Saturday, August 23, 2014

Just Another August Morning

Just another day. . .the usual hassles and b.s.. . .just another day. . .I bought $60 worth of poetry books this week, I must be crazy. . .How long can I ignore that bill they keep sending?. . .Stuff isn't finished. . .my reputation is at stake. . . just a bit more coffee, just a bit . . .I can't stand what's happening in the Middle East . . .I really need to sew fleece curtains for all the windows for the winter. . .darn, the jar in the fridge tipped over, what a mess. . .I don't know who to call next. . .everything's such a gamble. . .these chicken franks were a waste of money. . .why hasn't so-and-so been in touch?. . .get a birthday card for my sister, she's 50, it should be a special 50th-birthday card. . .I need a haircut. . .The novel needs rewriting, but it always does. . .what's blasting the air-conditioning going to cost me? . . .I should go to the gym. . .I saw some leaves falling and it scared me. . . .I forgot my sunscreen. . .it's August and I haven't camped even once. . .I want a 20-inch waist like Audrey Hepburn. . . better take a walk because by 8:30 a.m. it's fainting-hot. . .I have 19 students each needing my full attention. . .what are those yellow flowers in the field, Brown-Eyed Susans? Guess so. . . aren't they pretty? Their lives are so simple. . .

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Propane and Anti-Pane

August is the best (cheapest) time of year to fill propane tanks; and having previously spent $880 for a fill three years ago, I had saved $1000 toward this new tankful.
I hated my propane company, so I phoned the company the lady at the copy shop recommended and asked what the stuff was going for.

"One ninety-nine a gallon," said the clerk, "and one eighty-nine a gallon if you pay within five business days."

I hadn't heard a price this low in a decade. Before signing up on the website I beheld a referral program that gave the referrer a $50 credit--and, unbelievably, $50 credit for me too! So I hurried to the copy shop. "This isn't about copies," I told the lady. Together we filled out and submitted the online form; they phoned within two hours. Three days later the tank-truck driver checked my furnace, stove, and regulator, and cleaned out the squirrel's nest that has occupied the tank's cap for years, and showed me how to shut off the valve in case I had to. They'll also monitor the supply and top it off. Thank you, God, for making me smart enough to relinquish control of my propane supply.

The total for 300 gallons: Abut $570.00. I then went hog-wild and bought a new-with-tags suit on eBay for $30 and two pairs of white double-layer socks. (No, I won't wear the suit and socks together, but there's some folks who wouldn't be surprised if I did.)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

It's Not Easy

I stayed up very late, trying to sip the most from summer. Finally I got into pajamas and when I looked up through my west-facing window I saw a frog in space.
Never had I seen this before. No idea how it got there, why it stayed, what it wanted, unless to become a new constellation.

Missouri tree frogs come in green and gray. This one (Hyla cinerea) is green. It's not easy. Gray tree frogs have pure white undersides. I didn't know tree frogs clung to glass. Perhaps it was attracted by its own reflection. Or maybe it wanted to watch me undress!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Idiot's Delight

On a garage-sale safari I saw dozens of woven baskets going for a dime or free. It used to be that tins, such as Christmas fruitcake tins, were the get-rid-of-clutter item one couldn’t even give away. Now it’s baskets. Saw some nice ones but did not purchase because I had one, and I’m determined to use what I have. Formerly an Easter basket—you know how baskets tend to persist in a house or garage—this is my herb-and-mushroom-gathering basket. Not very big or deep, it keeps me from harvesting more than I can use.
 
At first I carried the scissors in a pocket, then more safely in a fanny pack, and then in the basket itself because reaching around and unzipping the pack was cumbersome. But I lost them from the basket within a few minutes, and only their bright-pink handles allowed me to locate it in the forest floor. They're useful also for when I leave them in the planter, distracted by a swallowtail butterfly or the propane truck or some such.

Remember idiot mittens that were strung together? Well, this red ribbon is an idiot solution to lost scissors. I’d hate to lose even these cheap scissors because I want to use what I have.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Unrest in the City

I have no opinion on the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri (a St. Louis suburb 30 miles from here) because facts are so few, and the facts available seem untrustworthy, doctored, spun, denounced as false, released at odd times--it's like a bad TV show. The photos and footage are the most sensational the media can muster. Young men die at the hands of police quite often. Police too die at the hands of young men. What's unusual about this situation is how the media persist in stirring the pot -- they are in the business of creating anxiety. Anxious people buy things.

I admit to liking the clever label "Fergustan," but won't bandy it about because reason tells me it's an exaggeration and inflammatory, and cleverness is no substitute for brains and reason.

My feelings?  What good are feelings? This whole situation exists because feelings now trump facts.

A Companionable Spider

All summer I welcome daddy-long-legs into the bathroom; they arrive even without a welcome, so why not. This orange-brown one, my companion for several days now, first hung out in the plastic container I keep combs and hair products in; then it spent an evening on the sink’s edge, and leg by leg it poled away when I came in to brush my teeth. Here it’s enjoying a bath towel. It seems to like exploring the variety of bathroom surfaces and landscapes—like a European tour, except for spiders. I carefully dried my hands on this towel’s edge so it could keep its footing. It’s so companionable now that it doesn’t flee. What does it think of the giant being who enters and brightens the bathroom (a room with no windows) at intervals, steams it to a comfortable humidity, and leaves it in peace?

I hear many folks bemoaning the end of summer, but summer lasts until my summer companions are gone.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Extend Your Router's Range with Cardboard and Foil

This cheap fast DIY idea I saw online. Here's proof that it works:


Here's how:

1. Find a piece of cardboard in the right size and shape to cradle your router on 3 sides.
2. Cover the cardboard with aluminum foil.
3. Set the router down in the  foil-covered cardboard, antennae outward, of course.

The Divine Cabin receives only satellite Internet (there's no cable out here!) for two computers and the phone.The farther from the router, the worse the signal: in the living room, 3 bars and wavering, the bedroom 2 bars or 1. Now I get 4 solid bars in the living room and a solid 2 or sometimes 3 in the bedroom.

Instead of foil-covered cardboard, my other options for boosting my signal were: 1) Buy 50 feet of Cat5e or Cat6 Ethernet cable, drill and thread it through 2 log walls to attach it to the computer. 2) Buy a $70 signal booster, hard to program and slows the download by half, and might not even work. 3) Extend the current double-barreled satellite cable but accept that it might lose speed or get noisy at the splice, and I'd need to hire a geek to do it correctly.

It's not pretty, but it was made in America: