Thursday, November 30, 2006

Oh My Word - it's almost December.

Abby and Puck had a fight last night,
but today, they're friends again.
Abby's puppies are due around Christmas.

How did that happen? I'm definitely not ready for it to be almost December already... Luckily - we did push back our Minnesota trip this year to next February, because Mr.J's little sister is getting married (shock and fainting inserted here - the 'I will never ever get married' sister, yes that one). We all hope Bob can handle her ;o) *wink*

At the Office:
We have a meeting with a big-wig radio guy this afternoon at the workshop - that should be interesting. Once he gets over the ten dogs and the goat in the yard, then sees the data center (he says he's a geek... wonder what his reaction will be to 16+ servers and spare parts to build a dozen more)... He insisted on coming out to see us in person, so we're not going to put on airs for him. This is what we do and where we do it.

Linky time:
Jhoanna has a cool pencil/notebook holder tutorial over at her site - with pictures. She did a really great job with the step-by-step!

Hop Skip Jump blog has really cute bunnies posted! (toys)

Little Birds blog has a good idea for a draftstopper - we could use one of those at our house! Hmm.. yes I do have a bag of rice to spare and some fabric...

For Christmas: I've been stashing a few things in my cedar chest to send back home. My mom is slightly upset we won't be making it back for Christmas, but .. I think she understands. Driving 18 hours one way isn't an easy trip to make - or a cheap one.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Godzilla Cardinal Attacks!

my early morning photoshop skills are somewhat lacking..
but you get the picture

Ignore the title of this post, we all have strange nightmares once in a while, right? Mine tend, on the average, to be weirder than most. But - if you do happpen to see a Godzilla-sized Cardinal in your forest throwing around vehicles like a tornado - let me know, we might have an infestation, or I might just be overtired. ...

Thanks again, everyone, for the supportive comments yesterday. Our little three-person business has split off from it's parent corporation and it's sink-or-swim time here in the boondocks. It's nice living in the boondocks, until you have to go out and get customers! I should qualify for a degree in advertising after this is through ;o)

PARTICIPATE -- Help a Grad Student!
In the Name of Science
: Acephalous is making a test of how fast memes travel over the Internet - go over to his post and link it to your blog to participate. Help a grad student! Make blog history! Oh - and when you're done, ping Technorati.

For the record: I saw this meme at Stumbling Over Chaos blog.

My partner in Lynn's Three Pin Shuffle is RennyBA, from Norway! How exciting! Go see his pictures of his trip to Brussels!

**The KnitOwl is off to work
with a large can of Anti-Godzilla-Cardinal Spray.**

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

shoot for the sky, maybe.

My time has been put in a pinch, and it's really hard to get done everything I used to, and all of this added on!

So - I'm calling for radio ads, and newspaper ads, and printing business cards, getting new mailboxes and phone numbers set up - and we're all holding mini-meetings about 'what do we do today to keep on track.' Busy. "Need to start getting up earlier just to keep up" busy. "Where's lunch today Rhe? Don't know - what's lunch Mr.J?" busy.

I've still got two orders to finish for the toy shop, as well.

OK, done complaining.. no wait, and I couldn't get my ears pierced last night because my ID was lost (temporarily) and the lady wouldn't believe I was over 18. compliment or insult? not sure. no more time today for it :o(

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Playtime for Willowpede and Salamander

I've got nothing - except cute cat pictures... :)

Mr.J brought a big leaf in from outdoors and opened the window a little bit. They've spent most of the day sitting there and playing with toys.

Other than that - we saw the new James Bond movie Friday night - not bad at all. Not super, either - but definitely worth a ticket.

Very girly: I loved the green linen dress the girl wore in the hospital scene - and the dangly earrings. I need to get my ears re-pierced next week! Also: found this dress online, looks simple to make. Wonder if I could pull that off ;o)

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Mr.J's vegan Thanksgiving

We had a great Thanksgiving - the apple pie was appreciated by everyone. We all ate a little too much - just a little, and there were leftovers until today. Mr.J had several vegan dishes (besides the apple pie) that he enjoyed. Since the topic here is vegan recipes, I had to share this picture of a building near Mayfield, KY. We cracked up on seeing it - made Mr.J stop so I could take a picture.

Vegan Metal fabricators

Our recipes:
Vegan Stuffing

Fresh cleaned mushrooms - chopped up fine.
Celery - chopped up fine.
1 small onion, chopped medium.
green onion stalks, chopped up very fine.
Vegetable boullion (vegan)
ground sage, thyme and garlic powder to taste.
boil all above in a small saucepan with just enough water to cover. Replace liquid as needed during the next step.
Chop up 1/2 to a whole loaf of vegan French bread (Read labels - or make yourself) into small cubes. Lay out in a roaster pan and toast at 375 degrees, turning often until toasted nearly dry.
Strain broth from mixture, mix vegetables and dry bread together in roaster pan. Carefully spoon broth layer evenly over entire mixture. Cover roaster pan with aluminum foil and place back in oven for a few minutes.

Vegan Banana Maple Syrup Cornbread
I used the recipe here - except for changing the applesauce to two small mashed bananas mixed with 2 tbsp. of pure maple syrup. Add liquids to this mixture in the bottom of the pan to be baked, and stir until even. Add dry ingredients (mixed in another bowl) and mix until smooth. Bake for 30 minutes at 375 degrees.
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
3/4 c. white flour
3/4 c. cornmeal
4 tablespoons sugar
5 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 small bananas, slightly over-ripe, mashed.
2 tbsp. pure maple syrup (we used Spring Hill)
1/2 c. unsweetened soy milk
1/2 c. water

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Give Thanks!

Give thanks rabbits: image copyright of Marie Winger-Meyer 2006
Happy Thanksgiving!

We are spending Thanksgiving at our workplace and pooling resources together. I hope you all have a warm and happy holiday wherever you are!

To Litljon in Iowa: We love you and miss you!

Dragon Mailbox

Wow - working on a metal surface with ridges is hard! I'm using Enamel paints - so it will be weatherproof, and didn't want to risk spray-painting through a stencil because of the ridges. So - I went with the small brush and a piece of paper method.

I still have a little detail and correction to do - but things are drying right now.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Slow Tuesday ramblings

Linky: cute baby okapi at the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago

A little of that sunlight quality
coming in through the forest
on the way to the office.

We went grocery shopping at 11 pm last night - Mr.J is BIG into Thanksgiving. He was positively grinning in the car all the way home, because he had stocked up at the grocery store. He even found a vegan apple pie!

I've been working, trying to get things done, but also have managed about ten minutes with my sketchbook in the morning sunlight. I like to work in the clear white sunlight that comes in the early morning. The white paper seems to glow, causing every black line to resonate. When I was at the college, the old drawing studio had a specific place that caught both the light from the skylight above and the windows to the South. When no one else was there - I would pop in, drag out my board, turn on the classical NPR radio station and 'jam.' At least - as far as I ever 'jam.'

Working on this dragon, inspired by the dragon mailbox I'm painting for the office. It's far from done.

I have a bad tendency to 'overdecorate' when it comes to ink works.
Sometimes, it goes too far and I start over, wasting 5-8 hours of work. After this many years - you would think that wouldn't happen as much, huh?

Toy shop is behind a little - maybe I can catch up tonight or tomorrow.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Cold Busy Weekend

Everybody go over and wish Chris at StumblingOverChaos
a Happy Birthday!!!

I can't really say there have been many moments this weekend that our days were anything BUT busy - and because of that, I don't have much in the way of pictures.

I did catch a glimpse of the cotton machines - but from a long distance at sunset :o( Those white rectangles with the green tarp on top are finished bales of cotton.

Made 'old home food' last night - potatoes, onions, garlic and vegetable soup. It reminded me of cooking back at my Mom's house when I was growing up in Northern Minnesota. My Mom taught me to cook starting when I was 9. When I was little, there was always biscuits, spaghetti, stews, potatoes fried and boiled, home-canned veggies and jellies, 'hotdishes' and clear soup with handmade egg noodles or drop dumplings. (Mr.J has always hated the dumplings, so I just make them for me)

What do you consider 'old home food'?
And why?

My Mom always cut the vegetables on a glass plate too (which Mr.J says is dangerous... huh?)

Fried potatoes for Mr.J (on right, just before the frying) and soup for me on the left.

Mr.J got vegan fried potatoes with olive oil and garlic. In my part of the soup (on the left) I put a tiny bit of meat from the freezer, which made the broth delicious after boiling for an hour. We sat down finally at about 11 pm and watched 'Stray Dog', a 1949 Japanese film starring Toshiro Mifune. This morning I had more running to do, programs to work on, and am preparing to paint a mailbox for the company. We've decided on a pair of white dragons facing each other, just small silhouettes.

Mr.J is calling for me to help with wiring the UPS - which was put on hold when he broke his wrist. He sees the doctor again on December 5th. He should be all healed up by then but is still finding it hard to sleep because it aches.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Cotton in the field in West Tennessee

About two miles from work. Cotton grows all over the place here, and sometimes we get to see the big machines out baling it. I'd love to have had a camera with me when they were baling this field last week. Maybe I'll still catch it before the season is over.

Sally and Willow go to the vet

Willow after vet
'Are they coming for me again?'

Sally after vet
'Go away now. I'm not talking to you anymore today.'

Everything turned out okay - the biggest thing was their feline leukemia test. They hadn't had one last year, and Sally had been exhibiting some strange nasal dripping symptoms - which had worried me for a few months now. They are both negative, which means they will have long lives with us :o)

They received their vaccine for FLV and boosters on everything else. The vet also said there was no respiratory issues with Sally - so the nasal thing might just be because she drinks out of the faucet and it leaks back out? Don't know - it is still strange.

Big shock of the day: The bigger, less-active cat is NOT the heavier cat. Weird, huh? Sally weighs 9.5 lbs and stands at least an inch shorter than Willow. She is the active, hyper-I-got-to-get-that-toy-or-bust cat. For no apparent reason, she'll race around like a spider monkey hyped up on coffee. We call it 'seeing imaginary bats.' Willow gets really worried about her at these times, and goes to sit up somewhere high until it is over. But.. *drumroll* Willow weighs 9 lbs even.

I'm flabbergasted. Looks are certainly deceiving ;o) but hey, either Sally has more muscle or just some very weighty opinions going on! (not my quote)

Afterthought: And they had to wear COLLARS! The shame! Both of them were wrested into their 'travel collars' with their names and a phone number stitched/drawn on to them. They sat there for hours before the trip just staring at me like 'This is NOT a good sign Mom. What's up?'

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Mouse the Office Manx (Picture Day)

Swap Linky: Check out Lynn's Three Pin Shuffle exchange that she is organizing! It is three pins (to wear on jacket, coat etc). One is your state flag (if you can find it) or country flag, something from your region, and then something for fun.

For those of you who don't know - Mouse is our girls' big sister. She lives at the office, and has recently become an 'inside cat', originally much to her disdain. Now that it's cold outside - being inside is pretty cool ;o)


Kitty curl

Willow refuses to see the obvious resemblance...
Mouse and Willow don't get along well.

P.S.: For all of you who have sent words of support these past few weeks/month - thank you so much. It really has been uplifting and helpful to confide in you.

In other news: Willow and Sally go in for their 1st yearly check-up tomorrow. Mr.J wants to not use the cat carrier this time unless we absolutely need it.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

November Walk

On a cold November day
just after the rain
this little blue flower blooms.

The path down to the Lake

Near the lake

A quick moving spider

Things are getting a little better around here - we have some hard road ahead of us, but hopefully we'll all be able to pull together. We really do love Tennessee, and maybe from these pictures you can see why.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Toy and Puppet Links

I'm sitting here with a Sally cat warming my lap - and browsing around a bit.

Blog Find : Wol & Zo, if you can't read Dutch, you can definitely enjoy her pictures. Check out the 'Olmies' Art Dolls, especially! Personally, I find Dutch pretty close to German, which I studied in College. I can read maybe 50% of her first post just from that. If you need it - Babelfish can translate blocks of text from Dutch to English (with limited accuracy).

Morphe II : I've heard a lot about this - and know some of the crafters in it (Hi Marci - I see your birds there!) Check out their group toy shop!

Oh and my toymaking follows an odd vein I was thinking about lately. As a kid - I wanted to work for ILM (Industrial Lights and Magic). I'm sure a lot of kids dream about that ;o) In high school, I was in the puppeteering group - performing for younger kids at school shows. I was thinking in this line because while sewing one of my aliens at the dentist office a week or so ago, a lady next to me started saying how they look like muppets and her son was a puppeteer at a local church ;o)

Puppet Links:
Great puppetmaker's site I found and a guy I met on Flickr S.W.Johnson who makes puppets for Jim Henson's company (I think). He has some great puppet construction photos in his queue and also pics of puppets being operated by puppeteers!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Sweet pictures

I'm so very glad we have these little girls with us.
They really make us smile, even when we are worried or sick.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Movie Sunday

First things first - I have to give big Kudos to Mr.J for doing the laundry for me this weekend. He's been an extremely big help - even with his healing right arm in a flex-cast. It was his idea too!

I'll be back at work tomorrow -- but just desk work and then back home.

We rented three movies today:
Prarie Home Companion movie - big big thumbs up we've been waiting for this one! So wonderful to see all the bits and catch the 'I know I heard that in a radio episode' bits. It was all great except for the Lindsay Lohan at the end... but then, I guess it had to be somebody.

Big Trouble - great comedy heist/stick 'em up film, where everything goes wrong, for everybody, just when they least expect it. It was on the 'coming soon' trailers of one of the movies we had borrowed.

Must Love Dogs - okay, I picked this one. We generally like John Cusack films (like Grosse Pointe Blank was FUNNY!). This was a sweet romantic comedy that was just what I thought it was going to be - and that was nice.

Willow and Sally have been getting lots of laptime on this cold November day - they really appreciate the fact that we are at home :o) I've been knitting dishcloths as we watch the movies.

Saturday, November 11, 2006


I'm up and about, a bit... we are fur-sitting for our boss while he is on an overnight equipment-run. His twelve-year-old dog Rascal has a swollen ear, and needs someone to watch her on the steps when she goes outside. Hopefully things will be getting better this week, all around -- we have our fingers crossed for it. I've been telecommuting some of my work, knitting and watching movies to pass the time.

The girls absolutely love the toys Lynn made! They were having a raucous run through the house this morning with the curly rattle one and 'helping' Mr.J put away the laundry for me (by hopping in and out of the drawers and investigating the water going into the washer)

I'm not allowed to have any coffee :o( or tea, or anything that has caffeine... that is going to be hard!

In Other News: My Prototyping article was featured in Craftzine! Thanks Craftzine!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Package from Lynn

Linky: Garfield cartoon with knitting

Of course, Sally has to investigate

Mr.J had to bring me home sick a few nights ago, and the doctor says I'll be down for a few days to a week. They loaded me with medication, and I should be better by Monday, or its back to the doctor I go. To distract everyone from my terrible posting lapses lately - here is the wonderful package Lynn sent me from Canada!

She sent vegan and vegetarian goodies, some unique Savoury from Newfoundland (very special!), vintage knitting books (LOVE the socks one!) and handmade goodies for the girls too! Sally already has one of the rattle toys off in the kitchen somewhere. I might have to get it out from under the dishwasher for her soon :)

Look, Knit owls! They're so cute!

A pretty little silver knitting charm!

Thank you Lynn! It is such a wonderful package and it came at a great time :o) I'll have to make TVP chili for Mr.J now when I feel better! He loves TVP chili!

Since I've got some downtime, this will be a new pair of slippers. Maybe I'll catch up on my laundry too ... it always falls behind when we're working.

Blog Linky: Knitting Thoughts has good sock tips up today!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Sally and Willow: Picture Day!

A bit of sad news
7/4 black kitty is dead. The neighbor lady who has Tux's two brothers found her dead on the back porch last night, probably hit by a car. They had been looking for her for a week now, and wanted to bring her inside with her brothers.

She has filed a police report, as she thought someone had done it because of Halloween. There was an article about keeping black animals inside in our local paper - and they couldn't find her that day. The lady said the poor kitty was pretty torn up. :o( :o_( She was a sweet little girl who let me pet her a few times and talked to me a lot. Even the times when she was too worried to let me pet her, she would come and walk around my legs, meow at me and then 'dance' away with her tail up.

So, I'm loving up my girls - and had a picture-taking fest with them this morning. They go for their yearly vet check-up and boosters on the 17th. I am so glad they are healthy and safe with us.

Sally Smiling c. Marie Winger-Meyer
Sally smiles for the camera

Willow with her Fishie c. Marie Winger-Meyer
Bite that fishie!

Sally Fishie Bite c. Marie Winger-Meyer
Sally: I've got it now!

Stuff on my Willow c. Marie Winger-Meyer
Willow: Mom, did you have to?

Sally pretty girl c. Marie Winger-Meyer
Pretty girl Sally!

Willow Tangle c. Marie Winger-Meyer
Willow is a bit tied up right now...

I'll have pictures of Lynn's wonderful package later tonight - there are still some email, printing and server things to clear up on the work project. CarrieK: Watch your mailbox!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Mr.J says I have to post these tonight!

Pictures of his incision, and today's x-ray showing the plate and four pins. The doctor said he should be healed up in about four more weeks. He has a removable cast now and can type again!

Almost there...

We've been working almost straight since Thursday night on this project. Now we're just waiting on the software company to walk the manager through the installation of some proprietary software.

And here is the final result.. from the server end. These wires can be neatened up later - they are out of sight in the office. Each one of those little white boxes represents two lines of CAT-5 dragged down through the wall and across about 20 feet of wall on the other side.

Lynn sent Mr.J and me a wonderful package from Canada! I'll have to get pictures of it tomorrow - but Wow, thank you Lynn! CarrieK also sent a nice card from California. Thank you Carrie!

Squint Update : Kellen says he is over 5 lbs now! Can you believe that?? He is also going in for his 'surgery' soon -- wow, what a big boy he is getting to be!

Some assorted pictures from the weekend ...

Two shawl pins for my grey shawl.
Each one is about 2 inches long.
The one I had used for my green shawl
kept coming undone!

Sally cat thinks said shawl is her cat bed at night...

The moon in a pretty halo.
It was gorgeous Saturday night - this picture doesn't do it justice.

Jesse gets the stitches out of his hand today - and probably a new cast put on. That happens about an hour from now.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

6 pair of CAT - 5 = 12 wires through drywall

We were up until 2 am last night working on the network at SovereignIT's latest 'gig', which is deadlined on Monday... sort of. We still have some more work to do today. This particular office has phone lines and network lines going every which way, that have to be hidden in the walls (it's a 'professional' office, where customers will come).

Drilling holes and stringing wire.

The part I hate the worst is feeding the wire through a small hole near the ceiling to try to fish it down to be grabbed by another wire (clothes hanger) and pulled out a small hole near the outlets. This is tedious work, and we already ran into some OTHER electrical wiring in one wall that wasted a good hour's worth of work last night. It's been years since anyone knew what was in those walls, apparently, so we had to choose another place to put that box and cover up the unused holes.

one-handed wonder (seriously)

Mr.J is doing great at all of this - trying to do a little too much maybe. He is actually hooking up the CAT-5 terminal boxes with only two fingers and a thumb. Plus, he is 6'4", which means he doesn't have to stand on a chair to feed wire in at ceiling-level (WOW).

Cat-5 box half wired

At 1:30 am we realized we were short a few pieces and our boss down at the SovereignIT office a mile away had apparently went to bed... so we called it a morning.

We'll be heading back out there after grabbing those supplies at the hardware store. And, after all the fun physical wiring is done, we get to make 'the magical network stuff' happen as well.

this morning Willow says: 'Play with me!'