Archive for the ‘Likes’ Category

We’re not fully protected yet; we got our second shots today and need to wait a couple few weeks for full potency. (We were given Moderna because they’re saving all the Pfizer for the younglings. I am 100% down with that.) 

Of course, we’ll still be following all health department guidelines. Plus, yeah, stupid variants are out there throwing a stupid wrench into things. 

That said, this kind of progress feels oh so good. While at the vaccination center, it was really quite touching to see my fellow Canadians doing their part, for themselves, their families, and their community. Here’s to keeping us all safe!

(I still don’t want to clean, though! 🙂

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The key word here is “temporarily” … Photo by Edwin Hooper on Unsplash

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I may have understated things a little yesterday, when I said that my bug bites were just “extremely itchy.” They were driving me crazy, especially the freakishly large spider(?) bite that made my wrist look like a poorly-maintained baseball bat. I had some anti-itch stuff and it worked, but for short periods only, and the wrist had a puffy red circle that was three inches wide and still growing.

Not cool.

Cue dramatic rescue! My sister-in-law saved the day. Her recommendation? Vicks VapoRub. The full course of action was peroxide to clean the area, then apply a mix of Vicks and salt.

Being a science-minded sort in possession of a bumper crop of bug bites, I decided to conduct a little experiment.

Super official test protocol: Some spots got Vicks only, some got the full treatment. I won’t lie, the salt scared me a little. It seemed a bit too much like scratching an itch with your nails, deeply satisfying until the blood starts to run, the area resembles a monster-movie prosthetic, and you regret your life choices.


Results: I wasn’t 100% wrong about the salt. Scrubbing the swollen area rode a fine line between satisfaction and pain, and I could almost see the little grains scraping an already sore spot. (It was also a bit awkward to apply to and remove from non-wrist areas.) But! Once I stopped rubbing it in, I was able to leave it at that. No obsessive need to keep scratching even as the voice in my head said, “For the love of all that’s holy, please stop scratching!” Was it nerve overload, increased Vicks penetration, or…? I don’t know, but I liked it.

And then the swelling went down, the redness receded, and the itch went away. There’s still a little redness, a tiny bump where the demon venom spider fangs went in, and no real urge to scratch. The Vicks-only bumps are similar, so my guess is that the menthol etc. in the mix does most of the work. I’ll probably use that straight next time.

My verdict? Best sister-in-law ever:)

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Photo by Steve Halama on Unsplash

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* Note from the future: After more experimentation (thanks, backyard bugs!) I’m shifting my position a little. Salt helps, and the peroxide (or other cleanser) seems sensible if you’re going to use sharp crystals against your skin. 

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Itching for Good

We picked up a bunch of native plants from a local eco organization and added them to the garden over the weekend. To go along with existing pollinator plants like butterfly weed, chives, and Joe Pye Weed, I am now the proud owner of flowers like wild bergamot, yellow tickseed, and black-eyed Susan.

Also approximately one million extremely itchy bug bites, and as anyone who knows me knows, I really hate mosquitoes.


Birds and butterflies and pollinators in general need food and shelter. These plants will live outdoors and I had to get them moved into their new homes; the mosquitoes just took advantage of my helpful nature. (Also my delicious blood.)

So both arms are itchier than I’d like, plus I have a row of awkwardly-placed extra bumps on my spine (particularly fun) and what I’m pretty sure is a spider bite on my wrist, which is now extra red, itchy and swollen.

Still worth it!

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Photos by Evan BuchholzJoshua J. CottenAaron BurdenKarl-Heinz MüllerIlana GrosternGaétan Marceau CaronZdeněk Macháček on Unsplash

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It’s a holiday weekend, bookended by Canada Day and the Fourth of July. As a dual citizen, I feel obligated to celebrate as much as possible, which means I am trying to work as little as possible. Today, that means learning something fun. Like perspective bending, with sheep.

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Original photo by Hasan Almasi on Unsplash

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Yesterday I took a brief break to check on my butterfly weed (blooming happily!) and noticed an interesting beetle by the door.

“Ooh,” I asked myself, “could that be a firefly?”

It could. It was.

Last night, between brightly-colored expressions of Canadian joy (aka celebratory fireworks), we spotted brightly-colored expressions of firefly joy above the cedar hedge. The lone Lampyridae had a hard time competing, but he gave it his best shot.

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I have great memories of family nights outside in the garden when I was a kid, watching hundreds of fireflies looking for love. It was magic.

We don’t have hundreds now, but I’m working to make our yard as firefly-friendly as I can, particularly around mating season (aka now). Here’s how:

Save The Fireflies

Some of the things you can do:

  • turn off outdoor lights (who can get any action when that giant porch light is acting like the worst wingman ever?)
  • leave logs and leaves on the ground (I’ve totally got this covered)
  • add water (we have birdbaths, so check)
  • say no thanks to pesticides (no problemo, that stuff’s nasty)
  • let your lawn grow (skip mowing this weekend? yes please!)
  • add trees (I’ll see what I can do to keep the ones we have happy)

Time to recapture a bit of that summer magic.

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Lots to do today, so here’s a house-of-cards-building robot for you!

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I’m not quite done with my grandmother’s portrait, apparently. One of the things I did over the weekend was to start learning colorization, and now Grandma has a pretty pink dress:)

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Mr. Man had to get up early so we started the day with an extra hour. I decided to use it to learn something.

Suddenly, that extra time has disappeared and taken its friends with it.

On the plus side, I found an angel.

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Original Photo by Joseph Gonzalez on Unsplash

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How are stars made? You know, those celestial bodies illuminating the sky, happily burning until they get tired of that and become star dust, the components of which we are made.

“The cosmos is also within us. We’re made of star stuff.”

— Carl Sagan

Check out this simulation of a star forge.

If this is the forge, is dark matter the anvil?

How do stars form? Most form in giant molecular clouds located in the central disk of a galaxy. The process is started, influenced, and limited by the stellar winds, jets, high energy starlight, and supernova explosions of previously existing stars. The featured video shows these complex interactions as computed by the STARFORGE simulation of a gas cloud 20,000 times the mass of our Sun.

— APOD: 2021 June 23 – STARFORGE

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I’m also making today, although nothing as dramatic as stars. More like yogurt, a project that required the sewing machine, and a hack for our leaky dishwasher (yes, another appliance is on the road to obsolescence; they really don’t make them like they used to).

I’m also heading into the workshop to make things out of wood. Well, to remember how to make things. And find my tools. And my respirator. And my wood turning clothes. It’s been a while (thanks, Covid)!

My projects won’t be as dynamic or lovely as a star (or Chopin’s music, for that matter).

I’ll still try.

After all, I want to do my ancestors proud.

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I love seeing ideas move from imagination to reality, even if I’m not the one doing it. Take this robot mani/pedi machine idea, for example: 

Want Your Nails Done? Let a Robot Do It. – The New York Times

This ideas has been in the back of my mind for some time.

Now, I don’t polish my nails. I think I have a bottle of clear somewhere that I bought for a wedding once (my wedding? Quite possibly, but the fact that I don’t remember tells you something). I keep it around to use in the workshop and the garage.

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So why did I start thinking about an automated mani/pedi machine years ago, and why am I excited to see it now?

Because a lot of things are hard for the elderly, and doing your nails is one of them.

These particular machines aren’t there yet, but the fact that innovators are working on polishing suggests that shaping won’t be far behind. And that means anyone could keep their nails in good condition without having to rely on someone else or popping a hip joint, and stay healthier for it.

If the end result is effective and affordable, it’s good for people, and, as the population continues to age and boost demand for adaptive technologies, good for companies.

And I’m all about win-wins.

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Photo by silviannnm on Unsplash

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