Archive for June, 2006

I heart symmetry

Posted by Nate in Day to Day.
Friday, June 30th, 2006 at 8:22 pm

So, you know how sometimes you’ll be like "ow, my arm hurts, hey, what’s this lumpy thing? That can’t be right! Oh, wait, there’s one on the other side, too. It must be ok." That happened to me today, only with my eye. My contact had been bugging me all day, just wouldn’t sit right and it felt like something had scratched my eye. I took it out to clean it and my eye still hurt, so I peeled back the lid to see if anything was under it and "holy crap there’s a freaking lump under my eyelid!!" Two hours of panicking later, researching symptoms on the internets, wearing my crappy old prescription glasses, trying to call around to see who can make me new glasses at 7 on a Friday (turns out a contact prescription is not enough to get you glasses), I finally moseyed back into the bathroom to, you know, check the other eye. Sure enough, same lump. It must be a duct or a callous from my contacts, gross either way, but at least there’s symmetry! Which obviously means it’s OK!

Since I couldn’t focus on it in the mirror during the initial investigation, I took a few digital pictures for reference. Enjoy.

Pumpkin Drama

Posted by Nate in Garden.
Friday, June 30th, 2006 at 9:49 am

Oh! Drama! Last night I noticed that the topmost female pre-blossom was nearly ready to bloom, and this morning it opened spectacularly. I hunted around for a matching male flower, but unfortunately all but one were old and wilting. I think the plant is just getting in the swing of things and will sync up better later in the season – but who has time to wait?? I was all set to go grab a q-tip or paintbrush and do nature’s dirty work by hand, but as I tried to peek closer to see the stigma I noticed several small beetles milling around! No bees, but these little guys could do the job…

So I opted to let this first one go on its own – if it doesn’t pollinate, I’ll step in for the next few and see if I can help out. My biggest worry is that the male flowers are so low on the plant, and partially hidden by the leaves – will the beetles find them? And will they find them first, before they fly up to check out the female flower? I suspect I’m overthinking this, but on the other hand I really want some pumpkins!

Much better

Posted by Nate in Bruno.
Monday, June 26th, 2006 at 7:22 am

Thought I should post a quick update since not everyone saw the one I made in the comments on the original post — Bruno’s doing great. My only concern is potential long-term complications, some articles I read made it seem like he may be more likely to get arthritis later after reacting like that, but for now he’s back to his crazy Kong-chasing self. Last Thursday I took him to the dog park to run off some energy, and he loved it. It’s so funny, what often happens is one dog will fixate on another, that dog will want to play with a different one, who in turn just likes to run – so you end up with big conga line of dogs tearing around the park! Much better than when they all just clump up in the middle and sniff butts… I brought you here to wear you out, now get running! :)

Not sure if you can see it in the picture, but that’s Bruno in the middle near the water dishes, and there’s actually a Spaniel-kind-of-dog laying in one of the big bowls. Crazy monkeys.

Garden Update

Posted by Nate in Garden.
Thursday, June 22nd, 2006 at 1:52 pm

[Dear readers: remember when Karen used to post? I do. Those were good days, all right. Good days.]

Our garden is blowing up. Almost overnight our tomatoes have gone from unassuming seedlings to gigantor Audrey II-like monsters. I’m scared to go back there. But they really need some pruning, so if you don’t hear from me for a while…

At left is our amazing pumpkin. It’s weird, I know I grew up around all these veggies, but I obviously didn’t pay attention to how they grew – or how big. I’ve already extended the trellis, about doubling the height, and since that picture was taken I tied up that vine at left so it’s read to start attacking the next level.

And that’s just the main vine, there are several secondary ones lower down. (should I prune those??) On the right is our rhubarb and raspberries, both making huge progress. I just read that we shouldn’t harvest any of the rhubarb this year (its first) since it needs all those huge leaves to make energy for building a strong root system. Then next year we can harvest "some", and finally go crazy in the third year. Whoa. Some good raspberries starting too, looks like we’ll get some fruit from them.

Next is the dill and cilantro, also doing well. The dill is almost weed-like in its propensity to spread, and the cilantro has recovered from a shaky start where it all got knocked down and bent. Looking forward to chilled carrot dill soup…

I grew so much cilantro hoping to use the coriander seeds to make ultra-fresh Witbier, but now I’m reading that Indian coriander has a nicer flavor and aroma. This one may be a touch "vegetal" or celery-like. Ah well, if I get any coriander it’s going in the beer! Finally the cukes (at right) – just today I found the first flower! I didn’t check if it was a male or female blossom, but since they’re not self-pollinating like our tomatoes I’m thinking we maybe should do it by hand? (I know, dirty…)

To finish the photo spread, a few fun shots of the tomatoes-in-progress. Cool!

Sad monkey

Posted by Nate in Bruno.
Thursday, June 15th, 2006 at 10:44 am

Two weeks ago I took Bruno in to the vet to get vaccinated – it was in his records we got when we adopted him that he was "due" for shots in May, so we did it. They asked us if he goes to dog parks, and he does, so he got a bordatella shot (for kennel cough). Does he run around outside or in the woods near ticks? We plan to take him camping so we got a Lyme shot. Rabies is mandatory. I don’t know if we got asked about distemper or not, but that one was a spray that went up his nose.

He seemed to be fine afterwards, although they warned us he may be sluggish and run a fever for a bit – ok, I figured, people do that sometimes after they get a shot. No problem. He developed a lump on the site of one of the shots, but it’s almost down to normal now, seems ok. The only thing left was to come back in two weeks for a "booster" of his Lyme disease shot, so I took him in yesterday morning.

The shot was fine, he didn’t flinch at all, we were in and out of the vet’s office in minutes. That afternoon I took him for his walk and he was pulling and excited about all the people and dogs — pretty normal. Then, late that night after the very exciting overtime finish of game 5 of the Stanley Cup, he trotted over to see what all the excitement was about and I was happily scratching his ears when he gave a little whimper of pain! Karen I were immediately concerned, but he seemed ok, so I kept petting him – then when scratching his back he did it again, just a little cry. It was really creepy – if you know Bruno you know he’s a big boy, and if you’ve ever seen his sometimes less-than-agile maneuvers on and off the deck you know he can smack himself pretty good without crying.

Still, nothing specific seemed wrong – he was just really dragging and seemed sore, favoring his back legs, and could barely come down the stairs. We guessed it was from the shot, but weren’t sure what might be going on. We gave him some water and soft petting and hoped he would sleep it off.

Still definitely sore and very slow in the morning. Karen called the vet and they said it’s probably ok but we should watch for swelling in his face / neck, trouble breathing, vomiting, or lack of appetite. He ate breakfast just fine, but it’s just so hard to watch him struggle up and down the stairs – if he’s still sore I’m feeding him in the kitchen so he doesn’t have to do that again.

So now I’m at work mildly freaking out after reading some articles about Lyme disease and vaccinations, and actually really pissed – both at myself for not researching it before we took him to the vet, and at the vet for not being more clear about what the risks are. I think from now on we’ll just stick with his Frontline tick repellent and maybe find some environmentally friendly solution for the back yard – and obviously check him for ticks whenever we go hiking. Wah. All I want to do is go home to check on him.

Feel better soon, little mumbler. Your mommy and daddy can’t stand to see you hurting…

Duoteam Q & A

Posted by Nate in Holidays/Birthdays/Etc, Wedding.
Friday, June 9th, 2006 at 10:47 pm

  • What year were the members of Duoteam born?
    • 1977
      • The same year Star Wars came out.
  • What’s Nate doing at work these days?
  • And Karen?
    • Digging, planting, mulching, driving a dump truck, etc.
  • Does Duoteam speak of itself in the third person?
    • Yes. It does.
  • Is it true you have an 8-tap kegerator in your basement?
    • Yes.
  • How’s your garden doing?
    • Really well. The tomato plants are HUGE, the pumpkin is growing like a maniac, and the cucumbers started slow but are putting on a strong showing. Not to mention the out of control rhubarb, exciting raspberries, chili peppers, dill, and basil. Great stuff.
  • What’s Bruno been eating lately that he shouldn’t?
    • Mulch from the rain garden.
  • How long have you been engaged?
    • About an hour.
  • How’s that working out for you?
    • Awesome!
  • Can I see the ring?
  • Did Karen really pick out that ring while travelling in the Orkney Islands a few years ago?
    • Totally.
  • And Nate went there to get it?
    • No. He got it on the internets.
  • Is that cheating?
    • No.
  • So, engaged. Yay?
    • YAY!!


Posted by Nate in Bike Commuting.
Thursday, June 1st, 2006 at 3:47 pm

So. Famous.

In a recent update to their webpage, the Greenway Coalition posted an advisory regarding construction of the Park Avenue bridge — and there was a picture of me on my way to work! (click for a bigger version). I’m wearing what I always wear: blue quick-dry breathable t-shirt, my backpack, helmet, and I remember that day (last Wednesday, 5/24) I was expecting rain so I’m wearing half (the top half, natch) of my detachable quick-dry pants. How do I know what day it was? That was the first day I discovered the bypass, and only because that biker in front of me kept going past the last possible stair exit from the Greenway. I was all ready to dismount and carry my bike out for a detour when she kept going, so I figured, hey, what does she know that I don’t? (Also, it turns out the filename for the picture has the date it in. But that was just confirmation!)

You can tell how fast I’m going because of how much I have to lean in that turn. And no, I’m not one of the two cyclists who went off the trail in the first hour after they opened the bypass. Fast, but safe.

Actually, I’ve been trying lately (actually starting that day!) to make the whole thing a harder workout (soccer, you know). I’ve been playing with a sort of interval training plan: sprint longer than I want to, slow down for a bit, repeat. Way harder, especially on the uphill way to work. Kewl.