Friday, June 27, 2008

Cappy has a visitor

Cappy had a new visitor a couple of weeks ago (sorry for the delay in posting). Thom came down as a guest performer for the symphony and played in a couple of concerts. He brought down his viola for the event–he has a very cool instrument–its an ergonomic viola. He said he read about it in the New York Times and its only one of a few and had to wait for a couple of years to get it. Here's a picture (click on picture and then scroll down to May 20 to see the picture). Very cool, isn't it! And he played a few minutes for me and it sounded awesome. It was fun to hang out with Thom, we went on several walks around the area. Tim had to work over the weekend so Thom was good company for me. We hope to see him again for another concert!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

New Mac Converter for those Office 08 Docx

The previous beta document converter (Open Office XML Format Converter for Mac ) that Microsoft put out only worked with word documents (.docx) A new converter has been released that works on word, excel and powerpoint documents that have been created in Office 2008 and can't be opened in older versions. If you don't have the latest version of Office it can be annoying when you got those documents that end in x and can't open them. Here's an article in MacWorld and the Mactopia link to the converter you can download to your desktop to open documents that end in .docx, .xlsx, and pptx.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Blanket for IJO

The Nana, Aunties, Uncle, and Second Cousins to Isabella got together and made a group blanket for Zac and Rachelle's new baby. Lori, Naomi, me, Melody, Roxi and Tisha each knitted a strip out of this really, really soft yarn called Oh My! I think I've blogged about it before. We chose the three colors and each did a variation and our own pattern. Here's the finished product shown her by supermodel Tim.

And a more detailed far the hardest part of the blanket was the fringe. Tim volunteered to add the fringe but we found out while putting it together that the yarn unravels unless you knot the end of the of it. So after putting on a million pieces of yarn he had to tie a knot in the end of each piece. He said that if we every do this again then he gets to pick the yarn. (Actually I think what he said was, "D*&!$## yarn" but I thought Bella might see this posting and didn't want damage her angelic ears sooner than necessary.)

Robyn volunteered to do the tag - isn't it sweet!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

New Bird from the Deck

It was much too quick to get the camera and snap a shot but we've seen it twice now - a Rufous Hummingbird! It moves along the eaves along the front of the house and after a few seconds its gone. I might try to hang an orange slice out and see if we can get it to stay for more a minute or two.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Going Back a Few Weeks

We spend a lovely couple of days in Talkeetna last month. We went for a memorial gathering for our friend Jim who passed away in September. His wish was for us to get together and have a party and that's just what we did. The weather was outstanding! and we saw the Alaska Range, including Mt McKinley, for a couple of days straight - no clouds obscuring any part of the mountain. Often you can see the top, or the bottom, or a cloud strand will run though the middle. It was extraordinary.

A stay at the Talkeenta Alaska Lodge complements of my niece, which provided an excellent view of the mountains. They also had a very nice deck which was a great place to relax and enjoy a snack and a so-so margarita.

We met one evening at the Susistna River Lodge for an informal get-together to get acquainted and to provide a chance to make plans for the rest of the weekend. The place is right on the river (which was very, very low) and was a short walk from the downtown area. The place has a main building and then 3 or 4 really nice cabins that can accommodate 4-6 people. We also had a lovely water front view with a nice lawn area so we could be outside to enjoy it.

On Satruday after a good breakfrast at the Talkeenta Roadhouse, we had a great walk around X (or Z) Lake off Comsat Road. We really needed the walk because the food at the roadhouse was huge. The pancakes were larger than a dinner plate - they flopped over the edges. The Cinnamon Rolls was wider than the spread of my hand. The toast that came with most of the breakfast entres was homemade bread sliced at least an inch thick...gotta get those carbs in before hiking the mountain!

But back to the lake...Most of the lake was still frozen over but the ice was moving away from the shore. We saw a pair of red-necked grebes, well, we heard them first, staking out their breeding territory. I didn't see any signs of a nest being built but they may have just been starting it. The nests are normally built in the water and on a stump or near the water's edge. Often the nests appear to be floating. There is usually a nest on Smith Lake in Fairbanks.

We came across a fork in the trail and had to make a decision on which way to go. We decided Lil' Longer sounded better and it was just a short distance to a wall tent that you can rent for the night. We had lovely accommodates already secured so chose not to sleep in a tent!

I think that this might be a favorite spot for Rune. Someone found a quarter on the ground and then he found a $10 bill under a log. I wonder how that got there?

On Saturday evening my niece drove us to the place where the official gathering was to take place, Mountain High Pizza Pie where the proprietors, Todd and Ryan, graciously hosted the evening at their restaurant. We figured, knowing the company we were about to share the evening with, that there would be some good beer and excellent wine being served and Talkeetna being such a small town we didn't want to take any chances with driving on our own. And indeed, we had a great time meeting people we'd only heard stories about, sharing in some excellent food including one of Jim's favorite chicken dish, looking at pictures, and spending time together.

As a memorial gathering, it was a success in my opinion, we shared memories and created new ones along the way.

Welcome Isabella Jeanne Ohlsen!

I have a new great niece born on Wednesday to my nephew Zac and Rachelle - I can't wait to hold her next week! I'm thinking that she looks a lot like Zac did as a baby but I'll have to confirm that with his mom.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Flock of Herons

We enjoyed a really nice walk out at the Boy Scout Camp on Sunday. It was a little gray in town but the sky opened up for us and the sun felt really good when you got out of the breeze. We saw this group of Great Blue Heron feeding as the tide was coming back in. You don't usually see this many heron together so it must have been a family, that's my guess. Normally you'd only see 1 or maybe 2 at the most. At one point one of the smaller heron pulled a very long fish out of the water. At first I thought it was seaweed but you could see the catch squirm. The lucky heron got chased around but he (or she) kept the prize. I can't figure out what kind of fish it was though - looked like an eel.

The wildflowers are really starting to take off. As you exit the woods on the Boy Scout Beach trail you enter a lovely meadow. This time of year its filled with blue lupine, pink shooting star, yellow marsh marigolds, some kind of white and green orchid (I haven't been able to identify it) among many other colorful species. And my favorite, the chocolate lily!