Fifty-Three, But Who’s Counting?

We look pretty good. What is it we’re all dressed up for?
(Helpful hint – put labels on old photos while you still remember the details…)

I have many talents – drawing isn’t one of them – for example The Car Guy is much taller than I am…

The Car Guy and I celebrated our 53rd Wedding Anniversary in 2022. Our Wedding Vows were very traditional, but if there had been an internet back then, I think we would have added some of these vows, which I found when I did some web research:

“I promise to get up and get our remote from across the room, even if it was not I who placed the remote so very far away.”

“I promise to love you through Ikea, be it during the buying or the assembly of furniture procured therein.”

“I promise to replenish the toilet paper that you almost certainly won’t remember the stored location thereof.”

“I promise that I will never ask you to sample anything to see whether it has gone bad.”

“I promise that I will clean up after supper when you cook it.”

“I pledge always to respect your musical preferences while you are driving. However, if you are not driving…”

“I vow never to steal your covers, unless you are hogging them.”

“I vow to agree that you really are the best driver on the road and that you always know exactly where you’re going.”

“I vow to always do all the stuff neither of us wants to do when I know that you really, really don’t want to do it a lot more than I really, really don’t want to do it.”

“I vow that for as long as we both shall live, I will guard you against spiders and mice.”

A wedding anniversary is the celebration of love, trust, partnership, tolerance and tenacity. The order varies for any given year.
– eCards –

For more pithy quotations see this post: Love and Marriage

An Abnormal Normal Christmas

Back to Normal Christmas Letter
For many years I wrote an Annual Christmas Letter for family and friends. There wasn’t much to report on a personal level in 2020 and 2021 because of Canadian pandemic social restrictions. Everything I wanted to say about everything else was on my blog – so I didn’t do letters for those two years.

January 2022 was the end of the pandemic for The Car Guy and I. We promptly got Covid when we left the restrictions in Alberta and moved to the open social life of Arizona – sure made writing the Annual Letter more interesting and easier to write!

An Abnormal Christmas
The Car Guy and I moved up our migration to Arizona to early December 2022. That meant we celebrated Christmas with real family in Alberta in November, while December Christmas was a series of virtual visits with family who were also in small pods in far flung places. Our Christmas Day meal was a simple gourmet BBQ hamburger dinner for two – if that isn’t a stress free holiday recipe, I don’t know what is!

One can never have enough socks. Another Christmas has come and gone and I didn’t get a single pair. People will insist on giving me books.
– Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone –

I always know what I’m getting for Christmas…
fat… I’ll get fat.

I bought my brother some gift wrap for Christmas. I took it to the gift wrap department and told them to wrap it, but in a different print so he would know when to stop unwrapping.
– Steven Wright –

As for this post – “It’s A Wrap” too!

We’ll See What Happens

Scam, Spam and Phishing
My recent post, 13th Anniversary of Blogging, was reblogged without my permission by someone who I think might be a phishing scammer (though I may be over-reacting.)

I contacted WordPress about this and asked them to take the reblogged post down. The Happiness Engineer (HE… or maybe HER) suggested I fill out a Copyright Infringement Complaint. I don’t see how that would do me any good because WordPress is the one that provides the reblog tool that lets people take your content.

I had left a comment on the site that had reblogged my post, asking them to take it down. The reply from the blogger was: “Pls am sorry and I will happy if you can guide me too on this WordPress blog to become famouse and get money there easily pls Mrs Amusive pls contact me on what’sapp +(234xxxxxxxxxx) so we can talk more pls”

So I  filed a complaint of scamming  – which was a lot faster and easier than a copyright infringement complaint. We’ll see what happens.

The Response to Elon Musk Buying Twitter

The big news in Social Media is that Twitter has been purchased by the richest man in the world, Elon Musk. His expressed reason for purchasing it is because he wants “civilization to have a common digital town square.” By common, Musk says the company would allow “all speech that the First Amendment protects”. Getting from ‘what Musk now owns’ to ‘what Musk wants it to be’ has been a bumpy ride so far (as opposed to the ride you get in one of his Teslas…)

This has created an uproar with people who want Twitter (or Facebook or YouTube) to decide what is misinformation or hate speech (for example) and do not agree with Musk’s opinion that better decision making comes from more open debate. We’ll see what happens.

Quiet Quitting

This is a new term to me. It means “doing the minimum requirements of one’s job and putting in no more time, effort, or enthusiasm than absolutely necessary.” I’ve read that this trend is popular with Gen Z who believe working will lead to on-the-job burnout if they do more than what they think they are being paid to do.

This has apparently led to Quiet Firing where the employer does the minimum required of them – which does not necessarily include giving raises, increased opportunities or promotions to employees who don’t do more than what is absolutely necessary… etc.

The Employer could, of course, escalate things to ‘UnQuiet Firing’. Apparently Musk has fired about half the Twitter work force. Speculation is that Amazon will lay off 10,000 employees and Zuckerberg is cutting 11,000 employees.  I suppose it is possible that some of those laid off were quiet quitters… We’ll see what happens.

 

Literary Origami – Bookworm and Snowflake

I did a DNA test and found out I’m 100% bookworm.
– Author Unknown –

This folded bookworm was a big disappointment. Too much big eyes and book, not enough worm. I’ll have to find a different pattern.
Would you know this was supposed to be a snowflake if I didn’t tell you it was supposed to be a snowflake?

Sadly, my socks are like snowflakes. No two are exactly alike.
– Graham Parke –


An Untrue Story that will Offend Everyone or No One.

Am I Preoccupied by Snow?

Glad you asked that. Yes, it is Winter here in Alberta and I have successfully completed sidewalk clearing duties during and after three snowstorms. If you don’t have snow, but wish to train in case you do get a snowstorm, be sure to watch the following:

Literary Origami – Book Fold Trees

Some people won’t dog-ear the pages… Favorite books should be naked, faded, torn, their pages spilling out. Love them like a friend, or at least a favorite toy. Let them wrinkle and age along with you.
– Ella Berthoud & Susan Elderkin –

Book Folding – ‘dog-earing’ taken to the extreme…

This folded book tree is a full circle. To prepare this book for folding, the two covers and spine cover are torn off.  Break the spine (ouch!) in numerous places to make it easier to form the folded book into a circle. Use a glue gun to join the spine edges together when the folding is complete. Glue on a ‘trunk’ – or not. It will stand by itself either way.
This book tree is a half circle. Leave the covers on. Break the spine in lots of places to make folding easier. If you want this book to stand on its own, then don’t glue on a ‘trunk’. I glued on a trunk and some buttons – I’ve hung it on a wall using a plate hanger.

Step by Step Instructions: (these show a book without a cover.)

Step 1 – Fold 1: Top right corner of the page folded to the middle of the book. Use a bone folder or back of a spoon to make the folds crisp.
Step 2 – Fold 2: Right side of the page folded to the middle.
Step 3 – Crease 1: this is a crease at the bottom of the page to mark where the folded page hangs down below the bottom edge of the book.
Step 4 – Fold 3: Unfold Fold 2 and fold the crease up that you made in Step 3
Step 5 – Refold Fold 2 with Fold 3 tucked under. Use clothes pegs or some other large clip to hold the folded pages out of the way.
This is what your tree looks like after the first few pages are folded. As you fold more pages, keep pressing the book open along the spine so that all folds align the same with the spine.

Decorating

Go Wild! The Full Circle Tree: I glued a bow onto the top and a ‘trunk’ cut from a small branch of a tree to the bottom. The Half Circle Tree – I glued a heavy Christmas paper to the inside of the covers. I added a bow to the top and a trunk to the bottom. I tied some crochet cotton onto buttons to make the bows, then glued them onto the tree.

All my other Literary Origami Posts are at Book Fold.

My other Book Fold Projects

This is the Week That Was: Speak Up!

LEST WE FORGET
My Memorial stories about family who gave the ultimate: In Flanders FieldsCalgary’s Field of Crosses

Thoughts about Accurate and Honest Communication – something we need more than ever these days:

Chinese Whispers – Have you ever played it? It is when a person whispers a sentence to another person and so forth down a line of people; then they compare the original sentence to what the last person in the line heard. Invariably there is  cumulative error. It is a good demonstration of the inaccuracies of rumours or gossip… or news, for that matter…

I don’t call it gossip, I call it ’emotional speculation’.
– Laurie Colwin –

Taken a step further, how might a sentence change if it has to be translated to another language before it is passed along?

You can test this idea by using a translation program on the internet. Start with your language, then translate it to another language and so on before translating it back to your language. Here is one that I tried.

English: It is unusual for it to snow here in the fall.
The English translated to French: Il est inhabituel de neiger ici à l’automne.
The French translated to German: Es ist hier ungewöhnlich im Herbst.
The German translated to Thai: ฤดูใบไม้ร่วงนี้เป็นเรื่องผิดปกติ
The Thai translated to Welsh: Mae’r gostyngiad hwn yn anarferol.
The Welsh translated back to English: This reduction is unusual.

Timing is Everything – maybe don’t try to talk to your spouse first thing in the morning…

Types of Conversation:

Another one of those Clever Misinterpretations

“We built this city on rock and roll” – song by Starship

And Then There are Lies


This is what happens when your mouth starts working before your brain is fully in gear:

I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.
– Robert McCloskey, State Department spokesman, attributed –

For more Quotations of this ilk: Speaking Quotations

The Halloween Tree

‘Twas a night after Halloween, and what did we see?
Snow in abundance covering all trees
(heavy, wet snow, brisk wind, drifting…)

The pumpkins were lit and though shining so bright,
They couldn’t dispel the gloom of that night.

And then in a twinkling a thought came to me,
What was needed were lights from a Christmas tree!

I spoke not a word, but went straight to the task
And soon in the light of the tree we did bask.
(Well, the pumpkins basked – we admired while curled up in our comfy chairs.)

And that, dear readers, is why and how I violated the social admonishment (as expressed in social and mass media) that I not decorate for Christmas until after American Thanksgiving! Yes, I know, I’m walking on the wild side!

(Sometimes social media can be a preachy, self-righteous, sanctimonious kind of place…)

Just remember, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do everything, and the wrong way is to keep trying to make everybody else do it the right way.
– M*A*S*H –

gHosT the Dog – Boxed In

Update from gHosT the Dog…

there is a simple. explanation. for why I look like my head. is stuck. in a box: my head IS stuck in a box

but there is a simple. explanation for how. that happened, I was checking. to see if it was true that. all the biscuits were gone.

and even if they were all gone. maybe there were crumbs. that had to be eaten before the box got. recycled. it was a very deep box and when I. couldn’t reach the bottom with my tongue I stuck my head in. just a bit farther then I was stuck.

the two leggers didn’t laugh they didn’t even take a picture they. just pulled the box. off. but here’s the thing, the box was talking to me it was saying. there really are some crumbs stuck. in the very bottom of the box so I put my head in. again. and got stuck again.

apparently that is when the picture. was taken and if the two leggers hadn’t taken the box off my head. and put it out of my reach. there is no doubt I would have got stuck. a third time.

never give up is my motto

Somebodies dog, somewhere – has your dog ever got its head stuck?

my other adventures are here: gHost the Dog

Book Pumpkins – Thank You Reader’s Digest

Readers’ Digest Condensed Books –  They were published for 47 years (before being rebranded) and it has been estimated that about 10 million copies were sold per year. That’s a lot of books that are still living in boxes in the attic or displaying a pleasing shelf full of books with similar spines!

The current value of these books, however, seems to be about $0. They are not rare and the fact that the stories are condensed reduces the value to today’s readers.

What should I do with a box of Reader’s Digest Condensed books?
– Make Door Stops…
– Just don’t leave two of them alone in a box in a dark room or you end up with a whole ‘litter’ of them.

I recently inherited a box of these books from a relative who knew I was not adverse to ‘mutilating’ books.   I thought I would try making them into Book Pumpkins. There are quite a few sites on the web that tell you how to do this. Usually they say you cut the pumpkin shape with scissors but I found that quite time consuming and not so kind to arthritic fingers. A better tool, for me, was The Car Guys Scroll Saw!

The finished Book Pumpkins – top view.

Here are the my instructions for this project. For more detailed photos, see the photos below.

Trace and Cut: I traced a half pumpkin shape on the book cover, cut the shape out with a scroll saw, then took the cover off.

Prepare the Spine: I removed some of the binding material off the spine to make it more flexible.

Make the Center of the Pumpkin: I cut a piece of dowel that was a few inches longer than the height of the spine and the right diameter such that the spine would wrap around it. The front and back edges of the spine should meet.

Hot Glue – OUCH: I hot glued the spine around the dowel, leaving about an inch of dowel above and below the spine.

Make the Base for the Pumpkin and Spray Paint: The Car Guy cut a circle from some scrap lumber. He drilled a hole in the middle of this base. The hole was slightly larger than the diameter of the dowel. We mounted the bottom piece of the dowel into the circle, leaving a slight gap between the top surface of the circle and the pages of the book. This leaves the pages free to fan out nicely. I spray painted my pumpkins with Rust-oleum Hammered Copper.

Make a Pumpkin Stem and Decorate: I used a piece of tree branch that was a larger diameter than the dowel. I cut the branch into ‘stem’ lengths and drilled a hole in each that was slightly larger than the dowel. Then I glued the stems onto the dowel, making sure the pages were still free to fan out unhindered. I decorated the pumpkins with wood shavings and crinkly paper.

Pumpkin shape. Ready to cut with a scroll saw.
This is where the dowel will be glued when the book has been cut and the covers removed.
This is the base with the dowel inserted.
The twig stem and decorations.

Do tell – how many Reader’s Digest Condensed Books do you have on your book shelves!

Acrylic Pouring – Why Paints Do Surprising things

A few more of my Acrylic Pour Paintings:

‘A Sinking Feeling’

This pour was a contest between the white  base coat paint and the colours I poured over top. The white paint was not as dense as most of the coloured paints. The result was the coloured paints tended to sink into the white rather than sitting on top where I wanted them to be.

‘I Never Promised You a Rose Garden’

Chameleon Cells is the fanciful term used to describe what you get when you dot wet water based paint with drops of silicone oil. The silicone pushes some of the paint away, which creates ‘cells’.

‘Stompin’ Grounds’

This is another example of Chameleon Cells. I think it looks like a footprint, which reminds me of the song “You Done Stomped On My Heart”

You done stomped on my heart
And you mashed that sucker flat
You just sorta stomped on my aorta…
– Mason Williams –

The song was recorded by John Denver, but I first heard it at a live performance of Paul Hann. I suppose Paul’s version of the song is particularly memorable because he was performing in our small town and he had lunch at our house (our Performing Arts Council was on a very tight budget…)

Other crowd favourite Paul Hann songs were “Doesn’t Anybody Do it Straight Anymore?”, “Love is Like a Hockey Game” and “I’d Like to Make a Movie with You.” His impish grin delivered more meaning than the words did, which was just as well because it was a family concert.