Sunday, June 29, 2008

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Barbie Dyke

Here's my new creation----- Barbie Dyke. Notice her rainbow colored bag strap!

Here she is on her scoot!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Junior Kitty's Hair Salon

My sisters wonders: "How is it that her husband's hair is always so soft and manageable?" Does he have a special, manly shampoo? Does he use a certain conditioner?

She found out his secret grooming tip and filmed the evidence.

Cat saliva.

Here is her cat Junior licking his hair. The cat will corner him, without fail, after every shower.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Bizarro Kitty Acts

My cat Harper is kind of weird. She's obsessed with running water, and she's got a thing for lettuce. I can't get her to eat most cat foods, but she'll gnaw on a carrot.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Don't Worry, The Amish Men Are Coming

My heroes, the Amish Men.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Little Branch of the Family Tree

My maternal grandfather was born in Norway in 1905. He came from a family of nine children-- 3 girls and 6 boys. He grew up on the Grimstad farm in the Lindaas or Lygra district of Hordaland, Norway. This area is outside of Bergen. At the time Norwegian 'farms' were really small villages, consisting of several houses and several families. The families living in Grimstad were not necessarily related. This adds to some confusion for American genealogists as many Norwegian immigrants (like my grandfather) took their farm name as their surname. Other immigrants kept their paternal name which was derived from their father's first name. Hence my grandfather's 'true' surname was Nilsson, or Nilsen. Daughters would also assume their father's first name, as in the example 'Nilsdatter.' Below is my grandfather's immediate family. He was the only child that immigrated permanently to the US. I met Bertha and Klauss in 1993.

Nils Gullakssen (Grimstad/Lindaas) b. 1865 d. 1938
m. Hennrika Mary Hansdatter (Knarvik/Lindaas) b. 1872 d. 1956

Their children (all born in Grimstad/Lindaas)
1. Gunnhild Kristine Nilsdatter Grimstad b. 1893 d. 1978
2. Hans Nilson Grimstad b. 1896 d. 1951
3. Nikolai Nilson Grimstad b. 1899 d. 1945
4. Johann Nilson Grimstad b. 1901 d. 1992
5. Bertha Nilsdatter Grimstad b. 1904 d. 1994
6. Hjalmar Nilson Grimstad b. 1905 d. 1986
7. Nils Nilson Grimstad b. 1908 d. ?
8. Klauss Nilson Grimstad b. 1911 d. 1995
9. Borghild Nilsdatter Grimstad b. 1914 d. 1964

an aerial view of Grimstad in the 1960's, sent by my
Great Aunt Bertha.

Civil War Encampment

Field Hospital Demonstration

Went to a Civil War event yesterday. The best part of these events is the living history encampment, and the battle. The public loves to watch, though the mock battles seem kind of ridiculous. First of all, no battles were fought in Massachusetts. And as this is Yankee territory, the rebels are always outnumbered. Worse, the battles are always in a contained area, so the troops are only 200 yards away from each other. Yet no one's dying. We even had the rebel calvary surrounding us, whooping it up.

Finally, some of us were ordered to 'take a hit.' I pretended to be wounded because I couldn't fire my weapon anyway. (missing nipple, don't ask) As I lay dying a hospital aide from my unit came along and offered water. Suddenly I was heaved onto a gurney and rushed off the field. I'm sure the public enjoyed this scene. The gurney was much too short for me, so it was an awkward and bumpy ride. If I really was wounded the ride likely would have killed me.

Back at the hospital tent the 'doctor' grimly took my name and wrapped a bloody bandage around my knee. Lucky for me, it was determined that no limbs had to be removed this day.In fact, I was ordered back into battle!

The Encampment

The Famous 54th Mass, featured in "Glory."

Friday, June 13, 2008

Norwegian Stave Church

The Norwegian Stave church is rather unusual looking, and unique. Stave churches began being built after Norway's conversion to Christianity. In my mind stave churches are a blending of Christian values/design and pagan or Viking motifs. Between the 11th and the 14th centuries about 2000 stave churches were built in Scandinavia. Today only 29 still remain, along with some replicas. The 'stave' refers to the vertical, large timber posts. Dragons and other ornamental motifs 'guarded' the church. Inside a stave church it is very dark. The timbers were interlocked without nails. Stave churches are some of the oldest wooden structures on earth.

Here are some photos I took in Norway
in 2001

Thursday, June 12, 2008

5 Gay Male Writers & What They've Done for American Literature

Here are five queer men who lived during the 20th century, and who helped define American literature with their writings. They were not the only ones, but for me they came to mind first. I have not read all of their works. I have never read Langston Hughes or William S. Burroughs, but I have their books on my shelf. Tis time. Tis time.
William S. Burroughs (1914-1997) Naked Lunch
James Baldwin (1924-1987) Giovanni's Room
Langston Hughes (1902-1967) I Wonder as I Wander
Tennessee Williams (1911-1983) Streetcar Named Desire
Truman Capote (1924-1984) Breakfast at Tiffany's

Happy Pride!

Are You a Nerd?

There are many important questions in life, and this is one. Not surprisingly, I'm a history/ literature nerd, and I wear the badge proudly. (Star trek & computers don't interest me) Things like dusty old bookstores with first edition Virginia Woolf books get me very excited. And duh! I'm a civil war reenactor. And I'm going to a reenactment this weekend instead of Pride!!! Dork!
Take the test! says I'm a Dorky Light-Weight Nerd.  What are you?  Click here!

Monday, June 9, 2008

More Fun on the Field

Boy, did we ever have fun last night playing our second softball game!!!! We had a doubleheader. The first game began at 5 pm and it was still pretty hot. We won that game, drinking copious amounts of water throughout, and eating popsicles and watermelon. Our second game, beginning at 6:30, was against a team of alpha females. They--- the MasterBatters--- are new to our league, and none of us had ever seen them before.

Well, they took our breath away when we quickly realized not one of them was over 32, they were all were athletic & trim, many were tall, and a few were ex-college softball champs. (Many of them were kind of good-looking too)
One person on SLAM commented, "Aren't any of them fat and old?"

This 'eye candy' opportunity did not take our pain away completely. We're were likely to get creamed by the alpha females. Not only were many of our team members
20 years older than our opponents, but college or high school softball was a distant memory (or never occurred, as in my case). And it was 93 degrees out and this was our second game.

For the first several innings, things went pretty much as expected. I think the score was 11 to 1, in the MasterBatters' favor. We were making some errors on the field, and our hits weren't scoring. The alpha gals were used to creaming most teams in our league, and expected the 'slaughter rule' to apply. ((In softball, if one team is 12 or more points ahead of the other team after 4 1/2 or 5 innings, the game ends.)) After the 4th inning, the alpha girls took out their star pitcher, and put in substitute players. Some of their players even left and went home!!!!

They expected we were doomed.

Then our coach said, "Come on SLAM. We've never had a game with only one run." This comment must have risen the sweaty hair on the back of each Slammer's neck. Damn it! These 20 somethings can beat us, but THEY AIN'T GONNA CREAM US!

For the next two innings, we scored
13 runs. The alpha females began sweating profusely, and getting pissy with each other. They actually had a huddle on the mound, and brought back in their starting pitcher. Some of them had bloopers on the field. Each one of us stepped up to the plate and hit the ball. I'm proud to say I scored 3 R.B.I.'s against the young-ins myself. The final score was 18-14. We almost got them!!! Tee hee!

B starting us out

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Dog Surfing Dude

Sadly, I don't think I can get my cats to do this.......
Dog Surfing Safety
(click on picture to play)
Dog Surfing Safety

Saturday, June 7, 2008

On the Farm, Part 2

Le Crew

In celebration of our friend M.M.'s 40th birthday, (the one in pink) a group of us volunteered at the Food Project in Lincoln this morning. I had just visited the Food Project in May. We planted an acre of butternut squash, then weeded around some onion sprouts. The sun was hot, but it was such a beautiful day. Unfortunately I did not fare too well in the heat and had to sit out a bit, feeling faint & queasy. Everyone joked that my hearty peasant stock ancestors would be very disappointed with my performance.

Afterwards we had a delicious lunch (courtesy of R.T.) under a canopy, and some good conversation. Some of us finished the afternoon by a swim in Walden Pond! (Thoreau would be happy the Food Project's right down the street from the pond!) I went in, jeans and all.

Later I dropped off to visit my parents in Medford, and watched some baseball. My only regret of the day was high gas prices, and the fact that I haven't ridden my scooter in four days..... Later I realized I probably could have ridden my scooter to Lincoln. Drat!

Molly & El start us out

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Dipthongs, Anyone?

No, dipthongs aren't a special kind of undies, they're vowels. As English happens to be one of the most befuddling languages, 'in my line of work' I learn something new about the English sound/spelling system everyday. Yesterday a second grade teacher set me straight. We were discussing dipthongs, those tantalizing 'gliding' vowel sounds like 'oi' and 'ow.' ((Picture Eliza Dolittle right now. She belted out many a dipthong.))

For good reason, vowels sounds are the most difficult for children to learn to read and spell. Even though there are only 44 sounds in English, one sound can be represented by many different spellings. When you produce a dipthong, your 'articulators' transition to make two vowel sounds welded into one, represented by two letters (oo, ou, oi, ow). Vowel sounds are 'open' sounds, whereas consonants are produced by blocking air.

I opined that all the dipthongs were long vowels, because of the two letter representation, plus the two sounds welding. The second grade teacher said: "I thought all long vowel sounds have to say their name?" Then the reading teacher pointed out the 'oo' in book is a short sound. Hmm. Turns out we were all right, in varied ways. That's English for you. Dipthongs can be both short and long vowel sounds (for example: book vs school and growl vs. now) though most are long. They're in a class by themselves.

Happy (teaching) Reading!