"If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under." - Ronald Reagan

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Can't Decide If This Is A Bad Thing..

My refrigerator broke.

I'm not sure what's wrong but the ice melted and it's not exactly cold inside anymore. Really, I can't complain too loudly because this is the first problem we've had with a major appliance since we moved in here eight years ago.

This happened on a Friday afternoon. I thought the freezer was the only thing affected (because of the huge puddle of melted ice collecting in front of the doors) so I started moving everything out and into the deep freeze. The popsicles were a loss but I managed to save the ice cream! Then I noticed that the level of chill in the other portion wasn't giving me goosebumps when I reached for my hidden stash of chocolate behind the unidentifiable leftovers. By the time I admitted defeat and called a repairman, it was too late to save my weekend. Have to wait until Monday.

Oh darn…gotta eat out all weekend. Donuts for breakfast until it gets fixed!

Unfortunately, I had just gone to the grocery store so the fridge is pretty full right now. I took out the stuff we use a lot (like milk and chocolate pudding) and put them in a big cooler packed with ice. Then I filled a couple pitchers with more ice and put those in the fridge, just trying to keep the rest of the stuff edible until the thing is repaired. As a security measure, I wrapped masking tape around the door handles. Sure, the kids could probably still get into the fridge if they were really determined.

Any other suggestions on how to help keep more of the food inside?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Teaser Tuesday: Life of Pi

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share a few “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!



All of the book groups I've joined have had Life of Pi on their reading list at some point but somehow, I've managed to avoid reading it. It seems like a very odd premise: Pi, son of a zookeeper, survives a sinking ship in a lifeboat loaded with animals, including a tiger. Eventually, the tiger whittles things down to just it and the boy. The book has won all sorts of awards and prestige so you'd think I'd be more excited about reading it…


Here's the teaser:

"Another man was nabbed in the process of stealing a cobra. He was a snake charmer whose own snake had died. Both were saved: the cobra from a life of servitude and bad music, and the man from a possible death bite."
- pg. 30, Life of Pi by Yann Martel



What are you reading?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Animated Animosity

The other morning Baby had a funny look on her face. When I asked her what was wrong, she replied by throwing up. So she spent the day on the couch with her favorite blanket, watching cartoons, which means I was right there with her. Here are a few observations:
  • There are far too many kids' shows featuring pigs. What is it with pigs? They look weird, are smelly, aren't at all cuddly, and it's just odd to have them walking on two legs, with their knees all backwards and such. I think the cartoon executives ought to learn from the Germans and feature a loaf of bread instead.

  • The opinion I formed of Dora the Explorer years ago still holds with child #3.

  • While watching said "unsupervised child," my daughter was completely focused on helping Dora reach her destination. Toward the end of the show when it came time to climb a ladder, Baby was asked to put her hands out in front of her and help Dora climb. Baby didn't miss a beat and replied in a very stern voice "You're a big girl now, Dora. and big girls need to try all by yourself before I help you." Gee, maybe I've been saying that a lot lately or something.

  • Why is it that some cartoon characters can spend the entire show running around buck nekkid, but when it's time to go swimming, they put on swimming suits? Really, what's the point by then?

  • When I mention that I don't like Max & Ruby, other parents usually concur, stating how Ruby is just soooo bossy. But it's not Ruby; it's Max. Ruby isn't exactly mean about her instructions. Heck, their parents are nowhere to be seen (probably eaten by a wolf) so she's just doing the best she can. And Max constantly disobeys. And when he disobeys? It ends up being the right thing to do! Anyone with an annoyingly perfect little brother knows what I mean.

  • I have to remember that these shows are geared toward the preschool age-range, so I won't over-think the plots. For instance, if the three clues in Steve's handy dandy notebook are a mat, a twirling thingy, and a leotard, then don't assume that Blue wants to be Olympic gymnast. That stream of thinking is way too high level for a show that features salt and paper shakers that gave birth to paprika.
After an afternoon as a captive audience, I have to say that cartoons might have actually raised my IQ. Hey, I learned how to say "jump" in Spanish, the life stages of a caterpillar and the effects on bug friendships, and how easily a koala bear's feelings can get hurt by ants. Much more productive than cleaning a house that gets torn up every afternoon anyway.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Product Review: Kangaroo Bottle

A little while back, cgets.com* asked me if I'd like to try a couple of their products. I'm not going to turn down free stuff! They didn't want some big advertising post or anything in return. But if I felt so inclined, then perhaps I would link to them in my sidebar. Here's one of the items they sent me:

Kangaroo Water Bottle with Storage
Pretty spiffy, eh? Nearly my entire Zumba class has oogled** mine at one point, wanting to know where I got such a cool bottle. (Never mind that I've usually passed out from overexertion and must be revived before they can ask…)

The bottle itself is nifty. With 24 ounces, it holds more than the bottle I used previously and the water stays nice and cool, which is great when I'm completely over-heating. Also, there's a flip-top lid over the spout when you're not using it. When it's up, though, the bottle won't spill if it gets tipped over. Considering how weak my reflexes are after a considerable amount of shaking my groove thing, that's a great feature. Instead of attempting a screw-cap lid, all I do is squeeze a large button and the life-giving water flows freely. The lid also sports a clasp, so I can clip it to my gym bag, if needed. I tried clipping it to Baby's belt loop (at her request, I promise) but the bottle was longer than her legs so it didn't exactly improve our trip into the gym.

But the really awesome feature about this bottle is the storage built in. Open the little compartment and I've got enough room for my gym membership card, the prepaid gym daycare punchcard, and my key fob so I'm not lugging in a huge wad of keys. It doesn't, however, fit my Blackberry. My previous phone fits just fine, so if you have a smaller phone then it might work for you. Instead, I just leave my phone in the car so I'm not interrupted while getting in touch with my inner Latin Dancer, which is a difficult process given the complications of my how much inners there are to me and my obvious Whiteness.

Right now, the bottles are on sale and a pretty good price. Also? Check out their ice cube tray collection. Some seriously cute ones there!

* I did receive the product free of charge but all opinions and reviews are mine. In fact, they'd probably rather I didn't link my review to them because, let's face it - I'm a big dork.


** No, I did not misspell ogled. When they check out my kangaroo bottle, the first thing they usually say is "Oooo!" so I thought it fitting to re-spell "ogled" to suit. Hence, "oogled."

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Teaser Tuesday: The Princess Bride

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share a few “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!



My family has a few movies we grew up with that have made it into our adult collections. Dark Crystal. Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Labrynth. The Never-ending Story. The Princess Bride. The Last Unicorn. Star Wars 4, 5, and 6. When I miss my family, there's nothing like watching one of these movies while eating a big bowl of Neapolitan ice cream with crushed Fritos on top.


Years ago, I read the book that inspired the movie, The Princess Bride. It was funny and entertaining and a lot like the movie. But for some reason, the only part I really remember from the book was where the author skips over a part because he says all it shows is some lady packing her hats for a trip. I decided it was time to read it again.


Here's the Teaser
"There have been five great kisses since Saul and Delilah Korn's inadvertent discovery swept across Western civilization. (Before then couples hooked thumbs.) And the precise rating of kisses is a terribly difficult thing, often leading to great controversy, because although everyone agrees with the formula of affection times purity times intensity times duration, no one has ever been completely satisfied with how much weight each element should receive. But on any system, there are five the everyone agrees deserve full marks. 
This one left them all in behind."
-pg 55, The Princess Bride by William Goldman
What are you reading?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Difference Between Boys and Girls: Science vs. Imagination

Alternate Titles: "What Kid Isn't Fascinated By Mechanical Engineering?" or "Einstein Got Run Over By A Unicorn"

It's not just the kids that are different. Every now and then, me and the Man see things with entirely different perspectives. Sure, we see eye to eye most of the time. But every now and then, I swear, it's like we're from different planets. His rotates on an axial tilt of 25.19 degrees with a circular orbit. And mine is warmed by the breath of dragons.

Sometimes, an ordinary family drive turns into a blazing example of those differences. The kids spotted an enormous fluffy column of white steam emitted by a building just off to the side of the road.

Kids: What's that?
The Man: Inside that building are evaporators that use natural gas to produce over a 500 megawatts of electricity per day.
Kids:
Me: It's a cloud maker.
Kids: Cool!

Nice try, Mr. Brainiac. Unicorns and fairy dust trump scientific facts any day. Well, at least until they stop believing in Santa Claus.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Teaser Tuesday: Burning Water

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read.
  • Open to a random page.
  • Share a few "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page.
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn't give away too much. You don't want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teaser!

  • Mercedes Lackey is the author of several books on my TBR pile. I thought she was mostly a Young Adult author. So when I found this one about an adult witch, I thought it worth a try, also. Had a really difficult time getting into it and felt like reading the back cover kinda ruined the book for me. Still, I'm a sucker for mythology and Aztecs don't get a lot of page time. 


  • It's those scene-stealing Mayans that get all the attention. 


  • Also? The Teaser I'm including is part of the main character's personal Creed, which I found myself almost completely identifying with…almost.


  • Here's the Teaser:


  • "Fifth commandment: there are only three things worth living for; love in all it's manifestations, freedom, and the chance to keep humanity going a little while longer. They're the same things worth dying for. And if you aren't willing to die for the things worth living for, you might as well turn in your membership in the human race."


  • - ummm…forgot to get the page number and now I can't find it, 

  • Burning Water by Mercedes Lackey

    • What are you reading?

    • Friday, January 6, 2012

      Whistle While You Work

      Admitting to my defects and faults is not an easy thing to do. Not because I embarrass easily but because I simply don't have many of them. In an effort to relate to those less awesome than myself, I will share one with you here.

      I had a great childhood. Sure, there's enough interesting material to fill a therapist's notebook, but really? It was great! Lots of fond memories, inside jokes, and blackmail against my siblings. I never really thought about what was lacking or what opportunities I missed out on during those years. It wasn't until my young son, in his innocence, asked me for assistance and I discovered that I just could not help.

      "Mom? Can you teach me how to whistle?"

      No, I couldn't. Because I never learned how to whistle.

      The sound of whistling was highly annoying to my mother. Therefore, it wasn't allowed in the house. I was far too busy running around outside, using hangers as make-believe bows shooting invisible arrows, to really notice that something was missing, that a core skill would be left vacant as I moved into my teen years. Of course, as a female, it wasn't necessary to master the ability to issue a recognizable "wolf whistle" on demand. So I was still ignorant.

      It wasn't until I was an adult, placed in a leadership role where I was tasked with conducting large gatherings that I realized my skills in getting everyone's attention were lacking. I had to rely on others to supply that musically ear-splitting breath.

      And still…I can't manage to whistle even the slightest tune. Every now and then, I get tones that don't sound like I'm slowly choking to death and I have to pretend like I'm not surprised. I can touch my tongue to my nose, roll it into a taco shape, unwrap a Starburst in my mouth, and I even used to be able to tie cherry stems into knots. But whistling? Nope. Can't do it.

      It's a very good thing that my dog just needs to hear her name to come running back home. Or I don't live in New York and have to summon a taxi. Or that I don't need a ride from the legendary Shadowfax, Lord of the Horses*. Other than that, I will continue living my whistle-free life. I can only hope that my children don't suffer the same fate.

      * - If you got that one, award yourself, 20 geek points!

      Tuesday, January 3, 2012

      Teaser Tuesday: My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon

      Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
      • Grab your current read.
      • Open to a random page.
      • Share a few "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page.
      • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn't give away too much. You don't want to ruin the book for others!)
      • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teaser!
      It would seem that I just can't stay away from the anthologies…here's another one! I read one earlier this summer called My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding compiled by the same editor. Liked it well enough so I put the next book, My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon, on my To Be Read pile. Looking for something fun to read, I picked it up this morning. Finished it just after the kids went to bed. 

      I liked this one better than Wedding. The stories were easier to get into and there weren't any that stood out as being exceptionally bad. Of course, I was mainly interested in the Jim Butcher story -- which revealed some rather interesting background information about a character from the Dresden Files that I've always wondered about -- and some of the other authors were familiar, too. And despite this being a collection of stories about honeymoons, there wasn't too much page space wasted on detailed accounts of the characters making sexytimes.

      Here's the Teaser:
      "Erm…" Raphael was obviously too disconcerted by the fact that he was being hugged by an Elizabethan ghost to rally much conversational lines. "Do I know you?"
      - pg. 260, "Cat Got Your Tongue?" by Katie MacAllister, My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon, edited by P.N. Elrod

      What are you reading?

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