altivo: Clydesdale Pegasus (pegasus)
Today is the 31st anniversary of Gary's and my first date. Earlier this year, I had hopes that the useless Illinois legislature would pass a gay marriage bill in time for us to finally make it official today, but no, of course it's still stalled. Passed the Senate, but the House continues to dodge the vote. Perhaps Wednesday's Supreme Court decision will finally put a fire under their lazy butts but I doubt it.

Anyway, Gary gave me tigers. Because, y'know, we had lions and bears, but not lions, tigers, and bears, (Oh my!) Turned out he wasn't quite right, because the tiniest tiger in the photo was already here but he hadn't noticed it. The large Wild Republic Cuddlekins tiger and the medium Aurora tiger on the left arrived today.

I know a fair amount of music from the 30s and 40s that I play on piano and/or organ, but this should perhaps inspire me to learn the Tiger Rag (not easy, but I can do it if I work hard.)

Tiger Rag
altivo: Wet Altivo (wet altivo)
Some light drizzle early today, then sun, then heavy cloud, then more drips, and now fog. This is January? Doesn't bode well for July. Almost all the snow cover has melted away.

Heat pump expert came by this morning to check out our system. He worked on it in the fall, and wanted to do a checkup before sending his bill (I don't wanna think about it) but he found it mostly in good shape. Graound loop pressure within tolerances, which was our worry. That had been showing signs of a pressure leak, but perhaps not. He does think the connections to the loop may be buried too near the surface or otherwise poorly set up, and we may have a look at that later this year. But it's running and passes the tests he made.

Work was not quite as hectic as I'd feared. Boss was out, but the other staff member who was ill yesterday was back so we weren't too thinly spread.

Gary needed a prescription refilled (actually he had a few days left but we thought it prudent in case of an ice storm or something with this weird weather) so we went into Woodstock for supper and to do that. While he waited at the pharmacy I looked over the large but substandard selection of plush Walgreen's had put out for valentine's day. An abundance of large green frogs, puppies with huge eyes (no not kittens, but chubby puppies) and a great many overstuffed and overweight bears made up the majority. There was a soft and floppy hippo that I kinda liked but resisted. Gorillas and large red hearts standing around on cowboy boot clad feet have no appeal at all. About three years ago I got a delightful cuddly plush mare (nice size too, about 30 inches long) at that store, so I keep hoping. It was valentine's season then too. But there were no equines at all today and not even many felines. No bunnies either but I suppose those will show up at Easter. Oh well.

Donkey!

Dec. 22nd, 2011 10:04 pm
altivo: Plush horsey (plushie)
Well, a little one. This is the little guy I mentioned yesterday:

Mane Events donkey


He's made by "Mane Events" and is supposed to be a dog squeaky toy. Once I saw him I couldn't bear the thought of him being chewed and possibly ripped to pieces, so I took him home with me. Unfortunately, I couldn't afford to rescue all his brothers and sisters and had to leave them at the store.

No photo of the steam locomotive I mentioned several days ago. It did arrive today, but alas, it doesn't run. I did make a reasonable attempt, including cleaning, lubricating, adjusting the power pickup brushes, but no luck. It's supposed to be returnable, seller message sent.

Gary and I went and finished shopping this afternoon. This included a visit to a new wineseller where I was intrigued by possibilities but only bought what I needed for gifts. I'll be going back later, I'm sure.

We got a couple of items for his mom as well, and that concludes everything but the wrapping and the cooking. (Yes, we're making a ham and hauling it to Chicago. Sigh.)
altivo: (rocking horse)
Here's the new adoptee about to be rescued from his shipping box:

Box birth


And after he had a few minutes to decompress, here he is with a couple of his new packmates:

Family shot


I'll get the entire muttley pack together for a candid shot later. The new guy is a Wild Republic Natural Poses wolf (30 in.) and is now the biggest wolf I have, slightly larger than the Cuddlekins guy. I love his huge paws. [Edit: Here's the whole pack in one plushpile.]

And in other action, Roth and Hiller (the real one) arrive in Westvale by bicycle to exchange notes with Sergeant Rufus.

Today's installment here.

Cumulative word count: 30127 (now three days ahead of schedule)
altivo: From a con badge (studious)
This time for the private detective.

Today's installment here.

Cumulative word count: 15727

And I gave myself an award for staying ahead of quota during the entire first week. In fact, I'm presently a full day ahead. The Big Zoo has a sale price on the Natural Poses 30-inch wolf. I don't have one of those guys yet and it sounds as if they may be about to be discontinued, so for half price and free shipping, I rescued one. Now I just have to stay on quota for the next week to justify that. ;D

Rain most of the day, supposed to get colder tomorrow and the "chance of snow" is back in the forecast for tomorrow night AND Thursday morning now. We shall see.
altivo: (rocking horse)
Just some bright and sunny photos behind the cut, with Okapi and flowers.

Flowers and plush )

Oh, and we got our air conditioning going again this morning. $65 for a service call, which isn't so bad. He repressurized the underground thermal loop, which was down to almost zero, and it runs again. That loop has water and alcohol in it, not freon, thank goodness.
altivo: The Clydesdale Librarian (Default)
Indiana? Well that's where he was shipped from, and he arrived via UPS today.

Here he is, just emerging from his birth caul:

Mr. Lion arrives



(Click photo to view additional images.) Leonard is a 30 inch lion in the Cuddlekins line, and quite appropriately regal.

In other news, yesterday I updated the maps in my Garmin GPS. This is noteworthy because it is so agonizingly slow that I resist the process until the maps are obviously full of errors. At work, on a T1 connection, it took over five hours. I have no idea what the volume of data transferred actually might be, but these are only the default US and Canada maps that came with the unit. The last experience, about 14 months ago, was similarly slow. Why should this be so difficult? You'd think it was NASA updating the program of a Mars rover, one bit at a time.

Weather report: it actually rained today. For about three minutes. Continued forecasts of rain and even thunder and lightning, continue. Actual fulfillment of those forecasts? Somewhat less than 10% of the time period involved.
altivo: Plush horsey (plushie)
...do not enclose plushies in plastic zipper bags before shipping. That's what I always think those warning labels should say. My new little okapi arrived today, in a plastic bag with such a label. Fortunately I got him out before he was too much discomfited. And here he is.

Webkinz Okapi



In the same shipment was the basic Carcassonne game set from Rio Grande. I think it will be easier to play with the okapi than with the game, which looks deceptively simple but has rather confusing scoring rules.

Frost alert tonight. We closed the hot frame up and moved the potted blueberries back into the barn. It is nippy out all right. Now the forecast calls for thunderstorms on Saturday for the bird count. Hope that goes away.
altivo: Plush horsey (plushie)
But Thursday usually is, because I get a chunk of it to myself, even at work.

Remember last spring when I went to see the marsh marigolds in bloom and Timmie gave me a big hunk of showy white trillium root?

Widerange View



I divided that root into five pieces, and planted them in several spots around our place here. They all did still bloom last year (the buds were already showing when I got it) but I was concerned that they might not all survive the winter. They did. Checking yesterday and today, I found all five pieces coming up again, and all of them have flower buds. Hooray! Photos when the flowers open.

Hearing unfamiliar birds around, even though it's been cloudy and raining much of the day. I suspect the warblers are starting to pass through. We will be going to count birds, especially the migrants passing through, a week from Saturday. Wish us sunny weather, please. Last year was gloomy, cold, and rainy.

I have committed a small splurge. I do have a nice tax refund coming, but it will all be eaten by the property taxes. I'm not getting a raise (no one is) but this month had three paydays in it instead of two. Consequently, I have purchased three modest but utterly unnecessary things: a Carcassonne game because I'm curious about it (both the table board game version and the computer version,) a plush okapi (Webkins) because it looks so cute, and a lion puppet from Folkmanis. I may buy some clothes too, but good quality is so expensive... and cheap Walmart stuff doesn't last.

The latest issue of Audubon magazine arrived today and has articles on both Florida black bears and urban coyotes. Some great photos, including a coyote riding a shuttle train in Portland, and people trying to coax a coyote out from under a taxi in Chicago.

Bedtime. One more work day this week, and no major plans for the weekend I think. Yay!
altivo: Plush horsey (plushie)
Still too cold. At least I got some weaving done today, not enough but some. Gary moved some more snow out of the way, so we have decent paths cut to nearly everywhere we need for now. The only real issue is waste removal from the barns. We normally spread it on the back fields but unless he cuts a swath back there the wheelbarrow isn't getting that far for a while.

Back to work tomorrow. As it happened, I didn't go today. Director called early and said that the road between me and work was closed due to drifting snow, and since I only go in for four hours on Thursday as a rule, I needn't come. I accepted the offer, though I could have gotten there by a more circuitous route. As is usual for rural environments, the 15 miles would have become about 21 or so. I have personal days and a floating holiday available though, so I'll suggest that she charge it to one of those.

Took Gary's mom in to Woodstock this afternoon to get her prescriptions refilled at Walgreens. While there I checked out their offering of plush for Valentine's but found nothing irresistible. No ponies or other equines at all. No big cats. Too many bears and monkeys with goofy faces. Hence, no money for Walgreens. Though one of my favorite ponies came from there three years ago, They've not had any more since then.

After dinner tonight, while I was reading, Red got onto the sofa next to me and snuggled up for about an hour. Tikki, the elderly cat, got into my lap and spent a while licking the top of his head, which he did not resist, before moving to the other end of the sofa. Unfortunately, no photos, as Gary was busy trying to explain Facebook to his mom, who was having trouble grasping the idea of all that "stuff" just sitting there forever, getting bigger and bigger. We didn't get into the privacy issues and all those other complicated aspects.

Tired. Very tired and still sore. Must... zzzzzzzz
altivo: Clydesdale Pegasus (pegasus)
Nanowrimo word count: 43649 words (2240 today)
Sponsor me!
Story draft available here.

I'll proof and upload the segment in the morning. Still on target to complete the 50K in time, but I'd like to get well ahead this weekend. Oh, and by the way, I'm still $15 shy of the goal I set for sponsorship. I would be delighted if any of you could kick in a buck or two for a good cause, tax deductible in the US. Follow the "sponsor me" link above for more information, and thanks!

We had not planned to go anywhere during the Black Friday idiocy but changed our minds on the spur of the moment, since I wanted to run up to work and pick up my paycheck and since that would take us right past Tractor Supply we stopped in there. That store is never busy in my experience, but there were quite a few cars in the lot. They had in fact advertised one day specials. Gary wanted to replenish his supplies of winter bird feed, and I stopped to look at flannel shirts that were offered at half price. When we got in line at the cash registers, there was a backup, something I've never seen there before. It turned out that they were having difficulty processing credit card payments. Their connection to the processing system was so overloaded (presumably by activity in other locations) that it kept timing out at each step. Consequently, the manager was standing there and phoning someone to force each transaction through remotely. Slow as molasses, as you might expect. Still, there were only two customers ahead of us. We paid cash to save time.

Moose and ... Donkey?While waiting in line, I noticed several cute little plush donkeys on display. They were wearing blue hoodies with the Tractor Supply logo on the front, and had been marked down to just $2.99. How could I resist? I took one with me. Here he is with a moose I received in a Harry and David box a couple of Christmases ago. Rocky the Not-Squirrel and Not-Bullwinkle the Moose. I think they make a good pair, no?

Plushwuff!

Jun. 9th, 2010 09:52 pm
altivo: The Clydesdale Librarian (Default)
Wuff closeupHere he is, a new canine. I'm eclectic and don't stick to just the equines. Cuddlekins (Wild Republic) 30 inch wolf, was only $29.95 plus shipping from TheBigZoo via Amazon.

He's settled right in, and the ponies don't seem to mind him at all. Full body snap is here.

It was a beautiful day, a bit humid but not terribly hot and very blue and sunny. Nasty day to be stuck at work until sunset but that's Wednesday for ya.

Most of the Alpha problems got solved by much trial and error and detailed analysis with very little thanks to half-baked documentation by HP. The Alphas are now sharing files, which was the main goal of the exercise, and the Linux boxen can mount an Alpha disk directory and access individual files directly. Unfortunately, HP chose not to implement that ability on VMS, but I can live with it one way, since it's both read and write from the Linux side.

Tomorrow's only a half day, thank goodness.
altivo: Centaur image (centaur)
The usual work stuff, plus:

In spare ten minute fragments, trying to get CIFS/Samba installed on the Alpha DS10. After several false starts, it is installed, but still not properly configured I think.

Drove home in the same rain in which I had driven to work. C'mon, it's supposed to be June.

Took Gary out to dinner to celebrate his birthday a week early. Came home and watched Robert Morse in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying which unfortunately does match my recollections of what it was like working in a for-profit corporation and also in many non-profits including the Federal Reserve and the American Hospital Association.

A box came from TheBigZoo.com and squished into it was the large Cuddlekins wolf that I wanted to get last Christmas. I finally found one at a reasonable price. There was also a birthday present for Gary in there. (Shhhh.)

Someone posted a message to me on F4L asking "Are you really 60?" Yes, I am. Duh.

Installed CIFS/Samba onto the Alpha PWS433au at home, too. Also not yet configured but it runs.

And that's enough. Now bed.

New arrival

Nov. 3rd, 2009 08:44 pm
altivo: (rocking horse)

Loom guardian
Originally uploaded by Altivo
The snow leopard I bought a couple of weeks ago arrived in today's mail, and he's a cutie. Also very soft, and a perfect size for lap sitting. His name is now Neige Paw (yes, bilingual punning is intentional) and I think he'll fit right in here. He's already claimed a couple of spots other than his own.

Nano status
Current word count: 4379
Target count would be: 5001

Still behind, but not badly. I can feel the wind filling the sails now.
altivo: (rocking horse)

Valentine Day gift Valentine Day gift
Gary gave me this adorable tiny Clydesdale. Plush equines are hard to find, but Clydesdales are almost impossible.



Supposed to snow, but not happening yet. I'm being bad and reading a book instead of doing anything useful. Well, I'll be writing a review of the book, but still.
altivo: Trojan horse image (wheelhorse)
Today was the Northern Illinois Horsefest at the Boone County Fairgrounds. We had planned on going, but the weather for the past couple of weeks has been so bad that I feared the fairgrounds would be a sea of mud and many participants would be kept away by flooding either at home or in intermediate areas.

However, it turned out to be a lovely day, dry, pleasantly cool, and sunny. There were clouds that clearly did not bode well for someone east of us, but they were still little baby storms when they passed through our area. We went to the Horsefest after all, stopping on the way for lunch in Garden Prairie.

Admission was up a dollar from last year, attendance was down both on the part of visitors and exhibitors. This has become a pretty predictable pattern. Every year I expect it won't happen at all the next year. I'm in doubt now whether it will be worth attending if it does happen. Their largest problem, I think, is lack of advance publicity. If you don't know to watch for it, you don't know it's happening.

Anyway, we did see some beautiful horses, walked through the commercial exhibits, sat through a competition in one outdoor arena, and headed back home. On the way out, I bought a plush horsie from a tent vendor. (Made by Aurora, for my serious plush collecting friends who may wonder.) I decided to name him Paffers, which will make sense to some of you. Here he is:


Paffers
Paffers
New arrival Paffers sits on the fabric in process at my loom, demanding attention. He's very soft and floppy, and obviously was bred for cuddling.

altivo: The Clydesdale Librarian (Default)
Weather seems getting ready to break a bit. Here it is 10 o'clock at night and we're still well above zero F.

Gary got a plastic kids' sled today for hauling water. I haven't tried it yet, but he says it handles three buckets full without difficulty and with little or no sloshing. At least while we still have snow on the ground this is going to make it easier.

It takes four buckets of five gallon capacity to do morning feed chores. A couple more are needed while cleaning stalls to top up heated buckets in the stalls. About two more are needed to set things up in the evening for feeding. And the boys have a heated water trough that needs topping up every couple of days. My only concern with drawing water from the house is that it has been through a water softener and has a lot of sodium in it. I have no idea whether that's a long term risk for horses or sheep. I'm guessing that we won't be able to replace those hydrants until April at the earliest, though by then we should be able to use hoses rather than having to haul buckets.

Went through a bunch of plush animals that had been in storage since our move eight plus years ago. Cleaned them up and returned a lot of small ones to a couple of better plastic storage crates that should keep out mice and such like. A few cute ones were "rediscovered" and moved into the house. I was hoping to find a Dakin lion that I know I had, but no luck. I can't imagine what became of him.

Off to bed now, a busy weekend starts early tomorrow.
altivo: Plush horsey (plushie)
Got some cash for my birthday and Christmas, mainly from my mate's Mom. Usually I buy books or music with it, but this year I warned her I was going to buy plush toys. She knows we have a huge number of them in the house already, since she visits for a weekend now and then. She just smiled and said "OK".

Click for plushpile )
My mate won't let me bring horses into the house, so...

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