31 May 2006

Back to the Desert

Before my sword lesson today, I wandered over to another section of Hell's Half-Acre. This one is 20 miles west of IF, on Highway 20. No concrete ramps and metal staircases here! *grins* Not even really a trail here. Instead, there are poles marking the "trail", for lack of a better word. The sign says that the short loop can be done in half an hour. I think that's only if you already know the route and don't have to hunt around, trying to figure out where the next trail-marker is. There was one place where I simply couldn't see the trail-marker, but I was almost back to the parking lot, and there was really only one way to go, since I didn't have any rapelling equipment with me. Halfway there, I spotted the next marker, which was a bit of a relief. It was too short: that was the problem. Maybe three feet tall. Most of them were about six feet tall.

Anyway, it was a quite enjoyable trek. Since there was no real trail, I got to pick my own route from one marker to the next. Lots of pahoehoe, and some a'a (ah-ah, much rougher and harder to walk on than pahoehoe). Also, a surprising number of flowers. Not as many as at Gibson Jack, but more than I expected. The cactus weren't in bloom yet, but there were little red buds on many of them. I encountered one group of two people on the way. They were headed on the long loop, to the volcanic vent that had released all that gorgeous lava. I didn't have time for that trek. In fact, I got back to the car much later than I'd intended. I'd planned to have lunch at the Canton Restaurant, but I didn't get back into town until 12:20 or so, and got down to the restaurant around 12:30. Sword lesson starts at 13:00. On a good day, I would have been able to get my food in five minutes and eat it in ten. However, there was no way of telling whether this would be a GOOD day or not. So I went to Albertson's and bought some cheddar cheese and almonds instead. It was surprisingly satisfying.

As far as the sword lesson went, Don said I'd improved on several of his nitpicks from last week. We figured out that one of the improvements was awkward because I was missing a wrist turn, and that the reason "Wave Tassels Against the Wind" has always given me fits is that I didn't realize there were waist turns that went with it. *sighs* It works much better now. There was also a timing issue on one of the steps, but the waist turns were the most critical problem. I get the impression that Don is both pleased and surprised at my progress. *shrugs*

ADDENDUM: Forgot to mention that I stopped at Hastings on my way out of IF and found a Hiking guide specific to Eastern Idaho. It has quite a few more hikes than the statewide guide I found. I also picked up a Father's Day gift for my dad. It's a guide to the Magic Valley, where he grew up. Lots of pictures and stories. I'd be surprised if he didn't like it.

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30 May 2006

Gibson Jack Flowers, the second

Here's the next batch.

The closest match I can find to this is a variety of penstemon, but I'm not convinced. Penstemon generally have a distinct 3-2 pattern with their five petals. Generally 2 on top and 3 on bottom, but not always. Ah well. It's pretty regardless.

Hmmm... Western Solomon-Plume, and it's even edible (with the ominous note, "if prepared properly"). It grew in several shaded areas.

Springbeauty, Claytonia lanceolata, aka Indian potato. The tubers are crisp like a potato, but sweeter.

Rough Wallflower, Erysium asperum. Doesn't look like a good one to hold onto for very long. Some species in the same genus were used to cause blistering.

Ooooh, so this is flax. Blue flax. Linum prenne. For those who don't know, linen is made from flax. Okay, so that's Eruopean flax, but this might still have its uses.

Neat. This one is Hound's Tongue, Cynoglossum officinale. If I hadn't seen it in flower, I would have thought it to be mullein. It's got the same soft, fuzzy leaves, and a similar growing pattern. Oh, it's an invasive species from Europe.

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Flowers (the first) - Gibson Jack

There were more wildflowers up there than I can remember ever seeing in one place before. So the first set will be ones that I already know the names of.

This is a Shootingstar. There are several varieties, and the differences are too technical for me to follow (and also would have required I try to disassemble a flower). So I'll just pick the most common one: Pretty Shootingstar, Dodecatheon pulchellum. I see these a lot up at Stanley Lake.

Blue Penstemon, Penstemon cyaneus. Lots and lots of this up there right now.

Clearly a fleabane. Based on the size (and color) of the flowers, I'd say it's most likely Cut-Leaved Fleabane, Erigeron copositus.

Ah, the wild geranium. Much prettier than the cultivated version, imo. Looks like this is white geranium, Geranium richardsonii. Some cool trivia from Plants of the R.M.: "Herbalists ahve used geranium roots to stop bleeding and to treat sores and chapped lips. However the leaves of this plant are easily confused with those of monkshood, which is poisonous, so thses plants should be collected only when they can be positively identified by their flowers or fruits."

And a beautiful larkspur. Probably Nelson's larkspur, Delphinium nuttallianum. Trivia: "Teas and alcohol extracts made from the seeds have been used for many years to kill lice and to cure scabies." [Plants of the R.M.].

A wild onion! (I know, it's not quite in focus, but you couldn't see much in the one that was). These I saw growing in the median of the trail, mostly. They probably grew other places, too, but the grass was too high to see them. Hmmm... Looks like this is Fool's Onion aka White Hyacinth, Tritelia grandiflora. The bulb is edible, but is easily confused with Death Camas (very poisonous). However, death camas bulbs won't smell like onion. Fool's onion bulbs will. So if it doesn't smell like an onion, DON'T EAT IT.

Indian paintbrush, or scarlet paintbrush, Castilleja miniata. These were pretty awesome to see up there. In a field of greens, browns and yellows, there'd be these pops of bright red. Hmmm... and they're in the figwort family, just like the penstemons.

And that's it for the ones I immediately recognized. The ones I have to work harder to find will wait a bit. :^D

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29 May 2006


The puppy has a name: Buster. Not what I would have chosen, but he's not my dog. :^D My dad had another dog named Buster a long time ago, and this puppy reminds him of that dog. Ji'e'toh still refuses to speak civilly to him (i.e. she hisses whenever he comes near her), but no real incidents thusfar.

This afternoon, I hiked around Gibson Jack (just barely south of Pocatello). I didn't make it all the way through the loop, as I lost the trail. I see two possibilities. Maybe a quarter mile before I lost the trail, there was a trail leading off to the side. That may have been the true trail. Otherwise, I figure it was buried under the snow in the area where I lost the trail. *shrugs* I'll start at the other end next time and see where it meets up. Many wildflowers up there. Many many MANY many. Hmmm... I must need more food. No animal pix, though I did see several hawks and some songbirds that I didn't recognize. I did see some cute fuzzy caterpillars and a few grasshoppers. Oh, I wore a different pair of shoes this time. As the saying goes... "My blisters have blisters." Ah well. Opposite problem on these shoes. The others had heels that were too tight. These were too loose.

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28 May 2006

Horrible Death Quiz

What horrible Edward Gorey Death will you die?

You will be sucked dry by a leech. I'd stay away from swimming holes, and stick to good old cement. Even if it does hurt like hell when your toe scrapes the bottom.
Take this quiz!

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It's been a while since I found a quiz that I really liked. So...what does it take for me to like a quiz? Well, completely bizarre and over the top results, entertaining questions (the weirder the better), and...oh...a bit of morbidity never hurts. ;^) (Via Respectful Insolence, filed under 'R' in the blogs-list)

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27 May 2006

Ji and the (unnamed) puppy

Here's Ji'e'toh, squeezing her eyes shut against the glare of the flash. She wasn't hiding today, but she was staying out of the puppy's way.

And here's the still-nameless puppy (and my dad's arm). He was interested in the noises my camera was making, so I brought it closer and started turning it on and off. The initial click startled him. A lot. The whirring as it brought the lens out just interested him, but the click really got him wound up. So it's probably my fault that he climbed up my dad's shoulder and got a claw in his ear (it was still bleeding when I left).

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26 May 2006

New Puppy

My dad's birthday is tomorrow. My mom and I wandered over to McKee's earlier this week, and they actually had some non-purebred puppies. It's become increasingly difficult to find such puppies (which tend to be healthier than purebreds, as well as cheaper). These said they were terrier-crosses. Which probably means they had a female terrier who was not intentionally bred. It's a cute little thing, currently nameless, and too restless/insecure to sit still for a picture. However, this picture looks a lot like him. He's just black instead of brown, but the shape of the head and ears are right.

I'm hoping that the puppy (not yet named) will help Dad get some of his equilibrium back. He was actually smiling this afternoon. He hasn't smiled much in recent memory. I brought over some dog toys that I found cheap (a buck a piece), and Dad was quite relieved to see that one of them was a chew toy. The puppy seems to have a tendency to chew on things, probably on account of teeth coming in.

While I like the puppy, he reminds me of why I prefer cats to dogs. He's extremely insecure when left alone (dogs are pack animals, after all). A cat or kitten, on the other hand, will amuse itself and be glad to have some time apart.

Speaking of which, Ji'e'toh is less than thrilled about her new baby brother. She has been avoiding the kitchen (where the puppy is confined until he's housetrained). I brought her over to the gate to make friends. The puppy was very excited and interested. Ji'e'toh tensed and hissed. Then she went and hid in the organ room (where her food dish is). She didn't want to come out, either. *shrugs* I think the puppy will be good for her, too, though. With me and Mom no longer living there, she's been alone a bit TOO much. We shall see.

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25 May 2006

Back to the Mundane

First off, the new curtains DO keep my living room much much cooler. I'll bet if I get a thick enough liner, they'll even be effective in the deep summer. I won't know for sure until July or so, though. :^D

Today I walked in town, and discovered that a store that claims to open at 9:00 am more accurately opens at 9:05 or 9:10 instead. Which is how I wound up at Wal-Green's. It stays open 24/7. I normally avoid Wal-Green's, since anything they have that I need is generally cheaper elsewhere. Today I found an exception. I use a straw mat for warm-ups at the park, especially when the grass is wet. I paid about ten bucks for the one I have now (which is starting to fall apart). This one was three bucks, and slightly bigger. I also found that Wal-Green's carries Tropicana fruit smoothies. I discovered these at a gas station in Cokeville on the way back from Grandma's funeral. I've been trying to find them elsewhere ever since. Most smoothies have milk or yogurt in them. These are just fruit (plus a few flavors).

And a bit of a surprise: I now have a camera phone. I share cell phone service with my mom (cheaper for both of us), and it was time to renew her contract. There was no requirement to update our phones, but there was an option. And these were nice ones, with a good deal, so Mom went for it. *shrugs* For me, it mostly means I have a back-up camera when my main one's batteries run out. Also, it's a flip-phone. Which means that I'll have a tendency to amuse myself by flipping it open and shut...open and shut... Mom didn't appreciate it when I tested the camera feature by taking a picture of her, though.

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Scenery (last picture post from Hell's Half Acre)

Right. One more set of pictures. This is just a selection of pretty or interesting scenery. A few of them almost made it into textures instead.

One of many huge cracks in the lava bed. At the bottom of these cracks, there is usually a lot more plant life, as that's where the water tends to wind up in this high desert.

This one's just an interesting rock formation, and definitely would have fit with the texture shots.

One of the things I love about this area is the way that, in some places, the lava looks like nothing more than the remnants of an old asphalt road. So I like to pretend that this was once a nasty mall parking lot, and that the forest came and took it over! Mua-ha-ha-ha-hahhhhh! ;^D

A nice indentation just below the walking path.

Different area. This is a sand dune I found in a cow pasture not too far from American Falls. I hadn't realized there were actual dunes that close to Pocatello. I would have explored, but a plethora of signs indicated that it was private property (probably to keep out dirt-bikers and ATV more than pedestrians, but still...)

Look! The remnants of Greyskull! Oh, wait. Wrong world (You may have to load the full size image to see what I'm talking about). You can also see some of the pahoehoe [pa-hoy-hoy] in this shot (where the lava sort of crinkled into ropy patterns as it cooled).

This last one is probably my favorite (warning: I didn't shrink this one down from its full size, so it may take a while to load). This one I think I'll print out and frame at some point.

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Flowers, etc.

There are prickly pear all over Hell's Half-Acre. According to the signposts, they're probably "Starvation Prickly Pear." *shrugs* And the black fuzzy things are some sort of lichen.

From the looks of the leaves and florets, this is probably in the carrot/parsley family. [FOUND: Yup, in the parsley family. Fern-leaf Lomatium aka Biscuitroot, Lomatium dissectum. Looks like the roots are edible, too.]

These are tiny TINY purple flowers. I'm amazed I got ANY of them in focus. They were by the AF dam again. [Haven't found this one yet. My best guess is that it's some sort of rock cress.]

I'm pretty sure this is a fern of some sort. Quite pretty, and as large as a bush. It also has very, VERY fragrant leaves/needles/fronds. [FOUND (I think): Western Cliff-Fern, Woodsie oregana. One of the few ferns that seems to grow in dry, rocky areas. However, my one book with ferns in it has very few, so it may merely be a close relative.]

The ubiquitous penstemon...that I only heard of last summer. But it seems to show up in lots of different places. I haven't tried to figure out which variety this one is yet. And, just for fun, a picture of the penstemon that did NOT turn out comes next. It's extremely tricky to take extreme close-ups of flowers with an automatic focus camera. I've figured out some tricks (in extreme cases, block off the background so the camera can't focus on it), but I still don't always get it to work. [FOUND: Hot-rock Penstemon, Penstemon deustus, the only white penstemon in Idaho, apparently.]

This one I recognize. It grows in town in "disturbed areas." It's called Storksbill. For why, see the seeds in the next picture.

Final flower of the trek(s). It was a big bushy thing growing next to one of the picnic table shelters. [FOUND: looks like this is Wormseed mustard, Erysimum cherinathoides. I found this one in a source I didn't use last time: Weeds of the Northern U.S. and Canada by Royer and Dickinson. Another source (Plants of R.M.) mentions that the name 'wormseed' comes from the plant traidionally being used to rid the body of intestinal worms. No indication as to whether it actually worked.]

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My mom sometimes tells me that I take pictures of strange things. Part of the reason for this is that I have a fascination for texture. So here are some texture shots:

This is NOT rock or soil natural to the area. This is what they brought in and put under the concrete walkway.

This is one of the microclimates in the cracks of the volcanic rock. Up top it's all dry. Down here, there's enough water for moss and plants.

This was by the American Falls dam again. You can't see the road, but this is where they drilled through rock to put a road down to the dam. You CAN see where they drilled down (the regularly spaced scoring). From the looks of things, they drilled down and then cut across. If they'd blasted it out, I wouldn't expect the drill marks to still be visible.

Here you can see most of the megaflora from the area. Juniper, cedar, sage, possibly a currant bush...

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I came back with a whole bunch of pictures that I really liked, so I'm going to break them up a bit. First off, the wildlife pix.

This one is actually from my ill-fated Wapi expedition. There was a chick poking its head in and out of the nest, and I'm betting that the hawk I saw take off from the adjacent field was probably its mother. Unfortunately, I don't have a high enough zoom for the chick to be at all visible. That little white fluff might be the top of its head. Might.

This is a mourning dove that I saw by the American Falls dam. It let me get awfully close to it. I mean, I was using the taiji walk, but I was rather surprised. After snapping this picture (I have others from further away), I started wondering if the bird was caught in the fence and approached less cautiously, wondering if it needed help. Nope. It flew away at that point. I'm just as glad it wasn't caught. Getting it loose wouldn't have been much fun for me OR the bird.

These rabbits were in grassy areas in Hell's Half-Acre (that's the name of the place where I walked around). I saw a bunch more in other grassy areas. Rather cute, but shy, though the one on the right didn't run too far. Just far enough that he thought I couldn't see him any more. :^D

Here's a magpie who wouldn't let me get close enough to get a better picture. *sighs* Every time I tried, he'd fly to a different tree. Telling him that I wasn't planning to eat him had no effect, strangely enough. ;^)

Here's a spiderweb that was situated right near a small cave. There were actually a lot of webs there. This was the one that showed up best in the picture, though.

Last but not least, the rockchuck. He wasn't too wary of me, but I think if I'd stepped off the path, he'd've gone running.

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24 May 2006

Lava and the Sword

My "hike" wasn't too exciting today, though it was quite interesting. There are rest stops between Pocatello and IF on either side of the interstate, and some paths through the lava beds there. It's not really a "hike" though, as it is an entirely paved path. *sighs* Still, before this spring I'd never walked through either of them. I made it to the one on the west side once on the way back from IF. Today I tried the one on the east side. I'll post pictures later, but it was very enjoyable. Full of cottontail rabbits, oddly enough, in the grassy impressions in many places. I also saw two rockchucks (known to the less ejikated as "yellow-bellied marmots" ;^), one standing at sentry in between the two interstates as I left. There were lots and lots of birds as well. Magpies and starlings I recognized, but there were a bunch of songbirds. There was one that I THINK was a female goldfinch (males are brighter and harder to mistake). And one bird (possibly the probable goldfinch) was chirping a donkey-bray. That was a bit odd.

I wandered to several craft stores after my pseudohike, mainly looking for white things I could make BRIGHT by tie-dying. FYI, Wal-Mart so far has proved the best source for such things. Note that in general I despise Wal-Mart, but it's occasionally useful. I did find some "flour-sack towels" at Shopko that I plan to tie-dye and use as decorative items. They are larger than the bandannas that I found at the craft stores, and cheaper as well. I also went to Barnes and Noble, specifically looking for guides to hiking trails in this part of Idaho. I found one that has several that I've already done in it, and has good directions and maps. I also got a bird book specific to Idaho actually to the Rocky Mountains. I already had ONE specific to Idaho, but it's got so little in it that it's not much use. This one has a decent variety of species in it [and I'm often in the Rockies in other states, as well].

Then I picnicked behind Target, because it was nearby and there was a sort of park there (actually a grassy area around a very short bike path). Lots of birds there, too. Red-winged blackbirds. Starlings. Possibly a pine siskin. Ducks. There's a canal there, so lots of birds that like the water congregate there. I found a nice shady spot where I could sit and eat and watch them.

The sword lessons are getting both easier and harder. Easier in that I now have the basics down on most moves. Harder because the things that need correcting are more subtle, and it sometimes takes me several weeks just to figure out what Don is even getting at.

Alas, I must go. Flower-planting in Grandma's honor. I picked out a bright yellow daisylike flower and some deep, deep purple petunias.


Flowers are now planted. From the looks of things, people brought more flowers than the place actually has room for. Which isn't necessarily bad. :^D There was a harpist there playing nice, nostalgic songs. There was also a barbecue. I ignored it, as most barbecue sauces have some form of gluten in them. Mom ignored it, likely because she doesn't like barbecue. We ate at Chang's instead. Oddly we were both tired of chicken and opted for a pork dish.

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Military Turtles

Another odd dream right before my alarm went off. I was in a military hospital or installation of some sort. I remember at least one typical hospital room, but I also remember going down to the basement to do some laundry, and discovering a green basket full of clean clothes that I'd never gotten around to putting away. At some point I wandered into some sort of gift store or cafeteria. By the cash register were these tiny animals made from various jewels. The turtle was about the size of my index fingernail, and was quite nicely done. There were generals, etc, in line behind me while I looked at the turtle. And those are all the details I remember.

Anyway, today I plan to hike a bit near IF, then go for a sword lesson at 13:00. *sighs* I bought some new hiking shoes when I was in Nebraska on the way home from Grandma's funeral, but on the last outing, they had a disagreement with my heels. The blisters popped before I got back (interesting learning to walk with the pain; best thing to do was to just relax the foot). So today I think I'll wear my new sandals. I don't want to wear the hiking shoes again until this injury is gone. I'm hoping that (1) the shoes have stretched out some now and (2) the blister spot callouses over.

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22 May 2006


Just a snippet of dream from last night. For some reason, I was discussing micrococuminate (might have been micrococuminin) with Riley Finn, from the Buffy tv series. Neither of us knew what it was.
I'm sitting at a round table in a large cafeteria. Riley is directly across from me. Various military types, about the same age as Riley, are taking up most of the table. Someone has placed a thick newspaper on the table. I grab the topmost section, and suddenly come across micrococuminate. The article says it's a component of the spice cumin, and that it seems to act as a prostate cancer preventative. I yell, "Micrococuminate!" and get rather weird looks from the rest of the military types as I fold the article and practically shove it in Riley's face. "I guess it exists after all!"

Then I happily skip across the cafeteria, nearly tripping over a rolling metallic coatrack, and wodnering if I should have had less chocolate. Then I'm in the area of the cafeteria where people go to get their food. I'm trying to find the board that lists what the main courses will be at future meals (in my mind, it's one of the black dry erase boards where they use bright neon colors). I remember wandering all the way through, looking into cases, etc, but I never did find the menu board.


Out of curiosity, I went looking to see what, if any, medicinal properties are really associated with cumin. Here's what I found:

Attributed Medicinal Properties
Cumin is stomachic, diuretic, carminative, stimulant, astringent, emmenagogic and antispasmodic. It is valuable in dyspepsia diarrhoea and hoarseness, and may relieve flatulence and colic. In the West, it is now used mainly in veterinary medicine, as a carminative, but it remains a traditional herbal remedy in the East. It is supposed to increase lactation and reduce nausea in pregnancy. It has been shown to be effective in treating carpal tunnel syndrome, as well as diarrhea, indigestion, and morning sickness. Cumin also shows promise as a natural way to increase breast size. Used in a poultice, it relieves swelling of the breast or the testicles. Cumin stimulates the appetite.

So I suppose there's a very very very very very very very very *slaps wrist* very vague connection to prostate cancer... (???) Okay, really really weird: "Be creative with cumin. Try adding this spice to your vegetables or other dishes. It may prevent the development of prostate cancer." Either this is a really weird coincidence or I heard this on a news broadcast without consciously noticing. (Yes, okay, I could add a third possibility: that I have psychic dream powers connected to healing, but that one I feel confident in rejecting) Incidentally, micrococuminate does not seem to be a real word. Nor is micrococuminin or microcumin.

Here are the real constituents of cumin:
The fruits contain 2.5 to 4% essential oil. In the essential oil, cumin aldehyde (p-isopropyl-benzaldehyde , 25 to 35%), furthermore perilla aldehyde, cumin alcohol, α- and β-pinene (21%), dipentene, p-cymene and β-phellandrene were found.

In toasted cumin fruits, a large number of pyrazines has been identified as flavour compounds. Besides pyrazine and various alkyl derivatives (particularly, 2,5- and 2,6-dimethyl pyrazine), 2-alkoxy-3-alkylpyrazines seem to be the key compounds (2-ethoxy-3-isopropyl pyrazine, 2-methoxy-3-sec-butyl pyrazine, 2-methoxy-3-methyl pyrazine). Also a sulfur compound, 2-methylthio-3-isopropyl pyrazine, was found.

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21 May 2006


I've got one set of curtains hung. The color is beautiful. Just a tiny bit lighter than I would have liked, but quite nice nonetheless. One oddity about these curtains: above the tabs for hanging them are loose ties. I'm not quite sure what the function of these ties is, but I didn't want to just leave them flopping around, so I used a bracelet weave on them. The result...isn't perfect, but it looks okay. The rod I especially like. So now I need to purchase an identical rod in the longer size to get the other curtains up.

Incidentally, I also threw a pair of white socks in with the curtains as they were, er, dyeing (dying?). Partially out of curiosity...partially because some of the dissolved dye spilled into the fabric softener cup in the washing machine, and the easiest way to get it out was to stick something in that would absorb the liquid. The sock that absorbed most of the liquid looks like it's always been that color. Perfect. The other still has some flecks of white showing, but doesn't look bad. I used to buy the brightest socks I could find...problem is that most of the bright ones are made of acrylic, and I can't stand to wear acrylic any more.

I also bought a tie-dye kit to play with. It's something I've been wanting to do for a long time, as I love tie-dyed shirts, etc. :^D Today I hunted for white things to tie-dye. I already had some (including a white shirt with yellow stains on it; green dye might complement those), but I figured, the more the merrier. I want to have a sizeable stack before I begin. No reason to waste the dye, after all. Anyway, at the moment I have two 3/4-sleeve T-shirts, three regular T-shirts, a tanktop and an assortment of socks to tie-dye. Yes, socks. Bright, bright socks for Qalmlea, once again!! (Oh, the reason I bought a kit is so that I would have SOME guidelines to go by for my first attempt; the instructions are surprisingly easy, though, so in future I will just choose my colors and buy rubber bands.)

Hmmm... Anything else? Ah yes. I sang with the Methodist choir this morning. I miss singing on a regular basis, but singing church songs, even fun church songs, is a bit too hard on my cognitive dissonance circuits. I disagree with just about everything in the lyrics. So long as the music is challenging enough, I don't notice. Or if I'm trying to figure out harmony, I don't notice the lyrics. Otherwise, I look at the lyrics and have to work not to cringe. One song I told my mom I really couldn't stand (sorry; not into the whole guilt-trip thing---sounds like you have to hate yourself to be a Christian), she said "But the music for that one is so pretty!" Maybe it was...actually, that one was a rather odd mix of primary colors music-wise...but the lyrics ruined it for me.

I admit that I still enjoy the social experience of church. It was the realization that that was the ONLY reason I was there that stopped me from going. I disagree with nearly every bit of doctrine that gets spouted, and laugh uncontrollably at some of it. The parts I agree with are so miniscule as to just emphasize the rest. *sighs* Minor Rant: holding "beliefs" is an insane way to go about seeking truth. Would you look at a table and announce, "I believe in that table," or at a picture of your great-grandmother and say "I believe she existed"? Why then claim "belief" in God, or Jesus, or a doctrine? If they exist, then they exist. There is no need to claim "belief" unless you have doubts. (The cynical part of me notes that repetition of phrases is an effective means of brainwashing.)

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20 May 2006

The Purpling of the Living Room

I’ve been looking for some curtains for my living room for a long, long time. There have been several options I’ve liked, but at thirty dollars a panel, when I need at least four panels, they’re just too expensive. And sometimes they have been forty or fifty dollars a panel. Well, today I came across some fairly plain ones on clearance for $7.50 a panel. They did not have particularly good colors, but they were 100% cotton. So I got five panels. I chose the purple ones, but the purple was in stripes, so that the overall effect is rather pallid. Which is why I currently have them washing, and have seven boxes of purple and wine dye ready to go in once they’ve washed. :^D

Grandma’s couch is a nice purplish red, and it looks beautiful against my adobe walls. The carpet is a deep blue. I always kind of figured that I would get blue curtains when I got them, but after seeing that rich purple color in here, I opted for purple. I also got a curtain rod. It’s pretty cool, with a spiral design at either end. I only got one because I couldn’t remember whether the front window was more than 48 inches wide, or not. It is. Barely. It’s about 50 inches, so I need the next size up for that window.

The reason that this is important is that the front window catches the morning sun head on. Which means that the living room gets hotter and hotter and is already broiling by afternoon. The curtains will help that. I may also get a liner, for the front window almost certainly, to block out just a bit more of the light and heat.


The dye job is now complete, and they turned out a nice, rich royal purple. Beautiful (at least wet; won't know for absolute certain until they dry). As soon as they finish rinsing, I'm supposed to run some bleach through the washing machine. Hmmm... I wonder why? ;^) Oh, I had five panels (42 inches by 84 inches) and used 7 total packets of dye (4 wine; 3 purple). It seemed to be about the right amount, based on the color now.

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19 May 2006


*sighs* I didn't quite make it to the Wapi Holes. So far as I can tell, I was within two miles of the parking area...when to continue following the directions would have required me to open a gate that was almost certainly on private property. I looked for a way around, but never found it. There may have been one on an overgrown dirt road, but, alas, it was TOO overgrown for my car, even though Jean Luc's clearance is higher than that of most passenger cars. I may try again sometime, AFTER I get a map of all the backroads in the area. :^) Which will likely be my quest for this afternoon.

I decided to stop at American Falls Reservoir before coming back, and did a bit of wandering over by the dam. I also popped into the Dam Visitor Center. Not much there. The most interesting things were some Native American creation stories they had in one exhibit. Otherwise, it was photographs and newspaper articles about the building/opening/operating of the dam, which doesn't particularly interest me. I was hoping there might be, oh, a free map of the region... (or even one to buy, but there was no one there to buy it from). No such luck. There were a few free maps, but not of the backroads. Mostly of stuff right around the reservoir. Ah well.

Oh, a few notes if anyone else wants to try this: the directions on the web page have a few problems anyway:

Drive 2 1/2 miles north of American Falls [north of WHAT POINT, precisely?] on ID-39, to South Pleasant Valley Road [labelled; easy to find]. Turn left and drive 7 3/4 miles [Yeah? The road ends after 7.5 miles] to Wapi Road [Breling Road, or something like that]. Turn left on this gravel still paved road. After 3/4 miles turn right [paved road goes right; no turning]; after 2 miles to left [same]; after 1/4 mile go right [here the pavement ends, and HERE is Wapi Lane]; after 1 mile turn left [follow gravel road left]; after 1 mile turn right (west) [same]. Drive 1 mile to the end of the gravel [cattle guard, leads to private property]... GET STUCK! Still, I did pretty well, considering how off the directions were in a few places.

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18 May 2006

Furniture sWAPpIng

I found a somewhat shorter hike for tomorrow. It's a bit further away, sort of north and west of American Falls. It's over the Wapi Lava Flow. Oh, I have a hat this time. Very important, to have your own hat. I really would have liked to have had a hat on Tuesday. Oh, you mean you don't know why a hat is so important? Wellllllll... it's a desert, see, full of sunlight, see, and it gets ruddy hot, see... Anyway. Part of the appeal of this hike is the driving directions just to get there. It's towards the bottom of the link above. But basically, it goes: "Turn left at A, after x1 miles, turn right, after x2 miles turn left, after x3 miles turn left, after x4 miles turn right..." So I have a printout of the directions this time. There's no way I'm going to remember all those tomorrow morning. :^D

I might have gone today, except today was Trading Couches Day (tm). See, my mom has never liked my grandma's purplish couch (which she calls burgundy). Actually, Grandma bought it before having her eyes lasered back to health, and once she could see, she didn't like it either. *grins* However, I have no problem with it, and MY couch (which was a present from Grandma) had been irritating my back lately. So I proposed a swap. Mom accepted. Oh, my old couch was a light blue. One problem: No one to help us move them. My mom is not...so gifted in the strength department. And we don't ask my dad to help unless there's NO other option any more. However, an opportunity developed.

I had an old twin bed that was, well, no longer useful to me. We offered it to my cousin Cait (she has three kids now, and, yes, that's how she spells it). She accepted. So Aunt Sandra, cousin Damian, cousin Cait, and cousin-in-law Chris, as well as my semi-niece Samantha (all of five years old) all got together for a major furniture rendezvous. Moving my old couch was the worst. It's got recliners at both ends. After that, everything else was easy. Mom gave them a recliner/rocker that she'd just replaced, and gave me a table that I'd picked out for grandma only last summer. It's the right height for my laptop while I'm on my "new" couch. Plus, it's pretty, and Mom would have just gotten rid of it. Oh, I also gave Cait and Chris most of my old twin size bedding. I thought I had more; I must have given a bunch to DI already. But they got two comforters, some mattress covers and a fitted sheet. Probably a blanket, too. So it all worked out.

Then Mom took me out to Chang's as a sort of reward. Nice reward, since I got that meal, plus enough leftovers for two more. (Amusing sidenote: I have to ask for food without soy sauce, as it contains wheat. Mom has discovered she likes a lot of dishes better without the soy sauce, so she's started copying me. Also, she doesn't really like the leftovers, so this means I can take them. :^D)

Oh, and I got dragged along to church choir practice tonight, as Mom needed someone to turn pages. However, as their best soprano went AWOL on them ("Oh! I must go to Europe for three weeks, one of which is Music Sunday! Oh! Whatever shall I wear?!?"), I may be demoted to Soprano, and Mom will find someone else to turn pages. My voice is extremely out of practice, yet still better than most of their sopranos. And, amazingly, I haven't lost my ability to sight-read. We shall see how THAT turns out on Sunday. The songs are all decent. Some are even fun. There's one that I can't stand. I despise any religious song where you could change "God" to "Steve" or "Charlie" and sell it as a pop-lovesong. Eck.

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17 May 2006


Eventually I plan to figure out what all these are, but for now, an assortment of pictures. Please keep your limbs and appendages inside the blog at all times, and do not attempt to eat the flowers, however tasty they may appear.

First, some yellow buttercup like things that were everywhere, everywhere I tell you! (Found (1): Yellowbells, Fritillaria pudica. Edible bulbs, roots and pods)

The orange variety only appeared in one place, though. So it could be from absorbing some nutrient that only occurred in that place, or just a random genetic mutation:

And here's a rather common flower that I've looked up before (Found(3): Long-Leaf Phlox, Phlox longifolia. They show up all over at Littlewood Reservoir, some times of year. I've seen them range from white to pale lavender, but this is the pinkest I've ever seen them:

Here we have something similar to the penstemon of last summer, but the flowers are smaller. (Found(5): I think this is lance-leaf draba, Draba brewerii. Apparently it was used at one time to treat a nail infection called "run-around." *shrugs*)

Ah, and I was quite pleased with this one. On the left we have the steershead flower, which for no obvious reason looks just like the skull of a cow (Found (2): Steer's Head, Dicentra uniflora; it's in the poppy family). On the right is likely some sort of cinquefoil.(Found(5): The leaves aren't quite right, but I think this is either Dwarf Hesperochiron, Hesperochiron pumilus or a close relative.)

I'd never seen these before. They remind me of lilies. No clue if there's any relation. (Found (1): Snow Lily, Erythronium grandiflorum. Edible corms, better cooked, eating too many at once can make you sick; leaves and pods also edible)

These are basically a wild violet. Or iris. I forget which. But they're pretty. (Found(1): Either Canada violet or a very close relative, Viola canadensis. Oh, this is cool, "Violet seeds have special oily bodies called elaiosomes. These attract ants, which then carry them to their nests.")

A very similar flower in yellow: (Found (1): Some sort of yellow violet, Viola ???. None of the ones in my book mention serrated leaves, so I may keep looking. Interesting trivia: "All violets are edible...leavs and flowers can be eaten raw...used as potherbs...made into tea...high in vitamins A and C. ... However, the rhisomes, fruits and seeds are poisonous.) ((4) suggests is may be Viola Vallicola)

Last but not least, a white flower (Found(5): The flowers had me fooled, as they look too droopy, but the leaves give away that this is also a violet. Macloskey's Violet, Viola macloskeyi.)

Source(s) for look-ups:
(1)Plants of the Rocky Mountains, a Lone Tree field guide.
(2)Field Guide to the Rocky Mountain States, National Audubon Society.
(3)A Field Guide to Wildflowers of the Rocky Mountains, Carl Schreier
(4)Idaho Transportation Department
(5)Idaho Mountain Wildflowers, A. Scott Earle (Note: this book has less than many others, but it contains some obscure ones that I haven't found anywhere else)

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