Saturday, August 25, 2007

Where in the world?

It's been very rainy here for a week, so I've been playing on the computer. Here, for no good reason at all, is a map of all of the places in the world I've been fortunate enough to visit. I can't wait to add Thailand to my map!

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Bulldozer Alert Level Orange

While generally tidy, I have a tendency to leave piles of clothes on the floor of my room. There is an organizational system in these piles. Some are still clean, some have been worn only once, and some are dirty. My room has therefore always appeared messy to the outsider who is unaware of my "system".

While living with my Grandmother, for example, my uncle stopped by the house, and finding neither of us home, almost called the police to report a burglary when he saw the state of my bedroom until he realized mine was the only room "ransacked".

Kyle does not appreciate the piles of clothes, but we've established an arrangement where he tolerates them as long as they remain on my half of the room. When they start to encroach on his side, he has the right to "bulldoze" them back over to my side. I really don't like this, as my piles become disorganized. So Kyle has arranged a bulldozer alert level that acts as a warning system to let me know my piles are getting close to destruction. Today was frightening, and we were at level Orange for almost 18 hours. It's a record to be that high for so long without advancing to red. I had to break down and spend some time putting things away, but as of right now, I'm at level Green (Low), while Kyle is actually worse, at level Blue (Gaurded). That might be a first!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Drowning tomatoes

It's been raining quite hard since sometime yesterday, and the forecast doesn't show any sign that it's about to let up soon. There are flash flood watches and warnings all over the state. I was tired of the hot weather last month, so I really shouldn't complain. I even enjoy the rain - it's a perfect day to sit with a cup of tea and a book or my knitting. My tomatoes do not enjoy the rain, however. The downspout for the garage dumps water right next to them, and they are soaking up so much water they are splitting. I rescued 5 this morning, but I'm not sure how many more are going to survive the rest of the week.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Double date

Kyle and I went to the Speakeasy last night with a former coworker and his wife. I'd never been to this restaurant/lounge before. It's in a converted old building with lots of character. The ambiance and food was great, although the jazz trio that was playing really didn't need to be plugged in. It was difficult to talk over the loud music, so after dinner we sat outside for drinks and better conversation. The music was also much lovelier while it wasn't piercing our eardrums. It was nice to go out and pretend that we're social creatures, if only for a night.


This morning I felt compelled to pull out my dulcimer and play for a bit. My finger's don't have any callouses, so that only lasted about a half hour before it hurt to push down the strings. I haven't played in quite awhile. In fact, I can't even find my other dulcimer, which I would have sworn my dad put new strings on recently. Perhaps he took it home to do so and I haven't brought it back. Or Punkin ate it.

This is the dulcimer my dad made for me. If you've never heard of it, it's an Appalachian fretted stringed instrument. Most are hourglass or teardrop in shape. It has a very pretty, but quiet sound, and is usually used to play folk music. I enjoy playing for myself, but I won't be giving concerts anytime soon.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Knitting Night

Yesterday after work my friend Becky had Sarah and I over for knitting, wine, and cheese. It was great to see her new house and the awesome painting that she did throughout. (I am a white walls kind of girl, and it always amazes me that people can be so creative picking colors and creating great textures.)

Sarah's sweater is coming along fast and is really looking good. Hopefully she won't hit the knitting wall when she starts the sleeves as I usually do. Becky is starting a cool scarf from a Knitty pattern that looks just awesome, and she's using super-fun variegated soy yarn. I'm still knitting away at my baby blanket. I took it with me and worked on it during some of our car trips in Alaska, but haven't touched it since. I'm not really in a big hurry, as I will have at least a year before I need it.

Knitting with friends is always more fun than knitting alone.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Wisconsin State Fair

Today Kyle and I went to the Wisconsin State Fair. It was HOT but there were a lot of people there to enjoy the fair's last day.

I enjoyed spending four hours eating lots of food. We shared roast beef from the WI Cattlemen's Association, a 1/4 Usinger's brat (our very favorite brand) with sauerkraut , Wisconsin Door County tart cherry juice, and a strawberry sundae from the WI dairy group ,and an apple turnover from the WI apple- growers association. I also had mocha- flavored milk and and a cream puff that I got to eat all by myself, because Kyle doesn't care for such things. Amazingly, we managed to eat only Wisconsin foods and stayed away from the fried foods of the midway. (Not that the choices we made in the Wisconsin Products pavilion were that healthy either, but at least we supported local vendors.)

We walked through a few animal barns as well, and I enjoyed the llamas and alpacas the most. There was a woman spinning beautiful yarn from her llamas, and it made me want to learn how to really spin. I have a drop-spindle that's fun to putter with on occasion, but I still haven't even finished the single roving I bought 2 years ago.

Missing Kelly

Kelly left to go back to China on Wednesday night. I was really sad to see her go. We had a wonderful time with her here. She was a great fit with Kyle and I. I hope we get a chance to visit her in Chongqing someday. I'm not sure when that will be, since our vacation budget has become our adoption travel budget, but maybe Kelly could even meet us in Bangkok next year.

The first photo is my favorite of Kelly - she has such a beautiful smile, although I had to tickle her to get her to smile for the photo (you can see me poking her in the side if you look close). As soon as the camera came out, she would look very serious. The second photo of her is in Korea on the way back home this week. We're so lucky to have been able to email back and forth with her several times already since she arrived home.

She sent an incredible photo of her and her family eating "hot pot" today. Punkin's got it posted on her blog. It looks like a wonderful out-door garden-like place to eat this delicious, spicy, fondue-like dish.

I had such a great experience with Kelly, I wish we could do it again soon. AFS even has several girls from Thailand who still need families for the year program. What a great way to learn more about Thai culture! But we decided that once we have an adoption referral, our time and energy will be consumed with preparing to travel to Thailand. We also won't have any vacation time this year to spend showing a student around, and while travel isn't a requirement, I would feel bad about hosting a student and not being able to go very far from home.