Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Treo 650 good and bad

I have gotten mixed results with my Treo 650.  It's great for email, and the Palm OS PDA is unbeatable.  When I was in Europe I updated this blog from the Treo every day.

But(!), I can't leave the phone on for more than an hour or the whole thing freezes and I have to reboot it.  Rebooting involves taking the cover off, removing the battery cover and poking the stylus in a little hole next to the battery... no fun.

So, today I gave up.  I bought a cheapo phone that I can use with the same Cingular chip, which means it's the same Cingular account.  This phone appears to work (a Nokia 6010).

My goal of having just one electronic gadget that is both phone and PDA is a failure!  Maybe PalmOne will release a fix later that will let the phone work, but I'm not holding my breath.


Monday, May 30, 2005

Memorial Day

Memorial Day Wind Sock... click for larger image When I was on a bus in Europe there was a white haired man sitting accross from me.  He looked about 80 years old, more or less.  I knew there were some WWII veterans on the trip, so I asked him if he was a WWII vet.  He said yes, he was on the St. Louis in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.  The St. Louis was the first ship out to sea after the attack.

He said his job was to "fix things" on the ship.  He wasn't a Big Hero.  He was just a regular, reluctant hero.

Thanks, white haired man, for being there when we needed you.  And, thanks to all our veterans of all of our necessary and unecessary wars and skirmishes.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Wild Parrotts & blog update

We went to see The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill.  It's a really nice story about a flock of wild parrots - cherry-headed conures (Aratinga erythrogenys).  Mark Bittner is the man who took an interest in the flock.  He keeps a web site.  There are good pictures and explanations at both the links in this paragraph.

This is a sweet, tender documentary.  I give it an A+.

Updating the blog...

I've been working on adding pictures to my April river trip.  This is the first day of the trip.  You can start with the first day and move one day at a time by clicking on the links at the top of each day, or you can click on the "2005 European River Trip" Category to the left.  If you click on the Category, it will load all the thumbnails for the trip and take some time.

I updated the main blog page.  Now there is a thing called a "Flickr badge" on the left side toward the bottom.  It takes a while to load, but once it is loaded it displays little links to various images.  The choices change every second or less.

New Rose

alt="New Rose, May, 2005 " title="New Rose, May, 2005 "
src="http://photos14.flickr.com/16241102_86babd8673.jpg " style="margin: 0px 5px 5px 0px; float: left;" />

A month or so ago I had the landscapers dig up a dying maple tree and put a rose in its spot.  It's a beautiful color, deeeeep pink with a yellow center.  It likes its new home.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Feels Like Summer

05/27 Thermometer This is no day to try hard labor.  During the noon hour it's 85F in the shade, and 100F in the sun, and it will warm up later in the day!

Butterfly Iris But, I tried some hard labor anyway, early in the morning, around 7 o'clock.  This is a plant that is too big for its spot, so I thought I could dig it up and separate it, planning to put about 30% of it back in the ground and give the rest to Leslie and Bill.

I picked.  I shoveled.  I pried.  I sweat.  I abused my shoulder.  Nothing worked.  I gave up and called the landscapers and they will come with their strong muscles and backs and do it for me. 

Now I'm thinking maybe a rose in this spot would be good.  There is lots of sun and roses can be kept in good shape with pruning... without having to dig up the entire bloody plant to do it!

You can see how close the neighbor's house is to mine.  Mine is yellow and theirs is pink.

05/27 Hydrangea ... and here is the hydrangea in full bloom.  I think the color on the blooms will deepen some as they mature.

Thursday, May 26, 2005


Crash We saw a really good movie today, called Crash (reviewed in the NY Times).

The acting was great.  There were six or more intersecting stories that all take place within about a day or two in Los Angeles.  It showed how every person in the story is carrying around conscious or unconscious bigotry.  There are black people, Latino, Persian, white, Asian, rich and poor in different races.

I thought it showed the American "melting pot" in today's images.  Nobody in the film is 100% good or bad.  They are just human.

I'll give this one an A+.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Chemo Cap - Crochet

I got up at 5 o'clock this morning and started researching chemo caps for an acquaintance at the library who will soon be losing her hair due to chemo therapy.  It's hard to think of it as "therapy" since it is so close to poison, but its purpose is to save lives.

Charles Cap I found this one, which might work for summer here in Chico.  The pattern says to use thin baby yarn which should be soft.  This can be used as a liner for a baseball cap.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Vacuum Cleaners

I finally wore out the rug attachment on my trusty old Miele vacuum cleaner.  Fixing it would have been expensive, so I went shopping for a new one :-)

I ended up with a nice Kenmore canister vacuum cleaner.  I tried it out when I got home and there are some things that the new one is better at, and some things the old one is better at.  I'll adjust.

When I was in Sears, a young man walked in while I was shopping and exclaimed, "Don't buy one of these!".  This poor guy was in the process of returning his 4th vacuum cleaner.  Based on his experience, I decided to spring for the 5-year extended warranty.

So, this isn't a very exciting day, unless you are the vacuum lady as I am.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Summer has arrived

I know the calendar says Summer doesn't arrive for another month; however, the temeratures are now in the high 80's and low 90's.  Last evening I turned on the air conditioner.  It's Summer!

Friends came to visit last weekend: Mike and Gilda, Jeff w/o Yolanda.  We ate.  We talked.  If it were a knitting pattern it would look like this: *Eat some, Talk some*, Repeat until finished.  We were going to watch a movie, but the machine was busy recording.

I took a tour of the garden this morning.  Click on the thumbnails to see a bigger image.

Gardenia The gardenias by Jan's bedroom are blooming. 

Asparagus The Asparagus is happy and healthy.  It isn't ready to be eaten.  Maybe next year.  I hear it takes a few years for an asparagus plant to bear edible stalks.

May 23 Lettuce The lettuce is fully grown and being eaten.

Early Summer Fountain I hooked up the fountain.  In the living room it's nice to hear the fountain's watery sounds through an open window.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Sunday's Rant


I think the United States is on it's way to becoming a third world country.  It might take a while, but the direction is clear.

State politicians in Texas are now legislating how provacative cheer leading routines can be.

Our president will veto bills that would provide federal money for stem cell research.  Meanwhile, countless other countries are making advances in medical research (recently Britain's cloning and So. Korea's cloning and stem cell research).

These are just two examples of our government legislating for the wrong things.  Why aren't the Texas politicians more concerned with literacy and less concerned with cheer leaders?

Why is our government actively discouraging research that could save thousands of lives, while at the same time spending billions to end lives in Afghanistan and Iraq?

Soon promising young university students will choose other countries for their education because the USA isn't quite as good as places in Europe and even So. Korea.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

House of Flying Daggers

We saw another movie on DVD tonight.  All these DVDs are coming from Netflix.  So far they have been a fast, reliable way to rent movies.  I signed up for the $9.99/mo service that lets me rent as many movies as I can see in a month, but the catch is that I'm only allowed to have one checked out at a time.  It works out to 4 or 5 movies per month.  After we've seen all the movies on both of our lists, I'm not sure it will be worht it.  We'll see.

Tonight was House of Flying Daggers.  This is a very beautiful production.  The story isn't the greatest, but it's so beautiful you don't care.  It's takes place in 859 AD, I think, and China is the setting.  The forests, mountains, and meadows shown in all seasons are beautiful.  The choreography of the martial arts is beautiful.

I give it an A- for beauty.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

No knitting needles


I received a summons to report for jury duty tomorrow.  Oh good, I thought... quality knitting time.

Wrong.  I called the office of the Butte County Jury Commissioner and a deputy said, "No knitting needles".  There was no interest in hearing what kind of needles I use.  All he knew was "no knitting needles".

I guess nobody has figured out a way to use a book as a weapon, because books are okay.

It's a good thing reading is just as much fun as knitting :-)

Monday, May 16, 2005

The Lacey Summer Top

Sampler Tabard Back Finished I am working away on the Sampler Tabard summer top. I should be finished before the end of May, assuming I plug away several times each week.

I'm finished up to the armholes in front and back, and all the way up to the shoulders in the back only.  That means I only have the front from the armholes up to the shoulders left to do, and then the trim at the neck and armholes.  It's looking pretty good, eh?

I'm pleased with the result, but I found an error that wasn't covered in the corrections on the XRX web site.  I'll make sure I'm right, and then let them know they need to update their corrections.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Beethoven's 9th

We went to the local symphony to hear Beethoven's 9th symphony... the Ode To Joy choral symphony.

This was the last performance of the 2004-2005 season, and our conductor and musical director, Kyle Wiley Pickett, did a bang up job.  One never sleeps through Beethoven, and this time was no exception.

The sound continues to stink in Laxon Auditorium, but the orchestra and Pickett overcame that handicap and sounded terrific tonight.

For those interested, here is Kyle Wiley Pickett's history (pdf file) with the North State Symphony.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Shoulder Surgery

Shoulder Joint I went to see Dr. Doherty today and we decided to go ahead and shave off the bone spurs in my shoulder... arthroscopic surgery.

It will be done some time in July (after the 16th).  My arm will be in a sling for 1 to 3 weeks.  That's the bad news.

The good news is that I'll probably be able to swim again!


Thursday, May 12, 2005

The Interpreter

We went to the local mega-screen theater this afternoon and saw "The Interpreter".  It was a story about an African leader who sets up a phony assassination attempt in order to appear sympathetic.  In reality he is a cruel man who will ultimately be punished for his crimes against humanity.

The U.N. interpreter (Nicole Kidman) overhears part of the plot and alerts the authorities (Sean Penn) that the leader is about to be assassinated.

I'd give this one a C+.  The acting is pretty good, but the story is a little too predictable.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Maxfield Parrish in Reno

Valley Fog We took a drive to Reno this morning.  Because of all the rain we've had in California, the mountains are alive with wildflowers right now.  We enjoyed the drive from Chico over the mountains to Reno (about 3.5 hours).  This picture is blurry, but you get the idea that there were lots of flowers, and the valley fog was pretty at 6:30 in the morning.

Basket Man Wooden Horse

When we got to Reno, we were about 1/2 hour early so the Nevada Museum of Art was still closed.  They are modern, so the statues out front reflect that. The Basket Man looks like a creative use of gabion basket material, and the horse looks as if he could have been collected in the desert, piece by piece.

Mparrish_daybreakThe Maxfield Parrish exhibit was lovely. This image was taken from the museum's web site.  Remember M.P.? I have a book about him, history and art, but have never read it. Maybe now's the time!

Graegle Mill Works Graegle Mill Works Sign On the way home we stopped in Graeagle, CA, and had lunch at one of my favorite restaurants. Jan had cream of zucchini with blue cheese soup, with 1/2 a sandwich. I had taco soup. We both thought we made the better choice.

Let me just say that driving over mountain summits with a head cold and then home again leaves you with ears so stopped up it's hard to hear!

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

The Chorus

We rented The Chorus (reviewed in the NY Times Movie Section) and watched it this evening.

This was a thoroughly enjoyable movie.  I give it an A-.  It has good and evil, but not much evil.  It has beautiful singing.

It's about a failed musician who gets a job in a boys "school" which is just a 1/2 step up from a reformatory.  He transforms the unhappy boys' lives by teaching them to sing.

Friday, May 6, 2005


We watched the movie "Closer" tonight (reviewed here).

I thought it was a movie about how much pain people could inflict upon one another using sex and love as weapons.  It's hard to watch.

That said, it's a well acted movie and I enjoyed the performances.  I guess I'd give it a B+.

Thursday, May 5, 2005

It's a wet May so far

The rain stopped for a moment this morning, so I went out to pull some weeds and trim the roses.

FrontwalkThe styrax (Japanese Snowbell) tree in the front yard is full of white flowers.  The white carpet underneath the tree is all the blossoms that have fallen because of the rain and breezy conditions.

The front walk is full of pink flowers, both geraniums and some other nice pink flower (close up inserted).  I have forgotten what the name of the light pink is, but it's delicate and pretty.

Hydrangeawithinsert MockorangeThe hydrangea in the back yard is making buds (close up inserted).

And, the mock orange is in bloom.  The flowers on this bush are heavily perfumed.  My friend Joan had one of these in Butano, and when I saw this one I had to have it.  It's been here for a few years and each year it has a few more flowers.

Yellowroses Here are some wet yellow roses.  This bush is covered with blossoms that had to be cut.  Because of all the moisture, some of the stems bent all the way down to the grownd.

The red roses are covered with mildew, so I threw those blossoms away and trimmed away the mildew.  If it keeps raining then I'll have to get something chemical to treat it.

I've been looking at the pictures from our trip, but can't bring myself to organize 300(!) pictures right now.  To tell the truth, I can't tell one beautiful cathedral from another, and those wonderful old towns look a lot alike.  Maybe I'll just put a few out on Webshots and call it 'done'.

Monday, May 2, 2005

I'm Back!

Well, the flight home wasn't too bad.  Coming home is easier for me than going to Europe.  We'll see how sleeping goes the next week or so.  Exercise and a lighter diet should help straighten me out.

A short review of this cruise/tour from Grand Circle Travel...

I don't think I'll travel with them on this type of trip again.  I wasn't compatible with most of the people on the cruise... different lifestyles.  I don't have children or grandchildren to brag about.  I don't much care for two weeks of small talk.  Women traveling without husbands are kind of odd, so the couples would really rather dine with other male/female couples.  I usually enjoy chatting with men more than women (30+ years working with men makes it so), but if I get chummy with a man, the wife gets defensive pretty quickly.  I couple of times I wanted to say a wife, "Trust me, he's not my type."

Grand Circle switched boats, dates, and cabin numbers on us, which was not okay. 

The guided walking tours around the various old cities were interesting, but several times I couldn't hear the tour guide... or it was raining and I was not pleased to be standing out the cold.  If I were not on a tour, then I could chose to do something else during the rain... like have some good German beer and wait for the rain to stop.

German beer is the best in the world, in my humble opinion :-)

The dollar is fast becoming a 2nd class monetary unit -- both the Euro and UK's Pound are worth more than the US dollar, so when you shop in Europe it's pretty darned expensive.

Europe is still beautiful, but I think I'd chose a different way to do it next time.