Friday, December 26, 2008

Ready for her close up

Ready for her close up
Originally uploaded by chaimann
Terry got me a camera for Christmas - a small, pocket-sized one that will be easy to tote around for emergency photo-taking opportunities. For a little thing, it did a nice job catching the details on Katie's fur.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Don't be like the Pixie

The current scoop from Weather Underground:

Temperature -2.2 °F
Windchill: -19 °F

And the Weather Pixie still isn't wearing a hat or mittens.

She's not going to be so smiley when she learns the hard way what the treatment is for frostbite.

Last night I did my Christmas thang and watched "White Christmas". None of the plot holes have been filled in the 54 years since it was released, but it's still my favorite holiday treat.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Pointless goodies

--Long story short, I had to drive T's truck today, and only made it two blocks before I got stuck in a snowdrift. I had a shovel, but still wasn't able to get unstuck. Good Samaritans came to my rescue. First a guy stopped and helped with the shoveling, and then the guy whose yard I was stuck in came out with some rock salt. Together, they were able to get me going again.

--I'm glad I live in a place where I feel comfortable letting a total stranger get into my vehicle, even with my purse in there, and drive it. Why? Because his truck was nicer than mine, so I figure he had no reason to drive off with it.

--We went to Target tonight, and I bought some wine. The cashier carded me. I probably haven't been carded since before that cashier was born.

--It's cold outside, but it's warm inside.

Your Fourth Sunday of Advent weather

Mostly cloudy. Bitterly cold. Windy. Blowing snow. High zero to 5 below. Northwest wind 25 to 30 mph with gusts to around 40 mph. Wind chill readings 20 below to 30 below zero.

That's just the daytime forecast, friends. Better light some extra candles. I'll be curious to see how the Weather Pixie (on the sidebar) dresses for this one.

T is working an extra shift today, and I plan to stay home and knit. Maybe not "knit like the wind", as Brenda Dayne says, but certainly knit against the wind.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Pimp my spouse

T came home last week with a lovely photo of a frozen waterfall in a park near his office. I immediately showed it to Sand over at The Piker Press, and this week it is the Peek of the Week. Nice job, T!

Monday, December 01, 2008


Much like my first year of NaNoWriMo, 2002, I lagged mid-month, and had to make a mad dash to catch up at the end. I wrote almost 16,000 words in the last four days. Unlike that year, I had a semblance of a plot, and I wrapped up with The End. (It says "The Minty Fresh End", if you want to be technical about it.)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Chuckie's replacement

Shed kitty
Originally uploaded by chaimann
We haven't seen Chuckie for several months. We suspect he has gone to the great beyond of grounhogdom.

One reason we think he is gone for good is that this cat has started hanging around the burrow entrance. If we make too much noise or get too close, it ducks under the shed and waits for things to settle down. Smart kitty.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Mystery Beret

Mystery Beret
Originally uploaded by chaimann
At least when I avoid writing, I do something productive. As soon as this dries, it will be the Mystery Beret from the Wooly Wormhead Knitalong on Ravelry.

Oh, yeah. I'm doing NaNoWriMo again this year. Have I mentioned that? I'm not doing it well, or quickly, but I'm still soldiering on.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Small, but finished

Baby cap
Originally uploaded by chaimann
Amy's baby arrived a few days early, and the only thing I had ready was this hat. The knitters are thrilled that it's a girl, because some of those girly knit patterns are cute, cute, cute.

I delivered it last night. It's too big for her yet, but it is still adorable.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Crochet is fast

Originally uploaded by chaimann
At least, crochet is fast when you use big yarn, a big hook, and a lacy pattern. I spent less than two weeks on this, counting a couple of false starts and a time-consuming error correction. The yarn is the pretty but annoying Lion Brand Homespun from my stash.

This is probably going to be kept close to my desk for those times when it is a little chilly. Like now. The temperature outside is right at freezing, and it's headed downward tonight. We have crossed the divide from late summer into early winter.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Mantis Movie!

Praying Mantis

Praying Mantis
Originally uploaded by chaimann
We've been seeing more praying mantises this year. This one was in our driveway this afternoon. T tells me it is a side effect of climate change. They were thick at the dealership where we bought our car. The salesman said parents were bringing their children out to see them.

Despite their peaceable name, they are wickedly carnivorous little rascals who will even pounce on nesting birds.

I should warn the Finches.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

We interrupt our lack of knitting

Rook Hat
Originally uploaded by chaimann
When I saw the Rook Hat on Lime & Violet's Daily Chum, I realized I had some yarn that would work for it, and that a crocheted hat would be the fastest project EVER.

It took me two nights, but it could easily be done in one night of TV watching.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Look what followed me home

2009 Ford Focus
Originally uploaded by chaimann
T has been wanting a new, more fuel-efficient, car for awhile now. I have been dragging my feet, not wanting to take on another series of car payments. Then I saw the new gold color added with the 2009 models, and "Ooh Shiny" pushed me over the edge.

Monday, September 08, 2008


Originally uploaded by chaimann
The really big air vent in the barn at Whiterock Conservancy. The lectures at the Iowa Star Party were given in this building, just below this opening. When the talk got all sciencey, I entertained myself by looking at the cool angles and the old wood.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

It's autumn already?

Technically, not quite, I know, but after a beautiful sunny and clear Labor Day weekend, it turned cloudy and cool and wet, and the most delicate of the foliage is already starting to wilt.

Let's see, immediately after the last post, our astronomy club hosted a convention, so we were busy with that. Then after that was over, we relaxed for a week. Then, because it was almost August, AKA The Month When My Eyes Act Screwy, my eyes started acting screwy. Six weeks, several specialists, and some fancy-pants medical treatments later, I'm pretty much back to normal or at least my eyes are. While I was Abby Normal, though, I didn't spend a lot of time hanging around the computer. T kindly gave me his rarely used desktop computer, with a 22 inch monitor (love it!) and Windows Vista (hate it!)

That didn't deter me from making the annual pilgrimage to Stitches Midwest, but it did help keep my shopping in check. Shopping just isn't that much fun when you can't see what you are doing, or aren't sure if you will ever be able to see well enough to use the purchase. (Of course, except for making my annual tithe at Black Water Abbey, I bought all lace weight, so don't listen to me.)

I can read again, and knit socks and lace, and even stargaze. Last weekend, we went to the Iowa Star Party at White Rock Conservancy, about an hour from here, and I did a little binocular viewing. In fact, once night T's telescope went wonky, and I actually did more viewing than he did. The weather, as I said, was perfect for camping and astronomy - cloudless and moonless and temperate. It did get warm one day, but it was also windy, so it was still pleasant.

Now, with the cooler weather and clearer vision, my knitting mojo has returned with a vengeance. I keep diving into the WIPs (works in progress) and finding something else that I absolutely must have before winter. Maybe one of these days I will even have some photos of finished objects to share.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The brains of the outfit

Terry looks at the moon
Originally uploaded by chaimann
This is Terry, making the previous photo possible. As I told someone last night, he's Data, I'm Lore. He spent several minutes fussing with the equipment and swapping out eyepieces. I said, "Ooh, shiny!" and started snapping pictures.

Shoot the moon

Originally uploaded by chaimann
Terry pointed his telescope at the moon last night while waiting for it to get dark. I sneaked up and stuck my camera up to the eyepiece. Pretty nice for a first attempt, huh?

Last night at Ashton

After being cloudy all day, it cleared off in the late afternoon, so Terry packed up the telescope and we headed off to Ashton Observatory.

At dusk, we saw some deer feeding at the edge of the woods near the observatory. I got as close as I dared without spooking them, but it was just dim enough that I couldn't get a clear photo. I decided to let the motion work FOR me, and switched over to video.

The auto exposure flopped the colors around randomly, but darn it, those are fawns, and they are eating, and they didn't really care that I was watching.

It stayed clear and was long-sleeve cool by the time the sun went down. The moon and the humidity kept Terry from doing any serious observing. Even though it was not an "official" public night, a few campers came over to through the telescopes. One couple had binoculars and had figured out that you could point them at the sky. Terry spent quite a bit of time showing them things, and I gave them some tips on bino and naked eye observing. That's me - the evangelist for cheap observing.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Geese and goslings

The last of the vacation videos from Blackhawk Lake. Sorry for the noise. It was windy.

I could watch geese babies all day long.

How to hypnotize a kitty

Starring Katie!

Friday, July 04, 2008

Vacation photos, at last

Originally uploaded by chaimann
Since it is a long weekend, I'm trying to get some backlog caught up - such as putting some of last month's vacation photos on Flickr.

We went to Blackhawk Lake, a couple of hours from here in Lakeview, Iowa. We had rain and thunderstorms almost every day, but at least that kept the temperatures pleasant. The campground was almost empty - only three or four units in the whole place - so it was as close as we could get to being all alone (but still with flush toilets and hot showers.)


When we went on vacation last month, there were pelicans hanging out near our campground at Blackhawk Lake. At about :10, a cormorant pops up and mills around for a few seconds, and then dives back under water.

Cat alert for Minnie: There are bird noises.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


When Sand and Bernie passed through Iowa last summer, Sand admired the prolific fireflies in our backyard. (They don't have them in California.)

It's June again, and we still have 'em.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Still knitting, too

Charlotte's Web shawl
Originally uploaded by chaimann
Even though I haven't posted any pictures for awhile, I am still knitting - just not finishing anything. I'm seriously beginning to envy those folks who practice project monogamy.

I jumped back in to the Charlotte's Web shawl, and I love what the colors are doing. I'm doing pretty well with the lace pattern. I'm getting where I can fix mistakes a couple of rows back if I concentrate. I even survived having a needle break in the middle of a knit row, 14 rows away from the lifeline. I was sitting near a KnitWit who had a sock needle handy to rescue the stitches that fell off the needle, then I carefully picked the stitches back to the beginning of the row. And lived to tell the tale.

We're having thunderstorms tonight. I hope it is enough rain to wash some of the stink away in the recently flooded areas. I would put up with the stink awhile longer, though, if I could send some of the rain (minus the lightening) back to California, where my friends are dealing with fires, smoke, and the threat of evacuation. Stay safe, y'all.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Rainbow, first day of summer

Originally uploaded by chaimann
We went to Ashton Observatory yesterday for a work party with the astronomy club. A quick little rain storm blew through while we were there. Once the sun started to peek through, people hovered near the door, looking for a rainbow. We thought we might not get one, since the sun was still rather high, but soon someone spotted the top of an arc. Work ground to a halt as folks wandered outside to enjoy a fleeting view. (More pictures here.)

In the Bible, of course, the rainbow is the sign from God that he will never again destroy the Earth with a flood. How appropriate is that, as Iowa gets back on its feet after two weeks of floods? We stayed safely above it at both home and work, but we drive through recently flooded areas regularly. The recovery seems to be coming along well, but it still stinks, even in the car, even with the windows rolled up. Out in the country, it just has that fishy river smell, In town, though, it smells like river, and fish... and mold... and people laugh at this, but I swear I smell sauerkraut.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Early morning drive

We got up early so we could see just how much water there was along I-80/35. The answer: Just about as much as there was in 1993.

Turn down the sound if you watch. T & I mutter incomprehensibly, but mostly it's just road noise.

Two Way Traffic

Two Way Traffic
Originally uploaded by chaimann
This is my favorite photo so far from my flood tours, although it doesn't actually show any flooding. I love the contradictory signs and ominous clouds.

There's now a Flickr group for flood photos. Some of my photos are there, including some I took today after a levee breach last night caused evacuations and road closures just a few blocks from my house.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Floodwatch 2008

To see how things have changed since Tuesday, go look at this picture of the Simon Estes Amphitheater as it appears today. I also took some pictures Thursday, and they (as well as Tuesday's pix) are on my Flickr. Today, the water is covering the tops of the arches on the bridges,and is getting ever closer to the road surface. The powers that be asked for a voluntary evacuation of downtown and the entire flood plain area. My office is a couple of blocks outside of the flood plain, but I had put in my forty hours, and I was happy to comply.

We are okay. Our house is, we hope, high enough to not be in danger, and we can still get to it by one of our normal routes. The water was pretty high along that route this afternoon, though, and it is just one leaky levee from going under.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The flood begins

Originally uploaded by chaimann
Des Moines is getting ready for a flood. The good part is, we know it's coming and we are getting ready for it. But still, seeing scenes like this just down the street from my office, before the bad part gets here? That's sobering.

More pix here.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Another Iris

another iris
Originally uploaded by chaimann
It's been a good spring for the irises. Several have bloomed and folded already. As of today, we had four blossoms, and three more thinking about opening up.

Finch rumble

The finches who live in the lilacs got a little rowdy this morning.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Spring blazes forth

Originally uploaded by chaimann
Spring reached critical mass a couple of weeks ago. That's the day when I look off in the distance, maybe down the river I cross on the way to work, or at the hills near the reservoir, and I see more green than brown.

Since then, things have been greening up with a vengeance. We have had to mow several times. The lilacs have bloomed and are starting to fade, but every now and then, the breeze still sends a puff of their scent through my window.

A few days ago, I noticed that the irises were budding. They haven't bloomed for a couple of years, presumably because I am a neglectful gardener who never remembers to divide them in the fall. Last night, I had to rinse something off with the garden hose, so I gave the iris a drinks while I was at it. This morning, when we left for church, I saw this beauty.

Monday, April 28, 2008

And she reads, too!

When I started knitting, my reading was sharply curtailed. I'm not one of those folks who can read and knit at the same time. Maybe if I had four hands...

However, since my knitting mojo is taking a bit of a holiday, I've been reading a couple of classics from our friends across the pond.

1. The Canterbury Tales, unexpurgated, by Geoffrey Chaucer (translated by David Wright). I knew they were supposed to have their racy bits, but I almost dropped my tea the first time I saw the C word. I mean, this was in the 1300s. On the other hand, this was the 1300s, not that far removed from England's Anglo Saxon past. Now, every time I go to a book store, I check out the passage I just read to see how different translators handled it.

2. Casino Royale by Ian Fleming. I've been telling the Pikers for months that we need to commemorate Fleming's centenary in May, and since I've never read any of the books, I thought I should check out the source documents. I'll probably end up writing something for the Piker Press about this experience, but suffice it to say, the Hollywood James Bond is considerably different from the Bond of the books, in ways that surprise me, and ways that don't. They are also quick reads. They look to be about 50,000 words - same as a standard Harlequin romance, or a NaNoWriMo novel.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Kitty in the sunshine

Katie came to live with us five years ago today. She celebrated by finding a sunny spot, and reveling in it. I would have taken a video, but her idea of reveling is "lying down and blinking occasionally." And she does it quite well.

As I've mentioned in previous Aprils, we went to the Animal Rescue League that day so April 26 would be something to me other than the day we lost this dear man:

I took this picture of my parents in 1982. I was newly single and visiting friends in New England during leaf peeping season. They were visiting my cousin in Boston. I joined up with them there, and we drove back home together.

Six years on, I'm beginning to think I will never outgrow my need to ask my dad what to do when the car makes a funny noise, or to show my mom something I made with my own two hands. They managed to join one listserv and get an AOL Instant Messenger account, but they missed out on blogging. They would have loved it. Even now, I think my blog is largely stuff they would have enjoyed reading and seeing from my life.

Like this, for example. The weather is warming up and things are greening up nicely, including the lawn. I mowed last week, and as I was checking on the progress of the flowers, I saw this travesty in the day lilies.

The part on the right is fine, but something had a nice lunch on the left side. I suspect it was a deer, since this is a far afield from Chuckie's usual range, but it's hard to say. It doesn't seem to have hurt the plant. It's still growing, just with flattened-off tops.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Gah, knitting!

I've been wondering why I'm not making any progress on any of my knitting, so today I pulled everything out of the knitting bags and conducted an inventory. I have in progress:

6 socks
3 scarves
3 shawls
1 hat
1 bag
1 sweater

That's fifteen projects, people! Fifteen! Sheesh, how mortifying. There are some people, you know, who are project monogamous, only working on one project at a time, or maybe one big project and something like socks for mindless knitting.

So here's the plan for clearing up some of the backlog:

1) The hat will be quick to finish, so finish it first.

2) One of the socks has barely been started, and is not a special pattern, so rip it out.

3) One of the scarves is a pattern that is not showing the yarn to good advantage. Rip it out and find a better pattern for the yarn.

4) Two socks are right at the heel turn. Turn the heel and get them back to the easy part.

I'm off to the frog pond, and then outside to do some yard work. The sun finally came out, and I think the lawn needs more mowing that Chuckie is able to give it by himself.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Poem In My Other Pocket

Yesterday, I shared a poem that was brief and charming (and hott, as Sand noted in the comments.)

However, the poem I shared in my Piker Press article, linked yesterday, is one I have known longer and felt more deeply. I first read it when I was in college, on a greeting card, of all things. My life to that point had been mostly tragedy-free, but I understood that all of the trials mentioned in the poem would probably happen to me, and happen over and over, and that I could get through them with the help of friends.

Sadly, these words came to mind today when I heard of the sudden, unexplained death of a friend, and when I talked to other people who remembered her.

Sonnet XXX
William Shakespeare

When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
I summon up remembrance of things past,
I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,
And with old woes new wail my dear times' waste:
Then can I drown an eye, unus'd to flow,
For precious friends hid in death's dateless night,
And weep afresh love's long since cancell'd woe,
And moan the expense of many a vanish'd sight:
Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,
And heavily from woe to woe tell o'er
The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan,
Which I new pay as if not paid before.
But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,
All losses are restor'd and sorrows end.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Poem In My Pocket

In the US, April is National Poetry Month. This year's program to bring poetry to the masses is Poem In Your Pocket Day on April 17 (today!). I challenged folks at The Piker Press to share a poem with someone today, so I'd better come through with one myself. This one is small enough to write on the back of a business card, short enough to memorize in one sitting, and irresistibly romantic.

A Drinking Song
William Butler Yeats

Wine comes in at the mouth
And love comes in at the eye;
That's all we shall know for truth
Before we grow old and die.
I lift the glass to my mouth,
I look at you, and I sigh.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


Last Friday, when we were knitting at the bookstore, Amy found that "More Big Girl Knits" was in stock. We all thumbed through it, and everyone immediately fell in love with the cabled cardigan hoodie. However, since Amy found the book, she had rights of first refusal - and she did not refuse.

So yesterday, I was pouting and stalking the book online, and found a contest on Cassknits blog that was giving away a copy. Hot dang! Full disclosure: You get more entries if you blog about the drawing. So here 'tis.

I'm shameless, but I want that sweater!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Spring, part 2

I'm in ur backyard, huntin ur wormz.

See there on the upper right? We still have a little dab of snow. Don't know about worms, though.

Since I got a super-sekrit LiveJournal account, I've pretty much stopped putting memes on this blog. This one was a little more thoughtful, though, so I thought I would share it here. I don't tag. If you like it, swipe it. It's a free internet, mostly.


Open the drawer closest to your computer, pull out 10 things, and say what they are.

1. Small Fiskars scissors with super-pointy tips.

2. Some cash that needs to go to the bank.

3. A Cross pen and pencil set that T gave me shortly after we got married, so I would have something with my new name on it.

4. A tiny sculpture of two old Chinese men playing what is supposedly Chinese Chess, although it looks more like Go to me. I purchased it a porcelain factory near Guangzhou during a whirlwind tourist visit to Southern China 20+ years ago.

5. A promotional giveaway calculator with my dad's name on it.

6. A promotional ruler from the Kansas Livestock Association and Kansas CowBells. I probably got this at the Kansas State Fair when I was a kid in 4-H.

7. A USB number pad to use with the laptop. Extremely useful when preparing taxes.

8. A picture of our late cat, Zeb.

9. Two canisters of film.

10. A little plastic doohickey that holds a roll of stamps. I rarely use stamps these days, and certainly not often enough to justify buying 100 at a time, so I threw it away, and selected...

New 10. A pocket magnifying glass purchased when my eyes went all wonky a couple of years ago.

Nothing Beats BEEF.

Of course, whenever there is a photo shoot, Katie wants to get in on the fun.

Action shot!

Spring's advance team

Chucker is back!

Spring may now commence.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

We're melting! Melllllllltinnnng!

We've had three days of temperatures in the 50s, and finally, we have some serious snow meltage. The driveway ice is gone. The huge bumpy spread of ice near the storm sewer on the corner is gone. Sidewalks are mostly clear. The sun has been shining. When I left tai chi class tonight, it was warm enough that I didn't even wear my coat.

So naturally, rain and snow are on the way for the weekend.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Three years of blogging fun

It's been three years since I started this, the blog I never wanted to have. Whadya know? It turns out the hedge shaman was right, and it is fun to have my own little public corner of the web.

Despite spurts of warming, winter is still dragging on. Occasionally, though, I see a bright flash through the window.

Katie keeps things lively inside, always surveying the environment...

She even gets brave and ventures into scary places from time to time.

In totally unrelated news, I have the Peek of the Week in the Piker Press this week. It's a picture I took of Fleetwood, Oklahoma, a now-defunct town where my dad grew up.

In other unrelated news, Happy Birthday, Bubba.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Not a photojournalist, part 2

More pictures from the cell phone...

They remodeled the men's room at my office, and for a few days we saw this first thing when we got to work.

When you go grocery shopping after and ice storm, you may have to beat the ice off of the shopping cart.

The view from my office window. Melting snow and a degree of shelter makes this rooftop an irresistible spot for pigeons. The pigeons are not actually blurry in real life. These two gray ones are Fred and Ethel. They act like they own the place.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Why I'm not a photojournalist

In the first place, it took me almost three months to offload the pictures I took when Hillary Clinton showed up at the place where I was eating breakfast one peaceful Saturday.

In the second place, I wasn't expecting a Famous Person to interrupt my enjoyment of bacon and hashbrowns, so I didn't have a decent camera, just my cell phone.

In the third place, whenever you hear the words "media throng", you'd better believe it. It was insane.

It was early December. Oprah was in town, campaigning for Barack Obama, which of course had the media wetting themselves with excitement. Hillary had her mother and daughter with her for the weekend, hoping to grab their own slice of the "Hey, girl" demographic. I was interviewed by a CNN stringer who asked me how Oprah's endorsement of Obama influenced me, an undecided female. Umm, not at all. I work for a living, so I never see Oprah. I'm more influenced by the gal in the next cubicle at the office. She lives near me and votes in the same precinct and goes to the same caucus. We've known each other for years, so I listen to what she has to say about candidates. Oh, and she's not a multibajillionaire trying to convince me that her problems are just like mine.



and Mother Rodham.

I got better pictures once they stepped away from the windows and into the fabulous lighting of the professional TV cameras. Unfortunately, they were looking the other way.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

V Day

T and I went out for dinner last night, "to beat the Valentine rush", he said.

Then we went out again tonight, to a neighborhood restaurant near our church, after I had my second tai chi lesson.

I had leftovers from both, so I can feel the love all weekend long.

I really like the tai chi class. We also do some qigong at the beginning, sort of as a warm up. I think if I can remember the movements long enough that I can practice them consistently, it will loosen up my back and shoulders. I'll try to practice every day, and see if the massage therapist can tell a difference next week.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

A slow start for Lent

Lent got off to a stumbling start here. We had a snow storm starting Tuesday, and the pancake supper at church was canceled. The snow stopped Wednesday (we got about eight inches), but by the time I figured out that I don't really know how to use our new snowblower, it was to late to make it to the Ash Wednesday service.

At least I came up with a To-Do and Not-Do list for the next six weeks, but even it is in jeopardy.

1. Do not start any new knitting or other crafty projects. This one is already on the ropes. I made a chemo cap for one of T's coworkers, and she asked if she could order another one. She's a sweet lady, one of T's favorites, and this is her second go-round with cancer. How could I say no? I'm pretty sure God will understand if I amend this one to say "No new projects for myself."

2. Avoid entertainment news. Granted, it's hard to avoid it entirely, especially when it's right there on Yahoo News, but I don't have to watch the stuff that is on TV when I get home from work. The last time I tried this, it was a Paris Hilton backlash. Now, it's Britney. I think she's at the point where we all just need to look away.

3. Observe Meatless Friday. Between salad bars and bean burritos, this one is pretty easy.

I wasn't sure about this last one, but T had a meeting tonight, and that convinced me to....

4. Take a Tai Chi class. Our church is offering a six week class during Lent. Tonight was the first class. The instructor started by saying, "First, tai chi should never hurt. Second, the only way to do it wrong is if it hurts." That's my kind of exercise. I like the class, and am looking forward to going next week.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Has it been a month already?

I've been a bad blogger, and I blame Ravelry.

Ravelry is the new must-see site for knitters and crocheters, still in beta and invitation-only. It has forums and wikis and what not, but the really cool part is the databases - of yarns, of patterns, of projects. Users can enter all of the details for their projects, including pictures. Then, if you have, say, one ball of Noro Silk Garden yarn, you can search for that yarn, see the projects, narrow the search, and get a pretty good idea of what can be done with the yarn.

The thing is, to get a picture into Ravelry, I need to store it in Flickr. So I upgraded my Flickr account, and started dumping my yarn pictures there. Once that is done and they are linked to Ravelry, I'm tired of them and don't want to re-do them for Blogger. Feel free to go look at them in Flickr, though.

I have finished three hats (one a chemo cap for one of T's friends), and this little beauty:

My co-worker had a baby boy in early January, and this is his "welcome to Iowa winter" gift.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Snowed under

We had snow every weekend in December. Since we live near a river, we get a lot of wildlife tromping through our yard - deer, rabbits, squirrels, raccoons - and thus see a lot of tracks in our snow.

I was perplexed, though, when I saw this:

It wasn't a footprint, but a raised area, presumably a burrow. And they were all over the front yard:

A little research with Professor Google suggested that it might have been a shrew tunneling through the snow. I've never seen a shrew in our yard, thank heavens, but it wouldn't surprise me.

In other news, the Iowa Caucus is over and all of the presidential candidates have left our fair state. We no longer get relentless phone calls or stacks of promotional mail from Hillary and Mitt and Barak and Rudy. (As a politically diverse household, we get pitches from EVERYONE.) In fact, the day after the caucus, we got NO mail and NO phone calls. It was better than Christmas.

Also, as soon as they left, the weather warmed up and the snow started melting. Seriously.

Look at this sweet face. Is this the face of a kitty who would eat the new growth on the dracaena I have been trying to resuscitate?

Why yes, yes it is.