Archive | September 2022

Starting Halloween

I’m behind this year. Normally I start Halloween crafting in August, but it’s been that kind of year. Anyway, Tuesday I got started on the monster plants. These guys are supposed to be a super cheap thing you make with dollar store pumpkins, green paint that I guess you already own, real leaves, tree branches, flower pots, and expanding foam. If you’ve ever made a dollar tree craft you know the first rule is that your dollar tree does NOT have the item, never has, and never will. Since they had to be hollow, carveable pumpkins, I ended up having to buy them from Michael’s for 20$ a piece. Yeah, so much for cheap. But, I have the pumpkins, so time to get on it.

See my cool little pencil lines? Don’t they look nice? The directions suggest using a pumpkin carving kit to cut that pit, but mine is buried in a mess we didn’t get to work on this summer like planned, so instead I used a steak knife. It was actually pretty comparable.

Roar. Looking good except now I have to duplicate that on the other side…so how am I supposed to manage that when I am incapable of symmetry? Yeah, I had to make a pattern. I’m not going to lie, it took longer to figure out how to make the pattern that would curve around the curved pumpkin, and make it match what I already had, than it did to cut the thing. But, after a lot of trial and error I cam up with this hinged design.

Best part is it could flip both ways (since it has to be backwards for the other side of the pumpkin. Anyway, so taped it on, traced it, then cut it with my handy steak knife.

Nom! Nom! Then I did the whole thing over again for the second one.

And the final was to do a spray paint test and make sure the paint wouldn’t eat the foam. I used the scrap piece and it did okay.

So I just need to get paint, leaves, and expanding foam. Since I’m sticking them in the bushes I’m going to use a couple of last years black buckets instead of a flower pot. I’m also thi king about making some googly eyes to stick randomly in the bushes, too. I have the plastic “eggs” from the Fashion surprises (like the mini brands but they are tiny purses) so I’m thinking of using them. We will see.

In other news, the electric company is still at work in the yard.

And they have done something weird. All along where the lines go is a raised incline now that’s cracked.

The driveway is the worst

We talked to them and they are going to squish it back down flat. It is apparently a thing that happens sometimes – they had a term for it – so hopefully it will be taken care of.

As for yesterday we did our weekly Council Bluffs trip and ate at Hu Hot.

And from there things went down hill, but that’s another story.

Anyway, for now I leave you on a more interesting note. Pumpkin Spice Cream Pie. Is it just me or isn’t that what Pumpkin Pie is, already???? Is dumping a can of spiced pumpkin pie filling into a bowl and adding an egg before dumping it into the crust too complicated? (Or yu can skip the egg and get a nice custard. I’ve done that before because I was out of eggs).

And now I leave you because I have work to do before the family gets here.

Have a Hu Hot kinda day!

Jo ๐Ÿ™‚

The Rasmus: Rise – the Review

So, today I had time to listen to the album. I know, I’m supposes to be blogging about yesterday, but all I’ve got that’s vaguely interesting is the electric company’s progress in my yard. So, we’re going to cheat a little. (Progress pics later, haha).

All together it’s a good album. Like I said the other day, I’m pretty sure this is our in between album on the way to the next sound, and hearing it I’m even more convinced of that.

Art, and the insert book are great. The font on the lyrics is tiny, but that’s only because my eyes are going. Boo. Ten years ago I wouldn’t have even noticed the small size.

Now, on to the songs.

Live and Never Die – I had this one embedded the other day. It’s a poppy, catchy, feel good anthem, designed to remind you that your life is precious so live it. Lyrically, it’s not as strong as some of the others, but I think that’s because they had a very specific message to deliver, and I know when I write verses with a particular message like that, they’re never as good as meaningless free flow that discovers its meaning as it goes. Not saying it’s a bad song, or that the lyrics are bad. And there’s no mixed metaphors, so that made me happy, haha! Over all, it’s a 4 of 5 for catchiness.

Rise – this is another single that’s already out. This one is closer to their older stuff – in fact the music really reminds me of something off of The Rasmus album, when they were first flirting with Electronica. Has another upbeat message, because The Rasmus are almost always upbeat. 4 of 5.

Fireflies – I really like the lyrics on this one. They’re kind if a throwback to The Rasmus more gothy days. Example:

The winter in ending
And the clouds go away
I’ve started descending
To the bottom of the grave
But what if I hurt myself?
I really don’t know what I’m doing
I wanna bะต somewhere ะตlse
Cold wind is blowing

[Chorus]
Kill the light
Show me the dark side
Rule the night
High in the skies like fireflies
They don’t hurt my eyes
Fireflies

Buuuuut….I’m not sold on the music. There’s a…sound that reminds me of my cat howling. I’m not sure what it’s supposed to be. It gives it a purposefully discordant sound, that makes it almost jarring and uncomfortable to listen to. If that was the goal, then succeeded. Musically, this leans toward their last album, but again the lyrics are much better. Because of the howling 3 of 5.

Be Somebody – Another song with better lyrics (okay, honesty time, I didn’t think most of the lyrics on their last album were up to their potential, but this one is an improvement). The verses are really good, and though the chorus isn’t as good, it’s catchy enough thar I’m good with it. Sound wise, it kind of calls back to Stranger from The Rasmus album I already mentioned.

Odyssey – I initially thought the chorus was better than the verses, but as catchy as this bad boy is, it’s going to grow on me, and I’m already thinking that the verses are pretty good, after all. This one reminds me a lot of their last album, Dark Matters. 4 of 5.

Jezebel – This one has been put for awhile. It was the song they wrote for Eurovision, where they might have had a chance if Ukraine hadn’t won with a sympathy vote. Sorry, but I still think that’s BS. The other bands that were there won’t get a second shot at winning, which they should all get. Anyway, the song. It’s a catchy, catchy earworm, though lyrically it has a few issues. I can just ignore most of them until the line “A girl who looks like she’s a boy”. Now, I know English is not their first language, so there are a lot of little connotations and subtle meanings they miss (like in the song Shot saying “I’ll stand in your way” and meaning they’d stand between her and the bullet, basically) and I’m happy to forgive a lot of clunkiness, but that line still throws me every time I hear it. I also feel a bit like this was written to take advantage of the new female member specifically for Eurovision performances, and I’m not saying that bad, but again when you write with too much purpose, the flow suffers, and this has that trouble. Though I’m fond of the lines:

Sunrise, you crawl under the covers
Sleep tight until the dying sun
Tonight you’ll catch another lover

But, past that… anyway, for its catchiness it’s still a 4 of 5

Endless Horizon – Good lyrics, though “You are an island ON my horizon” would have worked better than “You are an island IN my horizon” but, like Shot, it’s clise enough. Musically, it’s a pretty even mix of Dark Matters and their older stuff,  I think, especially with the electronic background vocalization. Honestly, I think the song would have been better without it. 4 of 5

Clouds – the lyrics here are pretty good, though there are a few weird word choices, but like I mentioned I think it’s because English isn’t their first language and frankly, writing in a second language amazes me. Not to mention, I’m such a sucker for the evil corrupting the innocent girl schtick that I’ll forgive them all. The music is also good on this one. It’s a slower song, which they historically do with mixed results because catchiness is their strong point, but I like it. 4.5 of 5

Written in Blood – lyrics aren’t too bad. There are some good lines such as:

I’m like a ghost in the night
Wandering far from the light
And when it’s getting too bright to see
You come to give me your hand
You take me just like I am
Always ready to fight for me

Musically it’s about a half and half mix of the previous album and I assume what is coming next. 3.5 of 4

Evil – on first listen I’d say the lyrics are just okay, but I’m a sucker for themes of misery, so I know it won’t be long until it’s grown on me. The music is quite good with a great melancholy feel to it. 4 of 5.

Over all, I’d give the whole album a 4 of 5, or more specifically a 4.2 (don’t ask) but after repeat listens that is likely to go up. I’m initially picky and then chill out as time passes. But, if you’re a The Rasmus fan, it’s definitely worth it.

And now I leave you with the yard progress.

Have a new album kinda day!

Jo ๐Ÿ™‚

My Only Love Song

Nothing yesterday worth mentioning except we finished the Kdrama My Only Love Song.

I’m not going to discuss how attractive the long haired men were and instead I’ll say that it was a pretty funny show with a cheesy but fun romance. (Come on, cheesy can be good). And the magical time traveling van is adorable. I want one, though I imagine in person it’s very tiny. But that’s ok. I don’t need to time travel with a crowd.

I’m not gonna bother reviewing this because it’s been out forever and it seems like half the internet has already done this, but if you like the funny kdramas, check it out.

I leave you with some John Jones pictures.

Have a fun kdrama kinda day!

Jo ๐Ÿ™‚

The Rasmus Rise

Guess what came in the mail yesterday….

That’s right, The Rasmus’ new album Rise! Ans it has a booklet with the lyrics!!! Sorry, I’m a child of the nineties and still get excited to have actual official lyrics. Anyway, I haven’t had a chance to hear the whole thing yet, but it’s not as Electronica as their last album was. I’ve noticed that every other album is a different style and the one in between is a mesh of the previous and what is coming next, and this would be an in-between one, I think. Anyway, better opinions when I get a chance to hear it. But it does have Jezebel, which they did for Eurovision, and a couple others that are already released. Rise, and Live and Never Die. Videos incoming!

Yeah, not much of a blog, but at least I’m here. I leave you with some cool eye of Sauron clouds.

Have a new album kinda day!

Jo ๐Ÿ™‚

Angel and Root Beer

Yesterday. Hm. I really can’t think of much worth sharing. It was a day. Oh! I did get my squishable angel disguise. Who better to try it on than the vampire squishable? Heh heh.

Isn’t that adorable? It’s part of their undercovers line, where they have several squishables in disguises. The Devil, Santa, and angel are the only disguises they sell without a plushie included, though I wish they had more because when I buy a disguised squishable, I feel bad stealing their outfit and so the ninja and Reindeer have remained in theirs permanently and no one else gets to try it on. Let me find you a link so you can see what I mean. They are all so cute!! https://www.squishable.com/category/undercover.html

And for the foodies, here is some root beer float ice cream that I got the food coloring a bit weird on.

It tasted ok. It was a little strong IMHO- I used 2 tsp of root beer flavoring – but the bro liked it, so there’s that.

Not much else anyone is interested in, so I’ll end this here.

Have a squishable undercover kinda day!

Jo ๐Ÿ™‚

Holes in the Yard

I mentioned that someone was digging up our yard again.

So, yesterday the bro went out and chatted with them. Apparently they’re burying electric lines, and they promised to be careful of our trees. And they kept their word. Look at this parking job between two saplings.

I was really impressed with that. While chatting with them, the bro mentioned the mess FMTCs people had made and they promised not to do anything like that. So, yay!

What else? Hubby is switching jobs in two weeks. He is going back to AHI where he used to work as a welder. Is it a good thing? We’ll see what happens.

I can’t think of anything else, so I leave you with a cat.

Have a crazy good parking job day!

Jo ๐Ÿ™‚

Council Bluffs Day

Yesterday was Wednesday, so ot was the weekly Council Bluffs trip. Pickle Day it was 93 degrees, but Wednesday was like 68. And cloudy.

On the way to CB is a rest stop that’s been there since at least the 80s and probably longer than that. It’s the rest stop I’ve been going to since I was a toddler and, sadly, they’re building a new one. I’m sure it’s going to be nice, but it won’t have that nostalgia hit.

The restaurant of the week was Primos Mexican Restaurant and I have to say that the steak tacos were amazing!! The meat was so tender and spiced perfectly and…mmmmmm! So, so good!

I mentioned that semi wreck the other day? So on the way home we stopped and checked out the aftermath. It’s not as bad as we thought – they missed the water and the culvert by a hair. I mean, don’t get me wrong, they did go through at least one tree and a fence, as well as the metal guard banister, but they didn’t end up down in the water, so it could have been way worse.

We got home in time for a surprise – someone is digging holes in my yard. Again. Though it’s not AS surprising as it was years ago because this time we at least have watched them coming up the street slowly. I’m not sure you can see it in the pictures, but the machinery is parked right next to our walking stick tree, so I’m a little nervous, especially after the mess FMTCs people made when they dug up the yard (for instance they wrecked one flower bed buy just digging it up and throwing it all over. I still have Irises in weird places from that).

We ended the day by watching the last episodes of Hometoen Cha Cha Cha. My official review is “squeee!!” if that says anything. I wasn’t sure about it at first, but I can now say that I really liked it. The dentist lady was kind of annoying to start with, but she got better. Her live interest, Chief Hong, was not annoying, however, which is why I initially stuck with it. That and the town’s people. They were a lot of fun, too. They also wrapped everyone up. Like, seriously, everyone. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a show that so complete covered what happened to every single character, no matter how small. So that was good

And another fun thing, they had that coffee candy on it.

I love how they work their product placement in as just a part of the show. I wonder if my little TV buddy liked it, too?

There’s half an hour left until Rings of Power, so gonna go get some things done before it starts.

Have a Cha Cha Cha kinda day!

Jo ๐Ÿ™‚

We Have Pickles!!

Remember those cucumbers I left soaking in pickling lime? Well I spent ALL day yesterday making them into Christmas pickles. First they had to be scrubbed clean to get all the lime off (which I did twice to be safe) then they had to soak in ice water for three hours.

After that, it was into the pot with vinegar and food coloring for two hours.

They looked pretty light at the beginning but by the end they were brightly colored.

After that they had to be rinsed off again, and then back into the pot with vinegar and sugar and cinnamon.

They had to simmer while I sterilized the jars, bit since my pot is small I did one batch at a time. Eventually they went into the jars, then had to be processed.

And finally -tada! – we have Christmas pickles!

Would I ever purposefully do this again? Maybe. If my brother is really in love with them. But, next time I’d look up the alternatives to using lime because that would save a lot of work if they didn’t have to be scrubbed clean twice.

What else…oh. we have a test skeleton up in the yard.

We’re testing making them stand using a 6 foot piece of rebar. I saw something similar online and it’s a LOT cheaper than buying or building stands – and if it works well it’s also less intrusive in the scene. Anyway, so I bought ten sticks a couple months ago but we’re just now seeing if they will actually work long term, so fingers crossed.

And now I’m going to watch Hometown Cha Cha Cha.

Have a successful pickling kinda day!

Jo ๐Ÿ™‚

P.S. you know I sampled them already and they taste a bit like pickled watermelon rinds but without the cloves. The taste is pretty close to the ones we had as kids and the texture is right, so they were cucumbers. I wonder if they had another spice in with it and if adding one would mess up the acidity? I need a canning expert, lol!

The Long Road to Christmas Pickles

When I was a kid someone used to make and can Christmas pickles. They were not made out of apple rings, but cucumbers. One jar was red and one was green. They tasted like cinnamon, but did not involve red hots. I’ve been looking for a recipe that met those parameters for years. This year, finally. I found one. It’s been online since 2011, but never appeared in any of my searches. I guess it was finally time. https://reddirtcooking.com/2011/09/09/momma-manies-christmas-pickles/

Anyway, so we bought the cucumbers from the farmers market the other day and yesterday I started the long a toilsome process of making these things. I’m not going to lie, I’m making them not for me, but for my brother who is the reason I’ve been looking for them all these years.

So, I chopped cucumbers. I cored cucumbers, and then I set them to soak in water and pickle lime. And I’m going to stop you before you tell me that pickling lime is dangerous. I read all about it first, and trust me, these pickles have been scrubbed clean.

This took a very long time to do, and included a break for lunch where we had Casey’s cheeseburgers.

Yum.

Then it was back to the cucumbers which took forever. Eventually, they were soaking in their pickling lime and I was free! Free… just in time to run to Red Oak to pick up supper.

No rest for the wicked…erm, I mean innocent.

As a bonus, the pink/orange rose has three blooms on it!

And now I have to go take the first batch of pickles out of the pot.

Have a cheeseburger kinda day!

Jo ๐Ÿ™‚

Coffee and Community Day

Yesterday wasn’t that exciting. I did try one of those free coffees I got with my kdrama candy.

It was pretty good. It apparantly has some milk powder in it already. It actually had almost a cocoa taste to it. But anyway, I liked it.

Yesterday was also Pokemon Go Community Day, which I forgot about. Luckily we wanted some chips, so we went to Dollar General and while we were there I happened to open PoGo and think, gee, why are there so many roggenrolas around? Then I remembered. But, anyway, we spent an hour shiny hunting around Villisca and I got 5, which is plenty.

Also got a couple cool cloud shots

And of random note, the roses are blooming again:

We watched a couple of movies – Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers which was SO much better than I thought it would be. I especially loved them making fun of the cartoon live action characters rapping, because I hate that. Also watched Secrets of Dumbeldore, which I had mixed feelings about, but that’s another story.

Anyway. SoD ran so long that we ended up just going to Red Oak to buy pizza because the two meals I had to cook took too long. (I’ll let you figure out how long it took us to get there and back and then cook the pizzas, but whatever). There was a pretty sunset.

There was also a semi wreck on 34. Looked like he went off the road and maybe landed in some water – the semi was a mess – but I’ve yet to find any details because local news is impossible to get unless you listen to the radio, which I don’t do. Hopefully the driver is okay, but looking at it, I dunno.

My phone is dying so ending here. Have an instant coffee kinda day!

Jo ๐Ÿ™‚

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