Monday, August 31, 2009

Monday Miikka

I would like to thank Miss Stacey for this tasty carrot!

Here, for your Monday delectation, are some pictures of Miikka, taken just this weekend.

Hmm, something smells interesting over there.

Suddenly, Miikka spread his ears and launched himself into the air.

Mom, stop being silly. Everyone knows only Bassett Hounds have big enough ears to fly

Friday, August 28, 2009

What does it mean?

I had a dream last night that I was being chased by a big bear, somewhere in Alaska or somewhere. I had been talking to an author I had just discovered/met about his book, and where I could buy it. the bookstore was part bookstore, part bike repair shop. Then, as I was heading home, there was a bear. It was scary. I got covered in mud as I ran away from the bear.

So, what is my sub-conscious trying to tell me?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Meditation on Watermelon

It is that time of year again when watermelons are as plentiful as mosquitoes here in Arkansas. After our party this past weekend, we found ourselves to be in possession of not one, but two large Hope watermelons (no, they aren't named after me, but the town in Southwest AR where they are grown). And we could have had a third, if one party-goer had carried through on an impulse. Ack!

Don't get me wrong, I like to eat watermelon. But two fully grown, ripe watermelon for two people is too much. Our fridge can't hold them both, and neither of us wants to eat just watermelon. So, last night I slaughtered them both (to use a phrase I once heard a co-worker use in just that context. It is fitting) and cut them into small pieces. Two bowls full are for a work party today, and one went with Benjamin to find a new home in the Philosophy department.

The problem with watermelon, to me, is the water. They are just full of it, and it is sticky, and it gets all over everything. Our sliding glass door was covered with child-sized watermelon fingerprints after the party. I dripped watermelon juice all over the counter and floor last night during the slaughter. I looked at one of the watermelon a little funny and juice started to form on the counter. They are sort of hard to do anything with too. I mean, there are watermelon soup recipes, and I suppose I could try to make popsicles, but I just am not particularly inspired to do so. Not in the way I am with peaches or strawberries.

Then there are the seeds. As a child, I heard the myth that any swallowed seeds would grow into a watermelon in your stomach. I don't think I ever really believed it, but I still don't like swallowing the seeds. And I have never been much good at spitting them, and since I usually eat watermelon inside at a table, spitting usually isn't much of an option anyway.

So, if anyone wants some watermelon, hit me up. I still have 2/3 of one in the fridge at home.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Monday. Bleh.

Oh Monday, why must thou come and ruin my weekend? Seriously though, it was a good weekend. Saturday was our housewarming party - and people actually came and had a good time! It has been so long since we were able to entertain anyone that I was a little apprehensive that everything would work out. But it did. There was lots of food, plenty of beer, desserts galore, weather so nice I couldn't have ordered better from a catalogue if it was available, some bocce, and fun people. Whee! Miikka was the hit of the party - several set of friends tried to take him home with them. He fell in love with Em and Scarlet and Crystal.

And on Sunday I took an hour long nap, made bread, and played some bocce (Benjamin won - pblt!).

But now it is work time, and although I would love to take another nap, and go loll around outside, I must sit at my desk and do some work. Being a grown up can sure be a pain!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday, Friday , Friday!

I have not been so happy to see a Friday in quite some time. This has been a strange and, at times, rough week. There was the smoothie incident, the maggots on the kitchen floor incident (not I am not going into more detail), sick cat, and Benjamin headed back to school today. But, it is Friday, and tomorrow we are having our housewarming party. Wahoo!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Interesting ways to start one's day...

Dump smoothie on a puppy.

This morning, while eating breakfast, petting the puppy, petting a cat, and reading the news on the computer, I managed to knock over my strawberry-banana smoothie. Onto the puppy, the table, my lap and the floor. Oops.

Miikka got a very quick bath in the sink and a rubdown with a kitchen towel, then helped clean the smoothie off the floor while I cleaned the table, chairs and myself. Sigh. And it isn't even Monday!

Dear Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Do you want to know why I canceled my trial subscription to your paper? Here are several reasons:
  • It takes me less than 15 minutes to read the entire thing. There is so little actual content that it takes longer to read the comics than the rest of the news.
  • The front page rarely has anything of actual Arkansas interest on it. Yes, the world is important, but you are a dinky paper who gets all your foreign news from the wire anyway, so concentrate on where you are.
  • You ran the most blatantly racist letter I have ever read outside of a history book the other day, and no-one commented at all. Many of your readers say that you are too liberal in your editorials - all I can say to that is WTF?
  • Several of your latest hiking "trails" have been the mall and a parking garage. Yes, it is August and August is a hot and buggy time to go hiking, but that does not mean that I want to go hike a parking garage. Please, save that for the senior exercise section.
So, until I can get home delivery of the NY Times (no, they don't deliver around here), I will be sticking to online news sources.

Updated letter After some urging, I rewrote the letter and sent it to the circulation department of the paper. I doubt I will get any response. Here is the new text:
I am writing to explain my recent cancellation. Usually, I like to support my local newspaper, especially for local news. Several factors, however, persuaded me to cancel my trial subscription after only 3 weeks:

On August 12th, you ran the most blatantly racist letter to the editor that I have ever read outside of a history book. The author claimed that the “white liberals…handed this whole country on a platter to these Africans” and that “These miserable liberals have been aided and abetted by the Jewish network.” While you cannot stop your readers from having such repugnant, racist views, you do not need to print those views. Yes, there is a right to free speech in this country, but such a letter should be categorized as hate speech (which could have earned jail time in some European countries) and consigned to the garbage bin, not given space in the newspaper.

The conservative drivel that your readers espouse is sickening. And they have the gall to suggest that your editors are too liberal. Hah! Wake up Arkansas – this is the 21st century, and we are falling behind.

Several of your latest hiking "trails" have been the mall and a parking garage. Yes, it is August and August is a hot and buggy time to go hiking, but that does not mean that I want to go hike a parking garage. There are many hiking trails in Arkansas that can still be enjoyed even when it is hot and humid. Please, save walking the mall for the senior exercise section.

So, until I can get home delivery of the NY Times (no, they don't deliver around here), I will be sticking to online news sources and trying to find my local news elsewhere.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Pup pup

Miikka is starting kindergarten today. Well, actually tonight is my orientation for his puppy kindergarten class. He doesn't go until next week. The hope is that PK will teach him some manners, and introduce him to other doggies - I have never had to do this. Smokey (dog growing up) was too aggressive towards all other dogs to even try. Anyway, I hope Miikka makes me a proud puppy parent, but I am sure he will embarrass me - he is a stubborn little guy.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Blue jays

One of the nice things about our new backyard is the birds. The yard behind us is a mini-forest, and the neighbors never do anything outside, so it is a great refuge for birds. We have feeders. The two combine to provide us with an interesting assortment of birds. This morning at breakfast I got to see cardinals, a red-bellied woodpecker (why it was at the feeder I don't know, but it was), chickadees, a hummingbird, and last but definitely not least, blue jays.

We have a family of these colorful, raucous creatures. They swarm the feeders, call to each other from the trees, and drop feathers for me to find. This picture is one my dad took a couple of weeks ago of a juvenile on the feeder. I am sure it has grown by now, becoming less gray and more blue. They will probably stay the winter, as long as I keep the feeder filled. I can't wait to see what other birds show up in the spring.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

More Miikka - Cute Warning

For your Tuesday viewing pleasure, I present more pictures of Miikka. He is growing up - still definitely a puppy, but not so fuzzy.

He really enjoyed having my parents here - more hands to chew on, more feet to chase, more petting.
Here is a demonstration of his tug-of-war strategy: just hold on until they give up. On the ground, he can be dragged around for quite a while before he falls off.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Highest Point in Arkansas

While my parents were here for a visit last week, we took a trip out to Mt. Magazine, the highest point in Arkansas. Benjamin and I hadn't been up there yet, so we enjoyed seeing something new, and finding out about some new (to us) hiking trails.

The lodge up there is really nice. It was only built a few years ago, and is in great condition. The restaurant was pretty good, and the view couldn't be beat. Apparently, there is an indoor swimming pool with the same all glass walls.

The lodge also had nice big porches with rocking chairs, which my parents parents are enjoying in this photo.

The visitor center (no picture of that) was really well done, and had a cool wildlife viewing room, where you could watch birds, chipmunks, and other critters at the feeding stations. We saw an indigo bunting, and a Diana Fritillary butterfly. Both very pretty.

So, after lunch we "climbed" to the top of the highest point in Arkansas. All 2753 feet of it. As my dad said "Do they really want to celebrate 2753 feet?" My grandparents' house is at 4500 feet in Sedona. The highest point in Washington is Mt. Rainier, at 14,410 feet. Still, since most of Arkansas is a swamp, I guess it is something...
And whether it is too low to celebrate or not, the views were spectacular.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Out of Power

Why does the power always go out at inconvenient times? Like just after I get up, while I am in the windowless bathroom? Before I have to make breakfast in my entirely electric kitchen? That is what happened this morning. The alarm went off, I got up and turned it off, then headed to the bathroom for personal ablutions. Our bathroom is so dark that we have a little nightlight in there for middle of the night trips, but it doesn't work when the power goes out. D'oh!

Anyway, I made my way down our also windowless and dark hallway towards the kitchen. Luckily, the sun had started to come up - unlike yesterday when it was pouring rain and dark as pitch - so I could see to take Miikka out to potty. But I had to dig out candles to make my lunch (should have done it last night, but I was lazy). And batteries for the radio. We have a couple of flashlights, and one small camping lantern, but apart from one flashlight, they all got misplaced when we moved and I have yet to uncover them again. Next trip to Home Depot or Lowe's I am picking up one of those multi-packs of various sizes of flashlights. And batteries. And I am finding that lantern.

I had to go out for breakfast, since I couldn't quite warm to the idea of cereal for breakfast (it is strictly a snack food for me). Not that I minded too much. The bagel place makes good breakfast sandwiches, and I also picked up a half dozen day-old bagels for the freezer.

When I called to report the outage, the operator informed me that a crew was on its way, and that the power would be back on my 8:30. Some help, when I leave at 7:20 for work. What I don't get, is why the power goes out on a perfectly clear morning, but not during any of our recent large thunderstorms. Huh.