Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Mail call!

Today's mail brought my long-awaited shipment of Piker books from Lulu.

I've already read five of the six books online or in manuscript, and I love them, and the authors, enough to purchase print copies. I'm old school, and holding a paper book with a shiny cover in my hands still gives me a thrill that staring at a pc cannot match. And when it is a book that a friend wrote - I was probably almost as thrilled as they were to see these books on my doorstep.

Sweet relief

A front came through Monday night and busted up our hot, sticky weather. Tuesday evening, the temperature was 68 °F / 20 °C during the Piker staff meeting, and this morning it is 57 °F / 14 °C. I opened all of the windows and slept with a blanket pulled up past my knees. I only wish I could sleep that way for a couple more hours, but alas, duty calls, in the form of some people who give me money if I do stuff for them.

The Pikers, incidentally, rip on Tom Cruise this week. Whether you are unimpressed with him from way back, or a newcomer to the "Tom is skeevy" bandwagon, check it out.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Too darned hot

It is 11:00 PM. The temperature is 88 °F / 31 °C. Let me just say, Thank God for air conditioning and iced tea.

Terry had the day off, and we went shopping for summer clothes on sale, since we are going camping in another week. He found some shorts and shirts, but all I found was shoes and underwear. Hmmph.

After shopping, we went to Cafe Beaudelaire, a Brazilian restaurant/bar in Ames. I love their food, quirky atmosphere, and varied clientale.

I didn't realize until I looked up the link for it just now that they have a webcam, and at this moment it is pointed directly toward our table. If you'd been looking at 3:00 PM, you could have seen us eating our bowls of Iron Vegetarian (with added meat and chicken, for enhanced culinary irony.)

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The Ring

Terry recently got a new camera especially designed for astrophotography, and he has just taken his first pictures. He still has quite a learning curve - for one thing, he was using the wrong file format - but he is already beaming because "This is the best picture I've ever taken of M57!"

M57 is also known as the Ring Nebula, and it is Terry's favorite deep sky object. The ring is made of heated gasses ejected from a dying star. You can see a nicer picture of it here.

Monday, July 18, 2005

I already knew this

English Genius

You scored 100% Beginner, 100% Intermediate, 100% Advanced, and 80% Expert!

You did so extremely well, even I can't find a word to describe your excellence! You have the uncommon intelligence necessary to understand things that most people don't. You have an extensive vocabulary, and you're not afraid to use it properly! Way to go!

Thank you so much for taking my test. I hope you enjoyed it!

For the complete Answer Key, visit my blog:

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
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You scored higher than 52% on Beginner
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You scored higher than 51% on Intermediate
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You scored higher than 58% on Advanced
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You scored higher than 49% on Expert

Link: The Commonly Confused Words Test written by shortredhead78 on Ok Cupid

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Katie at rest

Katie knows just what to do when it gets hot outside - stay inside in the air conditioning and rest. She woke up briefly when she heard the camera click on, but she quickly resumed her nap.


I just ordered Aser's book Time Traveler from Lulu Press. (And her other books, and her family's books, but this was this one that I had been waiting for before I placed my order.) It's the book she was writing when I first met her on the Geezer and DTAUC forums at NaNoWriMo.

She sent me the manuscript way back when, so I am already familiar with the story, although I have not seen the final revisions. Just the same, I am glad to see it finally in print. Like many writers, I like the tactile experience of holding an actual book. Stacks of copier paper, or worse yet, digits on a computer screen, just don't hold up to the heft of a book in your hands.

I also had not seen how she ended up formatting the book for print, so I looked at the preview on the Lulu site, and then I saw it - my name, on the dedication page! I've been beaming all morning to think that she thought my little contribution was worth noting. Thanks, my friend, and now I really hope you sell a million copies.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

What Soul am I?

Kris asked, nicely, if the quizzes are just a way of killing time, or if they are supposed to reveal something about me. The answer is Yes. I feel vaguely guilty if I don't post something new every few days, but if time and inspiration are not on my side, you get a quiz. On the other hand, I'm not likely to take a quiz on a subject about which I have no interest, and I'm not likely to publish it if it is far off the mark. Thus, even the quizzes are sort of actual content by default - or so I tell myself.

So without further ado, one that I found on Kris's blog...

You Are a Newborn Soul

You are tolerant, accepting, and willing to give anyone a chance.
On the flip side, you're easy to read and easily influenced by others.
You have a fresh perspective on life, and you can be very creative.
Noconformist and nontraditional, you've never met anyone who's like you.

Inventive and artistic, you like to be a trendsetter.
You have an upbeat spirit and you like almost everything.
You make friends easily and often have long standing friendships.
Implusive and trusting, you fall in love a little too easily.

Souls you are most compatible with: Bright Star Soul and Dreaming Soul

(I don't exactly understand how you can be a nonconformist trendsetter and also easily influenced. I am fairly traditional, but I don't put much stock in tradition for tradition's sake. And I can be influenced, but I also have a healthy dose of skepticism, and will use it if you try to take advantage of my trust.)

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

What Coffee am I?

You are a Black Coffee

At your best, you are: low maintenance, friendly, and adaptable

At your worst, you are: cheap and angsty

You drink coffee when: you can get your hands on it

Your caffeine addiction level: high

(As a rule, I don't drink that much coffee, and I rarely drink it black unless it is iced. If I drink caffeine after about 3:00 PM, I don't sleep at night. At lunch, iced tea is much more satisfying to me than coffee.)

Saturday, July 09, 2005

KnitWits Road Trip to Omaha

Kim is between school terms, so the KnitWits all took Friday off and hit the road. Destination - Omaha and the yarn shops. We met at Barnes & Noble, where Kim supplied us all with tasty beverages before we set off.

Paula (knitting on Amy's beautiful Koigu sock) and Margie. The mighty Zire 72 and my index finger are on the left. I'm multitasking - driving and shooting photos. That's probably not so smart. Posted by Picasa

None of us were brave enough to try this. This is at a rest area on I680. Every woman who walked in asked if they were in the wrong room. Posted by Picasa

Note to Paula's boss: She really was at a yarn shop. Posted by Picasa

Sue and Kim look at magazines. Posted by Picasa

I only bought one skein of yarn, but it was Helen's Lace. One skein is enough to make a shawl. Photos upcoming.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Granny's Flowers

Phlox Posted by Picasa

My phlox started blooming this week. It's a bit earlier than usual, but they love the hot weather we have had recently.

My aunt in Texas sent me the plants a few years ago. She got her phlox before I was even born, from her mother, my maternal grandmother. Myrtle had them around her house in southern Oklahoma, where my dad and his sister grew up. These plants in my yard have an unbroken genealogy of probably 60 or 70 years.

It was touch and go earlier this year, when T accidentally got some weed killer on some of the leaves. The plants rallied, though, and despite a few brown leaves, they seem to be growing well.

This morning, it rained, and I was able to get a picture of the raindrops on the sweet-smelling blossoms.

Everything I Know About American Independence, I Learned From Watching "1776"

I had never seen the musical "1776" until I met Terry. He thought it was the Best Show Ever, because it was about history and stuff. I was not totally taken with it, and still am not. In my opinion, it has its good moments... and its long half hours. (I'm not exagerating. There is a 45 minute stretch with no music.) Martha Jefferson's song, "He Plays the Violin," is one of the most banal lyrics ever perpetrated on the Broadway stage, made even worse because it is the only female solo in the show. With only two female characters, one of whom only appears in daydreams, this is the distant opposite of a chick flick.

And yet - in spite of my resistance to it on a theatrical level, I kept picking up tidbits of information from it. For example, can you name all of the members of the Declaration committee? I can, and even tell you which colonies they represented. I know who proposed the resolution for independence, and why, and where he lived. When Terry and I saw the first quarter in the 50 States series, we both said, "Hey, look! It's Cesar Rodney!" Cesar Rodney of Delaware would have been just another dead guy to me if not for "1776".

So here's to you, "1776". We will be cranking up the CD and singing along with John, Ben, and the rest of the boys today, and remembering that even when we don't agree, we can still keep an eye on the goal and find a way to work together to achieve it.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Girl's Night Out

That Stupid Weather that Aser is talking about must be a large trough, because I was pretty much worthless all day at work. In fact, the whole week has been like trudging uphill though Crisco.

What pulled me through was knowing the girls were going to have a chick flick night.

Even that didn't work out - the movie closed last night. We are flexible. We decided to go out for dinner instead, and what a serendipitous decision that was. We told stories, dreamed, encouraged each other, and laughed, laughed, laughed. No movie in the world is as good as sharing laughter with your friends.

From there, we went to Half Price Books, and stayed until they ran us out. Then we moved on to Borders for coffee and knitting, and stayed until they ran us out. We asked for, and offered, advice. We teased each other. We commiserated about the bad things that had happened during the week, and congratulated the good things. We made plans for our next three get-togethers.

The amazing thing is, there is no real reason why these amazing women are together. We didn't all meet at school or work or church or in the neighborhood. Our backgrounds are different. We just sort of took up with each other one by one. In fact, I have no recollection of how one of the members got with us. I just remember she was there, and now we can't imagine her not being there.

I love us. I don't know what I ever did without us.

We are planning a road trip next Friday. You might want to steer clear of Omaha until we are finished with it.