Saturday, March 31

Stardust and forsythias

Earlier today Kas said something about an "awesome Stardust movie." I did a mental double-take. Not that I hadn't heard about Neil Gaiman's novel becoming a movie, but that it somehow caught Kas' attention before I got around to mentioning it. It kind of made me laugh. Anyhow, the trailer's linked above, and you should see it. You should also read the book, if you haven't. It's one of my favorites of Neil's work. I can't wait to see the movie version.

Today was a pretty nice day, despite the thunderstorms around the area. I'd intended to Flash my Stash, but the threat of rain prevented that. (I want to shoot the photos outside for good lighting.) I'm planning on using my inflatable mattress as a backdrop (meaning I'll pile all the yarns on top). Maybe it will be bright and sunny tomorrow, with less wind.

I learned just now that the giant shrub in front of our porch is a forsythia. (Thank you, ISU Extension news release.) It has bright yellow blooms now (which I photographed, but I can't find my camera cord at the moment) and for probably another week, maybe longer. The interesting thing about the forsythia is that the blooms come only from old growth. The other day, I got out the gardening shears and we trimmed a bit off the top (it was growing a mohawk). The branches we trimmed seem to have put out flowers, despite their current lack of a food source. Very strange. (Either that or it had already started flowering. My memory might be failing me here.)

Also, the lilies that we transplanted last year have come up again, despite their early demise last fall. Hopefully we'll get some nice flowers. I scattered a bit of wildflower seed on the west side of the house, just north of my bedroom window. Perhaps we'll get some flowers from that as well. I've got a few other plants starting in peat pots right now, planted maybe a week ago — I've already seen a few tiny shoots.

I wish I could have an indoor window box or something, but the cats would eat anything that grew, I just know it.

Also, so I don't misplace this link later, HP chapter art. Now back to Mean Girls. ("But if you do touch each other, you will get chlamydia, and die.")

Thursday, March 29

When the first bud opes

Spring has sprung

I know what the caged bird feels, alas! When the sun is bright on the upland slopes; When the wind stirs soft through the springing grass, And the river flows like a stream of glass; When the first bird sings and the first bud opes, And the faint perfume from its chalice steals — I know what the caged bird feels!Sympathy, Paul Lawrence Dunbar*

Spring is my favorite season. It has been for at least a few years. Fall is a close runner up to spring, though I prefer the growing to the harvest. Snow gets old fast (especially when it's slushy and dirty). Hot, muggy Iowa summer days get old faster.

It's the green that gets me, I think. The green on our front lawn seems so vivid; looking at the bright, saturated grass, it's as though I've never seen color before now. Especially on days when a mist hangs in the air, perhaps as a last glimpse of night, I'm struck with awe. I love it.

From MonsterPal I've finally gotten my pictures from the latest package from MonsterPal on my Flickr. This is a photo of the yummy scarf she sent. I love the colors! It must be Noro. I sent out a package to my SP a few days ago. It should arrive by the weekend. I hope she likes it.

I worked on a bit of HP swap stuff last night. Something I'd intended to finish for the Hogwarts Houses swap is going to be used for The End swap, as it's still the right color. I needed the needles to start project number two, so I just went ahead and finished the WIP. I'd show a picture, but I haven't taken one. And I want Mint to be surprised. After I cleared the needles last night, I cast on this morning for a sort of cozy. It will be about the size of a small handheld device — phone? camera? iPod? I'm not telling.

Also, Knittyboard's annual Flash Your Stash is on April 1. I'll have to see if I can clear a space in the house long enough to flash ... hopefully the cats won't attack my yarn. I joined the Flash last year, so I should probably see how my stash enhancement has developed over the last year. I've got time. I'll take a personal day tomorrow. It's not like I have a whole lot to do at work at the moment, now that we've gotten moved.

* I chose this stanza of the poem particularly for the line that reads "When the first bird sings and the first bud opes," though I do love the rest of the piece. That line captures how I feel about spring, I think.

Monday, March 26

It's Monday!

I logged into my email and saw the following via Flickr mail:

I was wondering if you could knit a skull beanie for Tristan, preferably black with white skull? Mom and I were just wondering let me know how much you want for it!! Thanks love-ya, Danie

Are you kidding? I am totally thrilled to make a baby beanie! How fabulous is that?

Meanwhile, I finished a couple of project for my SP, whose March package was supposed to go out last week. Of course, we were moving, so it's been all sorts of crazy around here. I've only had my computer up for about an hour. There are still miscellaneous piles to go through yet, but it's a good start.

Tuesday, March 20

Surprise on the equinox

Can I just ask, are you a man?
I am, love, yes.
That's fine. Just so's I know how to leave the toilet seat.
Kinky Boots, a fantastically great movie.

Turns out my kitten, Gwiffen, does not, in fact, have the plumbing I initially thought. He is a she. (And the vet didn't say anything to the contrary when Gwiffen was in for the four-month round of shots...)

Happy first day of spring, all. I celebrated by lighting a little incense before going to work and later enjoying the smell of the first rain of spring.

Monday, March 19


Because I can't resist books or memes, here's one from Lick My Sticks.

In the list of books below, bold the ones you’ve read, italicize the ones you want to read, cross out the ones you won’t touch with a ten-foot pole, put a cross (+) in front of the ones on your book shelf, and asterisk (*) the ones you’ve never heard of.

1. The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
8. Anne of Green Gables (L. M. Montgomery)
9. *Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10. *A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11. +Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13. +Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. *A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. +Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. +Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling)
17. *Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. +Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J. D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. +The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. +Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand) (Trying to finish this one)
34. 1984 (Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. *The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. *The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. *The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. *The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. Bible (some, from class mostly)
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47. +The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. +Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. +She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. +The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. *The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. +Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. *The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood) (I keep confusing her with Kingsolver for some reason.)
60. +The Time Traveler’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger) (Working on it.)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)
64. Interview with the Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. *Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. +One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller) (Tried, couldn't stand it.)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73. *Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. *The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According To Garp (John Irving)
79. *The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. +Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
81. *Not Wanted On the Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. *Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. *Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down (Richard Adams)
87. +Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. *The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. *Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. *Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. *In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding) (I read this on the bus in Turkey.)
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. *The Outsiders (S. E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98.* A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. *The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)

I got a great package from Monster Pal today ... I'll see if I can post photos tomorrow. (It's almost time for choir rehearsal, so I best get my butt in gear and stop eating these delicious Jolly Rancher jelly beans.)

Thursday, March 15

So it's Thursday again

Everything has pretty much mellowed out at work regarding the move. We can't move until there are cables for phone and the internets, but we have to move before the 24th, lest we be caught in the middle of an auction. So we're continuing to pack stuff up as usual.

This weekend, there is apparently a show and parade at a local gay bar coordinated by friends of Kas and Sister Berte. (And by extension, friends of mine.) I expect we'll have fun. Next week, the fam and I are intending to take advantage of my brothers' spring break and head down to Kansas City. We heard that the Dead Sea Scrolls will be displayed at Union Station, and wanted to have a look. I doubt my brothers will be interested, but my parents and I are. And on the 25th, the local music club is giving a recital, in which our dear Timmy is performing. I look forward to that, too, as I haven't heard him sing in a bit.

Oh, and Kas and Sister Berte got a new Jeep, as the black Jeep's tranny problems weren't to be resolved. It's a nice 2000 model, a Laredo, I think. Fun stuff.

Otherwise, I'm trying to think of good crafts for The End swap, though I haven't received my match info yet. I haven't managed to block Swallowtail, either. I kind of need to find ample blocking space first.

I ran across a nice recipe for peanut butter cookies that I'd like to try this afternoon. They're gluten free (ooh, aah).

So, in closing, all I can really say is ... blarg.

Tuesday, March 13

In which I rant a little

I don't like to complain. (Okay, I lie. I do like to complain, but hate to be perceived as one who constantly does so.) But this whole moving thing seems to be getting a little out of hand.

I liken our move to shoving a tuna, scales and all, into a sardine tin. We're moving from a rather large building to the backside of a rather small one. We're going to be cramming eight computers and their desk space into a space that would otherwise comfortably hold three, maybe four desks.

Meanwhile, the other publication housed in the "new" building continues to encroach on our space, saying they need storage for their inventory. That would be fine; we're moving into the area they used to store it anyway. But their shelving "needs" to accomodate boxes full of reams of paper, which will eat up a good 18 inches on each wall. Granted this isn't the whole room, just a sort of nook off to the left as you go in the adjoining door, but to us it's still precious space where we will have none.

The people heading up this moving operation seem to think that we won't be able to bring a whole lot of stuff over, but they're starting to nix items that we pretty much need in order to function. For example, a big, sturdy layout table (which we use when putting out special sections), and couple of filing cabinets (one of which is rather bulky but could easily hold our printer). Are we only going to be able to bring two desks next?

I'm really not surprised. I'm just cranky about the whole situation. I almost feel like we're descending the steps into hell. Speaking of which, it's already 73 degrees outside. It's a nice day.

In knitting, I've finally finished the Swallowtail Shawl from the fall 06 IK. All that needs to be done is the blocking (and boy does it need it!), so I expect to have photos soon.

Also, I entered a contest over at Sock Pr0n by submitting a couplet to Choka On It. Here's mine:

Knits the world wide web!

Dorky, but to the point. Maybe I'll win some goodies. I don't often enter blog contests, so this should be fun.

Anyhow, I think the padre and I are going to lunch soon, so I should get a little more work done before we do.

Friday, March 9

My Soundrack

In lieu of actual content, here's a little open-iTunes-hit-shuffle meme. I found it over at Bumblefee's place.

If your life were a movie, what would the soundtrack be?
  1. Open your library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc)
  2. Put it on shuffle
  3. Press play
  4. For every question, type the song that's playing
  5. When you go to a new question, press the next button
  6. Don't lie and try to pretend you're cool...

Opening credits: Mea Culpa, Enigma
*Waking up: Closing In, Imogen Heap
First day at school: Tas, Tarkan
Falling in love: Yesterday's Girl, Three5Human
Fight song: Living in America, Rent Movie Soundtrack
Breaking up: Gitti Geldi, Tarkan
*Prom: Take Me Back, Bonnie Tyler
Life: Music Box, Regina Spektor
Mental breakdown: Íncí Tanem, Tarkan
Driving: On the Radio, Regina Spektor
Flashback: Andy, Q Public
Getting back together: Walk 4 Me, Tronco Traxx
*Losing your virginity: Might Tell You Tonight, Scissor Sisters
*Wedding: Everybody Wants the Same Thing, Scissor Sisters
Birth of child: Sadness, Enigma
Final battle: O'na Sor, Tarkan
Death scene: Heal Over, KT Tunstall
End credits: Torch of Pain, Three5Human

That's pretty funny. I didn't realize I had so much Tarkan in the mix! I especially appreciate the ones marked with an asterisk. You can't buy that kind of comedy.

Okay, now to continue the desk cleaning and office packing ... the big dreaded office move is about three weeks away.

Thursday, March 8

Yes, I'm still here

Six Words I know, I know. It's been a minute since I've blogged. I have kept up, mostly, on the blogs I read regularly, not to worry. It's just that I've been quite busy lately, doing all sorts of random stuff. Here's a rundown:
  • sent my Hogwarts Houses items to liebschien, who received them with joy and rapture
  • received liebschien's fantastically crafted Hogwarts House items
  • made some ATCs, some of which I entered into a Craftster contest
  • sent and received matchboxes full of doodads
  • almost lost my job at the end of April due to our upcoming office move
  • didn't end up losing my job after all
  • worked on a cat tree until the electric screwdriver's charge died
  • joined another HP swap ("The End of Harry Potter Swap") because I had so much fun with the last one
... among other things.

So it's been fun. I've realized over the past few days that I've somehow been sleeping wrong and as such my shoulder is kinked up all to hell. It might be time to find some new pillows, as the ones I have been sleeping on aren't doing diddly. Either that or I'll just start sleeping on this kickass owl pillow from liebschien.

From liebschien

Thursday, March 1

Somethin's coming ...

Impending doom

I live below the first E in Des Moines. Dustro's about out of it over in O!town, but it's only just begun here. Welcome to March!