Wednesday, December 28, 2016


I did it. I bought an Alexandrite / Neodymium crystal toothpick holder. I couldn't pass up the richness in color, bright pink under incandescent light and a moody blue under fluorescent. I bought it from the Etsy store South Florida CollectorsThey have one more, if you are interested to buy it.

It all started back in the 1999 - 2000 time frame. My younger daughter was living in Indianapolis at the time. We (her dad and I) had gone down to visit, and made a day of shopping the sprawling antique shops in the area. We came upon a glass case with quite a few nice pieces displayed. There was a small green item, perhaps a candle holder, that my daughter bought for me. 

But I could not take my eyes away from a small lavender vase. I never saw lavender like that. It had no sheen, no rainbows, or other enhancements you normally see in glass. No, this had a life of its own. It was lavender that hinted that it wanted to be pink and blue at the same time, like a living color inside of it. I was so taken by the color my daughter bought it for me. 

My vase lived on a window shelf, so I could enjoy it in the light. It was always more pink in the sunlight. I didn't think much about it. Then one night I noticed it lost its color! All traces of lavender and pink were gone! It was just a dull, pale, lifeless blue. I was shocked and saddened. How could that be? How could color "leach" out of glass? It was not possible, but yet, here I was, holding my beloved lavender-pink vase that had gone dull blue. With a downcast heart I returned it to the shelf.

The next morning the pink was back!

So now I had a mystery. That evening I looked and again saw my vase had paled to blue. I took it off the shelf and held it under the kitchen light....ahhhhh, the kitchen light. I had recently changed bulbs to curly fluorescent! I still had some incandescent bulbs, so I took my vase over to one of those lights. The pink returned! I began searching the internet for answers. Oddly, none could be found, so I gave up. 

I stumbled upon the answer a week ago. I was reading an article about dichroic glass, which changes color depending on how light sines through it. I took the "changing color" part as a clue, so I searched, and stumbled upon Alexandrite or Neodymium glass. FINALLY I had an answer!  

Alexandrite is vintage but not antique. Neodymium was discovered in 1885 and first used as a glass dye in 1927. Several different companies produced it, each with their own slightly different chemical formula. You can Google it to read more if you are interested, but basically Neodymium absorbs certain lightwaves so it appears to change color under different lighting. Neodymium - Wiki

Here are some pictures that demonstrate the dynamics of this glass.


Incandescent (old-style light bulb)



As you can see, the vase on the left is aqua under fluorescent lighting. Different glass companies used different formulas, which gives the variety in color.

Friday, December 16, 2016

This and That

I scored another $25 gift card, this time from a different survey company. Yay me! I noticed the companies give you bigger and better surveys after you prove yourself.

Today seemed mild after yesterday's biting 25 below zero wind chill. It started snowing about 3:30 pm. We are supposed to get a total of 8 inches by the time it's done on Sunday.

I'm trying out an app now that I have a smartphone, MyFitnessPal. I enter all the food I eat in a day and it tells me if I'm eating too much of something or not enough. I usually have problems getting enough protein without adding too much cholesterol. I have to force myself to eat fish. I don't eat a lot of meat, and I can't eat nuts.

I also have problems with eating too much sugar. It's in almost everything, including fruit. I have issues with foods that reduce sugar by adding artificial sweeteners, because they cause me to have a scratchy throat and a headache. Carbs have always been my favorite food, although I do like salads, but more so in summer. So, it's difficult, especially since all the helpful info tells me to eat nuts and soy.

I still need to experiment more with coconut flour. I think it's pretty gross, kind of like eating sand, egg-flavored sand, because you need to add a lot of eggs to hold it together.

Here's a typical issue day for me. I'm not getting enough protein, so I decide to scramble 2 eggs. "Your goal is to stay under 300 mg of Cholesterol", the program posts in red letters, as now I have exceeded it by eating 2 eggs.

Do not recommend I eat just the whites. I will gag and throw them in the trash. I hate the whites, and will only eat them if my eggs are scrambled.

I eat yogurt and the program praises me for eating calcium, but then later I eat an apple and the red-letter scolding comes up again, "Your goal is to stay under 50 grams of sugar". Normally I buy unflavored yogurt and sweeten it with Splenda, but my hubby bought me to probiotic kind, with sugar.

So it goes, issues everywhere, but I'm learning and trying.

My daughter is worried about being snowed in at work and she can't get home, or at home and she can't get to work. She said her car doesn't handle well in the snow. I haven't tried driving it lately, so I'm not sure if she's right or just out of practice for living away from winter for 12 years.

I need a short step stool so I can sit in front of the frig. It's a small frig. The whole kitchen is undersized. My issue with the frig is that because of my neck surgery I need to lean sideways to reach in and it's a pain in the neck. The other way is to squat, which I can do, but then my knees start to hurt. The best thing would be sitting in front of it. Note to a short step stool.

Well, I need to go wash some clothes, and get some exercise  from going up and down the stairs.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

I'm in the Mood for Hearts

Those of some natural hearts that turned up in my life. Spud Heart, from a bag of potatoes, Strawberry heart, from a box of strawberries, and Stone Heart, in the desert in southern California.

I have other hearts, earrings, a necklace, more heart shaped rocks, and my best heart, the one beating inside my hubby's chest.

Today my hubby and I drove to Brookfield to do some shopping for winter clothes. Hubby bought a thick, warm jacket for $15, perfect for work, warm and not expensive. He also needed warm boots. He bought nice ones rated to -25 degrees for only $25.

On the way there we were talking. I told hubby that bird woman upstairs was coming home as I was heading down to the basement to wash clothes. In case you didn't know, this apartment building has a locked entry door. I noticed she was standing there in the frigid cold fumbling for her keys. This woman has never answered when I say hello. I opened the door to let her in. She looked surprised, frightened, and stepped back. "Come in", I said gently. "Thank you", she answered in a tiny voice. We each went our own way, but I was happy that maybe I made a difference in her life. I told my hubby I don't think she is bad, I think she is afraid of people, autistic, maybe.

The locked entry doors, frosty from cold

Hubby told me his mom had her surgery and she's fine. She had fibroids. Then we were talking about health. Hubby recalled how we were turned away from a clinic in Indiana. It was a clinic I had visited many times in the past. We were turned away for "only" having the "Bronze" level of Obamacare. He told me that made him very sad. It wasn't the first time health care in Indiana kicked me to the curb. I could write stories for pages. Hubby knows the stories, the denial care, the never care, the "go away you have no insurance" non-care.

Then we laughed about how easy California is. Before we moved I applied for coverage in California. After we moved we received a letter stating that we didn't qualify because our income was too low (hubby hadn't started working yet, we only had my social security), so they enrolled us in MediCAL, California medicaid. I was shocked! 

In the state of Indiana this was a big NO-NO! Immigrants can NOT have any kind of Medicaid services unless it is to save a life, in which case the state of Indiana will then sue for repayment.

We drove to the local office. The lady told us, "Oh, you're fine, we even cover undocumented immigrants in California.

Again we laughed about when we tried to cancel it. The lady sat there with a dumbfounded look on her face. "Why would you want to cancel it?" she asked. "Because we no longer qualify," I explained. She told me no one "gets off" MediCAL, it just expires by itself. Ok, awesome! Free health care. Wisconsin also has expanded medicaid, although hubby has insurance through work and I have Medicare.

Hubby said to me, "We've both had a hard life, I think we are really blessed now. Life is easy here." "Yes," I answered, "but you work so hard." "I like to work," hubby answered. He seemed so at peace, so at home, finally.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Surveys and Stuff

About a month or so ago I signed up for some online surveys, mostly to alleviate boredom, and, well, to see if I could make some chump change in the process. I don't need to work, but I worked from home for 12 years, and in a way, I miss parts of that arrangement.

I think the best of the three that I signed up for is VIP Voice. I managed to get a $25 Amazon gift card from them for logging everything I ate for seven days. I also received 200 points for each day I completed, which I will enter into a drawing for some cash. It only worked out to $3.60 per hour for all my trouble.

Many times I don't qualify for surveys....why? Mostly because I'm not fad shopper or a restaurant chain eater or a TV watcher or a junk food junkie. Gee, I just don't fit into all that commercialism.

Some surveys are a bit tedious. It helps to save receipts, because they ask where, when, how much, etc. Other surveys let me type in our favorite places like Perc Place and the Milwaukee Ale House, and then go on to ask me about every restaurant chain in America. Have I heard of them? Some. Did I eat there? Mostly not. Did I see an ad on TV? uhhhhh...well, no TV, so, no.

The shoe and boot dilemma. I have big feet, I hate that, but they are what they are. And they are wide, and I have bunions, which runs rampant on my mom's side of the family.

My hubby loves to shop for himself, but then he wants to buy something for me.

Anyway, hubby has cut back his shopping drastically because we are saving, but he did buy some Skechers about a month ago. The store had discount prices, so he wanted me to buy some winter boots.

Hubby... "Get something nice, even if they cost $60 or more."

Me..."No way am I paying $60 for something I'm going to wear in the winter slush."

Hubby..."All right." (slightly downcast....yes he's feeling guilty for spending money on himself)

To make him feel better I start trying on nice boots, in the $60 to $100 range.

"Ouch! They pinch my bunions!" I ask for wide. They don't have many in wide. They still hurt. They seem to run small, but the next size up is too long and they slip. We give up.

Next we try Cabela's. Years ago I got a decent pair of ankle boots there.

None of the Woman's shoes or boots come in Wide. None. Nada. Zip. Zero.

The sales lady asks if I want to try Men's. I take a look. I try one pair. They are as heavy as bricks, and chunky. We give up again. I'm not sad about that because the prices were way up there.

Then we go to Walmart. I try on a pair. Perfect! Comfortable, no pinching, waterproof, and only $19.98. Hubby is happy I have boots and he is amused by the price.

In other news, hubby got his new phone, an iPhone 7 Plus. He gave his old phone to me. It is a Samsung Galaxy S4, and good enough to be my first smartphone. I kept holding out because of the expense. We share a data plan, and we just keep data turned off and connect with WiFi, unless we need otherwise.

I've been having fun with my phone. My daughter has a live wallpaper that I had been wanting so I got that. I also installed a couple others. They are Night and Day, Aurora and Snow. They all have lots of stars and a moon and night, plus sunrise, daytime and sunset. I enjoy them. Here is a link to Day and Night in the Google Play Store