Friday, December 30, 2005

The blog year in review, Part II

I decided to make a "favorite blog posts" list for 2005. Not my posts, but others I've read. My husband told me that I shouldn't. The alienate-everybody-who's-not-on-it potential is enormous. There are so many blogs I love that are not represented here. Blogs that make me smile or laugh or cry on a daily basis. But these are the posts that I remembered off the top of my head. The ones that I've gone back to read more than once.

Nuthatch at Bootstrap Analysis writes very knowledgeably about nature and ecology issues and most of all, birds. But the one that really made me grin was about musical ear-worms.

Danny Miller of Jew Eat Yet? has a passion for classic movies, and an impressive collection of personal letters from 1970s celebrities. But in this hilarious post, it's Jennifer Aniston who's trying to control his brain.

Dave Bonta writes one of my favorite blogs, Via Negativa. For me he's got the perfect mixture of poetry and nature and levity and "hmm let me think about that for a while" and "hold on where's my dictionary". Here is Dave channeling the original Nittany Lion. (Language alert here... that's one angry lion.)

Lorianne of Hoarded Ordinaries (love that title) keeps a wonderful illustrated blog of her life in New Hampshire. She wrote very movingly about hunger early in the year.

If you have yet to read Somewhere on the Masthead, you're in for a treat. Magazine Man is the father of Art Lad, who's been mentioned here before. MM can be somewhat of a klutz... (who else has so many head injuries?) but gives such good story.

Jenni of Chanticleer is a poet of many facets, whose lighthearted side often shows through on her blog. She normally removes her work from her blog after a short time, but agreed to put this post back up so I could show you her poem that I love, titled Thirst.

One thing I love about reading A WhipPoorWill is that I so often feel as though I'm right there with Trix. On a hike together I have a feeling that we'd take 3 hours to cover the first 100 feet or so (and be perfectly satisfied). Here she is with her father.

Chris Clarke writes so beautifully. I suspect that most people read his blog Creek Running North for the political information, but I confess that I visit for the nature, the wildlife, and the critters. Tissue warning.

It's fascinating to read about Clare's corner of the world over at The House & Other Arctic Musings... so different from here. His description of Halloween in the far north was especially captivating. (And where else are you going to see a costume involving "a narwhal tusk, a muskox horn, a tea pot, a dress, two different shoes, a caribou parka, and another 'person' attached to the a**"?)

Anne, aka Yellowstone Wolf, over at Inscribed on the Forest Floor, takes the most breathtaking nature photos you'd ever hope to see. So why do I keep going back to this one of her journals? Because they're just so wonderfully made - because I love her handwriting - because I want to read them too!

And finally, from Maktaaq, probably my favorite blog post ever written: Of monkeys, lightbulbs, and factory life.

The blog year in review, Part I

Some bloggy facts:

1. The first blog I ever read was My Blue House. It's gone now.

2. I know the secret identities of seven bloggers.

3. Some are more secret than others.

4. I've only met one other blogger in person.

5. It's one of the seven from #2.

6. One of my resolutions for the new year of 2005 was to start a blog.

7. I'd feel so much better about that accomplishment if it hadn't already been on my resolutions list for several years.

8. This year I was banned from commenting on one blog, for making a real smarty-pants comment.

9. I don't read that blog anymore.

10. Because to me a blog should be a two-way street, or else it's just another web page.

11. But I try to keep my more sarcastic thoughts to myself nowdays.

12. Technorati doesn't work all that well really, but I've found some of my favorite blogs by searching there to see who was writing about things that I was interested in.

13. Blogging has a lot of similarities to one of my former hobbies: writing to a jillion penpals.

14. Except that everyone can read your letters.

15. And you get a lot fewer postcards from the Faroe Islands.

Part II, coming right up.

Thursday, December 29, 2005


On our walk the other day, hubby and I were looking for something specific (Puttyroot leaves - more on that later). We didn't find any. But this was just as exciting.

I'm fairly certain that these were Beechdrops (Epifagus virginiana), a plant that's parasitic on the roots of Beech trees.

I've never seen them before, even though many references call them "common". They probably bloomed in October, but from the photos I've seen, they look about the same whether they're blooming or not. (No chlorophyll.)

OK, I guess you have to be a total wildflower geek to think that this is exciting. But I am, so I do!

Interesting write-up with historical references here.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Strange yellow fungi

Hubby and I were out walking. Right in the middle of being pouty and complaining, I spotted these strange yellow fungi

growing out of the side of a mossy little bluff on the old logging road.

Close-up of the lower one. If it were any larger I think I'd be worried about zombies hatching out and trying to eat my brains.

Close-up of the other one.*

I found another group further down the road. This one's stem was covered in leaves.

I removed them so I could see it in all its, um, glory.

I almost feel the need to say that these photos may not be suitable for young children!

I believe these are either Ravenel's Stalked Puffball (Calostoma ravenelii) or Yellow Stalked Puffball (Calostoma lutescens). I found a couple of keys but neither seems to match exactly.

* Interesting tiny fern (or bryophyte?) on the lower right too. I didn't notice it until I looked at the photos. I couldn't identify it with a quick web search - maybe someone else will know.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Ghosts of Christmas past

December 1961, two years old.

This must have been taken with my grandfather's camera - I don't think we had a color one until many years later.

One of those boxes held a great stuffed tiger, and there was a pink and blue stuffed bear in one of the others. (No I don't remember, I've just got more pictures.)

The table and tea set to the right were the BIG present.

December 1967, with my little brother and sister.

That bear he was sitting on had wheels, and could really scratch up the finish on a floor.

I seem to be holding a Barbie doll, but don't remember playing with them much. (I liked Johnny West dolls better.)

My sister seems happy with her sucker. I think that was her doctor's bag in the foreground.

We always had to wait until my grandfather got there to open the wrapped presents. I remember thinking that he needed to get up a lot earlier.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Christmas notes

Mom's tree

Mom made some horsies for the grandkids. One she had a pattern for, but the other she drew out herself, from a picture in Better Homes and Gardens magazine.

Some cute neices and a handsome nephew, from hubby's side of the family. (Technically not from Christmas, but close enough.) This is before his sister's cats started trying to eat the tree, and it had to be put up much higher.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

I feel it

Ho ho ho!

Christmas art, by our niece. (Click it to see a larger image.)

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Have a merry one

OK I'm a scrooge. I'm Scrooge McScrooge. Bah. And oh yeah, humbug.

I'm not sure what came over me, or exactly when. I used to love all things Christmasy. I could happily shop for ornaments in the middle of July. Now I never want to decorate. My husband finally decided that he'd have to put up a tiny tree himself, or we'd have no decorations at all. I didn't get a single Christmas card sent. (I normally do though - I was just busy filling orders this year. Now it's too late.)

Even though I'm scroogy, I'm wishing everyone a merry Christmas. I haven't had time to go out and take pictures lately. So as your gift, I'm sending you to see someone else's.

This great photo of Western Australia mistletoe was taken by John Dolphin, a fellow wildflower nut. (Also see Maximum Depth of Field.)

If you have bizarro-brain like me, the name John Dolphin makes you think of the Buckaroo Banzai movie. (Sorry John!)

All the Lectroids are named John. Some have normal names, like John Parker or John O'Connor. But others are obviously made up, like John YaYa and John Smallberries. My favorite is John Bigboote, who keeps getting called Bigbooty. ("It's BigbooTAY!")

I must have seen this movie at least a dozen times. I love John Lithgow as the fiendish Lord John Whorfin/Dr. Emilio Lizardo. ("Laugh while you can, monkey-boy!") His expressions while giving a speech to the evil but listless Red Lectroids make it among my favorite movie scenes. ("History is made at night. Character is what you are in the dark!") I guess you could call the film a cheesy, over-the-top, low-budget spoof. The special goggles they use to watch a holographic message are clearly made from bubble wrap. But if you like that sort of thing, come on over. Bring the popcorn!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Oh nooo...

One of my referrals yesterday - the phrase that someone searched on to find this blog - was "Middle Age Blogger".

In fact according to Google I'm currently #1 for "Middle Age Blogger".

Talk about your dubious distinctions.

I made the South Park me above with the South Park Character Generator a while back, and had titled it "Hard Day". (Note the bags under the eyes, grim expression, and dirt.) In light of the above I guess I should change the hair color though.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Look Up

quilted sky

waxwing ornaments