Saturday, December 31, 2011

Mmm...


There is very powerful magick swirling through the air today. Feel it. Open your hearts and share this with me. Happy New Year, dearlings!

Friday, December 30, 2011

And I Repeat...


I know I’ve mentioned this before but I feel it bears repeating. It’s about this little thing called gravity.

Gravitynoun. The force of attraction by which terrestrial bodies tend to fall toward the center of the earth

So what does this mean? It’s really very simple. Things that go up come back down.

For example, shooting off a gun that is aimed toward the sky will release a bullet, propelled by the force of the gun powder. It will eventually slow until there is an infinitesimal pause after which the direction is reversed and the bullet plummets back to earth, picking up speed as it goes.

I don’t know about where you live but here in Reading those that utilize firearms as noisemakers have already begun practicing for New Year’s Eve. Which means it’s beginning to rain bullets. Now I wouldn’t have a problem with this if those pulling the triggers could manage to shoot skyward in such a manner that would ensure the bullets would fall directly back on to them. Yep, I’d have no problem with that. Shooting and having the bullets land helter skelter, perhaps on my head? No, not so much.

Have some sense people! Tell your neighbors to have some sense! Tell perfect strangers to have some sense! I have things to do in the upcoming year and getting shot by a stray bullet fired by an idiot is most definitely not one of them.

Happy New Year! Be safe. Be happy. And be an adventure!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Per Wednesday...


White and yellow, yellow and white
Mutant flowers, beware they bite
Running through the stems and petals
Wicked poison in leaves it settles
Surround the house, fill the fields
With these deadly posy shields
Love me, love me not
Pick my daisies and you will rot

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Silence


Drowning in a sea of my own darkness
The buoy of hope slips from my grasp
I am sinking
Deeper and deeper within
Back beneath the impermeable layers
To where I am unreachable

Looking up from the bottom
Of the smooth-sided well
I wonder how I ever made it out before
The climb –
So Steep
So Slippery
Light so very high above

I’m tired
Too tired
To even try
For I know my strength is lacking
And I’ll never make it that far again

Not as I am…

Alone in the silence

© Barbara Huffert 2011

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

New Project


This is what I worked on over the holiday weekend. It's very difficult, harder than other patterns I've tried but I think it'll end up being worth it.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Interesting Quote


"The end comes when we no longer talk with ourselves. It is the end of genuine thinking and the beginning of the final loneliness. The remarkable thing is that the cessation of the inner dialogue marks also the end of our concern with the world around us. It is as if we noted the world and think about it only when we have to report it to ourselves."

- Eric Hoffer


Saturday, December 24, 2011

My Sort of Christmas


When I was a very small child, four at most, I learned that I was expected to react in a certain way when opening gifts. No, sorry. I still can’t explain exactly what that entails. All I know was I never seemed to get it right on my own.

As a matter of self-preservation, I began opening my gifts ahead of time in order to attempt to come up with the proper response when viewing them publicly. I would slice the tape, unfold the paper, have a peek and then tape them back up again. Sometimes I got it right, sometimes I didn’t. But trust me, any single one I did correctly was a very good thing.

I credit this for my lack of gift wrapping ability now. Oh sure, I can reassemble with the best of them. But starting from scratch, all on my own, not so much.

Have a great holiday everyone. May your memories of it be a gazillion times happier than mine.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

How About This One?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Blah


I’ve never done very well with holidays but this year seems particularly tough.

There’s some stuff going on around me that has me preoccupied. And it’s the first year without my great aunt. It’s really hard to convince myself to feel festive. I think I’ll keep to myself for a bit so I don’t put a damper on anyone else’s spirits.

Merry Christmas all. Sad as I am you’re still in my thoughts. Be safe. And come get an ultra-cute kitty!

Monday, December 19, 2011

I Have Bed Warmers!


I put the flannel sheets on yesterday. I know, amazing, right? I figure it’ll push back the need to turn on the heat a little while longer.

Anyway, I made up the bed and went about my day. A few hours later I wandered upstairs to put away the laundry only to discover lumps in my formerly smooth covers. It seems Kya and Beau like the flannel sheets. They spent the entire day burrowed to the bottom of the bed.

I had to literally go get them when it was time to eat. And then, within the hour they’d both vanished again. When it was time for me to go to bed they were nice and shifted over to make room for me. My toes were instantly warm and toasty!

Remember the cat who came in out of the storm? Her kittens are now 10 weeks old and ready to go home. There are six, five females, one male. Four have various amounts of black and white, two are gray tiger with white. All are extremely sweet and so cute! If you’re interested, let me know and I’ll put you in touch with their foster mom. Just think. You could have a pair of furry bed warmers too!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Ick

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Story Behind the Story


One of the greatest things about writing is that you can work emotions out of your “real” life. In a productive, non-harmful way. A few years ago I tossed my ex, later to discover one of the things he’d stolen from me was my late father’s canoe. Which I then passed on the street one day, on top of someone else’s car. I came damn close to doing something incredibly stupid, turning around and going after it. But I didn’t, mainly because by the time I’d gotten turned around they would have been long gone. Instead, I ended up at home, bitching about it to some writer friends. Who instantly told me to use the anger and write something.

The result was Hot Rush. And yeah, in case you’re wondering, the ex in the story ends up in jail, with his buddies and the heroine gets her canoe back. Mmm, what an adventure she has in the process of doing so!

Blurb –

Rick Jensen is working undercover to bust up the largest drug distribution in the city’s recent history. Everything is going as planned until the hottest redhead he’s ever seen comes storming into the warehouse. Now if only he can stop thinking with his cock long enough to save her luscious ass and convince her that love at first sight really does exist.

Being sentimental has always been Casey Carmichael’s downfall. But this time her impulsiveness lands her right in the middle of a full contingent of heavily armed drug dealers. When one of them tosses her over his shoulder and carries her up to the office the last thing she expects is out of control sex with the undercover cop trying to protect her.

Excerpt –

“All right. Where’s my fucking canoe? I want it and I want it now!”
A second before the screaming started, the door banged open to reveal the most furious redhead Rick Jensen had ever seen. And the most weirdly gorgeous in a he-couldn’t-put-his-finger-on-it-and-now-wasn’t-the-time-or-place-to-analyze-it way, too. Who the hell was she and what the hell was she doing, barging in on a full contingent of armed drug dealers in their lair as they were preparing for one of the biggest distributions they’d put together in months?
“Come on, I said now, damn it!” the woman screeched.
And more importantly, how the hell was Rick going to keep her alive long enough to get her out of there without blowing his cover or the operation, which was the culmination of many months of hard work by multiple organizations all coming to a head hopefully that night?
All eyes and most guns turned to the woman. Rick heard the clicks, signifying that they were ready to fire even if she didn’t. He had to draw their attention away from her.
“Hey, darlin’. I thought I told you not to interrupt me when I’m working.” He put himself between her and the array of weaponry, turning to face the room. “It’s cool, boys. She’s mine.”
The spitfire wasn’t having any of it and tried to shove him out of her way. “Yours? Ha! You wish. Look, all I want is what I came for and then I’m outta here.”
“I dunno, homes. It don’t look like it to me,” one of the armed men said, not lowering his gun.
“She’s just pissed. Come on, Lucy. Don’t do me like that. You’re gonna make me look bad in front of my boys.” He grabbed her hair, forced her head back and planted a wet kiss on her startled mouth.
The slap that followed earned a round of boisterous laughter and lewd comments but it also managed to get the men to stow their weapons. “Don’t you ‘Lucy’ me!”
“Feisty bitch,” Rick declared before kissing her harder. “Look lady, I’m trying to keep your sweet ass alive here so work with me, would ya?” he whispered so only she heard.
“Huh?”
“She always gets this way when she’s gone without for too long, don’t ya, darlin’?”
Before the woman could respond, the obvious leader asked, “What’d she say about wanting a canoe?”
Rick forced a chuckle, all the while racking his brain for something plausible. “Oh that’s just what she calls my cock.” Not the best answer but hopefully the men would buy it and she’d play along.
“Fuck, like you got something like that,” another joined in.
“Tell ’em, Lucy.”
“What? Are you out of your mind?”
“Only when it comes to you.”

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Best Ever!


I was out for lunch the other day. An Irish pub with the nummiest stew imaginable. Which had a light, flakey incredible crust on top. Oh yeah, was it delicious.

And then, as I was throwing in the towel, about to burst Tommy, wicked, wicked man that he is, comes over and asks if we saved room for dessert. Apparently one of the other pub employees has started her own bakery and provides them with weekend sweets. This week’s was dark chocolate mint cake. Like there’s a chance in hell I’d turn down a taste of that!

Being stuffed to the gills, the friend I was dining with and I opted to split a piece. Oh. My. God. There are no words to describe how good it was. So good it would be illegal in at least seven states. Probably more. The cake was moist and rich, dark chocolate. And the icing, of which there was a lot, had mint so fresh it cooled your tongue. To say the least, mmm!

Next time, I asking about dessert and probably having it first!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Things You See...


I was out and about today. Yeah, I know. Sometimes it might be better if I'd just stay home. Especially during full moon.

The first thing I stumbled across made me giggle. See the image to the side. Nuff said, right?

Then there was the man in the Laundromat. He came in, two new looking baskets stacked together, containing a small amount of wet clothes. Nothing heavy, like towels or blankets. Nope, just average clothes. He split the items between two industrial sized dryers and started one. Then he switched his attention back to the baskets, separating them and restacking them with the bottom basket now on top. Remember, identical, new looking baskets. Hmm. Okay, back to the unstarted, fully functional dryer. This I know for certain as I had witnessed it being in use less than ten minutes prior. He yanked all the clothes out, shoved them into the dryer on the opposite side of the one already tumbling, started it, grabbed his baskets and out the door he went. Into the minivan and he was off like a shot. Um. Explain please?

Next we have the girl with the fuchsia hair. Waist-length, dyed, clearly her own, somewhat straggly, bright fuchsia hair. Under which he was wearing a matching bright fuchsia jacket. Which camouflages the hair, making it difficult to see without taking a second glance. I don't get it. Why dye her hair such a noticeable shade and then attempt to conceal it? Wouldn't you wear something contrasting to really show it off? Or, if it's that bad, why not just dye it some other color? Nope, don't understand that one at all either.

And we won't even get into the ticket machine that starts yapping as soon as you get close to it, demanding you feed it money which, once you do, literally makes chomping sounds.

At least no one licked any walls today. But I wasn't at Panera so who knows.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Today's Lesson


Spice vs. herb. Do you know the difference? Well, there is one!

Herbs are leaves of plants that do not have woody stems. Generally, herbs come from temperate climates and can be used either fresh or dried. Got it?

Okay, now spices. They are obtained from either woody or non-woody plants, are always dried, and are everything other than the leaves. The plants typically originate in hot, tropical climates.

So parsley sprigs are an herb and cinnamon is a spice. But there are some plants, such as coriander, that qualify as both. The leaves, more often called cilantro, are an herb whereas coriander seeds are a spice.

Any questions?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Ta Da!

It's finished! Designed by me and I must say I'm extremely pleased!


Friday, December 2, 2011

Happy Weekend!


Gotta knit. Hopefully, I'll have a pic of the finished sweater soon!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

New Veggie!


I tasted something new today. A Sprouted Split. What the hell is that, you ask? A new fangled pretzel manufactured right here in good old Reading by the Unique Pretzel Bakery.

Sprouted Splits are made from whole grain that was “sprouted” before turning it into flour. Nope. Not a clue how exactly that works though I’m sure it’s something that could be discerned, should you be that curious.

Why would you want that? Apparently, being sprouted makes the pretzel digest as a vegetable instead of carbohydrates as in pretzels made from traditional flour. Hmm. So now pretzels are equivalent to veggies? Wow! I can’t wait ‘til school lunch planner here about this one.

But I digress. In addition to being made of sprouted flour, the only ones currently in mass production, they are also the only ones manufactured with olive oil, and extra virgin, organic oil at that. If you’re interested they are high in fiber and contain no sugar additives. Which, now this is merely a guess, means they are healthier snacks than standard pretzels. Cool.

Oh wait. How do they taste, you wonder? Why, like pretzels of course. Silly!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Long Day


I had to go to a CPR/AED/First Aid training for work today. Yeah, I know. But it ended up being a lot of fun. The instructor was great. It was, naturally, an extremely hands on training. But the instructor designed the course to also be very interactive and I work with some awesome people.

Oh, no. Don’t misunderstand. I still feel that a few hours training every other year does not qualify me to take someone’s life in my hands. Sure, I’ll call 911 and stay around until the paramedics arrive but don’t expect much more than that. Defibrillators terrify me so the odds of me ever attempting to use one are next to none. And you already know how I am with monitored breathing.

I do have a question though. Why do they call the practice dummies Anne and then neglect to give them breasts? Shouldn't they come in a variety of shapes and sizes to imitate lifesaving situations as realistically as possible?

I'll leave you with that thought in your head. Gotta go knit!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Deep Thoughts


“Life is a prison that we carry around with us. The key to happiness is to make your prison as big as the whole world.” ~ Lance Cheuvront


Read it again.

Now think about it.

Yes, very profound. And something with which I agree completely. Now the secret, or perhaps challenge would be a better word, is to go about doing so.

I’ll need to think about this some more.

Meanwhile, back to knitting.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Pure Idiocy


I went out to reclaim my emptied recycling bin Saturday morning only to find my neighbor standing on the sidewalk shaking his head. When asked what was wrong, he merely pointed at the car across the street, in front of Howie.

Both passenger side windows were broken out. The car belongs to the neighbor on the other side, an 83 year old woman. There is no way that she has done anything to provoke anyone in order to be deserving of this.

He went on to point to the brand new car on our side of the street, parked in front of his truck. The whole driver’s side and hood were scratched up. It belongs to the harmless people on the other side of the woman next to me.

Then he gestured at the SUV behind his truck. It had two stabbed tires. Tires that I later learned had been put on all of a week and a half ago. That vehicle belongs to the man on the other side of him.

Howie and his truck were very fortunately spared this senseless violence. This time. I know it’s wrong to judge people without bothering to know anything about them but I must admit that I seriously dislike whoever did this.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Did You Know?


Fortune cookies are not of Chinese origin. They were invented in San Francisco in 1920.

Slugs have four noses while an octopus has three hearts.

Shakespeare was 46 when the King James Bible was penned. In Psalm 46, the 46th word from the beginning is “shake” and the 46th word from the end is “spear.”

There are live lobster vending machines in Japan.

Bats always turn left when existing a cave.

Honey is the only food consumed by humans that has been found not to spoil. This was determined when archeologists sampled honey found in ancient Egyptian tombs.

And last, but not least, just in case you still have some space on your Thanksgiving menu, beetles taste like apples, wasps taste like pine nuts and worms taste like bacon.

Happy Thanksgiving all! Whatever you do, enjoy and, if you could, be a little nicer to all you know.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Today's Rant


I am not a holiday person. I make no secret of that nor do I offer any apologies. I’ve not had good ones so, for now, I choose to pretty much avoid them, though there are those individuals I enjoy and visit on occasion. The same individuals I socialize with on days other than holidays. You see, for me, it’s not necessary for a certain day to roll around in order for me to spend time with friends and chosen family. I adore them all the time.

Today, I was given a lecture on all that I miss by not participating. All the things listed are not things that were ever included on my previous holidays. Seems to me it’s impossible for me to miss something that was never there in the first place.

Family gatherings growing up were not warm and fuzzy events. They were hours to be endured until I could make my escape. Something that should perhaps be learned about me and my past before criticizing me for not rushing to the old homestead bright and early this Thursday morn.

For all of you who do enjoy the holidays, I’m happy for you. The time when I can do the same will come. No, not this year but it is coming. But until it does, stop trying to coerce me into things that aren’t good. And stop putting me down for knowing what’s best for me and for protecting my heart from those who do their damnedest to squash it.

I may be home knitting the sweater I’m working on this Thanksgiving. Or I may venture out to see some of my adopted family. I may cook or I may order pizza. In the evening, I may watch a movie or I may read a book. Whatever I end up doing it will be of my choosing and something I enjoy. As to the rest of it? Leave me alone!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Gotta Knit!


Running short on time. I’ll be back when I’m closer to finished.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Adieu

I am but one in the hoards of many
Faceless and unseen
My ubiquity matters not
Nor does my devotion
I am tossed away like yesterday’s paper
My constancy discarded without a second glance

Who am I to boast such ego?
Average at best
My strength – a chameleon
Always blending in
No special shine of my own
Nothing drawing me to the center
Marking me as worthy
I am but a pawn to be sacrificed at will
A minion, manipulated on a whim

The time to withdrawal, long since passed
I must not, cannot delay
My dalliance must cease
My departure will go unchallenged
My disappearance, unnoticed
For no one relishes my presence
And no one will agonize my absence

Monday, November 14, 2011

Fun!


I went to the symphony last weekend. I’d forgotten how enjoyable it can be. I used to go all the time when I was young. My string bass teacher was an orchestra member so he always had tickets for his students. Anyway, a friend who has season tickets now had an extra and invited me.

The program included a very nice selection of music. The William Tell Overture, an arrangement of Bizet’s Carmen and a lovely Beethoven. The soloist this month was saxophonist, Gary Louie. Man, is that guy talented! He performed a concerto with a bit of a Russian folk music flavor and it was excellent. He also participated in the Carmen selection.

Something that now happens on occasion is that the Reading Symphony Youth Orchestra joins in for a piece. How cool is that? I wish they’d done that back when I was playing.

The concert was most wonderful! There was however, one tiny snag tot he evening. A steam pipe in the building had broken so the temperature was 92. It was so hot on stage that the men removed theirs jackets. I know. Unheard of, right? Anyway, they opened every door in the place and I think set up fans because it was it wasn’t long before it started feeling better. I must say I was impressed when the center manager made an appearance to explain and apologize especially since the Royals were playing at the other center in Reading. He did offer to return calls personally should anyone care to leave their numbers. You’ll be so proud of the restraint I showed in not leaving mine.

All in all it was a very pleasant evening. Thank you once again, my friend, for inviting me. Going almost has me inspired to get my bass out and play again.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thank You, Verterans


"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." ~ John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Customer Service Lives!


We’re in our benefits open enrollment period at work now. In years past we could log on to a website and make selections ourselves. This year, they decided to change it. We have to call in and make our choices with a representative. We were told the process takes about half an hour.

Um, okay. I’m sure you can relate to my trepidation. Calling in with hundreds of other people has the potential to really suck. First there’s the possible wait time. And then there’s the person on the other end of the line who could be a truly grumpy automaton, making the same speech, hour after hour, day after day, telling people their copays and their rates are going up.

Imagine my surprise when a very pleasant voice, self-proclaimed to be Debbie, answered on the second ring. As it turned out my wariness was unfounded. Debbie was very knowledgeable and willing to share in a manner that was extremely understandable even for someone like me who is admittedly resistant to all things insurance.

Believe it or not, the entire process ended up being fun, thanks to Debbie. And, again due to her patience and ability, I now get some of the big, scary insurance falderal. Yeah, how amazing is that? She didn’t even hang up on me when I touched on the orangutan living within my skull.

The only thing she couldn’t help with was the whole 401K investment hoopla but, during our lovely chat she happened to mention that her hubby is in that field. Too bad she didn’t also give me his number. I sure could use someone like her to explain all that to me too.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Mist


...Is like catnip to me. Sick or not, I'm going out to play!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Excruciating!


I was almost asleep last night when my face began to hurt. Ache. Throb. Pound. Exponentially until I thought it would explode.

Still in severe pain four hours later when it was time to get up, I did. Get up that is. Yes, it was as expected. Movement made it worse.

I did my morning chores sans glasses as always, albeit in slow motion. Fighting nausea at the pain the entire time. And then I put on my glasses. Which magnified the hurt as did attempting to make both eyes focus on the same thing at the same time.

Off to work anyway. Hey, you always have to at least try. Did some stuff there. Slowly. Called the doc who could fit me in. Did some more stuff. Even slower. Walked around the corner to my appointment as I struggled to pretend my forehead wasn’t going to blow off with every step.

Confirmed. Sinus infection again. Or perhaps it’s still because I don’t really think July’s and September’s ever truly went away. So now, since I have insurance after a fashion, I’m off to the ENT specialist and then a CAT scan. I suspect they are worried that the baby orangutan who lives in my head has expanded his way into my sinus cavity.

The ultra disgusting medicated nasal spray and equally vile inhaler have him curled in a fetal position, immobile, at the moment. Let’s hope he stays that way so I can be more functional on the morrow. Things to do and all that…

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

So Tired


Over the past few weeks, my sleep cycle has become skewed. Instead of sleeping at night, as I usually do, my body now thinks I need to be asleep around 11:00 AM. Very difficult, considering I have a day job.

So I force myself to stay awake all day and to try to sleep at night. The awake part isn’t all that difficult. It just has me very tired. The sleep part, on the other hand, is horrible. When I do manage to convince myself to drift off I slip into the worst dreams.

For weeks now I’ve been awake every night. Either I am simply up because I don’t feel as if it’s time to be asleep or I’ve woken myself, screaming or crying. It’s to the point where I’m afraid to even try to sleep.

I’m back to prowling the house, in the dark. The cats have learned to stay out of my way. They can see in the dark. I can’t. The first night I was up I think I stepped on everyone’s tail at least twice. I’m not sure if it’s a good thing there’s a lot of shooting in my neighborhood now or a bad one. If it were quiet, I’d probably be roaming outside too.

I don’t know how long it’s going to take for things to shift around to where they should be but I sure hope it’s soon. This is really starting to get to me.

And even though I am that tired I still stopped to vote on my way home. At 5:00 I was 111 out of a potential 798. How pathetic is that? This election includes mayor of Reading, someone who has a direct effect on everyone here. Yeah, just pathetic.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Meh


Last week I read a recipe at lunch. Cheeseburger tater tot casserole. It sounded really good so when I was at the grocery store on Saturday I gathered up the necessary ingredients.

I made it.

It wasn’t awful but it was no where near as good as I wanted it to be. Thinking on it, I suspect I was hungry at the time I was reading the magazine because really, that is not something I’d normally make.

Some things are better left to the imagination.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Winter Forecasting


With the end of daylight savings time this weekend and earlier darkness, it’ll seem more like winter even though it’s going to be in the sixties next week and official winter doesn’t begin for another six weeks. I thought, in preparation for this, you might like to have a few winter severity tips.

To gauge the severity of an upcoming winter you must obtain a recently deceased local goose. Extract and study its breastbone. The more mottled it is, the worse the winter will be. If that’s not doable, check your local trees. The more moss there is on the south side of the trunk, the harder the winter will be.

Pay close attention to squirrels. The deeper they bury their nuts, the colder it’s going to be. And fruit trees blooming twice in one year is a sure sign that the upcoming winter will be a bad one. I wonder if that carries over to strawberries. I picked a mess of them last month so if it does, we’re in for it.

For short term weather forecasting, watch your cat. If it sits with its back to the heat source then the weather will turn cold. Um, still haven’t turned the heat on so I can’t do test this one. Also, if your cat is extra frisky, a storm is coming. Yeah, that one I can agree with. Beau and Kya were insane last Friday and Saturday before the snow. If you don’t have cats, you can use the moon instead. If there’s a ring around the moon, count the number of stars inside it and that’s how many days it’ll be until the next precipitation. If the moon has two rings there will be snow within 24 hours.

For long term forecasting January is the most important month so keep this in mind. The first twelve days are said to predict the weather for the next twelve months. For a precipitation forecast cut the tops off of twelve onions. Scoop a little spot in each center and fill it with salt. Line them up in an east-west orientation between 11:00 PM and midnight on New Year’s Eve. Check them in the morning. The more water in each onion, the wetter the assigned month will be.

Unfortunately we’ve missed out on one of the snowfall prediction methods but you can try it next year. Count the number of foggy mornings in August to determine the number of snowfalls.

The next two are really contradictory if I use our first snow. You can either count the number of days between the first snow and Christmas or the number of days it snowed after the last New Moon. It snowed on the 29th. So we’re either having 58 snows or 3, depending on which method you believe. Yeah, I’m not so sure about that choice.

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Howie!


Howie needed to be inspected so I scheduled him for yesterday. I arranged for Riley and hubby to collect me and didn’t give it much thought. Not until I was merrily on my way. In the dark. The very, very dark. As in at one point absolutely no lights. None at all. Total darkness in an area where it shouldn’t be.

Uh oh. I never even considered that Howie’s caregivers may not have power. I hadn’t heard from them. Yeah, that thought was followed instantly by the realization that all the information was more than likely in their computer system and, without power, irretrievable. I kept going anyway. Good thing since as soon as I crossed the major highway right before the place there were lights on everywhere.

With the inspection I also asked them to replace the wiper blades as I couldn’t see out at times and an interior bulb as I couldn’t see in at other times. They called right after lunch. Howie was all set to go.

Didn’t need anything. New wiper blades in place. And the bulb? There was a note. The light fixture was set to the wrong position to turn on when I pushed the remote button. Yep. Good thing I'm cute.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I'm Tired


So how about a pretty picture instead? This was the view outside my window at work all summer. How’s that to brighten my day?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Warning!


Beware of black licorice. It can be very harmful to your health. Stop that. I’m extremely serious here.

If you’re over 40 it has been shown that eating as little as two ounces of black licorice a day for at least two weeks can cause your heart rhythm to become so irregular you need hospitalization.

According to the FDA, eating an excess of the sweetening compound derived from licorice root, glycyrrhizin, will cause your potassium level to fall dramatically. In addition to abnormal heart rhythms this can cause high blood pressure, swelling, lethargy and even congestive heart failure.

The FDA and various medical journals have reported that potassium levels will generally be restored when the consumption of black licorice is stopped.

There is also a notice that black licorice can interact with certain medications. If you’ve noticed physical changes and the only difference is you’ve been snacking on licorice you really should mention your fondness for the candy when visiting your doctor. Oh yeah, quit eating it!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Yarn Possibility #1


The first sample is tested. Fine for a hat but not so much for the sweater I am searching for. On to the next…

Saturday, October 29, 2011

It Did!!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Let It Snow!!!


Today, it’s 50 and sunny. Blue skies with just a few swirls of clouds drifting by. A close to perfect fall day.

It’s going to be the same on Sunday.

Saturday, however, is another matter entirely. It’s going to snow! Lots! In October!

A super early Nor’easter is on the way. It’s supposed to hit in the wee hours, starting as rain mixed with snow, ending as heavy snow. Depending on which forecast you heed the prediction is 3-6 inches, 5-8 inches or 6-10 inches with visibilities of half a mile or less.

I can’t wait! Hey, it’s not going to last. The temperature here has been in the 60’s most days this week so the ground is too warm for it to stick for real. It won’t hang around and make parking a nuisance. It’ll just be pretty and white and fluffy, blanketing everything in a hush for a few hours.

Yes, I know that an early season wet storm such as this has great potential for damage since there are still plenty of leaves on the trees. Branches could break and cause power outages. I sincerely hope not much of that happens but as to the rest of it, I am going to enjoy it. I might go for a walk with my camera or I may just stay in and knit while I watch it snow. Either way I intend to have a wonderful Saturday. I recommend you do the same!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Today's Lesson


Earthworms. I can hear you asking “Why?” Stop it! My question to you is “Why not?” They are an extremely valuable natural resource so take a minute and learn about them.

First of all, they do not come to the surface when it’s raining to avoid drowning. They come out because it’s easier to move from point A to point B, where the tastier morsels are, by slithering across the ground rather than grinding their way through it. And when it rains, they don’t dry up while doing so. Kind of clever of them if you think about it.

The myth that a worm will survive when chopped in two is only partly true. Or, depending on how look at it, partly false. The front half can regenerate if there is a large enough portion. The back will always perish so don’t chop worms you find in your garden in half. Let them reproduce on their own! A pound of red worms will double in number, 1000 breeding to 2000, in a matter of weeks so there’s really no need for you to mess with them.

Some trivia. There are roughly 180 different varieties of earthworms burrowing around North America. The majority of which are descendants of European worms that came along with plants that were tucked away in the hulls of ships. So worms came over on the Mayflower and are original settlers, just like Pilgrims.

Rich farmland can support up to one million worms, while poor only a quarter of that. You want as many as possible since worms are so beneficial to soil. Their waste contains all sorts of good nutrients and their tunnels retain water so plants of all kinds love them!

Worms generally live one to two years though some make it as long as eight. Um, sorry. No clue how they know that one. Common red worms grow to three to four inches. Earthworms reach eight to ten. The US Giant Palouse can get up to two feet long and the South African Giant can grow to be 22 feet. Yes, that’s right. Twenty-two feet! Now I do try very hard not to toss any night crawlers when I’m weeding in my yard and I always “plant” any leftover worms after fishing but I sure hope I never encounter one of them.

There. Now you know too. Aren’t you glad you read this?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Stay Awake


I’ve been dreaming again. Not good dreams. No, these are the kind that feel so real they leave me questioning whether or not they actually happened and out of sorts forever after waking.

The other night, people were trying to kill me. Nothing new in that. I’ve had the same unknown individual attempting that for years now. Let’s hope I never pass him on the street because I would not remain calm. But this dream was different. This time there were multiple people, including friends, wanting me out of the way in order to get to Beau. It seems they’ve finally realized just how powerful and wondrous his magick is and decided to have it for themselves. Hmm. Okay, kill me if you must but please don’t hurt Beau.

Then last night, I went visiting in my sleep. I thought I’d drop by and surprise some friends. Only, since I wasn’t expected, they didn’t know me. Yeah. Talk about upsetting. Now it’s stuck in my head that I can never ever make any unannounced visits. Ridiculous, I know but now that it’s out there it won’t go away.

I can’t ever decide which is worse, waking up screaming or waking up crying. Either one leaves me off balance. I’m once again afraid to sleep. So. Who wants to keep me company tonight?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Over

I’m fading
Like moonlight in the dawn
My spark burns out
Leaving my soul
Full of
…nothing

The river of my heart
Once overflowing
With love
And hope
Trickles
And dries
…to dust

Laughter rings no more
Joy leeched
From my very being
What remains
A hollow, empty shell
That was once
But will never again
Be
…me

Monday, October 24, 2011

Go Read!


Busy, busy week this week so I’m not sure how much I’ll be here. So you don’t miss me too much, might I suggest you read one of my books? How about Close to Forever? It’s such a sweet, sweet romance and I just know you’ll love the characters! Here’s a peek…

Chloe ignored her disgruntled instructor’s tactless comment that she wasn’t up to the task and went about the required cleanup without complaint as she had every other class. She was still hoping to speak with him after the others had gone but his friend appeared before everyone else left. In her frustration, she slammed the drawer on the rolling toolbox with enough force to shove it back against the oil drum. The resulting racket drew both men immediately to her side, which left her embarrassed at her clumsiness for the second time in two hours.

“It slipped,” she said hastily as she tried to free her arms from the hands firmly gripping them. “Sorry.” Chloe fought to maintain her smile when she looked up at the scowling face hovering above hers. “Um, could you please let go now?” His fingers tightened. His expression darkened and for one insane second she almost had the impression that he was going to kiss her. “You’re hurting me.”

Marc released her so forcefully that she almost stumbled. His hands returned to steady her even though his features showed he’d prefer to shove her as far away from him as he could. “Damn fool woman! Why the fuck didn’t you do us both a favor and stay the hell home tonight like you should have?”

George was so unprepared for Marc’s fury that his mouth opened and closed uselessly, so shocked he seemed to have lost the ability to speak. His face turned even redder than Chloe’s. It took him so long to react that by the time he thought to step between them it was too late.

“Just what is your problem?” she exclaimed, poking a finger into the middle of Marc’s solid chest. “I closed the drawer a little too hard and it slipped out of my hand. It is on wheels, you do know that, right? So what if it rolled a few inches and banged that barrel a smidge? It didn’t do anything to either, see?” She spun around, angling the toolbox so he could see that there was no damage. “It was an accident! Just an accident so you really don’t need to yell about it.”

Marc’s stony stare hardened. “Lady, you’re a real piece of work. I don’t know if you’re stubborn, stupid or both but whichever it is, it’s way past time for you to wise up here.”

“Marc,” George tried.

“Shut up, Hansen. I’m not finished.” The look he flashed his friend stunned him into silence once again. “You start out by all but keeling over. You spend the next two hours on your feet even though I suggest that you take a seat several times. You refuse to leave when I tell you to like a typical pigheaded, idiot female. And then you go all pissy-bitch on me because I try to keep you from bashing your head on something when it looks and sounds like you’re falling over again.”



“You passed out earlier?” George squealed.

Chloe said no as Marc said yes. “Not really,” she explained. “I had a very hectic day and felt a little lightheaded for a few seconds right after I got here. I was fine as soon as I had a minute. Contrary to popular opinion, I do know my own limits and assure you that had I at any time felt unable to competently participate in this evening’s lesson, I would have excused myself and gone home. I am not a quitter, Mr. Hughes, something I had hoped you might have realized by now. I finish what I start and that isn’t going to change. I have no idea what bug crawled up your high and mighty ass and frankly, I no longer care but nothing you say is going to drive me away from the remaining sessions. You obviously aren’t about to take my word on this so you just go ahead and give it your best shot. Bring it on, mister, but don’t be surprised when it doesn’t work.” When she stopped speaking, Chloe noticed that she was jabbing his rock-hard chest and had been the whole time. She was out of breath and hoping against hope that it masked the way she was shaking. She couldn’t remember ever being so angry in her entire life, which had her fascinated even in her annoyed state.

George used the pause to separate the pair. “Okay, kids, let’s just calm down here.”

He pushed Marc back a few feet with a hand firmly against his side while trying to maneuver Chloe in the opposite direction with a gentle hand on her shoulder. “Take some deeps breaths and relax. You both seem kind of edgy but there’s no need to get carried away. Settle down and then we’ll talk this through. Okay?”

“I know you mean well, Mr. Hansen, but there’s nothing to talk about. Mr. Hughes’ hostility began the first class when I walked in ten minutes, apparently an unforgivable offense in his book. Somewhat harsh in my opinion but he’s the instructor so it’s his prerogative. I’m a big girl and I’ve dealt with worse, trust me. The course is more than half over. I’ve made it this long so I’m sure I can handle it if he’s determined to continue acting like such a big jerk throughout the rest.”

Sunday, October 23, 2011

My Last Dark Day


Things are often not as they first appear…

What’s a woman to do when faced with yet another in a never-ending cycle of anniversaries guaranteed to ruin her day?

Step one, respond when contacted on-line by a friendly couple.
Step two, accept the wife’s claim of the husband’s empathic sensitivities as fact.
Step three, go along quietly when the husband miraculously comes to the rescue just when he’s needed most.
Step four, have the courage to put complete control in his more than capable hands.
Step five, don’t think. Go with the flow. Be open to all possibilities. Relax and enjoy.
Step six, repeat frequently.

Available from Total-E-Bound. Click here for more information.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Haiku

Black and puffy clouds
Hanging low over my head
Perfect day for me



Friday, October 21, 2011

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Cautionary Tale


Suppose there was once a person who spent many years living with someone very bad. Suppose at one time, said bad individual locked the person in the basement. After turning off the lights. And placing heavy items on the outside cellar door so there was little chance of escape. Suppose, after the person sustained both bodily injury and emotional wounds breaking out of the cellar, the bad individual, upon return several hours later, claimed that it was all a joke.

Fast forward several years, totally different environment. Suppose someone has to go to a basement to retrieve work-related supplies. Suppose a coworker, thinking to pull a prank, locks the door. Suppose a minute later when the door is opened that someone is upset which makes the coworker angry since it was just a joke.

The first situation is not at all in any way, shape or form humorous. Neither is the second. My point? Prank with care. You never know what hornet’s nest of memories you may be stirring up and though the coworker was honestly contrite upon receiving an explanation it doesn’t help re-fade old scars.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Chirp

Cricket
Chirping in the moonlight
Echoing in the crisp chilled air
Louder now that its time is coming to an end
Full of desperation

Reaching the end of my days
I too sing at the top of my lungs
Tuneless and hollow
My caterwauling fills the void
Calling out for all I’ve lost
All I never found

My heart thuds
Thunder inside my head
Though no one hears
For like the lone cricket
I am the last of my kind
Left alive in the cold bleakness
Of this early winter’s eve

I wait
Hoping against hope
But there is no reply
My tune slows
To a dirge
Soon to be silenced
By the frost
That ices my soul



© Barbara Huffert 2011

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Clever!


Yesterday, I got up and did my usual morning stuff. It was an average start to my day. Or so it seemed until I checked my email.

In an account I use for only certain things I found 22 messages. I never have 22 messages there, not even spam. Curious, to say the least. Even curiouser, all 22 were from my phone. The phone that is on my bedside table every night when I turn in. It was there in the morning, just as it should be. Needless to say, I was a tad confused.

And then I read the messages, beginning with the oldest. After opening the first, I got out Beau’s notebook and transcribed them. Yep, the wicked, little guy was at it again. When all was said and done I ended up with two complete pages of what I’m guessing is the first half of a very creepy new tale he’s working on. He’s left things in the Notes folder on the phone but this is the first time he’s emailed me. I must say, I’m impressed. He realized it was too long and would take up far too much room so he solved the dilemma in a very effective way.

When I asked Beau about it, he gave me that cute “Who me?” look of his and scampered off to pounce on Kya. I was hoping he’d finish it up last night but nope, there was nothing this morning. I suspect that is because the house alarm went off as it does at random times for no reason and interrupted his creative flow. Perhaps tonight…

Monday, October 17, 2011

Searching


I had the coolest teacher when I was in fifth grade. She would let us do extra credit to earn rewards. A sweet treat, being permitted to chew gum in class, a block of time outside to read. The last was always my choice. I did lots of extra work over the winter and spent most of the first days of spring lounging under a tree.

There was a book I read that I remember enjoying immensely. Sadly, the title has escaped me, though I would recognize the back cover if I saw it again.

It was an adventure novel. And a huge book for a ten-year-old, several hundreds of pages. I recall something about a boy going off on a journey to fight battles with a General who happened to be a red ant. There were several other companions with them, critters of various sorts. I know they didn’t return completely unscathed though the boy did return to his yard in the end.

Does any of this ring a bell with you? I love to reread books I enjoyed as a child. Like the Edward Eager Half Magic series. Highly recommended. And so is this other book, if only I can find out its title. Anyone?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Kittens!


Remember the cat who came to stay during the storm? I visited her and the kittens tonight. She's as purry and sweet as ever. The kittens are too cute! They're still very wobbling, falling all over each other. I'm going to go back to see them again in another few weeks. They'll be racing all over by then.

Anyone interested in adopting, please contact me. They all need homes, including Mama.