Archive | Advice

goalpost migration

2016 is definitely the most unproductive year this blog has ever seen.   What started in a fit of seasonal affective disorder, mutated into I am ‘saving’ my creativity for other things, yeah right.   And since I have taken up dieting again, yes again, this-time-i-really-mean-it sort of dieting, that mandates a lot of hiking and cycling, more ways to avoid sitting in front of this machine.

One of the major goals when I moved was to put more emphasis on working for myself, getting aggressive about the passive income.  But that hasn’t happened, once I settled in I became so relaxed that my ambition went into remission.   Well THAT shits gotta stop.  Over the last two years my ‘business’ has dwindled down to a laughable level, and my editing clients have dried up.  I am now addicted to living off a very tiny paycheck  from the ‘extra’ job and if that went away I’d be royally fooked.

I have a shitload of unfinished projects around the place, and a good number of those are books that I need to finish writing and get published. The biggest scariest one of those is the probably the one I need to finish the most.  I am poking and prodding it to see if it will get up off the mat and help me, but it was laying there like a dead thing.  As a jumpstart, I launched the website which was always part of the project, every book needs a website right?

Life On Your OwnLifeOnYourOwn (which was not my 1st, 2nd or 15th choice for a title, but was an so don’t bitch) in its infancy right now, is just roughed out website, with few posts.    Instead of having internal arguments about the structure and exact content of the book, I am not having internal arguments about the structure of the bloody website; another good way to avoid finishing the book.

The current goal is to put out a post every Sunday, alternating a food/cooking post with a nonfood cooking post. And hopefully picking topics that will lure folks to continue reading. I am hoping to get SOME feedback and interaction from readers. Fingers crossed

This week I was able to write it ahead of time and schedule it, avoiding the whole last minute thing that I excel at.   Planning and assembling blog posts may be nothing like writing a book, but it may be helping me think about the book in a different way.  In stead of writing large scale, I am trying to narrow down the important interesting bits.   But in then end I am just writing about whatever I am involved in at the moment.

Aside from that book, I have two other original masterpieces which are basically sitting around half finished.  These books are like half finished play dough creatures that hang around nagging at my heels like something out of a William Burroughs day dream.   Most of the time I want to smash them with a hammer into tiny bits and pretend they never were, other times i want to just scream them into existence so they get out of the house and start earning a living.


Just One Damned thing After Another

2015-11-28 08_44_25-Just One Damned ThingI am on my SECOND run through this series by Jodi Taylor...the english writer not the american porn star.   Right now I am doing audio only for fiction so it makes it way easier to just revisit an entire series.

The Chronicles of St Mary’s starting with Just One Damn Thing After Another is a humorous science fiction adventure series in the vein of Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next.

As I have described it to anyone who will’s as if Bridget Jones and Thursday Next had a baby and left it on Connie Willis’s doorstep to raise.   The series, told in the first person  a la Bridget Jones is very tea-swillingly British, the St Mary’s folks are a collegiate bunch running hell bent for leather through history with some romance, sex, betrayal and dinosaurs all mashed together like Oreo-cookie flavored ice cream.   It has all the best features of all the series I loved, and a timeless element that doesn’t tie it down to any one era.  I can see myself rereading these quite often.

The books…six so far since 2013….are from what is apparently a print on demand publisher. I have been buying the Kindle version allowing me to add the audio for a pittance making my outlay very small.  I am hoping that the author is probably getting a little more than she would from a trade publisher.  I feel I must proselytize about this series because I am getting way way way more enjoyment from it,  than I feel I have rightly paid for.

What I do feel bad is that I don’t yet own hard copies of these books. I tell people I buy a lot on Amazon but I don’t buy books…but I am kinda excluding audio versions.  After downsizing so much these last few years I don’t BUY very many hardcopies but when I find a book I really want, I use the search engine and find a REAL bookseller who has a copy of it.  Especially since I am particular about the actual editions I want to buy, and you can’t be all that particular when buying from Amazon.

51iqvRSqojL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_My normal procedure would be to acquire a ‘NICE’ shelf copy, a First edition or an ARC of any books that I really love. I have those of The Martian and Ready Player One and Silver Pigs and Eyre Affair and so forth…. but the publisher being what it is, the books are not attractive, there’s no 1st edition, there’s no ARC and the cover art of the paper edition is FUGLY…let me reiterate ….very FUGLY, and I really just don’t want to dedicate a half a shelf to books i won’t open and don’t enjoy looking at. < so sad >

I really don’t understand why a trade publisher hasn’t come knocking on Ms. Taylor’s door, these books are as enjoyable AS the Thursday Next series and  IMHO I like them way way better than Harry Potter.  The author has created an entire universe, with time travel pods, lunch ladies, bad smells , romance, betrayal, sex and dinosaurs.  It would make a kick ass Doctor Whovian television series.

One really excellent marketing device is that the author issues free short stories …so for every book there is a free short story that occurs IN BETWEEN..except for the last one which was numbered 0.5 and was technically novella length.

The series is most definitely a genre mashup.  Not as technically detailed as a Michael Crichton’s TimeLine, though every bit as detail oriented as a J K Rowling that inspires you to curl up with a cuppa and a chocolate frog,  I am calling it  time travel adventure cozy. And I am recommending them wholeheartedly.


shirt off my chest

2015-02-27 15.00.52Okay this is just a small rabbit hole I went down last week, another in a line of inexplicable behavior patterns. I was reading a book by a thru-hiker and she was waxing poetic about a particular Bob Marley t-shirt she was given. Thru hikers carry very little clothing on their treks, so the three shirts you are carrying take on some importance. So I stood back and examined what t-shirts with ‘stuff’ on them, concert shirts, advertising, souvenir, gift, or experience shirts MEAN in modern American society.

2015-02-27 15.08.12Over the decades I have HAD a few t-shirts with ‘stuff’ on them that I was very fond of, but by this point in my life, I had frittered them away by wearing them and washing them and wearing them out. Personally i don’t LIKE having things printed ON My tits. But I NOW see that having a t-shirt with something on it, is appropriate attire for certain occasions, usually something laborious and casual: hiking, moving boxes, cleaning attics, outdoor group activities like sports, or river cleanups etc…now i have participated in all of these things and because I choose my clothes for their utility and life expectancy, my chosen shirt has nearly always been a solid color thick t-shirt, a navy pocket free Champion – which says NOTHING about me.

2015-03-02 14.52.55Do I WANT my chest to say something? What do i want it to say? since I have avoided collecting ‘participation’ shirts, even so far as taken them when proffered and donating them on the way home.  I had nothing ‘personal’ to express. I WISH I still had t-shirts from concerts I attended back in the 80s and 90s but I am sure I wouldn’t fit in them if i did. I have steadfastly refused all brand labels on my clothes, even so much as removing them with seem rippers, I would be hardpressed to think of one I WOULD promote on my billboard sized boobs.  I would love to have the balls to wear a Hunter Thompson or Warren Zevon’s skull themed design at 28 yes, at 52 NO, that would definitely attract unwanted attention.

So I made up some of my ‘rules’ and I started looking for a couple to add to my wardrobe. narrowing my criteria down to something an actual Mainer would wear but not a tourist. Something not too populist, but not too obscure. On ebay I found that most of  the concert shirts I once owned are now ridiculously expensive, and generally not something i could afford to wear and abuse – aside from that, there about one Jillion shirts on ebay if you have the time to browse them. And the only concert shirts you will find at thrift stores are few and far between, they must all fly out the door and onto ebay within minutes, perhaps even the backdoor. 2015-02-27 15.02.44 By repeatedly checking I found out that if you see something you like buy it cause it won’t be there the next day. That’s why happened to the lobster and the blowfish t-shirts, i was undecided about them, until they were gone.

I eventually bought a handful to try on account – the ‘fit’ would also have to be taken into account.  If I didn’t like wearing it, it would just be taking up room in the drawer so I felt test driving was called for.

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Right now MY shirt of choice is this stylized MAINE shirt.  One would consider it a tourist shirt, but it’s subtle and so comfortable I think i have had it on for a couple of days now. I don’t expect it to last very long if i love it to death.  So far it’s the only KEEPER in the bunch though the Moose is now a favorite design.   And who knows perhaps I will acquire some NEW ‘participation’ shirts as I go along.


goldfish memory

2015-03-06 18.04.32By my count I am about 5 posts behind…i randomly added reminders to my calendar and there are 5 ignored reminders, go figure.  I wasn’t especially busy this week, but I just couldn’t provoke myself to sit at the computer long enough.  I have to be careful, if i sit at the computer for any length of time, then i have to actually WORK. If I avoid the computer I can do whatever I want, and hence all the MUST DO things are still sitting there waiting for me when i have the time to get to it. And a lot of little stupid projects get done while I avoid the big ones.

I had repeatedly refused to set up this fish tank from the 1st day I brought the damn-goldfish  into the house from the pond, yes that’s what I am calling them…damn-goldfish, the goldfish that will not die.  First I put them in bowls, and when i got tired of cleaning the bowls, i tried two small fish tanks, each with a filter, and i got tired of trying to keep those clean, and I admitted i had to set up the TANK.

I have HAD tanks before, and I personally find them a pain in the ass. Perhaps because I never embraced fish as a hobby, mostly just as a distraction. Once it is set up, it is becomes a commitment to keep it attractive and healthy, at practically whatever cost.

As you can see I haven’t painted the living room, not installed a new floor, and I will have to break down the bookcases and NOT be sleeping in the living room to do these things.  That probably won’t happen for a year, so delaying setting up the tank doesn’t really matter anymore.

Of course there was a list of things that had to be done before I could move the fish.    The vintage tank stand was old and rusted and in the last house it held a bookpress and I would have to spray paint it.  The Antique tank, had last held a field mouse, so it had to be scrubbed clean with rock salt.  And I had to buy rocks for the bottom, AND I had to move the dvd shelf from the spot it would all occupy.

10292538_10153057484070312_5908606184154368450_nI did all of these things a little at a time, throwing a coat of paint on the stand every time I turned the laundry and so forth.  By yesterday I was ready to move the fish, and remarkably I got it done without making a huge wet mess, killing the fish or breaking any of the three slippery glass boxes. (hint, i wore my hiking shoes while i did it.)

After spending all that damn money on tanks, filters, and filter cartridges, water treatment chemicals, other water additives, two sorts of foods, heavy duty shelf brackets, now spray paint,and rocks, these damn-goldfish are still alive.

Wouldn’t it have been easier to just LEAVE THEM THE POND ? and let them take their chances? maybe they wouldn’t have frozen to death in the 18″ deep pond, but I doubt it.  I could have just given them away, maybe they would be happier somewhere else.  Now I have this tank in my living room that like the cats, and the squirrels will demand attention. That’s not really in keeping with my new life, and my new aim to simplify things is it?  Why the hell do I always  GO the long way around the mountain?  When given a problem to solve that is usually the route I choose.  If I had just given them away this could have been avoided entirely.  I will have to remember this.

god save the garanimals!

cedarclosetI wrote this for the reddit minimalist sub, just some oversharing, i thought i’d share.  Yes, it’s snowing again, i never did think i would find snow…oppressive, now I know how they feel in one of those never ending monsoon seasons.

When i moved last summer to what I call the smallest house in Portland Maine, I divested a good half of what I owned, and that was after a couple of years of halving everything I owned already.

Once I moved in, and I realized I wouldn’t have the second floor attic ‘bedroom’ finished until next year. Right now it’s all insulation and rafters, So I blocked it up for the winter. There are no actual closets in the house, I brought a smallish old cedar closet with me, about 5 foot tall and 3 feet wide. The only chest of drawers I brought has 4 drawers and 32 inches wide. So nearly ALL the clothes I own HAS to fit inside these things. I say nearly: the bathrobe hangs in the bathroom, right now winter outerwear hang on the back of the door in the kitchen. I have a rotating amount of semi clean clothes on a chair, you know the clothes you put on when you take off your work clothes. I also have two plastic bins on top of the cedar closet.

I didn’t consciously ‘build’ a wardrobe, when I packed I just started eliminating things I didn’t wear, things that didn’t fit, things that I didn’t like how they fit. Anything I didn’t want to be caught dead in, cept for some painting/work clothes that are basically disposable. Since I moved in September, all the shorts, lightweight pants went into one plastic bin and the short sleeve shirts went in the other. I haven’t completely culled that clothing yet, but there’s probably only about 5 or 6 in each, and that’s including ‘fat day and skinny day’ jeans. In spring I will made further decisions when I put them INTO the cedar closet and take out the long sleeve shirts and winter wear and put them into the bins. The drawers in the chest, have socks/underwear, t-shirts, sweatpants and sleepwear, and the bottom drawer has bed linen. Whenever I can’t get a drawer closed, I go through it and send something to the donation bag.

I won’t say I have one of the minimalist-rotate-the-same-15-pieces-of-clothing-wardrobes, that is JUST not practical attire for living in a place with 5 seasons, (yes MUD is a real season up here in New England), or a middle aged woman who does a lot of messy repairs or house fixing, or gardening or biking, rowing, hiking AND has to retain grownup interview and funeral ready clothing along side things with elastic waistbands. But I CAN comfortably say I have the fewest pieces of clothing I have had since I got my 1st charge card.

Most of my clothes comes second hand, I LOVE finding high end clothes for pennies. I do buy my jeans, underwear and socks new. But everything else has been basically curated. I am partial to classic (read boring) LL Bean-ish style clothing, I own a lot of Bean, mostly for the guarantee, as I am rough on clothes, but if you stick with a certain color pallet and simple lines, You can basically consider them Garanimals for adults. If I stick my hand in the cedar closet, most of the shirts and pants and sweaters will all match each other. I’m also pretty redundant, if I put a hole in the front of a navy blue polo, I will keep an eye out for another navy blue polo. (lately I have been just buying specific things off ebay, i can just type used short sleeve henley t-shirt in my size and find exactly what I want.)

A few minutes ago, after coming in from raking snow off the roof, where I was wearing my one thick long sleeve oatmeal Henley (surprisingly not from LLBean) and my navy fleece zippered vest, jeans and LL bean boots. I pulled ON my thick sweats pants, a pair of thermal socks and my Champion hoodie. And I realized, they were all basically the ONLY one of each item I owned. (not the socks!) I didn’t have to figure out which hoodie, or whether it was clean or not. It’s MY hoodie and when it finally dies, I will replace it with exactly the same thing. It’s either cleanish hanging on a hook or in the laundry cycle.

I own about 4 pairs of business casual pants for work, (black, navy, khaki and dark green) in the bin there are some capri length for summer and I rotate them with a couple of solid polos, or striped long sleeve oxford shirts. I have two cotton sweaters, one heavier and one summer weight. I have a pair of leather hiking boots, I have been wearing for this winter, and someplace I have some leather driving mocs, and some canvas grasshopper shoes (1 pair blue, 1 pair khaki) I will wear in better weather, when I am NOT wearing my New Balance sneakers. (1 pair for mud season and sports/1 pair that are newer and cleaner – same model) My long navy wool coat didn’t make the move intact..don’t ask (i am on the lookout for a replacement), so my ‘winter’ coat is a big man’s EMS unlined hooded jacket, which comes down over my butt like a parka, but gives me plenty of room to layer up on the inside. and once I stop double layering I switch back to my LLBean Canvas field coat, (also bought in a thrift store NEW with tags!) which takes me through the rest of the year. Though I have find a blue woman’s barn coat for this summer.

No, I am not the most stylish person, unless you call ‘frumpy’ a style, but by keeping my choices limited, things that don’t fit, just don’t stay. Everything goes with everything else, and there’s really no room for something I don’t wear. I certainly save a lot of time deciding what to wear, and definitely a lot of time doing laundry.

green intentions

photo (2)It’s that time of year when an old woman’s fancy turns to garden planning. Whenever the snow melts down far enough, I start visualizing where I want raised beds, and which shrubs i need to kill, and where I need to undo the things the previous owner had done, which at the time I paid for the house I had found charming, and now I find an inconvenience.  At the last House I had given up gardening about 15 years ago, I was sick of defending my little patch of green from the lawnmower men and my brother. Obviously HERE I can do what I want, where I want. If i want to rip out all the shrubs that annoy me I can. if I want to replace every blade of grass with something i don’t have to mow every weekend, I can do that too.

In essence I have planned to squeeze in as many raised beds as I can fit in any place that gets sun, which amounts to a straight 60 foot strip down the left side of the house.  The patio bricks will come up and find their way around to the back of the house where If I wanted to sit outside I could.  What I envision is a strip of raise beds, with less obnoxious shrubs on the fence side and a paving stone walk to the back door, curving away from the house on the right.

But when I think about 60feet of wood for those beds along with all that dirt not to mention seeds and such, i got very depressed.  If i built the beds properly from pressure treated 2x10s lined with tyvek sure they will last 10-12 years…but that’s a very expensive way to go.  But you can build anything you need out of pallets if you just think about it long enough. I figure just start building the beds….and down the road you can upgrade them as need be.

On Friday, the opportunity arose: someone downtown had free pallets on Craigslist, and it was warm clear weather and I was feeling rather ambitious.  The benefits of owning a pickup truck, you can collect up anything you want whenever you want without having to make arrangements. What I did learn from having the 1st three pickup trucks, is that you have to REALLY WANT whatever it is you are picking up, or at least have plans to get rid of it if you don’t want it. Because it is so sinfully easy to just cart home everything you see, and this way madness lies….So after two trips, the pallets are now parked in my front yard.   I have intentions of moving them around to the back, i just have to decide where.  And if I wait long enough they will freeze in place and I won’t have to decide until mud season.

2015-01-16 14.51.09

I think we all know that FREE doesn’t always mean FREE. It means free with a price you pay on the back end. Many years ago I spent an entire summer disassembling FREE pallets. BTW the BEST free pallets and wooden crates are behind the places that get windshields. And I wish I knew then what I know now. The fastest way to break down a pallet is to use a reciprocating saw and slice through all the nails. Here is a video. It also looks to be the best method to get the wood to stay intact. Now I am not the twenty something I was when i broke down the largest crates with the the longest nails, so just for giggles I checked out reciprocating saws and like everything else they are expensive. HOWEVER I did get an idea, and I found a listing for a..used, saw only, no battery, no charger,  for $54 no shipping. SUCH A DEAL, I one-clicked that puppy immediately. CAUSE I HAVE a couple of 18v batteries and a charger that I got in the Pawn shop before I moved, when I bought the circular saw and the power drill. …yes I am feeling smug, that is working out to be a good decision.


IN MY MIND’S eye, I see the pallet wood being immensely useful. After I break them down into lengths I can design raised beds that fit the wood I have at hand. Though I think i need a few more larger heavier pallets if I can find them. I get the feeling my neighbors are going to be very unhappy with me for a while this spring.

sharps, a post with a point.

I had to make an iphone alert to remind me once a week to enter my hours worked for the temp job, so now i have an alert to remind me to write a blog post a few times  a week.  lets see how long it takes for me to start hitting the snooze button on it.  Sorry if some of this is duplicate data, I am trying to wrap my head around some topics. 

2015-01-18 12.30.14One of the yearly alerts I added to my calendar was one that reminded me to clean all my pocket knives, of which shockingly, I have more than I thought.  I can’t remember WHEN I didn’t carry a pocket knife… and I have had to watch the world rotate from one where everyone carried a pocket knife, to one where carrying a pocket knife into certain buildings will cause you no end of trouble.  A totally stupid thing to have to witness I can tell  you.  A pocket knife is a bloody tool. yes you can kill someone with a fat red Swiss army knife, but it takes a LOT of  work and for the most part they have to just lie there and let you do it.  Don’t ask how i know these things, you just don’t want to go there.

I know I had an antique rusty two bladed electricians knife before I had my Swiss Army knife…what I don’t know is what happened to it.  I may have lost it when I was in high school and replaced it with the Swiss Army Knife Camper Model… and I don’t remember where I got either, I suspect I stole the first one from my brother and I may gotten the second as a christmas gift, my memory doesn’t go that far back anymore.   But the Swiss Army knife stayed in my backpack for……well….it’s actually still in my backpack now, thirty Five years and about 9 backpacks later.  As SAK go, the Camper is just about perfect for an EDC, doesn’t scream I’m a slut for useless tools, yet it has about everything you could need just going to school, work or home – without having to fight off zombies, or skin bambi’s mom.

About 27 years ago I found the Stanley 10-049 Pocket knife which has been my GO TO knife ever since… I have used this as a bench knife for book repair, all sorts of hand crafts, and household chores, opening boxes, and even clams.  Biggest feature is that it is CHEAP, and at less than $10 I usually have one in every drawer in the house.  The other things I like about are: that it is FLAT, and can go in a front or back pocker without making it awkward; the blade is also both replaceable and will taken an edge.  I also like that the tip is blunted so you can cut flat against a surface, unlike most pointed weapons.  I treat myself to a new one for the bottom of my purse every few years and rotate the old ones to the work bench.  And NO I can’t take my purse in government buildings, that should be obvious.

When I got my first BIG job I splurged on a Leatherman Micra for my keychain, where it has hung for over 20 years…to be honest I rarely need it except for the scissors which have saved my sanity more than a few times.  I’d rather have it than not have it.

Last December I decided that I wanted a new pocket knife, one with a bail for a lanyard.  That was the one thing the Stanley didn’t have.  I also wanted a knife with a few other blades that i could carry in my pants,  that wasn’t the SAK. Face it, whichever sex you are, you cannot sit comfortably with a SAK in your back pocket, and in your front pocket, it just looks weird.  I didn’t think i would find one i liked since most knives these days are designed to look fierce and not be functional.  But I hadn’t considered that the US ARMY had already done the design work for me.   The Camillus 1760, fit all my requirements so perfectly that once I saw it, I had to have one.  In production from the 40s to the 90s, the truly vintage ones were either truly expensive or fixer uppers, I just kept my eye out for one that I could afford and not feel guilty about buying. I found one on ebay from 1989 and about $30.  turns out it was hardly used, so hardly used that I am have to work on one of the tool blades with some rubbing compound to get it to open more smoothly.  No matter. it fit my coat pocket and hand perfectly.

When I was trolling through second hand shops for birthday slash christmas gifts for myself, I stumbled on this Leatherman in a pawn shop. It normally sells for about $80 on sale and I never could rationalize buying what for me amounts to a glorified pair of pliers. However at less than half price, it was also seriously dirty and wouldn’t open well for the counter clerk, I got it for $25. I couldn’t NOT buy it. I cleaned it and lubed it and bought it a nice new sheath and more screwdriver bits so it came up to about $40 totally.  But I haven’t regretted it.  I LIKE knowing it is in the bottom of my bag along with a tape measure, a flashlight and a roll of gorilla tape.   So I feel rather smug having gotten such a really great discount on a very well designed tool.

So those are my knives.. usually the SAK is home in my backpack and the 1760 is in my coat pocket, so unlike a lot of knife collectors, i don’t think i will need to add to that family anytime soon. In fact if I lost any of them I would just replace them with exactly the same models. If a tool isn’t where you need it when you need it, then its just a waste of money.

HINT: to clean a dirty knife, put it in the sink and pour boiling water over it….or just very hot water…. when it is dried thoroughly, saturate it with WD-40 and clean all the joints and crevices, use a paint brush if you have to.  Work all the blades and respray  you may see it all the dirty come out. leave it open on a paper towel to drip dry.  Then lubricate the joins with oil.  WD-40 is a solvent not an oil.  3 in 1 oil or mystery oil work well, I used a bike lube that has a Teflon additive, mostly cause it was at hand. 

On the sunnyside (revised)


One of the things I have planned to do…to exploit my new found love of alterative energy, is build it a small web presence.

A simple site, with a page about the installation process, diagrams about how the solar cells and battery are connected.


I know there’s a way to hook the meter results to an online feed.
qrcode.17326845The 1st thing I have to buy are a half dozen of these Outlet Usage Meters

I am imagining a  QR code on the fence post…so that folks who see the solar panels can stop and scan it with their smart phones,  which will go straight to the website and check out the system online.  (yes i realize i need a burglar alarm)

They can email questions, i can have a link to the solar installation service, etc…



and wouldn’t it be a gas if they could interact?    You can buy light bulb’s and such from Belkin’s Wemo or Phillips Hue that can be controlled via the internet.   Even  both Channels so that you can control the devices with an automated instruction.    I just think it would be a gas, if a visitor to the website, could turn a low watt lightbulb on and off with an instruction or a text,

This is fun I need to design this a little more and go look at some diagrams for systems.


The planning is the best part of any project for me, no matter how big or small.
I did more research on the internet for a webcam example of real world items inside a house that are operated by the public.
There are more, but this one is by self definition – insane.
It’s been set up since 2007 using the older X-10 technology
and has examples of many devices, not just lamps, but sound, camera, voice synth, somewhere a doorbell.

As it is, I just have in mind one webcam aimed at ONE night light plugged into one device.
The hook is the website is about the solar installation and it will allow you to flick the light on and off.
I am not funding a playground…. like this one…

X-10s in use at



orangestringtagI finally gave away the last two boxes of my mother and ersatz grandmother’s china/glass …when i started trying to downsize all that stuff, i know i had a yard sale, then i dragged it out to other folks benefit yard sales, i was giving pieces away when i could. I certainly didn’t have any sentiment when i looked at the stuff…just the feeling of responsibility. I pulled a couple of tiny china pieces and popped them in the glass cabinet next the books and a some of my own breakable pieces i really need to downsize. And I boxed the rest up nicely and put it on the porch..someone’s having a benefit yard sale for their animal rescue group and its gone. Meanwhile down in the basement where it came from…i THINK that’s the last of the stored breakables…though i still want to clean out the cedar i know there’s nothing i want in there…but i have a mind to disassemble the entire thing prior to marketing the house..all the wood will go in my woodpile in the garage…and i can build another cedar closet elsewhere. But i don’t want to be disassembling things AFTER someone sees the house. That’s rude i know.

That’s where the tags come in… every time i look at something i am mentally parsing is it MINE? or is it part of the house? I see my fridge in my kitchen as MINE, though i may not need it where i am going. But if i had to pay for something out of my own pocket it is MINE and i don’t want the house sale to cover it. It’s just an ego thing. So the tags….there’s plenty of stuff in the basement that goes to the dump. and some things that i can still give away..but there’s some stuff i need to take with me. Obviously all the industrial shelving, the dinette set from the old house…it will be good on my screen porch…that i am going to have, even if i have to build it… there’s a vintage mini shopping cart i use for laundry,…and the GOOD washer… so i’m thinking bright orange tags…so that anyone looking at the property can tell THOSE things are not included. It will also help remind me when i am moving stuff i won’t have to RECONSIDER each piece every time.

Anyway I found colored tags on amazon but i traced them back to their third party seller Jampaper  who seem to have a radically wide assortment of merchandising and gift decorating accessories.   I am glad I visited that site…i am putting it in my back pocket along with SKS Bottle & Packaging     and Bags Unlimited…  places I go to look for just the right thing to finish something off.  I uses SKS Bottle all the time and Bags Unlimited has some very hard to find items for me.   But Jampaper seems to have the things I may not have a use for right this moment….but perhaps in the future… so I’m adding the tags to my shopping time i get some money.



house in a box

weebeastie1okay so that fantasy lasted a few hours, but its over. 12 years ago when I had more stuff and i was looking into Class As would have been the time to go. but these days i have less stuff, and i don’t want to get rid of what i have left. Maybe if something else happens. But one of the reasons i was looking at the pioneer valley is to USE my bike and my boat, and visit bookshops and take part in community activities. 12 years ago i wasn’t interest in those things. things change. but scotty there is still in the garage, i never did get to use it enough for my satisfaction. something tells me i am going to have to sell it before i move, i wont have a safe place for it. and exposed trailers don’t do well in new england. ice dams eventually injure them. i will sell her, but it will hurt she was always my stop gap, when all else fails i had someplace to sleep. and just having her in the garage made me feel better.   One i buy a truck that can tow this thing i may feel differently.

Meanwhile enough sorting my stuff for sale, back to work on projects that need to be finished.  Because at the other end of the argument is that i still don’t have enough income from online to consider being mobile.  Gotta get a wiggle on that.

Starting to look at boxes… wait..there’s a reason… we had a good discussion on the Bibliophile list yesterday about the pros and cons of moving books using various boxes.

In my personal opinion:

Banana boxes: have inherent flaws…the center hole weakens the structure so the box has to be solidly packed. which means I can’t pick it up. it is also too wide for me to carry one comfortably when full. i also don’t like how it fits on the hand truck, i end up duct taping a new bottom to the hand truck.

Tomato boxes – fit on the hand truck perfectly, double walled, handles, drawnback is that it only fits 1 or two stacks of books, and
a it is too easy to put books in spine down to pack the box solidly. and you have to save for years to come up with a suitable number to move an entire collection. don’t collapse afterwards.

Banker boxes – weaker box walls, boxes have to be packed absolutely full to stack without crushing the box on the bottom. too tempting to leave the books in the boxes when you get where you are going. handles have a habit of tearing from weight after a few uses.


Beer boxes – my hands down favorite for moving yourself. most have the thickness of the banana box, with handles, wider than the tomato box and usually taller. short armed persons can carry two or three filled without arm extensions. fit nicely on the hand truck.
flatten nicely, they are becoming harder to come by, since the advent of the shoebox.

Copypaper boxes- don’t have thick walls, and once they are full are too heavy for me to pick up, and if they aren’t packed full the  corners collapse.  the larger the boxes the more they need handles.

If i sell the house, i may not screw around with recycled boxes and buy a few bales of fresh boxes and tape from Unline.  4858 is 17 1⁄4 x 11 1⁄4 x 10″and rated for  275 lb.  which is considerable.  but using all regular sized boxes for EVERYTHING, clothes, books, dishes and using the linens as paking material, is the most efficient use of space in the moving truck.   I have a friend putting away  some of a very similar size, give me 50 of those and a big ass dumpster and i can be out of here in a week.





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