May. 6th, 2010 11:34 am
jenk: Faye (Default)
[ profile] k_crow, who lives across the street, called to tell me that there was a car in my front yard.

Yes, a CAR in my FRONT YARD. Oh, and the big locked mailbox that was bolted to the sidewalk just south of our driveway had migrated to the driveway. (The driveway, btw, is south of the front yard.)

So naturally I headed home to check out the carnage. As it happens, there really wasn't much by the time I got there. What appears to have happened is:

  1. A neighbor's car was parallel parked on the street, south of the mailbox.
  2. A big silver PT Cruiser heading south tried to do a U-turn, miscalculated, and hit the neighbor's car.
  3. Neighbor's car popped its clutch and sprang forward. It knocked the mailbox into our driveway. The car itself went across our driveway and landed in the yard.
  4. Several neighbors heard it and called the cops.

Fortunately, no one was in the parked car. No houses were hit. None of our vehicles were hit. The PT Cruiser died in the road and had to be towed. One neighbor thinks the driver was going to drive away (?) but also said the driver wanted to pull to the side of the road. There's some speculation that the driver may have been under the influence. I mean - it's a cul-de-sac. There's loads of space to make a U-turn.

The post office sent someone up to get the remains of the mailbox and the cop gave him the PT Cruiser's insurance information to pay for a new mailbox. Oh, and here's what the mailbox looked like before the excitement (courtesy of Google street view). It's made of sheet metal and was bolted to the sidewalk. Yeah...suddenly I'm glad we have a rockery-type thing in our front yard; if the car hadn't stopped on its own, it would've hit the rocks before the house.

By the time I got home, the PT Cruiser had been towed and the owner of the other car had re-parked it and swept up a bunch of the debris. I did chat a bit with the post office dude and the cop and determined there wasn't really anything for me to do.

So...excitement in Redmond. I'm back at work, trying to let the adrenalin wear off.
jenk: Faye (garden)
Disintegrating, they fit in surprisingly well, returning to the earth as naturally as a cornfield after harvest. “Autopsy for an Empire,” with its dried-blood-colored jacket, is planted beside the hellebore, which the Greeks used to poison the water of their enemies. P. D. James’s “Original Sin” and Stephen King’s “Salem’s Lot” sit on a bookshelf, which is also disintegrating.

“These were moldy or torn,” Ms. Stewart says. “I’m not destroying books that had any sort of life in them. I just wanted the sense that the book I’m writing is coming out of the ground. If you put a book in the ground, will you get 10 little baby books out of the ground?” — NY Times

I confess I do like garden decorations, but I tend to go for things that aren't going to disintegrate right away....
jenk: Faye (Shocked)
The new female condom can be inserted "up to 8 hours ahead of time". Um...why do I think this would not be a good idea???? I mean, walking? Going to the bathroom?

And: nifty tiny houses :)


Oct. 16th, 2008 12:33 pm
jenk: Faye (knowing)
Turns out the people replacing the 7 east windows could come today, so I'm bundled up in leggings, cords, long-sleeved t-shirt, sweater, afghan, hat, and scarf with the heat off and windows out today instead of two weeks from now.

If 2 weeks from now it's 75 degrees out I'm going to be pissed.

(Of course, I'm bundled up because I'm sitting and working on the laptop. They're in t-shirts and jeans because they're moving around.)

ETA: Gee, now that I've had a hot lunch I feel less cold. More like it's the 60F it is instead of the OMG FREEZING I was feeling before. Heh.

book poll

Sep. 4th, 2008 06:51 pm
jenk: Faye (librarian)
[Poll #1253929]
jenk: Faye (garden)
I lean toward the packrat side of the packrat-minimalist continuum myself, and I've helped go through the belongings of a few late packrats. Today JD, a personal finance blogger, writes about cleaning up his mother's house and notes "a bargain is not a bargain if it goes to waste."

Okay, I feel less worried about being behind on vacuuming & such from worldcon. Funny how deleting the Off Your Lazy Butt reminders from when I was gone made me feel like I'm not behind, I just need to get back into the routine and things will get done. As [ profile] mama_hogswatch posted today ...
Housework is a never-ending thing. The task is never "done", so getting it perfect isn't going to help much. Getting used to a steady level of more or less neat and clean? That's a huge help.
(Wonder if JD's seen Squalor Survivors?)
jenk: Faye (read)

Books...are like lobster shells, we surround ourselves with 'em, then we grow out of 'em and leave 'em behind, as evidence of our earlier stages of development.
— Dorothy L. Sayers, The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club, 1928

That particular observation comes from the mouth of Lord Peter as he's looking over a suspect's bookshelf. Some books we hang onto; I have books I've read til they're bleeding pages, their poor tired spines wilting away. I have others that seemed incredibly important at one time, but I never read them and generally forget I even have them.

I usually just take extra books down to Half-Price books because it's simpler than listing them on eBay or Amazon. I did run across another option on Unclutter - Powell's in Portland, via the web. You type in the ISBNs on their website; the site then tells you which books they're currently buying and makes a store-credit offer. If you accept the offer, you can box your books, print out a prepaid mailing label from Powell's, and mail the books off.

The drawbacks are that you get Powell's credit instead of cash and must have a Powell's account. But if you tend to buy from them anyway, that may not be much of a drawback. Alternatively, checking Powell's prices might useful to get an idea of what a secondhand bookstore will pay (compared to what used sellers are listing it for on eBay and Amazon and, oh, Powell's) and you can do it without leaving the house.
jenk: Faye (Money)
"Can you spot the rich person" isn't just a Northwet game anymore. (And no, I don't feel sorry for a car salesman complaining about having to be nice to everyone now ... ;)

An article on how charities do (and don't)report success is mostly about how they don't, and how some benefactors are starting their own charities because they don't trust that existing charities will do the job. I'm glad some groups are getting on the ball with this. If you're trying to solve huge problems, sometimes knowing what didn't work for someone else is very illuminating.

One sidebar has some links that look interesting:

Some charities are moving away from the field's traditional secrecy and offering public assessments of their programs' effectiveness. A few notable examples:

Millionaire Suffers from Oversized-Home Syndrome. As the Palm Beach Post puts it:
Boca moneybags Dru Schmitt painstakingly merged three adjacent lots alongside a canal in the ultra-exclusive enclave of Royal Palm Yacht and Country Club.

The 39-year-old then spent nearly two years building a state-of-the-art mansion with 300 feet of docking space, lush landscaping and a breathtaking interior.

[Last month the family moved in.]

Within days, according to neighborhood buzz, Schmitt decided he just didn't like it.

Too big - at 23,000 square feet.

So just like that, one of the most expensive homes in South Palm Beach County is on the market. Price: $24.9 million.

And MSN summarizes a survey on how American married couples' financial roles have changed.
jenk: Faye (Default)
It's definitely spring. I'm frequently doubling my daily antihistamine dose. I also have more energy and feel like Doing Things occasionally instead of hiding in the house ignoring all my friends. (And a big thank you to the ones who stay in touch even when I'm hibernating).

I've even been gardening a bit, though nowhere near as much as [ profile] jw1776. No pictures to post tho. May need to do something about that.


I had a touch of ... not really sunburn, but redness ... last weekend. Despite sunscreen.


We now have red curtains in our home library. The old curtains were a dark rust color with beige wheat stalks on them. They have button tab tops that are currently (mostly) attached to wooden hoops for ease, but can be used without the hoops. They are also available to anyone who wants 'em ... 4 panels about 55" x 80", 100% cotton, machine wash, originally from Ikea.


Oh, and this couch is on order for our library. It's on order because we want it in brown. We could have gotten the green right away, but ... um ... NO.


I'm becoming happier with fluorescent lights. The tricks appear to be:
  • Don't expect them to look like incandescent. It's not just tone, it's brightness. A "looks like 60-watt" fluorescent is often just that little bit brighter than a 60-watt incandescent. A hallway with 3 recessed overhead lights should be all one type of bulb. Putting in one 60-watt fluorescent or one 60-watt incandescent is going to look "off". (Our downstairs hallway drove me nuts for months. I finally noticed the middle bulb was incandescent...replaced it with a fluorescent to match the other two and OMG I'm actually turning them on now!)
  • Think about the type of light you want. Our home library is a big room with a cathedral ceiling. We have uplights for general room light, but task lights - reading lights - have been a struggle. At the moment, I brightened the overall lighting by putting in "daylight" fluorescents. Are they true daylight? No. Do they mimic "grow-bulbs"? Not quite, but close. Would they make me nuts as the only lights in the room? Oh yeah. But having them in the uplights, with other smaller lights for balance - that works.

    And on a similar note,
  • Not in my "makeup" (bathroom) mirror. Not yet.


I've been using the county library. Partly because I can search for a book on, place it on "hold", and have it delivered to my local library ~ which means books at Burien, Bothell, and Federal Way are just as accessible as our own. Partly because our shelves are mostly full, which makes me less likely to take a risk on buying a new book. And partly because books that are on the expensive side are often readily available through the library ;) Of course, Amazon still comes up with cool recommendations and more details on many books that the library site. So I flip between the two quite a bit...


Started yoga class again, since I don't keep it up as well without the class boost. I was already flexible, but it's interesting to see my balance improve.


[ profile] jw1776 and I are joking about a ceremonial viewing of The Seven Year Itch for our anniversary in August ;)
jenk: Faye (eyes)
I was listening to this song this morning. It's evocative of returning to a "safe space", be it the sanctuary of a trusted friend or lover's presence or the safety of a home you've made for yourself...
When the calls & conversations
Accidents & accusations
Messages & misperceptions
Paralyze my mind
Buses, cars, & airplanes leaving
Burning fumes of gasoline and
Everyone is running and I
Come to find a refuge in the
chorus: Easy silence that you make for me
It's ok when there's nothing more to say to me
And the peaceful quiet you create for me
And the way you keep the world at bay for me
The way you keep the world at bay
Anger plays on every station
Answers only make more questions
I need something to believe in
Breathe in sanctuary in the

"Easy Silence" by Emily Robison, Martie Maguire, Natalie Maines and Dan Wilson
from Taking The Long Way. You can listen to a clip on Amazon.

I'm very glad for [ profile] jw1776, [ profile] skydancer, [ profile] dianthus, [ profile] cyberangel_, and others who are my safe spaces...
jenk: Faye (miserable)
This story, I'm sure, is going to get picked up all over the place. I'm sure that keeping a criminal in prison by ruling the evidence was legally obtained was part of why this ruling went the way it did.

Of course, it's not like the cops ever have the wrong house. Or like a bad smell from a neighboring apartment or condo could be caused by anything other than a meth lab, or anyone could mistake hibiscus for marijuana. Or like they have to wait all that long after knocking anyway. I'm certain no one could fill a website with histories of botched paramilitary raids, or if it could appear to anyone that knocking down doors at 4am when no lives are at stake might be a bit over-the-top, or like anyone might assume an intruder was a criminal and try to shoot said intruder...


Jun. 6th, 2006 01:21 pm
jenk: Faye (daria smile)
From [ profile] snippy, a puzzle floor!


~ o ~

Today's Wonderword topic is "The SATs".

Two words I found that were NOT on the list? Nap (which is appropriate) and maim (which is arguably even more appropriate ;)

Solution: Do you want to know? )
jenk: Faye (Default)
Thinking about finding a church closer to home.

Filling the windowsill of my cube (yes, I have a window cube now) with origami critters. Whale, dragon, guppy, ladybug, frog, swan, and today's pig. Also a cube, ninja star, b-ball hoop, and church.

Read the new Mrs Murphy book Sour Puss. Spotted the murderer 1/2 through but had the motive wrong. Re-read the one before the last (when Murphy's human quit her job) to remind me of the recent the last one now.

Browsing [ profile] dark_christian. Did you know that excessive eye contact is "optical intercourse", a sin worthy of expulsion? Or that Tom DeLay is no longer House Majority Leader because he's a Christian? Fascinating.

Went shopping this weekend with [ profile] cyberangel_. Wow, in addition to the 70s earth-tones and ruffles, they've added the faux peasant look and gauchos. As one page puts it, "Really good this one didn't last."

I'm glad [ profile] jeliza got Happy Pill back online. As she put it, "The Happy Pill project examines and parodies the gender roles and tropes of modern advertising. The project culminated in my graduation show from Photographic Center Northwest, and consisted of a large installation, creating a faux meeting room for the advertising agency of a parallel universe."

Did laundry & some rearranging in the garden yesterday. Funny how easy it is to pick up a 5-lb rock, and how sore I feel the next day after moving 30 or so of them...

If anyone reading this didn't know, my mom died the last day of February. Overall I'm doing okay, tho I'm still adjusting. Of course, now I'm adjusting to the time change too.
jenk: Faye (tinyme)
[ profile] noelfigart posted a link to Part of me was fascinated, as I quickly determined I had lived, sometimes for months, in second degree squalor. Yes, squalor can be measured. According to the site, it's "degrees of squalor" are the scale that psychiatrists use.

The other thing I found interesting is their page on "reality cleaning". This is not Martha Stewart / Heloise / Home Comforts wisk-a-duster-in-the-stage-set cleaning; their measurments of "clean" are a lot closer to reality that you see in magazines. Together the 4 degrees of squalor and 4 stages of clean form a pretty good scale to see where you're at....

First degree squalor

You are getting behind in tasks that you would normally manage, like laundry and dishes. You are not the tidy person you once were. Little piles are starting to emerge and your disorganization is starting to affect your life and inconvenience you. Things are just starting to get out of hand and become unmanageable. A sign of first degree squalor might be that you are embarrassed for other people to see your mess ... but you would still let them in the house. more )

Stage one clean:

Surfaces are neat; the centre of the room is free; piles are on perimeters. No rotting food, but current meal remnants allowed. Current craft projects, current books/magazines ditto. Perhaps some de-cluttering still to do; also smallish dust bunnies lurking UNDER furniture. But in general room looks nice. You feel ok about things. Unexpected Company would be welcome ... especially at night! and the rest )
jenk: Faye (eyes)
This made me think a bit. When I'm working 10-12 hours a day, I get into my work while I'm doing it...and resent that it takes away time from the rest of my life. When I'm working 8 hours a day, I get into my work while I'm doing it...and resent that it takes away time from the rest of my life. Hrm.

I'm mainly posting this for the suggestions for getting off "automatic" and enjoying life, so I'm leaving those uncut. The rest is available if you want more context.
If you're in your 40s, you are probably pulling down a bigger paycheck than ever before, and your portfolio has never been fatter. And yet, if research by economists and psychologists is any guide, you have never been more miserable. What's going on here -- and what can you do about it? Here are some lessons from the burgeoning field of 'happiness research.' )What can you do about all this, particularly if you are in your 40s and feeling glum? Consider three strategies.

First, research suggests you can boost happiness by "counting your blessings." Sure, this sounds hokey. But according to experts, pausing occasionally to appreciate what you have may counteract the tendency to take improvements in your life for granted.

Second, think carefully about how you spend your spare time. The temptation is to opt for stuff that seems fun or easy, especially if you are getting run ragged at the office.

But studies indicate you will likely be happier if you make a point of trying activities that are enriching or challenging, such as volunteering or taking up a new exercise program, Prof. Schkade says. Be sure to mix it up a little, so these activities remain stimulating and you don't fall victim to hedonic adaptation.

Third, cultivate friendships. Research indicates that friends are one of the biggest contributors to happiness. Want proof? Check out the list in the accompanying [sidebar]. Among the most enjoyed activities, socializing with friends ranks second only to sex. ... )
The sidebar (inside the cut) was originally a graphic. I transcribed the text.
jenk: Faye (Jane sarcastic)
The article in general is worth reading - but I left un-cut a particularly telling piece.
I )magine you bought two homes, one for your own use and one that you rented out. The rental property, I would argue, can be considered a pure investment.

Like a stock, you will get both capital gains, thanks to the home's price appreciation, and dividends, in the form of monthly rent checks. If you added up your rent and price appreciation and then subtracted homeowner's insurance, maintenance expenses, mortgage payments, taxes and other costs, you would have your profit. Often, this profit can be pretty darn impressive.

Meanwhile, you don't collect rent on the house you live in. ) That's a big deal. The reason: If you are a landlord, rental income is typically your biggest source of profit, dwarfing the gain from price appreciation.

On the other hand, you do have to live somewhere. Shelter is a necessity. Buying a home and effectively renting it to yourself hardly seems like frivolous, discretionary spending.

So if you live in your own home, are you investing or are you spending? I would argue it's a little bit of both. Most of us own homes that provide more than just basic shelter, so there is indeed a large element of consumption. Read more... )
I know people who argue that the mortgage (or the PITI) is equivalent to the rent they'd pay, and so they shouldn't count deduct it from the appreciation in determining how much they made on a house sale. Personally, I go back and forth. One advantage to a fixed-rate mortgage is that the the payment IS fixed. Rent is SOO not fixed! OTOH, I don't think that upgrades or remodels are automatically 'investments' because you really don't know if other people will want to "reimburse" you for, oh, Corian countertops.

Judgment call, judgment call, judgment call...

I do like that Clements includes pleasure and satisfaction as dividends, tho. Warms my little non-ascetic Taurus heart.
jenk: Faye (wedding)
Dev counterpart: I'd generally rather not work than work myself.
Me: Well, I'd rather have money for rent and food and such than not.

Dev counterpart looks at me and blinks for a moment. "Well, yeah...."

When people fantasize about not working they tend to do so in a certain context: they've won the lottery, they're fabulously wealthy, they married someone who makes a huge amount of money, and so on.

The reality of not working tends to be a bit more mundane. Unemployment. Going back to school. Taking care of the kids (occasionally known as "day care cost more than my after-tax income"). These are rarely the never-ending vacation people think of in 'if I didn't have to work'. Jobhunting or tackling toddlers or dealing with homework and classes is not the same as a vacation.

Not sure where I'm going with this. Just ... funny how disconnected we can be from the practical.

In the meantime I'm going to go lay down and cuddle with Jesse. It might help my headache. It will definitely help my mood.
jenk: Faye (knowing)
I have trouble keeping it in the background. Even if I can split between the show and what I'm doing, the commercials blare out & distract. I can have trouble carrying on a conversation if the tv is on.

This seems to surprise some people. I'm not sure why. But then, I perceive commercials yelling at me and others don't get why I react that way. I literally *back away* from the assault that no one else perceives.

So I was a bit relieved to see this in Jerry Large's column this week:
TV keys into a basic brain response, which is that people pay attention to novel or sudden auditory or visual stimulation. When a set is on, most people, whether they consciously want to be or not, are drawn to it.

Maybe you want to watch your favorite show. But beneath that conscious choice, your brain is just fascinated by the flashing images and changing sounds. [...] Watching TV makes people feel relaxed and passive. It feels good, but the good effect vaporizes as soon as you turn the set off, which trains people to keep it on. It's just like some drugs in that way.

Did you see the survey last week, in which a big chunk of American workers said they feel overworked and stressed out by their jobs? And you know home life is full of stress that maybe wasn't there a generation ago. Dr. TV to the rescue, but there's a cost.

After bouts of TV watching, research subjects stopped feeling relaxed, but continued to feel passive, and had trouble concentrating.

Families of heavy watchers had trouble relating to each other when they were asked to leave their sets off for a week, and some couldn't make it that long. Withdrawal is tough.

Many people, when they are polled about television habits, say they watch more than they want to. It's hard to turn the set off once you settle in. Middle-class viewers were especially prone to feeling guilty about suckling from the tube.

People live busier lives now, more work, more activities outside work and school. We get worn out and want to veg out, but because we are so much busier, we have less time to spare and giving more of that time over to TV means less time for reading, for family, for community, for just sitting and thinking.

How many Americans spend time sitting and thinking? Heck, just being alone for a few minutes freaks some people out. Americans want to be doing something all the time, even if it's just watching TV.
Of course, some of the same can apply to computers - but I think some of that has to do with what you're doing on the computer. Reading feels different from writing feels different from playing a game feels different from watching a video.

Maybe it's my perception again. Or maybe it's a rationalization.

Anyway. I am going to grab a book and go snuggle my hubby.
jenk: Faye (wedding)
Charles is doing his bit to atone for the sins of rich, middle-aged men everywhere. He's making an honest woman of his age-appropriate partner, a woman with whom he is well-matched in looks, habits, and hobbies, whom he has known and loved for more than 30 years. Charles' mistake was to get his weddings out of order: He married his first wife second and his trophy wife first. - June Thomas in Slate


jenk: Faye (Default)

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