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November 2013
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January 2014

many things make a post

* Truer words have not been written.

* Ah, academia. Example 1. Example 2.

* He's right, you know.

* Especially #2

* The headline really says so much. The list is icing on the cake.

* Eating Catan.

* I might need a llama.

* Neil deGrasse Tyson tells you what to read.

* Who knew there were actual writers at Buzzfeed? Well reported story well told.

* I, for one, would prefer to see "Olympic."

words, redux

As I did last year at about this same time, yesterday I gave the sermon at my UU church. And, again, as I did last year, I've put the content of said sermon here, just past the cut. And as I did last year, a UU light bulb joke, for your edification:

How many Unitarian Universalists does it take to change a light bulb? 
It's about 5 or 6, isn't it? Whatever the quorum is for the church board meeting. Well, plus, of course a couple of members of the Building and Grounds committee to actually get the ladder and DO it -- and of course the chair and vice-chair of the committee to supervise - oh, they can't come Saturday? Well, how about Sunday just before the service? Oh, the choir's rehearsing? Oh God! No, I'm not praying! It's just an expression!

Continue reading "words, redux" »

many things make a post

Here are many things a day early, simply because I can see how nutty this week is going to be:

* Irish farmer selfies.

* I just have something in my eye is all.

* A conversation writers never have.

* The value of "hygge."

*  Now, I'm really bitter that we don't have a Trader Joe's.

* If you have a) ever done theater or b) ever realized that our time here is short, start watching at about 1:30.

* Coffee v. Tea.

* Truth.

* Really balanced look at gluten. Maybe, instead of demonizing just one component of our food, we should look at our food (and exercise) as a whole....

* Wow.


qotd, and around it goes

"Other immigrant groups -- Greeks, Turks, Poles, Slavs, Jews of every nation -- encountered similar prejudice, of course, and for Asians and America's own blacks prejudice and restrictions were even more imaginatively cruel, but the Italians were widely regarded as something of a special case -- more voluble and temperamental and troublesome than other ethnic groups. Wherever problems arose, Italians seemed to be at the heart of things. The widespread perception of Italians was that if they weren't Fascists or Bolsheviks, the were anarchists or Communists, and if they weren't those, they were involved in organized crime."

-- Bill Bryson, One Summer: America, 1927. What amazes me most about this book is how this country just keeps going round and round and round with exactly the same issues, just with different names. It's all here, from school massacres to media sensations. And Bryson, of course, is a master storyteller.

lacking in holiday cheer

I'm just not feeling it this year. What with the end-of-term madness and a lingering illness* and several freelance projects** and the kids and the expectations and the ... well. You get it.*** Just. Not. Feeling. It.

Working at my local bookstore helps, actually, because most of the shoppers seem pretty happy to be shopping. They have the cheer that I do not. I'm hoping for a contact merry.

Also helping are these. 


Torrone is an Italian nougat candy (in three flavors) that was always out at my Grandparent's house at this time of year. And if they didn't have it out, whichever Aunt hosting the big Christmas Eve seven fishes would. Given that I don't really like seafood, I made many a meal of these.


You can learn your monuments. 


And your famous Italians.****

But last year, due to a variety of circumstances, no Torrone. This year, however, I saw a box of the right brand in a shop in Seattle in August. Since the principle component of torrone is sugar and each piece is hermetically sealed in a wee foil pouch, the expiration date was in 2014.*****  

I broke into the box a couple of nights ago.****** While they are helping, I guess, I'm still far from ho-ho-hoing. I don't blame the candy, mind. 

So, readers, help me out. Those of you who do the Christmas jive, how do you find the spirit when it seems to be missing? 


* short version: a snot/sore throat/exhaustion virus that refuses to go away.

** which I am happy to have, mind, but that still need to be written.

*** Or I assume you do, if you are reading this.

**** I have a vague memory of boxes that had saints on them. This may or may not be a real thing. 

***** They weren't individually wrapped when I was a kid and the naked candy would be in the cardboard box. Every now and again you'd get one from the previous Christmas that was a challenge to chew. 

****** I'm glad I only bought one box. Otherwise, this would be known as the Christmas where Mom and Dad failed to fit in their winter coats.

up with figs, snow

Once upon a time, Lisa and Adrienne worked for the same alternative newsweekly. Now, both spend their respective days mining their creative souls and leading hermit-like lives. And so an idea was hatched. Every week, one would send the other a sketch - either in illustration or word form - and the other would make a companion sketch. The result would be posted on both their blogs every week, just for grins. Even if the result isn't award-worthy, the exercise might make both minds more nimble. Hopefully.


Winters up here are nothing if not intense, like summer is in Texas. If you fight it, you all but ensure that you will have four (or five, really, if we’re being honest) months of misery. If you just lean in and let it happen, however, you’ll do just fine.

(It occurs to me that this works for so many unchangeable situations: those first few months of living with an infant, those hours of negotiating traffic in the city, etc. Resistance isn’t futile so much as it is a waste of energy.)

One of my neighbors embraces this philosophy. On every car windshield on my drive to work, someone had drawn a snow smiley face, like each and every car was pleased to be covered with so much frozen precipitation. It’s not much but it should help get us through.

Text ©Adrienne Martini; illustration ©Lisa Horstman. Until the end of time. Or something.

return of the snow giraffe

I should have believed the weather forecasters this weekend. They said we were going to get between 6-8" of snow. But they've been wrong so often that it was hard to work up the energy this time. 

Snow giraffe wishes they'd been wrong.



Snow giraffe is in there, somewhere. This was on the hood of my car, btw. 

For a more visual representation, if snow giraffe doesn't do it for you:


Our backyard.


Snow-crazed corgi.


Snow-crazed corgi who is standing up in this picture.