Archive | December, 2008

A nice long scratch!

21 Dec





Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

20 Dec


I know you’ve heard the old adage about letting sleeping dogs lie.  Perhaps, however, you didn’t know why that adage is so true.  This, my friends, is why:


Don’t be messing with the dog, people.  Step back.  Walk away.  Don’t look back. Run, don’t walk. Save yourselves!  Women and children first!


Then she was so embarrassed.


Okay, honestly, she yawned while I was taking the pictures.  I loved that “scary” face.  Too funny.

10 Favorite Holiday Songs

19 Dec

Clare at The House and other Arctic musings posted a meme about favorite holiday songs.  A friend of his posted his favs and Clare continued it and sent it viral!   🙂  I am doing my part:

  1. O Holy Night – Jewel
    This song is ethereal and lovely.  Rapidly becoming a family favorite.
  2. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen by Barenaked Ladies with Sarah McLachlan My favorite carol for many years now and BNL’s version with SM accompanying him.  It’s great.
  3. Santa Baby by Madonna
    She does a great job with this fun, irreverent song
  4. O Come, O Come Emmanuel by Joan Baez
    Joan Baez’s Noel album was my mother’s favorite and to me, it’s not Christmas until I have heard this album.
  5. What Child is This? Sarah McLachlan
    Another longtime favorite. Greensleeves or What Child is This?  And there pretty much isn’t anything that Sarah McLachlan doesn’t sing well.
  6. Winter Wonderland/Misty Mountain Hop by Fleming and John
    This is a hilarious and fun song. Led Zeppelin’s Misty Mountain Hop’s music with Winter Wonderland’s words.  And, you now what  — It totally works!
  7. Panis Angelicus by Celtic Woman
    Gorgeous song and gorgeous voices
  8. Pretty Paper by Willie Nelson
    I know lots of people hate the good Mr. Nelson.  I, however, adore his music and love this song.
  9. I like a Sleighride by Peggy LeeI don’t know why I like this one so much but I really, really do.  Silly, dated, fun
  10. Carol of the Bells by California Guitar Trio
    CGT is a group of amazing players.  Their Christmas music is wonderful.

So, tag you’re it!  Leave a comment if you decide to play along!  Because reading Clare’s list and his friend, Townie Bastard’s list, I ended up adding to my iTunes Christmas list.  Woot!  Ruby, on the other hand, thinks about as much about holiday music as she does about Christmas sweaters.  🙂

Ruby's Christmas Sweater

Star or Angel?

18 Dec

Hark!  The Herald Angels Sing

There is a holiday meme that makes the rounds this time of year.  One of the questions is “star or angel?”  I guess you now know where I stand.  I wonder if my husband would mind if I replaced our angel with a raven?

Actually, we do both star and angel.  Hey, it works for us.

As my kids and I left school yesterday, we saw two Christmas tree angels.  I had left my camera at home and was sick about it.  “They’ll never do that again,” I moaned to my children.  When we left today, there was one.  I ran back into my classroom to grab my camera.  The kids stood around in front of the building saying, “Hmmmmm.  Act casual.”  and “Do you have any threes?” until I got back.

When I got the shot (well, about 40 of them), they cheered and said, “Victory!  Victory!”

What goofy kids.  Still they know those ravens usually flee at the sight of my camera.  So, yes, I felt pretty victorious when I got the shot!

For more angelic skies  in your Friday, visit Sky Watch Friday!

What do you mean “It’s indoor recess?”

17 Dec

What do you mean "indoor recess"?

Ravens are our clean-up crew at school.  They vie with the crows for “yard duty.”  Despite our jokes that they might carry away a kindergartener, they are actually useful at school.  They clean up trash and food from the playground.  This useful duty almost makes up for the fact that they also poop on the railings, ransack the garbage cans, and pick bits of rubber off of cars . . . they tore up my rear windshield wiper and pecked at my sunroof seal.  Why?  I dunno.  For me, I forgive them.  I mean, just look at them.  What’s not to love?

And, I haven’t ever mentioned my theory on the “vandals” who stole a windshield wiper off a colleague’s car.  Rowdy kids?  I don’t think so . . . try rowdy corvids!

Moon over Boulder Creek

16 Dec

Full Moon over Boulder Creek

It’s a terrible picture, I know.  You can’t take a decent handheld shot of the moon.  I know this.  And yet, it compelled me.  And, honestly, I kind of like the results.  If it hadn’t been so cold, I’d have run back out with my tripod and taken a decent shot of it.  But, this is what I got.  I love the ethereal quality of the branches.  It was a beautiful night.

Anna’s Hummingbirds – Faithful Winter Friends

15 Dec

Anna's Hummingbird

Male Anna’s showing us his best side.

Anna's Hummingbird, female

Female Anna’s

I have been having a crisis at my feeders.  No one is coming to eat and visit.  Not sure what the problem is.  I’m working on it.  In the meantime, I do have one faithful friend who visits regularly.  The Anna’s Hummingbirds are keeping me from dispair.  I am blessed with hummingbirds year ’round.  But, being blessed with their sweet whirring presence year ’round makes me feel so responsible for them.  On cold, wet, rainy days (like today), I worry so much about them.  Will they get enough nourishment to survive?

Then I laugh.  The reason they are here is because they can survive.  They’ve been doing it for a long, long, long time.  Does that stop me from putting out hummingbird juice all winter?  Nope.  I’m happy to make their lives a little easier if I can.

They give back to me too.  Little sparkling jewels that dance at my kitchen window.  Oh yes, I am being rewarded in return.

Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna, are a small hummingbird that winters in the US.  They will be joined in January by Allen’s Hummingbirds and Rufous Hummingbirds as well but Anna’s are my year ’round visitors.  Male Anna’s Hummingbirds have bright pink throats and heads.  They are very striking and very protective of their feeders.  The females are shy and very subtle in coloring.  It is nearly impossible to tell apart the females and juveniles of the three Hummers that visit my feeders in the winter.

For more amazing bird photos, check out Bird Photography Weekly #16 hosted by our friends at

Knitting Success

15 Dec

Despite much difficulty, I conquered a new knitting pattern.  I am not a very good nor experienced knitter.  I have mostly done knitting and purling and that’s about it.  My mother did teach me to knit a tube with a closed end which is mighty tricky and fun to do.  But, I’ve never in my life found a pattern, taken yarn and needles, and followed the pattern.

Until Saturday, that is.  Saturday, I sat down to knit a scarf for a friend for Christmas.  (Not you, Jody!  🙂 ) I knew that I wanted to knit with one ball of yarn, something big and lacy, on big ol’ needles.  So, I started searching for patterns.  I am a member of a website called Ravelry.  It is for knitters and crocheters.  It’s awesome. I found a fantastic pattern on there called the Peasy Scarf.  It was perfect.  So, I tried it out.

Knitting to a pattern . . . as my poem of the other day suggested . . . is difficult until you get the pattern in your mind.  This pattern was easy.  Slip 1, Yarn Over, Knit 2 together, Knit 1, Yarn Over repeat until you are at the end of the row.  But, until I had that pattern locked in my brain, I could not do it smoothly and by smoothly, I mean that I could not remember to yarn over when I was supposed to so I would end up with too few stitches and then have to backtrack (ie. rip out or un-knit).  The trouble was that until I was comfortable doing the stitches, I couldn’t backtrack successfully and had to rip it all out.  Frustration loomed.

And, then, all of a sudden, I had it down.  I didn’t have to work to keep the pattern in my head, repeating it over and over to myself as I went along so I didn’t mess it up.  Suddenly, I was just doing it.  I knew what each stitch should look like and I kept myself on track.  When I did make a mistake, I could easily backtrack until I found the error and fix it.  It was like magic.  Plus, once I reached that point, the pattern really was totally “peasy.”  Loved it.

Scarf knit for friend

Hope my friend does too.  I ordered this to go with it.  I think it’s a rockin’ cool gift.

The guy who makes these shawl pins has some truly amazing other shawl/scarf pins.  Check his Etsy shop out.  Supporting small artisans during this troubled economy is one way to feel good about spending money!

A Sunday Meme

14 Dec

This is making the rounds and I have seen it so many places.

Things I have done are highlighted in bold.  Things I want to do will be in italics.  My own twist

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars

3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower

6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain (actually hiked up a mountain)
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang/played a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea

14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables  (herbs – yes!, vegies – no!)
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train

21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset

31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language (started to but haven’t finished the job)
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David in person
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris

51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater

55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Gotten flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt

73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone

78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life — (more than one puppy when I was breeding dogs)
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Made a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person

96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone

99. Been stung by a bee (wasp, yes!)
100. Gotten a speeding ticket


13 Dec

knitting requires focus
slip one, yarn over, knit two together
distracting noises and conversation

ripping out
starting over
dammit dammit dammit

meditate on the pattern
stay in the moment
just knit

Ruby likes to help me knit

More Distraction poems at One Single Impression.
All content written by Liza Lee Miller unless otherwise noted.
© 2008, Liza Lee Miller. Creative Commons License