Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Happy Birthday Cathy!

What a gorgeous day to have a birthday. I hope you got to spend some time outside doing something fun!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

My Blog

I've started a blog that I'm going to try to update regularly and I just posted pictures of our puppy. This one doesn't appear on my blog but gives some scale of Gavin at 30ish lbs. And yes it is a sleepy puppy and a sleepy hubby in the picture.

So for more pictures go to:

Jennifer wanted me to add that Gavin is now about 130 lbs...

Monday, May 19, 2008


I'm sorry if you received that spam about the electronics store from me. Of course it was not me, but I guess the hotmail account I had got messed up some how. I have deleted that account so no one should receive anything from me from that account. Sorry for the trouble.

Happy Birthday Squirrel of the Sparkles!

To celebrate, here are some tropical mammals. And I loved the shrew pictures! Hey Abby - I've gotten a couple spam-like emails from you about an online electronics store. Is that really you?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Shrews, Laurels and New States

Over on sparkling squirrel you can see the pictures of a super-cute shrew (not a rodent) that wandered around for us on one of our hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains last week. Here's an image of a mountain laurel which have spring-loaded stamens and crazy shaped buds and are all around cool. I picked up two new states (and wineries, but not capitols) during the week, as I had never been to Tennessee or North Carolina before. I returned home to find out I was not the only Democrat to vote for someone other than Clinton in the primary. 33% of the dems in my county did-- although 14% voted for Edwards. Ack. Anyway, happy late spring.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Konferons Agrikol en Haiti

I just attended the 1st agriculture conference in Pignon, Haiti! A man named Saul taught about 50 men about how trees a important in the watercycle, how Haitians need to stop cutting them down for no reason, crop rotation, etc. I was the guest attendee - they introduced me and I piped up about how in the US they plant crops right up to the streams and that's bad, and that people travel to see birds and they could get jobs as guides if they had trees and birds. The I left before it was over and took a 3 hour nap. I have a horrible cold which came on the day before, I was up last night coughing - didn't get into the miami hotel until 1am on Mon. and got up at 5:15am to catch the plane to Haiti. But other than that this is really a cool place, and the couple live in a cool house and I'll post pictures when I get back. Everyone here is so pleasant, and the language creole is like french spelled pheonetically - easy to figure out main topics. Sound this out: Anviwonman (environment). la grann vizyon = vizyon + aksyon + avalyasyon (the grand vision = vision + action + evaluation). The men were really into the discussions. And the mayor of Pignon (a woman) was ther to give them a pep talk. Tomorrow we go to Hencle so the Mompremiers can register their truck (with Iowa plates) - a get local food! Don't miss Jennifer's blog below!

Monday, May 5, 2008

All we lost was sleep

As those of you who are in the KC area know (and perhaps the rest of you know as well?), Thursday night very strong storms blew through the area between 1 and 2 am. Here in Independence, we had 82 mile per hour winds blow through ahead of what they are calling a bow echo.

At about 2 am, Steve and I woke up to the loudest, scariest winds I have ever heard. The walls and the windows were shaking. I turned the TV in the bedroom on, saw a huge line of red on the radar, and said "Steve I think we need to go to the basement". My job - to grab the cat. Steve's job - find the flashlight (the power had at some time during these few instances gone out) and take our basket of important stuff into the basement.* Lily, our cat, of course ran away as I tried to grab her. As I was looking to see where she went, I heard a noise I can't even describe - a crack and a thud all at once. Then a split second later - a more solid thud and crash. Then I hear Steve say - "The tree is in the living room". I look in to see a scene much like this (it was much wetter then, and darker, though Steve had found the flashlights and lantern).

After that, thing were a blur for a few minutes. The winds had died down, so we did not feel in danger any longer. They lasted about as long as the microburst did in Lawrence a few years back. But in the next few minutes, I found Lily hiding under the bed, we moved the CD's that were directly under the hole, I put towels down to mop up the water (ha - that was useful), and called the landlords. We then began moving the rest of the DVD's and CD's, the TV, the TV stand, and one small bookcase (and the books in it). Somehow we did all of this in about 45 minutes in the dark. Adrenaline rushes are amazing. Oh - and I also found old pots and things to catch drip of water in.

Our landlords came over about 3:30 that morning, bringing more lanterns, tarps, and buckets. They were amazing, and I feel lucky to be renting from them.

In fact, our luck in this incident was amazing.

1. If the branch had hit almost anywhere else in the house, we would have had damaged furniture, books, yarn, etc. As it was, only a few of our DVD's and CD's that have cardboard cases have water spots on them.

2. If the branch had hit our bedroom, we could have been hurt.

3. If the branch had blown towards our house a few more inches, the windows would have been busted.

4. Our landlords already have the holes patched and the debris cleaned up. The insurance adjuster is coming out Wed. to have a look.

5. We did not suffer the type of damage they had in Gladstone or North KC - there roofs were blown off, or in some cases, the whole house was blown off of its foundation.

So all in all, we lost a night of sleep. And we are both grateful that was all.

Here are some additional photos. The tree was a Silver Maple. I will never have one close to my house, they are notorious for breaking in high winds. In fact, the majority of the branches down in our neighborhood were from Silver Maples.

We were also lucky that the car was put in the garage (though we knew it was supposed to storm). If not, the car would have been smashed.
* A 9 pm that evening, the tornado sirens had gone off. Since we were not in immediate danger from that storm (the sited tornado was well to our south, but still in our county), I took to time to grab some important items in a laundry basket: my purse, the digital camera, some of what I thought were Steve's rare CD's, and my recently completed handspun yarn.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Jennifer Beat Me To It

Happy May Day!

Happy May Day

When we were all in Lawrence, I would at times get flowers from Lisa on my doorstep on May Day. I helped her deliver them once. Since I cannot deliver the real thing, here are some virtual flowers to celebrate May.

Happy Belated B-Day Beth

In all of the scurrying to finish up the semester, I forgot to post birthday wishes to Beth, whose birthday was last week.

Happy Birthday Beth!