Entries to Win Afghan

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Thursday, December 31, 2015

It Lingers, and the December End of Month Report

That wet snow just continues to cling to the trees, forming a crusty coating. It's still very attractive.

snowy branches

I did get some projects done that aren't on the list. Trimmed another tree by the driveway, re-covered the well pit for winter, clipped all the small autumn olive in the lawn where I didn't get it whacked. Whacked some more, but not nearly a whole space.

And now, it's the end of the month, so here's my report on progress toward my listed goals. Pretty pathetic, but probably better than if I wasn't reporting to you.

54 in 300, report on day 37
1WRITINGbegin working on North Country Quest againalmost done with Chapter 1- "Meanders and Undulations"of new work, just Dec (total about 5 chapters done
2WRITINGedit Kiss of the Butterfly, submit for publicationnothingnothing
3WRITING100 NC History pagesnothingjust the planning last month
4WRITINGblog about 8 wild foodsnonenone
5WRITINGfinish Dead Mule Swamp Druggistchapters 21, 224 chapters added
6WRITINGdo 10 book promotion things2 article on Murder By 4 blog, and did a plug on Facebook4
7WRITINGwriting schedule day 50 times49
8WRITING5 entries in Off the Sanctuary Wallnonenone
9WRITINGpursue a contract I can't name yetfollow up contactno results
10WRITINGtalk to 5 bookstores about carrying mysteriesnonenone
11HOUSEfix kitchen drawerDONEDONE
12HOUSEcut down 5 autumn olive treesnonenone
13HOUSEclean refrigerator twicenonenone
14HOUSEreplace kitchen faucetnothingnothing
15HOUSEget lawnmower fixednothingnothing
16HOUSEclean terracenothingnothing
17HOUSEkitchen light electric boxnothingnothing
18HOUSEreplace faucet by washing machinenothingnothing
19HOUSEput away model railroad stuffnonenone
20HOUSEspend 10 hours sorting books12
21FITNESSincrease to 30 pushups21increase of 5 this month
22FITNESSincrease to 100 jumping jacks65increase of 15
23FITNESSincrease to 2 min planking70 secno increase
24FITNESSwalk, bike, ski or snowshoe 200 times1220, this is still terrible
25HIKINGNCT Hike 100 Challenge for 2016nonedoesn't start till Jan 1
26HIKINGvisit 5 new MI counties to explore trailsnonenone
27HIKINGhike 100 more miles of the Buckeye Trailnonenext spring
28HIKINGclear my trail better5have worked on it a total of 13 days, terrible
29PERSONALSavings Goaladded some72% to goal
30PERSONALFinancial Goal #2nothingnothing
31PERSONALlose 10 pounds-1 as in going the wrong waythe really bad news is I lost 1 (total of 2, but gained 3 over Christmas)
32PERSONALplay music 50 times38
33PERSONALother #1 (200 times)719, not on track
34PERSONALother #201, not on track
35MISCmake 21 quarts juice07 total
36MISCtry 10 new wild foodsnonenone
37MISCsome genealogy stuffnothingnothing
38MISC100 more pix on Shark Shotsnonenone
39MISC2 photo cards documentednothingnothing
40MISCgive 10 gifts from my kitchen22
41MISCeat at Brenda's Burgersnothingnothing
42MISCeat at Country Crittersnothingbut I'd better, because it's for sale
43MISCtake my trailer on 2 tripsnonenone
44MISCfinish monkey bootiesnothingnothing
45MISCget two programs NCT and Kitchen Sinktentative contactnone
46MISCget rid of 100 thingsnothing7
47MISCread or listen to 100 books3, best one was Devil in the White City by Eric Larson, juxtaposing the 1893 World's Fair with a serial killer who was operating in the same section of Chicago- a true story9
48MISCmove NCC from Josh's garagenothingnothing
49MISCshort bios of 5 relativesnonenone
50MISCsort my fabricnothingnothing
51MISCdo something inside my trailernothingnothing
52MISCadd 50 things to family heritage listnonenone
53MISCsome VCR tapes to DVDnonenone
54MISCsome cassette tapes to CDnonenone
See Space Three, and November Report
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Wednesday, December 30, 2015


Our first real snow is very wet and heavy. It has covered everything with a coating that looks like heavy frost or powdered sugar. It isn't exactly ice, but it's heavy and slushy. Beautiful, but really difficult to move around.



It was a long day at work, and I'm hitting the hay early.

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Tuesday, December 29, 2015


I asked for a game for Christmas, and received it. This is the sequel to The Neverhood, called Armikrog. It's a puzzle game, my favorite kind.

I've been playing non-stop since Friday, and finished it last night. This is the view from one of the rooms. I don't think it gives away any secrets, but gives you an idea of the game.


Apparently, I haven't yet had my fill of puzzle games, because I went back to Riven, which I've never finished solving, although I love it. The last time I played, I managed to remove a bridge that had previously been there, and I don't know how. So I'm kind of stuck. No matter, my gaming time (for these kinds that take thought) is pretty much over for now. I have to go back to work tomorrow morning.

Here's where I'm stuck in Riven. There used to be a bridge to this pontoon room. Now it's gone. But I have a couple new clues, so I guess I'm off to explore more, the next time I can play


If you are a Riven fan, and know how to get the bridge back, DON'T tell me.

Armikrog is rather linear. You mostly solve one puzzle and then you can do the next thing. Riven is not linear at all. There are five islands, and they are interconnected with trams or walkways, and you have to find clues all over the place which will lead you to information somewhere else. Things you learn or do at one location will affect things somewhere else, and you might get a set of symbols one place and learn that they also correspond to numbers at another place. Much more difficult.

See Riven- Samples
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Monday, December 28, 2015

The Arrival

The promise for a terrible storm with freezing rain and ice to arrive was given by the forecasters.

It began in the blue dusk.

blue snow

Looks even bluer through the window. But it's warmer in here. I went for a walk just before taking the pictures, and the snow is hard little pellets that sting your face. They are still tattooing on the kitchen window screen.

blue snow

We'll see what tomorrow is like!

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Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Secret in the Hidden Pond

Took my three mile road loop walk today. There is a little pond on the way that is all but hidden in the summer when the greenery is taller. I know it's there, and have seen wood ducks. However, I've only been able to know that by taking long zoom photos and looking at them later. They were all so terrible, I never even put one on the blog, but I could make the ID because the ducks are so distinctive.

Not only is it hidden, but it's inaccessible, being surrounded by a large cattail marsh in standing water. You might be able to approach it from the back, but that's technically all private property. I've never tried, at any rate.


However, today, with the reeds broken down and no snow cover, look what the camera found. It's a fine muskrat lodge.

muskrat lodge

Oddly enough, the coloring of this photo is really interesting. All I did was zoom in more. Same time, almost the same vantage point (just a few steps apart). It almost looks like a negative.

Just for fun, here's the negative. It gives a most positive impression.

muskrat lodge negative

See A Place to Call Home
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Saturday, December 26, 2015

Who Has Aged Better?

Here's a genuine 1953 Christmas photo. I kept all the background because it's amazing how many of the things in this picture survive. I'll name them and maybe you'll see some another time. The suitcase, new that year. Zora, her neck broken the year before by yours truly, the small table and folding chair, Happy Dobby, the wall hanging, the Child's World encyclopedia, surely the unidentified books in the pile, and the rug (although I gave it to deserving friends some years ago).

You've previously heard about Butchy Boy, sleeping in the chair.

Christmas 1953

But my focus tonight is Cynthia and me.

Christmas 1953

She was new that year. I was five.

Here is Cynthia at 62. She's not going hiking any time soon and handicrafts will be difficult. Although posed well, she needs a full left hip replacement.

broken doll

Here I am at, well you can figure it out. My shoulders are also iffy, although still attached. Cynthia's face hasn't a single wrinkle while I'm a little saggy. My hair has thinned, but hers is worse.


Considering that I was never a doll-playing child, she looks well-worn. I did drag dolls around occasionally and pose them to be in pretend stories and things. I liked stuffed animals much better. But if you look back at the first picture you can see that I've covered the room with Tinkertoy structures, but the doll is pristine. I was probably told to sit with her for the photo.

So, take your pick at who has aged better. However, Cynthia went back in prison in a trunk while I get to remain on the loose. My conclusion-- a pretty face can't get you everywhere.

Hope you had a wonderful Christmas.

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Friday, December 25, 2015

A Laid-Back Christmas


The day was perfect for me. Hope Omer liked it too.

Nice sunrise. First day for a while that it wasn't gray and/or raining.

Christmas sunrise

Two sons called to say Merry Christmas. One of them stopped by with a nice fruit basket. It looks like there were some gifts to open, as well.

Christmas Gifts

The day cleared to be beautiful and crisp! Very welcome. If it can't be white at least it could be blue.

blue skies

We fixed a really laid-back dinner of real food- everything fresh (well, OK, we didn't cure the ham ourselves, but nothing from a can or frozen), and ate it casually. Then we snacked for the rest of the day.

plates of food

I got a game I wanted, and Om got books he wanted. Perfect.

I've reached the stage in life where I don't want to do big productions any more. I used to like it. Now, not so much.

Hope your holiday was perfect for you too!

See Christmas 2014
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Thursday, December 24, 2015

Pale and Empty

No, that's not a description of me. However, we have no Christmas pictures today. The ones I took at the Community Dinner we went to aren't in focus. The video I got of the bell choir at the Christmas Eve service is good, but my software has decided it's no longer registered, so I can't convert the video file to edit it.

You'll have to settle for a flamingo whose feathers have flown the coop.

wire flamingo planter

In fact, you could say, he's nothing but a skeleton. Even his plant pot has gone away for the season.

Poor sad flamingo. He needs some holly and ivy, or mistletoe, or maybe a bowl full of eggnog.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas!

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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas Party at Work

You're going to start thinking that all we do is have parties! Oh well. We need a few perks.

The paper actually bought pizza for each department (on different days), so that was really nice. Please notice our space appropriate pallet tree.

Christmas Party

We did a gift exchange where everyone drew a name, and there was a spending limit, so gifts were small and fun.

Christmas Party

Also, we all chipped in an item to give our manager (she's awesome and deserves much more than this) a bag full of gifts.

Christmas Party

Oh look! Two of us in the same space.

Christmas Party

I like the people I work with, so it was a fun time. Then, of course, it was back to work for the afternoon. We are doing the usual Friday night tonight, so I'll soon be out the door.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas Tree

Hey, it's that time of year. I'm tired and need to get to bed soon. Omer does a nice job on the tree each year.

Christmas Tree
I work all day tomorrow and tomorrow night, but then am off till next week!

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Monday, December 21, 2015

Kitchenhenge- Winter Solstice 2015

Since I started this silly idea, I've managed to capture only 9 solstices or equinoxes, and not all of those on the exact day. Yup, we're doing it again. This morning was completely gray, but I was awake at the right time yesterday, and the clouds were cooperative.

winter solstice

I seem to have done better with equinoxes than solstices. Wonder why that is?

For anyone who hasn't seen this series before, the red line is just my imaginary standard point so I can compare one picture to the others. It always goes through that irregular tree. The equinox occurs more where the yellow dotted line is.

It rained most of the day and I went out and did cases anyway because it's the only day I had to do them.

See Winter Solstice 2014
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Sunday, December 20, 2015

Starlight! 2015

Today I went to the Starlight! Christmas concert. The church is always beautifully decorated.

Starlight concert

The child care for tots was pretty cute. The volunteer adult was dressed as a shepherd, and the little ones put on sheep costumes. I pasted in the sign that was nearby. There was a big tub of popcorn (and hand sanitizer), and the kids lined up at the fence to be fed. (They were probably taken somewhere else once the program began.)

Starlight concert

There are always solos and ensembles. These ladies were singing Jingle Bells. There's a mix of sacred and popular songs, as an outreach to the community. And is IS popular. The church is large, but you have to get tickets, even though they are free, because they fill to capacity for both performances.

Starlight concert

The skit this year was the Christmas story from the perspective of one of the shepherds. Here he is when he returns home, very late, and tries to explain to his wife about the incredible things he's just seen and heard.

Starlight concert

The rest of the skit was worth a few chuckles, but this scene was hilarious. The choir was singing How Great Our Joy on one side of the stage, and the shepherd was interacting in pantomime with his wife on the other side. So he was making big gestures and mouthing the words to explain about the angels and the singing and the baby. The next time through the song, the wife was doing it, but sarcastically, like, "right, what were you really doing?"

Starlight concert

I went with friends Paula and GayLynne. It was all a wonderful addition to Christmas week.

See Starlight! 2014
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