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August 2008
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October 2008

many things make a post

As I was typing this, the letter carrier delivered a cardboard tube full of live ladybugs. Between that and the mail that is address to the Bookslut Spec Fic Floozy (who I haven't written as in over a year), I really wonder what the folks at the PO think goes on here.

More on ladybugs later.

* Keep this in mind the next time you go to McDonalds.

* Wee ickle sweaters for your holiday decorating needs.

* Is it wrong that I totally understand being obsessive about cake?

* This sandwich is calling my name.

* The best part about a new season of The Amazing Race is Josh Wolk's EW column. (Also, does anyone else think that Adam could be a long, lost cousin of Bill? I think we now know why Adam hasn't been blogging lately... (and apologies if you don't know Adam.))

*One of the many ways I waste time while writing is designing the book jacket for current and only imagined projects. If I could mold the universe to my will, I'd love to have a cover drawn by Peter de Seve  or designed by the same person who did this one or, even better, with interior illos by Franklin H. There's just something about the idea of "crowdsourcing" that also appeals to me. And speaking of, I would be dead flattered if anyone did any of these things to one of my books.

* Two from the NYT: Alternative medicine is slowly getting its days in science court and Winle Picker's Disease.

some days, there are camelids

I casually mentioned to Maddy that the local alpaca farm was having an open house on Saturday. She looked at me like I'd just offered to drive her to Disneyland.

"I love going to see alpacas! It's my favorite part of September!"

I was stunned, too. Especially since the last time we were there was over two years ago. In May. But I always appreciate enthusiasm.


So we went to see alpacas.


It had just rained, so said alpacas were looking a little bedraggled. Underneath that damp layer, tho, they were warm and soft and snuggly.


Her Divatude got to hand feed a flock (herd? fleece?) of the beasties. They yodel and grunt when they see the food bucket. Their snouts are at M's face level, which briefly wigged her out, but she quickly adapted. If a person was that close and nosey, she'd turn into a turtle. An animal, however, can be all over her and she couldn't be happier.


I didn't get any good shots of the girl and the animals together, sadly. Next September, maybe. Or, um, May.

qotd, breast milk edition

"We think of breastfeeding as natural and good and lovely, yet throughout history, in a variety of permutations, it has occasioned spleen and hectoring. Nobody has to beseech us to let our heart pump, our neurons fire, our menstrual blood flow. Breastfeeding is another matter. It may be natural for a woman to nurse her baby, but it is not guaranteed, and so it has been variously mandated by prophets, legislated by politicians, and hoisted onto a sociomedical pedestal that brooks no excuses or complaints. Lactation has not been allowed to be what it is, the business of the body. The mammary gland often has been underrated, which is why in the middle of this century infant formula was thought to be not merely a passable substitute for breast milk, but an improvement on it. Now the gland is overrated. We believe that it can make every baby into Izzy Newton or Jane Austen. Now breast milk as seen as the quintessential female elixir. Through it, we give more than a part of ourselves to our children, we give ourselves purified and improved. Our breast milk is better than we are."

-- Woman: An Intimate Geography by Natalie Angier

a weird one

We have an old barn at the back of our wee yard. We use it as a garage in the winter and woodshop in the summer. And this morning, shortly before I started my ritual morning nagging of the first grader to brush her freaking teeth already, I looked out of the door and saw this:


No, I did not see big yellow floating letters. I saw our cat Barney on the top of the roof of the barn, looking very confused.

I did of course what any right thinking person would do, which is grab my camera.


Eventually he came down, then nonchalantly wandered back into the house as if nothing unusual had happened. We -- the Diva, the Dude and the Featureless Saint had all joined me by this point -- were all laughing too hard to take any more pictures.

Earlier, when I went out to get the paper, I found a piece of mail that had gotten missed yesterday. It was a letter from The White House. Yes, that one. No, I'm not being drafted.


(I'll explain the bone in a minute. I just didn't feel like taking two pictures.)

Why am I getting a letter from the Whistleass-in-Chief? Three months ago I sent an email to the Pres about a post-partum depression screening bill that was up for a vote. I expected no response, which is what I would have preferred. Instead I got a form letter that says, "The President is committed to working with Congress to continue our economic progress, defend our freedom, and uphold our deepest values of family and faith."

I read that and then threw up a little bit.

The bone is one that Maddy found when we were Farmers for a Day. We've been wondering what animal it came from, so tomorrow I'm going to take it to an anthropology prof to find out. Any guesses?

The metal thing is a pica stick, which used to be used to measure type but is now more or less useless in an electronic age. I've had it since the design classes I was forced to take in J-school. It still works as a ruler and as a weapon.

Every fall I am overcome with a need to cross-stitch pumpkins. These are this year's crop.


No, it's not done yet.

many things make a post

* Why on earth would anyone think that another Hitchhiker's book -- written by Eoin Colfer, ffs -- is a good idea? Are there really no new, good,  original ideas left?

* Neal Stephenson points out new (to me) sources for various sorts of chant, which is the only music that I can have on in the background while working.

* New favorite campaign button, via Jung at Heart:

* True confession - I am a book mangler. I fold corners. I write in them using whatever implement is close at hand. I stick post-its in them. I can hear librarians everywhere cringing. (Speaking of - I need one of y'all to come over and catalog/organize the books on my shelves. They are out of control and I'm *thisclose* to starting a small fire to not have to deal with it. I'll knit you something, if you want.) Anyhoo - this little origami trick could save my books from some wear and tear. I'll have to fold one up to see if they work as promised.

* Note to self, make these gluten free apple muffins for Maddy.

* Writer's Block 911. Heh. (stolen from Heidi.)

* The Daily Show needs Sarah Haskins.

* Your tidbit of the day, from Harper's Weekly: "A truck carrying 20 tons of money from the Philadelphia Mint to the U.S. Treasury in Miami crashed, killing one passenger and spilling 3.7 million nickels onto I-95. "It's shiny," said Florida Highway Patrol trooper Kim Miller."

* The best news factoid ever, stolen from Making Light.

down on the farm

You can keep Christmas, fall is the most wonderful time of year.

Reason #1: Apple Cider Donuts at Willy's Farm.


Admittedly, this batch wasn't the best batch ever -- but they were still pretty darn good. Since we'll make one more trip out to Willy's before they close for the season, we should get the good ones next time.

Willy's, for those who aren't from around here, is a sort of local institution. In the autumn, this actual, quasi-working farm becomes a harvest fantasia, with pumpkins and tractor rides and a corn maze. The kids -- and adults, frankly -- go wild.

We try to go every year. This weekend's trip was prompted by my seeing an ad in the almost-daily and calling the Pie Goddess so that I could say "apple cider donuts" to her, because I know where her weaknesses are.

We flung our kids in the mom van -- the husbands had a golf thing -- and went.


This is why New York State squashes are so pricey.



The postal service was on hand to hand-cancel your mail with a commemorative postmark. (Click on the picture to embiggen.)

We'll probably go back on Oct. 11, when the day's special will be homemade sausage. Mmmmm...sausage.


The kids, with donuts. Only one of those pictured is mine.


The Diva, with a box of Nerds, which were her treat since she can't have the donuts. And her outfit was one of the day's highlights.



This is the "big spider web" where those inclined can do a little weaving.


Corn maze. We nearly lost the Dude in it.


The strangest baby I have ever seen.

silly internet quiz, part 31 in a series

Your result for The Who Would You Be in 1400 AD Test...

The Lady

Chaste and pure, you are a good person. You try to help others and do your duty to your family. However, this duty involves you being sold off to a local noble house in order to cement relations between your families. But you know it's for a greater good, and besides you will retain all the comforts and glamour of your position regardless of if you're your father's or you husband's property.

Take The Who Would You Be in 1400 AD Test at HelloQuizz

(Stolen from Gwenda Bond)

qotd, damn i miss David Foster Wallace edition

"This is what I was attempting to convey to the reporter from the New York Times who wrote the first obituary they published: that while his work got described as ironic, it never used irony as a self-protective gesture, a mode of maintaining a pose of disaffection or distance from genuine emotions. Rather, his writing was always brave enough to wallow in the muck of real human life, with all its ugliness and pain. And it’s that bravery that made his work stand out for me — while his work had all the stylistic panache and uproarious humor and analytical savvy of the best of postmodern fiction, it also taught me, in a way that the work of no other postmodernist ever could, something about what it is to live."

-- Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Planned Obsolescence and English Dept. faculty at Pomona College

csa update, with carrot

When I unpacked the CSA bag on Saturday, I found something long and maroon bundled with two carrots, which makes perfect sense because it was, indeed, a carrot as well. Pretty, no?


I discovered too late that, like beets, these stain most things they come in contact with.


As for the taste, eh. These were woody and a little bit bitter. Dunno if that was just this particular carrot or all Aggie-loving carrots. This kids -- especially the Dude -- really loved them, tho.

As for the rest of the produce, I used most of it for corn chowder, with CSA potatoes, CSA celery and local corn. The only thing that wasn't locally grown was the dairy. How hard would it be to start a CSA dairy?  I would even volunteer to churn or milk or whatever it is one does with cows in exchange for some local butter.


The chowder is gluten free, even though the Diva refused to touch it. The bread is not GF and is Alton Brown's no-knead recipe, which I find much tastier than Bittman's. YMMV.