Monday, April 30, 2007

MoBot Flowers

Dianthus sp. (plus Carpenter Bee, Xylocopa sp.)

Stylophorum diphyllum - Celadine Poppy

Trillium grandiflora - Wood Lily

This weekend we were visiting friends in St. Louis. It was a short trip, but included a tour through the Missouri Botanical Gardens.

Flowers in Rock Wall

As in much of the county, the middle of April brought not spring, but winter-like conditions. These were some of the first flowers I saw blooming after the late frosts killed the other blossoms.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Snail Eating Rice

The last week has been very busy. The next week coming up will be even busier for me. So I have decided to have a series of short, random posts focused on a picture taken in the last few weeks.

Awhile back, I tried to cook too much rice in a too small a pan, resulting in burnt, yet uncooked rice. Not a smell I wanted permeating through our house. So I left the entire pan outside overnight to cool. The next morning I saw this snail, apparently eating the rice.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Movie Day - Meet the Robinsons

We don't often indulge in going to the "cinema" and most of our movie watching is at home. But this weekend we splurged a bit to see "Meet the Robinsons". What is so special about this animated movie? Well it is based off of my husband's favorite book by one of our favorite children's book writers and illustrators, William Joyce. The book is "A Day with Wilbur Robinson".

Now I am a bit leery of movies based upon 36-page children's picture books (i.e. Cat in the Hat. The Grinch who Stole Christmas.) How do expand such a small amount of material to a 1 1/2 to 2 hour movie? "Meet the Robinsons" did an excellent job of this. Probably because William Joyce was an executive producer for the movie. Definately becuase they expanded the story a lot from the book.

The book is basically about a kid who visits his friend's very unusual and eccentric family for an afternoon. Most of the book is - wow look how cool and strange this family is. The main source of crisis is that Grandpa has lost his teeth and the family are trying to find them. A cute little story, but not enough to make a movie on.

Instead the movie uses this wonderful world and delightfully crazy family as (part of) the backdrop against which the story is created. The story ends up being a time-travel adventure, and it works (see the links above for the details on the story). Mainly it works because the world, particularly the future world, that William Joyce creates is absolutely wonderful - wacky inventions (travel via bubble), lounge-singing frogs complete with their own mafia, topiary shaped like dinosaurs and loaves of bread, and very serious meatball fights. It is just so cool. One thing I particularly liked about this movie is that it has a positive view of the future - not all doom and gloom like many movies.

We both really enjoyed the movie. Originally the movie was supposed to be live action - my husband thinks it would have been better live action, but I am not convinced. All in all an enjoyable movie - despite the fact that we were the only adults in the theater that did not have children in tow.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

100 Things - Books

32. I love to read fiction, always have. I think I should expand my horizons to read other types of books, but fiction is what draws me in.

33. When I get into a book, I don't want to put it down. I will read it while I walk to school, brush my teeth, dry my hair, and eat breakfast.

34. I try to read and knit at the same time, but I usually get so involved in the book that I forget to keep knitting.

35. I like fantasy books, but get annoyed that so many of them are trilogies (or longer).

36. I also like mysteries, especially those set in the past.

37. I don't read a book just because everyone else is.

37. I do like the Harry Potter books, but I am still mad at Rowlings for killing off Sirius Black. I only read the fifth and sixth books once each.

38. I did read almost all of the Da Vinci Code - but got really frustrated with the whole - they are almost out of danger, no they are back in trouble, now they are safe, now they are not. It was a bit tiring. I never read the last 30 pages or so.

39. I no longer feel compelled to finish a book once I start it.

40. I would be hard pressed to choose a single favorite book. Or even come up with a top ten. I often forget books once I read them.

41. A couple of years ago I started keeping a list of the books I have read. Looking over that list, even if all I have written is the title of the book brings the book back to my memory. I just need to be more consistent with remembering to write them down.

42. Since I started keeping track in the Spring of 2005, I have listed 46 books. Two I did not finish. These are just the fiction books (i.e. books read for my dissertation did not count) and I know there are many that I forgot to write down.

43. I mostly read books checked out from the library or borrowed from friends. This is due to a lack of funds and space. I would buy more books if I had more of each.

44. I count listening to audio books the same as reading a print version.

45. When I read, I have a tendency to skip to the dialogue.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Knitting Update

Still working on the SOAR silk spindle bag. In fact, I
There are some things I really like about this bag. In particular I like the combination of colorwork at the top and the rest of the bag being the natural colored silk. I am really pleased with the colorwork part in general. However, there is a lot that could be improved on this. I should have added an eyelet row through which I could have placed a drawstring. The bag could be a little wider. And the some of the white silk that I spun on my wheel is a bit overtwisted; the resulting fabric is a bit stiff. I have enough of both the dyed and the natural colored silk to make another one. So I have decided to count this as a test run and keep it for myself. Then I would make another, better version to donate to SOAR.

I have also been knitting on my Country Socks. One down!

My knitting time has been severely curtailed lately due to work. Classes end soon, so maybe more time in the future!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Today's Tragedy

My heart goes out to the students, parents, faculty, staff, and alumni of Virginia Tech. I cannot imagine going through a tragedy like this.

At the same time, scenarios are running through my head. What could I do to keep my students safe? How could I, in a class with so many people and so many doors keep me and them safe? Or would I be the first target, so it wouldn't matter? I feel more than a little vulnerable right now. I think teaching tomorrow will be hard.

Friday, April 13, 2007

100 Things about Me - Knitting

20. Most of the items I have knit have been given away as gifts. Sometimes I forget about the things I have knit. Now, I try to get a least a snap shot of the item before giving it away.

21. When knitting in the round, I prefer double pointed needles over circular needles. I hate wrestling with the cord and the joins.

22. I have an overwhelming urge to start projects with all the yarn in my stash (to reduce the amount of yarn I have) and simultaneously buy new yarn. I don't think this is a rare phenomena (at least not amongst knit-bloggers).

23. When shopping for yarn, I like to sniff yarn. I really like the way wool and silk smell.

24. I don't have a favorite yarn. Usually I want to experience a new yarn as opposed to knitting with the same yarn over and over.

25. Yarns I have used multiple times include: Brown Sheep Nature Sport, Harrisville Yarns (love the colors) and Cascade 220.

26. I tend to knit smaller items as opposed to sweaters. I think my favorite thing to knit must be hats.

27. When I first started knitting, I really was not afraid to try new things. Now I feel like I am too precious with my yarn. What if the project I pick is not the right one? What if it turns out ugly? What if I run out of yarn before finishing the knitting? I really want to be more free in my knitting.

28. I really, really want to knit something in a silk/wool blend.

29. I also would like to knit something out of cashmere (or a cashmere and silk blend).

30. I love knitting. I used to think I was not artistic because I cannot draw. And that made me sad because I wanted to be artistic. (I think this misconception has to do with the fact that to be an art major you had to take drawing classes before getting into the other media). Knitting has made me realize that being artistic and drawing ability are not one and the same.

31. I keep my yarn labels (if I haven't lost them) in a spiral bound notebook with Legolas (from the Lord of the Rings Movie) on the cover. The notebook was given to me as a gag gift (at least I think it was a gag). Not only is Legolas on the cover, but his face is printed on every page. So I just tape the labels right over his face. I also try to write down what I made with each yarn. This sounds really organized, but it is very haphazardly done.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Still unmotivated

Another random picture from the past
As usaully happens when I am unmotivated to work on something when I have the time, events conspire to take my time away.
Today it was students needing help studying for their exam.

Have to get ready for the reveiw session now. Why do a schedule them to be 1.5 hours?

Hope all is well in your world.


The word of the day today is unmotivated.

Unmotivated to write my make-up exam.
Unmotivated to clean my office.
Unmotivated to think of interesting things to add to my list.
Unmotivated to take pictures.

I think I need some rocking music in order to forget how unmotivated I am right now.

First up, clean the office. In the meantime, a couple of old photos that have nothing to do with anything. But I am too unmotivated to worry.

Monday, April 9, 2007

100 Things Part Two - Shoes

12. I don't like to wear most high-heeled shoes, they make me feel vulnerable. In fact, I don't like to wear any shoes in which I could not run away from a chainsaw wielding psychopath. This includes clogs.

13. I don't expect to need to run away from such a person, but you never know. I would hate my shoes to cause my doom.

14. The funny thing is, I am a tap dancer and I can tap-dance in 2-1/2 inch heels, no problem. Thus I think the problem with most heels is not that they are high, but they are poorly made (i.e. unbalanced). I don't have the money to buy really expensive shoes (which one may assume to be better made) to test this hypothesis.

15. I don't understand why there are not more attractive alternatives for flat shoes that are comfortable. This is the kind of thing that could make me angry if I bothered to worry about it too much.

17. If given a choice between a shoe in black, brown, and red, my first choice is always the red. Brown would be my second choice. I don't know if my preference for red is really a preference for color.

18. Right now I have only one pair of red shoes and they really need to be polished up.

19. In high school I had a pair of purple-suede ballet-slipper type shoes with ties around the ankles. I loved those shoes, but didn't wear them much. If I still had them today, I would wear them all the time.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

100 Things Part 1 - Cold vs. Hot

I always enjoy reading the 100 things about me posts people have on their blogs and I wanted to share some random things about me and my life. I will do this in installments rather than the whole list at once. So here goes.

100 Things about Me - Part One

1. I was born in Puerto Rico, as my dad was in the Coast Guard. We did not move back to the States until I was two.

2. I do not like cold weather, I think it is because I was born in the tropics.

3. I would rather be hot than cold. I know you can always put on more clothes. Blah - who wants to be wearing 3 pairs of pants and 5 shirts. Not me.

4. I would prefer 90 degrees to 40 degrees. I would prefer 100 degrees to 10 degrees.

5. Since I started knitting, I can tolerate the cold weather better because I can knit and wear warm woolies.

6. I don't have many memories of living in Puerto Rico, other than the lizards that were everywhere.

7. I have not been back, though I would love to go.

8. My birthday is in November. I don't like my birthday being in November, it is always brown, grey, and cold on my Birthday and I have never had an outdoor party. If I ever won the lottery I would have a beach party in Puerto Rico and all of my friends would be invited.

9. Including me, there are 7 people in my immediate family with November Birthdays. I have about 5 friends with birthdays in November as well.

10. I do like seasons. Though winter could be shorter. The seasons could be Spring, Summer, Fall, Christmas (with snow), and I'd be happy.

11. I have also appreciated winter more since I started doing field work. Winter became a time of being a home, of resting, of cozy. I just wish I could completely stay at home and "hibernate" through the really nasty days.

The Return of the Laptop

I finally got my lap-top back today. I still need to assess the damage - they were not able to recover all of my files, including one that I needed. Oh well, recreating it will not be too difficult. Still.

Also gone are all my biostatistics lectures. I would be upset by this, but luckily most are on my other computer (the dinosaur). See the laptop would not talk to my printer, but the dinosaur would. So in order to print off anything, I must first send it to the dinosaur via e-mail. Most of the files I actually downloaded so I have a back up copy.

Also - all of my settings are gone as they had to reload all the software. Must turn off the sounds. I hate that annoying click sound you get whenever you select a link.

In other news - we are supposed to have a freeze tonight, and for the next 4 nights. So, no more pretty spring flowers, well I imagine as the temps are supposed to go down to 28. I don't know if I should cover my perennials or not. I probably will at least try.

The Royals Win

And it was a beautiful game. So, at least for one day, the Royals have a winning record. Hopefully they will keep winning/

Monday, April 2, 2007

Buy me some peanuts and crackerjacks..

Today is opening day of Royals Baseball. I love baseball season. I did not really pay attention to baseball until I was married, never followed a team until we moved to the KC area. Sure the Royals are not the best team. Sure it is hard to listen to them lose game after game (at least for the last couple of years). But I love listening to the Royals Radio Broadcast with Denny Matthews and Ryan LaFever (I am not sure on the spelling of Ryan's last name). We don't have cable, so we rarely watch the Royals on TV. For me baseball is all about listening on the radio. To today's game is on the local broadcast, so we are going to watch baseball today.

There is one small annoying thing about the radio broadcast. The KC station (AM 810) plays all of the Royals games while the Lawrence Station (AM 1320) plays most of the games, but will preempt the Royals for KU baseball. 810 claims to be the most powerful sports station in the Midwest. Well they should revise that statement - they are the most powerful station in the Midwest until 8pm, at which time there signal gets weaker and we can barely get the station in. I don't understand. We only live about 40 miles from KC.

The prospect for the Royals is better this year. A new GM who has made some changes. Hopefully the changes to the pitching staff will be enough. Now I just need to decide if I am going to attend the Royals "Stitch and Pitch" Game.

In like a lion, out like a _________.
March here started with a roar. The saying goes in like a lion, out like a lamb. Well not here in Lawrence. March 31st was a windy, cold day. Definitely out like a lion, with wind gusts up to 48 miles per hour. We walked downtown to drop off some mail. It looked nice a sunny outside. But boy were we fooled. We shivered our way downtown and visited a couple of shops, including the Yarn Barn. Then we shivered our way home. I did see a couple of new stencil graffiti.

Current Knitting

I have been knitting on the silk spindle bag, I will try to get a picture tonight to share with you of my progress. Prior to knitting however, I needed to spin up more of the silk, which I happily did this weekend. Here is the silk on the bobbin

and in skeins drying out.

The best part - my husband wanted me to teach him how to spin. His first attempts (using wool, not silk) were pretty good for a beginner, though we would not believe me. I wish I still had my first skein of yarn I spun to show him in comparison. He really likes the treadling part, so for a while, he treadled while I spun the yarn. It was a really fun way for us to share my love of fiber. Now if he would just let me teach him how to knit.
One last bit of excitement - we finally have birds coming to our birdfeeder. When we moved in to our current place in August, some friends gave us this bird feeder. We are just now getting birds coming.