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.