Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

A few days ago, the sun shone in on my Thanksgiving gourds and pumpkins as well as on the pile of shimmery Christmas garlands waiting to be used, perfectly highlighting the change from Thanksgiving to Christmas, fall to winter. It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  🙂

copyright janet m. webb

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Although the U.S. may be negatively known for Black Friday, a day-after-Thanksgiving day of consumer excess, we also have Small Business Saturday,  sandwiched between Black Friday (in-store excess) and Cyber Monday (internet excess.) (There’s more than a little irony about the URL of the SBS website being prefaced by “American Express”, but…)  In England, Small Business Saturday is Dec. 2.  I’m not sure about elsewhere.

At any rate, on that day we’re encouraged to shop locally or at small businesses via the internet.  I love this idea.  Since I’m not very handy at making things, other than food, I have to fall back on shopping.  I can’t disclose gifts, as my family might be reading my blog (at least I hope so).  But so far, I’ve managed to avoid Amazon, Google, and the other big name giants.  I’ve gotten gifts at art shows, local shops, and from talented individuals.  I’ve also bought some things from bigger places such as Costco, but they don’t threaten to rule the world the way Amazon/Google/Apple do, at least in my eyes.

Of course, where you get things can depend on what you need to buy, but I’d encourage you to buy at least some things from small businesses or individuals this year.  When looking for a gift for someone who has everything, a donation to a charity is a wonderful choice.  And if we struggle with trying to come up with a gift list for those who want to get us something, we are indeed blessed, a priceless gift.

Here are some of my blogger friends or other small businesses (in no particular order) who have something to offer for holiday giving.  If I missed you, please forgive me and add your information and link in the comment section.  I hesitated to do this so that I wouldn’t hurt anyone’s feelings by missing them, but I decided to go ahead, with apologies at the ready.

Wild Ozark

Located in Kingston, Arkansas, Madison and her husband, Rob, sell wild American ginseng (if you can pick it up; see website), shagbark hickory syrup, books, handmade notecards, and more as well as Rob’s gorgeous handmade wooden keepsake boxes.

Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

An accomplished artist and author, Rochelle has written a three-book series that takes her heroine from the pogroms of Eastern Europe to the difficulties faced by Jewish immigrants in 1908 Kansas City.  She also does portraits by commission.

Beth Carter

Beth left the corporate world to write books.  She’s written women’s fiction, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and children’s picture books.

Our French Lifestyle

If you’re in Europe, or France specifically, Susan offers a variety of vintage finds or you might like to contact her about escaping to their luxury cottage for a getaway.

Jan Morrill

Jan is an author and speaker.  Her novel, The Red Kimono, takes place in 1941 and is about the Japanese internment.  She also has several other books, including on of haiku in which I have one haiku.  (Couldn’t resist adding that!)  In addition to writing, she’s available for workshops about writing.

Claire Fuller

Claire’s first book, Our Endless Numbered Days, won the 2015 Desmond Elliott Prize.  She’s published a second and has a third coming out in 2019.  You can find links for buying her books on her website and, although can buy them from Amazon, in the spirit of Small Business Saturday, I’d encourage you to order through your local independent bookstore.

Isadora and Al De La Vega

A former New York policeman, Al makes whimsical copper and brass items, many with a distinctly nautical/ocean theme.  Besides blogging, Isadora makes beautiful jewelry.  Stop by both sites for a look.

Hannah of Bittersweet

Hannah is an amazing vegan cook and food photographer.  She has a new cookbook, Real Food, Really Fast: Delicious Plant-Based Recipes Ready in 10 Minutes or Less, coming out in January and you can preorder it by clicking on the link to her blog.

SereneTeaz

Full disclosure: I worked here for two year and don’t now only because the business is completely online now.  That makes me able to assure you that the commitment to quality and service can’t be bettered.  With close to 140 teas or tisanes (herbal or floral mixes that don’t contain actual tea) and the ability to ship to anywhere in the contiguous US, you can’t go wrong buying from SereneTeaz.

Le Chocolat du Bouchard

If you can’t make it to Paris and you’re anywhere near Naperville, Illinois, stop into Le Chocolat for French ambience, macarons (not macaroons), pastries and chocolate truffles of all sorts, drinks (wine, coffee drinks, or chocolate drinks), or lunch or dinner.  I currently work there, so maybe you’ll even meet me.  🙂

 

 

OK, as I said, if I missed you, I apologize and please leave your link in the comments, along with a short description of your product/book/art/whatever.  Thanks!

Any links that are just to blog posts or blogs and not relevant to Small Business Saturday will be deleted.

Recently, I had two experiences with apologies, one bad, the other good.  The “bad” was one I wasn’t able to give.  My manager at work called to tell me another employee had complained about me.  She wouldn’t tell me who complained or what the complaint was about, which I to some extent understand.  But that robbed me of the opportunity to know how to change and also the chance to apologize to the person who complained.  I couldn’t think of any event that might have caused it and I felt bad for several days.

The second experience was something hurtful said to me, although not about me, in front of a group of friends.  Although I knew the person didn’t mean it to be hurtful, it was a remark that caused everyone else to laugh and me to retreat inside myself for the rest of the meeting and until I went to bed that night.  It’s easy to know I should just let it go, but hard to do!

The difference was that the morning after that second incident, I received an email from the person who’d made the remark, saying he shouldn’t have said what he did and asking for my forgiveness. I emailed back, saying that yes, I’d felt bad, thanking him for the apology, and accepting it.

A sincere apology, although it doesn’t take negate the initial hurt, offers the hurt person the chance to let go of the hurt and the opportunity to heal the relationship.  It may also, in the same way the healed site of a broken bone is stronger than before it broke, make the relationship stronger.  A missed chance can do the opposite.  Of course, an insincere apology adds insult to injury and even a sincere one doesn’t mean the other person will accept it, but don’t pass up the need for a heartfelt apology when you’ve wronged someone.  Even if that person doesn’t forgive you, you’ll be free to move ahead.

© janet m. webb

copyright janet m. webb

Every week, Cee posts question for her “Share Your World Challenge.”  I decided to dive in this week.  Friday we’ll be getting ready to leave Wyoming, but not heading directly home.  We’ll be doing a loop of the Badlands, something you won’t want to miss.  But you won’t, because you’ll be in the passenger’s seat!  Anyway, “they” say sharing is good, so let me share.

Complete this sentence: I want to learn more about … French. I’m trying to learn a bit of a language where a good proportion of the letters aren’t pronounced and that, in common with German, decided for some horrifying reason to use multiple forms of “the”, which then have to be conjugated, thus blighting the lives of all who aren’t born to the language.  On a more prosaic level, I also want to learn a lot more about photography and how to make the best use of my Nikon and start doing a bit more writing again.

On a vacation what you would require in any place that you sleep?  A comfortable bed is what sprang to my mind immediately.  🙂  A clean room is of equal value.  After that, a large room with a wonderful bathroom, a small fridge and microwave,  and a fabulous view would be great.  A view that doesn’t overlook buildings or crowds would be even better, although I could deal with a great B&B or Airbnb in a wonderful city (at least for a bit.)  I suppose could tolerate proximity to a great market (of the food sort) and restaurants and museums if I had to, although it would of course be tough.  A reasonable price would make the whole package even better!!  🙂

What is your greatest extravagance?  Books, even though I buy them mostly at places like Half Price Books and library sales and haven’t been feeding my habit recently (with a great effort.)  The time to read them is probably more extravagant.  🙂  Or maybe my answer should be “use of the library.”  All book-related, though, so who cares?  Just file them all under “book love.”  Of course, because I spend so little on all those books, tea may be my biggest extravagance financially.  But again, the two go together so well that they are as one.

What inspired you this past week?  Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination.   Our younger daughter, an recently graduated art student trying to make living while a resident of Philadelphia, lost her job with the art school in spring (along with 7 other people), got another job with the school (that doesn’t pay as well, but at least has benefits), is also working extra hours with a catering service, rides her bike everywhere, has become a pro at “scrounging” of a good sort, yet still has time to make posters to post around the neighborhood for a friend whose cat (rescued from the street) disappeared.  (It was found today because of those posters.)  And she has a rescued cat as well. Yet for the most part, she manages to be upbeat and full of humor.  That’s all sorts of inspiration!

See you tomorrow at the Photo Challenge.

Yesterday was our 33rd anniversary, which is why I was absent from the online world.  .  As my husband’s favorite food in the world might be watermelon, I thought I’d honor him by sharing a few things I’ve learned about watermelon since indulging him in this low-calorie, good-for-you treat as often as possible.  🙂

  1. Seedless watermelon aren’t, so don’t be taken aback or angry when you cut open that seedless melon, only to find little translucent “seeds”, really the coatings of seeds that haven’t matured.  They can’t mature and they can’t reproduce, so don’t plan on planting any to get your next year’s melons. *
  2. In China, watermelon consumers like to either eat the seeds from regular watermelon or toast them, while Americans tend to spit them out…or avoid them by buying “seedless” melons.
  3. No matter what you read about how to pick the right watermelon (tap them, look for a yellow patch, etc.), there’s no guarantee!  Just take your chances and enjoy.
  4. The best time to cut a watermelon is the day you’re going to put your garbage out for pick-up, unless you mulch, in which case you may feel free to cut one whenever you darn well please!  All those rinds are heavy, too!
  5. Watermelon rinds are great for putting on top of your shredded, private information.  Our recycling requires shredded material to be bagged which, to me, defeats the purpose, even though no one is likely to be able to reassemble our shreddings.  But put watermelon rinds or other wet food garbage on top and if anyone wants to try to steal information from that bag, have at it and good luck.
  6. I can see why someone invented watermelon rind pickles.  She probably got tired of throwing out all those rinds.
  7. The water part of watermelon isn’t just there for fun.  Once cut, the melon will lose, well, red water.  To keep the pieces lasting longer, drain that off every day…if the melon lasts that long.
  8. Watermelon, although about 92% water, is distressingly good for you.  (Don’t stop eating it, though!!)  It has significant levels of vitamins A, B6 and C, lots of lycopene, antioxidants and amino acids, and a bit of potassium. It’s also is fat-free, and low in sodium and calories (40 calories per cup.)
  9. If turned into a math formula: my husband’s ability to eat watermelon >>>>>the space in the fridge for the cut melon.  (That’s a greater-than sign to the 5th power, BTW.)
  10. Egyptians placed watermelons in the burial tombs of kings to nourish them in the afterlife.  For more fun facts about watermelon, head over to this LiveScience page.
  11. There’s lively debate about whether a watermelon is a fruit or a vegetable.  According to Natural Health ezine:  Most of us automatically assume that a watermelon is a fruit, but technically it is counted as a vegetable (The Oklahoma State Senate passed a bill on 17 April 2007 declaring watermelon as the official state vegetable, with some controversy surrounding whether a watermelon is a fruit.). It is related to the cucumber, squash and pumpkin plants. The watermelon is classified as Citrullus Lanatu. Regardless of whether the watermelon is a fruit or vegetable, it is known to be very healthy.
  12. The heaviest watermelon weighed 268.8 lbs./121.93 kg (I wouldn’t want to pay by the pound for that one).  My watermelon-loving spouse says that would be big enough to make a casket and that’s how he’d like to be buried.  He adds that would be a green burial in both senses of the word.  I’m not sure what I can add after that, so I guess that makes this the end of my post!  🙂

*But wait, there’s just a bit more.  For anyone interested in how you can grow seedless watermelon if the seeds really aren’t seeds, here’s an explanation from a horticultural newsletter.

The obvious question asked about growing seedless watermelons is: “How does one obtain seed of a seedless watermelon?” Obviously, you cannot save seed from a seedless watermelon. So, where do the seeds come from? Simply stated, the number of chromosomes (the threadlike bodies within cells that contain the inheritance units called genes) in a normal watermelon plant is doubled by the use of the chemical colchicine. Doubling a normal (diploid) watermelon results in a tetraploid plant (one having four sets of chromosomes). When the tetraploid plant is bred back, or pollinated, by a diploid or normal plant, the resulting seed produces a triploid plant that is basically a “mule” of the plant kingdom, and it produces seedless watermelons. Seed of seedless varieties are available from most major seed companies.