Thoughts and photos by Lois. It's supposed to be funny, or thought-provoking, or both.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Placebo Buttons and Distracters

How hard can it be?  This is an elevator in a 2 story Barnes & Noble store. I think I'm the only one who uses it, because the kids think it's fun (hooray for free entertainment)...along with riding the "excalator" up and down.  It has a front door and a back door -- which explains the 1R and 2R buttons (rear door). But I have no idea why it needs 4 open and close door buttons.

A friend of mine said these are placebo buttons anyway; they don't actually change the door's timing, they are put there to placate impatient people like me -- those of us who are trying to get the doors to open or close faster. Ok, that makes sense, but why the extras in the fourth row?!? Does the vertical line represent a person?  Are we supposed to use them when someone is standing in the door, and you want to avoid crushing, or speed up the crushing?!? They're kind of like a fast forward button, but the vertical line is in the wrong place. In the time it takes to try to decipher what these buttons even do, the doors would already be opened, or closed. I'm so confused. And in the time it takes to travel ONE floor, I still can't figure it out.

Insights, anyone?!?!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Cloudy with a Chance of Inversion

This afternoon I'm headed to At One Yoga for a two-hour workshop called "Demystifying Handstands and Inversions For All!"  Above is the instructor, Simon Park.  

I am keying on the FOR ALL part of the title. Wish me luck.

That is all.


Friday, February 26, 2010

Move Over Dubliner, Here Comes Manchego

Yesterday's post included a reference to manchego, a cheese I feel compelled to write about in greater detail. Now, this is no slap to Dubliner, which is also great cheese (and much better at nearly room temp, not refrigerated). Meet Manchego, the cheese of La Mancha, made from whole sheep's milk. And these sheep must know what they are doing because mancha, that is some good good cheese!

I think I first noticed it in the queso and olive tapas at Jaleo in DC circa 2000. People at parties descend on it like vultures, if vultures ate cheese rather than .... um, carrion. In fact, this photo actually makes me hungry (carrion mention notwithstanding).  Apparently, it was even mentioned by Cervantes in the Don Quixote stories.  Hmmm, not sure I recall that from the darkening mists of undergrad, but clearly, Cervantes also knew good cheese when he had some. The cheeseofspain website describes it as slightly piquant and nutty (odd, I think someone described ME similarly).  Anyway, aside from all that, this is just exquisite cheese, and a standalone cheese. Doesn't even need crackers, or a pita, or a carb. It just IS.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Curse on the Sunshine Snack Company!

They just HAD to go there, didn't they?? As if the white cheddar flavor wasn't addictive enough. Did this company assemble a focus group that sat down and tried to figure out what additional unhealthy tempting stuff it could throw my way?!?! If they introduce manchego flavor next, I will absolutely know they are plotting against me... and ps -- "naturally flavored" -- yeah, right...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Happy 43 +1 Day, Jane!

Starting back in 2nd grade, Jane's birthday (2/23) kicked off the spring party season, such as it was ... Unfortunately the UK is 7 hours ahead, not 20 hours behind, which would make my birthday observance less late...but I'll take credit for the thought counting.  Here we are on the lake at McCall, Fall 2008 -- good times -- site of Jane's lakeside wedding in 2000, July I think -- and I DID wear the bridesmaid dress again, unheard of! So, though she is not a Facebooker, all of us who are can put good (but belated) b-day wishes out to the universe for a crazy fun friend.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Did You Just Order $100 Workout Pants?!?!?

Lucy athletic wear is maddeningly good. They have great t-shirts, workout tops, shorts, and pants. Right now they are rolling out the perfect core pant, which cost $98 full retail. And I had sticker shock over the $88 price tag on the Hatha yoga pants. Now they up the ante straight to the $100 mark?!!? Come ON, they're PANTS. I can't really justify that expenditure unless I wear them day in/day out, to the gym, and sleep all night in the very same PANTS!

But the website is tempting, promising "body alignment" "reforming" and "compression." with a convincing graphic.  With price points like these, I have to save up a month's worth of gym paychecks....just to have something to wear for the classes I teach. Irony? Maybe...but how much are reforming and compression worth, anyway?

Monday, February 22, 2010

I Keep Calling It Smartwater

but that's not's "VitaminWater10" (alloneword) -- kind of yummy sounding flavors, 10 calories per serving -- that's 8oz folks, not the whole bottle -- very important distinction...BUT a change from water water and more water. At least it doesn't have Splenda (sucralose) which in my opinion should be named something much more like BadAftaTasta, but I'm thinking that didn't really fly in the focus groups?!?!

Also, VitaminWater (not 10) has 50 calories per serving so if you drink the whole bottle, might as well just have a regular full-sugar soda.And after this ad (from the LifeTime stuck in a bathroom stall series) I think I'm going to start calling it SmartASSWater -- see the parenthetical statement -- we used to say this all the time in the 80's!  Awesome!
BTW they DO make smartwater at the same company (glaceau).

And for the detail oriented, I include the ingredients list: reverse osmosis water, crystalline fructose (sweetener), erthritol (a naural sugar alcohol), natural flavor, citric acid, ascorbic acid, gum acacia, rebiana (stevia extract), magnesium lactate, natural caffeine, ester gum, guarana seed extract, calcium lactate, niacin, monopotassium phosphate, pantothenic acid, b-carotene, pyridoxine hydrochloride, cyanocobalamin.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Movie Review

We watched Night at the Museum 2 this afternoon. Fun movie and a concept with pretty much limitless boundaries (nice oxymoron, huh). The script writers can include or exclude any historical figure or animal or artifact they can imagine, or change their form (Einstein as a bobble head -- why?) or throw in a giant octopus for  convenience. Like having a bottomless concept budget!  Awesome! Owen Wilson as the old west cowboy is hilarious, again. And why Octavius the Roman Centurion has a British accent, still never explained.  Or maybe the accent we know as "British" is how ancient Romans sounded?? Oh THAT makes sense! Liked Amy Adams as Amelia Earhart, and the scene-stealing Jonah Hill as "Brundon" the security guard with Ben Stiller was over the top.  If you rent this movie, watch that scene at least twice...

Larry Daley: Sorry. Last time I checked, I thought we lived in a free country, so...
Brandon:  No, we don't.
Larry Daley: No?
Brandon:  It's the United States of "Don't Touch That Thing Right in Front of You."

Saturday, February 20, 2010

One Year's Supply, Exactly

Six boxes -- you heard me. My kids ate the last 2 cookies while the 2010 supply was delivered, this morning 2/20/10. Thank you Kaili and the West Family.  We are set up for the next 12 months. I can make them last. Freezer!!!Seriously -- ask me next year!

Friday, February 19, 2010

First Pets!

Well, here's one for the memory books:  our first pets!  Not too pettable, but the kids are pretty excited (yes, it's still only the first hour).

I think their names are Rocky and Guppy (and Geegee) -- one gets two names.  I like Petsmart's all-in-one kit with tank, rocks, food, and water conditioner.  We did upgrade with the cool plastic plants though. Hey, even fish need accessories, right??

Thursday, February 18, 2010

RF ID - Technology with a Nasty Little Surprise

Ok, top piece of useful info from Neighborhood Watch meeting didn't even relate to the neighborhood, but credit card theft. Some new credit cards have the above "blink" symbol -- for example, Chase is issuing them. The technology uses a radio frequency chip embedded in the card that beams the credit card number (encrypted) to a receiver terminal so the user doesn't have to swipe the card to make a purchase. Just get within (allegedly) 4 inches of the terminal with the card and presto - purchase done! The problem is that it doesn't turn off -- it's continuously beaming out your credit card number.  Not so great if a smart geek squad kind of thief gets the use of a terminal.  Then:  free credit card numbers!  How convenient! The Gilbert Policers said the terminals can detect from up to 60 feet away.  Hmm, nice and so much more convenient for unscrupulous people to steal from you without getting up close!  To elevate your alert level from yellow to orange, new passports also have an RFID chip in them -- to make exporting identity theft just that much easier!!

But there's an answer, and the shoppers among us will like this answer: a new purse or wallet!! Search on Faraday cage bag or purse or wallet or passport case. Or satchel or European men's carry-all, you get the point.  People are making these lined with a conducting material (nickel-impregnated nylon, sounds classy!) to interfere with the RF transmissions of the chip.  So, with technology comes the opportunity (and need!) to buy a great new handbag like this one:
Not sure I like the fringe but otherwise, pretty cool design (shut it, anti-purse people, just buy the wallet then!) Anyway, I like it when a threat comes with shopportunity (a reason to buy something)!
And in closing, may I say I found it distrubing that both the Gilbert PD "crime prevention specialists" admitted to being victimized by identify theft (one admitted to four times!).  Um, really?!?! Is that what makes them specialists?!?!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Meet My Voice Twin, LJ -- (I'm LE)

She also happens to be my sister. Some people cannot tell our voices apart on the phone, or from another room. We look more alike as we age...and use more chemical magic on our hair. This pic from February 2007 shows our uncanny similar fashion sense as well. Also, we apparently like to have phone holsters on the right hip...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Latisse by Allure -- or -- Genetics?!?!

This product, Latisse, makes your eyelashes thicker. Apparently, it really works, though if you stop using it, lashes return to their former state. WHAT?!?! I think I've heard of a product like's called "mascara!" And you have to have a doctor prescribe it! One site called it "the gateway drug to Botox"... again, what? Lashes and wrinkles?!?! Totally different vanity departments, hello!  But annnywaaaaaaaay, thanks drug industry for creating another solution in search of a problem.

Or you could just be genetically lucky lucky like my offspring, she looks like the after photo right now!!!

And of course, the firstborn, destined to break the hearts of girls who love lashes everywhere (his are even shiny - how is that possible?!?!):
Thanks but no thanks, Latisse, I think I'll go ahead and stick with OTC mascara for now...gateway to Botox, whatever (still muttering epithets...).

Monday, February 15, 2010

Dude, Where's Your Car?!?!

One day I came out of Target and started trying to pop the trunk and put my bags in the car. No response. I hit the remote again. Nothing. Trunk stays locked. Look again at the car -- oh, it's someone else's silver Honda Civic Hybrid with the blue sky license plate, parked nose to nose with mine. On closer inspection, I see this other owner was a bigger spender and sprung for pinstripes.  Silly me, forgot I parked facing south. The silver Honda Civic Hybrid rules for me and so many many others -- sometimes it's hard to find my particular one.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

How Bout This Little Valentine?

This girl can rock any look: she's got her pink, her denim, her skechers, cool shades, and her "sweetheart" sweatshirt. Always emotionally resilient and ready to learn the words to any song "nah, nah, nah, wait'll I get my money right..." Couldn't love her more or my heart might actually break. Thank you universe for putting something this precious in my life.  Photo credit: taken at the Happiest Store on Earth, of course!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Valentines Gift Idea

I was sorting through some storage boxes in the garage yesterday. Seriously, yesterday. I found this in with a box of vases. Timing: impeccable. Perfect for Valentines Day!! Can't remember where it came from or when or why it was being stored, but it seems like the EFL proofreader was asleep during this production shift. Meh, socks, shoes, foot coverings, whatever...I also like the odd and unnecessary space between "socks" and the exclamation point. It even comes in a nice white giftbox. Who is deserving of this gem?!?! (silence)...

Friday, February 12, 2010

Witness the Unstoppable Force

of two sassy redheads with old-lady names. Not our best picture, but you can't win em all! I particularly like how my phone camera lens needs cleaning. Kinda gives the flattering soft-focus effect of a "Doris Day filter" -- great for the crow's feet! And it looks like summer! Yeah, baby!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Stolen Post Topic: Excruciatingly Fun!

When you are in the hospital the nurse comes in every so often and asks you to rate your pain level from 1 (hurts a little bit) to 10 (if you don't give me some meds right now you perky little scrub-ho, I'll yank your hair right off your head). Now look! Someone on another blog applied this rating concept to many aspects of a given day. I'm going to go ahead and exchange "Pain" for "Fun," which I find correlates closely with "Happiness."

Oddly and disturbingly, the author rates Happiness and Workload on a scale of 1 to 10, but Tiredness 1 to 5. I think they should all be parallel but hey, I didn't invent the scale, I'm just stealing it...I like the opportunity to categorize my day, not to mention the "bonus" topics:

Happiness. 8.5 out of 10
Tiredness. 2 out of 5
Workload. 7 out of 10 (due to Procrastination. 9 out of 10)
Last Meal. Greek salad with tzatkiki sauce . . . looking forward to takeout Pita Jungle later! 
Song of the dayYoung Money - Bed Rock
Thought for the day. If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion - The Dalai Lama
What I’m Doing Now. Thinking about items that fall under "Procrastination."

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Are You Kidding Me!?!?!

At Crate and Barrel today, I had a Twin Falls flashback. They are selling these vases and my grandma totally had the blue one, which she probably bought over 40 years ago, and now I'm panicking that they're back IN, and what did we do with them when we went through her things, in 2004, and now she's gone and the vase is who knows where and it doesn't even go with my house so what am I so worked up about anyway? I need to get a grip...really.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

It's My View

How great is life when you have a sunset view with mountains and a little bit of lake upgraded with a new pair of handmedown red patent heels?? Life is GREAT (shoes, thank you Lori 73130!!). Just in time for Valentine's Day, too...

Monday, February 08, 2010

It's Official: Google Has a Sense of Humor

I went to Google to check and edit the listings for work. Pleasantly shocked and amazed to find proof that Google has a sense of humor! And, I'd say, some British employees, based on the "fiddly bits" syntax. See "downtime" explanation below, seen earlier today:


Temporarily Unavailable

The Google Local Business Center is unavailable for the next hour
We appreciate your patience as we perform some routine system maintenance.

More specifically, we're updating 'the backend' (to employ that catchy, catchall moniker coined and lent to us by engineering folks who work on all of the technical fiddly bits behind the scenes but know we communications folks can't very well say 'We're updating all of the technical fiddly bits behind the scenes' and expect you, an enlightened Google user, to take us seriously or at least not wonder aloud ' Wait, what sort of bits were those again?').

So please check back in sixty minutes. Maybe less, considering the time you've invested in deciphering this message.

I particularly like the "maybe less, considering" closer...nice bits, Google!

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Don't Get Lippy!

Back in the day of x-ray clinicals, I always had some kind of lip balm in my pocket. Sometimes a group of us would be standing around, and someone would pull out their stick, and pretty soon the rest of the gaggle would follow suit. Must be like that for a bunch of people who smoke. I noticed that it seemed more than a smattering loved Blistex Herbal Answer, so I named it the Chapstick Choice of X-ray Techs Everywhere...and I still love it! I can only find it at Osco inside Albertson's now. So when I go there, I buy 2 or 3 tubes to have on hand, which I'm sure skews their inventory database. I desperately hope Blistex doesn't stop making it. Which is what usually happens when I love a product. In UK novels, they call lipstick "lippy" and I started calling it that when Romes was little, so my kids do too. Now, this lippy post goes out to Jane!  What's your favorite lippy?

Saturday, February 06, 2010

The Whitest Kids I Know...

Who's rockin it? Kaili, Lane, and Romes! Check out these moves; New Kids on the Block pull over, here's all kinds of *snap* fabulous!!!

Friday, February 05, 2010

Free Market Economy

A few miles down the street from where I work, people set up an unregulated open-air swap meet and sell all kinds of things: chainsaw art, secondhand furniture, navel oranges . . . and sporting goods.  This guy's signage showed a special flair:
Especially love the use of a ladder to add dimension and bring it to eye level . . . and yes, as a matter of fact, I DO work in Apache Junction.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

In Memoriam

 This one goes out to KiddieKandids, where I had about 98% of my kids portraits taken between 2003 and 2009. Last month they closed over 180 stores and filed for bankruptcy. We probably went there about 50 times over the past 7 years. Their photographers wouldn't give up until I admitted defeat . . . their servers hold many many images of my kids -- too many favorites to post here. One of the most memorable series was kind of an accident, and turned into a hilarious Christmas card in 2007:

I hope maybe they'll emerge from bankruptcy in some form...sniff sniff.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Post-Modern Food Sculpture by Laney, circa April 2009

I was chitchatting with my friend, then looked back at the food on the island to find this . . . um . . . scenario. Yes, those are water crackers. To create this sculpture, she broke them up and jammed them into an unsuspecting and completely innocent piece of Dubliner. Why the brie was left unmolested, we shall never know. I think it illustrates the angst we all feel about carbohydrate and fat consumption in the world today. It took me many months of analysis to "get" her message, and now I am passing it along.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

My Dyson Is Cooler Than Your Dyson

Limited edition: check
On sale at Target, the Happiest Store on Earth: check
Additional 10% discount for opening Target card: check
Elegant, space age white and violet and steel grey, not chainsaw yellow: check
Lifetime HEPA filters (2!): check
Comes with poster of itself (a poster, what, am I hanging that in my garage?): check (to the poster, not hanging it in garage)

Is it silly to buy a white vacuum, that sucks up dirt and dust and an amazing amount of hair, so much in fact, that if it weren't my own, I would be grossed out? Yes, it is silly. But I LOVE it. I may just have to call it the Dyson of All Power and Beauty (that one's for you Lexis!)

Monday, February 01, 2010

That's What FREE Looks Like!

When I needed couch pillows I realized that I had $40 of free certificates from Pier1. So I checked their website, found some good candidates, and stopped at one of the stores. These 4 (four!) pillows came to a total of $38, and my free Pier1 money covered the entire purchase!  Then I felt I should spend the extra so I bought a candle. Total out of pocket: $6.20.  Bonus: the flower and stripe ones are the same pillow -- put either side out! The solid ones are super soft fabric! With these pillows, I don't need a pet! Also, Myra gave me high marks for not being "matchy matchy" so woohoo! I am such the bargain girl!