水谷心音

水谷心音

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff:STILL Working

   But I'm definitely making progress now. Which is good.

We've had a few cool days, and some welcome rain showers, but mostly it's been hot & sticky. Perfect weather to sit in front of a computer, two heavily-furred dogs crouching underneath the table. (After all, it's THUNDERING.) We've gone to t-shirts, jeans and shorts, and iced coffee. 

I only wish our friend had a swimming pool. We've got local ones, but due to Covid-19, you have to be a resident of that neighborhood, and sign up ahead of time. Or so I'm told. Things may be changing -- I just heard today that our local libraries are open -- all the way -- Monday the 30th! Now, if the movie theaters reopen, too, I'll believe life may be trying to get back to normal.
    Whatever that is now.



Meanwhile:

No eggs, milk or butter -- and still a delicious cake? Yes, if you make Italian water cake.

A look at police reform (and 'disbanding' in action. Two cities are contrasted: Camden and Newark, NJ. Some excellent points here on training and approach, what may work -- and what definitely hasn't. I was a little puzzled, though, by Camden's characterization as a disbanded force -- when it was reformed right after. I don't think that's what the BLM activists are hoping for...more in terms of no police at all. Period. (I know. Cynical me.)

Shaun King, one of my favorite arbiters of truth and justice, thinks we should remove all vestiges of Jesus. The white Jesus. Not because he follows Him - -because he doesn't -- but because they're just another example of Whitey. "Racist propaganda." "White supremacy." King also uses death threats sent to him as 'proof' that he's on to something here. (Oh, and there's a conspiracy of Long Beach cops plotting to kill him.)
     I have three questions:

     *First, why in the world do people send death threats?!? They prove nothing -- they say more about the person who threatens, rather than the threatee.
     *After decades of living with, seeing, and being aware of Jesus Christ as pictured in the world's art, why is this suddenly so important to King? (I agree with him on one point: that Christ wasn't lily-white. Because He wasn't. He, as a Jew, most probably had darker skin.)
     *Is King doing it for publicity (and to get in with the BLM people), more than he sees it as a serious problem? (Also, since other statues are coming down, his demand doesn't seem so outrageous. Other public figures are saying it's ok. Why can't he tell people what to do, too?)
      *Is he bringing it up to turn attention away from his own actions, currently under scrutiny?
     Inquiring minds want to know.

Ashton Kucher's commencement speech to University of Iowa graduates.  Note the casual dress - the simple, straightforward ideas - and his intensity. I am a big admirer of this guy. (See below for an even better speech.)




Using your interest in art to keep yourself sane. I've been so grateful for its influence in my life, especially now. (From Connections by Karen Musgrave)

Michigan jobs aren't always filled -- because workers can make more by staying unemployed. We've seen this happening in Colorado; one manager told me it has been a serious problem. And yet -- why work, when you get paid more for not working?
     The kicker, of course, is what you do when the unemployment benefits run out. That will happen for many in July, unless the government extends them. (I'm betting they will.)

One Oregon county issues an order: everyone has to wear facemasks -- except black ("non-white") people. They've since changed their minds, or at least reworded the order to make it less confusing. It still is. (On the other hand, it will be, regardless of how they phrase it now.)

Muhammad Ali Jr. holds forth -- what would his dad have thought about Black Lives Matter?

A look at dinosaurs in Australia -- including a herd of dinos discovered in an opal mine in 2019. Yes, opalized dinosaurs!  Speaking of this:

A 10-year-old literally stumbles across an incredible find near Los Cruces, NM.

A new (to me) blog I've been enjoying -- Wealth Well Done. See what you think.

The footage of a woman arrested on a beach in New Jersey -- and now the bodycam footage of the policeman arresting her is included. See what you think. Who hit who first?

Waterzooi -- don't try to say it, just make it. Allrecipes will help.

Some very funny news fails -- including a strange (semi) haircut, and a guy who acts like a goat.




Here's why you should glue coins to your kids (or your) shoes. Brilliant -- and frugal.

The Alaska bus that was a primary focus of "Into the Wild" has been removed.
    Note: read the book, instead of seeing the movie. It explains a lot more.

Hidden messages in six famous paintings.  (From How It Works)

An interesting obituary...for one of the New York Post's entertainment editors.

The richest heirs and heiresses in America. Chevy Chase? Edward Norton?

Ashton Kucher's speech at the Teen Choice Awards. Straightforward, matter-of-fact and totally amazing.

\

Have a great week. Get lots of work done. Really.


An Open Letter to Trolls, Attackers and Those Who Know All

I have a confession to make.

When someone goes after me on the blog -- or even moreso, on my FB page, I'm secretly kind of happy. The more they yell or make strong statements, the less I want to shut them down or delete their comments. (Which I CAN do, by the way.)





Know why? There are several reasons:

*Lots of comments means increased traffic. I don't write this blog or keep a FB page to make a fast buck -- in fact, I currently make nothing on either. But I do use it for business now and then. And I do work out issues for myself, as well. Hopefully, I'm also having a positive effect on how you view certain subjects, including how you feel about the value of hobbies and handwork; how lives matter; how you spend your money... but most importantly, how you view Christians and their faith. How I act as a representative of my King is extremely important to me.

*I get the feeling that many people's frustration and anger are based on other things. Tired of being socially distanced. (We're all sick of this.) Worried about your job -- or a lack of it. Scared you can't pay your bills, or don't have any savings. Concerned about your family, especially older members. (The Mama is often on my mind; she lives 1800 miles away.) It's a lot easier to vent on -- and blame -- other issues. Even important ones.

*Your comments and responses tell me something valuable:
           I'm making you think.
   And that, as a writer, is part of my job. Sure, I enjoy amusing you. Educating is fun, too. While I'm researching for my other work, particularly appraising, I'm always looking for interesting tidbits to pass on. That is how Monday's "Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff" columns came to be.

*I can learn from other viewpoints. Daughters #1 and #2 are essential, for this reason -- they often come at things differently than I do. Sometimes that strengthens my own belief; other times, it changes my mind. Hopefully, I influence them as much as they do me.

*It is amusing to see certain individuals start to puff up and hold forth. I've seen them in action before, and can guess what's coming. Sometimes I will phrase something on purpose, just to see what happens. (Like this piece, which Daughter #2 tactfully called "provocative." I thought I was alone on this, but obviously I'm not.). That inherent lippiness probably comes from growing up as one of the youngest in a large, unruly batch of relatives that liked nothing better than a good argument. You had to be able to hold your own, or older cousins would walk all over you.

*Screaming and insults will not change someone else's mind. Telling them they're an idiot or evil won't work, either. Do you really think that President Trump's habit of calling her "Crazy Nancy" has improved Mrs. Pelosi's willingness to work with him? Sadly, she has reciprocated many times. Sometimes it feels like little kids fighting on the playground...or worse.



*Treating others with dignity, and keeping your own plate clean will have an impact.  Vice President Mike Pence's quiet diplomacy over the years has paid off. He's ridiculed in the media for tripping or being a doofus, but that comes with the turf. (Gerald Ford, an extremely intelligent man, learned that hard lesson early on.)
     Pence was slammed for following the 'Billy Graham rule:' never being alone with a woman, other than his wife. No matter what. His wife took a lot of heat for that quiet decision, as well. But did you notice there have been no accusations of sexual assault or harassment?  Direct insults? Scandal? They're noticeably absent. And don't think for a moment that the media -- or someone else -- hasn't been digging, hoping to find something. Because they have. 

     Did you also notice that Pence's comments, though straightforward, usually deal with the issue -- or groups -- and not individual people driving those issues? I find it illuminating that Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, the very person I take such joy in pointing out her foibles, poor lady, has nothing but praise for Pence. He's the one who's committed to meeting and talking with every single state's governors and other officials about everything from Covid-19 to protesters.  Even Governor Whitmer said they have a "good working relationship;" she has several times noted consulting him about issues. Others have appealed directly to Pence. Not his boss -- to Pence. 
     Democrats -- consulting with a Republican? But there are more important things in the picture than just politics. A little respect goes a long way.

*What will stay with you -- and me -- are the important issues: race, culture, faith, belief. Those far outweigh political parties, finances, frugal living, Sam Elliott and who's going to win the next U of M football game.

*We don't always agree with each other. I'm sure you're stunned by this -- you never would have guessed, would you? But...

A little harsh, but hopefully you get this meme's point.

*We can all learn from each other. Provided we're willing to listen and ask questions.

I have been on listserves and blog pages that are heavily moderated. If you don't agree with that person, or at least suck up to The People in Charge, you are treated with contempt. Worse yet, your comment is deleted altogether. In fact, one listserv I subscribe to pretty much censures all of my comments now, however innocuous. It is the way it is.

You won't find that here.

But you also won't find me, Gentle Readers, letting you trash each other. That's why I keep insisting you show each other politeness and respect -- even when you deeply disagree. I value what you've got to say, even if I don't agree with it personally, either. But I do not find insults helpful, no matter what exalted reason is given for them. Please keep an open mind -- even when you don't agree.

I would hope you treat me the same way.









Friday, June 26, 2020

Would You Use This Vase For Flowers?

...maybe not.

This 18th century lotus vase just sold for $1.6 MILLION -- more than 320 times its appraised estimate.



Yow. 


Many copies were made -- the markings make this piece valuable.


And it was just hiding quietly in a New England family's home, where it had been for generations.

Find out more here.  (Skinner Auctions)

Wow, Asian antique ceramics have been SKYROCKETING in value lately. The really good ones, that is. Like anything else, look for markings, condition and workmanship -- and the unusual.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Frugal Hits & Misses: June Report

    I spent far too much of this month working on The Book. I had hoped to be done before this -- hopefully this weekend! Meanwhile, it ranges from chilly/overcast to dead quiet and steaming hot. We'll get wind so fierce that it bangs around the trailer. Charley and Ruby look a little alarmed, and I fight that feeling, too. 
     My grandma nearly died as a teenager, when her house was overturned by a tornado. She was taking a nap upstairs, and wound up in the basement, with the stove laying on top of her. Fortunately, she was largely unhurt...and that was the way she met my grandpa! He'd been hired to take photos of the damage by the local newspapaper.
     Grandma never quite recovered from the panic of that day, and she passed that feeling on to The Mama. Who passed it on to me. Knowing that helps me fight the emotion -- but I have to work at it. 
     The Brick, on the other hand, has lived through several hurricanes, and remains unflurried when the trailer starts rocking. That helps me stay calm, as well.


Wikimedia commons


FRUGAL HITS

(some of these are from late May)

*$1.87.9/ gallon for diesel -- we have never seen fuel this low before!

*Gift cards to friends and family, instead of sending presents, using Red Robin cards purchased back during the holidays. (We couldn't use the bonus giftbucks that came with them, thanks to the cruise, but friends could.)

*Restocked on birthday, anniversary, get well cards, etc. Thanks to the thrift shop and the dollar store, they were only 50 cents each.

*Cleaned up the takeout check from The Mama -- with a delicious local pizza from Piezano's. And it wasn't on sale. (gasp)




*Free lasagna from friends. (Thanks, Bert and Berta.) A big bag of potatoes from friends. Free bread at the thrift shop, as well. (Too bad we aren't eating as much bread and potatoes as we used to.) A free roast chicken plus a free roast turkey breast -- thank you, Safeway!

*A couple of free movies streamed, courtesy of Gofobo.com. This site can net you free movie tickets -- when the theaters are open, that is.

*If you don't get out much, you don't spend much. (Provided you stay away from Amazon, that is.)

*Black cherries for $1.79/2.79/2.97 pound. This may not sound cheap to you, but it is for our part of the West. Caught some bananas just in time for banana bread. (I'd forgotten they were there.) Wasted very little fruit or veggies this month.

*Picked wildflowers, rather than buy any. (Kept it up all month, too.)





*Stocked up on: meatballs ($2.20/lb) and boneless chicken breasts ($1.70/lb) from Sam's Club. Meat and chicken prices have already started going up around here. I was lucky to find steak for the Brick's Father's Day celebration -- a steal, ironically, at $5/lb, and T-bones for $6.77/lb. This is going to be an uncertain world, foodwise, for a while. I also took care, when buying non-freezer items from Sam's or Wal-Mart, to make sure they were in large clear plastic jars we could use for storing that 25-pound bag of rice still in our 'basement.'

*Some photo postcards for the book via Ebay -- between $1 and $1.50 each. Insane! I bought other photos for what was a steal -- but they were closer to $8-10 each. These photos, now in the author's collection, will come in handy for the future, as well.
     The best deal? Two postcards of Augusta Tabor's mansion -- almost impossible to find, unless I paid $50 for one of those  'rentals.'  How much did I pay? ONE DOLLAR each. Thank you so much, Ebay. (I plan to re-sell postcard #2.)
     Why is this a great price? Just 'renting' two photos of Rattlesnake Kate for this book was FIFTY DOLLARS. And that's for a one-time use. I had to actually pay more for some of the Ghosts & Legends photos...which makes the generous folks who let me use their photos gratis so very gracious. This gets really expensive -- and the author, not the publisher, gets to pay. Don't think that all book authors get big bucks. Most of us don't; nearly all of my first royalties check for Ghosts & Legends went to pay back the money I spent on photos.
   
*Found a BUNCH of helpful photos for the new book on Wikimedia Commons. All for no charge. Does this mean I can actually get some royalties, instead of paying off my 'rentals?' (See above.)




*The Pickwick reproduction fabric!  I would have paid more than I did.

*Some very nice sweaters -- and a shirt for Dave at the thrift shop.  Washed mine, and it came out beautifully. His shirt's looking good, too. Start with higher quality, and your clothing will look much better, even when you buy it used.

*Had some odd meals this month, to use up food. The Brick likes to use up leftovers on Mondays, his 'cooking night,' which is ok with me. We've wasted very little, which is encouraging.

*Salvaged paper and stationery out of the garage -- rather than buying more. (Our family got some strange-looking letters this month.) Took an hour or so to make up a lavish order to buy more...then just closed the link. It actually felt refreshing.

*Videos from the thrift shop ($2), including Speed and Mystery Science Theater 3000. We continue to borrow a bunch of videos and books from the library, which STILL has only pickup. (You park, call in, and they bring out your holds.) I miss being able to wander in and choose my own stuff!




*Restocked on clothes! (My jeans were in shreds. I'll keep them for work pants.) Black pants (2 pr) for $4 and $7, a pair of tan jeans $7, and jeans leggings for $10. All in new or like-new condition. Thanks, thrift shop, Wal-Mart and Sam's Club.

*Bought several birthday presents via Amazon and the thrift shop, plus a few Christmas stocking items.(And no marked-down chocolate Easter bunnies either, girlies!)  I can't mention specifics because Daughters read my blog, and their birthdays aren't until August. But I got some very good discounts.

*Returned the DNA kits I'd gotten on sale in December. (Two others went out as presents.) Registered for Ancestry.com -- 3 months for a buck on trial. I'll get our family trees worked up and figured out, then cancel the subscription.

*Bought some cheap books via Amazon. Partly for researching the new book, partly for Father's Day for the Brick -- and partly for pleasure. Like this Bigfoot tome:


(Yes, I used my allowance.)

*Dug up some perennials from our landlord friend's other areas, and replanted them in the open section. They haven't been watered for years, but were still sturdy -- they'll do just fine in the new area, after I baby them a bit. The original spots should fill in quite nicely...but perennials always take time to establish. It will be 2-3 years before they really get going. Meanwhile, I fuss over them and keep them watered. I also scatter seeds from the poppies and other plants.

*Got a free share of stock for starting an investing account with Robinhood. No commission fees for buying stock!! You can, too -- it costs nothing to join, and we both get a free share of stock when you sign up. Just click here to find out more.

*Little Caesar's, Burger King (using coupons) - or nothing at all. We made up for it with one visit to Red Robin. (Which was so deserted, it felt strange.) We also ate t-bone steaks with friends at home to celebrate his birthday and both guys' Father's Day. (Got a marked-down carrot cake for it, too.)

*Returned a cracked vintage glass to the thrift shop. And a gallon of milk that spoiled early to Wal-Mart.


FRUGAL MISSES

*Bad eggs. I had planned to return them, but couldn't seem to remember to bring them along when we did errands. I even accidentally tried to return them to Sam's -- when I got them at Wal-Mart! Finally, I faced up to the truth -- they'd gone bad because I didn't move them to the front when I bought fresh dozens. It was my fault, not the store's. Bad girl, not bad eggs.




*Recertified my appraiser status for the American Quilter's Society -- $100, plus hours I didn't have to make a detailed report. You have to do this every three years. I also took an online class via the American Society of Appraisers to update my USPAP training -- twice. (I was put in the real estate class the first time, but should have had the personal property one, instead.) You have to do this one every two years.
    I'm getting ready to take the final four classes for ASA's training -- I can do them online, thankfully, but they're nearly $1000 each. Ouch.


We've got our cousin's memorial service to attend in July. We'll probably just stay a few weeks -- Michigan's summer temperatures can be brutal. I'll have some appraisals to finish up, a few restorations...then a blissful time of not much to do. I just need to last out this part for now.

Last month's report is here. Last year's is here. And summer is... here we go.


Things I Don't Understand: The Working Version

Yes, I'm still here.

Yes, I'm still working on the book. And some other, appraiser-type stuff.

So while I'm stewing in my own juices (it's been really hot here), you might enjoy some more of that popular theme: Things I Don't Understand.

It's a nutty world out there.




Like my brain...


Charley would want to do this --
he perks right up if he hears chickens clucking in a movie








Really??





Or maybe... see next photo.


Surely I can't be the only one who is sick of hearing about this...
and the upcoming election.





Wednesday, June 24, 2020

I Can Relate...






Except for me, it's the Three Stooges. Curly is my buddy right now -- he makes everything else seem almost normal.


Sunday, June 21, 2020

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Onward

Still working. I stop to sleep, make a meal or two, wash some clothes -- take a quick nap and Read Something Else until my eyes can refocus. (Working on the computer a lot, as you all know, is a killer for your eyes.) We just got the okayed photos back -- now to slot them in place. Then finish everything up. I keep thinking:



Ten moneysaving tips when you travel to Thailand. Oh, I'd love to be headed there...

Five days inside Seattle's CHAZ zone.  I would NOT love to be headed there.

Ten discoveries, based on ancient DNA. Did you know that Irish people can have trouble digesting milk?  (From Listverse)

Homemaking on pennies...including a charming story about a friend who made a home with no money. (From Kate Singh)

A fascinating look at the real Aunt Jemima...and how she got the short stick in unpaid royalties.

All the ways traveling for a while changes you. We've experienced some of this. (From Millenial Revolution)

An amazing young climber just died -- fell from a cliff in France. She was 16.

Mamie Eisenhower's fudge. Hey, why not...  (From Taste of Home)

Who are Picasso's true heirs? Decades after his death, that question still isn't answered. (From Wealth Advisor)

A hidden chapel, hundreds of years old, under your floor? That's what this Shropshire, England couple found. In keeping with that:

A statue of the Virgin Mary, found while fishing. Yes, it's old.

The pariah ship: The MS Zaandam cruise ship waits it out. (Hey, we can relate.)

Unsung heroes of terrible attacks. (From Listverse)

Emmett Till's death, and the trial of his murderers, was a travesty. (In 2008, the lady who accused him finally admitted she lied.) But it changed the heart of the civil rights movement, as well.
   Two weird facts stood out in Emmett Till's biography:  the truckload of men who kidnapped and killed Till included 4 white men...and 2 African-Americans.
    One of his murderers, Roy Bryant, admitted he'd killed Till after he was acquitted. Bryant owned a grocery store whose customers were mostly black. Not surprisingly, they boycotted the store, and it was forced to shut down.
    Another strange twist: the son of one of the murderers was implicated in the Panama Papers for cheating clients out of millions of dollars.

Poor old Michael Moore...the 'green' proponents don't like him much anymore. What can you do...

It is now legal in New York to kill an unborn child up to the moment of birth. You knew this, right?? Even if you did, and agree with it, there's a consequence that you might find unsettling. The bill provides no legal protection if the baby is killed (stabbing, shooting, etc.) pre-birth. In other words, no charging anyone for murder, if a pregnant mother is attacked and loses the fetus. Yow. From the article:
   "Last year...Livia Abreu of the Bronx, NY was stabbed repeatedly in the abdomen by her fiance following a dispute. This caused Abreu to miscarry at 26 weeks and resulted in the death of her child. Prior to the passage of the RHA, Abreu's alleged attacker could have been charged with criminal abortion. Under the RHA, however, those who commit similar acts of violence against the unborn can only be charged with assaulting the mother, not the child. 'I cannot imagine living in a world where harming or killing an unborn child is not a crime,' Abreu said..."

A stray cat leads shoppers to the catfood section... and gets herself a permanent home, in the bargain.

A new 'island' in Michigan's Lake Muskegon.

I'm tired, but keeping on. This has got to end sometime -- and it will.




Saturday, June 20, 2020

Happy Father's Day!

Thinking of my wonderful husband -- who does so much. And cares for his children deeply.

Happy Father's Day, David, with much love. 
I'm grateful for you in my life, and in the lives of those I love.










And my wonderful father, gone for more than ten years now.

Happy Father's Day Pa, with love. See you soon.








Lawyer Logic





Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Gourmet Cooking

Still working, and it's stifling hot here. Trudge, trudge, trudge. Needless to say, we're eating fancy food while all this is going on.