Thursday, January 31, 2008

Fat is the new Colored

http://www.junkfoodscience.blogspot.com/

Mississippi Representatives Mayhall, Read, and Shows are on my list of people who need to have a session with the cluestick posse.

I sent an email to Mr. Mayhall with these facts:

According to the Mississippi Development Authority’s press release from May of last year, tourism brings in 5.75 billion annually to Mississippi.

Mississippi does not have a ban on smoking in restaurants (some localities do, but not the state as a whole).

I am ashamed to be living in the same country with elected officials who would think this kind of discriminatory bullshit is okay.

Answers to the small quiz and the Sappy Romance quiz

The Small Quiz

  1. There is no lake at Camp Green Lake. Yes, it is Holes.
  2. It was January in northern New York State, sixty-seven years ago. Farmer Boy is right!
  3. Even when the last of the medicine bottles were cleared away and she was supposed to have "had" convalescence, Harriet did not get well. Skating Shoes by Noel Streatfeild. I love this book. LOVE. IT. And though the two main characters are girls, one of them has three brothers and they are really strong characters too.
  4. She scowled at her glass of orange juice. The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley. Read it. You'll thank me later.
  5. Once when I was six years old I saw a magnificent picture in a book, called True Stories from Nature, about the primeval forest. People, this is The Little Prince. Genevieve got it!

The Sappy Romance Novel Quiz

  1. Wife For Hire by Janet Evanovich (yes, the mystery author)
  2. Beyond Eden by Catherine Coulter
  3. Venetia by Georgette Heyer (I may have mentioned her once or twice).
  4. The Royal Mess by Maryjanice Davidson (alternate reality. Alaska is an independent nation with a hereditary monarchy).
  5. The Shuttle by Frances Hodgson Burnett. What, you didn't know she wrote romance novels?
  6. Plains of Passage by Jean M. Auel (guilty pleasure)
  7. The Lady by Anne McCaffrey (yes, the author of the Pern novels).
  8. Little Earthquakes!
  9. One on One by Tabitha King (basketball and romance by the wife of Stephen King).
  10. Die for Love by Elizabeth Peters. This one is the inside joke. It's a mystery and the detective is a romance writer.

Alexa

I don't know if any of you know Alexa, but I'm rooting for her and her daughter Simone.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I can do that.

Debangel said: "You know what would be a great "April Fools"-type idea in this theme? The first sentence from a bunch of sappy romance novels!" Well....some of these are more sappy then others. There are a few that you probably never heard of. There are a few you definitely have heard of. And there is a joke in here. See if you can find it!

  1. At the turn of the century the Bigmount Brick Company hired new arrivals from Eastern Europe to work in the New Jersey clay pits.
  2. The sirens were shrill.
  3. "A fox got in amongst the hens last night, and ravished our best layer," remarked Miss Lanyon.
  4. Dear King Alexander, My name is Nicole Krenski, and I am your illegitimate daughter.
  5. No man knew when the Shuttle began its slow and heavy weaving from shore to shore, that it was held and guided by the great hand of Fate.
  6. The woman caught a glimpse of movement through the dusty haze ahead and wondered if it was the wolf she had seen loping in front of them earlier.
  7. Follow the coast road to Greystones, turn right at Blacklion, and watch out for the traffic haring up from the town -- some of the drivers buy their licenses at the post office.
  8. I watched her for three days, sitting by myself in the park underneath an elm tree, beside an empty fountain with a series of uneaten sandwiches in my lap and my purse at my side.
  9. An iridescent confetti of snow tarnished by sodium arc light sifts from the void over the glowing horizontal bulk of Greenspark Academy.
  10. "When Blaze awoke she found herself lying on a silken soft surface amid the seductive scent of strange perfumes."

Monday, January 28, 2008

Answers to St. Quiz the Obscure and a new small quiz

1. Indian Captive.
2. Theatre Shoes by Noel Streatfeild.
3. Sorrow's Song by Larry Callen.
4. Roller Skates.
5. Alan Mendelsohn, The Boy From Mars by Daniel M. Pinkwater.
6. The View From Saturday
7. Cornelli by Johanna Spryri.

Good job to those of you who got these and boo hiss to me for going a bit far on the obscurity scale for some of them.

New Quiz!

1. There is no lake at Camp Green Lake.
2. It was January in northern New York State, sixty-seven years ago.
3. Even when the last of the medicine bottles were cleared away and she was supposed to have "had" convalescence, Harriet did not get well.
4. She scowled at her glass of orange juice.
5. Once when I was six years old I saw a magnificent picture in a book, called True Stories from Nature, about the primeval forest.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Knitting for MM is awesome.

I started a scarf at noon yesterday sitting by the fire at a local coffee shop place waiting for a friend who never showed. Still haven't heard from her, actually. I hope she's okay.

ANYwhoooo, I started knitting this scarf for MM. It's made of the same yarn that I used for his daddy's scarf and I'm using the Mistake Rib stitch (you know, multiples of 4 and then an extra stitch at the end...k2P2 and always P the last stitch. Always start with a k.) It's 25 stitches wide and it's looking gorgeous. And here's the best part. 25 stitches wide means 100 stitches is 4 rows. With this yarn and #10 needles, I'm getting 4 rows/inch.

Ladies and gentlemen, this scarf is a yard long as of this writing.

Knitting for kids is AWESOME!!

Friday, January 25, 2008

St. Quiz the Obscure

Since y'all got all eight of the books last time, here's a few I don't think you'll get as easily*:

  1. "Molly-child, now supper's done, go fetch Neighbor Dixon's horse."
  2. It is very difficult to look as if you minded the death of a grandfather who, though you may have spent your holidays in his house, seldom remembered you did.
  3. The Zoo Man came riding into Four Corners on a coal black wagon pulled by a coal black mule.
  4. It was Patrick Gilligan in his hansom cab who took Lucinda around from the old Gedney House to the Misses Peters' apartment, two flights up.
  5. I got off to a bad start at Bat Masterson Junior High School.
  6. Mrs. Eva Marie Olinski always gave good answers.
  7. Spring had come and once more the young beech trees beside the rushing Illerbach were a tender green.

*same rules as last time except that some of these books came out more recently than 30 years ago.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Quiz!!!

Here are first sentences from some children's books* I happen to have lying around...Tell me which book the sentence comes from!

1) When Mary Lennox was sent to Misselthwaite Manor to live with her uncle, everybody said she was the most disagreeable-looking child ever seen.

2) It was Mrs. May who first told me about them.

3) Cedric himself knew nothing whatever about it.

4) The little old kitchen had quieted down from the bustle and confusion of midday; and now, with its afternoon manners on, presented a holiday aspect that, as the principal room in the brown house, it was eminently proper it should have.

5) The primroses were over.

6) "Did Mama sing every day," asked Caleb.

7) Ba-room, ba-room, ba-room, baripity, baripity, baripity -- Good.

8) The first Wednesday in every month was a Perfectly Awful Day -- a day to be awaited with dread, endured with courage and forgotten with haste.



*Children's books, in this context means one or both of two things, either it is a book written for children, or it is a book that I read and enjoyed before I was 12. You may disagree with my definition. All the books used for this quiz existed 30 or more years ago and are republished frequently, though I don't guarantee that they are currently in print.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Transportation update

There's no way for me to take public transportation to Nearby U that isn't either too expensive or too complicated or too long.


  • The simplest route (two buses) takes an hour on the first bus to almost all the way to DC, then over an hour on the second bus to work my way back West to Nearby U and it costs $7.35 each way.
  • The cheapest route is $3.65 each way, but it requires driving 25 minutes to the bus, taking a bus, a train, and another bus - ending up with about a 2 hour commute. And it doesn't have a bus coming back until 4:00.
  • All the other routes require driving, three buses and just as much time and a bit more meandering.

Sigh.

I guess I'm driving.

Thinking

We're trying to use less energy, both to save money (the smilingsmilingsmiling wiped us out) and to be better global citizens.

Our cars are both guzzlers (Jeep Wrangler and Kia Sedona), but they're still in good condition and we're not going to replace them anytime soon. So we're driving more thoughtfully, making less trips. And, as I said in the post below, I'm going to try to find a way to get to Nearby U by taking mass transit. There may not be a way, but I'm going to look for it. If there is no way to do it now...well, the smilingsmilingsmiling had to be good for something, more transportation alternatives might just be it!

Our house has dual-zone heating so whatever area we're not using gets the heat turned down to 50 F. And we're keeping the areas we are using down around 67 F. But our thermostat's not all that precise. I'm going to get us all some long johns to wear under our pjs and turn the heat down farther when we're in bed.

We're turning off lights and, even better, not turning them all on in the first place.

And we're planning...what car(s) will we get to replace our current ones? How much car do we really need for the driving we do? When our appliances need to be replaced, what's the best thing to replace them with? How much would it cost to put in more insulation, or a solar system for some of our electricity? Should we downsize to a smaller house? We have a boat-load of computers running all. the. time. Most of those are necessary servers for various business functions, but maybe we can double 'em up? But that would require a block of dedicated time, and that, my friends, is not to be found at the moment....

What are you thinking about?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Scarf done, work done, school starting, other stuff

The hooded scarf is done, it's thick and warm, but I literally look like Death in it. All I need is a scythe. Or, considering my height, perhaps I look more like a Jawa. I'll have MS take a picture and let you all decide.

Work is over, I really had a good feeling about it. I mostly did busy-work admin things, but it was busy-work admin things that they actually needed to have done to help them pass their CMMI-Level II stuff in April.

School starts Tuesday. I'm going to see if there's any way I can take some form of public transportation to get there. I really enjoyed having that down time!

Classes: History and Systems in Psychology; Statistics; Technical and Report Writing; and Counseling Psychology. That last is a Saturday morning class. The others are Tuesday/Thursday.

Muffin Man (thanks KLee!) learned about acids, bases, and neutrals today when he pulled out his chemistry set. He also learned about hypothesis and the scientific method. It was alot of fun!

We're reading The Magic Tree House series together, he's doing a great job of reading, but I think I'm going to get him checked for an astigmatism since he keeps tilting his head to read (which is something I did until I was diagnosed with an astigmatism). I've got lots of other books waiting in the wings for him...I can't wait!

Finished reading Aunt Dimity and the Deep Blue Sea, Aunt Dimity Goes West, Grave Surprise, and An Ice Cold Grave. Good books all.

What's up with you?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Random bullets of an uneventful Saturday

  • The scarf part of the scarf-hood combo is done. It's about 6' long. I knit it all in a bit over a week. Now I just need to work on the hood. I'm debating what technique to use. Pick up stitches off the long side where my ugly bit is and knit from there or knit it separately and attach it later? I'm leaning towards picking up stitches.
  • Also, I found some skirt patterns that look like they might work and I'm taking your points to heart!!!
  • MM's fever is yo-yo'ing (highest since yesterday is 100.4), but he's in a great mood, so I'm not worrying too much about it. If his mood changes or the fever's still with us on Monday, we're heading off to the doctor.
  • I bought meat and veggies to roast slowly tomorrow. I'm looking forward to eating them tomorrow night.
  • Also, we bought a crusty loaf of bread. Out of which I plan to make french toast for MM. Here's my latest recipe for excellent french toast!

Secret Ingredient French Toast

4 large thickly-sliced slices of crusty bread, 1 egg, 1/2 cup of milk, 1 to 2 tablespoons of cinnemon and sugar mixed together, 1 to 2 tablespoons of applesauce (shhhh...MM hates applesauce) and a pinch of salt. Beat together everything but the bread and then soak the bread in the mixture while the heavy cast-iron skillet is heating up and some butter or butter-substitute is melting in it.

Fry the battered bread for about 2 to 3 minutes a side or until the french toast is, as Alton Brown says, "golden brown and delicious".

If you're serving it to MM, you will be a hero if you cut the french toast into "sticks", the better for dipping in the (real! Vermont!) maple syrup. MM has declared this to be the best french toast in the entire world. And he doesn't know that the secret ingredient is in there. In the winter time, I get as many fruits and veggies into that boy as I can. And he likes most of them. This is the only thing I actually use stealth tactics for. Though I may start adding shredded carrots to my spaghetti sauce.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Come out, come out, wherever you are!

It's National De-lurking Day!!!!

Hi! Pleased to meetcha! How are you?

Sorry that this post is so short, but MM woke up today with a fever and was home all day with his dad while I was at work, so I just got done with packing a full day of mommy cuddles in before bedtime.

Books I'm reading: Aunt Dimity and the Deep Blue Sea and Grave Surprise both of which I recommend. However, read Aunt Dimity's Death before Deep Blue Sea and read Grave Sight before Grave Surprise.

What I'm knitting: A loooooong scarf in Lion Brand Homespun yarn (the color is 313 Ebony, which I think has been discontinued). This is a very soft and luscious acrylic yarn (only $4.69/skein) that I bought to fill out another project which ended up not happening and became something else. I think I may add a hood to the scarf I'm knitting, because the place I switched skeins is looking nasty and I don't think I can fix it happily. I started the scarf last week, and have knitted it steadily on the bus.

What I'm doing at work: Mostly admin stuff, word processing, and data entry. It's fun but mostly because it's only for a month. While I really like the people and the working itself, I don't want to work in the tech world anymore. The endless quest for quantifying and qualifying processes and metrics (but not really believing in them) wears me out. I just don't have the patience for paying lip service to processes no one follows and that the customer thinks is stupid and that upper management don't buy into.

Not that that's necessarily the case in this instance, but I can spot the signs and I'm glad to be leaving before the disillusionment sets in.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

A thought on skirts

So, I'm working in DC for a month. Thus, there are things of which I must take advantage. For example: Shoe repair shops. There is one 4 blocks from where I work. My boots are going there tomorrow.

Which brings me to skirts.

I love skirts. When they are the right kind.

I know the right kind of skirt when I see it.

Generally it doesn't fit me.

The skirt I want is brown wool, but not a suit skirt. I want one to wear with my brown not-quite-riding-boots and brown tights.

It's long enough to cover the tops of the boots.

Maybe it has buttons down the side, I don't know.

What I do know is that it is brown and made of wool. I know this because I want to knit it.

Which means I am insane.

Are there even any patterns for knitting your own skirt? Can someone who can't even sew KNIT her own skirt?

Help me, my friends! Can I knit a skirt? And if so, do you have a pattern?

My bus riding and car-pooling partner...

...is my boss. I like her a lot. She's a pretty near-by neighbor, actually, though I never met her before I got this temp job.

We ride in together every morning and, while on the bus, I've taught her to knit. I donated 4 skeins of Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Sun Yellow Single Ply (the thick stuff) to the cause!

She picked it up really quickly and is doing a great job. Nice even stitches.

After I go back to school, we're still going to meet at the coffee place nearby once or twice a month to knit together.

I love making new friends.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Rant - UPDATED

This time, against Webkinz. MM got one from his aunt on Saturday. Sunday morning, we tried to "adopt" it, which means we have to register.

Everything was going fine. Name? Done. Region? Done. Username and password? Done and done. Webkinz code word? Done.

Then it asks us to type in the captcha letters we see on the screen.

Except...we don't see any captcha letters on the screen. And there's no link for "I don't see the letters". So I finally find my way to the help section, which says that we need at least IE 6 and the latest Adobe flash. Well, I've got IE 7 and my Adobe is up-to-date. So then I try to send a note to Webkinz Tech Support.

And here's where they've lost me.

To send a message to tech support, you need to be registered.

But I NEED TECH SUPPORT TO GET REGISTERED!

So I go to Dr. Google and find an email and phone number (not listed on the Webkinz site) and I send an e-mail and leave a phone message. Whereupon I learn that Webkinz tech support is only available 9-5 EST, M-F.

When are most kids playing with their Webkinz? On the weekends and in the evenings.

MM was bummed that he didn't get to play on-line with his new toy, but we showed them! He decorated a box to be a house, and made a little bed out of curly ribbon for his friend and is sleeping cuddled up with her right now.





I know that in the grand scheme of things, this is truly minor. But it irks me that their customer service is so lousy.

UPDATE:
I finally was able to get MM registered (captcha letters appeared late last night), but I haven't gotten a response to either my phone call or my e-mail. Do you think enough people complain over the weekend that they can't get to them all in one eight-hour work day? Or do they just not respond to complaints? I'll let you know if they get back to me!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Statistics

At nearly 38 years, 10 months old, I am 59" tall and 125 lbs.
At over 5 years, 11 months old, MM is 45" tall and 40 lbs.

He grew a quarter inch in less than a month. Looks like he got his genes from his grandmothers' fathers.

Friday, January 04, 2008

I'm your little senoriter



MM liked it, but he liked Rabbit Seasoning better. Still, he spent a good five minutes of snuggle time massaging my head while singing.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!!!

I've introduced MM to the joy that is Bugs Bunny. He now knows what we mean when we say, "Pronoun Trouble".

Also, I've started a new weekend tradition: we're going to bake something every weekend (if possible). Last weekend, it was chocolate chip pecan almond cookies; this weekend it was cheese-cake brownies.

Also, the public areas of our house are neat and clean. Our new year's resolution is to be able to have guests over at a moment's notice. Our primary goal is to not have to madly clean and straighten for MM's b-day on Feb. 1. One month. CAN WE DO IT? The answer will be posted in a later episode!

Also, MS is officially an official. As of 12:00:01 this morning! We parked in his special reserved spot last night when we all went to First Night (good magician, juggling, and "reptiles alive!").

All my best to you and yours for this bright new year. Only 385 days until that nightmare is gone. May he be replaced by someone who doesn't have the initials MH. Can I hear an amen?