Monday, May 8, 2017

Sky Bling

Last Saturday I went to a shooter's school for display fireworks. Pretty cool stuff. I learned a lot about display fireworks, heard some stories, and I got to set off a couple of 3 inch shells. Interesting day. If I wanted to operate a show of display fireworks, I would need to have experience at two more shows (the "show" at the school counted as one of the three needed) and then pass a test to receive an operator's license.

I love fireworks. I love the big booms. I love the sparkles. Makes me smile every time I see them. But . . . to set off display fireworks I would need room I don't have. To store the product until the show I would need a magazine and enough clear space around that magazine that I just don't have. To transport the product I would need appropriate equipment and an ATF license which I don't have. And, fun as it was to set off the 3 inch shells, setting off the 1.5 inch shells was just as fun. And 1.5 inch shells qualify as consumer fireworks - no special licenses, no special equipment, no special storage facilities.

So while I could get an operator's license, I am not going to pursue it. Too much work for too little gain. A bigger budget for consumer fireworks is all I want. But . . . I wonder if I should shoot fireworks at all.

Mr. Wonderful asked, "Why not, if you love it so much?" It's not a "being frugal" issue for me. Tightwads say it's a waste of money, might as well just burn a $100 bill. No, I enjoy them. This is what I spend my "allowance" money to purchase. I don't buy $7 venti lattes. I don't buy designer clothing. But I do love fireworks.

No, the issue for me is more humanitarian. The sponsor of the shooter school explained that he gets his product from China, because it's a lot cheaper. France, Italy, and the United States do manufacture some display fireworks, but China's are much cheaper. And consumer fireworks are almost all of Chinese manufacture. I am not convinced that Chinese workers are treated well. I am not convinced that Chinese manufacturers regard environmental issues as worthy of concern. I am concerned that the reasons Chinese fireworks are so much cheaper are reasons I do not wish to support.

But my little ones love fireworks as well. And they are everywhere in our neighborhood during the 4th of July celebrations. Will one person ending their fireworks purchases make a difference? It will to this person's children, but as far as the manufacture of fireworks in China, my purchases are nothing.

So I will probably buy fireworks this year, but begin cutting back some. Much as I love Sky Bling, I just can't justify spending as much on it any longer.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Pops! Concert

SO. MUCH. FUN.

Last night was so much fun. I sang with the chorus for the symphony's pops concert - the music of John Williams.
So. Much. Fun.
I still have the music playing in my head and on my lips.
:-) 

The chorus joined the orchestra after intermission. We started with the Call of the Champions written for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Four Latin words, (swifter, higher, stronger, with more clarity) with some "lu lu's" and some "ah's". Inspiring, uplifting music.

Next up was "Hymn to the Fallen" from Saving Private Ryan. Completely "oo's" and "ah's" for text. A solemn piece that at first I didn't care for at all. While I still wouldn't choose it, it did grow on me.

My favorite song of the evening followed: "Dry Your Tears, Afrika" from Amistad. It is a simply joyous song. A joy to sing.

Then we hit the Star Wars section. So. Much. Fun. to be onstage with the orchestra for these pieces. The haunting beauty of the French horn playing its solo in "Princess Leia's Theme." The power of "The Imperial March" with the timpani and trombones just a few feet away. The strings so close playing "Aniken's Theme." Then the chorus rose once again to their feet to join in "Duel of the Fates." Such a dramatic song. The lyrics come from a snippit of an archaic Welsh poem, "Battle of the Trees."
"Under the tongue root
A fight most dread
And another raging
Behind, in the head"
But the text is not sung in Gaelic, as the poem was written, or in English, but in Sanskrit. It loosely translates
"All the dread in mainly in the head."
That was a lot of fun to sing. Then the program finished with the main Star Wars theme. So cool, once again, to be onstage with the orchestra as it was played.

The sold-out house appreciated the program as well. Some had come in costume, and several had light sabers. There was long applause, and for an encore the orchestra played the theme from Jaws.

So fun to be a part of it. I am so looking forward to singing with the chorus next fall. Hayden's "Creation."  

Friday, April 7, 2017

That's It

I have not been that sick in years. And it's been so long getting any energy to do anything back. What little energy I do have has a thousand claims on it. However, I am slowly getting better. I'm even back to taking long walks again, though not as quickly or as long as I would like. Little by little.

But with little energy to do much of anything, I would spend time zoned out in front of my computer, scrolling through facebook. Then last Friday, the hurtful things were back with a vengeance. I so thought I had gotten past this. But there it was again. As I sat there looking at the screen with all those past hurts rising up, I thought to myself, "What the hell are you doing?" I mean really. I decided then and there that I had had enough. I haven't been on facebook for a week now. And the weird thing is - I don't miss it. Facebook is sending me emails. "Your "friend" X posted a new picture and "x" people have liked." If facebook only knew. :-D

I do have to get back on this afternoon. I need to send a couple of messages to my older children. And I need to take some photos to get some school stuff on a buy/sell/trade group soon. Bleh.

  In the mean time, I have read a huge stack of books. And puttered about my house and in my garden. I am content.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Arthropods

Just before I got so very sick, I had ordered some painted lady caterpillars as part of Miss Adventures science class.

They were so very tiny when they first arrived. I wish I had taken a snapshot of how small they were for they grew amazingly fast!

Before too long, they had all climbed to the top of their little cup, attached themselves to the cloth there, and hung down in little "J's." (That beige stuff at the bottom of the cup is the food that came with the insects.)

A couple of days later, we awoke to chrysalises. I had hoped to see the little guys making their chrysalises, but we missed it. It was cool to see the chrysalises up close though.

We had to wait 3 days before moving the cloth they were hanging on over to the cage where the emerging butterflies would live.

Then it seemed like forever, but one morning we awoke to find the butterflies emerging from their chrysalises.

We kept them in the cage inside, feeding them sugar water, until the weather changed so we could set them free.

I expected to have a cage of fluttering insects, but they spent most of their time just hanging out on the sides of the cage.

After a couple of days, the weather was warm again, so we decided to set them free. They only live a couple of weeks as butterflies, and we wanted them to enjoy some time outside. Again, my expectations differed from reality. I expected to open the cage to have the half dozen butterflies all flit out of their cage together in a little fluttering cloud. Not so.

They almost had to be coaxed out one by one.
Come on. Don't be shy.

Last one.

What a fun project. I enjoyed it as much as Miss Adventure. Probably more. :-)

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Winning at my Little Game

My car has spent the last three days in the garage. And it will spend today there as well. Winning at my little game. Well, not really. I have contracted a horrible head cold. I haven't been this sick in years. I wish to go NOWHERE. Ugh. This is not a fun way to win this little game.

On a happier note though, the water bill came in the mail today and I did it! I tried to be extra conservative with water use during the period used to determine sewer use for the year. I managed to get our water use down by 1. But that one will mean $12.50 less is sewer fees every month for the next year. Yay!

Now to go crawl back into bed . . . 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

A Little Game

I have this little game I play with myself. How many days this week can my car not leave the garage? It helps me to remember to combine errands. I do it to walk a little lighter on this earth, but it also saves me a significant amount of time. If I need to go downtown, even in my small town, I will burn at least half an hour. I still have things to do out and about just about every week day. Usually Saturday and Sunday, my car stays in its snug home.

Today (a Wednesday), however, I managed to stay home quite well. Last evening, I heard a loud crash in the garage. I thought our cat had knocked something over, but I couldn't find anything out of place. Then Mr. Wonderful hit the button to open the garage door, and it wouldn't. The spring on one side had broken with my car tucked inside. Repair man comes tomorrow. Today, my car did not move.

While I do like keeping car trips to a minimum, I do appreciate having the option to drive somewhere. I am looking forward to tomorrow's repairs. (And, yes, I do have two different trips planned for the day already.)

Monday, February 27, 2017

Proud Mama

Be the reason someone
believes in the goodness
in people.

A few days ago a friend of the Chemist posted that quote with this statement: ". . . you are some of my friends who jumped into my mind when I read this." Of her many friends, she had tagged five. My Chemist was one of those five.

I can take no credit for it, but it made me so proud of my daughter. She could be the most fabulous chemist in the world (and I would certainly be proud of that - I am proud of how well she's done), this would make me more proud. Kindness matters so much. And I am so happy and proud that my daughter lives that so much that she inspires others.

Proud Mama Moment.
:-)

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Planning

Goodness, it is already late February and garden work will begin soon. (Actually, I probably could already have some lettuce in, *sigh*)

But I have finally mapped out the garden and am deciding what shall go where. I just love how tidy and official the plan looks.
:-)

Next up, order seeds, visit the garden center for seed potatoes and onion sets. Potatoes go in St. Patrick's Day - two and a half weeks from now! Now is also time to get compost and sand worked into the beds. I could also get some things started indoors as well.

Always something to do in the garden!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Less Is More

January's de-clutter goal was the linen closets. Last Saturday, February 18, the goal was accomplished! A little late, but so what. I have neat, tidy closets. I know what's in them. The contents are easily accessible.

So much better that stuffed full of so much that I really didn't know what I had. And should I want to actually get anything out, I generally ended up with a pile tumbling out on my head. Big pile of worn and torn things in the trash bin. Two big bags ready to be donated.

Less really is more because now that I have only what I need, I can easily get it and use it.

Now for February's goal . . .

Peace out.
Remember Kindness Matters.
And may your closets contain what you need,
but only what you need.
:-)

Friday, February 24, 2017

Nature Center

My little guy had last Friday off school so I decided we should check out the Nature Center in the city. It was a beautiful, warm February day, perfect for exploring someplace new.

We started by checking out the Nature Center's exhibits. It is a small, but cool center. The neatest thing is the live screech owl. At first, I thought it was just a stuffed exhibit, like the others. I was surprised when he turned his head and blinked. So cool.
What I really like about the center is that it has so many things to touch! Here, several fur sections were mounted to the wall so one could feel the different animals.

There was also this display with lots of things to pick up and check out. Some small animal skulls, snake skin, pine cones, acorns, shells, special rocks . . . so lovely to have a place where one is encouraged to touch and learn.

After checking out the center, it was time to walk the trails. I think these are bat houses.


 
 


 
 

Great day exploring a little bit of prairie in the city.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Blooming Beauty

This winter, in addition to a basil, I kept a pot of chives going as well. I also decided to attempt to overwinter my geranium.

It is doing so well, it is blooming.
Feels like spring.
:-) 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Curtains, Round Two

I finally finished the second attempt at curtains for the Chemist's apartment and this is the result:

Ta-Da!
I managed to get the length correct this time. I also found some blanket edging that I thought would work for opening the curtains. The thick, insulating backing makes the curtains very stiff. One just can't pull them open.
This works nicely, I think.

Soon, the first try will be heading to university for the geologist's apartment. Hopefully, they will add some warmth (or shade as needed) and some feeling of home for him and his sweetheart.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Science Museum


I have a few free days scheduled throughout Miss Adventure's school year. Last Friday was one of those days. She asked if we could visit the science museum. Sounded like a plan to me.

The traveling exhibit was on the ice age. There were life size replicas complete with moving heads and loud noises.
 

There was this giant beaver from that time. As big as my little girl. Sort of reminded me of Narnia. :-D

Along with the models, we had the real thing, too. A leg bone and tusk from a mammoth.

And a full skeleton of a mammoth.

Miss Adventure loves to play in the castle area.
(She actually asked to have this photo taken.) 

I love these small stones here and there on the three story wall.
 

Putting on a puppet show.
 


Since we live in a fairly agricultural area, the area dedicated to our home has a section of a combine with a screen over the windshield showing various harvests. My favorite was harvesting cotton. 


We ended our day with a trip to the dome theater for an ice age film. (Someone was getting a bit worn out.) These dome movies get to me now. I was glad when it was finished.

All in all, a fabulous break from the routine.  

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Walking in the Woods

I finally downloaded photos off my camera and found some I had forgotten from a walk Miss Adventure and I went one last month.

She loves to scamper far ahead.

I found an interesting (at least to me) old stump covered with moss.

Miss Adventure had been given a dream catcher kit for Christmas and loved making it. It was fun to happen across one on the trail.

When we got home, geese. Lots and lots and lots of Canadian geese. They overwinter here often, covering everything with their droppings. Ugh.

Friday, January 20, 2017

For the Birds

Last weekend was the ice storm that wasn't. I am glad we only got minimal ice and more rain than was expected. Love that extra degree or two that kept the weekend from being quite so treacherous. Was not so for others on the great plains.

But ahead of the storm, our bird feeder was a busy place. The birds were preparing as well.
 


Kindness Matters.
Even for the birds.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

De-cluttering of a Different Kind

When I set de-cluttering as one of my resolutions for this year, I had in mind all the material, physical things that have sort of piled up. But there is a different kind of de-cluttering I just stumbled into.

We don't have a large number of time commitments. I have been reluctant to commit to very much. But there are some good things to be involved with that do require a commitment of time and schedule.

Miss Adventure has been taking dance lessons and had added in being a part of a dance company. Three times a week at the dance studio, plus performance opportunities. It was our only commitment, but it was demanding enough as it was. But she has discovered that, while she enjoys dancing, she doesn't love it enough to devote so much energy to it. In fact, just a couple of days ago she finally let me know she was finished. No more three times a week to the dance studio.

Now that doesn't mean she doesn't want to do anything. We have, instead, joined a once a week tumbling class at the Y. Month-to month commitment, no more. Once a week, no more. She feels such relief. I feel lighter. We will have weekends free to do things - IF we want to do things.

I need to remember just how good this feels. So that should other good and valuable opportunities come along, I evaluate carefully whether they are what's best for our family.

Happy, happy today.