21 October 2008
02 October 2008
For as long as I can remember, I have loved, loved, loved October. It is the essence of autumn in these parts. Sometimes September feels like fall, but usually it's still too warm. By November, it's getting colder and grayer. But October...October is a chill in the air, crisp, blue skies, glorious color and falling leaves, pumpkins and bonfires, and so much more...everything that I love!
I got a jump-start on the fall love by going with Lisa to a balloon glow last Friday night. They've been doing this balloon glow for several years at the airfield a mile from my house, but this was the first chance I had to go and walk amongst the balloons. They were fun and beautiful, and a bit overwhelming to walk under.
It reminded me of the one hot air balloon trip I've been on, when I was about 12. Mom gave my grandfather a balloon ride for a Christmas present - my grandfather was a bomber pilot in the Air Force, so being up in the air was second nature to him. I was lucky enough to get to ride on the first leg of his trip. It was breathtaking! The view, the gush of currents, the heat from the flame, the gentleness of gliding in the basket. It's a great memory.
This Friday I also get to indulge in another of my favorite fall traditions - going to the St. James Art Show in Old Louisville. It's one of my favorite neighborhoods and with over 750 vendors, it's a *huge* affair! Some years I buy multiple items, some years I walk away with empty hands. But I always love the atmosphere and considering all of the beautiful art. And again, October is coming through and giving us perfect weather for the show...tomorrow it's supposed to be sunny and 70. A perfect day in my favorite month!
15 September 2008
I tell this story of myself because we don't have power at the house these days and it's looking like it could be a long while before we get any power back. Yesterday the remnants of Hurricane Ike literally swept through the 'Ville with up to 75 mph winds. My neighborhood looks like a tornado touched down in it. There's actually more people without power than when the infamous 1974 tornado did take down lots of Louisville. They are predicting 10 to 14 days without electricity. I'll try to find a coffee shop with WiFi to post some pictures, soon, but even most businesses are closed right now.
And while I'm excited to get back to the posting, first on my list is finding someone who has power where I can dry my hair. My curly hair without a diffuser is a scary, scary site. Then comes begging for a go at their washing machine and dryer. Then, and only then, will I get back to the pics and the blog!
So, I ask for patience. Remember, it's a virtue.
05 September 2008
So, what I did on my summer blogcation -
- Went to New Orleans for a work conference. Drank a hurricane (among other things). Ate a few beignets. Grooved in the French Quarter. Didn't gamble at Harrahs, across the street from my hotel. Ate wonderful, yummy Creole and Cajun food. Sweated and sweated and sweated some more. There's a reason Mardi Gras and the Jazz Fest aren't held during the summer. It's hot, folks!
- Went to Sacramento for a 9 day training seminar. Met fabulous folks who work in legislatures across the country and learned tons of good stuff about leadership and management. Practical stuff. Went to San Fran for one day and did a short boat ride around the bay, bought cheap purses of questionable origin, and ate good sourdough bread. Yum!
- Almost finished an Elizabeth Zimmerman Baby Surprise Jacket for a friend who had her little girl last month. I'm one row, a bind off, sew-up, and attaching buttons away from finishing my first sweater. And I've been at this point since July 20. Oops. Apparently the blog wasn't the only thing I let slip.
- Am working on a big knitting project that must remain a secret because it is for someone who actually reads this blog regularly. It's going to take awhile, but I'm enjoying it so far.
- Celebrated with Mom that her two big projects for the year are finally, finally finished - her dental work and her new hardwood floors. Helped her paint her living room, dining room, and hallway before the new floors went in. Now she's talking about painting the sunroom and her bedroom! She's on a roll!
Okay, enough for now. Pictures to follow on my flickr page about all of the goodies listed here. Thanks for patiently waiting for me to come back to the fold!
10 July 2008
07 July 2008
And for everyone else, I know, I know! I've been on "summer vacation" from the blog. I promise to get back on this horse very, very soon!
22 June 2008
Last night I got to hang out with some great friends and enjoy their company, good food - lots and lots of good food, one half of a weird movie and one good standby movie, and enjoy our hostess's beautiful new condo. Thanks, Maria for having Pam, Crady, Gina and I over. The homemade pizzas were fabulous, even with the dough that wasn't quite defrosted! The salad made us all feel like we were eating healthy, at least for a little bit, though the bread sticks balanced that illusion out somewhat. Then there was the dessert course...homemade ice cream, banana pudding, large bakery cookies with lots of icing, and thankfully, some fresh fruit (to again make us feel a little virtuous). Yum! Okay, so much for the healthy eating idea. Who could resist having one of everything?
We tried watching Funny Games, but this bizarre movie freaked a few of us out a little too much, so we switched to watching Double Jeopardy instead. Nothing great about this movie, but at least there's no animal and child torture, or threat of a rape scene in Ashley Judd's movie!
Maria, the condo looks fabulous! I know you're loving it, which you so very much deserve after the first 5 months of this year and the ongoing issues that you will continue to deal with. You look so happy and comfortable in your new space, and it's so nice to hear you talk about your plans for this place of your own. I'm so, so happy for you!
20 June 2008
I didn't turn on the TV to see what was going on with last night's storm. My love for thunderstorms has been hijacked in recent years with all the new technology that can track a storm's progress, block by block, through the city. Now that I know all the details, fear has crept in and replaced the sheer joy and wonder. Now I worry about where to hide if there's a tornado, or winds strong enough to topple the tree in the front yard. This fear was exacerbated earlier this year when we had a bad storm in the middle of the night. I had heard it was coming, but it wasn't expected to reach my area until after midnight. It was a weeknight and I was tired, so I went to sleep. Anyone who knows me knows that sleeping through a storm is no problem for me...I sleep like the dead. But apparently I shouldn't have slept through that one, probably. One home just 4 blocks away was completely destroyed, several others had severe damage, and you could see where the tornado had touched down and grazed homes within 100 yards of my house. Hmmm...maybe I shouldn't be so sanguine about these storms.
But that didn't stop me last night. I wasn't about to turn on the TV. Blissfully ignorant, I can still enjoy the storm for what it is, rather than what it may bring. Now if I just had a screened in porch where I could sit and watch it roll by.
19 June 2008
Sounds better than "Cicada Summer," somehow! While my neighborhood had the big cicada fest several years ago, they are about done flying around Frankfort...thank goodness! They are freaky bugs, and soooo loud. I was not amused to find them in NC, too, and even less amused when one tried to hitch a ride on my shirt. Eeewww!
Anyway, I had to post a picture of my butterfly shoes because I always think of summer whenever I catch a glimpse of them. Aren't they too cute? I bought them in Hawaii four years ago, and even though they aren't an "everyday" kind of shoe, I love them. They make me smile all day long whenever I wear them. This week it's been the best kind of summer...warm but not muggy, with a light breeze. Unfortunately, around here, it's also the kind of summer that lasts for about one week in June and one week in September. Since last week was in the high 90's with tons of humidity, I was afraid we'd passed right on by this kind of weather. I'm glad it made an appearance, however briefly!
17 June 2008
11 June 2008
Meant to get this posted over the weekend, but oh well! I knew there was a surprise coming, but I just didn't know what it was (sort of). Anyway, on Thursday night Mom whisked me off to the ballpark to have a fun night with the girls. Here's most of us hanging out pretty early on in the evening. Mom, Linda P., and Lisa S. are missing from the shot. Thanks to everyone for coming! And a big, huge thanks to my Mom for getting us all there and giving us such a fun night! Even the weather cooperated and made things pleasant. I had a blast and it was a great way to usher in the new (for me) year!
07 June 2008
06 June 2008
- Learn to sew, using the brand new - to me - sewing machine Chrissie sent to me. Just awesome. I am sew excited! *groan*
- Learn to play chess.
- Use the Cuisinart my mom gave to me, on "loan."
- Plan meals and take advantage of the farmers' markets in the area.
- Prepare for yard sale this fall and pack along the way for move next year.
- Get back to walking regularly.
- Stop using the TV as "background noise" - get up and move, listen to music, or just enjoy the silence.
- Ride the van to work daily so you can save on gas.
- Clean out paperwork and files; take stuff to shredder at bank.
- Walk the labyrinth regularly and become more attentive to my prayer life.
- Blog and Flickr more frequently.
- Take more pictures.
- Read at least three classic novels a year.
There are several other things on the lists, like projects around the house and more detailed ideas about some of the above, but this is a start. One that makes me feel good about myself. I have already put a few of these ideas into practise: I've read The Three Musketeers by Alexander Dumas, have been good about getting to the van pool on time, been to the farmers' market, and am carrying my camera with me everywhere I go.
30 May 2008
Whenever I get into a conversation about food, I always tell people that I love to cook, but I don't bake. Not that I can't bake, I just don't like to. Mostly because I'm the only one cleaning up after myself in the kitchen and baking requires getting a lot of stuff dirty. Add that to the need to precisely measure ingredients and all desire flies out the window. The only thing that really has ever interested me in baking is bread. And by bread I don't even mean bread-machine quality bread, but artisanal quality bread. Suspecting it takes a lot of know how and talent to achieve that kind of bread, I kept going back to local shops and purchasing rather than trying my hand at it in the kitchen.
Then I came across the No Knead Bread recipe that's been storming through blogs for two years now (I never claimed to be cutting edge!). Flour, yeast, salt, water. That seemed simple enough. In the back of my mind I kept hearing this voice that said "Surely you could do that." And so I finally got up the nerve and tried. This loaf was my first attempt. It was delicious! I was so impressed with myself, even though it obviously is a pretty easy thing to do, given it's popularity. I've since made one other loaf, adding in some wheat flour to make it slightly healthier.
I've also recently purchased this book, again on the advice of multiple blog gushing (like this one) over its wonderfulness. I haven't tried any of the recipes yet. I'm doing what the book asks, which is that you read about why it works and how it works before jumping and with both feet and doing normal bread baking things that won't work with this basic recipe. Oh, and I also checked out the website along with the errors page that explains the mistakes in the book. Key things, I think, for making it work. I'll report back soon!
20 May 2008
For those of you here in KY or in OR, get out there and vote if you haven't already. It's your civic right and duty, and personally, if you don't take advantage of this opportunity, I really don't want to hear your opinions on the state of the state or nation. You had your chance.
But I must say, it's kinda nice to be the center of the news media universe for something other than our lack of education, poor health, or post-storm trailer park interviews!
08 May 2008
I learned to knit last August. It was Kat's fault, really. When she came to visit last July she wanted to go to a yarn shop, so I took her to the Knit Nook. Petting the yarn, I was suddenly seized with the desire to learn how to knit. Weird, very, very weird. I don't do crafts. Never have, really, outside of Bible School and Girl Scout camp. But that's what started it all.
Since then I've learned the basics of knitting, and continue to learn (tomorrow starts a short "felting" class - woo hoo!). I don't yet think of myself as a knitter, but as someone who knows how to knit. And I've not yet decided what the difference is, but in my mind there is one. Along the way, I've searched out websites and blogs of other knitters, and slowly came to realize that along with knitting, I was beginning to get the urge to sew.
Sew. This was not a good development. After keeping the idea to myself for a few months, I finally admitted to Kat in a comment on her blog that this newest urge was taking over, and her response was that knitting was akin to marijuana in that knitting was a gateway craft to other crafting endeavors the way some say pot leads to other drugs. I tried resisting the urge to get hooked, mostly because doing so would mean admitting this to my mother.
And now, as Paul Harvey intones, is the rest of the story:
When I was 17 my mother informed me that I wouldn't be able to go on the church choir tour to Canada, that summer because my mom didn't trust the choir director. You can call up your own memories of being told "no" as a teenager and get a good idea of how well I handled this decision. Yelling and tears, and lots of both. Instead mom signed me up for a sewing camp at the local mega sewing store. To me, this seemed like further cruelty. I took voice lessons and sang in 3 choirs in high school, so singing was a big thing for me. Sewing...I had never so much as been interested in sewing for one minute of my life. To add salt to the wound, I was the oldest "student" by at least 4 years, and was actually closer to the age of the instructor. I went, because my summer would have been even worse if I hadn't (you didn't cross my mom, as cool as she was/is), but I wasn't happy. I clearly remember the various projects we did, including a tank top and shorts and a cloth bowl. I actually have always loved the cloth bowl, but it still didn't make up for the class in my memory.
As time passed and long after my mother and I both survived that very unhappy summer, I have been able to use my mom's idea that a sewing class would make up for a missed choir trip in a humorous way of pointing out "What were you thinking?" Soooo, the idea of mentioning to her now that I wanted to (re)learn how to sew was going to be a huge thing. She would now be able to lord this over me in much the same way as I have during the intervening years. Was I willing to give her this gift and live with the consequences?
I considered learning to sew "in the dark" and simply not telling her. Kat could teach me the next time I went to Portland for a visit. But sewing is a hard hobby to hide, when you consider the amount of equipment and raw material (haha) involved. The clincher was that my mother is the proud owner of a Bernina sewing machine and serger. I don't know much about sewing, but I know Bernina's a good machines (and expensive). If I really was serious and really was going to learn, I was probably going to want to use her machine...and maybe even borrow it for an extended period of time.
I commiserated with Kat over this dilemma last Saturday, and then suddenly found myself confessing my urge to my mom on Sunday when we went out to brunch after church. Despite having some pretty serious difficulties with her teeth that made her not want to open her mouth very much, my confession brought forth a very loud hoot on my mom's part. And I was clearly right, because when I checked in with her earlier today she asked if I'd blogged anymore and mentioned that she thought this would be a good story to tell. It's never going to end, and I knew this was the way it would be.
Now I guess I need to go sign up for another class at the mega sewing store where I went to sewing camp 18 years ago.
For those saying that horse racing is the equivalent of dogfighting or a form animal abuse, all I can say is that I strenuously disagree. These horses are bred to do what they do, and yes, breeding may very well have something to do with Eight Belles's tragic end, since for years now thoroughbreds have be bred for speed over endurance. But these horses want to run, and most of them love the competition of the race. Certainly the ones entered in that race did - otherwise they wouldn't have even qualified for the race. You could see their love of racing during the Derby - she was as eager to chase Big Brown as all the other horses were to chase her. And these horses live very, very well. Trust me, many of the places they live are better than the house I live in; these horses are anything but neglected.
While it is shocking to watch a horse be euthanized on the track, and while tears sprang to my eyes, I am grateful to those who were there for responding as quickly as they did, as they probably kept Eight Belles from feeling a great deal of the pain of her injuries. I am sorry for the owner, trainer, and jockey, all of whom are being put under what seems to me to be an unfair microscope. I am sorry for horse racing, but I hope the industry can find a way to learn from this tragedy, as they did from Barbaro's injuries. Most of all, I am sorry for Eight Belles, who was a beautiful horse who went down in one stride. I would have enjoyed watching her continue her career.
The money I won on her last race will be donated to a group here in KY that takes care of retired racehorses... it is not much (just a $2 across the board bet) but it's the least I can do to honor her life and the joy she was to watch racing against the boys.
01 May 2008
I couldn't resist adding a picture of this little foal and his mama for my Derby post. Just like Dan Fogelburg (R.I.P.) sang, "From sire to sire, it's born in the blood - the fire of a mare and the strength of a stud. It's breeding and it's training and it's something unknown, that drives you and carries you home," I bet this beautiful young one is already dreaming of his chance to run for the roses on the first Saturday in May - maybe as soon as next year.
I've made my Derby picks for this year - Eight Belles and Monba. Why these two? Nothing "scientific" - not that picking horses is scientific, especially in a field of 20 horse all of whom are running further than ever before - but because Eight Belles is a filly and I always bet the fillies, and because Monba is a gray and I always bet the grays (in loving memory of my great grandfather). The last time a filly won in 1988, Winning Colors, I won big by betting on her and really annoyed my father in the process. It was great.
Both are currently at morning line odds of 20-1, so neither are supposed to win. But that won't stop me from putting my meager $2 bets on each of them!
Whatever else you're doing on Saturday, I hope you turn on NBC and watch "The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports." Raise a class (filled with a mint julep, or at least a good Kentucky bourbon drink of your choice) to the beautiful horses, and hum a few bars...
And it's run for the roses
As fast as you can
Your fate is delivered
Your moment's at hand
It's the chance of a lifetime
In a lifetime of chance
And it's high time you joined
In the dance
It's high time you joined
In the dance.
29 April 2008
I'm going to take full advantage of all my work last night and finally thank my dear friend Chrissie for packing up and sending me all of this delicious yarn and magazines and books. (The books are a little hard to identify, as Phoenix the Cat felt the need to pose on top of them. It must have been the smell of Artie the Dog, because no matter what I did, Phoenix wouldn't move!)
I know it's been way too long, but thanks, Chrissie! I've got a few goodies planned for all this fun yarn.
28 April 2008
17 April 2008
The legislature's now left town (for now), meaning I can leave the office on time again and have more time for outside pursuits, like this blog baby. However, I'd vowed that I was going to be better about adding pictures to my blogs, getting my pictures over onto Flickr, and trying to link my Flickr pics to the blog. Kat and I tried last year when she came to visit and had a frustrating time ending in (obvious) defeat. But blogs without any pictures can be boring, so that was a goal I'd set for myself. Then my home internet service decided to go bye-bye, just in time for me to not have the time to get it fixed.
That left me faced with the dilemma...do I blog without pictures (and when, because of work obligations, there wasn't much to share) or do I wait until I got the pictures downloaded to Flickr and figure out how to make the link work properly? You can tell which one I chose! At this point I'm thinking of bringing the camera into work so I can just load the pictures to Flickr and be done with it. (Sshhh...don't tell!)
Also, the new look for the blog...The blog hit the one year mark this month, and I was itching to make some changes. And, I love, love, love green, and spring's the time for a new look. I'm also secretly hoping it's easier to create the Flickr link in this template than the other one I was using. Kat seemed to think that was the problem. I guess we'll see.
03 March 2008
29 February 2008
Last weekend was full of activity, and I'd come down with a cold that meant I really, really, really just wanted to sleep and knit and read and watch TV. I managed to make it to my events on Saturday, but I had to cancel church and a luncheon and a church meeting on Sunday. I felt cruddy and just wanted my time.
This weekend there's nothing on the agenda, but now that I have the freedom to have my space, I'm really feeling a bit at loose ends and craving some activity and connection with people. Go figure. When I have to be social I don't want to be, when I don't have any need to be, I'm seeking it out. Mind you, I still turned down an invitation to go to an Irish restaurant (that doesn't take reservations) with my friend Nancy, her husband Jason, and their almost 3 year old son Grant, tonight. You see, it's Lent, and Louisville is a very Catholic city. People will be packed into this restaurant waiting for seats in order to eat the compulsory fish and chips (Catholics eat fish on Fridays during Lent, for those who don't get my meaning). I may want contact with people, but not that much contact. It'll be a madhouse.
I've got lots of little errands to run and to-do's around the house to accomplish, and I do have church and lunch afterwards to look forward to on Sunday. But I may have to take my knitting and make my way to my LYS for some social knitting before the weekend is over.
I'm such a wild child, I know.
p.s. One of my to-do's is to take pictures of my knitting and download my pictures...so hopefully I'll have a few entertaining posts over the next week or so. Cross your fingers!
12 February 2008
But over the past few weeks there have been a few incidents that clearly called for the need for new shoes. My black boots that are in such bad shape that they should have been thrown away at the end of last year, but I loved the fit so I was holding out for another season. Then the button on the side of one of them fell off, so that there's this flap of "(not) leather" hanging off the boot. No more black boots. My brown boots are great to look at, but they kill my feet, so I end up not wearing them very often. I also have a severe affinity for sling-back shoes, but my one pair of black heels includes a left shoe that has stretched to the point that the sling falls off my heel after a couple steps. This is not good when you're running, literally, to a committee meeting. Finally, I realized I only had one pair of dress brown heels, too, and they are very, very narrow. So I hate to wear them to work when I know I may be on my feet for 12 or more hours. They're fine for church or dinner out, but not for a full day.
Based on all of that, I decided that the situation had risen to the level that my strict moratorium on shoe buying had to take a day or two off. Last Friday I stopped at one discount shoe store and ended up with 2 pair of boots (black and brown) and a pair of brown high heels. All had been on sale, so I felt pretty good about the splurge. Then on Saturday I went to a different discount shoe store, relatively new to the Louisville area, and that's when things got way out of control. Four pairs of shoes and one pair of boots later, I walked out thinking I would have to eat saltine crackers for the next few weeks until I could pay off the credit card. The boots I bought on Saturday will replace one pair that I bought on Friday, because I liked them better, but when all is said and done, I ended the weekend with 7 pairs of shoes & boots more than I'd started out owning. This is why I'm not allowed to go shoe shopping!
And even though I heard all the dire weather predictions for snow and ice (all of which came true), of course I had to wear one of my new pairs of shoes on Monday. And no, I wasn't even sensible enough to wear the boots. So there I was on Monday night, having fought my way back to Louisville in the snow and wind, at the grocery store, delicately stepping through the sludge in my brand new black kitten heel shoes to get milk and something for dinner.
A girl's got to do what a girl's got to do.
07 February 2008
We enjoyed the unseasonably warm weather through Tuesday night, when the jet stream moved and here came the thunderstorms and tornadoes. This is the second Tuesday in a row where most everyone in the state spent the night watching the local weather news or listening to the radio from the "comfort" of their basement or hall closet. Not a fun way to pass the time.
Last week we lost electricity for 10 hours, but since a house one block from me had a huge tree cave in on it, I felt fortunate that all I had to do was rescue my garbage can lid and clean up some trees limbs strewn across the front yard. This week we never lost power, and the tornadoes weren't in my part of the county, so my night wasn't as bad as others. Strangely enough, the internet connection that got messed up by last week's storm has resolved itself after this week's storm. But even though we got off easier this week, more peopl died across Kentucky and in several other states from the storms.
The storm did bring the temperature down from highs in the 70s to a more seasonal low 40s and high 30s. Of course, tomorrow it's supposed to be in the 50s, followed by a high of 28 degrees, and then bouncing back to the 40s. So I'm admitting my folly and asking for forgiveness from Phil and Old Man Winter, and begging that winter comes back for the next six weeks. I'll take that over deadly tornadoes in early February!
25 January 2008
It's been a fast-paced but good new year. The day after Christmas, one of my staff members informed me he was taking a new job...4 days after the legislative session began. Yikes! That put me in a bit of a tizzy, but so far we've managed okay. I'm just now starting the interview process for his replacement. It's hard to fit the time in when you're drafting bills and scheduling meetings and answering phone calls from legislators all day long. But today is the 13th day of our 60 day session, and it would be nice to get a replacement before the 60th day, even if that person doesn't know how to draft a bill.
Otherwise I've been very selfish with my personal time. When the weekend gets here, I just don't want to commit to much because it takes so much to gear up for another week of craziness and long hours at work. I am getting into another knitting craze, though. I bought lots of yarn last week when Michaels was having a sale, and tonight I'm starting a very short class on how to knit cables. I'm excited, because other than plain garter stitching and knitting hats in the round, I don't know how to do anything else yet. And I still can't read most patterns because there's always something in there that I have no idea how to do. This class may be the only one I can fit in before the session ends in April, so I expect I'll be knitting lots and lots of cables between now and then!
We were all beginning to wonder whether or not winter was every really going to come. As recently as New Year's Eve we were having weather more appropriate for late October or early April. But finally Old Man Winter has arrived (as it has in much of the country). We're not used to temperatures in the single digits (and that's without wind chill factored in). All I can say is thank goodness for knitted hats and scarves. Now if I could just learn how to do gloves and mittens!
I know my good friend Kat is going to ask where are all my pictures of the few things I've managed to complete so far, so let me just say that I'm not that organized yet! I'll try to get a few pictures of what I still have in my possession, but a couple things had to be given as gifts before I snapped any photos. Oops! I promise to do better...which is an easier promise to make now that I've finally invested in my own digital camera. Now I just have to download everything to Flickr.