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Archive for July, 2007

More Photos

Saturday, July 14th, 2007

sunsetlakemichigan.jpgMaybe I’m catching up. In any case, here are a few photos from near Silver Lake State Park, 45 minutes north of Muskegon, Michigan… there are sand dunes between Silver Lake and Lake Michigan. Beautiful territory.

We tried to camp (July 3-5) and the first day it rained TWO INCHES in one night… we ended up sleeping in the car and it was a good thing, because everyone who slept in a tent (and these were experienced tent campers) woke up in puddles and ended up sleeping in cars or even driving home over an hour, at 1:30am. Ugh.

Luckily, Brian’s car is very big and the seats are quite comfy… not for overnight sleep but better than my New Beetle by a long shot. Two people in a car means not much oxygen, so we would wake up every so often and open windows in the pouring rain just to get more air, then we’d sleep a bit longer. I really prefer physical comfort to the great outdoors but at least we did not get very wet or very cold. It could have been significantly worse.

footprintsinsand12.jpgThe next day was slow to dry out, but around 3pm it got nice and a bunch of us (Brian’s family) went walking on the dunes. Usually walking very far in that sand is a lot of work, but because of all the rain the dunes were solid underfoot and we walked a long time. It was really beautiful, and a nice payback for a crummy/wet night.

Here is a sunset over Lake Michigan, footprints in the firm sand, and a panoramic view from the top of the dunes. I hope you enjoy the photos.


Kaboom! (Photos)

Friday, July 13th, 2007

fireworks1.jpgI am finally feeling a little more settled with this new computer. Not exactly pleased yet, but settled.

I un-installed the trial calendar program, and then my Palm device didn’t synchronize at all for a while. I found a way to synch (only to the administrator account and only the calendar, but that’s a backup and I will live with that until I figure out how to make it work more fully/conveniently).

I backed up all my pattern documents and other business documents, and a bunch of other crucial items. Actually, a few nights ago I had a seriously good cry about my powerlessness over this new system… and I felt better after the cry. I’m not sure anything changed about my situation, but I feel more like Lynn again. Thank goodness something changed, as I had lost my serenity two or three weeks back and I needed my feet under me again.

fireworks2.jpgThe main reason I tell you that is that while I was in flipping-out-over-computer mode, I didn’t do anything extra to speak of. I took a LOT of photos and you may never see most of them. However, now that I feel more settled I was able to process three pretty decent photos I got last week.

Downtown Lansing is the home of the Lugnuts minor league baseball park. This place has changed my city for the better more than almost anything else I can think of (and I was a skeptic, not being a sports fan). So now downtown hops many nights all summer. They have fireworks very often, actually… and these were taken the week of the 4th but not on the holiday itself.

fireworks3.jpgWe were just going to dinner at Clara’s restaurant (which used to be the railroad depot, only a few blocks from the state Capitol building). In the parking lot if you stood in just the right place, every once and a while you could see some of the bigger firecrackers going off over the buildings.

In the largest photo here, you can see the overhang of Clara’s main building. It’s a wonderful space, and their kitchen is open pretty late. I know that a lot of theatre people go there after rehearsals. We had good service and good food and we need to go back sometime.

I love fireworks, holiday or not. I hope you enjoy the pretty pictures.

Kathleen’s Summer Vegetable Roast (Recipe)

Thursday, July 12th, 2007

My sis-in-love (Brian’s sis) Kathleen is a very good cook. She has a blog about food (Kathleen’s Vegetarian Kitchen) and this Summer Vegetable Roast recipe she posted this week looks really yummy! I’m thinking that if I added a can of drained garbanzo beans or fava beans at the end of the process, it would be a full meal for me.

I know you folks like recipes… enjoy!

If you liked knitting it once…

Wednesday, July 11th, 2007

I am fond of saying that “if you liked knitting it once, you’ll like knitting it again.” Today I get to experience that more deeply than I have in a long time. I already ripped it back so there are no photos. Let’s just say that when you knit things not like what you usually knit, it takes longer to realize that you have a problem.

It’s beautiful yarn, Rowan CashCotton, in raspberry. It has some angora for softness and I’m not sure what else (I think some microfiber or acrylic) to make it more squishy than regular 100% cotton yarn (which rarely interests me).

I’m knitting it in garter stitch which is really stretchy and lovely. I am working at 5 st/inch (on size 5US/3.75mm needles), which is a nice firm gauge. I like the fabric I am getting. It is thick and cushy, but it takes a lot of stitches to make a few square inches.

However knitting lots of garter stitch is really good for “worry bead” knitting. With the computer ups and downs, I can use as many worry beads as possible. Such as dozens of yards of yarn to knit again??? Sure.

Off to enjoy knitting it again…

Guest Blogger: Liz Troldahl (Mom)

Wednesday, July 11th, 2007

My mother is very good at keeping in touch with those she loves… and she loves a lot of folks. She sends regular emails telling of her life, and she mails out copies to those who do not have email access. They tell about trips, meals, events, relationships and her own back yard.

Since Mom is a good observer (she does not talk as much as me so she has more time to notice things around her), she has much to say about ordinary but precious events. I particularly liked her stories this week…

Mom gave me permission to quote her today. I hope you enjoy it as I did.

The animals in the yard really entertain Fred. He calls it my zoo. It was fun watching the cardinals teaching their new hatchling to hunt for food. At first he just enjoyed hopping around and did not seem to notice what his folks were doing. Once he caught on, he would hop over and eat it out of their bill. A few days later, he was hunting up a storm.

There have been woodpeckers, flickers, sparrows, robins and blue jays lately. The red squirrel is here off and on. The chipmunks are always around and they do love to chase. Today a saw a “wooly” caterpillar. It was only a fourth of an inch long. The daddy long leg spiders were all over in the ivy and all over me too. I brushed them off most of the time, but had to take my glasses off when one got on the inside of the lens…

…I still have some purple wood sorrel. The seeds came from Pete’s Grandma Peterson. Pete’s mom had the plants and asked if I wanted some. They self seed and are hard to see as they blend in with the mulch. I am always excited to see them. I have no idea where she got them. Some of them have cross bred with the wild green wood sorrel. I still have some of the dark purple. When I was little we loved to eat the raw leaves and say it was sauerkraut. I have no idea where that came from.

I have some white clover in my yard, too. I even made some clover chains as a reminder of my childhood. I wonder how many children get to make clover chains now. It seems most yards are like a carpet and have no room for making clover chains or whistles from grass blades or eating “sauerkraut”.

Susan’s Fast Florida Footies!

Tuesday, July 10th, 2007

fastfloridafootiesbysusan.JPGSusan wrote to the Socknitters Yahoo email group that she had knit socks recently with Cascade Fixation yarn. This yarn is unique in that it’s cotton with elastane/lycra.

For a long time Fixation was nearly the only cotton yarn I liked for socks (though it is thicker than standard sockyarn). I designed a few patterns in this yarn, and always like to check out what others knit up in the stuff.

I was delighted when I clicked on Susan’s link and found a photo of her Fast Florida Footies (also referred to as the FFF), my pattern, in that yarn. I wrote to ask her if I might link to her blog post (her blog is called Dog-Lover’s Yarn), and she said:

Of course you may! Thanks for such a great pattern! I have diabetes so I baby my feet and this is a particularly good pattern because the sole is purled…

Thank you, Susan, for such a great vote of confidence. For those out there who do not know this pattern yet, it is free in size XS on my website to let knitters preview my style of pattern-writing before they decide whether they want to buy any of my patterns.

Many socknitters know how to adjust a one-size pattern to their own size, but if you don’t know how or don’t want to go through the hassle, I also sell a formatted version of the FFF pattern in 8 sizes, from infant 0 to ladies L. You can buy the eight-size version on paper (sent first-class mail) at my own shopping cart. You can also get it as a PDF email attachment through my Etsy shop, http://colorjoy.etsy.com

(Added later: Photo by Susan, posted here with her permission.)

Tracy’s ColorJoy Socks

Monday, July 9th, 2007

starsongkytracyvictorianlace.jpgTracy has been a friend to me and to my designing, for a few years now. She has tested patterns for me and she stays in touch through the internet.

Now she writes that she finished some “Victorian Lace Socks” from yarn I dyed. Yellow with small greenish biits, randomly applied.

Tracy’s yarn is related to the yellow-with-melon-bits yarn that Irene B. Knit (I showed that photo in a post about the East Lansing Art Festival back in May).

I have never dyed yarn like this since, but I made three yellow-with-bits skeins, I think it was about a year ago. I was playing with the idea of yellow, thanks to the influence of knitting friend Jacque.

Irene said that local knitters who know how I dress, were amazed that I would dye yarn in colors I would not wear. I like color, especially bright color, even if I don’t look good wearing it. That makes sense to me!

In Retrospect…

Sunday, July 8th, 2007

lizzylaptopkeyboard.jpgWarning: Mostly geek content, fairly grumpy Windows Vista post (with gratuitous Rhubarb Crisp Recipe) to follow… knitters and uke fans not interested in computers or rhubarb might like to return tomorrow for pretty pictures?

I’m assuming someone will be interested in one person’s experience with Vista. Remember that I taught software professionally as my primary job for over 6 years followed by about 3 years of Y2K Consulting and Access Database programming. I have taught computer software use from DOS to WindowsXP. I had a web page I wrote myself in HTML, in 1996, when most people didn’t have email… therefore, I have specific desires in an operating system/computer (mostly for power over changes in my system) than most computer users today might.


Maybe I should have trusted my gut, and bought a more expensive laptop with Windows XP. I would have been up and running for a week now, anyway. A year and a half ago I got a new hard drive for my old laptop, had to start from scratch (Ghost would not work to transfer files), and it only took 2.5 weeks to get up and running. Right now it has been 3.5 weeks and I’m not set yet.

The Good

I’m actually thrilled that a lot of my non-major-player softwares are working fine. My HTML Editor, Arachnophilia 4.0, was written when I had Windows 98 and it works like a champ. This is CareWare, a wonderful concept, and even though this version is no longer supported, I have never needed support since Windows98.

My (free) PDF writer, CutePDF, worked the first time and actually says on their site it’s set up for Vista. My Secure FTP program (for copying web pages from my hard drive to my website), FileZilla, worked the first time and even imported the old settings (I maintain several websites so this was really great, to not have to look up usernames, hosts and passwords for them all).

More standard softwares that fared well: Firefox (my browser rather than Microsoft Internet Explorer) did not flinch. Photoshop 5.5, copyright 1999, acted as if nothing were changed. Eudora 7.0 (email) works like a champ. Adobe Reader 8 is fine, as is OpenOffice (a free office productivity suite, with a word processor and spreadsheet that I use sometimes, and a PowerPoint substitute plus a few other goodies available).

The Bad

The down sides: My laptop came with Microsoft Word 2007 (a trial version, I need to pay in a little while if I want to keep it, which I will not do). It has such a different interface that I can’t figure it out. Maybe it would be more instinctive to someone who never used a word processor before, although personally I think that they put far too much visual clutter in front of the user and they hid all the basics.

For instance, it’s hard to find Undo (there is a tiny back arrow in the TITLE BAR/colored bar at very top where no useful menus have ever lived before). And there is no “menu bar” with File, Edit, View, etc… just a huge “icon” in the top left corner where the not-useful control menu used to live (it did minimize/restore/maximize but people tended to prefer the buttons at top right for those functions instead). When you click on that round button, you get Open and Save and Print. Sigh.

In many programs in Vista, you can tap the “Alt” key to display the hidden menu bar (since when is that instinctive?) but in Word 2007, if you tap Alt, you see letters telling you what keystrokes you can use to access the menu without your mouse. I use keystrokes but have them memorized. We will see if using this program for a while will make me more familiar and more friendly with these radical changes. As a computer instructor (I teach retirees once a week), this complicates things a lot… my students will be split between two different interfaces at home, and the classroom will only show one of the options.

For casual users who learn computers in a classroom or library, if they get this on the first computer they buy, they will be most definitely lost. I mean, *I* got lost and I have used a series of different types of computers since 1981 (mini, mainframe, and PC’s from DOS to Vista, Mac and a little Linux), and have been teaching Windows word processors since version 3.1 came out in the early 1990s.

If you are interested, you can click on the image below to see a full-sized window. You can either just slurp up Mom’s Rhubarb Crisp Recipe (it’s OK with her, she shares it all the time), or you can peek at the new look for Microsoft Word version 2007.


The Plan

What I am doing right now is just sort of dabbling in Word 2007 until it disables itself (hoping that I will pay for it). I will then uninstall it and instead install Microsoft Office XP/2002 for Word, Powerpoint, Excel, and perhaps Outlook (gasp). I also have a stand-alone copy of Access 2000 and will also install that.

lizzylaptopcover.jpgI will need to buy a copy of either MS Publisher or Adobe InDesign. The Adobe softwares are much superior but so expensive they make me hurt. I may have to just deal with it, after all I’m a pattern designer and most designers are going to this format.

Right now I just have a few things for The Fabulous Heftones in MS Publisher 98, nothing really big, and the program is not really good enough for anything more. Version 98 was written as if it were for Windows 3.1 (the Save As box gives this away) so it needs to be retired at this point.

The Muddled

Printing is also not working perfectly. Brian is pretty sure he can figure this out. I can print fine if I connect the printer directly to my laptop, but it prints off center and too low on the page if I print through the network. I am choosing not to worry about that too much yet.

I also did buy a new Palm Device (my very old Handspring would not load its synch or driver softwares) and I do like that gizmo just fine. I thought I found a calendar program I liked (I do) but it does not allow me to synch my addresses, not to it and not to Palm Desktop. At this point I may actually try Outlook (since I already own a legal copy) just for address and contacts, and ignore the email part which is the part with the most security risk. I have to be able to synch my addresses!

The Fixed

Last night I had a bad spell with my Knitware Sweaters and Knitware Skirts and Shawls programs (both versions 2.5). I love these programs, though I don’t knit many sweaters. I did knit a dance top once (photo at left) using the sweaters version, although at the time I had to convert their pattern from flat to circular knitting (the current version supports knitting in the round). It just plain made things easier to figure out than plotting it all myself. And the top is so adorable my dance friends say out loud they could get one.

So I installed these programs. At the end of the install I could choose for the program to run right away. I did, and it worked just fine. Then I closed them and tried to re-run from the start menu. No luck. I was beside myself at that point.

Fortunately Brian calmed me down (he should not have to deal with me that grumpy at all, but he was so logical he did wonders). He walked me through a bunch of questions that made me more willing to keep trying. In the end, I first tried something called “compatibility mode” which did not work, and then I found “Run as Administrator” which did work. I have to enter the admin password in order to run the software, but then it works, and works very quickly. I am delighted.


Perhaps it would be good to remember why I got a new machine in the first place. My old machine would not burn CDs at all, and this was becoming more and more of a hassle to me. Then the cooling fan started making very bad noises. The fan cost really too much to replace when the laptop was already 4.5 years old, surely other things would start to go as well. So it was only a matter of time that I might be forced to change over and I wanted to do it while both machines were running.

Copying files between the machines was a hassle of the worst kind, I tried 4 different methods to do it and all of them would fail regularly, requiring constant supervision. However, that part is finally done (took 3 weeks) so now I just need to figure out the best way to back up the new hard drive (since the old backup software does not work in Vista). There is a backup program in Windows but I may not choose to go that route, we will see.

The Remainder

So now I’m down to address book woes and printing off-center issues. Maybe I will survive this transition after all. It would be a relief to my beloved Brian, I am sure. I often have grumpy mornings but I’ve had a grumpy three weeks and I think he’s really tired of it!!! To be honest, I’m tired of me this way, too.

The Artist in Me Deals with Her Frustration

How did I deal with my nervous energy today? I marked my geek territory, so to speak. I put a LOT of stickers on the inside of my laptop. (Besides being fun and colorful on a colorless laptop, the stickers are also a theft-deterrant.) I sure hope they stay stuck, because if they get caught under the keys of the keyboard I will have some trouble. They are metallic with really sticky backs so I am hoping for good luck.

On either side of the glidepad mouse are stickers that say “Lynn” which were a gift from Rainbow Julie, at the bottom of the monitor and keyboard are VW Beetles given to me by a music/knitting friend, and then there are a bunch of hearts and stars and daisies that Brian bought around Valentine’s Day last year.

Last week I put stickers on the cover. I have a Fabulous Heftones bumper sticker, musical notes and VW Beetles, and a photo sticker of a young Andy Warhol that came from some postage stamps. I admire how Warhol used the design element of repetition so effectively (since I do polymer clay, knitting and printmaking/rubber stamping, I also use this design element very heavily).

The Good News: Summertime

I think I feel better now. It is 97F degrees, perfect hammock weather. I made some iced tea and I think I’ll do some hammock time, either knitting or surfing wirelessly or maybe even reading. Enjoy your summer day (assuming you’re not on the other side of the globe) as well.

And the Promised Rhubarb Crisp Recipe (added to post much later)

LynnH’s Rhubarb Crisp (inspired by Mom)

Crumbly Crust Ingredients
1 cup flour (I use oat flour, can use all-purpose wheat)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup “quick” rolled oats (or half quick and half old-fashioned)
1/2 cup melted butter (can sub margarine)
a shake or two of cinnamon and/or nutmeg, if desired

Filling Ingredients
3 to 4 cups diced rhubarb
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp flour (I use oat flour, can use all-purpose wheat)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon, optional
1/4 tsp. nutmeg, optional
1/8 tsp. allspice, optional

Combine dry crust ingredients. Mix in butter until crumbly, sprinkle half to  two-thirds of the oat mixture over bottom and sides of nine inch pie pan. (Note from Lynn: I don’t press much, if I do it sticks too much after baking.)

Combine filling ingredients. Sugar should become moist enough to stick to the rhubarb. Late-season or grocery store rhubarb may need a bare sprinkling of water to get the right moisture.

Top crust in pan with filling, and sprinkle with remaining crust mixture. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45-50 minutes. Should be bubbling when it is done.

Let rest long enough that it does not burn you! Add ice cream or whipped cream if you wish.

Mom’s Rhubarb Crisp

1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup melted butter

Save 1 tsp flour. Combine flour, salt, 1/2 cup sugar, stir in oats. Mix in butter until crumbly, press 2/3 of the oat mixture over bottom and sides of nine inch pie pan. (Note from Lynn: I don’t press much, if I do it sticks too much after baking.)

3 cups diced rhubarb
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Combine rhubarb, reserved 1 tsp of flour, 1/2 cup of sugar and 1 tsp of cinnamon. Fill crust and cover with remaining (1/3rd) of oat mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

It is 7-7-7 and Eric is 47

Saturday, July 7th, 2007

Today is my beloved brother, Eric’s, birthday. On 7-7-77 he turned 17. On 7-7-7 he turns 47. He’s wonderful at any age, on any day.

In my family, we always call each other and sing happy birthday on each other’s birthdays. I called Eric today and sang as per our standard procedure. Then we talked what seemed like just about forever. I could have come down to see him for dinner (one hour and 15 minutes, one way) but we already have plans for a whole-family gathering on July 16 (I thought I might be gone this weekend and Eric thought he might be working today). So I sat in the hammock and chatted, and he lounged around at his house, and it was delightful.

I don’t know how to live my life without my brother. He knows me so fully, in every way! I often get worked up about this or that, and I can call him, blurt out all my assorted and random thoughts, and he listens. Then when I stop, he asks me a question or two. And I then miraculously can make sense of it all, can move forward with more certainty. He never tells me what to do, he helps me figure out where I need to go.

Once when I was a divorcee and Eric was a widower, my employer offered all employees a free five-day cruise to reward us for good performance. I could take a guest for half price. I took Eric. It was incredible to have all that time together. What a gift that was!

I just wrote 2 paragraphs about ways he loves me unconditionally. I realized that perhaps visitors to my site wouldn’t love me that much, to them I might just look like a wimp or something… but trust me, whatever choices I make, my brother is behind me even if those choices are not longterm in my own best interests. And when I realize I’ve messed up, he’s just there telling me he is there to help me get through the mess I made.

Eric is creative… he is a really good embroiderer (I have pillowcases to prove it) and he once sewed a pair of blue jeans with those amazing seams you find only in storebought jeans. You never would have known someone could make them, but he did. For my first wedding, he sewed a frilly dress with lace for his then-fiancee (his late first wife, Kelly).

He is also very fond of gizmos. He likes things you can take apart and put together. As a kid, he tried rockets, those fuel-propelled balsa-wood airplanes you control by wires and fly in circles, cameras (complete with small darkroom thanks to Dad), and many other things. Before Dad died (Eric was almost 12) he showed Eric how to run wires in the attic to put in new light fixtures (I was a girl and was not allowed to do such things). One year Eric’s handcarved wood car won the first prize in the boy scout “derby.” It was ugly, but he was supposed to make it all himself and he did, probably with verbal advice from dad but no hands-on help. Dad would not have condoned cheating, and in the end Eric didn’t need any more help than he got, anyway.

I got my first computer from my brother. He took a bunch of parts he had and made a computer that worked. I was teaching computer classes at that time as my day job, but had to go to work to learn new programs. It was a godsend to get that computer which ran on DOS at first. When I upgraded to Windows 3.1 (it barely fit, somewhere in there I upgraded from a 10MB to a 50MB hard drive) I had to upgrade to 4MB RAM and purchase my first mouse. He also helped me navigate the internet when I first got on (2400 modem, before I got Windows). I didn’t know any women in Lansing, and only two male associates, who were online at that point. Eric is very good at explaining computers in English (in great part because Kelly insisted that he make sense when talking with her about his computer interests), so he became my tutor from afar.

Eric taught me how to fix computers. I’m more comfortable with software than hardware, but at the time I worked for a nonprofit and we had no budget for computer repair. Either I fixed it, or it didn’t get fixed. I called Eric with a problem and he told me to get a screwdriver and call him back. He said “now look on the back of the box, there is a screw located…” and the next thing you know, I had the box apart and the computer fixed. About five years later I made my primary living fixing computers… still more software than hardware but all because Eric shared what he knew with me.

Eric: happy, happy, very happy, perfect birthday to you!!!

Student Works

Saturday, July 7th, 2007

While I’ve been mostly occupied at home with my computer transition, I’ve taught a handful of classes at local shops as well. I try to take photos of student works, sometimes I don’t remember.

I taught a basic baby hat class at Rae’s in Lansing. Two women were trying their first non-scarf projects, so they chose my button hat pattern (roll brim, simple decreases, button on the top rather than a pom pom or other detail) and the third student chose the very appealing Ann Norling Fruit Cap. That one calls for two yarns and something like four or five rows of knitting which alternates between those yarns. It’s a great first-time stranded knitting (sometimes called fairisle) project.

frankensock.jpgSince the baby hat class was only one evening, there was not much to photograph by the time they left. They knew what to do next, they practiced everything they would need to do later (on my knitting sample, so they would not mess up their own projects) but I did not take photos.

I also taught a one-day First-Time Toe-Up Sock class at Yarn Garden in Charlotte. We had such fun! They chose DK-weight washable wool (Zara, a wonderful yarn) and knit their toe, increasing until it would fit their own foot. At that point we put in a lifeline (waste yarn through each stitch so that they could rip back to that point later and put the same stitches back on needles). We saved time by not knitting much on the tube for the foot. We dove directly into knitting a shorter-than-usual heel flap (under the heel) and turned the heel, decreased for gussets, and then discussed several methods for binding off so that the top of the sock is stretchy enough to pull on over the heel.

It was a fun day. They ended up with what I call a “frankensock,” (I may have learned that from Lucy Neatby) which is all parts but out of proportion. No foot and no cuff to speak of, just the parts they needed to learn with the teacher nearby.

needlefeltlindashirt12.jpgThen last Friday I taught Needlefelted Embellishments at Threadbear in Lansing. We first experimented with both yarn and fluffy wool roving, on an old felted/shrunken sweater I bought at Goodwill (it was donated to the charity after someone had accidentally shrunk it). Then Linda got out a cotton knit shell she had bought for the occasion. She originally had thought she would make flowers on it but ended up opting for paisley shapes. I know that folks needlefelt wool onto blue jeans jackets fairly frequently but had never tried needlefelting on cotton myself. She chose the finest needle she had so that she would not damage the cotton (cotton breaks more easily than wool) and she had quite a success. Won’t this be fun to wear with jeans???

A Quick Computer Question

Friday, July 6th, 2007

Does anyone out there synchronize a palm device/PDA with a calendar program that is not Outlook or Palm Desktop? I really would like a bit of “experience, strength and hope” today.

I love the new calendar I use, when I’m dealing with the version on my laptop. However, I’m not satisfied with how it synchronizes changes I make (especially on the palm device), and I really am unhappy that it does not synchronize my addresses at all.

Any input, even small bits or sad stories, would be helpful at this point. Thanks for your consideration.

(You can comment or send me email to Lynn -AT- ColorJoy DOT com)

Chicago Adventures

Friday, July 6th, 2007

chicagobean.jpgOn Sunday after the Fri/Sat events of Chicagoland Ukulele Jamfest, we had a day on our own. We made the most of it.

First we went to lunch on Devon Avenue, the section I’m told is sometimes called “Little India.” We ate at Tiffin (I usually go to Udupi Palace but Jima of the comments had suggested that Tiffin was also good… it had been many years since I’d been there). Brian had the Sunday buffet which looked very good. I had been craving eggplant so I ordered that from the menu. All good, and excellent table service beyond that which I’ve seen in Lansing since I worked at a fancy restaurant in the late ’70’s.

After lunch I checked out a few clothing stores. I admired the sari/saree fabrics but opted for a two-piece outfit (sometimes called a Punjabi but now worn by many cultural groups and sometimes otherwise called Kameez Salwar (top-pants, the word for top is related to the word “chemise”) or Salwar Kameez. Most of these also come with a “scarf” or wrap for the neck/bodice area, usually of matching fabric or sometimes a pleasant contrast.

chicagobeanshadow.jpgThe one I chose to take home has a turquoise top with lots of machine embroidery in many colors, and solid-colored fuschia pants. It has a plaid turquoise/fuschia wrap which I don’t like as well. The top fits very well and is sort of the perfect colors. The embroidery reminds me of some I saw in Mexico, believe it or not.

The ensemble first seemed like a cotton/poly blend (the saleslady insisted it was cotton) but after taking it home I think it may be a high-quality 100% polyester. I won’t be wearing it in the dead heat of August but it should be fine in fall and spring. My second choice was definitely a lightweight cotton but it did not fit as well and was merely printed fabric, no embroidery, and I opted for the color/fit this time. . .

After clothes shopping, we went to Patel Brothers Grocery. I love this place. Most of the food markets in this section of town are fun in cute/tiny family grocery ways, but Patel Brothers has the most spectacular variety I can imagine.

chicagomilukulele.jpgThe produce includes things I have eaten in Mexico and Africa (did I write that? lucky me) and they also had vast shelves full of all sorts of flours, beans/dal, and spices. I took home about a dozen prepackaged dinners (in boiling packets rather than cans) that are great for travel, vegetarian meals like mild yellow lentils or medium kidney beans in tomato sauce (like veggie chili). I also picked up the candy-coated fennel seed candies I enjoy.

After our Little India adventure, we headed to downtown Chicago. We parked under Milennium Park which is really pricey but it costs something like $15 for zero to 8 hours (ouch) and so it looked like even if we drove out right away it might cost us a bit. We parked and went up to the park for maybe 2-3 hours. It was very worthwhile.

We first visited the shiny sculpture whose real name I do not know but I think Stephanie Pearl McPhee (Yarn Harlot) called it the bean. it looks like a huge and impossibly shiny bean, indeed. It is pretty from a distance but the closer you get the more amazing it is. From a distance it reflects the sky and the skyline, and you taking the photo.

From up close if you get underneath, it becomes obvious that the convex shapes inside and under the sculpture are designed for amazing and delighting the eye. I stood in one place underneath and could see my own reflection in eight (8) different spots. It is wonderful.

chicagomilfountain.jpgAs we exited the sculpture area, there was a large recessed area where we saw several street musicians. None had any tip jars out, they were just performing for the crowds. I’m guessing the Parks department (they call it something different than we do in Lansing) pays these performers. One guy was juggling and one woman was on stilts and singing familiar songs for a crowd, accompanied by none other than a Ukulele. Too bad she didn’t seem to have been at the festival the day before!.

After that, we went to the water sculpture. When I was in Chicago with Altu (I think that was in 2002 or 2003) it was relatively chilly that day and nobody was playing in the water. This time was different, and there were many, many children and a few adults wading and splashing in the water under the two tall rectangular block sculptures made of glass blocks. These blocks change, sometimes they have faces projected from the inside out, and the faces change. Sometimes they are just colored. This time I got a great shot where one of the projected faces appeared to be squirting water out of its mouth, and the kids were splashing under the fountain of water.

chicagomilfield.jpgOn the way back we looked at the area which in winter is a skating rink but now is a food court, and we wandered to a quieter area. This area had wildflower fields, lots of flowers of all sorts. There also was a sort of man-made creek which was sort of like a fountain but without squirting water, and lots of folks had thrown coins into it (I am assuming they were making wishes with each coin).

At that point we found our way to the car and headed home. I am really glad we took the time to wander slowly out of town. Chicago always recharges my emotional batteries and I really appreciate it.

Taking a Break

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007

It is a holiday week here in the USA. We have our Independence Day on Wednesday, the 4th of July. I need a vacation from this computer.

I can’t find the photos I took of downtown Chicago right now. I also saved some pretty photos of my climbing roses, inspired by Ewe-kniss (did I spell that right?) of the comments, who said in person she likes photos of my garden. I even edited those photos and saved them but to where?

I’m really disoriented with the new structure of where things are stored on the new machine (Windows Vista has its own ideas and I’m trying to submit to that, but I forget while I’m learning… normal stuff but frustrating). Those darned learning curves! Whether it is a move, a new car, a new job, it takes a while to get readjusted. Right now I’m in the middle of that phase.

Here in the middle of my favorite season, in the middle of a wonderful gift which is this new computer (which I even got before the old one died), I am just a bit disoriented. As a friend says, it’s good stress but it’s stress anyway. I think a few days of rest will do me good.

I am fine, my hubby is wonderful, and I am going to turn off the computer for a few days and have a holiday. Don’t worry about me, I’m just resting.

Everyone have a wonderful few days. I really appreciate you folks, I know you are there and I could hug each and every one of you for coming by. Please come by on Thursday night and I’ll have something new for you. Thanks.

Here is my favorite photo of my favorite place in Lansing… my porch, my hammock, with me in it.

This, too, shall pass…

Sunday, July 1st, 2007

sunsetjune1.jpgI wrote a relatively long post about Chicago in the wee hours yesterday. I thought I saved it as a draft, but I went back today to add photos and it’s nowhere. Today has been spent with trying to get data (especially photographs) from my old laptop to my new one. I’m mostly working on the new one now but my archival stuff is not all moved. The old machine started making very very loud noises in the last few days (the bearings on its cooling fan have been going bad for almost a year now) and I need to make haste.

It took until after 8pm Sunday for even Brian’s tried and true methods to work. Vista really works hard at being in control. It apparently particularly makes things hard if you want to use methods that are not Microsoft’s idea.

We were using a program (to move/copy files from one machine to another) that was originally written for Linux (and works fine in Windows XP) and it just gave us loop after loop to crawl through. Giving it an administrative password when prompted (even when already logged in as administrator), was not enough. Sigh. I went on two walks today to burn up worry-energy so that I would not implode from nervous energy (as in: will this really work, and will it work before my old laptop gives up the ghost).

sunsetjunekoolkone.jpgThe good part was while Brian was working on the machine and I was taking my second walk, I went by the Fleetwood Diner and thought I heard someone say my name. Sure enough! It was the grandmother of one of my CityKidz knitters, who I haven’t seen since around the winter holidays. It was great to see her. That really helped me get my mind off of worries where I have only so much control. Yay for Lansing being small enough for folks to run into one another!

So… I will choose to have a good day, lost post and slow laptop transition and all. We did have a nice simple dinner (salads of kohlrabi and red bell pepper, mine with tuna, and fresh dill from the garden plus good olive oil as dressing).

I also talked briefly to my friend April on the phone and she will come over tomorrow night after work. I can’t tell you how much I wish she still lived across the street! More good-day-making activity!

And today was a positively gorgeous day for going on those two walks. The sky was blue with fluffy white clouds, like those in paintings where they look unbelievably ideal.

I did not take any photos today but I did take some a few nights ago on the way home from work/the post office. I think this was Thursday. It was so beautiful I had a hard time driving. I drove right past our house and parked where I could climb up to the pedestrian bridge over Cedar Street near the diner. I get some great sunset views from up there when I am lucky.

Here i show you one photo from Pennsylvania Avenue bridge, and one a few minutes later from the pedestrian overpass/bridge on Cedar, facing north toward the Kool Kone soft serve/catering business (run by two women if I remember right). On the near right corner (diagonal from Kool Kone) is the parking lot for the Lansing location of Fleetwood Diner.