Monday, April 28, 2008

Gone Fishin'

Dear Gentle Longtime Readers:
I haven't been posting as much lately. You see, I have a new distraction: a new job. I will eventually get back to posting on a semi-regular basis, but I will mostly check in on my favorite blogs when I have a little extra time. But, I will still surround myself with words since the job entails a boatload of them. Happy blogging!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Practical loses out to indulgent

Like one of my favorite bloggers, I don’t write about products for pay. Yes, I know there is a Google ad at the top of this post, but I don’t even bother to see if there is any money in my account, and I certainly have no control over what ads Google plops up there. Ads for Ann Coulter books, sexy singles, quilting supplies, the University of Alabama and of course kitchen sinks—they are all somehow related to the content here or at least Google seems to think so, although I still haven’t figured out the sexy singles connection.

So, this cute little Springer Spaniel stuffed animal by Douglas is not an ad. As a new grandma, I am prone to impulse purchases. Ogilvy, a Springer Spaniel plush dog, was one such purchase. I thought new grandson might like this much quieter liver and white spaniel to match the real life Monte version.

I know new parents would love more practical purchases, but sometimes a grandma just has to be indulgent.

Friday, April 18, 2008

A Dog Senses Danger

My son called me on his way to work this morning. “Did you hear about the earthquake?” he asked.

I had and was going to E-mail him later to ask if they had felt the quake in the west suburbs of Chicago.

My daughter-in-law had been awakened by a shaking house and had tried to convince my skeptical son that she wasn’t imagining things. Only after checking the morning’s news did he realize she was right.

Now, unlike the west coast, you don’t really hear too much about earthquakes in the Midwest, but according to the U.S.Geological Survey, "this region has more earthquakes than any other part of the United States east of the Rocky Mountains." For example, the New Madrid Fault is one you might have heard about most. Back in 1811-1812, a series of earthquakes hit New Madrid, Missouri, and even changed the course of the Mississippi River. Today’s quake, which occurred in the Wabash Valley fault system, was centered in southern Illinois and was felt in St. Louis, Cincinnati and even as far as Canada. Because of the region's geology, earthquakes here tend to be felt over much greater distance.

But, what captured my attention was the strange behavior of grand-dog Monte as reported by my son. My son said that yesterday Monte was barking at the ground like he was terribly afraid. Monte's legs were trembling from fear. From past experience, I know dogs will bark at a lot of odd things--motorcycles, vacuum cleaners and especially items that are out-of-place; however, I am now convinced Monte is an earthquake-detector dog.

The National Geographic
has an interesting article on the subject of animals sensing earthquakes. Next time, I think I’ll listen to Monte when he sounds a warning. I have a new level of respect for him.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

When Whimsy Strikes

In looking for an image this morning, I consulted Dover’s Pictorial Archive Series, “Life” Magazine Cuts & Illustrations 1923-1935. Life got its start in the late 1800s with founder John Ames Mitchell patterning it after the Harvard Lampoon.

Mitchell, himself a cartoonist, gave many budding artists a start including Charles Dana Gibson, who was famous for the Gibson Girl.

During Life’s heyday, works of some of the country’s greatest commercial artists appeared on its pages including illustrations by Theodor Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss.

Dr. Seuss fashioned a career illustrating for big advertisers like General Electric and Standard Oil, drew political cartoons, joined the Army during World War II and eventually wrote and illustrated children’s books, which we remember him for best.

This is the illustration that caught my eye this morning. I don’t know how it was originally used, but I thought it needed some orange.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Call Me

I’m a total nut about serendipity. Here’s a recent example.

Our house phone had been out of order for God only knows how long. Since I was away for two weeks, I can’t say when I would have noticed it. Some time during that time though, husband called and asked if I ever had any trouble with the phone. Well, yes that was a strange thing to ask me, but he did set up an appointment with AT&T to have it checked.

The repairman showed up and promptly found the source of trouble. Our service box had been struck by lightning he deduced. Anyway, I was happy that the source of trouble wasn’t with the house wiring which would have meant we would have had to pay for the repair.

Here’s the serendipity. Even before Mike called (that’s the AT&T guy) to tell me the phone was working again, I heard the phone ring and answered. It was a call for Scott about a summer internship. Good timing or serendipity? Well y’all know what I think.

Plus, Mike showed me how I could troubleshoot to see if the house wiring might be at fault should we ever have trouble again. You take a working standard phone (you do still have one of those, don’t you?) out to the service box and plug it in. That could tell you the house wiring is at fault if you get a dial tone out there and not inside. But I guess if you don’t, you’ll need to call the phone company anyway because it could be a case like ours or not.

Friday, April 04, 2008

My Two Cents

I think I might know why so many of us are in economic trouble.

Yesterday, the third grocery store I went to had the hazelnuts I needed for a recipe. I paid for the package with two one-dollar bills and 50 cents in change. My purchase totaled $2.48. The cashier asked, “Do you want your change?”

You are darned tootin’ sweetkins. “Yes,” I replied with a hint of sarcasm. I reckon Dillon’s thinks my two cents doesn’t matter much to me. Well, two cents is two cents, and after awhile a big grocery chain with two cents extra from every shopper could actually add up to some free money.

I guess the stories about the death of the penny are true. But I’ll keep my two cents for what it’s worth.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Eco Shopping

I was in an eco mood yesterday when I popped into Wal-Mart. It’s been awhile since I’ve shopped there, and I noticed that Wal-Mart has embraced green and organic like only Wal-Mart can.

Organic is sometimes more expensive than non-organic, but the fresh organic sweet potatoes and lemons were nearly the same price.

Then, I noticed the Palmolive dishwasher detergent called Eco and decided to try it since it was less expensive than regular brands. I passed on Clorox’s new green brand but perhaps I’ll give it a try soon.

The display of Campbell’s Tomato Soup with the Earth Day label practically demanded I buy a can. Plus, I remembered that April 22, is Earth Day.

And finally, all this talk about ‘green’ reminded me of my favorite green character, Kermit the Frog, who sang, “When green is all there is to be” . . . “I think it’s what I want to be.”

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Chancing It

April showers bring May flowers. What do Mayflowers bring? Why Pilgrims of course.

I thought of the old saying and kids' joke yesterday when I got what I deserved shower-wise. I tempted fate with two quick stops before getting caught in a downpour at the last shopping foray. I thought briefly about taking the blue and white Seton Hall umbrella so casually tossed on the back seat of the car. So, that’s why I got what I deserved and why I never would have made it as a Boy Scout had I been eligible to join their ranks of “always be prepared.”

Perhaps had I not dallied over the produce or if the young cashier hadn’t wanted to run back to the frozen isle to get me another sugar-free popsicle package because the one I selected was too soft or if I hadn’t been mentally tallying up prices in my head to reach the magic $90 so that I could use a $9 off coupon, I could have beaten the storm. But maybe I was destined to get a drenching to the bone. It’s been a while after all, and a shower can wash away many things including predictability.