Savannah Smiles???

I’m really hoping someone can help me out here. Hubby bought me a box of Savannah Smiles Girl Scout Cookies for a “treat” yesterday. He knew it was only second best, as I’ll never get over the loss of my beloved Lemon Pastry Cremes, but he was trying, and for that I give him credit.

So anyway, I opened the box – or rather ripped the top off the box, as it was glued so tightly it simply wouldn’t open gracefully, pried open the bag and looked at the cookies inside. They don’t look like the cookies on the front of the box. They don’t even look that appetizing, nor do they look like I remember Savannah Smiles looking a couple years ago when he last treated me. These look a bit shriveled, but my big concern is that they have these brown patches through them between 1/8th and 1/4″ and when not covered with sugar, rather shiny. Not to be disgusting, but they remind me of beetle wings.

Not looking like the box pic...

Not looking like the box pic…

I tried contacting Little Brownie Bakers, but their contact form just gave me an error message. Bummer!

Does anyone know what’s up with the brown spots? Do all Savannah Smiles have these now? Do they all look like mine? I’m oddly averse to eating them until I know for sure!

Please, someone come to my rescue!

Published in: on March 9, 2014 at 9:48 am  Comments (1)  
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Shame on NBC!

Have you been watching the Olympics? For someone who doesn’t otherwise watch television, it’s always a bit of a culture shock to have it blaring for hours every evening during the Games while I knit frantically on whatever I’m doing for Ravelympics er… the Ravellenic Games. It’s tough not to be moved by so many people who have put so much heart and soul into something they love, and I’m the probably rare American who can root loudly for athletes wearing something other than those weird Ralph Lauren sweaters Team USA was sporting at the opening ceremony. Show heart and have a great back story, and I don’t much care where you were born; I love heart wherever I see it. However, I digress…

What shocked me this past evening was the editorial presented by Bob Costas – that one about the Ukraine. It started out sounding like a good human interest piece, but it disintegrated into a political attack on Russia and Vladimir Putin. No, I’m not wearing blinders regarding the political situation, but there is a time and place for everything, and this was neither. In the opening ceremonies, there was a clear and distinct call from the International Olympic Committee to keep politics out of the Games. For these 16 days and within this venue, the plea was to let the focus be only on the incredible skills of this worldwide gathering of champions.  Much to the shame of Bob Costas, as well as NBC for allowing it, that line was more than crossed, and in prime time programming.

I’m thankful to live in a country that allows freedom of speech, but having that freedom doesn’t negate the need to be honorable. Where is the honor in the primary voice this fortnight of the Olympics in the USA bashing the host country within the confines of the broadcast of the Olympic Games? Would he, being invited into someone’s home for dinner, boldly diss the host during dessert? There are just things honor doesn’t allow, and Friday night, Costas crossed that line. Shame on you, Bob Costas, and shame on NBC!

Published in: on February 22, 2014 at 7:58 am  Comments (2)  
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Rainbow Bridge

Just a short post to say that sweet, shy Smokey Jo quietly crossed the Rainbow bridge at about 1:30a January 27, 2014. One of the three kittens gifted to us by Inky in 1998, her tough appearance led us to first identify her as a male. Once we straightened that out and our younger daughter convinced Daddy to let her stay with us instead of becoming a barn cat, she became a much loved part of our family.

Smokey was the very definition of “Fraidy Cat.” The first time we brought a Christmas tree into her world, she disappeared upstairs, where she remained for the next month, forcing us to install food, water, and a litter box to our second level. Whereas her brother, Tyg, would rush to meet visitors at the door, no one EVER saw Smokey. That would include the folks who cared for our pets when we travelled. We received more than one panicked call from caretakers who were greatly concerned that she’d gotten out or died, which was never the case, of course. Smokey would no sooner have slipped out of the house than I would jump off a 200′ cliff.

Despite her fears, Smokey adopted our 55 pound dog as a second mother. I’ll never forget Reya’s agonized expression the first time this tiny gray furball snuggled up for a nap, but over time the adoption became a two-way agreement, with Reya also taking over the job of cleaning Smokey’s ears. Most of Smokey’s final days were spent curled up beside Reya on the dog bed that our cats occasionally allow Reya to use.

Smokey’s other distinction was being our premier – and actually only – biscuit maker. None of our other cats has ever held a candle to the kneading that little gal subjected our laps to when she decided to settle in for a nap. She spent countless hours napping on my lap while I did my computer work, doing wonders for my ability to stay on task. It’s oh so hard to boot a sleeping kitty off my legs!

Smokey’s last few years brought many visits to the vet as she battled thyroid problems she inherited from her mother and shared with both her siblings. Her lifelong problem with her sinuses developed eventually into an infection that we just could not beat, and after a valiant struggle, her little body had just had enough. It was time for her to leave. Although we miss her greatly, it’s a relief that she’s no longer in pain. And it’s nice to picture her reuniting with her mom and brother in a world beyond.

Published in: on January 28, 2014 at 7:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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24 months and more in review…

It may not look like it, but I really do love my blog, and I really miss blogging regularly! Oh, to be able to publish blogs straight from my brain without the necessity of finding time to actually type them out… I’d really love to catch up by posting all the blogs I’ve written in my mind, share all the amazing (both good and bad) things that have been keeping my life anything but dull, but of course, the reality is that if I didn’t have time to write about them over the past two years as they happened, I’m never going to have time to catch everything up now. And maybe it doesn’t really matter. I mean, do you really want to know  all the details about what was happening in my life two years ago?

That’s what I figured. ;)

So, I’m going to do a capsule summary and share more about stuff if it happens to be germane to a future post. With no further ado and in no particular order…

Yes, despite what the sidebar shows, I’m still knitting and spinning, though especially in 2013, my production was dramatically down. Why does time have to be so finite? Maybe I’ll be able to share some of my favorite finished projects with you in the future.

I’m also now weaving somewhat seriously instead of just dreaming about it a lot. :) I’m loving it and sure wishing for more time! I’ll share some of what I’ve been making in future posts. I still have to take pix – when I find the time…

I was introduced to Geocaching in January of 2012. I took to it like a duck to water, and though he didn’t fall headlong quite so quickly, hubby eventually caught the bug, too, making it the one hobby we enjoy together. In my first two years, I’ve cached in 11 states and over 125 counties, and am approaching my 2000th find soon. I will add that this winter has been brutal for geocaching, and I’m really glad that I completed my 1 year streak, finding a geocache everyday for 366 straight days, last spring instead of doing it over THIS winter! Whew! In addition to hunting caches, I’m really enjoying placing them when I can find the time. My favorite placements are the puzzles I’ve created, and this past Saturday, my most recent one, Alley Cats, was published just after the caching event I hosted. Like so many other areas of my life, my ideas far exceed the time I have available. I probably have another year’s worth of puzzle ideas queued in my head!

A fellow cacher introduced me to pathtags about 2 months after I found my first geocache, and another addiction was born. I’m waiting for delivery of my 30th design right now and have several more in the works. That doesn’t count all the designs bopping around in my brain.

I finally got to Wisconsin for the first time in my life last June. Beautiful state! I can’t wait until we can go back again for longer. One step close to Bucket List item of visiting all 50 states…

By some miracle, we made it clear through 2013 without a death in the family – primarily our furry family being the concern. With 4 chronically ill pets on a total of 7 for-the-rest-of-their-life prescription meds, and the dog now being nearly 5 years over her life expectancy, we never dreamed we’d still have the entire menagerie into 2014. That’s about to change, though, as sweet, timid Smokey Jo is bravely padding her way toward the Rainbow Bridge as I type this. Her little body is just too tired to go any longer, so she’s going to join her brother, Tyg, probably within hours. As sick as she’s been, I thought this loss would be easier. I was wrong.

Another loss that wasn’t so easy to bear was the death of my sweet, stubborn father-in-law. He lived 91 really good years and 19 really lousy days, blessed in both, we feel. His death hit me far harder than I ever imagined, and though I wanted to blog a eulogy for him, I found myself totally unable to actually put it into print. Honestly, that was when I really slipped out of regular blogging – and many of my regular life activities. (I’d hate to tell you how many thousand unread emails my inboxes are currently harboring, and I just can’t seem to catch up…)

I discovered Megapolis and HayDay – probably mostly to my detriment, but such fun…

I also discovered Craftsy. For the most part, totally awesome, except they have condescended to partnering recently with a yarn company I don’t admire. Also, if you order multiple skeins of yarn from their supply section, they won’t guarantee matched dye lots, so caveat emptor. I’ve been on the phone several times over that particular problem and will notate my order in the future to cancel my order if they don’t have matching lot numbers. Otherwise, I’ve really been having fun with the site and have completed or at least partially completed a number of classes now, including Tunisian Crochet, Double Knitting (have done before, but learned some great new techniques), basic rigid heddle weaving, and making my own lip balm, body butter, and salves, among others. I’ve signed up for quite a few that I’ve not watched or that I have viewed without doing the projects yet, and have found them to all be very well done. Check out craftsy.com when you get a chance, and sign up for their newsletter to get all sorts of specials. I chose a new class last night on a special offer that let me pick any class on the site for $19.95. For lifetime access and great quality, that’s a fantastic bargain, and with everything from cooking to fiber to sewing to fine arts and photography, there’s something to appeal to pretty much every creative spirit. Oh, and they also have quite a few free classes available!

Hubby cracked the floor of his shower, so the kitchen ceiling is soaked and collapsing yet again. It’s a true thorn in my side! For now it means a bucket on the kitchen floor under the split. Eventually it means he’s going to get his bathroom remodeled for the second time whilst I wait impatiently for the first time for mine. Sigh…

My reading record last year was more dismal than it has ever been. Thankfully I’m off to a much better start this year!

I also started out last year with the delight of music, as I resurrected my dulcimer, dug out my Irish whistle, upgraded my flute, and finally got a violin. Things were busy, but delightful for a few months, then life gave me too much else to deal with, so they are all waiting patiently for me to come play again. For now, the whistle, which lives at my computer desk and can be picked up and tweedled for a moment here and there, is by far the happiest of the lot.

And I’m now sponsoring 5 little girls through Compassion International, the newest of which shares both my name and birthday. So much for saying 4 of them would be more than enough. ;)

Okay, that’s enough for now, I think. Besides, I can’t think of anything else to add to the list, though I’m sure I’ll have more the moment I publish this. Isn’t getting older a wonder? :D

Published in: on January 27, 2014 at 7:02 am  Leave a Comment  
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2013 in review

Despite my pronounced absence this year, I’m pleased to see YOU were here! Thanks for the visits, and here’s hoping for a sane 2014!

 

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 16,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Published in: on December 31, 2013 at 4:27 am  Leave a Comment  
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Compassion for Children’s Futures

I’m slipping out of Neverland, where I’ve obviously been lost for quite some time (writing blog posts in my head instead of in the reality of cyberspace), to write a very important post tonight.

I’ve sponsored children since I was 13 years old. About 5 years ago, I had the opportunity to stand in one of those homes you see on the late night appeals on TV. I’ve seen a toddler recoil in fear from a toy – something he’d never seen. I’ve been blessed to speak to adults who were sponsored children. And I’ve read the recent USA Today report that states with certainty that child sponsorship DOES make a difference in children’s lives.

I currently sponsor four beautiful little girls – Dayana and Hilda in Honduras where my daughter served as a missionary, Faviola in Guatemala where my very first sponsored child lived, and Heidi in Peru, the source of so much of the gorgeous yarn I purchase.

Hilda 2x3Heidi 2x3Faviola 2x3Dayana 2x3

I love getting letters from my sponsored children and their families and watching them grow. I love knowing how much difference I can make in these young lives, and in the lives of their families and also their communities. I love knowing that Compassion makes sure that my girls will have the opportunity to learn about Jesus. And I love having these four sweet faces on my desk, reminding me to love them and pray for them regularly.

WP_20130420_002

So, this Sunday is Compassion Sunday. I want to share the love with you all. I want to give you a little nudge to consider taking on the responsibility of sponsoring a child who needs your love and prayers. Click on THIS LINK to go to my Compassion Sunday page and choose a child who needs you. Set up your sponsorship this weekend and then drop me a comment on this blog post sharing your child’s full name, birthday, and country, and I’ll contact you privately for your address and send you a stand like the ones you see in the photo holding my girls’ pictures. For the price of one dinner out each month, you can change a life forever! Please join me and make a difference!

Published in: on April 20, 2013 at 6:33 am  Leave a Comment  
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Propriety

Yes, it’s been forever since I blogged. It has NOT been forever since I THOUGHT about blogging, though! Life has just been insane this past year, and I’ve given up trying to guess when it’s going to settle back into normal. Hence, there will be no resolution about blogging more regularly in this post. I’ll do what I can. However, I just really need to blow off some steam tonight on a topic that has been very much on my mind recently – propriety.

This first sprung to the forefront of my thoughts last weekend when I attended a wedding shower. I’m still totally blown away when I think back to some of the things that happened. When did it become acceptable for wedding showers to become pornographic? The worst part of the event came when all the attendees, which included some people who barely knew the bride-to-be, along with some of her older relatives, were handed a “How Well do You Know the Bride?” quiz. Questions included asking what was the bride’s favored conjugal position, where was the most unusual location she’d engaged in same, and with how many different men. It made the question about her preferred style of undies look tame. To be quite blunt, I don’t know that information about another person on this earth, nor do I really want to. And yes, I found it offensive to even be asked to speculate about it – and I was shocked to be put in such a position that I had to decide how to handle something like this in a social situation with people I didn’t know well, but who put on a front of doing everything just so.

Not having really gotten past the surprise and discomfort of that situation, tonight I got a message from the bride’s mother, whom I’ve seen only twice in my life, and to whom I’ve never even been formally introduced, that I was not to knit at the wedding OR the reception. Note: she’s seen me two times, and one of those two times, I was knitting in public. I’m not even sure the woman knows my name. Now whether or not I would actually have considered knitting at either of the two events doesn’t really matter (would definitely NOT have knit at the wedding, but if the reception is a bore, it would have at least crossed my mind…). The thing that gets me about this is that this woman clearly believes she has the right to tell ME how to behave in a social setting, and that very seriously offends me! If I didn’t happen to care very much for the groom, I would NOT be going to the wedding at all – period. I’ve got better things to do with my life than hang out around controlling, judgmental people. How can someone believe it’s more socially acceptable to exercise that sort of control over someone they don’t know than it is for that person to sit quietly knitting in public? However, there’s a part of me that feels extremely sorry for this woman. Just imagine how terribly unhappy she must really be inside if she honestly believes she has to make all the people in her visible world live up to her personal standards of perfection! Glack!
There was a time in the not to distant past when a woman who did not carry her needlework with her was considered lazy and what happened behind bedroom doors between a husband and wife was considered private. If it wasn’t a married couple, it was considered scandalous. I’m having a tough time seeing the changes I’ve encountered this past week as being progress.

So, the joy sandwiched in the middle of these two events was the lovely compliment I was paid two days ago. I was spending the day with someone I’d never met before, and I was just being myself – something that it took me many years to learn was okay to do. He commented that I don’t seem like the sort of person who is much worried about what people think, and I couldn’t have been happier to hear those words! I like that I finally have learned to be comfortable in my own skin. God has only ever made one me, and if I spend my entire life trying to be somebody else, then I’ve wasted my individuality. Does this mean I have a license to be crude or hurtful? No! But it does mean I have the right to wear the clothes I want to wear, not wear make up, not like eating fish, celebrate only the holidays I feel like celebrating, hold the beliefs I want to hold, have the interests and hobbies I have, etc. I’m not hear to live the life someone else thinks I should live. My life and choices are between me and God. The fact that someone could see that in me with just one afternoon together and commended it was truly a nice thing. :)

Published in: on July 20, 2012 at 4:02 am  Comments (1)  
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First Two FO’s of the Year

I may be behind posting, but at least it’s not as far behind as I am on last year. ;) I have not one, but TWO projects finished, and before they become ancient history, I want to share.

The first official finished project of 2012:

I started this yarn last August when I needed something to do and demonstrate with whilst acquainting a new spinner with her new wheel. The colored fiber was a lightly roving of Australian 54′s – pretty enough, but nasty to work with since it was lightly felted. Predrafting took some effort, but paid off in the end. I bought the roving as part of a destash before I knew anything at all about spinning. Good thing I only paid $5 for it, but I still wonder about the morals of the woman who sold a novice roving in this condition. :( The white I picked up at Heritage in Michigan last summer. It was possibly the most unpleasant roving I’ve worked with. It was chock full of VM of the sort that doesn’t fall out during spinning, so I had to stop regularly and pry the bits loose. It also was prone to tangling, forming little neps constantly. Wish I’d written down what sort of fiber it was, as I don’t want to make that mistake again, but for some reason, I don’t have that information. Regardless of the struggles, I do have well over 600 yards of “Buttermint,” as I’ve christened it, and almost 50 spare yards of white to use as trim on something. It came out about sportweight. Not sure what I’ll do with it yet. It felts easily and it’s not my normal colors, so it will take some thought. Open to suggestions!

The second project I finished just this week, marking one of the 3 past due Christmas gifts off the to do list at long last. :) That is a tremendous relief! Although I started this project last February, life quickly got in the way, and it didn’t much progress for quite a while. Ultimately, it was nearly all knitted after mid-October and while I was working frantically to do so many other major tasks at the same time that I couldn’t begin to count them.

The story behind this is that for Christmas 2010, my younger daughter had put a knit afghan sold by Land’s End on her Christmas list. I found this somewhat insulting, beings as I’m a knitter, so I finally braved asking her why that one and not one that her mom made for her. Her response was, “If you can make one that pretty, go ahead!” Considering how simple it was, that was NOT a problem! This is a close copy of the one from the catalog, but possessing more cables and substantially larger, since both of them are tall and my son-in-law is definitely not a scrawny fellow. At Christmas, it was larger than the average afghan, so I took it out to show, hoping for the go ahead to bind it off and be done. She asked how much more yarn I had – answer being 8 balls, which was 40% of the total I’d purchased. She told me to use it all! WAH!!! :( Well, it’s done now, and it’s a BIG blanket!!! It’s so big that I had to start carrying it in a mammoth tote bag with more internal capacity than my roll on suitcase, limiting the places I could take it as social knitting. The yarn is Lambs Pride Superwash Bulky, and I really enjoyed working with it. It was a pleasure to knit, and despite running 2136 yards through my needles, I never really grew tired of it. Since it is superwash, it was a bit of a bear to wet splice, but with perseverance, all superwash wools that I’ve used have finally capitulated, and I’d rather work hard for that bond than darn in 40 ends in a somewhat slippery yarn on a project that is going to receive heavy use by a non-knitting family. This yarn, though called bulky, knits more like an aran weight, IMO. The basic pattern I used was All Natural Cables by Lion Brand, biggest modification simply being the length. If I had it to do over again, knowing I was going to use all the yarn, I’d have made it one cable wider and just run out of yarn sooner, I think. It’s being delivered to her as I type this, and hopefully she will send me a picture of it in her lovely home, so I can update the post with an in situ photo.

It’s That Time Already?

Actually, in many ways it seems like it should have been “that time” months ago! 2011 was painfully long in many ways, but shockingly short in others. I’ve been doing battle with myself for nearly a week now about this post. I really didn’t want to face it. That doesn’t say much for my personal resolve to see my goals as just that – goals. They aren’t set in stone, nor a measure of failure vs. success. They are meant to be a guideline to keep me focused during the year – something I really need!

That said, 2011 hurt. I had a beautiful set of goals, clearly too big to accomplish everything there, but such delicious options! Despite the turmoil of the early months of the year, I managed to plunge into my list with enthusiasm, delighting in my projects. It’s a good thing I did. It turned out that what I did in those first few months was pretty much all that got finished the entire year. That is scary! I did get someplace new, set up a savings plan, lose those 25 pounds (which had morphed into 40 and are all gone), learn to double knit, and read 100 books, (though one of them wasn’t completing the Bible). I finished 3 UFO’s, just one pair of socks, and I got a fantastic start on Burridge Lake, though it is now classed as a UFO, since I’ve not been able to touch it since May. :( I worked hard on my stash and my DVD’s – for a while. I have a new toilet and installed shower facilities in my bathroom, but that was the end of making my bathroom wonderful. I wove a wonderful shawl. And I blogged regularly and learned my Bible verses – until mid year…

But I need to be kind to myself. I survived an amazingly tough year! I never dreamed on January 1 even half of what happened – of how my year was going to be reshaped. I didn’t imagine getting a new car, competing in 5K races, learning to set up an IV and give injections, or planning a funeral, nor did I think I’d lose two of my closest friends. I’ve grown and changed dramatically in the past year, and I’m thinking it might take another year before it all soaks in!

So, all that said, here I go again with the goals. This list is nearly a carbon copy of last year’s list. That was tough on me, as part of the excitement of New Year’s Goals is leafing through the files in my mind and deciding which of my life “wanna do’s” I’m going to try to tackle in the coming months. I had very little of that this week, and it’s disappointing. However, the goals I set last year are still very valid – still things I do really want or need to do, so I’m sticking with them with about a half dozen changes sprinkled through the list.

But truth be known, I really have just one REAL goal for 2012… that when it’s time to write my list for 2013, it’s a LOT different! :D

Knit/Spin/Weave Goals:

  1. Publish at least 4 knitting patterns, including another KAL
  2. Complete Level 1 of the Olds College Master Spinner Program
  3. Knit a project from wool I’ve cleaned and spun, using a pattern I’ve designed
  4. Make another 2 pairs of handknit socks for myself and 2 pairs on my CSM.
  5. Finish at least 3 of the projects currently languishing in my WIP/UFO tubs – at least one item started before July 1, 2010, and the other two any time before July 1, 20111.
  6. Knit something tiny – size 4/0 needles or smaller – probably something for my future miniature yarn shop
  7. Weave something on something other than a triloom.
  8. Make a lovely sweater to fit the new me that shall be at the end of the year
  9. Learn Portuguese style knitting
  10. Attend a class teaching a skill that is new to me

Other Creative Goals:

  1. Finish at least one of the current remodeling projects – nook, laundry, sewing room, or kitchen
  2. Finish Reba – bisque porcelain doll
  3. Move one of my dolls from hospital patient status to display status – maybe Aaron, so he can show off his adorable knitted romper?
  4. Finish the interior and/or exterior of Friendship Cabin, a Real Good Toys Adirondack Cabin that we started several years ago, but which has languished untouched since sometime before the beginning of 2009
  5. Finish my Gail Wilson Hitty, which was started with enthusiasm during the online class, worked on for three nights, and now has the rest of the girls giving me “the look” for not getting their sister done
  6. Find the stories I started writing and complete at least one rough draft
  7. Finish a Hitty carving project
  8. Finish my Minstrel spinning wheel
  9. Create a photo book and a calendar
  10. Finish either a quilt or cross stitch UFO

Decluttering/Organizational Goals:

  1. Catalog DVD library and view those I’ve not watched
  2. Stash all my yarn on Ravelry – which will get done one of these years if I keep at it!
  3. Organize my computer photos, then print and label as I think necessary (okay, yes, multi-year!)
  4. Restock and reopen my internet stores, thus moving stuff, boxes, and packing material out
  5. Get loose knitting patterns into a usable system
  6. Have all books properly shelved. No stacks, floor rows, or double shelves.
  7. Clean out one of my email accounts, then maintain it
  8. Build and implement one of my storage solution plans
  9. Get my entire bathroom “wonderful” – tougher than it sounds!
  10. Scavenge all files off old PDA before I lose them

Personal Goals:

  1. End the year at my target weight
  2. Read 100 books, one being The Holy Bible
  3. End the year debt free – both money and promises made
  4. Go somewhere new – state or country
  5. Blog at least once each week
  6. Solidly memorize at least one  scripture verses each month
  7. Memorize one favorite hymn each month
  8. Spend time at least once each week working on a foreign language
  9. Spend at least a few minutes every week making music
  10. Walk 250 miles and participate in a 10k race.
Published in: on January 4, 2012 at 3:50 am  Leave a Comment  
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2011 in Review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 19,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Published in: on January 3, 2012 at 4:19 am  Leave a Comment  
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