Friday, February 29, 2008

Or...not so much the beach

Well, it turns out Alex doesn't, after all, have to go do the job at the beach, so we're still here.

Having been gone so much, he's also been absent from the blog and today he asked me to post a picture of him to make up for it. So here it is, along with one that he took of me:

Day of rest? Rest? Bah!

Leap year day was pre-ordained as a day of rest from Blog365, but if I rested today you might all think I had just disappeared.

Alex has to go do a quick job at the beach, and we're all going with him. Came up suddenly, and I'm not sure if I'll have access from there, so please take this as my "Away" message.

Back Monday, if not before.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

By Popular Request

This is the other picture of those fern thingies. As I said, they're about 10 feet tall. I don't know what they are or what they're called, but I've always liked them.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

And still more

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

More photos from the waterfall gardens

Monday, February 25, 2008

Photos from today

First installment - more over the next couple of days.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Owen Meany - Chapter 3

If I were a book, I would be A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving.

We're taking a chapter a week, posted on Sunday mornings. Click for the posts on Chapter One and Chapter Two.

(Take the Book Quiz yourself at the Blue Pyramid.)

I particularly enjoyed Owen's enjoyment of the panty situation in Chapter 3.

He's so small and unusual that you do feel protective toward him, and it's nice to see him best the cousins at their own kind of game. But that's not really what I found attractive about this part of the story. Owen is so able to take care of himself emotionally that the physical indignities he suffers don't matter that much, so while his "win" is nice, it's not the point.

I loved that part mainly because Owen was having fun. You don't see a lot of that in this book.

(Apologies to those of you who dislike the word "panties" - it wasn't me, it was John Irving.)

So that was my favorite part of this chapter. As you know, I'm hosting a quilt retreat at the moment, so for today I'll just give you a few quotes that I found particularly apt or expressive and leave the symbolism and analysis to you-all this week.

As in many things, my mother could be extremely accomplished without being in the least original or even intuitive.
Notice that he doesn't say his mother was not creative.

I love this quote because, even though I consider myself both original and intuitive, this observation describes my view of translation.

I kind of liked the fact that, as a translator, my job was confined to restating what other people had said. I was often able to improve the text, so that the English translation was superior in quality to the Spanish original, but I never ever changed the content or, unless requested, even the mood of the information being communicated.

My Aunt Martha--like many Americans--could become quite tyrannical in the defense of democracy.
No explanation necessary.

Chaos disturbed her; mayhem was mayhem, even if people were having a good time; bad weather was bad weather, even if no one seemed to mind.
This statement does not describe me personally, but isn't it great? You just know the type.

Mrs. Hoyt was the first person I remember who said that to criticize a specific American president was not anti-American; that to criticize a specific American policy was not antipatriotic; and that to disapprove of our involvement in a particular war against the communists was not the same as taking the communists' side.
Timely, huh?

This book was published in 1989. Twenty years later, people are still having to point this out.

Canon Mackie says I worry about "mere words" too much. Mere words?

I love his incomprehension. Mere words.

Words are my best medium. They can be meaningless, and they can be misused, but here on the Internet, they're what we've got. Whole relationships can spring up and flourish around mere words.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Fewer photos than usual

Because of some car trouble, I wasn't with the ladies when they went to the oxcart factory this time, so I couldn't take the 2/08 version of the pictures I always take there.

But I did take these at the souvenir shop and the restaurant. (The car was Rita's and it's fine now, BTW.)

Friday, February 22, 2008

Retreat outing

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Thanks, Dad!

So yesterday was the first day of the retreat. Imagine my surprise when my dad called us up during dinner.

I had heard something about a lunar eclipse, but hadn't given it much thought. I've always missed them before, either due to circumstance or weather or other factors.

But Dad had all the information we needed - start time, totality and...well, okay. That's about all we needed.

It was beautiful. Thanks for the heads-up.

(Photo from the Wiki, naturally. Although, true to the nature of the Internet, I got it from Phydeaux, who got it from Mustang Bobby, who got it from Wikipedia ... all before the photo itself was even 24 hours old.)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Heading out

The retreat starts today, so I'll be out of town for a week. Unless something unspeakable happens to Rita's computer, though, I should still be able to post & check email on a daily basis.

Expect some more of the same old, same old gorgeous pictures from paradise, particularly on Friday and Monday.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I hope you did too

I heard a story today that ended, "So Dan ate the cows' feet and I ate the tripe."


Thanks to Kona for providing the proper terminology, and for turning a "huh, here's something I could post about" moment into a potential World Wide Meme.

And thanks to Brave Sir Robin for requesting photos. We do aim to please :)

Okay, everybody, what's lurking in the back of your closet?

Monday, February 18, 2008

High School Me

Looking for something else, today I came across a bag containing all the buttons I used to wear on my denim jacket in high school.

  • A Commander Salamander pin (Freebie from a punk sort of store in Washington DC that became something of a Thing among certain groups in my high school. Much-prized items were brought back from Model UN and other DC field trips. [Ask my about my red silk salamander tie...])
  • Another Straight for Gay Rights
  • Practice Nonviolence
  • Hard Rock Café (Freebie pin)
  • Question Authority
  • A flag of Japan
  • No more Hibakusha (what that means)
  • Love animals don't eat them (Picture of Winnie the Pooh)
  • Four little buttons of the Wandering Fool (The symbol of my college. That's right. The Wandering Fool was the symbol of my college)
  • A rainbow-striped pig (Always got the most attention of all my buttons)
  • A little map of the world
  • Military Intelligence Is A Contradiction In Terms
  • Snoopy yawning with Woodstock on his head
  • Extinct: Too much armour not enough brains (Picture of a dinosaur)
  • Hard Rock Café again (classy purchased version)
  • Nuclear Moratorium
  • Snoopy Has Fleas
  • Nuclear-Free Zone

The bag also contained (not from high school) two diaper clips - for securing cloth diapers without pins - and a bullet I found on the ground in either El Salvador or Nicaragua.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Owen Meany - Chapter 2

If I were a book, I would be A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving.

We're taking a chapter a week, posted on Sunday mornings. The Chapter One post is here.

Not a lot of folks are playing at this point, but there's still plenty of time to join us.

You guys? This is a very good book.

(Take the Book Quiz yourself at the Blue Pyramid.)

While I remember the basic plot of the book, it turns out that I read it long enough ago that much of the detail is fresh to me on this reading.

I didn't even remember the armadillo.

Also, as tends to happen, the material means things to me at this particular moment that it wouldn't have the last time anyway.

I most particularly enjoyed the way that Dan Needham was able to help Johnny see a confusing situation more clearly.

Well--friendship being one thing, and the armadillo quite another--I was so outraged by this discovery that I needed to talk to Dan Needham. As always, Dan made himself available.

Dan didn't just soothe Johnny. He examined Owen's motives, and at the same time tried to help Johnny find an acceptable arrangement for the damaged armadillo.

And so Dan and I became quite emotional, while we struggled to find a way to make the armadillo's appearance acceptable--but that was the point, Dan concluded: there was no way that any or all of this was acceptable.

He saw purpose and meaning in what appeared, on the surface, to be nothing more than destruction and loss.

These are some densely packed chapters, and there are plenty of other things to focus on. Which part did you like most?

Tabby's announcement at the dinner table?
The description of the cousins?
Owen's interaction with them?
The flash forward to adolescent Owen commenting on the development of the Vietnam war?

Heh. Now I feel like an English teacher.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

And there was glitter

Remember the art supply thing I got for Julia at the thrift store when we were in the states?

They seem to have enjoyed it.

Friday, February 15, 2008

And it doesn't smell that great either

The car I drive, like the cell phone I am soon to be toting, is not mine at all, but a sort of long-term loan.

Some much-needed work was done on it while I was on my trip, and on the whole, I have no complaints about the arrangement.

I will note, though, that the decor is not of my choosing. It was someone well-meaning, but misguided, that placed that air freshener on that rear-view mirror.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Kaleidoscope Revisited

I blogged the making of this quilt back in May but I don't think I ever posted a decent photo of the whole thing.

I needed to link to a picture of it for this afternoon's Question of the Day at Shakesville, and also needed a post for today, it is again.

It's a traditional quilt pattern called Kaleidoscope, but I messed with the color placement and stuff (obviously), so the quilt is titled Organic Kaleidoscope.

It was made for a Costa Rica/Hawaii quilt show where the theme was "Two Tropics, One Quilt" - pretty broad topic, right? So I used the traditional block pattern but went tropical with my interpretation of it.

You'd think, since I identify it as my favorite piece of art, that I would actually hang it somewhere other than over the banister, right? Maybe in the morning.

(Oh, and those are six-inch blocks, so the whole thing measures about 42" x 54".)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Home late


Montessori school meetings are all very positive and inspiring, but they are long.

In lieu of a post, please accept this song, which I have been enjoying a lot recently.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

On good deeds and punishment

I did some shopping for somebody today and wanted to drop the groceries off at her house. Her house is up a long, narrow, steep back road that always takes longer to drive than I think it's going to.

If I had a cell phone, I could have called to see if anybody was home. But I don't.

Figuring somebody (out of a family of six) was bound to be home as dinner time approached, I went ahead and drove up to her house.

Nobody was home.

But the sun was starting to set and I enjoyed the drive itself. Come, enjoy it with me:

And then I got home and Yolanda called to tell me she had bought a new cell phone (and phone line) and was giving me her old one.

Monday, February 11, 2008

First day of third grade, fourth day of first grade

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Owen Meany - Chapter 1

So as we have established, if I were a book I would be A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving.

(Take the Book Quiz yourself at the Blue Pyramid.)

I've read the book before, and it is even part of my small permanent collection, so I have invited all comers to join me in reading or rereading it now.

Watch for themes of faith vs doubt, and of fate and preparing for one's destiny.

We'll take a chapter a week,

I've read the book probably twice before, but it's been many years and, while I did remember the basic plot and the importance of sports in the book,* I had forgotten about all the comparative religion and town history, especially right in the first chapter there. I was a little concerned when it dived right in to the Old and New Testaments and the Book of Common Prayer, but then they lifted up Owen and everything was okay.

And of course I quickly remembered how well written it is.

From the blog Wondering Mind:

In Owen Meany John Irving has created an amazing narrative structure that slips effortlessly between three separate time periods, makes repeated references to previous descriptions to keep them alive in the reader's mind (lending itself well to one continual read or to a disjointed read over several weeks - which is often the case with me). Symbolism is rife and the outcome of the denouement proves just how strong Irving is in honing a broad story filled not only with a plethora of engaging characters, but also a long and deep history for each - Irving isn't one to go jumping into writing a story until after many months of thought and preparation.
(Full blog entry here.)

So how about you? Are you reading for the first time, or rereading? You like? Thoughts so far?

*You listening, pidomon? It's about sports! I'll give you a pass while you're out of town, but I hope you come play with us when you get back.

For today, we'll just use the regular Blogger comment system, which will be fine for drive-by comments or dialogs that take place over the course of one or more days.

If it turns out that there are two or more people online at the same time wanting to engage in an actual real-time conversation, I can try to find an interface more suited to that for next week. For the time being, you'll need to reload the comment box manually to see if there are any replies.

That is, if anybody plays :)

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Phy's Quilt

Those of you who read Phydeaux and Phriends will have seen this already, but for the rest of you, here is one of the two small quilts I made while in North Carolina.

Phydeaux knew about his at least part of the time I was making it, but Pidomon didn't, so I didn't want to say anything about either one until he got his.

In my usual last-minute...ness, I neglected to take photos of the finished products, so am relying on the guys to provide me with same. Phy did an admirable job with his, as you can see. Click for extreme closeup, if you are so inclined.

Pidomon says he's going to send me a picture too, but his arrived just before he left town on business, so we'll just have to wait till he's back in town for the other photo.

The two quilts are, aesthetically, very different, but they were made using the exact same method: cutting shapes from fabric, fusing them to a background, and free-motion stitching around them to finish the edges. The free motion stitching also serves to quilt the piece. They're both quite small - this one is about 12 x 16 inches.

Friday, February 08, 2008

BSOD - The "Don't You Wish You Lived in a Developing Country?" Edition

Well, it turned out to be the very worst kind of Blue Screen of Death. Like, actual death.

So I spent much of the day acting as Alex's personal shopper, going around town to different little hole-in-the-wall computer stores to pick up price quotes.

Why not just call the various computer stores on the phone, you ask? Well, aside from the fact that then they'll want to send the information by fax (our fax machine is up), I think this morning's chat with Phydeaux captures the essence of that question:

me: wanna know how useless the CR phone book is?

phydeauxspeaks: sure

me: there's no "computers" section in the yellow pages

phydeauxspeaks: wow

me: It goes from "fuel" to "shocks" to "pawn shops" to "compressors" to "air compressors" to "premixed concrete"

All of which are contiguous, alphabetically, in Spanish, and none of which has more than three numbers listed under it.

"Combustibles" to "Concreto Premezclado" - passing right over "Computadoras"

AND?? There are 4 million people in this country. That's NOT THAT MANY.

But they divided up the yellow pages into /counting/ five different regions, so you can look something up in the whole wrong region and never even realize it.

AND the regions are helpfully vague: Northern Region, Southern Region, etc. etc.

Not even by province (of course there are seven of those, so that would be worse in a way)

phydeauxspeaks: sounds like ... fun

me: oh, I can go on and on about the Costa Rican phone book.

I just did.

phydeauxspeaks: :)

me: I can't think what other heading computers would be under.

phydeauxspeaks: me, either


me: Thought I found it once under "Centros de Cómputo" but not in this book

Can we just discuss for a moment the idiocy of including the word "la" in one's alphabetizing endeavors?

To say nothing of "para"

phydeauxspeaks: LOL

me: I can't believe it's not one of the two dozen "Equipment" categories.

phydeauxspeaks: Yeah, I have a problem with blogrolls for that same reason (with "the" obviously)

me: "Urethane Foam," sure. But "Computers?" Don't be silly.

But as I was saying, I keep getting excited because I'll see a computer or Internet boxed ad, but it's just the phone company touting its own services anywhere they had some extra space to fill.



So, I found it.
Now that I don't have time to use it.

/Weak, broken whisper/
Informatics. The topic is "Informatics"

Thursday, February 07, 2008


If you believe in reincarnation, let this be a warning to you. Endeavor never to come back as a surveyor's computer.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

First grade

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Things that are most important for school:

by Julia

  1. Wear comfortable clothes.
  2. Eat healthy food.
  3. To make sure that when children grow up, for them to be good people. For them to plant, to be good people, and to not be a robber.
  4. If they're sick, for the teachers to send them straight home. But if their parents are not there, they'll just have to leave them there [at school] until they come to pick them up.
  5. To make lots of exercise, and a part of making exercise is going outside to play.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Guest poet


By Robin

Cats are fun, cats are cheerful
Cats are funny and delightful
When they're angry, hiss and scratch
And like having mice in a batch
Cats like climbing up the trees
And like rubbing on peoples' knees
Cats like climbing up on logs
And often run away from dogs
Cats never enter in a dog house
Unless inside there is a mouse
Cats never play like dogs
But sometimes even run after frogs
Cats like taking lots of naps
And often climb up in peoples' laps
Cats like drinking lots of milk
And their coats often look like silk
Often cats are in a living room
And with toys they're a zoom
Cats are happy when they purr
And cuddle in the sun when they say "brrr"
Cats have triangle shaped ears
And sometimes play in front of mirrors
Cats always have whiskers
And also have brothers and sisters
Unlike people, cats can't bow
But they can meow and meow.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Pull up a comfy chair

Get a big steaming mug of your favorite beverage, and if you don't have a copy, go check out A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving from the library or pick it up at your friendly neighborhood used book store.

The Book Quiz matched me up with this book, and it's a good one, so I invite you to read (or reread) it with me.

I'm thinking a chapter a week, and I'll try to get some sort of interface in here where we can actually talk about it (if anybody plays) next Sunday morning.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

An inconsequential meme for an inconsequential holiday

By way of Phy, make your own album cover for fun and...well, pretty much just for fun.

The title of the random Wiki article you get when you click here is the name of your band.

The last four words in the last of these random quotes is your album title. (Okay, I fudged that one. The last quote wasn't that good, so I asked someone to pick a number and used that one instead.)

The third random Flickr picture (top right) here is your cover art.

Happy Groundhog Day, everyone.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Welcome home snippets

Smiling indulgently at the insane drivers. (Turn signals? Whatever for?)

Breaking out at actual giggles when passing a cow standing placidly in the middle of the street. In town.

Hearing a squirrel on the roof. Big, honkin' squirrel, sounds like. Looking out window to check. That's no squirrel. That's my neighbor's chicken.

Finding out that work was done on the car while I was away: new clutch, brake work, something in the suspension, new boot, etc. Total cost: about $200.

Stopping by the mechanic because of a new squeaking sound in the suspension. He rides around the block with us, hears the sound. Gets out, rocks the car with his hands, listening. Opens the hood, listens some more. Greases the hood latch, sends me on my way.

Taking a walk around the block with Robin (around the block being just shy of two miles in our neighborhood).

A click a day for good causes

The Hunger Site The Breast Cancer Site The Child Health Site The Literacy Site The Rainforest Site The Animal Rescue Site

Added 6/12/06

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