Thursday, January 26, 2012

Hie Thee Home, Typhoid Mary!

I can NOT believe this.  Earlier this month, I spent two and a half weeks sick with a viral respiratory thing that was making the rounds.  I actually considered myself lucky because I know some folks who were sick for a whole month with it.  While I was fighting it, I tried to stay home from social functions, church, meetings, etc.  I didn't want to spread it to someone else, if I could help it.  Well, guess what?  I was healthy for exactly one week before I was felled yet again by a head cold.  I can almost guarantee you where I got this, too.  I had been at a function about four days earlier where half of the people were sick with the same thing.  I remember thinking, "Jeepers, why aren't you guys at home?"

That got me to thinking that it might be a good time to take a cold (groan), hard look at cold germs, how they spread, what to do once they attack, and some preventative measures to avoid being felled by these pesky germs.  Here is some info I picked up while surfing the Web.  I can't vouch that it is 100% accurate but there seemed to be a general consensus on these across multiple sources.

Lifespan:  Did you know that cold germs can last up to six hours outside of your body?  SIX HOURS!  Cold germs seem to be spread mainly by physical contact with an infected person or surface versus flu germs which spread mainly through the air via means such as sneezing and coughing.

Defensive Game Plan:
1.  Avoid contact with people that are sick.  OK, this is hard to do.  But if you ARE around sick folks, try not to touch surfaces that they are touching.  DON'T shake hands with them.  Tell them you have leprosy.  Make something up!  It's your health you're protecting.  Be creative!

2.  Clean surfaces that tend to harbor germs.  This can be defensive or proactive but disinfect your kitchen counters, door knobs, and refrigerator handles.  Don't forget about the TV remotes!  Just think about the number of times your family touches those.  If one of you is sick, those germs are probably being passed back and forth while you change channels.

3.  Wash your hands frequently!  If you touch someone who is sick, wash your hands.  Touch something they've been touching?  Wash those hands.  If you are sick and blow your nose, throw away the tissue.  I tend to tuck used tissues back into my purse or up in my sleeve so I can use them again.  Wrong move!  I'm spreading germs.  Throw them away.  Incidentally, scientists are recommending that you wash with good old regular soap versus the antibacterial soap that you see everywhere these days.  They are worried that the bacteria that these soaps don't kill will evolve into resistant bacteria.  We don't need more of those, eh?

4.  If you have to sneeze, do so into your elbow or sleeve.  Forget Mom's old adage about covering your mouth if you have to cough or sneeze.  Then what are you doing with that dirty old hand?  Sure you are going to wash your hands but just how many of us get distracted or waylaid on our way to the sink?  Uh-huh!  Germ alert!  By coughing or sneezing into the crook of your elbow, you are much less likely to infect someone else by touch (unless they are REALLY touchy-feely).

5.  Try not to touch your eyes or nose if you're around someone who is sick.  This is probably a good habit to get into at any time.  One website I visited said that a nursing study reported that 98% of colds are caught through the eyes (and they didn't mean by looking at someone who was sick - they meant by you rubbing your eyes after contact with a sickie).

6.  Drink Plenty of Fluids - this is good to do at any time but supposedly it is even more important when you are sick.  It keeps you hydrated.  I don't know, maybe it drowns the germs or something.  They say that black or green tea is good as a preventative, too.  One cup a day should be helpful.  Tea is also a powerful anti-carcinogen.  That's enough to make me take a second look at it.

7.  Replace your toothbrush after an illness.  OK, how many of you do this?  I have to admit, I never do this.  Usually, I only replace my toothbrush ever six months, when I come back from the dentist with a new one.  I think I'm going to start having a bunch of toothbrushes on hand and follow this suggestion.  It actually makes sense.

8.  Exercise.  Say what?  According to Oprah's website, sedentary, post-menopausal women are twice as likely to catch a cold as those who exercise regularly.  Ouch!  I happen to fit into the former category.  Have to admit, though....I'm not feeling very enthused about exercising at the moment.

Bottom line?  Use some common sense.  I know many of you don't have the luxury of staying home from work more than a day or two.  If you have to go to work when you are ill, take cleaning wipes with you and use them, ok?  Don't spread the suffering.  And for Pete's sake, try to stay at home when you can.  We will ALL thank you!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Old Fatted Goose

I've been reading a book called Letters of a Woman Homesteader by Elinore Pruitt Stewart to my mom at the nursing home.  It's a series of actual letters written in 1914 by a woman who moved out to Wyoming and these letters are just delightful.  They give a fascinating glimpse into the day-to-day life of ordinary people living out in the secluded ranches tucked away in the canyons and prairies of Wyoming.

Yesterday there were two incidents that caught my attention.  The first involved a bobsled ride in the middle of winter.  Mrs. Steward, her husband and several houseguests were preparing to head out cross-country to a remote ranch for a dinner party.  This trip would involve a day's ride by bobsled over the snow-packed terrain and then a stay of several days before heading home.  To help them stay warm on their journey, the husband heated up rocks in the fireplace and then packed the bottom of the bobsled (which was a wagon bed set on bobsled runners) with straw.  He placed the heated rocks on top of the straw and then placed more straw on top of the rocks.  Next came a layer of blankets.  The people sat on top of the blankets and piled more blankets on top of themselves.  That is how they set off, using the hot rocks as a form of our "heated leather seats" in cars today.

I asked Mom if her family had ever employed this heated rock technique to stay warm when they traveled by bobsled.

"Oh, yes," she replied.  Since Mom lived out on a farm in Minnesota where it gets mighty cold and snowy, I have no doubt that she was remembering correctly.

The other thing that caught my attention was the fact that one of the houseguests, a German lady, insisted on greasing up Mrs. Stewart's baby with goose grease to protect it from the cold before they headed out on their trip.  Ugh!  Goose grease?

"Mom, did anyone ever do that to you?" I asked.

"They sure did," Mom answered.

"Whatever for?" I asked.

"I have no idea," she replied, "but I'm glad that didn't do it when I got older."

Must have been a German thing, I thought.  I'm just glad that goose grease went out of fashion by the time I came along.

"So I guess Vick's Vapor Rub was YOUR version of goose grease and that was why you were always smearing it on me," I teased.

"Probably," Mom laughed.

Thank Heaven for small favors.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Where are the Nitro Pills?

Since Fresca the Wonder Dog's diagnosis of congestive heart failure last week, I've been wrapping my head around the thought of her mortality and the need for daily heart meds the rest of her days.  It's been hard to believe, most days, that this scrappy, feisty little thing could have a problem but I can't deny that her persistent cough has really improved since we started her on the meds.

Today we had the consult with the veterinarian heart specialist.  They had predicted freezing rain overnight and it was pretty foggy and misting this morning so I gave myself plenty of time to go up and over the mountain to this remote vet clinic.  The staff had stressed the fact that I needed to arrive 15 minutes before my appointed time.  I made it there with 15 minutes to spare.

I'd never seen an animal hospital where they had separate waiting rooms for cats and dogs.  I guess most of their clientele have bad tickers so they try to minimize the stress as much as possible.  Luckily, any animals already there were in examining rooms so Fresca and I had the waiting room to ourselves.

She was pretty quiet until she spotted several men approaching the front door.  She must not like the typical "Perry County" look because these fellows personified it, meaning they looked like they had just set their rifles down while out hunting critters and taken a quick side trip to the clinic.  They soon left and we were back to Fresca shaking on my lap.

Suddenly Fresca perked up and gave a low growl.  Pretty soon I heard the clicking of canine nails on the linoleum and a BIG but ancient black Lab bounded around the corner and came right for me.  Now he wasn't acting threatening in any way.  I think he planned to lick me to death.  But Fresca perceived him as a threat and I managed to grab her in mid-launch and mid-snarl while the Lab's owner came around the corner.  The poor old guy (the dog, not the owner) looked like he'd just lost another year off his lifespan as he faced my 15 1/2 pounds of "white death", struggling to have at him.  Wisely, his owner got a better grip on the dog's leash and took him out to her car before heading back in to pay the bill.

We waited some more.  By now we were an hour past our appointment time.  Fresca the Wonder Dog is no chihuahua.  My legs were beginning to get a little tired.  Finally we were brought back into an examining room and the technician said the doctor would be with us soon.

The minutes ticked by.  Another hour came and went.  It wouldn't have been so bad but there was a big sign on the wall that said cellphone use was not allowed because of the sensitive equipment used in the building.  I couldn't even read my Kindle on my iPhone. There are only so many ways to read the canine and feline anatomy charts before you start to go stir-crazy.

Then the doctor arrived.  One blood pressure reading, one EKG, one echocardiogram, one set of xrays, one blood work-up, two sets of new meds, and one exam later, and I was standing at the counter waiting for the receptionist to give me the bill.  She did and, if I'd had some nitro pills, I would have been reaching for them.  I almost had a heart attack myself.  The diagnosis?  Fresca has severe mitrovalve disease, high blood pressure, and Blepharitis of both eyes.  My diagnosis?  Severe poverty.  Oh, no...wait.  I mean, I'll be eating hot dogs and macaroni and cheese until the next payday.  Luckily, I enjoy both.

And that's how I came to find myself at my local pharmacy this afternoon handing over a prescription for one of the heart meds.   The clerk asked me for my insurance card.  I said, "It's for my dog."

"Which dependent is that?"  she asked.

"The white, furry one," I answered.

I'm now on their Super Saver Plan which means we'll get the meds at a very good price.  Since Fresca doesn't know how to write, they've got me down as her "designated human" and I can sign for her meds.  Boy, do I need some chocolate!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

How Cold is It?

Don't let the smile fool you.  I may have been smiling here but inside, I was FREEZING and couldn't wait to come back into the warm house.  I STILL hate the cold, as you who read my blog regularly know.  And yet again I find myself enduring another Northern winter.

With the temperatures dropping today, I thought it might be fun to take a look at some expressions heard over the years regarding cold weather.  Here are a few I was able to glean from memory and from perusing the Web.

1.  It's cold enough to freeze the tail off a brass monkey - there are other variations of this but I'm trying to be polite here so I'll leave the variations to your imagination.

2.  It's cold as hell - OK, this defies logic.  Since when is hell cold unless you are someone who can't stand being cold and this ends up being a devilish twist on the ultimate torment.

3.  It's cold as a witch's ___ in a brass bra - Again, trying to be G-rated, I'll leave this up to your imagination.  

4.  It's as cold as the last man's a___ on a toboggan - Brrrr!  'Nuff said.

5.  It was a three-dog night - My folks used to say this.  I think it meant that you needed three dogs on the bed in order to stay warm.

6.  It is so cold that lawyers have their hands in their own pockets - my apologies to any lawyers out there but you have to chuckle at this one.

And my personal favorite, thanks to the reminiscing of "Rango" up on the Web who reports that his granddad used to say:

7.  When I was a kid, it was so cold that my farts froze all winter.  I didn't know 'til they all thawed out next Spring and it like to killed me."

Stay warm, everyone.  I'm heading in for some hot cocoa.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

It's Curtains for Eventide

Must be this cold weather OR the fact that I've been recovering from a bronchial thing, but I've been getting a lot of my knitting projects completed lately.  This project is the Eventide Scarf designed by Laura Nelkin.  It is a gorgeous scarf but boy, was it a bugger to knit.

Now, in all fairness, I haven't done a LOT of beadwork in my knitting but I'm not a stranger to it.  I don't know if it was the placing of the beads, the unusual stitches, or the fact that I knit Continental-style which caused the problems but I sure don't plan to knit another one any time soon.  Actually, it could have been a combination of all three factors.

The biggest problem I had with it was the fact that I couldn't get into any set rhythm while I knit because I was always having to stop and change hands and then maneuver the beads into place and then wrestle them back where they were supposed to be after I completed the stitch and then get my hands and yarn back into position for my normal style of knitting.  The ladies in my group who were NOT continental knitting seemed to be having an easier time of it in that regard.

Once I finally got past the rows with the beads, things went a little quicker.  My main complaint then was the fact that I couldn't let my concentration lapse for a minute when I was working on this.  It was a fussy pattern.  I couldn't do my usual "watch TV and knit" routine.  Plus I've always enjoyed the fact that, if I make a mistake, I can usually work my way backwards to the place where I needed to correct things and then fix the problem and continue on OR I could drop a stitch at the point where a mistake might be rows below, dropping that stitch all the way down to the offensive stitch and then rework it back up to my current row.  Well, forget doing any of that with this pattern.  My goodness, it was a real bear trying to correct anything.  It was just very hard to read and to "tink" or "frog" (for you knitters) if you, God forbid, had to go back.

The end result was a lovely scarf, however, and that gives me a certain sense of satisfaction.  Believe me, there were MANY points when I was ready to just throw the darn thing in a corner and give up on it in frustration.  I'm glad that I stuck with it.  It's "curtains" for this particular pattern in my house, though.  "Eventide" has been banished to the perpetual night within my folder of "completed projects."

Monday, January 16, 2012

A Touch of Class

My belated Christmas present from my daughter arrived last week - a handmade leather case from Oberon for my Kindle Touch.  Prior to its arrival, I was using a case made by Lightwedge called the Verso Prologue Antique Case, seen above.  There was nothing wrong with that case.  It was quite nice, in fact.  But Oberon cases are a work of art.

These Oberon cases are all handmade out of leather in wonderfully unique designs.  This one that I chose is called the "Celtic Hounds" design.  It is actually a "sleeve" instead of a case.  In other words, my Kindle Touch slides into it.

When I'm ready to read, I slip my Touch out and read it naked....well, the Kindle is naked, not me.  I'd forgotten how tiny and lightweight these Kindles are because I've always used them in cases.  It's a very freeing experience to read one that isn't weighted down in a case.  Of course, that means that I have to be careful to not sling it around carelessly or drop it but I'm a pretty careful person with my e-readers.

Once you slip the Kindle into the sleeve, there is a flap that folds over the top of the opening and it is secured magnetically.  I had a twinge at first, wondering if the magnet would cause any problems but it has not.  On the back of the sleeve, on the other end of the tab, is a stamped pewter buckle.  I noticed that they have revised the design just a tad and the top of the sleeve now is scalloped and this pewter buckle has a celtic knot design on it.  Cool!

The Kindle Touch in its new sleeve is the perfect size to slip into my purse when I'm heading out the door.  The sleeve protects it just fine.

I highly recommend any Oberon product.  I've purchased cases for other Kindle products from them in the past and they are still just as beautiful as the day I unpacked them.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Give a Hoot

I recently finished two owl hats for my grandchildren's visit to Pennsylvania from the much warmer state of Texas.  The pattern is a Spud and Chloe pattern called Hoot Hat and designed by Susan B. Anderson.  If you are a member of the website Ravelry,  you can view the particulars here.

The pattern itself was very easy and worked up quickly.  The only fussy part was doing the face features and even those weren't all that hard to do, especially if you can crochet.  The designer calls for knit eyes and beak but I found that crocheting some circles and a triangle were much faster and easier to do and then I just had to sew them on to the hats.  I used black felt for the irises of the eyes.

And how did the kiddos like the hats?  Well, I 'll let these pictures show you.

  "Hey, little Luke....isn't it fun wearing Nana's Owl Hat that she made for you?"

"I think I look pretty nifty in this hat.  Just don't expect me to fly around yet because first I have to learn to crawl."

"Aaargh, Mommy, what are you doing?  I don't want to pose with my sister.  She might drop me or even worse, push me out of the nest."

"The girl is nuts, I tell you....nuts.  I've got my eyes on you, Sis.....all four of them."

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

All Fired Up

I ran into the Head of Dietary Services today at my mom's nursing home.  The first thing he said when he saw me was, "Hey, guess what I got for Christmas!"

"A Kindle Fire," I replied.

"Yes," he said, looking surprised that I'd guessed so quickly.

"I got one, too," I laughed.  "Aren't they great?"

"I love it," he answered.  "Well, I just had to tell you because you're the one who got me started with Kindles in the first place."

Yes, I had.  He'd been at a caregivers' meeting I'd attended last year and he saw me sitting there reading my Kindle before the meeting started.  One thing led to another and soon I was extolling the virtues of e-readers and the Kindle, in particular.  He had his own Kindle within a week and he got his wife one later that year.

I'm telling you, once you've used a Kindle, you are quickly hooked.   Goodness, I'll even expand that to include Nooks.  These e-readers are just fantastic little techno-doodads.

There's no better illustration of the passionate nature of e-reader aficionados than an obituary I read in the paper yesterday.  It said, in part....

   ".....loved to read anything she could get her hands on.  After she purchased her Kindle, she never left home without it."

Amen, Sister!

Monday, January 09, 2012

My Other Car is A....

Have you seen those bumper stickers on people's cars, the ones that other car is a "BMW" or a "Mercedes", or whatever it is they wish they were driving?  Well, I guess I mentally have one of those on my back.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm very grateful for my new van. If it weren't for the "Nanamobile," we wouldn't have been able to go all over with the grandkids in the car when they were visiting.  It made life a lot easier.  However, I REALLY miss my little Pontiac Vibe sometimes.

You see, I'm one of those people that sees their car as an extension of themselves.  When I was driving my fire-engine red Vibe, I felt "special."  That Vibe was quirky, bold, and zippy.  It looked like it could almost be a sports car, if it put its mind to it.  The back was covered with bumper stickers and decals that all reflected my own distinctive personality and interests.

Now I have a Toyota Sienna minivan.  It is BIG and solid and functional.  There is nothing zippy about it.  I can't even see the front of it when I'm driving and that makes for interesting parking.  I'm still at that stage where I have to drive around a parking lot until I find a pull-through spot OR park way out in the Boonies so that I can be assured that I will have plenty of room to maneuver when it is time to back out. Nobody takes a second look at this vehicle and thinks "Now THERE goes a free spirit!"

I couldn't even get it in a bold color.  Toyota didn't offer it in any bright, bold colors.  They were all kind of "blah."  I settled for a green that looks gray on most days.  Aaargh, the agony of it all.  And miles per gallon?  Man, I'm going through gas like Elizabeth Taylor went through husbands.

I just have to console myself with the fact that I did it for the grandchildren.  Oh, and there IS the benefit of those factory-installed seatwarmers on a cold winter's day.  I may not be driving a unique car anymore but at least my buns are warm.  Booyah!

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Going Nowhere Fast

One of the things that I was REALLY excited about when I got the "Nanamobile" back in December was the fact that I could synch my iPhone to the stereo system and not only receive calls and answer the phone through the radio speakers but also that I could link the phone to the radio in such a way that I could listen to the podcasts that I have on my phone.  (And how is THAT for a run-on sentence?)  Of course, the "I" was relative because this little puppy wasn't going to be linking anything.  Frankly, it was all Greek to me.  I was really relying on the Commander to set it all up for me.

Well, he synched (sunk) my phone the day we brought the van home and shortly thereafter I was tooling down the turnpike with my phone hooked to the car via its USB cable and all set to listen to a podcast.  I had browsed through the car's manual (no small feat, that) and had read that I was to hit the "Aux" button once I was hooked up and then it should connect to the iPod portion of my phone.  I did and it did, sort of.  My music library started playing but I couldn't figure out for the life of me how to access the podcasts.  However, I COULD figure out how to move from one song to another so I was happy for that small victory.

When I got home, I told the Commander my tale of woe and he urged me to be patient until the kids had returned to Texas and he could sit down with the manual (good luck with that) and figure out what was wrong.

Today was the day.  It was a lovely Spring day (almost 60 degrees in January in PA) so we backed the car out of the garage and let it sit there idling in the driveway while we resynched the phone.  The Commander is used to using voice commands because that's how he programs his Ford Escort so we talked our way through getting the Toyota to recognize my phone again.    Somehow it had forgotten it so it was a good feeling when I saw the word "Connected" on my phone.

The Commander decided to give it a try by giving me a call.  Of course, I was sitting right beside him but what the hay?  His phone dialed mine and the dulcet strains of my customized ringtone for him from the song "Gasoline and Matches"......."Baby, baby, baby....when it's cold and dark......" came blasting out of the car's stereo.  And I DO mean blasting.

"Hello?" I squeaked and the reverb was loud enough to shatter windows.  I hung up on him.

"Well, I guess we know that the phone part works.  Now how about the podcasts?" I asked.

Thirty minutes later, we were still fiddling with the radio buttons and the phone.  We could get the podcasts to play if we went strictly with Bluetooth.  However, I figured that it would be better to play them via a USB hookup so that the phone would be charging as I listened.  When we did that, we could see the list of podcasts but couldn't hear them.  Then the Commander went through a long, convoluted work-around and came up with a way for me to hear them but we both agreed that there had to be a better way.  Besides, by the time I would go through all those steps, I'd be off the road and halfway into a cow pasture.

Finally I said, "If you don't mind, I'm going inside to start supper.  Call me if you figure it out."

He was out there long enough that I was considering sending the dog out to him with his coffee mug tied around her neck but finally he came inside.

"Did you get it set up?" I inquired.

"No, I'm going to Google it.  On the plus side, I figured out how to lower the volume on the speakers when you get a phone call," he answered.

I'm looking on the bright side.  I finally found NPR radio on the XM Satellite stations.  Now if I can only remember which preset I assigned it.

Friday, January 06, 2012

A Pearl of Great Worth

I've been using the BookBook case for my iPad 2 and it's been fine, for the most part.  However, it does have a few clunky features that the Commander has found annoying and I've had to agree with him.  So, in an effort to find a workable compromise, I went back to the drawing board (re: Amazon) and started searching again for another case.  What I decided on was the iPearl Folia Cover Case with a built-in stand and handstrap.  You can see the details here on Amazon.  I even found it in a lovely spring green color that I love.

It arrived today and I wasted no time putting my iPad 2 into it.  That was very straightforward.  On the one side that isn't attached to the back cover, you just unfold the flap and slide in your tablet and then fold the flap back under the iPad.  There is a cut-out on the back for the camera and all the buttons are easily accessible.  The cover is designed in such a way that it automatically puts your iPad to sleep when you close the cover and wakes it up when you open it back up.

On the left inside cover are two features. The one on the right is the handstrap, which I'll discuss later in this post.  The one on the left is the flap that opens for propping it into a position for typing.  You can't see it in this picture but the flap has clear plastic on the front of it that is separated into two sections that are the right size for business cards (or, as one reviewer up on Amazon mentioned) credit cards).

This is how the flap looks when it is raised up.  It can only be opened so far because it is secured with a ribbon strap.

The picture above shows the case set up in the "typing mode."  I gave it a quick try in one of my apps that uses a lot of typing and at first, I found myself making a lot of mistakes because I found the edge of the case getting in my way.  However, once I rested my wrists on the table surface (which was easy to do given the height and angle of the case), I easily was able to accurately type.  Usually I would NOT type this way as it is ergonomically incorrect for long term typing but hey, I don't know many people who do production typing on an iPad.  I think for normal tablet typing, you'll be fine unless you REALLY have a problem with carpel tunnel syndrome.

There is another tab on the back of the case that can be utilized to put your tablet into a position for reading horizontally.  You fold the cover over and slip it under the little tab.  The cover has a bendable spot that folds it at just the right place to do this.

Here is my iPad looking at it from the front when it is set up in the reading position.  It's really at a nice level for reading on a table, leaving your hands free to swipe, point, touch, or whatever.  For that matter, you can also easily play games in this position, too, if you prefer.

Now if you want to use your iPad in a vertical position, there isn't a hinge that allows you to place it into a "hands-free" position.  You still have to hold it but that's where the handstrap comes into play.  You just fold the left side of the cover back, slip your hand under the elasticized handstrap and you can hold it easily.

A few other features:  There is an elastic band that you can slip over the cover to hold it shut when you aren't using the iPad.  The cover is leather, according to the manufacturer, although you couldn't prove it by me.  It doesn't smell like leather to me (I'm a saddle kind of girl) but I'll take their word for it.  The inside is a nice soft gray suede fabric.  The cover comes with a touch screen stylus pen that slips into a handy little loop on the side of the case.   I used the pen (which isn't actually a pen but rather a pointer-like device with a foam end) and it worked great on the surface of the iPad.

Best of all, the iPearl Cover Case is a very reasonable price.  I paid $17.99 for my case.  That's a bargain in my book.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

You Know You Want One

Well, once again I was perusing my latest issue of iPad and iPhone User Magazine and came across some nifty gadgets that I just HAD to share with you all.  This particular issue (issue 57) was their Gear Guide and it was loaded with lots of goodies.  I have no affiliation with any of these products.  Hmmm, in fact, I'm not even sure I'd want to be affiliated with them but I digress.

1.  The Hoodie Buddie  - I present to you the "Hoodie Buddie."  This ingenious hoodie sweatshirt has earbuds that are threaded through the hoodie and double as drawstring pulls.  The idea is that you wear the sweatshirt and stick the drawstring earbuds into your ears (I guess the hood can be up or down) and then you can listen away while out and about looking fashionably casual.  My fear would be that I'd forget I had the things stuck in my ears and go to pull the drawstrings and wham, out they'd fly.  If you want your own "Buddie", you can get one at and they come in assorted colors.

2.  The iMusic Hat - Closely associated with the concept of "wearable music accessories" is the iMusic Hat.  If you rock the knit cap look, you can wear one with embedded speakers in the ear areas and then listen to your music player without wearing earbuds.  Don't get too excited though.  The Amazon UK store is sold out of them and so is this site.  Apparently they are pretty popular.  Who knew?

3.  Eternal Fire App - Who doesn't love cozying up to a lovely fire in the fireplace especially now when the weather outside is frightful?  Hey, if you don't have a fireplace or even one of those nice electric fake ones, don't despair.  If you have an Apple smartphone, you can head on over to the iTunes store and get the "Eternal Fire" app for free and then sit and watch those crackling logs on your phone screen when the mood strikes.  Prop it up on the floor, uncork a bottle, snuggle up to your sweetie and I predict good times ahead. Let's just hope that you have a full charge.

4.  Mobile Phone Hoodie  - Speaking of smartphones, as much as we love our phones, have you ever thought to provide them with their own wardrobe?  No?  Shame on you!  Forget expensive cases.  Now you can dress your phone up in its own hoodie.    You can find one here.  If you're a sewer, you might already be thinking of alternative outfits for your right-hand gadget ("might" being the operative word).

I'm sure there are more indispensable gadgets out there and trust me, I'll be sure to find them.  What are you waiting for?  Go know you want one.

Monday, January 02, 2012

The Simplest of Toys

Are you still reeling from the money you spent for gifts this Christmas season?  Have your little darlings already cast aside the expensive toys you purchased and are now complaining that they're bored?  You know, sometimes it is the simplest of things that make the best toys.

Maybe I can wear this as a hat.
I was reminded of this today when little Sweet Pea grabbed an old Easter basket from last year and spent the next 1/2 hour playing happily with it.

Where am I, Nana?
She wore it on her head as a hat and tried mighty hard to hide in it and then scare us by shouting, "Boo."

Maybe I can think of some way to get the dogs to play with me.
She tried very hard to enlist the dogs, including Schatze, who was visiting us for the day, in her basket play.

She tried to get Schatze to line up behind her and then parade around the room.  Schatze wasn't too sure that she wanted to do this and kept trying to wander off.

No, I'm supposed to be the leader!
It was quite entertaining watching Sweet Pea try to herd Schatze into position for her "parade."

Left, Right, Left.....
She finally mustered the troops successfully and marched around the room until.....

Schatze snuck around Sweet Pea and made her bid to become the leader of the pack but Fresca, the Wonder Dog was all too happy to bring up the rear of the parade.

A few more parades and then a bit of "put the basket on PawPaw's foot" and finally Sweet Pea was ready to move on to another game and toy.  Next Christmas we might just get her plastic bowls, baskets, and boxes and then sit back and watch the fun.