Saturday, April 30, 2005

Walk For Animals

Today was the annual Walk For Animals, a fun excuse to walk Cocoa with hundreds of other doggies, a few cats (poor babies), a snake, some ponies, and at least one ferret. It's mostly a fundraiser for the Animal Humane Society we adopted Cocoa from, but it's just such fun energy to be around so many doggies at once. This is the third one we've been on with Cocoa, and it's a little different every year. Good changes this year: free ice cream bars, veggie hot dogs. Bad things: they ran out of snacks at the half-way point way too early so all that was left when we got there was water. Yum. I'm not sure why free food is so important at an event like this, but I guess I feel ripped off if I don't get my fair share. Oink.

now that's more like it. really, everyone pushing a dog in a stroller should have to wear a clown costume. Posted by Hello

Hello? This dog is too big for a stroller! At least get him a wagon, for chrissake. I mean, have a little pride, people. Posted by Hello

trendy foo-foo Posted by Hello

All these dogs are wearing clothing. Foo-foo party! Posted by Hello

Extreme foo-foo! Posted by Hello

Bus full 'o' doggies! What if public transportation were like this every day? What fun! Okay, maybe a little hairy, but so friendly! Posted by Hello

Me 'n' Cocoa waiting in line to take the shuttle bus to the walk site. She's wearing her party collar, which she got many compliments on. One woman pointed at Cocoa and exclaimed "Petter Pan!" Yeah, we don't know either.  Posted by Hello

Thursday, April 28, 2005

When it Rains...It Pounds

Dangit. I have a headache again, one of those week-long bastards that just keeps hanging on. And yesterday just as I leaned over to pick up something off the floor, my doggie jumped up on the bed in front of me, causing a head-on collision. So if my head wasn't hurting enough...ouch! And she looked just fine, didn't even phase her. Dogs seem to have rock hard heads, why is that?

So I actually did finish my book reviews that were due by yesterday, a huge accomplishment with a headache. Now I can read whatever I want. I always feel a little frenzied when I'm done with book reviews, like I have to run around the house and pile all the books together that I've been waiting to read, so I won't forget. I have a couple of books on math (Five Golden Rules and Keys to Infinity) that I bought at the Science Museum a while back that I've been wanting to get to, but I'm not sure if that would be too much for my throbbing head right now.

This morning I heard on the radio that Bound To Be Read , an independent bookstore over in St. Paul, is closing its doors. Too bad, it's really a nice store. Evidently they can't compete with the chains and online sales. As a former bookstore employee who worked for a small independent that was swallowed by Barnes & Ignoble, I hate to see independents go under because of the big B&N monsters. But really, I don't know how BTBR could afford the rent for their St. Paul store, being on Grand near Victoria Crossing, next door to Pottery Barn and Cafe Snotte--I mean Latte--anyway, I hate B&N. Their sales people are dolts, and that's the way management likes 'em.

The sun is out today and the lawns are green and it's...39 degrees. Oops, thought we had a nice Spring day, but it's still a bit screwy, like 20 or 30 degrees below normal for this time of year. Well, I might just go for a walk anyway, maybe the sun will do me some good, as long as I shield my head with sunglasses and a hat. If nothing else, a walk will make my dog happy, and that is always a good thing.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Combovers and other humorous science

Did you know the combover was patented?? In 1977, how appropriate. The two geniuses who patented it even provide a diagram of how to perform the maneuver (click the link to see it). And they won an Ig Nobel Award in Engineering for their efforts. What, you've never heard of the Ig Nobels? They are awards for wacky scientific research, such as "The Effect of Country Music on Suicide." One of my personal favorite research papers, although I don't think it won a prize, was an experiment to determine whether Kansas really was as flat as a pancake. If you want to keep up on important research like this, you should read the magazine Annals of Improbable Research.

Wheee! It's fun to play in the pool! Posted by Hello

Where did my ball go? Posted by Hello

Keep Who in Our Thoughts?

The other day I saw a truck with one of those magnetized ribbons on the tailgate, you know the type, they usually say "support our troops" or something like that. My impression is that the ribbon shape is indicative of some memorial thought to go with it. Why, then did this one say "Go Bears"?! Seemed a little inappropriate.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Just watched a NOVA on String Theory that was actually understandable. This ATC is in honor of Einstein's General Theory of Relativity. Posted by Hello

Comb Over Car

Yesterday I was out running errands and saw the driver in the car ahead of me brushing his hair forward. First I thought, hmm that's unusual, seeing a man groom while driving. And I wondered if he was working on a comb-over, since he seemed to be brushing from back to front. As I got a little closer, I realized he had no hair. So what the hell was he doing? Finally I realized it must be an electric razor, not a brush, and that he must be shaving his head. While driving. This is a new one. People. They're funny.

view from the top of Minnehaha Falls. Ah! We're going over the falls! Not. I was standing on a bridge. Posted by Hello

Minnehaha Falls on a rainy April morning. Posted by Hello

Tuesday we went walking in the rain. There were worms on the sidewalks! Ew! Posted by Hello

You've heard of old growth trees. This is a strange growth tree. Posted by Hello

Tuesday was Ben & Jerry's day, when you could get free ice cream all day. I had planned to go get some and then I forgot! How tragic. Posted by Hello

Monday, April 18, 2005

Global Warming

What it was like today: 80 degrees. In frickin' APRIL, people. That's just uncalled for, in my opinion. Fifty-five degrees would be fine, 65 ideal, but 80 is just plain obnoxious in April. I fear what lies ahead in deep summer. Of course, maybe it will be 55 then, who knows? The weather everywhere seems screwy.

Last night I went to sleep after reading a book about Shackleton, not a good idea. I mean, the story is great, but life just keeps getting worse for these poor fellows, so I fall asleep with horrors in my head. Then we had a freakish storm in the middle of the night--wind, rain, thunder and lightning, all the trimmings. Had to rush around closing windows in a sleepy daze. I'm not particularly fond of the storms here. I miss the monsoons in Arizona. Those were so gorgeous. I never realized how good a seat I had in our own backyard until we moved away from there. We could sit on the porch swing out back and watch storms move across the whole valley. All that open sky, it was so amazing. Here I've got no vantage point to watch from, so when the storms come we only know from a weird color in the what sky there is out one window or another, and then, boom, it's on us like white on rice. And I get jumpy before it comes, all those charged ions or whatever making the air crackle, they make me (and all the farm animals) crabby. It feels almost claustrophobic, it's weird. I don't ever remember feeling like that when the storms were approaching in Arizona. Maybe I was just more ready for it there because I'd seen it coming.

It's beautiful outside now, if a little too warm. But everything is exploding, grass is on a rampage to get out of the ground. Our plum tree in the backyard looks like it might bloom tomorrow, while J. is gone. I'll have to get some pictures, it's always so amazing for a few days when the whole thing looks like a puffed up wedding dress, it's so white and fluffy.

So what is a good thing to read right before going to bed? If I read Cloth, Paper, Scissors, or some other crafty thing, then I get all inspired and awake. I always seem to have weird dreams, I just would like to not have disaster and anxiety dreams (nuclear winter, can't find the classroom, it's all the same...). If I could just have those dreams where I find people I'm looking for, or where I can fly--those are the best, even tho they are comical when I think about them later. There are several methods of take-off in these flying dreams: sometimes I flap my arms and take off straight up like a helicopter, sometimes I run down the street and jump up in the air like a plane taking off, and sometimes I just jump off a building or a high cliff and start gliding.

Today's ATC: Ba-da-bing. Yeah, baby. Posted by Hello

Friday, April 15, 2005

My first fabric ATC: Sun Bunny Posted by Hello

Cocoa standing in Minnehaha Creek cooling off Posted by Hello

Spring forces its way past last Fall's rotting leaves Posted by Hello

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Made this ATC last night. I call it Take-out Window. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, April 12, 2005


I love this time of year. Just in the past two days the ground went from dingy brown to bursts of green grass. The trees are starting to bud out and it all feels very hopeful. Last year I hated Spring, because it felt like a mockery of our loss from the previous Spring. But this year it feels better.

Yesterday I was out walking Cocoa and it was a little breezy but very warm, and I just stood on the trail by the river and gazed out over the water and felt the wind on my face. It was one of the many moments I was glad to be living in Minnesota. How can you beat walking along the Mighty Mississippi on a daily basis?

Have you ever noticed the road maps that your mind creates in dreams? When I dream of a particular place I used to live, there are only a few certain roads that exist in great detail, and then it's like the old maps that say "Beyond Here Be Dragons" cuz it's all unknown territory. I dream about Tuscon like that. I remember the bus route I took to the U and the northwest part of town in the foothills where there used to be this great independent bookstore called The Haunted Bookshop. Figures, a bookworm like me would dream about bookstores.

Over the weekend we went to the Bell Museum of Natural History and saw live bugs that live in Minnesota waters. The guy with the bugs was picking them up and said we could pick them up, too, and J. was like "I'll never go in the water again." They did look rather nasty. But there was one that was so amazing and weird, it had what looked like wings but they were actually gills, so when the critter breathed it looked very graceful. And it also looked sort of dragon-like, like the long kind you see in Chinese New Year parades (as opposed to the Western dragons slayed by knights). They also had a really amazing b&w photography exhibit by this fly-fisher. I don't fish but these were amazing photographs. If you go to the website link above you'll see one of his photos on the homepage.

I also went to a new Altered Book Group just starting up in St. Paul and had oodles of fun sitting around gabbing about art and looking at some gorgeous altered books. We kind of took over the middle of this coffee shop, and at one point this young woman (oh boy I must be getting old, she was 24 and seemed like a teenager to me) came over and asked if we were in a class or something. There was also this big lumberjack-looking guy sitting at a table by himself near us, and he seemed to be rolling his eyes at us, but I just chose to ignore him. One woman brought a whole tub of books she'd worked on over the years and it was such a treat to handle them all and talk about them. Most of the people I've met since I got into this art form have just been soooo generous, it's really nice.

Friday, April 08, 2005

This is kind of a manly ATC, dontcha think? Posted by Hello

Thursday, April 07, 2005

What Not To Read Before Going To Bed

Experimental fiction. I'm reading a YA book for review right now and it's like experimental fiction for kids. Funny but very twisted. It incorporates a lot of the fears I remember having as a kid, and many of the stories do not turn out well for the protagonist. So last night I had this terrible long dream that I was kidnapped by a gang and made to be their slave. Even when I escaped after what seemed like weeks (weird how time passes differently in dreams) they came after me. Yikes! I used to have this recurring dream that I was at school in junior high and these older druggie kids captured me out by the lockers (in Arizona our lockers were outside) when no one else was around and they shot me up with some drugs. Here I was just trying to clean out my locker and I got ambushed. As the needle went into my arm I slipped into a coma-like state. I guess I was pretty intimidated by all the "drugs will fry your brain" messages at the time. (This was before Nancy Reagan's dorko "Just Say No" campaign.) Back then it was a class thing--the stoners were a dark breed that kept apart from the rest of us. I don't know if it's still like that.

When I was in junior high I read a lot of Stephen King. I remember I was reading one night in my bed after everyone else had gone to sleep, and I could have sworn I heard the lock mechanism on our front door click open, and the door itself swing open, brushing against the carpet underneath it. Mine was the first room down the hall from the entryway, and I was petrified. Finally I made myself bolt down the hall and into my parents' room at the end of the hall, breathless and giddy with terror. I told my parents what I'd heard and my dad got his GUN out of their bedroom safe and went down the hall in his boxers to check it out. Turns out the door was still closed and the deadbolt was in place. No burglars, no killers, just a really good imagination. They told me to stop reading that stuff late at night, but I don't think I did. I think that was also the year I read Amityville Horror, which I see has a movie remake coming out. I was really into horror for a while there. Now I don't like it. I wonder what changed.

Go TWINS! I also did the drawing on this one. Posted by Hello

Made this ATC today as part of a swap batch. Ah, it's ok. Not brilliant. The lily in the middle is my own drawing, I like that bit. Posted by Hello

This sculpted tree is on my walk in front of someone's house. I think the woman's face looks like something on the bow of a ship. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Singing In The Car

The other day I had the Spider Man theme song in my head, only I couldn't remember all the words. So I dug out our TV tunes CD, volume something or other--the one with all the Saturday Morning Cartoon tunes. I popped it in the CD player in the car on the way to work and played it about 20 times, first to hear all the words and then so I could sing it over and over and over...this is the truly great thing about driving in the car by yourself, something you don't get when you're riding mass transit. It's a completely ridiculous thing to do, and I love it. And you know, it's a rockin' little song...

Is he strong? Listen, bub, he's got radioactive blood!

Yeah, baby. Sing it. Next I'm gonna learn the Underdog song.

Made this ATC today. I like it. Posted by Hello