19 December 2014

Fragment Friday - Pre-Christmas Edition

Neighbors light the street so I don't have to - and set to music no less. I've got your Holly Jolly right here...

1. How goes your holiday readying? Holiday cards sent? Decorations up? Tree? Cookies making? If not, you can join me in the lounge of the "I'll Get To That" Club...

2.  The Granddog, AKA The Wild Animal will be joining us for the Holidays. Have I mentioned he can rest his chin on the kitchen table, and sweep bookshelves with his tail? He is good-natured, luckily. The Corgis school him in his proper place in the pack. At the bottom. Even though he can step over them with ease. Placing all foodstuffs up very high or away for his visit. Do you have any strange guests coming to visit?

3.  The Muse picks the busiest time of year to hang about. Write a poem on this, this, and this. Here's some more info for Fantasy Novel Two. You know, you haven't written a short story in a while... Argh. It's like having two playful kittens and a table full of china cups living in your head. And the Muse has control of the laser pointer.

4.  I'm a bit irked my hobbies make me do math. I'm used to winging it on things. Unfortunately, weaving and knitting are demanding cusses, and I'm forced to calculate if I want a project to come out right. Last time I didn't calculate things out properly, I ended up with a woven scarf that was two feet too short. Kid sized. I'm calling it an ascot and moving on. And calculating, damn it.

5.  What I've been reading - The Martian, by Andy Weir. A science fiction novel about an astronaut who is accidentally stranded on Mars, alone, after his crew lifts off without him. The book follows his attempts to improvise what he needs to survive, and contact NASA to find out if they can rescue him. I'm thoroughly enjoying it. Packed with science and humor. Highly recommended. 

Guest Dog, AKA Bruno. Big dog is big. Can leap Corgis by lifting a foot. But Max and Merlin still boss him around.

05 December 2014

Fragment Friday - The Gift Edition

Shall we gather at the feeders, where little birdy feet have trod...

1.  Stuck for gifting ideas? You aren't alone. It's hard to get something for the man/woman who has everything - and if they don't, they just buy it. So what's someone who wants to be a creative gift giver to do? Return to the basics. 

2.  Artwork. Don't underestimate the power of a piece of artwork. There are local artists out there who often have a backlog of small pieces to sell. My favorites are prints, lino block or woodblock. I know liking art is highly subjective, but who could dislike a landscape or bird print? Ornithphobes aside that is. 

3. Food. We all eat. Why not tap into that basic human desire? (You usually can't go wrong with chocolate.) Homemade fudge, a box of decadent candy. A gift pack of interesting spices. Buffalo steaks. Pheasant in a can. Truffle salt. Include a recipe, serving ideas, side dish suggestions. Or even crazier, offer to make your recipient a meal from appetizer to dessert.

4. Drink. Not everyone drinks alcohol, but when they do, there's your chance to provide them with that special bottle of wine, that rare whiskey or difficult to find microbrew. Coffee lovers can ohh and ah over a bag of Kona beans, or some Jamaican Blue Mountain. (Pass on the kopi luwak coffee. Defecated coffee berries is not keeping with the holiday spirit, and hurts the civets.)

5. Tickets. The opera, a concert, a play, art museum exhibition, sporting event, movie. People like to do all these things, but don't always get the chance - or fail to commit before things are sold out.  Just don't forget to wrap them, put them in a box filled with packing peanuts, then into another box, and another, and so on. 

Of course a lot of this depends on your powers of observation and detective skills in knowing the person you want to gift. The Internet makes discovering things about people easier than ever, so have at it. If they aren't on the Internet, you'll have to do it the old fashioned way. A call to their Mom/SO/Child.  

Suet feeders

28 November 2014

Fragment Friday - Post Turkey Somnolence

Thanksgiving Day Duck, it was what was for dinner on the Periphery. Seven pounds of ducky goodness. The Corgis approved!

1.  Hoping everyone survived Thanksgiving with wits and digestion intact. The Periphery feasted on Honey Curried Duck, duck fat fried potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, homemade rolls, green beans, caramelized onions, assorted wines, and two offerings of pie - traditional Pumpkin and crowd favorite Caramel Whiskey Apple Pie. We also had half of a metal band over to dine with us. It may start a new tradition - Feed a starving band. How was YOUR Thanksgiving?

2.  I opted out of any Black Thursday or Friday craziness. There's nothing I need that bad. I enjoyed my day far more just sitting around, drinking wine, petting the Corgis and slipping them scraps of duck. My theory is the Internet will provide. If it can't be bought online from the comfort of my living room, I don't want it. 

3.  I'm happy with my decision to avoid NaNoWriMo and Poem A Day this November. I've accomplished a lot of writing on my own, and if I need a few days to contemplate a turn of phrase, I don't feel like a clock is ticking ominously over my shoulder. I do not subscribe to the Must Write Every Day theory of writing. Those writers can have the moral high ground, I don't need it.

4.  While filling the bird feeders for Thanksgiving, I found a little chickadee hanging upside down off a tree branch two feet from my face. He chirped and bounced and carried on the whole time. He wanted me to hurry and get the feeders and suet filled, so he could pig out. I love that chickadees have no fear, and cheer and brighten your day. Half an ounce of pure happiness. 

5.  Buying Christmas presents for the grandkids is a lot of fun. Where else do you get a chance to make someone's dreams come true? And they are such minor dreams - but still important. Don't forget in your holiday rush to perform a Random Act of Kindness. Wave someone ahead of you on the road, keep other people's children entertained while waiting in line,  let someone's boss know they did an excellent job. You have the ability to make another person's day - so why not?
Dessert - a Caramel Whiskey Apple Pie. Two piece limit if you were driving...

21 November 2014

Fragment Friday - Shakespeare in Winter

Trotting uphill toward Turkey Day.

Sonnet XCVII

How like a winter hath my absence been  
From thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year!  
What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen!  
What old December’s bareness every where!  
And yet this time removed was summer’s time;        
The teeming autumn, big with rich increase,  
Bearing the wanton burden of the prime,  
Like widow’d wombs after their lords’ decease:  
Yet this abundant issue seem’d to me  
But hope of orphans and unfathered fruit;  
For summer and his pleasures wait on thee,  
And, thou away, the very birds are mute:  
Or, if they sing, ’tis with so dull a cheer,  
That leaves look pale, dreading the winter’s near.

Titus Andronicus
Act III. Scene I.
Titus:  Hear me, grave fathers! noble tribunes, stay!
For pity of mine age, whose youth was spent
In dangerous wars, whilst you securely slept;        
For all my blood in Rome’s great quarrel shed;
For all the frosty nights that I have watch’d;
And for these bitter tears, which now you see
Filling the aged wrinkles in my cheeks;
Be pitiful to my condemned sons,        
Whose souls are not corrupted as ’tis thought.
For two and twenty sons I never wept,
Because they died in honour’s lofty bed.
For these, these, tribunes, in the dust I write...

Romeo and Juliet
Act III. Scene II.

Come, night! come, Romeo! come, thou day in night!
For thou wilt lie upon the wings of night,        
Whiter than new snow on a raven’s back.
Come, gentle night; come, loving, black-brow’d night,
Give me my Romeo: and, when he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine        
That all the world will be in love with night,
And pay no worship to the garish sun.
Then heigh-ho! the holly!
This life is most jolly.

The Third Part of King Henry the Sixth
Act II. Scene III.

Edward:  O Warwick! I do bend my knee with thine;
And in this vow do chain my soul to thine.
And, ere my knee rise from the earth’s cold face,        
I throw my hands, mine eyes, my heart to thee,
Thou setter up and plucker down of kings,
Beseeching thee, if with thy will it stands
That to my foes this body must be prey,
Yet that thy brazen gates of heaven may ope,        
And give sweet passage to my sinful soul!
Now, lords, take leave until we meet again,
Where’er it be, in heaven or in earth.
Richard:  Brother, give me thy hand; and, gentle Warwick,
Let me embrace thee in my weary arms:        
I, that did never weep, now melt with woe
That winter should cut off our spring-time so....

As You Like It
Act II. Scene VII.

Blow, blow, thou winter wind,
Thou art not so unkind
As man’s ingratitude;
Thy tooth is not so keen,
Because thou art not seen,
Although thy breath be rude,
Heigh-ho! sing, heigh-ho! unto the green holly:
Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly.
Then heigh-ho! the holly!
This life is most jolly.
Shoot the show-offy males struttin' their stuff all over the place....

14 November 2014

Fragment Friday - Polar Opposites

The Corgis don't let snow and cold stop them. Any time is a good time for a game of bouncy ball.
Since we're in the grip of another polar incursion, I thought I'd cheer myself up by posting some facts on two places it's usually a lot colder.

1. Antarctica is more populated than you think. Check out the McMurdo Station Web Cams 
From the website: "The station has a harbor, landing strips  External U.S. government site on the sea ice and shelf ice, and a helicopter pad ... Repair facilities, dormitories, administrative buildings, a firehouse, power plant, water distillation plant, wharf, stores, clubs, warehouses, a science support center, and the first-class, 4,320 square-meter Crary Lab  External U.S. government site are linked by above-ground water, sewer, telephone, and power lines ... Temperatures may reach 8°C (46°F) in summer and -50°C (-58°F) in winter."

2. The name ‘Antarctica’ comes from a Greek word meaning ‘opposite to the north’. Because it experiences such little rain, Antarctica is considered a desert. Antarctica is bigger than Europe and almost double the size of Australia.

3. What about the Arctic? Glad you asked -  from NOAA
"Scientific study of the Arctic historically has been conducted by "expeditions". The earliest expeditions had as their goal reaching the North Pole, finding a "northwest passage" for shipping, or searching for whales or other species that could be harvested. Recently, expeditions have been replaced by cruises on scientific research vessels, temporary manned camps on the ice or on land, or permanent manned research facilities. Most recently, capabilities for unmanned observation of the Arctic have been developed. These include satellites and automated instruments or sensors that can be left on the ice, in the water, or on land for weeks and months at a time."

4.  The name ‘Arctic’ comes from a Greek word meaning ‘near the bear’.
As well as the Arctic Ocean, the Arctic region is made up of parts of Russia, Greenland, Canada, USA, Norway, Iceland, Sweden and Finland. The coldest recorded temperature in the Arctic is around −68 °C (−90 °F).

5. A Comparison - The Antarctic is a continent surrounded by ocean. The Arctic is an ocean surrounded by continents. Antarctic -The sea ice accumulates annually and more than doubles the size of the continent. Arctic - Sea ice accumulates over several years. Antarctic  - The annual mean temperature at the South Pole is -58°F. Arctic - The annual mean temperature at the North Pole is 0°F.

Wyoming isn't looking half bad....