Friday, January 30, 2009

I Rediscovered Sudoku

I'd tried the number game before but never could solve even the easy puzzles. Yesterday I discovered I'd been playing it wrong. I thought besides having to keep the 9 digits from repeating in each row, column and square that I also had to keep them from repeating in the long diagonals. Once that premise is thrown out it's a heck of a lot easier. So yesterday I plowed through 7 puzzles, all 3 levels, easy, medium and hard till 12:30 am. These are in my local newspaper. It seems to me that they have a poor rating system since some of the "medium" ones are harder than some of the "hard" ones which were a breeze. The one I'm working on now is labeled correctly, though. It's labeled "hard", and I've been at it on and off for a couple hours. I really don't need another addiction taking my time.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Meet the New Boss....

Same as..... me actually.

I finally figured out how to transfer my blog to my other gmail account (bet you didn't know I wanted to). In actuality I merely added my other gmail account so it now looks like this blog has 2 authors. All this so I no longer have to log out of one gmail account and open the other over and over in order to post. Till now it's been annoying enough to keep me from blogging for days at a time.

Still a bit chilly here, -15F the past 2 nights. One of my ducks got its butt frozen to the ground. Found a pile of downy butt feathers frozen to the cement outside the garage door. Stupid ducks. Had to chase them into their house last night, probably have to do it tonight, as well.

Hal had his dad's plow truck towed out of our driveway today. He's spent the last week trying to fix the clutch which got stuck in reverse while he was plowing us out after the last storm. But he just doesn't have the equipment or expertise (even though he did replace the master and slave cylinders) or a nice warm garage. Laying on the snow packed driveway in sub-freezing temps could not have been fun. But after fixing the hydraulics it seems everything else in the clutch system fused/welded itself together and makes a nasty grinding noise anyway. It's going to be one heck of a bill.

My sister emailed me some new photos of Lyra. She is getting tall and has reached 30 pounds in weight. She looks a lot more like Luna, too. She likes to chase leaves.

I've been reading a lot. Right now I'm working on the latest Neal Stephenson, "Anathem". Very interesting, sort of a secular monastery system with the religious types on the outside and the monks being the scientist and philosopher types. Scientific advancement is slow because the monasteries can't communicate with each other for 10 year intervals (and longer), apparently due to some sort of law set down by the outside "powers that be" many centuries earlier. Very strange. The book takes a little longer to get into because a lot of the words are almost but not quite what we're used to seeing. Once you get past that, you can't put it down. And now that I've run out of blogging stuff I think I'll go read some more.

Friday, January 16, 2009

A Bit Chilly

Had a few cold nights this week. Now last night it only dropped to -6.7 degrees Fahrenheit, and in December we had already gone as low as -10.6 f so that wasn't very bad. But night before last we achieved a bone chilling -20.4 f! (And Tuesday night -16.1 f.) I know it gets colder in other parts of the country and the world but for this part of Michigan, that was pretty significant. I was sure yesterday morning my chickens would be little chicken-sicles because the coop had dropped to 6.7 f even with the 250 watt heat lamp. At the very least there would be frozen toes, but they were fine, just very quiet.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Christmas, Calories, Cameras, and Cinema

It's a Saturday night and I'm sitting in my husband's creaky, slowly disintegrating la-z-boy rocker watching the Empire Strikes Back on commercial TV though I have it on VHS tape (the original version, not the enhanced one). I've consumed a multitude of m&ms and a few pretzels and 2 or 3 glasses of milk. I did stop eating before 9 pm, it's my first attempt at getting back to more "normal" eating after the insanity of the holiday season.

Luna lays at my feet (under one in fact) while Rocket has retired to his twin mattress on the floor in the loft. I am using Hal's laptop which he inadvertently left at home when he left for his camp today. It's possible he left it on purpose as he has 4 new books to read, one of them by Neal Stephenson (Anathem) and rather large. I'm currently reading another of his books, The Diamond Age, a bit of cyber punk SF I'd say, very interesting.

I took the Christmas tree down a few days ago, I still have some odds and ends that need putting away as well. I do a little bit every day but I also have some housework to catch up on. Nothing like holiday chaos to slow one down.

I weighed myself on Wednesday, something I've been avoiding. I was pleased to find I'd only gained back 3 of the 6 pounds I had lost last fall. Perhaps trudging through the deep snow helped fight against the extra calories I've been consuming. I'm not going to lose them too quickly as long as I keep eating m&ms though.

I did have a wonderful time this Christmas. With my mom and younger sister here and 3 dogs, one of them being a puppy, there was plenty to do. The weather was messy so we didn't get out much, one day of shopping before Christmas and one day a few says later we went to Harmony Acres in Mikado. (The guys spent they're time hunting, we hardly saw them at all.)

Christmas dinner we had roast duck and chicken, baked potatoes, green beans, creamed corn (homemade by me and my MIL last summer), home baked bread, the ubiquitous Ocean Spray jellied cranberry sauce, gravy, an orange/raspberry sauce for the duck, and of course, a white wine. Or was it a pinot noir? I can't remember. My sister made chocolate cream pie for dessert. Oh, and there were cookies, too.

The photos I'll be posting from now on will be from my new camera DH gave me (with a little help from me, I did all the research and bought it so I got exactly what I wanted). It's a Panasonic Lumix LZ-8 and it's been fun learning how to use it. It has no viewfinder which is a minor disappointment, but the viewfinders on other cameras, the Canons for instance, are nearly impossible to see through anyway. Since I bought rechargeable NiMH batteries I also don't have to worry about ripping through AA batteries dozens at a time per month. My old Fuji used 4 AAs at a time instead of merely 2 and they weren't rechargeable but as I almost never used the the LCD screen (it has a decent viewfinder) they lasted a pretty long time. But after 5 or more years that camera became inadequate and a little less reliable (kayaking is not a good thing necessarily for electronics). There simply were too many negatives. I wanted an optical zoom, more manual control of things like shutter speed and aperture, things I used when I still used a film camera. It only had 1.3 mega pixels, 8 is much more impressive though I'm only using 5 of them regularly as 8 is overkill for what I do.

Star Wars #5 is almost over now, Han is a carbon cube and Luke is about to have a family reunion. I should wind this up so I can go to bed at midnight. I've got lots of things to do tomorrow.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Good Bye 2008

I was rather busy last month with Lyra the puppy and decorating the house as well as cleaning it for the holidays. My mom, sister and boyfriend did make it here. They had some interesting snowy weather at the end of the drive but got here safely despite cars driving up the off ramp at the last rest area before they exited I-75.

Lyra seemed to adore them and they her. The first few nights she still slept in the crate but by Christmas Eve I had put the puppy on mom's bed and those 2 slept happily together the rest of the visit. My sister and I and the 3 pups walked in the woods a lot and Lyra plowed through the deep snow with little trouble.

They're all back in MA tonight, having left Saturday morning. This time the weather was good for driving. I'm told Lyra has already torn up one of my sister's azalea bushes and attacked the snow shovel while sis's BF shoveled their way into the driveway.

I miss the little ball of fire.