18 October 2008

Kim's mini-challenge!

I went for a very short hike, maybe only 20 minutes. I'll actually go for another one right at dusk, just to keep my muscles loose.

Here are some photos from the woods behind my house.

Hour 11

Title of book(s) read since last update: Father's Arcane Daughter by E.L. Konigsburg.

Number of books read since you started: 1.

Pages read since last update: 21

Running total of pages read since you started: 99

Mini-challenges completed: None so far, but I'm going to participate this hour!

This past hour, I read out on the deck for a while, read on the family room love seat for a while, and read on the couch next to the fire place in the living room. Earlier, I read on the recliner in the living room. Later I plan to read in bed and in the chair in my bedroom. I think it's important to change locations so your body doesn't feel stuck in one position all day.

Here's my spot next to the fireplace!

Hour 10

This hour, I'm reading out on the deck with a mug of tea.

Last hour, I went for a quick hike. I was going to try to get a spooky photo of the cemetery for Carl's mini-challenge, later, but I forgot.

Title of book(s) read since last update: Father's Arcane Daughter by E.L. Konigsburg.

Number of books read since you started: 1.

Pages read since last update: 10

Running total of pages read since you started: 78

Mini-challenges completed: None so far.

Mimi says, "Oh hai."

Hour 8

Title of book(s) read since last update: Animal Farm by George Orwell and Father's Arcane Daughter by E.L. Konigsburg.

Number of books read since you started: 1. Finished Animal Farm!

Pages read since last update: 66

Running total of pages read since you started: 68

Mini-challenges completed: None so far.

Last hour, my husband baked Ghiradelli brownies! And now I'm off for a short hike while he heads to the store to stock up on snacks for the rest of the read-a-thon.

Here's a picture I took yesterday of a scarf I made for a friend who likes yellow. I love the buttery color! It's hard to tell, but the tassels are a slightly shimmery golden color.

Hour 7

Now it's my turn to be a reader for the next six hours!

Title of book(s) read since last update: Animal Farm by George Orwell

Number of books read since you started: 0

Pages read since last update: 2. I was busy hosting!

Running total of pages read since you started: 2

Mini-challenges completed: None so far.

Here's a photo I took this morning when it was just getting light out. This poppy may be the last of the flowers in my yard. The white roses went crazy with blooms in early October, but now they're over. The really full bookcase on the right is TBR Mountain!

16 October 2008

Quilt giveaway!

Oooh, look at the gorgeousness! I want to win SO BADLY.

06 October 2008

little hurt birdie

This little guy flew into one of our windows the other day. My husband went outside to use the grill, and there the bird was, lying on the deck. So he called me out to look at it.

It was obviously stunned and had hurt its leg. I held it for a little bit, but I didn't want to terrify it to death, so I got a rag, made a sort of nest out of the rag in a big pot of lavender we have on the deck, and put him in there. He fluttered and struggled a bit, at one point fluttering himself out of the pot, where he lay upside down, beating his wings wildly. But I put him back, and he rested there for about an hour.

And after that, he seemed ok. He hopped to the rim of the lavender pot and flew off!

01 October 2008

Please help me name my cat!

We have a new cat! And we have to come up with a name. The shelter had named her Hannah, which I don't want to keep as her name because I know some human Hannahs.

So I'm sort of semi-secretly (shhh!) going to give anyone who suggests a name two bonus chances for next week's drawing for the Hachette books. I'm going to link to this post from my books blog but not say there are any bonus chances, just that I want some naming help.

She is a year old, very small and thin. She has short hair, and is white and black. She's timid, and while she likes being petted, she doesn't like to be picked up. She has beautiful light brown eyes. They look sort of crabby in that photo, but she was having a bad day, being put in a carrier and handled by strangers and hissed at.

Name I've suggested: Minerva (after Professor MacGonagall). Unfortunately, my son says it's a horrible name. But it's my turn in my family to name a cat, so he might just have to get used to it unless you guys help me pick a better one.

Names my (freak) husband has suggested: Not a Barky Dog, Fluffy Ninja, The Odds Against This Name Are Astronomical, Mr Kite, Mrs Henderson, A Splendid Time Is Guaranteed for All.

Name our son suggested: McFuzzlebottom.

So, what are your suggestions?

28 August 2008

raven photo

Here are a couple of the ravens I mentioned.

26 August 2008

Raven training progress

I may have mentioned before that some ravens hang out in our yard. I read that they're as smart as dogs, so I decided to try to train them.

First, I started to put snacks out for them. It seems they prefer cookies and bread. They ignore cheese, which means the squirrels eat it, which then means the squirrels conk out for a big, full-tummy nap in the platform birdfeeder. But then I think they're dead, so no more cheese is going out there. The ravens don't really care for pretzels, but they'll eat Cheerios if there's nothing better.

They really seemed to learn fast to expect food from us. After about a week of sometimes showing up and sometimes not showing up, they seemed to catch on that there would be food every day. Now, if I don't get it out there early enough, they'll sit in trees and caw until I bring it.

And today! A raven was in the tree nearest the deck, on a branch close to the railing. When I went out with the leftover toast I wanted to give them for today's snack, he didn't fly away like they usually do when I come out. Earlier on, they'd fly away if I even came close to the sliding glass door. But today he just sat in his tree and watched me put his toast out. I was only about five feet away from him. Him and his large, sharp beak and deadly claws.

Soon, my pretties, soon you will do my bidding! Soon, the barky dogs of the neighborhood will have bird shit on their heads! As a second warning, their eyes will be pecked out! BWAH HA HA HA HA.

19 August 2008

Game Stop

A while back, Mom Central sent me a gift certificate for Game Stop. Since my son loves video games, we were thrilled to use it and blog about the experience.

Aside from using the gift certificate, we were also shopping for a new Xbox 360 for our son. There are two Game Stops in the city nearest us; the first one we tried was closed down, or maybe just moved locations, though there was no sign saying so either way, just an empty store.

Since it was only 10am and we had to go to Target anyway, we checked prices on Xbox 360s there. Later, when we went to the other Game Stop, the price was better, so we were pleased with that feature, at least!

Unfortunately, I was completely unable to go inside the second Game Stop at all, since it had an overwhelming smell of farts. There's just no delicate way to put that, I'm afraid. Someone inside there, either an employee or the one guy shopping, had a terrible, terrible case of gas. My son, being motivated by his gift certificate and Xbox 360, went in, and I went next door with Crystal to get some juice. My husband says he went in just because he knows I have a more sensitive sense of smell than he does, and some adult had to go in.

I asked my son about the experience, and he said, "Well... are you going to mention the smell?" I said that I felt I had to give an honest report, so yes. He then said that the experience was good because he was able to find the specific game he wanted for under the value of the gift certificate, and that his only criticism might be that the service was a little slow. But I think that's probably more a feature of the fact that I raised him in a less laid back state than this; service seems slow everywhere to us because we're used to a snappier pace at all businesses.

All in all, let's just assume that either of these two scenarios were the case:

1. The inconsiderate customer was farting all over a small shop


2. The poor Game Stop clerk had to work when he wasn't feeling well, not well at all.

It's unlikely anyone else would run into that problem at Game Stop, so my advice is that if you need a new game console or game, you'll likely get better prices and selection at Game Stop than at Target.

18 August 2008

been a while!

If you're reading this, you probably know that I took a break from my books blog, something I haven't done in my admittedly short time (about a year and a half) since I started the blog. I'm planning to go back later this week, but meanwhile, I wanted to check in and say hi over here.

We're all moved in. Our friend Crystal has been staying with us for almost three weeks now (she leaves Wednesday) so the house is at least functioning well enough to have a guest, and I feel like that's good progress, considering we only moved in three weeks ago ourselves (two or three days before she arrived).

We also had a housewarming party, which I think went well. It wasn't without glitches, but I think that in general people had a good time and left feeling well-fed and beveraged. The guests were a combination of people we work with, some friends, and all the neighbors on our block. I was really amazed at how many neighbors came to check out the new people! I just put a colorful barbeque flyer on their doors and hoped one or two would show up, but all except one household came.

The best part of the house is the deck, which is where I try to spend as much time as possible. There are bird feeders and the birds come in swarms. Crystal and I decided feeding the birds is sort of like blogging. You put out what you hope is the right content and make it accessible and hope people/birds show up. I think our bird feeders are the dooce or even ichanhascheezburger of the bird world, actually. It's not that we put out such great food, just grocery store seed, but the location is a busy one. Our yard backs onto National Forest, so there are plenty of birds. I can't decide whether the ravens who come every day and caw their beaks off for leftovers are trolls or Oprah. Today they're making strange noises that I think might be mating sounds, but they're up too high in the trees for me to be able to look and see if I can figure it out. And don't birds mate in the spring? We put the food on the railing in the morning; if any is left by evening (rare) then we remove it, because we also have bears, coyotes, raccoons and skunks, and we don't want to encourage them. Right now, there's a squirrel on the railing eating a chunk of farmer's market raspberry-orange bread that was supposed to be a treat for the ravens. The squirrels like to hide raven treats in my flower beds so they can snack on them later. I tried to explain to this one that the bread was for the ravens, but he just made weird squeaky noises, turned around, and started stuffing his cheeks faster. Then he ran off with the whole remaining slice of bread hanging from his teeth.

23 July 2008


I'm trying to win this beautiful bookmark from Lizzie!

She says:
So here is your mission, should you choose to accept it:

Post a blog entry about either one (or both!) of the following questions:

1. What is your favorite thrift store find?
2. Do you have a set or piece of a set of dishes that you absolutely love?

Include pictures if you can. I love pictures of cute plates and mugs.

My current favorite thrift store find is a pair of small ceramic pots I'm using to grow basil. They don't quite match, but they coordinate. I think someone painted two unrelated containers in similar colors. They weren't anywhere near each other at the store, but I was carrying one around, so when I saw the other, I could tell right away that I liked them together.

(Ha ha, I just looked through my camera, because I thought I had a photo of the pots in there, and found a bunch of photos I took of my eyes after they were dilated at the eye doctor's office. I look like Puss in Boots.)

My favorite set of dishes is our Pfaltzgraff set. They're all packed, but here's a photo from the internet:

We also have the salt and pepper shakers and the butter dish, but none of the serving stuff.

My husband's favorite set of dishes is a set of old china we found in an antique shop, speaking of thrift shops. They weren't really antiques, just sort of retro, so they were very affordable. See the Pfaltzgraff salad plate? They're off-white with black stripes around the outside, so they go really well with that set. The set contains regular dinner plates, cups and saucers, salad plates and two sizes of plates smaller than the salad plates. One is probably a bread/appetizer plate, and the other is probably a tapas dish or dessert plate; it's very tiny. There are also some oval dishes in the set, but we're not sure whether they're very deep oval plates or very shallow oval bowls. My husband thinks that since there are no bowls in the set, they must be bowls. But I'm not sure; you'd never try to eat cereal out of them. They're perfect for when you're having stew or pasta, and would like to use a plate, but want something to contain your sauce or gravy.

And we don't have any other sets of dishes! We have some blue cereal bowls, but everything else is part of one of those two sets.

22 July 2008

Memoirs of a Geisha (film)

Last night I watched Memoirs of a Geisha. It's been so long since I read the book (about ten years ago) that I don't remember enough details to know how faithful to the book the film was. Although I thought the movie was really well made, visually appealing and a good story, I kept feeling like I'd be more interested in the story of a more realistic, ordinary geisha.

Chiyo was the best geisha in the city, whose virginity had the highest bidding price ever. She loved a prominent man, lived in extraordinary times (World War II) and ended up with her true love in the end. But what about all the everyday, nothing-special geishas? What were their lives like? What about the geishas without dannas or eyes the color of rain or the best mentors possible? Why just hint that rape is a possibility and let the heroine escape it? At times I felt more interested in Pumpkin, because she seemed like a more realistic character. Although this is a good tale, I guess I'm just more interested in the historical aspects of how this system, which was a form of slavery, affected regular women.

19 July 2008


I'm surprised! I rarely write here because I thought no one was reading. I get excited if a post gets one comment. But then I checked google reader and found that 11 people are subscribing via that service. It doesn't sound like much, and isn't compared to my books blog (218 people subscribe to that via google reader) but even if no one reads in any other way besides via google reader, 11 people is more than I thought I had reading here.

So, my eleven pals, I will try to write here more frequently!

Moving day is approaching quickly. It's exactly a week away, with the Uhaul rented for July 26th. I am still so thankful that the people moving out are leaving such an incredible amount of their stuff behind, since they'll be traveling for two years (they just retired). Not only is the place completely furnished (although this does mean squeezing in our own stuff or storing it) but they're leaving behind most of their art, their electronics, their kitchenware, their linens, etc. So we'll be able to just move right in and be comfortable. No days of pizza and paper plates for us! The only thing we really need to do to make it immediately livable is to put our mattress and box springs on the bed. We asked the to store or sell theirs because ours is a Tempurpedic, which I need because of my pain problems.

The new place is only about a mile away, so we should be able to do a quick move with the Uhaul and start unpacking by evening. We do have a guest coming for three weeks, arriving on the 30th, so we want to get as unpacked as we can before she arrives. But she's a close enough friend that we could ask her to help unpack if necessary. And just to show how awesome the people moving out are: we told them we had a guest coming, so they cleared out the guest room first, had their cleaning woman up the bed all fresh, and showed it to us the other day, saying it should be ready for our guest! You can tell such thoughtful people are going to be leaving things nice for us. They even showed us their liquor cabinet and said they were leaving all the booze behind. We're not big drinkers, but we're having a party mid-August, so we'll get rid of whatever we don't want, I'm sure.

Speaking of guests, summer is usually a big time for guests for us, and this summer seems no different. The friend who arrives the 30th is staying until August 20th, and then two other friends are coming in late August (they haven't set a date yet) so there may even be overlap. And then I think (I hope!) my mother-in-law will be coming from England in September. I know it's unusual to hope your mother-in-law will visit, but she's stayed with us twice long-term (a month or so) and she's the perfect guest. She tidies a lot, but not in a way that suggests we're poor housekeepers like some mothers-in-law seem to!

As you can probably tell, I'm really excited both about moving and about having guests!