Thursday, March 31, 2011

another thing or two in the list of stuff not to buy

Although it doesn't accumulate in humans, it evidently does in fish, and as an endocrine disrupter.  I like to buy those antibacterial sprays for use in the kitchen.  Now that I am working on Salmonella typing, I am more aware than ever before about keeping the kitchen counters and sink clean.  But triclosan and triclocarban is toxic to fish, which live in the sewage runoff that goes into the waterways.  Bleach, folks, diluted into spray bottles, is the way to go.  Label reading 101 again, please.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Planting a spring garden? Remember the Monarchs

If you are putting in your garden, as I am doing, try to make a space for plants Monarch butterflies can use as waystations during their migration this year. My yard is already a Certified Wildlife Habitat, so it will only take a little work for me to get it certified as a Monarch Waystation.  Go here and learn what you can do as well

This is the week the painted lady butterflies migrate.  I can sit in my yard and watch them flutter down the street and across my yard, headed north.  Once your eye starts to watch, you can see dozens of little moving spots, fluttering by.  Apparently there was so much rain in Southern California that there was a lot for the caterpillers to eat, and now there are a lot of butterflies.

Monday, March 28, 2011

it is trying hard to be spring

There was a little sun yesterday.   After 3 weeks of rain, we finally have reached the average year to date rainfall, which is a good thing as it will now start raining.  We sat on the porch and had a drink yesterday evening, the first time this year, even though it was only 60 degrees.  There is a Great Egret hanging around here for the past few weeks.  First one I have ever seen here.  And a Rufous hummingbird visited the feeder - they migrate through for a few months, so he told me it is trying to be spring, too. 

I was looking for a photo this morning and poking through the blog archives.  I must say, I had forgotten much of that.  I am lucky to have this job - some of the things I have done have been really interesting.  Thanks, cuz, for prodding me into starting a blog.  You should get back to keeping yours up, too.

Friday, March 25, 2011

La Fred Athena blouse pattern

Maybe last Christmas, La Fred had a free pattern download offer (this is the pattern, not the download). I printed out some 30 pages and laid them aside.  Yesterday afternoon I glued and taped them all together while I watched the evening news.  Only when I cut out 3 pieces did I realize there was no sleeve.  No file, no email, no trace of the original download.  OK, I could draft a sleeve, how hard could that be?  I fussed and fiddled, and drew one 3 times, using the infinitesimally small figure on the pattern layout guide to calculate lengths and widths proportional to another piece on the diagram and its pattern piece measurement.  It still looked cattywampus, so it was time to sleep on it.  I walked past it at noon to get a cup of tea, and it caught my eye.  I realized I had just drawn a grainline from the center rather than drawing the grainline perpendicular to a line connecting the ends of the armscye.  OK, got that all fixed up once I realized my mistake, redrew it from the armscye down. Found a piece of plaid to make a sleeve muslin after I finish the bodice. Free pattern, fabric gifted from my friend, it doesn't get much better than this.

No, Mr. Obama, this will not 'win the race to educate our kids'

The National Science Foundation (NSF) had decided to cancel GK-12, a $56M program that brings STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) graduate students into K-12 classrooms to work with teachers and kids.  Now I have no direct experience with this program, but I have a lot of experience communicating technical issues to non-technical people.  I also remember what a truly terrible TA I was my first year in graduate school.  This program was a win-win all around.  This smells like a bad decision.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Rain for the rest of the week

But yesterday, we had a few hours of sun. I took advantage of a slow day at work, and went outside for awhile in the afternoon. Now I ask you, does anyone need a better reason to grow catmint (Nepeta faassenii)? In another month it will be covered with little purple flowers, but now it is covered in cat!

Monday, March 21, 2011

'Bye to the rainy season

We get another week of rain here, and then, no more until next winter. Really, winter and summer are the rainy season and the dry season here in N Ca. But the trees are gorgeous now, and I am ready to start washing the jelly jars.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

My TeaCup

I drink tea all day out of a great big Botanic Gardens "breakfast mug" with a big flat bottom. I have a little warmer with a switch that keeps it from getting cool. And I have to tell you when I spill my tea, like I just did, that I'm really glad I don't favor coffee with cream and sugar. Much easier to clean up!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The meeting at Hamburger University

Some account managers met the Food Team for a couple of days last week. We were outside Chicago, not where I would pick for March, but there was a customer visit. I was pleasantly surprised at the hotel site, it was on the McDonald campus where they do their corporate training. There were a lot of suits in the halls, apparel I don't often encounter in my line of work. You can see the campus includes several large classroom buildings, this one connected to the Hyatt by a covered walkway. But the best part was the memorabilia and art at the Hyatt. There was Ray Kroc's original malt machine. Wall art included a quilt of hamburger and fries, Mona Lisa with McDonald's bag on the floor next to her, Queen Beth eating fries out of a McDonald's sack, tumbling Ronalds in the shape of McD - you get the idea. Iconic and charming, not at all heavy-handed. I'd stay there again just to walk the halls of the Hyatt and look at the art.