Saturday, October 31, 2009
Lame Excuse – post its that say “traffic”, “dog ate it”, “it’s in the mail”, etc. and walk with crutches or a cane.
Cereal Killer – attach empty mini cereal boxes to yourself with plastic knives sticking out of them
Smartie Pants – attach smartie candies to your pants
Static Cling – pin socks, bras, underwear and dryer sheets to your clothes; tease hair if possible
Q-tip – wear white top and pants and stick cotton balls to a stocking cap and cotton balls on some old shoes.
Gum Stuck on Shoe – dress all in pink and attach a shoe or flip flop to your head
Leftovers – wrap yourself in aluminum foil
No Pest Strip – dress in all yellow and stick rubber bugs to your clothes
Tourist – big hat, camera around neck, fanny pack, Hawaiian shirt, shorts, crew socks and sneakers; maybe carry a map
Deviled Egg – dress all in white, attach a big yellow circle to the front of your shirt, wear devil horns and carry a pitchfork
Dr. Pepper – wear scrubs or a doctors jacket with accessories such as a stethoscope, mask, etc., and attach pepper packets to your clothes
Bright Idea – dress in yellow or something boldly colored and write “IDEA” on your chest
Identity Crisis – buy a box of “Hello My Name Is” stickers. Put different names on all of them and stick them all over your clothes
Someone You Can Count On – dress in black, cut out numbers from white felt and attached them to your clothes randomly
Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes Prize Patrol – wear a blazer, carry a bunch of balloons and a piece of poster board that you’ve made look like a check
Shot In The Dark – dress in black and wear a shot glass around your neck
Movie Theater Floor – cut out a piece of cardboard that will cover most of the front of your body, paint it black and attach some straps so you can wear it in front of you. Stick on theater candy, popcorn and empty drink cups.
A Salt and Battery – glue a salt shaker and a battery on a baseball hat and wear it. Also put black makeup around an eye, maybe wear a sling or use crutches.
Have fun and Happy Halloween!
Friday, October 30, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Which urban legend scared the bejezus out of you as a kid?
There were so many urban legends and most of them centered around a shopping mall. I was a gullible country bumpkin then and believe them all, and we didn't have Snopes back then to debunk these things. The scariest was probably the truck driver following the woman in the car and he keeps honking the horn which terrifies her. She finally pulls over where she feels safe and gets out of the car. The truck driver comes over and tells her that a man was hiding in her backseat and he kept sitting up, ready to attack her with a knife, but when he honked the horn, he'd duck down again. They check the backseat of the car and there's no man there anymore, but he left the knife behind.
Which horror movie has the best premise?
I don't watch horror movies because they aren't fun for me. If I must watch them, I like the old ones like "House of Wax".
What is the most disappointing "treat" to receive in your bag on Halloween night?
Apples or hard candy.
What's the best non-candy item to receive?
Cash. But I guess that house would be really busy. Realistically, pencils or stickers.
Did a monster live in your closet when you were a child?
No, but snakes lived under my bed.
Which supernatural creature sent chills up your spine when you were ten and still does?
I'm not sure they are considered supernatural, but I'm terrified of flying monkeys. I ask Pipsqueak to hold me when they're shown on "Wizard of Oz". Werewolves are pretty scary, too. I guess it's furry things for me.
Which supernatural creature makes you yawn?
Zombies. They move so slow that I think they'd be really easy to get away from.
What's your favorite Halloween decoration?
Jack o'lanterns. I love carving them.
If you could be anywhere on Halloween, where would you be?
Salem, Massachusetts. I just saw a bit on TV about the Salem witch trials and the huge Halloween celebration they have there. It sounds crowded, but fun.
What's the scariest book you've read so far this year?
I haven't read any scary books this year, but there are two scariest in my life... Intensity by Dean Koontz and a short story by Stephen King called "The Mist".
Haunted houses or haunted hay rides?
Neither because I don't really like being scared and feeling trapped in my scariness.
Which Stephen King novel/movie would you least like to find yourself trapped in?
Definitely "The Mist". It's about creatures in the fog. "The Cell", about people turning into murdering maniacs because of something on their cellphone, would be pretty scary, too.
Which is creepiest: evil dolls, evil pets, evil children?
Dolls don't scare me because I could get rid of them with a hammer, a washing machine or a car. Tough call between pets and children, but I'll go with children.
Now, it's time for me to go to bed and have nightmares.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
We found a ball in the dog toy basket that was the size we wanted... slightly smaller than a baseball. The ball had to have a smooth surface so it would slip out easily later. We then wrapped the roving around the ball in a couple of layers, dipped it in warm soapy water and rubbed and smoothed, rubbed and smoothed until it looked felted and uniform without any visible seams. Then we rinsed all the soap out under cool running water and squeezed it out in paper towels.
I cut a small incision that was large enough to slip the ball out using an Exacto knife. It didn't need to be a huge hole because the wool stretches some when it's wet. Then we left it overnight to dry thoroughly.
Once it was dry, we cut a brown stem and a green leaf from felt and sewed them to the top from the inside so the stitches don't show too much. Finally, we packed the inside with stuffing and needle felted the seam closed. A felting needle has barbs on the pointed end that are barely visible to the eye. When it's repeatedly jabbed through wool, it pushes and pulls the fibers into one another until it's felted together. I let Pipsqueak do this making sure she kept her fingers clear. One jab of that needle and she wouldn't be interested in trying it again.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
1 t dry mustard
1 t brown sugar
1/2 t dried thyme
1/2 t ground ginger
1/2 t paprika
1 1/2 pounds sirloin tip steaks
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, preferably half shiitakes and half crimini
2 T olive oil
2 T unsalted butter
4 scallions, thinly sliced, white and light green parts separated from dark green, but using both
1 c dark ale or porter, such as Guinness
2 t Worcestershire sauce
Mix the mustard, brown sugar, thyme, ginger, paprika and 1 t salt in a large bowl until well combined. Add steaks and toss until well coated.
Remove and discard stems from shiitakes, if using, and trim stem ends from the crimini. Wipe all mushrooms clean and slice 1/4" thick.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering , add half the steaks and sear them until nicely browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side (the steaks will brown quickly because of the sugar in the spice mix). Transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining steaks.
Reduce heat to medium, and 1 T butter to the pan, and let melt. Add the mushroom and scallion whites. Cook, stirring occasionally until mushrooms soften and begin to brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Pour in beer and Worcestershire sauce. Scrape bottom of the pan, and raise heat to medium, bring to a boil and cook uncovered until liquid is reduced by half, about 4 minutes.
Return steak and any accumulated juices to the pan, cover tightly with lid and reduce heat to low simmer. Braise, turning the steaks after 8 minutes, until tender and cooked through, about 14 minutes total. Transfer steaks to plate or serving platter.
Cut the remaining 1T butter into four pieces and swirl them into the sauce. Stir in the scallion greens. Serve steak topped with sauce, along with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli.
Monday, October 26, 2009
So, tell me what your DMV is like and whether or not the weight is accurate on your license.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
I had a beer sampler with my lunch at the Long Trail Brewery in Bridgewater, Vermont... six 4 ounce glasses of sedation. The selection is (back row right to left) Blackberry Wheat, Long Trail Ale, Hibernator, (front row right to left) Double Bag, IPA and Imperial Porter.
My favorites were Double Bag and IPA. I've always been a fan of IPA, but this was my first taste of Double Bag. It's only recently become available in stores having only been served on tap at the brewery. It figures I would like it since it's 7.2% APV. A standard beer is around 4% APV.
My third choice was Hibernator, a rich flavorful brew without being too dark. The standard Ale was good, but a little boring in comparison to the other choices. Blackberry Wheat was too light and flavorless and Imperial Porter (or as I renamed it "Imperial Storm Trooper") was too dark. I'm just starting to enjoy dark beers. I'm a fan of Guinness, but this was too bitter for me.
Not only does the Long Trail Brewery have good beer, but the pub fare is great too. I had a hamburger cooked just the way I asked. I hate being asked how I want it, and order medium rare to have it arrive well done because they're afraid of being sued if I get sick. I would rather sign a waiver than eat a shoe leather burger. But LTB throws caution to the wind and serves a burger that's pink in the middle. The fries are perfect too... nice a crunchy on the inside.
With that said, I'm going to go back to slacking for the rest of the night.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
At this point, we seek refreshment somewhere for a half hour to forty-five minutes during the speeches. This year is was hot cider and cupcakes at the bookstore cafe. We went back outside to a drizzle, but we didn't let that dampen our spirits.
We arrived on the green and found a good spot along the caution tape just in time for the lighting of the bonfire. The freshman continued their run in a circle around the bonfire until the left sides of their bodies were well roasted.
It all sounds a bit weird when I write it, but it sure is fun. Don't you wish you were there?
Friday, October 23, 2009
Come to find out constipation is the most common problem in betas, and most longterm beta owners are bound to have it to deal with at one time or another. It can be deadly, but luckily, there is treatment and it's simple. Cook a frozen pea until it's mushy, put some on the end of a toothpick and drag it through the water to tempt the beta to eat it. Don't feed until the bloating is down and the blockage has passed. Kip took his medicine like a good patient. I'll give him another dose of pea tomorrow to be on the safe side. It says he should be better in a day or two. If not we'll have to try plan two, an epsom salt bath. I'm hoping the pea treatment works.
Here's Kip on a better day. He didn't want to be photographed all bloated and clumsy.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
There wasn't a lot of money in my household growing up. Frankly, I have no idea how we had what we did have. I was an exceptionally tall kid and grew fast until I stopped in my mid-teens. It was hard for my mom to keep me in pants long enough, so I would sometimes get teased about my short pants. "Expecting a flood?" is what I got asked most. It didn't bother me to the point where I huddled in a corner crying, but I didn't like it.
Once I started buying my own clothes, I was always sure my pants were long enough. Now it appears that I'm trying to protect Pipsqueak from the same fate of being teased. Of course, there are a million other things she could be teased about, but it won't be short pants. Not on my watch!
Another moment in history that scarred me for life was in eighth grade. I was sitting on the bleachers next to my female P.E. teacher waiting for my turn in whatever torture she was dispensing in the gym that day. She slapped my thigh with her hand and said something to the effect that I was carrying some extra weight there. Just what a barely teen girl needs to hear, right?! To this day, I hate my thighs. When I was going through a divorce and lost twenty pounds from the stress, I looked gaunt, but I still thought my thighs were fat.
Childhood teasing can be brutal and even drive a kid to suicide, but even the little stuff can't haunt them for life.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Friendship... You have a lot of wonderful friends and many you will lose touch with unless you make an effort. Do make the effort. These are special people and many won't see old age. Friends you make in the future will have no idea who you are now and the cliques you were in. In the adult world jocks and nerds work together, cheerleaders and band members are moms in the same playground. It just doesn't matter anymore.
Money... Don't waste it. Think before you buy. Don't become of a victim of trends. Wear classic, well made clothes. Don't bother playing the lottery; you aren't going to win. Open an IRA as soon as possible. Life insurance is usually a rip off. Invest in Apple as soon as possible. Google is a good bet, too.
Work... Do something you can feel passionate about or there are going to be a lot of days that you don't feel like getting up to go to work. Find something where you can be creative or think creatively.
Love... You've got to kiss a lot of frogs before you can appreciate the handsome prince. Don't fall in love with love; make sure you're in love with the person. He should make you laugh regularly and heartily. And think of yourself and what the relationship does for you instead of always what you can do for the relationship.
Children... Don't wait so long that it's too late, but wait long enough that you know you you're with the right father for your children.
Health... Sit up straight. Wear sunscreen. Make exercise a habit. Be careful of weak ankles. Enjoy shrimp, lobster and crab because you might not always be able to.
Beauty... Again, wear sunscreen. DON'T PERM YOUR HAIR!!! And don't cut it really short and spike the top.
Happiness... Don't let anyone drag you down day after day. If they try, remove yourself from their life. You're a happy person, and it won't take much effort to stay that way.
Even if you don't follow my/your advice, by middle age you'll be over the humps, living happily, and loving life.
What advise would you give yourself?
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
I can't figure out if I'm busier (doesn't feel like it), more scattered, distracted or unfocused (could be), or unmotivated and tired (very likely). There are so many things that need doing that I dabble here and there and get many things started and nothing finished. I'm also setting my daily goals too high, so it's hard to feel satisfied when everything isn't accomplished.
How do I fix it? I need to go back to my lists. To-do lists work really well for me, and I get a sense of accomplishment when things get crossed off. I've also got to work hard at seeing a project through from start to finish, and I'll start with finishing up projects that are already started. If I do this, I think I'll feel more on track in a week.
On a positive note, I'm a little more than halfway through NaBloWriMo and I haven't missed a day. Writing every day is a daunting task, and I'll be scaling back when the month is over, but it did give me my writing mojo back.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Saturday, October 17, 2009
I rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself than be crowded on a velvet cushion. - Henry David Thoreau
Friday, October 16, 2009
The first time I tasted a martini, I hated it. I thought I'd sooner drink battery acid. Actually, I thought maybe I was drinking battery acid. But there are so many ways to make a standard martini that you have to experiment a little to find out what works for you... gin, vodka, shaken, stirred, dry, dirty. Mine is a shaken, very dirty, very dry gin martini. Let's go over a couple of points.
Why shaken? I feel that the martini is colder when it's shaken with ice. I shake mine so long that my fingers are in danger of frost nip and there are shards of ice in the drink. The die hard stirrers claim that shaking bruises the gin. The way I shake, my gin is beaten to a pulp.
Why very dry? Vermouth, or lack thereof, makes the martini dry. I'm not a big fan of vermouth, so I pour some in the martini glass, swirl it around to coat it and pour it back into the bottle. I'd like a fancy vermouth mister, but I haven't found one yet. Some say you should merely introduce the gin, very politely, of course. "Mr. Gin, meet Mr. Vermouth."
Why very dirty? Because I LOVE the taste of olives. Olive juice is what makes it dirty. This really makes the drink for me. I usually run out of juice in the olive bottle before the olives are gone even though I use three olives for garnish. (I sometimes stuff my olives with blue cheese.) When we were vacationing in St. Petersburg, Florida, I found a big bottle of Dirty Martini Juice in a liquor store. I packed it in my suitcase surrounded by clothes and hoped it survived the baggage handlers. It did.
A friend of mine told me that I could be a totally despicable person (which I'm not) and he'd still want to spend time with me because I make such a good martini. Here's my not-so-secret recipe...
Swirl dry vermouth in the glass and pour out.
In a cocktail shaker half filled with ice, combine 2 1/2 ounces of gin and a healthy splash of olive juice to taste. Shake well. Strain into glass with three olives.
Martinis are like women; one isn't enough and three is too many. - Len Goodman
Thursday, October 15, 2009
I love a dirty martini... two at the most. Three, I'm under the table. Four, I'm under the host. I believe Dorothy Parker said that. Of course, I'm not having these regularly (even though I'd like to).
Here's one more beverage I love that I have only once in awhile... a caramel latte.
2. Your hometown.
I was born in Vermont, but I spent most of my formative years in North Walpole, New Hampshire. It's a small town right on the Connecticut River which separates New Hampshire from Vermont, so even when I wasn't living in Vermont, I could look out almost any window in my house and look at it.
3. Your favorite television show.
4. Your occupation.
But I don't look this good doing it.
5. First Car. A 1984 Ford Tempo. It didn't exactly make me look cool, but it got me from point A to point B.
6. Favorite DishSushi. Of course, it would be something that I can't make.
7. A celebrity you've been told you resemble.
When I did community theater, I was compared to Geena Davis in a newpaper review. It was one of my proudest moments.
8. Celebrity on your "To Do" List.
This was tough since I'd choose Sweetie over any celebrity. I thought of Hugh Grant, but after that hooker incident, I don't think so. George Clooney was in the running, but the fact that he doesn't settle down with one woman bothers me. So my final answer is Richard Gere.
9. Favorite Children's ToyI had this game as a kid. I've been looking for one on ebay, but the ones in decent condition have been too rich for my blood. Oh, how I wish I'd kept mine.
10. Any random pic.I love old Hollywood glamour shots. I'd love to have my photo taken in this manner someday.
11. What are you doing tonight?
Just back from my weekly djembe drum lesson.
That was harder than I thought it was going to be. I think I need a dirty martini while I watch CSI.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
(This is probably why there are days that I can't remember if I've washed my hair yet or not. And there were the few days not so long ago when I couldn't understand why my new shower gel wasn't getting any lather. I finally looked at the label and saw it was hair conditioner.)
I do my best thinking in the shower. I come up with blog ideas, solve problems, process dreams, and come up with plans. It's a cleansing of body and mind.
About a week ago, I noticed the valve was acting a little wonky... sort of a clunky slip when I turned it off. Last Friday, Sweetie pronounced it dead, so we had to shower in the downstairs bathroom until the plumber could come yesterday. I haven't been getting much thinking done in that shower, because the shower head is set in the wall too low. If I got on my knees to wash my hair, the water pressure seemed to low because I was too far away from the source, so I had to do a partial knee bend or lunge to rinse my hair. It's hard to have a good think when your thighs are starting to burn.
Today, I was back to my perfectly positioned shower head, but the new valve works differently so I was having temperature trouble. I knew that the old one should be turned to 11 o'clock for perfect showering water temperature. It took me at least three adjustments to get it right today, and then I forgot to make a note of where it was turned. I guess tomorrow won't be such a good thinking day either.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
But never to be outdone for fun, Pipsqueak and Sweetie strapped on the skis and took a couple of runs down the front hill.
We're at about 1100 feet above sea level. The village is at something around 500, so they got rain. When I arrived at school with Pipsqueak this morning, kids were grabbing snow off the roof of my car for a quick snow ball fight.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
There's more! When you're at Saveur's website and type Mashed Potato Pancakes into their search box, it's me! Just me! Thank you, thank you, Saveur! I promise to never let my subscription lapse again.
- clean up the last three raised beds in the veggie garden (four are already done)
- wash the windows, take out the screens and put the storms down (there are 27 windows in our house)
- caulk around some leaky windows
- weatherstrip a leaky door
- clean out the deck pots and store them away
- put away the outdoor toys (bubbles, balls, bats, etc.)
- wash and put away the bikes
What do you have to do to get ready for winter?
Saturday, October 10, 2009
I was overwhelmed by the the love story between Julia, and her husband, Paul. There was an uncommonly strong bond between them fueled by adoration, acceptance and support. They shared glances that spoke volumes without uttering a word; they touched each other often... a hand on the arm or shoulder... a loving squeeze. They were always there for each other.
A defining moment in the movie for me was near the beginning when they were sitting in a restaurant in France. Julia said that she didn't know what to do. "The women here don't do anything." And that just wasn't her. She was considering a class in hat making (which she tried and didn't enjoy). Paul asked her, "What do you really like to do?" She laughed and said, "Eat!" He was encouraging her to do what would make her happy.
I think Julia was probably easy to love. As Julie said, she wasn't a bitch. She didn't take herself or life too seriously. She was equally supportive of Paul as she followed him around the world, wherever his work took him. She seemed kind and supportive to friends and relatives.
There was contrast in Julie's relationship with her husband, who complained that she was self-absorbed. Even though Julia spent eight years writing a cookbook, she still made time to make her husband feel important and loved.
The movie also left me thinking that maybe I should have a lofty goal. Julie's was too cook all 524 recipes from "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" in 365 days. I don't want to do that, particularly the part where I'd have to boil a calf's foot in order to make aspic. But I should find something that inspires me, set a deadline and do it.
Friday, October 9, 2009
The sale started at 7am. I arrived at 8:30, and they were already scrambling to locate more space for parking in the field. Shoppers either brought large bags or grabbed empty cardboard boxes and picked up anything and everything they might consider buying. Once all potential purchases were obtained, everyone retreated to the relative quiet outside the tent to sort and make final decisions, or crowd into the communal dressing tent (one for men and one for women). The best place for shopping was the table outside the dressing tent where all the cast-offs were put.
About half-way through my second sweep through the tent, I saw a spring green, half zip pullover that had a pretty pattern and texture to it. Most of their clothing is solid color and texture-free, so I got pretty excited about it, but it was a small and it was the only one I could find. While I was in the dressing room, I was next to a couple of women who were friends and one of them was trying on the top I loved, but she had a medium. Her friend was telling her how good it looked on her, but she was sounding lukewarm at best and complaining about the neck. She did hold on to it though.
I happened to be leaving the dressing tent at the same time they were, so I decided to follow her a bit as they continued shopping the tent. I was hoping she found something she liked better. She tried on a jacket and a vest, and I lost her in the crowd briefly. My frantic searching made realize that I was now mildly obsessed. I found her outside the tent with a big bag of items she'd selected. I stayed just inside the tent pretending to look at a rack of jackets. Nothing happened at first; the friends stood there and talked. Finally she started looking through her bag. She got to the green shirt and held it up to herself, refolded it and put it back on the pile. She stood a few more minutes doing nothing. What was she waiting for?! After what seemed like an eternity, she went back to sorting, but was maddeningly slow about it. She rejected a couple of things by folding and stacking them a couple of feet from her bag. Another woman (I don't know know if they knew each other) came up and asked her if she was discarding them. She said she was, and the woman looked at them. Now I knew if it was rejected, I'd have to act fast.
About 30 minutes had passed since I first started following her and she picked up the green top for the third time, held it up, looked at it, folded it, and PUT IT IN THE DISCARD PILE. I didn't waste any time; I walked over and asked if she was not keeping those items. "Go for it," she said. I grabbed the shirt and practically ran away with it, I was so excited. I'd show you a photo of my prize, but I'm to tired to get the camera, pose and upload the photo. Stalking takes a lot of energy. If you're in the area this weekend, the sale continues Saturday and Sunday on the green in Quechee, Vermont.
The moral to this story: If you really want something, it's probably worth waiting for (at least 30 minutes).
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
A bunch of moms from our school got together for breakfast and one of them was new to the group. She moved to American from Jamaica with her husband. She's originally from the US; he's Jamaican. He didn't read, write or speak English when they moved here, but he learned enough so he could get a job, and pass a driver's test. He was was embracing his new life in America.
Seven years has passed since they moved here, and he's now tired, depressed and angry because of how he's been treated. He worked at a sandwich shop in a nearby college town. The other employees chewed food and spit it on his car. He changed employers and now works as a prep cook in restaurant in the same town. For awhile, things went well there. But the manager left, and the new manager started making him clean the bathrooms all the time and clean up after other employees. Luckily, he has a second job in a popular chain cafe where he is treated kindly and fairly. A local state trooper pulled him over several times, but never ticketed him. Why? Because he wasn't doing anything wrong; he was just being harassed. Those are probably just a small number of the acts of racism that have beaten him down over the years.
Vermont is a 97% white state, but I thought we were more progressive, tolerant and accepting than that. I guess I had my head buried in the sand. I don't understand how people can be so mean because someone looks different or practices a different religion. If someone lives in your community, pays their bills, doesn't commit crimes and works hard, can't we just leave them alone? I'm not saying everyone has to love each other, but a little civility doesn't seem like too much to ask.
If I had to say what Vermont is lacking, it would be diversity, mainly because I'd like Pipsqueak to be acquainted with people from all over the world. We can travel and see them, but it's not the same as having them in your community and interacting with them. She's learned about slavery and Martin Luther King in school, and we've talked about racism at home. She's disgusted by someone being treated unfairly because of the color of their skin. After what I heard today and they way I feel about it, I'm sure I wouldn't have had the stomach to watch what happened in the 60s.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Monday, October 5, 2009
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Friday, October 2, 2009
Thursday, October 1, 2009
and a Turkey Vulture.
After the program, we wandered the facility, including the frog and turtle room. The Snapping Turtle's shell must have been over twelve inches in diameter.The raptors are housed in roomy cages with trees growing in them to help them feel like they are in their natural habitat. The particularly photogenic ones on this trip, were the Bald Eagle...
and my personal favorite, the Saw Whet Owl, which only weighs about a quarter pound.