I learned:

1.  I have a really strong personality which leads to me often getting my way.  It also means that I'm not particularly flexible, although I am very determined.  It also means that I have a hard time when things don't go the way I had planned -- I'm used to making things go my way by sheer willpower, if need be.

2.  I am a control freak.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Splash, and Other Unpleasant Basement Events

Tip: Don't forget that you left the sprinkler running near the house.

The above tip is also the answer to the question The Magician asked two days ago:
"Why is it wet over here?"

This is the carpet behind the sofa and adjacent, so to speak, to the aforementioned sprinkler:
This is the spot under the storage shelving that my nice husband made for us:

This is where the stored stuff is now:

And here is his first foray into the wonderful world of Where Is the Water Coming From?

I've decided to dub the orange carpet "1960s indecision" because it's psychedelic AND cammo, or "we don't know how we feel about Vietnam."  I can almost visual the entire floor that color except that it would induce seizures.

We’ve used towels, a mop and bucket, a (brand new!) shop vac, fans, and a dehumidifier.  It’s starting to feel dry to the touch but damp to the nose….

My frugal self is just sobbing over how expensive this is all going to be.  I need to remind myself that it is only money…. And it may very well have happened from the next heavy rainstorm so I should let it go that The Magician left the sprinkler running.

Sigh.  At least there is no tearing hurry to get it fixed up right away.  Although perhaps I should research mold before I come to that conclusion….

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Thoughts on Coming Home

It’s been a bit hard to come back.  Modern suburban life seems cluttered and full of choices, whereas traveling is very straightforward:  Where are we going to sleep?  What are we going to eat?  What are going to do next?  Whatever it is that is decided, you do one thing at a time.  That is simpler than coming home and facing a messy desk, a month’s worth of mail, and a long to-do list.
Having resumed my life after an absence of five weeks, my initial impressions are:
- I have too much stuff.
- My life is too complicated.
- I want to spend time with people rather than spend time dealing with all this minutia.
I’m sure I’ll be sucked back into the whirlwind we call ordinary life and not even notice these things in three weeks, but I wanted to note them here just the same.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


We've been sneaky.

We have just gotten back from traveling around Croatia for the past five weeks.  After we get some sleep, we'll post a photo or two of that amazing country.

Naturally, we didn't want to advertise to the world that we were out of town.  And so we had several posts scheduled periodically while we were gone to give the impression that all was as it always is.

First we need to decompress and recoup.  Then back to business.  It's good to be home!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Precious Moments

Just to remind myself what's really important....

This was taken a while ago, but it's so precious I had to post it.  My godson Alex is learning to read just like his big brother Conner....

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Life Hack #6: Recycled "Ribbon"

Use the "tape" from old VCR tapes just like ribbon when wrapping gifts.  (It looks particularly striking with plain white paper.)  Apparently you can take the whole contraption about with a screwdriver, and the tape will curl just like ribbon if you run it along the edge of a blade of scissors.  I haven't tried this yet, but it's on my list.

(From Simply Green Giving, by Danny Seo, page 75.)

I've been hoarding VCR tapes and driving The Magician crazy ever since I saw this:
Check out more fun stuff at eco-designer Nancy Judd's website:

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

What Is This?

I've never seen a glass like this before:

 Aunt Monica?  Can you tell me what is it for?  Can any of my readers?

I'm hoping eventually to make one of these:

(Click the photo to head to the blog where I spotted it.)   She used glass candle stick in between the layers, but I thought I'd use a wine glass. Or a whatever-this-is glass....

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Five Things I Learned from my Grandfather

-- Sometimes it is just enough to be together and you don’t have to talk.
-- Beautiful things are more beautiful when you give them away.
-- Remembering history is about remembering people: their choices and often their sacrifices.
-- When you love people, you feed them.
-- You can never add too many onions.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Being Yeardly

It's just a pure coincidence that I post this after recently posting about using olive oil for shaving...

But I've always thought it would be cool to shave and take a daily picture for a year.  Then I could throw it into a video format and watch it grow.

Apparently beards are fashionable again.  And there is an actual term for growing a beard for a year - a yeard!

Here are two cool videos:


Thursday, July 4, 2013

Life Hack #5: Packing Material

Use real peanuts (in the shell) as packing peanuts.  They are pretty cheap, biodegradable, and the recipient can eat them!

From Simply Green Giving, by Danny Seo, page 23.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Shaving Oil

The other day I posted about the minimalist traveler that uses a deodorant stone.  One of the other interesting items he packs on his travels is shaving oil.

I had never heard of shaving oil before.  So, it was off to Google-land to see what I could find...

Amazing.  Seriously!

Apparently one can buy tiny little bottles of shaving oil (the two main companies that produce this are Pacific and Somersets) which cost only a few dollars and last for over 100 shaves. And there are a ton of positive reviews from folks on the internet who use shaving oils (not to be confused with "pre-shaving oils").

As it happens more often than not when I'm Googling something, one link led to another and to another and before I knew it, I found an article on using extra virgin olive oil for shaving.  Yes, really.  And again, tons of comments from shavers confirming oils work and particularly that extra virgin olive oil works.

So I tried it this morning.  And it does work!  I want to try it for a while though before I can say that I'm throwing out the shaving cream can.