Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Monday, December 5, 2011
Sunday, November 27, 2011
On Friday, I bought tickets at the local Playhouse and then on Saturday I spent money in six different local businesses. I would have done it anyway, but this advertising campaign got me thinking of getting the job done and doing it all on (mostly) one day.
Small Business Saturday has a Facebook page and so I went to look at the comments of thousands of people who participated in this campaign.
Some businesses decried it saying they didn't have any extra business or that business was really slow. One of those businesses was a repair shop, which I'm not thinking would necessarily have extra business on a Saturday in November unless everyone's lawn mower/snow blower/automobile happened to break down on Small Business Saturday.
Remember in Andy Griffith, Bewitched and shows of that age when there were repair shops for radios and televisions? How quaint that seems now. I have a little wind up alarm clock from high school that I just love and for two decades now I can't find one person willing to fix it. They all say it will cost more to fix than repair.
They're not getting my point about loving the alarm clock. But obviously I've gotten off track.
Apparently SBS, as Imma call it now because Small Business Saturday is too long to keep typing, was designated by the U.S. Senate for November 26. That's just this year, so I don't know what the Senate is doing getting involved, but last year AMEX offered a $25 credit to a limited number of participants who spent at least $25 at a qualified small business. That's nice of them. That's putting their money where their mouth is.
There are, as in most nice stories, a few villains. Who you think the villains are may depend on your political or social leanings.
The media references I've seen have said that AMEX was offered the $25 credit to their cardholders. According to the ungrateful grousing on Facebook, it was to a limited number of registered participants. I think that's fair. AMEX isn't a charity. They want something for their money. They already know who you are, but now they've gotten some extra information about you or whatever they wanted. But they wanted you to register. They're not stupid, either. If they limited the number of participants, that was wise on their part. Shut up and follow the rules is what I'm saying. But then you've probably figured out my political leanings, so this attitude shouldn't surprise you.
Then there are the folks who got the wrong end of the stick, in my humble but accurate opinion. There were people on Facebook who said they went to ONE STORE and spent $25.50 just to claim their $25 credit from AMEX. I'm just disappointed in the Americans who did it only for their own gain.
Now if you really couldn't afford to spend more than $25.50, I think it's nice that you went out and spent the limit and you got something for free. I totally get that and good on you for shopping local to do it. But naturally not the majority in this case and forgive my old-school perspective, but if you have an AMEX card, why can't you shop at more than one store or drop more than 25 bucks during the biggest shopping season of the year?
There were a few folks who complained because the lousy small business they decided to shop at didn't take AMEX. Um...this may be another reason why AMEX is getting behind this project.
Anyone remember when you couldn't use a DISCOVER card anywhere but Sears? Anyone?
Do your homework. Call first. Or how about you go to another store? Sheeple! I declare some people need others to do their thinking.
Then there was the rant from someone who thought the whole thing was about corporate greed.
At any rate, we've all survived the big kickoff to consumerism. Did you shop? Do you have any Black Friday or SBS stories? Is your shopping done?
Friday, November 11, 2011
The school had a really nice Veteran's Day assembly that began with the presentation of the colors by a group of Boy Scouts. Veterans were asked to stand and be recognized. The National Anthem was sung and they did a bang-up job doing it. The 7th and 8th grade chorus sang the songs of each branch of service: Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Coast Guard and Air Force in that order.
There were several student recitations, which mostly I looked on as an excellent opportunity for public speaking, which is a chore so many hate. But for those of us who learn to do it, and even love it, it creates confidence and can open doors of opportunity later in life. (I'm convinced of this, although no one has ever beaten down my door begging me to go on a speaking circuit, so maybe I'm wrong) As I'm listening to the recitations about the flag, the bald eagle and the Statue of Liberty, I'm admiring these kids.
Particularly keeping in mind they're standing in front of middle school peers. What a nightmare.
When it came time for the last recitation, this Army brat perked up. A young man named Dalton had written about his father, who is currently deployed...again...in the Middle East.
I've often thought there should be a little something for the military dependents of the world. If your parent was career military, you know a thing or two about military life and sacrifice. For instance, when they ask veterans to stand while their service's song is played, I think maybe we should be allowed to stand up as well.
No, the children didn't put their lives on the line, but they let mom or dad (mostly dads when you're my age) go away and these days even young children seem to know the parent may not return. I also think widows (or widowers) should be recognized.
No man is an island and all that, you know? It takes a family to send a soldier to war.
Dalton, a military kid in a completely civilian world, stood on the stage this morning and spoke proudly of his father's many deployments, his achievements and goals and his safety. He said, "My dad is in a secure location, so I don't worry so much about his safety." It's also the first time his dad has been away from home for Christmas.
At first, I thought, "Oh, please let his dad be here to surprise him." But then he said this time his dad has only been gone for a month so far.
I have so much respect for the children of the military these days. My dad was career Army, but we were civilians for a period of my childhood. My dad was never deployed into combat. So many kids today are surrounded by civilians while I was fortunate to be surrounded by military kids and families. I knew in the back of my mind that something could happen to my father or the other dads I knew. The Cold War was always a little threatening, but I didn't have to face an actual war.
Find some veterans today and thank them for their service, then remember to thank their family. After that, go find someone who let their mom or dad fight for their country and give the kid a big thank you!
Friday, November 4, 2011
Monday, October 31, 2011
This is why I love Halloween in Des Moines.
Look at the contact between the homeowner and the kids on the porch. Ernest is telling his joke as my niece watches on. I remember a few years ago, I had to coach her to tell her joke. This year, she wouldn't take candy until she told her joke. She'd say, "I have a joke!" and then let it rip. She even changed it up a couple times. Both kids had several jokes they rotated.
When I was a kid, I felt sort of dumb ringing the doorbell and just standing there waiting for candy to drop into my bag. I'm not saying I didn't like Halloween, but after the year I had to wear a coat over my nurse's uniform, I think it went downhill. The only two costumes I remember are that nurse's uniform and a witch costume my mother made. They were both wonderful costumes. I don't seem to recall any others. Maybe my mom can help.
But this post isn't about that.
I'll just kick this into gear and let the Des Moines Register tell you the story since I'm feeling a little lazy this morning:
"A mushroom walks into a bar. "You'll have to leave," the bartender says. "We don't allow mushrooms in here." "Why not?" asked the mushroom. "I'm a fungi."
The credit for providing Des Moines children with the perfect outlet for their most groan-inducing jokes largely goes to one woman, Kathryn Krieg, director of recreation for the Des Moines Playground Commission (later the Parks and Recreation Department) for 43 years.
When Krieg assumed her post in 1931, kids on Beggars' Night were more likely to clamor "Soaps or Eats" than "Trick or Treat." Every year the newspaper ran a long list on Nov. 1 of youths arrested the previous evening for crimes ranging from soaping windows and sidelining streetcars to setting fires and throwing bricks through windows.
The flash point came on Halloween in 1938 when Des Moines police answered a record 550 calls concerning vandalism. Krieg, along with the Community Chest' group work council, began a campaign to encourage less violent forms of Halloween fun.
They set aside Oct. 30 as Beggars' Night and got the word out to the public that on that night - and only that night - children would be allowed to go from door to door and say the phrase "tricks for eats." The council urged that "eats should be given only if such a 'trick' as a song, a poem, a stunt or a musical number, either solo or in group participation, is presented."
The next year, the group work council again promoted the Beggars' Night concept, this time as a way to aid the war effort. An article published in The Des Moines Register on Oct. 29, 1942, carried the headline "Kids! -Don't Help the Axis on Halloween" and included this poem encouraging proper behavior:
"Soap and ticktacks are taboo,
Ringing doorbells? Not for you.
Thoughts of pranks, you must detour,
Lest you bet a saboteur."
The Beggars' Night program was so successful that by the mid-1940's, the number of Halloween police calls in Des Moines had been cut by more than half.
After the war, Krieg continued to issue annual bulletins in the Register laying still more Beggars' Night ground rules, including that children should stay in their own neighborhoods and that parents should turn on their porch lights for trick-or-treaters and accompany small children on their rounds.
Each year, she reiterated that children should not be given candy until they earned it "with a stunt, song, or riddle."
Now on Beggars' Night, a group of preteen girls will occasionally sing a song or a shy kindergartner opt for a cartwheel. For the most part, however, every trick-or-treater old enough to memorize one tells a joke.
Why did Dracula visit the blood bank?
He needed to make a withdrawal.
Krieg retired in 1974, a few years after the Register stopped running her yearly admonition to make children work for their candy. By then, the biggest Beggars' Night concern wasn't the danger trick-or-treaters might represent to the public but the danger some members of the public might represent to trick-or-treaters. Krieg died in March of 1999 at age 94."
Does your community have Beggars' Night or is the candy night always Halloween? Do you have fond memories?
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
There's a television show I've been watching on JLTV called Feed Me Bubbe and I've decided to make some of her recipes. I read a really good blog that today asked if readers wanted to teach themselves something in the month of November.
So I got started early. Anyone here surprised by that?
I made Bubbe's Kasha Varnishkes because that's something I wanted to make right when I saw her make it. I can watch food shows on television and not be bothered one bit with the idea that I should make the recipe I see. But this was interesting because it called for Kasha, which is buckwheat groats. A new grain to try out - that was intriguing.
Not sure where to buy this little delicacy, I asked a friend of mine at work where I could buy Kasha. He said it was hard to find here, so they buy it down in Kansas City. He said next time they go, he would bring me a box. But do you know what happened the next day? He brought me a box.
That was more than two months ago, so with the new challenge and a short trip to the store for bowtie pasta, I whipped up Kasha Varnishkes and a roasted chicken.
The chicken is a whole 'nother story. If you know me, you know I have a thing against chicken. Corporate chicken is what I call it. Tortured animals with nasty carcasses...I'll stop. I don't go into it all because that's sort of rude and because if you really want to know, you can look it up yourself. So chicken is not a dish I will eat unless I know where the chicken came from or if I am a guest at someone's home, right? Another guy at work offered chickens for sale this year from his brother's farm. I decided to follow a second recipe from Bubbe called, if you can believe it, roast chicken.
I saw this show, too. She used a sharp knife to take off some pinfeathers. OK, gross. I do like for my food to come from a farm nearby if I can help it, but I am a typical 21st century North American girl and I do NOT want to get to know my food on such a personal level. I still want it to look like the grocery store invented it.
I was about to pour boiling water over the chicken (don't ask me, I was just following the recipe) when I sort of screamed and jumped away from the sink. The neck was still attached. I'll be darned if I didn't think some pretty awful thoughts of my co-worker and his brother just then. I got my kitchen shears and sort of hacked away at the darn thing all the while making girlie EWWW noises. Disgusting! Making it worse was the stuff hanging out of the neck - I swear to you the bird's head was ripped off rather than chopped.
Edited to add: I was using the dull kitchen shears to disconnect the neck from the blasted animal. I have a pair of sharp ones that are set aside for emergencies such as this, but did I use them? No. Instead I just sawed and hacked my way through. Stubborn much?
I could just spit. Stupid freaking chicken. I hate chicken. I'd like to say I'm over it. Sort of. Now I think I will just cross off everything on my bucket list. I've seen it all.
Below is the dish with the groats and bowtie pasta. I have never made it before or eaten it before. Also, her recipe was a little more confusing than I thought it was going to be. I saw her make it and I had it printed out in front of me, but I think I was trying to make it take less time, so I didn't follow step by step. It's the sort of dish that calls for the cook doing 2-3 things at once. But the recipe was written to have you do one thing at a time, which would have taken longer. Also, I didn't saute the onion and I used canned mushrooms instead of fresh because I wasn't sure I wanted to spend the money on fresh for something I've never done before.
Next up I will make her kugel. I bought the noodles tonight, but I have until the end of November...
Lastly, for those of you who remember that my cell phone takes truly bad photos, this is my cell phone at work. My camera is under the weather (when I can find it), so I just used my phone. This is the result. Looks tasty, eh? I guess I won't win any foodie awards!
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Or just read it below:
Last weekend, I ran the IMT Des Moines Marathon and I wanted to wait before I did a recap of the event. In the meantime, I read someone else’s recap of the event that evening and it occurred to me that he wrote it much as I once would have: stride, pace, pain, mileage, etc.
But this race!!!
This race was meant to be different. There was a lot of hand-wringing on my part as you all know [sheepish]. My goals were different than I had set for any other race.
I didn’t feel well the week before the race, but I suspect that sort of helped to make me happy with my
- It was the best race I've ever run!
- I had fun. My overall pace was 11:56, but I don’t know how fast I ran because my running partner, Tami, and I ran four minutes and walked one minute. Also, I was wearing someone else's Garmin and it was set to different measurements than I use on mine. This was probably a blessing in disguise because I couldn't continually check my pace.
- Got there early without a rush.
- Ran back to my car to get my cell phone. Warm-up!
- Met up with friends from my running club.
- Saw the Grim Reaper at the start, hugged him later near the finish line.
- Mugged for the photographers a couple times rather than having all my photos look as though I'm trying to wreck myself.
- Forgot my gloves at the start line, so I picked up a dark blue pair from the street right in front of the State Capitol and wore them almost the whole time. [I have no shame] They’re Roosevelt Rough Riders blue, so I’ll wear them to the football game this Friday!
- My Garmin watch wouldn't latch onto a satellite, so I wore my friend Cindy’s watch. She’s just the most amazing person to have around on race day. We hoped to match strides with the winners of the full marathon as they lapped us, but we’re pretty sure they took three or four steps to half of one of ours. It was a sort of blur.
- Eight records were set on the day including a 5K in 15:05, which is a 3.1 miles in 15 minutes and 5 seconds. Amazing! That's 4 minutes and 51 seconds per mile. Can you imagine?
- Crossed the finish line after seeing Cindy and my friend Ann, who rode around the course route on her bicycle. I got hugs and a banana. Both very helpful for energy.
- Enjoyed a band called The Snacks at the finish line. Wow! They were slightly insane and completely enjoyable.
- ATE FOOD! I managed to eat BBQ and other snacks including beer. It never bothered my stomach because I didn't run myself to death in this race.
- Laughed. I laughed quite a bit. Remarkable: I'd like to replicate that for every race.
- Stayed almost until the last participant crossed the finish line. I’d like to say I stayed for the entire thing, but I conked out. It was after 3pm and although the course was supposed to close after seven hours, they stood around and waited - and THAT is why the IMT Des Moines Marathon is such an amazing event in my humble but accurate opinion.
- After the race, I didn't cry, I didn’t feel like crying and I had fun. Also, sore? I was not.
- I don't have photos yet, but I will post a couple when I get them.
Now to begin winter running. Fun? no. Challenging? yes.
Friday, October 14, 2011
Apparently, I'm motivated by mysterious forces that include superstitions, logistical planning that would impress the U.S. Army and a strong, motivating motto.
OK, I'm not all that superstitious. I think. Don't put shoes on the bed. That's probably the one thing that sends shivers up my spine. I believe shoes on the bed brings death in the family. So just don't. My grandmother wouldn't approve.
Of course, she may have used that one because shoes are dirty and she was a very good housekeeper.
So I talked about my experience with the Air Force Marathon and how although my time wasn't bad at all, I sort of felt a bit like a failure, which is putting it too strongly. Let's say I was disappointed. I didn't know why I felt so disappointed.
Now I'm pinning it all on the lack of a motto. The motto is what I compare the run against. For the marathon last month, I didn't even have a time goal! I just figured I'd do as well or better than last year's 2:12:44 half in Des Moines. But that didn't happen and without a back up, what was I to do?
I stood at the finish line crying and feeling disoriented and I certainly know for absolutely certain certainteed for sure that I don't want that happening again, so I have decided that my motto for this weekend is:
Enjoy it all.
This means slow down the pace, look at the volunteers (more on this below), drink water slowly, chat with running partner, laugh, listen to the music, read the signs, look at the autumn colors and drink in how really lovely the city of Des Moines is.
My hope for this event is to feel REALLY DARN GOOD at the finish line. Not just not crying, but wanting to stay and see other runners come in, encourage my friends who are in the event and running the full 26.2 miles and even staying and feeling good when my niece comes downtown to run the kid's race that afternoon. If I do cry, maybe it's just because running 13.1 miles isn't that easy. If that's the case, I guess I can handle that.
I'll let you know because I know you're all just dying to hear about the train wreck at the end. HA!
Last month after the Air Force marathon, I volunteered at a 10-mile race here in town. I was a course marshal, which sounds fancy, but it just means I had an orange safety vest and a flag to keep runners from going up the wrong street. As to that, what in the world was I thinking in elementary school when I wanted to be a crosswalk monitor?
So there I stood in the crosswalk looking at runners who were just in mile 2, so they were still happy and fresh. And they didn't look at me! I always wondered why someone would just stand there and not cheer the runners on or say something as we pass, but now I know. It's hard to stand there feeling a little dorky saying things to people you don't know. I like to say thanks to the volunteers anyway, but now I want to pay more attention to the folks who are out there.
OK, I'm out of here for now. I've stated the motto to the universe. I'll go to the expo tomorrow and have a blast.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Monday, September 26, 2011
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Friday, September 2, 2011
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
In the meantime, I've blogged about running again and you can read the excitement here: http://caronr4rproject.blogspot.com/2011/07/is-training-for-full-marathon.html
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Here is a hawk. I can't believe it was only a few days ago and I don't remember his story:
Same hawk looking stately and handsome.
Here's another photo where you can see her eye a little:
Here's Cougie taking a bow:
Here's a close up of the hot dog leftovers. You're welcome:
We learned a lot about Turkey Vultures. They're really quite smart and also a good example of how we're built for our purposes. His head, for example, has no feathers. But that makes it easier for him to keep clean since he eats dead things. His nose also has a huge, open nostril so he can better smell his lunch:
They vomit when they feel trapped, so they're often named Ralph or Chuck. I had my camera zoomed in as much as it would allow, so these photos are grainy. The shot below doesn't show his feathers off as nicely as I hoped, but he is really a pretty bird.
His name is Ralph and here is his story. Ralph is 41 years old. He was hatched at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio as part of a psychology experiment. Who needs to understand the psychology of a turkey vulture is my question. But after the experiment ended and because he was imprinted, he didn't know how to hunt for himself, so he was given to the Nature Center back in the 70s.
Early one summer he spent an entire day standing in a dish of water. They all thought he was just hot and didn't think much of it. But the next day, he was gone. The leathers on his legs had softened to the point where he could get out of them. He flew over to the campground and spent the summer there eluding the naturalists and stealing hot dogs and other food from the campers. He spent that summer out and about, but when it began to get cold again, he came back home and he's been there ever since.
We went over to the Nature Center on the grounds and met some very interesting animals.
First post: the cougar and bobcat. The cougar's name is Cougie and if you're like me, you may initially wonder why in the world a state park in Southern Ohio keeps a cougar. This place is a sanctuary and Cougie, who is 17 years old, was bred on a farm in Colorado where some loser breeds exotic animals for pets. Cougie is declawed and was confiscated from an owner in Ohio. Cougie eats "things left over from when hot dogs are made." OK: gross.
The bobcat, shoot, I can't recall his name, was also bred as a pet. He is 21 years old and also declawed. He had killed the family dog and was locked in a bedroom in an apartment where he lived with a family of human idiots and fools.
You'll get no apologies from me for a strong opinion on this.
He was taken into custody and turned over to the state park where he also eats hot dog leftovers! The bobcat is shy and the first time we saw him, we didn't. We saw what looked to be an empty cage. When he was fed, the naturalist put the food into the enclosure and then told us that he wouldn't eat until we left. Others moved on, but we hid behind the fence and I put the camera up to record him eating. You can tell while he eats that he is watching all over to see that no one sneaks up on him.
Cougie is on YouTube because the video is so long. You don't need to watch the whole thing to get the idea, but the naturalist is speaking and so I kept recording. See the video here.
Here is the bobcat:
Friday, June 17, 2011
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
I planted this rose bush only last year. It came it a gallon jug, so you can imagine how small it was. It went insane, didn't it? Also, I've put out water for the robins that hang out in the front yard. This photo is from my cell phone and as is typical for that, it isn't a good photo. But mostly it doesn't do the roses justice. Everything bloomed at once and it isn't quite as awkward looking in real life as it looks in the photo!
Thursday, May 26, 2011
I've been doing Nature Notes for quite awhile now as a testimony to the friendship I feel for the creator, Michelle.
Years ago, the people in my real life learned of Michelle when I started to refer to her regarding anything to do with birds and wildlife. Rescuing an animal? I run to her blog. Can't identify a bird? I run to her blog. Have a question about ... anything? I run to her blog.
But there's more to it than that. I believe people like Michelle have a love within them that not everyone can claim. Not every teacher has this love, but this sort of love makes them teachers. She's the kind of teacher who will change your life in some way if you pay attention. For those of you who know me in real life, she's like Lois M. Jones: You can imagine how fond I am of Michelle.
Michelle and Rose are two people I consider friends and they both became my first contributors to support my summer-long project of raising money for AIDS orphans in Tanzania. I didn't ask them to do that, so I'm thinking they must count me as a friend in return.
For that, the internet is worth everything.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Do yourself a favor. Read this post I've selected. I chose it because it is a combination of a little bit of the past, her incredible photos and a situation she had just encountered: buying clothespins. I totally heart this post for you. I think you'll enjoy it.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
I found this beauty on my way into the office yesterday morning. He (she?) was on the pavement just steps away from the front door and I was surprised he hadn't been stepped on. I didn't know if touching his beautiful wings would mess something up, so I put my bags on the ground (carefully avoiding the goose poop - we have a nesting pair) and took two envelopes out.
Using the two envelopes, I finally got him moved over to the mulch. He didn't enjoy my attentions and of course, I couldn't sit him down over a cuppa Joe to explain the dangers of people who are just walking out of a door and looking out rather than down. He struggled off the envelopes three times. I felt lucky to get him where I got him.
I prayed for him all morning! I did! I was hoping he just needed to rest and as soon as he gathered himself, he could leave. He was huge, did I mention that? Just gorgeous, too. His body is fuzzy and the browns are lovely shades.
When I went to a late lunch, he was gone. I'm envisioning happy days of flying around making baby moths or whatever extremely handsome moths do in the month of May.
Monday, May 9, 2011
Thursday, May 5, 2011
I awoke this morning to a cup of coffee and CBS news talking endlessly about OBL's death and all the details they think they can muster. They've talked to Navy SEALs, who if they really are talking, should hush themselves. They speak about the damage left behind and the "real" information that wasn't in initial reports as if we've been betrayed. In Journalism school, I swore I would never go into broadcast journalism because I couldn't debase myself enough to cough up the crap I've seen on television since I was a kid.
I believe there is a quality to print journalism that is valuable although naturally I don't always like or believe what I read. But look at the condition of print journalism in this country compared to the television news rating circus.
When I checked my Twitter feed this morning, I found an article from the BBC that both lifted my spirits and gave me my Nature Notes post. It's not long, it's about the fires in Northern Ireland, it's balanced in a way you don't find much these days in environmental journalism and it's beautifully written. The link is at the bottom.
I hope you read it.
Here is an excerpt:
There were collective sighs from firemen, land owners and police as the first rain for three weeks fell on Northern Ireland's smouldering heathlands, woodlands and mountains.
There was also a prolonged hiss.
It came from the last embers being extinguished as the rain drops did their work and saved the environment.
It was that bad. If the dry windy weather had continued the damage would have increased.
Instead of flashing across the dry grass, gorse and heather (often doing nature a favour) the fire had the chance to linger, damaging roots and seeds in the ground.
And the damage has been considerable.
The bodies of charred lizards lie in some areas, in others the charred eggs of ground nesting birds. Food resources have been destroyed, putting newly hatched chicks of many birds, including the endangered hen harrier, at risk of starving.
It is all a subtle balance - or was. Swathes of heather are gone. They will eventually be replaced by coarse grass. It is more competitive than the slow growing heather when it comes to filling the charred gaps.
In the thin soil and peat of the Mourne Mountains, for example, the grass provides no protection against erosion. Heavy rain pouring off steep heather-free hillsides will wash the soil, the loose rocks and the mountain side away.
In just two days human activity has done more damage than has occurred in centuries.
Read the entire article here.
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Sunday, May 1, 2011
That's it. That was my Sunday. I hope yours was just as relaxing as mine.
I've been meaning to do Nature Notes and write about goofy things, but I am busy either: running, swimming, walking, eating, working or sleeping. Except for today. And maybe some other days when laziness has taken over.
If you've been around awhile, you may remember that I get to the running and swimming and little else as things ramp up. But this year, I'm 4.5 months before my first half marathon with the second a month later. I'm starting as early as year 1, but way earlier than last year. I ran just over 10.5 miles last week. I'll get there. What strikes me is how I can be busy and only run 10.5 miles. It's still a circus over here trying to get out the door.
Last fall I planted bulbs and got some nice results. I took photos last week, but there wasn't any sunshine. These were for Nature Notes, which snuck up on me. I took these Thursday morning on my way to work and then never stopped at work long enough to post. This week I have purple tulips that weren't blooming at all last week.
The tulip buds below are now purple. I didn't plan on purple and peach tulips, right? I gardened yesterday and as I beheld the glory that is my little plot I had to admit it has to the most poorly-planned garden I've ever seen. But then there's the whole LiBud tree I have growing in my back yard and all I can say is to know me is to love me and shake your head a lot.
Also, I have a question. Will rabbits eat my onion tops? Because I have rabbits and I thought I had planted onions in this one spot, but there aren't any little green sprouts. Also, I saw a garden today that has onions growing and they're huge already. I hope I didn't plant too late and they grow okay once the Iowa oven begins to bake.
Friday, April 29, 2011
This is toward the end of the short article, but it should be the first thing you read, "Over half of the DNA found in frogs is also found in humans, so if these pesticides kill frogs, imagine what they do to us!"
Pesticides and herbicides are toxic chemicals that generally undergo little to no testing on amphibians prior to their being approved for use. Unfortunately, the law of gravity has it that many of these pesticides end up in waterways, where amphibians live and breed. To make matters worse, amphibians have permeable skin that is highly absorbent. Populations of the endangered mountain yellow-legged frog Rana muscosa that live downwind of highly agricultural areas in California’s Central Valley have disappeared at a significantly higher rate than other populations.
Atrazine, perhaps the most commonly used herbicide on the planet (33 million kg are applied each year in the US alone), can cause hermaphroditism in frogs (males grow female sex organs) at ecologically relevant doses, and can reduce survivorship in salamanders. Atrazine also affects water quality in lakes, resulting in more snails. These snails serve as intermediary hosts of a trematode parasite that burrows into the developing limbs of tadpoles and causes limb malformations.
Roundup (also sold as Touchdown Total) is lethal to gray treefrog and leopard frog tadpoles, and most likely a host of other as yet untested frog species. Roundup is the 2nd most commonly applied herbicide in the USA; it’s produced by Monsanto, the same folks who gave us Agent Orange. Over half of the DNA found in frogs is also found in humans, so if these pesticides kill frogs, imagine what they do to us! Read more about pesticides here, and sign this petition to get Atrazine federally banned and out of production.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Speedy Habib is a joke from a trip I took once...the sort of joke that you shouldn't explain because you weren't there, but there was this guy climbing a mountain side. He was going really fast...oh, forget it. Just trust me. He wasn't Speedy Gonzalez, he was Speedy Habib.
So my computer was at the Indianapolis 500 for the first week I was back and then it realized I had come home because it is almost to the crawl it was before I left. When I returned, the first thing I noticed was missing was the tool bar at the bottom of my monitor screen.
The second thing I noticed was that my Irish keyboard toggle was gone!
I wailed. I tore at my hair. I almost fainted. I told my boss that while I was most grateful for the assistance, and I hated to be a complainer, things were missing that I used.
I didn't tell him it was my Irish keyboard because obviously. I'm not sitting here recruiting Irish folk for jobs in Central Iowa although I'm happy to do so and four years ago found an Irish bloke a job, but I digress.
So here I am without my useful and important keyboard, the one I miss every day of my working life and today I decide to participate in the World o'Twitter. I am quoting Zig Ziglar, who is a smart chap, and I need a hash tag so I can give him credit because although I am completely unfamiliar with Twitter and don't know what I'm doing, I assume I should give the man proper credit. I hit Shift-3, which should give me a hash tag or a pound sign or a sharp sign. Depends all on what sector of the universe you live in, I suppose.
But look what I got instead: #
Now you may feel bewildered at this point and lunging for a view of your 3 key to see the hash tag right there. That's what I just did.
But in a MS Word document, I get a British pound sign. Like a dollar sign $, see? Only for the Royal Wedding. For the other side of the pond. For the losing side of the Revolution. I can't find a hash tag anywhere on my keyboard now unless I'm online. Also confusing for Twitter is the @ sign, which on an Irish keyboard is the double quote key.
See, I was in Word typing out my Twitter because I am lazy (copy&paste) and curious and wanted to see how many characters it was...Whatever! The point is now I am stuck with the Irish keyboard I rarely use but couldn't live without because the toggle has gone missing.
Unless I'm online. Then apparently I am typing in U.S. English. Which means all my Tweets will have to be written out by my very own fingers. Dang. My head hurts.