Sunday, February 29, 2004

Say Cheese!
Questions from Sunday Brunch.

1. What type(s) of camera do you have?

Digital Canon A70 PowerShot. A very simple camera to use. I love it.

2. Do you store your pictures in a box, photo album or on your computer?
I have many pictures in albums, in boxes, and on my computer.

Before getting the digital camera last spring, I was the type of photographer who would occasionally take some pictures and then not develop the film for several years - or never.

Now I take pictures, load them onto my computer, get rid of everything except the good ones, upload the good ones to Picturetrail, and order prints from Picturetrail. So easy!

3. What is your favorite thing to take pictures of?
Looking at my picture collection, it's obvious that granddaughter Kimmy and my dogs are my favorite picture topics.

I also take pictures of everything I knit so I can share my finished projects with my Yahoo knitting groups. When I'm knitting for someone else, I like to take a picture of the project in process and email it to the future recipient so they can anticipate the finished article.

When I'm enjoying an event or holiday, I forget to take pictures. This past Christmas, I have one picture of granddaughter Kimmy just as she is getting ready to open her first gift. After that, I was having too much fun to think about the camera sitting there on the couch. It was a very nice Christmas and I'm not sorry I didn't see it through the camera lens.

4. What is the biggest size photo you have hanging in your home?
5x7, and it's not hanging. It's in a frame and sitting on a shelf.

5. Do you like having your picture taken?
Usually I feel neutral about it - unless I'm looking really bad, and then I duck!

I've learned that when I don't take the camera with me, I'm sorry.

The latest example of this was Monette's cataract surgery a few weeks ago. I thought about taking the camera and came to the erroneous conclusion that there was no reason to have it. They put her in the most ridiculous cap and then wrote a big "YES" over her eye with permanent marker. I so wished I had brought the camera. There will be a second chance next month when she has the other eye done. I'm charging up the batteries now.

By the way, Monette has given permission for this amusing picture to be taken.

Do you find that taking pictures enhances an event or detracts from your experience of an event?

Saturday, February 28, 2004

Ask Violet
Where Violet takes questions from recent Seasons of Violet comments, answers them, and then poses a question of her own.

Question from Monette -
How has retirement differed (or not) from your expectations?

This question is worthy of a post of its own, so I'll answer later.

Does anyone else care to hear the answer to this? Well, it's my blog and I'm going to write it anyway. No promises on when, though.

Question from Marsha -
Do any of your dogs have a problem with other dogs in their classes?

My little dogs are pretty good natured, but some of the other dogs at doggy school had to learn to get along with their classmates. The dogs in each class get to know each other and look forward to seeing each other every week.

Gail, our trainer, has worked with some very nasty dogs and turned them into sweeties. Sometimes it takes a few private lessons.

As I'm sure you know, Australian Cattle Dogs like your Sheila are known for their "attitude". That's their natural personality. A good trainer understands this and works with it.

Do cats ever go to school and/or play together?

A Second question from Marsha -
What is this Flylady thing?

Flylady is a Yahoo Group for people who have trouble with clutter and housecleaning because they are perfectionists and/or easily sidetracked. The group has over 200,000 members.

Flylady has wonderful slogans that keep me going when nothing else could.

Your home did not get dirty in one day and it will not get clean in a day either.

Baby steps. Baby steps.

You can do anything for 15 minutes.

Housework done imperfectly still blesses your family.


Is anyone else a Flybaby?

Question from Monette and Carrie -
What is a meme?

Definition from I Am Pariah - The Memes List, a website that lists over fifty memes, at least three for each day of the week:
meme n (mëm): A unit of cultural information, such as a cultural practice or idea, that is transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another. From the Greek mimëma, something imitated, from mimeisthai, to imitate.

From the online Merriam-Webster:
Main Entry: meme
Pronunciation: 'mEm
Function: noun
Etymology: alteration of mimeme, from mim- (as in mimesis) + -eme
: an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture

In Blogspeak, a meme is an idea that is shared and passed from blog to blog, like a question posted in one blog and answered in many other blogs. The Friday Five, Sunday Brunch, and Blogger Idol are memes.

What is your favorite meme?

Question from What's On . . . Right Now? (a meme) -
What's On the front page of your newspaper Right Now?

From the front page of the Saturday, February 28, 2004, Kalamazoo Gazette:

Portage's Brittany Potts is young voice of democracy
A five-minute speech entitled "My Commitment to America's Future" recently gave a Portage Central High School sophomore best-in-the-state speech contest honors and went a long way to affirming her choice of careers.

Brittany Potts, daughter of Lanny and Barbara Potts of Portage, is Michigan's winner of the Voices of Democracy contest sponsored by the Michigan Veterans of Foreign Wars.

She is pointing toward a career as a lawyer or senator and plans to major in political science after finishing high school.

It's a slow news day in SW Michigan. We like that. What's news where you live?

Any questions for Violet? Leave your questions and/or answers in the comments.

Friday, February 27, 2004

Lego Violet

Picture of Lego Me
Here's something fun. Go to Mini Mizer and make yourself in Legos.

Lego ladies only come in one body size right now, but if Lego Violet keeps eating those healthy sandwiches she will be looking slimmer in no time.

Monette Music at the Miracle Movie
Picture of Miracle Movie Poster
My brother Dave Monette is one of several geniuses we have in the family. According to Wynton Marsalis, Dave is "the greatest trumpet maker in the world".

Dave's friend, Mark Isham, composed the film score for the new Disney movie "Miracle" with "outrageous trumpet parts" to be played by Calvin Price, the principal trumpet in the movie's orchestra. Calvin plays them on his new PRANA STC-1 C trumpet made by brother Dave.

Monette trumpets are played by professional trumpet players all over the world. This isn't the first time one has been played in the movies, but it's the latest and I wanted to take this opportunity to brag about my baby brother.

Now, when you see this movie and hear the trumpet, you can impress your friends by telling them that you read the blog of the sister of the guy who made the trumpet. Wow.

And Now For the Rest of the Prayer
Everyone knows the Serenity Prayer.
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.

But there's more. . .
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as the pathway to peace.
Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it.
Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His will.
That I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with Him forever in the next.

This site gives a brief history of the prayer and discusses the different thoughts on who the author might be.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Violet's Top 5 Blogger Idol Posts for Week 6
Since I'm not a frequent movie viewer, most of the entries that addressed individual movies were a puzzle to me. Of the entries I read, these five caught my attention. A different five may catch yours, especially if you're a big movie fan.

Lots of good blog reading in the Blogger Idol non-competition. A complete list of entries is here: blogger_idol-1.gif

  • The Green Man. The storytelling that determines our culture is now controlled by movie studios?

  • Kristyk. Mother thought she was going to watch a movie. Ha!

  • Quantum Tea. Movies that should never be made. So glad I missed most of these.

  • Our Hangout. A very touching little short story.

  • Cliff Between the Lines. Running the Film Backwards. A look at what it's like to live with Bipolar disorder, type I, rapid cycling. Don't let this description turn you off. As usual with Cliff's writing, this is a very well written and interesting blog post. Go, enjoy, and learn.

Which one is your favorite?

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Additional Rant on Passion Movie
As I was scanning channels on the car radio this afternoon, I heard an ad for "Passion" merchandise. For $21 you can buy a book of pictures from the movie with related Bible verses.

I'm usually unflappable, but that stunned me. I'm so glad I'm not giving these people a penny of my money.

What else are they selling? I'm afraid to hear the answer.

I'm finding the commercialization of my Savior's death very very offensive.

Blogger Idol, Week 6
Blogger Idol is the brainchild of Darren at LivingRoom.

Each Sunday (Australian time) Darren announces a theme for the week. We have three days to work that theme into a blog post. We post the entry in our own blog and leave a link in Darren's blog so we can read what each other wrote.

If you want to read the other entries, the links are here. blogger_idol-1.gif

I will read as many of the entries as possible. Later in the week I will list five entries of note.

This weeks theme is ‘Movies’.

Very Personal Thoughts on Passion of The Christ
I'm always uneasy about viewing any physical portrayal of Jesus. That includes pictures, statues, and especially Jesus in the movies.

A movie representation of Christ sticks in my mind and overrides the images and impressions of Christ I have from reading the Bible.

When I worship, I don't want to be thinking of a movie scene. The Jesus in Passion of the Christ is Mel Gibson's Jesus, not my Jesus.

I've read that this movie is very memorable and intense. Is there a chance that James Caviezel, the actor who plays Jesus, will become the real Jesus for people who view it?

To see or not see Passion of The Christ is a personal decision that each Christian needs to prayerfully consider. Because of my sensitivity to movies, I will not see it.

Many people who would never consent to sit through a presentation of the gospel message will attend Passion of the Christ because it is the popular thing to do.

I pray . . .
  • God uses this movie mightily to reach those people with the story of Christ's sacrifice for our sins.
  • Those who see it are brought closer to the Lord through what they see.
  • Those who will have trouble coping with the visual violence and suffering will have the wisdom to know it and the courage to stay away.
  • People who see this movie will not visualize James Caviezel every time they open their Bibles.
  • Viewers will use the images and emotions in this movie to initiate a personal relationship with the real Jesus.

Monday, February 23, 2004

Several of the bloggers who do Blogger Idol also do a meme called Sunday Brunch. The questions look like fun, so I'm going to give it a try.

A sick Sunday Brunch computer delayed this week's questions, so here they are on Monday.

These answers are going to show my age. That doesn't bother me. Here goes. . .

Sunday Brunch, The Concert Circuit
1. How far would you or have you traveled to see a concert?

For myself, probably not more than 30 miles. If someone I love wanted to see a concert, I might travel just about anywhere.

2. What is the best concert you've seen?
In the seventies DH Bob and I went to see Johnny Cash and June Carter. I can still shut my eyes and hear Johnny making the Orange Blossom Special come alive on his harmonica.

This was back in the days when a person could attend a concert without going deaf. There were no special effects and no lip syncing. Just plain good music performed with excellence by two very talented, humble people.

3. What is the worst concert you've seen?
In the late sixties, Merle Haggard and Bonnie Owens. Merle is a short little guy and whenever Bonnie was on the stage with him, she took off her shoes - on stage. She was a much better musician than Merle, but he dominated the show and didn't let her do much.

The second half of this show was Glenn Campbell. He was excellent. So sad that he had/has so many personal problems he never reached his true potential. He's still alive. It could happen yet.

4. Have you met a performer after a concert?
No. As a certified introvert, I'm happy with this answer.

5. What singer would you like to meet most?
Tennessee Ernie Ford. I think Tennessee Ernie Ford sings hymns like God Himself might sound. I'd like to thank him for the pleasure of listening to his recordings and I'd like to know if he really had the faith or if he just sang that way.

Since the Peapicker died in 1991, I guess our meeting will have to wait until the next life.

What's the best or worst concert you've ever attended?

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Where Are the Memes?
I was planning to spend the afternoon answering a five question meme called Sunday Brunch while letting the new Blogger Idol topic incubate in my subconscious.

Neither plan is working out.

It appears from past posts that Jeanne who puts out the Sunday Brunch questions is normally reliable about posting on Sunday morning, but she hasn't posted yet today.

Darren of LivingRoom, the Blogger Idol mastermind, has never been late before. He seems to be a very reliable sort of person so I'm concerned that something may have happened to him. Hope it was something good.

Picture of partially done CIC shawl
I could think of a challenging topic and write a dazzling post without using a meme, but instead I've been knitting on the shawl for CIC caregivers.

The caregivers wear the shawls as a top layer of warmth in the poorly heated orphanages where they work.

This is the Candle Flame pattern knit in worsted weight Peace Fleece. The color is Georgia Rose, named after the wild roses that grow high in the mountain valleys of Soviet Georgia.

The shawl is almost a third done. It is going to take 16 ounces of Peace Fleece. That equates to 800 yards.

When finished, it will measure approximately six feet across the top. The Eastern Europeans wear them draped around the shoulders, the ends crossed around thier middles and tied in the back at their waist.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

Ask Violet
Where Violet takes questions from recent Seasons of Violet comments, answers them, and then poses a question of her own.

Question from Monette -
...childrens' book. A new career for Violet and her co-authors?

No. I am not writing a children's book and I am not looking for a new career.

How much does it pay? Do you know any publishers?

A Second question from Monette -
How about Pappy and the dumbbells?

No progress. He gets very excited about licking the cheese off the dumbbell bar, though. Gail the trainer thinks that's progress. I think it's nice that he's having some fun with the dumbbell.
What did your dog learn at Briarwood Dog Training Academy?

He learned how to lick cheese off a dumbbell.

You had to pay money to teach him to lick cheese off a dumbbell?

Question from Scooby-do (a curly all over poodle who also longs for the sun) -
Princess Sunny, are you single?

We don't usually let Sunny participate in internet dating.

Do you have references?

Any questions for Violet? Leave your questions and/or answers in the comments.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

What Computer Desk?
What's On...Right Now? is a quick and easy one question meme to do on Wednesdays. Some previous week questions: "What's On ...your 'MUST DO before the end of the week'... list Right Now?", "What's On ...your mousepad... Right Now? (the design on it)".

This weeks question is "What's On ...your computer desk... Right Now?"

Picture of me sitting on the loveseat with my laptop and Sunny
My laptop and I sit together on the loveseat. How appropriate, because I love my laptop and I love it that the little dogs can hop up, one on either side of me, and snuggle in while I'm working.

So, for the purpose of answering this meme, I will call the loveseat my "computer desk".

My computer desk is covered with a flannel sheet to protect it from canine hair and muddy paws. The sheet gets washed often. When company comes, off it comes.

The little blue book on my left is my calendar where I keep track of my life. It contains all my appointments, passwords, lists, and serves as my Flylady control journal.

The pile of paper on the back of the loveseat is my severance papers. I need to get them all organized and figure out what benefits I have coming and what I'm going to do with them. I've been procrastinating this task, but not much longer. It's staged on the back of the loveseat now, tapping on my shoulder for attention.

The html book on the left loveseat arm was a birthday present from a good friend. I keep it handy and use it often.

Sunny, the little dog, is pouting because she wanted to write the Seasons of Violet post again today and I told her, "No!". If she wants to write more than one blog post a week, she can start her own blog.

She's also pouting because I won't let her email Scooby-do, the Poodle who left her a comment on her Blogger Idol entry.

My mousepad has a picture of a woodduck, and that thing behind my head is a Kleenex box.

I'm sorry that Pappy isn't in this picture. He likes to sit up on the back of the loveseat and snuggle in my neck. He's getting a little jealous that Sunny is getting all the blog attention. I plan to remedy that soon.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Violet's Top 5 Blogger Idol Posts for Week 5
There were so many good entries this week I had a difficult time selecting five. A complete list of entries is here: blogger_idol-1.gif

This week I selected five short stories:

Which one is your favorite?

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Blogger Idol, Week 5
Blogger Idol is the brainchild of Darren at LivingRoom.

Each Sunday (Australian time) Darren announces a theme for the week. We have three days to work that theme into a blog post. We post the entry in our own blog and leave a link in Darren's blog so we can read what each other wrote.

If you want to read the other entries, the links are here. blogger_idol-1.gif

I will read as many of the entries as possible. Later in the week Violet's Blogger Idol awards will be given to five entries of note.

This weeks theme is ‘Picture this'.

Guest Post by Sunny, Princess of Violet Acres
We all know that dogs can't talk. Bet you didn't know that dogs can write Blogger Idol entries. Well, picture this . . .

Picture of Sunny
Hello. I'm Sunny, the Princess of Violet Acres.

I'm a very small dog. My favorite place to be is somewhere warm and comfy, like Mom's lap.

When people ask Mom what kind of dog I am, she just laughs.

I came from the pound, so whatever kind of dog they have at the pound is what I am.

Picture of Sunny in the Grass

Sometimes I have a wonderful dream about warm sunny days, green grass, and open fields.

Life used to be that way a long time ago - before all the leaves fell off the trees and the cold, white stuff started falling out of the sky.

Picture of Sunny Listening
I think I hear Mom calling to go out for a walk and I'm not sure I want to go.

It's warm in the house. I like to be warm.

See my curly chest hair? It's a snow magnet. I have to wear a stupid looking coat when I go outside or I get covered with ice balls.

When Mom says it's "around zero" I know that I can't walk very far without my feet hurting.

Picture of Sunny Praying
Dear God, this is your faithful canine Sunny.

You are a great God.

Thank you for my wonderful home.

Where did the leaves go?

Where did the grass go?

Where did the flowers go?

As soon as it pleases you, Lord, little dogs with curly chests need the snow to melt and the sun to shine and the earth to return to normal.


Picture of Sunny Sleeping
Until then, I think I'll go back to sleep.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Looking For a Good Read?
These blog selections are for when you have time to sit back, sip a drink, and read for a while. Enjoy.

Cliff Between the Lines has become one of my favorite blogs.

Cliff writes in an easy to read, intelligent style with a subtle sense of humor.

I could point you to any of his posts for a good read, but I've selected his travel log of Ecuador for your entertainment.

I know, I know. Travel log sounds boring. It's not. Give it a try.

Exotic in Thin Air (Part One)

"I think it was right about this point that I realized we had lost our English-Spanish phrase book. It began to dawn on us that we were in a Spanish speaking country, and had no idea how to speak to anyone at all.

This was not good. Not at all.

So, we went into a book store, looking for a phrase book. Guess what, if you are already in the other country, you can't get a phrase book! What you can get is one of their phrase books."

Exotic in Thin Air (Part 2, Taxis)
Exotic in Thin Air (Part 3, The Pan American)

Looks like there are more installments to be posted. I can hardly wait!

Do you love well written stories of God working in someone's life while they are unaware of what is happening?

Matthias at Correction writes of encounters he had with a mysterious tree, fear, dread, pain, death, ecstasy, and God. Very long but never boring. He calls it The Showerhead Conversion.
"The skeptic in me wants to say that over a lifetime everyone is bound to have experienced some event that they can't categorize, something that seems miraculous but simply is not. Wants to say that given enough time, the improbable becomes the inevitable."

All bloggers love comments. Please consider leaving these writers a short comment to let them know you read their accounts.

Your comment doesn't have to be profound. "Thank you for sharing." is always appreciated.

If you enjoyed these, please let me know. Violet is no exception to the "All bloggers love comments" rule.

Saturday, February 14, 2004

Ask Violet
Where Violet takes questions from recent Seasons of Violet comments, answers them, and then poses a question of her own.

Question from Carrie -
I remember watching The Beatles on television with Violet in 1964 -- any memories of that event?

No memories at all. I would have been nineteen years old. I would have guessed that I was out with a boyfriend that night and missed the whole thing.

Since you remember that I watched it, can you tell me what I thought of it? What did you think of it?

Question from Monette -
Am I alone in such oops?

(Before asking the question, Monette had described two occasions where she wrote down the wrong word and date.)

Goodness no you're not alone! I have an email magic trick where my typos don't show up until the minute I hit the SEND button. I have a blogging magic trick where my typos don't show up until after I publish my writing to the world.

It's less embarrassing when you have a good excuse. I blame my writing errors on my trifocals.

Isn't there something you can blame the oops on other than yourself?

Another question from Carrie -
What about asking for an employer who allows dogs to come to work, or who provides a dog daycare in the building?

This sounds like so much fun that I can't believe I didn't think of it first! I will add it to the list and then make sure I don't apply for a job where they do research on dogs.

That's not just a bad dream. We have at least three such research places within thirty miles of Violet Acres. I can't stand to think about it.

Back on the light side, do you think the sound of a squeaking rubber turtle will disturb my coworkers?

Question from June at What's On...Right Now? -
What's On your Valentines Day Wish List Right Now?

I had it yesterday. A wonderful homemade cream puff with chocolate syrup poured over it.

One advantage of dieting is that treats like that cream puff are rarities to be savored. It was so rich I couldn't eat all of it, so I brought the rest home to enjoy later. It's gone now. Back to the diet.

What kind of Valentine goodies are you eating?

Any questions for Violet? Leave your questions and/or answers in the comments.

Michigan Winter on Violet's Road
Picture of Winter Sunset Down Violet's Country Road
Last night I took the camera when I went out to get the mail and shot this picture of our road and the sunset.

We live in rural SW Michigan, USA, on a dirt road in a wooded swamp. The properties on our road are typically five to ten acres. Most of them have at least one spring fed pond. We have two.

The second pond is very small and hidden in the far back corner of the property, so I usually just refer to "the pond", singular, the much larger pond on the east side of the house.

Once the road gets the first substantial snow packed down on it, it stays white the rest of the winter. It's either slippery when it's cold or slushy when it's warm, but it doesn't thaw back down to the dirt until spring is really here. The grayish tracks you see in the picture are ice.

Our five acres is split by a fast running, cold, shallow, sandy creek. The house sits on two acres on the road side of the creek. The driveway starts right before the lower right corner of this picture. I was standing in front of the driveway when I took the picture.

The Back Three acres is "natural" except for some paths mowed through the vegetation so we can walk around out there. The dogs and I have a Back Three loop where we go for a walk several times a day.

We have deer, fox, muskrats, raccoons, opossums, little red squirrels, big red squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks. One morning the dogs and I walked out onto the Back Three and surprised a coyote. The coyotes are new since we moved here thirteen years ago. They are multiplying rapidly in our county.

It would be impossible to list all the birds. Notable are the Blue Heron that hunt in the ponds and creek and the wild turkeys that run around in flocks of a dozen or more. In the early spring the male ducks come to the pond and entertain us with duck fights as a prelude to the nesting season.

There are a few beautiful new houses on our road costing many hundreds of thousands of dollars. (That's a luxury house in rural Michigan.) There are also trailers, and everything in between. We are one of the in between houses - a very modest, small red brick ranch house that is cozy as can be in the Michigan winter.

Friday, February 13, 2004

How Lovely
I haven't posted a quiz in several months, but how could a knitter resist a quiz called "What Kind of Yarn Are You?"

You are Merino Wool.
You are Merino Wool.
You are very easygoing and sweet. People like to
keep you close because you are so softhearted.
You love to be comfortable and warm from your
head to your toes.

What kind of yarn are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

The answers range from cashmere to dishcloth cotton.

I love it that I'm a soft and cozy wool. And the swatch is even in one of my favorite colors.

It's true that I'm feeling mellow and happy today. Mom and I went out to lunch and had a wonderful chocolate sauce covered homemade cream puff for dessert. That would have been enough to turn any old scratchy wool into a soft merino. Back to the diet now, but the memories linger on.

The quiz is only nine fun questions. Give it a try and let me know what kind of yarns are reading Seasons of Violet.

When the Red Red Robin Comes Bob Bob Bobbing Along
Picture of a robin
If I'm very observant and use a little imagination, I can see signs of spring. Yes, there is a foot of snow and it's not melting yet. In fact, we have a cold air mass moving in this evening that's going to take the temperatures back down into the single digits Fahrenheit. (That's double digit minus degrees Celsius.)

But the days are getting longer. And the birds that wintered over in Michigan are starting to practice their mating songs.

The classic sign of spring in Michigan is the return of the robins. In SW Michigan the daring, macho male robins arrive the first week in March. It's a thrill to spot the first one and know that spring has arrived - even if statistics show it is going to snow three or four more times.

Knitting the Winter Away
Meanwhile, waiting for the snow to melt and the robins to arrive, I continue to knit. Our CIC project for February is to knit socks for very young children. I have one pair done and a second pair about a third done. I'm planning on three pair this month. They're quick and easy with 24 or 28 stitches cast on with worsted weight wool.

The CIC project for March is to knit a caregiver's shawl. I've always thought a shawl would be a bother to wear. How do you keep it on when you're tending young children? Does it require hands so it doesn't fall off every time you move?

According to the CIC members who travel to Eastern Europe, the caregivers in the orphanages appreciate the shawls and like to wear them for extra warmth in the poorly heated buildings. I have great compassion for anyone who lives in cold conditions, so I will assume the caregivers know how to keep the shawls on their shoulders and I will knit as requested.

The shawls are triangular with five or six feet on the long side. That's a lot of yarn and a lot of knitting, so I'm only planning to make one. And, when it's done, it will be spring.

Do you have robins where you live? When do they arrive?

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Violet's Top 5 Blogger Idol Posts for Week 4
There were many excellent entries. These 5 caught my fancy. A different 5 may catch yours. A complete list of entries is here blogger_idol-1.gif.

Violet's Blogger Idol Award for Making Me Squirm goes to Ian's Messy Desk. A simple, convicting list of everyday ways we exhibit the Seven Deadly Sins. Ooops.

Violet's Blogger Idol Award for Best Drinking Story goes to Cliff Between the Lines. According to Cliff's account, he was always sober and in control so he could bail his drunken friends out of hilarious situations. Do we believe this?

Violet's Blogger Idol Award for Biggest Laugh in Fewest Words goes to Backyard Missionary. Hey, I know these people! I go to a connnnnnnservative church with some of them. They're over a hundred years old now and still haven't laughed.

Violet's Blogger Idol Award for Heartwarming, Cute, and Funny goes to Kristyk. And the award is for just one picture. Check it out and smile.

Violet's Blogger Idol Award for Exposing the Tasteless goes to joshua.michael. Three pictorial examples of tacky Christian merchandising. Is this stuff for real?

What have you seen lately that's completely tasteless?

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Blogger Idol, Week 4
Blogger Idol is the brainchild of Darren at LivingRoom.

Each Sunday (Australian time) Darren announces a theme for the week. We have three days to work that theme into a blog post. We post the entry in our own blog and leave a link in Darren's blog so we can read what each other wrote.

If you want to read the other entries, the links are here. blogger_idol-1.gif

Over a hundred bloggers are participating. I will read as many of the entries as possible. Later in the week Violet's Blogger Idol awards will be given to five entries of note.

This weeks theme is ‘Ooops’.

I sent my resume out with the following cover letter. Only later did I learn that I should have waited to tell them about my physical requirements until after the job offer was made and accepted. Ooops!

Dear Hiring Manager:

Your advertisement for a Systems Analyst fits my experience and qualifications perfectly, and I am writing to express my interest in and enthusiasm for the position.

My career achievements have included designing and implementing an order distribution system for a large pharmaceutical company. (Which wasn't large enough and got acquired by Pfizer.)

In addition to my desire to join your team, you will find I am a dedicated and driven professional whose recent accomplishments include:
  • Creating an html table which, for no apparent reason, displays a screen of empty space before the table appears.

  • Knitting five vests and four pair of socks for CIC, Children in Common. 200% of last years output was produced in the first month of this year.

  • Cleaning out the medicine cabinet. Number of bottles of "stuff" was reduced more than 50%.

  • Writing four entries for Blogger Idol. In Week 2 my entry on Freedom was randomly selected for a link by Onionboy.

Due to my advanced experience and age, I have a few basic physical requirements for productive employment.

  • Large office with windows and door.

  • Ergonomically designed work area specially designed for reading my favorite morning comics on the internet while drinking a cup of coffee.

  • Variance on the dress code to allow jeans and athletic shoes.

  • Employee gym for use after the morning coffee. Must be in same building as my office. Same floor is desirable, but not mandatory.

  • Unmonitored internet connection for updating my blog and reading Blogger Idol entries.

  • Reduced hours. I need to drive in the daylight when the highway is not busy. 10:00 am until 2:00 would be perfect.

  • Tasty Weight Watchers 7 point lunch prepared from scratch each day by an Italian chef.

  • Company paid high speed internet access at home to expedite any blogging I can't complete during work hours.

Although I'm sure all your management is accommodating, I do reserve the right to tell them to "buzz off" if they present me with unwanted assignments, challenges, or opportunities.

I'm sure you understand that at my age I can not work to deadlines and I don't take night calls.

Go to Seasons of Violet and leave your questions in the comments. I will follow up with you in a few days to answer any questions you may have.


Since this job didn't pan out, I'm still looking. If you are interested in hiring me, please leave your questions/comments here.

Saturday, February 07, 2004

Ask Violet
Where Violet takes questions from recent Seasons of Violet comments, answers them, and then poses a question of her own.

Question from Carrie -
But, I thought you were much too introverted to attend a blogger convention?

As I said, I'd love to attend technical sessions and learn more about what I'm doing. I didn't mean to imply I was going to talk to anybody.

Were you thinking I was going to talk to the other bloggers?

Question from Monette -
How is Sunny doing with the dumbbells?

Picture of Sunny with the dumbbell in her mouth
Take your fingers out from under my chin so I can spit this thing out!

She is learning to pick the dumbbell up off the floor. I have to lower her head by pulling on her collar and manually put the dumbbell in her mouth. She does open her mouth by herself. She doesn't hate it as much as Pappy, but she sure doesn't like it.

Is it characteristic of the Papillon breed to not like dumbbell games?

Another question from Carrie -
Would you like to run a music festival?

No. I am in partial hibernation after a busy lifetime of going to school, working, raising children - sometimes all three at the same time. It's a wonderful, peaceful interlude before I get busy again and I'm not volunteering for anything.

What is an adjustable piano bench as mentioned in your comment? Doesn't that question disqualify me for running the festival?

Any questions for Violet? Leave your questions and/or answers in the comments.

Friday, February 06, 2004

Miscellaneous Updates on Life
It is winter in Michigan. This afternoon we had what the weatherpeople call "winter mix", freezing drizzle and snow. Most natives have either fled to a sunnier climate or they are going about whining, "I'm sick of winter." The more positive natives are saying, "I'm ready for spring." At this point in the season, very few people are still loving the snow, ice, cold, and short days.

The CIC vest challenge resulted in 312 vests. They will be taken to orphanages in Eastern Europe to help keep little children warm in the poorly heated buildings. In February the focus is on producing toddler sized wool socks. My first February pair is on the needles.

Earlier in the week I finished knitting a pair of Purple Opal Lollipop socks for myself. They are my generic plain wide ribbing pattern that shows off the yarn colors and I'm very happy with them. They're very similar Mom's Purple Opal Lollipop socks pictured in the January 24 post, so I'm not going to post a picture.

The next sock project is a pair of yellow Opal Magic socks for daughter Heather. The Magic has wide stripes and I'm playing around with a seed stitch based stitch pattern to show off the colors.

I faithfully counted Weight Watcher points in January and only lost a pound. Not happy about that, but not disappointed, either. I only have five more pounds to lose to reach my goal. If the pounds are going to come off at the rate of one a month, that's still better than gaining weight. I feel great, I'm not hungry, and I'm gradually increasing my walking as indicated by the pedometer. What's the hurry?

The dogs are getting used to all the little walks we've been taking. They come and stare at me when it's time to go out. They still think it's a novelty to have me home in the daytime. They're napping less than they used to nap and they're getting more exercise. DH Bob tells me that when I leave home, they each find a quiet place and sleep the whole time I'm gone.

Some of the Michigan winter days have been a walking challenge with the wind chill below zero (F) and the deep snow. Several nasty weather days the dogs have headed back to the house before I was ready to stop.

Dumbbell Progress
Gail, the truly magical dog trainer, took Pappy Thursday night, put the dumbbell in front of his mouth, gave his collar a jerk and told him to "Take it". He took the dumbbell, and held it firmly in his mouth. He was so impressed with her authority that he didn't want to let it go. She had to tug it out of his mouth. Pappy avoided Gail the rest of the evening.

I watched all this with open mouth amazement. I've got his number now. We're on our way to dumbbell stardom.

Begging for Comments
The Friday Five questions I used to answer frequently generated interesting discussion in the comments. That's not happening with the Blogger Idol posts. I love getting comments, so the lack of comments has my attention. I'm going to do one more week of Blogger Idol and then decide if I want to continue. Any comments?

I was planning to answer questions from the comments on Saturday, but there aren't any.

Is there anything on any subject you'd like to ask Violet?

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Violet's Top 5 Blogger Idol Picks for Week 3
There were many excellent entries. These 5 caught my fancy. A different 5 may catch yours. A complete list of entries is here blogger_idol-1.gif.

Violet's Blogger Idol Award for Depressing Poetry goes to The Green Man. The human condition can best be communicated in poetry. The Green Man does it well.

Violet's Blogger Idol Award for an Anti-Travel Log goes to Cliff Between the Lines. I just crossed the Bahamas off the list of places I want to visit.

Violet's Blogger Idol Award for Different Point of View goes to Skywalking. A day in the life of a Pastor's Bible. Very creative.

Violet's Blogger Idol Award for Imaginative Empathy goes to Quality Control. A thoughtful example of looking at someone else and trying to imagine what their life is like. In this case it's a high school janitor.

Violet's Blogger Idol Award for Excellent Photography goes to The Village. Amanda does an interesting photo essay of her day. If you have dialup, it will take a few minutes to load. (Her February 3 post on Krispy Kremes was torture for this dieter to read, but I didn't hold it against her.)

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Doggy School Update
Picture of Pappy Ignoring the Dumbbell
Are you going to torture me with that dumbbell again?

Dumbbell training is not going well. Pappy clamps his mouth shut everytime he sees it. Since he is a rescue dog with a sad past, we're not forcing him to "Take it".

Gail the trainer is kind and wise. She agrees this isn't worth the use of force. Doggy school is supposed to be fun. The latest plan is to spread soft cheese on the dumbbell and let him lick it off. The theory is that he will get comfortable opening his mouth in the presence of the dumbbell and eventually will hold the dumbbell in his mouth.

I'm to the point I don't care if he ever takes the dumbbell in his mouth, but eating cheese serves a purpose. It gives us something fun to do in class while the other dogs are jumping over the hurdle to retrieve their dumbbells.

The Perfect Gift
Everyone at doggy school is enjoying Monthly Doos, the dog poop calendar from Watch Your Step Productions (Slogans: "Everything is dootiful in its own way." and "Monthly Doos. When you care enough to give a crap."). My dogs gave Gail, their doggy school teacher, this calendar for Christmas. (Don't worry. We also gave her something nice.) The calendar now hangs on the doggy school wall and gets lots of attention.

At Monday night class there was a mini ceremony as the page was turned from January to February. Everyone crowded around to see the Valentine themed dog poop picture and oooohed and aaaahed over the picture of the dog that made the pile. Then we all laughed about how only dog people would think this was funny.

Each time Gail shows the calendar to someone new she tells them, "Marguerite said when she saw this calendar she thought of me." She seems to be very pleased about it. I'm even more pleased to have given her something she really likes. Wish all my gift selections were that successful.

Want to Know If You're Male or Female?
After I answered 50 simple questions, The Gender Test proclaimed with 86% confidence that I am a woman. If you've never done The Gender Test, give it a try. It's fun and hopefully you won't be surprised by the results.

Monday, February 02, 2004

Blogger Idol, Week 3
Blogger Idol is the brainchild of Darren at LivingRoom.

Each Sunday (Australian time) Darren announces a theme for the week. We have three days to work that theme into a blog post. We post the entry in our own blog and leave a link in Darren's blog so we can read what each other wrote.

If you want to read the other entries, the links are here. blogger_idol-1.gif

Over a hundred bloggers are participating. I will read as many of the entries as possible. Later in the week Violet's Blogger Idol awards will be given to five entries of note.

This weeks theme is 'A Day in the Life of...'.

The Day That Time Stood Still
The day started like any other day. The alarm clock rang. I hauled my fiftyish body out of bed, showered, dressed, and headed for the car.

The route to work was twenty-seven miles, very straight and easy to drive. I had plenty of time to myself in the car. As usual, I used it to pray.

During this season of my life the Lord did answer my prayers. I didn't have enough faith to ask for big things, and He was very generous with the little things. Looking back now, I realize that He was building my base of faith for our future relationship.

I have always known that God exists. The truth of this Psalm was obvious to me even as a child.

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge. (Psalm 19:1,2 NIV)

It was the existence of Jesus that I questioned. I truly doubted that Jesus was a real deity, if, indeed, He ever lived at all. I had heard most of the Bible stories, but I didn't believe they were true. I considered the Gospel story incomprehensible. In fact, I wasn't even sure the God I prayed to was the same God written about in the Bible.

The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:14 NIV))

Toward the end of my commute as I was closing my prayer, I did something different and added this afterthought, "And I pray this in Jesus name because I am of Christian heritage."

As I spoke those words something unmistakably important and unique happened. God said, "Yes! Yes! My child, you are to come to me through my Son, Jesus!"

There was a lifting of a kind of darkness and I remember saying "Ohhhh" out loud. I knew that things were never going to be the same again.

This supernatural event defies description. For a brief moment time stopped, the world disappeared, and my life changed. I instantly knew that the Bible was truth and I needed to find out what it was saying.

Looking back, I see where God had been preparing me for this moment over the years. I am thankful He is a loving and patient God who never gave up on me. He waited for the day I was ready to listen and then made me His child.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.
In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will-- (Ephesians 1:3-5))