Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Mes de los Muertos

The editor of the Piker Press is such a fan of Dia de los Muertos (November 1, Day of the Dead, popularly celebrated in Mexico), that she has declared all of November to be Mes de los Muertos - Month of the Dead. It's a time to remember and celebrate those souls who have passed from the earthly realm.

Boy, did I get my share of muerte this month.

On Nov. 1, we learned that my aunt had advanced cancer. She died a couple of weeks later.

While we were making arrangements to take time off work to go to her funeral, we learned that Terry's father was failing. He died last Friday.

Theirs is a long and complicated story. Suffice it to say, I only met "Doc" after Terry and I were married, but I liked him and wished I had known him better.

Tonight, my sister-in-law had a visitation at her house. Terry was apprehensive about going - more family issues - but before we even got to the door, I heard someone inside say, "Terry and Cheryl are here!" They welcomed us and made us feel at home.

His sister had a table with some of their father's papers and a scrapbook. He was born in Luxembourg in 1919 of German/French heritage. There were several French documents, but unfortunately, my meager French from 30 years ago was not enough to allow me to translate them. One appeared to be a ration book, and another was some sort of registration document. The scrapbook had advertisements and articles from newspapers of small-town Iowa, where he arrived in the 1940s to practice optometry.

According to the articles in the scrapbook, he was briefly in the French Foreign Legion. (Terry didn't believe that story, so he had never mentioned it.) He was a Toastmaster. (I was once a member of Toastmasters.) He sang in a barbershop chorus. (I love barbershop harmony.) How I wish I had known these things sooner.

She also had his Masonic uniform on display. Before we left, she offered us one of the medallions from it. At first, Terry said no. But one of the traditions of Dia de los Muertos is to display items which remind you of the departed one, so I quickly said, "Yes, we would like to have that."

Alfred A. Haimann, 1919 - 2005

As I thought about los muertos this month, I realized that in the last 3.5 years, Terry and I have lost all four parents and three aunts and uncles. I have just one aunt and one great-aunt separating me from being the oldest living generation, and Terry is already there. (My brother said to me today, "Now I am old folks.") So today, which incidentally is my mother's birthday, I'd like to remember the others who have left us in the past few years.

Roy Coffey
Carl Tanner
Lillie Tanner Coffey
Alice Walker Haimann
Betty Walker Phillips
Brunetta Coffey Stewart

They will always walk with us.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Nerd quiz

I am nerdier than 29% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

Thanks to Kathy for finding this quiz. I'm a little disappointed that I only scored 29. I mean, I have a subscription to Sky & Telescope, and I recognize Isaac Newton. I think the Periodic Table questions did me in.

Terry scored 81 - High-Level Nerd. After he got the result, he complained because it said, "You scored higher than 81%, and you scored lower than 19%" - and there is no number that meets both qualifications. That proves he owns his nerd stripes, right there.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

My Pirate Name

My pirate name is:

Mad Ethel Kidd

Every pirate is a little bit crazy. You, though, are more than just a little bit. Even though you're not always the traditional swaggering gallant, your steadiness and planning make you a fine, reliable pirate. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from fidius.org

Crazy but steady - I like the sound of that.

Happy Thanksgiving, me hearties. Terry and I went out for lunch, where waiter Willie redeemed the holiday reputation of Cracker Barrel after the fiasco we had there last year (involving wrong food, bad food, and a dippy waitress.) Tonight, we are making chili.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Did I say 750?

It's more like 800 miles each way. At least on the way home, we are breaking the trip into two days. The hotel du jour has speedier wifi, but loud people across the hall who are playing music and slamming doors. I am reluctant to make a fuss, since they know which car is ours.

The chicken fried steak I had for breakfast was, as I suspected it would be, delicious. I'll be eating a lot of salads this coming week as penance.

Friday, November 18, 2005


Due to a death in the family (my aunt, the one who gave me the phlox), Terry and I are in the midst of a whirlwind trip to Texas - about 750 miles (1200 km) each way.

On the way down, we stopped for gas at this place in Oklahoma.

The sign really says it all.

And then we were in Texas. Home of Tex-Mex, barbecue, and big ol' steaks. When we got back to our hotel room tonight, I saw this next to the courtesy coffee packets.

I've stayed in lots of hotels in my time, but I've never seen one that felt it necessary to supply me with antacids. I can't wait for breakfast. I really can't. We found a place that serves hand-breaded chicken fried steaks with biscuits and gravy. Instead of antacids, the hotel should have left me a supply of statins.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

It's winter

This was the view from my office window this afternoon. Wet, goopy snow, low temperatures, and high winds. (Wind chill at 7:00 PM is 17 °F / -8 °C .) It would be a great night to snuggle up in front of a roaring fire. However, we don't have a fireplace, so I think I will pass on that and just have a glass of wine. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 13, 2005

My world view

I haven't bugged you guys with a quiz for awhile, so here goes.

Your World View

You are a fairly broadminded romantic and reasonably content.
You value kindness and try to live by your ideals.
You have strong need for security, which may be either emotional or material.

You respect truth and are flexible.
You like people, and they can readily make friends with you.
You are not very adventurous, but this does not bother you.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Let's hear it for the wool

During a conversation with one of my faithful readers (yes, I do have them), I remembered that I had not given my final report from spinning class. At the end of the class, I had spun four little balls of wool.

The cream-colored yarn at the top and the black yarn are both natural colors, and I washed and carded them myself. The gold yarn was already washed, and I dyed it with onion skins and carded it. The white yarn at the bottom was spun from commercially prepared merino.

And speaking of merino...

At the end of the last class, Kay gave us each four ounces of wool - either the professionally buffed and fluffed merino or the raw black wool. I'd had enough wool washing to last me for awhile, so I snapped up the merino.

Katie loves the merino.

Last week, my friend Amy gave me a top-whorl drop spindle and purple roving from Annie May's. Thanks, Amy - I can't wait to try it out. Neither can Katie.

But, as you know, it is still November, and there are still crappy novels to be written. I had a couple of days of feeling puny, and got way behind on my word count, so I need to catch up some this weekend. I told Terry I would have 1000 words before lunch. Lunch is at 11:00, and I have to spiff up and drive there, so I have about an hour and fifteen minutes to write.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Vacation pictures at last

Our friend in South Carolina lives just three blocks from the beach. Here is the view from the street in front of her house.

What, you can't see anything?

There's the ocean, right there. I never said we had a good view of it, just that we had a view.

Our co-hostess was the gregarious Dixie.

Isn't that the cutest little face?

No Cheryl and Terry adventure is complete without the "take our own photograph to prove we were there" picture, so here it is.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Read it and weep

Eat your hearts out, kids. I'm paying $1.99 for gasoline this week. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

NaNoWriMo begins!

Chris Baty, in "No Plot? No Problem!", recommends having a noveling totem, an item to wear when it is time to write. Some of the NaNo Knitters, over at the forums, decided to knit wrist warmers in October for use as their totem, and I joined in.

I finished knitting the Voodoo Wrist Warmers on the way to the airport last week. Once in Myrtle Beach, I bought a yarn needle at Michael's and finished off the ends. They were ready to wear on the 11/1, which was also the day we flew home. Terry took a picture of me noveling in my official noveling gear on the airplane.

You can't really tell from the picture, but they are hot pink. They got me past the 1300 mark yesterday.

Still no beach pictures. T needs to stop playing Maelstrom and start transfering photos.