Tuesday, May 31, 2005

When I Say, "Beat"

I was trying to rush the older kidlets along on getting dressed for church Sunday morning. They were playing and hiding under a blanket in the kitchen. I lured The Girl out and tried to make a game of moving them into my room where I'd laid out their clothes. I started to race and said, "Come on, we can beat your brother." She laughed, said, "Okay!" and ran over and started kicking the blanket he was hiding under, yelling, "Beat! Beat!"

And so remember folks, be very careful what you say. They may not mean to others what you meant them to mean.

Either/Or

My son is either blind as a bat or a certified city boy. I'm thinking the latter, but maybe we'd better get his eyes checked. We were visiting his great-grandmother this weekend, as I mentioned below, and were standing in the yard. At a distance, across the street were some horse in a paddock. My son looked up and yelled, "Hey look! Cows!" Hmmm...

What's The <i>Most</i> Important Thing?

Right now in Nashville the council is working the Metro budget for next year. The schools want $570 million for next year. Even our Democratic mayor doesn't support the huge tax increase that budget would require. His proposed budget offers schools about half of that request. Therefore, we now see signs popping up around town bearing this slogan: "Educating Children: The Most Important Thing Our Community Does."

Whether one wants to hike taxes for schools or not, I don't think this slogan really stands up to the laugh test. Sure education is important, but the most important thing a community does? What about police and fire protection? What about road building and maintenance? What about providing clean water and taking care of sewage? What about garbage?

I care about all of the above as much or more than public education. Which says little about how I feel about public education, at least not as much as it tells you that I think someone thought up a really stupid slogan and put it on a really stupid sign.

Got Strawberries?

We made a quick trip to Kentucky this past weekend to see my husband's grandparents. While up there we spent a lot of time outside in my grandfather-in-law's oversized, extra, super large garden picking strawberries. Not only did we all chow down while out there, we came home with this:

strawberries.jpg


So upon our return Saturday afternoon, I had no choice but to start using strawberries. First I made strawberry-banana pancakes for dinner that night. The next day, I went over to the forty-first Carnival of the recipes at Fresh As A Daisy trying to find more strawberry recipes.

Sunday afternoon I made a double batch of strawberry filling from the recipe at Booklore. Monday, I converted some of that into the strawberry turnovers mentioned later in the entry and also used some to make strawberry lemonade. Also on Sunday I made a some strawberry lemon muffins, which tasted great and might have looked fine if I'd put them in paper muffin cups (it's an experimental work-in-progress recipe, so I'm still creating, but edible is always a good start).

After all that, I still had 6-8 or more cups worth of strawberries left. I picked out the very best, not going mushy at all ones to save for putting on cereal and similar things and froze the rest. If we have enough fresh berries left, which I still need to check, I may make this for dessert tonight. I'm giving a few bags of frozen berries away, but we are well stocked on strawberries for at least a while. Yum.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Aardvark Parenting

Apparently amidst the Mayhem, those Aardvarks know how to raise some really nifty, smart girls. Now if only they would blog more often.

Good Neighbors

My next door neighbor is out weed-eating. Sure he started before 8 o'clock, which is a bit early, but I can't complain. He not only does his yard and his mom's on the other side, but he also weed-eats our part of the alley and the sidewalk in front of our house and our neighbor on the other side of us. I love my neighborhood.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Referrer Logs

One thing that always surprises me when I look at my referrer logs is how many search engines people out there are using. I sometimes think the whole world is using Google, but that is obviously not actually the case. There are a whole lot of engines out there and a whole lot of them are finding their way here.

What people search for is really the baffling part though. Sarah G. is Google's leading source of information about Dino Nuggets. And here one of the things that draws the most people in is searches for Marther (sic) Luther King. After a site called 4 Free Essays, I'm the second search on Google.

As a side note, let me suggest that a site called 4 Free Essays, with major typos like "Marther" is not the place to plagiarize from.

Anyway, just let me note for the record that I am not an expert on the Rev. King, but I do know his name and it's not Marther.

Adventures in Bumper Stickering

The kidlets and I went for a walk after lunch. I had to get The Girl out of the house before I killed her -- the handsoap all over the bathroom, the broken magazine rack, the spilled water, etc. were getting to be a bit much for me. Plus we had to go buy something at one of the shops on the main drag through the neighborhood.

I loaded the children in the stroller and promised them each cookies if they could be good in the store and on our walk -- don't let anyone ever tell you that bribery is a bad thing, the walk and trip into a store of breakable stuff was much better for it.

So after making our purchase we went up the street to our friendly neighborhood deli. Except that The Girl jumped out of the stroller in the doorway (just call her Houdini) and I ran over her foot with the stroller (no actual injuries sustained) that stop was uneventful.

On the way out, a car with lots of bumper stickers caught my eye. I love reading other people's bumper stickers. I don't put them on my own car as a general rule, but I do love seeing what everyone else feels so important to emblazon across their car's back. This car was more noteworthy than some. On the bumper was a suggestion that one should, "Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes." This sentiment of courage of conviction and opinion was actually only offered to some though, because on the rear window was another sticker proclaiming, "If only closed minds came with closed mouths."

In other words, speak your mind if we agree, but otherwise shut up. Tell me again, who's the closed minded one here?

How Long Do You Hold Out?

Every Spring we wait as long as possible and sometimes a little beyond before we turn on the air conditioning. It is so pleasant to open all the windows in the house and air everything out after the winter. In the Fall we do the same thing, opening all the windows, enoying the fresh air and waiting until we can't feel our fingers before turning on the heat. Besides a love of fresh air, we are also cheapskates. We want to save as much on our cooling and heating bills as possible -- even when we do turn on the climate control, the house is pretty hot in the summer and like a meat locker in the winter.

This year we held out until the past weekend to turn on the air conditioning. Then it immediately turned cool again and we shut it off and opened up the windows. The heat and humidity are on their way, but it is easy to pretty today that they will never come.

Kristin just turned on the air conditioning in Alabama. I've lived in Alabama and I doubt I could have waited until the end of May to cool my house down there in the even hotter part of the South. So when do you turn on the coolth?


From the Mouths of Babes

"My cereal spilled all over the floor."
[pause]
"Mommy, you need to vacuum."

I think we need to work on who cleans up after a mess is made around here.

Roadkill Music

Since Possumblog is one of my favorite reads, possum-related things always catch my eye -- or ear. Today I ran across possum music. Link found here.

Movie Meme

Robert the Llama Butcher has Time's 100 Best Movies list and marks the movies he's seen or wants to see eventually. I'm shamelessly taking the list and doing the same. I agree with him that some of the movies seem a bit randomly chosen. I found that the things I've seen are weighted heavily towards the older movies on the list. Things in bold are those that I've seen. Things in italics are ones I plan to see eventually. What amazes me most is how many of the supposedly best movies I have never heard of. Of course, these are the same type of people who think Ulysses is the best piece of fiction ever written, so one always has to take these lists with a certain amount of "The Emperor Has No Clothes" skepticism.

Aguirre: the Wrath of God (1972)
The Apu Trilogy (1955, 1956, 1959)
The Awful Truth (1937)
Baby Face (1933)
Bande � part (1964)
Barry Lyndon (1975)
Berlin Alexanderplatz (1980)
Blade Runner (1982)
Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
Brazil (1985)
Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Camille (1936)

Casablanca (1942)

Charade (1963)
Children of Paradise (1945)
Chinatown (1974)
Chungking Express (1994)
Citizen Kane (1941)
City Lights (1931)
City of God (2002)
Closely Watched Trains (1966)
The Crime of Monsieur Lange (1936)
The Crowd (1928)
Day for Night (1973)
The Decalogue (1989)
Detour (1945)
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972)
Dodsworth (1936)
Double Indemnity (1944)
Dr. Strangelove: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
Drunken Master II (1994)
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
8 1/2 (1963)
The 400 Blows (1959)
Farewell My Concubine (1993)
Finding Nemo (2003)
The Fly (1986)
The Godfather, Parts I and II (1972, 1974)
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (1966)
Goodfellas (1990)
A Hard Day's Night (1964)
His Girl Friday (1940)
Ikiru (1952)
In A Lonely Place (1950)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
It's A Gift (1934)
It's A Wonderful Life (1946)
Kandahar (2001)
Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)
King Kong (1933)
The Lady Eve (1941)
The Last Command (1928)
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
Léolo (1992)
The Lord of the Rings (2001-03) -- well parts of it -- although my husband, father and brothers have always been totally Tolkein crazed I'm the family Philistine, I've never read the books and sort of intended to wait on watching the films until I'd read the books, but I've wound up watching almost the whole trilogy of films, because my husband has had them on so frequently. I will read the book and see the movies all the way through some day.
The Man With a Camera (1929)
The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)

Metropolis (1927) -- highly overrated. Cinematography...whatever...
Miller's Crossing (1990)
Mon oncle d'Amérique (1980)
Mouchette (1967)
Nayakan (1987)
Ninotchka (1939)
Notorious (1946)
Olympia, Parts 1 and 2 (1938)
On the Waterfront (1954)
Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
Out of the Past (1947)
Persona (1966)
Pinocchio (1940)
Psycho (1960)
Pulp Fiction (1994)
The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)
Pyaasa (1957)
Raging Bull (1980)
Schindler's List (1993)
The Searchers (1956)
Sherlock, Jr. (1924)
The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
Singin' in the Rain (1952)
The Singing Detective (1986)
Smiles of a Summer Night (1955)
Some Like It Hot (1959)
Star Wars (1977)
A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
Sunrise (1927)
Sweet Smell of Success (1957)
Swing Time (1936)
Talk to Her (2002)
Taxi Driver (1976)
Tokyo Story (1953)
A Touch of Zen (1971)
Ugetsu (1953)
Ulysses' Gaze (1995)
Umberto D (1952)
Unforgiven (1992)
White Heat (1949)
Wings of Desire (1987)
Yojimbo (1961)

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Star Wars Cliff Notes

We haven't been to see That Movie yet. The last two, which I try very hard to pretend never happened, were so bad, that although everyone says this last of the prequels is an improvement, we haven't felt all that motivated to see it. Maybe we aren't the übergeeks we thought we were. Still, seen the movie or not, Big Arm Woman gives a thumbnail recap that will have you rolling.

Gratuitous Garden Photos

Now that the creeping phlox is basically finished blooming, my mother looked around the garden and said I must be between blooming cycles. Phooey on that, I say! I'm pretty proud of the multiple things blooming right now that mean I've been decent at keeping something always in bloom, even if the plants aren't as showy as the masses of flowers that the phlox produce.

Right now the blue hydrangea in the front yard is bluing and the pink hydrangeas in the back are going full force.



The scabiosa, despite the unattractive name, is looking great.



I have a really funky flower that the package called a Peruvian daffodil blooming (my father keeps thinking that it's called a Polish daisy or maybe a Pittsburgh dandelion), the violas look sweet under one of the dogwoods, and pink and purple columbines are going strong.



Daisies, day lilies and zinnias are blooming out back -- as well as a few cone flowers, though I forgot to take their picture.


Even "between blooming cycles" I have managed to plan well enough to keep a few things always in bloom. One section that is between blooms at the moment, except for a pot of pansies, still pleases me immensely to see. When we moved in, this sad little area was a spot where nothing much could grow, because for many years it had been the coal dump when our house burned coal fires for heat. The ground is too hard and rocky (well, really coal filled) to do much with and it's even hard to dig weeds out up there, but we dug it out a little, added a few inches, though not that much, good soil, and planted some hardy plants there last year. But last year we hadn't thought much about dogscaping and our very large puppy ran straight through that spot, trampling everything in his path. This year we built him a stepping stone path and used light garden fencing, large pots and large stones we found around the yard to define the area we wanted him to stay out of. He still wanders through once in a while, but when he's running full tilt chasing the cars that drive down the alley or evil rabbits, he goes around. This year the plants are having a chance to fill in and thrive.

When I look out my back door and see this, I always smile.



Monday, May 23, 2005

Something Meaningful

The Husband and I were chatting on the phone. I usually call him up and bug him a few times during the day. I need to talk to an adult once in a while, and he usually is nice about my interrupting all that important legal work. The Girl is in a phase where she demands to talk to anyone on the phone, which is fine when it is Daddy or a grandparent, but a bit awkward when a stranger calls.

So after a few moments on the phone, The Girl took over possession and started babbling. First chattering normally with real words, but then she got a silly look on her face and commenced actual babbling. Since I don't want to take up too much time that could be used for important legal work, I prompted the child to say "good-bye or something meaningful." She said, "Bye, Meanie!"

I guess we're going to have to work on her vocabulary.

Friday, May 20, 2005

The Carnival of the Recipes #40

Welcome to The Fortieth Edition of The Carnival of The Recipes. I'd like to thank Beth for signing me up to host this thing and for coming up with the great blog recipe swap in the first place. Don't forget to send your submissions for next week's Carnival to recipe.carnival(at)gmail(dot)com.

Appetizers and Snacks
David from Third World Country gives us Quick Cheese Popcorn, which lives up the its name. I think my kids would love it, though I’d probably be chasing them around wiping off their orange covered fingers.
Continuing the cheesy appetizer theme, OzarkLad offers us Cheese Straws. Which also sounds like something my cheese-loving children would enjoy.
Breakfast
I’m always trying to make up my own breakfast burrito recipe, but am usually somewhat disappointed by the results, Nic at Shoes, Ships, and Sealing Wax takes the guesswork out with his breakfast burrito – and I just happen to have made a batch of guacamole. I think I know what I’m eating for breakfast tomorrow.
And for the day after that, I'm making Swedish Pancakes.
Entrees
I don’t eat pork, but the BBQ pork tenderloin recipe at A Geezer’s Corner almost makes me want to start.
El Capitan at Baboon Pirates presents Panang Beef, which looks to offer great Thai flavor, which my son, commonly referred to around here as The Boy, has informed us on many occasions is his favorite food.
ArmyWifeToddlerMom makes a great sounding Taco Salad for dinner. Why had I never thought of using Doritos?
And speaking of tacos, Resistance is Futile. This taco casserole recipe is very much like something I used to make a lot when my husband and I first got married.
The lovely SarahK doctored up a recipe and made an easy and delicious sounding chili that I think may be on next week’s menu here.
Looking for a meal that makes you want to shout “MEAT!”? Might I suggest Merri at Merri Musings’ Stuffed Steak Recipe?
Or if you prefer lamb to beef – though I admit that would be a stretch for me -- try Christina from Feisty Repartee’s Grilled Leg of Lamb.
Not content merely to post recipes on her own blog, Christina from Feisty Repartee is also guest recipe blogging at Meanderings, where she’s preparing Crawfish Fettuccine.
As BJ at Quite Early One Morning says, “Finding tasty and healthy sandwiches and snacks is always a challenge when you're cutting back on carbs. A Spicy Turkey Wrap makes a tasty substitute for a sandwich...it travels well too.”
Taleena from Sun Comprehending Glass has two kinds of loaf recipes this week – Meatloaf and Banana Bread.
Pirogi are something I’ve always said I didn’t want to learn to make from scratch, because it would just ruin another convenience food for me. I think just reading Kevin at Technogypsy’s Pirohi (pirogi) recipes has ruined the frozen kind for me. I never knew there were so many fillings.
In honor of Star Wars Episode III, CalTech Girl offers us Imperial Pork Salad and Rebel Angels (spicy bacon-wrapped shrimp).
With three kids around here, I certainly have a lot of hectic days. Boudicca’s Crockpot Brisket sounds like a great easy recipe for those days.
My submission for the week are Sesame Tuna and Coconut-Lime-Cilantro Rice recipes that, although they sound intimidating, are quick and easy, and are frequently served in my house on fairly hectic days when I don't have a lot of time to cook anything.
DeputyHeadmistress at The Common Room presents Artichoke Garbanzo Pasta Salad for Twenty. When you have to serve a crowd recipes like this one really come in handy.
Sides
The Pajama Pundits are frying up some delicious looking zucchini. I’m envious that their neighbors are already getting zucchini, since my plants aren’t all that big yet.
The New Potatoes with Rosemary-Dijon dressing offered up at Inside Allan’s Mind sound yummy. I’m definitely going to try that one.
Need a quick vegetarian, Mexican side dish? Punctilious offers you Cool Beans.
I’ve always wanted to make Risotto. This recipe for Risotto alla Ticinese makes me want to make it right now.
Desserts
How did I go so long without noticing the site Eat Your History? Food and a history lesson in one complete package. I love it. And the recipes for Peach Melba, something I’ve always heard of, but never had, looks like it has stood the test of time for good reason.
I practically wanted to lick the screen when I saw the photos of chocolate-dipped strawberries at Booklore.
Regular readers know about my son attending Hippie German School and have heard about how very out-of-place we sometimes feel amidst a sea of Kerry-Edwards stickers, but I’m a conservative who likes to wear Birkenstocks, and I love the sound of Blonde Sagacity’s Coconut-Carob Bars (a.k.a. Lib Bars). Maybe I’ll make them for the next school picnic.
To rebut a comment that no gourmet food could come out of a microwave, Triticale gives us a recipe for microwave cereal candy. My husband makes a great cashew brittle in the microwave, so perhaps some candy-making at least has been aided by the invention of the microwave.
Christina from Feisty Repartee also posted a recipe for Italian Cream Cake. I don’t know exactly how to describe this other than YUM.
Unless you are dieting, I don’t think you really can go wrong with a Chocolate Syrup Cake with the description “Pure, unadulterated chocolate heaven!”.
Not enough chocolate for you yet? Elisson at Blog d'Elisson presents Torte Soufflé au Chocolat. Don't let the title of the post or all the pictures of beef fool you -- this is a recipe a dense, flourless chocolate cake.
Drinks
One thing my children will practically kill for and it is also one of my favorite things in the whole world, is a good mango lassi. Dave from The Glittering Eye has a simple recipe for one, as well as a mango chutney recipe.
Russ Mitchell at Boxing Alcibiades presents The best summertime hooch recipe you'll ever love -- or how to flavor your own vodka in just a few short days.
Humor
If you happen to find yourself on a small moon inhabited by cute fuzzy bear-like creatures, apparently Ewoks make good barbecue. Submitted by David at Resistance is Futile.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Quick and Easy Asian Tuna Meal

Some of you may have noticed a certain extra lack of posting around here. My parents are visiting and I have bronchitis, which has made things a little busier, crazier and sicker than usual. So I thought I'd share for you the meal I made last night and that I make every time my favorite grocery store has tuna medallions on sale.

Coconut-Lime-Cilantro Rice

1 1/2 cups white Asian rice
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
zest of one lime
juice from one lime
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Add rice, water, coconut milk, and salt to cooking pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cover. Cook until almost done -- about 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Add zest, lime juice and cilantro. Cover until ready to serve.

Sesame Tuna

3 or 4 fresh tuna medallions
sesame seeds
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 or 3 sliced green onions
1-2 tablespoons soy sauce

Coat both sides of tuna with sesame seeds, pressing them in with your hands. Heat oil in non-stick skillet to medium-high heat. Put tuna in pan and don't move for 3 minutes. Flip, add green onions and soy sauce and cook for another 3 minutes. Check for desired doneness. In my opinion, the only way to ruin tuna is to overcook it. If you cook it rare, it will not be fishy.

Serve over rice and drizzle with soy-green onion mixture.

I serve these with edamame boiled in salted water for three minutes and allowed to cool slightly.

And yes, if you are wondering, The Boy and The Girl both will eat everything, although peeling the edamame and occasionally shooting a soy bean across the room is their favorite part.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Mutants Gone Wild

In my garden I have lots of hostas. I'm a sucker for low maintenance plants, especially when they look nice too. We mostly have plain green ones, since those were already here, but I've been adding a lot of my favorite blue varieties and a few variegated ones.

Last year I planted a ring of blue hostas around the magnolia sapling we also planted last year. As I recall they all looked like regular hostas at the time. This year most of them look like this:


But I have one mutant. Instead of having a bunch of leaves around the base and eventually shooting up a thin stalk of flowers like the hosta above and every hosta I've seen, my mutant has a tall stalk with leaves alternating with flowers.


I know I have a lot of people who read this blog who are far more expert and experienced gardeners than I. Have you ever seen this before? Should I be checking for crop circles in my creeping phlox?

Monday, May 16, 2005

Saving A Dime Isn't All It's Cracked Up To Be...

As I said below, we were at Wal-Mart last Friday. This wasn't merely a trip intended for the fun of going to Wal-Mart, nor merely to buy foods to hep my children up on extreme sugar highs, rather our main purpose was to buy a new microwave.

Our old microwave has been occasionally popping the circuit for the last several years, which I suppose should have clued us in on it's being on the way out, but when it decided to completely die Thursday night, it was a surprise. We briefly discussed installing the floor model, over-the-range microwave that my parents found for us and that has been taking up space in our attic for over a year, but since that will require us to remove a cabinet and cut the cabinet down, and since that's not really fun, we weighed that option for about five seconds before discarding it.

So off to Wal-Mart I trundled with all three children in tow. As most of you know, one cannot go into a store like Wal-Mart and come out with only one thing. I bought a variety of groceries like low priced strawberries, cereal fortified with extra sugar and some baby food carrots, because "they" say you aren't supposed to make your own baby food carrots, because of the possibility of too many nitrates in them, and I found a decent looking cheap microwave.

Two children in one of those large extended cab shopping carts, the baby in a sling and a cart loaded with groceries and a microwave was enough that the very nice and also competant lady checking me out insisted that I should have some help loading things into the car. When I shop at Harris Teeter, they always insist on helping me to the car, which is one reason I shop there. No one at Wal-Mart has ever offered such a thing. I didn't even know you could get help loading stuff.

So, out of shock, I agreed. I knew as soon as she put in the first call for a loader that this was a mistake. I paid for my things and waited with the microwave resting on an empty checkout lane and my cart full of kids and groceries. And waited. She called again. She went to look for someone. She called a customer service manager. She called for help again. The natives were getting restless, but just about then, this short, rather stooped, old guy in a blue vest shambled over. First thing he asked was why I didn't have the microwave on my cart -- um..because the checkout lady put it over here instead. Then he informed me that we had to put it on the cart (on top of the groceries -- good thing I didn't buy any eggs) because, "I ain't carrying this thing all the way to the parking lot." Well, of course not. From the look of him, I would have done better carrying it, pushing a cart and holding a baby in a sling.

But he was there, so I let him help. As soon as we loaded the microwave onto the cart, he started pulling the front of the cart towards the slightly closer door. I stopped and said I was in front of the other set of doors. So he started making fun of me for checking out on the wrong side. When he went shopping, he informed me, he always parked on and checked out on the side of the store he needed to shop on. Very helpful advice, though since the groceries and microwaves were on opposite sides of the store, I guess I should have made two trips or moved my car in the middle.

While we walked to the door, the guy "helping" me out, asked if I could bring the car around, because it would be a lot easier on him not to have to walk to the parking lot. Seeing as how I had the kids strapped in and all the other stuff under the microwave and I was only parked two spots past the handicapped spots, I insisted that I was not bringing the car around.

We got to the door and set off the alarms, of course. So another old fellow stopped us and spent a couple of minutes examining my receipt, probably wondering who in their right mind buys both spinach salad greens and Apple Jacks. We waited for him to finish up while my little helper began preaching to me that although the woman checking me out had obviously made a mistake in not deactivating the security strip, I should forgive her, because all humans made mistakes and the only one never to do so was up in heaven watching over us.

While I am a Christian and believe what he said, I wasn't particularly mad at the checkout lady, hadn't said anything about her and was trying to not get mad at him. That was not the best time to chat about Jesus and I waited and tried to keep the children from exploding.

Finally released to the parking lot, we got quickly to the van, where the man took one look and told me I'd never get the microwave in. It slid right in, of course, though he set it down right on top of The Boy's sunglasses.

We had survived the experience, but I will never, ever agree to have any help with anything at Wal-Mart again. I think that's part of the secret to keeping costs down. If you make getting help unpleasant, no one will request it and then you don't have to hire anyone to help the customers. Fiendishly brilliant.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Sugary Cereal Highs and Spoons

My husband is going to tell me I am both the biggest sucker and the biggest waster of money around, but when we were at Wal-Mart today and walked past the cereal display with light saber spoons, I grabbed two boxes since Chris says they are the coolest thing ever (or something along those lines).

My five year old was a bit disappointed when he realized I didn't say the boxes were cereal with Lifesavers, because he has Mommy's sweet tooth. Now the cereal that I never buy is in my house. I've trained these kids to like Muesli and I just bought them Corn Pops and Apple Jacks. I'm definitely insane. But we will have cool spoons and theoretically I could toss the cereal.

In fact, while my husband will probably still say the things above, he'll probably also be asking why I didn't buy one for him.

The Carnival of the Recipes

Boudicca, a fellow Munuvian, has a great looking set of recipes compiled for this week's Carnival of the Recipes.

This also means that next week's Carnival of the Recipes will be here. Yikes. I have some tough acts to follow.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

And Now For The Answers...

(1) Who was the most memorable (good or bad) graduation speaker at a ceremony you've attended -- not necessarily your own?

I remember two graduation speakers. My younger brother's high school speaker was Terry Anderson, who was interesting to hear, although I remember very little of what he actually said. The more memorable speaker was at my high school graduation. They brought in a former graduate whose mom was a public school teacher and who had made it big in business after going to Brown and Yale. The memorable thing about his talk was despite his obvious successes in life, he used his time to discuss how opressed he had been because of his skin color. He chose to call most of us racists and warn us to go out and call for us to fight against our evil nature that had kept him and others like him down-trodden.

People were so annoyed that that was the last year my high school had a graduation speaker other than the valedictorian.

Actually, my college graduation was memorable because the salutatorian gave his speech in Latin (it's a graduation tradition that usually comes with a lot of last minute coaching from the classics department). As if the person weren't already feeling bad enough that they barely missed being valedictorian, you stick them with speaking Latin in front a crowd.

(2) Approximately how many graduation ceremonies have you been in as a graduate and how many others have you gone to?

I don't go to graduations as part of my job, like certain people, but I sure have been to a lot. My older brother's eight grade graduation and later a foreign exchange student's. My dad's PhD graduation. My older and younger brothers' high school graduations. My high school, college and MA graduations. Justin's college and law school graduations. And one of Justin's brother's high school graduations. That is, far too many, in my opinion.

I skipped my MLS graduation. I was living in another state and it just wasn't a big deal. I kind of regret not going, but not so much.


3) After finishing high school and/or college what did you do for the summer?

I don't think I did much after either one, other than travelling around the country to physics conferences with my family and getting ready to move on to the next school.

Bonus Question:

What was your favorite graduation gift?


I got a great set of basic tools for my high school graduation from my parents. I still keep in my car.

Pomp and Circumstance

It's graduation time for college students and high school students will be following soon. Some kids even get preschool graduations. So let's direct our thoughts towards graduation ceremonies.

(1) Who was the most memorable (good or bad) graduation speaker at a ceremony you've attended -- not necessarily your own?

(2) Approximately how many graduation ceremonies have you been in as a graduate and how many others have you gone to?

(3) After finishing high school and/or college what did you do for the summer?

Bonus Question:

What was your favorite graduation gift?


My answers will be up in a while. So there you go.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Another Bookish Meme

One of my very favorite bloggers, from back when the blogosphere was very new and all, asked me to try my hand at this meme and who am I to turn down the illustrious and wonderful Tony Woodlief? Besides, I love answering these things. Tony wants to know what someone with lots of children hanging around deems worthy of rare book time. Unfortunately, I find that I rarely deem anything good worthy of that time, because good books generally require thought and thinking time. I've always like a bit of fluff reading, but I think I turn to it even more these days, because it fulfills my desire to be reading something, while not requiring my brain to actually work too hard.

1. You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451. Which book do you want to be?

Tony chose several books he'd be willing to memorize and I know I could think of a lot -- I already have The Complete Works of Sandra Boynton memorized, but the book that first comes to mind is Alice in Wonderland. I love the story and the dialog and if I had to have something playing in my head all the time, I think that's one I wouldn't tire of swiftly.

2. Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?

I can't remember any crushes off-hand, but there were a lot of fictional characters that I wanted to be -- particularly Anne Shirley and Harriet the Spy.

3. The last book you bought was...?

I pre-ordered Harry Potter for myself, but the last book I actually bought was the Family Treasury of Bible Stories by Roberto Brunelli. It has gorgeous illustrations and I enjoyed the way the Bible stories were told. One complaint though is that the author doesn't include enough, because the book is limited to fifty-two stories, so that you can do one per week for a year, many things are left out, which isn't exactly the best way to do a Bible. This, of course, is not an actual Bible, but I still would have liked to see more than what is included.

4. The last book you read was...?

The actual last book I read was a version of Tarzan by Robert San Souci, but if the question means the last book I read to myself -- well, I just finished Amanda Bright @ Home by Danielle Crittenden a few weeks ago. I remember when it was serialized by Opinion Journal, but hadn't gotten around to reading it back then, so when I ran across it at the library, I picked it up. It wasn't a great book and it never pretended to be one, but it was a fun read and not deserving the many scathing reviews it has on Amazon.

5. What are you currently reading?

I'm reading two things at the moment, though I suppose neither counts as much a book. I'm reading Miss Wonderful by Loretta Chase -- because a commenter a week or so ago asked if I'd seen any of Loretta Chase's recent books and I discovered I had missed the last several.

I'm also reading The Weekend Chef by Barbara Witt. I love the idea of once-a-month or once-a-week (since I do not own nor have room for a deep freeze) cooking, but other books I have read on the subject mostly contain recipes that are not my style. I'm a good cook. I like to cook fairly gourmet meals and this book has a lot more interesting recipes, though there are still not that many recipes I want to try, it still has been up my alley and given me ideas for other things to try for my freezer.

6. Five books you would take to a desert island...

Such questions are always so arbitrary and probably tell you little about a person, because heading off to a desert island, I would take things that would keep me occupied for a long time, not necessarily the stuff I would enjoy the most right now. But then what I should really take is probably not just reading material, but guides to living on the island.

So I would take -- for reading purposes: The Bible, The Complete Works Shakespeare, The Complete Works of Jane Austen, a Norton Anthology of Poetry, and a book with both The Illiad and The Odyssey.

If I was going to have to be a survivalist, I'd swap out some of the reading material (I'm not sure what) and take a Boy Scout Handbook and a Medical Encyclopedia.

7. Who are you passing this stick on to and why?

I haven't checked with anyone to see if they are willing, but I would think The Llamas would have something interesting to say. I'd also like to pass this on to Terry -- because I just think he's funny and well read. And finally, Blair -- because I want to see if she mentions Modesty Blaise.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

A Long Day Already or Would You Like Some Cheese With That Whine?

The good thing about this morning was that I slept until 8 o'clock and had very little of the killer headache that ate my brain left. The bad news starts with the fact that I was supposed to be out of bed no later than 7 o'clock.

As with every family, things must happen at certain times for everything to fall more or less into place. Or sometimes it just all goes kablooie. Justin got out of bed and went to check his e-mail to find out when his CLE class was happening today. Then his mom called to ask him to visit a friend in the hospital who is not going to survive lung cancer much longer. By the time he got off the phone, it was 8. Which meant, he hadn't made sure I was up, hadn't showered and eaten breakfast, hadn't woken the kids up and hadn't gotten outside to put the full sized tire back on his car (flat on Friday, got it fixed Saturday, but never got around to putting it back on).

I hopped out of bed, threw on clothes, woke up The Boy, threw clothes on him, gave him a peanut butter and honey sandwich and some water for the car and took him and The Baby Girl to school. Then the Baby and I came home and I was just about to fix myself a nice, steeped, hot, caffienated beverage when I looked at the clock, realized it was Tuesday and remembered that at that precise moment I was supposed to be taking The Baby to her six month doctor's check up.

Mama called the doctor and the doctor said that it was okay to bring the monkeys a little late. Threw clothes on The Girl who had gotten out of pjs but not into anything else, dumped some Chex Mix in a bag for her to eat at the doctor's office, buckled everyone up and was happy that we only live a few minutes from Vanderbilt.

Except that useful information, like they blocked off streets and my usual parking garage entrance hadn't been passed along to me. So that required some turning around and waiting and manuevering and finally parking the behemouth (not so) mini-van in a little space next to a pillar.

There were shots. Those always make for a happy visit!

We had time to come home and eat a bite, but then it was back in the car again to pick up The Boy and find out that school pictures are really expensive! Class photos for $15! And everything else is even more. Yipes!

At lunch The Girl dumped her fruit on the floor. When I was getting her down for a nap, the upholstery guy showed up. Fortunately, unlike yesterday when people showed up at the door and The Boy just let them in and showed them to my room without my even knowing they were there, he did remember the coaching today and came and got me instead of opening up the house to strangers. I think I scared the bejeebers out of him yesterday, which is only fair since, though I knew people were coming to look at something, hearing them in the house when I came out of The Girl's room scared the bejeebers out of me.

So the upholstery guy came. I want to eventually get our living room sofa recovered. It's old. It's nice and it will be worth it to recover and not replace it. But first I needed to know exactly how much it would cost and how much fabric I will need. So I called a place that came highly recommended and had them come out to give me an estimate. It's probably cheaper than buying a sofa like ours brand new -- if such things exist -- but it isn't cheap. Time to start saving more shekels or learn how to recover furniture.

Then the mattress guys called -- we got our slim box spring, only to discover that it didn't fit and that our bed is so old it requires a special size box -- and they can't deliver our new box spring until tomorrow. Some day. Some day. Still the Capital City Mattress guys have been extremely nice to work with and I would buy from them again for sure.

I finally got my first cup of hot tea at lunch time. It isn't enough. I definitely need another. Tea in the afternoon sounds like a wonderful idea.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Mother's Day

Besides VE Day, there was something else special going on yesterday. It was Mother's Day, of course. Being a totally crummy daughter, I ordered a flower for my mom's garden, but too late for her to get it by yesterday, forgot to send a card and didn't even call until late in the day, when she was out and so all I did was leave a voicemail. At least I don't demand much either.

I got a lovely card from The Boy and some bath salts that they made at school, and Justin took dictation for a card from The Girl. The Boy wanted to make me breakfast in bed, but on a Sunday morning in the hustle and bustle of getting ready for church that was out. Justin decided to take my picture with the kidlets even though it made us a minute or two later than normal for Bible class. They sure are cute, huh?

Image hosted by Photobucket.com


After church, we invited another family over for steaks and whatnot. I wish I had company more often, because it is a lot of fun. I just don't like the cleaning that it requires.


And Spring Also Brings...

...HOME IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS, of course. You'd think a house in relatively good shape wouldn't need all this improving, but some how we always think of twenty more things we want to do to the place. Off the back, we have a small deck. It's low to the ground and hasn't caused any major injuries to the children, although The Boy did catapult The Girl off of it one time while using the teeter-totter too close to the edge, BUT The Dog likes to jump off the deck and run straight through my newly expanded flower bed and we certainly can't have that.

Yes, children falling -- not too much of a concern. Trampled flowers? We must do something. Something will actually be beneficial to both children and flowers. We're putting a railing around the deck. Justin started on Saturday and by Sunday afternoon, one side was up and another side has all the posts mounted. It's a great start.



April Showers Bring May Flowers

And at German Hippie School™ that means it is time for May Day celebrations. Naturally, I was afraid that my son would come home saying, "Power to the Socialist Workers" or something of that sort, but actually it was a more innocuous May Faire, with flowers for everyone's hair and a maypole to dance around.

georgemayfaire.jpg


We spent the entire morning at school -- first making ivy and flower crowns followed by a concert put on by the older grades (They could actually sing. It wasn't one of those "I'm going to have to claw my ears out before the children sing again" concerts.) At the end of the concert, the school processed up the hill to the May Pole, where a few teachers played while the classes took turns dancing and everyone else picnicked on the lawn.

pippamaypoledancing.jpg


Being out in the sun all morning wore me out though, which is why I could barely keep my eyes open for the BlogNashville party that night.

BlogNashville

Well, BlogNashville was this past weekend. On Friday I found a last minute babysitter (thanks brother-in-law and new sister-in-law) and dragged Justin off to the opening night party. We met a few people including Busy Mom, Kevin from Seriously Good, and Lynette who gives out the "awards" at Tennessee Bloggers. Mostly we were too shy to talk to many people. I'm just not good at throwing myself at someone and saying hello. So I saw Chris Muir and LaShawn Barber, who are both very distinguished looking, but I wasn't brave enough to grab them and introduce myself -- it isn't like they would have ever heard of me.

Both of us were really tired and headed home by about 10:15. I don't think Instapundit had even gotten there yet -- not that I would have had the guts to say hi to him either.

In the morning, I had intended to go to some of the sessions, but woke up with an evil, wicked, nasty migraine that hasn't yet gone away completely, so we stayed home and that was the end of our BlogNashville experience. I think it was a neat idea though and would love to be able to do more with something of this sort in the future.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

School Daze

It's The Axis of Weevil “Excellence in Primary and Secondary Pedagogy Edition” of the Thursday Three!

1. What three teachers did you have in grade school or high school who had the greatest impact on you, either for good or bad?

I had a lot of good teachers and a few pretty crummy ones.

I guess the first one that had a big impact on things for me was one of my second grade teachers who noticed that I was in regular math and advanced reading classes and stayed after school for a while to work with me and get me up to speed in math, because she was sure that I could handle the advanced work in both subjects. Many teachers wouldn't have taken time out of their day for that and even though I never really liked math all that much, up through and including calculus, I did make it through calculus, partly because she set me on the right course.

Then there was the teacher I had as my main teacher in third grade and again for reading and English in fifth and sixth grades. She also taught my older brother's PE class and eighth grade biology class one year. She wins a prize for versitility. Plus, she was a really good teacher.

Finally, the teacher with the most lasting impact has to be my dad. And I get to count him, because I took physics from him when I was a sophomore in high school. Of course, he's been teaching me stuff my whole life -- from tales of "atom cookies" and showing me the stars, to physics and listening to me wail about the horrors of calculus, to cooking and all the other stuff I wouldn't have picked up without him around. My high school had a deal with the local college though to allow students to take classes there. I wound up taking physics from my dad and getting an A-.

2. Which teacher do you wish you could go back and apologize to for your terrible misbehavior?

Well, besides my father -- and I was perfectly well behaved in class -- I don't think I have much to apologize for. There was my first grade teacher who wrote my name on the board for rolling my pencil -- I cried the rest of the day thinking she'd never like me again. I suppose there were a few teachers I thought rather uncharitable thoughts about, but I still did the work and behaved. I never understood kids who would hate a teacher and therefore decide to stop doing their homework and get bad grades.

3. What do you think is the best thing to happen to grade school since when you were there?

I don't really know much about the current state of grade schools, since my children aren't quite there yet.

Foreign Spam

It's one thing to get nonsense spam, p0rnn0 spam, African money-making scheme spam or hatemail, but how often do you get spammed by someone writing in German offering a French vacation? It's not Classic Spam. It's New Spam.

I'm not giving them free ad space for long, so soon the spam will be removed.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Small Voice From The Back Seat

"Mom, what's a think tank?"

Where do they come up with this stuff? And why did I think he should learn to read?

A Bed Update

After measuring my bed and finding out that it's current 35 inch height was 11 inches over standard and 5 inches over what is normal for a bed with a pillowtop mattress, I decided to call the store. We can't trade in the mattress for something slimmer, since this one is now used, but we can get a low profile box spring, as someone mentioned in the comments below. That will only gain us 3 inches, but at least that's something. It's a very, very tall bed at the moment.

DSCF1394 (2).jpg


Tuesday, May 03, 2005

On the Geek-o-meter...

... this registers a 10.

I haven't done that with my kids, but I sure had fun making up words on my calcuator when I was in school.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Poetry Five Year Old Style

My son decided to write a poem, and at least he knows poetry is supposed to rhyme. We'll start working on sonnets soon.

In Spring I take walks
And play with blocks.

In Winter I do play
In the snow and frozen hay.

In the Summer there is (sic) flowers I do pick
And ice cream I do lick.

In the Fall the fall of Gaul
There are no leaves on Obelix at all.

Parenting Guide

I only have three kids, but this sounds about right.

I Yam What I Yam

I have always hated sweet potatoes. Blech. HATE THEM. I don't care how much sugar and junk you mix in, I don't like them one bit. Which is not to say I won't feed them to my children when they are babies, though The Boy and The Girl don't like sweet potatoes much now. We've done rice cereal and carrots and so I thought it was time to try The Baby on another new food. I grabbed a sweet potato at the grocery store to steam and mash up into baby food. But instead of an orange sweet potato, I bought a light yellow colored yam -- I was a little surprised when I started peeling the skin off. I steamed and mashed it and took a taste. Much to my amazement, it actually tasted good. Even without any salt, pepper, or butter, it was good. I never knew. I'm actually thinking about cooking them for dinner sometime.


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