31 December 2008

Happy Holidays "T" You

This year's Christmas gifts were quite a bit leaner than usual, including the elimination of a gift on Solstice night, but that doesn't mean you can't have fun with them. Thanks to the extreme generosity of a coworker, I was able to wrap up four presents for my son instead of two. This friend gave us two DVDs and two CDs that my son had put on his list. Since shopping and gifts would not be a major focus of this year's celebrations, we instead spent a lot of time watching holiday themed TV shows together. One of our new favorites is the Colbert Christmas Special. At the end of the special as the credits are rolling, Stephen Colbert advises us that his DVD would make the perfect Christmas present. But, he says, don't you just hate that when you wrap a DVD, it still looks like a DVD? He then suggests buying TWO copies and wrapping them perpendicular to each other - "then they'll think you got them a letter T!" Well, I had two DVDs to wrap; I couldn't resist:

I have never seen my son crack up as much as he did when he saw his "letter T" under the tree. Of course this was the first present he opened Christmas morning.

I hope everyone has had a decent holiday season this year. Ours was made much better by the generosity of others and the humor of Stephen Colbert. Thank you everyone.

17 December 2008

Charity Work

I had a bit of an adventure yesterday. During the holidays, you hear a lot of encouragement to help out with local charities. Some families make a yearly donation of money, food, or goods, or they actually go to a soup kitchen and help serve a meal. I've always thought this was a great idea, especially if you do it as a family. Right now I'm sure you're thinking that we must have done some helping of the poor yesterday. Well, you'd be wrong. My adventure was to be on the receiving end of said charity.

Basically we ran out of food and money. I only work part-time so that I can homeschool our son, but my meager income is the only guaranteed money that we have. The rest has to come from my husband, who does contract work. This fall, his major long-term agreement of trimming trees for a home owner's association was canceled because they decided to try and save money and get the actual neighborhood home owners to do it on a volunteer basis. We were counting on this money, and it was gone. We've been able to scrape by pretty well with his other much smaller jobs since this happened in August, all the while expecting the HOA to figure out that they weren't going to get anyone to volunteer, but somehow it just wasn't happening this month.

On Monday evening, I used the last of the frozen chicken we had, steamed the last handful of baby carrots and made the last box of macaroni and cheese. Once I did this, all we had in the cupboard was a pint of milk, some rice, a couple of packages of ramen, and peanut butter. Oh, and some stale cereal. As far as staples, we had a little flour and sugar left at the bottom of the canister, but no eggs, no bread, no cheese, no meat or vegetables of any kind. And we had $27 to last until the day after Christmas with low gas in both vehicles. I was a little stressed.

I remembered several years ago when we had been in a similar financial situation and I had gotten a sack of groceries from a nearby church. It wasn't the greatest of food, but it was something. So yesterday morning I called 211 (after looking it up online to make sure that I remembered right.) For those of you who don't know, 211 is like 911 for emergency human services. I told the operator my ZIP code and my need, food. She gave me a list of charities in my city with hours, addresses and phone numbers. I called them all to get further information about requirements. One required recent pay stubs, proof of residency, birth certificates and an interview, so I chose to not use that one as I didn't want to dig in the file cabinet. Or in the pile waiting to be put into the file cabinet... One told me that they had very little food available right now. One is only open two days a week at 8:30 AM, and you'd better come get in line at 8:00. But the other two seemed a little more accessible.

The first that I went to was the city charity. I was told that you can only receive food assistance once every two months. Fair enough. I did have to prove who I had in my household and fill out a form, but overall it was fairly simple. They gave me three paper bags filled with groceries, and I got to choose from a giant selection of day old bread. You know all those fancy artisan breads at the store that cost $4 and up? I guess they don't sell them all because that was mostly what was there. I got some wonderful oatmeal bread, a loaf a store bakery unsliced white bread, some rosemary and olive oil bread, some ciabatta rolls, a 4-pack of cream cheeses muffins and half an apple pie. In the sacks were some canned vegetables (expected), but also 2 boxes of spaghetti and three cans of spaghetti sauce, tomato soup (Campbell's, no less) and chicken noodle soup, pork and beans, canned diced tomatoes, canned black-eyed peas, real Spaghettio's, canned spaghetti and meatballs, ramen noodles, rice-a-roni and macaroni & cheese, dried pinto beans, packets of ranch dressing and turkey gravy mix, Manwich (with nothing to mix it with...) four apples, some fresh carrots, a box of cereal, a jar of peanut butter, a bag of frozen chicken nuggets, and a whole frozen chicken. I had tears in my eyes as I thanked them and took the groceries to my car. Who knew just being given food, such a basic necessity, would be so emotional.

Next I went to the mission. This is run by the large church downtown and takes up several city blocks. They run not just a food bank, but also a clothing bank, a night shelter, a day shelter, a free clinic, a small church, and a free Christmas store. Here I also had to fill out a form and talk to a worker about our situation. She pressed me for anything else I needed besides food. I had overheard someone else talking about needing kitchen things like a toaster and a blender. She prayed a very nice prayer for my family's financial situation to improve. I also had to answer creatively when she asked if I went to church or if I was a Christian - I didn't want to offend anyone. Here I got two plastic bags of groceries. One had bread - the same types as the other place, but I got different kinds here (two whole-grain artisan loaves, a loaf of sourdough and a small baguette.) There were canned goods in the other bag, two large cans of chicken, a can of turkey gravy, some more vegetables (including the kind we usually buy), a jar of peanut butter, cream of chicken soup, generic spaghettio's, canned fruit salad, more ramen and mac & cheese, and albacore tuna.

So now we have enough food for a few days. I'm going to freeze about half the bread to use later - there's no way we can eat all that bread before it goes bad no matter how good it is. We'll parcel out the $27 to get just enough gas (it's only $1.39 right now!)and some supplemental foods items like more milk. We'll be eating a lot at other people's houses next week for holiday gatherings, so we should be able to make it alright to next Friday's paycheck.

The moral of the story? It can happen to anyone, and charity does work. After seeing up close everyone being helped, I'll be donating more often now myself. In the past I have only done so when it was convenient, but people need help all the time. Not just when it's convenient, and not just during the holidays.

16 October 2008


Well, we've done it: We've finally finished Deathly Hallows. So, all of you people who have been so kind to my son and me as we lagged behind the rest of the world while scrupulously avoiding magazine articles and websites and conversations, thank you for your patience. You may now speak freely. And yes, I'd love to discuss with anyone who is still interested!

Once we actually started the book, it took less than a month reading one, two, sometimes three chapters a day. Sadly, Harry Potter reading is no longer a thrice weekly official subject at our homeschool. Even though I brightly suggested starting over again...

We can now safely join in the anticipation of the upcoming Tales of Beedle the Bard(and know what we are anticipating - I'm especially coveting the Collector's Edition)and look at news on the upcoming movies (despite the delay of #6 - grrrr) without fear of being spoiled. Upon finishing, we quickly logged onto JKRowling.com - a favorite that we'd been missing for some time, as well as Mugglenet and The Leaky Cauldron so we could catch up.

What a relief!

02 September 2008

Summer Fun is Over

Summer is officially over at my house. School has started (well, attempted to start - the only reason I'm posting right now is that my son fell asleep on the couch during our first French review...) Anyway, I had intended to post about our trip to Denver for the International New Age Trade Show soon after we got back, but yeah, that didn't happen. Better late than never I always say.

Besides ordering more products for my still non-functioning online store (because more stuff to sell is more important than being able to sell it, right?), we visited some touristy type things like Pike's Peak and the zoo. I'd post a picture from Pike's Peak if we hadn't left the camera in the car. Oh, but we've got plenty of zoo pictures - because everyone needs more of those... Here's one now:

Why do we feel compelled to take these pictures?!! On another note, we saw this little guy roaming around right next to the wolf's 'enclosure.' Run away little rabbit!

All right, here's some typical better Colorado pictures. One from Boulder Falls:

And another from the Denver Botanical Gardens:

All in all we had fun when we weren't in our closet motel room. Seriously, we were trying to save money, but come on - a whole room/suitcase area/bathroom setup that could easily fit into my son's bedroom? Well, we did save a lot of money, and I guess it was clean at least.

OK, I better go wake up my son now and torture him some more with "Quelle heure est-il?"

09 August 2008


That's how I'm feeling at the moment. I'm guessing it's stemming from a combination of Levaquin and Toradol, both of which say "may cause dizziness" on the label. So, why do a blog post while feeling woozy? Why not? Since this is medication induced, let's talk about why I'm in this predicament.

An outside observer might think that I enjoy going to the doctor. I certainly spent enough time there as a child. Not for anything serious, of course, usually just bad hay fever leading to lovely things like bronchitis. Nowadays, though, it's just a string of one doctor visit after the other, all different kinds of specialists. Lots of fun medical tests. (Insert sarcastic laugh here.) Why, just this past summer I've had an IVP (a type of x-ray of the kidneys), a cystoscopy (avoid this one at all costs if they ever suggest it to you), a colonoscopy, and an abdominal CT (because don't we just love drinking barium.) Up next is a HIDA scan and a sonogram. Apparently, the cause of abdominal pain can be hard to figure out. I'm glad I have insurance.

So, I've dealt with pain before. I have a recurring kidney stone problem due to my body's apparent inability to balance vitamin D, calcium and all those other nice things without outside intervention. So the good old parathyroid says, hey, we need more calcium in the blood, let's get it from those bones, they don't need it. Well, let me tell you, bone pain is not a nice thing. But it stays away as long as I maintain supplements. Kidney stones are not a walk in the park either; luckily mine are usually small and pass easily.

But I have another source of pain lurking in my past. Endometriosis. I had a total hysterectomy and bilateral oopherectomy 10 years ago because of it. I though I was cured, I thought I was safe. Five years ago, I had unexplained abdominal pain. Once the gastroenterologist couldn't find anything serious, he suggested that it was the endometriosis. Surely not, I thought. My gynecologist at the time concurred. Preposterous! he said - it was all cleaned out in 1998. Luckily, my pain improved.

Fast forward a couple of years. It's now the Fall of 2006, and I have symptoms of too much estrogen. You know, weight gain, sore, lumpy breasts... My dosage of estrogen has not changed in 8 years, why would this be happening? Maybe it's because you're getting older says my endocrinologist. We'll just lower your dose. The gynecologist orders an obligatory mammogram (since those are so much fun), which is normal of course. Oh, maybe you should cut out caffeine. OK, I say (as I grumble to myself that one soda a day is not just a whole heck of a lot to begin with.) But without the caffeine dependency and with the lower estrogen dose, I do feel better. I just can't skip breakfast anymore. Turns out you need food to have energy in the morning.

So, just over a year later in early 2008, I start having pain again and I need a bigger bra cup size. Have I gained any weight? No, not really, just a few pounds. Not enough to explain needing bigger everything. Bra, underwear, jeans (two whole sizes bigger for those). I've worn the same size underwear for my whole adult life - even when I've weighed more than I do now. So why does it suddenly seem like they got sent through the shrink ray?! Complicating matters is an increase of kidney stones. But, with additional medications, they get under control. So why is this other stuff getting worse?

Off I go to the urologist when the pain becomes unbearable. Maybe there's a stone stuck in there after all. Nope, she says after checking me out thoroughly, you should go see a gastroenterologist, do you have one? Well, I guess I do, even if it has been five years. At this point, I'm thinking, I want to check EVERYTHING out, so I make an appointment with my new gynecologist also (the old one retired.) So, the gastroenterologist orders all the usual tests (see above) but asks me about endometriosis. He's satisfied when I tell him I have a gynecologist appointment. Of course all his tests are negative (well, I haven't had the HIDA scan yet, but I'm going to assume), and I'm wondering what the heck is going on.

I haven't read anything about endometriosis in 10 years. Why would I need to, I was cured, right? But after discussing this whole mess with my mom, I looked at a book and some websites on Thursday. I had no idea that hysterectomy was not a cure. I knew that surgery to laser it all off pre-hysterectomy wasn't, it would just grow back. But I had been told that this surgery was the penultimate. Anything small that they missed would die off, and of course, they would do their best to not miss anything. Well, that's all wrong. I think this article tells it the most succinctly. The most likely reason (it seems to me) I'm having high estrogen symptoms is that there is endo growing in there still, and it's producing it's own estrogen. The gynecologist agreed that it was pretty likely this was what was going on (my appointment was yesterday.) But the only way to know for sure is another laparoscopy (I've had two previously - a really long time ago.) She wants to rule out a couple of things first (hence the levaquin and upcoming sonogram), but more than likely there's a surgery in my future. I guess we'll see once and for all, soon enough.

01 August 2008


That's how my blog feels. It hasn't been updated in a while, and I've had several posts floating around in my head for over a month - they haven't even made it to draft stage. I have pictures to show, stories to tell, and thoughts I've pondered to muse about. That list of books we're reading in homeschool on the right over there is probably three months old. His summer reading isn't even worth the time to put up over there; he goes through a new book every day or two. (We keep running out of books for him!) Heck, I finished two of the books I say I'm reading long ago (only two of them though, the Dreamweaver book, not so much - still working on that enormous thing), and I've read another couple besides.

So, here's my pledge: Over the next week, I'll try to post as many of those posts that are in my head as possible. AND, I'll update the books section and any other thingies/buttons I've stuck over there and have long forgotten about. Deal?

18 June 2008

School's Out for Summer

So this post is a little late. We've been done with school for a week and a half already. My goal was to have everything completed by the end of May, and we finished a week late only because we spent that time at my parent's house when my grandfather became very ill suddenly, and ultimately passed away.

Our last few weeks consisted of cramming as much French instruction in as we could stand in order to finish the book. It seems that those textbooks get more in depth and difficult as you get towards the end. Who'd-a thunk? We also did the final three tests for math in the last week (that should have been done starting three weeks earlier...ahem). We finished all of our science and history for the year about the middle of May, so that helped with trying to get the other subjects finished. But we did decide to postpone a library skills unit until next year, as I hadn't realized how long it would actually take when I stuck it into the syllabus.

I feel so much relief that we'll have a real summer vacation this year. Last year we only had about six weeks break before we started up again. We're actually taking a trip this summer, next week to be exact. We'll be heading to Colorado for some fun and a little business, too. We're going to check out INATS to look for some new products to have on hand once I finish building our website. For the first time in about four years, I am actively working on the site, and I am really excited. I'll let y'all know how it's coming. I may start a separate blog to update on the business stuff, but I'm still mulling all that over.

07 May 2008

The Rising Cost of Food

Something interesting has happened during our recent forays to the grocery store. The prices of most basic foodstuffs have increased by 50%, and in some cases 100%. We don't buy just a whole lot of prepackaged goodies, usually we buy the basic building block ingredients and create our own goodies (cookies and the like), so we don't often encounter sudden higher prices. I guess I should have seen it coming when milk prices went up a while back. According to the news, this is happening all over the world and wreaking havoc on the lives of just about everyone.

Now, I'm not going to go into a political/ecological rant about the whole thing, that's not the purpose of this particular post. I just wanted to point out an unexpected personal consequence of higher prices: it has become easier to justify buying organic products. They are no longer much more expensive than non-organic; they're just a little bit more. My first encounter with this was at the eggs. Normally, a dozen regular, factory-produced, grade A, large, white eggs would cost me $1.29. They've been this price for I don't know how long. So I am astonished when one day, out of the blue, they're $1.99. What?! So, this causes me to look around at the other eggs I usually ignore. In the top of the egg case, there's a nice carton of brown, organic, hand-gathered eggs from free-roaming chickens for $2.19. I normally wouldn't feel OK with spending almost twice as much for the nice eggs, being on a tight budget and all. But now they're actually a viable option at only 20 cents more. I found this theme repeated throughout the store with the butter, cheese, etc. In some cases the organic and/or locally grown option was exactly the same price as the 'regular' stuff with the new inflated prices.

So, I'm wondering if this is going on in other parts of the country as well. If other shoppers are as attentive and actually start choosing the 'better' options, couldn't that translate to a boost for our own economy? Especially our local ones? I think the main reason people don't buy these types of items more often is that they are cost prohibitive for most of us. If suddenly they're not so outrageous, maybe things can improve as an unintentional consequence of recession/inflation. Or do I just need to get my rose-colored glasses adjusted?

23 April 2008

The Irony of the Spheres

First, let me explain. I was browsing through the homeschool section of a Christian bookstore because, other than used (which can be extremely difficult to find in good shape), the only real place to buy our Saxon homeschool math text is at one of these stores. Gut-wrenching, I know.

So, as I was browsing, I spotted a series of creation science texts, and my curiosity was piqued. There's a whole line of these on individual science subjects. I picked up the one on astronomy as it purported to be authored by a real astronomer. I'm pretty sure it was this one.Now, I must confess that my only real scientific education has come from watching innumerable TV shows like "The Universe," which I guess may be more than a lot of people, but still, I'm no scholar. I skimmed through the book and found some pretty good astronomy information, but it was of course based in creationism which I found intriguing. I've always wondered how they explain things. As a child growing up in a Christian home, I reconciled the ideas of creation with the Big Bang by deciding that we didn't know how long a "day" was according to God. Apparently, according to the astronomy book, this is a common wayof explaining things among some Christians, but it's wrong. It went on to show that the original Hebrew for "day" that is used in the creation passages means specifically 24 hours. Again, I'm not a Hebrew scholar either, so I have to take the author's word for it.

While explaining astronomy from a biblical, the universe was created in 6 literal days point of view, the author spent quite some time explaining what's wrong with the other points of view. One of the points that stuck with me and will require me to do some actual in-depth research and thinking was two-fold. Apparently, scientists use the problem with the distance of stars from us and the time it takes for light to reach earth as evidence that the earth was NOT created 6000 years ago. The author states that this is not a problem because we are dealing with supernatural explanations, e.g. God, anyway, and he could have set things up any way he wanted (I believe this is also the explanation for dinosaur fossils.) He then goes on to say that scientists have their own problem of a similar nature regarding distance and heat. He says that if the Big Bang were true, then there should be pockets of space that are warmer or colder than each other, since warmer and colder areas would have resulted from the current Big Bang model and that since the universe's expansion happened so fast, there would have been insufficient time for the temperature to even out. Now, call me ignorant, go ahead it's OK, especially if you're an astronomer, but it seems to me that if the universe has been around for billions of years, then there has been ample time for the temperature of the universe to even out.

OK, back to the irony title of this post. We hold a discussion group on Friday nights at my house, and I thought it would be interesting to discuss some of this, especially as some regulars know more about science and astronomy than I do. Of course I didn't want to pay full price for the book or give the author his portion of the proceeds, so I looked on Amazon for a used copy. Imagine my surprise when I typed "astronomy creation science"into the search box under books and came up with 666 results. I just had to laugh and, of course, share. I guess as books are added and subtracted the results number may change in future, but today it's funny!

14 March 2008

Pi Day 2008

Happy Pi Day everyone! We've celebrated today with discussions of Pi and the watching of videos on YouTube. We checked out PiDay.org and talked about Daniel Tammet, the savant who holds the European record for reciting Pi (over 20,000 digits!) His book, Born on a Blue Day, was very interesting BTW. This led to talking about Kim Peek, the original Rain Man.

Well, I must be off, it's time for chocolate-banana...

Here's a funny cartoon to keep you company while I'm gone. Oh, and if anyone's ever looking for a gift idea for me...

05 March 2008

The Texas Caucus Ruckus

This post comes late in the day as I've been trying to recover from last night while still getting in a little bit of homeschool. Call it caucus exhaustion.

Last night our precinct caucus took until 2 AM and was conducted for the most part, outdoors. Unbelievable right? And yet this story was repeated across the state. Our precinct polling place is a small polling place (maybe 800 square feet) that is used for 8 different precincts. When we arrived earlier in the day to vote in the Primary, we stood in line for about an hour or so, something we expected. But we were astonished at the small size of the building. Having just moved to this area recently, this was our first time voting here. So it was with some trepidation that we returned at 7 PM for the caucus.

For those who are unfamiliar with the caucus process in Texas, you must return to your polling place after the Primary has closed in order to sign in under your candidate of choice. Once everyone from that precinct has signed in, delegates are elected to be sent on to the County and then the State Convention where final delegates are chosen for the National Convention. One third of the total delegates from Texas are determined in this process. Each precinct has a specific number of delegates based on the size of the precinct, and the candidates are assigned delegates based on the percentage of supporters that return to caucus. There are lots of regulations governing this process along with how many delegates are assigned to any given precinct. You can read more about these rules here.

The caucus is supposed to start at 7:15, or as soon as the last voter in line for the Primary at 7:00 has cast their ballot. In our case, the last ballot was cast shortly before 10 PM causing everyone who had returned for the caucus to wait. Outside. In the mud. As temperatures dropped from the mid 50s down to the upper 30s, this was a test of resolve for many. In our area, there were a lot of Obama supporters; I would guess well over a thousand people. We had a much smaller group of Hillary Clinton supporters, but we were all determined to stick it out. As the night wore on, many Obama supporters gave up and went home. I'm sure the TAKS test being today was a factor for some who have kids. We knew that the more of them that went home, the higher the percentage of delegates we would have. In the end, only a couple of us left.

When the Primary voting was close to being done, we were grouped by precinct. Ours, number 2031, was told to meet "over there by the streetlight." Others were told to meet "in that parking lot," or "by that building." We waited here for more than an hour while the papers required (the 'packet') for the caucus were being prepared: essentially the list of everyone who voted in the Primary for that precinct. When this was close to being ready, we were called to come get into two 'lines' depending on whether we were 'Today Voters' or 'Early Voters.' This was at around 11 PM. After maybe another hour, we were able to actually start signing in.
At this point, we had about 150 people left from our precinct. Two other precincts were about the same size as us, and we were allowed to caucus before them. The other precincts were much smaller and had gone before. Just after 1 AM, the last voter signed in. With only around 40 people remaining, it was time to choose delegates. What had started out as *guesstimating* 200 Obama supporters to our 22 became just over 120 to 22. That's a jump from 10% to nearly 20%. We had gained an extra delegate by sticking it out. In the end, myself and my husband were nominated as alternate delegates; we chose additional alternates in case we were assigned additional delegates after the audit by the precinct judge. It was 2 AM: time to go home.

Now for the fun part: the "irregularities." Or, why our caucus rolls are being audited by the precinct judge. Early on, after we had been allowed to line up, a shouting match broke out about how to follow the rules. We called the police at this point to request assistance, just in case. Keep in mind that it was cold, there are no restaurants within walking distance, and no public restroom. Before we received our 'packet,' there was discussion about just signing our names and votes on notebook paper, rather than waiting for the official voting documents, so everyone could go home. Apparently the two other large precincts were doing just that after contacting the Obama campaign and being told that this is what the precincts should do, and that they (Obama's people) would make sure it would be counted. Our precinct was discussing this, loudly and with much opposition, when our 'packet' finally came out, making the discussion moot. Another instance occurred which required my husband to run and get the police from his post on the corner. Apparently, people that were not from our precinct were signing in on our rolls. All while our Hillary supporting precinct chair was away from the table for a moment. Highly illegal. The people at the table, all Obama supporters, were a little more diligent after this. After everyone had signed in, questions were raised, to much shouting, as to how well the voters were checked to verify that they had voted in the Primary. Because you can't caucus if you haven't voted. This issue was not resolved last night, hence the selection of additional alternates for Hillary. Watching the news today, I've seen reports of multiple "irregularities" committed by Obama supporters all over the state. Knowing what our neighbor precincts were being told by the campaign, I wonder how many of these "irregularities" were carried out on instructions from Obama's people.

All in all it was a highly educational experience for us; we were literally living history. And it was interesting enough to draw at least two news crews to our polling place. We'll count it as our son's 'Civics' requirement. He was a real trooper, and I should thank the fellow Hillary supporter who let him use the bathroom at her house down the street. It was also exciting for my daughter, currently enrolled in college government. She kept us updated regularly via phone about the results as more precincts reported results. Every time my phone would ring, our group would gather round with bated breath. The excitement built as Hillary pulled from a little bit behind to ahead by more and more throughout the night. As other supporters said repeatedly last night, "Hillary, you go girl!"

02 March 2008

Vermont Goodness

This week I've experienced the ultimate in cheese toastiness, and I thought I should share.

It all started when I visited Vermont last summer with my BFF and her fam for her birthday. We did the whirlwind tour of the state by doing as many factory tours as we could fit into two days. Of course souvenirs were picked up along the way, including some Sage cheese from Sugarbush Farm (which didn't make it home with me - but I was able to order it from them online) and a French Herb bread mix from King Arthur flour.

Which leads me to this week. Being a champion procrastinator, I still had not made the bread or eaten the cheese. While the cheese was safe inside its wax coating, the bread mix was due to expire in the middle of March. So I sprung into action. The bread was easy enough to mix, and I even remembered to put my rings back on my fingers after kneading. It turned out deliciously; even my picky pickerton son loved it. Then the cheese was opened with much fanfare, butter was smeared on top of a slice of bread, two slices of cheese were put on top of the butter, and all of the above was placed under the broiler for just the right amount of time. Ooey gooey scrumptiousness. If I'd been smart I would have taken a picture to post. Alas, I'm a loser. You'll just have to trust me then.

In case you're wondering, other wonderful places visited were the Simon Pearce blown glass factory, Green Mountain coffee, Cold Hollow Cider Mill, and, of course, Ben and Jerry's.

26 February 2008

Hillary for President

Texans, vote for Hillary at the March 4 Primary. Don't forget to COME BACK at 7:00 for the Precinct Convention process where the actual delegates are chosen. Otherwise you may be represented by someone who supports a candidate that you don't.

Check out these sites for inspiration:


Hillary Speaks for Me
(This is where I originally saw a slightly different version of the above video. The (presumably) first version actually has some good things in it about NLP and mind control. Who's bamboozling who?)

Obama is 'Just Words.' His 'inspiring' speeches contain no substance. His feel-good catch phrases are merely hypnotizing the people. Hillary has the long-term experience, and she knows how to make decisions and get things done. She backs up her statements with REAL plans. See ya at the Primary.

12 February 2008

Jericho Returns

We've just finished watching the triumphant return of Jericho on CBS. We waited anxiously all day for the moment to arrive. My son even did his math lesson first thing without a fuss in order to get it out of the way in case other school subjects ran long today (they didn't.)

The episode was very satisfying, tying up the last episode of the first season and introducing new issues that we're sure to discuss in the coming week. We especially liked the scene early on in which one of the deputies is eating peanuts in deference to the fan campaign to bring the show back from the dead. Thanks CBS!

19 January 2008

Freedom and Justice?

Just a quick thought about a news story this week...

I was just watching Religion & Ethics Newsweekly on my local PBS station, and they reported on President Bush's recent trip to the Middle East. They said, " When he visited Saudi Arabia, he emphasized religious commonalities and said monotheistic faith is the root of freedom and justice."

Here's a news story discussing it as well, which includes the rest of the statement that monotheistic faith is the root of freedom, justice and representative government.

So that means polytheism is the root of serfdom, injustice and despotism, right? I guess the Greek democracy, the Roman Republic, and the atheistic philosophies of the Enlightenment, on which our government is based, didn't make it into Mr. Bush's public education. And neither did the French revolution with it's revolt against the despotic government and its reliance on the Catholic Church for its authority. Clearly "No Child Left Behind" was inspired by personal experience.

At least I live in a country where I can express my opinions without fear of reprisal (for now.)

Only one year left...

05 January 2008

Coke Cake

Having just checked Cygknit's blog, I found something that saddened me: an obliterated Coke Cake recipe. This is a terrible tragedy! So I did some digging through my cookbooks on the counter...

Nope, not here...

Maybe in the boxes that are hidden in the back of the pantry...

Yep! Here it is. In my mother's handwriting no less...

So for good measure, I'll also include the Snickerdoodle recipe in her hand. When I make these now, I use ALL butter, rather than shortening, and I double the amount of cinnamon and sugar (last ingredient.)

Snickerdoodle recipe is courtesy of Betty Crocker's Cooky Book, the book held in the highest esteem at my childhood home.

Hope y'all enjoy!