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large lid with knob handle is removed, revealing insideturned wooden containersmall box insert removedsmall box openedthree bone or ivory pegs stored inside small boxthree pegs can be inserted into three small holes
dark, round plate with holes removedbottom of container

What Is This?, a set on Flickr.

My mom’s neighbor has this turned wooden box, which was in her mother’s house for decades. No one can figure out what purpose it served, but it clearly served a very specific purpose. It has characteristics of a Victorian hair receiver, or a spice jar, but it just seems too complicated to be either. Anyone know what it is?



For the last few days I’ve been struggling to get my new computer to boot up. Then all of a sudden at six o’clock this morning, I woke up before with a new idea…and it ended up taking about five seconds to solve the problem. It’s so weird to me how much great thinking can happen while you’re asleep! I need to remember to do that in the future: When I’m stumped by something, I should think about it right before bed, and then my brain will keep working on it even while I’m unconscious.



Last week I downloaded the Yelp and Path apps on my phone, which let you “check in” to places much like the Foursquare and Facebook apps that I already use. It’s overwhelming. I think I need to delete them. I really ought to spend less time “checking in” with my phone, and more time “checking out” the actual real-life places I visit.



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Christmas Decorations 2011, a set on Flickr.

I mostly started over with holiday decorations for this year. The sleigh, miniature pine trees, and antique green coffee pot (which is my favorite) all came from Antique Station in Old Towne Orange. Outside I’ve got a classic wooden Santa and giant multi-color Christmas lights. I’m tired of plain white lights, and I think multi-color will make a big comeback this year or next.

11:46 am Comments Off on New Christmas Decorations


I decided to move my office from the upstairs loft to the downstairs guest room. (I call it a “guest room” instead of a “bedroom” because it doesn’t have a very useful closet.) So for the past week or so, I’ve been working downstairs instead of upstairs, and I love it.

I’m getting tons of natural light during the day because it’s the only room in the house with a multi-window southern exposure. It’s next to the kitchen, which is terrific for snacking. It’s near the front door, so I can see when someone’s coming to deliver a package. It’s where Ilse’s food bowl is located, so she actually eats her food during the day while she’s hanging out with me (instead of waiting till midnight when all hopes of getting people food are dashed). Since it has a low ceiling instead of a vaulted ceiling, it stays warm in the winter, and since it’s on the ground floor, it stays cool in the summer.



Imagine having a party with the ten people randomly listed on your Facebook profile page. Would it even be possible? Are they in the same state? Do they know each other?

Mine right now are David G., Carrie, Courtney, Chelsey, Bequi, Lindsey, Kimberly, Casey, Michael C., and Ali. Bequi only knows Lindsey, Ali, and maybe Carrie. Casey and Courney are the only couple. Chelsey and David would have to fly here from New York. I’ve known Carrie the longest, and I suspect she knows more of the others than anyone else.

I refreshed my profile page, and the same ten people showed up, but in a different order. How the heck does Facebook calculate whom to show?

1:04 pm Comments Off on Top Ten


For the last few days, I’ve been letting Ilse drink out of a bowl in the kitchen, filled with water from the refrigerator door. This isn’t where she normally gets water, which is what makes this story impressive.

This morning, I picked up the bowl and put it in the dishwasher, with the intention of replacing it with a clean bowl. I got distracted rinsing other dishes, though, so I forgot to replace it.

Fast-forward to this afternoon. I heard Ilse go in and out of the doggy door in the kitchen several times. (This is how she gets my attention.) When I went downstairs to see what was going on, she was sitting on the kitchen floor, staring up at the cabinet in which we keep the bowls. She looked at me, then looked at the cabinet. Looked at me, looked at the cabinet.

I pulled out a bowl from the cabinet, filled it with fresh water from the fridge, and set it back down while she wagged her tail with delight.



I’d been thinking about getting a bicycle for a while, both for exercise and for something to do when I’m bored. Finally on Black Friday there was a sale on this Schwinn beach cruiser, and I couldn’t resist:

Schwinn Windwood 26 Inch Men's Bicycle

I didn’t need anything fancy and expensive since it’s just going to be a casual once-in-a-while hobby. But of course, I wanted it to look cool.

It was quite an ordeal just to pick it up from the store, and I didn’t even try riding it before I bought it. Thankfully when I finally adjusted it, inflated the tires, and rode it, the size was great, and I was happy with the ride.

Okay now, I wonder which Coffee Bean is within bike-riding distance from my house…



ilse on thanksgiving

Ilse would like to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. She would also like to get out of this sweater as soon as possible. It took a lot of coaxing just to get her to lift her head up. If you’re wondering why her head isn’t in focus, it’s because I only had one chance to take the photograph.



A wise teacher taught me never to begin the concluding paragraph of an essay with the phrase, “in conclusion.” Being ornery, of course, I always began concluding paragraphs in her class with “in conclusion” and then crossed it out.

I think that was an exercise in philosophy. It’s similar to the question of the tree falling in the forest. If I write something and cross it out, she can’t dock points for it, yet it offends her sensibility just the same. If you write something and cross it out, did you write it? Or did you not write it?

For the record, she was one of my favorite teachers. I wouldn’t have been as difficult with a teacher I disliked. I think that’s only natural.

In conclusion, I have no conclusion.



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