Saturday, December 29, 2007

Touchdown in Maine

Michael and I are now in Maine for a little over a week. I don't have any riveting events to relay or fascinating pictures to show. Today Michael went to the YMCA and then we went to WalMart. Yay. But really, the relaxation is fantastic.

Michael, my Dad, and my brother Brady are all out at a sports bar watching the Patriots (currently losing in the 4th). Oh whoops! Nope! Now the Patriots are ahead. I imagine there is much joyous spilling of beer at this very moment. Woo hoo. I'm not really a sports fan.

We've palmed our girls off on very generous friends. Our neighbor Gavin is looking in on Bijou. He has reported she is eating whipped cream from a spoon and he will soon watch a movie with her on our nice flat screen TV. My friend Sabina and her family are watching JoJo at their house. I brought all of her luggage over and set up a 6'x6' pleasure palace for her in their computer room/basement. They have 2 little girls who are very exited about having a rabbit for a week, and I think JoJo will come back very happy and well cared for. It was hard to send her away for a week, though. I cried when I stuffed her in the pet carrier to take her away! Michael and I are softies ...

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Video Evidence

Monica posted the video of our bhangra performance! I'm cut out of a lot of it, so you can just imagine that I'm doing it just as well as the two gals in blue and white. Heh. I start out on the far left of the stage.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Orange Isn't My Color

But when I wear orange for bhangra, it's great! Actually, orange does match my hair. Saturday I performed in my first bhangra dance on stage in public. It was scary! Here my teacher Shub from Rhythms of India dance school gets Monica and I dressed for the dance, and below she fixes up pretty Mehra.

We were dancing at the Punjabi Virsa Mela 2007, which is a celebration for Punjabi youth in the area. We did the dance which I posted a YouTube clip of us practicing a couple of months ago. Another dancer caught our Saturday performance on digital video, but I haven't seen it yet and it isn't yet available for posting. I'll link to it as soon as I can. Assuming it's not a disaster, that is! Shub said we did it 98% perfect, so that a good sign.

I was all hopped up on bhangra when I came home, and I decided to find out when next year's Bhangra Bash is. It's on March 29th! The day after my birthday! So I definitely know what I want to do for my 40th birthday -- go watch the Bhangra Bash competition and then head over to the Showbox for the after party. Come with me!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Holiday Dinner

I gave my 3rd annual Former Femmes and Friends holiday dinner on Sunday. I always forget about pictures in my cleaning, cooking, and serving frenzy, but I managed one postprandial picture:
I made all the dishes from The Philosopher's Kitchen: Recipes from Ancient Greece and Rome for the Modern Cook. We had figs soaked in wine with nuts and honey, chickpea bread, acorn squash slathered in sherry and honey and nuts, leek and celery and lemon soup, chicken stuffed with couscous and grapes and slathered with nuts and wine, and hazelnut custards slathered in Amaretto. Those ancients really knew how to get their nuts and alcohol!

Thanks for coming over you guys, I had a great time!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Ho, Ho, Ho and Happiness

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Petticoat Pastiche

Ever since Petula Darling got out her petticoat, I've been hankerin' for one. I finally got up to Petticoat Junction last week and snagged a nice black one. I figure if I like it enough I'll go back for a white one and a short red one. Because I need them. I love that store. It has wonderful dance clothes, shoes, rhinestones, and of course many different kinds of petticoats.

Today the latest incarnation of La Bande Pastiche had a gig for the opening of the Broadview Library. I got to wear my new petticoat *plus* my new sequined bustier, and that made me really excited! Several folks I know showed up to listen, and my friend Sabina took some pictures. You can see my lovely new poof, glitter, and my freshly polished rubboard. For some reason the copper breasts get finger prints all over them.

Today La Bande Pastiche consisted of Claudia on fiddle, Lucy on accordion and fiddle, Ted on guitar, and Sandy on bass.

A good time was had by all, except that little girl who cried when she saw us.

Friday, December 7, 2007

He Knows If You've Been Bad Or Good ...

Christmas is here! I have a hard time feeling Christmasy here in the PNW since we don't get cold and snow. This year has been particularly bad for me Scrooge-wise, but Wednesday and Thursday I got my decorations up, and now it feels like Christmas!Right now I'm listening to my all time favorite, Sleigh Ride from Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops. I've loved this song ever since I was a tiny tot.

Bijou is heading for some coal in her stocking, though. While I was putting up the decorations, I spooked her from her nap spot, and she ended up settling down next to JoJo's favorite bed. JoJo really wanted to stretch out and relax, but Bijou made her nervous. JoJo sat there by her bed, and then started licking it like she does when she's happy. I think she was happy Bijou was there. And then ... well Bijou was a bad girl:

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Stormy Weather

Seattle and Maine have been having some heavy weather! My brother Aaron took some videos of the family playing in the first snow-day of the year in Camden. I'm not a snow person in general, but a snow day is always fun! I'm jealous.

In Seattle, we started off with heavy snow early on Saturday afternoon. I had a safe and easy but snowy drive home from work. At work the snow was still big and fluffy, but at home it wasn't. I was disappointed, because I was looking forward to going for a walk in the big fluffy snow. The snow changed to rain, and has finally stopped just now, Tuesday morning. The result was catastrophic flooding and mudslides, luckily none by us. We live on a gentle hill in Ballard, and are generally immune to flooding, mudslides, tsunamis, pyroclastic flows from Rainier, and falling trees in windstorms (all the trees were cut in Ballard at one point, so most are small). Just two miles from our house, however, was this magnificent mudslide (the car was unoccupied).
And here's an example of some chaos north of Seattle, about 15 miles from where I work.

There was more flooding much closer to my job, but this is a great photo. Both photos are from the Seattle Times.

Further south in Puget Sound the flooding was even worse, with hurricane force winds accompanying the rain. Welcome winter!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Almost Done, Almost

Michael's CAD software, MoI, is almost done. Really! He was recently written up in Cadalyst.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

My Dream Sale

Today I went to a National Geographic Warehouse sale at the Convention Center in Seattle. It was a bit weird at first, as downtown Seattle was not that busy, and as I walked towards the Convention Center, people all but disappeared. When I got there, I thought it was actually closed -- it was deserted and empty! The food stores were all closed, one guy was slowly sweeping an immobile escalator. But then I finally found the huge room with the sale in it, and it was a Bonanza!

Huge coffee table books were $10 each, small books for $5 and even $1, videos for $1. Most of these things I can't share with you since they're presents for people, but I did score a few things for myself. I got a $95 paisley embroidered rayon skirt for $25, and two packages of silver and gold Indian embroidered ornaments for $10 each down from $35 each.

I'm not much of a shopper, but this was awesome for me. I got about $500 worth of stuff for just over $100. If any of you Seattle people read this in time, I recommend you go for the last day on Sunday! They had piles of stuff.

I hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving! Michael and I had a wonderful day at his sister Stephanie's. I was honored to have 2 year old Riley tell me I had "Glasses! Cool!"

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Imagine a silent house at 5 a.m. Two humans and a cat snooze deeply on a bed, a rabbit behind the couch. Suddenly the cat and rabbit perk up: a small flapping sound, and Bijou realizes someone is in the house eating my food! She carefully sneaks up on the intruder and

RRRREAAAAAOOOOWWW! All hell breaks lose! I leap out of bed naked and blind like a mole-rat. Running through the living room into the kitchen I have a series of rapid thoughts: Is a large scary raccoon beating up Bijou? Is someone murdering our bun? I make it to the dark kitchen I see a large fuzzy object pelting around along with much crashing and hissing. I step on a wet floor covered with some sort of grit. I scream. I still think it's a raccoon, but I don't know who's getting the short end of the stick. Michael makes it to the kitchen and throws on the lights, and we see this:
Plus a very small grey cat. No murdering raccoon. A little kitty. Bijou (the large fuzzy object) has gone under the bed, and Jo-Jo is still behind the couch being very, very still. The floor, refrigerator, and nearby walls are covered with cold tea and coffee grounds.

As the lights go on and the kitty sees us, she tries to leap onto the counter above the garbage can, dislodging more dishes. I crouch down to try to calm her, and she doesn't seem scared of me, at first. Michael says "open the door and get her out!" As I move towards her to open the door, she leaps on to a nearby kitchen chair, and then leaps up the wall! She manages to damage a spice rack as she slides back down to the floor, and finally vanishes out the cat door.

We stand there stunned. Did that cat just try to climb the wall? What the hell? Why didn't she just leave? Why did she wreak such disaster and mayhem on our kitchen? We'll never know, but one thing's for sure, she was a spry one!

It took us until 5:40am to finish cleaning up, reassuring our girls, and getting back to bed. By the time we all got back in bed, Bijou planted herself firmly on me, purring. And we slowly went back to sleep ....

The next morning after cleaning up, I sat down at the kitchen table to read with my breakfast. My current book, The egyptologist, was lying open. It had gotten splashed and was a little warped and dirty with cat hair stuck to it. As I started to read where I had left off, just under a cat hair, I read "Up early, hours before the bank will open, and I find ... Cats!" How freaky is that? The book hasn't once mentioned cats before now.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


This weekend I took an 8 hour ornamental welding class with Mimi Riley. It was really fun! I'm amazed at how (relatively) simple it is. It would be expensive to get set up and do at home, but maybe someday!

I had several ideas of projects I wanted to make in the class, but I didn't end up having enough time to finish the one I chose. I decided to make a table top music stand that could also double as a cookbook stand. Here's all I ended up doing, and a Paint Shop Pro sketch of what I intended to do.
I play banjo and flute, thus the two instruments. The little song snippet is Give me the roses while I live:

Wonderful things of folks are said when they have passed away
Roses adorn the narrow bed over the sleeping clay

Give me the roses while I live trying to cheer me on
Useless are flowers that you give after the soul is gone

Let us not wait to do good deeds till they have passed away
Now is the time to sow good seeds while here on earth we stay

Kind words are useless when folks lie cold in a narrow bed
Don't wait till death to speak kind words, now should the words be said
-- traditional
I think I'll go ahead and buy some metal rods and bits to saw and bend the remainder of my shapes, and then rent a welder to finish the job some weekend. It looks like I could rent the welder for about $35, but then I'd need wire, a helmet, a work surface ...

Final Halloween Post

Michael and I went to a late Halloween/birthday party on Saturday. It was an outdoor party, so we needed to be toasty. I was the Rabbit With Pointy Teeth and Michael was a taunting French guard from Monty Python.

Friday, November 2, 2007

R.I.P Washoe

Washoe, the first chimpanzee to learn American Sign Language, died at the age of (about) 42.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Hoppy Bun-O-Ween!

Happy Halloween folks! Here's Disapprove-O-Lantern 2.0 in action. The original turned to mush, and is now a gigantic furry mass in my yard recycling container. Ugh.

Curiomanic Tidbit
I was reading the latest issue of Natural History yesterday, and I found a tasty little tidbit that combines several of my random fact interests: science, etymology, and ancient Rome. Here it is in context:

Population displacements and conflict over shared surface and groundwater resources are bound to exacerbate international turmoil. It is no coincidence that the word "rival" derives from the Latin word for "one living on the opposite bank of a stream from another."
Blue planet blues, by Eleanor J. Sterling, Natural History, November 2007, p. 31.
Good word! I really appreciate that word now. Mmmm, tastes good!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Here’s a video a classmate shot so we could practice our Bhangra routine at home. Luckily, I was on the other side of the room for the second half of the routine which I didn’t really know. I actually did better than I thought I did, but it did confirm my suspicion that I look a bit like a spastic spider when I dance.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins

One of my favorite Suess books is The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins. I used to read it over and over and over. I loved looking at each new hat and figuring out just how it had gotten more fantastic.

It's really too bad we're not much of a hat wearing society anymore.

That could change, you know, if we put our heads together. Nyuk nyuk.

A gal I know is a modern day milliner selling her hats on etsy. Check them out! The hats would make Bartholomew Cubbins proud, and they won't break the bank. Very reasonable indeed, for one of a kind works of art!

Brady Is An Official Through Hiker!

My little tiny brother Brady made it to the end of the Appalachian Trail! He started in Springfield, GA on April 8, and made it to the top of Mt. Katahdin on October 17. That's 2175 miles folks. On foot.


Brady's next task is cheering the Red Sox to another World Series Victory.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam!

Last night Michael and I went to see Monty Python's Spamalot at The Paramount. It was awesome! You can see some clips here. My favorite numbers were He Is Not Dead Yet and The Song That Goes Like This. The best scene among many great scenes was the castle of the Taunting French Guards. Getting to go see shows like this makes me love living in a city, even though I miss Camden.

And speaking of Camden, I was surprised to see a picture of the Camden Opera House pop up on Boing Boing today!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Environmental Blog Action Day

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day
Today is an environmental Blog Action Day. Try to post something related to saving the environment!

Consider the Library Use Value Calculator from the Maine State Library. Think of how using the library is actually an environmental act! Checking out a book instead of buying it is recycling. Using a database from home instead of driving to the library is very energy efficient.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Lazy Fall Cleanup

Bijou helped me with the extra catnip harvest Saturday.
Then I cleaned out the Bewick's Wrens' nesting box.
It was pretty interesting to see the different layers of nesting material. I don't know if you can see it in the pictures, but the dark layers are Bijou's fur, and the white puff and layers are JoJo's fur.


It's been a long time since I've carved a pumpkin. This year I decided to carve the scariest thing I know: Rabbit Disapproval. It was a beautiful day today, and I sat outside and enjoyed the texture and color of the pumpkin excavation experience.

I took the Disapproving Rabbits logo, and applied it to my pumpkin.
Some artful carving, and I have disapproval.
I'm thinking I could add some LED lights for eyes to add a sinister look. (DRAMATIZATION)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

We're Not So Special

We humans like to think we're different from other animals. In 1960, Jane Goodall (my hero!) broke the tool-use barrier by discovering that chimpanzees use and make tools.

Well it's not just us primates anymore! Now it has been proven that crows not only use tools, but make them and keep them! Way to go crows!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Bike Goddess

I'm very proud of myself -- I biked about 17 miles yesterday, and I'm not sore! I usually only bike to the gym and back for a total of about 1.5 miles, but I guess all of my other exercise means I'm in pretty good shape! It's nice to have some bio-feedback reminding me I'm being such a good girl.

I biked up to the Shoreline Library (where I work) to get a flu shot and exchange some books. Then I headed home with a stop by Lowes to pick up a few odds and ends. Eco-friendly errands!

Thanks to Rick the Teen Master, I was able to plan out a fairly level route by using the USA Track and Field website. It's great! You can plot a route, and a cutaway map will show you your elevation change. It's a great way to avoid unnecessary hills. I also have a copy of the King County Bicycling Guidemap, but many of the small bike paths I discovered aren't on it, so I'm pretty disappointed in it.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Space Age Is Here!

My Mom and I signed up on Skype, and we had a free video call from Ecuador to Seattle! My Mom's the one on the beach, on the picture above. Jane Jetson is channeling me. My hair actually kind of looks like that these days ...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Culture Edition

This weekend was rather exciting for me, culture-wise. Friday night I went out with Michael and a bunch of wild and crazy librarians (not an oxymoron) to hear Hillstomp. I have to admit I often don't like the bands they play with, but this time, the other bands were awesome! The show was at Conor Byrne and allegedly started at 8pm. I got there at 9:15 to catch the end of the sound check for the first band. Good timing! (Why do they even bother posting starting times when it means nothing?? When I was in a band, we always started on time. So there.) The Sassparilla Jug Band kicked things off. Michael said they sounded like Tom Waits, which is right on target; a Tom Waits jug band. Conor Byrne was so crowded I couldn't even see the band! I'm not used to being crowded out of seeing this kind of music. Damn. Now everybody else likes it, too. How dare they?!

Next up was Miss Mamie Lavonna, the Exotic Mulatta and her White Boy Band. Hot damn! I hesitate to say it, but I liked her better than Hillstomp! Some Latin stuff, some New Orleans Jazz, some gypsy punk, some cabaret ... Yeah. My kinda band. I'm sad they don't have a CD, but you can hear their music on their web site.

And then, starting at midnight was Hillstomp. As an old person, I don't usually watch all three bands until 1:15 am, but it was definitely worth it that evening. There is a poorly edited (sorry, I hate seeing something published with errors that could be caught by spell check alone) but good review of the evening here.

The next morning I had a banjo workshop with Molly Tenenbaum. That could be considered culture or not, depending on how you feel about banjos.

And then I saw an amazing movie on DVD: Russian Ark. This movie takes place in the Hermitage, and envisions scenes from 300 years of Russian history. I was interested in the film because I've been to the Hermitage, but what is really amazing is that the entire film is done in one shot. It's a beautiful, interesting film. The extra bit on the DVD that shows how they made the film is just as fascinating. Rent it!

Finally, on Sunday, after a day of hiking with friends, I went to eat Indian food and watch a friend do her first solo belly dance. There were many other dancers that evening, but she was by far the best. Yay Medea!

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Bug Edition

A few interesting things this week, all about bugs!

A massive spider web in Texas made by many cooperative spiders. The thing that is the most interesting is that the spiders were of many different species! I think this could be an example of nature making a stab at an evolutionary jump in the manner of Stephen Jay Gould's theory of Punctuated Equilibrium. Perhaps species such as these would eventually co-evolve to have a permanent relationship with each other.

A guy in England put a bell jar over his bee box to get a visible honeycomb. It's pretty cool!

Our poor bun had a tick on her eyelid! Very yucky. I've only seen a few ticks in my life (one on me when I was very small!), and I've *never* seen one in Seattle. JoJo got this one from our own back yard! *shudder*. She must have got it from her gravel-pit hole we let her dig in. Maybe other animals go in there at night. JoJo does not like to be picked up, but she was perfectly still and relaxed as I held her. JoJo does like to have her eyes stroked, so I guess she knew we were grooming her. Michael pullllllllllled at the tick with tweezers, stretching her eyelid way out until the tick popped out with a metallic "tick" sound. We figure that's why they're called ticks. The tick was very tiny, otherwise you know I would have taken a picture to gross you out with!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

JoJo Disapproves!

JoJo is an official Disapproving Rabbit today. Sniff. We're so proud!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Rabbit Proof Fence

I am very proud of this week's construction project. Our back fence had been slowly collapsing, and we had three small exits to the yard blocked with plastic kiddie gates to keep JoJo from escaping. The plastic was pretty ugly. I spent Monday evening and all of today shoring up the fence and replacing a cross-piece timber, constructing two wood and wire mini-fences, and one complete swinging double gate. The gate and the mini fences had to be tall enough to keep JoJo in, but short enough to allow our aging Squeaky (aka Bijou) to jump over them. I'm pretty impressed with myself! The gate actually works, and I never had to do any part of it over! I've never made a gate before, so I'm quite pleased.

After I finished the project and cleaned up, I watered the lawn to hose down all the treated wood sawdust so it wouldn't be on grass that JoJo eats. She took a trip outside and was somewhat confused by the rain on a sunny afternoon.

I'm really pleased with the new Blogger video uploader! The videos are much clearer than ones uploaded to YouTube.

On a completely different note ... Bijou has this peculiar habit of always leaving a few bits of kibble in her dish. Unless she is really hungry, there will always be at least a couple of pieces left. We figure she must believe they are necessary for more food to appear. We call them Seed Crunchies. I noticed a stellar example today when I had the camera out.