Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Day spent outside, mostly

Went for a walk...

Bidwell Path Before it got too windy today we went for a walk in Bidwell Park.  The part of the park shown on the left is actually an old orchard that is going back to nature.  There are several old trees of indeterminant type, like the one on the right in this picture.

Bidwell Horse Crossing

The park is open to horses.  There are a couple of stables close to the park.  Also, locals trail their horses to the park just to ride in this lovely environment.

That tree with the white flowers behind the horse crossing sign is some kind of fruit tree... again of indeterminant type.  I sure wish I knew my trees better!

Bidwell Milk Vetch with butterfly

These purple flowers were in a sunny spot.  The butterflies just loved them.  It was like standing in a butterfly migration path.

Also on the outside agenda today...

I pulled up some primroses that were "done", and put some daisies in their place.  At the nursery I bought a rose to replace the maple tree that is dying in the back yard.  The rose is peachy colored and called "Chris Evert".  Also picked up a couple of bell pepper plants to put in the ground in a week or so when the danger of frost is past.

Yikes!  It's tax time...

I think Turbo Tax is just wonderful.  I was able to help Jan do her taxes in about an hour.  I'll do mine next week.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Shark Tale

We watched "Shark Tale" on DVD tonight.  It was amusing, but as a NY Times Review says, it's "pop confection".

Nowadays big stars play the parts of the animated characters, and
their personalities are part of the animated facial expressions.  This
film has some big names: Robert Di Nero, Will Smith, Renee Zellweger,
Angelina Jolie, Martin Scorsese, and Jack Black.

If you have to chose between this movie and "Finding Nemo", I would recommend Nemo.

Garden growing and wireless keyboard

As I write tonight's entry, I'm listening to classical music from England via the Internet.  I just love computers!

... Outside....

The Garden is doing nicely, in spite of the wind and rain we've been having.

The columbine are in bloom.   I tried to get a picture of the inside
of a flower, but I would have had to stand on my head, which probably
would have blurred the image.

The peony in the front courtyard is getting ready to open!

... Inside....

I've been playing with a new wireless keyboard I got for the Palm
Treo 650.  It works, so I should be able to take it with me and have a
tiny little computer on the road.  Very nice.

It's connected
to the palm with an infra red signal.  It keys like a normal keyboard,
and there are function keys for Palm functions.  I would worry about
using the phone and the keyboard at the same time, since the Treo 650
phone function will cause the thing to reboot pretty easily.

Here's what the keyboard looks like all closed up.  For perspective, that's my old stapler from IBM -- a keepsake :-)

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Day of rest

What does one do on the first day off in a week?

  1. Update the firmware on the Palm Treo 650.

  2. Walk to the hardware store to buy ant poison and hope the cats don't think the little bait houses are toys.

  3. Replace the Dish Network DVR because the one you had was kaput...
    only the replacement is in worse shape than the original, so you spend
    some time on the phone with technical support and decide to revert to
    the originally kaput box until the 2nd replacement arrives in a few

  4. Update Documents To Go application and try putting documents on the
    expansion card of the Treo 650.  The documents are tiny on the Treo,
    but very readable.

  5. Wash sheets and make the bed.

  6. Watch Persy and Ruso chase each other around the house, leaving little fluffs of fir in their wake.

  7. Watch the clouds and listen to the wind as yet another storm moves into the area.  Turn the upstairs heat all the way up to 70F.

  8. Eat sugary candy purchased for you by a loving friend as an Easter sweet.

  9. Read "Dog Eat Dog" by Laurien Berenson, a so-so mystery.  I still don't know who did it and I'm half way through the book.

  10. Most important:  take a nap.

... and wish everybody a HAPPY EASTER!

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Taking pictures at dawn

The dogwood tree in the back yard is in bloom!

The flowers aren't that bright white that I have been accustomed to.  Instead they are a kind of pale green, and smaller than you would expect.

When the landscape guy put the tree in he explained that this strain of dogwood was more disease resistant.

This is the wisteria from the ground.  I should be able to train it to cover the entire patio cover by the end of this summer or the next.

It smells sweet and is beautiful to behold.

Not much else is going on.  I'm still working every day at the library through Saturday.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Wisteria & Merchant of Venice

... First day of spring....

Before the wind and rain returned we went for a walk in Bidwell
Park.  The grasses are bright green; the oaks are leafing out; Spring
is still springing.

... Wisteria....

This is the view out of my 2nd story window, looking down on the patio cover and my street corner.

The wisteria is blooming now, so I decided to take a picture before the current wind and rain blew away all the blossoms.

As you might be able to see, some of the trees are already leafing out, and some are still dormant.

...The Merchant of Venice....

The Pageant Theatre,
our local art theater, has good movies that don't usually show in the
local mega-plex.  This time we saw "The Merchant of Venice" (NY Times
review here).

Al Pacino is a very good Shylock.  Jeremy Irons is a very good
Antonio, here played as a subtly gay merchant in love with Bassanio.
Joseph Fiennes plays Bassanio who is in love with Portia.  Lynn Collins
plays Portia, the beautiful, intelligent rich girl who loves Bassanio
in return.  The Christians hate the Jews and visa versa.  Shakespeare
includes his usual stupid double identity foolishness.  The familiar
speeches ("If you prick me, do I not bleed?", "The quality of mercy is
not strained.") are here and delivered well.

I thought it was a very good movie, and I almost understood all of the Shakespearean dialog.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Stocks down

What happened to make the market go down so much today?

The Wall Street Journal says it's largely due to high oil prices.  I
heard some politician trying to justify drilling for oil in Alaska
today.  He says we are having an oil "crisis" in the US, and we are
being held "hostage" by OPEC.

What if everybody driving one of those huge gas hogs decided to
drive a fuel efficient, clean burning car?  Or what if people walked,
or rode a bike, or took public transportation, or telecommuted?  I
suspect the gas crisis would go away... or maybe I'm over

Buying oil company stocks might be a smart move as long as George is in office.

Rogers and Gold, reporters for the WSJ, report the following in tomorrow's WSJ:

The Senate, after years of
resistance by environmentalists, endorsed a White House-backed plan to
authorize oil exploration in a portion of Alaska's Arctic National
Wildlife Refuge.

The 51-49 roll-call vote illustrated again the
business-friendly tilt in Congress following November's elections, and
is a victory for oil giants such as Exxon Mobil Corp., which long has lobbied for a chance to drill in the refuge.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

New Toys

... New phone/pda toy arrived today ....

I received my new Treo 650 today. 

It's got lots of bells and whistles.  I ordered directly from PalmOne, hoping to get the most up to date hardware.  I've heard some disturbing stories about early versions, but I'm sure my phone is problem free (aren't I?).

The User Guide is 200 pages, and it isn't one of those manuals
containing 4 different languages... that's 200 pages of English.  I'm
still reading....

There are a couple of user's groups on the Internet: 1)  treo650 on Yahoo Groups; and 2) TreoCentral has a discussions.

I got an extra battery, and I ordered a protective cover.  I plan to order a keyboard for use while traveling.

My first chore is to make sure all the applications that ran on my
old Palm IIIc will run on the new gizmo.  My biggest need is to be able
to sync my Outlook calendar and contacts.  Next, I'll need to be able
to use my SplashID software.

So, this is a several day project.  I hope it all goes well.

The phone plan is with Cingular.  So far they have been acceptable in the customer service department.

... back to my reading and installing....

Monday, March 14, 2005

Knitting and Gardening

... I finally finished Jan's socks....

They are made of Regia wool and poly-something.  I put surger thread in the heels to keep them from wearing thin too soon.

And now, for something completely new for me:

This is Cheryl Oberle's "Sampler Tabard"
from A GATHERING OF LACE.  The book was "gathered" by Meg Swansen with
photography by Alexis Xenakis.  It's a beautiful book, but if you plan
to knit from it, be sure and get the corrections (pdf) from the XRX books web site.

... around the garden....

I took a tour of the garden this morning.  Here are some of the pictures. 

  • I bought a tree peony to replace an ugly shrub in the front courtyard.  It already has buds (will be white), and the nurseryman said it would be green and leafy all summer after the flowers have finished.

  • It's really windy today, but the front door area is sheltered.   That's where the geraniums are blooming, and they look good this time of year.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

I'm Back

Ah, it's good to be away from home for a little while!

We went on a quick driving tour to see the flowers in the desert of
Southern California.  The flowers were reported to be special this year
because of all the rain in So. CA.  More pictures are in my Webshots Photo Album, "Desert Spring, March 2005".

We visited the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve in Southern
California.  It was alive with poppies and other wildflowers.  The
hills were the color of whatever flower was blooming there... yellow,
white, orange.

Then we went to Joshua Tree National Park.  The
Joshua Trees were blooming, and so were the wildflowers, but the rocks
are the most interesting thing in the park!

Next was Anza Borrego State Park, which is almost in Mexico it is so
far into Southern California.  The flowers were out, and it was a
pleasure to drive through the park's mountains.

Finally, we headed north along the Eastern side of the Sierra Mountains on Highway 395.

It was good to see snow and mountains again, and to drive over the Sierra's through conifer forests and snow.

... gas wasn't cheap, but driving a Toyota Prius dulled the pain a little.  We averaged around 45 mpg over about 1600 miles.

Thursday, March 3, 2005


Picture me here.
After a couple more days of library work, I'll be gone... to the
Southern California Desert.  Hoping to see some glorious wildflowers.
Taking my camera.

Regular postings from around the neighborhood will resume when I have unpacked and done my laundry.

March 3rd in the world

... in the garden ...

Believe it or not, this is an asparagus plant
with baby stalks.  The stalks are thinner than the average #2 pencil,
but I'm happy they are coming up.  I have at least 4 plants that were
planted last year and are making their very first stalks.  Soon there
will be fresh aspergrass in my salads!

The little lettuce
plants are hanging in there, and the snail bait has done its job.
There are 4 lettuce plants - two green, two red.  I've never grown
vegies before.  I hope it tastes wonderful!

Not much else going on around the yard today.  We did take a drive
to Sacramento and saw lots of acreage in orchards -- the prettiest were
pink flowering trees, and I don't have a clue what they are.

... and in the world ...

Today the WSJournal had the following news, which requires no comment from me:

U.S. Troop Deaths in Iraq Cross 1,500
With the announcement of the
death of a U.S. soldier in Babil province in Iraq, 1,500
U.S. troops have died since the war began in March 2003, according to an
Associated Press tally. By the AP's count, 1,364 troops have died since May 1,
2003, when President Bush declared major combat operations in Iraq over. Today,
car bombs in Baghdad and Baqouba killed three Iraqi security forces and one
civilian. Interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi extended the nation's state of
emergency, in place since November, through the rest of March.

Wednesday, March 2, 2005

Salvation Army Day

These are the bags that went to the Salvation Army this morning.  I decided it was time to clean out my closet.  Everything was taken out and sorted into piles.

Anything that hadn't been worn in a year, or had a spot on it was
put in the Salvation Army pile.  Anything that was just too worn out
went in the pile for the garbage.  What was left was sorted into
seasons and put back into the closet.  I still have loads of things to
wear, but now I have room to move the hangers an inch or so in either

There were some things I hated to part with, but did anyway... and
there were some things I just couldn't part with.  Maybe next year I'll
be even more ruthless.

Tuesday, March 1, 2005

Bidwell Park

I heard that one of the current commercial applications of
nanotechnology is stain-resistant pants from Dockers.  If "they" can do
that, then I think we should also be able to buy graffiti-resistant
paint.  Why not?

The weather is swell today, in spite of what the weather man says (72F at 2PM).  We went for a walk in Bidwell park.

This is the part of Chico Creek that is dammed in the summer to make a giant swimming pool.  Right now it's flowing well from the recent rains, and neighboring fruit trees are in bloom.

This is the spillway that is closed in the summer.
You can see the water line that shows how far up the water goes.  I
think the deep parts are about 6 ft during swimming season.And... I
cleaned out the bird feeders, so the local feathered friends are
pleased.  There are three little friends visiting here.