Byakuya

A Body in Motion...

It's been busy. And it's been very nice to keep catching what life's been throwing at us, along with some really good luck.



Destroyed Shoes
Las Vegas was a real blast, despite not drinking or gambling, I had a really wonderful time with the other ladies, got to know them better, and saw some utterly amazing shows that I'd never have seen otherwise, including Cirque du Soleil's Ka, the Thunder Down Under male strippers, and an astonishingly beautiful Drag Queen show named Divas. The last number in the last show was the transformation from gorgeous beauty queen to a lonely gay man... and it ached in ways I can't even begin to describe other than in some of the stories I'll be writing.

I also walked over 70,000 steps, completely destroyed a pair of shoes (as you can see), got to see the gorgeous Michaelangelo-style interior of Cesear's while eating the best plate of handcut Spaghetini with a fresh tomato and basil sauce I've had in over twenty years (there used to be this one place in Issaquah that changed its quality and character about that long ago) at Spago's. And watched the waters dance at Bellagio's. It was gorgeous. The weather started out cold and rainy and stayed that way until the last day, when it was 70's and absolutely perfect.

The company I kept was solid, and really fun and positive. Ladies that all knew what they were doing and where they were going and how to have a good time when they got the chance. I loved that.

It was a lovely trip, but soooo busy and tiring in good ways.

One of the things was that my knee was still giving me trouble before the trip, and I wasn't even able to walk the three mile around our neighborhood just before the trip; however, I guess I got motivated to walk with the ladies when we were there! I'm still recovering from the knee thing and I'm pretty grateful for ice.

While I was gone, John and Jet bought a little plastic green house for about $150 at Home Depot, it's a good eight feet tall, ten feet long, and six feet wide, and completely covered in a good sturdy plastic that pulls in the heat in lovely ways. It is presently housing forty-eight seedlings. All of the tomato variety.

After
Two days after I got back, John replaced all the counters in the kitchen with new granite countertops. It turned out that our neighbor had it done by this outfit that was buying and flipping houses. The outfit bought a shipment of granite, pre-cut for counters, and used it to finish their houses and had some leftover. They then offered the leftovers to anyone that would pay for the installation. Also, since John was willing to do a lot of the tear out himself, they discounted that work even further, and John ended up paying $780 for the whole thing!

That's cheaper than HomeDepot's estimate to replace it all with Formica™!

And it's a beautiful speckled gray, black, and pink granite, and with the pinky cream SouthWest style tiles on the backsplash, the granite looks nearly pink. Since John did that, another five homes in the neighborhood have had kitchen and/or bathroom counters all replaced by the same folks, given our word of mouth. John was saying we should get a finder's fee.

On the same day, since John was occupied, I went with Jet's class to the Science Museum. The kids were great, but I have to say that fifth graders are harder to track than second graders. They know more of what they want to do and how to do it, so they just wander off to do that, unlike second graders who like to stick to an adult authority figure. *laughs* We went to the IMAX theater and got to see the Hurricane movie, it was really good and wild with wind and weather. We then hit the reptile and snake exhibit, learning about squamata, or the largest order of reptiles, including all the scaled reptiles. Finally, a special health exhibit was in the museum as well.

So all three events plus lunch meant that we pretty much had every minute planned for us, and it was pretty exhausting for the kids and for me. But we had an all right time, and I think I'd like to go back to see things again without the rush.

Purple Scarf
Finished Wing
I've also been knitting again. I did another triangular scarf that I really liked doing with sock yarn, based off "Little Colonnade". The other is a modular scarf that I've been making with what turned out to be worsted weight "sock yarn" in beautiful colors with really super-soft merino. It is unusual to have yarn that is that thick be called "sock yarn" and Little Knits was having a clearance sale on the yarns because no one was buying them. I really loved the various colors and decided to get a bunch of it even though I don't usually wear oranges or pastels.

I found out that a friend of demented_dee's loves orange, so I've made her a very skinny shawl that can double as a plain scarf. It's been fun just following the way the squares lie and let it take shape. It's just knitting jazz, going on with the next piece as it takes my fancy. I'll probably write up the instructions for it for Ravelry, as it's a fun, simple knit on the most part.

Putting Bases in the Bee Box
Jet and John helped me put together my bee boxes soon after my trip. I had been worried that I had to do the 'traditional' method of shorting some kind of power source across support wires to 'sink' the wax bases into the wire. But I found out that I could just use regular bobby pins to pin the bases in place, using the holes along the sides. So John was great and cleaned up and rebuilt a lot of the frames while Jet and I forced the bobby pins to clamp the bases into place.

It's all ready for when I either go chase a swarm or I get to put the boxes up on the roof of the church's extra house. Turns out that the rental house has a whole colony of bees in the chimney! On a whim, I'd gone to the dissection of a bee tree meeting of the Boulder Bee Keepers, and found out that with most bee trees, if you cut the tree down to the first of the comb, you can just place a box on top and the bees will usually move in within a month or so. I asked if it would work if we brought the bricks down to the same point, strap the boxes over it, and then give them a month to move into the boxes. The keepers said that it would work!

So I have a backup plan if the pest control guy doesn't find a swarm for me. I was pretty happy about that as I've been stressing, a little, over the idea of having to separate the queen out from the rest of the swarm in order to cage her to get the whole coloney to stay for a while in the box.

The garden's been going gangbusters, as I've been hand-watering every morning and doing some weeding every single day. It really makes a huge difference in how well it all goes, and I'm really enjoying the results. Actually got radishes in, and the lettuce and spinach are really happy. With the green house the boys built the tomato plants are doing really well, if small, but they're in the full sunlight so I'm not going to have to harden them off at all, which is going to be a real help when it's time to transplant them.

And finally, the coolest part of all is that we, as a family, saw Miyazaki's Ponyo again!! And when there's the sequence where Sosuke and Ponyo go in the candle-powered boat, Jet got fascinated... so we found a series of YouTube videos on how to build your own putt putt boat out of aluminum cans and lots of epoxy.

It took three days, but Jet built his own engine! And then tried out a couple of different hulls, and ended up buying a tin plated putt putt boat from a small shop here in the U.S. The video is available to all my friends and family on flickr. It was a really fun lesson in engineering, testing, and how to fix things that don't go exactly right the first time, and Jet had a lot of fun building it.

The trip sounds awesome (those shoes are very destroyed!) and the new granite counters look splendid!
The cleaners came today and were very very approving of the new countertops! MUCH easier to clean. *laughs*

And, yes, the trip was a lot of fun.