Archive Page 2

06
Mar
11

Winter Survival Tip #3

One of my best winter survival tricks for tundra living is quite simple: leave.  Get out.  Go somewhere, preferably warm and sunny, but at the very least somewhere else.  Winter is a great time for visits of obligation; it’s a better time for fun vacations, but sometimes a body needs to work within certain restrictions.  A required family trip to your mismatched Nader’s Raider aunt and “Romney is too liberal” bellowing uncle might not be the most pleasant experience, but if they live in Florida, it is a lot more pleasant if you can couple the visit to them with one to some sunshine and temperatures above freezing.  Ideally you can take a week or weekend for fun – cheer on your team at a spring training baseball game, watch the whales migrate in Cabo, surf in Hawaii – but sometimes it is necessary to be a bit practical.  Vitamin D is a practical need; if only I could get my insurance to let me apply airfare to my deductible.

Besides the benefit of a break from snow and ice, taking a break from the tundra also gives you something to look forward to…regardless of the weather here, I will not have to scrape ice off my car to go to work next Monday – I won’t be near my car and I’m not going to work!  Win.  It’s a mental, physical, and emotional break and it is necessary.

So!  Tundra.  You are on notice.  If you are not significantly warmer and sunnier, preferably with longer days, by Thursday  I AM LEAVING.  One of us has to make a change; I accept that it will likely be me.

 

03
Mar
11

Baconalia Review: Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies with Great Lakes Porter

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies with Great Lakes Porter

Bacon and chocolate chip cookies with a nice, rich porter. ..sounds like dessert to my face!  I’m currently in the midst of planning a bacon party that (at this point) will focus entirely on baked goods.  For whatever reason, I’m actually trying the recipes ahead of time this round.  Perhaps I am growing up and becoming more responsible or perhaps I just really like to bake and post cookies to friends.  Regardless of the present and the future, these cookies were the first cookies of my bacon cookie past.  These cookies predate my whole “Baconalia” concept and I got the recipe from a friend, rather than from the internet.  Seriously.   The first time I made these cookies I was completely unaware of the internet’s boundless infatuation with bacon.

Continue reading ‘Baconalia Review: Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies with Great Lakes Porter’

02
Mar
11

Book Review: The Children of Henry VIII

I finished my book about “two princesses, a prince, and their cousin” and well, that is one of the less-accurate titles I’ve seen.  When I bought the book, I hoped it would cover the bastard children of Henry VIII.*  I mean, the guy got around – in a way that would make Hugh Grant and A-Rod blush – and birth control pretty much sucked in the sixteenth century.  Admittedly, H8 only acknowledged one of his illegitimate offspring, Henry FitzRoy.  The probability is high that he had others – some estimates are as high as 20-25. Based on its title, The Children of Henry VIII, I thought that this book was at least going to include FitzRoy.  I’ve read other books by Alison Weir, the author, in which she does not hesitate to look at available information and make an as-educated-as-possible conjecture.  (Princes in the Tower, I’m looking at you.)

Regardless of how many children Henry VIII actually fathered and who they were, this book didn’t even do a good job with the ones who spent at least some portion of their life as his legitimate offspring – and then it threw in a whole deal on Jane Grey.  Jane Grey, his grandniece.  The book did talk about the relationships between the siblings (Edward, Mary, Elizabeth) and the impact the same events had on their very different lives.  The book doesn’t really get going until Edward’s reign begins and it carries on, in a very linear order, until Elizabeth ascends to the throne.  The reigns of Mary and Edward, along with the debacle of Jane, are covered in detail.  Like many other scholars, Alison Weir has a couple of books (um, two that I own) that focus on Elizabeth I, so maybe she thought it would be too much or too redundant to cover it in this book as well.

This isn’t a bad book, it’s more that it’s a badly-named book.  It is only sort of about the children of Henry VIII, in that it is only about some of them and only some aspects of them.  Given the relative reigns, both with regard to time and achievement, of the Tudors, I think that a better name for this book would be “The Reigns of Minor Tudor Monarchs.”  Jane can stay, either as an acknowledged monarch or for the context she lends to both Edward VI and Mary I.  If that’s what you want to read about, this might be a really good book for you.  I generally enjoy Alison Weir’s writing style; it’s crisp and clear, with good flow.

I still want to read about the “other” offspring of Henry VIII.  I think I might try this book .  Admittedly, I am a little skeptical about the author, but perhaps I ought to avoid judging books by their covers and other titles by their authors.

*I’m counting Mary I and Elizabeth I as legitimate.

01
Mar
11

I Chopped Off a Foot…Twelve Inches of Hair

Image from Pantene's Website

I keep waiting to feel sad, but it’s just not happening.  My friends who’ve already done this warned me that I’d be sad.  I’ll cry, they cautioned, it will take awhile to get used to the change.  The latter part is true for sure, but not in a negative way.  I’m chronically squeezing out too much shampoo and then too much conditioner.  As someone raised as a Lutheran Scot in the Midwest, I definitely feel guilty about that waste, but not sad.

A week and a one-half ago, I cut off twelve inches of hair which I donated to the Pantene Beautiful Lengths Program.  This program’s mission is to provide wigs to women who lose their hair due to cancer treatments.  (I considered donating to Locks of Love, which makes wigs for children.  However, most LoL recipients suffer from alopecia and cancer is a more personal cause for me and my family.  I looked into both organizations and both are solid causes.)  The last time my hair was this short, I still had baby teeth and Mr. Reagan was clamoring for Mr. Gorbachev to “tear down that wall.”  It’s clearly been awhile.  I did maintain enough length that my hair is roughly at my shoulders and I can pull it back into a perky (short) little ponytail.  Still, it feels kind of crazy.  I reach back to touch it all the time, to make sure it’s there, but it’s also not all there.

Continue reading ‘I Chopped Off a Foot…Twelve Inches of Hair’

28
Feb
11

Five Good Things

1.) I made lentil soup last night and it is amazing, particularly as leftovers.

2.) My favorite Buckeye made a random trip to my tundra last Saturday, so I got to see her!  It was wonderful and almost makes me want to visit Ohio so that we can spend more time together.  (Of states that I have visited, Ohio is my least favorite.)

3.) I will be home from work by 4:30pm tomorrow and have the whole evening free.  Granted, I’ll probably use it to do practical things like laundry and sweep the floors, but that’s still better than 11pm laundry.  The probability is also high that I will relax on the couch, eat my leftover Chinese takeout, and watch TV.  50-50, probably.

4.) I found a check that I thought I lost.  It is only a little old, so it is still good.

5.) One of my good friends received an acceptance to her top-choice graduate school.  As an added bonus, the school is in the town I’m moving to in the fall!

27
Feb
11

No Smoking, Yes Chestbumping

On Friday night, I spent a spontaneous and spirited moment as a public-service announcement.  I left a bar (with my friend – “Safety is no accident!”) and there were two guys smoking outside of it, with their non-smoking friend.  Being me, I probably said hello and must have made some comment about smoking or something or maybe Friend did, because one guy spiked his cigarette into the remnants snow.*  The other guy said, “Well, I haven’t had a cigarette in five weeks.”  To which Friend said, “Well why start now?”  But!  I promptly quipped, “George Bush wants you to smoke.”  Well!  He threw it right down and smiled.  So, I cheered him “YEAH!” and we immediately knew we had to chestbump for that.  Then I chestbumped his buddy who previously threw down his smoke.  And then I chestbumped the guy who doesn’t smoke, because hey, non-smoker!  The last guy told me he was going to go all in for our bump.  I embraced it, committing my total mass as well, and did not vomit all over him.  And then we had a happy walk home.

The End.

*Littering is a secondary issue

21
Feb
11

Five Good Things

1.) My produce market randomly had a fantastic selection of prime produce yesterday.  Mango, blueberries, peaches, asparagus, and CORN ON THE COB all will be devoured by me this week – in addition to the usual spinach, apples, and grapefruits.  I am pumped. 

2.) The antithesis of produce and my guilty pleasure, Stouffer’s mac ‘n cheese, is on sale at Walgreens this week.  I clipped a coupon for that too.  For some reason (my Scottish background?) I feel LESS bad about eating (delicious) crap when I buy it on sale.

3.) More on this later, but I had a major haircut and do not feel frustrated with the change.  I feel like I have a lot less hair.

4.) Fraggle Rock is on On Demand.  Heck yeah, I’ll dance my cares away.

5.) My new book club starts soon.




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