Monday, April 30, 2012

Growing Orange Seeds

Orange Seeds in a wet paper towel
Day One
We grow things at my house.  In the front yard, we built a large flower garden, with several types of flowers that grow and bloom from February to September.  On the front porch, we currently have one planter with sugar snap peas, a second planter with a potato, and a third planter with bell peppers.

Last week, I decided to try germinating some orange seeds.  To that end, a special "orange seed" container was created.

I took a 20 oz. plastic bottle, washed it out, removed the label, and cut off the top.  Then I took several paper towels, folded them to be almost as tall of the bottle, then rolled the paper towels up to form spiral.

Finally, I put the orange seeds between the outermost layers of the spiral, and added enough water to fully wet the paper towels.

The picture shows what is all looked like on day one.
I'll add picture here as the seeds germinate. 

Wish me luck!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Book Review: "Dragon Slippers" by Jessica Day George

Dragon Slippers (Dragon Slippers, #1)Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I bought this book for my daughter, and ended up reading it on her recommendation. What a wonderful choice for both of us!!!

"Dragon Slippers" by Jessica Day George introduces a new world, medieval in technology (they haven't discovered steam power yet) but modern in attitudes (women own businesses and have political power). The main character is a young girl, Creel, whose misguided aunt tries to sacrifice her to the local dragon. Through a bit of clever talk, Creel agrees to leave the dragon's cave if the dragon gives her a pair of shoes - hence the name of the book, "Dragon Slippers".

I found the plot to move forward at an even pace, the story to be believable, and the characters to be multifaceted. Ms. George foreshadows well, so that the reader anticipates some of the action without being able to guess the exact sequence of events.

Overall, I enjoyed reading the book and I look forward to reading the rest of the series.

View all my reviews

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Book Review: "Raven Cursed" by Faith Hunter

Raven Cursed (Jane Yellowrock, #4)Raven Cursed by Faith Hunter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In "Raven Cursed", Faith Hunter takes Jane Yellowrock into new territory, as Jane deals with a vampire summit while simultaneously trying to avoid Ricky Bo and figuring out the story behind Evagelina's strange behavior.

I like the fast pace in the book, as well as a few well-played plot twists. Jane grows as a character here, as she walks on shaky emotional ground with anyone she cares about. And I mean *anyone*! From Rick, to Molly and her entire family, to the mercenaries she works with, the story rocks Jane's relationship with them. I find it quite interesting who is still there for Jane at the end of the novel.

Ms. Hunter ties together elements and threads from previous Yellowrock novels, to create a masterpiece of storytelling. Because of this, I highly recommend reading the entire Jane Yellowrock series from the beginning before reading this book. Otherwise, you will be missing key plot points.

On the whole, I loved this novel!

View all my reviews

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Responsibility in Society

As with drinking and driving, our society in general has drifted from individual responsibility to passing the buck of responsibility to whoever is least able to defend themselves against the accusations.  And by "least able to defend themselves" I mean poor people, immigrants, and anyone else who the legal system treats unfairly.

The trend starts in childhood. Children are not held responsible for their own behaviors.  When a child earns a bad grade in school, parents ask the teacher why she gave their child a bad grade.  When a child performs poorly in a sporting event, the parents' blaming encompasses the other teammates, the other parents, and the coaches, but not once do they even consider that maybe their little ray of sunshine just needs more practice.

On the flip side, a good grade or good behavior report from a child causes the parents to claim credit for "doing a good job".  Either way, the child never gets credit (or censor) for grades or behavior.

As a child grows up, the parents remove more and more responsibility from a child and assume it themselves.  Parents watch over homework, pre-grading papers to find and fix any errors.  Teenagers have no real privacy, as their parents track them through GPS on cell phones and stalking the kids' social media.  These trends continue through college, with professors getting phone calls about "failing"  poor students.  I even read an article about parents submitting resumes and attending job interviews with their children!

When will this generation ever learn to be responsible for themselves?

The young adult generation shows the damages of this type of child-rearing.  I hear people complain about cops who give them tickets (driving 15 mph over the speed limit notwithstanding).  It's the boss' fault if someone gets fired - not the fact that the person spent 4-5 hours a day texting and perusing social media.  (Note:  If you have to hide your cell phone from either coworkers or your boss when they want to see you, you might be messaging or using FB too much.)

While no one wants to admit to a mistake, no one is perfect.  Therefore, everyone makes a mistake.  But instead of owning up to a mistake and moving forward, it feels as though a vast number of people refuse to own up to their actions, steadfastly blaming everyone but themselves.

I know that the answer for future generations starts with parents who let their children assume responsibility for their own lives.  But I struggle with how to help the intermediate generations, the ones raised on pedestals.  How do we get these people off their pedestals and back on solid ground?  

Wordless Wednesday - Very Old Family Photo

My Two Twin Aunts, with My Dad Peeking Between Them

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Insanity of the Law for Drinking and Driving

A while back, I read a news article about a woman facing jail time for giving her car keys to a drunk man.

The twist in this story?

The woman knew she was too intoxicated to drive, so she asked her boyfriend if he could drive for her.  He said yes, had a car accident, and now she's at fault.  The logic here is that the boyfriend was too drunk to refuse to accept the car keys, so the law holds the other drunk person at fault.  The worse part here is that if the woman had driven her own car and gotten into a car accident, she would be facing less severe penalties.

I wonder if we, as a society, could get more screwed up over drinking and driving.

In my opinion, the problem is that we view the decision of whether to drive or not at the point of departure.  But the real decision point is not after a person drinks, but before.  A person is responsible for arranging transportation to and from a bar (or house or wherever) before that person takes a single drink.  If a person chooses not to make arrangements, then it doesn't matter what the circumstances are afterwards.  It doesn't matter whether a bartender serves them several drinks.  It doesn't matter if that person downs part of a keg.  By not providing for transportation while sober, that person is guilty of drinking and driving.  Period.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Book Review: "Requiem for a Redneck", by John P. Schulz

Requiem for a RedneckRequiem for a Redneck by John P. Schulz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"Requiem for a Redneck" follows the life of John the Plant Man for about 10 years. The book begins with the death of Harce, then the story rewinds to the circumstances where before John meets Harce.

The story presented a colorful cast of characters in the book, and as I saw these people through the eyes of John, it felt as though I knew everyone as well as the protagonist did. If John knew someone well, I felt like I knew that person just as well, likewise for acquaintances.

The author, John P. Schulz, adds a Southern tone to his writing, and I hear the accent when anyone spoke. The dialogue, the character names, even the descriptive passage transport you to the mountains in northern Georgia.

I recommend this book to anyone interested in stories about the trials and tribulations of regular people.

View all my reviews

Freaky Friday News: Unicorn Licenses

Los Angeles County Gives a Young Resident a Unicorn License Last month, a resident of Los Angeles county, Miss Madeline, sent a handwritte...