Thursday, November 30, 2006

A brief reminder

What with all the Christmas brouhaha going on (and I'm brou-ing and ha-ing with the best of them) I didn't want Hanukah to get lost in the shuffle. So I'm posting again the lyrics of that immortal song, "Herman the Hanukah Candle".

Herman the Hanukah Candle
had a very shiny light
and if you ever saw it
you would even say it's bright.

All of the other candles
used to laugh and call him names
they never let poor Herman
join in any Hanukah games

Then one rainy Hanukah night,
the rabbi came to say,
"Herman with your light so bright
won't you be my shamash* tonight?"

Then how the candles loved him
And they shouted out with glee
"Herman the Hanukah candle
you'll go down in history!"

Also, not to forget, The Barenaked Ladies have an excellent holiday CD with an original Hanukah song on it.

*the candle that's in the middle of the traditional menorah. On all menorahs it's placed on a higher spot than the rest. You light it first and then light the other candles with its flame.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


I feel bad because I didn't freeze the leftover leftover leftover leftover turkey. I took it out of the 'fridge for lunch again today and it was spoiled.

I feel bad that I didn't find something intelligent to do with the rice & cranberry pilaf that was leftover (the half I didn't take to Aunt ItalianBeauty's).

I feel bad that I made huge bunches of roasted veggies, and even after giving most of it away and eating it for 6 days myself, there was still enough to get spoiled.

I feel bad that no one else in my house likes olives (and I don't like 'em in abundance) and that I neglected to pack them off to relatives.

All these things went to waste.

On the other hand, we finished the gravy, the blueberry pie, and the stuffing, and we sent off tons of food with relatives. So I'm somewhat redeemed.

What did you folks do with your leftovers?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Now what?

My Tuesdays are bereft. Gene Weingarten is shutting down his chat until April.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

I am exhausted and exhilerated.

Thanksgiving went well. Lots of laughter. And I knocked the socks off our guests. So did my sister-in-law who made the most fabulous spicy pumpkin soup.

Everybody had a great time. Muffin Man thought it was the best Thanksgiving ever, despite the fact that he burned his foot with some hot wax while he was showing off the candle holder he made at school.

Best part of the night? Seeing 7 kids ages 4 through 13 all snuggled up like puppies on the guestroom bed to watch "Finding Nemo".

Best part of the day? That moment at 2:15 when I had absolutely nothing to do, because the ingredients for the gravy were ready but I had to wait for the turkey to come out of the oven to actually mix them together, the tables were arranged and mostly set, the noshes were being eaten, and I couldn't think of a single thing that needed to be done. That lasted until 2:20.

Best conversation? I can't think of just one.

Best Toast? Mr. Spock's. I'm still all verklempt.

It looks like the traditional game of Charades may move permanently from it's former after-dinner location to mid-afternoon. The kids all had much better energy and it eliminated a former melt-down-while-waiting-for-dinner period.

I sent gallon-sized bags of veggies, stuffing, turkey, and rice pilaf home with people (along with 3 quarts of gravy) and I still have tons of food in my fridge. And I didn't make all the food I'd planned to make, we still have bags of rutabegas and baby red potatoes that I decided not to add to the roasted veggie mix. Anyone need a rutabega?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Go give some hugs

To Dani, my secret santa from last year. She's one of the nicest, sweetest women on this whole continent and she's just had a miscarriage.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

In the kitchen (again) - Chop and Cook

Chopped - All the veg for roasted veggies (Mr. Spock did the acorn squash, I did the rest). Plus some sweet potatoes for...

Cooked (me) - Candied sweet potatoes! And rice pilaf with white & wild rices, cranberries and raisins. Tomorrow I'm toasting pine nuts and chopping parsley to add to the pilaf.

Cleaned - dining room and library (Mr. Spock), and the guest bath (me), and sheets and towels for the guest room (me).

Also on the agenda for tomorrow: Delivery of rental items, picking up turkey and pies, roasting the veggies and making the stuffing.

Had dinner with my mom, stepdad, BigSister, her husband, and their two kids. Her children are gorgeous. Really, really, really beautiful children. My niece is 13 and justlikethat she's taller than me and looks like a grownup. Her face (always cute) suddenly transformed and is now an adult face. I just can't look at her enough.

My nephew is 10 and loving science fiction, fantasy, and "funny books". He'd read all of CS Lewis, The Hobbit, The Tale of Despereaux, Holes, Alan Mendelsohn the Boy from Mars, but he'd never read McKinley or Card or Adams. So I rifled my shelves and gave him The Hero and the Crown and Robin Hood (I can't find the Blue Sword - who the heck did I loan that one to???); Ender's Game; the original Hitchhiker's trilogy (I'd have given him all 5 but I only have the last two in first edition hardcovers); Freak the Mighty; The Boggart; and The Lathe of Heaven. I told him that if he likes them, he can keep them and I'll buy him more by the same authors (and new copies for me), but if he doesn't like them I want them back.

Muffin Man had a ball playing with his cousins and showing off for them. I had a ball watching them all together. Remind me why I live so far from my sister?

Monday, November 20, 2006

In the kitchen - shop and chop

Slight pause to go to a local shindig in the morning.

Shop: Got everything we need for cooking for Thanksgiving (except the desserts and the turkey (but they're ordered and we're picking them up on Wednesday) and good bread and salad).

Chop: Celery, cauliflower, some acorn squash. Clean out the 'fridge. People, I was ruthless. I was completely without ruth. I threw away some perfectly good barbeque sauce for no better reason than IT WAS TAKING UP ROOM. It's true that I threw away far more deserving items, but this was really just an innocent by-stander. Sent to an early grave by virtue of the fact that barbeque season won't be back for seven months and I'm about to have TWO TURKEYS in my house. Condiments, this means war.

Then I had to stop and deal with the blooming AP Services people. They can't just say "we just can't find your AP scores from 20 years ago" and get away with it. I pointed out that they had cashed my check in March and charged my credit card in September and that, really, they shouldn't have done that without being able to send them, now should they? Oh, and btw, could they maybe still be with the SAT scores? 'Cause didn't you use to keep them together? Don't push me AP Services, look what I just did to the refridgerator. Don't make me come over there and clean YOUR 'fridge. 'Cause I'm just the woman to do it!

Then it was time for swimming lessons. So AP Services survived the day. We'll see about tomorrow.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

In other news

Nearby University has a basket-ball arena where Muffin Man, Mr. Spock, Mr. Spock's sister, and I went to see the W1ggles a couple of years ago (I won tickets).

Often on Thursdays and Fridays, as I'm walking past this arena on the way to class, I'll see tour busses and huge semis parked in the parking lot there and wonder who's coming to play. When I find out later, I'm always shocked that there wasn't some huge banner saying "COMING SOON" somewhere on campus.

Two days ago, Bob Dylan got off a tour bus not 50 feet from where I was standing.

I think I'm going to start needing to get a schedule of shows.

Reminder: Bring your umbrellas

Tomorrow is Muffin Man's second swimming lesson for this session. As you may remember, our record for pouring rain on swimming lesson days is 100%, a streak that was NOT broken last Wednesday.

So even though the weather forcasters predict partly cloudy, I predict a need for waders.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Woohoo! and aggggghhh!

On the woohoo side:
I've got all of next week off, people!!! Wednesday - Friday are official school holidays. My Monday Religion class was cancelled by the prof. My Tuesday Biology Lab was cancelled by the department. My Tuesday Biology class will be showing a movie about how sexual reproduction improves species and I asked and received permission to miss it (since I'm a straight A student in that class, she was fine with it). And I've arranged with a classmate to get her notes from Monday and Tuesday's Research Methods and Statistics in Psychology classes.

On the agggggghhh side:
I'm hosting Thanksgiving this year and 26 people are attending. I'm really happy about it, but am feeling just a tad overwhelmed. Less so now that I've got the whole week off, though.

The menu: Turkey (I'm making one and my mom's making one), stuffing (my MIL's recipe), rice pilaf (with fruit and nuts galore, for the vegetarians), roasted winter veggies, gravy, steamed green beans, salad, cranberry sauce and cranberry chutney, mashed sweet taters.

Dessert will consist of store-bought pies, a pumpkin roll (MIL is making it), and ice cream cake (for the couple of birthdays that occur within T-giving week).

To drink: Wine (brought by my Dad and Stepmom, and a couple of extra bottles just in case), softdrinks, etc.

Noshes: raw veggies, clementines, some finger foods.

Already Done: Rented 2 extra tables, linens, plates, silverware, glasses, chairs, chafing dishes.

Still need to do: Cook. Oh! And clean. And go slightly insane.

But boy howdy, this really means I'm a grown-up, doesn't it?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A quick pop-in between papers

Muffin Man is still alive and kicking. It's been a rough couple of days with him testing boundaries and us not really up for it. He's being a typical four-year-old, but he's so smart and has such a good grasp of complex ideas, that we forget sometimes and expect too much of him.

I'm going to slide back some on my expectations of him and try to keep it simple for the next few days. Especially since swimming lessons start up again tomorrow.

Papers due this week = 6. One's already turned in.


Sunday, November 12, 2006

He's lucky he survived the weekend

Yesterday, the theme was "not listening". Six AM, I'm greeted with "can I use the scissors?" I said, "no." He got them anyway. Time Out. "NO!!!! NO TIME OUT!!!!" No McD's for a toy. On and on and on. All day.

Today started better. Good breakfast out, playing, food shopping. We ended up getting the toy this afternoon. Then, long about 7:00, a melt-down. During which, he hit me. So I said, "No hitting." So he looked at me and deliberately hit me again. So he didn't get a bath, or a story, or a snuggle. And he was going to get dinner in his room, but he threw a bigger fit and ended up not getting dinner at all.

I feel like the World's Worst Mother, because I sent my son to bed without supper. But, I really did try to give him supper. Truly. But a boy who hits his mama does NOT get to choose what he's going to have for dinner or where he's going to eat it.

Oh well, he ate a Happy Meal at 4:00 PM, he's not going to starve. So why do I feel so guilty?

Friday, November 10, 2006

Next semester's schedule - Dude!!! No classes on Fridays!

Biology Mondays and Wednesdays from noon - 1:15. (I might switch this to the 9:00 AM section depending on when an internship I'm doing will be.)

Abby someone psych on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:00 - 10:15

Also on Tuesdays and Thursdays: Cognitive Psych (10:30 - 11:45) and Western Civ. (noon to 1:15).

Biology lab on Tuesdays 1:30 - 4:15

Psychology in the Community on Thursdays (meeting once a month) 1:30 - 4:15. I'll be interning somewhere for this class.

If I can manage to get the teacher to agree, I'll be taking a 1-credit ethics class on Thursdays as well. It's during the Psych in the Community lecture, but since the Psych lecture is only once a month, I might be able to wrangle it. If I can't, I'll take the ethics class in the Fall.

So my schedule kind of looks like this: -H. Cool, eh?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

It's gonna be a nail-biter - UPDATED

Webb and Allen are still neck and neck. Allen has a slight lead. 6:30 AM: Now Webb is ahead by 8,359!! with 99.75 of precincts reporting! The Green candidate has just enough votes that if she weren't in it, Webb would be ahead (She has 26,098). I can't stand the thought of Allen getting re-elected after he's proved to the world what a steaming pile of poo he is. (Webb might win!!! But there'll be an automatic recount at this small a margin)

Wolf won re-election for congress (BOOOO!!) but Feder got over 40% of the vote, which is fantastic. I hope she runs again next time.

And I could just cry...the so-called "Marriage Amendment" is now part of our state's constitution. We have made bigotry and hatred constitutional. And the worst part is, we could have gotten it voted down if we'd just had more time.

On the plus side: it looks like the Democrats are going to really win the House. I hope I wake up in the morning to find they've taken the Senate, too. (The Dems took the House!! The Dems took the House!!!)

I'm ashamed of some of my classmates who couldn't be bothered to go vote, even when I offered them a ride to the polls. People all over the world are fighting and bleeding and dying for a right that these youngsters are just throwing away. It makes me so angry. I don't even have the words to express it.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Get out there and vote, people!

Alright, just had to share this from A Gentleman's C.

Our family is also gonna be representing the Dems at the polls tomorrow. Mr. S. is on his 4th! year! of getting up in the middle of the night to be there when they open tomorrow and staying allllllll day. I'll be there after my bio lab in the evening. MM is going with me to vote in the AM and then he'll be with a babysitter in the evening.

Mr. S. and I will (please dear God) be celebrating after the polls close with the Dems.

And I promise not to gloat the next day the way the Republicans did in 2005.

I am so disgusted - UPDATED with proper links

Go read Phantom's rant about the latest putrescence from the Bush administration.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Again...and again!

So because he is a tu$h1e wiping genius (3 times in 12 hours! Wooo hooo!), he got the Fisher Price castle. Which I put together wrong and Mr. Spock had to take drastic measures to fix.

He's grown an inch in less than a month.

He's eating like a bear just out of hibernation.

He's having quiet time now, having been bribed to actually stay. in. his. room with the promise of going to see a movie when his hour is up.

And I have a spider bite that looks just like a 3rd n1pple right below my left bre ast. Am I being hypochondriacal if my whole body itches, except the bite --- which hurts?

How's your weekend going?

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Good...and not so good

Muffin Man wiped his own tush1e again. He's making a habit of it! I'm so glad. I'm still required sometimes, but when I'm not, it's call for rejoicing. And we all rejoiced tonight --- toy shopping tomorrow!

He's having a story with Mr. Spock now and I took a closer look at the bathroom floor (bits of toilet paper everywhere, and an empty box of wipes) and I saw tiny little pieces of p0op on the floor as well. Oh well, at least it's better than this.

Friday, November 03, 2006

3 hours sleep...

I was up until 3:15 this morning finishing 2 papers and a take-home quiz. Thank goodness Muffin Man decided to sleep through the night.

I really could have planned my time better.

Up this week: Exam in Religion (Islam), 2 papers, and a partridge in a pear tree.

It's that time again

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have less than a week until election day. This year, it's more important than ever that you get out there and vote.

I'm in the 13th C0ngressional District of V1rginia. Our 26-year incumbant, Frank W0lf has voted over 98% of the time with GWB. It's time for him to go. I'm voting for Judy Feder. She's had experience in gov't, worked on health care policy, and is a strong progressive candidate.

My Senate choice is pretty obvious. I'm voting for Webb. I can't say that I'm as pumped for him as I am for Feder, but he's looking like he'll serve V1rginia well. I just wish he were a little stronger on Gay rights, which should just be called what they are: civil rights.

Speaking of which, I'm voting "NO!!!!" on ballot question 1 which reads:

Question: Shall Article I (the Bill of Rights) of the Constitution of
Virginia be amended to state:
"That only a union between one man and one woman may be a marriage valid in or recognized by this Commonwealth and its political subdivisions.

This Commonwealth and its political subdivisions shall not create or recognize a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance, or effects of marriage. Nor shall this Commonwealth or its political subdivisions create or recognize another union, partnership, or other legal status to which is assigned the rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects of

Now, the first paragraph is foul on its own. Homophobia enshrined in a state constitution. It makes me sick.

The second paragraph is also quite worrisome. In Ohio, some courts have decided that similar language in their constitution bars unmarried women from getting protective orders against their abusive live-in boyfriends. It could invalidate living wills, roommate agreements, custody agreements between people who were never married.

Our lovely State's Attorney (an elected Republican) sneers at our concerns and says that the legislature and he have written opinions and intent statements that they don't mean this to apply to straight people. Or elderly aunts. Or abused girlfriends. But these are the same people who fought to get strict constructionist judges on benches all over our state. And if I remember correctly, strict constructionists are not known for giving a hoot about the legislative intent. They go by the words in the document.

Heck, even the extremely conservative Richmond Times Dispatch is against it.

If you're in VA, vote "No". And whether or not you're in VA, and you'd like to help fight the amendment, go here and find out more.