Musical Monday: The Lady of Shallot

What do you listen to when it’s not quite time for Christmas music?

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Musical Monday: Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

When I was about 10 years old, a teacher sang this at a school Christmas concert. I was terrified of that teacher. But, she had an amazing singing voice, or I thought at the time. But then, I can remember singing with my classmates and thinking we sounded like a choir. I’m sure we didn’t.  Thank goodness for the music teacher we had back then (almost fifty years ago). It’s much of the reason I can read music and play (poorly) on my piano today.

Cold Season is Coming

Cold and flu season is upon us. I hate it when I have found the solution to a problem and then forget about it. And having a sore, red nose is a miserable problem. So to remind myself and lessen my own suffering and perhaps someone else’s I’ll record here what works for me.

There’s not much to love about a cold. As if the misery of the symptoms wasn’t enough, a raw red nose often results from keeping up with the flow of goo that plagues your sinuses. You can resort to the pills and sprays, but it’s hard to say which is worse…the sludge flow or the desert your sinuses become. So anyway, you’ve got a red, sore nose. Here’s what Ido.

Buy the facial tissues that promise to be soft on your nose, or have lotion. These are much easier on skin that the cheapy ones, which are fine for catching random drips, but are like sandpaper when things really get g flowing.

Keep vitamin E oil on hand. Not cream, as it may have other stuff in it that will sting your abraded skin. Either buy a bottle of pure vitamin E oil or buy capsules that you can clip open and dab on. This is good during the day if you can put up with a little shininess. But the way I look when I have a full blown head cold a little shininess is the least of my worries.

Butter on some Penaten cream (my German MIL pronounced it Pe-NOT-en)at night. That’s the stuff in the pale blue and white tin used for diaper rashes and other first aid. White and gummy, you probably don’t want to be seen with this stuff on your face. But this really works, even though it looks awful and feels sticky.

Incidentally, Penaten cream works within a night or two if you’ve got cracked lips or fingertips from being out in the cold. Mush some on your lips and go to bed. Don’t be surprised if you don’t get a goodnight kiss. On your cracked fingertips, glob on dabs, and cover with an adhesive strip.

You can try aloe vera, but I find it stings a bit after the coolness wears off. Some aloe vera products have alcohol in them—and that will hurt, as will many products that contain petrolatum.

So there you go. I hope I remember where I put my own good advice when I need it.

A Quick Project

Adhesive vinyl is a lot of fun to work with and last week I did up fifteen buckets that were used as awards. There is no time for big ambitions this week. So here’s a little project I just finished.  If you come to my house for coffee you will know what you’re pouring into it.


The image for the frame was found at:  http://tigers-stock.deviantart.com/art/536-NOVEAU-FRAME-17-314204650

Fonts are from Cricut Design Space. I don’t remember where the pitchers came from.

As is normal with “quick projects” I put the wrong label with the wrong monogram, so I ended cutting and applying the words Milk and Cream twice. Of course.

What Are You Listening To?

I mentioned in my Bird Brain post that I listen to podcasts when I’m stuck walking along the sidewalks and roadsides. Don’t worry, I can hear traffic and other noises through my headphones! If you see my laughing or giggling as I walk, or looking particularly perplexed, it’s because of those little voices in my ears. I thought I’d share a few that I have found interesting.

Timothy Ferris rounds up high achievers and performers and learns what makes them tick in his weekly podcasts. Ferriss is the author of the Four Hour Work Week, Tools of Titans and other books and calls himself a self-experimenter. Best Tim podcasts I’ve listened to recently: Conquering Fear and Reducing Anxiety – Caroline Paul and because I’m an animal lover, Susan Garrett — Master Dog (and Human) Trainer.

Another one to get your thinking is Waking Up With Sam Harris. It won’t get you giggling but it will get you thinking.

Have you heard of CRISPR? I didn’t until I listened to  Radiolab. These podcasts make me realize how small and sheltered my life really is.

A quick drive to the grocery store–a 15-minute trip is just enough time to listen to  Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs fame The Way I Heard It,

Another short podcast I like that’s fun and interesting is Good Job Brain. The podcast is part quiz show, so sometimes it makes me feel smart, sometimes not.

And the one I listen to most often, that makes me laugh and think and shake my head as I”m walking down the street is Real Time With Bill Mahr. This is basically a rebroadcast of his HBO show.  Mahr is blunt, and if you’re offended by four letter expletives, prepare to be offended.  You can also watch the show on YouTube.

I listen to all of these through my Google Play app. But there are lots of other ways to find them. The links above take you directly to those that have them on their websites.

So, what are you listening to?

A Quick Picture and Spring Poem

With the two day heatwave we’re having and thunderstorms to bring the sudden heat to an end tonight, I’m afraid my tulips will not last long. So here is a quick picture (and a quick spring poem). The world is a greening, unfurling, sweet urgent leafing thing today!
The tree trunks are drizzled black.
Raindrops reflect in tiny parabolic mirrors on the opening petals of tulips.
Under the earth thousands–millions–of secrets send tentative shoots towards the tomorrow sun.
This is a nativity, nature born in the cool wash of spring rain.

The Summer Birds are Arriving

It’s been very un-May-like. Yesterday, I caught myself dating things April 9, 2017 several times. We’ve had torrential rain and it’s been cold. I have to remember this is Ontario, where we have seen snow on the Victoria Day weekend. But, hopefully, it’s a sign that warmer weather is coming when the summer birds start appearing. We feed year ’round, so we always have chirping and twittering in the backyard–not to mention squirrels and chipmunks who practically beat on the back door when the food runs out. The American Goldfinches are always here, and they have finally traded their drab winter khaki to bright yellow again.

The first spring birds back around here are Canada Geese and redwing blackbirds. Robins stayed all winter this year, so they almost don’t count as spring bird. As soon as the snow has melted the woodcocks start making their ‘pneet’ noise. And the killdeer return. The Northern Flickers soon follow. I’ve been counting mergansers, swans, kingfishers, cormorants and the other water birds and sending my counts to eBird since the ice melted.

But the birds that like the warmer weather hold back. Barn swallows returned about ten days ago. Yesterday while driving, I saw a Brown Thrasher. This morning, at the hummingbird feeder we put out about a week ago, a Baltimore Oriole was feeding. DH and I have a bet who will see the first hummer.

It’s a colourful backyard this morning. The brilliant yellow finches are dining on nyjer seed, a pair of Northern Cardinals are at the big feeder, and the Orioles are dining on orange slices. Meanwhile, the squirrels are battling, plotting how to pillage the feeders.

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An Oriel. The squirrels trashed this feeder. What a troublesome bunch.