31 March 2010

Where'd That Come From?

Things you just can't find in Elk Grove, Illinois.

Daughter pounding venison for dinner.

The cutest vole house you've ever seen.

Plenty of low spots full of water with a skim coat of ice on them. Perfect for a girl with winter boots to crack.

Grateful knitting recipients. Cousin-In-Law saw the shark hat I made for Son and liked it, Mom found out and told me, so I made her one too.

Daughter driving all by her self. She drove the car the last 2 miles to parents' house. They live in the middle of nowhere on a dirt road, so there was little chance of a problem. She was a little overly aggressive with the brake pedal the first time she used it, and she wanted to use both feet, but we had both of those problems worked out by the time she pulled into the driveway.

Lake Superior.

24 March 2010

Northern Exposure

This is what driving 375 miles north will get you. You go from the snowstorm mentioned in the last entry to this:

No snow, shining sun, twittering birds. It's as if the U.P. knew that I was coming home to visit.

I'm sitting at the Peter White Public library while Daughter and her new best friend (who she met 10 minutes ago) explore the various levels. I needed to come to the library because Parents live out past the world of cable and ethernet. They have a computer with a dial up modem to connect them to the internet, which is fine for certain applications, but not so much for posting photos. And I have a few photos to share.

One of the iconic images of Marquette is the image of an ore boat on Lake Superior. The U.P. is a large producer of iron ore, and the ore is shipped downstate and to Ohio on huge boats that are very distinctive in appearance. Last night on the local news they mentioned that the shipping season had opened, so when Daughter and I came in to town today I swung by the ore docks.

As I suspected, there was an ore boat being loaded, the Michipicotin. These guys are bout 1000 feet long, and can hold upwards of 70,000 tons of freight. We just happened to be there just as they were actually loading the boat, so we watched for quite a while and listened as the various chutes lowered, released millions of iron ore pellets to cascade down the chute, then were cranked back up again. For all the years I lived here, I think this was the first time I actually saw and heard the ore being loaded onto the boats.

While we were there we also stopped by Presque Isle park. Daughter was a little disappointed that we couldn't walk out to the lighthouse yet again. Last time we were thwarted by flies, this time it was a slightly more substantial obstruction.

I'm actually happy that we couldn't make it. I, being the brilliant knitter that I am, did not bring a hat or mittens with me, and the wind coming in off the lake from Canada was a little on the nippy side.

Speaking of knitting, I also stopped by one of the local yarn stores, Uncommon Threads. Among other things, I picked up some Poems sock yarn to make a pair of socks for Daughter.

It's a lovely wool yarn that has nice gradual changes from one color to the next. Nice gradual changes, that is, until you get to one of these:

Then you get a not so gradual change from green to orange. They couldn't even be bothered to try and match the colors up. So I'll be starting over from here and hoping that there are no more knots further on. It's too bad, too, because it was coming along quite nicely.

So now Daughter and I will head back to the wilderness where I believe this afternoon's agenda is helping Dad fix some of the problems with his computer, then creating a PowerPoint presentation about Clematis so he can speak at the gardening convention in April. Then I'll tackle that sock again while I watch nature unfold outside the living room window.

20 March 2010

The Saturday List - Spring Edition

Let me be the first to wish you all a very happy spring. In accordance with His divine sense of humor, I give you the view from my front porch:

You can't really see it in the picture, but there's still a good amount of snow coming down. On this, the first day of spring.

And the list on this beautiful spring morning is What I'm Going to Do Today:

1. Wake up to see that the day has not begun as hoped for.
2. Wake Daughter up much earlier than she's accustom to on a Saturday morning.
3. Pack my suitcase.
4. Pack Daughter's suitcase.
5. Pack a bunch of random stuff that doesn't go in a suitcase.
6. Put all of the packed stuff in the car.
7. Put myself and Daughter in the car.
8. Drive just north of Milwaukee, then stop at Culvers for lunch and gas.
9. Drive to Parents' house.

So far I've made it to number 5, this computer being one of the random things that needs to be packed. I hope you all have a good spring break, we're going to do our best to have one.

16 March 2010

The Sound of Money

Have you ever heard several hundred dollars? I did, just this morning. I walked into the kitchen to make daughter her morning bagel. She likes them to be warmed up in the microwave for 10 seconds, not toasted. She got out the bagel guillotine and sliced it in half then handed it off to me for schmearing. I slathered it with cream cheese, then went to the microwave, and that's when I heard it.

You know that buzzer sound that they have in game shows when someone gets an answer wrong? That's the sound my microwave makes when you open the door. Not when you turn it on, or press a button, just opening the door make the microwave buzz. Now, it may be that it works just fine, and there would be no problem with continuing to use it, but I am going to proceed on the assumption that if a major appliance is giving me the "sorry, you lose" noise when the door is opened, something is probably seriously wrong.

So we'll be heading off to Sears later today to see if it will be more cost effective to fix it (which Husband and I both think is highly unlikely) or replace it. We purchased this one when we redid the kitchen about 7 years ago, and it seems to me that a microwave should last longer than that, but Husband pointed out that it does get a lot of use. Whichever way we end up going, I'm glad to know that I now know what money sounds like.

Added later in the day:
I overheard this conversation around lunchtime, shortly after Husband realized that he would be unable to microwave some leftovers for his lunch.

H: It's just buzzing, maybe it still works. Why don't you warm this up for me?

S: No thank you. I've already had cancer.

H: Which is why you should do it.

S: Besides, I don't have any insurance.

H: Well I'm sure your symptoms won't show up for a couple of months, and we'll all have federally mandated insurance by then, so we'll all be good.

S: (Walks silently away and goes to the basement.)

H: (To me) The toaster oven still works, right?

12 March 2010

You're Gonna Need a Bigger Boat

You may or may not recognize that statement as a quote from the movie Jaws. Chief Brody is chumming the water and grumbling to himself when a giant shark mouth comes up out of the water inches from his face, then sinks back into the water. It's the first time the heroes actually see what it is that they're dealing with, and it's certainly a lot more than they were expecting.

That's the scene that keeps playing in my head when I see Son wearing my latest creation.

I found the pattern while checking out the blogs of the other people who got gold in the yarn Harlot's Knitting Olympics. I had previously found a pattern for a fish hat and Son showed some interest in me making one for him, so when I found this one, which is more straightforward than the other, I decided to whip one up for him.

The pattern is from the Knitting Ninja, with a few modifications. (For some reason that link isn't working for me right now, hopefully it will for you.) The original pattern has some fins for earflaps, but Son indicated that he would prefer not to have them, so we just went with teeth all the way around the opening for the head. It's nice having an artistic son who enjoys non-standard apparel.

08 March 2010

The Saturday List

I'm late on my list again, but this time it's for a reason. As time goes on and I get older I find that my patience for Hollywood and everything that come out of it becomes smaller and smaller. I'm sure it's because I am turning into a curmudgeon. I don't particularly care who won the awards, I'm not interested in who showed up and who didn't, and I have no desire to know who wore the best dresses and who wore the worst. The fact that millions of dollars was spent to stroke the egos of people who earn far too much money makes me a little mad. So I waited an extra two day so that I could bring you:

What I did Instead of Watching the Oscars

1. I finished knitting a sock. I started these after I made the Olympic sweater because I discovered that I did not have any brown knit socks.

2. Daughter and I watched Phineas and Ferb. There are not a lot of cartoons that I like watching, but this is a good one. The stories are cute, and the songs are quite catchy. I especially like the Perry the Platypus song.

3. I went to Stranglethorn Vale and got my Tauren Hunter to level 37.

4. I rode herd on Daughter to make sure that she got her reading, showering, and flute practice done before bedtime.

All in all, quite an enjoyable evening.