Sunday, November 30, 2008

Autumn, but not here

I took this picture last Thanksgiving while we were on the road. Beautiful, isn't it?!
(and if you think this is your backyard, it probably is. ;) )

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving Redux

Since 1993 (FIFTEEN YEARS ago!), Husband has woken up very early on Thanksgiving morning & gone to run a Turkey Trot race. Every year. No matter where we are that year.

This year marked the first time that a) we did not have infants, b) we were home, and c) we were not in a place with freezing weather. So we all went with him.

This pic was taken just after they started. It was a pretty big race this year - took 9 minutes before everyone crossed the start line!!

Once we'd finished watching everyone start, we still had about 7-9 minutes before we'd see Husband finish (it was a 5K race this year), so we amused ourselves around the finish line. The kids wanted their picture taken with the inflat-o-turkey.

Considering the race was at 8am, and dinner was going to be around 3-4pm, I had some time on my hands. Set the table with the good china:

Amusingly enough, it did not occur to me that I had forgotten silverware until it was almost time to eat!

Here's Husband ready to carve our first-ever turkey!!

The feast, for which we were truly thankful:

Happy Weekend to you all!!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for these two turkeys.

(that's Bird on the left, and Bug on the right)

What amazes me is that they are almost 2 years apart, yet their hands are almost the same size.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Bring It On Home

Haven't done a meme in a while, and this one is all the rage on Facebook right now.... and since I would never post something like this where my students could find it.... it can go here!

I have to say, I am always amused by these things. Some of the answers can be dead-on, while others make absolutely no sense. Looking at this list, though, I am amazed at how much influence Husband has had on my music. I can honestly say I would never have listened to (and even enjoyed!) most of this had he not played it for me.

1.Put your iPod on shuffle. (well, the iPod is hooked up to the stereo right now, and not anywhere near where I'm sitting. How about the nifty mP3 player on the computer? It will have to do.)
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
4. Tag 10 friends who might enjoy doing this as well as the person you got this from.
(Um, if you like this and want to play, consider yourself tagged.)

If someone asks, "Is this okay?" you say:
Copacabana - Barry Manilow

What would best describe your personality?
I'll Be That Girl - Barenekkidladies

What do you like in a guy/girl?
A View to a Kill - Duran Duran

What is your life's purpose?
Love, Liberty, and Disco - Newsboys
(ROCK ON!!!)

What is your motto?
Eat the Rich - Aerosmith
(Yeah, this isn't disturbing at all....)

What do your friends think of you?
You Are So Beautiful - Joe Cocker
(And apparently conceited too!)

What do you think about very often?
Something About You - Level 42

What is 2 + 2?
Nothing But Flowers - Talking Heads

What do you think of your best friend?
Autumn Almanac - Kinks

What do you think of the person you like?
Come a Little Bit Closer - Jay and the Americans
(Well, that's appropriate.)

What is your life story?
Wrong Way - Sublime
(Hmmm.... this could be superficial & wrong, or deeply philosophical and right....)

What do you want to be when you grow up?
Cotton Eyed Joe - Rednex

What do you think when you see the person you like?
Edge of Seventeen - Stevie Nicks
(If you know Husband, you are probably laughing now.)

What do your parents think of you?
Gonna Always Love You - Muppets

What will you dance to at your wedding?
Shoot to Thrill - AC/DC
(Oh dear)

What will they play at your funeral?
Without You - Badfinger
(Kinda obvious, isn't it?)

What is your hobby/interest?
Hit Me With Your Best Shot - Pat Benetar
(Perhaps that's why we're at my funeral now...)

What's your biggest secret?
99 Luftballoons - Nena

What do you think of your friends?
Basic Instructions - Burlap to Cashmere

What's the worst thing that could happen?
1985 - Bowling For Soup

How will you die?
Big Ideas - Randy Stonehill

What is the one thing you regret?
Look Through Any Window - Hollies

What makes you laugh?
Take It Easy - Eagles

What makes you cry?
Movin Out - Billy Joel

Will you ever get married?
If You Want My Love - Cheap Trick

What scares you the most?
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence - Gene Pitney
(That's not fair! He'd scare anyone!)

Does anyone like you?
Finest Worksong - REM

If you could go back in time, what would you change?
Number 3 Roxbury Street - Captain Tractor

What hurts right now?
Funiculi Funicula - Luciano Pavarotti
(I've been instructed to tell you that I was the one who downloaded this song.)

What will you post this as?
Bring It On Home - Led Zepplin

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Thoughts on Excellence

Each week, I have a quote of some kind (usually from a scientist, but not always) on my board. My first year students have to write a response to it. This week, it was "Excellence is not a skill. It is an attitude." Instead of a specific directive, I simply told them to respond to the quote. I thought some of their thoughts were interesting.

Excellence is something you have and are, not something you do.... it cannot be obtained magically in exchange for temporary achievement.

Excellence starts with your attitude. You must be in the right frame of mind.

If someone is only doing their best some of the time, then they don't have an attitude of excellence.

Excellence is something that means different things to different people. (really?! oh the relativism!)

I suppose it was inevitable that someone went Bill-and-Ted on me:

I think he means you should try to BE excellent, not achieve excellence.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - Hiding

Bird: Smile Bug!

Bug: You can't see me!

photo courtesy of Bird

Friday, November 14, 2008

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

I hear that it's fall somewhere. Not around these parts, at least not yet, so I like to pretend that it is with these cookies. I like to bake them around Halloween time, although this a great pumpkin pie alternative around Thanksgiving as well.

1 cup softened margarine or butter (2 sticks)
3 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 15oz can canned pumpkin*
2 teaspoons vanilla
5 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons nutmeg
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 12oz bags milk chocolate chips

* For those of you who may be a bit more purist in your cooking, this is about 2 cups of your own homemade pumpkin puree. For those of you who want to learn how to do this, there's a great tutorial here.

1. Preheat the oven to 350F (around 175C) and grease your cookie sheets.

2. Cream the butter & sugar until fluffy. I left my electric mixer in the picture because this is the only time you'll use it.

3. Add all the wet stuff (pumpkin, eggs, vanilla) & stir it all together.

4. In another bowl, add all the dry stuff (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon.) The original directions said to sift it, but I find that just stirring it all together works rather nicely.

Alternatively, do this first and have your little helpers stir it all together while you get all the wet stuff taken care of.

5. Dump the bowl of dry stuff into the bowl of wet stuff. I think you're *supposed* to do this bit by bit, but I just dump it all in there at once. You do have to be bit more careful when you're stirring so you're not breathing the flour, but it works.

6. Stir in the chocolate chips. I prefer to use all milk-chocolate chips, but the store didn't have 2 bags. So this is one bag of milk chocolate & one bag of semi-sweet.

7. Drop by teaspoon or nifty scoop onto your greased cookie sheets. I can get 16 on one well-loved sheet.

8. Bake for as long as they need. In my portal to Hades, that is 8 minutes, followed by about 2 minutes more sitting on the sheet that is now on top of the oven. You want the edges to be set, but not hard. Remove to wax paper/racks/foil to cool completely.

This will make a boatload (60-75, depending on size) of delicious cookies. Enjoy!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Modern Art?

"Mommy, look what I made!!"

Lovely, Bird, just lovely.

"Guess what it is?!"

This is always a dangerous game. I tend to see.... well, nothing that it actually is. (is it a house? no! it's you!) and then I have identity issues. (do I really look like a house?)

Thankfully, this time she took it easy on me:

"It's that thing that hangs in the back of your throat!!"

I can't wait until I hear about her using the word uvula in kindergarten.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Alphabet Soup

What do you mean you don't recognize this person who's suddenly posting daily?!

A is for Age: 30

B is for Burger of Choice: triple-cheese (cheddar, swiss, mozzarella) burger.

C is for the Car I drive: I'm a Toyota girl! (which makes it fun considering Husband is a Domestic car buyer.)

D is for your Dog’s Name: no real pets. Just Ellie (yes, her name and gender have changed!)

E is for Essential Item: either my cell phone or flash drive. All my school stuff is on the flash drive.

F is for current Favourite tv show: Gilmore Girls, Seinfeld (I'm interpreting this as currently my favorite, not currently on tv!)

G is for favourite Game: online? I'd say right now it's WordTwist or Pathwords. (no, not at all addicted to Facebook, what do you mean?) IRL, I like all kinds of trivia games.

H is for Home State: New York

I is for Instruments you play: um..... kazoo?

J is for your favourite Juice: pomegranate or cherry. or cherry pomegranate. perhaps a fruit punch.

K is for whose rear end I’d like to Kick: Today? people who don't properly use their turn signal while driving.

L is for the Last Restaurant at which you ate: CiCi's Pizza.

M is for your favourite Muppet: Kermit, Bunsen, Beaker, the Swedish Chef....

N is for # of Piercings: Two.... sort of. My ears are pierced, though I don't really wear earrings anymore. But I can get them in if i need to.

O is for Overnight hospital stays: Four. When I was 6 to have my aednoids out, when I was 11 to get my tonsils out, and then a few days for the birth of each child.

P is for People you were with today: Husband, Bird, Bug... scads of students, work colleagues... is it any wonder I want to hide in the Internet when I get home?!

Q is for what you do with your Quiet time: read, faff around on the computer, sleep, scrapbook, watch a cheezy movie...

R is for biggest Regret: I'm having a really hard time thinking of something here. I think that's a good thing.

S is for Status: sleepy

T is for Time you woke up today: 5:30 a.m. and then I graded papers.

U is for what’s Unique about you: this year, I'm teaching 5 different classes. Apparently, I'm incredibly multi-faceted & talented.

V is for Vegetable you love: carrots, water chestnuts

W is for Worst Habit: stress eating

X is for X-Rays you’ve Had: Lots, but only on my teeth.

Y is for Yummy food you ate today: pumpkin chocolate chip cookie

Z is for Zodiac: Virgo

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thank You

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Last night, Husband & I watched the new Indiana Jones movie. I have to say, I liked it. I wasn't sure how I would feel, considering all the bad reviews it got, but it is still Harrison Ford Indiana Jones after all. Considering it's been 19 years since The Last Crusade, I'm not surprised that this movie was set in the 50s instead of the 30s - and they acknowledged the passing of time & aging of the characters. (Not to mention that Ford STILL did most of his own stunts. Wow!)

There was one scene of the movie, however, that bugged me. As with all Lucas movies, there has to be a chase scene. This one was rather spectacular, and at one point involved Indy's sidekick fencing with the main Russain villain - while they are on side-by-side moving vehicles. (This is not the part that bugged me. I always thought fencing was cool. Wish I could do it!). No, the part that bugged me was when Mutt (the rebellious teenager) ended up straddling both vehicles at the same time. The camera panned back, and we are 'treated' to a series of shots of shrubberies aimed at the guy's manly bits.

It saddened me that the movie resorted to cheap tricks, when previous iterations of this series didn't need to rely on such ridiculousness to garner a laugh. It reminded me of the later Muppet movies (Muppets From Space & the Muppet Wizard of Oz) that all of a sudden started using fart jokes and innuendos (sadly, I think Jim Henson would be spinning in his grave, and I don't think Frank Oz was even associated with at least the latter movie.)

Yet, it is a sign of the change in culture under new (younger) management. I hate it when movies play to the lowest common denominator, rather than letting the comedy naturally arise from great writing and/or acting. It's like the filmmakers insinuate that we are too dumb to understand anything above the base line.

Not to mention the fact that I think we're all called to a higher standard anyhow.