Monday, January 29, 2007

Did I ever tell you about the duck in our chimney?

Nope, I'm pretty sure that's something I have never shared. And you're going to wish after reading this that I had let it remain a deep, dark secret a few more years.

Last fall, Barry decided to clean out the chimney before the new heating season began. Our brick chimney runs through the middle of the house. At the bottom, in the basement, there's a little door you can open to sweep out the ashes that have fallen to the bottom of it. It appeared that nobody had cleaned out our chimney in years, maybe decades, because he shoveled out garbage pail after garbage pail of ashes and soot.

And a duck.

Or at least a big bird of some sort. Maybe a seagull.

Anyway, there was this dead bird entombed in the chimney, partially burnt away but still enough there to hold together and be very clear that it was a big bird. We figure the poor thing fell down the chimney last spring sometime and of course could not get out. We just hope he died quickly.


Sunday, January 28, 2007

Barry the Fireman

Here is Barry in his turnout gear.

And here are three goofy kids trying on Dad's turnout gear.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Barry Joins the Fire Department

Ever since we moved to New Albin, Barry has wished he could be on the volunteer fire department, but he always thought that since he works out of town, they would not really want him. But our neighbor Wayne recruited him, and he was happy to say yes. Tonight is his orientation meeting.

I am really proud of him! I love volunteer fire departments. (Yet another thing I love about small towns.) He will receive good training, he will serve the town and he will make some new friends.

And maybe he'll wear his gear for me every now and then. Heh.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Feel bad about your fur?

I don't, not really - I love fur - but if you have compunctions about wearing a fur you inherited and don't know what to do with, consider donating it to the Humane Society of America for use by wildlife rehabilitators. They use animal furs as cuddlies for young orphaned animals, reducing stress and helping comfort.

It makes me want to go buy a fur just to donate!

Can you stand another Baby Face story?

I sold a skillet rack to a doll person who has Baby Faces (and a lot of other dolls) on her Me page. So I did a quick Doll Story to print out and include with her skillet rack. Either she is going to get a laugh out of it or she will be too scared to ever buy anything on eBay again.

Here is a screen-sized version of it, with her name xxxed out for safety.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Three hours later...

I headed over to the church to do the end-of-year reports that I had been putting off (they are to be presented to the council tomorrow evening). I prayed before I got started - prayed for accuracy and efficiency. Three hours later, I am home. The reports are done. I have not yet done the 1099s for the staff but that can wait a bit.

This was a wonderful year. I ended up writing a letter to the congregation to go into the annual report they will all get telling them how blessed the church is and how much blessing others we were able to do because of it. (I hope this doesn't count as bragging:) The brothers and sisters there gave nearly $50,000 this year - absolutely a record - for a total annual income of around $64,000. And they gave away about $10,000 of it.

I'm getting teary all over again just thinking about it.

What a blessing this "job" is!

How are people finding YOUR blog?

If you blog and you don't have Sitemeter, you need to sign up.

More than just a counter, it tells you who is visiting your blog and when, how they happened to find you and where they went when they left. If they found you on a Google search, you get to see what they were searching on. You can also click on a world map showing where your visitors hail from. It's fascinating and rather addictive. You think nobody's reading your blog? Guess again.

I am intrigued to find that people find my blog more by looking at pictures of my cats than any other method! Popular Google searches that also direct traffic to me have been my vintage apron collection, Heywood Banks, my past employer (Medquist)and my current one (Webmedx), my parents' messianic church and (how embarrassing) my bunion surgery.

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Read here for more Sitemeter goodness.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Blog Netiquette

I read recently that it's poor netiquette to make more than one post to one's own blog in a day. I'm not sure why this would be. Any thoughts?

Wild weekend

The long weekend began with a funeral. Friday morning we memorialized our friend David Kruse. (It was he and his wife who gave us our beautiful pump organ.) It was a lovely service, and afterward we were invited to Dorothy's (the widow's) house to visit with the family and friends.

Then we came home and I worked for the afternoon while Barry took Miss B to play practice in Lansing and then to Waukon where she flunked her driving permit test. ("I didn't know what 'prohibited' means.")

Friday evening I ran the movie at The Way Station.

Saturday morning Barry got word that he would have to give the sermon Sunday morning because the retired minister who was to fill in for Pastor, who is traveling, was ill and couldn't make it. So he spent Saturday writing a sermon.

Sunday morning he gave the sermon, then afterward Dorothy and her daughter and son-in-law came to the house for lunch, then there was time for a short nap, and then Barry and I got taken out to supper at Manny's Cocina by Kathleen and her friend Mark. (Great food.) Then we came home, had a few minutes to catch our breath and then Kathleen and her children and Mark, and Barry and Lisa Fruechte and their kids all came over and we had the annual New Year's Bingo Night with goofy prizes.

We have an agreement that when the ball drops in Times Square, it's the new year, even though it's only 11:00 p.m. Central time. So everybody was gone and we were in bed by midnight. Hurray.

Look at the Guys in White

Take a look at what fans can do.

The 501st Legion marched in the Rose Parade this year. (Ignore Bob Barker's comments on the audio - someday Darth Vader will get him in his sleep and he'll be really sorry.)

For Firefly fans, the 76th Independent Battalion is forming up now. If you're sick of Alliance meddling and want to do something about it, check in with the recruiting office here. (They will be marching at DragonCon in Atlanta in 2007.)

Welcome Baby H

Aisha and Humayun, my friends in Pakistan, welcomed a son on Thursday, December 28. Isn't he darling? I will probably never meet him in person but I wish I could scoop him up. He's a little guy, just 6 pounds, 6 ounces. All are well. Aisha will be a great mother, I am sure, and though I have never met Humayun, you should see the picture of him as a new daddy! The man's grin nearly splits his face in half. What joy! Praise Allah!

Heat Wave

I just hung the laundry on the clothesline. On January 2nd in Iowa. Unbelievable.

It's only 25 degrees at the moment so the sheets are freeze drying, but the high predicted for the day is 42 (and breezy - perfect for laundry drying), and by Thursday we may see 50!