Tuesday, December 31, 2013

This is a Test . . . I'll Explain Later

So long, 2013.

How to run this thing.

Press the right arrow, down arrow, or spacebar to advance; press the left arrow or up arrow to move backward.

You can also click the left and right arrows in the control bar at the top.

Expectations are low for 2014.

This will be hidden when the slide loads

Sunday, December 29, 2013

And You Thought Seahawks Fans Were Loud . . .

Flight path.

Train path.

I have no idea how I added these photos. Just pushed enough buttons and it worked.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Global Branding

Jingle bells? More like jingle sells. If Santa was a brand, he'd be the most valuable in the world - worth a staggering 1.6 trillion dollars.
You think you have problems. Just be glad you don't have to pay for healthcare for a bunch of elves.

The True Cost Of Christmas: Santa's Tax Bill

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Orchardists Rejoice

We may no longer be discussing oranges here. The plastic has been ripped off and we are playing, immersing ourselves in a brand new universe. Small, medium, and large - we are inundated in pomme de terabyte.

We have guests coming so the playing may need to wait. But, oh, what an adventure 'tis this.

Bureau Chief Hat

Note: The Dot has been added.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Silver Lining

Hubby is so tired of eating ham that all I have to do is tell him that's for dinner and he takes me out instead.

We might be having ham all year.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

White Christmas and Peanut Butter

There's nothing like  White Christmas with Bing Crosby on the big screen in a 1936 movie house. Actually, it was more like a medium screen in the updated Kiggins Theatre. Still, it was thoroughly enjoyable. I wanted to sing along and clap after all the big numbers. No one else did so I behaved myself. But the fifty or so patrons seemed to be having a good time, laughing at all the right places, and bursting into a cheerful applause and the film's conclusion. It was a fun way to watch an old classic - in an old classic.

Beforehand, we ate at Charlies Bistro where they offer Myrtle's Turkey Salad Sandwich. This is no ordinary turkey salad, let me tell you. It has the usual ingredients, of course: turkey, mayo, celery. Pretty standard stuff. It also has black olives. I like black olives. And it has peanut butter. I also like peanut butter but wait, what?

We'd been to Charlies a few times before and we had seen Myrtle's sandwich on the menu. But we never had the, ahem, guts to try it. (Who is this Myrtle anyway?) But last night, we tried it and you know what? We liked it. It sounds like a mess, I know, but it was really good. I don't know if it's destined to become a classic but you never know. 

Cincinnati Chili did and I bet you never saw that coming, did you?

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Favorite Things

A red coffee mug emblazoned with "Now & Then"

A cranberry red mohair purse from Fossil

And, Siri. (which is white, not red)

Who needs whiskers on kittens?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

When I pass by the full-length mirror, that's when I'm prompted to do my sit ups.

When I do my sit ups, that's when I'm prompted to vacuum up the hair on the floor. (How could I still have hair, when so much of it  falls out?)

When I go to get the vacuum cleaner, I pass the light switch and I am prompted to turn out the lights.

Maybe it will all go away by tomorrow, I think, and, I'm prompted to go back to bed. What's  so special about today anyway?

Yesterday, we saw Portland's Christmas Ship Parade. I haven't seen many but this is the best I've seen. I would encourage my Seattle friends to check this out if they're ever in the area so they can step up their game!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

So Goes December

Clearly, I'm not keeping this as up to date as I had planned. It just got to be too much. Sorry, Holidailies. Maybe next year.

Green Eggs?

They say eternity is two people and a ham, says my Joy of Cooking. And so, I find myself in eternity.

Ham was on sale last week so I got one. The smallest one I could find was about ten pounds. Hubby sliced it all up and we packaged it into a dozen packages and boiled the bone down to make split pea soup. With ham, of course. That alone lasted a month but it was delicious with toasted cheese sandwiches on sourdough bread.

I made one tossed salad with ham but a dozen packages still remain. I will make ham pot pie, ham casseroles, and ham and eggs. Maybe a ham hash would be good. I’ll be sure to let you know.

But be sure to look up the recipe for split-pea soup in Joy. It’s a winner - easy, cheap, and delicious. The recipe calls for two cups dried split peas but the smallest package I could find was 3.25 cups. I just tossed the whole thing in there (because what am I going to do with 1.25 cups of leftover peas?) and it turned out fine. I suppose I could have added a little more water but since the goal is for the soup to thicken I didn't bother. It did turn out a little thick and I had to add water when reheating the leftovers but it was still good. All three times.

But I’m thinking we’ll have something else for Christmas dinner. Maybe pizza.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Sweating the Small Stuff

It's easy to be grumpy this time of year. It's cold outside, for starters. And there's a lot to fret over if you give into that kind of thing - the details of managing one's life, crushed by the details of managing just the month of December. On top of it, someone hacked my email account and I've spent countless hours updating my cyber security.

What a pain.

The account that got hacked didn't hold much in the way of useful information. It generated some spam email but most of the address book was out of date so I don't think it was far reaching. Most of my computers (there are seven, if you count Hubby's, if you can believe that!) don't have anything on them. We do most of our work and playing in cyberspace and don't store much on our local hardware. There is one that might have information on it, but it's limited to photos mostly. Any "sensitive" information is likely out of date.

So I've been trying to button up the online security and it's gotten complicated. This one syncs with that one and all the apps, not to mention Windows 8, want to share information with other apps and before you know it, it's spun out of control. My information is everywhere - on my phone and on computers spread all over Western Washington, linked with Facebook, Twitter, and who knows what else.

I've un-synced everything, changed all my passwords, put a fraud alert on my credit report, changed how I store passwords, and added two-step verification to the accounts that hold more sensitive information. Even then, I've translated any and all sensitive information into a code that only Hubby and I know so even if someone gets in, none of it will make any sense.

Besides all that, I'm busier than I want to be and not goofing off as much as I'd like to which is why I'm killing time here. I just wanted to take a little time for myself.

BTW, I'm reading I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. It's a beautiful book, a must read if you haven't read it already. And, if you have, read it again. It's worth it.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

All My Fault, Again

The Seahawks have been having such an incredible year so far. Good enough that I'm invited to watch the game. Last year, I was an unlucky talisman. If I so much as glanced at a Seahawks game, the other team would score.

It wasn't just me. Other people noticed. I was invited - as politely as possible - to get the fuck out! Even at social gatherings with friends and family, I was asked to sit by myself in a room outside of view or hearing of the game.

This year is different. I can wear my jersey - or not, or my lucky socks - or not, and they keep on winning.

Until. . . .

We have flagpole in our front yard with an American flag, and a Seahawks flag beneath. We came home one night and noticed the Seahawks flag was upside down. We thought someone had pulled a prank. Certainly, it couldn't have been upside down all season.

Or, could it?, someone asked me. You didn't put it right side up, did you?

We did.

And then, they lost.

So either it's our fault for righting the flag (It's only weird if it doesn't work) or the guy who turned it upside down screwed things up.

If the latter, beware. If the former, I'll be out of town for a while.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Happy Camper

NaNoFail was the original title of this post. I don't know what it'll be in the end, even as I write this. Because, in the end, I didn't fail.

I didn't write a single word in November this year. Okay, literalists, I hear you. What I mean is I didn't participate in NaNoWriMo this year. 2010 was the first year I participated in NaNoWriMo. I wrote a fun romp called, "Plain Vanilla." It was my first attempt at writing anything more than 500 words (outside of school) and I managed to produce at least 50,000.

I called myself an author.

In 2011, I wrote for pleasure, not volume. It was "Book One" in my Now & Then "series" which I published here. (And, yes, the quotation marks are intentional.) It's not good but it's good fun and it was fun to write.

In 2012, I wrote the second in the Now & Then series. This was a more serious undertaking. I had a goal of 100,000 words (50,000 of which were written in November). I did research, character outlines, and plot diagrams. I planned this story for a year.

I hit my goal for 2012 but I didn't like how the story turned out. It started out well enough but by the time I was finished with it, I was finished with it.

This year, my goal was to go back and polish last year's story.

November is traditionally a slow month for me at work so what better time than to write? Or edit? Except, edit is a four-letter word so I opted to work instead. Except, work is a four-letter word as well. I would have called editing a good exercise but "work out" is a synonym for "exercise," which is too close to "work" for comfort so I went to Hawaii and did nothing. (NaNoFail.)

Today, a friend of mine gave me the best present ever. She read my 2011 online story. Better still, she got it. (She gets me so that explains a lot.) Even though I wrote it in 2011, she only got around to reading it this year. When she did, she knew she had to get me this*:

(I know, crappy photo. New phone is still on order.)
The first Now & Then was about designer genes. The second was about water. The third (when I get around to it) will be all about an evil Condiment Conglomerate. But the next one will definitely have to be about coffee. (World domination through caffeine, anyone??)

I have a new fan.

Happy Camper.

*It has as much to do with the fact that it's a red coffee mug as anything. (You're just going to have to read the story.)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Brown Stuff

Nothing will sour your taste for whiskey more than a whiskey tasting. I've met many, in fact, whose last taste of whisky was in their youth when it was unceremoniously tasted twice and never again. I have not had such an experience but I can tell you that after tasting six, I had no reason to drink any more.

I'm a devout Jack Daniel's fan* but am aware of the opinion that charcoal filtering is cheating, meaning Jack doesn't have to be aged as long and the charcoal filtering influences the flavor of the whiskey more than true craft. In the interest of science and increasing the high brow-ness of my whiskey choices, I hosted a whiskey tasting.

Rather than buying several bottles of whiskey, I purchased an assortment of miniatures. Admittedly, this excluded most of the truly top shelf whiskeys but it gave me several choices. After all, I wasn't going to drink them all. I just wanted a taste.

We tried:

Only Hubby and I were present for the tasting but we each served the other in a blind tasting. After comparing notes, we found that we were both able to pick out the Jack and the Gentleman Jack from the rest. Based on preconceived notions we would have picked Early Times as our least favorite before the tasting however we found it to be reasonably drinkable. Turns out Early Times and Jack Daniels are both owned by The Brown-Forman Company so that may have something to do with it.

Mischief Whiskey and John Jacob Rye Whiskey are both made by Fremont Mischief in Seattle which I didn't know until I looked it up after our taste test. We liked the rye whiskey but neither of us cared for the Mischief, even as we are mischievous.

So there you have it. We are destined to be low brow drinkers of the brown stuff, although it might be a while before we have any more of it. A whiskey tasting will anesthetize your nostrils and burn your tongue. But there's always tomorrow. And, the next day. 

I'm sure we'll recover.

*I have a Jack Daneil's Field Tester cap signed in 2005 by Jimmy Bedford, the sixth of seven Master Distillers in the history of the distillery. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Services Begin Saturday

Massage on Saturday, facial, and hair color on Monday. And maybe a burial service for my laptop.

My new phone might be at the office, shiny and new. I'd go there but the cloud server is down. I know, that's not supposed to happen but it did so my choices are: 1) work from home, or 2) goof off.

In either case, more coffee was required.

I decided to copy my photos off my old phone in anticipation of getting a new one but my desktop computer wasn't interested in talking to my phone. Wouldn't even say hello. So I plugged the phone into my laptop - which was really marketed as a netbook - an Acer Aspire One. Not only would it talk to my phone, it also networks with my desktop. Through the science of magic, I transferred my photos from my phone to my desktop via my lowly little netbook. Believe me when I say, I have no idea how this all works.

But then Windows 8.1 totally screwed me over. My netbook froze after transferring eleven of the 876 items off my phone. Just stopped in its tracks - screen frozen, keyboard frozen. Nothing worked except OFF.

I get it. The Acer is a cheap computer. I used to think cheap as in inexpensive but now I'm thinking cheap as in slutty. It used to freeze up with such an annoying frequency that it nearly met its demise before Windows 8 came along. I took it to computer doctors and nothing worked. But after I upgraded to Windows 8, it worked perfectly. It was a little slow maybe - streaming video was a little jerky and working in multiple windows could be a drag - but it never froze again.

Until I "upgraded" to Windows 8.1. (My netbook gets around.) And the now it freezes up randomly again. If only I could turn back the hands of time but Microsoft has no sympathy for my situation. I'm stuck with it - just when I was resigned to live with it at least another year.

And so, I'm back to considering what shiny new thing would solve all the world's problems. For the money, I could get an MacBook Air and have a reasonable expectation that it would work exactly as advertised or I could get another netbook and have enough money left over for a bitchin' coffee maker and a year's supply of coffee.

Maybe I should have a steam bath and just think about it.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Shiny and New

I am always tempted this time of year by all the pretty, shiny things blinking Buy Me! Buy Me! Buy Me! And I so want to. Every year I agonize over which of these shiny new things I should buy - nay, need - but here's the thing. I don't really want to buy them. I would feel guilty buying such an expensive toy - since that is all it really is - when I could, I don't know, save my money. Pinch it just a little longer in my pocket full of coins. Besides, I already have lots of shiny things. More than most, truth be known, so I have no idea what the hangup is.

But, if it showed up under the tree, that would be okay.

I am getting an iPhone but I weaseled it into a business expense so I really don't have to pay for it. I live and work in MicrosoftLand but play in the world of Android/Google. Still, I've lusted for an iPhone for - I would say years but in the world of technology that would translate to centuries so I'll say I've been lusting for days and let you figure it out. It had to be ordered so all I can do is wait - lusting while terrified at meeting this strange new appliance that will be as different to me as a foreign language.

Which brings me to laptops, in a roundabout way. Sexy and thin, they beckon. The MacBook Air is beautiful and tempting. It's the best and knows it - an aloof siren. After a recent computer crash at work, I spent considerable time contemplating how to turn this into a business expense as well. I need it for work!

But the fact is, I don't need it for work. And, it pains me to say I don't need it at all. I have drunk of the Google Kool-Aid (the official soft drink of Nebraska, btw - the Kool-Aid part, not the Google part.) I would love a new laptop as long as it was pretty and lightweight (so shallow!) and fast but I don't need it to do anything. I don't need email or a calendar, or a word processor or something that does math in rows and columns. I don't want to pay for software that I will never use.

I just need the internet. And, so I looked at Google's answer, the Chromebook. They're pretty and totally devoid of intelligence. (Sounds like my last date.) I don't wish to degrade all the developers that contributed to this empty box. On the contrary, I think it's (ironically) brilliant. Everything I do is in the cloud, ones and zeros floating around somewhere above my head. What else, truly, do I need?


Alas, it cannot be downloaded to the Chromebook. Thus, my laptop and phone would be destined to separate worlds, untethered and alone.

And so, I am resolved to live with what I have.

And be grateful for it.

Until next year.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Brought To You By The Color Red

I put up the tree yesterday and already there are two bottles of Gentleman Jack beneath it. If I had known that was going to happen I would have done it sooner. Like, in January.

But, 'neath the tree isn't exactly accurate seeing as the Gentlemen tower over the tree:

Jacks aside the tree.

Meanwhile, I recommend you watch the movie Red2. It has kissing but it also has Spam so I figure it's a wash. Plus, it has Helen Mirrin which puts it in Must See category - a really fun movie.

If you're looking for a great holiday film that doesn't have anything to do with the holidays, see the 1956 film The Red Balloon. You can watch it here or on Hulu. It's worth the 30 minutes it takes to watch it. (No kissing, no Spam, no Helen Mirrin - but Paris! Oui!)


Goal for December: unsubscribe to all my junk email. Of course, when I do that the first thing I get is an email telling me I've unsubscribed. . . .

Do I have to wait until Christmas to open my presents?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Coloring Outside the Lines

I don't wear much makeup which is a good thing since I'm usually applying it in semi-darkness, only one coffee into my day.

I wear a powder foundation and a bronzer. Today, I reversed the two and applied the bronzer to my entire face. I didn't even notice until I got out the foundation powder. Cheese and rice!

I applied the foundation over the bronzer everywhere except my cheeks, poured another cup of coffee, and hoped that if anyone noticed they thought I was either blushing or got an exceptional sunburn in Hawaii.

No one noticed. Then again, I generally work in solitude so it mostly didn't matter anyway.

When I got home, I poured a cup of cheer and set up the tree which was an anxious five minute endeavor. Some of the Lite-Brite plastic pieces had fallen out of the 18-inch ceramic tree and the light bulb in the center was all wobbly. I balanced the light bulb by pulling the electric cord taut and swiveled the tree so any open holes were in the back.

I set it on a side table, plugged it in, and as I gazed upon it my heart grew two sizes.

Okay, maybe not, but it's nice. Kind of makes my face glow, you know?

Monday, December 2, 2013

Cheeses, Janice!

Cheese and rice! I don't remember where I picked this up but I adopted it and there it is.

And then there was Janice, the Crazy Hat Lady. I won't tell you why we called her that. I'll save that for a different day. What I will tell you is her husband would say Jesus, Janice! so many times, it became her freaking nickname.

So, one day, Cheese and rice! became Cheeses, Janice! so I went to Etsy and got a customized cheese board from Timber Green Woods and here it is:

I figure that should score accommodations at their AZ home sometime this winter, don't you?

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Low Expectations

I think I'm just going to skid into 2014 and call it good.

Last year's Christmas came together as one of those magical, unexpected moments. The entire family was there, even family members we haven't seen in a while. There was no drama, no one got wasted. Just people I cared about, acting like people I'd like to care about.

Everyone helped with the tree, the meal, and the dishes. I had ten (or was it eleven?) stockings over the fireplace and everyone got along. The kids were darling, and the adults had meaningful conversations.

It was weird.

I have no such expectations for this year. I haven't dug out the decorations and I don't have any plans to. Maybe I'll get jolly later but what's the rush? Last year, I saved time by not decorating the outside of the house. Instead, I swapped all the flood lights with colored lights - red, green, and blue. Flipped a switch, and called it good. And, since these were flood lights I generally didn't use, I left them up all year. This year, presto. Done.

My only goal for December is to try to keep this site updated.

Glad to be back, Holidailies.