Wednesday, June 30, 2010


I started this post several weeks ago, and never finished it. Thought I'd go ahead and post it!

From June 10, 2010
I'm feeling very lazy about posting. I have a video of the effects of 5.5 inches of rain yesterday on our street and yard. I have pictures of the garden and games we play (very fun stuff). I also have the fun house dress I've put together to tell about. But I just want it done, I don't want to have to do it. Hmmm... maybe I'll start with breakfast, at 10 am, and see where the day goes from there. Pictures are a decent bit of work on here (I think, but then, maybe I'm being lazy?)

Here is some general news: after some very hot and sunny days (and a sunburn from the first day of swimming lessons), we got 5.5 inches of rain and a high in the mid-70s for June 9, 2010. states only 2.75 inches of rain, but my rain gauge documented 5 1/2! Absolute craziness. The back yard was a bog of water and grass clippings. The "raised beds" were surrounded by water (to the top of hte cinder blocks, though I think they sank a bit), and the non-raised beds were under water. The front yard started to fill up at one point, but then drained quite well. This morning both front and back yard are out from under the water, and most had drained off and soaked in by bed time last night.

Hubby and I are on a Arkham Horror game playing streak. We played on game from Tuesday evening 730 or so to Wednesday afternoon 1 pm or so. We did sleep in the middle there... but that game was 6 1/2 or so hours long! Its an intricate game of collaboration, insanity and scariness, and its a ton of fun. We started a second game about 5 pm last night, played till 830 or so, and quit for the night. We will play again tonight, but will likely finish the game Friday afternoon & evening.

I started swimming lessons on Monday; teaching, not taking. I taught swimming lessons all through my undgrad college years, and picked up several small classes for these two weeks. Unfortuantely, my SPF 15 didn't protect me Monday and I finished the first day with a sunburn. I used SPF 45 on Tuesday, which was better, but I still was too red at the end. Yesterday was cancelled for the rain. Today, I either wear a t-shirt or pick up a "swim shirt" on my way in. I'm still undecided.

June 9 -- Rain, rain, please come again some other day!

Back on June 9, we got 5 1/2 inches of rain. It filled the rain barrel, it flooded the front and back yards and it cooled that day and the next off by several degrees. Here's the video I took that day:

We've love a bit more of that kind of rain, maybe not 5 1/2 inches worth, but 2 or 3 inches would be nice. The weather has been teasing us with lots of clouds and even some soft showers that last 3 to 5 minutes and let down minuscule amounts of rain. Oh, well, I guess that's June/July in Waco.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Book Nerd

On facebook, I got tagged as a book nerd and this was sent to me: (I've colored red what I've read, with my comments in orange)

The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books here. How do your reading habits stack up?

Instructions: Copy this into your NOTES. Look at the list and put an 'x' after those you have read. Tag other book nerds---and that would include me. I want to know who's read what.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen - x
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien - x
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte - x
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling - x
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee - x
6 The Bible - (Yep, the whole thing; cover to cover)
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte -x
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell -
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman -
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens -
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott - x
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy –
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller –
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare - the complete works? Isn't that extreme?
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier -
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien - x
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk -
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger - x
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger -
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot -
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell -
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald - x
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens -
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy -
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams -
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky -
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck- x
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll-
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame-
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy -
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens -
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis - x
34 Emma - Jane Austen - x
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen - x
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis - x If I've read Chronicles of Narnia, I've read this! DUH!
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini -
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres -
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden -x
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne - x Which one? There are masses!
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell -
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown - x
Dude -- this is not worthy of reading!
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez -
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving -
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins -
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery - x
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy -
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood -
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding -
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan -
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel -
52 Dune - Frank Herbert -
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons-
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen - x
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth -
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon -
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens - x
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley - x
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night - Mark Haddon-
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez -
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck - x
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov -
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt -
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold -
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas - x
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac -
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy -
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding-
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie –
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville -
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens -
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker -
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett - x

74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson -
75 Ulysses - James Joyce -
76 The Inferno - Dante - x
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome -
78 Germinal - Emile Zola -
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray -
80 Possession - AS Byatt -
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens -
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell -
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker - x
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro -
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert -
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry -
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White - x
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom -
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle -
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton -
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad - x
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery -
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks -
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams -
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole - x
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute -
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas -
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare - x UMMM -- 'complete works' was listed above, what's up with the double entries?
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl -
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo - x

Several thoughts arise in my mind about this list. One, there are duplicates, where one entry encompases another. Two, some of these books are not worth reading -- evidence of a good education is knowing what not to read. And three, there are some quality books left off; what of Homer's works? Or sequels of some of these books? Where is Wrinkle in Time? CS Lewis's Space Trilogy? Shall I continue?

What's up BBC? You should have checked the credentials of whoever wrote this list, because they are not very widely read, nor have the read truly quality books!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Summer Reading

Thanks to all who sent Happy Birthday greetings yesterday! I got masses on facebook, and a few in my email inbox, and 2 on the phone. I had a throughly fun day with Hubby involving some very good food. IHOP for breakfast and grilled steaks, corn on the cob and mashed potatoes (from the garden) for dinner. Yum.

As its summer, my reading is rather wide spread. I'm not feeling the need to veg in the evenings after working hard all day, so I'm reading more. Several months ago, I realized I'd stopped reading fiction (except WoT) by in large, and really only read non-fiction. Currently, I have several books/articles/blogs that I'm working on.

Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson
I'm interested in ecology. No, that's wrong. I love and adore all things ecology. This is, I do believe, considered the classical of ecological writings, and the previous Bio I teacher used it to teach ecology, so I decided I would, too. I'm only a few pages into the first chapter; I'm having a hard time getting into it and getting past the current emotional appeal. :::must persevere::: The AP Bio kids are reading it over the summer, so I got a hold of their assignment to help me think through it as I read. A good summary will help me as I prepare to teach from this book.

This is actually assigned reading from the school for the summer (1 of 2). I'm through 3 chapters at this point, and quite enjoying it. It prompted me to think about "what makes a society civilized?" and "What did Plato really say about educating children?". I paused in reading for a few days while considering the civilized society question, and it took about a week to peruse Plato's writings on education. I'm back to the book itself now. I think they leave the topic of worldview less dealt with than needed, but then I also took a two week intensive class on worldview on summer. My expectations may be too high. I think that "classical" education is a good way to go about educating people, but I want to really ponder the ideas presented. I hope to offer some good reflections at some point.

The Attributes of God, by A.W. Tozer
I'm reading this for a summer Bible study that I've not actually made it to yet. I've enjoyed reading Tozer's writings, to some extent. I've only read 2 chapters, so it is inappropriate to cast judgement yet; the picture I have is very sketchy. When I have a more complete picture, I plan to write a summary of my thoughts (actually, I hope to do this for every book I read).

Article: A special report on the human genome, From The Economist, June 19, 2010
I teach Biology, I love getting to study the living world. Hubby pointed this set of articles out to me this morning, and I've read 1.5 of the 8 or so sections (none are that long). I can see some pretty big jumps of logic, and some major assumptions, but, in the author's defense, these are common in the biological sciences. I've love to deal with these articles in writing to present my thoughts and observations.

There are more things to read this summer, and I'm quite excited about all of it. Unfortunately, I still don't have enough time to do it ALL. I still want to knit (February Lady Sweater looking like a sweater!) and garden (I love getting dirty and sweaty out there), and I can be quite lazy. The key will be remembering that the key to "self-discipline is remembering what you really want". Got that from a year or so ago; its been a time saver at several points when I'm feeling lazy and lethargic. I suspect that there just isn't enough time to do all I want to do, and I must make choices -- no, I'm quite sure that I must make choices -- I just don't want to.

:::sigh::: Oh, well. Deal with life as it happens, and don't try to deal with tomorrow till it gets here.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Silly

I have a strange enjoyment of all things silly. My Dad and his wife have found the most perfect, silly birthday cards for me. Got one last year, got one this year. They are so cool. Would you like to listen to them? (yep, they talk to you!)

Birthday 2009:

Birthday 2010:

I love Hoops and Yoyo. They be cool!

I wonder, does every one have some silliness they enjoy? Or do some just not enjoy silly as I do? What do you think? Yes, I know, its a silly question.

PS. I guess this somewhat depends on how you define "silly". If I remember correct, the British use "silly" more in a crazy, stupid kind of way. There isn't a complete lack of intelligence in my silliness, but more of an unreality, a play on words. I'm gonna have to think about what "silly" really is.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Fun giveaways

I love free stuff. and I love creative stuff, so when I saw this...

on my friend Marmota's blog, I had to go for it. I think of another friend who is always creating and drawing costumes and outfits and I think she'd love this kit. Here's to hoping!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

More Garden Lessons

9. Huckleberries grow great here, but their taste isn't for me. Maybe grow them for compost, but not in the garden bed.

10. Turning compost is really hard work. Get Hubby involved.

11. Its hard to have too few tomato plants. I'm gonna have to think about crop rotation, though, as we also love potatoes, and the gardener needs to rotate those crops. I've gotta check on pepper plants.

12. Early mornings are good for hard work, gets the day started right.

13. Sticker weeds are hard to keep under control. Pull when small, 'cause they can grip when they get big.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Geeks Vs. Nerds

I had to laugh at this... (from, click picture to go to the site)

Geeks and Nerds

since I have been self described as a nerd, and described by others as a geek. They are different..... I guess that means I am both!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Gardening Lessons Learned

Been thinking on these things for a while. I've finally gotten around the writing it all out!

1. don't use newspaper as seed pots. It molds, soaks up way too much water, and falls apart long before the seedlings are ready to be transplanted.

2. I need to learn a lot more about the bugs and other diseases my plants can get infected with. I need to learn which bugs are good and which are not, and get bold enough to squash those who aren't beneficial.

3. I need to be better disciplined about getting seeds started and I need a better idea of Waco weather so I can know when to plant, etc. Then again, it may just me needing patience about living here longer.

4. Canning is hot work. I'll find out if it worth it in the next day. [I just canned huckleberry jam.]

5. If I have ideas of canning, I need to plant determinate varieties of tomatoes. Want lots tomatoes all at once.... Next time around, I plan to plant both interminate and determinate varieties.

6. Hand digging is hard work, and might break your pitch fork. Borrow a roto-tiller when you can.

7. Ollas aren't as spoofy as they seem at first look. Or perhaps I didn't use them right? Anyhoo, they worked great while the weather was mild, but aren't working as great with the hot, hot weather. Soakers might be better.

8. Get those soakers running EVERY morning, can't let the ground dry out or it will take hours to soak the ground again.

I'm sure I'll think of more things that I've learned in 6 months of gardening. and hopefully, I'll learn more in the next 6 months of gardening.

Such a Nerd, I am

I'm a nerd. A complete, total, all-bought-in nerd. Hubby and I were discussing what we were excited about these days, and I was reminded that I married a nerd, too. So, now we are two nerds in a pod. :P

He is excited about:
Arkham Horror games
Building a lego contraption to hold all the Arkham horror cards
Role-Playing (about once a week, Hubby is Game Master)

I'm excited about:
Working to format my classes to an SBG format
Canning Huckleberries
Knitting my sweater (which I've started over, due to goofs, about 7 times now)

Also evidence of my major nerd syndrome:
I've been thinking about how to use my blog to do more teaching. I love to teach. I am currently a middle school science teacher, and I love it! I'm teaching swimming lessons, and loving it. Being a teacher allows me to showcase my nerd syndrome while getting to teach (I believe that is a tad redundant?). Anyhoo -- there are many, many thoughts in my head, the question is how to get it all out onto paper... I mean, screen... whatever!

Friday, June 18, 2010

The smart kitty

Wow -- I'm way overdue for a blog post. I've started a few and just saved them; I feel they need more, like a picture or two. However, it feels like too much work right now. I'm teaching swimming lessons (which is fun, don't get me wrong), but so tiring. I ain't 20 any more. :(

But some interesting and very funny events have occurred with the kitty this week. We woke up Wednesday (I think) to discover that Hank's collar is gone. Its a breakaway collar, so not too unexpected. It's designed to "break away" if ever caught on something. When Hank goes ninja, he is all over the place, jumping and running and flipping, so it surprises me not that he lost it. However, after 2 days of looking in every imaginable place, under even things he couldn't get under, and on top of things we can't imagine him getting up to (he surprises us sometimes), we have yet to find the collar. I paid $7 for that collar, and $7 for the tag with his name and my phone number -- gone! There aren't that many places to lose something around here, and Hank is an indoor kitty, so I'm at a total loss as to the collar's possible location.

On a more positive note, we found something Hank loves more than tuna juice. Now, Hank LOVES tuna juice; I'm guessing he would love tuna, but that part is for us. If Hubby gets the can opener out of the drawer, Hank comes running and will beg, beg, beg, even if its not tuna. But, apparently, tuna is the only thing Hubby opens with the can opener, because Hank comes running. When I feed Tertulian the Red Eared Slider Turtle, who has come home for the summer, Hank regularly begs. One evening, I let Hank sniff the can; Hank stuck his whole head in the can trying to get the food! (I looked, no collar in the can.) I called Hubby to come watch, and shook the can at Hank. Oh, doggy, did he start to frizz. Hank is a rather quiet kitty, doesn't meow a whole lot.... but for turtle food, he cried with a great voice! We offered Hank a piece of turtle food to see his reaction. Normally, Hank is very timid about taking food from our hand, but this he went after, and will lick your fingers after he's eaten food if he's given a chance.

I got a video, not of the greatest quality, of Hank loving on turtle food. Come to find out, turtle food is fish emulsion first and foremost. We have a fish-loving kitty.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Knitting for Wussies?

I know only a few knitters, but none seem the type to lay back and take it, or to just go along with what someone else says. And then, this article was brought up on a knitting forum I enjoy reading.....

Someone has a very wrong idea of who knitters are. :P

Tuesday, June 08, 2010


Tuesdays are such "normal" days. The new week started yesterday. Its not close enough to the end of the week to be anything excited there. It is a week day, so something should be made of it.

So far, my Tuesday is working out nicely. Its only 930 am, so who knows what the day will really bring. I've got my coffee, I've watered all the porch plants. I harvested a cucumber, two cherry tomatoes and a green bean.

My sunburn from yesterday's swim lessons has fade quite a bit (using the 45 today, not the 15). Honestly, I think the sunscreen was just old. Its worked for my mornings outside in the garden, but when put to the test for 1 pm, 2 pm and 330 pm swimming lessons, it pooped out. We purged all the old sunscreen lotions, and only kept the newest bottles. My Dad suggested getting some SF 75 or 85; but denim has an SPF of 60. And denim is cheaper, I think; though swimming in denim doesn't sound so nice.

I've been inspired by Soule Mama and Hana to attempt the making of some summer outfits and tops. I love wearing a sari after being all hot and sweaty in the garden, or after being in the sun (and getting all hot and sweaty). I get a nice, cool shower, lotion up and lounge in the wrapping of a big piece of fabric. You wrap the fabric around you and then fold down the top to keep it on. I'm not very adept at getting it folded right and I'm always having to re-fold the sari to keep it up. Thus, around the house only. But I want more options of tops and dresses, and ones I can wear out of the house. So, I have begun the process. I drew some pictures, and I thinking about the parts. Luckily, I've sewed clothes before (years ago), so I have some ideas of the bits and pieces. I have some $1/yd fabric to start with, and I can always turn it into.... something else, if it doesn't work. I will chronicle the adventure at The Creative Streak.

I feel like there is much more I should offer updates on: knitting, garden, cooking. My summer has officially started, so I should be intentional about all this. Yes, yes, I'm very much a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none. But I'm okay with that, I think... no, its true thats who I incline towards being, but I really want to be master of some trade. Now, to figure out which one.

Oh, readers, what are you inclined towards? what does life require of you? Do you dabble in a great many different things, or do you delve fully and completely into one? Do you think one way is better than the other? What is necessary for living the independent life? What is merely sufficient for living the independent life?

Saturday, June 05, 2010

New, but old, dishes

Last night I received 3 boxes of dishes from my Hubby's aunt. These dishes were her parents (so, Hubby's grandparents) from when she was a little girl. Thus, they are new for me, but really the dishes are fairly old. They are beautiful, with a red paisley design and they bring my dish sets up to 5. I'm feeling inclined to document and show off my dish sets, so here goes.

First, and most often used, are the plain white, but still beautiful dishes we received as a wedding gift. Simple, white, Target. I love them.

Next, is the tea set I was given while living in SW China (2000 - 2003). I love tea sets and would have more, but space is prime real estate and Hubby isn't quite as enthusiastic about tea sets, so I compromise and settle with my two. That said, I'm very happy with what I have, but I really don't use them enough. Back to the topic at hand... This tea set is themed with apples. The plates have one big apple on them, the cups have apples on them. Its all apples.

Aren't they beautiful apples?

The next tea and coffee set was also a wedding gift. A gal at the church where I grew up informed me that I needed a good service set, so she was giving me this one (she is of a grandmotherly age). Its a beautiful green flower motif, with "Bovaria Germany" stamped on the bottom.

The next dish set I acquired is from Hubby's paternal grandfather. When his health was failing and he needed to move to a place with more assistance, I was offered this set from his old apartment. It is a blue pattern, with flowers and birds that are very penguin like. The flowers seem very oriental in design. The stamp on the bottom states (from top to bottom, commas indicate line break) "Old Bow, Kaki Yemon, Woods Wape, Enoch 1764, Ralph 1750, Wood & Sons, England". The ink lines are all blurred a bit, some parts more than others.

The most recently acquired dish set is the one from Hubby's paternal aunt that we received last night. Again, a red paisley design that is very intricate on all the dishes. The other dish sets have a fair bit of white space around the designs, but not this set. The designs cover the whole of the dish surface, making them very bold. The bottom stamp (again, top to bottom, commas indicate line breaks) states "Paisley, (c) made in England by, Johnson Bros, A genuine hand engraving, detergent and acid, resisting, dishwasher safe, ironstone". I wonder if it is really dishwasher safe, not sure I'm willing to find out.

My hutch, also from Hubby's paternal grandfather, brought down from Wisconsin by Hubby's Mom and Dad, is very full.

I have very grandiose ideas of brunch, out on my porch, for all my girl friends. I truly enjoy entertaining, its the work before hand that is daunting. I remind myself that its worth it, and continue dreaming. Hmmm.... my birthday is coming up, or I could aim for something next fall.... or.... oooo, ideas, ideas, ideas! Those I have no shortage of!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Neato Things I'm now using

I am a fan of Google, I like what they create. Things I'm playing with and enjoying:

If you get on any of these, let me know via comments and we can find each other. Facebook is officially off my "regularly used" site list. It will import my blog posts, but I'm not getting on that site again, if I can help it. They keep changing privacy settings and user interfaces. No thank you. So, all those who call me "friend", come find me on google!