24 March 2014

Spring Break DIY!

Can you really call it DIY if you have a friend do a good portion of the work?  I undertook my first project involving electrical work over break.  We had previous picked up an outdoor light fixture with a motion detector on it and I'd just been waiting for some warmer weather for a chance to put it in.  A friend of mine has experience with electrical wiring so I had him come over and serve as foreman for the project.  He did a nice job of guiding and advising but still letting me do the work.  It actually was a very easy swap.  Three screws, two wires. Looks much better, provides some nice light and a little security feature.  What's next!?!

19 March 2014

Spring Break...halfway over!

No big plans or trips this year for spring break but that doesn't mean it hasn't been fun.  minovia and I went over to Omaha for a shopping day, helping homebase get a wedding outfit and looking for accessories for our wedding party members.  We were treated to a fun pre-St. Patrick's celebration at stoppable's house to recharge our batteries.
I cooked up a (large) batch of corned beef, potatoes and cabbage myself on the actual St. Patrick's day and it has been great for dinner, sandwiches and breakfast.  minovia and I have filled our days will crossing things off the wedding to-do list and we are making some great progress.  It is exciting to see things all start to come together.  We mailed out invites last Friday and that was a big event, definitely had a momentous feel to it.  We watched some Champions League soccer yesterday as well, a fun mid-afternoon treat.
Yesterday morning I felt like a birding outing so I made a thermos of chai, grabbed a banana and a yogurt and headed out ~7:45.  I stopped at Walnut Woods and sat in their bird blind for a while, watching all the business their feeders were getting.  I saw my first brown-headed cowbird of the year and on the way out I saw some mergansers on the river so I stopped and walked over to get a better look.  As I was surveying the area, I saw that in the tree nearest to me, perched at the very top was a beauriful bald eagle!  Very cool to watch him keeping an eye on everything.
After that I went to Maffitt Reservoir and sat and enjoyed my breakfast while I watched the waterfowl.  I wasn't sure how much I would be able to see without a scope, but I was able to get some great looks at five life-listers! Canvasbacks, redheads, buffleheads, green-winged teals and lesser scaups.  Such cool ducks and color patterns like I've never seen before!
That is in addition to trumpeter swans and several first of the year bluebirds!
A great morning.  Calm, quiet, unhurried.  Listening to and appreciating nature.

14 March 2014

Spring Break mixtape

Yep, it's that time of year again. (Thank goodness!)  My break starts today and although I don't have any big travel plans, I am looking forward to days off, running in warm weather, doing a few projects around and outside the house, seeing family and generally crossing things off the wedding to-do list.
Here's my spring break playlist and cover art.  That's my photo of strawberries from when I went picking with homebase.  The typeface is Summit and I obviously need practice on how to make it really work but it is has some cool possibilities. 

1. Elastic Heart - Sia ft the Weeknd & Diplo
2. I Was a Fool - Tegan & Sara
3. Started From the Bottom - The Hood Internet (Drake)
4. Black Skinhead - Kanye
5. All The Time - Keys N Krates (Tove Lo)
6. Air Balloon - Lily Allen
8. Wing$ - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
9. Take Me to Church - Hozier
10.Murda Bizness - Iggy Azaela ft T.I.
11.The Man - Aloe Blacc
12.Happy - Pharrell Williams
13.Querida - Juan Gabriel
14.Hero - Frank Ocean, Diplo, Mick Jones
15.Step Out - Jose Gonzalez
16.When a Fire Starts to Burn - Disclosure
17.Fancy - Iggy Azaela ft Charli XCX
18.Wrecking Ball - Miley
19. Can't Remember to Forget You - Shakira ft Rihanna
20.Everything is AWESOME!!! - Tegan & Sara ft Lonely Island

11 March 2014

"Call Me Ishmael"

So I finally finished Moby Dick.  Whew, a long read.  The author aptly writes in it, "To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme."  This was most definitely a mighty book. 
Good story but the book is so thorough and detailed that it takes quite a while to get through.  Happy to have read it and it will look fabulous on my book shelf! 
I did make a list of words I wasn't sure on the meaning of, so I thought I'd share them here...

higgeldy-piggeldy (I knew what this one meant, just put it on the list because I was happy to read it.)
cetology: the study of Cetacea (whales, dolphins, etc)
sallow: unhealthy yellow complexion
hie: to go quickly
ibid.: in the same source (used to same space) [see: Good Will Hunting]
impetus: the force with which something moves
obstreperously:  unruly or resisting restraint
desirous: having desire
connexion: different spelling of connection
farrago: a confused mixture, jumble
indecorous: not in keeping good taste, improper
ablutions: act of washing one's self
patrician: aristocrat, nobleman
scoria: a type of lava, frothy & cindery
brevet: type of military commission
verdure: lush, green vegetation
cupidity: greed for money & possessions
obliquity: astronomy term re: difference in angles of equatorial and orbital angles
confabulations: memory disturbance
vitiated: spoiled
ignomity: public shame or disgrace
nonce: a word coined for a singular occasion
spile: wood peg for stopping a kask
sagacity/sagacious: showing keen mental skills or good judgment
celerity: swiftness in movement
apoplexy: incapacity from cerebral hemorrhage
prate: talk foolishly or tediously
tierce: old liquid measure
palavering: talk at length unnecessarily
succor: give assistance to
puissant: having great power or influence
tain: thin tin foil, behind mirrors
craven: cowardly
mizen: part of a ship's mainmast
binnacle: housing for a ship's compass
scuttle: metal container for storing coal
abstemious: not self-indulgent, esp while eating
cypher: a code, or a zero
miasma: highly unpleasant smell
veracity: conformity to facts, accuracy
irascible : easily angered
vacuity: empty-headedness
perfidious: untrustworthy
portentousness: sign or warning, ominous
argosy: large ship
scaramouch: an Italian clown/comedian?


08 March 2014

Lent, Stations and Fish Frys

We started off our season of Lenten fish frys at my favorite in the Des Moines area, the Basilica of St. John.  While we were enjoying our food, we also discussed that we should venture out and try a few new places this year.  So I look forward to searching out some new fish purveyors!
We followed it up, of course, with Stations of the Cross.  Truly the highlight of my year of church services, I treasure these services.  And I just found out that if I am away, I could still follow along online.  Check out the Basilica's streaming (and on-demand) broadcasts here.  We had an abbot take part in the service last night and he gave a little talk/sermon which was good, but unnecessary in my mind. 
Stay tuned for more fish fry news in the weeks to come!