Sunday, April 30, 2006

Ha ha ha, we get it already

As I neared the end of the sweater, I fretted because spring was hard upon us. Would I have a cool evening so I wear the sweater once before I packed it away for summer?

I need not have worried. I finished Friday night. It started raining overnight that night, and has rained constantly since then. I am not exaggerating - constantly.

I wore the sweater yesterday. It was warm and cozy. It's okay with me if the rain stops now for a day or two.

While I was out yesterday, I bought the recently released DVD of "It's Always Fair Weather." It's not the greatest musical the Freed unit at MGM ever cut loose, but I always liked it. Gene Kelly, of course, is always a big inducement, but I get the biggest kick out of Dolores Gray and Dan Dailey. Dolores does a couple of phenomenal songs, and Dan drunk-dances to a litany of Fifties-era corporate buzzwords. Plus, the DVD makes it clear that he has gorgeous blue eyes. Rowr.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Sweater off the sticks

The sweater is done.

I finished it at our Knitwits Friday night gathering. It needs a light steaming, I think, but the ends are woven in and it is ready to wear. In fact, it was raining tonight, so I wore it home. My knitting bag seems really empty now.

Katie just wants to pat the sweater - with her claws.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Two memorable days

Three years ago today, we went to the Animal Rescue League and came home with a sixth-month-old kitten. Here is Katie when she was new to our house and a little bundle of energy.

She is punishing her tail for following her around.

We went cat shopping that day because it was one year after my dad died. Here is the last picture we have of Daddy.

Terry wanted to go camping in Texas - this was before we had a camper - so we worked out a deal with my parents where we would all go together in their motor home. Dad was becoming jaundiced by this time, and my mom kept suggesting that they should cancel the trip. He would e-mail me, though, and say, "Your mom wants to cancel, but you tell her no." That's how much he wanted to go camping one more time.

He enjoyed that trip so much. Terry and I drove a little bit, but he did most of the driving. I remember on the way home, I sat up front with him and we sang some of the songs we used to sing on long car trips. He was really happy that evening, and so was I.

Two days after we returned, he went into the hospital, and a week later, he died. He told me once, "If I can't get around on my own, I really don't want to go on." Bless his heart, he got his wish, and was able to do what he wanted right up until the end.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

It snowed today

It got cold, and it rained. Then while I was in a staff meeting, my boss looked out the window and said, "It's snowing." And it was. I have lilacs and tulips in bloom, and it was snowing.

I have 3.5 inches of sleeve left on the sweater. Too bad I don't have it done right now. We have frost warnings tonight.

It's supposed to be clear, though, so Terry has set up the telescope. He has been learning how to use his digital imager. When he gets some decent pictures, you'll see them here first.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Pass the whine

The last couple of weeks have been a little challenging for me physically. I won’t bore you with the details. Suffice it to say that, just in April, I have already had more than my yearly quota of doctor and dentist visits, and I have more appointments scheduled in the next two weeks.

On second thought, I will bore you with the dental stuff. The day before Thanksgiving, I bit into an almond, and it made my teeth hurt. I’ve had a dental emergency over Thanksgiving weekend before, and I know it is next to impossible to find a dentist who is working then. (Thank goodness for the dentist at the mall.) It appeared that nothing was wiggling or shattered, so I toughed it out. The pain moved around from tooth to tooth, but eventually went away for the most part.

I forgot about it until I had my six month exam. “Did you know this tooth is cracked?” asked the assistant. “And this filling has a chip missing.” Before the visit was over, the entire staff stopped by to take a peek, multiple photographs were taken, and I heard the dreaded words, “I should be able to do all six of those in one visit.”

Yeah, he said six. And the “one visit” only refers to the Novocain-and-drilling portion of the program. Four of the six teeth require crowns or inlays. It takes a couple of weeks for those to be built. Until then, I have a mouth full of temporary caps. They are sensitive to cold, and I can’t floss around them, which is more annoying than I would have thought. But I’m sure I will be pleased with the results. Any day I get rid of an old amalgam filling is a good day, as far as I am concerned.

Meanwhile, I’ve had my blood pressure taken 5 times this week (that story I really won’t bore you with), and every time it has been 20 points higher than my normal reading. “It’s probably time for you to have a head-to-toe physical,” said the doctor. So I have submitted samples of my precious bodily fluids and will be getting the once over next week.

All of this is a long way of working around to the fact that I felt mostly back to normal today. The trees are green. The lilacs are opening up. Terry and I went for a bike ride, the first one I have taken since I fell off my bike and slid down an embankment a couple of years ago. It turns out you can forget how to ride a bike. At least, you can forget a) how to get on the bike, b) how the gear shift works, and c) how to stop and get off the bike smoothly. (The time I fell down the embankment, I was not riding, but getting on the bike. This clearly is A Big Issue for me.)

It’s clear tonight, and Terry has the telescope set up in the back yard. We had a very nice look at Saturn. Now he is trying to take some photographs.

The sweater needs about seven inches of sleeve knitting, a neck hemmed, and a few more ends woven in, and then it will be done. Stay tuned. There will be much rejoicing when that monster is out of the project bag.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

How to know you are a knitter

When I read this in the announcement of the Tomkitten's arrival--

The child, named Suri — which means "princess" in Hebrew and "red rose" in Persian, according to Cruise's publicist

my first thought was, "You mean, like the alpaca?"

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Fibs for Poetry Month

I learned about this from Marilyn, the Knitting Curmudgeon.

Writer and blogger Gregory K. Pincus got his geek on and decided to combine poetry with the Fibonacci sequence. He calls the result the Fib and blogged about it. Slashdot reported on it. The New York Times reported on it. Two weeks later, he has had hundreds of poems sent to him, and his blog has many links to Fib fans.

So anyway, here’s what you do. Remember how to write haiku? Five syllables in the first line, seven syllables in the second, five syllables in the third. Fibs are done the same way, except the syllable counts are taken from the Fibonacci sequence, the series of numbers where each number is the sum of the two numbers before it. So instead of 5-7-5, it is 1-1-2-3-5-8 (and 13-21-34 if you are so inclined, but that gets unwieldy.)

For example,

wants a bird,
but is frustrated.
She cannot open the window.

They are addictive. I actually got out of bed to write down a couple that I thought of before I fell asleep.

I did my little part to keep the bandwagon rolling by starting a Fibs thread at the Piker Press forums. As soon as everyone wakes up, it should see a little action.

Friday, April 14, 2006


We stopped by Barnes & Noble this afternoon, and the staff alerted us to a special guest. This bat was snoozing on the the window ledge by the cafe. (Yes, it was outside, as Terry assured me when I sputtered, "What do you mean, the coffee shop girls have a bat?!") The barristas named the bat Latte.

For the record, I hate bats. I know most of them are harmless little bug eaters and friends of the environment. I still hate 'em.

Many years ago, a bat got into my apartment, and didn't make its presence known until about 2:00 AM. Try waking up from a sound sleep, and figure out quickly how to remove a flying rodent without harming your property. I decided I could turn on the lights where I didn't want the bat to be, turn the lights off where I wanted him to go (the back door), and use a folded newspaper to block him when he doubled back.

Seriously, have they every included this scenario in the Sims? It would be a hoot.

The plan worked. The bat flew out the back door. I slammed it shut, and didn't open it for several months. The next day, when I told the story to a co-worker and gardener, he said, "But bats are an endangered species in Iowa." I replied, "That one sure was."

But little Latte here, all curled up and drowsy, was sort of cute, and almost pettable. Almost.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Poetry and dinner

After work, I blithely suggested to Terry that we should go to Chuck's for dinner. (He didn't know it, but I had just read this review in the newspaper.) Not only is Chuck's a venerable old neighborhood restaurant, it is our neighborhood restaurant, maybe half a mile from our house.

I left with this:
When was the last time you saw a doggie bag that was an actual bag, much less one with dogs on it?

Inside was this:

Two pieces of Italian Fried Chicken, every bit as good as described in the review. I would show you Terry's leftovers, but - ahem - there weren't any. He ate his entire pizza.

I heard it got to 89 here today. It's still pretty warm in the house, but we have the windows open and are resisting turning on the air conditioning. If you can get through the day, it has been very pleasant for sleeping at night.

Chuckie says, "Bring on the sunshine."

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

At last

Yesterday, I turned off the heat and opened the windows. Katie went from room to room, checking out the sights and smells. She sneered at Chuckie when he came out for his afternoon munch, but he was too far away to be threatened.

The temperature was in the mid-50s last night, and I had the best night's sleep I have had in ages. It was hard to get up this morning, but unfortunately, neither Terry nor I has a job where they will pay you to stay at home in bed and enjoy the weather.

Lent is drawing to an end, so let's check in with my sacrifices and disciplines.

Give up potato chips: Check. But if I go to brunch at Granite City on Easter Sunday, I will bypass their wonderful buffet and have a turkey sandwich with chips.

Give up E! News: Check. Of course, now I am watching American Idol again, so that may be a wash.

The third unnamed thing: Check. I did a good thing, and it turned out to also be the right thing (and not just for me) in ways I could not have anticipated.

Send out your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will get it back. --Ecclesiastes 11: 1

Saturday, April 08, 2006

At the new library

Our new library opened today. I've been looking forward to this, because it is just a few blocks from my office and very convenient for those lunch hours when you just have to get away from everyone and everything.

Today was not the day for getting away, though. There were hundreds of people milling around. It was great to see people of all ages lining up to get library cards. We didn't have a decent camera with us, just the Zire, so you will have to take my word for it that this is the library card queue, that there were constantly this many people in line, and that my dearly beloved is the one in the center with his back turned. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, April 06, 2006


Today, one of the computers at my office caught on fire. Fortunately, someone unplugged it while it was still in the spark and sizzle phase, and no damage was done - except to the monitor, of course, which is toast. Literally.

On the way home from work, we saw smoke rising from an area a few blocks from our house. Terry diverted to see what was going on, and we saw a garage or outbuilding fully involved, as they say. We didn't linger, knowing the fire trucks were surely on their way. We drove back by later. The house had some damage, but it appeared to be mostly superficial.

All of the fire talk reminded me of what we saw on our trip. As I mentioned in January, Texas and Oklahoma have been smacked with wildfires for months. On our way to Turner Falls, we saw a area that had been burned, and stopped to take pictures. It still smelled smoky, so it had obviously happened recently. I took some pictures, including this one.

I'm assuming that is yucca, but if Aser or someone has another idea, I would be happy to hear it.

Anyway, we saw some locals at the overlook to the falls, and they told us the fire had happened a few days earlier. It gave me all of these poetic thoughts about nature's fury and whatever. Then when I got home, I did some research to find out about the fire.

It turns out that Oklahoma had rain recently, and they had lifted the burn bans that had been in effect this winter. The most recent fires were caused by people burning the trash they had accumulated during the ban. That would explain some of the random garbage I saw when I was taking the pictures. Indeed, if you take a close look at the picture above, you will see there is a Bud Dry bottle to the upper right.

Like my brother says, people are dumbasses.

Meanwhile, in order to tell the tale of fires that come in threes, I have, as we say in the news biz, buried the lead, or at least placed a lovely picture below the fold. Before we got to Turner Falls, we stopped at a park in Ardmore, Oklahoma, where the tulips were in bloom.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

I am 23% White Trash.
Not at all White Trashy!
I, my friend, have class. I am so not white trash. . I am more than likely Democrat, and my place is neat, and there is a good chance I may never drink wine from a box.

I can always count on Kathy to find the cool quizzes. Commentary: While it is not my usual MO, I have had boxed wine. We park a vehicle in the yard, though. At least it is the back yard.

Turner Falls

In the middle of what is otherwise a pretty boring part of Oklahoma is an unexpected spot of beauty.