Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Late Afternoon Relaxation

With older son's new job, we're sharing both a car and dog-walking duties. At least today I managed some down time in the late afternoon.

Monday, January 30, 2012

We Are All Stories

The netbook I'll be taking on the trip to Vietnam and Australia. The lime sticker is, naturally, because the computer is lime green. The LAMP sticker is from a Kickstarter project I'm backing and seemed totally appropriate given that the netbook will be used to post the stories that are our trip.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Rules of Work? Rules of Life!

The top in a stack of pages from last year's Zen calendar that I shall post on the bulletin board behind my desk. That Einstein was a smart guy, wasn't he?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Reading on the Horizon

I'm donating platelets on Monday, and this may be what I read in the process. The title reminds me of a book I enjoyed several years ago, Party of One: The Loner's Manifesto. Many people are surprised when I call myself an introvert until I explain the definition I use. Introverts use energy when engaged in social interaction; extroverts gain energy. Parties and crowded social situations exhaust me, fun and interesting though they may be.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Watch It!

I ordinarily use my cell phone as a watch, but since I won't be carrying it while overseas, thought a watch was in order. It took me a while to find one I liked, which means analog and somewhat small without being frilly or overly feminine. As an aside, it is harder than you think to take a decent photo of one hand even if that hand is your non-dominant one.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Going Viking

What I'm reading right now, the sixth of Bernard Cornwell's "Saxon Tales." It has swords and actually uses the phrase "go Viking," so what's not to like there. I think what I like about historical novels is that they make things seem so much simpler in the past. One's social class defined the attainable possibilities; there were not a lot of options from which to choose. It was often a good day to die for a warrior. Life or death. Success or failure. Simpler, at least in a way.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I See ... Well, Not Icy

It's not a great photo, but it filled up the memory card so I didn't take another. This is the same tree that was covered in ice in Sunday's post. It was in the 60s Fahrenheit today, more spring-like than wintery. The peaks and valleys in temperature make it hard to get into any sort of routine. They just feel, well, wrong.

Monday, January 23, 2012

For Once, I Had No Words ...

... nor do I have it in me, now, to take a photograph for today. This one from my Montana trip seems, though, to convey today's feeling that all we know or have can blow away in an instant. How do you answer a friend who says, questioningly, that she doesn't know how to say good-bye to her family? I had no words, and told her so. I hope it was enough just to have been there for her when she needed to voice the thought to someone.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

I See Icy

We finally got some wintry precipitation Friday night and last night. Even as the roads are clear and, in most cases, dry, the trees remain enveloped in ice. The woods seem pulled out of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, stark beauties clad in white.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Gnittink Drawkcab

I took a class on entrelac knitting this afternoon. The technique gives a woven appearance which you can somewhat see in the photo. The only thing that makes the technique one I would ever do is that the class also included how to knit backward. To try to explain for the non-knitters who might read this blog: Stockinette stitch is knitting across one row, turning the piece around, and purling back across. In backward knitting, you knit across then, without turning the piece around, get the purl effect by knitting backward across the piece. There would be too much turning in entrelac to make me even consider doing it, but being able to knit backward makes it actually kind of fun. There's also a geometry in it that appeals to my somewhat mathematical mind.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Focus? Where?

This is the blur that was my day. One thing after another after another after another, including older son's getting offered a teaching job starting next week, leading up to driving home (with sleet falling no less) to read some disturbing news from a dear friend. While I know life is not fair, this last little bit sucks royally.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Mess with Meaning

The guidebooks and web page printout and pages pulled from clothes catalogs are out and about at last. The husband has received his official invitation to teach an intro physics class at Hue University from March 19 to April 15, so I've jumped into planning mode. We'll spend about two weeks after the class finishes visiting quilting friends in Perth and Melbourne, Australia. Will there be another travel blog? You bet!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Mice in the Woodpile

True to her terrier heritage, Biscuit has discovered that there are mice residing in the woodpile we keep on the front porch. She was determined to the point of climbing last night to find them and was extremely frustrated when none emerged to visit her mouth. When the sons were much younger, we once found a bat attached to the wall of the house behind the woodpile. I wonder what Biscuit would think of that.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Timing Is Everything?

I picked this poor, misguided little soul while walking the dog this morning. Our weather has been spring-like one day and wintery the next, though without the wintery white that younger son is seeing in Seattle. I'd actually prefer it just settle down and be winter for a while, which will make spring all the more welcome at the appropriate time.

Monday, January 16, 2012

New on the Needles

Well, it was new on the needles when I took the shot. A bit later, I decided to make it narrower, so I started over. It's my attempt to use up some alpaca yarn I got in Norway three years ago. I expect I will give the resulting scarf away given how many scarves I already have. It is in some of my favorite colors, though, so I could still change my mind.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Today's Inspiration

This little bloom doesn't care that my Christmas cactus's many other blooms appeared and disappeared weeks or even months ago. It just knows that it appeared now, on its own terms, when it was ready, and is brightening my days. I smile just thinking about the big effect a little bloom can have. It offers an example I hope I can take more to heart this year.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Scream Art

I made this faux stained glass piece on a chick trip almost four years ago. It sits in one of our living room windows. I didn't really feel like screaming today, though I might have if I were younger son who continues to be unable to take a trip without something potentially unpleasant happening. When not typing or otherwise using them, my fingers are crossed that he makes it to his planned stopping point tonight and is able to get things resolved and make it to Seattle as planned tomorrow.

Friday, January 13, 2012

There's a Reason this Post Has Two Photos

I got a new lens for the new camera today (thanks, Adorama!). It's a pretty sweet 18-270 mm Tamron. These are the first photos I took with the lens: The top one is the 18, and the bottom one is the 270. I'm thinking that this baby and I are going to get along real well in Vietnam and Australia; I do indeed.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Little Things Add Up

Younger son couldn't fit his gym bag into the car, so it's in the to-be-shipped pile. I happened to notice that he had a gym towel or two or ... well, you can see how many towels he put in for a workout and then forgot to toss into one of the many towel-return bins. I was pretty amazed until older son, who has a larger gym bag, told me he'd removed even more than this from his bag once. They don't get it from me. I've never found more than two in mine, and if I do, I return them on my next visit. And, no, these will not be included in the to-be-shipped pile.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

And He's Off!

Younger son is on his way west. Tears have been shed, and more are likely to come. We are each moving on to new chapters in our respective lives. I just wish I had the same youthful courage that he does in facing the somewhat unknown.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Yes, It Was a Busy Day

Got home from karate and started to check my email. It occurred to me that I did not remember taking a photo today. Checked the blog. Took a photo. It was just one of those busy days, and that's okay.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Out the Window

It was 60-ish two days ago and is snowing now. Welcome to the wacky weather world that is Central Virginia, at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The snow is falling even more heavily now than in the photo and starting to stick to the ground at least in the woods. I am not displeased that younger son is delaying his departure for a day, though this should all be over and gone tomorrow if not later today.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

And Biscuit Makes Three

We now have three resident animals, two 14-year-old cats and one 14-year-old dog. It is good to have a resident dog again. Some years ago I was first runner-up in The Washington Post's Style Invitational humor contest with this item for an underachiever's midlife list of goals: Win the admiration of my dog. The same entry was later selected by the outgoing Invitational czar as one of the 10 Best Individual Entries of All Time though it was then listed as "Win the respect and admiration of my dog." Yes, there is something about a dog's eyes that brightens most moments. Welcome, Biscuit. We are honored to have you here.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Sunshine on My Shoulder

Younger son's last weekend at home. Blueberry pancakes for breakfast (thanks, Mama Bear), a morning of target shooting, late pizza lunch, Barnes & Noble (thanks to Debi, we each got a new book), and now home where younger son continues room-cleaning and packing and husband and older son build shipping crates for him. The photo is from the drive home from shooting, taken with my point-and-shoot digital through the windshield (no, I was not driving). Rainbows don't usually happen at 1:30 in the afternoon, so I'm thinking this was meant for us on our special weekend. I'm thinking Mother Nature knows how this other mother is feeling about now.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Behind the Times

My cousin-in-law Debi makes the most amazing cards. She even sends them, too, as can be seen above. I really need to write my own thank you to Debi, perhaps using one of the cards she made for me. I am behind on several things but working on catching up. (I would include a link to Debi's blog--she was one of my inspirations in starting to blog--but Blogger gremlins keep flinging poo at me and laughing. Alas...)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Mmm ... Good!

We had blueberry muffins for breakfast this morning, courtesy of Mama Bear's Christmas basket. I hate to see close friends move away even if only temporarily (18 months counts as temporary if a return is planned), but if they move to locations with tasty goodness and find a way to share it, who am I to argue? The muffins got eight thumbs up by the way.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Under the Weather

So much for younger son's plans to sort possessions, pack some, set others aside for shipping, and so on. Given that he spent several hours Saturday in the company of many thousands of other people in the Georgia Dome watching the University of Virginia lose in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl, he probably should have seen this coming. Here's hoping it's a bug of the 24-hour variety, and he's back in the land of the awake and kicking tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Trading a Kid for a Dog?

Our Christmas visitor, Biscuit, needs a new forever home sooner rather than later, so we're taking her on a permanent basis. Members of her first family (the non-allergic ones at least) are getting unlimited, unsupervised visitation rights. The post title above reflects the fact that as Biscuit moves in, younger son moves on and out, leaving for Seattle a week from today. Perhaps the canine addition will distract me from missing the departed human quite so much. And perhaps not.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Lazy Days on Mondays

The last day of the winter break (for the husband, anyway) seemed a good day to be lazy. I worked out for an hour, donated some platelets, hit a local grocery for sale items for which I also had coupons, read V is for Vengeance, and now am heading to kendo locally since the gym in Alexandria I normally go to on Mondays is closed tonight. Really, this is what passes for a lazy day for me; hence, the photo of one of the cats. When nothing noteworthy is happening, look to a cat for inspiration.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

In with the New

When I was growing up, we would open our presents on Christmas morning. When not in use or being played with, the opened presents would stay underneath the tree until it came down on New Year's Day. The husband didn't like this, so it never became a tradition in our family unit. The tree seems empty once there's nothing beneath it, and I often don't think about plugging in the lights. It is as if its purpose has been served and it is just, just there. It looks even emptier now that the ornaments, garlands, and lights have been removed.