27 February 2008

This one's for my sister

This is my snerk-of-the-day:

(click to embiggeren)

Keeping Time

The hovertext is also sadly very true. So many of us ex-marching band geeks still walk funny, even if it's been years since we had to dress a line.

24 February 2008

Scenes from a clean bathroom

Once in a while (once in a great while) I get this urge to clean things. This vacation I've cleaned the cozy room and the kitchen, and then yesterday I completely lost my mind and cleaned the bathroom. This is proof that I have finally gone over the edge.

(If you're wondering why there's a bowl on the floor, it's for the cats. They don't want their water out in the kitchen by their food. They want it in the bathroom, and if it is not provided for them, they lap the sink and tub faucets or else dive head-first into the toilet. When the bowl is empty [read "has less than ten lapfuls of water in it"], which is usually at 3 o'clock in the morning, they will rattle it and toss it around and make such a racket that even a heavy sleeper like myself is woken. They are vedddddy particular about that stupid bowl.)

This must be the beginning of Spring-- I am spring-cleaning already! And yesterday I went out and spent a whole five dollars on all of the components for this:

On the left will soon be basil, and on the right violets (johnny-jump-ups). Squeeeeeeeee!

So it is a lovely day today, by the way-- sunny and bright and warm (45 degrees!) and everything is melty outside. I went for a quick drive today before heading for school, and this corn thingy caught my eye. I don't exactly know what they do with all that dried-up corn (there is a cow barn nearby, so it is probably winter fodder-- yum yum) but it certainly looks interesting in that big thingy, in a Laura Ingalls Wilder sort of way.

Not too far from the corn is a hill where you can see forever. That might be Mt. Katahdin way in the back there with the snow on it, but I'm not sure.

Whatever it is, it is a great thing to glimpse as I crest over that hill.

23 February 2008

Winding down vacation

As the snow falls outside...

...I have decided I want pudding. Not pudding from a box, but rather old-fashioned steamed pudding. I've been craving this for weeks. I had all the ingredients I needed, but no pudding mold, so I would have to improvise. I found a tin that was fairly sanitary, but I could only find three rubber bands so the risk of water leaking in was very, very high.

What were the ingredients, you ask? Rice, sugar, butter, lemon juice, lemon rind, and eggs. Eight eggs. (I think it's funny that as cholesterol concerns have risen in the past half dozen decades, the popularity of old-fashioned rich puddings has seriously declined.) This recipe would make a sort of a egg-bake sort of pudding, but sweet as opposed to savory.

This is what I wanted: a cast-iron pot bubbling and hissing on the stove for hours and hours.

And inside, a pretty surprise!

The rubber bands kept snapping due the heat (and the fact that they were very old and brittle). Mum has this kitten whose favorite toy are rubber bands, and the kitty is always carrying them around and dropping them off at the feet of whoever is available so she can play fetch with them. I kept wishing that kitty would show up so I would have more rubber bands for my pudding-tin! (She's all "wubber band delibbery!!")

As it bubbled I picked up the knitting needles. The left panel is all done (14" X 30"):

And here comes the right panel, with that marvelous red:

The pudding boiled for two and a half hours, and I think the water stayed out most of the time, but when I went to pick it up I heard this sluuuuuuuuurrrrppp bubble bubble sound, and when I opened it my pudding was swimming (just a little).

So I plopped the yellow mush into a casserole dish and stuck it into a warm oven to dry out a little. While it was doing that I made a sauce of lemon juice and strawberry preserves.

The verdict?

It looks like scrambled-egg puke. With strawberries.

As long as I don't look directly at it I can manage to eat it. It doesn't taste all that bad. It's very sweet (two cups of sugar and only about 1/2 cup lemon juice-- my lemons were pretty small), but the lemon-and-strawberry-sauce I made to go over it was nice and sour. Next time, I will use less sugar, less butter and more lemon juice. And I will have to find myself a better pudding mold. Someday I would like to make a real plum pudding for Christmas, but you have to start small, right? :)

22 February 2008

Flying hovercraft water car!

I was telling Dad about a flying hovercraft water car thingy that I found on this blog, that in Teho's words, "would make Mythbusters envious." Thus, I present to you, "the flight of automobile on the water cushion."

I want a car that can fly! Seriously.

Home again home again jiggety jig

So I went and visited my parents for two days. As soon as I got home Angus presented me with his precious green fluffle.

Angus is the most magnificent cat in the whole world. You would think that an animal such as him would need at least one brain cell to survive, but not Angus. He survives on pure stupidity.

Mum and Dad are bizarre, as usual. Dad's been busy constructing his robot (he had a dream where he was in an endless succession of rooms filled with high-school boys and zillions of robots). Mum gave me a new vacuum and a plant:

Each night, after the news, we watched a different movie that I had picked out for them: Little Miss Sunshine and Running With Scissors. Dad says he questions my taste in movies, but then again this is coming from someone whose favorite actress is Sandra Bullock.

While watching Running With Scissors, Mum saw that Kristin Chenoweth was in it, and Mum came out with one of those eloquent and profound statements that only my mother could make:

"She doesn't look the way I thought she would sound."

Dad and I gave each other a significant glance and then simultaneously face-palmed.

(This is Mum and her soulmate, apparently.)

I went out to Fort Williams to play with my camera, and when I came home Dad said, "show me the lighthouse", and I have got to admit these are the crappiest pictures that I have ever taken of it.

However, I got this neat shot as I was leaving...

...and this one of the picnic building on the hill is my favorite of all... it looks utterly abandoned, very lonely, and the way the trees frame it, and the way the sun casts that haze-- I don't know. I just really like it.

and later I went to Kettle Cove and got these pictures which came out rather neat...

As I took these, the temperature was about 20 degrees and the wind was pretty strong, so I just about froze out there. However, I love the skeletal trees and the monochrome effect of winter. I love how the low winter sun and the hazy snow-clouds wash everything out and yet make everything so crisp.

(I just know Dad, Mr. Professional Photographer himself, is going to say "ummm", but I like them. So plbplbplb-- I could have just taken endless pictures of Mr. Intelligent the whole time...)

21 February 2008


So my vacation's been pretty slow. It's lovely! On Tuesday I sat on the floor and wound the red yarn for the Hamster blankie. This yarn was devilishly hard to wind-- I ended up with three small balls instead of one big one. Grrr. But that's fine since I'm making stripes.

Julian watched me...

...but didn't want his picture taken. (I ended up with about fifteen shots like this, all of him looking in the wrong direction just as the camera clicked.)

Later that afternoon I left to go visit my parents for a few days. I left the cats and the bunnies behind, but brought with me a vacuum cleaner and a chocolate chip cookie pie.

Just before I left I spied Julian staring at me with great big Puss in Boots eyes on top of the laundry pile. I could almost hear him saying, "don't go, pweeese! Don't leeeaaaaaave me!!!"

Pooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooor kitty.

18 February 2008

First Day of Vacation...

...and it's raining. Bleh. But the nice thing about rain and 40-degree temperatures is that it melts the snow from my roof, which was getting to dangerously heavy levels up there. Several times today I have heard "plooooff!" and seen an avalanche of soft mushy snow come down. I have a little skylight in my bathroom that I haven't been able to see out of since November, and now I can. It's great.

Yesterday, before the rain came, I happened to look out at the birdfeeder and saw an interesting sight. Can you see it?

One of the blue jays had apparently decided to make a snow angel!

I'm glad I got a shot of it before it melted away. It's still out there now, but not nearly as well-defined.

On the knitting front, I am at 26" on the hamster blanket. It's getting hard to photograph because it's so long, but you get the idea. I have decided to stop at 30" because then, on the stripey panel, I can have 6 stripes at 5 inches each, and begin and end with different colors (as you can see from my notes).

I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOO sick of this panel, and it just seems endless. I could not imagine making anything bigger than a baby blanket like this. Still, stockinette-stitch-with-a-garter-edge is one of my very favorite blanket patterns--soft and textureless and perfect for snuggling up underneath. If I had the stamina I'd make a twin-sized blanket like this-- but if 30" is driving me batty, I can't imagine what 90 inches would be like.

I also made some bread today. Yum. It's the kind where you add any kind of carbonated beverage-- I usually use vanilla seltzer-- and pop it in the oven and in about an hour or so, mmmmm bread. I drizzled some honey into the batter as well, which makes it even yummier.

I'm drooling just looking at the photo.

16 February 2008

Winter Fest 2008

The snowmobiles were buzzing all day today, and the snow sculptures were finished, and there were a zillion people on the lake... it must be Winter Fest time yet again. It's the high point of my whole winter.... or rather it just reminds me that I live in a tiny town and this is the kind of thing that gets these people through another interminable winter.

Thus, I bundled up in 1,781 layers of clothes and went out to the frozen lake to watch the fireworks. This year I picked a great spot only about 100 yards from where they were going to shoot them off.

First, I contemplated this sign. Does this make any sense to you? Me neither. What's the point of having an ice fishing shack if you don't have a hole in it to fish with?

Then I watched several cars, half a dozen snowmobiles and a police car with its blue lights drive out onto the ice, and in a few minutes the first fireworks went off.

The neatest thing about being on a frozen lake when these go off is that they echo like you wouldn't believe. They sound like the shotguns that go off in the fall (another fun small-town pastime) but even bigger-- as if someone's using a cannon instead of a 12-gauge to kill a deer.

And the moment we have all been waiting for, the grand finale:

And lastly, here are some very pink feet.

15 February 2008

A Book by Ellen

I was cleaning my bookshelf this morning and I came across a book that my little sister had made when she was seven and a half years old. It is called "My Mother and Father", and I will now share the entire book with you now.

Title: My Mother and Father
By: Ellen
Date: Oct. 1990

Dedication: This book is dedicated to my mother and father.

Hi my name is Ellen. My mother's name is Sally. But I don't call my mother Sally. I call her mom.

(This is the only drawing in the book. All the other pages are blank except for the words. My sister was obviously a brilliant author, and had a great editing staff, but she was not a very promising illustrator. )

Ralph is my father's name.

But right now we are going to talk about my mother. My mother has four jobs. One is to help with the publishing in my school. I can't think of her other jobs.

But I can tell you more about my mother. Like the way she cooks, and many other things.

Now it is time to talk about my dad. My dad is very special to me.

When it is dad's turn to cook supper, he takes us out, unless he cooks Chinese food in a wok.

My father likes to read to me. I like to read to my father.

Now it is time to talk about my mother and father. Sometimes they bring me to Fun Town without my sister.

There's one thing I'm not too happy about. That is when my mother broke her leg. I was the one who spilled the water and she slipped and broke her leg.
I did not wipe up the water.

This is something that I'm happy about. When I bumped my face on the stone wall, they took me to the hospital. But I did not really break my face.

The End.