Category Archives: NaBloPoMo

NOT A Fortune…


Pick A FortuneWe love fortune cookies in our family.

I know they were invented in America, blah, blah.

I don’t care. They’re so much fun!

We read them together and then collect them in a little shot glass to enjoy again later.

Anytime we need a little pick me up, positive word, a bit of fun when friends come over – just grab the shot glass and Pick A Fortune!

But the last year or so, they haven’t been so much… fortune.

In fact, much of the time, it hasn’t been fortunes inside the cookies. It’s been NOT-a-fortunes.

Don’t believe me? Check it out.

NOT A Fortune!

< Click on the picture to view it in a larger size. >

On the right side, you can see fortunes that actually qualify as “fortunes.” Or at least mostly.

  • “An opportunity will knock on your door.”
    –  General, but OK!
  • “You shouldn’t overspend at the moment.”
    – General advice, but could be a useful warning!
  • “This coming Friday will be an exciting time for you.”
    – Duh, who doesn’t love Friday? But still – I’m really looking forward to the “exciting time.” I think.

Those qualify as fortunes!

These DO NOT!

  • “If a turtle doesn’t have a shell, is it naked or homeless?”
    – Wha? Why?  NOT A FORTUNE!
  • “Love is a present that can be given every single day you live.”
    – I personally believe in Life After Death. NOT A FORTUNE!
    and my favorite…
  • “Eat your vegetable and you’ll grow up big and strong like Popeye.”
    – Seriously, wtf. THIS IS NOT A FORTUNE!!!

FORTUNE COOKIE FAIL!

Someone needs to quit at the fortune cookie factory and hire me instead.
I would write totally awesome fortunes.

My fortunes are inarguably better!

Nailed it.

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Face It…


Stained glass mandala loveSome people think that the best way to fight an enemy is to pretend that it isn’t there.

Or to somehow reimagine it as something less than it is.

I say call that demon by name and face it directly.  With the shield of God’s Love.

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Young Mama…


ReflectionYoung Mama,

Your role in Motherhood,

It should be sacred, it should be good.

But you’ve twisted it right nice,

Doling misery and malice.

Young Mama,

Instead of Loving

As you should.

Written 11-07-2016, 10:58am
Copyright © 2016 by Julia Meek Chambers, all rights reserved.

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Filed under NaBloPoMo, Poetry, Writing

Crochet Skills ≈ Heart Surgery ≈ Life


How Crochet Literally Has Saved Lives

(aka Brilliant People Crochet)

Did you notice the recent news story about the heart surgeon who credits CROCHET and a SEWING CLASS for his surgery skills?

“Dr. W. Dudley Johnson… pioneered and popularized lifesaving cardiac bypass surgery and was considered a healer of last resort for heart patients around the world…. He applied the crocheting skills he had learned from his mother, who was a home economics teacher, and the needlecraft he was taught in a seventh-grade sewing class (he got an A), to perform more than 8,500 heart bypass operations over four decades.” – NY Times, October 30th, 2016.

Unfortunately Dr. Johnson died last week, but his inspiration and legacy live on. Thanks to his mom, and #crochet.

Told ya we can rule the world…

(Check out the full story about this amazing man’s life here: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/31/health/dudley-johnson-dead-coronary-bypass.html.)

thread-crochet-hook - tools of a heart surgeon

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Filed under Crochet News, NaBloPoMo

An Update For The Friends…


Just wanted to share some positive news with my crochet friends who have followed along from afar.  We had positive news from John’s scans a couple of weeks ago.

After nearly 9 months, John’s glioblastoma is finally stabilizing.  His last scans look a bit better than the scans from 6 weeks prior, but mostly similar. Of course, it’s still way better than the shocking scans from July.

The doctors also describe this improvement as “his glioblastoma is ‘stable.'” Meaning glioblastoma is the kind of cancer that’s never actually gone even when you can’t see contrast, but it’s not growing or moving at this time.

Swelling is a little less too. And the scar tissue from his stroke is starting to be reabsorbed, which they say is also good. Cancer’s still there, and still interfering with the visual pathway for his eyesight on the right side, but it’s a bit smaller and not growing right now. So that’s good. All in all, less contrast is good news!

Not only is the current Avastin/Lomustine combo treatment working for John (it doesn’t for most patients) he’s also tolerating it well. So we’re grateful.

Next steps include chasing down specialized speech therapy and some specialized reading/vision help and glasses. John’s vision loss has so far interfered with his ability to get very far with communication therapy, and sometimes it’s potentially hazardous. So this is an important piece of his recovery for us to address.

We may have to pay out-of-pocket for vision therapy and gear, but trying to see if we can get at least some help from our insurance. With all the unforseen expenses on this journey, I’m trying to maximize whatever we can before the end of the year changes anything.

John’s next scans/evals are scheduled for December.

Last but not least — John turned 48 on October 27th — a date he didn’t initially think he’d get to see.

We are all so incredibly grateful. For the precious time together. For the beautiful friends who have helped with prayers and financial support so we can pay for treatment and gasoline and all the expenses that come with cancer treatment. And for all the words of encouragement that prop us up every single day in this storm.

The battle is not over, much less the war.  But at least the constant shelling has paused, so we can regain our balance and breathe a little more.

xxxooo

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It Begins…


NaBloPoMo November 2016It’s NaBloPoMo time of year again. In spite of the chaos and emotional pain this year has been for me, I’ve committed to doing it. In part because writing is part of my therapy in life anyway.

Creating crochet, writing or music. One of those 3 things has always been present to help me get through, sort through, be through.

In childhood, it was my piano that expressed my soul the most. In early motherhood it was crochet that took the brunt.

As an adult, I haven’t had a lot of time to sit and craft at the piano. It requires a living room monopoly to do it and that’s not always possible.

These days it’s writing and crochet the most. And I so desperately need to find voice in any way I can.

Another reason for me not to give up the challenge though is because of the 8-9 years I’ve participated.

The idea that I’m not giving up all parts of me in this journey as a care partner (better label than care giver I think).

And in all these years of taking on this writers challenge, the only time I lost was one year thanks to Thanksgiving Day and no internet access to post for the day. (I have a smart phone now!)

NaBloPoMo was started 10 years ago. So, it’s kind become a part of my soul, being a part of it for so long.

I did take it a step further this year though. I decided to register and commit to posting every day in November for TWO blogs. My usual Aberrant Crochet blog. But also a new blog I’m formulating about glioblastoma.

I registered Frell Cancer nearly 9 months ago and haven’t written a single post yet. Its purpose is to help others who are desperately trying to get up to speed on what glioblastoma (GBM) is, treatments, studies, reality, etc.. Helping others in the GBM community was the point, because there’s so little support for people in that boat around the world. And most people don’t understand how it’s a different kind of cancer than everything else.

Victims always find themselves grappling with trying to educate their families while enduring the shelling that the glioblastoma fight often is. Such a fast, voracious cancer that threatens to destroy your very personality, identity, your relationships, etc.. Everything about you can change into someone you don’t recognize – overnight.

It’s so hard, and there’s a lot of fear. For good reason.

So…. NaBloPoMo will serve as the fire to propel me forward into assembling those posts for that blog. Besides, while I write whatever I want on Aberrant Crochet, I don’t want it to become all cancer all the time. And frankly, there’s a lot of pain in what we deal with in the GBM world. The posts I need to write will not be the most enjoyable kind.

The daily reality of glioblastoma is like living in a fire. It’s not something you really want to experience, unless you need to help someone. Unless you need to understand what families like ours face. These kinds of posts are the kind aimed at helping those who need it, in spite of how sad or shocking it may seem to others. The most efficient way to help those I seek to help most is simply to isolate those posts in one place that makes sense. So, I set aside a place for it. We’ll see how it goes.

Though to be clear, don’t think I’m never going to write about cancer here. I will. It’s more than just a slice of my reality now. And I have information I’m putting together that will help other cancers too. So there will be some cross posting.

You don’t have to be a seasoned NaBloPoMo challenger to know that unless you have nothing else to do, registering two blogs is stupid crazy. Especially if you’re like me and want every single post to count as a real exchange, or a real article. Not a throw-away post to say I posted, but ultimately, it’s crap.

But I think I have plenty I can share. More than anything, time management and structure will be the issue, not words I think.

So… here goes. Today’s the 1st day.

Wish me luck!

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It’s Coming…


Dude.

NaBloPoMo is coming.

Yes, I registered my blog. I even registered 2 blogs.

After all, the new glioblastoma blog I’m putting together could benefit from daily writing.

I’m totally insane. But I gotta.

I’ve lost only once in 8 years.

Ain’t gonna be this year.

Therapy, here I come.

Join me.

 

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The Elephant in the Room…


For my last post of the month, I felt I had to address something.

And that’s the explosion of traffic that just manifested in my blog stats the last two days.

There has been more traffic yesterday and today – individually – than any other day of traffic in the history of my blog.

I wish I could say it’s because I’m a rad crochet personality. But that’s not why yesterday and today’s stats have each broken all other traffic records in a single day on my blog.

The last “all in a day” record? Yeah, that was back in fall 2011 when we had the Cama Beach Crochet Retreat and I posted all those photos during the week.  In fact since I posted every day of the retreat as well as during my extra few days stay afterward, the entire week had high traffic stats. So did the video I made (in summer 2011) from the 2010 crochet retreat too.

Makes sense.

And a close 2nd was my article in summer 2012 about The US Olympics Committee bungle with Ravelry.

Again, makes sense. Crochet, crochet, crochet. Check.

And while it hasn’t broken a record for hits in a single day, the absolute #1 post on my blog is my 2011 post on “What Does Frogging Mean?

So what is it that’s breaking all the records this week, two days in a row? And ain’t over yet? (Vast majority of traffic from the US too.)

Tape Ball.

Yep, it’s my article from last year’s NaBloPoMo about the game Tape Ball, aka Candy Ball.  The simple but fun game played with a large ball that’s made with cling wrap/plastic wrap, leftover wrapping paper, candy, prizes, underwear, a sense of humor and a lot of shenanigans.

My phone keeps going off – “Your stats are booming!!!”

Guess I’m glad that I took my time and compiled a complete how-to last year. To be honest, I did it so I could have something to go back and reference for myself. And at least for now it’s turned into a record-breaking post.

In addition, oddly, my 2011 story about accidentally making butter in my Ninja blender when I was trying to make whipped cream for Thanksgiving has also been getting an unusual amount of attention the last two days too. The 4th most popular post on my blog, incidentally. Either a lot of people accidentally screwed up their Thanksgiving desserts, or someone’s trying to get back to their old-fashioned roots – with power kitchen tools.

Gee, you know thinking about it – that’s an awful lot of blog popularity all written back in 2011 right there.

Does that mean I was a better writer then?

I don’t know, but in either case, I predict that this holiday season will be a lot more fun for some strange reason.

And I want pics.

 

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Filed under 'Tis the Season, NaBloPoMo

Getting Close Now…


I debated on what to write about tonight.

The only NaBloPoMo I ever lost was because of the Thanksgiving holiday, and unexpectedly NOT having access to a computer before midnight.

And of course, I didn’t have a smart phone of any kind back then.

These last 3 nights, I managed to blog via cell phone only. A neat trick, these new-fangled tech tools.

I attempted useful, meaningful and whimsy.  And overall seemed to avoid any major auto-correct mishaps on my blog.

Not that it would have really mattered for NaBloPoMo.  Since it’s not supposed to be about quality, but instead about commitment.

But if you’ve followed me for any time, then you know that I rather despise the idea of “lazy” posts.

I’ll experiment with writing exercises. I’ll play with different styles.

I’ll tell stories and write poetry.  I’ll share information and play show ‘n tell.

But I’m not a real fan of following the crowd or throw-away posts.

Real writing is about sharing some piece of heart, after all. Right?

Unless there’s nothing else left but sheer commitment to the process.

In the end, perhaps there’s a lesson in that.  As it’s often commitment that keeps the world ticking and that drives us to success.  Not the prettiest, the loudest or the tastiest things that cross our paths.  Simply the steadfast things.  The ones we know we can rely on. That which always has our back. What is it that’s always there, even when things don’t go to plan? It gets us through.

Practice, training, love….  None of these are always easy, always sexy, always fun.  But investment in each pays off in troves.

And to dig further into that… What do we want that foundation that we can rely on to be?  What do we really want to commit our energy to in life?  But likewise, from what do we wish to draw upon to help propel us forward?

It’s all too easy to put off important things, because we don’t think we have time to do it right.  We don’t write that letter, because it won’t be a masterpiece. We don’t make that call, because we don’t have enough patience.  We don’t share that story that’s crying to be told, because we’re not good enough to do the telling.  We don’t invest in the relationships that matter the most.  We don’t plan room in our lives for memories, for smiles, for people, for stumbling, for tears, for sticky fingers and sloppy kisses.

And when there’s no extra room, when we live our lives so close to the wire, by the skin of our teeth…

When every minute is spoken for in ways we’d never want for our children, much less ourselves…

It’s time to look up and see the cliff we’re heading for.

Thanksgiving is over and now November NaBloPoMo is winding down to an end. Tomorrow marks the last day of the challenge.

I hope everyone had a marvelous holiday weekend with good memories and camaraderie.

 

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Numinous


nu·mi·nous

ˈn(y)o͞omənəs/

adjective

“Having a strong religious or spiritual quality; indicating or suggesting the presence of a divinity.”

or…

The feeling you get when you’re in the presence of something greater than yourself.

Have you ever felt “the Hand of God” upon you?

Ever known something you shouldn’t.

Had faith without logical reason.

Felt compelled as if it meant life and breath.

Charted a path against all odds, because something called you….

I’m here to tell you that if you can believe.

If you can embrace.

If you can allow yourself to calm the noise and simply Know Thyself.

It’s worth it.

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Is time travel like crochet or like knit?


We just watched the new Terminator movie tonight.

And it got me thinking about the fabric of time.

Is it more like crochet? Or is it more like knit?

If you travel back in time, and something goes wrong and the timeline is changed… is it like a run in your pantyhose?

Something that ripples like a straight line through the entire length of knit fabric, permanently changing the landscape? Erasing an entire line of loops?

Or is it more like crochet?  In that if a loop of the fabric is damaged, its spread remains fairly localized. But the altered appearance in that area is more pronounced, leaving remants of threads and half memories?

And instead of erasing a line of loops, a little pot hole is formed, and the face of the landscape changes across multiple “lines?”

Do you think time as we know it is at risk from time moths?

#musings

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Measure or Weigh? Which Do You Do With Your Yarn?


Do you measure or weigh your yarn?

Or neither?

The obvious reason to do either, is to be sure you have enough yarn for your project.

It’s fairly common for patterns to tell you up front how much yarn you need in terms of yards or meters. Some will also tell you how much yarn you need in terms of thickness and in actual weight.

When you buy yarn for your project, commercially produced yarn will state on the label how much yardage or meters and / or how much weight the yarn has. But even if it doesn’t show the weight, you can easily use a kitchen scale to weigh your yarn.

So what if you’re designing on your own? What if you don’t have a pattern, and you’re making something you’ve never made before?

You could measure length, but for speed, consider weighing your yarn.

How does that help you ask?

The weight of your yarn can be used as a means to gauge where you’re at in a project and how much more yarn you still need to finish it.

Say you’re a fairly experienced crocheter but you’re making your own hat design. You know what you’re doing, but you’re not entirely sure how much yarn you’re using to do what you want to do.

Weigh it. You can weigh both the UFO and the yarn you have left halfway through the project to help you gauge whether you have enough yarn weight left to finish it. If the finished portion weighs far more than the leftover yarn, then you’re probably going to run short on your project.  And if the yarn you have left weighs far more than your project does so far, then you’ll probably be ok.

You can also weigh your completely finished object so you know how much yarn to put down in your notes for the next time you make it.  Or for your pattern if you’re going to write and publish it.

Handy right?

Still, it seems that people have different opinions as to which method is more accurate. Weight or length?

So I put it out to you. Which method do you use? Share your answer in the comments below!

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Filed under crochet, Crochet Education, NaBloPoMo, Yarn

12 Brilliant Ways To Create More Time To Crochet!


1. Sleep in your clothes. You’ve probably heard about laying your clothes out the night before to save time the next morning.  But I say heck – why not cut the time out altogether?  Go to bed dressed for tomorrow.  That way you don’t have to dress when you get up in the morning, thereby saving you even more time.  Note: T-shirts, jeans and knit items work the best.

2. Eat breakfast in the shower.  How long do you take to eat breakfast in the morning?  I’m guessing you probably scarf something down in 5-10 minutes tops, don’t ya?  Well that’s still 5-10 wasted minutes you could be crocheting instead!  Multi-task by eating in the shower.  I know, brilliant right?  Hello smoothie! Instant Breakfast shake! Just pop it in a spill proof container and voilà, suck that puppy down while you rinse and you won’t even taste the suds.

3. “Services will be down for scheduled maintenance.” No seriously! Send this notice to your boss, put it on your website, place a sign on your desk and then get to your scheduled crochet maintenance! Trust me, the world will be amazed at how much better everything seems to work!

4. Skip the makeup. After all which is worth more – Maybeline or Malibrigo. Obviously, when your priorities are straight, there’s no contest.  Use that time to pretty your crochet instead.

5. Have a Cro-Go Bag.  Seriously, I don’t just mean your emergency go bag essentials that you should always have tucked away in the trunk.  I mean get in the habit of keeping a crochet bag packed and ready to go – to take in your car.  *Crochet in the drive-through, crochet in the pick-up line at school, crochet at the red lights.  Crochet in the waiting room at the county tag office.  You never know where you might be delayed and there are moments to be caught anywhere.  Especially if you’re a Mom Taxi.  And if you suddenly find yourself having to wait on someone – no worries, you can be productive.

12 Brilliant Ways To Create More Time To Crochet - photo and article by Aberrant Crochet6. Crochet on the phone.  Blue tooth and speaker phone were made for crochet, unless you need to count.

7. Let Amazon deliver.  Seriously. More and more you can find anything on Amazon.  Even Malibrigo.  Save your gas, let them deliver goods to your door and use that time to crochet!

8. Skip lunch.  Well, is your crochet important to you or not?

9. Cover your end tables with crochet projects and WIPs, thereby eliminating the need to dust.  Ergo, more crochet time.

10. Store your clothes in the dryer. Seriously, why fold and put them away?  You’re just going to put them on again before you go to bed.  So leave them in the dryer, toss them if they get cold and save that folding time for crochet!

11. Better yet, barter for laundry service.  You wash and fold my clothes for me, I’ll totally crochet for you.  Oh here, this one has a wine stain.

12. Barter for meals.  You want more time to crochet anyway, right?  Well cooking eats a lot of time!  Covert that time instead into crochet time.  Find the best foodie cook you know and offer to trade them your time, hour for hour, in crochet.  Make sure they have lots of pot holders.

And there you have it!

12 BRILLIANT ways to increase the #crochet quality of your life.

Do you have an idea to add?  Share it in the comments below!

Got a friend in need who could use these tips?

Do them a favor and SHARE this post with them!

World peace will thank you later.

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Filed under crochet, Crochet Community, Humor, NaBloPoMo

Diversify or Specialize: You Can’t Do Both – Right?


“Austin is a smaller version of New York city.”

This is what a friend of mine (from New York) told me once. I’ve heard that Austin and Seattle are similar in personalities, but I hadn’t heard it being anything like New York before.

Granted, I have not yet been to New York.  Still, I’m not sure that I can agree with her.  And certainly, it would probably be best for her to never repeat that to a native Texan who didn’t already love her. In fact, I’m not sure a native New Yorker would appreciate the comparison.

Still, if you stop and think about it, both cities are incredibly diverse in culture. Pretty much every kind of food, every kind of belief system, every kind of hobby can be found in both places. I never think about Austin’s unique nature much until I travel to other areas and suddenly realize that wait – something’s missing. Or when a friend comes to visit and comments on it.

Oddly, my friend’s comment got me thinking about competitive marketing in the Austin area.

Austin is a colorful and amazing city with a lot of talent to offer. And all of the surrounding cities take on a similar general personality. We’re laid back and friendly here.  We don’t take anything too seriously, except our food and our friendships.  And our social demographic is influenced by the fact that Austin/Round Rock is considered one of the most educated cities in the US.

There are so many diverse and interesting things that can be marketed or written about here. I figure working for Austin Monthly magazine must be a great job as a writer. Surely fun and rarely boring.

But then I was thinking about niche businesses. How marketing (and writing) changes when you specialize instead of diversify.

Austin’s happenings and culture seem like bountiful writing resources, where there’s a plethora of colorful possibilities – pretty astounding. There’s so much texture and color to explore here, all unified by the fact that is all quirky Austin.

But if I were to try to switch things up, and dedicate a specialized magazine to say – crochet in Austin – suddenly there is no diversification. Because in spite of our colorful and rich stories, Austin is still essentially a small town community.  We don’t have the kind of population you see in other cities.  Which also means that the amount of crocheters in Austin is pretty small. And hard to find. Or a least, when you need a substantial support system to justify such an endeavor.

That got me thinking.  That in marketing you can be specialized, or you can be diversified, but it’s near impossible to be both.

Unless perhaps if you walk the fine tight rope of specializing in being diverse.

Welcome to Austin Mural - Austin's Famous Street Art

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Filed under Business, NaBloPoMo, Random Thoughts

Stop Salting My Chocolate!


I’m the poster child for “Ick, that’s too sweet.”  And I love dark chocolate.

The darker the chocolate the better.

Mmmmm... Chocolate....My husband jokes that one of these days he’ll come home to find me huddled in a corner, gnawing on a bar of baker’s chocolate.

Precious….

It’s that serious.

And it’s not a new thing.

I love chocolate.  But I am not a chocolate slut.

I am a chocolate snob.

Which is also why it is unlikely that my dear hubby will ever find me gnawing on baker’s chocolate.  Most of it doesn’t make the cut for that kind of treat.  And I should know.  Because making chocolate deserts is a hobby of mine.

I’ve been a fan of good dark chocolate, since childhood. I’m not sure if it started because my Grandma Leona also preferred dark chocolate, and so maybe I decided that because Grandma was cool, then I preferred it too.  Or if it was part of my ingrained <ick – I can’t stand über sweet things quirkiness> all along.

The thing is, dark chocolate wasn’t that readily available when I was a kid.  Or at least not in my area.

There was Hershey’s Special Dark, which I could sometimes get in a bar, but usually could only find in a bag of Hershey’s Miniatures.  Those Miniatures were one of the few types of candy bags my Grandma would ever indulge in.  (At least that I ever saw at her house.)  And usually only for the holidays.

Special Dark was better than milk chocolate, but it still wasn’t all that good.  Maybe the caterpillar that I once found wrapped in a Special Dark bar is what set me seeking in a different direction.  (No kidding.)  I took it back to the drug store, showed them the worm and his little cocoon inside the wrapper and got my money back.

And maybe I’d already decided that I could wait for better chocolate.

In general, I preferred Nestle Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips.  Which, by the way, I swear used to have more cacao than they do today.  I mean today, now you see semi-sweet morsels AND dark chocolate morsels for sale at the market.  Today they seem much sweeter.  And when I make the same deserts I made 18 years ago with the semi, I don’t get the same results.  Baugh.  Seems I’m not the only one who thinks so.

Then somewhere in my teens, along came Dove and the world became a little brighter.

As I grew older, I explored many brands and flavors.  Dark chocolate and chipotle, dark chocolate and green tea, dark chocolate and pomegranate.  Among my favorites?  Dark chocolate and pecan, dark chocolate and hazelnuts, dark chocolate and caramel, and the ‘ol stand by of dark chocolate and almond.

I know.  Not quite as exotic as the others.

And I learned that chocolate, like coffee, has different flavor nuances depending on where it is grown.  Guatemalan chocolate is different than Costa Rican chocolate.  And btw, I think Godiva is overrated.  Except the liquor.

But the ickiest flavor to me is salted chocolate.  The only salt that should be allowed in there is the salt in any butter used.  That’s it.

And here’s the thing.  I recognize that salt can be used to help bring out a flavor, or even to create a spark of interest that wouldn’t otherwise be there.

But today, it seems most ALL the dark chocolate sold in store is salted.  If it’s dark, then by golly let’s salt it too.  Ugh.  And most of the caramel too.  If I want dark chocolate covered caramel, I’m extra out of luck.  Either the chocolate is salted, or the caramel is.  Either one tastes bad.  Ocassionally I can find it without.

I supposed I should count my blessings.  The flooded market of ocean-water flavored chocolate keeps me from indulging most of the time.

But still, leave me some options people! Those who like salted dark chocolate will still like unsalted dark chocolate.

It’s a binary system.  Those who like salted chocolate and those who don’t.

So leave options.

It’s a win-win.  And everyone gets to have chocolate.

Hopefully one day I’ll be telling stories to my grand-kids about how all the chocolate companies used to salt dark chocolate candies all the time. Kinda like how Coca-Cola tried to replace a winning product with New Coke.

And the kids will be all like, “Ewww, Grandma, for real?”

“Yep,” I’ll say, “For real.”

“But Grandma, how did you survive it?”

And I’ll simply say, “Well kids, therein lies the lesson.  Learn to make your own.”

 

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Ordinary People…


Today a friend shared her experience with reuniting a lost dog with his family.

She noticed him on the side of the road on the way to the store and again on the way back.

So she stopped.

He was exhausted and dehydrated.  He’d run his pads off.

She called the local shelter, who contacted an owner looking for the very same dog.

And she stayed with him until they were reunited.

An ordinary person. Making a difference to an ordinary dog and his family.

It’s easy to think that we don’t have time.

Or to think that we have no real impact in the world.

If I were to disappear tomorrow, the world would continue without me.
So why be bothered? Why worry?

But small random acts of kindness by ordinary people can make a difference to other ordinary people.

It is such as these that make for heroes.

Because now someone’s life and reality is different.

Now that future has shifted for the better.

And they’ll never forget the experience of kindness.

This is how we teach and mold a better society.

And this is why ordinary people matter.

I know I shan’t forget my teachers.

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Penny-Wise Porterhouse Steak


I thought it’d be interesting to share a recipe from my Grandma Dot’s collection.

She was born November 20th, 1919.  And my Grandpa Jack was born the very next day on November 21st, 1919.

96 years ago TODAY.

And I guess if I stop to think about it, Grandpa Chester was born August 27, 1916.

99+ years ago. 

Wow.  No way. He was 55 when I was born.

Anyway, I have a pile of recipes from both sides of my grandparents that I am going through.

This one was interesting to me as a sign of the times, stretching every cent.

Penny-wise Porterhouse Steak

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 1/2 pounds ground pork
1 egg
2 T. grated onion
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
3/4 c. very fine cracker crumbs

Combine meat, egg, crumbs and seasonings. Mix well. Shape to resemble steak, about 1 1/2″ thick. Preheat broiler pan until thoroughly hot. Place steak on broiler pan so that surface of meat is 3″ from flame. When brown, turn. Again place surface of meat 3″ from flame and continue to cook until steak is well browned. Serves 5.

Seven simple ingredients.

Simple recipe.

Feed a family of 5.

Just make sure you get the shape right.

 

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The True Meaning Of A “Buttload…”


I try to learn something new every day.

And while today has most certainly been a weird day, it hasn’t been lacking in introducing me to new data.

I have finally been able to put to rest my un-ease about the word “buttload.”

As a kid, it always seemed like such an odd descriptor.

What the heck did it really mean?

Was it an insult to someone’s backside?

Was it related to loads carried by Buoyancy Operated Aquatic Transports?

Turns out, it’s from the Roman or Greek word buttisa large cask for wine.

According to Wikipedia’s Glossary of Wine Making Terms (and a few other sources), a butt is “an old English unit of wine casks, equal to about 477 liters (126 US gallons/105 imperial gallons).”

Revealing new perspective to the word “buttload!”

I’m not sure if it’s smaller or larger than what I originally thought.

But there you go.

Go forth into the world one word wiser. 🙂

beer-barrel-956322_1920

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The Fruit Fly Gnat Trap – Part 2…


Because you asked…

So I perked up this morning when I came downstairs for coffee, remembering my gnat trap.  Wanting to see how many gnats it had caught.

And then my face fell.

Because I realized that I moved the trap to a cabinet far away from the fruit bowl, while trying to get a good picture.

And I forgot to put the trap back.

So…

You’re supposed to place the trap wherever the gnats are frequenting.  And I’d left the thing over by the mostly empty dry cat food dish.

On top of that, an actual cold front moved in last night and we accidentally left a window open downstairs.  It was super chilly (might get our first freeze this weekend), so there wasn’t a gnat to be seen in the air.

I checked the dish and sure enough, nothing new.

I was in a hurry this morning (crazy day), and the high was supposed to be in the 70’s, so I put the trap back together, stuck it by the trash can and rushed out the door.

When I got home tonight, I was pleased to find 11 little gnat bodies floating in the trap! Not sure if you can see them well, but check out the picture below.

So I’d say this is definitely working!

I’ve placed the trap again (by the fruit bowl) and we’ll see if it gets anymore overnight!

If you want to get one of your own, find it on Amazon here.

Gnat-Fruit-Fly-Trap-Aberrant-Crochet-Review

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My New Fruit Fly Gnat Trap…


I’m pretty excited tonight, as my new gnat trap arrived in the mail today.

I make smoothies every morning. And I buy what organic fruit I can.

But along with the territory comes gnats.  And the last batch of bananas I picked up at Whole Foods brought a bunch in.

And because I’m using fruit every single day, the problem doesn’t go away so easily.

Thank goodness gnats don’t bite, but still!  Done with them!  Want them OUT.

I looked into some of the homemade traps.  Make a paper funnel, stick it in a little glass or vase with apple cider vinegar and a drop of dish soap. And supposedly catch all the gnats.

Nope, didn’t work for me.  And for my friends who’ve used it, it seems they never get more than a couple gnats when they do it.

So I finally took to Amazon, the King of Product Reviews.  And I found a trap with great reviews from a company called FlyFix.

So I ordered it and it arrived earlier today.

However, tonight we had friends over for dinner.  And little gnats visited everyone at the dinner table.  Ugh.  Thankfully our friends are really down to earth, but everyone was clapping, trying to kill the buggers. Not my preference for entertainment. We’d been so busy getting ready, that I hadn’t opened the package or even thought about it.

Finally I remembered the package and ran to get it.  We cracked that sucker open, poured some apple cider vinegar into it, closed it up and set it on the table.  The instructions state to allow a few hours for the gnats to find the trap, but in less than an hour, it’d already caught a couple! 🙂

So I’m thrilled. This is already as good as trying the DIY method.  So as far as I see, it’s looking promising.  And it blends in with the apples well!

I can’t wait to see how many gnats it’s trapped by morning.

Gant Fruit Fly Trap - Aberrant Crochet

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