Sunday, September 30, 2007

Dreaming my dreams with you

Things I did in my subconscious last night / early this morning:

>> Flew on a very large airplane

>> Shopped for a house in my parents' neighborhood (even though it didn't really look anything like their actual neighborhood)

>> Was a contestant on Top Chef, in both Seasons 1 and 2. I didn't get to meet Dale, though, so it hardly seems worth it.

There's a new meme up at the book blog, if you're interested.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Progress Report

I think this is the most stitching I've ever done on one project.
(And I'm still enjoying it!)

Look very, very carefully!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The internet is awesome.

Exhibit 1:  from the best of craigslist

Stegosaurus Sofa
Our friend the stegosaurus is extinct, or presumed so. Yet his legacy lives on in this formal settee designed to mimic his spiny defensive plates.

If this couch were attacked by one of your other furnishings it could turn sharply and shred the opponent, that is if you picked it up yourself. And you could; it's built for the eons but is nonetheless light enough for one person to pivot for a party.

And like the dinosaur, its skin is an elegant blend of mauve, slate blue and dusty rose on an antique white. Plus a solid pine wood trim, stained to a cherry chocolate. Unlike the original stegosaur, which frolicked in mud, this fine loveseat is spotless and stain-protected.

Dimensions are 53.5 inches wide by 24 inches deep, and the set includes two overstuffed pillows which feel all the more plush once you crack your elbow on that spiny crest.

Your stegosaurus sofa can serve as a hallway piece, or as a couch for the living room, or paired with a long table for dining.

Cash only, please. One block from the Ballston Metro in Arlington, convenient to I-66. The piece will fit neatly inside most SUVs, to honor the fossil fuels made from its fellows. Or it can be tied with ropes in the trunk of a large sedan and is remarkably aerodynamic.

Exhibit 2:  LOLCats

Exhibit 3:  wicked cool video (thanks to Evilducky for the link)

Exhibit 4:  LOL fossil (also thanks to Evilducky)

Reading:  book 9 of Y: the Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan

Playing:  old mix CDs

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Not all who wander are lost

After leaving Turkey Run, MB and I took the scenic route to Mounds State Park. We hit the Target in Anderson for provisions and long-sleeved shirts for MB (who packed for the summer weather we were expecting but thankfully didn't get). I scored this wicked T-shirt from the guys' clearance rack:

We had dinner with college roommate Spanish Monkey, and went back to Mounds to camp for the night.

home sweet home

On Monday, we drove to Muncie to go to Minnestrista. It was okay, but only had three smallish galleries. One of the art exhibitions was REALLY cool. In the Indiana Acres exhibit, I saw these somewhat disturbing little spectacles:

I like chicken nuggets as much as the next person, but this is a little freaky. Hmmm...or maybe I feel less bad about eating them since given a chance they'd eat each other.

Minnetrista did have a really cool (and ENORMOUS) sculpture out front:

We ate lunch at a Thai place that MB had been wanting to visit for more than two years, and it was very good. After that, we went back to Mounds to hike:

the White River

honey locust
(yes, those are GIANT SPINES on the tree)

Holy crap!
(and could I be any whiter?)

weird but cool shelter on the trail

The park had this hilarious picture posted in several places as a warning about the incredible cunning and appetite of raccoons:

Speaking of raccoons, one apparently tried to raid our cooler at some point:

I found this little guy on Tuesday morning while I was taking down the tent:

After we packed up, we drove down to Indianapolis to go to the Indiana State Museum. But first, we headed back toward Turkey Run on State Road 32 to take pictures of the coolest lawn ornaments in the entire damn world:

And how cool is MB, truly? He's a very linear person, and yet he approved an hour-long backtrack, just so I could get photos of giant dinosaur sculptures for my blog. I am the luckiest girl ever.

The State Museum was pretty rad. We went to see Dinosaurs 3D:  Giants of Patagonia in IMAX, and liked it so much that we went right back in to see Sharks 3D. After the movies and lunch at the eerily deserted cafe (The museum is MASSIVE, but we only saw about 20 other guests the entire time we were there. There weren't even any field trips, since it was state standardized testing week. Nice, but unnerving.), we checked out the first three "Story of Indiana" galleries. It started with a geologic history. The second gallery (and my favorite) was the ancient seas exhibition, which had dozens and dozens and dozens of mindblowing fossil specimens. I LOVE me some fossils. The last gallery that we went through was the Age of Ice gallery, which had wicked-cool Ice Age fossils. Most of the other galleries deal with historical times and industry, which is neat but not my favorite stuff to see, and the museum was about to close anyway, so we headed for home.

huge calcite crystals (bigger than my head, dudes!) and crinoid fossils

Check out the mastodon in the back! And the stag moose!

giant short-faced bear and Harlan's musk ox
(which has the best Latin name in the history of classification:  Bootherium bombifrons)

Gil the (impossibly cute) Glyptodont says, "Thanks for reading!"

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Open Letters

Dear whichever co-worker scratched out the label on my mail tray and wrote in the first name of the girl in the office next to me:

I realize that her last name and my last name are somewhat similar. They start and end with the same letter, and even sort of rhyme. But you know what? Miller and Mueller* are not the same name, and even though you apparently don't know it, I do exist and therefore need my mail tray.

I also realize that I went away for a week of vacation, but after 18 months of employment, I figured it would take longer than that for people to forget all about me.

Please note the new, larger name label I made for myself, and please keep your pen to yourself. Miller, Velocibadgergirl and Mueller, Stegosaurus are not the same girl.


Dear whichever neighbor left a big bag of garbage on the porch under the stairs, tucked in with my potted plants:

I know how easy it is to misplace large, bulging black bags of garbage, so I set yours out on the sidewalk for you. That way, when you get back from wherever you've gone, you'll see it and remember that you meant to take it to the dumpster. Or, when you leave it for days, the landlord can look at the mail you left on top and take the issue up with you personally. Asshole.


Dear Outlet Mall:

Five pairs of jeans (four for MB, one for me), two dress shirts for MB, and four bras for less than $200?

Te amo!

Dear Makers of Exquisite Form Fully Bras:

I will never again talk smack about wire-free bras for girls with big boobs. You have converted me.

Non-saggily yours,

Dear Mr. Kitters:

I realize that you have figured out that I'm putting a crushed-up pill in your canned food. Please eat it anyway. I really, REALLY don't want to have to stuff a pill down your throat. You really don't want me to have to do it, either. Eat up, fuzzball.

Trust me, it's for your own good. Please.


Dear M:

Thank you hinty for the darling photo collage of Liam! It went straight onto the front of my fridge. Tell Mr. Liam that his whole family is welcome in Indiana anytime. I have spoons waiting.

Love & smooches,

Reading:  Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper

Playing:  Pandora

* Not our real names. But the similarities are about the same.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Raise the stone and you shall find me, split the wood and I am there.

The camping trip was, in a word, wonderful. Where to begin? MB and I drove up to Turkey Run State Park on Thursday in the late afternoon, and met up with the bibliophile, J-Dog, and Nick. Danger and MacGyver joined us the next morning. After a month of obscenely high temperatures and humidity, we were pleasantly surprised by low 70s during the days and low 50s at night. Fifties. In Indiana, in early September. Nearly half the fun of camping is sitting around the campfire at night, and it takes something away when it's too hot to enjoy that part of it.

Despite the fact that most of our neighbors were "camping" in ritzy RVs with TVs and huge dining flies and patriotic lights, the campground was really nice. We had three sites side-by-side, and they were the biggest and nicest in our area of the campground (which was a major bonus on the second night when a crew of loudasses parked their monster trailer on the lot to the left of ours).

Why watch the Colts game at home when you can watch it in a campground beside your massive RV?

Unfortunately I don't have a picture of the couple who were RV-ing at the site on our right. They had pet ferrets, which the bibliophile saw them walking on leashes on Thursday evening. On Friday morning, one of the ferrets apparently escaped and had to be coaxed down from the top of a tree. You can't make this shit up, people.

Even with all the RV lights, the stars at night were absolutely ridiculous. I saw the Milky Way for the first time, and all the summer constellations were clear as crystal. Also fun on the first night...I was just drifting off when I heard the bibliophile (whose tent was right across from ours) call out, "I can see you! That's our trash!" I went out to help relocate the trashbag, which we'd hung on a tree, and got to see the most adorable little bitty raccoon EVER, who was lurking in the branches above. We agreed that if it wasn't guaranteed to leave a giant mess, we'd have let him have the garbage. He was that cute.

We went horseback riding on Friday morning, and it was fun even though it was just one of those super-tame trail rides where the horses line up and walk. My horse, Maverick, was a moseyer, and that was fine with me. I'm not really a born horse-rider (horsewoman?), and until a few years ago, even trail horses made me really nervous. Now that I've married into a hugely pro-horse family (one of MB's cousins is the captain of Kentucky's state-champion drill team, and both of his uncles on his dad's side and his favorite aunt on his mom's side own horses), I figure it's time to cowboy up and get over it, and I'm definitely a lot less chickenshit than I used to be. Maverick was very chill, and I liked him very much, even though at times I could almost hear him thinking, "Oof, you're heavy. Could you just get down and walk for a minute?"

Maverick and MB's horse, Spirit

While we were waiting for the bibliophile to meet up with us post-ride, MacGyver spotted a fairy ring:

We hiked three miles on the less-rugged side of Sugar Creek and saw many cool things:

a fungus in the Cheetos family?


Danger found a good climbing tree.

One of the laws of physics (I think it's Kepler's little-studied Fourth Law) states that all food consumed at camp tastes infinitely better than the same food would taste if consumed at home. We ate insanely well throughout the trip, probably canceling out all the hiking we did.

Things we did with the pie iron:  made pudgy pies, grilled cheese sandwiches, and a biscuit; heated up Pop-Tarts and leftover taco salad

We had reservations to go canoeing on Sugar Creek on Saturday morning, but it dipped into the 40s overnight and it was still cold when we got up, so we moved our booking to 2 PM and eventually decided to bail completely. We were only going to be able to paddle four miles anyway due to low water, so I think it was best that we decided to skip it. After a leisurely lunch and some warm-up Frisbee tossing, we headed across the suspension bridge into the more rugged half of the park, the Rocky Hollow - Falls Canyon Nature Preserve. According to the sign on the bridge, the nature preserve protects one of the last remaining fragments of Indiana's primordial old-growth forest. Other than a rather appalling crowd on the bridge and just off the other side, the ladders trail was pretty wicked:

Because a mile and a half of boulders and ladders and at least 300 stairs apparently wasn't quite enough of an ass-kicking, MB and I decided to head out for a second hike with Danger and MacGyver. Even though we were horribly sore the next day, I'm immensely glad that we went. It was a truly perfect day to be outdoors, for one thing.

There were neat things to see:

Photographs can't really capture the way the light was shining through the leaves of the trees like they were stained glass, but I had to try.

A friend of mine once told me that going back to church after a long absence felt like coming home after a long time away. That's the way I feel when I'm out in the woods, and this place was a cathedral.

In the literature I read in school, the constant struggle of man vs. nature nearly always pitted the characters against the soulless, cold, unfeeling natural world. The message was clear:  nature is impossibly vast, and it does not care about us.

I'm sure the archetype rings true in many places, in many situations, but in this place, nature was benevolent and alert and welcoming.

Here I felt small and loved, humbled and blessed and infinitely, stupidly lucky to be alive.