28 November 2010

sharing email addresses

This is a short rant.

People don't generally give out contact information, like phone numbers and mailing addresses of other people, acquaintances, to third parties without the permission of those acquaintances. Why do people give out acquaintances' email addresses to third parties, including Facebook, evite, without permission? Arghhh.

23 November 2010


The shawl I'm crocheting for my wife's relative is a doily pattern with a pineapple motif intended for use with thread, dating from 1944. Recently (actually, years), people have been doing or modifying these with yarn to make shawls and this pattern is one of them.

Before I started I looked at what yarn people used and what size hook. I also looked at what hook people used with the yarn I bought for it and settled on the average. However, after I worked on it a while, I estimated that it was going to be shrug sized (cover shoulders) and not really shawl sized (cover back as well). I thought about how to extend the pattern and ripped out some rows to incorporate more pineapples and an additional rows of them. A woman who has made many of them suggested making this a practice one and to make another with the hook she uses. No time for that. Ugh. I think it will work out. Next time I'll try a bigger hook, but then, by the time I'm done with this, I'll have a modified pattern for a full shawl and could do it again, assuming it works out.

pieces framed

Back in Oct I took a few small things to a frame shop to get them framed as a group. It's a remembrance collection of my mother. There was a writing, a picture, a crocheted pansy, and a small drawn design. I haven't tried to look up the writing on the web to see if she authored it, but it's in her handwriting. She had it framed. The picture shows her in front of her labyrinth garden before her illness started, so as I remember her. The other items also represent elements of her interests and life. When the sun comes out again I'll try to take a picture of it. Camera flash will reflect off the glass front.

It was ready to be picked up about two weeks ago, but they didn't do such a good job with the mounting, so I had them fix it and it was ready again last week.

Over the weekend my wife injured her leg, so yesterday I stayed home to be available for her and went to the frame shop and picked it up. I wasn't in a big hurry to pick it up because it's more reminders of her death.

I've been thinking about that and the follow ons lately after my father's indication that he didn't want the stepping stone he suggested I make as a "permanent" marking in her garden. Yes, his communication is indirect like that.

I didn't communicate with her very much because he read her mail and email and filtered it. I wasn't comfortable (?) with that. I haven't had any direct communication with him for many years, so now I have none at all. On his side of the "family" there is one cousin that I have had some contact with, but not much. I haven't wanted to deal with that since the summer either, though she has sent a couple emails. In addition, in the aftermath emails, it is clear that I'll not have any more contact with my sisters, so her death has been very isolating. She was the tie that kept some measure of connection between us. (I have a brother who lives in the southeast somewhere.)

On my mother's side, there was some talk with my aunts when I was there that it would be good if we three visited with them more. That's something we didn't do because of the physical distance as well as the emotional distance created by my father. The problem with visiting them is that they have their own, very busy, lives. I haven't had any contact with them since the aftermath emails, so I don't think anything is going to come of that. When there, I suggested getting together for Thanksgiving, but since the aftermath emails, I haven't heard anything from them. I'm planning to send an email to them this week, just to say Thanksgiving.

The "aftermath emails" are the ones where my father told us about his attitude toward my mother in light of her fear for her safety while they were married. He calls it infidelity. Others, like me, think of it as self preservation and that they should have divorced years ago.

13 November 2010

chicken sweater

Our older chicken in her sweater. There are large openings on the sides for her wings and what is left of her neck feathers have moved on top of the neck hole. Her neck and body are usually mostly rust (chicken red), but now the white, inner part of the feathers show. Her body is pretty bare. She hopped up on the wall of the coop and after I took the picture, she jumped down and landed with a thud because she has few flight feathers to provide lift.

Meanwhile, the other chicken was wandering around in the yard. There are feathers everywhere around the yard. She is a pullet now, with her wattles, so isn't going to change much anymore. She is a golden-laced wyandotte, which have this coloring. She has a rose comb, which is flat and bumpy. The other chicken is a golden star and has a single comb. They both have tan ear feathers, so lay "brown" eggs, or will when the younger one is older. The younger one will probably not molt this year because she hasn't had her feathers very long and hasn't laid.

molting and snatching

Our older chicken is molting now. A lot. She has about one quarter of her feathers left. It's been cool at night, so now is a bad time to do it. It's triggered by the short days, but with them come colder weather.

This morning I looked up chicken sweaters because my wife was concerned about the chicken getting cold, so she made one. It's an hourglass with a neck hole at the narrow part and velcro on the sides at the wide ends. She doesn't much like wearing it, but my wife thinks it will keep her warm at night.

This morning at weightlifting class we did snatches. It's a movement that requires timing, so athletic ability and coordination. I suck at it. It was not a fun class, but something I need to practice if I'm going to snatch.

12 November 2010


We recently finished watching the series (the pilot and six episodes) of "The #1 Ladies Detective Agency". They are quite good. In them, the main character is Mma Precious Ramotswe, the first female private investigator in Botswana, and her assistant is Mma Grace Makutsi. Makutsi graduated from secretarial school with a 97% standing, the highest in the school’s history. She often reminds people of this.

Last week Friday I strained my back somehow doing deadlifts. The warm ups went fine, but did something wrong on that first working set. I continued through the rest of the work out, but my lower back was painful over the weekend. Today was back day again, 97%.

I've been thinking lately about being realistic and goals. I've been trying to push for two years, apparently not hard enough, for good progress. I'm not going at it to compete or improve in sports, so perhaps I should just focus on the long-term fight against sarcopenia and be happy if I have any gains against that. You could say that pushing 97% instead of 100% is enough in that case, except what I'm doing is probably more like 90%, I just don’t know it.

11 November 2010

walk on the "beach"

This afternoon we three went for a walk along the bay shore. Since our daughter came back from camp, she has been interested in looking at birds out the back window of the house. We took our (small) binoculars, this birds-of-the-Bay-Area card we've had for years, and the camera.

There wasn't really a beach. There was this section of mud with a sea gull at the water's edge.

Most of the trail was a muddy path with shells through the shore plants. These plants went usually went to the water's edge.

Looking back from that point, two radio transmission towers can be seen in the distance. To the right is drier and has a shrub that smells like anise, something related to dill.

There were some driftwood logs that looked like old supports for a pier or something that provided places to sit and watch the birds and figure out which ones we were seeing. We identified western grebes, sea gulls (easy), brown pelicans, plovers, and there were a few ducks that were too far away to get a good look.

The above picture has two adult plovers. They are gray with white undersides and black beaks.

In one area we stopped, there was sand with a bunch of different foot prints. Our daughter is pointing to some small prints that we think are from a mouse. The print to the right of her finger is probably from a raccoon. The other ones are of course from birds.

The area is the landing approach path for SFO, so planes were flying overhead headed that way. High enough not to be a nuisance, but loud enough that we knew when they went over.

09 November 2010

scrub jay sketch

This is a scan of the scrub jay I sketched during the drawing session with our daughter. It was drawn in pencil from a picture for reference, then traced over that with pen. We each did different birds. I did two (pencil and pen) and she did three (pencil).

08 November 2010


My wife was out of town for a scrapbooking retreat/workshop over the weekend. I took Friday off work and we met our daughter at school when they returned from camp. The sixth graders had a week-long sleep-away camp for outdoor education. It was like a summer camp, but more focused on learning about nature with the teachers and camp naturalists there.

After her experience with a girl-scout camp over the summer, she was NOT looking forward to this. When she returned, she was feeling much better about it because they had a great time, which is good because she would never want to go on another one if this had went badly.

The wife left a few hours later, Fri afternoon, and didn't return until Sun evening. It wasn't a big deal, but I somehow strained my back doing deadlifts on Fri morning. I thought I would workout in the morning because I was home and that would free up the afternoon to be with our daughter. That part was fine, but my lower back ached all weekend. I don't know what I did to tweak it, because the weight wasn't the most I've done or anything. It's improved somewhat by today. Deadlifts are on Fridays, so there's time for it to heal before it's "a problem", but it probably interfere with other workouts this week.

We managed to do a few errands and I did the usual weekend housework (cleaning, laundry, dishes, etc.), but the latter set was uncomfortable. The worst part was scrubbing up dried cat poop around the kitchen floor Sun morning. Did I mention the pain was the worst in the morning?

Our daughter was interested in looking at the birds in the backyard and checking them against this foldable, laminated sheet of bird pictures we have had for years, well, and the planes flying past in the middle distance, with this small pair of binoculars we've also had. That led to drawing those birds from pictures that I printed from the web. It's been a while since I've done any sketching. I'm' kind of out of practice, not that I'm any good. Takes time to practice.

My wife made a nice scrapbook. She didn't finish everything she wanted to add to it over the weekend and it has room for expansion too.

01 November 2010

the stone 2

I made the stepping stone because my father "suggested" that I make a stepping stone as a marker for my mother, because her ashes were spread in the garden surrounding her labyrinth.

Last night I sent an email to my father with a picture of the stone. In that version of the picture, the plaque was legible. In his response he indicated that he didn't want it anymore, though he didn't say that directly, but wrote that he can't grieve for or forgive her. I wrote a bit about this back in August in the post interpretations.