Thursday, November 30, 2006

Merry Geek-mas!

OK, I just need more geeks on my shopping list. Had to share these gems just in case you have a geek to shop for.

Some Like It Hot

USB Mug Warmer & Hub

This little baby does double duty. Using only the power from your USB connection, you can keep your beverages hot with a warming pad and also add 4 USB ports to your system. That's hot.

Some Like It Cold

USB Beverage Chiller

This is the only way to keep a drink cold while you're at your computer. Shortly plugging the chiller into a USB port (no external outlet needed), the coldplate chills to 45 degrees Fahrenheit, the perfect temperature for helping keep your beverage cool. I love the photo - notice they're keeping their Bawls cold. :D

You Are My Sunshine

Soldius 1 Solar Charger

The Soldius 1 Solar Charger can help you tap into this free source of energy; you just plug it in and point it towards the Sun. It generates enough power to fully recharge your device batteries in just 2 to 3 hours (in direct sunlight). Compatible with all iPod flavors it also includes adapters for more than 250 models of mobile phones. The device folds in half and it's light enough to fit in your shirt pocket or purse.

I'm a Swiss Miss

Swiss Memory USB

This gorgeous Swiss Army knife, with a built-in USB flash drive, is probably causing you to become very excited. This is a geek's dream gadget brought to life. The Swiss Memory USB is the perfect marriage of technology, practicality, materials, and quality design. It perfectly pulls together four important tools that no geek should ever be without: USB flash drive, LED light, Swiss Army knife, and ballpoint pen. So double 0.

Oh, and Santa,
I was really, really, really, really nice

Bluetooth Laser Virtual Keyboard

This tiny device laser-projects a keyboard on any flat surface... you can then type away accompanied by simulated key click sounds. It really is true future magic at its best. You'll be turning heads the moment you pull this baby from your pocket and use it to compose an e-mail on your bluetooth enabled PDA or Cell Phone. With 63 keys and and full size QWERTY layout the Laser Virtual Keyboard can approach typing speeds of a standard keyboard... in a size a little larger than a matchbook. Beam me up!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Wicked good!

A Book
by Emily Dickinson

He ate and drank the precious words,
His spirit grew robust;
He knew no more that he was poor,
Nor that his frame was dust.
He danced along the dingy days,
And this bequest of wings Was but a book.
What liberty A loosened spirit brings!

I no longer have the patience to sit and read books but I love the art of the written word. I have compromised and become a great fan of audio books. A cassette player, CD player or now my iPod are often hanging off me and plugged into my ears while I'm doing chores, walking the dog or on a long drive.

I've just finished listening to "Wicked: the Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West" by Gregory Maguire. Wicked good! Maguire did a beautiful job of winding a more "adult" story before, in and around the original children's version of Oz by L. Frank Baum.

Maguire successfully added layers of complexity and new viewpoints without rearranging the original story. There were many similarities to world history throughout. I kept thinking L. Frank Baum's story is the snippet you would see on the TV network news where Gregory Maguire tells the rest of the story.

The audio book was narrated by the talented John McDonough who has a wonderful reading voice and keeps the story interesting. I'd highly recommend either the audio book or the printed version. Now if the musical would just come to Minneapolis/St. Paul!

Black Friday - What a strange frenzy

Did you get sucked in? Did the day after Thanksgiving "6-Hour Sale", "One Day Only" sale flyers entice you into joining a mob of underslept, cranky, "it's mine! get out of my face!" maniacs? I did it once about 5 years ago.

I decided to go to Shopko in our smallish town at 6:00 a.m. The prize was a set of three artificial pine trees standing 3, 4 and 5 feet tall for some amazingly low price I have now forgotten. I had spotted them in the sale flyer and decided I NEEDED them. I pulled into the parking lot at 6:00 a.m. sharp. I didn't think it would be a huge crowd, it's just River Falls for pete's sake! There was a crowd of people walking in the doors when I parked my car near the end of the aisle as the lot was almost full. I should've left right then. But I "needed" that set of three artificial pine trees standing 3, 4 and 5 feet tall! My three trees from the orient (made in China I'm sure). I joined the crowd.

My frustration level rose immediately with people pausing and looking in the aisles. I needed to get to the middle back of the store to the Christmas decorations! I silently screamed in my head 1000 times "get out of my way!" I wondered if people could see the craze in my eyes. My need to get to the back of the store as quick as possible and they were in the way!

It took an amazingly long time to get to the holiday department. When I finally arrived, face warm and flushed with raised blood pressure, I spotted the display. There was a Shopko associate standing near the three pine trees from China. The display trees only, no boxes. Sold out already. I walked up and got a closer look at the three remaining display trees just in case the associate would find the box in back and let me take them home for the amazingly low price. But once I got up and looked at them, they were the ugliest things I had ever seen. What was I thinking? Damn. All this fuss and I didn't even want them. My blood pressure dropped immediately and I started to see the humor in it all. My trip out of the store took just as long even with empty hands. But it was a more enjoyable trip as I did some people watching on the way out. I had a grin on my face all the way to the exit. I said to myself "never again."

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Sunday Art

"Wicked: The Musical"
illustration by
L. Whyte

Friday, November 24, 2006

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Be Thankful

Courtesy of My Daily Insights

By Unknown

Be thankful that you don't already have
everything you desire.

If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don't know something,
for it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations,
because they give you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for each new challenge,
because it will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes.
They will teach you valuable lessons.

Be thankful when you're tired and weary,
because it means you've made a difference.

It's easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who
are also thankful for the setbacks.
Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles,
and they can become your blessings.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

On The Hunt

Last weekend was deer hunting opener in Wisconsin. Beginning pre-dawn Saturday morning the roads came alive with pickups filled with fluorescent orange clad humans. On occassion the quiet would be interrupted with bangs and booms from guns. This will go on for another week. In the meantime I walk Rico after sunset when hunting for the day has ended. I also sigh a bit of relief that hubby has never shown much interest in hunting.

I am also on the hunt. We have declared open season on the little mice that think they're going to have a cozy home inside our house for the winter. It's just part of the, um, "charm" of living in a home built in 1895. Old houses get holes. Our house cat Gracie is not too interested in the furry invaders so the traps are set and loaded with peanut butter. When we catch one, it quickly becomes a treat to the outdoor kitties. I think they enjoy the peanut butter flavored mice over the non-flavored ones.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Sunday Art

"Little Jersey Girl"
Denise Rich of San Diego, CA

Media: oil on masonite

Friday, November 17, 2006

My Psychic Connection

I have this friend. We've been friends so long I have to get the calculator out to figure out we've been friends for 23 years. We talk almost every day and she is the reason I have 3000 cell phone minutes per month on my plan instead of 1500.

There have been many times I will pick up my phone to call her and while in my hand it will suddenly start playing the theme song from "The Monkees." It is her ring tone. I usually have to let the song play out for a bit then hit the "answer call" button singing along "...hey, hey we're the monkees!" Then I say, "You are very scary, get out of my head." And then she laughs that knowing laugh.

Every once in a while I return the psychic favor by calling her at the moment she is thinking of me. Or as in tonight's case, I called her when she was typing my name in an email to someone else. But she is psychic-ier than I by far. (woohoo, new word!)

What an untapped phenomenon we all have within the gray matter. I imagine one day we will evolve to the point that we don't need man made communication devices. Maybe we'll be like those scary big headed people Capt. Kirk dealt with on the old Star Trek TV show.

Call me...Call me...Call me...
Maybe if I scrunch up my eyes and hold my index fingers to my temple...
Call me...Call me....Call me...
Nope. Didn't work this time. Traditional phone calls will have to do for a while yet.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Home Town

I graduated with 32 classmates in Western Minnesota 24 years ago. A few years after I graduated, my mother moved and my family ties to the area were severed. I went to my five year class reunion but haven't been to my home town since.

This Saturday my sisters, our mother and I went to our home town. When we lived on the farm we had the most wonderful neighbors. Our families have a lot of fine memories together. This Saturday their seven children held a reception to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.

It was fun to see everyone. The strange thing was that they all got 20 years older. How did that happen? There were a few that are now in their 40's that I no longer recognized. The older people that I hadn't seen since they were in their 50's hadn't changed that much other than a few more gray hairs and a few more wrinkles.

Growing up in such a small town meant you not only knew your classmates but all their brothers and sisters and parents and the classmates of your own brothers and sisters. It was a great place to grow up and going back to see these people felt like visiting family.

Sunday, November 12, 2006


Sunday Art

"PRAIRIESCAPE: Prairie sky-scraper #3"
Sandra Schroeder of Alberta, Canada

Media: water color

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Rico: 5 months

This look was in response to my sniffing my nose. Priceless.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Voting Day

Today is Voting Day. Be sure to exercise your right.

You know what I think the best part of voting day is? As of 8:00AM the campaign advertisements stop. Trees can grow again, the phone calls from "unknown" will stop and we won't have to watch bad acting and trash talking on TV by politicians.

Old Cowboys and We Be Jammin'

Brother J2, the Old Cowboy in the family, learned all about gravity this weekend. He fell off a horse and did a number on the knee. Old Cowboys never get old, they just make more visits to the Orthopeadic Surgeon. Truly hope it's a fast recovery for you. I'll bring puzzles for you next weekend.

Last night hubbie walked into my office and iTunes had landed on "Mack the Knife" by Bobby Darin. This began an hour long session of paging through music on iTunes with him bobbing along and saying, "I want that one!" and the occassional unrepressed urge to get up and dance. The list is so far about 4 CD's worth of songs and he is in awe of my library of music. It was a fun evening.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Sunday Art

"Hand" by Gloria J. de los Santos of Washington state
Media: Oils on X-ray print

Saturday, November 04, 2006

My Left Hand (not a sequel)

It was twelve years ago today that I fought with a woodsplitter and it won. A group of us were cutting and splitting wood to stock up for the winter. We had quite a system - two were cutting the logs with chainsaws, one guy was working the lever on the splitter and hubby and I were loading the splitter. We had been hard at it all morning. It happened so quick I'm not sure exactly what happened. What I remember was keeping my hand on the log until the wedge met the log - we had been doing that to keep it steady. The wedge hit a gnarly piece of red elm and the log popped up placing my hand between the splitter and the wood. I realized what was happening and I yelled. I yelled not because I was in pain, but rather to get the operator to pull back the wedge. I didn't really feel anything - just numb. I grabbed my hand and looked at John and said "Hospital, now!"

Long story short, ended up amputating the middle finger on my left hand. Rather than leaving a big gap, they also removed the knuckle and bone for the finger down to my wrist. It is not very noticable and most people can know me for quite a while before they realize I can only count to 9 with my fingers. I was typing 60 wpm again within a couple of months. Mom jokingly said "I raised my kids and sent them out into the world all in one piece and they come back missin' parts." :-)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

MC Honky: Like a Duck

"MC Honky" is an alter ego from Eels' Marc Oliver Everett (E)