Sunday, September 30, 2007

Nature imitates...nature

I finally bought Aimee's last birthday present today. Yes, her birthday has passed, but there is much guilt involved when it comes to her birthday this year, so I must overcompensate. The guilt is partially due to my not be there for her birthday but I don't know what makes this year any different from all those others.

Anyway, after a quick shopping spree involving my dragging Apollo around town on a Sunday and embarrassing him by having him hold my purse, I walked towards our apartment steps and came face to face with this:

Those of you that remember the problems I had with caterpillars last spring will understand why my heart almost stopped when I saw what appeared to several of the beasts sticking straight out of a weed only inches away from my face. I immediately had flashbacks.

Of course, my brain told me that it was impossible for a real caterpillar to stick straight out like that but as you can see from Exhibit A, there is a striking similarity to the real thing:

Leave it to mother nature to remind me of her evil little minions!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Happy Birthday Aimee!

I don't remember the day Aimee was born. I was only 18 months old and in the hospital recovering from kidney failure. I suspect all the stress I caused Mom may be behind Aimee arriving two weeks early. But even though I don't remember her entering my life, I can't remember a time when she wasn't a part of my life. We were attached at the hip and did everything together.

As children, Mom reminded us constantly that we had only one sister and that we should always love, respect and protect each other. I'm glad she taught us this too because even though we went through a rough spot during our teens that may have included one or two physical altercations, we're now best friends. And yes, still attached at the hip. Thank goodness for unlimited long distance!

Despite those times she pulled my hair or bit my leg and left that scar, I don't think there could be a better sister out there. Thanks Aim, for being my little sis. Hope you had a happy birthday. :)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Movie: The Kingdom

I was at work today when an email came in, sent to the entire company. It read, "Free movie tickets to the first person that responds." I responded right away and got them! I then learned they were for a movie two and a half hours later. In fact they were for a screening of The Kingdom which is scheduled to release this Friday! I hustled, left work a little early, picked up Apollo and we got to the theater in time to see a line that wound down the block and around the corner. We joined the couple hundred people and were ushered into the theater, had some swag thrown at us by some local radio stations, listened to some grown women hooting and whistling behind us and about fifteen minutes later, the show started.

It was outstanding! There were a few short laughs, but mostly it was suspenseful, dramatic and sad. At one point I was so scared, I was shaking and my fingers were cold from fright.

Without ruining the movie for you, it was awesome. Don't even bother leaving for a moment even to use the bathroom. It was tense but if you don't mind sitting on the edge of your seat and getting a little choked up (yes, even you guys), this is the movie for you. I'm looking forward to it coming out on DVD.

I give this one an A+

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Week going well so far

Yesterday around 5am I accidentally knocked a book into the toilet. Thankfully it had been cleaned the night before and also wasn't holding much water so the book didn't suffer much damage. I'm still reading it.

I just gleeked on my boss. OK, maybe not on him but in his general direction. To his credit, he didn't blink.

This is going to be an interesting week.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Ravelry, Day 1

After Faythe alerted me that she received her invite from Ravelry, I checked my mailbox and I too had an invite! I registered and of course, that's when I got slammed with work. After work I spent a few hours obsessing over it. I entered in all my needles that are in my notebook (I didn't even bother with the ones floating around in various projects or sitting out), recorded some books and started adding some projects.

I only added a few projects before I couldn't take it any longer and started going through patterns. is now my homepage on Firefox. I'm tired.

My descent into Dorkland just accelerated

It's official. I'm a big dork! Faythe and I were just talking about the awesomeness of Ravelry and how there were over 200 other people in front of me (they're still in beta and are inviting people to test) when I decided to check for an update on my status and this is what I saw:

Of course, I texted Faythe right away! The following is a sampling of exactly just how far gone we are. Note the typos and caps as we get extremely excited.

rayleen: i should check it now to see if it's updated
faythe: it's not
i mean, it hasn't changed
rayleen: !!!
faythe: what?????
rayleen: LOL
faythe: I just chhecked it a 1/2 hour ago!
rayleen: i think I just turned a corner into knit-nerdom!!
faythe: !!!
rayleen: and the number of people behind us seems to be growing
or am i warong?
it's nearly 20,000
faythe: no, people are still signing up
rayleen: faythe!
faythe: I might have to leave work!!
rayleen: I think we can officially admit that we are total knit geeks!!
faythe: Ryan is so going to tease me for this

Faythe went on to have some physical reactions to the good news. You can check that out here.

If you don't know what Ravelry is and you're a knitter or crocheter, then shame on you! SHAME ON YOU! Ok just kidding. But you may want to click here. :

Thursday, September 06, 2007

More evidence of The Crazy, but first to lull you into a false sense of security...

OK so I know this isn't the most flattering picture but it's the only one I have which shows how tall my grandma's tomato plants are. They're huge! In case you can't tell, they're the same height as Apollo.

Some veggies grandma gave me. Some of those carrots looked funky, she said it may be because they were growing around rocks. One of my earliest memories involves my great granddad (grandma's dad) who used to tell Aimee and I to go out into the garden and get our own carrot. He'd wash it off and we'd eat them like they were candy. I think I was around 3 years old.

Mom had apples everywhere! So many, in fact, that the elk kept coming into the yard and eating them, despite her many crazy-old-lady like cd's hanging from the tree's to scare them away. When I first drove up I thought, what kind of kooky old lady thing is she doing to her tree's?? It seems they worked on the elk for a couple weeks but it didn't take long for them to wise up to the reflections caused by the cd's. While we were there, the elk walked up into the yard at least twice and ate some branches, apples and stomped holes into the yard. It was like revenge for insulting their intelligence! Ha! If the elk only knew what was in the freezer!

If you remember, there was an incident right about this time last year involving a cougar in the freezer. There may or may not have been a weasel in the freezer, a skunk,* fox, salmon head, or anything else that died fully or partially intact on the property.

Well this time when visiting Mom, she immediately gave us a tour of the freezer without warning us about its current inhabitants. I wasn't really surprised to see this poor soul lying on top of quart bags of frozen berries though.

Apparently one of her pheasants died and she's planning on getting it stuffed. (Yes!!) Oh yeah, and under the bags of blackberries, strawberries and blueberries is a black plastic garbage bag with an elk head in it. It's the last elk she got all by herself. She's so proud! I have to say holding the bird by its feet was damn creepy but I promise, I only did it long enough for her to move the berries out of the way so she could show Apollo the elk bag.

Anyway, Mom has paid her debt to society for freezing the cougar skin without letting the officials know she trapped it. (Did you know there's a specific period of time you have within to report a cougar death?) The elk is totally legit! The bird? Well let's all just hope this sort of crazy isn't genetic. *grumbling*

* Ziploc still hasn't responded to Mom's complaint letter about their bags not containing the scent of the skunk and contaminating all other foods in the freezer. I have to admit though, it was I that prompted her, while snickering, to write the letter. Man, if I could have been a fly on the wall at Ziploc when they got that letter!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


Today I talked to someone who's breath smelled like dog poop. The first thing I thought of was whooo, did I step in something? I'm not trying to be mean but, yes really, that's what it smelled like!

A short time later when I talked to that person again, goose poop immediately shot to my mind. Why goose, I don't know. Now I have to figure out what that person ate/drank so I can avoid it.

It was just...weird. And bad.

Monday, September 03, 2007

It has been decided!

I was watching Will and Grace tonight, the episode in which Grace's boyfriend decides that having Will around to help Grace with stuff like shopping, etc, is a good thing. Suddenly I yelled, "I need a gay man!" really loud. After I explained myself to Apollo, he walked over to see what major life changing issue I was mulling over and I presented him with the sock I was knitting, which is much more multi-colorful than in the photo. I put a small box in it to stretch it out so he could see the pattern and then proceeded to inundate him with questions regarding whether or not I should use this yarn in combination with this pattern. See, I love the pattern and I love the yarn. But I don't want to spend my time knitting something that will be hard to see. He didn't get the weight of the issue at first but when I compared it to spending hours shopping for and cooking the perfect pot of gumbo and then discovering your guests don't like gumbo, leaving it unappreciated, he understood and advised me to use a different yarn for the pattern. I felt good with this decision and gay man or no, have decided to frog. Yay!

Knitting slump

Like Faythe, I've been feeling a bit anti-knit lately. It's not that I don't want to knit, I do. I think part of it was caused by some new yarn I bought in Eugene.

It's Mountain Colors Bearfoot yarn and feels absolutely wonderful. My feet are going to love it! The problem is I chose a dark colored yarn so it's hard to see stitches. Every pattern I've tried is hidden in the dark stitches. It's much darker than in the photo above. I'm also having problems with it splitting. It may be due to the fact I'm trying to convert over to KP's nickel plated dpns. They're slick and I'm accustomed to safe bamboo. I'm going to keep knitting them but it'll be slow going.

A couple days ago I saw the Yarn Harlot's beautiful Early Grey socks, picked up some Socks that Rock Rose Quartz yarn that I've been saved for a special occasion and started knitting. I ran into some problems with one of her abbreviations but after much obsessing with my good buddy Google and on, figured out an alternate (hers still works, it just didn't work for me) and was on my way. Well, NOW I've realized the colors in the yarn may be hiding the pattern! ARGH! I'm going to go pick up some lunch but when I come back, it's either do or die for Earl!

And in case you couldn't tell, Zoe REALLY WANTED TO BE PET. By the time I took this last picture, she was extremely annoyed, meowing loudly and laying on the knits. I'm obviously a poor cat servant!

Just another day at Mom's

This is one of my favorite photos from our trip. The elk had just finished walking up to the front yard to see if anyone was home. Once they saw us and realized they wouldn't be getting any apple treats today, they walked across the field and the creek and started heading up a dirt road. Shortly after I took this, the bull and head cow stopped and watched us for a while as the five other cows and two calves continued on. The alpaca didn't seem to be bothered by them at all. As always, click for a closeup.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

A quick stop at North Jetty

Because the beaches are so different than here in San Diego, Mom, Tyler and I took Apollo to North Jetty. When I was a kid, you could sit in the parking lot and watch the water lap up on the beach. Now, sand has blown in and created sand dunes. So you have to walk quite a ways out until you see the water.

We decided to walk out on the jetty. I used to love walking out on this thing and sitting on the very end. The waves splashing violently were so beautiful, I loved it! Now the sand has come in and built up a wall of sand on one side.

Of course it's still beautiful but the lapping waves just aren't the same as the crashing mother-nature-gonna-kick-yo-ass waves. I didn't see any starfish either but it's most likely because I didn't walk out far enough. Oh, if you click on the pic, you may be able to see what appears to be an ants house out there in the sand. In reality, it's a shelter built from the ever-present driftwood. People like to build shelters and camp out on the beaches with fires and what-not. There are no fire-pits here. Another thing, even though it was August, you won't see anyone on these beaches in bikini's, shorts or even in water past their knee's. It's too cold.

Mom, Apollo and Tyler. He's taller than me now. And considering that I measure in just a couple inches over five feet, this is no shocker.

Mom sure does love to point! Especially when driving. It doesn't matter if you're driving or she is. Her pointed finger will end up in front of your face pointing at something that you MUST SEE RIGHT NOW.

I took this on whim, I thought it looked pretty cool. I didn't really pay much attention to my own shadow until later. I'm currently trying to decide if I should get a gym membership or if I should just buckle down and start doing stuff here on my own. Like going for walks and not eating ice cream.

We found this shell tucked into a hole in a rock. After looking it over, we put it back for others to find.

My "little cousin" Tyler who will some day be over 6 feet just like his Dad. He was playing with a piece of driftwood Apollo found and decided to take home to use as his club. Apollo, being the city slicker that he is (hehe), carried that club around with him everywhere at Mom's. We have it here with us in SD now. The area behind Tyler used to be filled with water.

Oregon is famous for its sand dunes, apparently. My former mechanic used to travel up there with his wife and kids just to drive dune buggies several times a year. The dunes stretch over a small portion of the Oregon coast but as far as I know, the most popular ones are just south of Florence. It's possible I'm saying that because I have *ahem* never seen the other dunes.

One area with a fence separating the parking lot from the dune buggies. We watched them for about fifteen minutes, it looked like a lot of fun. Those dots are dune buggies. The three on top were waiting for that other dot to finish running over a large hole another guy had made when he got stuck. Several of them ran over it repeatedly until it wasn't a hazard.

We found several pockets of salt created by dried up ocean water. I wanted to taste it soooo bad. Mom has always teased me because I tasted a lot of stuff when I was a kid. But this time I kept my distance.

I wanted to get more pictures but I was still hacking up lung at this point and the cold and wind wasn't doing me any good. Maybe next time!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

The nightmares return

Though I didn't spend my entire life here, I usually say "I grew up" on Indian Creek Road in Oregon. The house is in a very remote are and if you can't tell, we couldn't get teleivison reception. So, when we missed the school bus, we cried, called Grandma and asked her to come pick us up. We would then start walking down the road until someone saw us and felt sorry for us. We also read books. LOTS of books!

While visiting this last month, I took Apollo for a drive to show him where Aimee and I grew up. The house is about 7 miles away from where Mom lives now. Anyway, I was a bit shocked when I saw it. Bushes have grown up, the grass is going crazy and the fence around the yard is pretty much rotten and only being held up in some places by other bushes. That gravel area you see in the front is what remains of the driveway.

I was sad when I saw it. I walked around the house and it mostly looked the same, except for the fact that time has not been kind. You know, that whole tore up look. And the was deafening. The window you see on the second floor was to my bedroom. I used to sit there at night and listen to the bear(s) eating blackberries or the occassional coyote hooping it up. (Click the pics)

The black walnut tree in the front yard has taken over. It's HUGE! You can't even see the house from the road. All it needs is a big storm, some tree rott and it's over for the house. I'll never forget the time I saw a cougar jump from the walnut tree, through the yard and over the fence toward the barn. The big cat was chasing one of our house cats. I assume he got her eventually since she (Smudge) came up missing. She was my favorite cat. :(

In front of the house looking towards the barn and the bridge over the creek. When the water froze every winter, we'd take the wheelbarrow and fill it up by lowering buckets over the bridge. We then wheeled it to the ungracious cattle in the coral who gulped it up like it was nothing. I was going to take more photos but my aunt's dog suddenly started barking at us (he was sleeping in a dog house on the porch) and we weren't sure if he would appreciate us hanging around. Plus, who wants to look at acres of blackberry bushes growing over buildings?

I look back at these images with mixed feelings. I miss the serenity but the isolation we felt as kids sucked.