Monday, April 23, 2012

Very Cool

I helped unload the truck the other day after going shopping at the pet store. At one point, I called to him and said, “Want to see something cool?”

He walked over, saying “What’s cool?”

I pointed at the bag of dog food. “Pick that up for a second.”

He complied with a question on his face, so I explained “That’s how much weight I’ve lost!”

It was a 40 pound bag of food, and that was indeed exactly how much weight I’ve lost.

“Isn’t that cool?!” I said.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Earthwatch: Amazon Riverboat Exploration

At long last, I finally got my write-up finished. In my defense, there was a lot to do right away after I got home.

First I had to get all 975+ photos loaded up onto a site where I could then share them with all the other volunteers. This was harder than it sounds – well, okay… not hard exactly, but it sure took a lot of time. I started one evening when I got home from work – and didn’t get finished till well into the following afternoon! I loaded them all and just left my computer on to chug away at it till it was finished; thankfully it never once locked up or froze or anything!

Then I had about 2 weeks to create a presentation for the Eagle River Nature Center about my trip. This meant that I had to contact Earthwatch’s main office down in Boston to ask them for their most recent presentation template – only to find that I had the most recent one. I felt it should be updated, however, so I combed through all the information they had online and picked out all the pertinent facts to plug in to the appropriate spots in the power-point program I had. Once I got all the general information updated, I then started in on the Amazon trip, tagging on 5 more slides at the end. I’m rather pleased with the results, truth be told. I got some good feedback on it, too.

By this time my brother was chomping at the bits for me to get to work on the travelogue. He is my Webmaster, having created it for me a few years ago as a birthday gift. He works heavy construction, so gets the winters off and was looking for something to occupy his time. Plus, spring was getting on (eventually) and he knew he only had so much free time left. If I didn’t get my part done in time, he wouldn’t be able to get his part done till the following winter!

I don’t know if any of you have ever tried your hand at writing; if you have, perhaps you have the same problem I have. Namely BEGINNING a story. That is the hardest sentence to write! I can sometimes just sit there for days on end with the proverbial blank sheet of paper in front of me, just waiting for that sentence to appear.

Thankfully, a computer is a little bit nicer to an author in that we can now start in the middle of a story and edit things out, rearrange things, go back to the beginning and rewrite things – all of that – so much easier! We no longer have to worry about that first sentence quite as much as before computers.

But, as I said, at long last I finally got the write-up completed. The next step was to go through all 975+ photos and pick out the best ones to complement the story – not an easy task, but it was fun to relive the entire trip over and over again – and then think of something witty and informational to say about each one.

The end result can be viewed here:     Amazon Riverboat Exploration

Daisy's Ordeal

Daisy is a good puppy, really she is. But she has this one really bad habit: she eats anything and everything she can get her mouth on.

Friday, Rob had a bunch of guys over at his house working on a truck. They were changing out the tires, replacing the brakes, that sort of thing. While changing the tires, they suddenly realized that 4 of the brand new lug nuts were missing – and highly suspect that Daisy ate them.

All day Saturday & Sunday, we kept an eye on her – hoping that she’d pass them thru on her own. She seemed to be okay, although she did develop a rather severe case of diarrhea and did not seem too interested in drinking. She still played with her ropes and bones, just like normal – and her visit with Grandma was full of Frisbees and walks.

Monday morning Rob said that when he let her out for her morning bathroom break, she didn’t go. So he went home at lunch to let her out and found that she’d messed in her kennel. This meant that runny poop was all over her, her blankets, her toys, and her kennel = which smelled just nasty. So, he got her in the shower and cleaned her up – then hosed down the kennel and got that cleaned up – then put her blankets and all the towels thru the wash – and then put her back in the kennel and went back to work.

I stopped by her house on my way home at 4:30 to let her out and found that I was too late – she’d made another mess. So Rob rushed home from work and did the whole routine again. Daisy was clearly upset about it all, but seemed to be okay otherwise – but he noticed some blood in the mess, and she is drooling (highly unusual for her) a bit.

He had to put her back in her kennel again because he had promised to help a friend out that night. And of course when he got back home, he found another mess to clean up so had to go thru the whole routine yet again.

I haven’t heard yet this morning, but I am going to assume that he slept on the couch last night, getting up every 2 hours or so to let her out, thereby hopefully preventing yet another accident.

I also hope that he takes her in to the vet to get those lug nuts out before any permanent damage is done!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Books and Movies

He and I have started a new thing together, involving books and movies. It’s been quite fun, I must say!

First, the book:

When he threw his back out he would lie on the floor to stretch it out. To help pass the time I started to read to him from the book I had just gotten: Burial Ground by Michael McBride. It’s a lot slower going than just reading to myself, but it’s so much fun we’re continuing even though his back is better. Each day I go over to his house and read a chapter or two (or three if I’m feeling up to it) while he cooks me dinner. We talk about the characters, speculate on the plot, and compare notes to my own experiences of the Peruvian Jungle (where this book takes place).

Second, the movies:

Some time ago, I bought the DVD set of Game of Thrones, an HBO series on TV. I saved watching it until he got his big screen TV hooked up in his new house – that was about a week ago. We’ve been watching two episodes a night ever since, and are both TOTALLY hooked. What a fantastic series that is! It’s really hard to believe its on TV – it reminds me a lot of The Lord of the Rings trilogy from a few years ago. Sadly we’re almost done with it, and I’m fairly certain that season 2 won’t be available on DVD for a while. Happily, though, I just heard that it signed on for season 3 – so we have a lot to look forward to.

And there are always more books to read.

That Lady at the Coffee Shop with the Star Trek Lunch Pail

I stopped in at Café del Mundo yesterday after work to treat myself with a cup of Ibarra Chocolate (which is so much better than Ghirardelli Chocolate, being more spicy and way less sweet) and write some letters. I’m behind in my correspondence and thought I should get caught up since I’m back in the card-making mode.

I ordered my chocolate, found me a good table, and got all spread out ready to start writing. It’s actually a nice little café, with wooden tables and a friendly atmosphere. There were a lot of people there; some chatting with friends, some reading books, and some surfing the internet. And guess what: they sell gelato!

At the table just kitty-corner to me, I noticed a man I thought I recognized. I wasn’t quite sure, since I was seeing him in profile, until I overheard him mention D.C. – and then I knew for sure who it was.

It was our Senator Mark Begich.

He was there with his wife and a couple of other people who may have been either news reporters or fellow politicians: I noticed one guy was taking notes as Mr. Begich spoke.

I sat at my table and wrote my letters and then read my book for a while until I finished my cup, then gathered up my things to leave. On the way out the door, I stopped by his table and said, “Excuse me – so sorry to interrupt – but I just wanted to Thank You for what you do for us. It is appreciated.”

He was very kind, and said “Thank you” with a smile on his face.

And then he commented on my Star Trek Lunch Pail, saying his 7 year old son would love that.

Yes. I have a Star Trek Lunch Pail. I’d completely forgotten about it; but it is my letter-writing kit, so I would have it with me. And he would notice it, wouldn’t he?

At least he will remember me, even if it is as “that lady at the coffee shop with the Star Trek Lunch Pail.”