Wednesday, November 30, 2011

NaNoJouMo - 30

30 days hath September, April, June, and November. The End. The last journal entry for the NaNoJouMo. The month sure went by fast. There were days that I didn't think I'd haven anything to journal about. Days where I didn't think I would have time to journal, and so played catch up. But it's done. Now to work on the cover, the title page, and the colophon.

Rather sad to see the end of this month. It's been unusually and blissfully warm. I've been able to spend days and nights in the sun room. Soon it will be time to close the room up, but that's another today. Today, it's still warm enough to work in the room.

Did you finish your November goals?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

NaNoJouMo - 29

Procaftinate. Verb transitive. To put off making gifts until the last minute.  Do you procraftinate?

NaNoJouMo - 28

I love point and click shopping and not just on CyberMonday. No crowds, no hassles, no trolling for parking spaces. I can leisurely browse with a cup of tea in hand. And I don't have to wait days in the check out line.

I pointed and clicked through my holiday shopping and am almost done. Do you enjoy the excitement of the crowds while you do your shopping? Are you finished?

Monday, November 28, 2011

NaNoJouMo - 27

Himself is not a fussy eater (with the exception he won't eat cauliflower), and he only requests special dishes twice a year. Corned beef for St. Patrick's Day and turkey soup aka bone yard soup as it's made with the carcass after Thanksgiving.

Upside of making bone yard soup is I won't have to cook this week. Downside is eating gallons and gallons of turkey soup which is the leftovers of the leftovers.

What do you do with your turkey leftovers?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

NaNoJouMo - 26

We've spent the past two days at my folks' house doing yard work. Himself cut up two huge branches that fell during the Halloween snow storm. We raked and bagged the leaves. The lot is only a quarter acre lot but it rakes like the back forty! And I am one hurting puppy!. At least there's better living through chemistry.

What did you do this long weekend?

Friday, November 25, 2011

NaNoJouMo - 25

We had yard work to do at my folks' house. A bit of a late start and a bunch of errands, we ended up working until mid-afternoon. Hungry, tired and a lot left to do, we decided to grab lunch. "Where do you want to go to lunch?" he said. I'm not too fussy about dining out. I figure I'm out. No matter where we go I won't have to do the cooking. I don't like to do a drive thru. But today, the day after Thanksgiving, my answer was, "Any place where I don't have to have turkey."

I'm not a huge fan of turkey. Once a year is more than enough for me, and I don't particularly care for leftovers. We decided we'd go to Friendly's, a local sandwich shop. On the way, we were passing by a Five Guys Burgers and Fries. It was after 3pm, and we were both starving. Also wondering what the traffic would be like as we would have to go past the mall to get to Friendly's, and we altered our plan.

Have you ever eaten a Five Guys burger? It's a real hamburger. It's not pressed meat, and it's round to fit the bun. (The square meat makes me nervous.) One of my guilty pleasures is a heart attack on a bun (aka a bacon cheeseburger) Yeah, stop nagging me about the cheese thing. American cheese isn't real cheese, and it's cooked. Besides, there's enough stuff to mask the texture and taste of the cheese. At Five Guys, you can also have your choice of a zillion toppings, the usual players like lettuce and tomato, but also jalapeno pepper for the adventurous. And as many as you want, no extra charge. Refills on soft drinks are free, too.

Not only do you get a real hamburger, but you get french fries made with real potatoes. If you doubt the authenticity of the potatoes, you only have to look at the 50 pound bags of potatoes stacked as you enter the restaurant. And are they generous? Ja, sure, you betcha, as my Minnesota friends say. For the small size, the server over fills a medium soft drink cup and then dumps the fries in a brown paper bag to absorb the grease. There were enough fries for both of us to share with plenty to bring home as leftovers.

Do you like Thanksgiving leftovers?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

NaNoJouMo - 24

This is an odd Thanksgiving for me. With my folks in the nursing home, it's the first holiday I haven't had to host the Holy Day of Obligation. The Brother goes to his in-laws. The Eldest is working. I almost don't know what to do with myself. I'll be able to watch the Macy's 85th Thanksgiving Parade for the first time in over 10 years. I like the balloons and the marching bands.

I went to the Macy's parade site to choose a balloon for today's journal entry. Saw they now have a Blue Sky Gallery where each year an artist is asked to design a balloon for the parade.  This year the featured artist is Tim Burton with his B balloon. I like Tim Burton's quirky style and skewed view of the world. B is  "a boy obsessed with flying and has the scars to prove it."  That made me laugh.

I'm sitting with my cup of tea waiting for the parade, waiting for the B Boy balloon.  I'm wondering where are the balloons? the bands? the floats? In between a gazillion commercials are inane commentary from parade hosts and snippets from Broadway musicals (I'm not a fan of muscials). Guess I haven't missed much of the parade these past 10 years as there's little parade. I'm thankful for the mute button.

Do you watch the Macy's Thanksgiving parade?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

NaNoJouMo - 23

Titivillus is the patron demon of scribes. He sits on the scribe's desk and collects all the mistakes made into his sack. I think Titivillus also nudges the scribe's hand or arm, shakes the desk, or whispers nonsense into the scribe's ear as a distraction. Titivillus did that to me yesterday. I had finished the journal entry for the day and instead of writing 2011, I wrote 2008.

What does Titivillus do with the sack of mistakes? When the scribe presents himself at the Pearly Gates, Titivillus offers up the sack of mistakes to see if they outweigh the good.

Has Titivillus visited you lately?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

NaNoJouMo - 22

Each morning, I take a walk around my block. All the trees have lost their leaves except one maple. It's still dressed in brilliant orangey red leaves while its neighbor trees are bare. It made me think of the epic poem Horatius at the Bridge, by Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay. ( The poem is based on a historical battle. Etruscans vs. Romans in the 6th c. BC. Do we have to say BCE now? A young officer, Horatius, held the bridge (Pons Sublicius) to give time for the Roman army to retreat across the Tiber River into the city of Rome.)

"Alone stood brave Horatius" refusing to yield to Autumn. If you're in the Northern Hemisphere, have all the trees in your area lost their leaves? If you're in the Southern Hemisphere have the trees started to bud?

Monday, November 21, 2011

NaNoJouMo - 21

The fur alarm didn't go off this morning and neither did the back up alarm clock.  Himself gets up at a quarter to dawn. Usually, I wake up to have a few words with Himself, some of them even pleasant. Not this morning we blissfully slept in. That is, I did. Himself has a late class on Mondays this semester so he was on time. Fortunately, I didn't have any appointments for today. Even so, my rhythm is thrown off.  Looks like it might be a 4 cup of tea morning.

Are you on schedule today?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

NaNoJouMo - 20

Let the holiday cleaning frenzy begin! Let's see the dust fly with that broom.

Do you go through a cleaning frenzy for the holidays?

NaNoJouMo - 19

I had an appointment. There was a failure to communicate clearly about meeting time and place. I waited and I doodled.

What do you do when you have a long wait?

Friday, November 18, 2011

NaNoJouMo - 18

Nothing wakes you up faster at 2:30AM, than a wet kitty nose in your ear. I do believe I'll be going for a horizontal life pause - with the door closed.

What time does your fur alarm clock go off?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

NaNoJouMo - 17

I have a pet peeve. Why do radio stations begin playing Christmas music a few days after Halloween? And the same goes for the stores putting up Christmas decorations before the Halloween stuff is marked down half price. At least when I was a kid, the stores would wait until Thanksgiving was over to deck their halls. There was an anticipation and excitement to the holiday. But now, by the time Christmas rolls around, I'm ready to strangle someone with a strand of tinsel. I'm with Ink. I'm not ready to give up my beach blanket just yet.

Do you like listening to Christmas music two months before the actual holiday?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

NaNoJouMo - 15

Very early this morning, seven turkeys were wandering around the back yard. Just a reminder that Thanksgiving is only 9 days away. I'm glad for the reminder because with the stores all decorated for Christmas and radio stations playing Christmas music, I thought Christmas was just around the corner!

The turkey girls also reminded me, food shopping needs to be done for the feast. I'm not a huge fan of turkey. it's okay once a year. Given my choice, I'druther have a roast leg of lamb. What about you?

Monday, November 14, 2011

NaNoJouMo - 14

I've been researching my family tree at and looking for some background on my great-uncle Manny. I've blogged about Uncle Manny before. I still can't find any evidence that he carved the lions at the Boston Public Library. I'm also trying to find a link to see if he worked with sculptor, Edward Ardolino. The Ardolino Brothers had a masonry stone works in East Boston where Uncle Manny lived.

I received a message from another family detective on Ancestry. She also has Uncle Manny as a link in her family tree! Uncle Manny is her great-grandfather. ( He had been married and had a son. His wife died a month or so after the baby was born. Uncle later remarried my great-aunt.) She has told me there appears to be an Ardolino link. We're comparing notes and family stories. It's pretty exciting to find someone else working on a piece of the same puzzle. Small world, ain't it?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

NaNoJouMo - 13

The Young One wanted to watch a DVD while we were eating dinner. She said she wanted to watch something everyone would enjoy. I was surprised when she picked out Looney Toons. Ah, Warner Brothers. Happy memories from my childhood. Saturday mornings in front of the electronic babysitter. It's where I learned classical music and where I developed my fondness for puns. Bugs and the gang just slay me.

It's hard for me to decide on my favorite character: Foghorn Leghorn, Emma, Yosemite Sam, Michigan J. Frog...I guess if pressed to pick one, my favorite WB character would have to be Marvin the Martian. Who can argue his logic for destroying the Earth? (It obstructs his view of Venus). I also do a passable voice imitation of Marvin.

What's your favorite WB cartoon character?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

NaNoJouMo - 12

Himself and I found ourselves in White City so we decided to stop for lunch. The place was packed, and we got the last parking spot. All the restaurants were packed, too. Panera, Friendly's and Jimmy's Tavern and Grill were packed to the gills. That left us Five Guys Burgers and Papa Gino's. Five Guys makes an awesome burger with real meat, and their small serving of real potato french fries can feed a family of four. I wasn't in the mood for a burger so opted for Papa Gino's Pizza.

I love pizza. It's perfect. On one slice of bread all the food groups are represented. I'm pretty much a plain Jane and prefer a plain cheese pizza. Yeah, I hear ya. Yes, I don't like cheese. I will eat mozzarella if it's cooked. I also like sausage, mushroom and green pepper on a pizza. I'm not a fan of pepperoni. Anywho, Papa doesn't make a bad pizza. (Chuckie Cheese takes the cake for most disgusting pizza)

It's not as good as what my Grandma made and my Ma. They didn't have a round pizza pan, but made the pizza in a quarter sheet cake pan. Thick slabs of pizza were cut into squares. We rarely went out for pizza, but when we did, and when we were visiting relatives in East Boston, we went to Santarpio's. Heaven on a slab of bread. And no silly combinations like Hawaiian with Canadian bacon and pineapple. At the time I was a kid, Santarpio's was only open on weekends. The restaurant was pretty much a hole in the wall. People would wait in line, and the line wound out the building and all the way down Chelsea St. The pizza was that good.

What's your favorite pizza place and fave pizza?

Friday, November 11, 2011

NaNoJouMo - 11

I'm in the market for a cardigan sweater, and Kohl's was having a sale. At 5' 2" in height, I headed to the petite department. Department. That's a joke. A couple of rounds and a rack with ugly blouses, jackets, and jeans.

I'm quite tall for a hobbit so I went to the regular department with high hopes. I found a sweater I liked and tried it on. The shoulder seams sagged to my biceps. The sleeves were six inches too long, and the hem hung below my knees. Why do they make clothes for Amazon women? Why don't the department stores carry a decent selection of petite sized clothing?

Do you have trouble finding clothes to fit?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

NaNoJouMo - 10

While rummaging in a drawer, I came across my old flowchart template. B.C., before children, before calligraphy took over, I was a computer programmer. This in the early days of computing when computers where the size of full-size, 1950's Buick.

I earned my programmer's certificate from Control Data Institute and on the first day, along with the first module, I received the flowchart template, a plastic rule of cutout diamonds, rectangles, and
other shapes. For each program we wrote, we were required to first diagram all the steps it would take to complete the program. I'm a linear thinker so I loved flowcharting. I knew the direction my program would take and if it should crash and burn, I could go back to the flowchart to see where my thinking had gone wrong.

Send husband to work
Is husband home?
No - Watch TV and eat bon bons
Yes - Look busy
Send husband to work, etc.

When I got into the real world, I found I didn't have the luxury of creating a flowchart. Clients wanted changes made to the software, and they wanted the changes yesterday. In the real world, I wrote quick and dirty programs aka programming by the seat of my pants.

Now in a completely different field, I make thumbnail sketches (artistic flowcharts) of my projects. I like having an idea of what the work will look like before I put ink to paper. That's not to say, I can't change the plan if the need arises. The thumbnail gives me a good idea where I might encounter problems in spacing or layout, and I can make adjustments accordingly.

If you are involved in a creative endeavor (art, writing, textiles, etc) do you make a plan before you start the actual work or do you just jump in and drive by the seat of your pants?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

NaNoJouMo - 9

One of the places I pass by on my shuttle runs is a lake. The lake is surrounded by pines. The water is smooth as glass. Beautiful, graceful swans glide over the surface. The beauty and serenity of the pastoral scene is broken when the swans go bottoms up to feed. Always makes me laugh to see swans moon.

Any happy places you pass by on your shuttle runs?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

NaNoJouMo - 8

I don't like peppermint. I find the flavor too strong and overwhelming. I'm not a big fan of York Peppermint patties, but come February I do lust after the Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies. Go figure. So I should amend my statement to I don't care for peppermint. I especially don't like peppermint toothpaste. It's so hard to find a toothpaste that is not peppermint flavored unless you're buying kiddie toothpaste and that's bubble gum flavored. Double yuck!

For the past few weeks, Target stopped carrying the Alpine Mint flavored toothpaste I like. I did find a spearmint, but it left a nasty aftertaste. I almost cried with joy when I scanned the toothpaste aisle and found my toothpaste.

Do you like peppermint?

Monday, November 7, 2011

NaNoJouMo - 7

Preschoolers across the US were shown this drawing of a school bus. They were asked which way the bus was traveling, to the right or to the left. Are you smarter than a preschooler? Which way is the bus going? I'll post the answer later on tonight.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

NaNoJouMo - 6

Turn the clock back. Spring ahead. Fall back. Gain an extra hour of daylight. Gain an extra hour of sleep. Day light Savings Time. Standard Time. It will save electricity. Hmm, seems to gain an extra hour of sunlight in the Spring may prevent you from turning your lights on early, but I bet your air conditioner hums when the temps move to broiling. Where's the savings in that? And turning the clocks back? If you get up at 5:30 or 6am, you have to turn your lights on or risk stubbing a toe while trying to navigate the dark or wearing one brown shoe and one black shoe. It happened. Don't ask. As if setting the clock alters the time. There's still only 24 hours in a day.

Do you think we should bother with standard and daylight savings time?

NaNoJouMo - 5

Remember, remember the fifth of November. Not for Guy Fawkes' Day. It's my grandma's birthday. She was born in 1895 in Ariano di Puglio (now known as Ariano Irpino or plain ol' Ariano). November 5th is also Grandma's wedding anniversary. She was married in East Boston, Massachusetts at Our Lady of Mont Carmel Church in 1917.

Grandma never baked us chocolate chip cookies. Her specialty was a bow cookie, thin strips of dough, deep fried and oozing honey. She made the bows for all the special occasions, holidays, weddings, funerals. She would mound the bows on a turkey platter and bring it to the table where we would gorge on the sticky treat. I never remember her serving turkey on that platter. She did make an "American" Thanksgiving at the holiday which was served after L'escarole with pupetini (escarole soup with tiny meatballs), antipasto, the the highly anticipated cappelini (pasta shaped like the hats priests wore in Rome), eggplant Parmigiana. I don't recall anyone bothering to eat the turkey or trimmings.

I tried making the bows. They are a lot of work. Mine were ok, a little on the thick side. I couldn't seem to roll the dough as thin as Grandma did, and she did the rolling by hand not with a pasta machine!

What's your grandma's specialty?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

NaNoJouMo - 4

Day 4:  Spiders make me reach the high notes. As far back as I can remember, I have had a mortal dread of spiders. Not sure where it came from. Might have come from watching the spider go after The Incredible Shrinking Man. It matters not whether the spiders are dot-sized, quarter-sized, smooth or hairy. The sight of them makes me hit a high C note. And it doesn't help that I've been bitten by spiders twice and had nasty reactions to the bite.

 I was at my folks yesterday waiting for the technician to check a problem with the furnace.  As I walked into the living room, I caught movement and froze. A spider was rappelling from the ceiling! It freaked me out!

Are you an arachnophobe?

NaNoJouMo - 3

Day 3: Trying to catch up. I'm so far behind, I think I'm winning the race. Ever Feel this way?

NaNoJouMo - 2

Day 2: The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Lately, I've wondered if I'm doing the right thing for the wrong reasons or the wrong thing for the right reasons.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Friday Five

Five things I'll be doing today:

1. Going to the bank for my ma

2. My dad participated in a Veteran's project at his local library. The DVD of his interview is damaged. I'll be going to the library to see if I can get a new copy of his interview.

3. Waiting for the technician to check the furnace at my folks' house. There's a terrible heating fuel smell in the house.

4. While waiting for the technician to arrive, I hope to catch up on my NaNoJouMo. I'm three days behind.

5. Phone calls. Waiting for them, and returning them.

What's on your docket today?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

NaNoJouMo - 1

You've probably heard of NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month where you write a 50,000 word novel in a month. I just found out about Dawn DeVries Sokol's NaNoJouMo, creating a journal page for each day in November.

Dawn will suggest a topic each day. You can interpret the prompt any way you wish, but the cool thing about art journaling is there are no rules except your own.  Since I'm starting out a couple of days behind, I decided to (try to) keep this journal simple with line drawings and maybe colored pencils. The focus is the "do" not what to do it with which can turn into a way to procrastinate. Sometimes I spend more time gathering materials or waiting for things to dry than completing an actual page.

Day 1 - Take Flight.

Lately, external pressures have made me wish I would be carried away by a giant bird or maybe turned into a giant bird and fly away.

How would you take flight?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011