About Me

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2 kids. Memories of Wolf and Boo. Many dear friends. Three siblings. Two parents. Samarra the crazy dog. The Player and Pi the Cat. I love you all!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Make Your Own Head

That, according to the Wacky and Bizarre Holiday website, is what we are celebrating today on November 28th.  Also Red Planet day.  You could make your own head out of the planet Mars, or out of Mars bars I suppose.  I have not yet made my own head today, but neither have I lost my head, so I think I'm doing fairly well.

I did go see my financial advisor and finally agreed to get out of the "feel good" socially responsible alternative energy mutual fund he's been whining to me about for a couple years.  I insisted on it back in the day.  Then as solar companies went bankrupt, wind turbine companies came to an end of their government subsidies, and who knows what else (some of the stocks were probably in companies in Greece with my luck), the mutual fund deteriorated to the point where my advisor today said, and I quote, "I've never seen anything this bad before."  Yes, he's young.  But still.  Ok, ok, I went to some bonds and some other safer mutual funds for the moment.  I kept most of my socially responsible funds intact, though, and I feel pretty okay about that.

I mostly feel lucky to work part time and still have some money to put away for retirement/college funds for the little people.  Lucky indeed.

I plan to post my head later...hmmm.  That might hurt!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Happenings around the Homestead

The Friday after Thanksgiving is when we put up the Christmas tree at our house.  This year was no exception.  We rearranged the furniture in the living room, did the bi-annual vacuuming behind the couches, and made room for the tree in it's traditional corner.  Lights were strung:

Ornaments were hung and finally, the angel was placed:

You can't really see her in this picture but she's there.  Trust me. 

Sisi was busy taking photographs of the process so she isn't in any of the pictures.  But here she is with a rebuilt version of Truth or Pain:

Details of the launch site for the marbles. 

Saturday morning J-dude said he wanted to cook sausages for breakfast.  He has never used the stove-top without direct hovering supervision.  But this time I gave him a little more space and he did a great job.  Until I took the following picture and then when he had his back to the stove he touched the pan with his finger.  No harm done, but Mom will refrain from photography during potentially dangerous events in the future.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Much for Which to Give Thanks.

I had a surprise visit from an old friend this week.

Darlene was back in town visiting her dad and brother.  It was great to see her and catch up. 

I'm having a busy week at work.  I job share now, a new position with more responsibility, and my sharee is on vacation so I am working more than usual.  And it's a holiday week.  And we are suddenly very busy.  These are my excuses for not only minimal blogging activity but not even checking email for several days.  Ouch.  There was a long list of spam to delete this morning when I finally got on the laptop.  There were other blogs to read, and comments to make, and now there is a turkey to cook and pie to bake.  Another pie, that is.  I made a pie for the kids to take to Oscar the Grouch's house yesterday, too.  So yes, it's been a full week.

I am delighted to report that I have managed to watch several really good movies this week.  The Player loves films.  That's good for me because I love movies but I don't watch them as often as I'd like.  This week we saw Tree of Life at the Normal Theater.  We watched The Illusionist (featuring one of my favorite actors Paul Giamatti) which I rented on Netflix.  Last night we streamed The Republic of Love, based on the novel by Carol Shields.  And we tried to go see Moneyball at the Starplex theater but while it was playing there on Tuesday night, it was gone by Wednesday.  So we will wait for it on DVD.  The Normal Public Library movie collection has been getting a good going over by The Player since he moved here, too.  Movies, movies everywhere!

Sisi has been trying to tolerate her big brother's saxophone practice without complaint, though not without comment of a nonverbal nature.

We've been playing a lot of Scrabble and Monopoly and Sisi also invented a new game yesterday called "Truth or Pain."  If you don't answer the "truth" question to her satisfaction, you get hit with a marble rolling down a track from the second floor to your vulnerable waiting leg on the main floor.  I am hoping she will be an art teacher and not an interrogator for the CIA when she grows up.

Life is so good.  I am so grateful.  Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Happy Day of...

The Occult! Yes it's a day to celebrate the occult arts such as palmreading and the Ouija Board.

The Ouija board was invented in 1890 and somehow made a transition from "harmless parlor game" to "divining tool" around the time of World War 1. That's probably because we stopped calling the living room the parlor about that time. Scientific studies have not shown that the Ouija Board is a way to communicate with spirits. But there are many famous cases of it's use including the following from Wikipedia:

Former Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi claimed under oath that, in a séance held in 1978 with other professors at the University of Bologna, the "ghost" of Giorgio La Pira spelled the name of the street where Aldo Moro was being held by the Red Brigades in a Ouija. According to Peter Popham of The Independent: "Everybody here has long believed that Prodi's ouija board tale was no more than an ill-advised and bizarre way to conceal the identity of his true source, probably a person from Bologna's seething far-left underground whom he was pledged to protect."

Poets and songwriters have been known to use the Ouija board for inspiration or even to write lyrics for them.  One woman claimed she channeled Mark Twain through the board to write an entire novel.  That's a lot of Ouija board time! 

But the most important use of the board is as a way to scare the pants off your friend in 7th grade at a slumber party to predict she would marry the pimply ugly creepy guy sitting by her in Social Studies class.

The Ouija Board is said to work based on a principle called ideomotor effect.  This is what happens when you unconscious desires guide the movement of your muscles.  Like when you find yourself at the refrigerator taking out the ice cream instead of getting on the treadmill. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Forget? Never!

Today, November 10th, is Forget-Me-Not Day.  There are 50 species of these sweet little flowers, but the True Forget Me Nots are myosotis scorpioides.  While they are budding they look like a scorpion's tail, or so some botanist with naming rights believed.  I myself can't quite see it.  Possibly he or she had been eating some plant with hallucinatory qualities.

There are several legends about the source of the popular name.  One German legend tells that when God named all the plants, one little flower that had not yet been named cried out "Forget me not, oh Lord."  And God said, "That shall be your name." 

Another legend says that a knight in shining armour bent over near a river to pick some of these flowers for his lady.  He fell into the river and could not get out because of ... all that armour.  He threw her the flowers and shouted "forget me not!" just before he drowned.

I think she was probably better off without that guy.  Sir What's His Name.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


The Player brought many books to our little home when he arrived with Boo Radley the cat last week.  One of the books is now J-dude's favorite item in the entire universe...Roget's Thesaurus.  I have owned a thesaurus for J-dude's entire life but it was not something he discovered.  Nor is it as good as The Player's thesaurus.  Note difference in photo below:

That would be The Player's robust thesaurus on the left and my old sad pathetic version on the right.  The new thesaurus even advertises how much better it is: 

So why the charm of the thesaurus for a 10 year old kid?  He discovered you can look up words like idiot and then read "loon or loony or nut or crackpot or screwball or weirdie or weirdo or kook or flake or crackbrain (all slang). "  And there is one thing 10 year old kids love, it is slang.  

So last night after book group I realized that I had been somewhat curmudgeonly about the book.  I decided to look up curmudgeon in Roget's.  And to my surprise it was NOT in the index.  So I resorted to my old faithful Big Red...which said a curmudgeon is irascible.  Irascible is in the index of the new and improved and revised Roget's.  And it reads:  irritable, cranky, excitable, cross, cranky, testy, feisty, crusty, huffy, huffish, shirty, cantakerous, cankered, crabbed, spiteful, spleeny,...well you get the idea.  So I don't think I was really all that.  Just enthusiastic in my criticism.  Yes, that's it.  I was enthusiastic.  And maybe a little irritable.  I am committed to loving the next book no matter what.  I don't want to be a curmudgeon.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Misery of Bliss

Soon I am off to a book group discussion in a Nursing Home...er, rather, a Skilled Nursing Facility, or SNF, usually called a Sniff  but renamed a Snuff or Snurf by Susan. Sweet P-Dub has to do a week or so of rehab due to her broken hip due to her tangle with a wild dog in the middle of the night at the O-K Ryder Corrall.  I know her physical therapist who will not violate her constitutional rights not to exercise (Amendment 74 I suppose?) and she is going to do just fine.

Since P-Dub can't come to the book club, we are bringing the book club to P-Dub. 

Wine, which is kind of required at book club, is not allowed at the SNF.  But juice is allowed.  And P-Dub has a private room.  So we will be drinking some juice (wink wink nudge nudge say no more say no more) out of coffee mugs with lids to keep that special juice aroma from the nurses at the Snurf who might Sniff the juice and end our meeting prematurely.    We will not be dipping Snuff at the Sniff.  I'm sure!  P-Dub will be on pain pills so no juice for the Sweet P.

The book we are dissing, I mean discussing, is The Geography of Bliss.  This book alternately pleased me and bugged me.  Here is an example of the bugging me part, from a chapter on Iceland that I mostly enjoyed except for these annoying interjections of "aren't I clever" by the author.  (He can't help it probably.  His last name is Weiner and at least he doesn't tweet any photos of his body parts, at least not that we have heard.)

Not see the sun?  I don't like the way that sounds.  In the past the sun has always been there for me, the one celestial body I could count on.  Unlike Pluto, which for decades led me to believe it was an actual planet when the whole time it was really only a dwarf planet.

How does this bug me?  Let me count the ways. 
1.  Who cares what you as the author feel about Pluto, in a book about Happiness around the Earthly Plane?
2.  Anthropomorphizing planetary behavior is so 1970s.
3.  I think Weiner is biased against little people and planets.  Probably has some Munchkin Issues.
4.  There are so many I am afraid to go on.

On any page I can find a line or two that delight me, and a paragraph or four that irk me.  Too much of the author and his advertisements for his own cleverness in the book.

Just to be fair here are a couple sentences from a paragraph in the same chapter that I really like:

Necessity may be the mother of invention, but interdependence is the mother of affection....We help other people because we can, or because it makes us feel good, not because we're counting on some future payback.  There is a word for this:  love.

S'nuff Said.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Hello Again

Yes, yes, it's been a while.  It's been busy.  The Player has arrived.  There will be no further negotiations.  We got The Player To Be Named Later and A Cat Named Boo Radley. In exchange the other team got...hmmm,  I guess they didn't get anything.  Such a deal for our team!   Here's Boo:

Oh wait, no that's Sisi in her black cat Halloween costume.  Here is Boo the cat:

This was taken before Boo was allowed to go outside.  Now he appears to be living under the deck, keeping the new homestead safe from bunnies and chipmunks.  Or just hiding from the kids.  I can't tell for sure yet. 

Here is another picture from Halloween, this time of J-dude dressed in a hybrid costume.  Energy saving in the sense that we did not have to purchase anything to make this costume.  We just recycled several parts of old costumes and voila...free candy for J-dude!

That is the scariest thing about Halloween:  free candy and a 10-year old boy.  I found the free candy in J-dude's room one night about 2:30 a.m.  I promptly removed said free candy and replaced it with free healthy food.  Biscuits and applesauce if I remember correctly.  Less scary for everyone, indeed.