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Nature Stinks

The trail we most often use for dog walking runs along a river. Several times a year sections are closed due to flooding, and frequently after a good rain we’re dodging puddles and commenting on which areas have gone boggy. Last year the mosquitoes were almost unbearable. I’m particularly appealing to the little buggers and the hubs would have to wave them off my back as we walked — even after applying a healthy (unhealthy??) coating of OFF!

mushroom

For all the dampness this year, the mosquitoes are thankfully few. Recently what’s almost unbearable is the smell. Not, mind you, at the height of heat and humidity. Rather now, when tempuratures are moderate but the humidity still hangs thick.

mushroom-2

Even the mushrooms keeled over in a day or two.

No Need to Adjust Your Screen or What’s Old is New Again

living-room-2

We’ve been busy around here: The only way to indulge our good taste in design is to DIY so the living room is getting a fresh coat of paint and new flooring. For the last dozen years the walls were a pale blue and the inset areas next to the fireplace were a light-medium, warm brown. I’ve to a got a thing for accent colors whether the look is in or out. The carpet was the original bland neutral beigey tone, hence my instance on blue walls.

living-room-5

Unsurprisingly, the carpet was showing its age; time to replace. And we had painted the walls white when we built the house. It was a trade: Back then, furnaces and air conditioners were not required to be very efficient, so to get the most efficient furnace and AC we were going to have to pay and pay dearly. Instead, we agreed to paint the interior of the house. Since we were both working more-than-full-time jobs in publishing, we opted for white everything and figured we’d add color later.

Uff da! That was a challenge, and not just in time and effort. Although the builder agreed to the deal he didn’t like it, and he made us pay in ‘accidentally’ messed up freshly painted walls. Oops, crashed into a newly painted wall (happened a dozen times or more). Oh so sorry — not! Then again, he wasn’t a careful builder (fortunately we stopped by the site every day), so perhaps he and his subs were just that clumsy.

Back to today, and back to white. The hubs likes the white, and I’m going for a look I call ‘Midwest Scandinavian.’ The new flooring is carpet tile (FLOR) in a pale blue — just enough color. (Pic to come.) The living room opens to the lately remodeled kitchen, and the rooms blend splendidly. All those years of editing home decorating books paid off nicely, if I do say so myself.

There’s a lot of disruption involved, however, and we’re both surprised at how much stuff has accumulated in the living room. I’ve made a concerted effort to edit; that, too, has made a big difference.

cat-help

So back to white walls and less stuff, somewhat as when we moved in, and looking good. One of our site supervisors agrees.

 

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Seen and Unseen Nature

Sadly, I have joined the ranks of (insert plural pejorative noun of your choice) who carry a phone with them everywhere. To add to the insanity, the hubs put an SD card in the thing so I can take pictures at will with no concern about storage. Snap happy, that’s me. Back in the day, a roll of film did focus the mind. The usefulness/wisdom/point of taking all these pictures is debatable. And the hubs is no help. Take a picture, he says, You can put it on your blog. Sho ’nuff.

What is sure, my future as a nature photographer is nill.

Cases in point: Three pictures that barely capture the intended subject but continue to take up digitial space.

black squirrel

Exhibit A: Black squirrel at rest stop. Center, below the tree and above the side view mirror. Zooming in doesn’t help (any of these) as these are zoomed as far in as possible here; any more and the image falls apart.

deer 1

Exhibit B: Deer in the clearing. Again, center of the image. At least I know how to center the subject in the frame.

suspended leaf suspended leaf 2

Exhibit C: A twofer and probably the most worthwhile of the lot. A leaf suspended on a spider web so it looks to be hanging freely in the air.

Well, I’m glad I got that off my chest. Now, if I could only bring myself to get these off the SD card.

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Ill Decor

Router

Sigh. I guess, maybe, perhaps this is better or at least the least offensive option.

For some reason, that I missed because I wasn’t paying attention when it was uttered, the hubs said the best place for the router is my studio/office.

First it sat on the cabinet, cords tucked behind it and its ugly-but-necessary e-cousins. When reception went wonky, heat was the suspected culprit. Then it sat perched on a stump of PVC pipe. Other e-issues, now determined to be unrelated to the router, hiked it to the wall, cords flowing in all their un-glory. The hubs thinks this works better. Tried to sell it to me as opening up space. What you see is all the space it ‘opened’ but protesting is futile. I’m trying to look at the end result as an art installation that speaks to our electronic age. After all, not like I’m going to give up the interwebs any time soon.

And while we’re talking about untastefulness, the Henri Bendel bag held candles purchased as gifts. I can’t bear that you might think otherwise.

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Knit One, Purl a Bazillion

On Facebook a friend recently posted something about a knitting site. Some contest or giveaway or whatever so I clicked through and signed up.

Then, as the interwebs overlords intended, I started clicking around the site. Tee-shirt yarn! They have tee-shirt yarn and I want to try tee-shirt yarn! And when you buy bunches, you get a darn good discount. Then I checked my email. From the sign-up, a discount coupon! The two can be combined for a stupendous (or at least really good) discount!

We Are Knitters 1

Then this happened. The tagline is deceiving. The box did not contain a kit. It contained a lot of tee-shirt yarn wrapped in a vague plan. And yes, that is happiness.

We Are Knitters 2

The plan is rugs. Striped rugs – use a simple stitch and let the color do the design work. A couple of years ago, I spent an entire Sunday afternoon ripping old sheets into two-inch strips to make ‘yarn’ for a bathroom rug. That did happen so the possibility of this happening is greater than zero.

Maybe there’s a sale going on; maybe just a few more skeins/rolls. . . a little more happiness. . .

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Rinse, Repeat

Rice Cooker 2

Every eight days, the rice cooker goes to work. The dogs do love their rice, or at least I think that’s what the snarfing sound means.

The instruction booklet says rinse. Meh. Is it worth it? Hmmm. The word brick comes to mind when working with the cooked rice. But a brick of rice that’s easy to cut.

Just this once, I’ll rinse. Still a little sticky, which I like (the pups have expressed no preference), but crumbles nicely. Yes, that is nice.

Okay, I’ll rinse every time.

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Honey Wasp Don’t Care

Honey wasp

See anything interesting, anything at all? No? Good!

Here in the Land of the Frugal, mulch goes down when the price drops. And the end-of-season price on cedar mulch meant it was time to load up.

So the hubs starts spreading the stuff in the front garden when he feels a sharp pain on his nose. Just about center of this pic is where the honey wasp nest was and the mulching stopped. He got stung, and it wasn’t fun.

The event made him pretty wary because it took three weeks of asking about next steps before a can of wasp destroyer was purchased. Even then, you-know-who had her hand on the nozzle while he pointed where to aim.

Now all’s quiet on the eastern front (yard).

 

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Winter is Coming. . .

Rarely have I looked forward to fall with such unabashed desperation. Not a hot weather person, I.

So last week when we walked from the heat of the day into the concrete coolness of Costco and I saw the paperwhites, well, I almost hugged the display. Thank goodness I didn’t. How embarrassing would that be?

My second reaction was the headline for this post popping into my head, along with The Iceman Cometh, which would be the old entertainment reference used before Game of Thrones. Haven’t seen either, actually.

At least all this only happened in my head. Can you imagine me hugging bags of bulbs shouting random cold-weather references at the Costco entrance? Why did you say yes, you could imagine that?

Winter is coming

Figured it was time to load up on winter food, too. Hello Panko Chicken Nuggets, pass the hot sauce!

Then, just a couple of days later, came the long-range weather forecast from The Old Farmer’s Almanac (via Elle Decor. . . whatever). Thinking cool thoughts. . .

Please excuse me, I need to go in my closet and stare longingly at my sweaters. It’s still too hot and muggy to even touch them.

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Ow. Ow. And Ow.

finger

Let’s start at the bottom and work our way up, which, incidentally, puts the injuries in chronological order.

The three small gashes from wrist to knuckle are from yanking my cell phone from under the car seat during Iko’s first of two emergency vet visits in one day–extreme bowel inflammation and unrelated allergic reaction. Fortunately, she’s now fully recovered. In almost three decades of being a dog owner/parent, I’d never experienced either situation until that day. And I’d also never previously dropped my phone down that tiny gap between seat and center console before. The string of profanities would make your eyes water.

Lost in the skin fold and the shadow are three bites between the index and middle finger. Two mosquito bites, one diagnosed as a spider bite by Dr. Hubs. I agree with this diagnosis as I noticed the bite shortly after mistaking a large spider in the grass for a small toad. Really. It made the grass move as it crawled. And since I was at ground level weeding, I got a good look at it just before I shot up and jumped back. Only a silent scream.

Finally, the fingertip. From the top knuckle up, significant swelling and hurt like a son of a. . . for several days. To state the obvious, infected. (May I take a moment here to praise the efficacy of Smile’s PRID Drawing Salve? Here at we-don’t-go-to-the-doctor-unless-disability-or-death-is-a-plausibility, we’ll try anything that doesn’t hint of snake oil.) No visible injury but the stabbing pain originates from a tiny spot in the cuticle; the throbbing is generalized to the bandaged area. Likely a small puncture from landscaping work. The finger has reduced to almost normal size, the color now almost normal, and using a keyboard normally is almost possible. A week of persistent, low-grade cussing and frequent exhibition of the facial expression that causes people to back away.

The kicker: I’m left-handed.

What I did to anger the universe I do not know. As my niece says, I shake my fist at you!! And I would, except I can’t clench a fist yet.

 

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