avanta7: (Default)
Over at the RevGals, Sally writes:

As I write this I am waiting for my new dishwasher to be delivered, it along with my washing machine and vacuum cleaner are household appliances that I consider indispensable! Others not so much, we decided not to replace our tumble drier when the old one finally gave out last year, and I can honestly say I haven't really missed it. My hubby Tim and I often disagree about which household appliances are really necessary and which ones aren't, we also enjoy a few luxury items, my one of favourites is a juicer, and Tim's is our all singing all dancing filter coffee maker- it has a thermos jug so the coffee stays nice and hot without the aid if a heat element.

So being in a domestic frame of mind I thought I'd ask:


  1. What is the one appliance you simply couldn't be without? -- Absolutely the washing machine. Although I don't mind handwashing the occasional item (and, in fact, insist on it for those precious handknits with pricey yarns and hours and hours of labor invested) I have no desire to do regular household laundry by hand. However, when I was a kid, I enjoyed using my grandmother's wringer washer: It was (a) fun and (b) the closest I ever want to get to pounding out clothing items with rocks on a riverbank. 1st runner up: the refrigerator. 2nd runner up: the dishwasher (yes, I'm that lazy).

  2. What, if anything, would you happily give up? -- The microwave. It's handy, it's convenient, but anything the microwave can do can also be done on the stovetop, and usually turns out better. I'd love to give up the vacuum cleaner, but as long as we live in a house with carpeting AND pets, it's a necessity.

  3. What is the strangest household appliance you own? -- All our household appliances are ordinary, although if I'd had my way, we'd have bought an electric self-cleaning cat box by now.

  4. What is the most luxurious household appliance you own? -- The refrigerator we bought a couple of years ago. Even though it meant dealing with a nasty tiny UGLY refrigerator for a while, I'm glad we waited to buy until we had the funds to get the fridge we really wanted. And, even though I'd willingly give it up for a house with hardwood floors throughout, the Dyson vacuum ranks high on the "luxurious" scale.

  5. Tell us about your dream kitchen--the sky is the limit here.... -- Hoo boy. The kitchen I currently have is pretty close to my dream kitchen in its layout. It's bright and open with a center island and a 5-burner gas stove. In the details, however...I'd rather have marble or granite countertops in place of the ceramic tile; I'd rather have hardwood or travertine instead of vinyl flooring; I'd like a double oven; and I'd rather have either dark cherry or light maple cabinets instead of the generic oak veneer. In other words, something like this:

    (Needs to be bigger, though -- spouse and I often cook together and need room to maneuver around each other.)

    or this:


    or even this:

    (What a lousy shot...you'd think HGTV would use better quality pics for examples.)

    Actually, if you reverse that last photo, that's pretty much my kitchen's layout....Hmmm, must show to spouse.
avanta7: (Sing and Dance)
Fellow RevGal Songbird writes:

Where we live, it's February School Vacation Week!

Yes, that's an odd thing, a vacation extending President's Day. But it's part of our lives here. Some people go South or go skiing, but we always stay home and find more humble amusements.

In that spirit, I offer this Taking a Break Friday Five. Tell us how you would spend:

  1. A 15 minute break -- Assuming this means a break during my usual working hours, I generally go for a brisk walk, weather permitting. Sitting in a cube all day exacerbates that middle-aged spread, so I'd rather walk than sit in the breakroom surrounded by those tempting high-calorie snacks.
  2. An afternoon off -- If this were an unexpected afternoon off, I would stop in my local yarn shop to sit and knit and visit for a while before heading home. If it were a scheduled afternoon off, I'd probably be at the dentist's or the doctor's office.
  3. An unexpected free day -- I'd lounge around in my jammies until noon, reading and/or knitting; then take a shower and run errands or take care of other personal/household business. Oh, wait. I do that every weekend. Okay (again, weather permitting), I'd grab my shiny new camera and go shoot something.
  4. A week's vacation -- Usually we stay home and putter around the house. This year we hope to go to Hawaii. However, I just took a quick and dirty look at this year's income taxes, and it looks like we owe; Hawaii in April is now highly questionable. *sigh*
  5. A sabbatical -- I'm on one of those right now, in a manner of speaking. And I'm doing a lot of resting, relaxing, reading, writing, knitting, movie-watching, healing, taking-care-of-me activities. And thoroughly enjoying every minute of it.
avanta7: (Spice Must Flow)
Late as usual. I just don't have the time or energy to take care of these things on their designated days. So here goes:

RevGal Songbird says:

Next week, I'm hosting Thanksgiving. I need your help. Please answer the following kitchen-related questions:

  1. Do you have a food processor? Can you recommend it? Which is to say, do you actually use it? -- I have an old Cuisinart that came with my husband when we married. (Yes, he was the one with the fancy kitchen stuff, including cheesecake forms.) I don't use it much because it's a PITA to clean. And old. Did I mention it was old? As in at least 15 years old? But it's sturdy and works well. Chops onions like a dream.

  2. And if so, do you use the fancy things on it? (Mine came with a mini-blender (used a lot and long ago broken) and these scary disks you used to julienne things (used once).) -- About the fanciest thing I use it for is grating cheese. Did I mention it's a pain to clean? And old? As in a relic of his first marriage old?

  3. Do you use a standing mixer? Or one of the hand-held varieties? -- I'd love to have a standing mixer. I use a hand-held mixer whenever I bake. Which isn't all that often. Or make mashed potatoes from scratch. Which isn't all that often either.

  4. How about a blender? Do you have one? Use it much? -- Yes, we have a Hamilton Beach 10-speed blender which we use frequently. We like smoothies. A lot. And it's handy for pureeing tomatoes for sauce, too.

  5. Finally, what old-fashioned, non-electric kitchen tool do you enjoy using the most? -- The potato masher! What a great way to relieve one's frustration and stress while at the same time ridding one's mashed potatoes of lumps and bumps! I'm also rather fond of the garlic press for the very same reason.


Bonus: Is there a kitchen appliance or utensil you ONLY use at Thanksgiving or some other holiday? If so, what is it? -- The roasting pan. I only need it when a large bird or ham or other hunk of meat that won't cook properly without it is on the menu.

~~~

Okay, now I'm hungry. Time for lunch.
avanta7: (2 Cents)
Over at the Rev Gals Blog Pals, Presbyterian Gals says, "After an exhausting election here in the states it's time for some spirit lifting! Join me with a nice cup of tea or coffee or cocoa and let's sit back and read the Funny Papers!"

  1. What was your favorite comic strip as a child? -- I don't remember for certain, but it was probably Peanuts.

  2. Which comic strip today most consistently tickles your funny bone? -- I have to pick just one? Inconceivable! As I mentioned in a previous blog entry, Pearls Before Swine is sheer genius. I'm also greatly fond of Rose Is Rose, Dilbert, Mutts, and that supremely subversive standby, Doonesbury. (Yes, as a matter of fact, I am a liberal. What makes you ask?)

  3. Which Peanuts character is closest to being you? -- Linus.

  4. Some say that comic strips have replaced philosophy as a paying job, so to speak. Does this ring true with you? -- To a certain extent. Comic strips and their characters have the ability to point out the absurdities of life without risking ridicule. I mean, seriously, who is going to take offense at a pig or a squirrel or a rat spouting off about social injustice and the frailty of man?

  5. What do you think the appeal is for the really long running comic strips like Blondie, Family Circus, Dennis the Menace as some examples? -- They're "family friendly" and can continuously recycle old themes for new readers. Personally, I wish strips would be discontinued once their originator (a) retires or (b) shuffles off this mortal coil.


Bonus question: Which discontinued comic strip would you like to see back in print? -- Calvin and Hobbes, hands down. However, although at the time it caused much gnashing of teeth and rending of clothing (perhaps even a little wearing of sackcloth and ashes), I respect Bill Waterson's decision to retire. And I would firmly resent/resist any resurrection of the strip against Mr. Waterson's wishes AND if he were not drawing it.
avanta7: (InigoMontoya)
From (and for) the RevGals:

  1. Does your job ever call for travel? Is this a joy or a burden? -- I seldom, if ever, travel in my position as Claims Representative. When I was a supervisor, however, I traveled overnight several times a year for training sessions, management meetings, etc. I enjoyed the break from the office, and the alone time in a posh hotel room. Can you say per diem? It rhymes with room service.

  2. How about that of your spouse or partner? -- Spouse has an overnight trip every now and then, and a week-long industry conference in Vegas each year which he attends with other managers. Sans spouses. Again, I enjoy the alone time, but I'm always very glad to see him come home.

  3. What was the best business trip you ever took? -- A two-week training session in Emeryville. We were lodged at the Sheraton, and it was close enough to home that spouse drove over for the weekend in between and we "did" San Francisco.

  4. ...and the worst, of course? -- Another training session in Rancho Cordova, which I had to leave early because spouse landed in the emergency room and subsequently spent several days in the hospital.

  5. What would make your next business trip perfect? -- A personal masseur. And free wireless broadband.
avanta7: (Spice Must Flow)
Over at the RevGals blog, Presbyterian Gal writes: As I pass through this year’s dog days..., I am trying to focus on the blessings apparent around me, past and present, that I might not notice, necessarily. In that spirit, this week’s Friday Five goes thusly:

  1. What is your sweetest summer memory from childhood? Did it involve watermelon or hand cranked ice cream? Or perhaps a teen summer romance. Which stands out for you? -- It's not a single memory of a single event, but a group of summer memories all tied together: we lived in the country, on a 40-acre farm on a two-lane blacktop down the road from the tiny county airport. My mother would order my sister and me out of the house first thing in the morning with instructions not to come back until we were hungry. Sis and I would get on our bicycles and take off up the road to play in the old cemetery, or down the road to visit the fellow at the airport Avis Rent-A-Car booth; we explored ravines and gullys, we tromped through vineyards and orchards (the fruits of which ensured we didn't get too hungry too early); we found horny toads and garter snakes and baby rabbits. By the time the sun was high overhead, we were sweaty and famished, and we turned back to the house where Mom would be waiting with cool lemonade and a bologna sandwich. Summer mornings at age 9. Perfect.

  2. Describe your all time favorite piece of summer clothing. The one thing you could put on in the summer that would seem to insure a cooler, more excellent day. -- Beachcomber Bill sandals. Often imitated, never duplicated. Made of leftover wetsuit materials, these sandals were the absolute "in" thing when I was a teenager. Sadly, I can't find a link, so I'm afraid they are no longer manufactured, and my last pair is long gone. However, here's a pic of some surfers shod in said sandals:



  3. What summer food fills your mouth with delight and whose flavor stays happily with you long after eaten? -- Watermelon. I love love love watermelon. And fresh sweet corn on the cob, slathered with sweet butter and lightly salted. Yummmmmmmm....

  4. Tell us about the summer vacation or holiday that holds your dearest memory. -- We weren't much of a vacationing family, so I'm afraid I have nothing to offer here. Perhaps that dearest summer vacation memory is yet to be made.

  5. Have you had any experience(s) this summer that has drawn you closer to God or perhaps shown you His wonder in a new way? -- I'm afraid I've been focused inward rather than Godward these last few months. Although every time I see beams of sunshine radiating through the clouds, I'm reminded of God's presence.

    Bonus question: When it is really hot, humid and uncomfortable, what do you do to refresh and renew body and spirit? -- A long soak in a tub of cool water laced with lavender bath salts, with a glass of iced tea perched on the rim and some lovely Vivaldi to accompany my thoughts, I am rejuvenated, refreshed, and relaxed.
avanta7: (Default)
Singing Owl at RevGalBlogPals writes:

This post is loosely based on previous "wordy" Friday Fives from Reverend Mother and Songbird. I liked the results, and so we are doing another word association. Theirs were based on words from a lectionary text. Mine comes from the Lovin' Spoonful song, "Summer in the City."

Think summer......are you there? Below you will find five words or phrases. Tell us the first thing you think of on reading each one. Your response might be simply another word, or it might be a sentence, a poem, a memory, a recipe, or a story. You get the idea:


  1. Rooftop -- The first thing that comes to mind is another song: "Up On The Roof" by the Drifters.



  2. Gritty -- Sand between my toes....yes, I'm back at the beach again.

  3. Hot town (yeah, I know, it's two words) -- Yet another song that screams summer to me: "Hot Child in the City" by Nick Gilder. It was released between my junior and senior years and I heard it all over the beach that summer.



  4. Night -- Sitting in the driveway with my cousin in Bakersfield at 2:00 in the morning because it was too hot in the house to sleep. Also, Neil Diamond's "Hot August Night".

  5. Dance -- Summer jazz lessons with my sister.


Hmm. Very music oriented. Go figure.
avanta7: (Sanctuary)
Mother Laura at RevGals writes: The Grimes-Honkanen bunch is settling in after a challenging move, and bubbling with gratitude for our new "cozy cottage by the beach": a tiny rented condo on Pacific Coast Highway....So in honor of summer, please share your own beachy memories, plans, and dreams with a "Beach Trip" Friday Five.

  1. Ocean rocks, lake limps? Vice versa? Or "it's all beautiful in its own way"? -- Ocean rocks! Lakes stink! Okay, the ocean has its own smell as well, but I love that fishy salty fresh aroma, the mist from the crashing surf, the fog, the wind, the cries of the gulls, the kelp washed up on shore, rocks worn smooth by the tide...all of it, every bit of it feeds my soul and enriches my spirit.

  2. Year round beach living: Heaven...or the Other Place? -- Sheer heaven. As mentioned in a previous Friday Five, a rocky Northern California beach is my favorite place in the world. I dream of retiring to a cottage on a cliff overlooking the ocean somewhere in Mendocino, Humboldt, or Del Norte County, maybe even somewhere in southwestern Oregon. Convincing spouse this is what he wants as well is another story.

  3. Any beach plans for this summer? -- Sadly, no. Maybe another day trip or two to Fort Bragg, but no extended stays in our immediate future.

  4. Best beach memory ever? -- Spouse's and my first vacation together before we were married...we went to my hometown for my 20-year high school reunion. While we were there, I took him to two beaches where I spent a great deal of time growing up. He had never visited that part of the country before, and it was lovely to explore the area with fresh eyes.

  5. Fantasy beach trip? -- A week or two in a cabana in Tahiti, with a side trip to Easter Island. By myself, with assorted books. And a gorgeous hunk of a cabana boy at my beck and call. (Well, you said "fantasy".)

    Bonus: Share a piece of music/poetry/film/book that expresses something about what the beach means to you. -- Hmmph. Can't think of a thing. Maybe I should write it myself.

Friday Five

Jun. 6th, 2008 08:49 pm
avanta7: (Default)
Taking in the view Friday Five

Sally at RevGals writes:

This week I took some time out to stop and walk and take in the view; my son Chris is studying in one of the most beautiful parts of the country, too often we simply drive up there, turn around and come home! This time Tim and I took time out to take in the view. It occurs to me that we need to do that more in life....With that in mind, I offer you this week's Friday Five:

  1. How important is the "big picture" to you? Do you need a glimpse of the possibilities or are you a details person? -- While an over-arching vision is important, I tend to be detail-oriented. It's incredibly easy for me to lose sight of the forest with all those trees in the way.

  2. If the big picture is important to you, how do you hold onto it in the nitty gritty details of life? -- Luckily, spouse always has a grasp on the big picture. Whenever necessary, especially when I'm feeling frustrated or stuck, he shifts my focus from each individual pine needle to the entire grove. "Oh yeah!" I remind myself, "that's the important part."

  3. Name a book, poem, psalm, piece of music that transports you to another dimension. -- There are far too many books to name just one, so how about a piece of music:

    Moldau by Smetana )

  4. Thinking of physical views, is there somewhere that inspires you, somewhere that you breathe more easily? -- Absolutely. A rocky Northern California beach or cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean is my favorite place in the world.

  5. A picture opportunity... post one if you can. -- You betcha. This photo was taken about six weeks ago, and currently decorates my desktop.

    Behind a cut for you dial-up folks )
avanta7: (Default)
I really need to start checking in at the Rev Gal Blog on a more regular basis. Here are my answers to this week's Friday Five, all about garage sales:

Welcome to your irregularly scheduled Fifth Friday Five, hosted by will smama and Songbird!
Since will smama is preparing for a joint garage sale with her parents, and Songbird's church had a Yard and Plant Sale last Saturday, we have five enormously important questions we hope you will answer:


  1. Are you a garage saler? -- Um. Off and on. Spouse and I visit yard sales in spurts: we'll go several weeks in a row, and then we won't for several months.

  2. If so, are you an immediate buyer or a risk taker who comes back later when prices are lower? -- Usually, we're immediate buyers. We've been to enough sales, and hosted enough sales of our own, to know that if it's a really good item, it generally won't be there later.

    3. Seriously, if you're not a garage saler, you are probably not going to want to play this one.
    (That wasn't really #3.)

  3. This is the real #3: What's the best treasure you've found at a yard or garage sale? -- Hands down, Pocket Book #452, published July 1947: the first paperback edition of Dracula. I found this and several other vintage volumes of value at an estate sale in Auburn, California, in 1991. I tossed the books in a small cardboard box, carried said box to the guy running the sale and said, "I'll give you $15.00 for these." He glanced in the box and said "Sure!" Heheheh. Little did he know Dracula alone was worth more than that.

  4. If you've done one yourself, at church or at home, was it worth the effort? -- I've never been involved in organizing a church rummage sale, but have held several personal garage sales over the years. And yes, I think they were worth the trouble; not because we made a bunch of money on them (although we usually did fairly well), but because we cleared out a great deal of unnecessary clutter, which was the whole purpose.

  5. Can you bring yourself to haggle? -- Absolutely!

BONUS: For the true aficionado: Please discuss the impact of Ebay, Craig's List, Freecycle, etc... on the church or home yard/garage sale. -- Again, no experience with organizing church sales. I can't remember the last time I went to a church sale, either. (*hangs head in shame*) As far as regular yard sales go, we stock our own online store at half.com with the books we buy on these weekend expeditions. Make of that what you will. *grin*

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