Friday, July 31, 2009

Thursday Thoughts of a Twitterless Thinker 7-30-09

I don’t Twitter, but I am a thinker!

I accepted my own challenge (I’m very persuasive) to enjoy what’s left of this summer and have been having fun!

Wednesday night we made lemonade slushies (Challenge #1.) Do they not look scrumptious?

Today (Thursday) I accepted Challenge #16, which was to turn on the lawn sprinkler, sit in its path, and get misted.

I have a very small deck off my living room, which seats a couple of camp chairs and six potted plants. I put on my swimming suit, which almost could have qualified for #13, which is sunbathing, but since I neglected the Coppertone I will save that for another day.

The mist from the sprinkler hit me just right—lightly blanketing my body while avoiding hair and makeup. I was in paradise.

I heard my cell phone ringing inside the house but was too ensconced in the camp chair to get it in time before voicemail picked up. (Seriously, if you are over 40, getting out of a camp chair is a project in itself. They suck you in and don’t let go.) Luckily, I have a considerate son who brought the cell phone to me.

I listened to the voicemail. It was Scoutmaster. I am the treasurer for our local Boy Scout Troop. The message said that Scoutmaster was on his lunch and was wondering if he could come over and give me the scout dues.

In light of the fact that I was in my swimming suit and have had three
children and am in my late forties, very late forties, almost fifty forties, I did not want Scoutmaster to see me. Thinking to avoid a visit from Scoutmaster, I sent my son over to his house, a block away, to get the dues for me. I remained immobile in the womb chair, enjoying my misting.

Soon, the living room door opened. Blinded by sunlight, I peered into the darkened living room attempting to make out the form of my son. Instead I made out the form of Scoutmaster.


: Oh !

(Trying awkwardly to climb out of the camp chair): AAAGH!

: Your son said you sent him over because you were busy. I thought he said you were canning. He must have said tanning!

(grabbing my towel, which is smaller than my body): AAAGH!

So I thought I’d come over anyway to talk to you.

Not noticing my discomfort in the least, Scoutmaster stayed for about fifteen minutes, discussing various aspects of scouting.

I deserve a merit badge of some sort.

Later that evening, granddaughter Juliah and I accomplished #11, which is to sit outside at dusk until the stars come out. It was a very special evening as six year old Jules talked and talked as we waited for her mom to get off work. She told me about her plans and dreams. Her biggest dream? To walk around the block. I promised her that tomorrow we would go on a walk right after dinner (#18.) I’m all about making childhood dreams come true.

The other day in one of my comment boxes, Auntie M talked about making hollyhock dolls. She agreed to share the process with us.

Making Flower Dolls
by Auntie M

Hollyhock dolls are as old as Victorian times, maybe older. Women planted hollyhocks alongside the outhouse, so when ladies came to visit they didn't need to ask where the privy was; they just looked for the hollyhocks.

If you don't have hollyhocks, Rose of Sharon works (that's what these are).

Pick a bud and a blossom, leaving a bit of stem on the blossom. With a toothpick, carefully poke a hole in the thickest part of the bud. Then carefully poke the stem of the bloom into the hole (you might need to widen the hole a bit). If you want to, you can paint a face on the doll with a marking pen. Now you have a little doll wearing a fancy skirt. Grace and I played with these for about an hour before they began to wilt. Then we laid them in the grass to recycle back into the earth.

P.S. by Randi: I think the blond doll is the cutest.

Do any of you bloggers out there use Feedburner? I need a techie type (Marc, oh Welsh Scribe, are you out there?) to give me some advice.

I have 2, yes TWO readers who have subscribed to my feed. One is my husband, and the other is dear Janice. However, almost every other day, my subscriber numbers jump to THREE. But, the very next day they will be back down to TWO. The next day they will go back up to THREE. I get momentarily excited until I remember, “Oh yeah, tomorrow it will be back down to TWO again.”

And it always is. Which tells me one thing. Someone signs up, then cancels the next day. Then someone signs up, then cancels the next day, etc.

This has been going on for months. I’m not egotistical about this, but my statistical mind finds it hard to believe that everyone who signs up for my feed (except my husband and Janice) cancels me the next day.

I have asked this same question of the Feedburner help group, but got no response. Any thoughts? If you know you have subscribed to my feed, and you’re not my husband or Janice, please let me know at: foreignquang at gmail dot com. Even if you have subscribed, then cancelled the next day, I would like to know that too. Thanks for any help in solving this mystery.

Have you ever heard of the miraculous healings at Lourdes, in France? The story is that Mary, the mother of Christ, appeared to a fourteen year old girl named Bernadette in the mid 1800’s in Lourdes. (Now you also know the origin of rock star Madonna’s daughter’s name.) Since that time, many miraculous verified healings have taken place.

I will submit to you that my house is the Lourdes of broken appliances.

About a month and a half ago we decided to swap out our refrigerator with another one that we had, which is lots bigger. A day after plugging it in, we realized that everything in the fridge was lukewarm, while everything in the freezer was very cold, but not frozen. Our friend, who is a large appliance repairman (the appliances are large, not the friend,) was on vacation for two weeks and then was not able to come to visit us due to his work schedule, for another week. For three weeks we put all fridge items in the freezer to keep them cold.

And then one day, it started working. Just like that. Everything we had in the freezer, was now actually frozen. Our milk, our fruit, our vegetables. Been working fine every since. The refrigerator was healed.

We have a gas stove. The front left burner did not work, but the other three did. I got frustrated whenever I would accidentally try to turn on the front left burner and would only smell that nauseating gas odor.

Then, the other day, it began working. Just like that. Healed.

Much to the chagrin of our grandchildren our Wii game system stopped working. I had unplugged it once and then when we tried to plug it back in, nothing. Because I want our grandchildren to still love us, I was annoyed that the Wii would not work. Even Computer Geek hubby could not get it to power on.

So yesterday, my son’s friend stopped by to pick up a Wii game that my son had borrowed. After looking for a few minutes I realize that his game is still in the Wii. The broken Wii. The Wii that won’t turn on. Fearing we would have to buy the friend a new game, I made a bold suggestion.

Me: Jere, plug in the Wii.

Jere: Mom, it doesn’t work.

Me (remembering the healing of our other appliances): Try it, son.

Jere: Mom, the Wii is broken!

Me: Jere, please plug in the Wii.

Jere: Fine, but it doesn’t work. We’ve all tried it.

The Wii was healed! Healed, I tell you! Out popped the game!

Just let me know if you would like me to meditate over your broken appliances.

Speaking of appliances, the other night I shut off all lights in the kitchen and living room, preparing to go to bed. Strangely I could see perfectly fine. I remembered back to when I was a girl and all the lights were off and I had to grope in the dark trying to find the chain hanging from the ceiling that turned on my bedroom light. Why could I see in the dark now, when I couldn’t as a child?

Then I realized. We don’t really live in the dark anymore. Glowing eyes were lighting my way through the dark kitchen and living room, eyes that would have frightened a pioneer.

The lights from my printer, my husband’s printer, my computer, my husband’s computer, the scanner, our two keyboards, our two monitors, the power strip, the TV, the DVD player, the amplifier, the subwoofer, the speakers, the microwave, the cordless phone base, and my cell phone all made sure I wasn’t truly wandering in darkness. We live in an enlightened age.

That’s all for now…have a good weekend!


  1. LOL at you and the scoutmaster. I don't know if you remember my uncle Bud (old world German bachelor, naive about women, and life in general). One time he stopped by our house and I was in the yard sunbathing in my swimsuit. I felt awkward but this poor guy was embarrassed. As we chatted for a few minutes, his eyes nver met my eyes, nor my body. He looked off into the distance.
    P.S. I wasn't as "old" as you; I was in my svelte twenties.
    P.P.S. I like the little blonde doll, too.

  2. Auntie M--Yes, I remember Uncle Bud! That's a funny story. What a good-hearted guy---just looking off into space. And by the way, you are still svelte even though you are in your "over twenties."

  3. Randi, I feel for you with that sighting by the scoutmaster. I did giggle thinking of you scrambling for the towel :) I like those Hollyhock dolls. I think my daughter will too! I don't know anything about Feedburner, sorry. You do have miraculously healing appliances. Please send some of your healing good luck to my appliances! Happy Friday, Randi :)

  4. septembermom: It was quite a scramble, I tell ya! Trying to get out of that camp chair and then falling back in...

    You'll have to let me know how your hollyhock dolls turn out!

    I'm channeling my appliance healing energy your way...

    And Happy Friday to you, too!

  5. Hi Randi. That sounds very weird. I'll look into it for you. Is this an RSS subscriber or email subscriber?

  6. Gosh, you brighten my days!

    Talking of bright things,(yuck, what a sickening segue!)I was wondering if you've ever seen those gadgets that take all of your appliances off standby at once. Real planet savers when you live with boys with toys.You'd save money,too.

    The hollyhock dolls are beautiful.(So's your wee ray of sunshine!) I was intrigued when you mentioned them, but ashamed to say that what will stick with me even more is the description of the hollyhock toilet signage!

    I'm surprised the Scoutmaster could contain himself, what with you looking all dewy and misted from the sprinkler! I'm way behind on the challenge, though, because it's been raining here every day. Does standing outside for a few minutes looking upwards count?

    I also had an idea for your Feedburner problem but you'll have to be quick - heal it while you still have the mysterious power!!!

  7. Marc: Oh tech god of the blogging world, thank you! I believe it is an RSS subscriber thing because it has been happening for several months, ever since I added Feedburner. I only added the subscribe by email feature a few weeks ago (when I finally learned how to add it.) Like I mentioned, I know it is possible to have readers cancel, but EVERYONE? And always the very next day? Thanks for any help, Marc!

    Janice:No, I have never heard of such a gadget. It does sound very cost efficient, though. I shall investigate.

    I was fascinated by the hollyhock/privy story too. My Auntie M always knows such cool historical facts.

    Yes, standing in the rain counts! In fact, I was going to add "enjoying a summer rain outdoors" to my list but then I knew it was a challenge I would never be able to keep. The odds of it raining in Utah in August are pretty slim. I wanted attainable goals. :)

    Oh! Oh! Heal the Feedburner! Why didn't I think of it! With Marc and me both thinking healing thoughts toward my Feedburner, it's bound to correct itself.

  8. I am also subscribed, so that's at least another person! (I checked my Google Reader numbers and the total is 13.)

  9. The scoutmaster episode was classic! Hilarious! so was the appliance eyes to frighten a pioneer.
    Super reading.

  10. Hayden: Thanks for the info. That helps me determine whether something is wrong with feedburner or not. And thanks for being a subscriber! You're my buddy! How do you check Google Reader numbers, by the way?

    Ken: Thanks for the sweet words! You are such a gentleman. I'm always happy when you pop over here to visit us. Have a good weekend!

  11. Well, I can use the "subscribe" search in Google Reader to find out. (Don't get too specific or it will automatically pull up the blog you want.) When it displays the search results, Reader also displays the number of people currently subscribed to the blogs. It may not be super exact but I think it's close.

  12. Hayden: You are a tech queen! I followed your directions and it says I have 13 subscribers. I don't know what is up with feedburner. If you look waaaay at the bottom of my page, it will always show 2. I feel comforted now because I couldn't understand why everyone who signs up ALWAYS cancels the very next day. But they're not! Yay!

  13. I'm wondering if that Scoutmaster was my husband. He can be pretty clueless like that. Anyway, I feel your pain. I too am in my 40s and the the camp chair suck is a serious problem.

  14. Controlling my Chaos: Thanks for visiting the Quang! We're always happy to see new faces. I'm so glad someone can identify with camp chair syndrome. I have to kind of rock it back and forth before I can get enough momentum going to spring myself out. Trying to leverage against the arms is pointless because they just cave in. A camp chair soul sistah--yay!

  15. Hi Randi,
    Been giving it some more thought and investigation and I think I can see why there's a disparity between subscriber numbers.

    Essentially you have two separate feeds, Blogger's own and Feedburner. It seems the majority of your subscribers have picked the Blogger option.

    For some reason your subscriber numbers aren't showing up in my Google Reader. When you click on a feed then click 'show details' on the far right, the number of subscribers should appear on the second line.

  16. Marc: Oh wow, I didn't realize I had two separate feeds. That is probably the problem. That would make sense. Both Hayden and I were able to see 13 subscribers when we looked at Google Reader. Unless they all cancelled! :) Thanks for helping out with this, Marc. I appreciate your technical savvy. Although I have been blogging for 8 months now, I still feel like a neophyte. Plus, you explain things so it's not over my head.

  17. I'm late to the party but I was just going to echo what Marc said - you have two separate feeds. I am subscribed to the feedburner feed. : > )

    Have a great day, Randi!

  18. Writer Dad: It just gets curiouser and curiouser all the time. So with my hubby, Janice, you and Hayden, I at least have four subscribed to feedburner. Yet the number always says 2. Thank you, by the way, for subscribing!

    P.S. How did you tech geniuses discover I had 2 feeds?


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