AnneTennies's blog

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Dusty afternoon

So I’ve been working in my basement today, doing some less glamorous household tasks. Sweeping down cobwebs, for example… I don’t have a whole lot to say about it, but this gave me an excuse to put down the broom and sit down for a minute.

Hopefully when Joe gets home from work he’ll be inspired to help me haul some stuff out to the garage.

sigh… back to work.

New toy

HP 7160

We got a new printer this weekend — it’s a hp7160 desktop photo printer. We haven’t done much with it so far, but it seems to do a really nice job on photos. As far as normal printing, it isn’t nearly as sharp as the Laserjet 4MV, but since that one leaves little + marks a couple places on every page, this will be an improvement for most things. I’m looking forward to printing my next DVD labels on there — it’s nice to have color as an option! It also means I’ll be rethinking my business cards — which were just grayscale before. So many possibilities…

Merry Christmas!

Sumomo's First Christmas

We’re almost ready for our annual tour of the state. We’ll be celebrating in West Bend, Oregon, Cottage Grove, and Black River Falls this next week, and then back to West Bend next weekend for the other side of the family. Sumomo, however, will be staying in Cottage Grove with Mom and Dad for the duration. My parents are looking forward to the chance to bond with their grand-hamster, whereas Joe’s folks prefer he stay far, far away.

We didn’t get a big tree this year, but we still managed to decorate a little. :)

Whether you’re traveling or not, spending the holiday with family, friends, or alone, and celebrating Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, Festivus (???) or none of the above… best wishes for a safe and blessed season.

DVD design and other video-related stuff

This fall I’ve been working on a video for Point of Beginnings (a local organization of folks who are interested in how this part of the country got started). Along with a friend, I videotaped an event at the First Territorial Capitol at the end of June, and we’ve been editing it down for the organization. Well, we finished editing this week, and I’ve been working for the past couple days to get it rendered into the .vob file needed for DVDs…

As of about 9:30 this morning, I have a good file (with both audio and video!), and now I’m working with qdvdauthor to design the menus and complete the project. I’ve always thought it would be fun to do this, and it turns out I was right :) So I have my main menu designed, and my “Bonus” menu will have to wait until I decide where to stop with the bonus features. I haven’t decided whether or not I’m going to add any easter eggs…

But after this project is finished (aka after the weekend), I need to get another DVD put together for the church bazaar next weekend. Joe and I each recorded the Music Sunday service a couple weeks ago — he recorded the audio out of the sound system into his new laptop, and I recorded the whole works from the balcony with my laptop (thanks to Dave Jones for operating my camera so I could sing in the choir!). Anyway, the plan is for us to have CDs and DVDs available for people to buy at the bazaar, so it’ll be a bit of a fund-raiser for the church as well as being a fun, short-term project.

I also taped a linux training Joe taught at work a couple weeks ago, and when he has a chance to get me the appropriate screenshots, I’ll put that together into a training tool for him. But I should probably work on the commercials for church, first. I have footage from last Christmas, and if I do it soon, it won’t seem as wrong as it did when I looked at it in April.

The long and the short of it is that I’m getting a handle on Cinelerra (open-source video editing program) and it’s quirks, and I’m trying to decide how to get involved in its development, I’m getting back into the production mindset (and getting some current things for the ol’ resume tape) and I’m learning some of the other steps involved as far as DVD production goes. For example: did you know that to convert a video file to play on a DVD the audio gets rendered as an .ac3 file, the video gets rendered as a .m2v and the two files are rejoined and synced (muxed) into a .vob? I just learned that this week. It makes that whole “export to tape” step seem very simple. But learning is good.

New Recipe: Apple Streusel Bars

I needed to make a dessert for a funeral luncheon this week, and decided to try something new.
I tried a recipe for Apple Streusel Bars out of a Rock County 4H Cookbook, and I was really pleased with the way they turned out. The bottom crust was flaky, the apples were tender and well flavored, and the streusel topping and icing balanced out to be really tasty, without being overly sweet. I have a few apples left, and I think I'll make another batch so I don't have to give them away! I put the recipe in my online recipe book, so check it out!

Thirsty Hamster

Thirsty Sumomo

If you’ve had small pets (hamsters, gerbils, etc) before, seeing one drinking out of those little water bottles probably won’t make you say, “Awwww… so cute!!!!” But I haven’t, and Sumomo is, so here’s a picture from shortly after we got him (approx 1 month old) quenching his thirst.

I got a little video footage of him this weekend, so when I get a chance I’ll get a video clip on here, too.

Labor Day Weekend -- emphasis on the LABOR!

We roofed this weekend.

When I say we roofed, I mean we spent a whole lot of money at Menards, ordered a dumpster, and then spent the weekend working. When I ordered the dumpster, the nice gal at Faherty's asked how many layers of shingles we had on the 1400 sq ft we were doing… I guessed one. She said if it turned out to be two layers, we wouldn't have enough space, but we hoped. The first section of garage had just one layer… and then we got to the old porch. Six layers. Yup. The bottom layer was tarred onto the boards, and really wasn't fun to remove. The back part, overlooking the park had four layers: red, white, green and black. And at the top and ridges, they added lots of overlap for good measure. Removing those shingles weren't much fun.

My parents arrived before 9 Saturday morning and climbed right up on top of the garage with us. Then Kevin (Joe's coworker) arrived midmorning, followed by Joe's parents around noon. With all of us working hard, we had all of the shingles off the garage and most off the back part of the house by nightfall. And we also had most of the garage reshingled! (And I think we all had blisters.)

We like our neighbors, so we didn't start the air-nailer until 8am Sunday. Another of Joe's coworkers stopped by for a while (Sara) and helped us chip away at the last of the old shingles. If we had started a couple hours earlier, or if the rain had waited a couple hours later, we could've had it done. As it was, it rained hard enough that we had to stop with several rows of shingles remaining. With no end in sight, our parents headed toward home (although my folks stayed a bit later for extra bonding — like watching the Buffy Musical and Spiderman 2… and a little work on the farm website)

This morning, Joe and I groaned up the ladder again, and with some help from Adam, laid the rest of the shingles and then while I made pizza they cleaned the gutters and installed covers. Now all that's left is nailing down the flashing, a little extra tarring, and one stripe of shingles above the garage door.

I thought parts of the project were fun, and I'm feeling surprisingly confident about my roofing abilities, particularly considering I'd never really done any before. We'll still get to the front porch this year, but there's no way we're going to do the top half of the house ourselves, no matter how much money we'd save.

I hurt. A lot. And based on the way we all moved this weekend (and the regular ibuprofen breaks) I'm not alone. But we'll survive, and hopefully we'll forget how painful it was when it's time to do the porch.

Sumomo's first road-trip

Sumomo ~1 month

For those of you who don't know, Joe and I got a hamster a few weeks ago. He was born right around my birthday (which is July 1, for those of you who don't love me and didn't send me presents) so we're pushing 2 months now. So Sumomo (named after a character in Chobits) came with me to Cottage Grove this weekend. He wasn't sure what to think of Makita, my parents' cat, but when he was exploring in his ball, she kept running away from him. She was probably glad to see us go. My parents enjoyed the visit from their grand-hamster, and are setting up a 10-gal tank so he has a comfy place to stay when he comes to visit.

My cousin's 6-year old came over to meet 'Momo, and they really hit it off, although Logan was disappointed when he decided it was naptime and wasn't as fun to watch. Sunday was my grandma's 85th birthday, and when I offered to introduce her to her great-grand-hamster, she just said "Oh, dear…"

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