Fruit Flies, and Monkeys, and Lonely Woman, oh my! Some Traveling Tips.

“This sucks, y’all.”

My recent trip to Texas, a 2000 mile round-trip, has me thinking about space travel. Researching the various this’s and that’s of it, I found the image to the left. That monkey looks as if he knows he ain’t coming back.

Just as a reference: Space officially begins at about 62 miles above our Earth’s surface, called the Karman Line.

The first living creatures to be launched into space were fruit flies—they were sent up with some corn so they’d not be hungry—way back in 1947, aboard a V2 rocket. They went 106 miles, and the capsule was actually recovered and the fruit flies weren’t any worse for wear.

A year later came the first monkey, named Albert. But, alas poor Albert; I knew him well (not). Um.  Ugh. Yeah. They think he may have suffocated before he even left the ground. Dang. The rocket only made it up 39 miles.

Albert II, who fortunate for him had NOOOO idea what happened to the preceding Albert, was sent up in a V2 rocket, soaring to 83 miles. Though Albert was the first monkey to be successfully launched into space without meeting his fate before leaving the ground, there was a problem with his parachute on the recovery capsule as it hurtled to earth and—well, you can guess the rest if you like. RIP Albert II. RIP.

After that, other Alberts (III, IV, V) boarded their rockets, and none survived—either they died on impact or during the flight.

Apparently, it is said that all of the monkeys were anesthetized for the flight. Hmmm.

The infamous Miss Baker. “I’m claustrophobic, y’all! ungh!ungh!”

But at last! Two monkeys in 1959—Able and Miss Baker—flew to 360 miles, tucked in aboard a Jupiter rocket. Their recovery capsule landed about 1700 miles off range of where they were supposed to land at Cape Canaveral, but they were found and recovered, and perhaps became celebrities, maybe as spokesmonkeys for various products and services.

My recent travel was not so dire and dangerous, though perhaps it is in its own way—traffic, crazy drivers, high winds, bad storms, exhaustion, a hotel from hell—lawd!

There is vulnerability (at least for this lonely woman) to traveling alone. So I have some general tidbits for you, should you also travel alone, or will one day do so.

1). If you are traveling with a pet, and will be stopping for the night, you would be better off checking out hotel pet policy ahead of time. Many chains do not allow pets. Some allow them but with restrictions, or a non-refundable fee (one hotel charges $100 nonrefundable fee!). Some chains do allow pets for free—like LaQuinta. LaQuinta hotels are a crapshoot, honestly. Some of them are seriously outdated. Do your research and it’ll save you from being road-weary and searching.

Read reviews. There are always the 1-star “I HAAAAAATED IT!” reviews and the 5-Star “I LOOOOOOOVED IT!” reviews, but I like reading those 3 and 4 star reviews.

Also, maybe I’m just paranoid and weird, but the first two things I do when I stay at a hotel, any hotel, no matter how much it costs or where it is, is to check the mattress for signs of bed bugs (UGH!)—I have never had a room with those, but I check it every time (pull up the sheets and look at the mattress, particularly along the seams, for cleanliness—you can google this if you dare). Then I take Clorox wipes and wipe down the remote, the light switches, the toilet, and a few other surfaces—what? Better safe than sorry! All hotels, no matter how nice or what the cost per night, get this treatment. It’s the only way I can relax. I will also admit that in the middle of the night, I shine my phone under the covers just to make sure nothing is there. Yeah. My head is a scary place.

I seeeee youuuuu!

Also, if you have “trouble” at any hotel, report it. I stayed at a hotel with a weird wonky door that I didn’t discover until the next morning that you could see a little bit into my room! EEEEK! I was NOT HAPPY! While the staff was amazing, and the hotel clean, that hotel needed serious updating and renovating. It was unacceptable. They refunded my money. I won’t be staying there again. Research, y’all! Ahead of time!

2). Welcome Centers are becoming better and better about cleanliness, safety, and, well, welcoming! I always stop at a Welcome Center when entering a new state. There’s places to walk about, and if you have a pet, they have designated areas for the pets. There’s usually coffee, and nice greeters (during business hours mostly). Vending machines if you are interested in that. And the bathroom facilities are usually clean and safe.

3). Rest areas are a mixed bag. Some of them do a great job of keeping the area and facilities clean and safe. But, I have a rule: if I pull up to a rest area and don’t feel safe, or have one of my “wonky” feelings, I’m out of there. Always best to listen to your gut. As with Welcome Centers, rest areas are much better than they used to be, but some are still a little “shady.”

4). Have water handy for you and for your pet. I used to limit my water intake so I’d not have to stop so often, but now I realize that part of the joy of the trip is stopping and stretching my legs, taking in some scenery. And keeping yourself hydrated and your body stretched out will keep you awake and aware and feeling better.

5). Don’t consume sugary snacks and drinks! Same goes for high “bad” carbohydrate foods, like a lot of fast foods. Eating sugary/high carb foods will make you feel sluggish and sleepy. Higher protein snacks/food is a better choice.

And, concerning No’s 4 & 5 – if you are traveling alone, you MUST be alert! There is no one to switch off so you can rest/nap, unless you pull over to nap, and I will never do this. So consider what you take with you and where you stop to eat as an important part of your travel. Continue reading

Advertisements

Super-Duper Moon Is Coming! Door Removal & Snaking Your Drain til it Guggles

No, “Snaking Your Drain til it Guggles ” is not a euphemism  for something naughty (not today anyway – ha!)

I’m so excited! If I were in a relationship or dating someone, or someones, I’d be thinking about how Moon-shine over Maggie Valleyto spin this event in to some kind of “romantic” sexy date (even though I am not much of a romantic, I am, however, all about the sexy, y’all – haw!). Big ole Moons are made for lovers, right? Oh well, I’ll love myself—see snaking your drain: just kidding! (hahaha).

On November 14,  Earth will see its first Super-Duper Moon since January 1948—I wasn’t born yet so this Super-Duper Moon will be my first. Because it will be closer, our moon will look to be about 14% bigger and about 30% brighter. Moon won’t be that close to Earth again until November of 2034.

Moon orbits elliptically, and on its perigee side it’ll be approximately 30,000 miles closer to earth supermoon-micromoonthan the other side (the apogee—mini moon!). When the Earth, Moon, and Sun line up (called a syzygy—all consonants, y’all!—unless you consider the “sometimes y” thing, and who doesn’t?) with the perigee side of Moon facing Earth, the moon will be on the opposite side of the earth than it is from the sun—that’s called a perigee-syzygy. In case you were wondering and all—these things may have been keeping you up at night, tossing and turning and wondering about syzygys and perigees and apogees and the like.

All this together on November 14 will make our moon look to be bigger and brighter: SuperMoon! (Though scientists, bless them, call it a perigee moon.)

I took this photo through my telescope

We’ve recently had some SuperMoons—one in mid-October, and we’ll have another one mid-December. But this one on November 14 will appear bigger than any SuperMoon we’ve had in 70 years. If you don’t like how full moons affect you, then you must prepare yourself. However, if like me you love them and run amok through the woods howling your ass off, then like me you will love it!

a_moon-illusion-rick-baldridge-lick-observtorystv2-517x360

Lick Observatory atop Mt. Hamilton near San Jose, Calif. in March 2012. Rick Baldridge – from Sky & Telescope (http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/moon-illusion-confusion11252015/)

Of course where you live and how you are able to view the moon will make a difference. You need a point of reference with which to compare it. Some trees or a building, etc. If it’s way up in the sky with nothing to compare it with, then Moon may not seem as Super to you. If you see it at just the right place, like close to the horizon, you can see a “moon illusion” where it looks really uncommonly large in relation to the object or objects in “front” of it.

I’m hoping our clear skies we’ve had here in Western North Carolina Smoky Mountains remain clear so I can see this—and through my telescope, too! Squeeeeee!

Now, just a few little hints for you here today. If we don’t learn to repair some things on our own, and are afraid to try, then money we do not have or have little to spare on our one income will fly out the window and up to the SuperMoon. I’ve shown you some easy fixes—and maybe not as easy fixes, but not extremely difficult either—here on Lonely Woman’s blog, but today’s “repairs” are super duper easy.

If you have a slow drain in your bathroom sink or tub, before you go pouring something caustic and nasty down it, or before you call a plumber, there is something so very easy to try, you’ll wonder why you didn’t know about this before!

img_5350First, you want to remove the drain “guard” thing—it’s the thing with holes in it and a screw in the middle (you may have something different). Just remove the screw with the proper screwdriver (see below), then lift out the drain “guard” (you may have to pry it with something to pop it out).

 

These very inexpensive little “drain snakes” with tiny brushes on the end really do work for most slow or clogged drains. I’ve been using them for years and have not needed nor purchased any caustic drain uncloggers for years, nor have I had to call a plumber—works every time. viewimageYou simply push the brush end into the drain, and shove it down in there. When you pull it back up, you may find a mass of something outstandingly gross, especially if you haven’t done it in a while, or ever, and especially if you have long hair, or lots of hair—lawd! But once you do this a few times, the drain will clear, and is there not a more happy go lucky relieved sound than the glug glug glug of water happily circling down the drain where previously it was sluggish and slow and annoying? I think not!

My next “repair” is not really a repair at all (unless you have a broken door), but if you wish to remove a door and never have considered just how easy it is. I’m all about making my lil log house img_3999“my own” since I do not have to share, and I’ll have another post on Making Your Space Your Own Where Previously You Had To Share, soon—maybe next time. Removing a door is so super easy. Go look at a door in your house or apartment (you can refer to the images as well). Look at the hinges on the door—there are three of them on a standard sized door. You see how that works? There is a long “nail” that fits inside the “loops” in those hinges, and that’s what makes the door swing open and closed.

All you do is find a hammer and a small Phillips head screwdriver—and if you don’t know what that img_4005is, the Phillips head is the one that looks as if it comes to a “point” and has  two slots at right angles to each other, while the other screwdriver looks flat at the end and has one slot (there are other kinds of screwdrivers, but the Phillips and the slotted are the two general main ones most of you have in your household). I’ll soon have a Black & Decker cordless screwdriver! Another squeeeeee. My hammer is an old Stanley, and it’s small; just right for my small hands.

You’ll see the “nail” that’s inserted in the “loops” of the door hinge has a head and then an end, img_4007img_4001much like a big fat nail without a point. Place the head of the screwdriver on the bottom flat end of the “nail” and hammer the handle of the screwdriver to start pushing up the nail through the “loops.” If you have other tool implements that will work better, go ahead! This is just how I do it. Once you work that nail out enough, you can pull it free. Do this to the other two hinges. Then all you do is grab the door and it’s free of its restraints. VOILA!

I did this to a closet door in my bedroom. In the winter the closet was freezing, and in the summer the closet needed air. As a “temporary” fix, I bought an inexpensive bead and string thang that I shoved a tree limb through and then hung over the door. I’ve liked it enough to keep it there until I figure out what more I want to do in that doorway and in the closet area. Since you can see through the closet-door-2bead/string thang a little, I put a furry rug on the floor, placed some decorative “bins”  and other interesting containers on the shelves. More of that on “making our spaces,” but  I’m pretty proud of myself!

Have fun. Fiddle around. Pull out your toolbox and see what you have. If you change something and don’t like it, change it back or do something else. If you attempt to repair something and ruin it, well, don’t come looking for me! laughing!

That’s all for today. In case you need a refresher on simple car repair, and small household “repairs,” I’ll link a few below (or put up the video again).

Now, I’ll just wait with excited breath for that SuperMoon! Squeeeeee!


Click for post: What to do if your ceiling fan is making noise & Garbage Disposal not working?

Tools: allen wrench, crescent wrench:


Repairing a headlight & a windshield wiper (Blog Link Here for more):

How to check your oil:


1964980_10152466287074176_8369086502746553258_nIf you like Southern/Appalachian/Family Saga fiction (sometimes with a supernatural touch), then I hope you will consider one of my novels (or short story “snacks”) by clicking on this link to my 51j6n1OihJL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Amazon Page. I appreciate your support!

1461250_496657083765127_1387255473_nAnd I thank you, my readers.

 

Uranus: Rolling Retrograde Pale Blue Beauty & Simple Car Repairs 1-ohhhh!-1: YOU GOT THIS!

Uranus is the seventh planet from the sun and not visible to the naked eye. It’s an interesting and f96496501b29ea59d0cd2f06ad7bba09im-not-saying-its-cats-but-its-cats-thumbunique planet worthy of our attention. Don’t you feel that about yourself sometimes? Especially as a Lonely Woman, or Lonely Man? That you are no longer visible but you are unique and interesting and worthy of attention? You’ll hear, “Get yourself out there! Be around people!” But, it is exactly the “getting yourself out there” thing that is confusing and daunting and scary, isn’t it?

But I digress. Because I like to say/write: I digress.

Uranus’s axis is tilted at 97-98 degrees, so the planet rolls on its side for most of its rotation around our sunmain-qimg-86166fcd316a7716d4486a9e420e9a96. This rotation is called retrograde—opposite of Earth and other planets (besides Venus and Pluto, which also spin in a retrograde direction). In these retrograde planets you can imagine that the sun would rise in the west and set in the east. Though, Uranus is so tilted on its side that some of its orbit points its poles right at the sun so there’s 42 years of sunlight at one pole while the other is in complete darkness for 42 years—that sounds like my moods sometimes; hahaha! The 42 years of sunlight/darkness is during Uranus’s solstice; during the planet’s equinox it is a little more “normal” in its “seasons.”

It takes 84 years for Uranus to orbit the sun—Earth takes 365 days. Imagine that for your birthday I pick you up in my Lil Log Spaceship and take you to Uranus.  Let’s also imagine your birthday is today, July 16, and, let’s say you were born in 1970. If you were back on Earth you’d be 46 years old. But if you were with me on Uranus you’d only be 0.54–notice the decimal y’all!—and what would be your second birthday wouldn’t be until July 20, 2054! I bet you’d miss all the cake and ice cream and presents and would scurry on back to earth. As for me? Well: Pitiful Lonely Woman Alert!—my last birthday was spent—guess, no really, guess!—yeah: alone. Dang. So a birthday once a year or once every 84 years—hmmmmm, gotta think about that one. Like Charlie Brown says (and I don’t exactly quote): We don’t mind being alone and lonely so much, we just don’t want a holiday(or birthday) to emphasis it. Awwwwwwww!

On Uranus, a 115 pound person would weigh 102. Not a huge difference like some of the other celestial bodies—for example, a 115 pound person would weigh over 3000 pounds on the sun but only 19 pounds on the moon! I’m gonna have my cake and eat more of it too on the Moon.

uranusUranus is an Ice Giant planet. There’s an ice mantle that surrounds rock and more ice. Its atmosphere above consists of ammonia, water, and methane ice crystals—this gives it its gorgeous pastel blue color.

Now here is a weird thing: because of Uranus’s atmosphere, it is thought that it may rain diamonds! Imagine diamond-hail falling down on and around you. As well, It could be that there is a layer of liquid diamond. I’m not a diamond kind of woman, but I’d love to have me a big ole pretty jar of liquid diamond. Now I bet that would be interesting and beautiful. Dang! My precious.

Many people believe Saturn is the only planet with rings, but Uranus has rings too (so does Jupiter and Neptune). They are small rings made of dust and small boulders.

Neptune has 27 moons. Can you imagine looking up and seeing 27 moons? They were named after William Shakespeare and Alexander Pope characters—like Puck, Juliet, Ariel, Cupid, Miranda, Oberon, Caliban, etc. etc.

For more on Uranus, see this video below:

Some pronounce this planet Ur-ran-us and others Ur-anus. I admit I picked this planet today because I was saying “Your-Anus” in my head, and since I kicked ass yesterday, that was my reason. Yeah. Well. What can I say? Laugh. I have my own thought-processes.

And the reason I kicked ass is because I was able to make a couple of repairs on my car without any help—because there IS no help. When you are a Lonely Woman/Man, you are responsible for everything, and that includes car repairs and maintenance. And that’s what I want to talk to you about today, besides Uranus, that is! The more we can do on our own, the more kickass we feel. The more empowered we feel. Before I opened up that hood, I was worried about what those repairs were going to cost me, and where would the money come from? How much more can my groaning credit card take? I’d been putting it off, and it wasn’t safe to do that. I was tired of the anxiety over it.

download (1)

You are allowed to look pitiful if it’s your birthday and you are by yourself being a Charlie Brown. Just say’n

Stress . . . worry . . . obsesses . . . anxiety . . . or, open the danged ole hood and just Try It.

The repairs I made saved me a trip to a mechanic (other than the “check engine” light that I will talk about), and everything I did was completely FREE! I included a video (below).

These repairs were done on a 1998 Subaru Outback. Your car may vary. Refer to video below if you want to “see” what I’m talking about. And be careful about safety: Engine OFF; hood secured, and any other areas of safety necessary. Your car may be different from mine, so just be Smart about things.

Problem: One of your headlights is not working. It’s not the bulb, because either you’ve had that replaced, and/or you notice the light sometimes works.

Solution: I always keep my engine off! Open the hood, secure the hood safely. Now, look around at FullSizeRenderwhat appears to be connectors and connections leading to the headlight. Behind the bulb you’ll see wires connected to a “plug” –unplug this connector and make sure all the wires are secure. Press the wire connections in, brush/blow away any dirt and dust. Plug the connector back in. If you are lucky, as I was, the headlight will come on! Just be sure you are not forcing things—if it isn’t something easy to disconnect, maybe it’s not supposed to be disconnected!

Problem: Windshield wiper cleaner not working. No motor sounds; no water.

Solution: Again, engine off, look under your secured hood (safety always please!), and find your 064B5BE3-06C5-4A51-9BE8-A33E9221BAA0 (3)windshield wiper fluid container. Make sure first it has fluid. Then look for connectors/connections-wiring leading to the fluid container. Check the wires and connections—I like to press them, push them in, move wires out of the way so they don’t hang up on something. Press on the connectors to make sure they are secured. Sometimes it’s just a loose wire or connections rather than a bad part!

If you have motor sounds but no water comes out to clean your windshield, then look for the small tube that goes from the windshield fluid container up to your hood. In my case, that black rubber tube coming from the windshield wiper fluid container was disconnected from the white plastic connector on the hood. I simply connected the two, turned on my wiper cleaner, and VOILA! Done!

Problem: “Check Engine” light suddenly comes on. Right after I drove my car after these repairs, my check engine light came on. This has never happened before and I was about to panic, but I knew it had to do with something I’d just done. I drove right to a local mechanic (in this case Waynesville Tire—and they were awesome). I told them the repairs I’d done.

Solution: They hooked up a device and all they ended up having to do was put in a code to turn off the check engine light indicator. The mechanic explained that some things will cause that sensor to go off and indicate a check engine light when there is nothing wrong with the engine. We figured that when all that water sprayed in my engine from that loose tube, it somehow caused the sensor to go off. It cost me nothing. So “check engine” doesn’t always mean something bad or catastrophic. If your check engine light comes on, don’t let someone scare you in to some huge repair. Take your car to someone you trust and ask them to try putting in the code to turn off that check engine light. If it continues to come on, then you may have something to address. However, in my case, that was the solution!


Next give-away is next post. And I draw from people who’ve “liked” or commented (here or on the post that shows up on my Facebook Page) from the last drawing until now, so more people are included and it makes it more fun. So on the posts I don’t have a give away, your name still goes “in the hat” for the next drawing.  

During the next few posts, I’m going to delve into the area of – gasp – Dating! Or Not Dating, as the case may, or should, or could be. Stay tuned.


 

1964980_10152466287074176_8369086502746553258_nIf you like Southern/Appalachian/Family Saga fiction (sometimes with a supernatural touch), then I hope you will consider one of my novels (or short story “snacks”) by clicking on this link to my 51j6n1OihJL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Amazon Page. I appreciate your support!

1461250_496657083765127_1387255473_nAnd I thank you, my readers.