Things I Learned in March

It amazes me how this year is whizzing by. Here we are at the end of March already. March! An entire quarter of the year is gone. GONE! February was such a blur I forgot what I learned, so this month I kept better track.
Here’s what I learned – in order – because that’s how it works when you keep a list.

1. The history of the Ampersand.  I don’t remember how I stumbled upon this post, but I found it fascinating. I’ve always loved the ampersand, the way its shape can be manipulated to add pizzazz, and I use them a lot, because they’re quick and I like the way they look.

bbf48f6d13b021ef159ce0e240e083f9

2. The lyrics used while Paul McCartney wrote the song “Yesterday” were about scrambled eggs.  ♫ “Scrambled eggs/ Oh, my, baby how I love your legs…” ♫   When song-writers come up with a melody that has potential they often employ dummy lyrics until they’re sure the melody is their original idea and not one they’re copying subconsciously. (I should have illustrated Ms. Scrambled Eggs’ legs for this post, but I was afraid they’d look more like cellulite.)

3.  Walt Disney was an ENFP personality just like me.  Of course he was! So were Anne Frank and Mark Twain. Sandra Bullock is also a fellow ENFP. I’ve always considered her my famous alter ego. She’s classy while keeping it real. I can relate to a woman who snorts. On the darker side are ENFPs gone bad: Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez and Muammar Gaddafi. (We won’t think about them.) Ever wonder about your personality type? You can take the quiz here.

4. Turning 50 isn’t that bad. Yes, I joined the Half-Century Club this month. A lot of very kind people have told me I don’t look 50, which makes my heart happy because I don’t feel 50, either. When I was growing up women who were 50 wore girdles and their hose rolled down at their ankles. They looked round and settled and…. well, old. Times have changed. They say 50 is the new 30, and I believe that. What’s nice about being fifty is the experience I’ve gathered and wisdom I notice in myself as a result of being around the block a few times. It’s all the confidence of your 30s and 40s with an added knowing… a calm assurance that it isn’t all that big of a deal. You can tell the women who are over 50 because they smile and nod a lot. And don’t worry as much about what other people think. And wear their red Keds because they like them, not necessarily because they match. When I turned 40 Sew Sista (who is almost  +10 my age) told me my 40s would be everything I loved about my 30s plus the benefit of not sweating the small stuff as much. Last year she told me my 50s would be even more fun because I’m still young enough for adventure but old enough to not give a hoot about making people stare. She was right.

20140313_105740

 

5. Australia fined the United States for littering when part of the Skylab space station landed in their country upon re-entry. Totally true story.
604px-Skylab_3_Close-Up_-_GPN-2000-001711

 

Things I Learned in January

Is it me, or did January FLY by? Woosh! There it went.  With the holidays over and the new year in full swing I’m trying to get back to paying attention a bit more. Life is short – I don’t like missing any of it.  Here are a few things I learned in January:

1. How to dry my hands with one paper towel. I’m one of those people who wonders if they could spare it when the machine dispenses this dinky little receipt-size towel to dry my hands with. Then I take three or four more. Needless to say when I saw this video I was skeptical.  My first opportunity to try it was at church. And it worked! Then it became a challenge to only use one paper towel no matter where I am.  And I feel so smug when I see people like the former me asking the machine if it could spare it. 😉

2. A butt is a valid measurement. So a “buttload” of something isn’t just an expression. You learn a lot when you have a genius engineer know-it-all for a son. A butt is a traditional unit of volume used for wines and other alcoholic beverages, generally defined to be two hogsheads, but the size of hogsheads varies according to the contents. In the United States a hogshead is typically 63 gallons  – a butt is 126 gallons. I bet you’ll never hear this word the same way again. You’re welcome.

3. Not to be confused with boatload, which is the cargo that a vessel carries or is capable of carrying.

4. The Virginia Beach Pump Station is disguised as a lake house. It even includes a small boat house. Apparently, many pump stations across the country are disguised to fit in with their surroundings. Who knew?

vasserpumpstation

Things I Learned in August

All last week the temperatures dipped and we happily flung open the windows to let in the cool breezes. It was actually chilly when the sun set.  My feed is full of first-day-of-school smiles and around here parents are doing last-minute shopping before school starts Tuesday. This morning I got out of my car and noticed these at my feet…. which means it’s happening whether I’m ready or not. Summer is coming to a close.

readleaves

Fall is my favorite, but summer has whizzed by this year.  It’s part of why I like linking up with Emily’s What I Learned posts – I’m a little more intentional about noticing what’s happening around me.  So here are 6 things I learned in August:

1. Icees and Slurpees are the exact same thing made by The Icee Company. If you buy it at 7-11, it’s called a Slurpee. Either way, they’re my go-to treat on the long ride home from a day at the beach.

2. I learned how to eat a fresh fig from our newly discovered fig tree. I had never had one before. They are so sweet… a cross between a strawberry and a peach.  I have no clue how Fig Newtons get their flavor, because they don’t taste anything like these. And they’re so pretty!

fresh figs

3. Door knobs made of copper and its alloys kill germs all by themselves. I learned this from my super smart son.  Go to bed and yesterday’s germs are no more. Great news for busy moms! Silver possesses this same quality, which is why old school canteens were lined with it. BEWARE: Stainless steel and aluminum are germ breeding grounds, which has me looking to see what types of knobs are used in public places…  You can read more here.

4. If I want to type a copyright © symbol in Photoshop (or Word!) I just hold down Alt while typing 0169. Trademark ™  is Alt + 0153. The Registered ® symbol  is Alt+ 0174  I find this really nifty. For those wondering, it works in WordPress, too. 😉

5. I learned how to dye fabric!  This could be dangerous. The math was scary, but I think I can do it. I had the best day with some other gals learning together. I can’t wait to experiment on my own and see what I come up with.

DyingFabric_1

DyingFabric_tada

6. Our property is 140 feet bigger than we thought it was. We have  a little over ¾ of an acre, not ½ like we were told. Yowza! That’s happy news for the Hunk – it means all that grass he’s been mowing really is ours.  When you have ¾  of an acre you can also  justify owning a little red tractor named Rosie to help with mowing.

What did you learn this summer? Head over to Emily’s and link up!

Making Messes and 5 Things I Learned in July

I’m so bummed July is over!  I’ve barely started on my Summer list – the one with all the things I was going to do and try during the “lazy” summer months. >heavy sigh<  So far I’ve succeeded to make messes. Our mudroom is under construction, so I’ve spent every free moment prepping, painting and caulking instead of sewing and drawing. Looong story, but the new, improved mudroom will actually function as a mudroom and not take on water when it rains. This is priority #1, because the contents of this room are stacked in our living space. Emphasis on mess.
Last weekend I took a break and spent the day with my VBMQG peeps at Quilt Camp. I’m making Noodlehead’s Super Tote, and the plan was to come home with a finished project – then I hit a couple of snags, like forgetting to bring my Fasturn tool. I should have a contest to caption this image…
I also managed to put together this Wonky Shoo Fly tutorial for the guild and draft a couple new projects.
On top of all this creative genius, I learned 5 new things in July:
Bone marrow becomes fatty after age 44.  My brother-in-law is fighting Leukemia and preparing for a bone marrow transplant. We’re all learning a lot of things we didn’t know. Fatty bone marrow doesn’t graft well when transplanted, so younger marrow has a higher success rate.
I don’t like ginger in any form.  In 3rd grade the room mom came in to help everyone make gingerbread houses. The smell nauseated me so badly that it ruined me against ginger forever.  I use ginger very sparingly when I bake, and I have to hold my nose.  So thinking fresh ginger would be any different is proof of my optimistic nature (or what a dingbat I can be). I bought a small piece to add to my morning green juice and my tongue is still angry with me.
Deer make noise to warn one another. My back yard is the meadow, so we see deer several times a day. I always thought when one bolted in fear the others just somehow knew what was happening and followed. You know, deer ESP. Last week while in the garden I startled a mama out with her fawn, and I heard her screech like when you have something caught in the back of your throat. You can listen here.
Advertising pop-ups earn YouTube posters money… unless I click to skip it before it’s over. You might be shaking your head at me , laughing. That’s okay.  I never gave it much thought until I saw how a young man with an idea is now making his living making YouTube videos, and seeing the world while he’s at it.
Now I think it’s worth waiting 5 seconds to help someone to make a little jingle – especially because I use a LOT of video tutorials. It’s no secret I love Google, and my browser is on stand-by as I work, because there’s always a command I can’t remember or button I can’t find or something I don’t yet know how to do. I promise to be more patient from now on to thank those who take the time to post so I can find those quick answers!
I CAN be patient. That’s a big deal, because when I’m excited it kiiiiills me, like a kid at Christmas. But life has been kinda rocky for awhile and my plans keep getting rearranged, so I’m getting used to it and growing stronger faith muscles in the process. Some fun things are finally coming together, and it will be worth my patience. When it happens you’ll know!

6 Things I Learned in June

I’ve always looked at summer as the time to try new things and explore in ways I don’t have time to the rest of the year. Not sure why, because summer is just as full as any other time of year. Perhaps the longer days hold promise for experiencing more. I haven’t tackled anything on my summer wish list yet, but I have learned a few things.
In no particular order:
Watch what you pray for. Not that I didn’t already know this, but I had a healthy reminder. When the Hunk lost his IT job in February it was nice having him home. But I work mostly from home, and after three months it started getting crowded in here. I kindly asked the Lord to find my man a job before we had issues. Then the Hunk went back to work with his brother doing masonry. He kisses me goodbye at 6 AM and doesn’t kiss me hello until after dark…. seven days a week. I miss him.  I’m grateful for the work, but I was hoping for something a bit more in between the extremes. I keep reminding myself that this is a season and the Lord has it all worked out.

Doing is more fun than wishing. After the devastation in Oklahoma last month I found myself wishing I had the money to buy a bunch of fabric and make quilts for people who needed their loving warmth. Then I won some super cute blocks at our guild meeting and instead of wishing I started sewing. I emptied some more boxes from the attic and found a bunch of fabric I’ve never used and decided to use what I have on hand. So far I’ve finished two quilt tops and found a couple gals to help get them quilted to give away.

I’ve been tying my shoes incorrectly my entire life. One wee adjustment has eliminated the need for double knots. Who knew?

Sometimes the hard thing I avoid is actually the easy thing in disguise. I love Adobe Photoshop. I’ve owned every version since it was released in 1990. I had one class that used Adobe Illustrator and I thought it was in Russian, because I didn’t understand anything they said. I didn’t open the program again. Until last week. I had a job to do and Illustrator was what I needed to do it. So I had to boss myself around and Google how to do things – a LOT. And I learned that a whole lot of what I’ve been doing in Photoshop is much easier to do in Illustrator. Imagine that.  I also can’t help but think there is a life lesson in there….

Squirrels’ teeth never stop growing, according to my sweet friend at the bird food store, which explains why they chew the rails on my back porch… and why they chewed a hole through my metal squirrel-proof bird feeder. Little boogers.

I have a fig tree and a sassafras tree in my yard.I had no idea until a friend pointed them out to me. We also have two pecan tress and a pear tree that I knew about. The squirrels bite into the pears before they’re ripe and spit them out onto the ground, so no one gets to enjoy them. The fig tree is chock full of young figs. I wonder if it was better that I didn’t know… because now I’ll be bummed if the squirrels get to them before I do.