Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Week of Nothing Happening

This week has been like the rerun of my whole life. It's still raining every day and every night. Nothing new is happening, nothing exciting is happening. I think it is actually sort of a "hole" in my zen. I've been really focussed on training for the Hotter N Hell in August, trying to decide on the right distance for the Norman Conquest and Spin Your Wheels, and considering when I might have a weekend free with good weather to camp out. The result has been that my mind is not on NOW. Instead I've been cruising along with my brain somewhere else altogether. When you are not living mindfully it's easy to get stale and fall into boredom. Must Focus!

The Rhapsody socks are finished, and the purple Monkey socks are halfway down the gusset on the second sock (into the home stretch!). Vivian's Trellis sweater is only two inches up the back and is headed for the frog pond. I've got something wrong and since there is so little done it makes more sense to rip it out and start over than to wrestle with fixing that something. None of these projects will make exciting photos this week, alas.

One thing that has caught my attention this week is Darth Vader has announced that he does not think the Vice President's Office is a part of the executive branch, and is therefore not subject to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. Go here, read all about it. Considering that he also claims executive privilege this is just dizzying. Is the source too left wing for you? Look here instead. Why are we hearing about Paris Hilton's triumphant release from prison and not this? ARRRGH. Every time you turn over a rock something worse crawls out.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Not so Vicious Cycle

I know, it's vicious "circle", but work with me here. This weekend the WAACO's went to the Baptist Children's Home Ride on the south side of Oklahoma City. We were fortunate with the weather - cloudy early in the morning and warm later in the day with no rain and no gale force wind, both of which would have been possible, even likely considering the current weather patterns. Almost everyone was able to come, and it was great to see so many of us together. It was great to have my camera with me at the starting line and at the finish. As always, more snaps can be seen at Flickr, assuming I can leave them in one place long enough to load them up. If you start moving them around while Flickr is trying to load them up your upload bombs off. Ask me how I know. Several of us were fortunate enough to win a prize before the ride. I won a set of pedals, and Dianne won a set of tires. These will likely go to Ruby's bike because of the orangeness.

This was Glenda's second event, and the first where she was meeting everyone the morning of the ride. She had a bit of excitement featuring spilling and scrambling to get there in time. By the time she arrived she needed a quickie tube change, which Ruby was able to supply. Of course we applauded Ruby's "Mad Skillz". Tube changing will surely be Glenda's next skill, but it will take a while to get fast enough to get a round of applause. In spite of getting a bit of a late start, everyone had a great ride. I rode 44 miles, including some unattractive hills (how I hate them and how they help me get stronger). The most of the rest of the group took the 27 mile option, with a few independent types opting for the 10 mile/garage sale route. Lunch was good, and we topped it off with a trip to Starbucks for coffee and stories. Later today we'll meet for pizza to cancel out any possible shortage of calories caused by our exertions.

Shana and I went to the ball game Friday night, a treat supplied by the Corporate Challenge for all of the participants. We all got a hot dog picnic and tickets to the ball game. There were awards for the participating teams, and I received my medal for my second place finish in my division on the Time Trials. No, the individual medal winners were not lionized and applauded like the teams, but Shana did take a picture of me at the ball park with my spiffy new medal. This is my first prize for an athletic event, so I got a big charge out of it. This was my first visit to the Bricktown Ballpark, home of the Oklahoma Redhawks, and I must say the facility is very nice. We had a great time, our team won, and although we left a little early no one scored after we left. What more could you ask for?

Friday, June 22, 2007

Shopping Frenzy

Having received a gift certificate to Pro Bike for my birthday, I could not rest until I had taken it out for a spin. To that end I went to the store at the soonest possible moment. Here's the proof: Energy Gel & Shot Blocks to keep me riding strong, Lizard Socks to guarantee cute feet, and the piece de resistance: The Top Tube Bike Bag. Shana has one and just loves hers. She carries her snacks and Ipod (with speakers!) in hers. I've been wanting one of my own for some time because it is such a versatile item. It will fasten to the head and the top tube and will be the perfect home for my camera. My camera is a bit too bulky to go in my jersey pocket, and stuffing electronics down one's sweaty shirt is a short cut to disaster. I have really wanted to have my camera along on my rides, especially the events where the WAACO's are participating. Now I can! (and will). Tomorow we've got a ride and there WILL be pictures. This is not an accessory that the pros would be using - they are paring off every ounce of weight possible, but for Sunday drivers like me it will easily be worth the extra weight to have my snaps for later.

Before I ran out to the bike store I had another urgent errand: visit with the beautiful Miss Vivian. She's just growing like a bad weed. Jamie tells me she has grown about 5 inches, and you can see how cute she is. I swear that earlier in my visit she was smiling and trying to talk to me, but of course I hogged all of the cutest time for myself and only started taking pictures after she got a little tired and grumpy. I'll have more pictures up on my Flickr Gallery tomorrow, but for today I'm off to the Ball Game.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

April (May, June) Showers

Rain continues day and night. A planned WAACO ride Saturday evening looked a lot like a bunch of people waiting at the bus stop. Rain poured down by the bucketload while we all waited around under the shelter of the Deer Creek High School front porch. Shana and I were the last to arrive and by the time we got there the rain had soaked our bike seats. Note to self: add a towel or two to the traveling equipment. Fortunately we were rewarded for our patience with an amazingly pleasant ride in the rain-cooled evening. Blake rode on the come-along and it looks like that option is going to work pretty well.

Afterwards it was a short hop over to Nez & Helen's place for a delicious meal and a great visit with everyone. I got a surprise additional birthday gift prominently featuring a gift certificate to Pro Bike - and I know just the item I am lusting after. Shana has a top tube bag the is just the handiest thing ever. It's easy to reach and I'm thinking it will be the prefect place for a camera. It would be so nice to take one along on rides from time to time, especially for events like the Hotter N Hell. I'm definitely going to get one of those for myself, and maybe some new bike socks and stock up on riding snacks. I was mighty disappointed that Pro Bike was not open today! Also present was a brand new in-the-box ice tea maker. I may have lost the battle to keep from replacing Shana's until it actually dies. She's had hers for at least 12 years and while it is still working reliably it is just about the ugliest thing going. Rather than being trimmed in the cool retro turquoise of the new unit, hers is this horrble reddish brown color. Not appetizing.

Shana and I went out to Jim's for breakfast this morning. It was cloudy and we felt comfortable taking Roxy with us because we were sure that it would not get too hot in the car for her. Well, when you are having showers off and on at all hours of the day and night it is not a very good idea to leave your sunroof open a crack to insure the dog's comfort. There was a sudden downpour and we had nice wet seats and water all over the inside of the car. I had a couple of errands to run on the way home and went about my business with a very wet skirt.

Sock knitting continues. One purple Monkey sock is complete, and I have started on the cuff of the second. I am nearly halfway down the foot of the Wildfoote Rhapsody sock and it's looking good. That one should be finished by mid week. As a bonus celebration Friday I cruised on over to the Gourmet Yarn Company to do a teeny bit of shopping. I picked up a couple of skeins of Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn (so pretty) and a new book: Marcia Lewandowski's Folk Mittens. I don't know if I will actually make anything from this book, but the mittens are just deliciously inspiring and there is quite a bit of good information on the techniques involved in this sort of project. I started on Trellis for Vivian, but I don't quite understand one line of the instructions, so I think I'll be ripping back the first couple of inches on the back and starting over. No hurry, in any event as i am making the 12 month size for next spring.

This evening it's to be a Father's Day dinner for John, with Rita and the Humps joining us. Shana is tempting the rain gods by grilling some flank steak, and we'll have a good salad and some roasted potatoes. Then we'll undo all of the good healthiness of the meal by finishing up with a caramel apple upsidedown cake and ice cream. It's really called Apple Cake Tatin featured on The Barefoot Contessa this morning, but I think it will taste like caramel apples.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The More Things Change

I read a couple of posts and comments tonight that really made me think. In the June 11 post on JenLa La had asked for podcast recommendations, citing a couple of popular podcasts that had not appealed to her. I'd gone back to reread the comments and see if there were any shows mentioned I might like to download. Like so many on line discussions, it seemed like you can only get a certain number of comments before someone has to make a cutting remark and the flame is on.

Enchanting Juno posted yesterday about the kinds of demeaning comments about women that are so common that it almost seems small minded to complain, except that silence makes you complicit. At the very least you'd always be The No Fun Feminazi Bitch for speaking up. It's interesting that while everything you say about almost any group has to pass through the PC filter, but you can say anything at all about a woman's appearance or character without any anyone speaking up.

At first glance these seemed like two different topics, but on closer examination they come from the same place. Why can women not support each other? Why not speak up against a demeaning remark about another woman? Why not support the efforts of individual women even if the results are not exactly to our tastes? We are the majority in the country and maybe in the world. If we stood together none could stand against us. Why is it so hard to support each other?
Tomorrow I'll show you my knitting and my snacks, but for tonight hug your girlfriends, turn away from malicious gossip and remember that we choose what we will tolerate, and maybe this is not what we want in our lives.

Sunday, June 10, 2007


I just finished my first time trial - 5K (about 3.5 miles) in 10 minutes 46 seconds. I was hoping for no more than 12 minutes, so I did lots better than I expected. The time was good enough for a second place in my division. I'm really pumped.

I had tickets to see Wicked (a birthday treat), with dinner afterwards in the plans. It was really entertaining. the set design was spectacular, and the actors were erally good. We the at the Museum cafe, a very pretty restaurant, good service, the food was OK; the company was excellent.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Girls' Day In

My original plans for this afternoon involved a million errands, topped off with some seriously dirty work in the back yard. Fortunately for me I had a change of plans.

The beautiful Miss Vivian kept her parents up most of the night last night screaming, so I got to play with the baby this afternoon while they had lunch with friends and a nice quiet nap at home.
Vivian came to my house dressed in her pirate suit (arrrrgh!). There was eating, kicking, smiling, looking around, napping, fussing, eating, etc. And oh yes, there was a little bit of screaming too. Whenever she is awake the little arms and legs never stop moving. It's no wonder she needs lots of naps.

By the time Mom and Dad came back for her Vivian was worn out but trying to stay awake. It was her bed time but she knew she was not in her usual place. When Mom and Dad came for her she was sooo happy to see her mom. She gave her mom a big smile and stared at her as though she had given up hope of ever seeing her mother again.

Evil Wild Roxanne had to spend most of the afternoon outside. She is not the perfect dog auntie yet. While I settled the baby in her chair out of doggy reach Roxanne was taking everything out of the diaper bag. I got there just in time to get the bag before it disappeared into Roxanne's Treasure Trove. It took a while for Roxy to grasp the concept that the best behavior around the baby is NOT leaping up and down with a huge grin on her face (featuring ALL of her teeth).

Thursday, June 07, 2007

End of an Era

The Hancock Fabrics near me is just about finished, and I doubt that I will go in again. I stopped in today and picked up some buttons at 25 cents a card, and some two yard pieces of fabric, bolts of ribbon and knitting needles all for 70% or 80% off. I think I got a pretty good haul for thirty-two bucks. Of course I have no firm plans for any of this stuff, it's all just stash, but there is enough yardage in each of the prints for a little sun suit for Baby Vivian next summer, or a pair of pajama pants for me. I hate to see the store close. Not only is it very conveniently located on my way home from work, but I have been in and out of there so many times in the last thirty years it's almost like throwing away a scrapbook. Shana used to walk there with her grandmother, too. It's sad to see all of the old fixtures emptied out and loitering around the perimeter of the store waiting for someone to take them away. Oh well, all things change.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

I Wonder Where the Birdies Is

That's not quite true. I know exactly where the birdies is! This swallow nest is outside my office window. Every year the pair return and raise a new family (or two) These two are this spring's first babies. I think this pair started with three eggs, and these two giant chicks are the survivors. They are easily as big as the parents, and are quite capable of flying, but they hang around the nest to be fed. You can tell they are babies by the white lines around their beaks (the bug target for Mom and Dad) and their breasts are much lighter than the adults'. I think this pair will have time to hatch another clutch this season, so I'm pretty sure these "teenagers" are about to get a rude awakening. The nest will be needed for the next bunch of hungry mouths.

Sock knitting is still happening, albeit slowly. I am nearly down the flap of the second sock this pair, and the purple monkey socks are halfway down the foot of the first sock.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

The Closer She Gets

...The more she gives away her age. Sigh. It's funny how ad slogans and images that are imprinted on my brain mean nothing to anyone only a little younger. Actually I was thinking of "365 Photos". It was meant as an exercise that would encourage you to take more pictures, and to think about what you wanted to accomplish with your photos. I started out with a couple of ideas. One was an idea that has to do with my idea of what Art is. I think of (modern secular) art as a way of pointing to the mundane and getting the viewer to see it in a different way. The exact way of pointing, or the way the thing is seen is the choice of the artist, with an idea of who his viewer is. Between the artist and the viewer there is a relationship of collusion or confrontation that gives the image a meaning outside of its strict visual context. So far I find I have three different directions I'm going in. First: pictures of the utterly banal - various parts of my house, the work area of my desk, the inside of my fridge. This idea needs more development. I think with better selection and/or cropping it could be quite interesting and make a statement about my relationship with my surroundings. Second: pictures of natural objects like flowers, plants, or fruits which are obviously beautiful, but whose beauty is revealed in close focus. Third: images where the image might have intrinsic humor or where there is a natural "clash" between the items photographed together. In this category fall all of the "me and my snack" pictures.

I think at the end of the year I will break these various categories out in my Flickr galleries. So far it has been an interesting exercise. At the very least it has forced me to look around me for images I want to capture, and in the process look a lot more closely at the details of the world around me. If you have time to check out my Flickr galleries you can check out the 365 group for this project. Also, on my sidebar there is a Flickr "badge" that is featuring random items from the 365 group.

40 Days and 40 Nights

We're "enjoying" another week of rain. While it's wonderful that the drought is finally over I am not so much enjoying the catch up process. By the end of May we had a bit over what we might have expected through June in an average year. On the other hand, the lakes take some time to fill up and are really just now getting full. Because we have had so many rain days the temperatures have been mild and we are not running the air conditioning all day and night. I love being able to open the windows into June. Many years we have already seen temperatures above 100 degrees.

We had Miss Vivian and her entourage (the people formerly known as the parents) for dinner last night. In spite of a little timing hiccup cased by getting out of the house on time with a baby, a feat which is demonstrably not possible, it was a really nice dinner. We had a nice visit and it was nice to see Alex and Samantha at my table. Miss Vivian is cuter every time I see her. At this point it looks like blue eyes after all, probably the color of her mother's eyes. She came to dinner in her pajamas, having had a wardrobe malfunction on the way out the door to come visiting. She's interacting a bit more now, although she was getting past her bed time by the time it was time to go home, so she was getting a little sleepy. Rita was fascinated by the baby, and full of advice and instructions for Jamie and Alex. It was a little challenging teaching Rita Vivian's name. After about the fourth try she pointed out to me that "When James named his baby he picked a name I could say". She has agreed that Vivian is every bit as cute as April Rose.

We are having back-to-back dinners this weekend. Early Saturday morning I started cooking the brisket Alex had requested for dinner. After lunch with friends at the Classen Grill, I went to pick up Rita. As soon as we got home it was time to start on the cake for our dinner with Miss Vivian. This morning it's time to create a potluck dish for the church luncheon, then home to make another cake and cooking dinner for the Humphreys and Shana's dad. By the end of the weekend we will be tired of looking at food of any kind. This is a good thing, because we don't have much time for cooking during the week.

Little to no crafting has been happening this week. Hence no image of massive progress or beautiful finished object. I picked up the "Triangles" shawl this week and ended up frogging all previous work. I could not get the count right. I'm about back to where I was when I ripped it out, but I am not happy. I am having a hard time counting and deciding where to place markers, besides which I think there may be an error in one row that throws the whole thing off to the left a couple of stitches. I think I'll tear it out again and go for the Beginner's Triangle from A Gathering of Lace. I think that will suit the yarn, which is basically somewhere between heavy sock weight and sport weight, and the purpose, which is "everyday office shawl". I'm also considering a simple feather and fan patterned stole. If that doesn't work I'll throw it into a corner and cast on for Icarus! I've been pecking at the basic socks, ignoring the purple Monkey Socks in plain sight next to my knitting chair, and that's about it. I printed out the Trellis baby sweater pattern, but have not even read through it yet, so no progress in that direction either.