Black and White Mushrooms

I noticed some interesting-looking mushrooms on the lawn on my way to work in the morning. They have black caps and white stalks. I believe they are some species of inky cap mushroom, since the caps turn black and peel upward as it matures. However, there isn’t a way for me to definitively identify them without spore prints and DNA testing, and that’s not going to happen.

The first time I saw them, I stopped to take a few pictures. I wanted to take more after work, but by the time I returned, they had all shriveled and wilted. Counting on mushrooms to keep popping up overnight, I discovered more the next morning. These photos were taken over several days. I’m not sure if they’re all the same species, since I noticed at least four other distinct mushrooms on that lawn.

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The cap is starting to turn upwards.

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It’s common to see ripped, upturned caps.

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This is what they look like by the afternoon. It’s hard to notice them at this stage unless you look carefully, because they no longer stick out from the grass.

If you have any idea which species of mushroom these are, let me know in a comment! (Scientific name preferred.)

Flowering Vine Bracelet

The idea for this bracelet came from this tutorial by Beadifulnights. As you can tell, I did mine a bit differently. The most obvious difference is that I made my vine and leaves the same color. The reason was that I still have a lot of those cheap green seed beads left over from another project, so I wanted to use as many as I could. This is a project where it doesn’t matter if the size and shape of the seed beads are uniform. In fact, I actually used the different sizes to my advantage.

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I also shaped my leaves differently and modified the spacing of the flowers. I like how it turned out.
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What is it about washing a car?

What is it about washing a car that makes people want to stare at you?

Saturday morning I was washing my boyfriend’s car by the side of the road. [Edit: He thought of going to the car wash because his parents were visiting, and he didn’t want they to ride in a dirty car. I convinced him to wash it ourselves because it’ll cost less and it’s a form of physical activity.] During the time I was out there, seven people passed by, and five of them stared at me. Not just looked, but stared, as in they turned their heads to keep looking as they moved forward. I don’t believe it had to do with my appearance; I was wearing an old T-shirt and shorts and I wasn’t moving suggestively. This was far from the scene from Cool Hand Luke. The passersby weren’t all men. Even women and children looked stared.

Although I was annoyed at the time, I was more confused. What could possibly be so fascinating about someone washing a car? Do people no longer wash their cars, making it such an unusual sight? Are the people in this town so wealthy that they only go to the carwash instead of doing it themselves? Or did they stop washing their cars after using a hose to wash cars became prohibited in order to conserve water during this drought? I was using a squeegee and bucket, so I wasn’t breaking any rules. Was I doing it the wrong way?

First it was a boy riding a bicycle. Maybe this one doesn’t count since I hadn’t started washing yet. He noticed me approaching with the bucket as my boyfriend parked by the curb. He first looked at me, then kept looking at my boyfriend as he got out of the car. All this time his bike was still moving forward as his head was turned over his shoulder. I was hoping* there would be an obstacle in his path to teach him to not stare at people. There wasn’t. He’ll learn, eventually.

Next, there was a couple walking on the other side of the street. They both looked, but the woman kept looking at me as they walked on. Maybe she was thinking, “Why is she using a squeegee and not a sponge?”

A few minutes later, a little girl came over and stood behind me. I was already annoyed by then so I ignored her until she said, “I’m waiting.” I thought of greeting her with a “Hi” but since I hadn’t slept well and was not in a good mood, I turned around and calmly said, “You’ve never seen someone wash a car?” (Afterward I felt kind of bad for saying that, but I didn’t say it with a sarcastic of a tone of voice.) She appeared interested and commented “Dirty water!” after peering into the bucket. I said, “uh huh” and kept washing.

After that she ran back to her mom and brother who had just left their apartment and said “I’ve never seen someone wash a car!” Really? When I was growing up there were kids her age who helped their parents wash their cars. I was one of them. My guess is that she may be five or six years old. Her brother appeared older, and from what he was saying, it sounded like he had either just finished second grade or will start it next fall.

After they left, there was a man on a bicycle, who appeared rather aimless. He was looking in my direction until my boyfriend returned with a sponge and I told him what had happened. At the same time, two cyclists rode by, but I’m not sure if they looked at us.

My boyfriend’s theory is that people’s eyes are drawn to activity. If that is the case, then people would want to stare at me regardless of whatever I was doing. But I don’t recall ever having that many passersby stare at me. I was determined to put that to the test. After I finished with the car, I decided to hula hoop in the same area. (I usually hoop in the park behind the apartment and few people have stared at me.) I walked back and forth on the sidewalk, while hooping.

Perhaps there isn’t much to stare at when someone is hula hooping because the hoop just goes around and around, but I was walking while waist hooping and I briefly did one trick. I’d like to believe that’s at least somewhat interesting to look at.

Unfortunately, nobody passed by for a really long time! Then came a man in a driving school car. He got out to wait for his client for a few minutes and watched me hoop, but he was waiting, so it wasn’t like he was just passing through. After that, a woman across the street came out to meet someone. She looked at me briefly when she was moving her truck, but she did not stare. Later a male cyclist appeared, but he was paying more attention to any possible traffic. He might have glanced at me, but again, he did not stare. Three is a very small sample size, so it is still inconclusive.

The following week I went out there and hooped again. I walked back and forth on the sidewalk while waist hooping. Of the six people who passed, two stared. I was out with the hula hoop again a few days later. Only two people passed and they didn’t stare. Three cars drove by and I didn’t really look at the people inside, but there was one passenger who obviously stared.

Interestingly, later that day as we were leaving, we saw a couple near the same spot, washing a car. I did not stare at them. A female cyclist was passing, and she stared at them as she rode past. (I count it as a stare because she turned her head to keep looking.) Admittedly, I stared at her staring at them because I turned my head, but I really had to know.

I find this rather confusing and amusing, but I’m not going to lose sleep over it.

Have you ever had passersby stare at you while you were washing a car? Have you ever stared at someone washing a car? What is it about washing a car that makes people want to stare?
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* I was only jokingly hoping. I’m really not that mean.

When You Sing Happy Birthday

My boyfriend’s family recently celebrated three birthdays in one week. (They weren’t the actual birthdays; they celebrated because his parents were visiting.) It was the first time I heard people sing Happy Birthday with everyone singing in a different key. It clashed! I know sometimes it takes a while for everyone to converge on the same key, but this group didn’t even bother. They went through the whole song with everyone singing in their own key.

The first time, I thought they were just taking a long time to converge. Two days later, they started when I was in the restroom so I wasn’t around for most of it, but it still ended with everyone singing in different keys. The third time, I was confused. I tried matching someone else’s pitch at first, but halfway through I could hear myself clashing, so I brought it down to match his brother’s key. Everyone else continued singing in their own key. I thought that was strange but I haven’t been to enough birthday parties to know what is normal. Meanwhile, my boyfriend was used to it. He knew it didn’t sound good, but he didn’t know why.

Usually in my family, my aunt would start and since she’s loud and has a higher pitched voice, we’d all go along with the key she’s singing in. It’s higher than what I’d prefer, but I can still do it, and will, for the sake of these 19 seconds not sounding terrible.

I wonder if this has to do with differences between collectivist and individualistic cultures. Perhaps people from individualistic (primarily Western) cultures will sing in their own key even if it clashes with the key other people are singing it in. Meanwhile, people from collectivist (primarily Asian) cultures will try to all match? Or maybe it has to do with his family’s lack of music training? However, I didn’t have formal music training until I started band in 7th grade. We did sing in elementary school and most kids sang in the same key as the teacher, except for the few who were off tune.

I was curious about what other people do, so I watched three videos of families singing Happy Birthday on YouTube. (I know it’s a small sample, but there’s only so much I can take….) One family took some time to converge, but eventually did. The other family sang it all the way through with most people singing in their own key. The third family was a mess; even the timing was off. So does that make my family the unusual one? 😀 I’m interested in knowing what your experiences have been when singing Happy Birthday with other people.

When you sing Happy Birthday with a group of people, do you:

a) try to match the key most people are singing in
b) sing in your own key, without paying attention to what other people are singing
c) What’s a key in music??? :/

The times when you have sung Happy Birthday with a group of people, they generally:

a) eventually converge on the same key
b) sing in their own key the whole way through
c) What’s a key in music??? :/

How to get access to my personal site

I was surprised by the number of requests for access to my personal site, including some from usernames I didn’t immediately recognize. (Don’t worry, I won’t outright reject you. Read on to learn how you can gain access.) Thank you all for your interest. I honestly hadn’t expected any requests. I had only posted the link thinking a few regular readers of this site (who already have access but aren’t following that site) might want to revisit it.

I normally don’t share the link publicly. In the past, I’ve just told people to leave a comment saying they’re interested, and then I’ll send invites to those I felt comfortable letting in.

I have mentioned on my About page how to get access to my personal site, but apparently not everyone reads it. I’ll explain the process in more detail here.

The basic rule is: show me that you’re not a jerk. There have been people who have left comments that are snarky, disrespectful, racist, etc. on my public site. I won’t grant them access to the private one. People who constantly give unsolicited advice are also not welcome.

I just need to observe the types of comments you leave on this blog for some time before I feel comfortable letting you in. I know that it’s not always easy to come up with things to say, but you’re welcome to comment on my old posts. Leaving a thoughtfully written, relevant comment on my post shows me you’re truly interested in what I write. I’ve encountered too many people who follow a bunch of blogs just to try to get people to follow them in return. That’s why, if I’m not already following you, I’ll visit your site after you’ve left a relevant comment on one of my posts.

If you’re a lurker, meaning you just read and never comment, then sorry, I’m not going to grant you access. I don’t want my day to day life, struggles, and insecurities to only be a source of amusement for people. I want actual interaction. It takes me a while to warm up to people, but once I do, I am very loyal.

It’s been a while

I have not posted here for over two months! I’ve still been around to read your posts and regularly update my personal site, but I haven’t felt like writing here as much.

Those of you who follow my personal blog know that in early May I had a terrible cold that took me out for two weeks. After that, the mystery tiredness that I had last year started again.

I’m also not sure which direction I want to take this site. I’ve been wondering if I should make a professional site just for my jewelry, because when people find out I make jewelry, they’ve asked if I have a website showing my work. I’d feel more comfortable pointing them to a jewelry specific site instead of this one. That would also make me feel more comfortable posting whatever I want here, in addition to jewelry. I’m still not certain about converting my hobby to a business, even though people say why not have the hobby pay for itself? Perhaps I am missing out on a business opportunity if some people have expressed interest in buying my jewelry.

I’m going to try to start posting here more regularly again. Thanks for sticking around!