Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Best Memorial Day Ever

It’s been a wild couple of months, and mostly not in a good way, so we made our best attempt at having a calm, quiet Memorial Day weekend. Step 1 in this effort was stopping by the local video rental store to catch up on movies we’ve missed. There were semi-hits in the bunch, and some semi-flops (Skyline—why bother with a plot of character development. It just gets in the way of the special effects.) but two of my favorite videos were movies from the past.

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers has long been my favorite musical. The fact that I like it at all is pretty amazing because musicals generally are my least favorite form of entertainment. But this surpasses all musicals and actually falls in my “favorite movies of all time” category. Seeing it again, in widescreen, start to finish without commercial interruption? Priceless.

Next up was a movie that hit a nostalgic note, With Six you Get Eggroll. Not a great movie. Frankly not even a good movie. What it was was highly enjoyable. It stars Doris Day and Brian Keith (Family Affair) and was released in 1968. The sets and wardrobe choices were delicious, but what I loved most of all was spotting all the actors that I knew from other shows of that era or later. A person could almost make spotting the stars a drinking game.

Here’s a few and how I know them best:

Barbara Hershey (Love Story)
George Carlin (comedian, “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television” monologue)
Alice Ghostley (played Esmeralda on Bewitched)
Jamie Farr (Klinger on MASH)
William Christopher (Father Mulcahy on MASH)
Allan Melvin (Sam the Butcher on the Brady Bunch)
Vic Tayback (Mel on Alice)

I’m sure there were more, this was plenty for sure. I hope to spend more time in the “classics” section in the future. And that’s good, because I frogged the Can-can front and started over on Saturday. No worries. Eating an entire flourless chocolate torte myself during the last knit group went a long ways toward me not giving a flip about the entire situation.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Still Testing the Limits of the Equipment...

but at this stage, it appears that Purr-Dar has a range of over 250 miles based on the nearest tornado watch box. Pretty impressive considering that her equipment is 100% cellular and 0% mechanical.

Curious about the cropped ear? Aspera was
adopted from a managed feral cat colony.
A tipped left ear indicates a cat that was
spayed or neutered before being re-released
into the colony.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Proof Positive...

that the Audubon Classic Oriole Feeder is unable to withstand a squirrel bombing.*

ETA - a few other pieces of evidence suggests we may have had a larger creature like a raccoon in the yard. Still, if these feeders only have a lifespan of less than one month, then the orioles are going to have to look elsewhere for food.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Precipitation in the News

Like many Kansans, we live and breathe weather. We don’t get the number or fierceness of tornadoes that is commonly believed, but we grew up watching the skies and generally know the signs of approaching severe weather (like when tree leaves curl upward making them appear silvery) and what to do to protect ourselves (which many of us choose to ignore... but that’s another matter.)

Not long ago a severe tornado and hail-bearing storm hit my hometown. My parents, who don’t have a basement, gathered their prescriptions, cash, lock box and dog, and drove to my brother’s house. They pulled in his driveway just as marble-sized hail began to fall. My brother came out with plastic laundry baskets that they used to protect their heads and bodies getting inside. My mother-in-law spent her time sitting on the lid of her toilet in her basement bathroom talking to her sister (who lives in another state) on her cordless phone - her sister keeping her calm. A photo was published a few days later that showed one of the funnels directly over her house.

I’m too young to remember, but a massive tornado hit my hometown when I was two. As I understand it, I spent that storm along with the rest of my family in the cobwebby basement of my grandparent’s house. Afterward I helped my siblings and father sell special editions of the newspaper out of our wagon.

The scope of the tragedy in Joplin is unimaginable. My thoughts are with those who have lost friends and family, homes and businesses, memories, and the injured. But most especially my thoughts go out to all the first responders, military, utility crews, and search and rescue teams, who continue to put their lives on the line to save, protect and rebuild the community.

As I write this there is a severe thunderstorm rumbling outside. Not a tornado storm*, but a lovely wish-I-had-time-to-curl-up-with-a-good-book-and-listen kind of storm.


There’s the drenching downpour.

Perfect timing to read this article that suggests bacteria stimulates precipitation.

* ETA. This storm isn’t behaving normally, and almost everybody including the weather professionals about its tornado potential. While I’m in a regular storm, this storm is giving birth to tornado bearing storms. The Purr-dar (Aspera) alarms have been blaring. I should really listen more often.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

More Remnants

Drenching rains have put a damper on all my garden-y plans for the day - and possibly into next week. Thank goodness there’s still plenty of juicy tidbits to be discovered on the news interwebs:

Officials at the Center for Disease Control have issued preparedness advice for the coming zombie apocalypse. I am, for the record, so over the whole zombie thing. I say, if the bodies are decaying, then wait them out until they can't walk or crawl anymore. Duh!

This next story is much more scary and exciting to me. Scientists have discovered a creature that can survive exposure to space. Microscopic tardigrades, known as water bears, may be one of the the coolest creatures on the planet, ranking ahead of meerkats by a furlong, but slightly behind my new kitten PiƱa. Knowing that one of their habitats is leaf litter is an excellent reason to postpone fall-clean-up.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Things have become a wee bit less hectic around here. This isn’t a permanent state - not - at - all. But in these in-between hours (that will make sense to my local knit group) when things are temporarily stabilized, a few hours to relax, read and knit in my comfy chair have been gratefully welcomed.

Still working on the front of Can-can, and have now completed 1 entire pattern repeat. Think I have three or four more to go before the front is complete, but it’s doubtful I’ll get it finished in time. You won’t find me at the post-rapture looting party. I’ll be at home madly knitting something new to wear this gala season.

The crafter in me can really appreciate the skill and inspiration behind this man’s beard. Not that I would want to grow one myself - if I were a man, that is - and not that I would want to be married to someone would (can you imagine going shopping with him? A person would never be able to take two steps without being stopped and questioned.). But from the other side of the globe I can tell you truly that he earned that winning title.

That’s it for now. The first Baltimore oriole of the season was spotted in the backyard a few minutes ago. The grape jelly and simple syrup has already been laid out, but it’s time to toss half an orange on the feeder for good measure.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Dear Knitting Friends,

If I am able to make it to knit group this weekend, then be prepared: I have stories to tell. Big stories, surreal stories. Coen brothers meet Quentin Tarantino meets Rod Serling kind of stories. Maybe even a dash of Lewis Carroll.

To all others, I deeply apologize. For you I can only wish that you live a full rich life without this kind of excitement-all-piled-on-at-once.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Seven Sweet, Sweet Words

Hours, like the scary ones leading up to this, require the fortitude of a knitter with a full project bag.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011


Crazy busy around here, so I’ll leave you with a few photo memories while I take care of other more pressing business.

When traveling over an Easter holiday, you are at risk for sharing a fast food restaurant with a bunch of kids and one adult dressed up in a bunny costume.

I’ve heard of grocery stores banning backpacks and large bags, but hoodies are a first (Columbus OH).

We were in the rain most of the trip. This storm effectively denuded the pear trees, but oh what a beautiful sight!

Made time on the way back to stock up on some yard goods at this town east of St. Louis,

and for fun and exploration at the Missouri Botanical Garden, too.

Didn’t get much knitting done on the road, but that’s okay. Turns out I’m going to need a great deal of waiting room, etc. knitting on hand.