Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Active?

I was drawn like the moth to the flame. I saw the bright green bottles sitting on the store shelf. I had to have it in my cart! I purchased the Fructis shampoo/conditioner and headed home. Upon using it in the shower, I read "with Active Fruit concentrate". ACTIVE FRUIT? I always thought the standard STILL LIFE subject was a bowl of fruit. How can this be? Two opposites describing one simple object...fruit. Specifically apples. I've eaten apples. Maybe you have, too? Aside from my mandible and tongue moving it from tooth to tooth there was no activity. Just tasty goodness. So, what has turned this sedentary fruit to an active lifestyle? We may never know.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Irrational Sound Reactions...

At times when I hear a relatively close train whistle at night, I get an irrational fear that the train is off the tracks and coming toward me. It's a strange bristling fear deep within me that makes no logical sense. When it hits I'm usually not even close enough to the railroad tracks to be within striking distance if there was a derailment. So, yeah, just thought I'd share.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christmas Eve

It's Christmas eve. What did we do today? A family Christmas breakfast at my sister-in-law's house. (An awesome idea when there's so many other parties typically going on...oh and great food!) Followed by little last minute grocery shopping and gift shopping. Nothing *too* unusual yet, right? Well, after shopping, we planted daffodil bulbs. Yes, it is spring here! Well, at least we have spring like temperatures. It was near 60 today. It's soooo odd. In my experience Christmas is usually pretty dang cold... -10 or -20 degrees Fahrenheit isn't uncommon in Minnesota on Christmas. So, today in Utah we were out playing in the dirt and thinkin' spring. It kind of puts the kibosh on making snowy holiday memories, but I'm not gonna lie to ya...warm holiday days ROCK.

I hope you all have a peaceful holiday weekend no matter what temperature you find yourself!

Monday, December 19, 2005

A homespun holiday

I'm *nearly* done with all of my giftie preparations. For the most part, I stuck with my plan of making most of my gifties for my family and friends. Most of the packages are in the mail, so I'm starting to feel the stress leaving. Yay! I did end up doing some online clothing shopping for Ivan's kids. You know, I didn't want to have to learn how to knit sweaters and whatnot in the limited time available. Maybe next year. Ha! Maybe not.

Online Classes...

My step-daughter told me that she took an online college class in addition to her normal class schedule. Curious, I asked, "What was the subject?" To which she replied, "Fitness. I got an A." Aside from a creative writing class, it's the only class where fiction is appreciated.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Holiday Offense

For all of you out there who are offended by someone or corporations using "Merry Christmas", "Happy Hanukkah", or even the neutral "Happy Holidays." GET OVER YOURSELF.

I like this snippet from from Dr. Wayne Dyer. (By the way, if the word "god" offends you, feel free to put in "higher power" or even exchange "good" for "god". Don't get lost in the easily offensive details without reading the entire thing...and then THINK about it.) : "1. Stop being offended. The behavior of others isn’t a reason to be immobilized. That which offends you only weakens you. If you’re looking for occasions to be offended, you’ll find them at every turn. This is your ego at work convincing you that the world shouldn't be the way it is. By all means, act to eradicate the horrors of the world, which emanate from massive ego identification, but stay in peace. As A Course in Miracles reminds us: Peace is of God, you who are part of God are not at home except in his peace. Being is of God, you who are part of God are not at home except in his peace. Being offended creates the same destructive energy that offended you in the first place and leads to attack, counterattack, and war. "

I think the important thing to remember, especially when dealing with the seasons greetings you may come across this time of year, is that the intent of the sender. When an individual says, "Merry Christmas" they are wishing you the spirit of joy that they experience this time of year, regardless of your religious beliefs. They're not trying to be a missionary out to convert you to Christianity. If you hear someone say, "Happy Holidays"...they really DO want you to be happy. They're not trying to neuter your religious or non-religious convictions, so don't attempt to perceive it that way.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Odd Spam

My spam emails have gotten kind of funny. I'm not sure if I've suddenly gotten targeted by a different spammer or if the same old spammers have gotten "into" cartoon spam. Anyway, they're all for some sexual enhancement thing. The titles actually look like real email...you know, something like "About your site" or the like. They don't get marked by my spam filter either. So, I click away and open 'em up...only to find a cartoon of Bart Simpson with an overly accentuated phallus touting some product. Today was a brand spankin' new image...a muscular snowman complete with a carrot nose screwin' a cartoony anime-type chick. It's burned in my brain now. hehehe. I'll never look at a snowman in the same away again. Unfortunately for my spammer, I don't remember the product just the image. I would share the image with ya'll but I do a shift-delete to permanently delete mail and did so without even thinkin' 'bout it. If I get it again, I'll share.

Monday, December 05, 2005

It's Holiday Hooligans Time Again!

I've been a bit too quiet over the past couple of years about this, but I still feel just as passionate about it. Holiday Hooligans! Give it a shot. You never know who's life you will touch!
I Googled holiday hooligans and found a couple of people who posted online after being "hooliganized" by someone. One's here. I like that it inspired him to send another gift...and the feeling of "love for humanity". Gotta love that!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Another day..another Friday!?

It's that time...again! I was a bit late for last week's so this week's Illustration Friday is right on it's heels. Click on the image to see full size...and for further info. If you don't want to click there, click here. Really, two...two...two ways to link in one!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Last minute...

Here's my last minute, quicky done Illustration Friday submission. Yes, it's taken from a photo, but really, I did run it through several processes to get it this way! That counts for ummm...creativity, right? Well, enjoy! Click the little image to see full size. Hopefully next week's topic will inspire me to be a bit more out there. Topic this week: Small. Even the biggest of fat chicks is small in front of roadside attractions. oh, yeah, this is an ad for my other site: www.biggirlbigstuff.com. Check it out...it's fun, especially if you like silly stuff like roadside attractions!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Love Your Peaches

I just got an order from Love Your Peaches. LOVE it! Janelle, the owner/designer, as a cotton/lycra line that is fabulous! The fabric is a good transitional weight and the designs can be dressed up or down. The cotton/lyrcra stuff allows for good fit & flare styles -- especially good for those who lurve their curves. OH, and the prices are decent, too! Check it out!

Is Anyone Out There?

If so, where the heck are ya? The silence is deafening. Let me know you're there by putting yourself on my map. http://www.frappr.com/catay My friend Bobber sent me info on this a while ago. I wonder if he'll get on the map? Hmmm? Anyway, it's a fun little free program. I hope to see you "out there".

Monday, November 28, 2005

Huge Kudos to Minnesota Pharmacist

Huge kudos to pharmacist Jim Witt of Borg Drug in Ashby, Minnesota! He's not charging the recommended "retail" drug prices. On the news story I heard last night, there are some drugs that the evil drug lords like Merck recommend to have sold at $25 that Witt is charging only $1. Now, if we can only get Walgreens or other national retailers to buy into the less-scam, more ethics philosophy, we'd have a country where elderly and poverty stricken individuals can actually afford to buy medication.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

What's the worst thing about Thanksgiving??

Picking the left over turkey meat off the carcass. Icky!! I survived doing it tonight and I have a lovely odor of sage and turkey grease. OH, to add insult to injury, the bird was the fattiest bird I've ever had. Sure, it was a Butterball and by the name of it, it ought to be somewhat rotund, but this was ridiculous. They talk about the "obesity epidemic" in the US. Turns out they were talking about the turkeys getting too fat! Gafigure!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Thanksgiving

There are so many things for which I am thankful -- my family, my friends, my health, my life, a roof over my head, a turkey in my tummy (well, soon to be), my job and coworkers, relatively clean air to breathe, clean running water to keep myself hydrated and clean, etc, etc. I have so much when so many have so few. At times it's so easy to forget the things I DO have and only think about the things I don't have. With the huge natural disasters that have hit so much of the world the past 12 months, I'm so very thankful that I'm still here and able to babble in this blog about the simple things that make life grand. I hope you each of a wonderful Thanksgiving. Count your blessings and hold your loved ones near.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Roadside Giggle

I've seen this sign for several years...well, ever since I first came to Utah anyway. There are fewer and fewer of them now, unfortunately. A sign of the times in this booming development area. Especially ticklish to me is the farmer's most excellent posture. Sure, farmer Joe has had a long hard day in the field, but crap if he's going to slouch while riding the tractor back home! NO WAY! NO HOW! His chiropractor is, understandably, VERY proud.

This Week's Illustration Friday Submission

Overcuted and oversimplified, here is "free". (Click on the photo to the left to see larger, either that or just squint really hard.)

Is overcuted related to executed? Talk amongst yourselves. Click here to see more of my Illustration Friday submissions or click here to see Illustration Friday.

Customer Service

This page is cool! If you ever need to get ahold of a genuine human being at a large company, rather than a message loop, this page may be for you! My trick is usually just never push a button when the message says to push one. You know, pretend you still have a rotary phone number. It usually works like a charm.

Friday, November 18, 2005

View My Portfolio <--- Check out my new photos submitted to Istock! Buy 'em if they interest you. ;-) The newest ones are of a Monarch butterfly on chrysanthemums. 'twas a sweet little old butterfly that was quite patient with me. Normally butterflies leave before I even get the camera turned on. In the past couple of months I've made over $30 on the pics on there. Weez profezzionals. :) About half are Ivans and half mine. So far, his beautiful wilderness shots are by far the most popular sellers.

Bodies...the Exhibition

This show brings out the wannabe doctor hidden deep within me. How cool would this be to see? I would be fascinated and grossed out all at once. Apparently there are 22 bodies and assorted other body parts preserved for eternity by embedding polymers into the tissues. Plasti-man! I used to have the set of Visible Man (love that painting of it!) and Visible Woman models where you could take apart the bodies, organ by organ. Way cool, but they fell a bit short. No muscles. No odd pockets of fatty tissue, etc. The "Bodies" show has it all from what I can see. Fascinating!! I doubt the show will ever make it to Utah. Those lucky New Yorkers!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Strength - An Illustration Friday Submission

Here's my submission for this week's Illustration Friday. I got up early and worked on it for just over an hour before I started work. The topic is "Strength".

Nothing is stronger than the odor of really, really, really bad feet. The kind that have been stewing in re-used socks in a sweat drenched sneaker. If you've ever experienced this, you KNOW what I mean. Not only is the smell strong, but the memory lives on long after the smell is gone. Amazing how that works.

You can click the image to see it full size.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Jury Duty

I just stopped over at Fatshadow.com. I read her blog from time to time. She's an excellent writer and has lead an interesting existance. Anyway, on this visit, she talks about her call to jury duty. (insert whine) I never get called to jury duty. Am I the only one that would like to go, but never gets called? Darn it. I'm even a registered voter. Do you think they somehow know that I'd like to serve and that's why they don't call? (end whine) Most people I know that have been called have gone through pretty much the same thing as fatshadow.com's experience, but someday...someday I hope to actually do the active juror gig. Hey, I'd even be making my regular salary (it pays to work for a lawfirm), so I wouldn't mind if it was a 6 month trial. Do you hear me out there? Just call me, I'll be there.

No, I'm not a philatelist...

...but I did see these at the post office a couple of days ago. How fun! My favorite is Animal. I like the way it looks on an envelope...like he's trying to fight his way out. Although when I say that, I feel like I'm leaving Beaker out of the mix. He's my all time favorite muppet. Hmmm...I wonder what that says about me? There's gotta be a web-based quizlet come psychological inventory based on that.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Hospitalist

(heard about it on NPR (http://www.npr.org/) this morning.) What is it? A physician who's primary job is to attend to patients in the hospital. It's a brilliant idea, methinks. I'm not a huge proponent of a family physician. The idea that the family doctor knows and cares more than a doctor with whom you have just met doesn't really float with me. That may work if you live in a small town and the doctor only has 200 potential clients. In metropolitan areas now, doctors see patients in and out all day long. Aside from the notes that were taken about you the last time you saw him/her, he probably doesn't remember your particular case exactly. Each time, he/she needs to go back over the notes, just as a stranger would. So, that being said, also from a GP's perspective, I would think the idea of a hospitalist to be fabulous. They wouldn't have to try to squeeze in visits during the day to the hospital. Instead, they could get briefed on your condition, update their own charts, etc. All in all, an idea who's time has come.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Too much political fun!

1- Go to Google (http://www.google.com)
2- Type in the word "Failure"
3- Instead of clicking "Google Search," click "I'm Feeling Lucky."
4- Spread the word before the people at Google "fix" it.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Cleaning Floors

I'm not a big fan of floor scrubbing. It's messy, hard on the back/knees depending upon how serious you get about it, and well, I always seem to clean myself into a corner. Maybe if I did it more often I would perfect my technique? Hardly. Anyway, while looking through a list of new techno-gadgets, I came across the SCOOBA. It's like that Roomba robotic vacuum. I never really thought the Roomba was worth the money as I don't mind vacuumin...but Scooba? C'mon! It's freakin' brilliant!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

While shopping for Halloween...

While I was shopping for Halloween food stuffs, I came across something REALLY scary: Libby's Potted Meat Food Product. Yes, that's the exact name of the stuff. I wrote it down on my shopping list. Apparently it's cat food for humans. It's inexpensive at just 45cents per can. I guess if I were really hungry, blind and had a horrible cold to block out the flavor, it might be appealing. Has anyone out there tried it?! Please let me know how it was. I can't bring myself to purchase it.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Playing Catch Up

Here are some "catch-up" items that I've been meeting to write 'bout in my blog:

1. Martha Stewart's new daytime TV show. It's on freakin' hour long advertisement. If she's not advertising her own products -- books, k-mart crap, magazines, nighttime-show, she's advertising someone else's product. Martha is a horrible interviewer, too. In one show she had Christina Applegate on to help Martha decorate cupcakes. If I were Christina, I would have slapped her during the "interview". M would ask a question and then as Christina was talking, Martha would ask another or just talk right over her. 'twas pretty dang rude. I used to like Martha's old show. It always had something interesting and it didn't make her seem as much as an snake oil salesman. Maybe the old show was just masking its product tie-ins and I was oblivious to it, but c'mon.

2. Ivan and I hosted our annual Halloween party on Monday. We had a great turn out with guests wearing a lot of fun costumes. I didn't have a ton of extra time to devote to the set up since I was out of town late last week into Saturday, but with Ivan's kids' assistance we were able to get everything done in time. And the stuff I didn't get done, wasn't even missed.

3. Last week marked my 10th anniversary at my job. 10 years! I love my co-workers and my boss, so there really isn't much to complain about except the amount of time that has passed. My job has changed quite a bit over the past 10 years. I started as a system administrator focusing on database and litigation support. What I used to do as my primary job function, I now do as a "backup" to those who do it full-time. My main job function is purely web based...intranet, internet, portal and various play-ins to the aforementioned. Who knew that this was the direction the job would take? If I make it another 10 years, what role will I play? Most of what I do now wasn't even envisioned 10 years ago, so there's no telling what could be going on.

4. I'm sick of the holidays already. Sorry, but to those retailers that are pushing Christmas already, ~Ptoooey.~ I won't be shopping at your store for gifts. I'm sick and tired of people selling crap and attempting to manipulate me. My gifties this year will be simple. I've done this partially for several years, but I think I'm going all homemade this year. The fabric store may get the majority of my moola this year. Lucky them! (OH, and family and friends, be warned! :-) )

More Hidden Hatred

This happened a couple of weeks ago: Ivan and I were down at a guy's house to look at buying something. (Is that too vague? Hehehe. Ok, it was antique bottles...we were buying some bottles that the guy dug years ago.) Anyway, during the price negotiations, the guy reaches over and touches Ivan's chest and says something to the effect of, "Good, no garments. I can trust you." Mormon's who have been "endowed" by the LDS Church wear special undergarments referred to as "garments". Ivan was wearing a heavy shirt, so they're pretty much invisible. So, ummm...what the heck did the guy mean? That all Mormon are not to be trusted? Clearly that's not the case. I know a lot of Mormons now...they're as honest as anyone else. It's crap like that which makes me believe that hidden hatred is alive and well in this country. I have touched on this several times in the blog. Prejudice comes in so many forms these days...racism, sizeism, classism, sexism, faithism, etc, etc. It's soooo pervasive. Have you ever been a victim of it? Most likely, you don't even know. That's what's so discouraging about it. F*ckin' discouraging....

Monday, October 17, 2005

While at the airport...

...we were waiting to board the plane and I saw 'em. I saw a woman wearing the shoes mentioned in this previous post. Oh, the humanity!!

South Park Fun!

This is me as a South Park character. Create your own here.

No where else...

I don't believe you'll find this anywhere else. Well, maybe in Canada. This just made me chuckle. It was on the door on the way into a hotel in northern Minnesota. Just what precipitated the posting? It just makes ya go "hmmmm"....

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Back

We made it back alive from the land of 10,000 lakes. Wooohoo! I'll chat more about that later when I get my photos from the trip uploaded.
How are ya'll?
Today, my first full day back, I've spent making spaghetti sauce from the pounds and pounds of Roma tomatoes. I use a recipe that a co-worker gave me, combine that with a couple of my own secrets and VOILA...a sauce that can stand up to the best Prego/Rago/etc cans. Good tastin' *and* I know that the majority of the ingredients were made without pesticides, herbicides, or other chemical components. Only the garlic, bay leaves, and black pepper came from the store. Not too shabby. Certainly it takes a LOOOONG time to make, I spent 4 hours just peeling, coring and chopping the tomatoes, but the quality is worth the time.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's off to Minnesota We Go

I’m off to my homeland for a week. A wedding, some visiting and a little bit of work. Woohoo!  It’ll probably be more quiet than normal here during this time. Have a great week!

Monday, October 03, 2005

My Oh My...

She may be a fine attorney, but Bush nominating his personal counsel for the Supreme Court? Did he not have any time to do research and just picked the first attorney that he saw? It seems to be 1. a lazy choice --- kind of like picking up Cliff Notes instead of reading the whole book. Or 2. a bit too much like nepotism for me. I wonder if he put her up just so that he could say he nominated a woman and that she would be shot down so he could nominate another of his male cronies?

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Float -- Illustration Friday

Another illustration for Illustration Friday. Hey, at least this time, I'm close to Friday! I spent about an hour and a half on this one.

"Fat Chicks know the true meaning of 'Float'...some can stand straight up and down, not move a muscle and free float. Serenity in an instant."

You can click the image at left to see a full size version.

(By the way, still no word from my web host. Darn them.)

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Fresh -- Illustration Friday

Time for another piece o' random creativity. I'm posting it in my blog again, 'cuz I'm still having trouble with my hosting service. Several contacts to my web host and they haven't figured out the problem yet. Gah. They used to be so good with service. Not so much lately. The topic at IllustrationFriday.com this week is "Fresh". I couldn't get the idea of those douche commercials from years ago. So, based upon that, I give you this week's offering.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Ugly Design

Do you ever see a design over and over and over again out in public that makes you cringe? Maybe it's a poorly designed bill board. Or maybe an ugly pair of shoes. The kind that makes you think, "Hell, I'm not even a graphic designer and I know that's UG-uuuu-LEEEE." It's not just that your preference doesn't agree with it, but rather that it's missing any semblance of design instinct. Ever since I've been in Utah, I've seen the image at the left. Over and over and over again. It's the freakin' license plate of choice here. There are a couple of basic styles to pick from when you get a new license plate...one that's primarily orange hued with the Delicate Arch on it and this monstrosity. Who thought that the font combination was "pleasing" or even "lookin' good"? What about the placement of the crappy clip-art skiier? C'mon. There's nothing good to be said about this plate. So, there it is...staring at me every day while I'm at the stop light. Taunting me, "Nanny-nanny-boo-boo. I'm ugly, and so are you." Well, ok, it doesn't really say that but it does tell me that someone in the mid-80s had been smokin' something. Actually a whole committee that agreed upon the design must have been smokin' something. OR, maybe, the "designer" and I use that term loosely, was the 12 year old son of the director of transportation with a brand spankin' new computer plum full of fun fonts. How could they pick just one?! Ugh. Have I whined enough yet?

Illustration Friday - Escape

I've been trying to post this for a couple of days on my server, but I'm having connection difficulties. I am, however, able to Blog and FTP. Woohoo! Anyway, here's my submission. If you've ever worn a corset, you'll understand this better than anyone. While normally the straps don't break, the feeling of getting out of the thing is very much a feeling of "escape".

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Time to Start a Revolution

Somewhere between 60-80% of women wear the wrong bra size. So the statistics say, anyway. Who's fault is this? Is it the woman with the breasts in the wrong holder? I say no! It's due to the fact that there's voo-doo measurements needed to buy the "proper size" bra. Most men probably aren't aware of this, but here's basically how women are to determine their size:
  • With a tape measure, measure under your breasts, around your rib cage.
  • Add 5 (some say 4) inches to this measurement. This voo-doo number is called the "band size".
  • Now measure around the fullest part of your chest, including your breasts.
  • Take this new number and subtract the band size from it. That number will help to determine the "cup" size. If the remainder is 1, you are an "A" cup, 2, you're a "B" cup, 3, you're a "C" cup, etc, etc.

So, whassup with the "add 5 inches"? Wouldn't it just be easier to say, "Hey, my chest measures 27 inches and the measurement around my breasts is 6" bigger, making my bra size a 27A."???

Who do I need to talk to about this? Is there a bra-size-standardization committee I can talk to? By the way, would you sign a petition to encourage the bra industry to make a change? Think about it.

Monday, September 19, 2005

A fun site!

I like touring around the 'net looking for fun, creative sites. I came across this one today. Here's a fun section: "Make the Monster". It's just a fun little Flash program, but well done.

Friday, September 16, 2005

It's Officially Chocolate Season!

Let the munching on mini-size chocolate bars begin! Chocolate season officially starts when the Halloween bags of chocolate bars are in the stores. I started to see them last week. Woooohooo! I don't eat as much of the stuff as I used to, but I still have fond memories. :-) Chocolate Season goes from 'round this time of year, kicked off with the Halloween candy aisle which is quickly followed by the Christmas candy aisle, then the Valentine's candies, and finally, topped off by Easter's Cadbury eggs. By Easter, you've gained the extra 10 pounds of chocolate fat. I'm sure the retailers love Chocolate Season as much as we do. How many of you actually buy the chocolate only to share on the specific holiday? C'mon, ya'll love the fun shapes as much as I do. Oh, and who out there can eat 10 little candy bars without blinking, but think that 2 regular size candy bars is excessive? C'mon, admit it!

"Man breaks record for continuous TV watching"

I thought, wow, I bet the guys been watching tv for seven years straight or something. Nah, only 69 hours 48 minutes. C'mon. That's with breaks to go to the bathroom. The "official rules": Rules for the couch potato honor, as stipulated by Guinness, allow for a 5-minute break every hour and a 15-minute break every 8 hours. The viewer must otherwise be constantly looking at the screen. Only 69 hours? That's nuttin'! I'm betting this one gets beat soon. Heck, I think I broke it several years ago when I was depressed.

Avian Flu

If you need any more reason to have a feeling of impending doom, this is your article. I've been feeling "impending doom" for several weeks. The economy is tanking. The housing market is going bust. The obesity epidemic is...oh, forget that. The city of New Orleans is in a shambles. Etc, etc, etc. Now, the Avian flu. While it's currently not passed from human to human, they expect that at some point it will be. And there will be LOTS of death. LOTS. It's a great horror story to tell this Halloween. It just makes me want to lock myself in the basement and live on canned veggies. I guess if this flu does take hold, that's exactly what we'll be doing. Who would want to bother risking going to work? Well, I'll be able to work, but anyone who works outside of the home? Forgettaboutit. Time to go stockpile some more water and eats! Harmon's caselot sale, here we come! Actually if you can get your hands on some Tamiflu or if you have some lying around from a previous flu outbreak, nows your time to hold on to it. Scary stuff!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Trans Fat

Have I been living in a bubble safe from new health warnings? I must have been. Who knew that "0 Grams of Trans Fat" would be come the new "No carbs" for this year? I was cookin' up some bacon for BLT sandwiches when I saw it on the package -- "0 Grams of Trans Fat". Ok, now I know that bacon isn't the beacon of health that they want me to believe it is with that statement. I'm surprised that they're not putting "0 Grams of Trans Fat, 0 Grams of Carbs *and* our pigs are fed WHOLE GRAIN" just to make me buy it. As mentioned above, I've been living in a bubble and hadn't even heard of "trans fat". Turns out it's actually hydrogenated oils. I've known of their evil for years. Was there some new study that I missed? Dunno. I just get a kick out of the health claims on foods previously thought of as "bad". After seeing the "trans fat" statement on bacon, I started seeing it everywhere at the store. Even good ol' potato chips have it now! Heck, I propose a diet solely of bacon, potato chips (the zero trans fat variety of course) and diet coke. Why not? It's GOOD for you!

Monday, September 12, 2005

Another Friday!

This week's topic -- Depth! Not much more to say other than "check it out!"

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Roots - Illustrated Friday & YouDraw.com

This one didn't take me long at all. I had a pretty clear vision of what I wanted to show. I guess that always helps, eh? So, less than an hour later, voila! Roots! Click here to see the full size version. The item at the left is just a wee detail.

Speaking of drawing, I recieved an email from YouDraw.com. I mentioned them in this blog about 5 years ago, when I first discovered them. They're now producing a poster of a sampling of the submissions. The first poster represents the first 100,000 drawings with 2,000 of the pieces selected. Yours truly has two drawings in the poster. Oh, and my bro has an entry on there, too. Our entries can be seen on this detail page. My two are in the second row from the bottom, position 5 from the left and position 29 from the left. My bro John's picture is in the same row, 15 from the left. His Caesar drawing is much more impressive than my two, but then he's always had much more artistic talent than the rest of us in the family. Very talented guy! The first drawing of mine has a hidden message "FCR" is written on the skirt of the girl. FCR=Fat Chicks Rule. Yay! A little bit of size acceptance sneaking into an art forum. Yay! The second picture mentioned is a portrait of Natasha. Ummm..sort of my intention anyway.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The biggest pizza pie

This weekend, I my friends Alexandra and Brian were in town from Minnesota. While they were here, I thought we’d serve ‘em up some of SLC’s finest eats. Tucano’s as mentioned below was on the list. Also on the list, “The Pie”. This is the best pizza in SLC. (Or at least the best I’ve tried, anyway. There could be some fine pies out there that I haven’t even tasted.) The Pie recently moved into my suburb. There are only a handful of locations, so being so close is fabulous. Previously we could only rarely munch on their Stromboli with garlic pizza…now we can order it and have it delivered whenever we darn well feel like it. So, with the friends in town, Ivan says to order the largest size stromboli pie. I think he even said the “monster” size. Well, turns out, it IS monster size. It’s almost bigger than Ivan and I together! Six of us piggin’ out and we only got through half of the pie. Now THAT’s a pizza!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

I'm just so...sooo...sad...and ...

…nearly speechless about what has happened and taken place in New Orleans. My arms are strapped behind my back. I cannot help. Sure, I made a donation, but that seems so futile. Money? They don’t need money yet. They need compassion… and lots of boats, helicopters, and fresh water, and privacy…and nourishment…and a whole lot of Fabreeze. I’m half joking about the latter. I’m trying to see the bright spots in the stories about NOLA (and MS and elsewhere), but I don’t see ‘em when I read the articles, see the pictures, or watch the video clips. It’s such a huge clusterf*ck right now filled with anarchy and desperation. Very sad….

Monday, August 29, 2005

Dreams - - Illustration Friday

Here's my submission for Illustration Friday's topic "Dreams". It's based upon a dream I had long, long ago. I was probably 10 or so. The figure being chased..me!... has been aged a bit too. :-)

New Orleans

My heart goes out to the people of New Orleans today. I'm hoping for the best, but fearing the worst with Katrina. I heard that they were using the SuperDome as a refuge from the storm last night. I thought I couldn't think of a worse place to stay as a wide open roof = disaster waiting to happen in my view. This morning, I heard that part of the roof had blown off. How scary! Anyway, I hope that the damage or flooding doesn't get worse down there.

When we took our trip to Texas this spring, it initially was planned as a trip to New Orleans. I was in NOLA for Mardi Gras about 5 or 6 years ago. I liked it a lot, but really felt that I wasn't able to see the true nature of the city, so I had always planned on going back during non-Mardi Gras times. I'm hoping that it will still be there in close to its original splendor when I do make it back.

In a related thought, last night, the thought occurred to me that if I were Bill Gates or one of the Walmart clan or _______insert billionaire name here, that I would have a staff of 100+ "do-gooders" whom I would pay handsomely, of course. When disasters were to strike or after disasters happen, I would send the staff off to clean-up, assist with evacuations, etc. They could be dispatched quickly on the private planes from my fleet. On "normal" days, they would be sent to inner city areas or rural areas to do clean up activities, painting, rebuild structures, etc. It would be like my own private Peace Corps. But, no politics. No middle man. Just me, sending out my extended hands to "do good" whatever that might be? How cool would that be?

Granola

Who knew you could make granola? Well, turns out it’s fabulously nummy and easy to make at home! I found my recipe here: FoodNetwork.com. It takes about an hour and a half to bake, so a little time consuming with that, but throwing all of the ingredients together was easy squeezy. So, yeah, next stop…I’m going to make Fruit Loops. ;-)

Friday, August 26, 2005

Fat Joke?!

I go into my favorite restaurant in town. The woman at the front says, "How many?" I say, "Five." She says, "Name?" I say my last name. She says, "Orca-son?" Now, I know I'm fat, but c'mon...killer-whale size? I really wanted to say, "Is that some sort of fat joke???" but I didn't. I'm sure it wasn't, it just struck me as awfully funny. I'm officially changing my name to "Catherine Orca-Son", just so ya know.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Internal Terrorists

It looks like we’ve got a terrorist within our borders that should be dealt with swiftly. Pat Robertson has called for the assassination of a foreign government official. How is this any different than Bin Laden or _______(insert your favorite terror monger here) calling for death to the Prez of the US or other political heads of state?  Homeland Security officials should do their job and eliminate Mr. Robertson from the premises.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Two more creations!

Ya'll are going to think I'm a jam nut. Not really a huge fan of jam. I like it, but rarely eat it. That being said, I LOVE creating it and gifting it! Today's creations -- Raspberry-Banana and Raspberry-Pineapple. The Raspberry-Banana seemed a little weak on the banana smell. I haven't tasted it, but just while it was cooking, I couldn't really pick out the scent. I more than doubled the amount of banana and still...the raspberries are too strong. Maybe it will have a decent taste. The second concoction -- Raspineapple, smelled wonderful while it was getting cooked. I altered the recipe quite a bit since I had the pineapple in it's own juice rather than in syrup as the recipe called for...oh, and it was strawberry/pineapple, not raspberry. I ended up using an entire 20 oz can of pineapple combined with enough squished raspberries to make 3-1/2 cups fruit. Add in 7 cups of sugar and pectin. Voila! Jam! If you've never attempted making jam, and are curious as to how to start, drop me a line and I'll get ya going. Last summer I made 27 different varieties of jam. Yeah, a lot of different kinds from conserves to butters to plain old jam. We live on a big chunk of land with an orchard producing apples, pears, peaches, apricots, and plums. In addition, we have the raspberries and the other garden products -- peppers, tomatoes, herbs, etc. I gifted a lot of them for Christmas which was a blast as well as an economical, eco-friendly idea.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Twine!

My friend Kimmmmmmy and I have been contacted by a documentary film group about having our photos from the Big Girl, Big Stuff Tours appear in a documentary about the World's Largest Twine Ball (built by one man) in Darwin, Minnesota. Apparently the the guy who's in charge of the twine ball museum remembered and mentioned us when he was getting interviewed. (How could he forget us? We're just so darned cute! :-) ) Sounds like .32 minutes of fame is in our future. We'll see. I could also see us landing on the cutting room floor, too!

Uncharted Territory

We've created a first... Raspberry-Lime Jam. Ivan came up with the idea for the fruit combo. I googled and googled online for a recipe last week. Nuttin'. Normally you can find pretty much any dang recipe you can imagine online. Hasn't anyone tried this combo before? Apparently not. So, with our abundance of raspberries, I set out to make this new flavor. I decided on using just under four cups of raspberries along with the zest and juice of four limes. The smell of it cooking was lovely and very "fresh".

Last night we took it to a friend's house for its "maiden voyage" at their "scone night". (If you're not from Utah, you probably are picturing different scones than what we have here. In Utah, scones are basically just deep fried regular bread dough. Not sweet like doughnuts.) Anyway, the raspberry-lime was a huge hit. Yay! Peach butter was too, but that was one from last year. (It's sooooo last year. ;-) )

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Whirring about in my head

Just a few things that have been in my mind, but not yet put into my blog. It’s funny when something unusual happens in my life or I get a “what the heck” idea in my head, I feel I have to write it down. It’s nice to have an online journal or blog to do just that. It’s great fun to look back and remember those particular moments.

From this weekend:

The Buzz Ivan and I went on a mini-road trip to Wyoming. It was so much cooler up there than in the Wasatch valley and just a gorgeous day in general too. While we were driving just past Evanston, WY, we had our windows partially rolled down. I was happily drinking a frapuccino-type drink from the local convenience store when all of a sudden…SMACK… “Aaaack!” I screamed. I had been hit. Quickly my brain tried to figure it out…did my drink “burp up” through the straw? Did I get hit by a rock? I look down and see a dead bee. I had been smacked just above the eye by a wayward bee. It died on impact. How did it maneuver it’s way in to get hit by my big fat head? Just very strange. (I know, I write a lot about insects in my blog, but I swear I have more run-ins with them now than I ever did in my life.) Luckily, I survived the accident.

Pair of Genes We stopped near a ghost town about 20 minutes outside of Evanston. A nearly idyllic area for free range cattle – lots of gently rolling hills, streams, and lots of grasses. I watched a herd of cows and their calves for a little while. It was nearing sunset, and they got up, one by one and followed the Queen cow down the knoll. What was curious to me was that after each cow, followed a calf that looked identical to it’s mother. Black cow, black calf, dark brown cow, dark brown calf, black body white face cow, black body white face calf. Eight different pairings, each had an identical momma cow/calf component. Where’s the bull in all of this? I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know everything about genetics, but I thought dominant/recessive genes play a roll. Given that there were 8 pairs of identical cows/calves, does that mean that the bull was completely recessive? Is that possible? For the father bull, I can only picture some sad-sack, depressed bull. He’s small, about 5 feet tall, probably blond fur. He keeps his head to the grass at all times, except when he’s called to “perform”. Hmmm..maybe I’m getting depressive confused with recessive? But seriously, if you were completely made of recessive genes, is there any point in reproducing? Just made me go “hmmmm…”

Odd feeling… Ivan sent me this link. It is cool and disturbing. The mixture of technological “wow” combined with an uneasy pit in my stomach. Ick. Cool. Ick. Oh, you can "save" her by clicking and dragging her. Set her on a bubble. Help will be along shortly. You've done your job.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Explosions!

Two exploding things to talk about in Utah…a truck that was carrying something like 35 THOUSAND pounds of explosives blew up yesterday. When the truck carrying the explosives got in an accident, the truck exploded, taking out a huge chunk of roadway in a canyon south of here. 35 THOUSAND pounds of explosive? It could be just me, but maybe they should be carrying smaller loads of explosives? Eh? What do I know?

I’ll tell you what I know! Cans of soda put in the freezer for more than just a few minutes can and do explode. I put a can of Coke in the freezer to chill it down so that it was going to be a full-fledged frosty beverage. It’s warm here. Who wants room-temp Coke in the summer?! Anyway, I put it in the freezer and promptly forgot about it. Turns out I didn’t really want a soda to drink, eh? (See the weaning from soda entirely *is* working…kinda…well, somewhat.) If you’ve never experienced the exploding soda can, let me tell you… the aftermath is really pretty cool albeit a pain in the arse to clean up. The can must have exploded when most of the contents were already frozen. The top of the freezer had coke slush on it. If it was only liquid when it came out, I figure that would have dripped down. Looking in the can itself, the sides were completely solid, but there was a wormhole of sorts through the center of the explosion. Almost as if a creature leapt from the bottom of the can and out the top. Kinda cool. Really!

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Empty -- Illustration Friday

What’s more empty than having a loved one die? That’s my concept for this week’s Illustration Friday topic. I spent about an hour and ten minutes on it. Very close to my goal time. I’m enjoying learning more about Flash as I work on these, too.  

Friday, August 05, 2005

Bit!

I was sitting outside last night for a few minutes and *something* bit me, once on each arm. The resulting welts were large, white, itchy and shaped much like an alien ant farm. (What does that look like? I don’t know, but if I did, I would imagine it would look like the welts on my arms.) This morning, the welts are gone, but I have extra large painful bumps that are about two inches across. Will I die from this? Only time will tell. If I do die, I’ll let you know. There are so many ways to blog on Blogger.com, that I’m sure they have a post-mortem communication option.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Illustration Friday

I missed a week, but I’m back on the horse after vacation. This week’s topic? Aging. Initially, I thought of depicting wrinkles, aging men/women, etc, but with a little more thought…*everything* ages. From the minute it’s created, it’s aging. Here's this week's submission.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Random Strokes

Don’t ya love it when you get a random self-esteem boost from a stranger? On the flight back to Utah, this cute 21 year old girl started chatting me up from across the aisle. During the course of the conversation, she asks me what part of Utah I live in, and then proceeded to ask me if I have roommates. Well, I said I live with my husband and two of his daughters. She gave me a really odd look and then she then proceeded to ask me how old I was. I told her 37. She was floored. Yes, she thought I was her age. Hehehe. Hehehe. Gotta love that. I proceeded to tell her that the fat plumps up the wrinkles. She didn’t believe me. You and I know it’s true!!

Yay! I'm a professional photographer!

I sold my first photo at istockphoto.com! Yay! Yay! Huzzah and all that!

Artificial Sweetners

Sucralose aka Splenda is showing up in so many non-diet products these days, that I'm starting to wonder if there is a conspiracy going on. The other day, while Ivan and I were traveling through northern Minnesota, we stopped to pick up a couple of frosty beverages at the convenience store to cool us down while we were on the road. I picked out a couple of V8 Splash bottles. Bought them and we were on our way. Ivan takes a drink of the first one and says, "This has artificial sweetners in it." He's definitely got a "tongue" for finding them! So, I taste it. Sure enough, it's got that slightly off taste that only artificial sweetners can provide. I look at the ingredient list. Carrots, high fructose corn syrup, fruity bits and whatnot were all listed. The very last ingredient -- Sucralose. What the fuck? (The effenheimer is definitely needed here.) It's loaded with corn syrup...why, oh, why do they need to add sucralose?!?! Grrrrrrrrrr. I swear regular V8 Splash didn't have this before. ( I just checked out their website...sure enough, they "reformulated" it. Blech.) Only the diet version had the artificial sweetner. What's scary is that I bet most people who drink this, and many other products, don't even know that sucralose was even an artificial sweetner. With the "-ose" suffix, it sounds like any other natural sugar substance. Unfortunately not. What would be the point of adding sucralose to an already heavily sweetened drink? Are things just not sweet enough? Or are the food manufacturers trying to adjust our palate's senses so that we crave the fake? Something is fishy in any event. I say that every product that uses an artificial sweetner, should SAY that it's an artificially sweetened product. That way, those of us who wish to avoid it, can do so easily.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Feelin' Safe?

For those of you who travel by plane often, I'm sure you're aware of the new security measures being taken at our airports. One new item that I don't recall when I flew to Dallas last April is the "Cleared" TSA sticker that was applied to my bag's standard luggage tag. I've heard that all pieces of luggage must pass through x-ray monitors now. I'm assuming that the "cleared" sticker is ~proof~ that the bag is safe.

What scares me is that it reminds me of the early 90s when I worked for a company that virus scanned floppy disks and then applied "clean" stickers on them. Sure, it makes sense that the disk was clean at that point, but what people failed to realize at that time was that the sticker represented that the disk was clean only at the time it was checked. If an individual took that disk to a computer that had a boot virus, for instance, the disk would be infected, yet still bear the "clean" sticker. It was a naive sense of security for a relatively naive time, technologically speaking. The same idea was used for individuals carrying a "HIV-free" card several years later -- again, a dumb and naive idea for a new concept in feeling secure.

Now, our bags are scanned and stickered. The stickers have the tear-perfs on them to show if the sticker has been tampered, but the silly thing is that the stickers are put on the tag that goes around the handle, not around the parts of the bag that could be opened. What's the point? If my bag, which has been "cleared" by someone at check-in, but then tampered with by someone in luggage handling, and then the final handler who puts the luggage on the plane double checks to see that the bag has been "cleared", has no idea of the tampering that took place when the bags changed hands and innocently lets the bag pass. Methinks there ought to be a better way. Maybe the scanning of the bags should take place immediately before they're put on the plane? Or maybe at check-in and again directly before boarding? If not that, maybe we shouldn't be wasting money on stickers that give a false sense of security??

Minnesota

I’m back from my trip to Minnesota. It was a whirlwind tour. I worked full time while I was up there and socialized full time, too. I was able to catch up a bit with family, friends, co-workers as well as pack in a weekend trip up to Grand Marais with Ivan. (By the way, if you ever make it up to Grand Marais, make sure you stop in for a slice of pizza at Sven & Ole’s. *the best* pizza along the North Shore of Lake Superior. Who knew that the Scandinavians could make a decent pie?? )
I'm tired from the adventure, but ever so grateful to be able to get back there once in a while. I wish I could get back more often.
Thanks to all of you who made time to see Ivan and me. I love you all!

Clothing Wonders

Shirring, also known as “rouching” on clothing. (I think that’s how it’s spelled anyway.) Why, oh, why do clothing manufacturers use this technique on shirts? Much less, why on fat chick clothing? It’s not hiding anything. It’s, instead, providing additional rolls to an already rolls-a-plenty body. Ugh. Not to mention that it just looks cheap’n’ugly. Ugh.

I'll be commenting on fashion from time to time. Not that I'm a fashion know-it-all, by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm hoping at some point someone who is in the industry will actually listen. Eh. I'm sure it won't make any difference, but dang it's fun to point out uglee fashions that are being offered out there.

Oh, since I'm on the subject of clothing, I had an opportunity to stop by a Catherine's store in Minneapolis. (We don't have Catherine's in Utah.) It's been a while since I've done any shopping at Catherine's, but it's almost like time hasn't past. Every year at this time, without fail, they have their dress-the-fat-lady-in-4th-of-July-wear selection. It's always on the wall displays in the store, not just hidden in the clearance racks. Not sure why, but there it is, in all of it's glory -- the stripes and stars blazing in red-white-n-blue on camp shirts. At least 4 varieties of prints, too. It is August, right? The 4th-of-July fest is long since over, but apparently patriotism lives deep within the fat chick's heart. Don't burn the flag...instead wear it in your armpits!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

A quick update

In case anyone is wondering, I'm off on a little trip to the land of 10,000 Lakes. I'm up here on work and having fun trying to squeeze in some visits with friends too. More later. Have a good time, ya'll!

Monday, July 18, 2005

Listening to the radio

If you ever listen to the radio, no doubt at some point you’ve heard ads for The Shane Co. In their ad, a genial older man talks about their gems and well, then he perpetuates stereotypes and plops fear into the hearts of women and men. Things like, “She’ll know you bought a quality gem…and so will her friends.” Or “ALL women need a strand of pearls to enhance her wardrobe.” Etc, etc. Most often he boxes women into status driven, money hungry diva categories. I don’t think I’ve ever even thought to myself, “Damn, if I only had a strand of pearls, my life would be complete,” nor have I ever even thought for a moment that, “I wonder if my friends will recognize that my rubies are genuine red not some purple or pink cheap-ass ruby. They wouldn’t like me anymore if my rubies were cheap looking.”

I find their ads soooo, soooo, soooo demeaning. I know that advertising in general tries to scare us into conformity and it often perpetuates stereotypes, but there’s something about it being stated by a seemingly genuine guy just talkin’ to us. It almost makes the ads sinister to me. I mean, they’re nice and if you don’t think TOO hard, they’re not sinister…they’re just warm fuzzies filled with gemstones dripping out of the radio. Right? Right!

Friday, July 15, 2005

It's Friday Afternoon...

That can only mean one…wait…it can mean a million different things. Let’s not set any limits here. For now, however, it’s Friday afternoon…time for Illustration Friday submissions. This week’s topic? Karma. Here’s my submission.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Take a Pill

With the quiet reporting of the errors found in the research that spawned the “Obesity Epidemic”, the half-truths that were reported about Vioxx side effects in the NEJM, and countless other research studies blinded by corporate greed, I’ve finally figured it out. We sure do have an epidemic on our hands. An epidemic of monumental mathematical proportions. A SKEWED STATISTICS EPIDEMIC.

If you’re funding a research study and you’re not happy with the outcome, simply manipulate the numbers. In a sense, just put a “spin” on it as politicians do with bad economic forecasts or scandalous misbehavior. The public is stupid enough to read your partially reported “facts” and believe everything you feed them, so why not?! It will keep your bottom line healthy and no one need be the wiser. Well, that is until you end up killing 1,000 people. But, hey, you’ve had a good ride with the cash until then, so who cares?!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Cherry Season

One of the really fab things about living in a warmer climate than Minnesota? Fresh fruit! This time of year is Cherry season! A short drive from here is a place called Fruitway. From now until the snow flies, you can find tons of fresh fruit offerings for decent prices. This past Sunday, we drove up to Fruitway in Willard and picked up 10lbs of fresh cherries for $10. Not a bad price. The cherries were hot and juicy (sounds like an add for a porno flick, but no!). Ivan's mom used to put the cherries straight into the freezer for a nummy frozen snack. That's what we've done too. They are awesome! I haven't had 'em that way before. A healthy, sweet treat that's not as hard as you might imagine. Ever frozen a banana? Hard as a rock! Sweet cherries are kind of like thick fudge. All of this cherry talk brings back a fond memory of my childhood -- the Cherry Hill Revenge. My family used to take month long trips in a motorhome. This one particular year we were driving west from Minnesota. Stopped in Cherry Hill, Utah at a campground with swimming pools, but more importantly lots of cherry trees. We picked and packed a ton of cherries from that stop. Of course we were lovin' 'em, for a couple of days. As we were driving through toward California, my mum realized we had to eat the fruit before hitting the CA border. So, all of us ate 'em and ate 'em along that journey. What's the side effect of eating too much fruit quickly? Well, let's just say it was a small, but smelly motorhome. I remember my brother John was the worst offender. We'd try to get him to stay in the back of the motorhome 'cuz he was producing green clouds that were quite offensive. In a motorhome with six people on board, there is very little room to hide and sadly just not enough air flow. This is memory that is known in my family as the Cherry Hill Revenge. Good times!

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Slippers? No, sorry, these are my shoes.

I was browsing through the new Silhouettes catalog. I came across these Suede / Fleece Clog "shoes" amid the regular winter boots. They say, "Cozy comfort you can wear all day." Now, who amongst you would be willing to hop into your car and head into the office for a full day of comfort wearing these bad boys? Can you imagine the snickers you'd get? or the comments like, "Hey, Catherine, didn't want to get out of bed today, did ya?!" Granted, I get my fair share of "wearing bunny slippers?" today while working from home, but hey, I *do* wear my bunny slippers while in the comfort of my own home. I just can't fathom wearing these in the "real world".

Metropolitan

This week’s Illustration Friday theme is “Metropolitan”. I thought doing a view off the balcony of my old condo in downtown St. Paul. Then I thought maybe a rat in a sewer. Then…wait a minute…The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. That’s what I picked, and glad I did. I did the major portion of it in Flash then put some filters on it in Picture Publisher. From the get-go, I wanted to do a snowy view of it primarily because I know I didn’t have time to put in all of the architectural details, even if they are a bit fuzzy in memory. After I did this, I looked up photos from Google. I’m not *that* far off from what it looks like. Kinda. Sorta. J

Friday, July 08, 2005

I made the mistake..

I made the mistake of flipping channels on television this afternoon and paused upon some show called Elimidate or something like that. Are people *really* that rude in real life? What sort of man or woman would want to date an in-your-face catty beyatch? Do men/women really find the opposite sex attractive when they’re picking apart the competition? Yesterday, I wondered what sort of cretins can blow up innocents in Britain since they seem so far removed from me. But, then, what sort of creatures do we have breeding within our own borders? If we can’t even treat each other civilly on fake dates in front of a camera, how can we treat each other with a modicum of respect in real life? The people on this show weren’t even 16 or 17…they were in their 20s?!  Ugh. Ick. Ptooey. Who are these people???

Thursday, July 07, 2005

...Just sad...

Waking up to horrific news of terrorist attacks in London is a surefire way to make me sad, angry, and disappointed in the world in which we live. My thoughts are with Londoners today. What a sad day for them after such a high yesterday upon hearing they’ll be hosting the Olympic games in 2012.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Linked again

Today, I made this blog public again. As you can see from the long string of archives, it's been around a long, long time. I took it, and the rest of Cat's House of Fun offline about 18 months ago for reasons that I choose not to divulge. Anyway, I hope to get this site up and rolling again. I've worked and re-worked to no satisfaction, the House of Fun site. I feel that my creative juices were nearly dried up and that past couple of weeks, I've been trying to revive them. It's *kind of* working. At least I feel more positive about it than I did a year ago. I figure if I just keep exercising my creative muscle, I may eventually get this place in ship shape again. We shall see. Wish me luck!

Monday, July 04, 2005

Oh, and an update to yesterday's post

Ding dong, the earwigs are dead! We fried ‘em in the closed car!

Mooo...Moo... Mooo...I'm a cow!

Well, not literally, but dang, yesterday, we went out rock hounding again just south of Nephi, Utah. Nothing unusual about that. We were “hounding” petrified palm wood. No luck, but we had a fun time trying to find the area and the petrified palm. On the drive back home, we stopped at a little canyon that Ivan wanted to investigate for fun specimens. While he traversed up the hills, I went for a little walk to stretch my legs and *gasp* get a little exercise. I saw that the desert road went down a little ways and around the hill. I walked down around the hill and DANG a cattle guard crossed the road.

For those of you new to the idea of cattle guards, they’re metal contraptions with slats going across the road to prevent cows from crossing. The cows won’t / can’t cross ‘cuz their hooves are too narrow to walk across the thing. While I’ve seen a lot of these things driving around the wild west, this is the first that I came to out of the car. I felt the cattle’s fear well inside me. If I tried to cross, certainly my leg would get caught as I slipped off the slat! Yikes! I decided to end my walk here and head back…back to graze a bit further on the grass. I did, however, figure that if a herd of cattle were to rush me over one of those things, I would stop, drop and roll across. Certainly the cows wouldn’t dare to try that!

Oh, a funny thing about cattle guards. Every so often you’ll see fake cattle guards. Rather than the slats, smarty pants ranchers have painted yellow lines on the pavement. Apparently, the cows won’t cross those either ‘cuz they think they’re the real thing worthy of breaking their legs off. I’d like to think if I were walking along on one of those roads I would brave it. That’s what separates me from the bovine.

I'm so freakin' festive!

This afternoon, we head over to Harmon’s to purchase some beverages and a flat of water for Ivan to take on a hike up Dry Canyon. The cashier says to me, “That’ll be 1776.” Well, I must have done something right to warrant such a total today, after all, it is July 4th. They should have given us the liquid for free, like we won the lotto or something. ;-)

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Bug-eriffic

Ivan and I take trips out to the desert fairly often, either for rock hounding or ghost town haunting. Yesterday, we took a trip to a rock hounding spot south of Nephi, Utah. The rock hounding book that we have hints that black and white agate can be found in this spot. Sounds purty and well worth a Saturday afternoon adventure. So, we pack up the Beetle with a cooler full of water, SoBe’s and ice, some digging tools, rock chisels and a lawn chair on which I can rest my BFB (big fat bum). A normal enough payload for a trip out to the middle of nowhere.  Right before we start our journey, I look in the car. Earwigs. Two of ‘em. Then three. Then four…then many, many more. Ick. Ick. Ick. How did they get in there?!?!  So, Ivan starts to kill ‘em. Earwigs are the lovers of the dark aka nocturnal.  They crawl under things to get out of the sun and heat. Smart little buggers. Anyway, every time we think we’ve got ‘em all. We find another…and another. I asked Ivan if the lawn chair was lying on the ground. He said it wasn’t and that he shook the thing off before he put it in.  So, icky, icky, icky, where did they come from?  We got in the car, figuring we had eradicated most of them. Happily, we made it to our rock hounding spot with only a couple of extra visitors on the floor. (Of course while we were driving, we both felt like they were crawling all over us!)  I get out of the car and Ivan looks at my BFB. Sure enough, I had two earwigs hanging on. I must have provided some good shade. Grrr.

 

We spent several hours at the remote location. The smell of the cedars and the desert sage brush was delightful. There were TONS of gnats flying around, getting in my ears (bzzzzzz zzzzzzzz) and hair. A little too annoying. Luckily the beauty of the area combined with the delightful smell made it well worth the adventure. Ivan found a ton of cool rocks, too. One rock was similar to a split geode, only the outer ring of the crystal center was a deep, beautiful blue.  Oh, and he found one super large rock that was probably 75+ pounds. It wasn’t the promised black and white agate, but rather a large stone covered with HUGE crystals on one end. It is a gorgeous find that will have a great place of honor in our soon to be developed rock garden.

 

So, we pack up our stuff and Ivan picks up the chair and out comes an earwig. And then another. They darned things were *inside* the legs of the chair!!! He slammed the chair up and down on the desert floor. Out came more. And More. And more.  Ick. Ick. Ick.  The chair was probably stuffed with them when he put the chair in the car.  I’m hoping that with the windows closed on my car that the little buggers will be baked to death today.  I saw quite a few crawl behind my back seats when we were hunting them, so I hope the heat is high enough to get ‘em even under there. Ick. Ick. Ick.

 

On the drive home, the bugs were out in force. We ended up hitting a huge moth (at least 2-1/2” long) that somehow flipped into the car and landed on my lap. I looked down and was going to pick it up and it flipped out away from me. I hope it made it out of the car alive. If it didn’t, the earwigs will probably be munching on it this afternoon.

 

Have I mentioned that the wetter than normal spring and summer have made for an unusual number of bugs and spiders?!  Ick. Ick. Ick.

 

 

Friday, July 01, 2005

Illustration Friday

This week’s topic: Sport. *yawn* I think PhotoFriday had this topic the other week. Ah, even with a dull-ish topic, I decided to participate to help eradicate my creative block. Here’s my submission for this week. This was a two hour effort. Again, a bit longer than I had planned on. Ah well.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Two Second Movie Review

  • Batman Begins – Like slowly unwrapping a candy bar, the pacing was slow, but thorough. Character development was divine. Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne was fabulous; he quickly became my favorite “Batman”. The theme of choosing good vs. evil and good vs. idealistically skewed good was fascinating and has shades of  what is going on in our messed up world today. A dark and moving film!  --  A-

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Still working through creativity block

I submitted this to Illustration Friday for their topic “Heros”. I took longer on it than I had planned due to some memory issues with my computer and duplicating all of the little grains of sand. Apparently computers don’t like sand and remembering thousands of granules. Huh. Ga figure.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

My confidence is shaken

I used to make baked beans for my annual 4th of July parties. You know, the kind you make from scratch. The good’ns that are baked for days. Well, at least I thought they were good. Anyway, since I’ve moved to Utah, I haven’t been able to make ‘em right. The beans cook…and cook…and cook and they never get soft enough to be reasonably palatable. I’m, frankly, a little freaked out. They were fool-proof, or so I thought. Earlier this week I even tried to do the boil-the-night-ahead, let-‘em-soak-all-night method which in Minnesota, wasn’t even necessary. Still hard as rocks. The last time I tried ‘em here, I cooked ‘em for three days. Literally. No go. The best I can figure is that it’s the altitude? Maybe? If someone knows what it might be, drop me a line cat~at~catay~dot~com. Thanks!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Diet Sodas and Weight

I just read an article at Web MD: http://my.webmd.com/content/article/107/108476.htm

It discusses the link between weight gain and diet soda consumption. One study does not prove anything in my mind, but personal experience does.

For me, drinking diet sodas increased my cravings for other sweet things. Since quitting my diet coke habit over a year ago, I don’t crave chocolate as much, nor other snacky foods. That’s not to say that I’ve lost weight, but I find that my eating has become much more “normalized” where in between snacking doesn’t really happen.   Plain old water has become a welcome drink in my life. In the days of my diet coke addiction, I would have plain old water, ~maybe~ once a month. That’s not healthy at all. If’n I ever really want to lose weight, I think much more activity and portion control will be the way to go. Pretty basic, eh? J

Did you know...

The white space between the 'E' and 'x', on the FedEx logo forms an arrow. It’s one of those “duh” things. I have seen the logo a million times and it never appeared to me. Brilliant logo work, eh?

Monday, June 20, 2005

Another Attempt @ Breaking the Creativity Block

I’ve been photographing items with the intent of putting ‘em on iStockPhoto.com. I don’t have any grand delusions about making money on there, but it’s kind of a fun venture. After two attempts at getting “accepted” into the photo community, I finally made it a couple of weeks ago. Yay! Even though I use a fairly high end camera -- Canon Powershot G6, my photos were still producing excess pixilation. I have to use a program called “Neat Image” to smooth my photos. While I think it makes them less sharp, iStockPhoto finds them to be more acceptable. My guess is that for printing purposes, especially, the smoothed pixel look works much better.  I hope to be adding images on there shortly. Keep an eye out for my pix here.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Very, Very Cool!

I’m spending too much of my early afternoon today browsing through craft sites. Again, just trying to spark my creative flame.

I happened upon this site: http://www.artomat.org/

How cool in so many ways. Vending art to the public. Soo, soooo, soooooooo cool. I wish there was one near me so I could experience it.

I’m all for digital art (obviously?!), but having analog art sold to the “common man” in such a vintage, cool-ass way. Love it.  Oh, and you don’t even have to smoke to enjoy the machine!

Friday, June 17, 2005

Trying to be creative...

I’ve recently started to create submissions for Illustration Friday. Every Friday a new topic is posted. I really don’t want to use previously done works, but rather push through my creative block and try to come up with something QUICKLY each week. I don’t want to devote more than an hour to this. Last week’s entry for “summer”, wasn’t all that great, but again, it’s a time cruncher. This week for “Black and White”, took about just as long, but I’m much more pleased with the results.  I may just be able to push myself through my creative block with this. Hmmm. Well, I’ll keep plugging along.

Too funny!

This pretty much sums up how I feel about useless medications being advertised on television. Good stuff!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Two Two-Second Movie Reviews

  • The Aviator -- The grand story of Howard Hughes. It was a little too long, but still enjoyable. Leonardo Dicaprio carried the Howard Hughes role off pretty well, but not phenomenally. The Katharine Hepburn character was a little over the top, but from what I understand, so was she! A solid... B
  • Danny Deckchair -- Funny, heartwarming and quirky. Love the actor who plays Danny. He was the crazy flatmate in Notting Hill. This one is well worth a look on DVD. A-

Took a shower...

I took a shower with a spider this afternoon. ICKY! There's very little worse than being naked and wet and discovering an icky arachnid swimming along side your toes. Well, there is one worse thing. Showering with a centipede. I did that once. Never again! They hog all of the water! :-)

Ok, I admit it...

I miss Martha Stewart's catalog. She had a ton of fun stuff. In one of my previous posts, I mentioned my collection of silver Xmas ornaments. Well, on thing that I ordered from her catalog was the silver snowflake kit. Absolutely a blast to make and they turned out so pretty. The kit consisted of four basic things --- flat 6-pronged welded "frames", silver wire, an assortment of silver beads and a pliers. You could follow the basic designs or come up with your own. Well, of course I had to come up my own, Silly. I even added some natural crystal beads to some to give 'em that "natural" snowflake look. A couple of other things I bought from there -- the cake decorating kit (all of the cake colors you will ever need and all of the frosting piping bits and bags to make whizbang cakes), the cookie decorating kit (all of coloring to make colored sugars you'll ever need as well as the piping tools to do frosted cookies and much more), -- both of 'em came in their own tin boxes. Again, read my post about accumulation of kitchen stuff. The pre-boxed idea was fabulous! Perfect for kitchen supply hoarders like myself. Oh, and then there was the annual Halloween catalog. I don't believe I ever purchased anything from there, but it had tons of ideas for Halloween parties. Yeah, I'm one of those Halloweenies who *must* throw a party every year. I grew up with it, what can I say? So, yeah, I'm better about my affluenza with accumulating stuff, but I still miss my Martha catalog. :-)

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Homes, Accumulation and General "Stuff"

When is the too much home trend going to end? So many of the new homes that are being built around this country are HUGE. Not just 1600 square feet. That's *tiny*. I'm talking 4000, 5000, 10000 square feet. That's for 3.5 people and a dog. When will it end?? I know as a whole our waistlines are expanding. Are the home we are choosing to live in just made to accommodate that girth? Do people feel like they've lost weight when they move into a HUGE house? Maybe the homes are excessively large to accommodate all of the crap we buy? How about that trend? When is the accumulation of "stuff" and lots of "stuff" going to fall out of fashion? Confession time. I personally have two or three (well, at least two major) accumulation vices. Clothing, fabric and kitchen implements. Those are the non-holiday ones. Throw in Halloween stuff and silver Christmas ornaments and you've got FIVE accumulation vices. Luckily all of my accumulation vices can be housed in boxes or at least put away. My Halloween and Christmas things fit into two large boxes. The kitchen implements fit in the kitchen cupboards, and you guessed it, the clothing/fabric stuff fits into my closet. Trying to make a change. I envision ridding myself of "stuff". It's still a fantasy more than reality, but I'm working towards a "stuff-free" existence:
  • I've pretty much nipped my kitchen purchases in the bud. Our kitchen is very large, but small on storage. No room for the fun, worthless crap. I do miss my Williams Sonoma purchases. The funny thing about this is that while I'm purchasing less items, I'm actually using my kitchen more than I ever have. I've become quite the chef. (Insert humility here.)
  • My clothing purchases have seriously tapered off and I recently cut my wardrobe at least in half by selling on EBay, discarding and donations. It felt *really* good to lighten that load. My wee closet appreciated the change tremendously.
  • Fabric has been an ongoing thing, though, again, I recently sold off a bunch that was no longer "necessary". Unfortunately, I go through periods of fabric accumulation. Most recently I've purchased some fun fabric on EBay. I've made several purchases recently of Munki Munki fabric. While it's intended primarily for children, I can't help but appreciate the simplicity and joy found in the designs.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Money and the LDS Church

At times I wonder if the LDS church isn't more of a business than a strictly faith born operation. I read in the newspaper this weekend that they intend on spending 1 billion dollars updating the malls in downtown Salt Lake City. That's right. BbbbBBBBillion!  The details of the plan are quite secret. They did, however, feel the need to say that the money is in no part the result of tithing. *phew* Not tithing. But then, where are they getting the money? Is it the "fast offerings" that are dutifully collected by the deacons on Sunday mornings? Is it the missionary funds? Is it the result of charitable donations from wills? Or, is it, as I suspected all along, the money from their share of Coca Cola stock?! Hmmm...yeah, they said it was all rumor that they were big stock holders in Coca Cola. Now, I'm not so sure. <p> What's really curious is that this church is a church, right? Why are they spending the money on shopping malls?! Shouldn't they be assisting their members? Or even helping out people of other faiths who are in need? I don't mean to say that the LDS church doesn't do these things, they do, but wouldn't this particular loot be better spent on, oh, I don't know, PEOPLE? Feeding hungry people around the world? Assisting those who have no home or health insurance? I wonder, if with a billion dollars, they could afford to offer free health insurance for all of their members? What better way to get more people to join the church than to give them free healthcare?! The missionaries could go house to house preaching the gospel *and* telling individuals that they could get free healthcare if they got baptized and attended church regularly? <p> 1 Bbbbbiiiilllliooon dollars. The possibilities are endless.

Friday, June 03, 2005

I was listening to NPR this morning...

They were talking about inner-city schools in LA and some of the racial struggles that they’re going through right now. One thing that caught my mind was that Los Angeles hasn’t had a new high school built in 35 years! The one school they were specifically mentioning in South LA – Thomas Jefferson, was built to hold 1500 students and currently it has 3800! Talk about overcrowding!  Here’s the curious thing about new high schools that stuck out in my head: In all of the travels my hubby and I have been taking to small towns around the wild West, there are TONS of new schools where the populations of the towns are less than 3,800 . The schools are often HUGE and could possibly hold 400 students. More than likely they have less than 100.  It just seems wrong, wrong. I know that a lot of the funding for schools comes from the counties in which they lie, but c’mon, there’s got to be a way to share some of this funding around. I don’t think that there should be cutbacks in the quality of the education in the smaller communities, but if they have *too much* money where they’re building excessively large schools in shrinking communities, it just seems to be a waste when so many could benefit elsewhere.

Gosh, am I a commie or what?! J