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Showing posts from November, 2006

Christmas Memories Vol. 2

My Grandma B came of age right before the Depression. She was one of eight children, raised by their mother after my great grandfather left the work camp and disappeared to Indiana to start a new family. These were not friendly times for a single mother. My great grandmother had to take in a lot of laundry and put in a lot of time to earn enough to feed her family. As the second oldest child, my grandmother was required to shoulder a lot of responsibility for her younger siblings while her mother worked. She helped stretch the food to feed them all, helped with darning and mending and other household chores to extend the life of their belongings, and learned frugality as a way of life before she turned 18. Throughout her life, she retained this frugality. She fell in love and married my grandfather, who was a kind, generous man with a good sense of humor who valued happiness and life much more than wealth. Instead of trying to use his engineering background to make money, he ran the
Catherine Tate - Gingers for Justice I'm watching Catherine Tate right now, and decided I'd check out youtube to see what I could find. Here it is...Gingers for Justice.
Catherine Tate - Helen Translates Another one of my favourites...Helen can "do" lots of things.

Rhubarb yogurt

I love rhubarb yogurt. It is a standard yogurt flavor in the UK. You can even buy generic rhubarb yogurt. My new favorite breakfast is rhubarb yogurt with grapenuts, two cups of PG Tips white, no sugar, and a glass of ruby red grapefruit juice. I'm LUCKY.

Christmas memories - Vol 1

I am quite the fan of Christmas. I like the way it smells. I like the way it sounds. I like the cold air (the one month of the year where I DO,) and I like the way snow looks with Christmas lights. Or ice on Christmas lights. That's REALLY cool. So in honour of the holiday season, I am going to share my favourite Christmas memories and other Christmas trivia over the next few weeks. Many among you will find this sappy. You're right. Got a problem with that? Today we will start with my stocking. Back when we were babies, older female relatives knit. Booties, scarves, blankets, you name it. There's a baby coming???!!! It's knitting time!!! (Crocheting was for multi-colored afghans.) When my brother (who is two years older) was born, my dad's Aunt Til knitted him a fabulous stocking with a jaunty Santa climbing out of a chimney and BOB (his name, luckily) on it in big letters that look like they're straight from a laser. (Even though his given name is Robert, t

Why I'm Not Married

If you don't read Coaster Punchman's World, here's a little story of our wacky life on the left coast. I was really annoyed at first because, while I find the story quite funny, his retelling made me feel like I didn't handle it well. But I thought about it a bit more and I thought about the Five Crushes tag, and I realised that, in fact, I've had to handle more than my fair share of whackjobs with a lovejones. I'm entitled to be sick of this, and therefore handling it at ALL is handling it well. The story of Bodhi explains, tangentally, why I am not married. I am not a dater, nor do I engage in casual pickups. It is not wise for me to trust men. This is not man-hating...on the contrary, I love men. And men love me. But it's like I'm magnetic north in the world of crazies. I have to be very careful. My logic has always been that sane men just don't find me that attractive, but actually, that's not true. They do, but I'm intimidating

In the Holiday Spirit

My tree is up. It is a 3-foot tall tree (ok, maybe 4) that I got for £2 at a carboot sale. It has colored twinkle lights and a lovely angel on top that was a gift from my friend Bethany. Bethany also left me a cute little caroler/angel last year when she was here, and it's right up there where I can see it. There are childhood ornaments that my mom made. She was crafty...I know other people that have these same ornaments, but my mom's are much nicer, I must say. My favorites are the sequined mittens (the red ones), the Santa slipper with sequins, and the fake skates with paperclips for blades. There are dreidls from my friend Larry in Seattle, who added a bit of Hannukah to our forest of trees to make them more inclusive. When I lived with Knox and Ellen, the Christmas trees from Chubby and Tubby were only $3. So we got three. They were Charlie Brown trees, but they were AWESOME. There is a set of vegetables from Tim and Mark...a bulb of garlic, a potato, a tomato, and an

Movie News

Dale has tagged us with a little movie quiz. I have elected not to discuss my f ive grossest moments because that wouldn't be polite, and don't care to reveal my life's crushes because, well, I've traditionally had some freakishly bad taste in men, and that stems from freakishly bad taste in boys. But this one I'll do. 1. Popcorn or candy? I generally don't eat anything at a movie theatre, but if I do I buy the popcorn with a bit of delicious butter-flavoured topping, put salt on it and then dump Milkduds, Sugarbabies, Goobers or M&Ms in it. Just like the boyfriend/secret service agent in First Daughter. 2. Name a movie you've been meaning to see forever. The Women . I know I will love it, just haven't had time to see it. Note, I have not put Mommie Dearest down here because, as my mother always says, there are just some things that shouldn't be given your attention. Psycho actresses who look like transvestites and abuse their childr

Sorry I've been away

So sorry I've been absent. Have been off doing various things, allowing me to reconnect with the life I ignore when I'm in school. It's been lovely. I've also had a bit of a dodgy tummy with the antibiotics I've been taking. But I have finally lost most of my cough and I am well rested and have started going to the gym again. All good. It's good to feel like myself again.

And the iPod says...

This first song is dedicated to Dale. See, everyone's iPod has hidden depths. 1. Bandstand Boogie - Barry Manilow 2. Gimme Some - Nina Simone 3. Long Hot Summer - The Style Council 4. Don't Worry Baby - Los Lobos 5. Ain't Got a Thing - Josie Kreuzer 6. Blister in the Sun - Violent Femmes 7. Workin' In Corners - Nanci Griffith 8. Sick Day - Fountains of Wayne 9. On Green Dolphin Street - Gene Harris 10. Evidence - Joseph Arthur

Gingers for Justice

On tonight's (or more specifically last week's) episode of The Catherine Tate Show, a pack of gingers decide they're tired of hiding out in Russet Lodge, living in shame. So they break out and form Gingers for Justice, and begin protests at the Houses of Parliament dressed as carrots, gingernut biscuits and Duracell batteries (the Copper Top). Of course, the protest is cut short because it's a sunny day and they forgot their sunscreen.

Pray for Fidel, please

So I had been approved for the study tour to India, and then I started thinking. There is a tour to Cuba. As a US citizen, I can't go to Cuba without a damn good reason. Education, now THERE'S a reason. So I decided to check into it. And I've been allowed to switch. In June, I will be traveling to Cuba, assuming the Treasury Department approves my request for a license. This is really, really cool. We'll get to see first-hand their exceptional school system and health care. We'll get to do a community service project. And if he's still alive, rumour is that we may even get to attend a reception with El Presidente. Now THAT is an educational experience. I have always wanted to go to Cuba. I used to have past life dreams about how I AM Cuban. (Or, more specifically, WAS.) In the dreams, I am from a wealthy Havana family. I fall in love and marry a farmer/landowner that I meet while I'm strolling with my sisters on a lovely spring day. I move to his esta

Trinny and Susannah know the score

On night one of my brief reprieve from student hell, I have come home, made dinner (some tesco healthy living crunchy fish and sweet potato fries with fresh green beans and tomatoes on the side,) and decided to watch telly. I turned to Trinny and Susannah Undress , their replacement show for What Not to Wear now that they've moved to ITV1. Instead of dressing one person (or two, as they settled on in their last WNTW format,) they dress couples who have started taking their looks for granted now that they're all paired off. Tonight's couple are a bit odd and quite frumpy. She is short and four months pregnant. He is tall and FREAKISHLY long wasted. Trinny picked up on this immediately. She said, "My LORD you have short legs for a tall man." Susannah didn't see it right away, but when she took Andy shopping she realised that Trinny and I were right. In fact, she told him to take one of his outfits on because he looked "positively deformed." Someh

Half Way Through

One year ago right now, I was getting ready for my trip to New York for Thanksgiving, where I would spend a few blissful days with my friends Tom and George seeing plays and eating delicious food. I was mulling over the idea of applying to grad school, but was frankly a bit frightened that they'd laugh at me when they saw the application. But I took my laptop with me anyway and I sat on Tom's couch working on the essays. I knew I'd never actually get in, but figured I had to try. Little did I know. As of 4PM yesterday, I am officially half way through my MBA. And I'm good at this. My right thumbtip is still numb from the pressure on my pen for three days and I'm not able to actually focus for long on the screen because I'm freakishly tired, but all in all things went relatively well. I was as prepared as I could realistically be, and I figure I had an alright answer for most things. I may not have lit the sky on fire with my eloquence and ability, but I th

Lazy Sunday iPod list

Two days late, but I have my reasons. They're called exams. 1. I Lost It - Lucinda Williams 2. Denise - Fountains of Wayne 3. Johnsburg, Illinois - Tom Waits 4. Suite: Judy Blue Eyes - Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young 5. Up In the Sky - Oasis 6. The Girl In the Corner - Lyle Lovett 7. Bop Gun (Endangered Species) - Parliament 8. It's Hard to Kill a Bad Thing - Isobel Campbel & Mark Lanegan 9. Brown to Blue - Elvis Costello and the Attractions 10. I Ain't Living Long Like This - Emmylou Harris

And the defense rests

So today, in the middle of my revising, I took time out to go to Magistrate Court. As I mentioned yesterday, last Friday night I received a notice from a bailiff who wanted a crapload of money for a speeding ticket I didn't know I had or he was going to turn the warrant in and I would go to jail. Not the best place to finish studying for exams. I had a panic. I had a cry. I had another panic. Then I got some perspective. My friends Nadine and Pratap talked me down, my friend Kieren's wife, Corrie, suggested I check to see if it was even real, and my friend Justin reminded me that I had to immediately talk to the court because they simply can't do this if I didn't know. Armed with all this advice and support, I called the magistrate court that issued the warrant. Turns out they had a speed camera photo of my car speeding, and had put a slew of fines on it since I'd never gotten in touch. I explained that I would have, if they'd TOLD me they wanted to talk to

Things that have happened while I've been revising

I'm allowing 15 minutes for an update on the things that have happened while I'm revising. Exams begin on Thursday, so it's likely no major posting will happen between now and Sunday, except, of course, for the Friday 10 and maybe an anxiety post mid-exams. In no particular order: 1) Still have a cough. 2) Have a lodger named Pratap, who is also in exam trauma. We drink Bailey's and discuss our day's studying at midnight each night. 3) Had a snafu on a previous assignment that caused me a bit of a freakout, but am calm now and all is fine. 4) Had a bailiff show up at my house on Friday demanding payment for a speeding ticket I didn't know I had. Bailiffs are like vampires...don't invite them in, or all hell breaks loose. They can jump garden fences and climb in windows and do pretty much anything to collect. They are scary. But Dog the Bounty Hunter gave me until Monday to sort this out, and since I legitimately don't know anything about the ticket it

And the iPod says...

1. Half Acre - Hem 2. Twilight - Shawn Colvin 3. Hang on St. Christopher - Tom Waits 4. Spread - Outkast 5. I'm a Man - Bo Diddley 6. Ice Cream - Sarah McLachlan 7. Cinnamon Girl - Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs 8. Pretty and High - The Roches 9. Jack-Ass - Beck 10. One Monkey - Gillian Welch

I love this photo, but I bet she doesn't

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Leslee Unruh is chairman of Vote Yes For Life, a group that unsuccessfully lobbied for a referendum banning nearly all abortions in South Dakota. (MPR Photo)

What a difference two years make

On 1 November 2004, I boarded a plane at 6:30 PM in MSP and flew to the UK as the start of my secondment here, landing at 7:30 AM on the US's election day. I am quite the politically opinionated liberal and I'd voted a few days before I flew by absentee ballot, but I wore my "I Voted!" sticker on the plane and was a jamble of nerves the whole day. I hadn't had a good night's sleep in at least two weeks prior to my departure, so I spent my first day in the UK wondering what the hell I'd done and trying to figure out my shower and falling asleep sitting up, so I had things to keep me occupied while I waited. My body clock was a stinking mess, and I couldn't help it...I committed the cardinal sin of taking an actual nap midday, so my sleep that night was fitful at best. I turned the TV on to keep me company, and from midnight on there was wall-to-wall coverage on both BBC1 and ITV of the US elections. I drifted off to sleep about 3:30 AM with the comfo

Little Miss Sunshine - Late Entry

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Back in early October, beth hosted the "Little Miss Sunshine Pageant," wherein many in my blog community submitted a childhood photo of themselves. Since I live far away from any pictures of me in my younger years, I was dependent upon my family to email me one and for various reasons they had other things to worry about and I didn't get my photo in time. My brother, however, has been scanning pictures lately and has now posted a series from my fifth birthday. I can now, therefore, reveal my five-year-old self in all my splendor. Too bad you can't see the culottes I'm wearing. They were short short ones with a navy/white/fuschia hawaiian floral pattern. I made some bold fashion choices from an early age. (FYI, I'm the girl. The surly one with me is my brother, Bob. He still makes that face.)

Funny Headline

Saw this at www.nytimes.com. G.O.P. Glum as It Struggles to Hold Congress Silly GOP. Diebold will make it look close, but they're on your side. You're going to be fine.

And the iPod says...

Oh my. This is gonna be a scorcher. 1. Play That Funky Music - Wild Cherry 2. U - Arrested Development 3. That's Just What You Are - Aimee Mann 4. Boulder to Birmingham - Emmylou Harris 5. Leave Me Here - Hem 6. Hello Like Before - Bill Withers 7. Suddenly I See - KT Tunstall 8. Fish Below the Ice - Shriekback 9. Dodge Veg-O-Matic - Jonathan Richman & the Modern Lovers 10. Bitchin' Camaro - The Dead Milkmen

A comment on comments

I love comments. I love YOUR comments. I love it when people respond to what I write. And I love what you write. I check all of your sites at least once a day if I'm able to find the time. You make me laugh. You've become a hobby. But the thing is, I'm not a commenter myself. I'm a bit shy sometimes, even though I appear not to be. And as much as I wish it did, commenting just doesn't come naturally to me in blogland. You're not going to know that I've been to your site unless a) something immediately strikes me as a potential comment, and b) I have enough time to actually type the comment in. (Compulsive site-meter readers excepted.) Think of me as the quiet one who's laughing at the jokes, flitting about to make sure everyone has a drink. There's also the issue that sometimes I don't have commenting time when I'm reading you all...many days I only have 15 minutes of blog time allowed, so I need to get to as many sites as I can and I

My Delicious Cauliflower Cheese Soup

While I enjoy my delicious bowl of soup (without scalded skin) I thought I'd share the recipe so you can make yourself some and be as happy as I am. Or, as CP does, listen to my 40@40, read my blog, and eat my soup...it will almost be like having dinner with me. You need: A head of cauliflower A carrot A potato 3 cloves of garlic 2 leeks (or onions) some salt 5 cups of water Peel/chop all of the veg above into relatively cookable dice. Bung it in a pot with the water and the salt (or replace some of the water with stock), bring it to a boil and then simmer until it's squooshy. Use the hand blender to pulverize. Stir in a dollop of creme fraiche/sour cream/yogurt (lowfat varieties acceptable.) Dump in a tablespoon of lowfat herb cream cheese just because. Now add about one and half to two cups of finely shredded cheese...I use swiss, but cheddar works, too, the sharper the better. Now put in a splash more water for consistency (in case it's too thick), about a teaspoon

Kismet at Tesco

I had everything I needed to make delicious cauliflower cheese soup tonight except my hand blender is broken and I need it to puree. I have a regular blender, but frankly, hot liquid, conventional blenders and Mindy do not mix. I know the part about leaving air and venting the lid so the steam doesn't cause the hot soup to fly everywhere, scalding anyone in its path and making a serious mess. Just ask Mark and Tim about the cranberry sauce incident and the effect it had on their tile grout. I needed that hand blender to make the soup. So, even though I am seriously pressured by a looming deadline for school and have been running from end to end with work lately and hate Tesco pretty much more than anything, even under the best of circumstances, I decided to stop at Tesco on the way home for a £4.98 hand blender replacement so I could have some comfort food tonight. The parking lot wasn't too bad, always a good sign at the big Tesco. I swear, I think the only thing people do