Sunday, May 31, 2009

In Honor of George Tiller

Dr. George Tiller was murdered by a cowardly terrorist today while serving in his church.
He was a hero for women's choice and will be missed. I am sending a donation to a Pro Choice organization in honor of Dr. Tiller and encourage you to do the same.
I hope the President takes notice of this and takes action to keep these acts of terrorism from happening here in America. If this is not dealt with quickly and harshly, we are paving the way for Taliban-like groups that kill and intimidate others that don't believe as they do.

Friday, May 29, 2009

More Amsterdam Architecture.

Just look at the ornamentation on these buildings.

Amsterdam Photos..

The guy with the crazy wig had the best seat in the house to observe Queen's Day.
I was told that building at one time were taxed according to their footage on the street. This is a reason lots of the buildings are skinny but tall. This building really plays that to the hilt. It really is leaning inward a bit and angled oddly(but possibly less than it appears in the picture since the camera may be a little slanted too. But you get the idea). Hence less taxes..Clever, and eye catching solution to property taxation, don't you think?

All the orange hats were part of the Queen's Day celebration. Everyone got one as they entered the city.
I was a little dismayed at all the people who were throwing them on the ground, but I'm sure they realize they pay for them one way or another. Who do you think pays for the city to clean them up? I did see an awful lot of litter, broken bottles and trash around the city, but I'm hoping it was just because of Queen's Day and not a normal situation in the city.
All in all, the city is absolutely charming with unbelievable architecture and charm. It felt really odd to go past building with date of the mid 1600's on their gables.
I really fell in love with this place--absolutely and completely!! I can't wait to get back.

Most of the streets intersect with canals. Just look at the ornate footings on the bridge. Works of art!!!
These are just a couple of my pictures. Since I have a card reader, I'll start posting bit by bit and telling you more.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


I know I said I was going to post pictures from Amsterdam "the next day" --but then I discovered that the new computer does not have an SD chip slot. I guess we got so used to seeing them standard on even the low end computers that we assumed the Dell replacement we got would automatically have one.

It doesn't.

So Cute Man is going to get a portable SD card reader so I can get my pictures on this blog.

That said, I was really inspired by the gardens that I saw in Amsterdam and have decided that I am going to do more container gardening this summer. I'm sure I'll have to be a little more careful about the plants I pick since the weather here is much hotter than there, but there are plenty of flowers that take the heat well, so I am going to take a trip to the garden center today to start planning. I want to paint the pots in colorful designs, so that is what I will be doing this afternoon. I figure the pots will take about a week to completely dry, so I'll spend the rest of the week planning. I did buy some plastic pots for the deck though. I want to grow herbs right outside my kitchen so I will plant those this week. I am hoping little man (my grand nephew) cooperates and goes through the greenhouses with me on Monday. I am looking for peppermint to plant in my garden and around the yard where the soil is having problems washing away. Peppermint can be invasive, which is what I want in these areas. I considered bamboo, but that is REALLY invasive, which is what I don't want. Once you plant bamboo, you can't eradicate it. It's the cockroach of the plant world. Plus let's face it--putting bamboo in the grasps of males in inviting trouble. Can't you just imagine the fun they'll have cutting stalks off to cane each other....just the little things you have to consider when anything with testosterone resides in your home...LOL.

We have had my 2 1/2 year old nephew here for the past week, so not a lot has gotten done around the house. There is a possibility that he'll be with us for the summer, so I'm going to have to figure out how to work my schedule. Unfortunately it has meant that I've been unable to get to the yarn shops that I love so much--Twist in Wichita and The Newton Beadery in Newton--but I'm going to be figuring out how to work that out. Both are places that allow me to decompress and relieve stress.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Turn off the music player at the bottom of the page and listen to a pretty interesting discussion on schools and creativity...

Friday, May 15, 2009

Whiz kids...

While I was in Amsterdam, I took in all the sights, took pictures and compared things there to what I am accustomed to in the United States. There were many things I really loved, some were a bit surprising to me, such as the men's urinals on street corners.

While we were walking the streets, I kept seeing little partitioned structures on street corners with little basins on them. Not seeing anyone near at first, I reasoned that they must be some sort of hand washing structure. Thankfully I did not try that out since a couple minutes later a guy sauntered up, unzipped and relieved himself.


It was a very public urinal right there on the street corner.

Since I was a wee bit shocked, I missed taking pictures of these structures -- nothing spotlights you as a tourist more than taking a picture of a public whiz spot. But the concept of whizzing in public was thankfully limited to men. Women had to go hunt down the very limited bathrooms---if you were lucky, the cafe let you use their bathrooms as in the case of the Esprit cafe near Spui. They were very gracious about it since I was probably sounding like a really desperate American.

As I said, I didn't get pictures, but this blog has a great example of one. See? IT IS NOT ENCLOSED!!

However, I guess it is better to have these since I'm sure that the men who have the gumption to whiz at these would just as easily relieve themselves in the canals, on buildings etc.... much like college bars on a Friday night in America, come to think of it.

When my husband was in college, he lived in a little apartment near the alley of a very popular bar. We were forever looking out the bathroom window and seeing some guy relieving himself on our wall. Ever so often I would chuck a pitcher of ice water out that window to defend the wall's honor. I'm sure some of those guys were so snockered they thought the wall whizzed back at them.

I'm Back!

Ok--so it has been a while since I've posted. A lot of things have happened and it will take more than one post to get everything caught up, so here is a brief rundown. I will post more detailed posts starting tomorrow.

1. Went to Amsterdam. LOVED IT! Can't wait to go back next year, but I think I'll plan it either before or after Queen's Day, not during. While it was interesting to see the huge crowds of people celebrating, the streets were so packed that in several areas, my friend and I felt like we were being squashed in the crowds. We did get to do quite a bit of walking, ride the canal taxi,visit the Van Gogh museum and the public tulip gardens, so the trip was really awe inspiring.

I'll post pictures tomorrow with a longer explanation.

2. Learned to knit lace. I have taken 3 lace knitting classes in the past couple weeks and am currently working on a triangular lace shawl for the last class in the series. Lace 1 was a very basic class that introduced us to the concepts by having the class work a scarf in the feather and fan pattern and a scarf in the horseshoe lace pattern. I am actually still working on the horseshoe lace scarf because I made it quite a bit longer than the class sample. The second class expanded on the concepts and taught us how to read the chart and knit the "Branching Out" scarf. I've started that one, but it is currently waiting it's turn in line. That said, I am working on the triangular lace shawl from lace 3 and will hopefully be able to get it completed by next month. It requires quite a bit of concentration, so needless to say I only knit it when the house is quiet. That is going to be a challenge very soon since.....

3. My grand nephew is coming to spend either part or all of the summer with us. He is a 2 1/2 year old bundle of pure energy. Yep, this is going to be an interesting summer to say the least.

As I said, this is just a brief catch up post--I'll take each category and beef up the details over the next couple days to catch up.