Smartphones and fearless animals

We had a lovely cool day this week, and the wind was making a sea-rushing in the pines. So I took the baby and my iPod and sat on the porch to enjoy it.

As I sat there, idly scrolling through blogs, I noticed a couple of sparrows hopping around in the flowerbed. There’s a spot where I put down birdseed for them, and they were checking it out. They kept an eye on me.

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As long as I was looking at my iPod, they came within three feet of me. But as soon as they noticed me watching them over the top of it, they flew off.

My mom recently had cataract surgery. She talks about how the birds got so used to her not being able to see them, they’re not afraid of her now that she can see.

Everywhere people walk around with heads down, staring at their smartphones, oblivious to nature. The birds have gotten so used to it, they are fearless as long as someone has one!

One day we’ll look up and wild animals will be eating people who were texting and never noticed. :-p

Conversely, it’s like carrying around a bird watching blind!

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Being so social!

I’m one of those extroverted introverts. I enjoy people, but I also enjoy hiding out and never setting foot out of doors for weeks. Because it’s too hot. Or too cold. Or too sunny. Or too cloudy. Or too buggy. Or too … you get the idea.

The past month, I’ve been far more social than I’d like. For one thing, my kids have a birthday in March, April and May. So that means hanging out with OTHER PEOPLE ONCE A MONTH.

Shudder.

Birthday 1:

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Birthday 2:

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Which was attended by our out of town friends:

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This much socialization sent me into my hole for a couple of weeks. Also we all battled the flu and colds. Which is a great excuse for me to never leave the house! “We don’t want to infect anyone at the park/pool/library!”

And just as my hole was starting to feel a little tiresome, Easter hit.

We went to this massive park and due to miscommunication, couldn’t find my hubby’s parents until we’d already crossed a whole acre. Dragging toddlers. Carrying three liter bottles of soda and a gallon jug of water. Wondering why in the world I didn’t pack the stroller.

We finally found each other and had a very nice picnic under the trees, with hungry waterfowl attending.

For some reason I didn’t pull out my camera until the kids took off to hunt Easter eggs.

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They went up the hill in 90 degree heat and I stayed where I was. In the shade. With a drink. And a sleeping baby.

So I’m back to being antisocial. Today I clean my hidey-hole and then I’m going to hide in it. A lot. With a bunch of books and Easter candy to sustain us.

Time travel has existed for centuries

Time travel is one of those great science fiction concepts–go back in time and fix your mistakes, or go forward in time and see how your life turns out–or the progress of mankind in the distant future.

Usually this involves some kind of machine (like a DeLorean and lots of plutonium) or a device of some kind, like the jumpsuits in the Journeyman Project games.

But I think in reality, time travel has been around as long as humans have. But the travel is only up and down your own timeline, from birth to present, and it’s only in your mind.

The older you get, the longer your past timeline is. More and more time and memories are behind you, just as real as the day they happened. And you travel around the various times in your life in your memory.

Of course, memory gets faulty after a while, and that’s because we’re operating on decaying hardware. Glitches happen and memories fade. (But they’re never completely gone.)

Scientists postulate that memories are stored throughout your whole body.

Candace Pert, author of Molecules of Emotion: Why You Feel the Way You Feel, says, “Memories are stored not only in the brain, but in a psychosomatic network extending into the body . . . all the way out along pathways to internal organs and the very surface of our skin.” After having discovered neuropeptides in all body tissues, Pert suggests that through cellular receptors, thoughts or memories may remain unconscious or can become conscious-raising the possibility of physiological connections between memories, organs and the mind.

Of course, this is only my personal idea–memory time travel, hee hee. We can’t actually go back to those times. But man is a four-dimensional creature, and part of us extends into the past and branches into the future.

If viewed fourth-dimensionally, would we, at this moment, look like a sea anemone?

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The past, a single trunk, and the future, a branching tangle of possibilities?

Who knows?

How to toast hazelnuts

Nutella and hazelnut coffee are my only experience with hazelnuts. I didn’t even know what they looked like.

Then I was at the store, and they had little bags of shelled hazelnuts!

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Hazelnuts via Wikimedia Commons

They also had dried currants. But one new food at a time.

So I tried them out raw. They were eh. Kind of oily and bitter. Where was that lovely Nutella flavor?

Then I happened across the blog Chocolate and Zucchini, and she has a lovely section on roasting hazelnuts. All you do is:

Toss the nuts on a cookie sheet under the broiler

Broil until the skins turn black and crack off. (I messed with them about 10 minutes.)

Then pour the nuts into a dish towel and rub them to flake off all the bitter skins.

You’re left with a pile of delicious golden brown Nutella-tasting hazelnuts. They’re completely different than their raw flavor. Like how almonds change when roasted.

Now I have to figure out what to do with them! I might do granola. Or baked oatmeal. Or just candy them. Mmmmm!

Crazy birthday weekend

Man, we had a really bonkers weekend. Let me put it into a timetable.

Friday: first day of hubby’s three day weekend. Our third daughter’s third birthday was this weekend, and I was happily planning fun things to do. Then hubby said, “Oh yeah, our friends from out of state are coming tomorrow!”

I entered panicked house cleaning mode. I planned food. I went grocery shopping. I rearranged furniture.

Saturday: house cleaning continued. Fiddling with furniture. Nervously texting our friends about arrival times. Turned out they got into town too late for dinner, so we opted for breakfast Sunday morning.

Saturday night: Our upstairs neighbor kept us awake for hours as he crashed around his apartment, yelling for the demons to leave him alone.

Sunday: I get up and cook a massive pile of waffles. Our friends arrive and we have a very nice time.

Our neighbor emerges from upstairs and yells at dogs, birds and passersby. Police remove him in handcuffs.

We had planned to get together for C’s birthday with hubby’s parents. They invited our friends over, too.

At lunch, hubby comes down with the stomach flu the kids had earlier in the week. He sequestered himself, and I led the caravan up to the in-laws.

Pizza and cake ensued. It was pleasant, but everyone was tired and the kids were grouchy and weepy.

We drive home. Our friends bid hubby goodbye, who wound up infecting them. I feel so bad.

So that was our weekend. I still feel hung over. Looking back over it, I think I’m justified. 🙂

New Storm Chase cover under construction

The old Storm Chase cover is pretty vanilla. So I’m trying to make a cover with a theme I can do for a series.

I figure that since the story is pretty much over the top, the cover should be over the top, too.

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Isn’t it nuts? It’s not done yet–I haven’t painted the highlights, and the fire and lightning are just scribbles to figure out composition–but I like the way it’s going.

Any suggestions? Better font? I’m using this particular stock because it was free for commercial use. 🙂

So thankful despite the flu

Well, it’s been a fun couple of days. My oldest daughter (she’s about 5) woke up vomiting yesterday.

I’m so thankful for the washing machine! I can throw all the bedding into it and its not an ordeal, like the laundromat is. This is day 2 and she’s finally feel better. I’m just waiting for the other two to get it. They kept sneaking drinks out of her Gatorade bottle, so it’s only a matter of time. They’re both sleeping with buckets tonight.

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We tried going swimming. The water was so cold, they’d go in up to their knees, then jump out and grab their towels. Mostly they fished out bugs and leaves.

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I’m taking a short break from writing. I just finished a rough draft, and my tank is empty. So I’m reading all kinds of books, which I’ll post about once I finish them. Also I’m behind on Grimm! Must catch up before the season finale!