Archive for the ‘Not Writing Related’ Category

In Memoriam

Monday, May 25th, 2020

I have several relatives who served in the military. My mother’s oldest and favorite brother, Vern, served in WWII in the South Pacific. According to my mother, after the war was over, he was discharged with the expectation that he would not survive six months.When he passed away in 1977, my mother was heartbroken. He was a wonderful, gentle, calm man and I remain grateful that I knew him. My son’s middle name is Vern. I wish he could have met his great uncle.

My cousin Jimmy was in the air force (like his father). He flew helicopters in Kuwait and worked at the Pentagon. My understanding is that he was there on 9/11. He passed away only a few years ago.

I am grateful to everyone who serves in the military and will always be grateful to them for their service and sacrifices.

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Renovation Dream/Financial Sinkhole?

Thursday, April 23rd, 2020

In my between-books downtime and Pandemic anxiety reduction time, I have been watching a British show from a few years ago called Restoration Home. The show follows along with the restoration of historic homes in Britain. So far, all but one have been registered historic, but all have been at least two centuries old and most are far older. They intersperse the restoration work with research into the history of the house, its architecture, and its owners. It’s really, really interesting.

There is a pattern, however, and it goes like this: Someone falls in love with a historic house that is in serious need of rescuing, so they buy it and, starry eyed, embark on the nightmare that is all home renovations, only these are renovations on steroids. The registered homes have strict rules about what you can do and how you can do it , which I agree with, only some of the ensuing red tape is just awful. OMG.

Soon after the renovations begin, the first (of many) serious problems arise and so far every single house has had structural issues. The walls are standing on sheer stubbornness alone, the wood is rotten, ground floors are built on mud, everything leaks and has been leaking for centuries . . .

Halfway through, everyone is over budget and running out of money. Or is out of money. Some of the houses have not been finished or were simply abandoned. Some go on the market and stay there even when listed for less than the property plus renovations. Some owners appear to have got creative and are operating as a B&B.

One couple DID NOT DO A STRUCTURAL INSPECTION and guess what? The original builder in 1800 whatever was a DIY guy and/or way too trusting of his workers and many walls were not actually structurally connected. They were just leaning against each other and plastered over. I don’t understand why the house didn’t come down on his head. I can just imagine him telling his guests “DON’T LEAN ON THE WALL!” Fun parties.

After saying all that, once the structural issues are addressed and they start on the interiors, the results for the houses that get that far are magical. The proportions of these houses are breathtaking.

It’s a good thing I don’t live in England because I would be one of those people looking at a falling down historical house and I would buy it and go way over budget and be totally thrilled.

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Carolyn Reviews Stuff

Saturday, February 22nd, 2020

I’ve been working hard at mentally refreshing myself after a tough several years. To that end, I’ve been watching movies and TV Series and here’s my thoughts on that. In no particular order

Locke and Key: (Kids discover keys with magical properties.) Enjoyed this series but there are plot holes you can drive a bus through. However, the antagonist is incredibly scary.

October Faction: (Teen twins discover their parents work for a demon slaying organization). I intensely disliked this at the start, particularly because the writers had no control over the backstory timeline and couldn’t be bothered to google basic facts. The story was driven by a chronologically impossible/unbelievable series of events and the parents were supposedly the same age but (predictably) the wife looked 20 years younger than her husband. So I was settling in to hate watch and about halfway through the whole premise turned upside down and took on some intensely serious themes about hatred and bias and by the end, I was on board.

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: (A take on Sabrina the teenage Witch) I really enjoyed the first two seasons. Excellent all around. Season 3 was an emotional let down. The first two seasons were full of amazing female characters and by season three they were all dead or stripped of their agency and moral character.

Van Helsing: (In a dystopian future where vampires rise to supremacy, a descendant of Van Helsing awakes from a coma and evinces strange powers against vampires.) I liked the first season but quickly had trouble with season 2 and 3 and I think I’ve bailed because of the focus on violent scenes for the sake of . . . violence. I am disappointed by the way Vanessa Van Helsing was so quickly stripped of heroic qualities.

Parasite: The South Korean film that won Best Picture at the Oscars. Fully deserving of the win. What a great movie.

Knives Out: I loved this movie. Loved it. It’s hilarious.

Late Night: Molly Patel (Mindy Kaling) gets a dream job as a writer for a female Late Night show host (Emma Thompson). Great movie. Made me laugh at the same time it tackles serious themes about racism and misogyny.

Sex Education: A British series centered around a nerdy, repressed high school student (male) with a sex therapist mother who teams up with the school’s gorgeous and brilliant slut-shamed girl to offer sex advice to students. There are so many characters to love here and the series delves into issues of class, sexual violence, race, and sexual identity.

The Stranger: Richard Armitage stars in this series based on a Harlan Coban novel where a mysterious woman divulges secret truths/blackmails to people with terrible consequences. Pretty gripping.

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Leaping Birthday Lizards?

Saturday, February 1st, 2020

Happy February 1st in a leap year and congrats to everyone born on February 29 who can have their birthday celebration on their official birthday.

This leap year month at Jewel HQ we are having a party for the big dog. We don’t know her actual birthday but we subtracted her age (~8mos) when we got her from the shelter and arrived at February.

She needs a new collar. What would you get a dog for its birthday?

Below is a picture of Bella with her BFF Tiger the cat.

Bella The Birthday Dog and her best friend Tiger the cat.
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Happy Thanksgiving to All

Thursday, November 28th, 2019

To all who celebrate, a Happy Thanksgiving to all.

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Happy 4th!

Thursday, July 4th, 2019

To all who observe, happy Fourth of July.

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Delicious Pancake Recipe – You’re Welcome

Sunday, June 23rd, 2019

This morning I decided I wanted pancakes but we didn’t have buttermilk for my usual recipe. So I read a few recipes and remembered another recipe that called for egg whites. What I came up with was DELICIOUS and and made from what I had on hand. Here’s the recipe so I don’t forget what I did and so you can enjoy:

  • 1 cup All Purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt (or 1/2 tsp regular salt)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 egg yolk, lightly whisked
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons walnut oil
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter (unsalted)
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp (or so) lemon zest

Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl

Separate the eggs and beat the egg whites to soft peaks.

Lightly whisk the yolk with a fork, add the oil, butter, lemon zest, and almond milk and combine. It turned out one of my eggs was a double yolker so I think you could safely use two egg yolks. I’m sure any kind of oil would work, but I used walnut. If you use sweetened almond milk, you might want to cut down on the sugar.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the liquid. Combine until mostly smooth. Fold in the egg whites and don’t over stir at this point, just until everything is combined.

Cook your pancakes at whatever size you like. I used a buttered griddle at medium heat and a cup of batter for each pancake.

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A Bad Day was Had

Wednesday, February 6th, 2019

I had to travel to a two day conference at the other end of the State and upon returning late in the evening, go to work the next day. This morning AT 5:45 AM, when I got up we had no internet and my carrier was saying they expected service to be back at 4:11 PM. Wow

Less than an hour later, I dropped my thermos of coffee, which happened to be open because I had had just taken my second sip, and my coffee spilled everywhere. ALL OF IT.

Here’s a picture of my mood at that point:

I had to buy replacement coffee that wasn’t the coffee I make which I love because I make it the way I like it. AND because it was morning, I decided to get almond milk instead of regular milk and only realized too late that I might end up having to replace that coffee too.

Mornings. I’m telling you. The brain is not firing on all cylinders when there’s no coffee fueling it.

As for Mouse, the cat I adopted from the shelter last December, who turned out to have diabetes, her numbers have stayed good, so we’ll go two more weeks without insulin and recheck her to make sure she’s still doing well. She has at last decided to wander the house a bit and is currently on the couch with the big dog. Both are napping

The almond milk was actually OK.

How was your day?

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Happy Holidays

Monday, December 24th, 2018

Happy Holidays to All. Here is picture of a daffodil thingy. It’s white and yellow and very pretty. May your life be full of beauty and joy.

A close picture of a daffodil type flower with white bottom leaves and a yellow bell. It's very cheerful and happy.
A Daffodil sort of flower. Photo by Yours Truly taken Feb-2018

To everyone who loves Romance and a Happy Ever After story, may all your stories thrill and charm you.

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242 Years Ago

Wednesday, July 4th, 2018
IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

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