Wednesday, June 30, 2010

For My Reference

Whenever I use the words "a few" and "several" with my son (such as in the sentence: "You have a few more minutes to play") our conversation is derailed into a lengthy discussion as to what those words actually mean- an ingenious stalling tactic. Apparently, at some point in my son's young life a teacher gave a concrete meaning to each of these words, which apparently differs from my word usage. So I turned to Webster for some help:

adj 2 at least some but indeterminately small in number
Many adj 1 consisting of or amounting to a large but indefinite number
Several adj 2a: more than one b more than two but fewer than many
Some adj 2a being one, a part, or an unspecified number of something named or implied b being of an unspecified amount or number

As you can see, Webster was of no help. I'm guessing my best strategy is to avoid those words altogether.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I Love It When...

... people riding in golf carts make pedestrians step off the sidewalk into the dirt, so that they can pass.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

First Impressions

"'Well,' [Wilbur] thought, 'I've got a new friend, all right. But what a gamble friendship is! Charlotte is a fierce, brutal, scheming, bloodthirsty- everything I don't like. How can I learn to like her, even though she is pretty and, of course, clever?'
"Wilbur was merely suffering the doubts and fear that often go with finding a new friend. In good time he was to discover that he was mistaken about Charlotte.Underneath her bold and cruel exterior, she had a kind heart, and she was to prove loyal and true to the very end."

-"Charlotte's Web", E.B. White

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Truth Inspired by Fiction??

Over the last year, news of millionaires willing their fortunes to their pets has increased. These headlines always cause the majority of people to shake their heads in disgust and ask themselves, "Who are these people and where do they get these ludicrous ideas? Willing their money to a pet. Crazy."

But, when you think about it, it does have a familiar ring to it.... doesn't it? Yes, the plot does seem oddly familiar- only a little bit jazzier. Can anyone say, "AristoCats"??? It seems to me that this 1970 Disney hit/"classic" just might be to blame for inspiring the seeming trend in pets becoming independently wealthy. It's not so cute in real life, is it? (I'm willing to bet there was a butler that mysteriously arrived in Timbuktu in a trunk via airmail after each of these stories broke, too.) If this trend continues, we'll all be singing "Ev'ry body Wants to Be a Cat".

And don't be shocked if one day people start using their dogs as nannies.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Only a Dad

Only a dad with a tired face,
Coming home from the daily race,
Bringing little of gold or fame
To show how well he has played the game;
But glad in his heart
that his own rejoice
To see him come home and to hear his voice.

Only a dad with a brood of four,
One of ten million men or more
Plodding along in the daily strife,
Bearing the whips and the scorns of life,
With never a whimper of pain or hate,
For the sake of those who at home await.

Only a dad, neither rich nor proud,
Merely one of the surging crowd,
Toiling and striving from day to day,
Facing whatever may come his way,
Silent whenever the harsh condemn,
And bearing it all for the love of them.

Only a dad, but he gives his all,
To smoothing the way for his children small,
Doing with courage stern and grim
The deeds that his father did for him.
These are the lines that for him I pen:
Only a dad, but the best of men.

-Edgar A. Guest

(I am grateful for the "best of men" in my life. Happy Father's Day!)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Design Friday: A Little Humor

Today I decided to poke a little fun at our design efforts, lest we take ourselves too seriously. Here is an article from "The Onion" that was brought to my attention by an alert reader. Enjoy!

Seashells Transform Suburban Bathroom Into Tropical Hideaway

Formerly the Watson's bathroom, now an enchanted portal to the gleaming white sand beaches of Bora-Bora.

"WOODMERE, OH—-A wicker basket filled with seashells and placed on top of a toilet tank has magically transformed Dale and Paula Watson's suburban bathroom into a serene tropical oasis, sources reported Thursday.

"I can't believe the difference adding those seashells made," said Paula Watson, who had somehow been transported from a beige, run-of-the-mill bathroom to an unforgettable island paradise thousands of miles from the Greater Cleveland area. "Every time I walk in here now it's like, 'Wow, where am I? CancĂșn?'"

According to household sources, the extraordinary transformation took place at approximately 10:32 a.m., when Watson neatly arranged a handful of seashells inside a round wicker container and looked up to suddenly find herself at a beachside resort where all the troubles of modern life just melted away.

The magical seashells, which are able to conjure up the cool, tropical breeze of a seaside cabana, were personally gathered by the couple during a recent trip to Myrtle Beach.

"It's like our own little island getaway right at home," said Dale Watson, who stood as if surrounded by palm trees and soft white sand beaches in the spot where there had only been a shower mat and curtain before. "I feel like I should be eating grilled mahimahi right now."

"This is the way life should be," Watson added. "Time just slows down in here."

Eyewitnesses agreed that by merely gazing upon the seashell centerpiece, one is whisked away to an enchanted garden, lush with exotic flowers, fluttering hummingbirds, and shirtless natives whose brown skin glistens with sweat as they present trays stacked high with pineapple, mango, and tender cuts of pork.

Guests of the Watson home have confirmed that visiting the tropical utopia, which is lo≠cated at the end of the hallway, second door on the left, light switch above the sink, is a breathtaking experience they will never forget.

Grandmother Ilene Watson, 77, said she could spend the rest of her life in the carefree bathroom environment without complaint.

"It's so exotic," the mesmerized septuagenarian said. "Just like when Harold and I used to go traveling after the war."

Although delighted with the transformation, Paula Watson said she had plans to improve the 80 square feet of island paradise by adorning the blissful space with vanilla-scented coconut candles, a ceramic clown-fish figurine, and sand-dollar shaped soaps.

"I love our secluded little vacation destination, but we can always spruce it up a little," Watson said. "It would be neat to get a large glass container and fill it with beach sand, a piece of coral, and more seashells."

"It's like bringing the Pacific Ocean to us!" she added.

Watson also admitted she's had her eye on a nautical-themed light-switch-plate cover featuring a seahorse, which would further transform the tropical hideaway into the magnificent kingdom of Atlantis, a stunning underwater realm where dolphins and mermaids dance and play.

This is not the first time that Watson's home has undergone such an incredible metamorphosis. In 2004, a framed painting of two deer instantly turned the family den into a rustic hunting lodge, while in 2005, the corner of the living room became an old English cottage after a porcelain tea set and a vase with dried flowers were added to an end table."

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Another One Bites the Dust

While I freely admit that I am not a creative genius when it comes to making food, I do pride myself on being literate. Which is why it is so frustrating when I follow a new recipe to the letter (which requires no special technique), and this happens:

Or maybe genius is all in the eye of the beholder. It looks like I just created Chocolate Chip Crepes!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Frog or Toad?

When I was little, "Frog and Toad are Friends" by Arnold Lobel was a classic book for our family. Not only did I find their adventures amusing, but I enjoyed the contrast between the optimistic Frog and his pessimistic Toad friend. I found comfort in the fact that I was nothing like that grumpy, unmotivated Toad.
And then I recently read "Tomorrow" in "Days with Frog and Toad". In this story, Toad has an epiphany that if he does his work today, he'll have more time tomorrow to do what he wants (i.e. sleep).

And then I realized I have more in common with Toad that I thought.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Walls of Steel

If you are pregnant, have ever been pregnant, or have ever been around pregnant women, you are probably familiar with what are known as Kegel exercises (the strangest exercise yet known to man -er- woman). According to "What to Expect When You are Expecting" these exercises are critical in preparation for delivery and postpartum recovery, and 25 reps should be performed during various times in a day. According to one expert I know, a woman's level of commitment to these exercises will determine the level of incontinence in her golden years.
For those who find their dedication to Kegels lacking, and grow bored/distracted after, say, the 4th repetition, I have discovered a solution. After your baby has grown to a large enough size to put pressure on your bladder, simply catch a cold that involves frequent, heavy, coughing. Not only will you be forced to practice your Kegels... but you will also gain insight as to what it might be like to be incontinent in your golden years.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Spell Checker

(Here's a poem my English teacher in High School shared with us. I thought it was pretty clever).

Eye halve a spelling chequer
It came with my pea sea
It plainly marques four my revue
Miss steaks eye kin knot sea.

Eye strike a key and type a word
And weight four it two say
Weather eye am wrong oar write
It shows me strait a weigh.

As soon as a mist ache is maid
It nose bee fore two long
And eye can put the error rite
Its rare lea ever wrong.

Eye have run this poem threw it I am shore your pleased two no Its letter perfect awl the weigh My chequer tolled me sew.


Friday, June 4, 2010

Design Friday: Lighting

Okay, back to the elements and principles of design. Today is the element of Lighting. Lighting encompasses both natural and artificial light (or a combination of both), and serves four functions: visual activity, enhance room decor, mood, and safety.

Picture from April 2006 "Architectural Digest"

Picture from April 2006 "Architectural Digest"

Lighting is perhaps one of the most important elements of design, because of its ability to affect the appearance of all other elements (such as color, texture, and space) and can minimize architectural flaws. Good lighting can really make a room sing, but is usually not very high on most people's priority list. In fact, in movie production, lighting is often the first thing to go in budget cutbacks.
Until we can afford a lighting designer to customize our home, here are the four lighting zones to keep in mind that each room should have to improve it's functionality and atmosphere:
  • Ambient- For overall lighting. It's also nice to have the ability to lower light levels to affect mood (think dimmer switch).
  • Task- Lighting focused on designated work spaces to improve productivity (such as a desk lamp).
  • Accent- For enhancing architecture, bookcases, etc.
  • Wall- To enhance artwork
If this is a subject your want more information about, I recommend you check out, "The Art of Illumination" by Glenn M. Johnson. He is a professional lighting designer, and in the book he discusses lighting techniques for each room.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Paranormal Activity

For the past few years, a ghost has haunted our family (I say family, because it seems to follow us when we move). As a child this would have frightened me to no end, but I am tolerating it surprisingly well. I have not seen or heard the ghost, but I am sure we have one. The evidence largely comes from our kitchen, and only occurs during the evening hours. Here's a typical example of our ghost's activity: I will be in the kitchen and leave the room for some reason. When I return, cupboard doors will be wide open. In some cases, I have closed the doors, left the room, and returned to find them open again. Spooky, huh? Perhaps one day I will discover the cause of our ghost's unrest. Is he searching for a beloved glass or a long, lost, plate? Is there something I need to know about the Ziploc bags? I may never know.

Does your home experience paranormal activity?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I Love it When....

... I'm shopping online, and the enlarged view of a product is equal to or less than the size of the original picture.