Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all of you. May it be sweet and full of good things, yarny, inky, and otherwise.

Note: Recipe for the cake is the same as for the ATK Dark Chocolate Cupcakes, but done in a cake pan at 350 for about 30 minutes.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Pizza de Resistance

I went to the library today. Yay for me. I struck out on a few things from my must-read list, but in the end I think I did quite well by leaving with a stack of books which probably haven't been checked out for the last decade at least.
So, without further ado or grumbling about what I feel is disorganization on the part of the library (why keep classics in two places and not alphabetize them?), here's the list of yummy books. I'll update my Bookshelf listing and link to the appropriate books on Amazon. ;)

  1. The Selected Works Of Cicero (published 1948)
  2. Greek and Roman Classics In Translation (this is a big volume of just about everyone and everything under the category of "Classical Philosophers and Historians"; 1947 edition)
  3. Medieval Russia's Epics, Chronicles, and Tales (1963 edition)
  4. Caesar's Commentaries On the Gallic War
  5. Icelandic Poems and Stories (1943 edition)
  6. The Dark Is Rising
  7. Foreign Correspondence
  8. Hannibal's Crossing of the Alps (Livy, of course! The 1995 edition.)

So I'll be busy reading lots of nice dusty books. And enjoying them.

Note: Most of the editions of the books I found were published in the 1950s or thereabouts, so Amazon doesn't have the same editions. I'm linking to slightly more modern versions where possible.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Holiday Knitting Update

Dec. 23: 2:18 AM. Just finished grafting the toe of the first sock. There is no way in the deep south that I'm going to be able to finish the second sock in time to overnight it to Minnesota so dad can have them for Christmas.
Halp meh!

Mom Makes A Funny

I'm watching an episode of The Outer Limits (the new series, not the original), in which someone makes quite a lot of noise, wailing and sounding like she's being dreadfully abused. This is the conversation which took place:
Mom: Are you watching Rose Red again?
Me: No. It's "The Outer Limits".
Mom: What's all that caterwauling?
Me: Someone's just given birth to a burgundy mohair shawl.
Mom: Well, some people take their love of knitting too far...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Four Wise Mice

Happy Solstice!

I know it's not just me, but for some reason this year hasn't felt particularly Christmasy; several people have remarked on this, including mom. My own reasons are sort of indefinable, though the weather may have something to do with it. We've had rain for about three days straight, and today the sun finally came out; I feel like changing the words of "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas" to "I'm Dreaming of a Wet Christmas", but it ends up sounding... erm... risque. Besides the weather, PBS has insisted on airing the same pablum for its now almost incessant pledge drive, which has gone on for the past four weeks (at least!). You'd think, given the time of year, they'd find a way to air something slightly holiday-related and still use it as a vehicle for fundraising. But... no. So no "The Nutcracker" this year, and definitely no Vicar of Dibley holiday specials.
Instead, I've been busy knitting and making cookies. The gingerbread mice pictured above came about because I couldn't find the little gingerbread man cookie cutter, but this worked just as well; there are also some little gingerbread holly leaves and pine trees, but I thought the mice were a bit more picturesque. :P

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Holiday Reading List

I've always regretted that I didn't go to what I jokingly call a "real school". Rachael, you went to a real school; be glad! :P Thinking back, which I blame on Drew because he sent me the link to this, I realize that, even though I went to school in a poor state, they really did try to introduce us to things that might have been the last gasp of an almost-Classical education. In 7th grade, we read Homer's Odyssey. In 9th grade, I got into an argument over certain points about it with my honors history teacher; that was also the year I read Caesar's The Gallic War for a book report in the same class. When I got to high school, we read Sophocles' nice depressing Antigone, and then later, possibly Oedipus Rex. Independently, I read a little Petronius, to wit, The Satyricon. In college, because of my choices of electives and my choice to , study what Shepherd calls "Traditional History", I was able to read Euripides, Hesiod, Ovid, and Virgil , all in translation. Later, rather than selling the books back to the campus bookstore, I kept them.
Anyway, now that Drew's sent me the above link, I intend to go prowling through the library during my next trip to get books, and these will be (hopefully) on my list of Must-Reads:
  1. Reread Caesar's The Gallic War
  2. Anything I can find by Catullus
  3. Anything I can find by Cicero
  4. Anything I can find by Sappho
  5. Plato's The Republic

This will be mixed with Susan Cooper and a few.. um.. lighter things. I wish I could read these in the original language, because I feel something is lost in translation, but since I didn't go to a real school... you get the idea.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Little Night Music

Which creature of the night are you?
Your Result: Sorceror

Control is the name of your game. You are a studied tactician and scientist and you seek a kingdom where things make sense, damn the morals, even if you have to create it. You are cold, calm and calculating.

Cthulu Spawn
Which creature of the night are you?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Got this one from The Lady. I'm oddly puzzled by the results, but I'm not sure I want to the answers and end up being listed as a ghost or demon. Still, I suppose there are benefits to being a sorcerer.. or sorceress, as the case may be. ;) I wonder if one of them is getting one's socks to knit themselves....

Friday, December 12, 2008

More Pen Pr0n

Vintage, at that. One 1975 Platinum Preppy with a converter that holds a miniscule amount of ink. The pen writes beautifully, even if the nib is a little scratchy.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

In Which I Discover How Not Literate I am...

Just kidding. :P Got this from Lyndsey-Jane:

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Underline those you intend to read.
3) Italicise the books you LOVE.
4) Reprint this list so we can try and track down these people who’ve read 6 and force books upon them.

1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6. The Bible
7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11. Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12. Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14. Complete Works of Shakespeare
15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18. Catcher in the Rye - J D Salinger
19. The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20. Middlemarch - George Eliot
21. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23. Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33. Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34. Emma - Jane Austen
35. Persuasion - Jane Austen
36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres Mans
39. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40. Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41. Animal Farm - George Orwell
42. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez (in Spanish!)
44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46. Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48. The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49. Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50. Atonement - Ian McEwan
51. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52. Dune - Frank Herbert
53. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57. A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez (also in Spanish)
61. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66. On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68. Bridget Jones’ Diary - Helen Fielding
69. Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70. Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72. Dracula - Bram Stoker
73.The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75. Ulysses - James Joyce
76. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78. Germinal - Emile Zola
79. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80. Possession - AS Byatt
81. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87. Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94. Watership Down - Richard Adams
95. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98. Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Saturday, December 6, 2008


Oh, the weather outside is frightful! The flakelets are beginning to fly, so it's time for the big fuzzy hat to come out. Since it's blorping cold and the light's gone for the day, the hat and I chose to stay indoors for our little photo op. I'm so glad the weather's finally gotten appropriately wintery!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Kissy, kissy!

I don't believe I need comment. ;)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Pen Pr0n

Finally, here's a picture of my new pen. Thanks to the ladies on the fountain pen board on Ravelry for introducing me to Lamies and nudging me down the road of pen perdition. :P

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Just a little food for thought: While grocery shopping this afternoon, I happened to observe a young family with a toddler in the aisle with the baking supplies. The child was jumping up and down, demanding something or other, right in front of the raisins and dried fruit; the mother's response to this was to scold the child and say, "If you keep acting like that, you won't get any of the junk food you're looking at."
'scuse me, but since when are raisins and prunes junk food? O.o

My new fountain pen arrived today, so I'm now the proud parent of a Lamy Al-star in Ocean Blue. With a fine nib. Which means I can go back to working on my book--if the muse has anything to say, that is. A writer's muse can be fickle, and after writing about 28 pages in the last few days, I guess the muse is taking a break. On that note, I leave you with this: Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and good with Grey Poupon.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Hot Stitches

I hate picking up stitches. Doesn't matter how carefully I do it, I always seem to end up with too few to do 2x2 ribbing. This time, however, I think I've got the stitch pick-up from hell. The hood Tam Lin's hood is finished now that I figured out why the hood I based it on called for a three-needle bind off; instead of binding off on a wrong side so the little ridge wouldn't show, I did the opposite, so the hood has a nice little line of BO along the center of the very top.... approximately where I part my hair. Mmph. Okay. That flaw can be passed off as decorative, I guess, since it's too late to fix it.
The next step, then, is to pick up stitches starting at the bottom of one front side, go all the way up around the edge of the hood, and down the other side. I picked up as far as the middle of the hood because even my longest circular needles aren't long enough to do the whole thing in one sitting. Gah! That one side and half the hood is a little over 200 stitches. I figure I can work about 15 rows of 2x2, figure out which side the buttonholes are supposed to go on (I can never remember... men's buttonholes go on one side, women's buttonholes go on the other... I should write it on a sticky and put it in my binder along with everything else knitting-related, I know!), and depending on whether or not I've picked up stitches on the wrong side to do the YO buttonholes, BO and tackle the other side.
So far it looks like I'll have enough yarn to do the sleeves, provided I don't make them belled and I don't do any more cables. The sleeves are going to be a little tricky since the pattern I'm basing the body of the sweater on had saddle sleeves and I modified it to use set-in sleeves. This will require measuring, scribbled calculations, and quite possibly some muttered swear words. Blocking will also be tricky since I seriously doubt this monster will fit on the ironing board, and since I don't actually have a blocking board, I'll have to figure out how to improvise without involving the ironing board.
Still, the hood is apropriately voluminous and the body of the sweater has the kind of shaping I wanted, so if I can live through the stitch pick-up from hell and the sleeves, I'll probably be finished in about a week and a half. At which point I'll post pictures. PROMISE!
One last thing to add: The buttons! Mom surprised me with an Anne Choi bead that I've decided to use as one of the buttons. It's a little cylindrical thing with the words "Lux et umbra vicissim, sed semper amore" printed around it. Click Ms. Choi's name for the page with the bead and pictures of her work. She's amazing. Mine's about three quarters of the way down. It'll make a good button for Tam Lin, I think. ;)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Two days ago a large parcel arrived in the mail. Rachael, I can't thank you enough. The wool is gorgeous, and I do like me some corriedale! I've only used it once before and, if memory serves, this should be a lot of fun to spin, too. The green reminds me of the inside of a kiwi fruit(Translation: I like it! I like it!); the blue is one of my favorite shades. You gave me an excuse to wind up the black Lincoln--which I did on Monday evening, so now I have three empty bobbins to play with. The little skein of blue yarn is so soft! And so EVEN!
So, now that I have yummy fiber to play with, I will be busy enjoying the warmth from the woodstove and somehow managing to spin with the cat on my lap. She's been entranced by the way the yarn moves while I'm winding it up, but so far has kept her little paws to herself--I wish I could say she does that when I'm knitting, but I have little kitty claw marks on my hands and leg where she's jabbed me through my jeans while in the throes of a yarn induced kitty fit.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Of Tam Lin, Kitties, and Other Stories

It's been rather a long time since I've been up to Pocket Meadow Farm for knit-night, so since... certain events are now over with, mom and I took ourselves off to Berkeley Springs to bask in the warmth of kitties, lots of yarn, and good company (and cookies!).
Terri brought homemade gingersnaps, the recipe for which she says is somewhere on the King Arthur Flour website; I only had one, but boy, was it good. I'll have to track down this recipe and make some for the household. She said there's also a recipe for gingerbread with bits of candied ginger and dried apricots somewhere, which also sounds like something I might attempt closer to the holidays. It's great: not only do I get to spend two hours surrounded by gorgeous yarn, friendly cats, and nice people, but I also find myself being told things that will further my obsession with baking.
Ellen has a new kitty. Some rotten jerk threw this poor little ball of fur out a moving vehicle, which resulted in injuries severe enough to require amputation. Ellen--you're on your way to becoming a Bodhisattva, I'm sure--scooped her up, took her to the vet, and, after the kitty was seen to, decided to keep her. We met the little kitty tonight. She's tiny, absolutely adorable, extremely affectionate, and manages to get along pretty well with one hind leg missing. I almost cried when I saw her; I'm so glad Ellen's keeping her. She'll have a good home there and be spoiled rotten by her new family and everyone who visits the shop.
So, having met kitties and eaten cookies, and knitted a whole eight rows on my sweater--a new one, not the Evil Ambition, which is languishing in the box with my stash--I decided I needed some sock yarn. I won't say I've completely mastered toe-up socks, but my progress has been decent since I started the Azure socks, so I figured I needed a couple skeins of yarn for my next sock project. Okay, so I still need to actually finish the second sock in the pair and photograph them, but I'm still allowed to think ahead.. right? I've already got two possible patterns in mind for the next pair, and now I've got yarn to knit them with.
The yarn in question is Plymouth Happy Feet. I ended up getting two skeins each of two different colorways, one of which reminds me of a scarlet macaw; the other is a subtly variegated red and purple mix. Mom's asked for socks in the macaw colorway, so when I find a good pattern for her, I'll be making her a pair of socks. The other is mine, Mine, MINE. Which means I'll have an excuse to look for a new, nifty toe-up pattern.
The sweater in question is about half finished. Since I'm mostly writing the pattern myself, there's a little tweaking and fiddling with numbers involved. The basic shape is based on a pullover I saw on another website, but the rest is mine. Before I started knitting it, I wasn't really familiar with the story of Tam Lin, which is really the driving force behind it.
Ravelry's Folklore and Fairy Tale group has seasonal knit-alongs in the sense that there's a loose timetable, which means that everyone participating is encouraged to finish their chosen projects by the end of the season. Summer's knit-along had a mermaid theme, so several people knit Laminaria shawls--another thing I need to finish even though summer is obviously over--and other things with a connection to mermaids or the ocean. Autumn's fairy tale was, by popular vote, Tam Lin; the group mom suggested certain projects, but people were pretty much free to choose whatever they liked, as long as it could incorporate some element of the story.
I chose to knit a sweater with an enormous hood, even though that isn't precisely a mantle, and since I had all this gray yarn lying around, I thought it would work for the misty elements of the story--mist does play a part in the Fairy Queen's activities, according to the story--and use dark green yarn for the edges of all the pieces and the button band. It doesn't sound so appealing described that way, but it actually works fairly well. The sweater has cables running down the back and each piece of the front; they're not green, but in theory, you could liken the cables to the way a climbing rose twines around a trellis, or in Tam Lin's case, an old well. I haven't gotten to the sleeves yet, or the hood, partly because I'm concerned about running out of yarn. I have about seven balls left, so theoretically that should be enough to do the sleeves, hood, and seaming, especially if I use the green yarn to do the button band and the ribbing around the edge of the hood. I hope! KnitPicks discontinued the colorway, so if I run out, I'm up zee creek unless I can find a substitute. Buttons won't be a problem, though; I saw some pewter celtic knot buttons at Hellmart last time I was in the craft department and thought they'd be just right for this.
Vincenzo's light bulb went out today. No, he didn't die, the light in his tank seems to have died and is in need of replacing. He's doing quite well, but he can't seem to decide whether he should hibernate or not because the temperature has been fluctuating so wildly here--think about 60 in the daytime, dropping to 40 or so as the sun starts to go down, and finally falling to about 25 at night. He seems relatively happy, though the expression on his face is one of what seems to be chronic disapproval. I'd probably look that way, too, if I got myself wedged between a plastic bowl and the wall of my aquarium, which is what happens when he tries to climb out of the tank. Fortunately, it's too high for him to climb, and since he can't use his hind legs, he just slides down and gets stuck, and then he looks even more annoyed.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

New Cooking Addictions

For years and years PBS aired "Baking With Julia", which is how I learned how to make bagels, biscotti, and French baguettes. Now--shame on you for giving me another cooking show to watch, PBS!-- Julia has been succeeded by a Martha Steward production akin to "Everyday Cooking". In this case, it's "Everyday Baking". Gah... like I need more stuff to bake.
Today's show was all about baking with chocolate, and among the recipes featured was one for mint chocolate brownies. Brownies can be great on their own, but when there's a layer of little peppermint patties between layers of brownie batter, it's got to be heaven. There was also a recipe for chocolate ganache tart in an almond shortbread crust; this one seems pretty simple, especially considering how few ingredients are involved: sugar, almonds, flour, and butter for the crust, and chocolate and heavy cream for the filling.
I wonder if this will be our Thanksgiving dessert instead of the usual pumpkin pie... hmm...

Thursday, November 6, 2008


One last political post, and then I'm depoliticizing this thing and fumigating it to get all the political mites to go away, which means it'll be back to knitting, cooking, reading, and being reclusive--i.e. my version of normalcy.
I finally got around to getting the pictures from Leesburg developed, and here they are; Apologies in advance for their fuzziness.

Furthermore, let us be magnanimous in victory and not treat the vanquished foe less than honorably, because to do so diminishes us and infuriates them.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Precident Elect

Two thoughts:

1. To Senator McCain: You fought hard and you pulled dirty tricks, sir, but you did your best, and for that I commend you.

2. To President Elect Obama: My hat’s off to you, sir. May the wind at your back bring you nothing but good, sound advice and keep your feet on the path of wisdom, compassion, and justice.

We can. And we did.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween Addendum

And this is how I spent my Halloween. Ate way too much candy, had way too much fun. It's all for a good cause, though. ;)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

Happy Samhain, everyone.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


This one is Teabird's fault. I like it... I'm in the negative range for Cubism and Abstractionism. I wonder what that says about my personality. Wait... why are there relatively mild shunga paintings on my blog? O.O How very shocking!

Your result for What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test...

Simple, Progressive, and Sensual

34 Ukiyo-e, 9 Islamic, 9 Impressionist, -21 Cubist, -36 Abstract and 15 Renaissance!

Ukiyo-e (浮世絵, Ukiyo-e), "pictures of the floating world", is a genre of Japaneseand paintings produced between the 17th and the 20th centuries. it mostly featured landscapes, historic tales, theatre, and pleasure. Ukiyo is a rather impetuous urban culture that has bloomed in popularity. Although the Japanese were more strict and had many prohibitions it did not affect the rising merchant class and therefore became a floating art form that did not bind itself to the normal ideals of society

People that chose Ukiyo-e art tend to be more simplistic yet elegant. They don't care much about new style but are comfortable in creating their own. They like the idea of living for the moment and enjoy giving and receiving pleasure. They may be more agreeable than other people and do not like to argue. They do not mind following traditions but are not afraid to move forward to experience other ideas in life. They tend to enjoy nature and the outdoors. They do not mind being more adventurous in their sexual experiences. They enjoy being popular and like being noticed. They have their own unique style of dress and of presenting themselves. They may also tend to be more business oriented or at the very least interested in money making adventures. They might make good entrepreneurs. They are progressive and adaptable.

Take What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test at HelloQuizzy

And this one I got from Rachael. I've never heard the Stevie Nicks song, but I know who Rhiannon is. ;)

Your result for The Celtic Goddess Test...


You should worship Rhiannon, the Welsh Queen, Goddess of healing and dreams, horses and the moon. Her child was stolen from her at birth and she was blamed for his death and sentenced to act as a horse carrying guests on her back. Her son was returned to her after 7 tears and she was vindicated. She had 3 birds of healing. She is often worshiped at the Autumn Equinox. Her colors are yellow and white. Stevie Nicks sings an awsome song for her!

Take The Celtic Goddess Test at HelloQuizzy

Yellow Press

Question: What is your earliest political memory?
Answer: Being about two years old, wearing a yellow romper and enormous sunglasses while sitting on a chair in the living room with one of those plastic Fisher-Price telephones. According to family stories, I sat on this chair while wearing said romper and enormous sunglasses, and made numerous telephone calls to Ronald Reagan, denouncing him as “Wonald Weagan, you naughty Pwesident!” Mom has photographic evidence of me doing this, by the way…
For those of you who don’t remember Reagan, he was President from 1980 to 1988, so my phone calls would have been sometime during 1982. Mom suggests that this had to do with the trickle-down philosophy popular with numerous Republican politicians. Ahem.. Gads… that’s a long time ago. Is that the creaking of my knees I hear?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I can has chicken soup?

Well. I haven't fallen off the face of the earth, fallen into any sinkholes, or been chomped by crocodiles. For the past week or so I've been nursing a cold which was the unfortunate result of being badly chilled at an outdoor event. Pictures are forthcoming, as is a detailed explanation of the event in question--no, it wasn't the first annual meeting of the Potomac Polar Bear Club. I've spent a lot of time in bed with mugs of tea and Therma-flu-type stuff, sleeping, reading, and knitting, but I intend to get back to my usual routine sometime this week.. I hope. If I feel energetic enough.
And now for your enjoyment:

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Unbelievable, but unsurprising. Unacceptable. Absolutely unacceptable.

Pumpkin King

Last year, after slaughtering the Great Pumpkin, there were all manner goodies produced with the puree, including soup and lasagna. The first batch of pumpkin lasagna was okay, but I suspected it would benefit from some different spices and something with plenty of heat; tonight, I got to work on a second version containing exactly that. It ended up having four different types of pepper, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and lots, and lots, and lots of cheese. No pictures, alas, but here's the new, greatly improved recipe.

Pumpkin Lasagna:
1 package lasagna noodles cooked according to instructions on package
1 1/2 containers of part skim ricotta
about two cups grated part skim mozzarella
1 lb lean ground beef
1 lb ground turkey
1 lb mild Italian sausage (not the kind in sausage casings!)
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp guajillo pepper
1/4 tsp chimayo pepper
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp black pepper
salt to taste
1/4 cup red wine
2 cans pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling!)

In a large skillet, brown the meat and sausage until thoroughly cooked; add wine and continue cooking. Add pumpkin, spices, salt, and peppers, and turn off the heat. Mix thoroughly and set aside. Cook the noodles and preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Butter (or spray a large baking dish, and start layering until you run out of stuff to layer with, then sprinkle the top layer with more grated mozarella. Cover with tinfoil and bake on middle oven rack for about half an hour, then remove foil and continue baking for another ten to fifteen minutes.

Note: If you want to intensify the spices, you could heat the oil in the pan and throw all the spices and peppers in before you start browning the meat. ;)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Yet another day at the races

Today was the deadline for voter registration, so it was pretty busy all afternoon with people coming in to register. Toward the end of the afternoon, shortly before mom and I left--she's started going with me since I've been pressuring her--an African American couple came in to register.
The wife looked a little worried, but her husband patted her on the shoulder and said, "It's okay, don't worry."
I approached them and said rather cheerfully, "Hi there! What can we do for you?"
"I.... would like to register to vote?"
"You've come to the right place. Would you like to sit down? Here's the form and a pen, and if you have any questions, feel free to ask."
The lady and her husband sat down and she filled out the form, then pulled a folded paper out of her purse and looked a bit nervous. She did have some questions, but soon got everything filled in properly; it wasn't until she unfolded the paper that the reason for her anxiety became apparent.
"I've just gotten my Naturalization papers," she said. "I wanted to make sure I'd be able to register to vote."
The only thing I could think to do was beam at them and say, "Congratulations! How wonderful!"
She was afraid, I think, that even though she's been naturalized, she wouldn't be able to vote, even if she registered. I assured her that since she was now officially a citizen, had the papers to prove it, and the registration form was all filled out, she was certainly able--and welcome!--to do so; just to make extra sure, I asked if she'd like to speak to what I jokingly call "one of the grown-ups". The boss looked at her form, gave her the nod, and told her we'd drop her form off at the courthouse, and that she could expect to get her registration card by a certain date. Her husband, who had begun their visit to the office as looking rather dour--perhaps he, too, was worried she wouldn't be able to vote--immediately brightened up and became much more cheerful.
I was really happy for them: Here they've made a huge change by moving here from another country, they've gone through all the paperwork and other adjustments to become bonafide citizens, and now they're both registered to vote. Does one's heart good to see something like that and to help allay their fears. :)

Saturday, October 11, 2008


Here's the solution to all the grumble-inducing stuff that happened this week. Recipe is here. Crunchies.. yum... the best way I can think of to ease a bilious disposition. For those unfamiliar with the word "bilious", look here for more on χυμός (humors).

Posting the Offices

I went to the post office to–surprise–get the mail. There were some people handing out leaflets for one of the men running for a position on the county commission; one of the ladies pounced on me and tried to give me a leaflet while she talked about how the current county commission was trying to tell her what to do with her farm.
Well.. I don’t know anything about the ordinance she was talking about, so I just said,"I’m sorry…”
The candidate she’s supporting, from what I’ve heard, has been putting an enormous van downtown; this van has, according to what people at my office have been saying, a huge sign on it saying that the Bill of Rights is being trampled by the current commission, and is also decorated with coffins and various other dramatic images to further drive this notion home. I think, but am not sure, that this has something to do with zoning; since I’ve been working at the office in the next town, I’ve been a bit remiss in keeping up with the issues in my own county, which is exactly what I told her.
“Are you a registered voter?”
“Yes, ma’am. I’m a Democrat.”
“So am I! But that doesn’t mean you have to vote Democrat!”
I said nothing to this and tried to change the subject… which ended up changing again to the subject of Sarah Palin.
“I hear that she’s coming to West Virginia,” I said in some despair.
The woman’s sunglasses took up about 2/3 of her face, so I couldn’t see much of how she reacted; the look on her face didn’t seem to express great glee, so I added, “You don’t seem exactly thrilled… or are you?”
“I really like her,” she said. “I like that she shoots from the hip. We really need to get a woman in there to get those men under control and clean out the corruption.”
I digested this for about 30 seconds and said, “But Alaska is one of the most corrupt states in the Union.”
I repeated myself and waited for the nuclear meltdown to start: the calmer I stayed, the more worked up the woman got.
“That stopped when she got in there! She cleaned it all up!”
“Um… I’m not sure that’s the case… But…. good luck. Have a nice day,” I said as I started edging away from her.
“Wait! Tell me about your cats!”
She started walking after me. *headdesk* My…. cats…..?

Addendum: There seems to have been a slight change of plan. Either the titans have been listening and rumbling in their rocky abodes, or you-know-who has temporarily given up. I will now go light the candles. ;)

Friday, October 10, 2008

What the Dickens?

This Dickens quote sums things up pretty well: "Their names are Ignorance and Want. Beware of them. For upon their brow is written the word doom."

I'm proud to be from a state where courage and fortitude and character are so deeply ingrained in the people. Finally, after a lot of hard work and an uphill fight, we've become a swing-state with a decidedly blue tinge. Someone is extremely worried about this, which is no surprise; that someone is sending another someone to try to save his bacon. I think you know of whom I speak.
We've come this far. Don't give in and let them take away what we've all worked so hard for. May the powers that be grant us the strength and courage to see through the lies and hatred and fear, and to make the right decision. Be strong, West Virginia, be strong.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


I was slandered today, which was something I've never in my life had happened. If you're going to insult me, I occasionally joke, do it with panache; I won't descend to your level, though, however enraged I might become.
Today was mostly good, barring the immaturity of the People Across the Street. People registered to vote; a few of them offered anecdotes about their woes as justification for registering and wanting to volunteer. One of the people who registered counted herself among the People Across the Street, so since the boss was out running errands, I offered to take it across myself--several people have registered similarly, and their forms were trotted across the street as a courtesy. Yes, we could just as easily take them to the courthouse ourselves, which is what we were doing before this debacle.
So... I got across the street without being squashed by any passing cars, put the form on the table and said, "I believe this is one of yours."
Well. To make a long story short, I was sent back out with the registration form, and one of the people in the Office Across the Street had the temerity to suggest that I would engage in fraud by altering the person's registration form. I didn't reply, but instead drew myself up, became very icy and formal, thanked them, and left.
I'd be committing fraud if I did that, which is obviously illegal. By suggesting that I'd do such a thing, the person who said it was committing slander, which is also (obviously) not very good behavior. So, if you're going to insult my association with good people and insult my political beliefs, at least do it with some style instead of trying to bait me and bring me down to your level... 'cause it just doesn't work.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Volunteer Poachers In the Estuary

This being Monday, everyone's favorite day of the week, I decided to wear my little fuzzy cat ears to the office in an attempt to cheer people up. When I arrived at the office, however, I was greeted by a veritable tornado of activity: three of the five phones were occupied, people were leaving with armloads of yard signs, people were coming in with armloads of other yard signs, papers were fluttering around all over the place in various stages of finished-ness... Wow. I'm not sure I've ever seen things so busy, even on a typically busy day.
The reason for the commotion, I found out later, was that Anne Barth was due to arrive at 4:45, and that she planned to go out canvassing in one of the neighborhoods. Okay.. I wasn't altogether flustered by this piece of information, so as soon as I finished the first task thrust my way--it amuses me no end to walk and see my boss's face light up with what surely must be fiendish glee while he says,"You're here! I've got a job for you!"--I took up my usual spot behind the front desk. For the next few hours it was business as usual: new voters coming in to register, people coming to get yard signs, other people coming to volunteer, and so on. Among the arrivals was a German tourist who, to our great delight, asked for a yard sign and some Obama stickers to take back to Germany with him. He got them, then went out the door, across the street, and stationed himself in front of the opposition's headquarters while we peered out the window and kept our fingers crossed in the hope there would be no international incidents culminating in the assault of a foreign citizen who'd just waved an enormous blue flag under the bull's nose. Fortunately, nothing untoward happened.
All day people remarked on my fuzzy cat ears, and several of them even suggested that I wear them on a regular basis; no one said it was unprofessional, and I didn't notice anyone throwing disapproving looks my way. Okay... fine.. I'm probably viewed as the house eccentric anyway since I spend the time I'm not actually doing anything useful (i.e. registering voters, shuffling papers, or cutting turf) knitting a pair of socks; the ears, I suppose, just make it even worse. Oh, well.
At about 4:15, the office started transforming into something different: tables went up, food magically appeared (I now suspect Mr. Collinson of being a house elf), the folding chairs lined up, and more people started to appear, some of them in work clothes and business suits. Again, I didn't feel anything out of the ordinary was happening, so when a tall, pretty woman in a business suit and sneakers came in, grinned and pointed at my ears, I just assumed this was another person who'd come to help with the canvassing. Boy, was I wrong. O.O It was Anne Barth herself! I was embarrassed beyond belief. Rachael, your moment of fangirlishness rates high on the Richter Scale of Embarrassment, but at least you weren't wearing kitty ears while you shook hands with a Congressional candidate.... I'd even been planning to take them off before the appointed hour actually struck! Ms. Barth was really very nice about it. I'm pleased to know that our candidate has a sense of humor and is *gasp* a real person. ;)
Once all the volunteers were assembled, she gave a brief speech expressing both gratitude and optimism before ceding the floor to Mr. Collinson, who addressed the group on the matter of canvassing. This culminated in Mr. Collinson herding all of us back out the door for a group picture. I'm appalled that somewhere there will be a picture of a Ms. Barth surrounded by a group of grinning volunteers, one of whom is wearing cat ears. Off they went, the intrepid pairs of volunteers, armed with clipboards, walk lists, and stacks of registration forms to seek any who might have slipped through the cracks.
Otherwise, I was further amused (and surprised and perhaps a little incensed) that someone actually tried to poach me for another office. O.O Me? All I do is cut turf and register voters! And knit... and occasionally spout twaddle that makes no sense to anyone but me. I'm fairly loyal to the people I work with. I like them; they've become part of my routine. And, for their part, they tolerate my quirks--and my twaddle. I think I'll stick with them, if only out of a warped sense of loyalty and honor. :p

Friday, October 3, 2008

Friday Fork-ups

What was it about today? Is it National Fork-Up Day?
1. Tomorrow is Saturday, which would have been the day we went to the craft show in Brunswick. But, due to a monumental fork-up by the person organizing the show, the following happened: A. Our application was misplaced. B. Our entry fee was misplaced. C. The first three phone calls I made to ask about the application went unanswered. D. The person in charge of the show called back, told us the application and entry fee were misplaced and there was no record of our ever having applied to be in the show. E. Two more phone calls go unanswered until today. F. (And this is a BIG F.) The person in charge of organizing the show now claims that the application and fee were never misplaced, the check was cashed on August 1, the information packets were mailed three weeks ago, and we're registered for an indoor space, AND she called yesterday afternoon to tell us all this.
Okay. Let's look at F, which covers most of the letters coming before it. First of all, there was no message or phone number in the caller ID from yesterday afternoon, either in the land line or my cell phone. Second, if the check was cashed, why doesn't the bank have a record of it? If, as she claims, all of the records indicate that we applied, paid the fee, and are registered for an indoor space, why did she say the exact opposite three days ago? It would be physically impossible to cash a check on August 1 when it wasn't mailed until August 30, unless she's somehow able to use a TARDIS or some other time/space travel device. Furthermore, why the fork is she abjuring any responsibility for her own error?
So, no, we will not be going to Brunswick.
2. And... dammit.... I left my yard sign at the office. Grrrrrr.
3. Some elderly man walked in on me in the bathroom at work. HELLO! The door was CLOSED! I shrieked, he slammed the door, and after I left, I made a big sign and taped it to the door: "Please KNOCK!" How very embarrassing.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Dreaming in F Major

I remember it well: It was in early November eight years ago, shortly before I was supposed to leave for Ohio to spend Thanksgiving with you and your family. I decided not to go, knowing, perhaps, what was coming. I remember the phone call, but not all of what was said. I remember howling, sinking to the floor, and sobbing. Not so very long ago, I found a box full of letters and postcards, all in your very neat hand; I re-read them and went through half a box of tissues in the process. On the whole, though, I do not spare you more than the infrequent passing thought.

Why, then, have I dreamed about you twice in the past week and a half? My time is occupied, my mind is occupied, and I really don't need these little reminders of what, as they say, once was.

Dream Number 1:

Date: Last week, but I don't remember specifically when.

In my dream you appeared at a place where I also was, and there were numbers of people around. I suspect it was where I was working, though I'm not completely certain. Much of the dialogue, if there was any, is forgotten, except that you, on bended knee, declared, "I've never again met anyone like you." I was speechless. End of dream.

When I woke up, I was angry. Angry that you invaded my space, even in the unreality that is a dream, after eight years. If this were reality, I would have said, "Nor will you. Nature and nurture made me what I am, and there will never again be another like me." But this wasn't reality and I didn't have the satisfaction.

Dream Number 2:

Date: Last night, which is why I'm blogging about it right this very minute.

In my dream you did not appear, but your parents and brother did. Your mother was a voice on the phone, telling me that your brother was about to get married. I informed her that I was unable to stay long on the phone because I was leaving to attend a friend's sister's baby shower. I put the phone down and went out to the garden to look for something to wear (don't ask... it was a dream), and the phone followed me, floating through the air, while your mother continued her commentary. I didn't ask about you, but once again I resented the intrusion. Even in a dream, I resented the intrusion.

Why, after eight years? Why, after eight years of not thinking about you, not caring about where your life went, and not being at all interested in what became of you, am I suddenly dreaming about you? Not that you'll ever read this and offer an explanation or an apology for invading my mental space.

Monday, September 29, 2008


This was shared by a fellow Raveler. Read and cringe, kids, read and cringe. This is, as the author suggests, getting closer and closer to territory covered by science fiction. There will probably be an awful lot of women getting bear traps installed in some very funny places, and I think I might be one of them.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Larvely Linoln

Phew. All done. Here's the black Lincoln with a dime to show the scale. Am now officially out of bobbins, dammit, which means I can't do any more spinning until I wind up what's already done.

Friday, September 26, 2008

William Blake To Mod Debate?

"Raisin, Raisin burning bright, in the tellies late at night. What immortal hand or eye dare frame thy fearful sinistry?"

That about sums it up.

In Which There Are White-tails

This was not how the deer reacted to my presence in the yard this morning. They, the pests, have successfully nibbled their way through our vegetables and flowers, and this morning the family walked right down through the yard while I was standing on the front stoop. The mother stopped, stared, and tracked me with her ears, then continued through the front garden; the two yearlings did the same, and then a young buck with tiny little antlers followed them. He must have just lost his velvet, because the antlers looked raw and bloody; either that, or he must have taken a poke at the neighbors' dachshunds. The whole family made a slow procession down through the yard, all the while paying no attention while I spoke to them; I finally flapped my arms and yelled "Shoo!" in an attempt to make them leave the garden alone. They. Paid. No. Attention. I don't know what to think of this performance...
Otherwise, two nights ago, the local foxes had a little territorial dispute. At 1 AM. I was so annoyed I got out of bed, put on my bathrobe, and went outside to have a word with them. They were in the woods somewhere, but as soon as they heard the door, they decided to move their argument to another venue.
Oh. Finally started spinning the black Lincoln wool from MDSWF this year. It's pure wool, but it's got a little tiny bit of a halo. Maybe I've finally got enough spinning under my belt to be slightly above "Novice", but the singles are coming out fairly even. They're approximately sport weight so far, barring the occasional slubby bit that sneaks through. Pictures will be forthcoming as soon as I finish filling the current bobbin. It's so much easier to spin than the bamboo stuff!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

In Which There Are Chickens

I like my boss. He was overheard to remark, "I smell chicken" in reference to a certain announcement today. Shortly afterward, the entire office ground to a halt so we could watch Obama's press conference. Every time that man opens his mouth I find a new reason to respect him.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

In Which There Is General Pettiness

There have been rumors flying around the office that an Important Personage would be visiting us to see how things are progressing. Today, while I was at the post office, I bumped into the boss and found that yes, there was indeed an Important Personage due to visit the office, and that said visit would be occurring this very day. I beetled my brows and considered heading home to change into something a bit more businesslike. No, said the boss, that wouldn't be necessary.
The appointed hour approached, and at three o'clock the office was abuzz with activity. A whole four people doing phonebanking, and yet another four doing the requisite geeky stuff required to keep things going, and... me... manning the front desk to get people registered and/or signed up to volunteer. If the IP had arrived when she was supposed to, she would have arrived during a peak period of activity. If she'd arrived when she'd been supposed to, it would have been a heartening sight. She arrived, however, three hours late, which meant there was no one doing phonebanking (the volunteers aren't chained to their oars, after all) and there were only three of us in the office, and those of us who remained were lurking around in various stages of relative relaxation while we waited for the IP to appear.
I was not impressed by her tardiness, but I said nothing. While I'm not accustomed to being the center of attention, neither am I being accustomed to being completely ignored; I appreciate slight acknowledgement of my presence as a human being, so it further irked me that she failed to appear as anything but rude. She may indeed be a nice person, but I require more evidence than what was given me this afternoon. After about five minutes of what sounded like utter twaddle, I ascended from the couch--ladies, even ladies wearing jeans and cardigans, ascend--and approached with what is my version of icy hauteur. This consists of an absolutely calm expression, a change from my usual slouch to my full height, and a change in tone of voice. I'm not tall, so it's rare that I get the feeling that I'm actually looming over people, especially when they're of a similar height; I definitely got the feeling that I loomed. :P No, I'm not being petty. Promise!
"I don't believe we've been introduced," I said.
"I'm blah-de-blah-de-blah," she answered. "I'm the (insert impressive title here)."
"I'm (insert my name here). How nice to meet you. I really must be heading out."
And so saying, I scooped up my things and swept out of the office. If I were capable of doing something eerily supernatural, I suspect there would have been swirls of dead post-it notes fluttering in my wake. Preferably post-it notes with mean little faces drawn on them.
Okay. Maybe it is petty to be irritated by a rude twelve-year-old with a briefcase. And maybe it is petty to have wished for a swirl of demented post-its. But I'm not the one who was three hours late and acted like a twerp. That's not the best way to make a good impression on the people who are working for the person who works under you while we're all working toward a common purpose.

On a different note, I dealt with my first veteran today. A Vietnam vet came in to sign-up for volunteering; he expressed outrage at how many people are buying into certain stories while the economy is faltering and so many are struggling to make ends meet. How, too, he wanted to know, could a veteran be so against giving other veterans access to things like education and other benefits that they earned? Y'know, I'd like to know those answers myself, but I don't think they'll be forthcoming. I was so moved by the man's concerns that I got a bit teary-eyed. For his sake, and for all our sakes, I hope his fears do not come to pass.


This is sort of like the old Tomagochi, but without the beeping and such. I never had one, and I don't think I knew anyone who did. The little dragon hatchling to the right is of a similar variety, but it's on a different site. Basically, you clicks them, you feeds them, and they grow. ;)

Feed Me!

Adopted from Valenth

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Autumn Whimsy Redux

Now that autumn is officially here, it's time to start thinking about apple cider, pumpkins, potted chrysanthemums, and raking leaves; with this in mind, here's a neat way to celebrate the beginning of autumn. It uses the same chocolate crust as the Triple Threat Cheesecake, but you'll note, I'm sure, that the filling is quite a different beast altogether. ;) Happy autumn!

1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, cream sugar and butter until fluffy. Whisk flour and cocoa powder in a separate bowl; add gradually to creamed sugar/butter mixture. This will resemble coarse crumbs or crumbly cookie dough. Turn mixture out into the bottom of a greased springform pan and press it into an even layer using the back of a spoon or the flat bottom of a drinking glass. Bake on the middle oven rack for about 15 minutes, then remove from oven.

1.33 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 15 oz can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling! if you have homemade pumpkin puree, that works poifectly, too.)
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, softened (about 3 packages)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
2 oz bourbon or whiskey

Get as much water out of the pumpkin puree as you can, either by letting it sit in a strainer layered with paper towels for a few hours, or by putting it between layers of paper towels and patting some of the moisture out (this takes a couple of tries). Whisk sugar and spices in a separate bowl while the cream cheese is being beaten (assuming you have something like a KitchenAid mixer… BIG help with this recipe), and begin adding sugar mixture to the cream cheese. Add pumpkin, vanilla, eggs, and bourbon and beat at low/medium speed until smooth. Add heavy cream and continue beating until everything is incorporated. Pour the filling into the springform and gently knock it against a counter or table top to get all the bubbles out. Wrap some tinfoil around the pan to keep any leaks from spilling out, and bake on the middle rack at 350 for about an hour.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

La Espía

This one is Teabird's fault. I'm not sure I'd make that good a spy or be able to stab someone with a sharp pointy object, but the rest of it fits fairly well. :P

Your result for Reincarnation Placement Exam...


67% Intrigue, 68% Civilization, 63% Humanity, 34% Urbanization.

Live well, ride fast, and die young, baby!

Well, you turned out to be something of a rogue. This may not be exactly the life you wanted... but it's difficult to place people who want to enjoy all the romance and intrigue of civilization, without actually having a demanding job. Besides, since you enjoy the benefits of humanity so much more than you enjoy the press of humanity itself... you shouldn't have much trouble with your role in life. As long as you aren't afraid of danger there's a place for you in society, even if it's a rather dark and wicked place. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to fulfill the role of a spy.

The good news: You're free and clever, and you can do whatever the heck you want. The bad news: everybody else is free and clever too, and they're not all on your side.

With the flick of a blade, you can change the course of history. Might be fun. Might be a little messy.

Take Reincarnation Placement Exam at HelloQuizzy

Another Day At the Races

I suffered a shock while I was at the office today. I found out that there are indeed some West Virginians who are awful, rotten, racist jackasses.
At around 3 o'clock, a pickup truck roared past the office with a squeal of tires, a blast of the horn; the driver, mature and thoughtful man that he was, shouted, "Fork Obama!" Or something very like it. I stuck my head out from behind the curtain that partitions the office and said, "I doubt, sir, that you're his type."
Such maturity. I'm so ashamed. *sigh*
The second shock I got today was that the women who think highly of the.. um.. VP pick for a certain elephantine party... aren't actually figments of someone's imagination. One of them came into the office today to register to vote. I was in the back printing out more walk-lists when I overheard a very cheerful voice announcing that someone liked... this person. I sauntered out from behind the curtain and said sweetly, "Did I hear someone say they like Sarah Palin?"
Claudette*, who was helping the woman fill out the registration form answered that yes, this lady did like so-and-so. I looked at the woman and smiled.
"Do you mind if I ask why?"
"She's just so personable to me. She's just like the rest of us, the kind of person you could sit down and have a cup of coffee with."
My first thought was, And so was MUSSOLINI.
Instead, I asked, "If, god forbid, something should happen to John McCain while he's in office, do you think she would be qualified to run the country in his stead?"
Dead silence. It would appear madame hadn't thought that far ahead, let alone even considered the possibility. I further pointed out that Ms. Palin seems disinclined to remember the events of the Women's Rights Movement--if it weren't for that small blip in history, she'd never have been a governor, let alone a city council woman, and certainly wouldn't be doing what she's doing--and also seems uninterested in people's civil rights... aside from.. a certain amendment to the Constitution.
The conversation then veered to why the woman felt that voting was against everything she believed in. This struck me as odd, since even that kind of statement expresses an opinion, so I asked her to elaborate.
"I'm completely against the war, you know. I've lost a lot of relatives over there."
I pointed out that, as this is obviously a serious concern for her, she might consider voting for that very reason. If nothing else, opposing people who continue to favor certain behaviors will give her a chance to express that concern to the powers that be. I left her to mull that over for a while, and just as I got back behind the curtain I heard her say she was registering as a Democrat. I won't say I had anything to do with it, but at least I put in my two cents.

The good news, though, far outweighs any bad stuff that happened today. I got a box in the mail from a certain friend who lives in Florida. *ahems* Miss Rachael, you rock with absolute and total style. She sent me a jar of her homemade fig preserves with--squee!--vanilla. I am so looking forward to trying it! She also sent me a skein of handspun yarn in the most amazing shade of blue (she spun and dyed it herself. Most impressive, young Skywalker). I'm floored. The texture is fabulous. The color is fabulous. AND IT'S CORRIEDALE! And.. and... I'm in a state of woolly ecstasy.
She also sent me Season 3 of Supernatural. Ooooh, I'm looking forward to that, too. Gah... figgy jam, gorgeous yarn, and a new way to get my Brothers Winchester fix.
Miss Rachael, you rock. With style.

* The names have been changed to protect the owners' privacy. ;)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Just Say NO!

Last Tuesday was knit-night, and one of the ladies brought wild catnip from her farm. Silly me, I left the baggy in my knitting bag, so now the bag and its contents are strongly scented... catnip scented. See photographic evidence on the left. The little brat even stole yarn from my bag!
Well. For the last three days I've been volunteering--see previous post-- and today I actually got to teach someone else how to do what I've been doing with the turf cutting.
There's been plenty of other stuff going on: people have actually come in and asked to do phonebank (brave souls, they!), and there have been a bunch of equally brave folks out canvassing on foot; that's in addition to the people who are tabulating things and crunching numbers, and the ones who are going to various events around the region. Honestly, I'm perfectly happy to be doing what I'm doing with the turf-cutting doohickey.
Today, the Democratic candidate for the state Supreme Court came in to deliver some signs for people to put in their yards, and the lady who's running for WV Secretary of State also came in for a quick visit. Mr. Ketchum was convinced he'd met me before, but I have no idea where that might have been since I've never had any brushes with the law and I don't move in those circles. Oh, well. Both of them were delightful, though. If being personable were enough to get people elected, they have an excellent chance of making it. ;)
I told the boss I'm staying home tomorrow and will be back on Monday bearing bagels.
"Homemade bagels?" he said.
I should have said, "Is there any other kind?" :P

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Day At the Races

Well, today was certainly interesting! Got up, showered, got geared up to make a batch of soap, then trotted myself off to the next town. The town I live in isn't really a political black hole; the college has student organizations, but I haven't seen much evidence of any politicking except for signs on people's lawns or in their windows. That means that the regional headquarters is in the next town, and that's where things are happening.
I discussed it with mom yesterday, then called dad and discussed it with him, too. Both of them thought it was a good idea, but I grouched at dad and said, "And why aren't you doing something, too?" His excuse is that he doesn't want to be stuck doing phone-duty. I don't blame him. I wouldn't want to be stuck on phone-duty, either! Turned out there was enough to do that didn't involve people, and that was exactly what I was fortunate enough to do.
It turned out, furthermore, that the directeur regional was a former classmate. I didn't know him except by name while we were in college, and was astonished he even remembered me.
"What would you like to do?" he asked.
"Something that doesn't involve people," I answered. "I can do paperwork if there's any that needs doing."
Paperwork wasn't exactly what I ended up doing, but it did involve an awful lot of paper. I was given the task of cutting turf in one of the voting precincts in the next county. This was done with the aim of making things easier for the people who are canvassing on foot; lots of paper involved here, since the lists of voters have to be printed out along with little maps of each chunk of the precinct. So, for three hours, barring about a 20 minute interval during which the printer decided to be extremely uncooperative. By that point, we were about ready to throw it out the door and let passing traffic destroy it; luckily there was an old inkjet printer in the back, and that, while awfully slow, did get things done.
So.. get out there and do something, dammit!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Obfuscate +5

Okay. Every time you turn on the television, every time you look in the paper, every time you turn on the radio, what do you hear about? A certain person said this, a certain person refused to do that, a certain person danced with a yellow cat. I think you know who I mean.. ahem.
Brilliant move by the GOP: By tapping someone who's cute, fluffy, and appealing, you've managed to get everyone's minds off the major issues like the war and the economy, thus diverting attention from where it should be.
This, as far as anyone over the age of about 20 knows, has never been done in a campaign before. Previously, the burning issues were what got candidates elected.
I'll say it again: way to obfuscate. The issues are still there, folks, and you're still going to be affected by them, no matter how cute, fluffy, annoying, or despicable people are.

Saturday, September 6, 2008


I'm reluctant to make any political statements, but since this banned book thing has come up and I do read, I have to say it: only someone who is either too lazy or incapable of independent thought would ban books that aren't the equivalent of mental popcorn. Lady, I name you εχθρός[Echthros], for that is what you are.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Foodies Forever

This has been floating around for a while, and I've seen several acquaintances post it, so I'll cave in and do it myself.

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:
1. Venison (A childhood friend's dad used to hunt)
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding (Never.. never, never, never...!)
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari (Serious squiddy love affair... yes)
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle (In my next life, maybe...)
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns (Why, oh, why did Mr. Jung's have to close...)
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries (wineberries abound in the woods here)
23. Foie gras (Not recently, but, boy was it good...)
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters (Smoked oysters.. does that count?)
29. Baklava (Lucky enough to have a Greek neighbor)
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas (One of my favorite snacks)
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float (Alias a Black Cow. Best made with IBC Rootbeer)
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail (in soup)
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel (in sushi)
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle (Childhood friend's grandmother used to make them from scratch)
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini (Caviar without the blini, please!)
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost (would do almost anything for gjetost.. serious love affair there, too)
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky (Yum)
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox (Home made bagels.. yum)
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake