Tuesday, September 27, 2016

When You're Depending on the Internet for Pretty Much Everything...

...and your internet starts having a problem the day before your IT professional husband takes off for far off places, it quickly becomes a problem.  We use the internet for television, we use the internet for music, we use the internet for shopping, we use the internet for getting library books (because we're lazy that way), we use the internet for banking and paying bills, we use the internet for our landline, and we use the internet for, well, surfing the internet...seriously, we use the internet for everything.  When I say "internet problem", I actually mean the internet keeps going down completely, as in, completely not there!!  I tell you, we've become so spoiled, I was looking at my Roku-hooked-up television and asking it, "what do you mean, "Not Connected"?  We were just watching Defying the Nazis on PBS!!!"  (Or, the finale of American Ninja Warrior!!, or that new show The Good Place!! -- it really depends upon which night we're talking about here...)  Trust me, though, it was a PROBLEM.

So, in addition to not whining myself when I discovered we had a big internet problem, I had to be mature and parental when confronted with a teenage daughter who WAS NOT HAPPY about the internet problems. (The internet problem required her to use a lot more data on her phone and her speed was throttled back!!!!)    Interestingly, your son doesn't care--he just uses the internet at his girlfriend's apartment - problem solved.  Sigh.  Anyway, when you discover the problem is, in fact, at your end and NOT at the CenturyLink end, it becomes an annoying problem which YOU have to solve.

Fresh out of the Amazon box--still in cellophane--waiting for Superman.
 Actually, you just tell your husband who is off adventuring in far off lands that there is a BIG INTERNET PROBLEM and he has to fix it...it was in the marriage vows he said all those years ago and adventuring doesn't absolve him of that responsibility.  (No, seriously, it was in the vows...check the fine print.  Never mind that we were married long before the internet was a thing.  The "handle the internet problems" vow is right that after the "fix all the car problems" vow.  Check it out...you'll see that I'm right.)

The cellophane is off and, if you look carefully, you can see my cell phone in the background off to the right and you can see there is an active call on the screen.  This was the part where Superman was starting to tell me what to do.
When you tell your IT professional husband that you're having a problem with the internet, he does magical things from those previously mentioned far off lands, logs into your home modem, verifies the problem is, in fact, on your end (because he's pretty sure you don't really know what is going on with your home network and its three different wifi networks--yes, three!), and jumps onto Amazon and orders you a whiz bang router to solve your problems. 

Apparently this lovely router will have four channels (upgrading from our current three) and will solve the bandwidth hog problems we'd been having before we had the "real" internet problem.
This huge thing arrived on my front porch this morning.  Doesn't it look impressive?  After a brief phone call this evening, it is now powered up and plugged into our modem.  That doesn't mean it is busily solving my internet problem.  That will require Superman to log in and configure it to his liking in the wee hours of my morning, so I will have another night of internet problems, but this, my friends, is the light at the end of the tunnel (or so I'm told!)

Monday, September 26, 2016

I'm Reading a Terrific Book Right Now...

...but you might not want to read it if you're easily offended by the use of the f-word.  Just giving you fair warning.  This book is fabulous, but it is not for those who can't get past that particular curse word because it is liberally sprinkled throughout the entire book.  (There!  That is my disclaimer, but I truly hope you won't let the word put you off because the book is terrific.)

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k - A Counterintuitive Approach to Living the Good Life by Mark Manson is a brand new self-help book which doesn't really fit into the mold of traditional self-help books.  The author's premise is that the pursuit of anything really just makes you focus on the lack or inadequacy of that thing in your life and because we don't understand that fundamental idea, we're not carefully choosing on what we expend our energy and emotions.  The first chapter is called titled "Don't Try".  (Not very rainbows and unicorns, is it?)

"The desire for more positive experience is itself a negative experience.  And, paradoxically, the acceptance of one's negative experience is itself a positive experience" - Mark Manson

He writes:  "...Our crisis is no longer material; it's existential, it's spiritual.  We have so much f**king stuff and so many opportunities that we don't even know what to give a f**k about anymore."  [I warned you about his love of the f-word.]

He sites British philosopher Alan Watts "backwards law" -" the idea that the more you pursue feeling better all the time, the less satisfied you become, as pursuing something only reinforces the fact that you lack it in the first place" regardless of how much of that something you might already have. "... The more you desperately want to be happy and loved, the lonelier and more afraid you become, regardless of those who surround you.  The more you want to be spiritually enlightened, the more self-centered and shallow you become trying to get there."

Anyway, all of the above is in the first chapter...the author also uses Buddha, Megadeath and Metallica, and the Beatles to make his points.  He makes so much sense both about how we got here and how to get out of here...especially for those of us who are looking around and wondering what the heck is going on with people...his language might be crude, but his clarity is refreshing.  Be brave and just substitute a word of your own choosing for "f**k" and read the book.  Seriously, if you're the least bit interested and can get past the liberal use of the f-word, this a fabulous book and I highly recommend it. (Oh, and Superman says the guy who reads the audiobook version does a fabulous job, if that's your chosen medium.)

Oh, and if you do read the book and love it, or if you're not sure you can stomach his writing style, he writes a successful blog at Mark Manson.net where you can read more.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Friday, September 23, 2016

Where all our money goes...

When our kids were little, the majority of our money seemed to go to Target.  I seriously loved Target.  Clothing, toiletries, shoes, toys, electronics, cleaning supplies, garden, holiday d├ęcor--even our live Christmas trees  came from Target (when we lived in California)--and our artificial tree we picked up at the 75% off post-Christmas sale, which I used to love.  Honestly, pretty much everything we wanted could be found a Target.  It was convenient, it was inexpensive, and it was cute enough.  I have never been a fan of their grocery store side...they don't stock anything I use, so it has never been an added attraction for me.   (Hey, I'm not proud, I'm just being honest here.)

Not my favorite store anymore...

As I was breaking down boxes for our recycle bin, it occurred to me that I spend almost no money at Target any more.  Seriously.  Almost nothing.  Three grown children plus the convenience of online shopping has changed entirely how I shop.  Now, these boxes, plus a regular Costco run,  are pretty representative of where our money goes these days.

These are my go-to "stores", these days...

Amazon.com:  For just about anything and everything...Amazon gets most of my non-food shopping dollars...what can't you find of Amazon?  Plus, Prime give us terrific television.  So, free shipping plus great television programming?  It's a win-win in our house.  (Also, did you know if you order via Prime, they'll even ship to an APO/FPO for free?  Pretty cool, right??  We learned that last time Superman was overseas and utilized that feature a lot during his last adventure.)

Fabric.com:  For fabric, when I don't find what I want at JoAnn's--my beloved Hancock Fabric's went bankrupt.    I know lots of people love Hobby Lobby, but I find it overwhelming and their fabric selection is pretty slim.  (Oh, and I'm also a huge fan of Spoonflower.com for unique fabric, too...I spread my fabric love!)

Isagenix:  Yes, I admit it...I even feed my family via online shopping: we get our nutrition shakes via the UPS man, too!  We had to stock up  for Superman to be able to take a five months supply with him, so we had a LOT of these boxes coming through our door this summer.  (Seriously, do the math:  2 shakes a day x five months = a LOT!) 

Don't get me wrong. I still shop at brick and mortar stores:  Bras need to be tried on at VS, candles need to smelled in person at Yankee Candle, and I'm all in for a quick trip to TJ Maxx in search of some treasure for the house or a Home Depot run to further progress on some project, but I almost never think of going to Target.  It's not just because I'm old, either.  My teenaged daughter doesn't shop at Target much any more, either.  I guess Target didn't grow up with my family...maybe they're still the go to destination for young families?  Do people still love Target?

Same home, same family, but completely different shopping patterns.  Now you know just how random I can be.  This is the stuff that pops into my mind. What about you?  Does your heart still beat a little faster as you approach the doors to your local Target?  Or are you, too, keeping your local UPS driver busy? 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

When the winner of "Who is your favorite human?" leaves the country...

When he wasn't travelling, Superman loved to begin his days at home playing "Who's your favorite human?" as he would dole out treats to the dogs...

Jack is a pretty boy!
Jack, our youngest at only three, has taken the end of the game hard...despite the fact that Superman was, in fact, really just a close second to Jack's true favorite:   Buttercup.  Jack loves Buttercup the most, but the same day Superman left was the day classes started at the college for Buttercup, so she's gone all day this week, too.

Buried in his Minion blanket...Jack is sad.
Even his Minion blanket isn't cheering Jack up...

Poor Jack!

Poor Jack.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Adventure Continues...

Well, after a bit of a false start earlier this year, I really am dusting off this blog...and here's why:

So, this happened yesterday!

After four years stateside, the itch grew too powerful and Superman has headed off into the wild blue yonder again!  My blogging is a great way for him to feel like he knows what's going on back here in the wilds of Eastern Washington.   So, to catch you up...my kids aren't "kids" any more:  Charming is 25, Valiant is 20, and Buttercup is fast approaching 18...it will be a bit of a balancing act for me, sharing the fun bits without compromising any of the kids' privacy, but, hey, it should be a piece of cake, right? 

2 Gorilla boxes and 2 huge bags...

A question:  If you knew you had to pack everything you'd possibly need for the next four and half months (minimum!) before you'd be able to restock anything, would you be able to fit it into these boxes and suitcases?  Where he is going is pretty remote...no FPO/APO service, so anything he wanted had to come with him.  We're talking clothes, gym clothes, toiletries, bug spray, sheets, blankets, towels, five months of nutrition shakes, shoes...even a shower curtain.  Frankly, I was amazed how little Superman took...I've been trying to figure out how little I could get away with...I'm pretty certain I'd need another Gorilla box at least.

Your entire life in two boxes 32" x 14" x 12"

 The Gorilla boxes are a terrific way to get a lot of stuff safely from here to there--a friend of our ordered them from the PX at Fairchild for us, as they're standard in the military--hard-sided, but light...I found the suitcases on QVC, of all places, and they collapse down to the size of a college textbook (with the wheels inside), so they will require little to no space to store.  This isn't our first time doing this, so a lot of thought went into how to get all this stuff packed.  Still, you're looking at $1200+ in luggage fees. 

The best part, though?  I just got word from Superman that all of his luggage joined him at his final destination!!!

Anyway, there you have it...this is what is new this week in the Nagle5 world... stay tuned...it's never dull around here...

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Aberdeen - A Tale of Two Sleeves

One of my goals in 2016 is to sew clothes I'll truly wear...in public...in daylight...with pride.

A tall order indeed.

So, with that goal in mind, in February I got brave and made myself an Aberdeen tunic out of French terry fabric.  It was NOT a 100% success, but I learned a lot and it turned out well enough that I wore it IN PUBLIC a number of times, so it definitely counts. 

I added 6" to the length of this tunic and cut it in a 2x to get the look I wanted.
First things first:  Aberdeen is a pattern from Colette Patterns.  It is a downloadable PDF with almost terrific instructions for even the most beginner of us. It t-shirt tunic pattern, designed for knits...lightweight to sweater weight.  (Honestly, my French terry didn't have enough stretch, but that was ignorance on my part and nothing to do with the instructions.)

Going for an oversized tunic, I decided to make the pattern in 2x.  I wanted a sweatshirt tunic that would skim over my hips and fall below my butt.  The only adjustment I made initially was to add 6" to take into account my height of 5'10" and the slightly longer than normal length. 

All in all the construction went well.  The only struggle was adding the neckline band.  I think the instructions for inserting the band could be clearer...I really wasn't happy with the smoothness of the point of the v neck and the instructions really weren't clear to someone who had never done one before. 

See that weird rumple?  I couldn't resolve it...it bugs me!!
A quick internet search did NOT net any clarification, either, so I just muddled through.   Overall, though, my first Aberdeen came together beautifully and I did some things pretty well, if I do say so myself.  The overall neck band turned out well, with the exception already noted.
Look at how clean that looks...
  Look at this collar band finish...so neat. The band met in back just perfectly!

Look at those bands meeting perfectly in the back...just gorgeous!

...those points line up perfectly.  The double stitched hem (a necessity with fabric that wants to roll!) also came out wonderfully.

A steady hand sewed those parallel lines!
...it looks like the work of a twin needle, but it wasn't.  It was my mad skills at the sewing machine!

I confess, I was pretty pleased with myself when my Aberdeen was completed...

...right up until I tried it on. 

The sleeves narrowed too quickly for my long arms and were just too tight on my forearms (and I don't have big arms!).  I was so disappointed.  Ignorance fail, definitely. I should have known the arm length would need to be modified.  Duh.  So, I seam ripped the forearm seams and wore it around the house to see if it worked in other ways.  One day of wearing and I decided the tunic was worth trying to save.  French terry is sooo comfortable and I had just enough fabric left to take a chance on trying to modify the sleeves to redeem my project. 
New sleeve...3" added.
I calculated that I needed at least three more inches in sleeve length, as the sleeves narrowed too soon on my long arms and barely fell below my elbow.  That meant changing the angle of the line of descent from the dropped shoulder to the forearm hem.  So, I took the existing sleeve pattern, added a three inch strip of paper to the forearm hem and redrew the lines from the shoulder to the hem.   That way the shoulder wasn't altered in any way and the ending sleeve opening wasn't bigger...it just took longer to get there. Since the tunic is batwing construction, I then just sliced off the sleeves at the dropped shoulder seam and attached my new sleeves.
Completed (again!) with longer sleeves.
 Success!  It worked beautifully and gave me an eminently wearable tunic for the cold winter months. 

In the grandest of compliments, the tunic has since moved to my teenaged daughter's closet.  For the win!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Gluten Free Cornbread - Quick and Easy (Updated!!)

Sorry for inadvertently posting of a draft post... probably not a good read, was it?  Anyway, this is the complete post with the recipe details.

In a wheat-free world, it is a struggle to find recipes for "old favorites" which don't just leave you longing for the original.  There are some really terrific gluten-free flour mixes out there, but as most of them contain tapioca starch/flour, we can't use those, either, so our baking possibilities are narrowed even further.  Imagine my surprise when I discovered Krusteaz Cornbread mix.  It is quick, easy, and contains nothing my family can't eat.

Still, I'm not a fan of buying box mixes if I don't have to, so when I saw how well the cornbread turned out using Krusteaz convenient mix, I went searching for a wheat-free recipe which was still quick and easy.  With a quick search, I found this terrific recipe from "Gluten Free Mommy".  (Have I mentioned I love the internet?)

from Gluten Free Mommy

1 cup white rice flour
3/4 cup stone-ground cornmeal
2 to 3 Tablespoons of sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon butter
2 beaten eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Mix the dry ingredients (flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt) together in a med. bowl and set aside.

Melt the one tablespoon of butter in a 10 inch cast-iron skillet or 8/9 inch round baking pan in the oven. This takes about three minutes. (Note: I just used an 8 x 8 pyrex pan.)

Swirl the butter around the pan coating the bottom and sides.

In a small bowl, combine the eggs, milk, and 1/4 cup butter. Add this mixture all at once to the flour mixture and stir until just moistened.

Pour batter into the hot skillet or baking pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean. Serve warm.

Nothing weird, fancy, or hard to source.  In fact, I ground my own rice flour in the Vitamix, so I only had to buy cornmeal.  Both my husband and my son were amazed how quickly this came together and how easy it was.  That said, the next time I make it, they've requested I alter the ratio of rice to cornmeal...they want more corn flavor.  With a recipe this simple, I'm more than willing to play around a little to give them just what they want.

Now, back to Spring Cleaning...

Have a great day!