Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Classification of Squash

Some people must get confused about which pumpkins are for pie and which are for jack-0-lanterns. I saw a bin of pumpkins at the grocery store that had this sign:

Face Pumpkins

Ok, you got it.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

New Project

Well, my businesses really aren't going very well, and while I like my new job, I'm being seriously under-utilized so far. The result of all this is that I am...well...uh...bored. It's just a temporary time of limbo, but I can only hang around the house catching up on reading for a short time before I go stir-crazy. So, my new project is remodeling one of our bathrooms. The only catch is that I don't know how to remodel a bathroom! However, I'm willing and cheap labor, and I learn quickly. John's job for today conveniently got postponed, so he was able to help me get started on it. Here's what we have so far:

Have faith!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Amazing, Huh?

I think a "self-esteem fund" sounds fishy, but this is still a very interesting video.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Emily Dickinson

I have long appreciated Emily Dickinson's concise yet imaginative work, so when I came to her in my literature book, I thouroghly enjoyed the section. She did have a bleak view of death, and a good bit of mixed up theology, so not all of her poems are as enjoyable as others, but here are are of few of the ones I like best. The last one is probably my very favorite.

How happy is the little stone
That rambles in the road alone,
And does n't care about careers,
And exigencies never fears;
Whose coat of elemental brown

A passing universe put on;
And independent as the sun,
Associates or glows alone,
Fulfilling absolute decree
In casual simplicity.

She sweeps with many colored brooms,
And leaves the shreds behind;
Oh, housewife in the evening west,
Come back, and dust the pond!

You dropped a purple ravelling in,
You dropped an amber thread;
And now you've littered all the East
With duds of emerald!

And still she plies her spotted brooms,
And still the aprons fly,
Till brooms fade softly into stars--
And then I come away.

I like to see it lap the miles,
And lick the valleys up,
And stop to feed itself at tanks;
And then, prodigious step

Around a pile of mountains,
And, supercilious, peer
In shanties by the sides of roads;
And then quarry pare

To fit its sides, and crawl between,
Complaining all the while
In horrid, hooting stanza;
Then chase itself down hill

And neigh like Boanerges;
Then punctual as a star,
Stop--docile and omnipotent--
At its own stable door.

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it on the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

A word is dead
When it is said,
......Some say.
I say it just
............Begins to live
................That day.

To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,--
One clover, and a bee,
And revery.
The revery alone will do
If bees are few.

There is no frigate like a book
......To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
......Of prancing poetry.
This traverse may the poorest take
......Without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot
......That bears a human soul!

Monday, October 16, 2006

And the Rains Came Down

We didn't have any bad flooding in our neighborhood, thankfully, but our prayers are with those who were not so fortunate.

Saturday, October 14, 2006


Well, it didn't rain, and it was a pleasant day for sitting outside and reading, but it was still a long, BORING day today. I hate to say it, but the truth is, I didn't sell a single thing. It was frustrating, but I'm okay with it. The day wasn't wasted because I did get to give away a lot of tracts. I had them in a basket on my table, with a sign that said, "please take one." The million-dollar-bill tracts were by far the hottest item I had! They were so popular I probably could have sold them.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Fall is Finally in the Air

It's been hot here, with only an occasional and brief tease of cool weather, until this week. A front came through that brought some very impressive storms and wonderful cool weather. We actually got down to the low 60s! Yes, that's good for Houston in October. We opened the windows this morning, and my father decided he'd better wear a coat to work. Ahhhh, I love fall!

I am hoping it doesn't rain tomorrow, though. I rented a space at a flea market, and I'm going to try to sell gift baskets and some hand-cut silhouettes I made.

Monday, October 9, 2006

An Afternoon at the Opera

Yesterday afternoon found our family at Miller Outdoor Theater for an "abridged, family-friendly" version of the opera La Boheme. We had never been to an opera before, so this was all very novel to us. There were four actors, a narrator, and an accompanist. Basically, I think what they did was choose all the best songs of the opera, and then the narrator filled in the story gaps that were left. At one point, when the hero and heroine had just met, the narrator said that they were already falling in love. "Things move fast in opera," he said. One of the songs that they cut was one character singing a tender goodbye to his coat. That would sure have been funny!

This opera didn't have a terribly interesting plot. How could it, I suppose, when it takes five minutes to get every sentence out? So, I guess that you only go to the opera for the music, not the story. The other thing about opera is that everything is pretty much sung with the same amount of drama and emotion. If you're not listening closely, "You're the beloved of my life," and "Look! I painted those soldiers" sound just alike.

Opera is not exactly my favorite kind of music, but I do think it would be fun to go to a full production, with a complete set, orchestra, and choruses. Mama said that this gave her enough opera to last her another couple of decades.

The accompanist was rather interesting. He came out early for a sound check, and a few people started clapping. He waved his hand for them to stop like he was personally insulted. He was also wearing red socks under his black pants! He never really looked like he was particularly enjoying himself, and when we were pulling out of the parking lot, we saw him walking to the car. He had already changed clothes and was leaving!

Saturday, October 7, 2006

Useful Live Cam

In keeping with the theme of live cams, here's one that's actually useful. It shows up-to-the-minute live-action shots of...are you ready?...

...Houston traffic.

Friday, October 6, 2006

Victory at Last!

Well, I gave up on my cheap, off-brand router, went down to Best Buy, and bought a Linksys router which was conveniently on sale.

I plugged it in, got it configured, and had everything up and running, including hotmail, in about half an hour. That's opposed to hours of troubleshooting and endless grief with the other router. Take it from me: don't buy cheap, off-brand computer equipment. I got very suspicious with the old router when I talked to their tech support and after several failed attempts at solving my problem, the technician said the router was not compatible with my modem, and I should go buy someone else's router! You know it's bad when the tech support sends you to the competition to buy their products instead!

So now I can watch the Africa cam all day long, and immediately see the emails that people send me about it! Just kidding...sort of. The Africa cam does seem to be causing a rather peculiar contagious addiction to go around among my family, friends, distant acquaintances, and even total strangers and their friends, family, and distant acquaintances. Oh dear.

Oh, look! A herd of water buffalo is there now!

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Overheard in the Kitchen

"Laura! Don't put the lettuce in your hair!"

I'm afraid I don't know the circumstances behind this, but I found it amusing.


I may have created a monster. Now my whole family is popping up every few minutes to look at the computer and check on the African watering hole. Now only that, but my father called from work to say, "There's a deer at the watering hole! Go look!" Hmmm, maybe he's having a slow day.

And in other news, I finally got my wireless internet network to work! I was so excited, but then I went back to the depths of despair when I found that I can't access any MSN sites. It makes no sense to me, but MSN seems to have an issue with my router. What good is this wireless internet when I can't check my hotmail account? I don't want to have to change email addresses. That would be a huge pain, and I just got business cards printed!

I guess I'm going to have to call tech support.

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

If you don't have anything to do today...

...check out this live webcam of a water hole in Africa. If you watch long enough, you'll probably see an exotic animal come for a drink!

Monday, October 2, 2006

My Hotel Room

Here are a few pictures I took of my hotel room in Fort Worth. It was the only thing I could photograph without being conspicuous, so you'll just have to imagine the two-story fountain in the lobby.

I felt very small in this room. The ceiling was about ten feet high, and the curtains went floor-to-ceiling, as you can see. Plus, there was a giant entertainment center and a king-size bed. I liked this office spot, with the phone, the high-speed internet plug, and a fresh rose!
Does one person really need seven feather pillows?
I definitely like the digital thermostat. It was so much better than a big, loud, moldy window unit.
I think I could get used to this!

But don't worry, I still like camping.