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Discovering wonders, one smile at a time


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Four Tips to Renew Your New Year’s Resolutions

Posted on Feb 2 by

Have you fallen off the wagon on your New Year’s resolutions? You’re not alone; according to a Forbes article from January 2013, only 8 percent of those who make New Year’s resolutions actually achieve them. If you’d like to take another crack at being among that eight percent, I have some advice that has worked for me to help keep me at least somewhat focused and moving forward for the long haul. First, find a technique to keep you on task. For me, I’ve used a kitchen timer with some success. Do you need to declutter, but feel like your house is too huge to tackle? Pick a room, set a timer for the appropriate amount of time, and get to work. Do this regularly, and you’ll make visible progress. I’ve seen some pages online that recommend spending 15 minutes on a task, on the principle that anyone can stand to do anything for 15 minutes. When I have the time, I like to set it for an hour; that way, I can get lost in the task, and I’m...


Expand Your Horizons: Write for a Community Paper

Posted on Aug 10 by

About two months ago, I started freelancing for the South Lake Daily Tablet. It’s a digital community paper covering a portion of the Florida county in which I live. Once I would have shied away from newspaper reporting; now I recommend that every writer try it at least once. You’ll be amazed at what you learn. At two years old, the South Lake Daily Tablet feels like a start-up gaining traction. Its online-only presence gives it great nimbleness and lower expenses. Right now it’s slowly growing its staff, which means that most reporters cover a little of everything. Weekly staff meetings with Michael and Patricia Corradino keep us on track. They’re the owners and publishers of the paper; as with any start-up, they work twelve hours and more a day. Honestly, some days they seem to show up everywhere. I have fifteen years of professional writing and editing experience, most of it spent online covering various technology-related topics. Michael Corradino’s background is specifically in news and journalism. I’ve learned a lot from him, and I expect to learn more....


Resizing a Cardigan Pattern, Part 2: Sleeve, Meet Reality

Posted on Jul 28 by

I’m making very good progress on crocheting the cardigan I’m resizing for my big and tall man. The body fits perfectly to the point I’ve reached, which is just before splitting for the back and both fronts. The one sleeve I’ve finished fits perfectly, too – but not because my initial math was perfect. Here’s something I should have realized from the very beginning: bodies rarely match the math you work out for them perfectly, and that’s just as true for men as women. I won’t completely rehash the math here; you can check the first post on this topic for my coverage of the sleeve math. Fortunately, I believe in repeatedly rechecking the fit of anything you’re making, so I only had to rip out 19 rows near the beginning. My original plan called for increasing the sleeve from the wrist about every third row, at least initially. As it turned out, that didn’t get the sleeve big enough, fast enough. When I tried it on my dearest at the 20-row mark, it was clearly too tight. That...


Crocheted Light-up Key Chain Light Saber

Posted on Jul 19 by

Now even fiber artists can get in touch with their inner padawan by making a small light saber that actually lights up. I got inspired to create this, appropriately enough, from a light-up key chain shaped like a light bulb. You’ll need just a few other things to make this lovely light source for a more civilized age. Aside from the light-up key chain, you will need: A clear bendable plastic, such as the kind you’ll find used for sheet protectors at office supply stores. Two colors of lightweight yarn or crochet cotton, one for the hilt of your lightsaber and one for the blade. A crochet hook sized appropriately to use with the yarn or cotton. A small amount of craft paint to match the color of your lightsaber blade. A small paint brush.   A container for water. A pair of scissors. A pen, or something with which to mark on the plastic. Clear tape. Newspaper to protect the surface on which you’re working. A ruler is optional; I kind of winged it, but if you want...


Lizard Picture

Posted on Jul 12 by

Hi! Not too much to talk about today, so here’s a picture I took on my front porch. It’s a joyful discovery in a couple of ways: first, that sometimes you’re lucky enough to have the animals hold still for you; and second, that an old digital camera can still take a decent picture. Let me tell you the particulars. I spotted this pair on my porch as I was going out to exercise. Naturally, I didn’t have my camera with me, so I went back inside to get it — a Kodak EasyShare CX7330, if you care. That model, if I remember correctly, is at least seven years old. So I go back outside with the camera, turn it on — and get a red light. Not enough battery to take a picture, in other words. But the lizards are still there, so I go back inside to change the battery. This time I check before going back outside — and success! Green light on the camera. I go back outside, this time with a working camera, and...


A First Interview for a Would-Be Test Subject

Posted on Jul 5 by

Lately, I’ve been going to a lot of job fairs. At a few of them, I’ve spotted an unusual booth. It looks like most of the other medical-focused booths, but they’re not looking for employees; they’re looking for test subjects. Or, as they say in the vernacular, human guinea pigs. The first time or two, I looked at these booths, politely interacted, but didn’t go any further. At one job fair, they sought people with particular medical conditions; they even had a list of conditions. I didn’t have any of the conditions listed…but something made me take the next step of making an appointment. I think it was the idea of getting paid for my time, and free medical treatment. Hey, I’m not proud. So, late last month, armed with an appointment card, my natural curiosity, and a bit of trepidation, I made my way to Orlando. That’s where Clinical Neuroscience Solutions, Inc. is located. (By the way, a quick web search showed that they apparently have branches in West Palm Beach and Jacksonville, that they’ve been around since...