100 Forever Stamps: $49.75 @ Costco

Pixabay: AngelaT Free for commercial use; no attribution required

U.S. first class stamp prices increased in January from $.50 to $.55. If you’re a Costco member, they’re currently selling books of 100 at the old price, until March 3rd, while supplies last.

Since I didn’t make it to the Post Office before the price increase, make this Item #6 on my Costco Greatest Hits list.

Available at warehouse locations only, not online.

And remember: postage stamps really are wonderful little marvels.

Photo source: AngelaT on Pixabay.


 

 

 

 

 

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Red Chair

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An old chair. Fresh paint. Reds. Greens. A touch of blue. Nature. An invited moment of quiet and calm among the trees and by the water. Deep breath.

 

 

Photos: walk the goats
Worn of its color…
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Refreshed…
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Old and new…
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One chair and the boats…
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Red, grey and blue…
Photo: WTG
Life in red and green…a moment of mindful presence.

 

Photos: Walk the Goats


 

Bits of Nature

These are bird photos my dad took last fall, when I was on the east coast helping navigate my mom’s last few weeks of life. I went back again this month, to celebrate dad’s 95th birthday and help with taxes. He was happy I was there for the taxes. I was happy I was there for his birthday. We both found our way to happy.

This trip was a lot colder. Snow. Ice. Few people. I forgot how beautiful winter can be, and how powerful nature is, with the cold and wind, especially when you’re in a rural place. My fingers only lasted a few minutes outside of my gloves, trying to take pictures.  I’m a wuss; I kept wondering how quickly frostbite can happen. My fingers got that painful numb feeling, but no frostbite. I was breathing into my gloves to warm them up.

I walked on the frozen lake; I stayed close to shore but felt brave, until I heard the ice crack. I know my face revealed my sudden panic. The ice cracks a lot; it sings and moans and sounds alive.  But it was solid.

First time I’ve made a snowman in decades. I felt like a kid; lost track of time; felt giddy. When I walked back to the house after being gone for 45 minutes, I found dad outside, peering down the road, wondering where I was, given I’d told him I was going out for a short walk.  Some things don’t change just because we grow up.

 

Photos: Dad and Walk the Goats


 

5 Sly Stuff-Taming Sneaks

102_stufftamingsneaks_1-31-19Everyone I know has too much stuff. People I don’t know must, too, given the success of Marie Kondo’s Tidying Up Netflix reality series.

In the spirit of less-is-more, here are five sneaky ways to shrink your stuff:

Sneak #1 – The Most Effective Sneak

Don’t buy in the first-place; clutter avoided.  Bonus: Save 100%.

Sneak #2 – Apply Trump’s Regulatory Rule

When you buy one, get rid of two. Whether or not you’re a Trump fan, this two-for-one idea helps declutter.

Sneak #3 – Shrink the Pile

Tiny steps add up: purge one thing a day. At years’ end, that’s 365 fewer items in your home. This works well if you also diligently follow Sneaks #1 and #2.

Sneak #4 – Trick-Trash

Not quite sure you’re ready to get rid of something?  Trick-trash it. Box it up, label it with a date three-months out, then stick it on a shelf. When the date hits, do not open; do bring directly to the thrift store. You won’t even know what you’re getting rid of. No-regrets decluttering!

Sneak #5 – Pretend It’s Rented

It’s easy to return something you’ve rented. You can return a Redbox DVD or a rented car effortlessly, without suffering. But get rid of something you own? Ouch; that’s where the pain is.  Try and treat other stuff as if rented, especially when you’re initially buying; this primes you for an easier parting later.

 

What about you? Do you have stuff-taming sneaks that work for you? Share them in the comments!

 

Photo source: geralt on Pixabay


 

More Blue Screen Haiku

Pixabay: TheDigitalArtist. Free for commercial use. No attribution required.

For those who remember computer blue screens and error messages that sent terror through your bones, here are some gentler error messages.

But they still deliver disaster.

A file that big?

It might be very useful.

But now it is gone.


Aborted effort: 

Close all that you have.

You ask way too much.


First snow, then silence.

This thousand-dollar screen dies

so beautifully.


Computer haiku.

Distills angst of those moments.

Our author unknown.

 

Photo source: TheDigitalArtist on Pixabay


 

Blue Screen of Death

Pixabay: Clker-Free-Vector-Images; Free for commercial us; no attribution required

I was going through files from a decade ago and found a collection of haiku poems that took computer problems—something that seems like a modern, human/technological issue—and transformed them into poems about the human condition. Given how frequently computer tragedies happened, the haiku writer was prolific.

I’ve no idea who wrote these, but for anyone who ever experienced a computer crash or got an error message about a missing file, you’ll relate.  I’ll serve up more later. Enjoy!

You step in the stream,

but the water has moved on.

This page is not here.


Serious error.

All shortcuts have disappeared.

Screen. Mind. Both are blank.


Windows NT crashed.

I am the Blue Screen of Death.

No one hears your screams.

 

Photo source: Clker-Free-Vector-Images on Pixabay


 

My Costco Greatest Hits

Pixabay: Geralt, free for commercial use, no attribution required

I asked a friend once why she didn’t shop at Costco.  “Because when I do, I buy stuff I don’t need.”

With another friend, I joked that it was hard to get out of Costco for under $100. “Under $100?” he quipped. “More like $200!”

I’m of two minds about Costco; I’m drawn toward it, and have resistance to it.

There was my misfortune a few years ago with Costco’s red, medium sticker on my sweater, worn at a memorial service; no, it wasn’t Costco’s fault, but it remains a well-seared-in, unpleasant memory.

Costco is to blame, though, for being a place with too much tempting stuff; I’ve admitted to having a love/hate affair with stuff; Costco takes those feelings and gins ‘em up.  So, yeah, I have some Costco…baggage.

But there are also things I love about Costco; things that keep my membership alive and active.

Here are 5 things I really like about Costco. They’re my Costco Greatest Hits.

Continue reading “My Costco Greatest Hits”

Small Things Falling

Pixabay: maciej326 CC0 Creative CommonsThe other day a paperclip fell out of my hand, straight down.

Or, at least, that’s what it should have done. It should have fallen directly to my feet, where the carpet should have caught it, grabbed it, and trapped it.

But that isn’t what happened.

I padded my hands in a small circle around my feet, feeling for it. Despite this being the obvious place, it wasn’t there. I expanded the circle until, finally, I found it.

Five feet away.

This isn’t the first time a paperclip or an earring has fallen and landed farther afield than where gravity suggests it should be.

Do they bounce? Is there a draft from the furnace that allows them to ride the breeze?

I never know. I just know I’m always surprised how far away small objects can land in their flight for freedom.

Maybe it’s just the stuff in my house….

 

Photo source: maciej326 on Pixabay


 

Reading Our Minds

Geralt on Pixabay CC0 Creative Commons

Researchers develop device that can ‘hear’ your internal voice

“Researchers have created a wearable device that can read people’s minds when they use an internal voice, allowing them to control devices and ask queries without speaking.” The Guardian

Happy future: this technology sorts out all the different voices in my head and helps me make sense of things.

Dark future: this technology allows others to read my mind–and yours–which is a very, very, very bad idea.

 

Photo source: Geralt on Pixabay


 

Shopping the Discount

71_Discount2The coupon was for 40% off a single item. A second coupon—same store—promised another $2 off on top. A character was aroused.


She gathered her purse. Told Bubba she was headed out.

“Where you going?” he asked.

“I’m off to shop,” she said.

“What are you buying?”

“I’m not buying, I’m shopping.”

He turned in his chair and eyed her. “What’s the difference?”

“Buying is when I need something specific, maybe toilet paper or toothpaste, and I go out and get it. Shopping is when I want something, but I don’t know what. I wander the aisles until something hooks me. Eventually, something will.  Shopping scratches an itch.”

“Oh,” he said, sounding confused.

“I have these coupons I need to use,” she said, as if that explained everything.  “How often does CVS send out 40% off coupons? With a $2 bonus on top? I gotta use ‘em today because they expire. I’ll walk around the store until I find something, maybe even something we need.  If I’m lucky, I’ll find something we need that’s more than we’d usually want to pay, and can apply the coupon to it; get maximum savings. What I get is less important than how much I can save.”

“So,” Bubba said, with sudden understanding, “what you’re really shopping for, is a bargain.”

Coffeebeanworks on Pixabay Creative Commons


Photo sources: MarcoRoesler on Pixabay; Coffeebeanworks on Pixabay

Dopamine-Induced Raw Begging

I’m responding to likes and kudos, comments and accolades. Like Pavlov’s dog, I’m salivating over feedback; getting hooked by WordPress’s announcement that I’ve surpassed my previous record of likes. New record: 27! It may be a puny record, but it’s my record. So…whoot!69_PavlovBegging_6-1-18Pavlov. Dogs. I’ve been writing about dogs. Ugly dogs. Fee for petting dogs. Dog House fiction.

Is this all an accident? Coincidence? I think not.

Continue reading “Dopamine-Induced Raw Begging”

The Sunshine Blogger Award

sunshine-blogger-award-3The Sunshine Blogger Award is “given by bloggers to fellow bloggers who inspire positivity and creativity in the blogging community.” I’d love to say that came from the official Sunshine Blogger home page but, if there is one, I can’t find it. This was on this 2018 blog post and since I liked it, I pilfered it.

To have One Day at a Time nominate me for this in April and tell their followers about Walk the Goats is a nice recognition of my blog. And it gives me welcomed encouragement. Thanks, Floating Gold, and sorry I took so long to participate!

Go check out their blog where newsworthy topics are tackled with passion and perspective. Creative writing explorations are done. And our fearless blogger takes on various projects to challenge themselves.

One Day at a Time also has one of the few blogs I’ve reblogged; it was How To Discover New Blogs, which I found incredibly helpful as a new blogger and, now, three months in, it’s still useful, even if Prompts, First Friday and Community Pool are leaving the WordPress umbrella at the end of May.

Continue reading “The Sunshine Blogger Award”

The Mystery Blogger Award

MysteryBlogger-AwardThe Mystery Blogger Award is “an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging; and they do it with so much love and passion.” – Okoto Enigma

To have Confessions of an Irish Procrastinator recognize me for this with her April 29th Award nomination, is a gratifyingly, warm acknowledgement. Thanks, and my bad for taking so long to engage, especially since you’ve decided to take a hiatus from your blog. I do hope you come back, because your musings on life and your colorful visuals always caught my attention, entertained and provoked thought.  Glad your writings remain on your site.

Continue reading “The Mystery Blogger Award”

Liebster Award Round #2

Liebster-Award-4The Liebster Award, with its tag line, “Discover New Blogs!” feels like one blogger telling another blogger about cool places to visit.

To have A Creative PTSD Gal send other bloggers my way with her April 29th Liebster Award nomination is a gratifyingly, warm greeting. Thanks, Jo, and mea culpa for my taking so long to engage!

Go check out her blog; it’s filled with sketches, doodles, washes, 6-word stories, longer pieces, challenges, a soon-to-end contest, pictures, and, well, just an incredibly wonderful collection of wit, wisdom and wonder.

Continue reading “Liebster Award Round #2”

Award Nominations: I’m Finally Responding!

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I received several award nods at the end of April from fellow bloggers I enjoy reading. Definitely wit and wisdom in all three of these blogs so check them out.  I’m learning all sorts of fun, worldwide slang from some very colorful folks!

May turned into a busy month so I’ve been a tad slow responding. The 3-day Memorial Day weekend (for those of us stateside) is the perfect time to do this: one award a day.  This post is to kick my butt and get my promise to deliver on the table. After I launch this, I start my response to The Liebster Award.

Here are the three awards I was nominated for.  Thank you, my fellow writers.  I get to frolic with your questions each day and tag other bloggers along the way. Here’s to a great weekend of mindful, playful, thoughtful engagement!

#1: LIEBSTER AWARD – 2nd Nomination!

#2: MYSTERY BLOGGER AWARD

#3: SUNSHINE BLOGGER AWARD


 

Dracula Flame

60_DraculaTeeth_5-19-18I watch a tea candle; a small, contained flame. The black wick arises from the quickly-melted wax, takes a right turn, then runs parallel to the candle’s surface. The flame reflects in the liquid below, reminding me of moonlight on a still lake.

The wick makes me think of death even while it’s a conduit for life, delivering the melted wax.

I’m surprised how triangular the flame is: one side along the wick, the other two sides pointing straight up to a peak of bright orange, only possible because the air in my room is still.  It reminds me of a tooth, the way they’re depicted at a dentist’s office in a cross-sectional view. Or a gaseous version of Dracula’s orange, candy-corn teeth; another death image.

Fascinating that the candle evokes a flickering back and forth between life and death for me.

The fluidity and movement of the flame suggests a fairy-like freedom, despite the fact that the flame won’t survive unless it stays tethered to the wick, and the wick only works while there is wax to burn. So much for freedom for the flame.

 

Beginning Writer’s Workshop: Detail and Description, Lesson #2

Photo source: pixel2013 on Pixabay 


 

Cloud-Like Comfort

56_Cloud Comfort1I was doing dishes, half-listening to an advertisement about mattresses, going along with their cloud-like comfort sales-pitch, mindlessly thinking clouds, yeah, big, white, billowy, comfy clouds. Images of fluffiness and cushiony-delight. Great for sleep. Great mattress.  Sure.  I’m sold.

And then…

My “what-the-‘eff” light-bulb clicked on.

Really? A cloud for a mattress?

If you attempted to actually sleep on a cloud—to plant your generous-ass on a bed of clouds—and it miraculously held you up, you’d be sleeping on one of the lumpiest things around.

But since clouds are nothing but water vapor, you’d more realistically end up smashed on the ground. Because that damn cloud, while it might look all thick and puffy, has got no support.

Cloud-like comfort. Really.

How quickly I can fall into a gullible fog, inattentive to what’s actually going on around me.

But, truth-be-told, I suspect that inattentiveness is more the norm than the exception.


 

Dictated Voicemail Messages

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I’ve recently taken to using the dictation app on my phone to capture ideas when 1) I’ve no paper to write on, 2) no pen to write with or, 3) where taking both hands off the wheel isn’t a bright idea (like, ever).

Other than Siri sometimes deciding I meant something other than what I said, I like it.  It works best if I review the transcript sooner rather than later, because if too much time passes I can’t even begin to guess what I was thinking.  Or I can, but Siri’s interpretation was way more entertaining than the original.

Like this text message Siri transcribed for me, en-route to a friend’s house:

“I’m on my way. I’m at the intersection of Highway 12 and fucking. So probably 15 minutes. I have soup. And cornbread. Celibate.”

Siri is exhibiting her Freudian slips. Or cognitive dissonance. She clearly doesn’t know what she wants.

But despite these little kerfuffles, I’ve embraced dictating; and, it turns out, astonishingly, some new habits are easy to learn. Despite all the propaganda about habit-learning to the contrary, I quickly learned to tell Siri “period” and “new paragraph” and “question mark” as I dictated, to ensure she properly punctuated things as she wrote stuff up. Because, yes, punctuation matters.

The thing is, my dictation device–my phone–is also, well, a phone. I call people. They don’t answer. I go into voicemail. I leave a message by recording my voice on their device, and when my friend gets that message, they listen to my voice speaking my message.

And, because I’ve so easily adapted to dictating, my voice messages now include not only the substance of my call, but a meta-message: instructions for periods and question marks and paragraphs.

Which will be very helpful comma should my friends decide they want to transcribe my voicemail period

 

Daily Post-Prompt: Astonish