Wednesday, December 31, 2008

12.31 on the 7th day of Christmas...

One last snow storm. It's hard to believe that this was only two days ago.

The weatherman said "2-4 inches (last night) and 2-4 inches during the day". We woke up to 2 and 4 inches - Brandon's tummy was dragging in the snow again. It looks like the day's total will be closer to six more inches than two or four inches.

I need to get K&S up to help me start shoveling what's left and added since J shoveled so he could leave.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

12.30 On the 6th day of Christmas...

We went shopping. K had 3 gift cards and 2 partials to use up - 2 pairs of jeans, 2 tops, a belt and 3 sets of earrings later, she's feeling smug at her haul.

I woke up way to early this morning and have had the headache today that goes with too little sleep. I did get a bunch of stuff done, aside from spindling in the department store while waiting for K to try things on. It was pretty funny when the salesperson asked me if I needed any help as an icebreaker to chat with me about my spindle and went on to tell me about her spindles and trade info about our wheels. She and her husband both spin, but don't belong to guild because they both mostly work on Saturdays.

I amused 2 five year olds for approximately 3 minutes each and gave away one tuft of silk to a small charmer who patted the silk in before and after states and then very soberly said, "Thank you. You're very nice." When I said "Thank you," she said "you're welcome," and skipped off into the dressing room after her mom. A very polite child, who then began piping at her mom, "Mom! did you see that. How did she learn that? Can I learn that? Do you know how to do that?" Mom apparently does not know how to do that, but did know what I was doing, so there is some hope that small fry (if she keeps it in mind) may actually get a chance to "learn that" at some point.

Monday, December 29, 2008

12.29 5th day of Christmas

J went back to work. 9 days off work, 3 days on, 4 days off. Not a bad lifestyle, except that he was trying to fit 6 days of work into one today.

After the high winds yesterday, K and S raked all the leaves off the back lawn today (it was amazing. They went out without grumping, raked cooperatively and steadily until it was all done, and came back in without being silly. Do you suppose they're [shhh!] maturing?)

It was sunny. It was beautiful.

It's now blowing again - but this time from the south rather than the west. Hopefully it won't look like they never did a thing when we wake up in the morning!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

12.28 4th day of Christmas

Shhhh! Be vewy, vewy quiet!

I'm not hunting wabbits, but I am trying to avoid waking the sleepers for as long as possible. One of K's friends has a birthday on the 27th of December, and so she's gone on a sleepover. That seemed to be the perfect time to let S have the all-night LOTR movie marathon with his friend that he's been nagging asking politely about for two months.

I don't know what time they gave up and fell asleep, but they are two sleeping bag-clad bundles on the living room floor and I'd just as soon let them sleep.

Since sleeping in would have been a good thing, I myself have been awake since 5:45.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

12.27b 3rd day of Christmas

Where was I before I got distracted by google search terms?

Oh, yes.

The vest. This is the back - I didn't notice when I put it down in the dark, but I blocked it kind of funny. The measurements came out right, and I think the wave will work out in the wearing, so I don't think I'll worry about it too much.

12.27 Google search

Every now and again I take a look at what brings people to my blog. Most of them I understand - they tend to fall into two categories. Category 1 - people I know, or who know me [not always the same thing] and Category 2 - people who show up from a known set of links to my blog. Even when I don't recognize the addresses as belonging to people I'm sure I know, there's a certain familiarity that comes with seeing them repeatedly showing up - someone keeps popping in from there, wherever "there" is this time.

And then there are the odd ones. Such as the google search for

Magoo Christmas Carol Salad Dressing

I can stretch my brain far enough to figure out why my blog was supplied as an answer to such a query, but why was someone using that as a set of search terms to begin with?

Friday, December 26, 2008

12.26 2nd day of Christmas

The first day of Christmas has come and gone, quite nicely for the most part.

The second day of Christmas has me in a finishing sort of mood. I want to finish all the projects that have been hanging over me, and while I certainly won't finish them any time soon, the effort will do me good.

So... here we have a blocked set of vest fronts (Ruby from A Fine Fleece). This is a dangerous state - the next stage is "sewing up" and then "picking up stitches" which is always a stage that takes me a long time to gather the mental strength to tackle. I'm not sure why, as when I'm done, I say "that wasn't so bad" but nevertheless, it always does. I think the problem is that it isn't knitting, which is of course the fun part.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

12.21 groan

I ache. All over. Since Friday morning about 8:30, we have gotten just about 17 inches of snow. The world is a white wonderland, full of cars that have slid off the road, although none recently - most of the sliding happened Friday when people were still trying to pretend that nothing in particular was happening.

On the theory that shoveling multiple times, an inch or two at a time, is better than shoveling once, 17 inches at a time, we have (between the four of us) shoveled the drive seven times in the past 48 hours.

I ache, all over. The pile of snow where S's fort goes is almost as tall as I am.

Friday, December 19, 2008

12.19 Gladys Amedro's Shetland Lace

Susan gave me some of the best knitting news I've had in a while - Gladys Amedro's book Shetland Lace is available once again.

I had a copy of the book when it was published last time. I was working on one of the patterns (repeat 80 of 82 for the border), when the whole kit and kaboodle (knitting, yarn, book and knitting bag [a bag my mom had needlepointed an original design for a panel and then assembled into the bag]) disappeared when our van was broken into one night.* Best guess was that the bag was used to haul off the cds and/or the radio that was stolen from the van, or perhaps items from some of the other 4 cars on our cul-de-sac that were broken into the same night. I cared nothing about the commercially available items - it was the knitting, bag and book I wanted back, dammit!

We were moving two weeks later and I had no time to worry about the knitting. By the time I did have time to worry about the knitting (a couple of years later), I couldn't find the book again. Amazon would search for a copy for me (none were available) if I was going to be willing to pony up $85 for it they found it. Ummm - at that point I was unemployed; no I don't think so. Currently, Amazon will provide a copy if I'm willing to pony up $215. Ummm - someone in the house is employed but a. it isn't me and b. my extra cash is going into paying for school.

I will have to see what Santa brings me - it's going on my wishlist this minute!

*This does seem to be my week for whining about things going missing - I still do have an awful lot of things, handmade by me and otherwise, in my possession!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

12.18 Grief

What are those standard stages of grief again? Denial's one of them, I know. I went through that one in a hurry as I dashed from store to store to find out if someone had turned my shawl in to lost and found. Anger we've already noted - I appreciate the permission to throw things, Freyalyn. I didn't actually do so, but it would have been very satisfying. Despair? Depression? Whatever that stage is, went through that yesterday. It's gone, gone forever.

Today we have acceptance. I woke up this morning plotting the recreation of my dark blue shawl. I have some dark brown Corriedale (from the same source even), that has been combed out and is awaiting washing. I have some Tussah silk top, just waiting for spinning. I have several things already in the queue, but this may bump them.

How soon can I get started?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

12.16 Gone!

I wore my navy blue shawl today. The one I knit from my first real handspun, the first time that I actually spun enough for more than just a hat. One ply dark brown Corriedale, one ply tussah silk. Knit in a halfcircle shawl from Martha Waterman's Traditional Lace Shawls. Garment dyed a medium blue, the Corriedale went navy, and the tussah silk went bright blue, little twinkling dots in the dark navy. It wasn't the best spinning ever; I could pick out the underspun and bulgy places if I looked, but it's warm and lacy, and always garners compliments.

I went shopping today (out to the parking lot, drive to the book store, walk through the parking lot, all through the bookstore Christmas shopping, walk through the parking lot, drive to the grocery store, walk through the parking lot, all through the grocery store, walk through the parking lot, drive back to the office, walk back through the parking lot). When I left, I had my shawl. When I returned, I didn't. As near as I can tell, it slithered down my back at some point, squeezed between my slick blouse and the slick lining of my coat. It isn't visible in any parking lot, and wasn't turned in at either store.

Someone (not me) apparently has a very nice shawl.

Can I throw something?

12.16 Teenagers!

I've been trying to decide what my children need or want for Christmas. I've hinted about needing information. I've asked outright. I've directed them to update their wishlists (the relatives are asking too!)

They'll be mighty upset if they don't get anything.

I still haven't got a clue.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

12.13 Christmas list, part 4

19. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer? Of course. Can’t everyone?
20. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas morning. I’d prefer Christmas Eve now that K & S are older, but I’ve been outvoted.
21. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Christmas Muzak.
22. Favorite ornament theme or color? Red gold and green.
23. What do you want for Christmas this year? A turntable with a USB cable. I want to be able to listen to my LPs again.

24. Angel on the tree top or a star? Nothing at the moment. We had an angel at one point, but she vanished in a move. We had an anti-angel-abuse movement in the house (no more trees stuck up their butts!) and went to a spire when her replacement was decided upon. The spire was broken last year and a replacement for that has not been discussed. It will probably be this year’s addition to the Christmas tree.
25. Favorite Christmas dinner? What does this question mean – the particular dinner of some year in the past whose memory I like to bring up and roll around my mental taste buds? Or what do I want on the menu for Christmas?
I think I’ll assume the second and provide you with my perfect Christmas dinner menu:
Crown of roast pork.
Cranberry/orange relish
Mashed potatoes
Gravy (I will concede gravy for those in the family who want it. It doesn’t bother me to fix it or to have to look at it.)
Green beans almondine
Waldorf salad (not that nasty stuff made with mayonaise, but properly made with mustard dressing, just the way I learned at my mother’s knee)
A pickle tray (why we call it a pickle tray I don’t know, but we do; it mostly isn’t pickles) Black Olives, Green Olives, cornichons, tiny dill gherkins, celery and carrot fingers.
Pecan pie
Pumpkin pie

Occasional items that come and go from the menu every few years: Mashed sweet potatoes with brown sugar; mincemeat pie; apple pie; cheesecake; fresh cranberry sauce; fruitcake; pickled cauliflower.

Friday, December 12, 2008

12.12 Christmas list, part 3

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? As soon as the last fall birthday shopping is done (i.e. after December 3rd).
We have birthdays that start in July – July – 1, August - 1, September - 1, October – 2, November - 3, December – 2, January – 1, February - 1. The January birthday is the hardest to deal with as it is on the 4th – just at the time when everyone is ready to be done. Planning for a party has to be done before Christmas if it’s going to happen anywhere near the right date, and how often does that happen? Right! S went to having half-birthday parties instead a few years ago.
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? You bet. Why give houseroom to something I won’t every use, but which is absolutely useable by someone? Pass it on.
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Garlic cheese roll.
16. Lights on the tree? Colored, small, preferrably blinking. I loved the bubblers we had when I was very young, but they make them out of plastic now, not the heavy glass.
17. Favorite Christmas song? Anything on my Bayerisches Adventsingen album.
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Stay home if we possibly can. We haven't for several years, but this year, we are going to.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

12.11 Christmas.... Aaaaaggh!

This has been your pre-Christmas warning scream.

I looked around the room last night, reminded the family that we have only 14 days to Christmas, and they all dutifully gave a scream.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

12.10 Christmas list, part 2

7. Hardest person to buy for? J. Or perhaps his father. My brother? My father? Either of my brothers-in-law? I’m sure you’re seeing a trend here.
8. Easiest person to buy for? It changes every year. It is a commonly remarked upon phenomenon in my family – each year, there is someone who is incredibly easy to buy for. Everything you see would be perfect for that person, and you can’t find anything for anyone else. The next year, someone else will be the lucky person and the previous year’s person will be impossible.
9. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes. I bought one when I was in Oberammergau one year, with my Christmas bonus of having worked 120 hours of overtime in a 10 day period. I also bought all my Christmas presents at the same time, which was good as I came back and was sick for two weeks with pneumonia from having overdone things so much and had no time to go shopping.
10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail, of course. If I get them sent out at all, which I often don’t.
11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Dunno. Whatever it was, it’s forgotten.
12. Favorite Christmas Movie? A Christmas Carol. Or perhaps A Christmas Carol. Or perhaps, A Muppet Christmas Carol. Or maybe it’s Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol. I have several different versions, you see, and tend to watch them all over the course of the month…

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

12.9 Christmas list

Carole picked this up and passed it on - I'm going to answer it in pieces.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper. I tried to get into making gift bags one year, but lost steam and wound up donating the fabric to the quilting group for Christmas quilts.
2. Real tree or Artificial? Artificial. I had a really bad reaction to the last real tree, and while we’re pretty sure it was a reaction to the fungicide on the tree and not the tree itself, a. we have an artificial tree now and b. J isn’t willing to risk me having another bad reaction. Considering that he was the one who had to deal with sealing the room off and with getting through Christmas with me prostrate on the sofa, I suppose he's allowed to have the deciding vote.
3. When do you put up the tree? A week or two before Christmas.
4. When do you take the tree down? The weekend after New Year’s Day.
5. Do you like eggnog? Yes. I did not as a child, but it seems to be a taste one grows into (as so many tastes are), particularly when it’s made with fresh ingredients. Is there anything that isn't better when made with fresh ingredients?
6. Favorite gift received as a child? My plastic-horse-on-springs. I adored my bouncy horse and rode it for years. It would thump backwards across the floor as I rode and then thump-thump-thump again the baseboards, so it was not my mother's favorite.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

12.7 Time for music

Christmas music, that is. I dug out my box-o-CDs (I wish I could listen to my old LPs - I've got a bunch that have never been re-released on CD) and started putting them in order for listening. I can't stand Christmas Muzak, but my favorite CDs? you bet.

I have a new favorite - it's all Sandy's fault. Straight No Chaser's 12 Days:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

11.12 Classwork done

One class down, two to go.

Someone asked me at the beginning of summer, two summers ago, whether I thought it was worthwhile going back to school. I said that it was a hard question to answer, exactly half way through my degree. I had certainly thought so when I started. I was pretty sure I would think so this year, when I was almost done. I wasn't quite sure at that exact moment, half way through with neither the enthusiasm of just having started nor the wind in my sails of being almost done.

Well, the wind is back in the sails. I want to be done so bad I can taste it, and yes, at the moment, it is worth it.

Just two classes to go.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

K's slippers

Once upon a time I promised the story of K's good fortune at the Fiber Fest.

She agreed to help with the front gate for my stint of service. She hadn't mean to go, but decided that she would. We were working at the front gate later than usual, so we went to roam around the FFF first. She found a pair of slippers she fell in love with but they were $50 (reasonable but expensive on a teen's budget) and she decided to think about it. While we were having lunch, I heard from the loudspeaker "blah blah blah K blah blah". What was that?
And a little bit later again we heard "blah blah blah K blah blah". What?
I eventually found someone to ask and they said " oh, they were announcing the Fest Bucks winners. Go ask at the guild table". So - in exchange for K agreeing to work the gate, her name got put in the pot for the Fest Bucks enticement to persuade people to volunteer. $25.
That makes the price of the slippers look much more reasonable, no? So we trundled back over to buy slippers and discovered that the only pair that fit her feet were somehow marked as $24 instead of the $50 that all the rest were. Not being one to look a gift horse in the mouth, she purchased them and wound up with fifteen cents change, after taxes.
So... after all that, she came home with a pair of slippers and fifteen cents more than she went to the fest with. Not bad at all.

11.11 Not out of the woods yet

Closing night of the play was also great. This was just a great bunch of kids doing something they obviously enjoy doing.

I'm almost through with the very last short essay for my class. Tomorrow we'll be done-done.
(Not just done, but done-done. We had a long silly discussion about the difference between done and done-done.)

Dragged K off to the dr. today, for the Cough that Won't Quit.
Walking pneumonia.

Friday, November 07, 2008

11.7 Opening night

The play is great. The kids were all high energy and all of them felt like it was the best opening night they'd been through. I think I'd have to agree with them.

Three more performances to go.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

11.6 Dash to the end(s)

Well, the election's over. I will enjoy the freedom from political ads for a few days.

Not that I would be paying much attention in the next few days anyway:
1. My final paper, discussion comments, summary of the course essay and peer evaluation are due this weekend.
2. K's play is this weekend. She's doing better, but not getting enough sleep to really get over her cough. Opening night is tonight; closing night is Saturday.
3. J's parents are arriving tomorrow, to a more than usually awful house. All I can do at this point is cringe and get over it. Oh well.
4. S is leaving for the weekend tomorrow night. I suppose I really need to find out if he wants to see the play. Hmmm - these thoughts that never occur until (almost) too late.

S's school soccer team had their end of season party on Halloween afternoon - a perfect season 11-0, and an excellent season for the keepers. Each person playing keeper had 1 goal scored on him all season. Since S is their primary keeper (he plays 2 or 3 quarters, depending on format) and the others play only 1 quarter per game, this is an excellent stat for him. His team this year was very good both offensively and defensively - next year won't be likely to be as good, but he was thrilled that the ones who really didn't want to play weren't there. The school team and the travel team both are getting whittled down to the ones who still really want to play.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

11.4 Civic duty done

Stopped by the polls on my way to work. Tiny thing as usual - 3 workers, one booth, 5 minutes in and out. Steady stream of people, but not much of a line.

One young man with his dad ahead of me; one small boy with his mom. The dad voted first, then asked the young man if he needed help. That teen-aged "Da-ad" look crossed his face, but he just said, "no". He stepped in, flipped the levers, stepped out again. As they left, Dad was saying "See? Easy! Hardly seems waiting all these years for, does it..."

I don't know how the small boy and mom made out - I was signing in as they were in the booth and by the time I finished, they were gone.

One of my neighbors was ahead of me in line, one of my neighbors walked in as I left.

Have you voted yet?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

10.27 Hmmm....

More than a month later, there isn't much to say except that it's been a hell of a month. I must be recovering from it - I find myself mentally planning blog posts even though I have no time to post them.

Suffice it to say that I haven't fallen off the end of the world, just piled under. I hope to begin posting again soon, but I promise nothing for another week (end of S's soccer season). Maybe 2. (end of my class and K's play). Probably 3. (end of my internship).

That being just the tip of the iceberg, I'll simply say that I should learn to expect that if I'm stretched too thin, something else will be added to the middle of the rubber band.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

9.21 A week later...

We got power back Monday night (only 17 hours without, which wasn't too bad, considering). The fridge and the freezer survived pretty well, although I feel the need to use up the blueberries in the kitchen freezer pretty soon. Some of them made a very nice pie.

It was a busy week (aren't they all?) and having now finished my quiz, my reading, my essay for the week, and my necessary messages to the instructor and my team mates, I'm turning my attention (briefly) to the question of my blog.


What happened to the camera?

We had a mad cleaning frenzy yesterday (the house looks nice!) and the camera has fallen in. Someone probably put it away some place that made perfect sense at the time.

Maybe tomorrow. Also I'll tell you about K's extraordinary luck at the Fiber Festival today!

Monday, September 15, 2008

9.15 Generator?

So... Will this finally push us into getting a generator? We had the wiring done for using a generator when we had the house built, but have never gotten 'round to the generator part of the equation.

We lost power (Ike) last night and the RGE website says "yes we know you're out of power, 25 people on your block are, estimated time of service restoration: unknown". In other words, yes we know you don't have power, we have bigger fish to fry, don't bug us. J asked me how long the freezer and fridge will be ok - who knows? I see blueberry pie in our future and a dearth of blueberries across the winter.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

9.10 September...

always brings with it a ton of new stuff, until we (and others) get settled into a new routine. K is starting 10th grade, starting the school play practices, starting in Women's Choir, starting in Show Choir (it only goes to 9th grade but after that the teacher takes a volunteer who wants to learn how to direct and run things - K is that person this year). S is starting 8th grade, starting goalkeeper for the 8th grade soccer team, starting goalkeeper for his travel soccer team. I'm back on the job at my internship, starting a new class, attending Parents' Nights at the schools, parent meetings for the play, for the Choirs, for the sports teams.

I have a cold which manifests itself in enormous sneezes, five and six at a time, and in a constant headache. I just want to go to bed and pull the covers up.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

9.6 coneflowers

Exhibit B: Coneflowers make such a lovely display without requiring much special attention. I wish they came in other shades, partly because I'm not entirely fond of this shade, but mostly because everybody has this one. (n.b. they may very well do so, but not popularly available in the local nurseries and I am only now working up enough energy on the subject to start complaining and looking around. Any suggestions gratefully received.) I have these two plants in my big round bed, and intended to move them to the lower new bed. Since everyone in the neighborhood seems to have put them in, I'm reluctant to make mine more visible. I want the bed to look like something besides a stamped out version of the same bed everyone else has.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

9.4 morning glory

One might not be able to tell fom my history of picture posting, but there actually are some (a few) flowers in my garden that are not lilies. Exhibit A: Morning glory flower. The morning glories grow on the trellises I have erected to disguise the gas and water meters, since these sightly (?) objects are mounted (relatively) high on the wall on the front corner of the house facing the direction that everyone comes up the street. This is just above the point where the sewer grinder/pump cover sits in the middle of the yard, previously projecting about 10 inches into the air above the level of the yard.
Having put an elevated circular bed (about 20 feet across) around the corner of the house where the sewer grinder/pump cover sits, it gave me a place to put the trellises, etc...
We have a sewer grinder/pump because we live at the upper end of a street with a swale in the middle. The grinder reduces all waste products to fit into a 1 inch pipe and then the pump pushes it past the uphill section. The pump is warrantied for 20 years (don't ask me what happens then), although one of our neighbors had to have theirs replaced in the first year and grumbled that it cost many thousands to have it dug out and replaced. The question of the warranty thus lingers in my mind, as no mention of any coverage accompanied this story, although as no mention of any coverage accompanied the story, my immediate cynicism questions as to whether something unauthorized entered their system at some point.
Behind our house, on the other side of the stretch of woods and stream, there are about 80 acres of farmland. Last year spring there was a public hearing in re. putting in senior citizen housing and assisted living facilities on this 80 acres, which would including a new pumping substation on the corner of the property. We were advised at that time that in a few years, this would imply that our subdivision's sewer system would be revamped and those of us with grinder/pumps would then be connected to a real system and would be responsible (financially) for the cost of doing so. My first thought was, what about my flower bed? Are they going to ruin it by digging everything up? (not to mention the wall?) J thinks it will simply be one of those underground mole machines, burrowing along and going right under everything. All well and good, but how do they get the grinder/pump dug up and carted away?
Oh, J says, they'll probably just change the connections at the house and leave the grinder/pump where it is.
Um, right. An entire, unsightly device, which we now won't need, and we're just going to leave it there. I don't know which I think is worse - leaving it there or taking it out.
The whole building project is now 8 months overdue to start and given the current housing market, I don't think I'm going to have to worry about the choice or my garden any time soon.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Ok, I finally tumbled into a meme...

We'll blame Freyalyn. (Bold indicates I've eaten it, other comments are probably self-explanatory.
Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee - I've had it but am not enough of a connoisseur to understand why I want it over others I've tried.
Rose harissa - ?
Bellini - ?
Calamari - particularly with parmesan-pepper sauce.
Clotted cream tea - clotted cream - yes, tea - yes; never tried mixing them.
Louche absinthe - ?
Fried plantain - Yum.
Flowers - I've had them but they didn't strike me as one way or another. I'll eat them if they're in my food, but wouldn't go out of my way to get them.
Fresh wild berries - Absolutely!
Mole poblano - most excellent.
Baba ghanoush - once was enough.
Bagna cauda - ?
Carp - Rumors of massive numbers of bones put me off.
Kaolin - ?
Roadkill - Never seen any that looked edible.
Venison - I've been fortunate enough to only have good venison.
Nettle tea - Nothing I'd go out of my way for.
Huevos rancheros - most excellent, especially as prepared in the little restaurant down the street.
Steak tartare - No interest, sorry.
Crocodile - I'd try it if it was put in front of me, but I've no idea where I'd find it around here. Black pudding - Not being much into pudding of any kind...
Cheese fondue - It's ok.
Borscht - Tried some once at a French/Russian restaurant. Not the highlight of the meal, but not bad either.
Pho - Nope.
PB&J sandwich - If the PB is fresh and crunchy and the jam is apricot and home made, yum.
Aloo gobi - ?
Hot dog from a street cart - In four different countries.
Black truffle - I wish.
Pistachio ice cream - I liked the one best that wasn't dyed green. Plain white with little green nuts.
Heirloom tomatoes - all fresh tomatoes are wonderful. No need to add any other comment there.
Foie gras - Never tried. I'm not a big liver fan, whatever the species.
Rice and beans - of course. Which ethnicity's version would you like?
Brawn, or head cheese - No.
Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper - No! I'm fond of my taste buds.
Dulce de leche - Chocolate's better but dulce de leche is right up there.
Oysters - there was a period of my life where steamed oysters formed a large portion of my diet, and I always go back to a seafood restaurant in San Jose to get the Oysters Rockefeller they fix.
Baklava - I love this stuff. I found a place recently that keeps it on the menu, but they don't use any nuts. Need to make my own again.
Wasabi peas - Not that fond of horseradish taste.
Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl - not in sourdough bowl. I don't like my bread soggy.
Salted lassi - ?
Sauerkraut - yum. Particularly in rouladin.
Root beer float - A childhood favorite that never lives up to memories.
Cognac with a fat cigar - a cigar is NOT food. Agree. No arguments there.
Vodka jelly/Jell-O - Ick. No desire ever to try.
Gumbo - no interest.
Oxtail - no interest.
Curried goat - yum.
Whole insects - no interest.
Phaal - ?
Goat’s milk - it's ok.
Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more - I don't like whisky enough to spend the money to find out if I'd like expensive whisky.
Fugu - No.
Chicken tikka masala - ?
Eel - in sushi, it's most excellent.
Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut - Way too sweet.
Sea urchin - No.
Prickly pear - Several times, but most of the ones I can get here look several weeks old.
Umeboshi - ?
Abalone - No.
Paneer - ?
McDonald’s Big Mac Meal -No.
Spaetzle - Sorry, fits in the soggy bread category.
Dirty gin martini - No.
Beer above 8% ABV - Yum.
Poutine - ?
Carob chips - Just give me the real chocolate.
S’mores - Of course.
Sweetbreads - No.
Currywurst - ?
Durian - why? Just to say I had?
Frogs’ legs - Yum!
Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake - if they are really fresh and made in newish oil.
Haggis - must I?
Chitterlings, or andouillette - No.
Gazpacho - One of the few soups I care for.
Caviar and blini - Not worth the cost.
Gjetost, or brunost - ?
Baijiu - ?
Hostess Fruit Pie - No!
Snail - Yes! Snails are mostly an excuse to eat garlic-buttery toast, but there was a restaurant in Germany with a recipe for a garlic-cheesy white sauce served on a plate with a side of really good bread and you got a dozen or more schnecken and not just a measily 6...
Lapsang souchong - good.
Eggs Benedict - No - I've avoided it, see note above about soggy bread.
Pocky - ?
Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant - I WISH. Agree. What else to say?
Kobe beef - ?.
Hare - Tasty, organic, wild caught. What’s not to like? Again, what else to say?
Goulash - Yum.
Horse - No.
Criollo chocolate - ?
Spam. - No.
Soft shell crab - No interest.
Catfish - Yum!
Bagel and lox - yum.
Lobster Thermidor - not since visiting Maine, but I'd go again in a heartbeat.
Polenta - Not a fan.
Snake - No.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

8.28 garden report

Despite getting put in late, those things that I did put in have done well. We've had acorn squash, and zucchini (and zucchini and zucchini). We have a zillion green tomatoes (and have had for weeks now), and I've had about a dozen ripe ones. I need to see about better support for the tomatoes next year (this year's consisted of "inadequate" and "none"), but it doesn't seem to have harmed them in terms of inducing mildew or rot.

J has made up his mind that next year I need additional garden boxes to isolate the squash and tomatoes from the other parts of the garden. I have agreed that this is probably a sound idea. They do tend to take over.

I'm about ready to take the squashes out. The weather has not been conducive to further production (cool nights, cloudy skies) and they are being overtaken by powdery mildew. I think some nice fall veg should go in next.

After July in June (hotter dryer weather than usual), and August in July (hot, muggy and thunderstorms on a frequent basis), we now seem to be having September in August (continued thunderstorms every third day, but cool clear nights). Are we going to have snow before Halloween this year?

Monday, August 25, 2008

8.25 spring skein

This is the second and final skein of the spring-colored yarn. Predominately white, with a large swathe of blue, and smaller bits of yellow, green and purple, this has always figured in my mind as "the spring fiber". The purple was a real shocker when I first noticed it as that strip was turned to the inside of the top and not visible in the package. Eventually I'll get to figuring out what the yardage and grist is on these and be able to think about what sort of end use the skeins will get put to.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

8.23 speckled asiatic lily

Last year was the first for the grab bag of asiatic lilies to bloom, and this one struck me as being lightly speckled. This year, as you can see, it is heavily speckled, and I really like it.

I'm not sure what causes the changes from year to year. This year, it rather looks like one of those paintings done by flinging paint at the canvas from across the room. I confess to liking the effect better when produced by nature.

Friday, August 22, 2008

8.21 wild raspberry

This was the first try at spinning the Wild Raspberry from Sweet Grass Wool*. Spun short draw and way too overspun for my purposes, this shows the colors nicely, but completely overwhelmed the spring of the Targhee fiber. Anyone need a skein of very firm yarn?

* In linking to SGW, I notice that they have changed their colorways (boo - I like the wild raspberry and it isn't there any more) and expanded their line of available tops (yea, more colors to choose from, not that I need any more fiber any time soon).

Thursday, August 21, 2008

8.21 Let me explain...

No, there is too much.
Let me sum up:
K has been to babysit her cousin, B, and is back again.
S and I went to pick her up and spent a day or two around DC.
K, S, my sister and Cousin B went up in the Washington Monument.
I declined the treat, having done this before and feeling that once was sufficient.
I spent the time knitting outside the Monument and trying to identify languages.
Over the course of 45 minutes, I was sure of 11 different languages and only heard two words of English.
I pulled some muscles and am still trying to get them to loosen up.
S is in sailing camp this week.
I got a call yesterday that he'd been hit in the head by the boom.
The pulley on the boom split his left eyebrow.
9 stitches later, he still has a headache but no concussion or any further side effects.
I've gotten quite a bit of spinning and knitting done, but nothing is finished.
Pictures to follow.
My internship this summer has gone well enough that I've been asked to extend for another three months with the promise that I'll be allowed to move into still further fun stuff. I've accepted, but I'm taking a week off first.
I start my fall class on 1 Sept and K and S start school on 3 Sept. Much buying of shoes and school supplies needs to happen first.

Now that I have the synopsis out of the way, I may be able to get back to posting on a regular basis. I'm only 1550 posts behind on my blog reading.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

8.7 gold daylily

The daylilies have been going to town. Last year I put in some of the dinner plate daylilies and they have started blooming. I need to find where I put my stack of labels to remember which is which.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

8.6 tom turkey

Unlike our visitors earlier this year, Tom was strutting and displaying this time. There are advantages to having guests home during the day - they bring evidence of still further visitors I wouldn't have known about.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

7.24 Randomness

I have guests arriving today. Sometime. They left about 11 this morning; at 9:30 tonight they aren't here.
I left my phone at work so it's difficult to give them a call and find out where they are.
I have guests arriving tomorrow. Sometime. They plan to leave at 5 am or thereabouts.
Tomorrow, S finishes up at All-Sports camp (Camp Games, Flag Football, Soccer, Swimming, Flag Football and Camp Games - he's been coming home one tired and hungry pup).
Tomorrow, K starts play performances again - Friday and Saturday nights.
Sunday, everyone leaves, except perhaps some of the guests.
I plan on collapsing next week. Just me and the critters.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

7.23 miniatures

One of the benefits of visiting my in-laws during the summer is the chance to check out the babies at the end of the street.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

7.22 reading weekly

This week's reading:

1. Fairy Godmother by Mercedes Lackey. For a person who spent a great deal of time as a child reading (and re-reading) the Color Fairy books, the revisions dreamed up by Lackey are amusing and pleasant reading. She tackled fairy tales first in the Elemental Mages series (starting with The Fire Rose), but redid them with the 500 Kingdoms books, and I've enjoyed reading all of them.
2. One Good Knight by Mercedes Lackey. The second book, ditto.
3. The Corinthian by Georgette Heyer.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

7.20 yellow daylily

Somewhere I have the label for this daylily - where I don't know. Probably in a stack on the kitchen desk. Or maybe in the drawer in the kitchen where I keep extra seeds. Or... There are several possibilities, when I start following the idiot boy's advice about looking for a lost horse. It was an acquisition from last fall, along with the James Marsh. While not as intense a yellow as the James Marsh is a red, it is still pretty eyecatching.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

7.19 Bad week for posting

It's been a bad week for getting posts up on the blog. Somehow I'm not having trouble getting posts written, but getting them to post? Not so much. Mostly the problem has been that when things don't work perfectly, I've not had time to stop and sort things out.

The dryer hasn't been working (that is, the dryer works fine. It also squeals shrilly with a metal-on-metal shriek when it's run. I haven't been running it.) On investigation, it turns out that the problem is the "felt pad", which has teflon bearings on which the drum is supposed to slide. This have worn away to nothing, leaving us with metal-on-metal, which I suppose explains the shriek. Thanks to J and the appliance parts store, the shriek is gone and I merely have a mountain of laundry to work my way through.

J and S and the grandparents are off to his second game of the day, third since yesterday afternoon. They lost yesterday (tough team to beat) and lost again this morning (up too early after way too late a night, since yesterday's game was on the other side of town and ended at 10 pm). They enjoy playing in tournaments, but the time combination was really unfortunate. We'll see if they pull themselves together for the afternoon game.

K's opening night for the play was last night and the grands are here so that we can all go see it tonight. S has another game tomorrow morning, and possibly a game in the afternoon. K has a matinee to do tomorrow afternoon, at which I'll be ushering or possibly costume assisting or... Working, at any rate. The grands leave tomorrow sometime and I have to stop by the office I used to work for and if I can figure out what she did to the computer, or what was done to the computer for her, that makes it not work. Busy weekend. I'll have to go to the office on Monday to rest up.

Friday, July 18, 2008

7.18 james marsh daylily

I acquired a new-to-me daylily last year and didn't have it bloom. I acquired a second specimen of the same lily in a collection I bought at the end of the summer. I'm just now getting to see what I have and Wow! I just love it. The James Marsh daylily is just really intensely colorful.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

7.17 spindle progress

I'm also making progress on the spindle spinning. This is the first time I've spun with the merino tencel. I'm not yet sure how I'm going like the finished yarn - mostly because of the shiny-shiny. I love the sleekness of silk, but the tencel seems just a bit over-the-top glossy.

As a fiber to spin, I like it pretty well. I find that silk tends to stick to my hands and be difficult to spin in the summer humidity. The tencel doesn't have that problem - it's a good summer heat-and-humidity fiber.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

7.16 bobbins

I finished the first wool/angora bobbin, here shown with the two of the ones that are waiting to be plied. I'm planning on having the brown be a 3-ply, but I don't want to chain ply it so... 2 more bobbins to go.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

7.15 Let me just say this about that...

I would thoroughly enjoy working with teenagers if they didn't bring with them the baggage of stage mothers.

I would thoroughly be willing to let others work with my teenaged daughter if they weren't pushy obnoxious stage mothers.

I don't see any way of turning my daughter over to the non-pushy non-obnoxious mothers without having the pushy obnoxious stage mother barging in.

It's a puzzlement.

Monday, July 14, 2008

7.14 reading weekly

This week's reading has involved a bunch of old favorites, with a new one that I've finished up.

1. The Golden One by Elizabeth Peters. I've been listening to Barbara Rosenblatt read through the Amelia Peabody books for some time. Audible has had many of them, but has the more recent ones only in abridged format which annoys me greatly. My guess is that the more recent ones in their long format are not a cost-effective purchase for the discount that Audible offers for their monthly membership. The library offers most of them on tape or CD and since I have discovered that I have lost my patience with anything over a 5 minute commute, having books on tape has been a godsend.

2. Wingarden by Elsie Lee. One of the books I stumbled across most recently by this author (although written in '71 - most of her books were written in the late 50s and 60s). Her books are pleasant romances, usually either nominally Regencies or set in post-WWII time frames, often with a mystery. This was a "contemporary" romance (i.e. set in the late sixties?) and had the tense race-relations of small town Virginia as the setting. Her books remind me of many of Mary Stewart's books written about the same time.

3. Chinese Nail Murders by Robert van Gulik. An old favorite.

4. The Gold Falcon by Katherine Kerr. One of the more recent books by Kerr, which I just picked up recently. I read her books when she first started writing. I went through a phase of not reading anything new fictional for a while (i.e about 10 years), and a number of writers kept on writing while I was not reading. Having gone back to reading fiction, I'm finding myself needing to catch on certain authors. Kerr is one of them.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

7.13 mystery wool and angora

Each year the local spinning guild has a Holiday Gift Swap as the theme for the December meeting. Each person brings 8 oz of spinnable fiber, wrapped in a pretty package. Packages get judged by their wrappings; each person in turn can take a package from the pile or from another person. If your package gets stolen you replace it by choosing again.

A while back, this was what I came home with. Mystery wool with a certain amount of white angora mixed in. It will be a three-ply when I get finished with it. I am trying to get a minimum of a half hour of spinning in each day.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

7.12 merino tencel

I don't really remember where I picked up this merino tencel. If I recall correctly, it was a "throw-in" from a swap I did with someone sometime. The rest of what I got was yarn. I haven't done anything with the yarn either.

This is 2 oz of merino tencel in colors I would never have bought to start with but which turning out to be a rather nice singles. I haven't hit any of the white bits of fiber yet, so I don't know how that part is going to look. I think plied together it will look ok. I split the top into two 1 oz sections and plan to make a two ply skein.

Friday, July 11, 2008

7.11 baby 4 bloom

Hey, Cathy - baby 4 bloomed! I missed the first bloom on this one while I was away, but it has obliged with another one.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

7.10 bearing fruit

About six months ago, I warned the offspring that when I got a full time job (intended for this summer internship), they were suddenly going to be responsible for cooking dinner once a week. Now, mind you, this is after a couple of years of anecdotes about my teen years when my mother went back to work and then back to college and my mother, sister and I would sit down at the beginning of the semester and decide who had time to cook dinner when since we were all three going to school.

I wasn't sure how this was going to work out. K has been interested in cooking for some years, but S has not. S is the one I was worried about - he needs to know how to feed himself without resorting to fast food or tv dinners. (We will not even go into his stated opinion of two years ago which was that that was what girlfriends were for - ever since he ran into the Zits cartoon that said "nothing says 'knuckledragger' like sexist expectations of your girlfriend" he has ceased to even try to tease his sister with such statements.) While having additional hands to fix meals is of course bonus, the point is to make them learn to be self sufficient. This summer's addition to the self-sufficiency plans is cooking.

It's working out great. When I said, ok, it's time - they both shrugged and said "OK". No fuss, no muss. I thought they might want to choose the menu, but that seems to be more than they want right now. I'm writing out recipes, leaving ingredients and instructions, and when asked, walking them through the instructions over the phone. I'm also coming home to meals not cooked by me.
I could get used to this.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

7.8 Foolishness

I did a very foolish thing this evening - I walked into the costume dept at the high school (K wanted me to admire her costumes for the play) and made the mistake of admitting I know my way around a sewing machine. (I couldn't help it - they were admiring the costume I made K two springs ago [n.b. has it really been that long?]).

I walked out with a skirt to hem up and another skirt to make.

Gotta learn to keep my mouth shut.

Monday, July 07, 2008

7.7 reading weekly

This week I've started a bunch of books, and I've read the last two chapters of a bunch of books - not much has been read from start to finish.

1. Venetia by Georgette Heyer - I started at the last three chapters, then read the middle, then read the beginning and the last four chapters. I suppose that's one way of reading a book.
2. The Snow Queen by Mercedes Lackey - yes I know, this was on last week's list. I read it again.

Not much else to add - I should have about 7 books on next week's list if I actually finish all the ones I'm in the middle of. I'm not sure why I'm having so much trouble with book monogamy, but there you go.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

7.6 tango lilies

The tango lilies are in full bloom. I come out the front door (to my right from the angle at which I was taking this picture) and walk down the walk each morning, between this picture and yesterday's picture. I generally come flying out the door (mostly to keep cats from accompanying me), patter down the steps, and...
By the time I have rounded the corner, my steps have slowed drastically. I may be late for work, but I have to stop and admire and smell, and see what's new...
It always takes five minutes to get to the end of the walk these days.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

7.5 front garden lilies

Last year I bought a couple of grab-bags of lilies and salted them in the front bed. I had almost forgotten I did this and was a little surprised when lilies started popping up everywhere this spring. They have filled in the bed nicely, along with the alyssum. I love the scent of alyssum and, having planted it two years in a row, now have no need to plant it again. All I have to do now is to recognize the seedlings when they start popping up and not treat them as weeds.

7.4 black raspberries

Behold the fruits of the garden, wrested even from the very gaping jaws of the wild turkey.
We always have wild raspberres at the edge of the property - the vines seem to enjoy the climate facing east, just at the perpendicular of the horizontal grassy lawn meeting the vertical of the woodland trees. I had been keeping a general eye on them for about for or five days - it seemed that they should be ripening any day now, but there never were any fully ripe ones.
Yesterday in the morning, Brandon raised a ruckus and I noticed a turkey strutting away, cautiously but without haste.
The mystery of the non-ripening berries is solved.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

7.3 baby 3 bloom

The first baby bloomed! This is the first of the blooms on the six daylilies that Cathy sent me last year - five are of her own hybridization. I just love the colors on this one and I'm so pleased to have it.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

7.2 bobbin 3

The third bobbin of the spring merino is done. I'll be glad to have it done, and yet, my spinning is so far ahead of my knitting in projects-worth of production, I have no idea when I will get around to knitting with it. I ought to stop spinning and concentrate on knitting, but the spinning helps my feet and ankles, so I keep on spinning. Perhaps I'll simply wind up with lots of yarn for Christmas presents.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

7.1 square foot gardening book

Well, Sylvia wins the mink-lined whatsit - I picked up a copy of this book last winter and I've got my squares all lined up. I'm not sure I'll have all my squares filled in this year, but maybe next.
The answer to Norma's question is that IF I have baby snapping turtles, they are under the zucchini seedlings in the bed not pictured the other day. I find myself strangely reluctant to plant too much in that bed.
I plan to encourage the squashes to lean over OFF the bed. This will preclude J's being able to properly mow around the beds, but he got over it the last time I had watermelon and pumpkin vines everywhere, so I expect he'll get over it this time, too.

6.30 reading weekly

This week's reading was a wild swerve away from last week's. While I am slowly making my way through Sea of Sorrows by Michelle West, I certainly have not been a one book woman this week.

1. Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart
2. The Nine Tailors by Dorothy Sayers
3. Madam Will You Talk by Mary Stewart
4. Wingarden by Elsie Lee
5. The Unknown Ajax by Georgette Heyer

Old favorites, one and all. And a new book:

6. The Snow Queen by Mercedes Lackey

This is a new entry in her Five Hundred Kingdoms series; a set of fairy tales retold with a charming twist to the basic concept. In her introduction to this book, Ms. Lackey references Dorothy Sayers comment that mystery books are where the reader can know that the good will prevail and the evil get their comeuppance. This, of course, not always true in the modern mystery, but it is most of the time. The modern fantasy and the modern romance novels also fall into this category.
There are those who point out that this attitude sets up unreasonable expectations in the minds of the impressionable, that life will always be perfect. While this may be true for some people, I think that an grim insistence on complete realism in one's reading is a mistake. A little escapism is good for the soul, once in a while.
This is not to say that I don't enjoy reading books that are a bit grittier at times, and I have moved past the stage (long since) where I was deeply crushed by any book that didn't have a happy ending. I do certainly appreciate stories that allow all genders to be equally competant at solving problems, and Ms. Lackey's books fit that bill as well.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

6.29 red carpet lily

Older red carpet lily

The two year old red carpet lilies have started to bloom and they are definitely more of a blue-red than the one year old red carpets are. I like the older ones better, but the newer ones are ok. They don't seem to have much overlap of bloom time, so I'm not terribly prone to compare them (except for my general curiosity about the question this year). The shape of the flower is obviously different as well. So, did I order them from different sources, or did my source change their source?

Newer red carpet lily

Saturday, June 28, 2008

6.28 orange-yellow bed

This is how this bed looked yesterday - today it looks just the same except that a big rainstorm swept through and if you can picture how it would look with all the yellow and orange petals of the asian lilies on the ground instead of on the plants, it looks just like that.

6.27 garden report

The vegetable gardens are doing well - the transplantees are happy campers. The seeds are just starting to sprout - when they get just a bit bigger I'll be able to mulch around them without squashing them.

This first picture has two heirloom tomatoes, one acorn squash, two squares of carrot seeds, two squares of salad mix, two squares of dayliliy seeds, and three squares of marigold seedlings.
The second bed has another acorn squash and four cherry tomatoes, with more to come as I get seedlings started.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

6.26B baby3 scape

The camera wanted to focus on the leaves and not the scape, which I didn't notice until I was well back in the house and disinclined to try again. However, you can see it definitely has buds and I'm looking forward to seeing what the bloom looks like! Thanks Cathy, for sending me these. It's been fun!

6.26 baby4 scape

Here's the scape of one of the babies. It's just getting a bit of color and is very much darker than some of my other daylilies.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

6.25 it's wednesday

A day when the week is more than half over once you reach the end of it. I've spent a great deal of time this week at work searching for answers (google is my friend) and only finding a few of them. I came home this evening and played in my garden, but I have no pictures to show you yet. By the time I came in with grubby grubby hands, it was too dark to take pics. My lily beds are coming into serious bud and even a couple of the babies from Cathy are sending up scapes. I will take pictures tomorrow morning, I promise!

6.24 just shaking my head

The good news is that the woman I complained about a few days ago saw the light (or more likely, complained to the wrong person and was squashed for it) and sent an apology email, which I dutifully accepted.

The bad news is that she immediately followed it up with another email which was just as self-centeredly rude as the first occasion, on a slightly different topic.

Monday, June 23, 2008

6.23 reading weekly

This week's reading has been confined to two books:

1. The Broken Crown by Michelle West
2. The Uncrowned King by Michelle West

I bought these when they first came out, some number of years ago. I enjoyed them very much but got a little frustrated with the slow pace of the story - the first book centers around character A, the second around character B. The overall story is forwarded in each book, but when the third book came out, centered for the most part around character C, I gave up and decided to wait for the entire series. I now have the entire series in my hands and am slowly working my way through the books. I'm into book 3 and remembering just why I gave up reading the series the first time.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

6.22 tournament over

Not much happened chez nous this weekend other than studying and S's soccer tournament. K and S both have two more exams to go, one Monday and one Tuesday each. S also had a soccer tournament this evening and he played two games each day. Three regular games, one championship game. He played keeper/field, keeper, field, and keeper for the four games. And he wound up the hero of the game in the last game. It was a zero-tie game through double overtime, so it came down to penalty kicks. The other keeper missed all the kicks. Sean got a hand on one, which went in, but stopped another one cold. Final score: 4-3. It's nice when they get to be champions at their own tournament.

I took my knitting with me, but really only got a row or two done. It was just too hot/humid to knit with wool, and too damp to spin with silk.

6.21 tiger

This is another of the photos that just sort of appeared in my inbox when I uploaded picture. I decided that this one would be preferable to show vs. the others in that batch. This one symbolizes the clean room that magically appeared, K's clean room to be precise. I guess she was getting as annoyed with the clutter as I was. Tiger certainly seems to be enjoying the fact that the chair can be snoozed upon once again.

The other pictures in the batch were all of the fetal pig dissection that took place after school one day. Apparently one of the perks of doing well in high school biology is being permitted to stay after one day and helping with a dissection. Quote - it was interesting but it smelled really bad [ed. - formaldehyde?]. I don't want to do it again.

Friday, June 20, 2008

6.20 Thunderstorm

S and I went to the gym this evening. On the way home, I was entranced by a perfectly gorgeous thunderhead. We were seeing it side-on, and the setting sun was just to the right of it. The leading edge of the cloud was sheer gold, the first bit or so was rosy red, and the bulk of the cloud was shading into dark deep blues. Across the face of the cloud were sun rays shining gold with the blue behind them, as the light streamed past the edge of the cloud and lit up the moisture in the air that was not actually part of the cloud. It was gorgeous, a symphony in shades of color, and by the time we got home where I had a camera, the sun was farther down, the cloud was farther over, and the whole shebang was behind the trees from our house.

About half an hour later, J came in from flying his airplane and said "we have a thunderstorm in our back yard". The cloud, a solitary individual in an otherwise deep blue sky, was directly over our house and pouring down while snarling with thunder. A look on the weather map showed a clear sky with one tiny red dot of thunderstorm just over our town. It seems rather like that little character Joe Bftplsk (or whatever his name was) from Al Capp, the one who wandered around with his own personal thundercloud just over his head.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

6.19 skein 1

This is the first skein of the merino: white, blue, yellow, green and lavender (in descending order of bulk in the fiber). I think it turned out pretty well, although it is uneven in spaces. I'll wait to measure the skeins for average grist until I have both of them done.

Yesterday's singles is making progress but I don't think I'll finish this weekend - the local club's soccer tournament is this weekend (three games for S and a parking attendancy for J) and K needs to help with the pancake breakfast at the church and then stay to work on tying up the loose ends with her project for Girl Scouts.

I had an unpleasant, rather one sided, conversation this evening with a woman who felt that having her daughter be rude on her behalf should somehow nullify both of them from any consequences of rudeness. How dare I correct her daughter for being rude when we both knew very well that she had told her daughter to do what she did? Well... as her leader, it's my job to correct her when she's rude (with regards to things that I'm a leader for), regardless of the fact that I know she's being rude at her mother's direct order. I fail to see why people should have to put up with rudeness just because we all know who the real instigator is. I also fail to see why I have to put up with being yelled at. When I said as much, she started yelling again. I hung up. She called my co leader complaining and swearing she'll never speak to me again.

I can live with that.

The really interesting thing about this whole scenario is that the person to whom the rudeness was directed is... my co-leader.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

6.18 bobbin #3

I'm sure you can see the inconsistencies in this bobbin, but it's serving it's purpose of letting me practice, and giving me a chance to relax. It will almost certainly be as consistently inconsistent as the first skein was, so they'll match. I'll just have to find something that can stand a little unevenness in the yarn.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

6.17 reading weekly

This week, I dipped into and out of the Bujold books again, and I've started reading the Sun Sword series by Michelle West but haven't finished any of them.

I did start and finish the three books out (so far) by Michelle (West) Sagara.
1. Cast in Shadow
2. Cast in Courtlight
3. Cast in Secret

According to her website, there will be at least two more. They're convoluted and interesting, set in a curious world. She has a nice knack to revealing information about her world without being particularly didactic or stop-the-story-let-me-explain-this-to-you.

Monday, June 16, 2008

6.16 Fire next door

Just after five o'clock I heard the rumbling of brakes outside. I looked out the window at the firetruck pulling up outside my house and started to get nervous.

Not my house, but the house next door. Firetrucks from our town and the three closest towns, local and county police/sheriff's departments, random other trucks with blue lights... It was a busy two hours until they all went away again.

The fire apparently started in the dehumidifier in the basement (should I be worried that I think we have the same manufacturer, maybe the same model?), and burnt a bunch of plastics, making a thick acrid smoke and an awful residue all over the inside of the house.

She was home and heard the "bang", got out, got the dog out, called the fire department right away. It could have been much worse, but I suspect that they will find it has been bad enough.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

6.15 blue flag

blue flag
Originally uploaded by zinlizzie
I finally got a daytime picture of my blue flags - just before they're going to be all done. I kept trying to get a picture of them, but since they open up in the early morning and are curling at the edges by evening, they didn't look very nice when I was taking their picture at 7:30 at night.
Today we shifted about 2.5 yards of mulch. Theoretically, it would seem that 5 yards of dirt and 5 yards of mulch should be the same volume, since a "yard" is supposed to be a cubic yard. In practice, they may do them by weight, or it may be that the difference is caused by the fact that we got them from different sources. In any case, in actual practice, the 5 yards of mulch is almost twice as much volume as the 5 yards of dirt was. We put about half of it on the two gardens and then quit fo the day; too hot to do the rest.
After lunch we took a walk down by the Genesee river, along the Greenway path. We wound up walking by the airport fire fighters training facility. One imitation airplane, one imitation car, one "spilled fuel" setup, one building to fill with smoke... A very interesting place to see.
We also saw dozens and dozens of orchids. Unfortunately I didn't have the camera with me. If I can find a picture online I'll post a link to it.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

6.14 snowball

One of the interesting things about living with teenagers is that they do stuff without necessarily telling you about it ahead of time. This can be good or bad, although my experience has mostly been on the good side of the ledger.
One of the things that has been happening more and more often is the use of the camera by K. She's gotten rather good at putting the camera back where she finds it, so the only way I know that something happened is that random photos suddenly appear when I upload the pictures I've just taken.
Snowball, on the office chair, with her little pink tongue stuck out.
"Can you touch your nose with your tongue?"

Friday, June 13, 2008

6.13 Calibrichoa

I found a new-to-me plant at the nursery and decided upon this one as my hanging plant for this year. Last year's hanging pot was actually the pot (new plants) from the year before and it bit the dust through sun damage right at the end of last year's season. These calibrichoa (Superbells) look similar to petunias, although miniaturized, and they don't have the petunia aroma which starts bothering me after a while.
The pot has proved to be too heavy for my hanger though, so at the moment it rests on the shelf of the raised bed and may wind up there for the rest of the season if I don't figure something else out.
It may not make it through the season in any case as the flowers seem to be water hogs and must be watered EVERY day. I am not usually quite that organized. Poor things.

Q. If I pity them in advance, will my conscience let me off the hook when they die?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

6.12 messy box

When I came home yesterday, the last one of my new raised bed boxes looked like this, rather than the neat way it had looked when I left in the morning.

We had a visitor while I was away - my mom got some pictures with the telephoto.

Last year, our neighbor had a visitor (probably the same one?) and later in the summer we had small, silver dollar sized visitors scampering away one afternoon.

We don't think she left me any presents; she gave up in disgust and went off to where people didn't wander around with big-ass telephoto lenses. Papparazzi!

visitorJust for scale - the strings are at one foot intervals.



Wednesday, June 11, 2008

6.11 first year red carpet

Originally uploaded by zinlizzie
The first of my red carpet lilies to bloom this year. This one is one of the new batch and I think it may actually be a slightly different lily than my previous red carpet lilies. I'll have to take a picture of one of those when they bloom again and compare. The foliage is definitely darker on the two year lilies than the one year ones.

I don't remember whether I got them from the same source or not. it doesn't really matter; they're all good!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

6.10 Lavender Mountain Lily

Originally uploaded by zinlizzie
This is very odd picture, as the autofocus chose to put the lower bloom in focus and the one that's closest to the viewer is blurred. Be that as it may, it is the picture I had that is the truest color and after six tries, I gave up.

I have two of these little beauties left out of the dozen I planted. I'm not sure what I did either to kill off the rest or to not kill these off, but I do wish I had more of them. Maybe next year I'll get some more.

Let's see - if I buy 12 a year and have two left of each twelve, how many years will it take to have a dozen living? A question to pose to my going-into-2nd-grade nephew.

Monday, June 09, 2008

6.9 Disappointment

K has spent the last three months practicing twice a week after school, an hour and then two hours at a time, working on a song and dance routine with the Show Choir. For the 9th graders, this is their last year in Show Choir, last chance to shine, their turn to be the Big Dogs. Tonight's the night to strut their stuff, then cry all over each other; it's over it's done, on to other things but this time in their lives is finished.

K's in bed, trying not to throw up again. She's been in bed all day, ever since the school called at 20 minutes after first bell, nauseous and miserable and unhappy. Nauseous and miserable with illness, miserable and unhappy over missing her night. There will be other nights, but this one has been and gone without her.

6.8 veg garden(s)

Originally uploaded by zinlizzie
This is my other major project for the summer. I've wanted some vegetable gardens for a while, but our soil just takes too much improvement in order to do veggies. Voila. 3 new raised beds, 4 x 4 feet, complete with compost and new top soil. I won't be putting too much in to them this year - it's late in the season to start (although with August heat in June, who knows what will happen). However, it's a start and I'm looking forward to doing a few things this year.

6.7B New garden (after)

Originally uploaded by zinlizzie
The new garden with about 2.5 yards of dirt added. We added a layer, watered it down, and then added another layer. I expect to get mulch next and put that over the top.

6.7 New garden (before)

Originally uploaded by zinlizzie
Another angle on the new garden. you can see the electrical box I'd rather not look at from my front window. The little blue spruce has looked a bit lonely in the corner of the yard.

This is taken before we had the five yards of top soil delivered. The temp was up to 98 F today. J did most of the dirt shifting, with some help from S and I at various points of time. Have I mentioned lately I think he's wonderful?