30 April 2008

Hot Puppy Love

Have I got news! I talked to the Collie Club of America representative in Hesperia (less than an hour east of Lancaster) and one of her dams is going to have five puppies on Cinco de Mayo. As soon as she knows what they are she'll give me a call. If there's a sable and white male, he's mine, all mine! OK, ours, all ours!

His name will be Gordo, named after Charles Gordon "Gordo" Fullerton, NASA astronaut and now a Dryden research test pilot. He and his wife live two streets over from us and they have also had collies. The previous two collies were named after Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. Before that, I was using names from "Macbeth".

If we don't get a sable and white male from that litter, her friend has a sable dam about to have puppies, so there's a second chance. And the third chance is the representative's second dam.

I talked to her for about half an hour and gave her several references. One of them, Sheri Moss, is the top gun in working collies. Another, the breeder I got Donal and Malcolm from, is a good friend of the representative. That was a real relief to both of us. Good, careful breeders don't like to send their babies home with just anyone, you know. I was all prepared with even more references, like vets, but it's OK.

I'm so excited. I can hardly wait.

15 April 2008

I've Got the Blahs

As the title says, I've got the blahs. I'm not knitting, I'm not baking, and I didn't even take my recyclables out for today's pickup.

It occurs to me, however, that I'm not baking because I don't really like lean breads that have been baked in such a hot oven that they have little charred spots on the crust. That is to say, artisan bread. I mean, I'm not even that wild about baguettes (although I'll make an exception for several baguette sandwiches I've had in my life--jambon in Paris, brie and onion in Snowmass, and Serrano ham and avocado in Santiago, Chile). But that's what I've been trying to bake. Or not.

Meanwhile, I've got a Tupperware bowl full of bread dough out in my casita fridge. I'm afraid to throw it away. I know it's not going to ooze out of the bin and chase me around the kitchen, but I saw "The Blob" at an impressionable age....

No, I think it's time to try sourdough. A friend from afca has sent me starters, so I'm all set. Yes, sourdough is a lean bread (flour, water, salt, yeast in the form of starter), but it's a lot different from baguettes. It doesn't go stale in four hours, for example.

Just think of me when you hear a news story that starts "A retired NASA engineer in Palm Desert was found smothered by bread dough", OK?

14 April 2008

Late Spring Is Here

It's late spring, maybe early summer, here in the Coachella Valley. The jasmine (which is think is Carolina jessamine; it's not star jasmine) is covered with fragrant blooms and the white gardenias are blooming robustly. We have a jasmine vine out by the outer door (that opens into the courtyard) and another by the front door, so visitors are greeted with sweetness.

It's been fairly cool here, in the 80's, until yesterday. Today the high is predicted to be 102° and we've had the a/c on since lunch. I just hope it'll cool down enough to open the windows at bedtime. I'd rather sleep with open windows than with the a/c.

The struggle with the halogen reading lamp is finally over. The first bulbs I bought were the right shape and voltage, but the base pins were too wide. I don't like bayonet mount bulbs anyway and this didn't make me like them any better. I put my husband to work combing the Web to find the right bulb. First, though, we measured the pins carefully. He not only came up with them but found them for $2 each. Great deal, except the site had a minimum $10 S&H fee. So he ordered two of them. That brought the price down to about what the supermarket charges.

I stole the replacement halogen reading lamp he'd bought as a stop gap. It wasn't a great substitute, because the arm is shorter than the original one and it only has an on-off switch, not a dimmer. These made it not very good as a bed-side lamp. However, they're not a problem for a chair-side lamp, so it's now perched right beside the chair in my office. I expect it to be a great knitting lamp.