Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What ails me

It sits in the background, infiltrating my usual good mood. Sometimes I don’t event notice it at all.  But then, as the burdensome tasks of the day mount upon my heaving shoulders, it is there. Nagging so loudly in my subconscious that it finally breaks through to the surface.

But it is a sneaky little bugger. It manifests itself in me in the form of snarkiness and impatience. After a while, frustration and then depression set in.  In the end, just the dull, throbbing, ache of my back left broken molar reminds me once again to make a dental appointment.

There are several problems with fixing this painful dentition: 1) It is hard to find a really great dentist on this little, tiny, rock in the ocean; 2) My co-pay to have this tooth crowned, even with the least expensive process, is too much for my little pocket; and 3) I keep forgetting to call. You see, this dull and sometimes excruciatingly painful feeling comes and goes. When it comes, it consumes me and influences all of the decisions of my eternal day (which are then carried out with steely grit). But, when the pain subsides, along with the withering tooth-roots, I totally forget about it. Not in pain, not in mind.

It is after-hours now anyway. There is no dentist to call (I am now conveniently telling myself)! Pass me a beer and an aspirin and I’ll see you in the morning.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A little about soap-making

For those of you who are budding soap-makers, I thought I'd offer some helpful hints that I discovered in my own self-education with this hobby.

First of all, you need to go to the website: She offers a plethora of information about soap-making; from recipes to how to avoid disasters. She also has a lot of links to soap calculators, and where to pick up supplies. I can't remember if I read it on her site or not, but I did read somewhere that if you are interested in selling soaps, you should really make soap for at least a year to hone your skills. I would agree with this statement 100%! Early on, I made what I thought were great soaps, but as they aged and as I perfected my recipes, I realized that these early attempts were only my first baby-steps to the wonderful soap I can now make.

Secondly, don't use Red Devil lye. This is drain cleaner. I, luckily, didn't have this option, living on a tiny rock 2,000 miles away from any decent soap-making supplies. Instead, I went to and bought sodium hydroxide online. This is a high-quality and pure lye that comes in easy-to-use containers. It is non-clumping and you know that you are putting the best ingredient into your final product. Also, their prices are great and their shipping is quick.

I'll write more later on things like oils, recipes, and cold process versus hot process. But these two things are a good starting place for anyone interested in making soap.

Memory book

One of my coworkers mentioned to me that her grandfather carried around with him in his shirt pocket a little book to write stuff down in. I think she said he called it his "Memory Book".  I think this is such a fantastic idea. I feel as though my own memory is sometimes a quart shy of a gallon or possibly like a leaky bucket; the ideas are there one minute, but the next they are gone and forgotten.

I was reading yesterday that humans suffer from what psychologists refer to as "post-completion" error. The idea is that when you have finished your main task, you tend to forget things relating to previous steps. Like leaving your ATM card in the machine after getting your cash or leaving your document in the copy-machine after making copies.  Wow, is this ever true with me: leaving the stove or oven on after I take whatever I'm cooking off of it, leaving my crock pot on all night after taking the crock out to wash it, I've even left the faucet running after washing a dish and drying it!

What I get most frustrated about forgetting are the ideas that pop into my head. Wait a minute. If I've forgotten an idea, how can I remember that I've forgotten it? Well, usually it hasn't completely popped out of my head. I think it just takes a wrong turn and wanders around in the labyrinths of my mind for while. Sometimes it pokes it's head back in just to say, "remember me"? Usually this happens when I am trying to complete some other task and then derails my current thoughts causing post-completion errors.

So, I'm wondering how to fully utilize this great idea of a memory book. It seems, though, I'd have to be constantly writing in it to carry out every menial task I do. Maybe I should wear it around my neck like librarian glasses, or maybe someone should invent something like a bluetooth earpiece that I could constantly click to speak notes into. I could click it again for playback. Or maybe it could be more like a Star Trek communication device. You know, like the kind they wore on the front of their shirt to say stuff like "Beam me up, Scotty".  Click, "copying a paper." Click, "taking the teapot off the stove." Click, "putting my car keys down on top of this bookshelf." Click, "I should pick up some dental floss next time I'm at the store." Click, "don't forget that million dollar idea!"

This is such a great idea, I'd better write it down in my memory book....

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A tribute to my best friend

Do I really want to know?

Yesterday, I heard on the news that you can test your child's DNA to see if they are pre-disposed toward athleticism. Hmmm. Immediately I thought of sending my own DNA in for testing to see if I could justify why I have a tendency to sit on my fat ass. I can actually predict the wording of the test results: "This female will have no predilection for athleticism due to her incredibly short legs (genetic trait from mother), ugly knees (genetic trait from father) and imbalance due to tinntitus [ringing of the ears] (genetic predisposition to listen to music too loudly)."

Then I thought, what if someone sent in Michael Jordan's or Tiger Woods' DNA (under an alias, of course) to test the DNA test itself? After those thoughts, I did a little more digging on the internet and found out that these Halls of Science can also test for things like Adult ADHD and Alzheimer's disease.

I could send in my DNA for testing (to confirm that I have ADD, and to probably predict I'll get Alzheimer's), but do I really want to know for sure? I've already learned to cope with my inability to focus, and uber-distractiveness by noise and movement. I put my car keys in the same spot now by habit and out of necessity of finding them again. I've learned to make lists. 

But do I really want to know that in a few short years I'll be mistaking my daughters for my sisters? Or that I'll be demanding my afternoon glass of wine at 10 o'clock in the morning?? I think the only truly helpful thing to come out of a test like this would be if they sent the results to my children so that they could prepare for the inevitable. They should start taking classes right now like "Dealing with Difficult People" and such. If they think I'm contrary now, just wait!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

In-in-internet prob-lob-lems

Argh! Lately my internet has been giving me fits. Not fit as in fiddle, but more fit as in fit-to-be-tied. As I gaze over to my wireless router I can see that the power light is on. The wireless light is on. The DSL light is on and steady, but that dratted internet light is blinking on and off. 

The result of this intermittent blinking is intermittent internet service. No connectivity. No skype. No streaming my favorite Hulu shows. I can only watch d-d-d-d-dancing w-w-w-ith the st-st-st-ars and other like-viewing. You never really appreciate the 11 MB per second until you donʻt have it any more. This is like the olden days with dial-up.

So, my dear ones, I shall pine away, until this ailment clears. Maybe Iʻll break out another relic of an even older olden days: pen and paper. I donʻt want all these writing ideas to go unrecorded. Until then!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Hello? Can you hear me now?

This is my latest creation. It is made from telephone wires that were pulled out of an underground conduit feeding a building we are about to move our offices into. "Out with the old and in with the new" meant a new art project for moi.

I actually went online to find out how the Africans make their wonderfully constructed and colorful baskets, but apparently this is a well kept secret for this developing nation. With all of the internet at my fingertips, including Youtube, there was nowhere to be found information on this skill-set. 

Oh well, this is my version. And, if I had more patience with this type of project, my second one would look much better. But there will probably not be a second one. Maybe a coaster or two. Weʻll see. Iʻll have to wait until my swollen thumb recovers and my arthritic fingers cease to throb.

Sliced Soap: Good old fashioned tar soap

Mmmm mm! Just like Granny used to bathe with. Here I am with more sudsy goodness for you. This is Pine Tar soap. It makes a nice white lather and boasts of pure goodness for your dry and itchy skin. 

In the olden days (circa long-ago) tar soap and other tar-based medicinals had the base ingredient of coal tar.  Some medicinals are still available by prescription, but mostly are not sold because of the carcinogenic nature of coal tar in strong doses. What developed, then, was the use of pine tar as a handy substitute. Same medicinal qualities without the bad side effects.

This 4+oz bar of soap is a bit on the soft side so you would want to be sure to keep it out of standing water when not in use. It has a nice strong smell of pine and rinses nicely. It is made from a blend of coconut, canola, palm, olive, and soy oils with added pine tar and, of course, lye.

If dry and itchy skin bothers you, or eczema or psoriasis leave your skin with dry patches, you may want to give this soap a try. Dandruff? Yes, it can even be used as a shampoo bar! 

If you are interested in some, contact me! ($3/bar plus shipping)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

When I Grow Up

Iʻm sure that all of you have at one point in your lives declared, "When I grow up, Iʻm going to be a ..."  I mean, after all, this is the quintessential Rights of Passage for all human beings. This is what separates us from the rest of the animals in our kingdom; the ability to Plan Ahead.

For most, this declaration first occurs around the age of 5. We enter kindergarten, look around, see the rest of the pack, and decide what will make Us better than Them. Fireman, cheerleader, chef, action hero, or doctor.  As we progress through life, our future career choices become more sophisticated with loftier aspirations. 

Around High School, we now consider professional ball player, Hollywood actor or singer, or even perhaps an independently-wealthy world traveler. 

College hones our choices, making us rely on what can be readily financed and we choose nuclear physicist, teacher, lawyer, computer programmer, or librarian. For those that did not choose college the reality of life hits a little sooner and sometimes choices are made for us; mechanic, retail clerk, domestic services, etc. 

So, what do I want to be when I grow up? Ballerina, musician, architect, artist, wife, mother, housecleaner, project manager, environmentalist, inventor, writer, philanthropist. The list keeps on going...

In the end, I think what I want most to be is to be remembered.

Monday, April 5, 2010

As seen on TV

Today I washed my shower curtain. This is a little something I like to do every so often until the rusted rings start looking like, well...gone. But not this time.  This time, after the washing, I coated the whole curtain with NeverMold. What?! Incredible, you say? Too good to be true? Yes, indeedy.

This afternoon, my co-workers were talking about some fabulous invention (As Seen On TV) that sliced, and diced, and made smoothies, and maybe even folded laundry. Something called a Bullet. I know not of this device, having not had a real TV viewing experience in about, oh, 15 years, but it sounded fantastic. So, it got me thinking about what other cool inventions that would be a Must Have.

Like Poop-Be-Gone, for my back yard. Scrub-No-More, for the kitchen sink. The Fat Melter for weight loss. Odor Eaters for uh, never mind, that one already exists. Chin-Hair-Away for, well, you get the idea.

What I actually need the most is Dog-Come-Here and Insta-dinner. Many Money and Red Dirt Zapper would also come in handy. But, what I guess Iʻm stuck with is Greasy Elbow and Work-Be-Hard.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Time flies

Do you realize that one fourth of the new year, 2010 is already over with? Also, have you ever noticed that when there are deadlines afoot, time seems to speed up?

Recently, as grants, reports, and spending deadlines have been looming over my head, I am struck by the incongruency of time and space.  I now realize that there is a peculiar balance that the universe needs to keep when all of these chaotic demands are spiraling out of control. There seems to be a direct correlation between deadlines that approach at light speed and the information one needs for these deadlines arriving at a snailʻs pace. As time speeds up for one thing, it is slowed right back down for another.

Thus we ride the roller coaster of time; caught in an endless loop and destined to repeat it with  abandon. 

Yesterday, as I waited an eternity at the stop light to exit the Safeway parking lot, I notice that I barely had enough time to make it home before dark (essential to navigating the copious land mines my neighborʻs dogs leave scattered around where I park).

The day before I crept through traffic, taking an eternity to get to work, as the minute-hand raced to the appointed starting time of my work day. Slow. Fast. Slow. Fast. The cycle continues.  How fast does time fly? Faster than the speed of light, and slower than eternity.