Saturday, January 28, 2017

A Visit to the SteamPunk & Industrial Show with Youngest Son ~ Saturday 1/28/17

Greg and I stayed up late last night. He was still doing work and I caught a stand-up act on Netflix by a French-Moroccan comedian named Gad Elmahel, who I had never heard of, but who ended up being very funny. He described his puzzlement at Americans (I guess he's based out of New York, now) and compared and contrasted American behaviors to those of French and Moroccan people and it was very entertaining. Even more so for me as I had the very same puzzling questions and thoughts when I first came here 30 years ago this year!  Anyhoo, I laughed a lot, which was nice.

Then, since Greg was still working and I wasn't tired, I put on another stand-up act, this one in English, by Colin Quinn, where he talks about the history of New York City and explains why its inhabitants are the way they are. It was quite funny, and Greg ended up joining me to watch the rest of it.  We laughed, and we're not even from New York. Gah, I could never live there.  Upstate New York state is gorgeous, but right now you'd couldn't even pay me to go back to NYC.

Meanwhile, the kittens were cold and sleepy and wondering why we weren't going to bed!  Two of them ended up settling down on top of me as I had a warm blanket on, and went to sleep.  We finally went to bed at about 12:15 p.m.

It was cold last night (45F) and we didn't turn on the heat, AND I turned on the pedestal fan!  Not because I was hot, but because of its white noise effect. My bedroom shares a wall with the bathroom and when Greg gets up at night, I hear every single little noise if the fan isn't on. Ugh.  Greg suggested I get a white noise machine, and I might just need to do that for those nights (like last night) when having the fan on is a pain.  Two of the kittens slept with me, down by my feet where the fan's blast wasn't hitting them, and then they tried to wake me up at 6 a.m., a little later than usual, and Tabby Kitty came to join the party as Greg seemed to have kicked him out of his room.  I was able to get them to go back to sleep (I kept their food bowls in my room with some kibble in them so they had their breakfast) for an hour and then Explorer started jumping on all the furniture and tried to throw things to the ground to wake me up, so I had to get up at 7 a.m.

Brrr. It was 64F in the living room but 46F outside.  Mount Dora is North of us so I knew it'd be colder there, still.  At 10 a.m., the time at which I had planned on arriving at the SteamPunk & Industrial Show, the temp was still going to be in the very low 50s.  So I went to talk to my son at 8 a..m to tell him to sleep in and that we would do in the afternoon instead. By then it should be in the low 60s, so a little better!

Greg's breakfast with his Daughter and family was rescheduled to tomorrow morning so he's sleeping in.

I have no real desire to do much of anything today. I have on my menu to make a beef stew in the crockpot, but I forgot to defrost any beef and I don't even feel like digging in the freezer to find it: it's too cold already!  So I think I might make meatball soup in the crockpot instead.  Or something with meatballs. I have lots of meatballs and they only need to be nuked.

I'm posting my To Do List because I only have a few more days to try to accomplish all the goals that I had set myself for this month, so I'd better have them in front of me as much as possible!

  • Start meatball soup in crockpot DONE
  • Bake focaccia bread DONE
  • Go to SteamPunk & Industrial Show with Youngest Son - DONE
  • Read details of Diabetic Exchange program 
  • Do my foot exercises 1X
  • Exercise
  • Finish putting away Christmas decorations
  • Find USB drive (NOT an SD card!) and clear it so Teen librarian to put photos of Youngest Son on it
  • Read e-library book in progress
  • Make sure Greg assigns specific funds to his IRA account 
  • Move missing Music files from External Drive to my Laptop 
  • Move/reinstall missing software on new laptop
  • Trying syncing my phone on new laptop
  • Clean litter box upstairs
  • Add Osmocote plant food to rose and hibiscus bushes
  • Put away the clipped articles from Kiplinger's magazine 
  • Iron Greg's clothes
  • Take RaceTrac surveys  
  • Make lemon poppyseed muffins or/and lemon squares with the "grapefruits"!
  • Pick the oranges
  • Zest the oranges and freeze
  • Move fonts from old laptop and reinstall on new laptop
  • Read the 2 library travel books
  • Take my measurements
  • Sign up for Personal Capital?
  • Email my French BFF
  • Start French blog for my mom and sister?
  • Inventory what I need to make new self-watering bins
  • Scrub patio pavers with bleach (wear old clothes and shoes, gloves and goggles)
  • Finish decluttering exercise room shelves
  • Mend at least one item from mending basket (Youngest Son's bag)
  • Open savings account with Discover Bank or other online bank
  • Update January Food Expenses post 
  • Research Florida Prepaid College Fund to see if can increase the contribution
  • Call my bank to consolidate my IRA accounts
  • Send my feedback to all my elected officials (city, county, state, Congress)

  • We watched 2 shows on Netflix last night.

  • We didn't turn on the heat even though it's cold (for Florida!).

  • There was half a mug's worth of coffee left in the coffee pot from yesterday morning so I drank that first.

  • I played Swagbucks automatic videos as soon as I woke and tried taking many surveys. Finally I was able to complete one and by 8:00 a.m. I had met my 1st daily goal.  Yay!  Not trying to meet my 2nd because it's too high, but I'll keep playing the videos as long as they're available.

  • I earned all the daily credits from Microsoft Rewards.

  • I entered my weight into Walgreens' Balance Rewards for Healthy Choices and earned another 20 BR points.  I have to weigh myself tomorrow morning... gulp. It's not going to be pretty, I think.

  • I earned 25 KFR points by entering bonus code 25PT-STOW-ARMY-OUUP into my Kellogg's Family Rewards account (code expires 2/4).

  • I decided to go to the SteamPunk & Industrial Show after lunch, since it was too cold this morning.  We'll save on eating lunch out but I still plan on getting snacks for my son, although he may be sated with a free muffin from RaceTrac?  We'll see.

  • I'm glad I signed up for the Amazon Prime newsletter a couple of weeks ago because their e-newsletter reminds me of all the things we get for "free" with our $99/yr Prime membership.  We mostly use it for the free shipping but we also use Amazon Prime Video sometimes (not as much as Netflix) and Greg borrows free books all the time.  Well, the newsletter reminded me that we also have access to free magazines, which I already do via our library system, but I don't think our library system offers this one.  So I borrowed it.

  • And then I got carried away and I also borrowed these two :)

  • I forwarded the newsletter to my Daughter and Middle Son because it highlighted a new Studio Ghibli movie being available to watch on Amazon Prime Instant Video and they're both huge fans of Studio Ghibli movies.

  • And I also forwarded the newsletter to Greg so he could borrow the latest issue "Field & Stream" via their link if he wished to.

  • So I made Betty Crocker's Italian Meatball Soup in the crockpot for dinner tonight. I'm not quite sure why this is a crockpot recipe, it seems to me that you could just warm up everything in a big pot and let it simmer for 15 minutes?  Oh well, at least it'll be done and I won't have to do anything later on with it.  I only had plain diced tomatoes so I added dried basil and oregano from my garden (and eyeballed the amounts!) and minced garlic from the Dollar Tree.  I had 1 can left of beef broth, which is what I used so it freed up space in my pantry instead of using the Better Than Bouillon Beef.

  • Then I decided to make Olive Focaccia in the breadmaker. Well, the dough. I'll cook it later on this afternoon, probably right before dinner. I didn't have savory so I consulted my little book on substitutions and decided to use dried sage (from my garden) instead.  The recipe calls for putting pesto on it before serving... perfect!  I just got a free jar of pesto yesterday!  I hope how this works out... 

  • This morning I waited until the kittens were nice and mellow after running around for a few hours, to give them their medicine, and it went even better than usual. It'll be less than 12 hours between the doses, but oh well. At least I didn't spill any of it on the floor since sometimes they make me think they're taking it but they're actually clenching their teeth and it's all falling on their fur!  Rascals!

  • For lunch, I had leftover Rice-A-Roni and one tuna patty, along with the rest of the strawberry spinach salad from last night. Greg finished the leftovers and our son made himself a sandwich.

  • My son and I were about to leave for Mount Dora when I asked him if he wanted to get some driving practice around the block first. He agreed so off we left, but when he went to pull back into our driveway, I had him drive a long circuit on the backroads between our little town and the next one, coming back on a main highway. Traffic was light but definitely heavier than he had encountered so far and he did great!  I won't lie and pretend that when I told him to go up to 55 MPH (in a 55 MPH zone, of course) on a small narrow country road, I wasn't squeezing my buttocks really hard and clenching that handle over my seat, LOL. He got about 30 minutes of driving today. Yay!

  • Then we made a pit stop at home and I went to brag about him to Greg and we left for Mount Dora. I drove, this time.  As we drove there, we made plans to also visit the flea market next door afterwards, since there are usually fruit stands and we needed to take some pictures for his AP Human Geography project.   More details about our field trip at the end of the post.

  • As I mentioned earlier, there was no admission fee nor a parking fee, yay!

  • I found a dime on the ground almost as soon as we left the SUV!

  • At the show, my son was interested in buying a few items and I almost bought them for him, but then I remembered that he has a lot of money that he never spends, so I suggested he buys his accessories himself. He didn't complain and handled all the transactions :)

  • We saw a cane that we like, just a plain old cane, at a sort of garage sale booth and asked the seller how much it was and were told $40. So we put it back. The seller tried to engage us in bartering but seeing as I knew that we wouldn't pay more than $5 for the cane, I declined to waste my time "bartering".  Later on, at the flea market, we passed one of those large booths that sold mostly Asian items and there were pretty nice lacquered wooden canes for... $2!  Yay!  My son bought that as well.

  • I bought my son a snack (fried Oreos) but told him he had to pick the bottle of water at $1 instead of the cup of lemonade for $5. He was fine with it. I did take a small bite of the fried Oreos since he offered (soooo good!) but declined more of them and ate the small pack of PB crackers that I had in my purse instead.

  • I felt obliged to buy some ears of corn from a produce stand since we had to take a picture of my son with it for his project, and the stand owners didn't look too thrilled.  However, at $0.50 a piece, it was cheaper than it is at Aldi right now, so it was a good deal.

  • I also bought an awesome, large, and very cushiony mat to place in front of my sink at the flea market. It was only $10.  Yay!

  • My daughter wanted to buy old keys so she could fit paper wings to them and hang them from her bedroom ceiling, à la Harry Potter but we couldn't find anything last week at the antique fair.  Today I found a booth that sold old cabinet keys.  They wanted $2 per key, which was expensive, I thought, but since she hadn't found them anywhere and I thought they were pretty perfect, I asked if they'd give me a deal if I bought 10 of them. They lowered the price to just $1.60 per key, so I paid $16. Still too much, but she'll be happy.

  • My son and I were able to take a lot of pictures needed for his AP project.  We stopped by a brand new Publix on the way home and took pictures there.  We asked a produce staff manager if he could tell us where to find an example of GMO produce so he went to call someone and ask and we found out that Publix only buys non-GMO produce. That didn't help us for the project but we learned something :)  While at Publix, my son campaigned for me getting 2 cakes that were on BOGO and I caved. He and Greg had some for dessert tonight and we're keeping the other one for when my daughter comes back on Monday.  I declined to have any.

  • We also stopped by Ace Hardware to take more pictures for the project.  In front of both Publix and Ace Hardware there were stands of Girl Scouts selling their cookies and I declined to buy any, which wasn't hard because a) I don't think those cookies are anything special, b) they're grossly overpriced and c) I don't agree that the Girl Scouts get only a tiny portion of the profits.

  • While we were gone, Greg went to get a haircut at Great Clips. He said there was no line and he paid with our prepaid card, which allowed us to pay (well, pre-pay, over a year ago!) only $9.99 per haircut instead of $14 $15.  He did pay cash for the tip.

  • For dinner, we had the meatball soup and oh it was so delicious!  Greg and I agreed that it was probably a good idea to have some meatballs cook for 8 hours after all, because they were moist and tender and yummy.  The focaccia dough had risen a lot while I was gone and when I went to bake it, the outside ended up burning and the inside was undercooked, so once again it was very underwhelming. I'm just not getting good results each time I try to make focaccia!

  • Gas:
    • for son's driving practice
    • to drive to Mount Dora and back
    • for Greg to drive to Great Clips and back

  • Fried Oreos for Youngest Son.

  • A new carpet to stand on when I do the dishes.

  • Old keys for my daughter.

  • Cakes for my beloved family :)

  • I did turn on the heat at 8 p.m. (set at 67F) because it was 64F in the living room and I was freezing even though I had a sweater and scarf on and a blanket. I might have lost too much blubber, lol!

  • I don't think we had any, although Greg was unable to work because of problems with the VPN he uses to connect to his work systems, and that IT was unable to help him with.

  • Oh and that I burned the focaccia bread.

  • $5 for Fried Oreos
  • $1 for bottled water
  • $16 for old keys
  • $2 for 4 ears of corn
  • $10 for a new kitchen mat
  • $6.39 for 2 cakes (Publix)
  • $2.00 for hairdresser tip

  • Free entrance and parking for the SteamPunk & Industrial Show.
  • Borrowed 3 issues of magazines for free via Amazon Prime Reading.
  • Found a dime on the ground.

  • Fed the cats
  • Worked on my Rewards programs
  • Told Youngest Son to sleep in!
  • Chased stray cats from my backyard
  • Kept Tabby Kitty from waking up Greg by crying behind his closed door :)
  • Entertained the kittens with their cat grass
  • Downloaded free issues of magazines to my Kindle
  • Prepped soup in crockpot
  • Mixed batch of focaccia bread dough in breadmaker
  • Cleaned up several kittens messes (knocked over cups of water, etc.)
  • Replied to blog comments
  • Gave the kittens their medicine
  • Gave Youngest Son some driving practice
  • Spent afternoon with Youngest Son at SteamPunk show
  • Helped Youngest Son with AP project (by driving him to places where he needed to have pictures taken and by taking pictures)
  • Fed kittens
  • Baked bread

  • Sleep was pretty good, actually, but I forgot to put my fitness tracker back in active mode as soon as I got up!
  • Breakfast was a cup of Special K Vanilla Almond, 1/3 cup of blueberries and 1/2 cup of ~2% milk. I drank coffee.  It's cold outside, drinking a lot of water today when I'm out and about isn't going to be a good idea.
  • Lunch was 1/2 cup of Rice-A-Roni, 1 tuna patty, about a cup of strawberry spinach salad.
  • Afternoon snack was a bite of fried Oreo and 4 peanut butter crackers.
  • Dinner was a bowl of Meatball Soup and a wedge of focaccia bread.
  • Water consumption was inexistent.  Today I drank coffee and Diet Coke.
  • Exercise was walking 9,368 steps by 7:30 p.m.
  • Foot exercises were performed.
  • for a wonderful outing and bonding with Youngest Son :)


Well shoot!  I just looked at the pictures that I took and they're all pretty craptacular and do not reflect the fun we had at all!  Oh well.

When we got to Renninger's, I was flabbergasted.  I thought we'd be lucky if there were another 10 people visiting the show.  Our little county is quite conservative, not at all the hotbed of artistic and quirky activities that other areas seem to thrive on, and it was not very warm today, although the sun was shining.

Well... the place was PACKED!  I don't know if it was just the regular Saturday afternoon crowds that come to the permanent Antiques market and also the permanent flea market that are housed on the property, but the SteamPunk show was small and yet extremely well attended as well.

We had a hard time finding a parking spot at first, but then I decided to drive all the way to the hill where we usually park to attend the Civil War Battle Reenactment and no one was there so we had plenty of room to park. Indeed, I parked at the top of the hill overlooking the festival area, but I could have just as well driven to the bottom of the hill and parked much closer. Didn't think about it but I got extra walking done so that was good :)

As we left the SUV, I saw an old mangled and rusted metallic and wooden hanger that had been left on the ground and I joked to my son that we had found our first SteamPunk accessory to outfit ourselves in, lol.  I texted Greg a picture, who was puzzled by why I was sending him a picture of a Snickers bar on a stick.  Because that's what it looked like.

Totally "industrial" accessory and free. Youngest Son insisted on bringing it home as
a trophy of sorts when it was time to leave, LOL.

As I said, my pictures are really bad. I just walk around and snap at random and never seem to be able to capture anything remotely interesting or even representative of what is going on :(

Approaching the festival area. There is a stage behind the white trailer where some SteamPunk band was playing and they weren't half bad, actually.  People seemed to enjoy it.  There were a lot of people in costumes, including little kids and even a dog!  I didn't get to photograph any of it though, I was too busy gawking at everyone and having a good time :) Plus I was embarrassed that people might have thought I was taking their picture to make fun of them...

One of the steampunk/industrial props that was on display.  There were lots of weaponry (always!), costumes, goggles, artwork.

Another picture that doesn't pay justice to the beauty of the subject. This was a very pretty skirt and a bustier.
You'll never see me in a bustier, but I really liked the skirt. However, I hate dressing up so I didn't even
bother checking the price of it. There are things you can enjoy and appreciate without having to buy them :)

A typical pair of steampunk goggles being sold at the festival. Several booths sold some that were
even more customized.

Catbot!  I need one of those! But at $90, I resisted :)

The guy in the costume was the craftsman and seller at this booth.  There were a lot of leather pieces,
including bracers and those very cool....

leather "gloves" with claws. Yeah, I tried them on!  I was joking with the older guy behind the counter that I wanted those to
scare my kittens into getting off my countertops!  I found out he was the craftsman's dad and that the artist had only started working with leather a short year ago. Wow. He builds props for movies as a job and this is his hobby.  I also refused to ask for the price because I would have been tempted to buy them, LOL.

This seller had tons of gold-colored embellishments that you bought by the piece and that people could use in their artwork or to add to their costumes. Youngest Son bought a golden feather for just $2 and added it to the brim of his short top hat that he bought himself.

There were other booths that sold items that had nothing to do with SteamPunk at all...

Yeah, not really SteamPunk!

Well shoot, these are the only costumed visitors that I managed to photograph and they didn't even
have the coolest costumes!

Part of the SteamPunk movement is to incorporate STEAM (Science, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) into some of the activities and there they were having a Teapot Racing competition.  From what I read, they had encouraged individuals and families to design their own powered "teapot-themed" vehicles, that they had to race along a certain circuit.  Most people elected to use a remote control vehicle as their base. I had joked, before we left our house, that we should have designed a vehicle by using the remote control tanks that we have (and never use) so I was tickled pink to see that one of the vehicles that would be racing today was indeed a "converted" tank.  A couple of close-ups, shortly.

But first: the circuit that the vehicles would have to negotiate...  Doesn't look that complicated but then again I'm terrible at
operating remote control vehicles so I would completely crashed into everything.

The black vehicle incorporated an actual teapot in the design (well, kettle, close enough), while others, such as the green
one on the left and ...

this one, included tea parties.  This one was my favorite!  I love the fabric they chose to represent the water, the viking theme, the viking tea party, and the spoons for oars.  Too funny!
Unfortunately, we didn't stay long enough to watch the race.  The booth was quite tiny and I figured we'd have a hard time seeing anything anyway.

My son, who hadn't been too enthusiastic about the outing when I had announced it, loved it.  And I knew he would :)  I think he was just embarrassed to admit that the SteamPunk genre was something that interested him.  We had an excellent time together and he talked about us going back next year, and joked that we'd show up in costumes that we had worked on all year, only to be the only ones there actually IN costume next year.  Watch that this is exactly what will happen, LOL.


First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
-- Martin Niemöller

These are extremely dark times we're living in.  We must make sure that that reason will triumph again and do everything in our legal power to ensure that it does. Although our rights are being eroded further, every day, we must all become active and make sure that our voices are heard and not discounted and not just today, this week, this month or even this year.  Contact your representatives. Call them, email them, inundate them with your feedback.  Don't let them silence you.  I'm behind the ball on this one, but I'm going to do my part.

How about you?!


  1. Sounds like you had a good day and a fun afternoon with your son. So glad he enjoyed it (and you knew he would!) Are you feeling better, today? Got over the cold or whatever you had, earlier in the week? I hope so.

    Thank you for posting that poem. I was reading it, earlier, and another one like that, called The Hangman by Maurice Ogden. I am so saddened and troubled by what is happening.

    1. I am finally feeling better, thanks for asking, Bless.

      I'm an American citizen of French origin who, right now, is thinking that she might not be able to go to France, even in case of a family emergency, for the next 4 years, because what if those lunatics suddenly decide that France is a terrorist country and don't allow me to come back, despite me being a citizen and holding an American passport? For this same reason, we will view the Niagara Falls from the American side this summer, instead of the Canadian side as we had planned. I don't think my fears are irrational at all, considering the current situation that many families find themselves in under the current administration.

      I just read "The Hangman" poem that you referred to and it's chilling. And probably prescient of what will happen if this madness continues.

      That notwithstanding, I hope you had a nice Sunday, Bless.

  2. I love Birds and Blooms magazine! I keep meaning to tell you that we go to Renningers in PA all the time for antique/flea market events. Wonder if same people? We also go to trade shows where I meet midi/computer score composers and I arrange their computerized music for ensembles. There are usually steampunk vendors there too. I've been trying to do swag bucks more when I sit on the couch at night while DH is dozing. I did hit my second goal. I cannot do it consistently though.

    1. Ah, congrats on reaching your 2nd goal! I've ramped up my SB-earning activities again, but I'll probably run out of steam in a few weeks if not before. As long as I can earn some with the videos that play automatically, it's not too painful, although those darn surveys are really ticking me off.

      Yes, the Renninger's in PA is owned by the same people as the one down here in Mount Dora! There are actually two of them in PA and two in Florida.

      How cool that you work with computer score composers! What type of trade shows are those?

    2. Horror Movies. LOL. I love minor key and brooding suspenseful scores. DH loves meeting the actors. My students sometimes get the added bonus of me getting them autographs from the rock musician rooms. PLUS, we get to people watch some interesting fun to be with people.

    3. Brooding, indeed! So you guys haunt horror movie trade shows, antique centers in Pennsylvania and CT farmer's markets. Interesting combination, LOL.

      I'm not a fan of horror movies at all, I'm way too chicken to watch them. I get startled by Greg just walking into the kitchen to the point of screaming my head off when I see him.every.single.time, so it's best if I avoid the genre. My older kids like them though. Are there any specific scores that you helped with that they might know?

  3. Looks like a fun day with your son. Those fried oreos look amazing!

    My heart breaks for refugees being barred from entering the U.S. Most are honest, hard working people with no terroristic leanings. Terrorists are already in the U.S, and will continue to find ways in. This ban hurts only families and children. As a Christian, I know there is persecution against Christians worldwide, however, those most persecuted by fanatical Islam(ISIS, etc) in the Middle East are actually Muslims.

    I am proud that the Canadian government welcomes Syrian refugees. How dare we think that only Western born individuals deserve to live in freedom. Love that quote you ended with. One that comes to mind often for me is "the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing".

  4. I've been thinking about those fried oreos all day! They were little clouds of fluffy batter with an almost melted oreo cookie in the middle and covered in confectioner's sugar. And fresh hot from the fryer. Oh, Theresa, they smelled so good!

    I completely agree with the quote that you shared. I am encouraged to see people standing up everywhere against this madness, but I think we need stronger and stronger numbers and be ready for the consequences as well because the people in power currently aren't rational and are inching towards making us accept a despot instead of a president.

  5. That Steam Punk show looks really awesome...just the kind of event I would enjoy.

    Love that you quoted Martin Niemöller - I've been familiar with this statement since I was a kid.

    1. Oh yeah? it was really fun!

      I had heard the quote from Martin Niemöller before, when I was a teen, I think, but I did have to look up his name :)


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