Monday, December 24, 2012

If Everyone Cared

Singing, "Amen I, I'm alive"

            - Nickelback


As I'm sitting alone on Christmas Eve, by choice, escaping the season to be greedy I'm thinking how little I've contributed to the world this year.  I watch the news, outraged.  "Why doesn't someone do something!" I want to yell - as I sit in my comfy chair eating popcorn and doing nothing to help feed someone who's hungry, or warm someone who's cold, or visit someone who's lonely...

My excuse used to be that as a single mom I had no time and no money.  That one is no longer valid, so what is my excuse now?

When next I visit the grocery store, I can spend 5 more dollars and donate to the food pantry.  It's not much, but it's a start.  

I should find a place to volunteer.  Where?  I'm not sure...     

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Days 66 through 70: Deliveries, Diamonds, and Drink Machines

Day 66:  QVC / HSN Packages 

I skipped the mall this year and made all my gift purchases with the TV shopping channels.  They were all delivered to my front door in time for Christmas.  Are you supposed to tip the UPS guy? 

Day 67:  Joan Rivers Earrings

I wasn't able to put anything in my ears except studs last week.  This week, I managed these drop earrings with a little gentle wiggling.  Why did I go so long without wearing jewelry?  My skin was not liking the cheap stuff and I couldn't afford anything else.  These are not causing any ill effects so far, and they look very nice for having spent as little as I did.  They are faceted crystal drop earrings by Joan Rivers, sold on QVC.   

Day 68:  Avon Products

I'm not selling Avon anymore, but I'm still using the products.  I bought all of this for $35.70.  I can get free shipping to my door on purchases of $30, or order from my colleague's website and she will bring it to work.      Don't let the price fool you.  Avon is very good quality.

Day 69:  Blue Diamond Earrings

I finally am able to wear them.  Hooray!  They are sterling silver with blue diamonds.  These were not inexpensive, but I deserve a little reward now and then.  We'll call it a celebration of my new job.  I applied for and got a new position with my current employer.  

It was very hard to do these earrings justice.  I could not get the lighting right for them and for my skin tone at the same time.  I either ended up with dull, uninteresting hoops or purple and blue mottled skin.  I finally focused on the earrings and cropped as much of my flesh as possible out of the picture.

Day 70:  Sodastream

I added up how much I spend on sodas and was disgusted.  If this is any good, it will save me money in the long run.  I'll let you know.

I sure did want to buy that bracelet she's selling in the background.  It would go beautifully with my bronze ring.  I said I was not going to buy any more jewelry this year, though, so I didn't.  I really need to pay off those diamond earrings first...    

Friday, December 21, 2012

Days 61 through 65: Winning, Weather, and Wi-Fi

Day 61:  Anew Clinical Eye Lift 

I stopped selling Avon because it was exhausting to try to take proper care of my customers and work my fulltime job.  I've started buying it from one of colleagues because I definitely noticed the difference when I switched to something else.  Love this stuff!  The gel is for your lids and the cream is for under your eye.  

Day 62:  George Foreman Grill

Look what I won at our company Christmas Luncheon.  One of the games was a sheet with Christmas carol  lyrics and we had to guess the names of the songs.  Did I ever tell you I sang in the junior high school choir?  I blew away the competition.  

Day 63:  Cultured Freshwater Pearl Earrings

Santa sent me some hoop earrings and I couldn't get them in my ears.  I panicked, thinking I'd gone too long without wearing jewelry and my piercings had finally closed.  I have teeny tiny holes, not stretched at all.  I had no problem with studs, though.  I'll wear these for a few days and try again.  

Day 64:  Rain on Magnolia Blossom

My favorite photo this week.

Day 65:  Mobile Hotspot

Maybe some of you recall the trials I had trying to get a reliable internet connection in my new apartment.  Comcast gave me the runaround, Cricket disappointed me, Best Buy told me I'd have to put down a $400 deposit...

I went to Amazon's cellular store, got the phone for a penny (with a new 2-year contract), and added on the mobile hotspot for $29 a month with no deposit required.  It's a superfast 4G connection that I can not only use at home, but take with me when I travel.  There is a 5GB data limit that I've never come close to reaching.  Problem solved.   

Monday, December 17, 2012

Days 56 through 60: Birds, Bronze, and Beau Rivage

Day 56:  Poker Tournament

I finally won one!  Woohoo!  Once again, it's not real money.  Darn.  

Day 57:  Eastern Phoebe
I think this must be one of his favorite perches because I've seen him there several times.  He's one of our winter birds, spending the colder months in the wooded area behind my apartments before he heads as far north as Canada to breed.  I took his photo from my balcony.

Day 58:  Bronze Drusy Ring 

I've jumped on the Bronzo Italia bandwagon.  Gold has become too expensive for me to buy, but this cost less than $60 and has a beautiful color.  I may have to start a collection of bronze jewelry.  

Day 59:  Beau Rivage Poker Chip 

Many times, I've heard other players saying they brought several hundreds of dollars to the table so when they got a good hand they could bet large and make some money.  I wondered if there was any validity to that strategy, but I wasn't going to risk my own money finding out.  I won $500 at the blackjack tables, took it to the poker tables, and gave it all away.  I think I'll stick to my strategy of buying in with the minimum $100.  If I play smart, that's enough.  

Day 60:  Home-Grown Tangerine 

One of my colleagues harvested her trees and brought some of the fruit to work.    

Days 51 through 55: Honolulu, HSN, and Haters

Day 51:  Honolulu 

Her parents named her Regret.  In Korea, girl babies were not valued.  They did not attend school, did not eat with their brothers or father, did not matter.  She learned to read in secret and became a picture bride, shaming her family.  She found herself in Hawaii, married to an abusive husband who drank or gambled away every penny he earned.  She took a job in the pineapple fields so she'd have money for food and was rewarded with a beating.  After he caused the death of their unborn baby, she finally found the courage to leave.  Alone in Honolulu, she started over.  I won't spoil the story by telling you the rest.  I will tell you she perseveres and her life does get much, much better.

Also recommended:  Moloka'i by the same author.

Day 52:  Wolfgang Puck's Garnishing Tools

I'm also hooked on HSN, especially when Wolfgang Puck is on.  All the best stuff sells out during the show, so I have to watch it live.  This garnishing set was $24.99.  His is the only lemon zester I've found that actually works.  I love the apple corer, too.  I haven't used the other tools yet.   

Day 53:  New Lamp 

I've been moving my one lamp from the bedroom to the living room and back long enough.  No more!  I think the new one will live by my La-Z-Boy.  I wonder if the bulb will really last 9.1 years?  Come back in a decade and I'll let you know. 

Day 54:  Lips

  They used to laugh at me in grade school.  They called me "N_____ Lips" and made other mean comments.  

My sister told my daughter, "You're so lucky you don't have huge lips like your mother."    

I like my lips.  People spend good money to make theirs like mine or even bigger.  


Day 55:  Eyes     

They've been looking a little tired lately.  I need to start using my Avon again...and getting more sleep.     

Monday, December 10, 2012

Days 49 and 50: Blenders and Bakers

Day 49:  Ninja Blender and Temp-tations Bakeware

I know I've been posting jewelry, but it's actually the cooking shows that got me hooked.  Every Wednesday  night and Sunday morning, if I'm at home I'm watching In the Kitchen with David  wishing I could buy everything. My 15 dollar bargain blender did nothing but tick me off.  After becoming so frustrated with it one day that I dumped the contents in a bowl and used a pastry blender instead, I invested in a Ninja.  It's purple, but photographs blue.   

Day 50:  Mini Raspberry Cheesecake          

I baked it in the Temp-tations muffin pan above.  It's big enough to indulge my sweet tooth, but small enough not to make a significant impact on my waistline.  They freeze well, too.  

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Days 44 through 48: Pot Pies, Pumpkin Mezzaluna, and Popcorn

I haven't been posting my daily pics, but I have been taking them - often hastily, five minutes before bedtime.  It's a crazy busy time of year.  I bought my daughter's Christmas present from QVC.  Why did it take me so long to discover I could avoid stores in December?  No parking 2 miles from the door, no waiting in line 30 minutes after digging through the picked-over pile of sale items, no teenagers hanging out but not buying...

Here are some of the photos, I'll post more later.        

Day 44:  Pot Pie

I've been eating out far too often lately.  It's making my backside wider and my wallet thinner.  I bought some quick items to store in the freezer that are at least less damaging than fast food.  I don't remember pot pies rising quite so high when I was young.  I remember them tasting better, too.     

Day 45:  Books I'm Reading

I heard a rumor some people finish reading one book before they start another.  I think it must be one of those urban legends.

 Day 46:  HEB Central Market Pumpkin Mezzaluna

Now, this is more like it.  I tossed them in olive oil and pesto.  Have you tried HEB brand items?  They are often better than name brand!

 Day 47:  Night Sky

I thought I heard coyote singing to the night sky.  He stopped when I went out on the patio.

Day 48:  Popcorn   

What?  Popcorn is a whole grain?  It's a healthy snack?  Hooray!  Blanket, bowl of popcorn, La-Z-Boy, Lost DVD's...heaven.

P.S.  Young man next door:  Please ask Santa for headphones.  

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Day 43: Moon

This was almost as hard to capture as the penny.

Day 42: Diamonique Ring

I had another one of those days with no photo ideas, so I went into my jewelry box again.  I can't afford a real diamond this size, though it sparkles just like one.  I can wear it guilt free since I'm 100% sure this one is not a conflict diamond.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Day 41: Puddles

It's been a rainy Black Friday.  I've been inside, thinking about my plans for the future.  Where do I want to be in five years?  

Day 40: Autumn

We finally have some fall colors.

Day 39: Programmable Thermostat

Not only does it lower my electric bill, but it sure is nice to wake up to a warm apartment instead of shivering as I rush across a cold floor to turn on the heat.  I have it programmed to start 30 minutes before the alarm.

Day 38: Rings to Donate

I bought these on clearance in a set of seven.  One of my colleagues is accepting donations of Christmas gifts for children ages 2 to 10 in a homeless shelter.  Perhaps one of the girls might enjoy them.  I've got some simulated pearls I could give, too.  They are all brand new and nothing is wrong with them.  They're just not my color.        

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

You Don't Fit In

That's what she said.  I'm not like everyone else.  I'm different.  She meant it as an insult and I bit back tears.    

What bothers me most is that I let her upset me.  I hope she enjoyed the tears because she's not likely to see them again.

All I want to do is be more like me and be less like you
         - Linkin Park

I'll catch up on my project posting and your blogs tomorrow.  I wish everyone a peaceful holiday.         

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Day 37: E Pluribus Unum

"Out of many, one."

This was much more difficult to photograph than I imagined.

Macro Monday

Monday, November 19, 2012

Day 36: Audubon Zoo Scavenger Hunt

I stopped in New Orleans yesterday on my way back home to Texas from Mississippi and did this week's Sunday Scavenger Hunt at the Audubon Zoo.  It was so much fun, I may have to start doing them in a similar fashion from now on.

I walked through the park and almost got lost since the path is not clearly marked.  A helpful woman had the idea of Googling a map and I wondered why I hadn't thought of it first.  Armed with walking directions on my smart phone I had no trouble finding my destination.  I did opt to take the free shuttle back to the other side of Audubon Park at the end of the day, though.  It's only a mile, but I was tired and it was beginning to grow dark.

1)  Vision:  Giraffes have nearly 360 degree vision due to the placement of their eyes, enabling them to spot predators.

2)  Strong:  This spider monkey used his very strong tail to hang on hands free.

3)  Buttons:  Button eyes on the stuffed animals for sale in the gift shop.

4)  Map:  You are here.

5)  Favorite Fruit:  A Golden Lion Tamarin enjoys an orange.


Next week's items are home or thankful, in the kitchen, couple, bubbles, and trees.

Day 35: Seabirds on a Sandbar

Also photographed in front of my hotel.  

Day 34: Biloxi

The beach in front of my hotel.  

Day 33: Riverboat Casino

I left $25 ahead.  I used it to buy toiletries that I didn't pack.  

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Day 32: Wild Bird Wednesday, Great Egret

Across the Sabine River from the Blue Elbow Swamp, on the Louisiana side, there is another boardwalk through the Natures Nest Swamp.  Both are conveniently located at rest areas with travel info, coffee, free maps, restrooms,  picnic tables, and vending machines.  I always see more wildlife on the Texas side, but this is a nice place to stop as well.   

I  found this Great Egret stalking prey along the shoreline.  I even saw him catch and eat something, though I'm not positive what.  It looked like a minnow. 

He finally grew tired of my company and flew away, and I finally got a shot of a bird in flight.  

         I'm using up the last of my vacation days for the year.  I don't have to be home until Monday and have    no official itinerary or reservations, so I'm not sure where I'll be tomorrow...

Wild Bird Wednesday
I found another meme, this one very appropriate for my end goal.  After all, I am doing this project 365 in preparation for traveling the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail.    

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Day 31: SHS Last Minute Indoor Hunt

I had this week's photos all planned out.  I was to be camping with friends and they were going to help me stage my photos whether they liked it or not.  What do you mean you didn't bring your little windmill to plant beside your tent?  I need it for my whimsical shot.  You better go back and get it!  

My daughter needed a hair model, though.  There will be other camping trips.  I cancelled and spent some time with her.  I found some alternative items this evening.

1)  Nature:  I can't go out and explore nature without the proper gear.  SmartWool socks are the best!  Not itchy, prevent blisters, comfortable in all weather, and since they are wool will keep my feet warm even in the unlikely event they get wet despite my waterproof boots.

2)  Vintage:  One of my newest cookbooks.  I think I'll start with the Shoo-Fly Cake, which "takes its lead from the old Pennsylvania Dutch favorite, shoo-fly pie."

3)  Whimsical:  Maybe I'll finish it this year.  I still need to add a few leaves, the holly berries, and a cardinal.

4)  Cooking:  I love wearing my Wolfgang Puck apron when I'm cooking.

5)  Week's Best (Date):  My daughter wore the missing pair of pink pearls, which I gifted to her, the day we spent together.  She colored and cut my hair to demonstrate her skills, then we went to lunch.  (She can't have the black ones.  Those are MINE.)

 Want to play?  Next weeks items are vision, strong, buttons, map, and favorite fruit.  No need to be literal as creativity is encouraged.