Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Random Wednesday - a raccoon heavy post

Just a quick update on a few things before I have to jump in the shower and get ready for work.

1. The Epic Paper Mâchè project is almost finished, and it is, in fact, a dead/bloated raccoon. As the story goes, Karl and Mark needed a team name for an upcoming MTB race, and as they were riding one hot afternoon, the came across a dead, bloated raccoon that inspired Mark "How about Team Raccoon Balloon?" and thus, the team was born. So, all that is left to do is some finishing touches to the face: some white accents and an X over each eye, then he'll be ready for photos.

2. I was invited to join Team Space Ghost and run a 5K in the Literacy Network Run/Walk in Madison. I'm hoping there will be more run than walk. I'm excited about being on the team. I have 6 weeks to get ready. Today I ran 1 mile in 13 minutes.

3. I trapped one of the raccoons (a baby!) that has been stealing tomatoes out of my garden. I know there is one more (the mama) because I saw it run across the yard, but I think there are additional siblings at large as well. I'll keep you updated.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Phase 1: parts

It's day 2 of my epic paper mache project. All the pieces are finished. On to the assembly!

Can you guess what it's going to be?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

No Comment?

OK, the comments seem to be fixed, so comment away people! Let me know that you're out there.

And here's a little hint: Karl and his friend are once again doing the 12 Hours of Pitch Black Singletrack race, and I am once again the support crew. I have enough time to make them a mascot. Their team name is the same (they're defending champs in their division - which is "old guy duo"). Katrina and I have an epic paper mache project planned for thursday.

Monday, August 22, 2011

51, 39, 80, 178: Hike!

Yesterday we traveled to Starved Rock State Park in Illinois. The last time I was there, it was 1981. The park has changed a little since then: paddleboats, boardwalks, gift shops,and a whole lot of people! The scenery was still beautiful, but I didn't enjoy all the noise - loud people and lots of Harleys. We were really lucky, we got there relatively early and scored a great parking spot in the shade and close to the visitor's center. We checked out the visitor's center and gift shop, hiked up to Starved Rock, then came back to the car for lunch. Then, we formed our plan of attack.

Then, we wanted to go to Wildcat Canyon, but since there are no bathrooms on the trail, and Katrina's bladder is the smallest, we had to turn back. We did stop at the Beehive Overlook (no bees though)
Hey, I'm looking at myself!

 After a bathroom and souvenir stop, we wanted to escape the crowds, so we drove to another area, and hoofed it to St. Louis Canyon. I think that was my favorite.

There was a "cave" (and people walking through my picture)
Because they are sandstone rocks, there was a lot of sand!
The people started filling in, so we drove to the opposite end of the park, for 2 more canyons:

Ottawa Canyon
Kaskaskia Canyon - 360° view!
We stopped for dinner at a nearby restaurant, which came highly recommended. It's not much from the outside, but we were greeted by Cajun Ron and his friendly staff, and fantastic food. It was our first time eating Cajun food, and WOW! I am hooked! We tried gumbo, crayfish etouffee, 'gator, jambalaya. Katrina stuck to the kids menu, but was still adventurous with the deep fried mac & cheese. My most favorite moment of the whole day was when Karl uttered the words "Cajun Ron is my hero."

I think we'll go back to the park later this fall when there are fewer people, with of course, another visit to Cajun Connection!

Holy cow! I forgot about the spider! We stopped at a rest area and saw the BIGGEST spider I have ever seen outside a zoo! It was at least the length of my thumb.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A whole lot of random thoughts

  I came up with a really clever and funny blog post as I lay awake at 3:00 this morning. Then I remembered that my Mom sometimes reads my blog, and I really didn't want her reading something like that about me, so my mind began to wander. As always, there was musical accompaniment by Ladies Must Swing which included Leap Frog and Take the A Train among others. So, not really a "go back to sleep " kind of soundtrack in my head. Maybe it's because I'm excited that our CD is due out in the next month or so.

  Next I contemplated why the cat's new favorite sleeping position has to be with his butt in my armpit and his tail draped across my upper lip like a twitchy mustache. I guess that's better than when he lays on my chest (hard to breathe!). Things kind of got nutty from there, moving to all the little (and big) annoying things hubby does, which segued into some impure thoughts of someone I'm not married to (I hope he doesn't know who he is). I stayed there for a while, and must have finally drifted off to sleep, because the next thing I saw was this

And it was time for breakfast

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Caution: Pictures Ahead

  We're just back from a mini-vacation: A day of hiking, one night camping, an afternoon of canoeing. It was a refreshing trip, despite the fact that the cheapo air mattress that Karl's parents bought completely deflated after an hour and we ended up on the ground.
Here's what we did:
We hiked at Natural Bridge State Park,

We saw some wildlife. Katrina thought these 2 centipedes were earthworms. Karl's size 11's for size reference!

Karl pretended to be a monkey.
We hiked all the way to the top of the bluff to see the "smelting house"

Then we hiked all the way back down and around to see the shot tunnel.

We enjoyed a delicious campfire-cooked dinner.
The next day, we went canoeing. Katrina wanted to paddle, so I go to relax for about 2/3 of the trip!

When canoeing on the Wisconsin River, you are required to stop on at least one sandbar. Karl and Katrina decided to walk over to the next one.

No Karl, don't do it! You've go so much to live for!

Oh, right. It's only ankle deep right here.
See the bits of white in the center? It's Katrina's proudest moment of the weekend! She got to pee in the bushes!

We're almost there! Just past the railroad bridge is our landing. Note the ziploc bag for camera protection. Little did we know the bag had a hole! Camera survived, luckily!
The view of the very same shot tower we visited the day before, only from the other side. Just to the left of center.
We really forgot how much we like canoeing. Hopefully, next year, we'll do an overnight trip with the same company, on the same river, with more sandbars, and more sunshine (although we really didn't mind the rain - we were already wet!)

Friday, August 5, 2011


It seems Blogger has stolen an idea from the best site on the web - Ravelry. You've never heard of it? It's for knitters and crocheters, and it kicks Facebook's butt!!
Anyway, you can now give me your reaction to each post by checking a box below the post. For example this post is "educational"
Knock yourselves out!!

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

  It really is the most wonderful time of the year. Forget winter! This is the time when my garden starts spitting out tomatoes. For the next month, I'll be living on BLT's, tomato sandwiches, and cherry tomatoes right off the plant! Oh, and corn on the cob too. There will be meals consisting of just corn and tomatoes. Unless, of course, you are Katrina. She hates tomatoes. Where did this child come from? Who are her parents?

  I've been making pickles. Really garlicky, spicy pickles. I'm quite satisfied with the results (thanks Uncle Danny B), and as soon as it's a bit cooler in the kitchen, I'll put those spears into jars and seal 'em up! I also made some seedless raspberry jam. Do you know how hard it is to get every single stinking seed out of a raspberry? But it's worth the effort. I have enough berries for a few more batches. The garden tomatillos have failed, so no fresh salsa verde (sob!). I suppose we could get some at the farmer's market. That's the next best solution.

  This time of year also brings in the beginning of school shopping. New jeans (which she can't wear until October because it will be too hot), pencils, markers - but no crayons. Fifth graders do not use crayons. Bummer. I love the smell of a new box of crayons. Maybe I'll buy myself a box - the 64 pack with built in sharpener.

I've started planning my Christmas knitting. I'm hoping to have the big projects done early.