We Have Drums

Having been set to the task of straightening the basement and laying down some carpet, M and I, additionally, found most of the pieces of the drum kit and it is now all set up. Periodically, one of us will disappear downstairs, but there is no mystery about where we have gone!

The first rule of playing drums is don't do it when the parents are home. Nothing will get us kicked out faster. The second rule is...well, there are no other rules. We are having a little difficulty getting anything done today, because every time try to do something, one of us has to go have a turn at the drums first.

I am now a living tribute to this song.


Knitting Madness

I finally did it! I finally finished a project that I am reasonably pleased with. I made this hat twice, and this is the second version. The pattern calls for a pom-pom on the top, but I felt that was a little too 1950s for me. It looks like a jockey hat. Very indie-craftster.

I got all of my knitting needles and patterns from my Grandma, but I have to admit that I have been doing a lot of knitting for the sake of knitting, and not for actually creating something. I feel that this hat will change all that for me. After casting on, knitting, purling, decreasing, and finally figuring out what "knit, slip, pass" means, I feel that I am ready for a new project. Any suggestions?


Boston, MA

One of the highlights of our New England trip was a stop in Boston, MA to visit Leah and Kristijo, who used to be our neighbors in Phoenix. They were good neighbors and friends, and we shared many dinners and carpools and appliances during our time in the desert. They gave us an excellent tour of Boston...we loved the numerous parks and plazas, including Harvard Square, shown here. The weather was fabulous, save for some scattered showers, so we were able to do a lot of walking.

Numerous sites of historical importance are within driving distance of Boston, and one we visited was Walden Pond. It was extremely muddy and not very crowded at all....apparently though it is a popular fishing and swimming hole in the summer.

Another interesting thing we did while in Boston was visit the Boston Museum of Science to see the Body Worlds exhibit. This should not be confused with the other bodies exhibit, which, rumor has it, uses the bodies of Chinese prisoners and consent is questionable. Anyway, we found the exhibit to be highly informative.


New England

Boston, MA has treated us well and we are about to move on to New York City. New England has had warm, if a bit wet, weather. When we get home, we will put up some pictures of the capitols we saw, as well as some other unique and tourist-y sites.


Greedy Little Deer

This is my favorite news item of the day.


Happy Election Day!

As a child, I always looked forward to Election Day, since we didn't have to go to school. Now, I get excited because it means an end to the constant barage of pre-election campaign calls and television ads which take up a remarkable amount of time communicating remarkably little. Basically, the commercials have told me that all candidates hate the elderly, soldiers (especially disabled ones), and little children. They all take bribes from defense contractors, and vote themselves pay raises. I really haven't heard any ads that explain the platforms of any of the candidates.

Naturally, I also get excited to exercise my right to vote. However, I happened upon this HBO documentary last week and it raises some pretty profound, and basically depressing, ideas about our voting, especially with some of the technology used to count votes. I urge you to check it out.

Have fun voting!


Rachel Carson Trail

Hiking is one of my favorite things to do. Beside the fact that I enjoy wandering around in the woods, it provides good exercise, fresh air, better sleep, and has restored my figure to that of my pre-college days. However, it can be somewhat inconvenient to always drive to the wilderness in order to find hiking trails. Luckily, for those in the suburbs north and east of Pittsburgh, we have a trail, quite literally, in our back yards. The Rachel Carson Trail is a 35 mile long day hiking trail. We did an out-and-back hike from North Park to Hampton Park and back. This was also a nostalgic hike, since M and I met 10 years ago at the very spot where we ate lunch.

We started our adventure in North Park, at the corner of Babcock and Pierce Mill Road (near the spill way). We crossed the street, heading east, and the path followed the creek, then went through the back yards of the houses in the subdivision North Park Mansions, before coming out behind the 7-11, where we crossed the street again and headed up the hill and back in to the woods. This first half mile introduction to the trail is pretty representative of what you will find, at least for the part that goes through Hampton Township. We had to cross the creek at least a half a dozen times, and as it was about 35 degrees, we did everything in our power to keep our feet dry.

Recent rains made the trail a bit muddy and there are several pretty steep hills to climb, making it pretty slick in places. There were also a few places where trees had fallen across the path. However the yellow blazes look fresh and are really easy to follow.

One complaint we had was the utterly terrifying dash across Route 8 - the trail brings you directly, and unexpectedly to the edge of this busy, four lane road, and it would be just as dangerous to try to make your way down to the traffic light as it was to look both ways and run with all our might to the other side. Aunt Elaine used to live right at this spot. The funniest thing we saw was a fax machine in a tree. I guess this should be a hint for us to get involved in the trail conservency and do some clean up work.


Happy 100k

Some of you may remember our celebration of mileage milestones from a previous post... well now it's time for another. Yesterday, en route from my sister's apartment to Gene's Bar, Sandy (our 2000 Saturn) saw her 100,000th mile.

For a while there, we weren't sure she would make it. Not long ago, I noticed an oddly powerful vibration when starting the car. This was accompanied by an odd rattle at low speeds, but seemed to vanish once the car got going. No biggie, old car, we'll see if it progresses. And indeed it did, to the point where we took it in. The culprit? A broken engine mounting bracket. Apparrently they made these things out of sub-par aluminum, and every now and then they just crack in half (see photo). Silly GM, why not skimp on the part that holds the engine in the car? After a rental, arguments with GM customer service, and a mysteriously disappearing part (we asked the service people to save the old one, and were told, 'oh, uh, we took it out yesterday, and were just waiting for the new one to come in. must've got thrown out'. mmm-hmm. i bet.) a new moutning bracket was procured and installed and the engine is safely under the hood (not on the road somewhere). Note to other potential GM buyers: we were explicitly told by GM's customer service that "All man-made things break, and your car is going to break. not all parts are in the maintainance schedule. you should just expect things to break sometimes". So the non-moving parts of the car that hold it together can be expected to fall apart shy of 100,000 miles. keep that in mind when your frame disintegrates or you wake up one morning to find your engine on the driveway. Once that warranty is up, GM's not liable for anything, so don't expect any love.

Enough ranting, this is a celebratory post. After hauling us around the country three times and back and forth to work countless others, Sandy's hit the big milestone. All told, those four cylinders of raw American family-sedan power have been very good to us (even if the customer service reps have not). To commemmorate the event, we decided to apply stickers of the flags of all the states she's been driven in... and we should be adding a few more on our upcoming jaunt to New England. Now how to drive a car to Hawaii? Hmmm...