Thursday, October 29, 2009

Gearing up for Halloween

It's finally here! As you read this I am working on a list of items I'll be bringing into the office for a spooky treat day and taking photos of the candy and decorations at home to share with you. For now, I will leave you with a photo of the precious pumpkin cake my dear partner made for her Halloween food day at work. Happy Thursday!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pints for Penguins

What better way to spend your Wednesday evening than eating Spin! Pizza and sampling 5 varieties of Boulevard beer all while mingling with other zoo lovers? The Kansas City Zoo has long been an organization that my dear partner and I support. We are members, enter the zoo anytime for free, and receive invitations to special events throughout the year that we enjoy immensely. My favorite event is the Christmas pizza party with crafts, pictures with Santa, warm drinks, and luminaries along the paths. However, the price tag for their annual fundraiser, Jazzoo, was too steep. We talked about going many time, but in the end, we just couldn't justify the expense. It seems that Randy and his team have finally realized that everyday folk want to help out, too. And how ingenious to lure us out with pizza and beer?!

I understand the event was sold out. I'm glad to hear it, because it was a great time. Guests were led into the lobby of the IMAX theater where tables and seating were plentiful. Zoo keepers brought at least a dozen creatures to entertain the guests. A DJ played a very fun mix of tunes to keep everyone lively. The pizza was great, the beer was great. It never felt over-crowded or too loud. The mixture of people was diverse, from zoo staff to the genteel. The otters came out to play, something I have only witnessed once before.

Great work, Kansas City Zoo! I won't be around to enjoy the next installment, Corks for Conservation on Wednesday, November 11, but for those of you interested, tickets go on sale today!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Mom and Dad

I don't communicate willingly with my parents. It's a long, pathetic story, but it is what it is. I haven't seen my father in about 2 years. I can't even remember the last time I laid eyes on my mother. So, as you might imagine, I was caught off guard when a picture of my father appeared on my Facebook page in the "People You Might Know" column.

Then, my sister mentioned that my mother is also on Myspace. It never, ever occured to me to look for her until Laura told me that. And, yup, here she is:

A picture with a stufffed animal? Really?

Ok, that is just weird.

My trip to Lebanon and Springfield (oh, and my sister moved in)

Just some thoughts...

First of all, after much scrambling to pull it all together, my dear partner and I did make it down to my best friend's son's first birthday party on Saturday in Lebanon, Missouri. I finished a hat and scarf for him the night before - phew!

The drive to Lebanon and later, Springfield, was odd because my dear partner and I drove both of our vehicles to pick up my sister and her belongings. So, I was alone in the car for hours. I found that, except on I-44 (oh, how I hate that stretch of highway) I enjoyed the drive, especially because I could put my iPod on shuffle and harmonize to IG, the Dixie Chicks, and whatever else came on all at the top of my lungs without getting into trouble. It was GREAT!

On my last trip to Springfield for what may be a very long time, I had to eat at Fuji. As always, it was so wonderful. I have yet to locate an affordable, delicious Japanese steakhouse in Kansas City.

The move was successful, though moving mattresses in a truck at speeds above 60 mph requires a bit more thought than any of us had really given the situation beforehand. On the other hand, when would I have had another opportunity to get to know Bolivar or make a purchase at their fine Wal-mart? Oh, and the lesson on using racheting straps was one I will always treasure, especially since the strap I bought had to be cut off once I arrived home.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Don't Forget! It's Food for Fines Week at the Kansas City Public Library

Food for Fines Week | Kansas City Public Library

Shared via AddThis

When you find yourself asking, "Why?"

O ME! O life!... of the questions of these recurring;
Of the endless trains of the faithless—of cities fill’d with the foolish;
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light—of the objects mean—of the struggle ever renew’d;
Of the poor results of all—of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me; 5
Of the empty and useless years of the rest—with the rest me intertwined;
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?

That you are here—that life exists, and identity;
That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.

Walt Whitman - Leaves of Grass (1900)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Meet Harper-licious. She's not vicious.

Meet Harper.

It was Saturday, February 21, 2009. We came across Harper, known then as Lizzy, late one Saturday afternoon while shopping at Petco on North Oak. We had no intention of adopting a dog when we went into the store, but her sad eyes and involuntary flinching created a fire in us both to see that this beautiful, gentle soul found a soft place to land in this world. We snagged the essentials (collar, lead, food, and crate) and arrived home to an evening of coaxing her up on the couch to watch TV with us.

The folks at FOPAS, from whom we adopted Harper, didn't know much about her background. She was about 1.5 years old, they guessed.  It was clear from her body language that she had suffered at the hands of her previous owner. She had been found by the Platte County sheriff's department wandering around a back road. Her ribs were prominent in her frail body. At first, she couldn't be coaxed into rooms with linoleum or tile floors or through  a door where someone stood, as though she feared she might be kicked. She wouldn't even look at us directly, turning her head as if anticipating a blow to the face or head. Her movements were a giant flinch waiting to happen. It was heart breaking.

A family tragedy struck that week, forcing my partner to make an unexpected trip to St. Louis on Harper's first full weekend with us. We had talked about taking Harper to a local off-leash park to get some much needed exercise and socialization. My partner feared how she might react. I was anxious, as well, but I had to try it at least once. I decided to go when I thought no one else would be there.

Harper and I at the park about 7:00 am. She carefully inspected the perimeter while avoiding the lone man walking with his italian greyhounds, the only other park patrons. I sat at the picnic table under a distant tree. Harper wandered close by me, also avoiding contact with the crowd slowly forming at the center of the park. A man with two dogs came and sat with me, coaxing me into the main group. I was surprised that Harper followed, still uneasy, but cautiously interacting with the other dogs. I met several people that morning and the following days who, over the course of many months, have been interested in Harper's progress - kind, supportive, and encouraging of her as she has emerged from her shell of mistrust and fear.  Every Saturday and Sunday morning and many random weekday afternoons, my partner and I make our way to the park - coffee cups, tennis ball flingers, frisbee, and gallon jug of water in hand. I have even designated one of my beloved sling bags as my "dog park bag" stocked with doggie wipes, hand sanitizer, sun screen, and bug spray. On days when our usual park is unavailable, we make the long drive to another area dog park. Harper loves romping through the fields and forest, and will even venture into the water sometimes. The rule is now that Harper may not be in the house for more than 24 hours without a trip to the park or a full day at a local daycare. She is one very social animal, 8 months later.

Harper remains cautious about new people, often swerving to avoid the outstretched hands of those with whom she is unfamiliar at the park. Those she does know are more and more often favoured with the opportuinty to pet her. Unfortunately, once in a while she will bark at someone she doesn't know when they arrive at the park. Of course I am always right there, ordering her away and apologizing for her rude behavior. So, why am I telling you all of this? Because this past Saturday, an incident occured that left me reeling.

We had been at the park for over an hour when a man arrived and Harper began barking at him. I ran over to get her, apologized, and was stunned to hear him say, "You better get that dog away from me, because I'll kick it." I remarked that his threat seemed harsh, extreme, and wholly inappropriate. He repeated his threat again, telling me that my dog did not belong in the park, was not socialized, and again assured me that my dog was about to receive the force of his foot if she came any closer. Disgusted, I threw up my hands and walked away after explaining that if he kicked my dog, I would call the police. He yelled after me to argue that he would be jusitifed kicking Harper if she bit him. I agreed that if she bit him, kicking the dog may be justifiable, but that was not what he had threatened Harper with the first 3 times. He told me to shut up and get my dog out of the park, repeating that she was not suited to be there. I asked for his name but he refused to tell me. With an attitude like his, it's no suprise that Harper or any dog would bark at him.

I was able to get his license plate number and the make and model of his car. I'll edit the post to include that later. Anyway, I was disgusted and trembling in fury. Luckily, two of my long-time dog park friends showed up as I was leaving, so I felt comfortable returning to the park with Harper. She did not bark at the man, and he did not approach me to continue the argument. I wonder though, what would you have done?

Tempting Fate, and the Seasonal Flu

I totally chickened out of getting a seasonal flu shot today. Weeks ago my employer announced that the company would be offering free flu shots to anyone interested. I dutifully signed up and put the appointment in my Outlook calendar. But this morning, when the reminder popped up I was suddenly gripped with anxiety about the needle, the possibility of pain at the site of injection, migraines, headache, fever, and muscle pain. I just couldn't bring myself to walk down to the room where shots were being given. After all, I haven't had the flu in years. *knock on wood*

Friday, October 2, 2009

Follow me to Sunset!

I did it! I found my colorway using a palatte generator from Adobe, called Kuler. As with most Adobe applications, I am not able to embed the product in my blog directly, but if you're interested, click this link: Colorway - Sunset and tell me what you think!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Making my Own Colorway

Much of my free time has recently been spent pouring over the blog at PolkaDotCottage. It all started this spring when I began searching for a round loom knitting pattern for fingerless gloves. I stumbled upon Lisa Clarke's pattern at, and I was hooked. The pattern itself had seen numerous updates with tips and observations about Lisa's trials and errors in a friendly and down-to-earth tone that feels very approachable. Soon I was reading her archives and falling deeply in love with Lisa's sense of color and willingness to share her process. If you take the time to look into her projects, I highly suggest looking for the beautiful beach quilt and the fingerless gloves. One of the projects that Lisa blogged that has influenced me most is what she calls Evolution of a Color Scheme. I spent much time oohing and ahhing over the beautiful mosaics she created when trying to establish a new colorway with no real thought of trying the proces myself. But last night, coming home from some household shopping, the colors of sunset knocked me down in awe. I felt the need to perfectly memorize the blue of the sky around me for my next project. I decided to try Lisa's process to capture just the right colors.

1. IMG_1784 - Dustday laundry ripple window (23 September, 2009), 2. Retrato en Azul, 3. Endless walk..., 4. hommage to Van Gogh, 5. Choose your blue..., 6. Yellow Ochre, 7. Beyond - Halloween handspun yarn, 8. Dune detail #23, 9. Great Sand Dunes National Park, 10. blue_boats, 11. Stairs in Sheraton Miramar Resort El Gouna, Egypt, 12. Yes it is colorful !, 13. Beautifully bare, 14. Bale Of Straw during sunset, 15. Blue Mosque [Istambul], 16. Endless walk...

"What now?" you're probably asking. The long answer is to use a color palatte generator to determine my 3 main colors plus a lightening color like white or cream and then head out in search of my yarn. But the real answer, for now at least, is that I am going to sit back and admire this beautiful mosaic while patting myself on the back for learning how to use Flickr favorites and Big Huge Labs in the process of creating the very mosaics I have been long admiring. Oh, and I'm going to pay more attention to the color palletes that (ahem, this sounds so corny) the Earth presents me with everyday.