Sunday, December 21, 2008
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
--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.
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
Monday, December 01, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
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
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
I delivered it last night. It's too big for her yet, but it is still adorable.
Monday, October 27, 2008
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
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
It took me two nights, but it could easily be done in one night of TV watching.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Monday, September 08, 2008
Sunday, September 07, 2008
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
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
Friday, July 04, 2008
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.)
Cat alert for Minnie: There are bird noises.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
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
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
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
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
More pix here.
Monday, May 26, 2008
Sunday, May 18, 2008
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
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
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
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.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Friday, April 18, 2008
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.
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
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
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
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.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
So naturally, rain and snow are on the way for the weekend.
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.