Think you’re smarter after using Google? Think again

Credit: Michael S. Helfenbein. Photo via Shutterstock
Credit: Michael S. Helfenbein. Photo via Shutterstock

Bad news, folks. If you use online search engines, chances are you probably think you’re smarter than you really are, according to new research published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.

Yale psychologists recently conducted several experiments with over 1,000 participants and found that if subjects received information through search engines, they tended to rate their knowledge base as much greater than those who obtained the information through other methods.

“The Internet is such a powerful environment, where you can enter any question, and you basically have access to the world’s knowledge at your fingertips,” said lead researcher Matthew Fisher, a fourth-year doctoral candidate in psychology at Yale University. “It becomes easier to confuse your own knowledge with this external source. When people are truly on their own, they may be wildly inaccurate about how much they know and how dependent they are on the Internet.”

To learn more, please see the links below.

This post – based on material provided by Yale University and written by myself – can also be found at steamregister.com, to which I am a contributor.

Busting the “crazy cat lady” stereotype wide open

King Leo is not amused.
King Leo is not amused.

I have cats. There. I said it. And I love them one and all. They each have their own story, their own personality, and their own quirks. But they all love me unequivocally, unabashedly, and without pretense. Granted, they are big shedding balls of “F you lady for not letting me out or giving me food RIGHT THIS MINUTE.” Cats are like that. But sure enough, give them what they want and when they want, you’ve got a best friend for life. The kind of friend who reminds you with a paw to the nose that it’s time to rise and shine. The kind of friend who will bring you half dead critters, or even share their newest lovely piece of yacked up hair (you now, right where you’ll find it in the middle of the night…in the dark…with your bare feet).

That being said, nearly every one of my friends and family has at one point in time posted those damn crazy cat lady memes to my Facebook news feed. You know the ones. Don’t you? If not, here’s a few samples.

cat lady 1cat lady 2cat lady 3

Here’s the thing. I may have 5 cats. I may be a lady. And sometimes I may be crazy. But in no way does that make me a “crazy cat lady.” Apparently, Julia Baird of the New York Times agrees with me. Read her latest op/ed – “Stand Up for Your Cats” – here.

And after that, go adopt more cats! They’re like potato chips, you can never have just one.

This post written by myself can also be found at steamregister.com, to which I am a contributor.

Vegetable garden and a victory against my head!

garden day 1

Yes folks. I WENT OUTSIDE YESTERDAY! I challenged myself last week and asked my dad to come help me plant a small vegetable garden. He’s the master gardener, always has been. Hell, this year he’ll have over 200+ tomato plants growing in his garden, among all the other veggies he is planning on. He’s a farmer’s market kinda man. And that man…well…he never gives up on his baby girl. EVER. He knows my struggles. He talks me through them. And his presence is always comforting.

This is an image from 2010. My handsome, loving, supportive and understanding father. No man will ever quite measure up to him. EVER
This is an image from 2010. My handsome, loving, supportive and understanding father. No man will ever quite measure up to him. EVER

So, I started out the morning knowing full well I had a date with my dad and some dirt. I started off slow – head poked out the door, then onto the back porch, then out into the yard, then finally out to the back all the way several times, and at longer intervals (and without the fog to blanket me in invisibility). All this while working on a piece of artwork to calm me down in between. More on that later because it’s still in progress.

There were a few times where I almost squealed in delight at myself. But there were kids out in the back yard next door and I didn’t want to scare the little heathens. God they’re loud as hell when they’re having fun. Dirty, loud little monsters. LOL

The weather finally warmed up around 11am to where it felt really good to get out in the sun, if only for a few moments at a time. I definitely do need it, the sunshine vitamin. It’s good for you after all.

So, dad shows up around 1:30. I already had my gardening tools ready because I had taken one of those quick trips out back to plant some Texas roses that a friend gave me last year. They’ve been sitting in the shade, in the cold of winter, unwatered except by rain – and they were still alive. Well if that ain’t a kick in the ass. “Lola, get thyself OUT THERE and put us in the ground!” So I did. Luckily it didn’t take long.

Dad and I unloaded his truck and hiked the stuff all the way out to the back fence; you know the one closest to the road less traveled. He could have come in that way, but hey, what’s a little more leg work to get the blood pumping. Me and my shovel and pick-axe, dad and his hoe and pitchfork. We must have been quite the sight. Farmer Manley and his paranoid helper. I swear, it doesn’t matter how old he gets, he seems to gain more energy every year. And thank goodness for that! 3-4 shovels and I’m panting like a dog, and there he is – digging, digging, digging, digging. Man look at him go!

Once the dirt was turned and tilled and suited to his liking, it was finally time to REALLY get dirty. I forgot what it’s like to run your bare hands through freshly-turned dirt. And I forgot how good it smells. Divine!

After about 45 minutes, we were thoroughly satisfied with our work and hunkered down on the patio in the shade with our glasses of ice water and a horrendously impertinent hornet. Ten minutes of me squealing in fear and running around, dad suggested we go back inside. I agreed, because an hour or so of that outside thing was already wearing on my nerves.

This is an older pic showing what my dad usually does after gardening. Too bad I didn't have a swing for him yesterday. He would have napped there for hours. ;-)
This is an older pic showing what my dad usually does after gardening. Too bad I didn’t have a swing for him yesterday. He would have napped there for hours. 😉

Sure, it may not have been a long time, but I consider this a MAJOR WIN against my stupid, scared, STOOPID friggin’ brain. But now I have 4 tomato plants, 1 cilantro, multiple green onions and 2 marigolds for keeping those damned pesky insects at bay. This week I will add 1 bell pepper and 1 jalapeno plant inside the empty cage on the right. The cages at this point are more to keep the deer out than anything else.

seed

In a few short months, I will be eating my own vegetables! And I did it! I. DID. IT.

Love, Lola

Liebster Award

liebster-award

I would like to thank Tifa at Blog Creatifa for nominating me for the Liebster Award. When you get a chance, pop on over to her blog and check it out. She’s got some wonderful things going on over there. Trust me, you won’t be sorry. GO TIFA!

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The rules of this award are:

1. Thank the person who nominated you, and link their blog.
2. Answer the 11 questions set by them.
3. Give 11 additional facts about yourself. Oops I forgot this part….but added it in below.
4. Nominate 11 blogs with less than 200 followers.
5. Create 11 questions for them to answer.
6. Let them know that they have been nominated.

—– —– —–

Tifa’s Questions

1. What is your favourite colour?

All colors keep my Muse happy. But when asked to pin it down to one color, I would have to say green. But then again, sometimes grey is my favorite.

2. What is your favourite food?

Puhsketti! I crave all things Italian. If I had a past life, it must have been in Italy, dining at the tables of great cooks.

3. What is your favourite pastime?

I know this will sound totally lazy of me, but I enjoy a lot of mind-numbing downtime — watching TV and downing a few beers with The Man. And in the wee hours of the morning, playing Pogo Addiction Solitaire on pogo.com. I’ve been a paying member there for years and years.

4. What is your favourite season?

Spring is by far my most favorite. Winter has always been my least favorite, so when Spring comes along, my whole body and mind rejoice in the new life, new colors, and the breath of fresh air the season brings. No more Winter Blues!

5. What is your favourite city in the world?

By far it’s Medina – located in Bandera County, Texas. With a population of roughly 500-550, it’s the perfect spot to get away and unwind. There’s a little cabin there that I’ve rented many times. It sits on about 9 acres and is right across the street from The Apple Store, where they sell literally everything apple. One needs only to walk in, take a good whiff, and you’re in heaven. If you sit on the back porch in the early morning, you’ll see the deer coming up to graze from the river that flows way out back. And the hike to the river (and the river itself) are prime examples of Hill Country beauty. There’s also a huge concrete Apple next door, sitting there sticking out like a sore thumb, but whimsical and fun. If you’re ever in the area (like out for weekend of tubing on Medina River, or shopping in tiny downtown Bandera), the cottage is a fair bargain.  Just know that the road this sits on is a scenic tour for bikers Spring-Fall.

6. What is your favourite TV show?

Ancient Aliens. I don’t know why but that show relaxes me thoroughly. Many a night I even fall asleep to it. Soothing. Relaxing. Shhh, Lola. Go to sleep. LOL

7. Who is your favourite famous person (dead or alive)?

I would have to say I have two favorites. First and foremost, Pablo Picasso. Oooo that man! Rough around the edges, womanizing, but oh so talented. I would love to have had the chance to sit and chat with him and crawl inside his mind just to snatch even one tiny ounce of his spark. The second would have to be Charles Bukowski. Another rough around the edges creative genius who never apologized for being drunk and belligerent. My kind of man.

8. What is your favourite quote?

“Sometimes you just have to pee in the sink” – Charles Bukowski (of course). This quote just makes so much sense to me. I don’t know why, but it reminds me of the saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

9. What is your favourite quality in others?

I would have to say open-mindedness. When you leave your mind open, all things are possible.

10. What is your favourite quality in yourself?

Dedication, I never EVER give up once I set my mind to things. I guess part of that is stubbornness…but let’s just call it dedication shall we? 😉

11. Why did you start your blog?

I started this blog as a way to catalog my journey through this stage of life. So far I think I’ve done well, although perhaps too honest or dull at times. It makes me happy and that’s all that matters.

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11 additional facts about me (I’m using the questions I’ve posed to those I’ve nominated)

1. Do you remember your dreams? And if so, what is your most vivid?

Sometimes I do. More so when I was younger. However, the other morning I woke up after having a hilarious dream. In the dream I plucked a 6-inch long very coarse, curly hair from underneath my chin (think curly, hard cat whisker). Then I went all over the land hither and yon showing it to people going “Ewww! Look what was on my face!” WTH is that all about?

2. When did you last laugh and what/who at?

I laughed hard yesterday at my cat Punk, who was hanging upside down from the top rung of the scratching post. She had her eyes crossed like she does when she’s up to no good. It’s the funniest look on a cat you’ll ever see.

3. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?

Right now, I’m completely in love with this house. It’s in the Hill Country, close to my folks and family, and the neighborhood and neighbors are AWESOME.

4. If you became a multi-millionaire overnight, what would you buy?

I would buy a modest new car for The Man, more tuition for my daughters to finish their university studies, buy the house I’m renting, give a bunch to my family, and save the rest to live on for the rest of my life. Then leave the remainder to my daughters in my will. Yeah, I don’t need much to be happy, and I’ve never been a big-spender.

5. If you could change one thing about the world, regardless of guilt or politics, what would you do?

I would delete HATE. I would wipe it out of history forever and ever.

6. Are you listening to music right now? If so, what is it?

Not listening to music at the moment. But when I do, I typically listen to 70s-90s music. I like a nice mix of things.

7. What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning?

The first thing that comes to mind when I wake up is “I GOTTA PEE! BAD!” After that I think about my cats and if they’ve got food. After that I think about the day ahead and make my plans.

8. Is the glass half empty or half full? Explain.

Always half full. And then I formulate plans to get it full again, especially if it’s a margarita glass 😉

9. What’s under your bed?

All manner of things which my hoarding cats lovingly stow under there.

10. What do you do most when you are bored?

When I’m bored I bite my nails and pick at myself. Bad habits for sure.

11. How are you feeling right now?

Right now I’ve got to say I’m feeling pretty damned proud of myself.

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Blogs that I nominate. Sorry if I’ve nominated you and you’ve already done this. And sorry if I’ve gone over the 200 followers limit.

1. Volatile Stability
2. Protopian Pickle Jar
3. The Persistent Platypus
4. Norbert Haupt
5. Food is Life
6. kelzbelzphotography
7. Cityhippyfarmgirl
8. Take the Line for a Walk
9. Martha Keim St Louis
10. fluidpans
11. Beas roterom

—– —– —–

My questions for you

1. Do you remember your dreams? And if so, what is your most vivid?
2. When did you last laugh and what/who at?
3. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
4. If you became a multi-millionaire overnight, what would you buy?
5. If you could change one thing about the world, regardless of guilt or politics, what would you do?
6. Are you listening to music right now? If so, what is it?
7. What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning?
8. Is the glass half empty or half full? Explain.
9. What’s under your bed?
10. What do you do most when you are bored?
11. How are you feeling right now?

—– —– —–

Now get thee to answering! I can’t wait to see responses, if any. And thanks again Tifa! ❤ This was fun!

Crunchy Creamy Pasta Salad

pasta salad 006
Final product with a garnish of extra black olives and baby spinach leaves.

I shared this recipe a few days ago, but at that time I didn’t have any pics to include. So I decided I would make it and share the pics with you. I recommend the larger shell noodles, but they weren’t available at the supermarket, so I went with something a tad smaller. I’ve included a pic without the sour cream (below), for those not wanting to overload on the fatty stuff. Tastes divine without it. Your choice!

You MUST taste this over and over as you’re preparing it because once everyone gets a share they usually don’t leave much for the cook. Always get yours first! 😉 And if you make this, let me know what you think.

You MUST marinate the noodles in Italian dressing for at least 6 hours. That way the flavor gets incorporated well.
You MUST marinate the noodles in Italian dressing for at least 6 hours. That way the flavor gets incorporated well.

This is a recipe I found in a magazine about 20 years ago, but I’ve added to it and changed it over the years to suit my own tastes. I would suggest adding in any vegetables you want to make it your own. For me it’s the Italian dressing and sour cream that really put it over the top. Very rich and creamy yet still has a good crunchy bite to it. You can chop the vegetables any way you want but I have found that a petite dice works well and still allows for some crunch. I use the shells because after mixing, all the vegetables and sour cream get pushed inside the shells, not just on the outside. Each bite is heaven! And each batch can feed a large gathering of at least 10 or more people (unless you’re from Texas, where one portion is never enough). Or you can put it in containers and it will last in the fridge as leftovers for about 3 days.

Suggested food pairings

Goes great with anything BBQed. Also works as a great side for those large family/holiday gatherings. My favorite is with ribs or brisket.

Make sure all your vegetables are diced as small as you can. YOu can go with larger, but I prefer them tiny so they get in all the nooks and crannies of the noodles.
Make sure all your vegetables are diced as small as you can. You can go with larger, but I prefer them tiny so they get in all the nooks and crannies of the noodles. I added in diced cucumber this time since it’s Spring and they taste to clean and fresh.

Ingredients

1 Bag Medium or Large Shell Pasta (I prefer the large ones)
1/2 to 3/4 cup Italian Dressing (to taste)
16 oz. Sour Cream
1 Large Onion (small dice)
1 Bell Pepper (small dice)
5-7 Small Carrots (shredded)
2 Celery Stalks (small dice)
1 Small Can Diced Black Olives
Pepper, Salt and Garlic Powder (to taste)
1-1/2 to 2 Cups Small Cubed Cheddar Cheese
1 to 1/2 Cups Small Cubed Ham or SPAM (if you use SPAM add less salt)

Dice SPAM and cheese. You can use another meat or leave it out altogether if you're watching your sodium intake.
Diced Spam and cheese (I chose Longhorn cheddar this time). You can use regular ham if you want – or leave it out altogether if you’re watching your sodium intake.

Preparation

Cook pasta as directed. Drain and cool under the tap. Put in bowl, add Italian dressing, mix well. Cover and let sit in the fridge 6-8 hours. About an hour before the pasta is finished marinating, get all your vegetables chopped and mixed thoroughly with spices in another bowl. Cover and let sit in the fridge about 1 hour. Mix marinated pasta, vegetables and spices in a very large bowl (if you use a bowl that is too small you’ll make a HUGE mess). Mix in your cheese and ham next. Then mix in sour cream thoroughly. Taste at this point and add more spices or another 1/4 cup of Italian dressing to taste. Cover and let sit in the fridge until completely chilled. Once chilled, mix well one more time and then eat!

If you're dieting and want to watch your fat intake, leave out the sour cream and add a touch more Italian dressing. Tastes wonderful this way.
If you’re dieting and want to watch your fat intake, leave out the sour cream and add a touch more Italian dressing. Tastes wonderful this way.
This is the chef's portion. ALWAYS get yours first because this side dish tends to go fast once it's on the buffet or table.
This is the chef’s portion. ALWAYS get yours first because this side dish tends to go fast once it’s on the buffet or table.