Thursday, January 31, 2008

Random images

None of these are clickable; I just needed to place these here so I can use the URL in a few projects.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

how well do you know me?

Okay, this one is different - this is funny. YOU fill in the blanks about ME and send it back to ME. It only takes a few minutes, so just do it!

If you are answering this in here our blog, first highlight and copy the questions below. Next, click on the word "Comments" below the questions and paste the questions into the comment. Answer the questions, choose your identity, and click "Publish."

Where did we meet?_________
Take a stab at my middle name?________________
Do I smoke?______________________
Color of my eyes?_____________________
Do I have any siblings?__________________
What's one of my favorite things to do?__________________
What's my favorite type of music?______________________
Am I shy or outgoing?____________________________
Am I a rebel or do I follow the rules?______________________
Any special talents?_____________________________
How many children do I have?_________________________
If you and I were stranded on a desert island,
what is one thing that I would bring?_________________________________
I can't wait to see the answers..

You can forward this by email to anyone you want, too. First email a blank copy of this survey to everyone you know to see how well he or she knows you. Second, hit 'reply' and fill this survey out about the person who sent it to you and send it back to them.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Validation, at last

Ever Google yourself?

I do, periodically, to see if I really exist. In past Googles of my first and last name I have discovered that there are several women out there with my name. One has a tech job in Silicon Valley, one works in the dentistry industry, one is a photographer, one works with animals. There are several genealogy reports online, too. While my name is listed there, I don't know any of the families included with my name. None of them are me.

Lately I've been poking around and joining some popular websites. They have an interesting network concept and I figure it would be fun and maybe even useful to join, so I did. (You could check these out if you haven't already done so.) Starting last week I have joined Digg, StumbleUpon,, and Flickr. From what I gather, Digg and StumbleUpon are different concepts with similar results: they let other people see what you think is interesting. (pronounced "delicious," and I have no idea why they use the spelling they do) is like the previous two but uses links from your own Favorites list. It's pretty neat. Flickr is an online photo sharing program with cool features.

Anyhoo, with all this new activity my name has had, I thought I'd try Googling myself again to see if I really exist.

I do. I really do this time. My name is at the top of the first page on Google. In the many years that I've been Googling myself, (pretty much since Google began,) this is the first time it's shown up anywhere within the first ten pages on Google and I'm so excited!

If you're reading this, thinking, "What's the big deal? Who cares?" it's kind of like the thrill you got as a kid when you found your family's name and phone number in the phone book for the first time. It somehow validates your existence.

If you've ever Googled yourself - or a business that you own - I bet you understand this kind of satisfaction.

By the way, what's the listing that has me so excited? My Digg profile. (Currently showing the story about my mom's ugly Christmas tree at the top of the profile.) And just for the record, if you enjoyed reading anything here, please click the yellow "Digg" chicklet below the story to let me know you liked it.

This totally made my day. Just had to share. :o)

Friday, January 25, 2008

FW: Your invited to (school name) Write Night

Rachel's school sent this email to me the other day and I was shocked.
Did the lady who wrote this mean to type 'you're' instead of 'your?'
Maybe she didn't know any better, but that's still no excuse.
Kind of ironic: an invitation for an authors/writing workshop with a grammatical error that my 6th grader stopped making two years ago.

-----Original Message-----
From: (school name)
Sent: Wednesday, January 23, 2008 2:52 PM
Subject: Your invited to (school name) Write Night

Come to our write Night
Who: All Students and their Families
(yes, the whole family!)
What: A chance to meet and work with professional authors, doing fun activities with writing
When: Monday Jan. 28, Doors open at 5PM *Dinner served at 5:15 * Program begins at 6PM* *Suggested donation $1.00 per person *Parent Meeting to follow at 7PM *Free childcare
provided during Parent Meeting Questions? Please call the School

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Hot ovens, sharp blades, and darn tough pizza

Just started nosing through a used book on roasting that Frank picked up recently. All the recipes seem to have the oven stuck on 500°F, but hey, our oven goes that high so we'll do it.

I've also been on a cooking and baking kick lately and there's no stopping soon. (Nobody's complaining.) That, on top of all of Frank's food, and I figured we may end up having something useful or interesting to say now and again on the topic of food and cooking.

Next on our shopping list for food equipment (no, we do not have enough) is a microplane. Hmmm, and a good-sized hunk of Parmesan. And maybe a lemon to play with. I also wouldn't mind getting some sort of pan to cook pizza in - one that will not burn the crust (my usual flavor) or leave it soggy and tough. You see, I decided that I want to try making pizza from scratch on a regular basis until I can make an excellent crust without using a recipe or measuring cups. It'll take practice. Join us for supper?

Bring your spare teeth until I get the crust right.

Roasted Potatoes with Chicken

Made this Sunday 1/20/08.
Note about turning your oven to 500F: unless your oven is clean, you may want to turn on a fan or open a window. The crud in the oven will burn and smoke. This is the note in the roasting book, not a horror story from our kitchen. Really.


Approx 3 lbs cut up chicken
8 medium potatoes, any type, cleaned and quartered (or more)
2-3 yellow onions, cleaned and thinly sliced
1 parsnip, cleaned and sliced
Fresh garlic, minced (You decide how much you like. We like a LOT. We'd use maybe a bulb.)
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 500F. Oil a large baking pan and arrange about 3 lbs cut up chicken in the pan.

Roast 10 minutes. Drizzle olive oil over the cut vegetables and toss to coat.

Remove chicken from the pan, add vegetables, arrange the chicken on top, season the whole thing to taste, and roast for about 30-40 more minutes.

Serve with salad. Makes fantastic leftovers.
You'll just wish you used more potatoes, trust me.

Monday, January 21, 2008


Last night Frank admitted that he was rooting for the Packers to beat the Giants.

I asked why the sudden change to become loyal to his Mother In Law.
He growled and said "Never."

Saturday, January 19, 2008

The most logical place to find it

At work today, we were talking about coffee. Being in the Pacific NW, it's only logical that even the average person has their bean preference. If you're not from here or have never visited, you may not realize that the NW is where the first Starbucks ended up across the street from another Starbucks. (That's what others call "the end of the world." We call it "barely meeting demand." Yes, I have witnessed simultaneous lines out the doors at neighboring Starbucks.) In this region there is a minimum of one drive-thru coffee hut/trailer/cart at least every quarter mile on every major thoroughfare. You can enjoy a latte as you shop for groceries, clothes, soap and paper products, cars, baby strollers, caskets, insurance, furniture, shoes, and while getting your hair done.

Having moved here from Minneapolis, I am beginning to suspect that the natives like to use caffiene to replace sunshine. The results are the same: it lures 'em out of the house, even in the middle of winter.

My favorite beans (yes, of course I have favorites) are Cascade Pride, the budget bean sold in bulk at my local no-frills big-box supermarket. I love the deep, dark chocolatey roasted flavor of their oily black beans. Other favorites are Peet's (hard to find), Trader Joe's various French Roast beans, Starbucks, and pretty much all fair-trade Organic Mexican Altura. Unfortunately, for economical reasons, I'll also add that the most tolerated of my least favorites is Folgers. It's unfortunately also the one I drink the most often.

Anyhoo, one of the gals at work and I were talking coffee beans, and the Kirkland brand of coffee sold at Costco came up.

"There is another brand they have that's good," I said, "and it comes in an orangey-purple bag. They roast it in the store."
"Yeah," she said. "What is the name of that bean?"
"Can't think of it. But I'll check." And I went to the Costco website to find out.

I shop at Costco periodically. Not often enough, of course, but I do go, and I know they have a whole aisle dedicated to coffee and related products. (Never been to Costco? It's a members-only warehouse store, like Sam's Club.) I figured their website should show all their coffee brands.


From their homepage, I clicked on the "Food & Wine" category and was shown a variety of beautiful gift baskets, some that even included tiny bags of coffee. In the search box, I typed "coffee" in the Food & Wine Dept and got the same results. I tried "coffee" in All Departments and got a few expensive coffee makers, coffee urns and commercial-grade espresso machines, but no coffee.

Really? Costco is based out of the Seattle area. Starbucks is based out of the Seattle area. They're both in the Pacific NW where coffee is a commonly recognized blood type. One would think that Costco sells coffee - or is not afraid to mention that coffee exists for the masses - online.

Something told me to click into their business area. This is the part of their website that sells business supplies. I guess I figured if they sell commercial espresso machines and paper cups, they must also sell coffee. Right?

Well, sorta.

Let me stop for a minute and ask what you think. If they sell commercial espresso machines and paper cups, would it make sense for them to sell coffee to run through the machines and into the cups? These machines are snobs, of course, and require nicely roasted whole coffee beans that have been carefelly ground into a black powder. You can't crack open a large can of (*gasp!*) mass-produced, medium brown pre-ground coffee grits and expect the espresso machine to burp out anything but a burnt-tasting cup of nasty.

So I clicked into the business side of their website and did a search for "coffee." A few clicks in, and voila! We have coffee for sale.

One selection: A big honkin' can of Folgers.

Sold under "Office Supplies."

Is the cave furnished?

I was looking up cooking jobs in France and stumbled across a version of Craig's List. This sub-category under housing intrigued me:

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The self-walking dog

Frank starts work at 5:30am, which is a half an hour before the first city bus rumbles through our neighborhood. It's too far to walk, and biking is currently not an option, so Pam drives him to work every morning. Most mornings Caesar gets up early, too, and hops around in circles until someone hooks a leash to his collar and says, "Yes, you can come along for the ride."

Usually someone grabs the leash, and to prevent him from rocketing out the door as it opens, the bouncing black furball is made to calm down and sit long enough to get the door open. The human then staggers out to the van, trying to keep up with the excited hound. Usually someone is holding a cup of coffee in the same hand. Usually the person NOT holding the dog and coffee tosses a towel on the puddle of coffee by the front door.

This morning it was particularly cold: 28F, which is rare for our region. There was a heavy fog in the still air, and the other early-rising neighbor's car had already left for the day. We decided to hook Caesar to his leash but let him drag it to the van, since he wouldn't be tempted to run up to anyone and obnoxiously greet them. Pam stepped on the end of his leash and commanded "Sit." Caesar sat. Frank opened the door. Pam released the leash and Caesar shot toward the threshhold but stopped short, as if jerked back on his leash. He backed up and ran toward the doorway again but stopped short and backed up. His leash hadn't caught on anything. The problem was that the leash was dragging across the floor as he ran, and Caesar knew that was not right.

He looked down at the looped handle on the leash, picked it up in his mouth, and smartly trotted through the doorway and headed to the van.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

I'm a Natural

I'm clicking through the necessary things to be able to upload video to this blog and my other blog, Pam's Inbox. I figured that this time, instead of skimming the EULA I'd actually take the time to read it. (This is the "Click this box if you accept the Terms of Service" that everyone just clicks without bothering to read the fine print; usually with no adverse affects.) Not that I understand everything I'm reading. I'm no legal expert.

I hope I understand what they intended to say in this section:
You represent and warrant to Google the following: (a) You are at least 18 years of age if You are a natural person;

Uhh... I give my body a quick, perfunctory pat down and check a mirror in my desk drawer. No fake boobs or nose job: check. I eat Organic when I can, and try to stick to whole foods instead of processed foods: check. Not wearing makeup today, and very minimal hair products: check.

Yep. I'm a natural person. As best as I can be, anyway.

Hmm. I examine that phrase some more.
I am at least 18 years of age if I am a natural person.
So, does that mean I'm automatically at least 18? Would I be younger if I ate more McDonald's, had surgical enhancements to my body, and bothered to put on some mascara while en route to work? (Isn't that what red lights are for? Drive a little, primp a little. The more red lights I hit the better I look when I arrive. )

Or does that mean if I live like a treehugger I'm automatically old? If that's the case, why bother eating well and trying to get a full nights' sleep by staying in bed until the very last minute before rushing off to work, eschewing makeup and hairstyle to get there on time? (I use the term "on time" loosely here.)

I don't think I like the sound of that, Google. What exactly did you intend to say?
By the way, how old are the people in your legal dept and what do they look like?

By the way, I did click "I agree."
But oh, I just had a horrifying thought. If this is the first EULA I've actually read - because I normally just skim through and recklessly click "I agree," WHAT ELSE HAVE I AGREED TO?!"

Friday, January 11, 2008

Note to self:

  • Take down the Christmas tree and pack away all the decorations. Valentines Day is fast approaching.
  • Pry the little dog kibbles out of the dog's blue ball... the one that he chewed out of a "guaranteed indestructible" canvas octopus... the one that he not only pulled both squeakers out of, but he spat one of the hard squeaker nubs onto the floor for Pam to locate while walking barefoot to the bathroom. At 2:13am.
  • Walk back and forth across the clean spot on the carpet near the foyer so the place where the dog barfed up the other squeaker isn't so noticeable.
  • Send out Christmas cards. Wish everyone a Happy Valentines Day to make it more memorable.