Posted in Family, People, writing

Legos—Did You Know?

on a scale of one to stepping on a lego, how much pain are you in?As a parent, Legos were my least favorite toys to step on barefoot. Did you know that a Lego can withstand over 4,000 Newtons of force? That’s why the Lego always wins when you step on it.

But that’s really the only drawback to Legos. (Well, that and the price of Legos these days—it’s nearly as painful to pay for them as to step on them.) The reason why Legos are so awesome is summed up in this description, from Wikipedia: “Anything constructed can then be taken apart again, and the pieces used to make other objects.” Lego is the ultimate imagination-toy.

Lego castle 1980s
This was my favorite set.

Did you know that there are over 915 million ways to combine six basic 2×4 Lego bricks?

Growing up, my favorite set was a castle compilation of all-gray bricks, complete with hinges to make the requisite drawbridges and swinging doors to hidden passages. Legos usually come with a “construction plan”—and I’m sure mine did, though I don’t remember it… because the real fun is inventing your own stuff out of the possibility of all those pieces.

Lego Jack Sparrow Indiana Jones
Jack & Indie—two of my favorite characters in Lego!

In retrospect, my castle set was pretty simplistic, in part because my Lego-play predated the licensing agreements that have brought us Lego Harry Potter, Lego Indiana Jones, Lego Pirates of the Caribbean, Lego Marvel comics…

Just listing them makes me want to sit down on the floor and play. My son’s earliest Lego sets were pirates—any guesses why? Yup, Mommy wanted to play with them. (Did you know that the name “Lego” comes from the Danish phrase leg godt, which means “play well”?) Continue reading “Legos—Did You Know?”

Posted in Lists, RVing

Like a (Dry-Docked) Sailboat: RV Living

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sailing with my mom & daughter 10 years ago

Because I’m a sailboat skipper, I’m amused by RV terminology that borrows from the marine arena. Like the “shore cord”—the cord we plug in at an RV park to power the rig’s electrical system. On a sailboat a shore cord (which you’d plug in at the dock when you stay in a marina) makes sense—it goes from the boat to shore.

So today’s list is about ways that RV-living reminds me of sailboat-living. (Just add water.) And some ways that RV-or-sailboat-living is different from living in a house…

  1. The toilet flushes with a foot pedal. [What does it say about me that this is the first thing that comes to mind?] This is reminiscent of every sailboat I’ve ever chartered. And to add to the illusion: the skylight over the shower is just like a sailboat hatch.
  2. image
    spaces have multiple uses…

    We have to pay attention our blackwater tank. We leave our gray tanks (sinks & shower) open all the time, but we empty and rinse the black (toilet) tank about once a week, keeping it closed and dosed with a chemical treatment between-times. Most people pay extra money for “RV toilet paper” that’s supposed to break down more easily in the blackwater tank. We opt to use the trash can instead—that way we never worry about our tank getting clogged. I don’t even think about it any more, until I find myself reaching for a trash can when I’m on a “land-based” toilet. (TMI?)

  3. Spaces have multiple uses. Our bed lifts up to reveal storage beneath. Our garage has seats and a bed that can be lowered from the ceiling when we need more “living” space.  The stove and kitchen sink convert to countertops. We set up our Total Gym in the garage when the seats retract to the ceiling. The bench at the foot of the bed holds our linens. The bunk above our kitchen doubles as storage space since we don’t host overnight guests. Even the back wall of the garage can be lowered down to create a porch, complete with railings. (It also doubles as the ramp up which we drive the motorcycle when it’s getting parked indoors for a move.)
  4. imageThings have multiple uses. We don’t own a dozen pots and pans; we own one “red copper” frying pan and one deep square red copper pan (which can go in the oven, be a stovetop pot, or serve with a frying basket). The stand for our bedroom space heater is really a stack of boxes that hold photos and sewing stuff. The sewing machine in its case is the “shelf” where I perch my purse. Our TV trays serve in roles ranging from dinner-table to computer-desk. Almost everything does more than one thing.
  5. We have power back-ups. When the “shore cord” is unplugged, our fridge and water heater switch to propane power and our lights run on solar. If need be, we can run the onboard generator. (“Onboard.” There’s another marine-echo…)
  6. image“Outside” is part of the living space. It’s not a sailboat deck, but we eat dinner and hang out on our patio for most of the year. We didn’t host dinner parties during the winter, but we do have some merry patio-parties under the “fairy lights” built into our awning.
  7. We hear the weather. Rain on the roof is a lovely sound, though we couldn’t even converse through a hailstorm last fall! Combined with the outside living, I feel closer to the weather and the world than I ever did in a house.
  8. We don’t buy many things in bulk. Just toilet paper and coffee. For the most part, we buy other things as we need them.  We don’t keep a cupboard full of canned goods or “stock” supplies—we buy them as recipes call for them, or as we’re actually going to use them. (The glaring exception here would be the pickles, which we canned ourselves last summer and have in abundance!)
  9. imageWe can’t move the furniture. Everything is built in, from the bed to the couch to the huge surround-sound TV in the garage that we’ve never turned on. This is one reason to choose a rig with a configuration you actually like. (And yes, we have a few notes about layout that we’ll keep in mind when we decide to trade this one in… Especially the kitchen.)
  10. Space gets cluttered easily, but clean-up is quick! There’s just not that much house to clean. By the same token, it usually doesn’t take long to find something I’ve misplaced. There just aren’t that many places to look.
  11. We’ve learned to live without an “entryway” for dirty shoes and without a coat closet for the helmets and motorcycle jackets. I just vacuum more often, and the otherwise-unused end of the couch collects coats.
  12. When someone knocks at the door, they’re looking at our knees when we open it. The steps up are so steep, the front door is most-of-a-person taller than the person standing outside. I usually come down the steps to talk because standing elevated in the doorway feels awkward.
  13. image
    moving without packing!

    We never have to pack. Well, OK, “never” is an exaggeration. We still have to pack when we go camping (to the mountains where we wouldn’t drag the monster RV), or on a motorcycle trip, or to visit my mom. But we’ve moved four times without packing a single box. And if we wanted to, we could take the whole house on a trip with us—we can go almost anywhere without “leaving home.”

  14. imageRVers are unabashedly interested in each other’s homes, in ways that brick-house-neighbors would never admit to.  Even models with the same name come in different configurations, and we all seem to get a charge out of seeing how individual rigs are laid out. Home repairs (like last weekend’s replacement of our roof-fan to the bathroom) are carried out publicly and discussed in detail (our near neighbor, who also has a Grand Design Momentum, called for Jon’s help for the same repair, just days later). We commiserate about design flaws, brainstorm solutions, swap stories of difficulties, share winterizing materials, and unashamedly ask to see inside each other’s homes. It would never cross my mind to ask a casual acquaintance to show me their bathroom or closets in a brick-and-mortar house, but it doesn’t even phase me to be asked the same here. All in all, it’s the same sense of shared adventure and camaraderie (maybe minus the bathroom-tours) that you’d find among sailors moored at a marina.
  15. image
    I choose closet-space over washer/dryer

    We don’t do laundry at home. I thought this would be a major pain in the neck, but truthfully it’s not that much more work to walk a basketful of dirties over to the park’s laundry than it would be to walk it to a laundry-room in a house. Initially I thought I’d be begging for a washer/dryer in our rig, but now I wouldn’t trade the closet space for that minor convenience. An amusing side-note: thanks to the coin-op laundry, quarters are a hot commodity around here—definitely higher-than-face-value. Part of my pay, working for the RV park, comes in the form of rolled quarters every month!

  16. image
    My Useful Person! I’m grateful for his skills

    Getting professional home-repair done is a pain, because it can involve dropping off your home somewhere, and being homeless while it gets worked on. Our rig has a number of issues that are covered by the warranty, but we’re waiting for our vacation-week this summer to take it in to the dealer while we’re out of town. There is a mobile RV-Repair guy who makes frequent visits to the park—but Jon can do pretty much everything Jake does. (Side-note: it’s an unbelievable blessing to be married to a Useful Person when you’re living in an RV! Jon’s “automotive technician” skills spill over to a lot of handy-work for which other people are calling Jake.) For the major stuff (e.g. rear A/C unit that hasn’t worked since we bought it) it’s a shame to let that warranty go to waste, but I’m betting a lot of people pay Jake rather than hand over their homes for “drydock” repair.

  17. image
    decals & velcroed angels

    “Home decor” mostly means decals (which won’t fall off the wall) and velcro under knick-knacks (so they won’t fall off the ledge). It also means we don’t have a lot of knick-knacks, because horizontal space is scarce. My Willow-Tree angels and his dad’s service flag are all velcroed in place so we don’t have to fuss when we move.

  18. Internet connection is precious. Theoretically the park has free wi-fi, but it doesn’t really reach most of us most of the time. Since we can’t hardwire a cable, I finally invested in a wifi hotspot so I could get my freelance writing done (and yes, blogging too) but I spend my online-time watching the “meter” running in the corner of my screen, trying to get my gigs to last as long as possible.
  19. imageWe’ve gotten creative to keep things organized and accessible. Lacking bedside tables, we used to keep a basket by each side of the bed with the various things we’d use there—books, medications, phones, water bottles, kleenex… And we’d always be rummaging to find what we wanted, till I made us each an organizer to hang by the bed, with pockets for those items. I’m thinking I should market these things! (And send a cut to my mom, who used to make similar organizers for our crayons and coloring books in the back of the car…)
  20. Christmas-shopping just got challenging. My mother expressed as much when she asked, “What do you get for the person who’s already gotten rid of almost everything I ever gave her?” For the record, I’ve kept lots of things she gave me—but she does make a point. When space is scarce and belongings minimized, gift-giving takes on a whole new aspect… So one of these days (before next Christmas!) I’ll do a list of ideas.

This list could go on, but if you’ve made it this far you’re already a tenacious reader…

When I was a kid, I used to pretend my bedroom was a sailboat. That particular game-of-Pretend requires rather less in the way of imagination these days! (A girl’s gotta have dreams… Just sayin’.)

Posted in Lists, Reading Reviews

Sucked In

sucked in
Substitute a book for the vacuum, that’s me.

Oh my gosh, where have I been since my last post?

Sucked In, that’s where.

I got sucked into reading the “Game of Thrones” series… I haven’t been able to put this thing down for some reason.  I bought it a couple years ago as a boxed set (if you can call e-books “boxed”), and only got around to opening it last month… And it’s a good thing it’s on my iPad, because otherwise the 4,000-or-so pages would really be weighing down my arms. I’m coming up on about 3500 pages and looking forward to the wrap-up, if for no other reason than being freed from its thrall…

But if you know these books, you’ve already caught my error: there are way more pages than that if you see this to the end. I’d assumed my boxed set was the whole series.

Last time I made this mistake? It was 1991. I was a high school senior mulling over my choices in the Fantasy section of a WaldenBooks store when a strange man popped up from nowhere, shoved a book at me, and practically hollered, “You HAVE to read this!!”

He was weird, but I bought the book (Robert Jordan’s Eye of the World). Read it, loved it, bought the second of the trilogy… Continue reading “Sucked In”

Posted in Lists, Motorcycle

Put it on a T-shirt: Biker Edition

dearbikeI’ve been suffering from PMS: Parked Motorcycle Syndrome. With a record-breaking amount of snow on the ground, Boise has not been “bike-friendly” since November, and Jon and I both have been itching to get back on two wheels.

We’re finally having a thaw this week, and we’ve been watching the snow recede with ONE question in mind: when can we safely bring out the bike?! I’m actually optimistic that we might get to celebrate our anniversary (lucky 13th) with a RIDE. On that note, here’s today’s list: T-shirt sayings, the Biker Edition…

  • getlostFour wheels move the body. Two wheels move the soul.
  • You never see a motorcycle parked outside a psychiatrist’s office.
  • Traveling in a car is like watching a film. Riding a motorcycle is like starring in it.
  • Bikers have more fun than people.
  • Biker hair, don’t care.
  • Some do drugs, some pop bottles; we solve our problems with wide open throttles.
  • Forget glass slippers. This princess wears motorcycle boots.
  • pray eat sleep ride repeatWhen life throws you a curve, lean into it.
  • Matching all your gear to your bike? You’re not a biker. You, Sir, are a Power Ranger.
  • Bikers don’t go gray. We turn chrome.
  • Therapy is expensive. Wind is cheap.
  • If money can’t buy happiness, explain motorcycles.
  • I’m only one bike ride away from a good mood.
  • Does this bike make my butt look fast?
  • My husband is the hottest biker I know!

ridetogether

 

Posted in Lists

Step Aside, Monday. This is a Job for COFFEE!

b7bb47cd0c2c66ea78a35710f4fab489It’s a very sweet thing that my husband brings me a cup of coffee every morning before I’ve even sat up. I suspect it’s also an act of self-preservation on his part.

I am a person who fuels and functions on caffeine. Coffee all day. Makes me happy. It should probably be listed among my mental-health medications!

So here’s “Put it on a T-shirt: The Caffeinated Edition”…

  • Coffee is my favorite way to trick myself into doing stuff.
  • Procaffeinating. (n.) The tendency to not start anything until you’ve had a cup of coffee.
  • 74aa1e7f98211fa8c6195912a2811aa1First I drink the coffee. Then I do the things.
  • There are two kinds of people: coffee people, and sad people.
  • Coffee helps me person. Personing is hard without caffeine.
  • I laugh in the face of decaf.
  • The early bird can have the worm. I’ll take the coffee.
  • Coffee = Inspiration Juice!
  • Warning: Do not activate this person without coffee.
  • I drink coffee for your protection.
  • How do I take my coffee? Seriously. Very seriously.
  • There’s too much blood in my coffee stream.
  • Perkatory: the anguished wait for a pot of coffee to finish brewing.
  • Don’t let them tell you fairy tales aren’t real. I drink a potion made from magic beans every day, and it brings me back to life.

As for bringing me coffee in the mornings, Jon jokes that he’s Biblically inspired to consider it his job… The Good Book says HEbrews!

 

Posted in Lists

Put it on a T-shirt… sometime: Procrastination Edition

4f7dd2ab3558e43106243135c5ecb0b8You know what? I’ll write this one later.

 

No wait, come back—I’m just kidding!

I’m a terrible procrastinator, have been for as long as I can remember… I’m noticing that a number of these t-shirt ideas could double as “ADHD” slogans… And I suddenly wonder if that diagnosis has anything to do with my apparent inability sometimes to GET THINGS DONE!

  • I put the “Pro” in Procrastination.
  • If good things come to those who wait, isn’t Procrastination a virtue?
  • Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after.
  • So many deadlines, so little time! (Well actually there’s plenty of time. I just prefer to waste it doing random shit.)
  • Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday.
  • procrastination flowchartLaundry Schedule:
    • Sort—today
    • Wash—later
    • Fold—eventually
    • Iron—ha ha ha
  • Due tomorrow? Do tomorrow.
  • I’m very busy doing things I don’t need to do in order to avoid doing anything I’m actually supposed to be doing.
  • From a procrastination standpoint, today is looking wildly successful.
  • I’m really swamped with things I shouldn’t be spending time on right now.
  • Tomorrow: a mystical land in which 99% of all human productivity is stored.
  • Nothing makes a person more productive than the last minute.
  • b222282fcc8d69ade1c21cd676c64a2bI’m the leader of the world’s largest nation. Procrasti-nation.
  • There are no limits to what you can accomplish when you’re supposed to be doing something else.
  • I’m not a procrastinator. I’m just extremely productive at unimportant things.
  • I’m a multi-tasking procrastinator. I can put off all kinds of things at once.
  • Procrastination is so often misspelled as P-E-R-F-E-C-T-I-O-N-I-S-M
  • I planned on procrastinating today, but I never got around to it.
  • If there were a pill to prevent procrastination, I’d take it tomorrow.
  • I wait till the last second to do my work because I will be older, and therefore wiser.

And finally, this gem (because what I do when I’m procrastinating is BLOG!)…

  • The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life.

(Now I’d better get back to writing about how Trump’s presidency will affect America’s economy, which is what I’m SUPPOSED to be doing. Sigh.)61584199

Posted in Lists, writing

(List#5) Things I Love About Lists

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One of my (MANY) journal-lists…

My journal is full of lists. To-do lists, a packing list for our Christmas trip, lists of words (did you know that “glazomania” means “a passion for list-making”?)…  Yes, I almost just embarked on a comprehensive list of my lists. What IS it about lists that I love so much? Continue reading “(List#5) Things I Love About Lists”