Saturday, April 22, 2006

Wikipedia meme

Here's a meme I found at Kinjo's blog:

Go visit, enter your birthdate (excluding year), and pick three events, two births, and one death that occurred on your birthday.


  • 1693 - Date traditionally ascribed to Dom Perignon's invention of Champagne.
  • 1944 - Holocaust: A tip from a Dutch informer leads the Gestapo to a sealed-off area in an Amsterdam warehouse where they find Jewish diarist Anne Frank and her family.
  • 2005 - Prime Minister Paul Martin announces that Michaëlle Jean will be Canada's 27th — and first black — Governor General.


  • 1901 - Louis Armstrong, American musician (d. 1971)
  • 1929 - Yasser Arafat, Palestine leader (d. 2004)


  • 1875 - Hans Christian Andersen, Danish writer (b. 1805)

Friday, April 21, 2006

"This is what happens when you play with Lincoln Logs too long."

Aha! Figured it out. File name was too long. Blogger doesn't get my mother's sense of humor. I went to my computer and changed the file's original (huge) name to "stackowood" before I uploaded it, and Houston, we have liftoff. Now I'm going to go change the my file's name back. I like Mom's title better.

Backstory and horses

These are Dan and Cee, the two horses that the Amish work crew brought in to help them clear the land where my parents wanted to build. There was a lot of salable timber in that lot, most of it cherry trees. In lieu of payment, the lumber was carried off, milled, and appraised. Then it was decided how much the work had been worth and how much wood would be an equitable trade. The leftover wood was handed back to my Mom and Dad. There are enough board feet of cherry in what they got back to cover the dining room and living room floors. The cherry will be lying almost directly over the place where it once stood. I think that's pretty cool.

This idea of a cabin in the woods has been an ongoing discussion for as long as I can remember. There have always been magazines about log home-building and books of floor plans tucked in various corners of wherever we were living. It's been so long in coming, I was beginning to think it would never happen. They bought part of this property back when I was in high school, some 20 years ago now. A little while after that, a lot right next to it came up for sale. They bought that too, and joined it to the first piece. This gave them access to the cul-de-sac at the top of the mountain. Now their property extends from the top of the mountain all the way to the bottom.

A couple of years ago they finally got the finances sorted out, found a plan they both liked from a company named Lincoln Log Homes -- yup, same name as the toy building blocks. There's even a link to the home-building site from the toy site. See it? In teeny print at the bottom?

The way the Amish got involved in the whole thing is like this: a lot of Amish having been moving into my parents' area in recent years, coming mainly from Ohio. It's a fairly large community now. Mom and Dad were out for a drive one afternoon, having a conversation about finding a contractor for the house. Just then they passed by an Amish farm that had a sign in the yard, advertising the farm's owner as a builder and carpenter. They pulled into the driveway and talked to the man, asking him if he thought he could build a log cabin from a kit. He thought he could, and he knew a lot of people who'd welcome the work. And just like that, with a few words and a handshake, they had the promise of a team of builders. He asked that they not refer to him as a "contractor"--something scriptural about contracts, apparently. So Mom asked what they should call him. "How about calling me 'Danny?'" he responded.

The horses in that picture are his. I'm not sure I have this right, but I think he's the one who milled the wood. He deals a lot with the English (the Amish really do refer to anyone from the outside world as "English." That wasn't just a gimmick they used in Witness), and has provided a lot of work for his fellow Amishmen. Wherever he lives, though, he tends to annoy the bishops. He skates right on the very edge of what's allowed, and I know of at least one time he was approached and formally corrected. He had too many worldly possessions to suit the group, apparently, and they told him he needed to give away one of his horses. Yes, he had to give it away, not sell it. He wasn't allowed to profit from the loss of it. So one of his little boys had to say goodbye to his pony. But Danny did get his point across to them. He made sure it didn't go to an Amishman. If he wasn't going to profit from his loss of it, neither would they. He gave it to a little English boy.

He finally got sick of them meddling in his affairs. I have a feeling this happens to him wherever he goes, too--he's lived a number of places. Not long after he finished my parents' house, he auctioned off his animals, his furniture, and various pieces of his farm equipment, sold the land, and moved his very large family to Virginia. Everybody misses him, especially my folks.

I live too far away to have witnessed most of the construction. Mom got a digital camera for Christmas a few years ago, and would email Ditter and me illustrated updates. The pictures had filenames like "still life with cement mixer" and "this is what happens when you play with Lincoln Logs too long." I've been trying to upload the latter to this Blog, but Blogger's having none of it. I wonder why. Oh well. Maybe next post. Since I didn't take the pictures myself, I can't load them into Flick'r, or I would. Well, I guess I am able, but I may not do it. Copyright infringement and all.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The new homestead

Every time I go visit my parents, something has changed. When I visited last November for Thanksgiving, they had installed cabinets and (finally!) a sink in the kitchen. Up to that point they'd been drawing water from the bath and toting it out to this contraption they had leftover from their days as restaurateurs -- an old salad bar cold table. It worked fairly well as a sink, except that it wasn't connected to a drain pipe. So dishes were washed in basins in this thing, then the water was schlepped back into the bathroom and flushed down the commode.

The cabinets, by the way, were finished by my Mom--in more ways than one. A lot of the people associated with the building of this house are Amish, and there have been a few miscommunications due to the fact that German (Old, Swiss, High German) is their first language, though most of them speak English very well. Mom and Dad had asked Andy (the carpenter) to leave the cabinets unfinished, meaning "don't paint them." Well, he didn't paint them. Nor did he sand, attach hardware or doors. He built the cabinets, shelves, and drawers, and left them "unfinished," as requested. So Mom spent a large chunk of autumn doing all of that before she could get to what she'd meant by finishing them -- painting them either a brown so dark that it's almost black ("espresso," I think that's called) or an antique white.

But as I say, that was done last November. This time it was the bath room that's looking more pulled together. More storage, and a funky toothbrush/soap/cup holder made out of brushed nickel that looks like a plumbing fixture. And huzzah! Knobs on the doors to the bathroom and the bedrooms! Previously, Mom had taped over the knob-hole of the bathroom door (for privacy's sake, much to my Dad's amusement. As if he's going to peep at her), which meant that if you shut the door all the way you had no way to open it again and you had to ask someone on the other side to let you out.

On Easter Monday, they'd decided the weather was such that they could start the heavy carpentry-type stuff again. Dad's been installing a radiant heat system in the floors. This cabin has a cathedral ceiling in part of it, so baseboard heat made no sense--the heat would leave the units, climb right up the wall and hang out at the roof line. Instead, the heat will come from piping in the floors, and heat the place from the ground up. Slight hitch: you can't use the system until all of it has been installed. They've spent the winter using propane space heaters and kerosene heaters, and lots and lots of layers of clothing. Brrrrr.

So Monday, I helped Mom shift everything in what is currently the dining area into what is currently the living room, after moving a few pieces of the living room to other parts of the house. With the floor clear, Mom and Dad then proceeded to lay down the wooden guides (that Dad designed himself) for the tubing of the heating system. Pip (their dog) and I stayed in the front bedroom, where I knitted and Pip sat on the bed, facing the doorway, watching the sub-floor get built. Every time Dad came into her line of sight, she wagged her tail. It was funny. Poor dog. She is not a fan of change, and that's all they've been doing for at least two years now--change in small increments.

There will be more later. I've promised G a blog entry with pictures of the horses that cleared the land, and that will need a bit of an explanation. It's way too much to add to this post. Let me leave you with a picture of how things looked outside as of last August.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Hippity hoppity

Perched atop the packed overnight bag by the front door, my cat is eyeing me suspiciously. There is an overflowing bowl of cat food and an extra bowl of water on the kitchen floor. The cat box is scrupulously clean. I went bed last night very, very early, and my alarm clock went off at 3:30 AM. She thinks Something Is Going On. She's pretty sure I'm leaving for a long weekend.

She disapproves of this activity. There's one she disapproves of more than my traveling without her, though, and that's when I take her along. For then she has to be in the cat carrier. She hates that thing. O, the indignity of riding in a box with a handle on top! The entire time she's in it, she shouts to be let out. She's three-quarters Siamese, and when she gets upset all that heritage comes right out her mouth. Drives people crazy. Who wants to hear "MAAAAAAAOOO!" from the back seat for hours on end? So she stays home, and I feel guilty about leaving her alone. I make sure I stay away no more than 4 days. Any longer than that, and I'd have to arrange for someone to come in and check on her. That means I'd have to clean. And I think you know how I feel about that.

I'm headed north-west to my parents' (not so) little log cabin in the woods for Easter. I don't know whether I'll be able to get online while I'm there. Mom was saying yesterday that they're having trouble with their Internet connection at the moment. And if the day is cloudy, turning on the computer would mean running the generator, which Dad might not want to do. Their house is solar-powered, and they're still in the experimental stages with it. They probably need another panel or two, but they're not sure yet.

On a completely unrelated note, I have an earworm that only knows Rodgers and Hammerstein tunes. Ever since last Friday's impromptu rendition of "The Farmer and the Cowman" in a public toilet, I have not been able to get the sound track from Oklahoma! out of my head. Argh! I keep getting ambushed at odd moments -- folding my laundry and suddenly I'm humming "Poor Judd Is Dead;" taking a walk over my lunch break, I suddenly realize I'm striding along in time to "It's a Scandal;" washing my hair this morning with "I Cain't Say No" on endless repeat. Help!

Taxi should be here in about half an hour to take me to the bus. I should probably go eat some breakfast and fuss over Delilah for a bit. Happy Easter to all who celebrate it. Does one wish a Happy Passover? I don't know. Well, have one anyway. And to anyone who celebrates neither, enjoy your weekend.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Bathroom Humor

"I may be abandoning you for a while," says the Chief Loon as we walk through the front door of Barnes & Noble.

"Okay," I reply, heading in the general direction of the craft books.

"Oh, yes," says C.L. a moment later, "definitely abandoning you." She's still right behind me. Sounding a bit distressed, in fact. We're both trying to get around the couple ahead of us, who are sauntering down the center of the aisle. Mercifully, they turn off into the sports section. The way ahead is clear.

Turns out C.L. and I are both headed to the same place. Rest rooms are right next to arts & crafts.

"I may need some indemnity." say C.L., slamming shut the door of her stall. Indemnity? Maybe she means amnesty. Whatever. Something tells me this isn't the right time to ask.






A command performance. The little DJ that lives in my mind is caught napping. I have never before been called upon to provide cover for public potty noise. In a blind panic, the DJ grabs the first thing she can find and slams it onto the turntable without looking at it. This is the only reason I can think of that explains why I am throwing my head back and belting out:

"Oh, the farmer and the cowman should be friends!"

[laughter from the next stall]

"Oh, the farmer and the cowman should be friends...
I can't remember the next two lines,
'Cause I learned this 20 years ago,
But that's no reason why they can't be friends."

"Thank you."

"That is so going in the Blog."

Upon reflection, I suppose I should have been singing scat.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Still Alive

I just realized I haven't posted anything since the crack o' dawn Friday morning. Let's see, what's happened since?

I bought a coin scarf from eBay. It's black with gold beads and coins. To tell the truth, it looks pretty much like the photo I linked to earlier, though I didn't realize that until after I bought it. The noise of it freaked out the cat. That was fun. I was opening the envelope, and one second she was doing a figure eight around and between my feet, the next she's on top of the computer, sure that she's just heard a snake (I think. It made a slithery rattling noise when it left the packing materials). She hissed at me when I tried to show it to her. Then she sniffed it, realized it was clothing, and was disgusted with me. I am a one-woman franchise of Confuse-A-Cat.

My digital camera played a nasty April Fool's trick on me. It's stopped working. I can still review pictures and I get read-outs when I hit buttons, but all I have is a black screen when I point the lens at something. The Service Center is sending me a box, in which I am to put my poor sick camera. I then send the box away, and when it comes back to me, it will be fixed or replaced. First time I've ever used Circuit City's Protection Service, though I've bought it for everything I get from them. I'll be interested to see if I got what I paid for.

My old college roomie is in town. We talked on the phone a little bit last night (she was at her hotel), and this evening we're meeting for dinner. We picked up right where we left of 15 years ago. Good Lord. Has it been that long? (Graduated in...Carry the one....Yup). Oy. Feeling old now.

As soon as I publish this, I'll be headed for the bus terminal to buy a ticket to my parents' house for Easter weekend. I don't think Ditter and her hubby are coming up, but then, I haven't asked. I figure they'll be too busy packing their apartment into small boxes to be interested in anything else, but they might just be tired of looking at it all and decide to run away from it for a weekend. My mother's expressed an interest in how the dance class is going. Maybe I'll bring the coin scarf along and scare her animals too. Mwahahaha.

That's all I can think of at the moment. Only a few weeks left until finals. Tension is mounting. The computer lab I'm in is quiet except for the sounds of rapid typing, and is almost full. Almost, which is why I don't feel guilty writing a blog entry while other people are working (I'm not at work myself because I work Saturday afternoon. This means I get four hours off somewhere else in the week). As soon as I see someone waiting for a computer, I'll log out.