Saturday, January 26, 2013

Open Door Prisons

I think everyone around here feels a little cooped up midwinter. Walkies are perfunctory. I don't ride along for errands when the car temps are so low. Backyard patrol is as needed only.

Because it is winter, over the fence moments are few and muffled by winter layers. We haven't yet heard why six fire trucks and a dozen plus firefighters visited our next door neighbors some days back (they appear to be fine).

And we haven't yet met the new babies on our other side or down on the corner. My auntie Lizabeth commented that last year her neighbors went in for the winter and came out with a fully formed baby without her even knowing they were pregnant. That's a long winter.

Of course, this is self-imposed isolation. It isn't like we are locked up. The happiest Minnesotans are the ones who bundle up and head out the door. But there are those new episodes of Downton Abbey to be viewed...

Some folks are locked up for real, of course. Until they aren't. Apparently there are now over 15,000 escaped farm crocodiles bobbing in the Limpopo River in South Africa. Their keepers opened up the river gates when flood waters threatened. Out they floated. That's a lot of crocs!

The best way to recapture crocs is at night because their eyes glow.

These are South American caimans.
But their eye shine is probably similar
to those escaped crocodiles in South Africa.
I may have some croc in me.

If I was a crocodile and my destiny was to be a pair of shoes, I would certainly take advantage of an open cell door.

Apparently, there are also jails with a rather generous open door policy. News of the Weird reports:

"Fulton Jail Will Get Working Cell Locks," read the Dec. 19 Atlanta Journal-Constitution headline. The county commission serving Atlanta had finally voted to break a longstanding 3-3 tie that prevented buying new jailhouse locks -- even while knowing that inmates could jimmy the old ones at will and roam the facilities, threatening and assaulting suspects and guards. The three recalcitrant commissioners were being spiteful because a federal judge had ordered various improvements to the jail, costing $140 million so far, and the three vowed to spend no more. The 1,300 replacement locks will cost about $5 million -- but will not be installed right away. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 12-19-2012] 

I think it is interesting the prisoners only leave their cells for the specific business of harassing the guards or stretching their legs. They don't actually leave the prison. Sort of like free-range chickens. I hear they often have access to the outdoors but never go through the door.  Minnesota free-range chickens must be the worst.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Midwinter Day with My Pack

Considering it is -2 degrees outside, today is a pretty good day. That's because my pack is all home and busy around the house.

Dave is working up in the attic, of course. He just got back from a trip to Spain so having a normal Monday on a holiday is his penance. But his day will improve because tonight is his birthday party! Dave is turning 49 this time around and is a little baffled how he got to be almost 50.

Susan is puttering around the kitchen preparing Dave's favorite birthday dinner: pesto pasta, herb bread, pear/blue cheese salad, baked goat cheese stuffed zucchini, and flourless chocolate torte. Everyone will need extra walkies after eating that!

Dave requested flourless chocolate torte for his birthday treat... otherwise known as Death to Carmella, as it includes a full pound of toxic chocolate. I can't even lick the bowl! I wish it was a liver torte.

Dave's flourless chocolate torte. Sigh.

Boy#1 is alternating studying for finals and cheerfully helping get ready for Dave's family party. I am counting on him for a good walk this afternoon, as he complains less about things like cold than anyone else in the family. He complains about lots of other things but physically, he pretty tough.

Boy#2 is pretty scarce because he is supposed to be cleaning his room and taking a shower. He hates baths almost as much as I do!

I am helping Boy#2 clean his room by inspecting his (rarely) made bed.
I rate it four paws up.

Boy#2 is also relishing setting up a new laptop for his dad who hates PC's but needs it for testing things at work. Although Dave fears losing a beloved family member to Microsoft Madness, there is something to be said about having someone in the house know how to make such a beast behave. Boy#2 is happy to finally have a laptop at his beck and call. But like I said, he supposed to be cleaning his room.

The cats are their usual selves.

Sophie helps the clean sweaters dry.
Stuart helps Boy#1 with his Warhammer 40K model building.

Susan is also getting to some projects she has delayed for years. She finally framed a series of postcards by her sister-in-law, fiber artist Elia Woods. Lia gathers inspiration from her gardens to make gorgeous art quilts using photo transfer techniques and natural dyes. Susan thought the exhibition postcards looked beautiful too - so she put them together to hang in our dining room. Someday maybe we'll get to see Lia's quilts (though I suppose I won't be allowed to lay on them).

Postcard series of details of Elia Wood' s art quilts.

It is nice that everyone has hobbies. I hope everyone is having a peaceful, productive day.

Carmella's hobbies include shredding potpie tins.