Friday, August 31, 2007

The Post of Um

I was thinking of posting the lyrics of a pretty or fun song. Or telling you about my weekend plans (a wedding and two days working at the faire). Or reporting that I was able to get some more things up on my site (unfortunately, no). Sorry, this is the best you're going to get out of me.

I have a cold and a very slight fever. It's all in my head. I just downed two NyQuil's. I'll be out for the count very soon. Good night.

So far, still going to the wedding.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

I'm Up!

I'm up, I'm up, I'm up!

Ok, I mean my website! www.burninglakearts.com is back!

Yes, it's a mere speck to its former glory, but the rest will come in time.

I feel good about this. I feel accomplished. Go me!

I think I'll celebrate with some yummy salmon cakes for dinner and some radioactive wine! (Ok, it's not really radioactive, it's the yummy stuff I got at the Lake Anna Winery during the VA Renaissance Faire.)

Yay, me and my website-publishing coolness!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

It's About Tomorrow

Well, this is whatever it is.

I signed up for a registry and hosting package. I've transferred my domain successfully. I've been using my lovely software to develop pages. I figured out how to use that software to publish said lovely pages. Now, I must wait for that to synchronize with the host.

This means that tomorrow, my website burninglakearts.com should be back up, filled with...well...a whole lot of nothing. For the moment!

It will take some time for me to rebuild my picture albums and they won't be nearly as neat as Photosite, but it will be my own. Two days of downtime in transition isn't too bad.

Thanks for your patience with me, my faithful readers! I can't wait to get back up and running!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Moonshine

This morning, I woke up before my alarm as I always do. Before glancing at the clock, I noticed a line of spots of light on my pillow. I turned the other way and moved the shade a smidgen (my bed is between two windows). There was the moon's bright white face shining down at me, clouds floating lazily around it. I closed my eyes to soak in this light for the thirty minutes until my alarm went off.

I wasted no time hitting the snooze button this morning, unlike what I usually do, but sat up in my bed, looking out at the moon at it entered the penumbra shadow of the Earth. I still had to get ready for work though, so I did my Pilate's and washed and dressed and all that jazz. When I was done, the moon was half covered in the umbra. I put the finishing touches on my morning (gathering breakfast and lunch and my bag) and the moon had lowered below the tree line.

Once on the drive in, we saw a tiny sepia sliver of moon in the sky, the rest completely obstructed by the umbra shadow, before the sun came up.

Good morning!

Monday, August 27, 2007

On the Lookout

In the wee hours of the morning tomorrow, parts of Asia, Australia, and the Americas will be treated to a total lunar eclipse. Check out NASA's Eclipse Home Page for viewing information in your area. Looks like it's going to be in totality just as I'm waking up to start my day. Wahoo! It's nice when I don't have to make any special plans to see the show.

The Old Astronomer to His Pupil

Reach me down my Tycho Brahe, I would know him when we meet,
When I share my later science, sitting humbly at his feet;
He may know the law of all things, yet be ignorant of how
We are working to completion, working on from then to now.

Pray remember that I leave you all my theory complete,
Lacking only certain data for your adding, as is meet,
And remember men will scorn it, 'tis original and true,
And the obloquy of newness may fall bitterly on you.

But, my pupil, as my pupil you have learned the worth of scorn,
You have laughed with me at pity, we have joyed to be forlorn,
What for us are all distractions of men's fellowship and smiles;
What for us the Goddess Pleasure with her meretricious smiles!

You may tell that German College that their honor comes too late,
But they must not waste repentance on the grizzly savant's fate.
Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light;
I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.

~ Sarah Williams

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The 2007 Fall Hiking Spree

The Prince George's County parks authority, in partnership with the Maryland National Park and Planning Commission, are sponsoring a big hiking event. We live in an area that is surrounded by many state and county parks; with waters to kayak, and trails through old forests to hike or ride. This year, they've listed twelve trails in the county and, if you hike six of them, you get a cool maple walking stick and a little shield to put on it indicating the year. Neat!

Today was the first hike, at the Patuxent River Park where we frequently kayak. They had a little kick-off event with information about the riverkeeper, local wildlife, and an introduction to geocaching (which I would love to do more of). Then, a group of some thirty people (including rather young children) led by a guide hit the trail.

The guided hike was nice in that there was much to learn, but the large group was not so nice. Even though the guide asked us to hike quietly, the larger families or groups of hikers just chatted away like they were at some kind of sporting event. I would have much preferred to go it with mom and Fox only then to deal with all that noise. And, of course, no wildlife was to be seen because people were so loud. But, one of six hikes are completed, and the other five will be unguided, and therefore not in a huge group of obnoxiously loud people.

It was hot! It was really hot! We all had water, and we were all drinking it, but I'm certain it was not nearly enough. I've had a headache since we got back. More water, more rest, I'll be ok!

In other news, I purchased a web hosting plan, so the big website move will happen in a few days. Have a look-see at my site now, as it will go away forever in a week or so. And then, expect it to be under construction for a while! I'll keep you up to date as best I can.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Get Up and Celebrate!

Congratulations, Joyce and James!

I make it no secret to you, faithful blog readers, that weddings are non-existent on my list of things I enjoy doing. Yet, I get invited to them, and I go to them. Maybe it's because I recognize that such a day is special to someone who, in some way or form, want to share it with me.

Today was my neighbor's wedding. She has lived in that house only a little less years than my parents have lived in this one. I went to school and played with her twin sons, who are my age. We're not in each other's houses every night, but we chat pleasantly when we cross paths near daily. She's a constant. There are few people in this neighborhood who are the original owners of their houses, but my parents are, and she is. We have known her for a very long time.

We had seen her now-husband around, and she talked about the fun things they would do together during those yard work chat times. He is a very pleasant man. Even so, when the invitation arrived to be at their wedding, it was a bit of a surprise to us, and not at the same time.

I wasn't out-of-my-socks excited about going to this wedding (which is true for all weddings, in general), but I am so very glad I did. I've been to quite a few wedding ceremonies and celebrations, and we've already established that I'm not particularly fond of them. This was, so far, the best wedding I have ever had the pleasure to attend.

There was something surreal about it, maybe because we have known her for so long. Her ceremony was lovely, her reception was wonderful, and though we didn't know all but one of her guests, everyone was wonderful. It was a great way to spend the afternoon.

I am honored that she invited my parents and I, and very happy that we went. So I'll say it again; Congratulations, Joyce and James. If every day you spend together is as glorious as this one, you will have a very happy life together indeed.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Starting Without Me

Well this is it. The Maryland Renaissance Festival starts tomorrow. I won't be anywhere near it, I'll be at a wedding.

This will be the first time in a good three years that I haven't been able to make it on opening day. I won't even be there on Sunday, but that was just the luck of the draw. I was not scheduled to work and so other things got scheduled.

It's ok. I won't be at Faire until the fourth day of operation (there's another wedding on the third day). It doesn't bother me that much that I'll be missing a lot of the festival that I enjoy so much.

Really!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

With Urgency

Last week, msn.com featured a two-day series of articles about missing adults and how they are portrayed in the media. The fact is, if you know someone who is missing, don't expect the media to help you find them unless they are a pretty, young, Caucasian female. There is nothing that accounts for this serious inconsistency in media exposure. Frankly, it made me sick to my stomach to read about it.

The article mentioned a non-profit organization similar to the federally-funded National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), the National Center for Missing Adults (NCMA). This organization gives voice to the adults who are missing, and to the families who are searching for them. And the most dreadful news regarding the NCMA is that the bill to provide it with government financial support is sitting in the hands of our congressional representatives untouched.

The NCMA expunged its resources, even including the founder's personal savings, to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina find missing loved ones. They did this at the request of the US government with promises that they would be financially reimbursed for their efforts. The NCMA has been forced to greatly downsize its staff to continue operating, and they've been struggling to do it ever since.

It's hard to say how current the information on their website is, as most of the dates are from 2006. The fact, though, is that they seem to be still there and are still in need of help. The current bill to re-establish federal funds for this organization was introduced to the Congress on January 11th of this year and has not gone past the introduction stage. It is HR 423, to authorize the Attorney General to provide grants to organizations to find missing adults.

You can urge your representatives to make a move on this bill. You can go to http://www.theyaremissed.org/ and make a donation. You can do something, even if you've never been in a situation to need the services of the NCMA. Perhaps you may consider, if you went missing, who would give your loved ones the help they need to find you? Wouldn't you want someone on their side and yours?

I read the MSN feature last week. The whole time I was thinking about my friends in Idaho, and their search for a friend, Landon Orcutt, who went missing over a year ago. Willow blogged about their continuing efforts just Tuesday.

I know it is impossible to support every cause, but it is crucial to support those organizations that work to bring aid to the innocent, and comfort and hope to their families. Just because they are adults doesn't mean they are less in need.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Wishes

I'm wishing I was closer to some good friends. Or they were closer to me. One of those would be really nice.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Homeward Bound

I'm sitting in the railway station.
Got a ticket for my destination.
On a tour of one-night stands my suitcase and guitar in hand.
And ev'ry stop is neatly planned for a poet and a one-man band.
Homeward bound,
I wish I was,
Homeward bound,
Home where my thought's escaping,
Home where my music's playing,
Home where my love lies waiting
Silently for me.

Ev'ry day's an endless stream
Of cigarettes and magazines.
And each town looks the same to me, the movies and the factories
And ev'ry stranger's face I see reminds me that I long to be,
Homeward bound,
I wish I was,
Homeward bound,
Home where my thought's escaping,
Home where my music's playing,
Home where my love lies waiting
Silently for me.

Tonight I'll sing my songs again,
I'll play the game and pretend.
But all my words come back to me in shades of mediocrity
Like emptiness in harmony I need someone to comfort me.
Homeward bound,
I wish I was,
Homeward bound,
Home where my thought's escaping,
Home where my music's playing,
Home where my love lies waiting
Silently for me.
Silently for me.

I just read an article about the Endeavour shuttle that's set to land in about thirty minutes at Kennedy Space Center. What an amazing thing the space program is. We send shuttles to the International Space Station with a fair amount of regularity, despite the amount of breaking foam and the history of deadly malfunctions. Still, into the stars we go.

The stars fascinate me. I could spend hours gazing into the black depths of the night sky, studying the twinkling points of light so far away. I wonder if the astronauts still look at the stars with wonder, or if they're less moved by it since they've been among them.

Then we wonder if human earthlings would ever be able to live on another planet. It's not even about the rate at which we are destroying our own (our days on this planet are numbered however you slice it), but for the sake of exploration and discovery. We would do it because we can.

I know I'll never see space the way those brave people see it. But I can still look up into the darkness and marvel that it's there, and pray for the safe landing of our traveling earthlings.

Monday, August 20, 2007

It's... Cold?

That's right, cold! I had to wear my sweater all day. I filled my travel mug with hot chocolate instead of water for the ride home. What's with this weather!?!

Well, rain, of course! And as I'm sitting here right now, the lightening is flashing outside and the thunder is booming away.

Actually, I should probably go before the power goes out! My computer isn't hooked up to a UPS anymore.

Tomorrow looks like more of the same. Joy! But we really do need the rain.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

A Little Bit of Erin

I'm talking about the Atlantic tropical storm that was a tropical depression when it hit land over Texas. What was left of her moved into Oklahoma and a pressure system there sent some rains our way, all the way in Maryland. Erin was raining on the parade today.

But we were going to kayak anyway! The rain wasn't so bad, in fact they had mostly stopped by the morning, and the clouds kept the sun at bay. We were going to try to sail, but there was not much wind. Fox, Fae, mom, dad, and I put in at Selby's Landing and headed south to Mattaponi Creek around 1115. That's when the wind picked up. And the tide was on its merry way out. We actually had to work quite a bit to gain the creek.

The rain from Erin over the night raised the water level nicely. Fox and Fae and I went without our pedals, because the aquatic grasses get very thick this time of year. With the water level up a couple inches, only rudders got caught in the grasses. That worked out well!

Occasionally, Erin drizzled on us and it was just a little chilly. But we paddled the two and a half mile length of the creek, and then rafted up for some midday snacking, letting the flow of the creek take us creepingly back to the river. On the way back, I discovered that I can turn around in my kayak on my knees (this is a trick of balance, of course!) while floating. And I even had to do a little bit of paddling this way. Before you think I'm crazy, it was because there was water in my seat and I was tired of sitting in it, so I got up to sponge it out with Fox's sponge since mine was in the most convenient place: the car.

We went back to shore after a three hour outing. Fae wanted to stay out longer, and I did too except that I was tired of being wet (remember, I sat in a puddle of water for much of the time). We packed up and heading home to clean up, get into dry clothes, and go to dinner. We tried something new today and went to a place called Lone Star (as opposed to our usual Red Robin dinner). We had only been there once before, and the server made an expensive error on our bill at that time. But things may have changed, right? There was no problem with the bill, but their choices for food were rather limited, and mostly filled with things I shouldn't be eating. I went outside my diet a tiny bit, but I don't feel bad about it because I've been pretty good at keeping it up. It was the lack of beverage choices that was most annoying. Except for water (which is what I had) all they had to offer were things I can't consume in the restrictions of my diet; black tea, soda, beer. The server did have a rather insulting reaction when I asked if they had lemonade. Almost every time we try to change things up a little after our kayak trips ends up not working out as well as Red Robin. Maybe we should just stick with what we know!

So, that's my weekend! Tomorrow is supposed to be more rain. I hope so, because we really need it, and my mom bought a Crepe Myrtle to put out front near where the Maple used to be that should really get planted. I guess I won't be getting a Sakura yet. Do you know how difficult it is to plant a tree when the ground is as hard as the sidewalk? It's hard!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Shopping Day

My mother and I are starting to really dislike Saturdays. It's the only day we can really get out to do our shopping for all the essentials; food, cat litter, and anything else we might need. Today's shopping day also included finding a couple wedding presents. Let us pause while I jump for joy.

Yeah, that was a joke.

Don't get me wrong, I am happy to give people things. I am happy to give people things that they need or things that they want. And I am happy to do this to celebrate any number of occasions: weddings or new babies or birthdays or Tuesdays. But shopping for weddings is hard because I'm not only considering the one of the pair that I know, but I must also consider the one that I don't know. If they have a registry, that's great, because then I can pick an item that I know they want that is in my price range.

I'm seeing two ends of one particular issue and it's kind of ironic. Etiquette says that gifts are never obligatory, and I believe that whole-heartedly. This same rule of etiquette also says it's tacky beyond measure to include gift requests (ie notices of registry) in invitations. I've been invited to three weddings during this years Renn-Faire season. Yes, I'm going to all three despite weddings being right up there with root canals on my list of favorite things to do.

Two of the three invitations included a registry notice of some kind. While I'm happy to have it, I did notice that I thought it was incredibly rude to have included it. After all, a wedding is not an excuse to get something for free. The third invitation included nothing of the kind, as it should be. But I'm learning that the happy couple is being flooded with questions on where they are registered or what kind of things they would need, even though they specifically said what they want is the presence of their friends at the celebration of their union. I guess this means that their friends love them very much and want to help them out with their new together life the best why they know how. Good for you, happy couple, for not being gift-grubbers (and that's not to say the other two happy couples are), and good for you, friends of the happy couple who want to come armed with gifts anyway.

I still think option three is the best way to go. The invitation is a request of a person's presence, not a request of a person's money or gift, and should remain strictly as a "come celebrate with us" notification. While the fielding of constant questions may be annoying (I asked them too, but I had something in mind, my parents and friends who are also invited wanted to know), I think that's the best way to go that doesn't breach any of those unspoken and little practiced etiquette rules. I'm not looking down on the other couples for including their registry notices, because if we didn't have them, we'd be asking, but I do want to congratulate couple number three for keeping those things separate as it should be. Bravo!

Even with a list, shopping for a wedding gift is not particularly fun to me. And I'm a little bitter because all three of these people are getting married during a time where I've come to count on being able to make extra money (which, of course, I'm not making because I choose to go to their weddings). I brought it upon myself, I know. I could have refused to go. But they are special people, and even though I'm terrible company at weddings, they've still expressed that they want me there. So, there I go. I've only got a couple unmarried friends left. Let this be a notice to you all right now: do not get married during the Maryland Renaissance Festival unless you plan to be married AT the festival where I can go on my lunch break!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Mathmatically Challenged

We all dine out on occasion, right? Most every day type restaurants have appetizers on their menu. Appetizers are supposed to make you ready to eat by eating a little bit of something (yes, that's flawed logic, but that's not the point), and so they're usually served in big enough portions so that everyone at the table may have a bit. Sounds good, eh?

Have you ever been to a burger joint called Red Robin? We have a few of those around here, it's our favorite place to go after kayaking. The food is good and hot and the service is always quick. If we get an appetizer, it's usually at our table one or two minutes before our food. True, that's not enough time to eat an appetizer, but that's also not the point.

Red Robin has this wonderful appetizer called "Towering Onion Rings." This is a tower (heh) of thirteen battered and fried onion rings served with two kinds of dipping sauce. It's yummy! But there's a tiny questionable point about them. There are thirteen rings, thirteen is one of those numbers than cannot be divided equally but by one or thirteen. Since a party of thirteen is rare for almost any restaurant, that means that it is impossible to evenly split up the appetizer of onion rings without dividing the onion rings themselves! Who thought that up?!

Wow, I've given you something really deep to think about, haven't I? Prime numbers in restaurant appetizers!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Better Days

I just had my annual review. I got four points out of six (that they never give) and a rather decent salary increase. Adolf and Boss² had some quite nice things to say about my work, my attitude, the things I had successfully improved upon from last year (when my score was a 3.6, for the record). I was pleasantly surprised. It's so often when you are doing your best that it feels like it's not noticed. Maybe it was noticed. Maybe I've learned to say what they want to hear, too.

Ok, I'm still pretty bumbed about killing a deer. There's a small crack in the fender of my car. I'm thankful Saturns are plastic, actually, because it might have been a near irreparable dent. A crack isn't much better than a dent, but I know my car won't rust, and it may not be too expensive to replace.

It's Wednesday. I'm halfway through my first week back. I'd still rather be in Idaho.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A Not So Good Day

And not just because I killed a poor innocent fawn.

Maybe it is because I killed a poor innocent fawn.

I had a bit of advanced warning that everyone seems to be having a problem with the new Adolf. I even prepared some stones to carry with me; help me stay grounded, help prevent any negativity from my coworkers from hanging around me. I just got back from a rather nice vacation, after all. I want that nice feeling to linger for a while. Even with my rocks, it has been impossible to not feel down in the dumps today.

I learned that this Adolf doesn't like it when I come in early with my dad, on those rare days when he needs to come in early. Adolf said I could, but I must work my regular shift too (for "coverage"). This means that I must wake up at 0300, drive fifty miles, get to work at 0500 or earlier, and work until 1530 like a regular day, and then drive fifty miles home. That's ten or more hours and an earlier start. Previous Adolfs never had a problem with me coming in early and leaving eight hours later. I think that just means that this Adolf is incompetent when it comes to my job. Once more, when OBC says they'll work with you, they lie.

Working the extra hours wouldn't be so bad if I didn't have so far to drive or so early to wake up or got paid overtime. See, any time you work less than eighty hours in a pay period, you can't get overtime. So, even thought half of those hours is PTO, I won't get paid overtime for the two or so hours they want me to work because I didn't work those PTO hours. If that doesn't make sense to you, sorry. It basically means I'd have to work extra but wouldn't get paid extra for it. And I know dad was upset because he really hates making that drive alone. I don't feel like giving OBC anything for free, including my extra time.

Yesterday, it seemed like my stones were working. First day back from vacation wasn't so bad. Even the five mile traffic back-up wasn't so bad. Even the blow-out of my tire that required changing on the shoulder of a very busy and dangerous interstate wasn't so bad. I just wanted to be home. My barriers that protect me from the less than positive feelings of others stopped working when I killed the fawn, and dad had to drive the rest of the way. And they haven't started up again.

I thought today would be better, but it's not. And I still have to wash poor fawn guts from my car. And buy a new tire. And come back to work tomorrow being resentful that I couldn't come in at 0500 and leave at 1300.

My eyes hurt. And I didn't mean to kill the deer.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Few Days Left

The time is fast approaching when every day of the week will be full with one activity or another. So, we went kayaking today!

We put in a Queen Anne around 1040 and headed north. It took us one hour to reach the impassable tree and another hour going back to the dock. The water level was really low and we had to get out in several places.

I learned a little during this outing, though. My dad will not blow his whistle if he needs help, and then yell at us for going ahead because he didn't blow his whistle indicating he needed help. My mom thinks that Fox and I always go ahead even when this was the first time we decided to play around a bit, and no matter where we are, we are always keeping our eyes on the less experienced. Actually, the way things ended, it wasn't that enjoyable at all. I didn't think we did anything differently than any other outing except that we went ahead a little. I could kayak like they do; just go on ahead and not care where anyone else is. But I worry for those paddling with me who may have less skill than I do. But it seems like it's also asking too much for them to let me know if they need assistance. Yeah, I'm a little resentful that both of my parents decided to bitch about being behind us when much of my paddling time is spent worrying about what trouble they will get in to. And their complaint sure was not about worry for me. That didn't exactly say "we're glad you're home, honey."

Poor Fox found a wasp nest among the floating dock. They got him twice! I didn't go near once we knew it was there. GAH! We need to remember to call the office and let them know, and come prepared with a can of wasp-be-gone next time ourselves.

I'm exhausted. I haven't been sleeping well, you see, and I have to go to work tomorrow. Pooh!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Sorry to See it Go

Last night, I broke my portable DVD player. I've had it for a good five years or so. It was really helpful for watching movies at night in my TV-less bedroom. Sometimes, it was the only privacy I had during the course of the day. The screen was rather small, as small screens go, but it served me well, and was much easier to operate than my humongous laptop for the task at hand.

It broke. I opened it up, and the fold-out screen snapped right off. The cords were still connected so I thought it could be saved, but no. I tried to turn it on but couldn't get a picture. Oh, boo.

So, among the regular weekend outings that usually include grocery shopping, I swung by the local Target and got a new one. This one has a slightly bigger screen and is not a no-name brand, so hopefully it's a little more sturdy. I hate having to replace things that still seem new.

In other news, I am slowly uploading my numerous vacation photographs to their new, temporary home on Snapfish (the site I am forced to use in the face of Photosite's closing). I won't stay with this service, it requires me to purchase things, which I don't plan to do. But it will work for now, until I can figure out how to move my domain to a host I do want to use. I'm glad I've got some time to deal with this, because I have a lot of images to move!

I think you can still view the albums when I'm done, but I have to send you there. We'll find out how that works soon! Remember, it's only temporary.

That's all the excitement for today. Kayaking tomorrow. Wee!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Busy and Not

Today, I had to go to the RennFaire grounds and get my worker pass. Then it was lunch and a little bit of shopping with my mother. Then it was home and an incredibly long nap. I took yesterday and today off to take it easy in the first place, right?

It looks like tomorrow's trip to Ocean City, MD will need to be postponed. That's ok, I've got plenty to do, like dealing with the imminent closing of my website.

I know I haven't had a lot to say for the past couple days. I'm still very tired, and really not doing much, and wishing I was still with my friends. Things will get back to normal eventually!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Slowly Back to Normal

I washed some clothes and sheets and put the DVDs I had brought back in their cases and that's about it. I'll have much to do tomorrow because I didn't have the energy to do much of it today.

While I don't like the humidity because it's so hot, it does put a lot of moisture in the air and therefore on my skin. My poor flesh was cracking in several places in the dryness of Idaho. It's ok, my skin is fast getting back to normal. My mother said that her sister was telling her about it. My aunt's doctor told her it was just a fact of their location (she lives in the dry heat of Park City, Utah). It never occurred to me that spending so much time in moisture-less air would dry out my skin so. Ah, well, I guess there's one benefit to humidity!

There have been some rumblings of thunder. It would be nice to get some rain. And I know I'm not working tomorrow and it's only 2000, but I'm thinking about going to bed. I have a lot of sleep to make up for, and still have to get myself back in this time zone. At least my skin is recovering fast!

I still miss Boise, though. And my friends who live there.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Here I Am Again

Both flights home were perfectly on time. The in flight movie was Shrek 3. It was better the second time. Mom picked me up from the airport and we stopped along the way for dinner (I had had no actual meals all day).

The Boise airport has really sensitive metal detectors. Remind me not to wear these pants when I travel again! I had to be manually scanned, and the wand beeped for every button, zipper, and grommet on my pants. Annoying!

But I'm home. I have two weeks worth of mail to go through, and some important accident related phone calls to make tomorrow. I have a ton of things to do tomorrow, actually.

My cats are cute and cuddly.

I had completely forgotten how unbearably hot it is over here. The head flight attendant made jokes about the Baltimore heat and humidity. I took off my jacket and tried to prepare myself, and the air still hit me like I was running a gauntlet as I walked from the plane to the air conditioned airport. Oh, how I miss Boise's not-humid heat!

I miss my friends too. I miss their nice home (they may not think it's clean, but it's better than my home!) and their fish and their cats. I sure did not want to leave them this morning. Now, I'll just hope I was a good house guest so they won't mind if I visit again.

It's good to be home, it really is. But I had an incredible trip, and it was good to be there too. The more time I spend in Boise, the more I like it. And I really liked being able to talk to my friends without having to use the computer. This morning's farewells had to be made short, lest I started bawling before I even got to security. That was one trip I didn't want to see end.

I know it's way early compared to the time zone I spent the last two weeks in, but I'm going to bed! I've got a lot of sleep to make up for, and so many things to do tomorrow! And nothing I'm trying to say here is actually coming out right anyway.

Then Go The Other Way

This is it! I don't have time to search for a sad smiley! I'll see you all on the East side!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

So Sad When These Days Come

Well, this was it. The last day of a long string of days where life was not about fifty mile commutes or how much more work could be piled onto me. This span of days was about being with friends, about doing something new, about being shown favorite haunts, and really just about living. Much of how my time here in Boise was spent was new to my incredible hosts too. And when it was not new, it was something they knew and enjoyed and wanted to share with me.

This image was taken from Aspen's back window yestereve during our little party for her. How lucky she is to be able to wake up to mountains every day.



Today was a shipping day. In addition to the orders that my hosts had to send out, I also had to send a package; to myself. I didn't break the bank on this trip, which was good, but there was no extra room in my suitcase to start.

After the post office, we went to lunch at this funky little cafe in town, and then headed off to the Idaho History Museum. This place, while nothing like the big museums of the Smithsonian that I'm used to (as you might imagine), had it's own kind of local charm. It was, after all, all about local history. The natives who once flourished, the first settlers and gold miners, the people who worked so hard to develop the city and the beautiful park where the museum stood. I love local history.

Here is a picture of a painting of Idaho's Great Seal, the only one of all US Great Seals to have been designed by a woman, Emma Edwards in 1891:


Pretty neat, huh?

However, the most interesting part of the entire museum, to me, was this:

The doll on the left is from 1927, and was one of 58 dolls sent to the US as part of the "Doll Messengers of Goodwill Project." The project was, you guessed it, to promote goodwill between the US and Japan, and friendship between each country's children. This doll, called Miss Nara and gifted by Japan to the people of Idaho, had been restored in 1994, but is still cracked and in need of repair due to the difference in humidity between Idaho and Japan. The doll on the right is New Miss Nara, given to the people of Idaho after the restoration efforts on the first Miss Nara. Both dolls are in traditional Japanese kimono and surrounded by some really cool accessories. It makes me want to find out what happened to the other 57 dolls that were sent here as part of the program. Sounds like some research is in order!

And here, the last picture of the day and of the trip. Glen and Willow and I around the statue of Shoshoni Sacajawea and her infant son Pomp.


This was not the kind of vacation that I feel came and went. Maybe that was because our days were never boring, even the days where we did not go out were not dull in any way. I also don't feel that I "need a vacation to rest from my vacation," as they say, but I will need a bit of time to get back on track in my time zone.

But I am quite sorry to see it end. I really like this area. The mostly clean, not humid air. The lack of tons of cars and traffic and the calmer atmosphere. The nearness of the city and fun things to do in and around it. And I really like being able to see my friends and talk to them and not have to wait on the computer every day hoping one of them would post something and tell me how they're doing. If I miss nothing else that I leave behind me in Boise, I will miss being able to see my friends. That, after all, was the whole point in coming anyway. It's not as depressing as it may sound! I know I'll be back again. And maybe with some frequent flyer miles to help me along. And maybe with a job prospect and a house prospect or something that would make visiting happen with the folks back in frantic DC. You never know.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Zoo Boise

Today, Glen had an appointment in town and Willow and I had another girly thing to do while we waited for him. After that, it was off to the zoo in Julia Davis Park. It's quite small in comparison to the National Zoo that I'm used to, of course, but the fact that they have a zoo is cool enough for me!

The first thing we saw was this lovely tiger.


We then headed over to another area to say hello to the komodo dragon. I had no idea they were so big!


Next was lunch. We ate in the park because of the convenience. You don't really want to leave when you're in the middle of something, you know? And you use too much energy to go somewhere else anyway. It was rather hot and I was concerned that we wouldn't have the energy to see any more after we ate. So, food at zoo it was!

After a mediocre and not so healthy lunch, we went to their special butterfly exhibit. Glen's shirt was really popular.


I got one white butterfly on my hand, and Willow had a big blue one land on her hair. I guess our shirts were not attractive colors!

Then we saw the rest of the zoo! Even though it was small, I really liked it. We're going to try to hit the Idaho History Museum tomorrow after important work things like shipping are done.

This evening, we visited Aspen. Today was her last day of a really crappy job, and we went over with a few liquors to put in our coffee for a little celebration. I was really glad I got the chance to meet her, she is a very pleasant lady.

And one more picture (of the 160+ I took) for the wonderful O'Danny Girl fans back home:

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Next Time, Check the Weather

No, it didn't rain. (it rained for some thirty seconds this afternoon, though.)

You know, August in many places in the United States is a rather hot month. I know it's particularly hot and humid in my neck of the woods, and while I've never previously been in Idaho in August, I was pretty sure it would be just as hot or worse than Idaho in July. So, naturally, I didn't pack a single warm article of clothing for my trip. Sure, I have a lightweight hoodie and some long pants for the plane, but no long sleeved shirts or long jeans or socks.

So, we picked up the three part tent from Glen's mother Aspen and their extra sleeping bag and headed up to the campsite just outside of Idaho City, Grayback Gulch. We picked a spot where they have camped before, that has a little stream running through it. Well, it's been so incredibly dry lately that there was no stream and the ground was hard. Really hard. We pitched our tents...



... and made dinner. We took silly pictures of us, and this one of the sun shining through the trees.



My friends had one air mattress that they let me use (we forgot to borrow one of those from Aspen too) and I was borrowing a pair of socks and decent shoes from Willow. When it got dark, there really was no reason to stay awake any longer, so to bed we went, around 2200 or so.

HOLY CRAP!!! None of us, not one, suspected it would get so cold! We have no idea the actual temperature, but it was cold! I was so thankful for my hoodie and borrowed socks and sleeping bag, but even so, not much sleep was to be had. And if it wasn't the cold, it was the dogs barking and howling in the distance. Or the ground squirrels who were holding a drill march right outside the tent.

Maybe it wasn't the best night to do it, but I'd never been camping like that before, so I'm still quite happy to have the experience. And in the morning, we had this:


Even the cold night didn't matter so much.

We headed into Idaho City for some breakfast. We really like that town, crazy wolf-hating guy and all. It was just so neat when we saw it a year ago, and I know my friends have been back since then as well.

We decided to take the really long way back to Boise and ended up driving a dirt road through some breathtaking mountains.

Even with the loud cold night, in our crazy ginormous tent, it was a perfect way to spend the night.

Tomorrow, Glen has a dental appointment, so Willow and I will drop him off and probably do some more girly things while we wait for him. After that, it may be the Boise Zoo and the tour train, or we may do that on Tuesday. It's hard to believe that the end of my trip is nigh. But it's not so nigh to consider it over yet!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

This is All You Get Today

This morning, we woke up and headed to a little farmer's and crafter's market downtown. It was cute, and I bought something neat, and we got some fresh berries and green beans and bread for tonight. Then it was home and lunch and here we are!

We're about ready to pack up and head out to the campsite, so I'm posting now because I won't be back in front of a computer until Sunday.

Today is very hot, so I think being in the woods will be nice. I'll take lots of pictures! I also called my dad this morning, so they know that I'm still alive and well and all that jazz.

So, that's the day and the beginning of the weekend and it's time to pack and pick up the tent and be off! Weee!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Not Shut In

My friends' business is rather all-time-consuming. They like to joke that they only get out once a week, and sometimes it's only Willow who gets out that one day a week. It's not a joke, they really do get out into the world once a week! (Of course, it's been much more than that since I've been visiting.)

Since the need arose to do some more business-related shopping, Willow and I went out into the world today (after I put my cheesecake in the oven!). But this time, I was able to add some girly shopping in there too. We picked up some business supplies and some new wood for Glen, then the fun began! On the way to the fabric store and Walmart (the last two business related stops), we went to an awesome bead store. I picked up a few intricate glass beads and I can't wait to design something for them. We also went by Crone's Cupboard, the shop that puts on GoddessFest and I got a new divination deck, because I just couldn't wait to find it when I get home. Then it was off to the fancy jewelry store where I got my desired Idaho Star Garnet in a necklace. I also picked up something for my mother's September birthday, an Idaho Opal (my birthstone being opal), and earrings with teal-colored gems made from the ashes of the most recent Mount Saint Helen's eruption. Cool! And what could be more girly than shopping for jewelry? After that, we went to a stone store to see if they had something called moldevite. They did, and I had to have some. Many people don't like moldevite, a meteor rock, because its vibrations are very strong. I think it's like Reiki in a rock. If you read a description of some of the properties of moldevite, you can substitute that word with Reiki and it would still be a perfect description. I'm excited to use this stuff! So, after the stone place, we headed to the mall for a little giggly, girly escapade. Then we completed the business-related shopping and headed home to start dinner.

We watched a really dumb movie that they bought at Walmart for $1 during dinner. There's a reason why we haven't seen Mark Hamill in anything other than Star Wars! After that, it was up to the office for some work and cheesecake while we watched The Mists of Avalon. I think my friends did not believe me when I said my cheesecake is very rich!

Hmm... I feel like I should be writing in pink after all that girly shopping! Tomorrow the itinerary is a local farmer's market for some fresh fruits and veggies, and to swing by Glen's parents' place to pick up their large tent. We're going to go camping!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Day of Rest

We had such a late night yesterday that we really needed the rest today! Well, there wasn't much rest going on, both Willow and Glen had some orders to make today. Poor Glen works in the hot garage, but Willow and I got to listen to a movie while we worked. I say we, but I was doing hobby work, not livelihood work. And I say listen because we were busy working and not watching much.

I had brought some macrame to work on, and I have a few other projects in mind. Tomorrow is a working day too, and I still have plenty to do. This laptop sure is getting a work out! It had played two movies for us today. I can't recall a time when I've ever used it so much. Good! It was expensive (though I got it on a really good sale)!

I treated my friends to salmon cakes for dinner today. It was the first time I had actually made my mother's recipe, and I think it was very good, if I do say so myself. I can't remember exactly, but tomorrow might be the day I planned to make drunken meatballs. We've got it planned out anyway, even if I don't remember the day! We might go camping on Saturday evening at a camp site just outside Idaho City (you might remember that town from last year's trip). Tomorrow, I will make my favorite and best recipe; New York style cheesecake. Say "yum" with me now!

Yum!

Tomorrow, in addition to my baking and some more work, we're hoping to run by those shops I had wanted to go to (the Star Garnet place, a bead shop, and a few others).

If this were a letter and not my blog, this would be the part where I say I hope all of you are having as fun and restful a time as I'm having right now. There are some cool things in Idaho after all.

I got clawed by Bandit. He was at the top of the carpet tree and was falling off. I reached out to catch him, and managed to do so, with the flesh of my hand. Don't worry! It's not like I've never gotten a cat scratch before! And he didn't fall, which means my rather silly maneuver worked. Go me!

Long live Sloth! The poor thing did not survive twenty-four hours in his new tank. We learned a lot about sea hares while they had him, so maybe another one can be gotten some day. I guess the time just wasn't right. Maybe later. I love my friends' aquarium. It makes me miss having fish. But I also wouldn't want my cats to get them. While Callie would leave a fish alone, Miss Luna would not. Maybe some day I can have some aquatic life in my home too. We loved Sloth!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

It's Been a Long Day

I'm not really sure why we seemed to have moved so slow this morning. There was no need for haste, really, and we did get up rather early. We had to run by Glen's parent's home, where his mother Aspen had coffee and fresh berry muffins waiting for us. We chatted with her, and I got to meet the adorable puppies she breeds, and see some of her gorgeous dolls. I don't make dolls near of the caliber of Aspen. She's a very sweet lady.

We headed out to Craters of the Moon around 1300 and arrived around 1600, exactly as long as we were expecting to drive. I made a small purchase in the gift shop before we hit the park. Craters of the Moon is a lava field. The last eruption was around 2,000 years ago, and they are predicting another very soon, as has been this fault's pattern, now under Yellowstone. If it wasn't for all the shrubbery and plethora of animals, it would be a vast expanse of wasteland.



But it was not a wasteland. The hardened flow was teeming with life everywhere.

This image is of ice in the Boy Scout Cave. Some of the flow created underground caverns that you (and your trusty flashlight) can wander through. It was a lot like stepping into a dark, air conditioned room. The temperature change was such a welcomed escape from the arid heat topside.



Willow, being Hawaiian, was defining the Hawaiian words that are used to describe the flow of lava. I don't know how to spell them, and I could ask her as she's sitting just behind me, but we're all tired. I might do that later.

The haze you see above the rock is mostly from heat, but there have been a lot of fires in Idaho of late. Some of that fog might be smoke.



After the caves, we went to the campsite and grilled some turkey burgers for dinner. Then we climbed a nearby lava rock hill for this sunset view.




After that (and 110 pictures, I might add), we were back in the car and homeward bound.
On the way, we saw many stars, lots of suicidal bugs, and some very peculiar red lights just outside of Mountain Home (that's a town outside of Boise). Those red lights were actually some of the brush fires that have afflicted this poor state. The air was heavy and the scent of burning wood lingered. The world is thirsty.
While the day had nothing to do with the harvest celebration that is Lughnasadh (unless you count the amazing fertility of the volcanic soil), I can't think of a better way to have spent such a day.
Happy Lughnasadh.