Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Crow or Raven?

This Let's Go Exploring page has a good list of distinguishing marks to look for. I didn't realize that ravens have a tail with a point in the center rather than the crow's more fanlike tail.

This also has a nice graphic that shows the tail shape difference:

I live in a region that only has crows so we know if we see a really big black bird that it's a big crow, not a raven. I miss the ravens of Los Alamos, New Mexico. They perch in the ponderosa pines and play in the wind currents at the edge of the mesas. And eat garbage out of dumpsters and make a bunch of noise sometimes. I'll have to ask my mother if she ever sees ravens in Albuquerque. I don't remember seeing them there. I assume they prefer the mountains and high mesas.

The Cecil Younger series by John Straley includes some very good Alaskan raven descriptions. I had a wonderful hilarious time reading aloud to my kids all the Joan Aiken's Arabel and Mortimer books as I could find. Mortimer the raven seems like an only slightly exaggerated character even though he eats a staircase at one point. I need to look for some more fiction with raven characters.

You may enjoy this article from The Toast about the comfort in a Penzeys Spice catalog. Retreating from the news into a gentle alternate universe.

Tulips are edible. It sounds like only as a last resort. I never knew. A link from Eat the Weeds via Kingfisher Feathers. The petals are edible raw or cooked and the bulb (peeled and with the center bit removed) can be eaten cooked. But I also learned that tulip allergies are common, florists and tulip workers can experience 'tulip fingers'.

I like the crow and raven graphic so much I'm tempted just to update down here for a while. Linking to another cheater veggie lasagne recipe. Sounds good!

David Lebovitz recipe for orange syrup cake. Oh my lord. Only if I can acquire 4 organic oranges, 1 organic lemon and 3 cups of sliced almonds.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016


Snowy Easter morning
Last minute inside egg hunt
Quit acne antibiotics 3/28, pharmacy and deductible
Prescription sunglasses
Bball deflation
Tulips and redbud trees

That's my notes and I am not inspired to add to 'em. Just wanted to get a new entry up.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Watch out for #3

I love hearing about school pranks even though I am not a practical joke person as a rule. From the metafilter:  "One of my favorite pranks ever involved letting three pigs loose in a high school hallway. Funny enough, but the kids had the creativity to paint numbers on them-- 1, 2, and 4. Sure, they caught the pigs quickly, but spent loads of time hunting down pig number 3."

Our high school had a rich oral history of jokes that had been perpetrated in years gone by. The flagpole laid in the main hallway was one. And the VW bug that must have been partially disassembled and then reassembled in the foyer.

Considering my April Fools options with the children... Haven't found the right oddity yet.

Crack up
There is so much goodness in this list of favorite comedy and interview with Josh Gondelman. I don't understand all the references but I want to go back and watch all the video when I'm in the comfort of my own space. The Bernie Mac appearance backstory has me hooked.

Wifi revolution
I got the form to send back the wrong wired modem [reminder: drop off at ups office] and Nod found a wifi modem on clearance at the grocery store(?).  We're having a renaissance of gadgets: the laptop is now portable, the Kindle apps are updated, the Wii may finally be playable. We are a slow eddy by the side of the tech entertainment river.

Devotion owed
Speaking of coveted screens, I lost my phone for a night. I did several things before leaving the office yesterday that I don't usually do. When I got home I realized I didn't have my phone. I drove back to my parking place and then checked my office but couldn't find the phone. It was frustrating and I sulked heartily. Came in this morning and called my number and immediately found the phone lying on a random flat surface. Thank you to the gods of lost objects.

Best books list
If you love books, especially but not solely genre fiction, you may have use for the Fantastic Fiction site. So competently organized by author with complete no-frills book and series lists. Ooh I see there's a new PC Peter Grant book coming out this year.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016


Shreds of a dream: doing experiments with mid 20th century technology. We were in the past? So I was part of a team dressed early 60s office stylee and doing things with a heavy telephone handset and other metal bits. It was inspired by Ant Man and his safe cracking and diving-through-the-keyhole trials.

Tiny Fighters
Ant Man was more entertaining than I expected. We loved Michael Peña's Luis and especially his end sequence that tenuously connects Ant Man and Falcon. I see that MP was in The Martian too, I had forgotten. God bless Joss Whedon and the other Marvel script writers and massagers, all knitting these movies together.

We watched Creed over the weekend. It was as likable as the rotten tomatoes said. I was surprised at how tight the storytelling was. There weren't as many pointless training sequences set to music as I had expected. Rocky's old guy hat deserves an award of its own.

K is still campaigning to go see Deadpool in the theater. My initial interest in this waned as I read about a prominent anal sex joke and got a sense of the general tone. I don't think she'd burst into flame and disintegrate but I'd rather see it with one of my own age group.

Bunny Peril
Continues in our backyard. I don't know if it's from the same bunny nest but the cat was ripping out more fur nest lining in the garden this morning. I am disturbed.

Monday, March 21, 2016


On my way to the office I watched a handful of white petals blown by the wind across the blue sky. Petal-fall is my favorite. I will put up with the stink of the ornamental pear trees ("even the stupid Bradford pear trees" as Ursula says) in order to see the petals fly. No lily of the valley yet. Tulips and redbud trees are thinking about it...

Got husband to and from the butt scoping this morning. He was deeply asleep when I got to see him in recovery. The nurse and I both felt bad about waking him up but they had plans for that space. Got him home and back to sleep on the couch. Then at noon I took him out to lunch to really break his fast. I was reassured immediately by his color and peaceful sleep. After his first colonoscopy I found him pale and puny looking. It was a shock of mortality and I didn't tell him that until today. They must have gotten the anesthesia mix better in his subsequent rounds. All clear and no need to repeat for five years. Hallelujah. I'm scared of this procedure myself and hope for a less invasive testing regimen. Is that too much to hope for? Probably so.

I've joined the rest of the world in watching the eaglecam. I got lucky on Saturday morning and got a glimpse of both chicks while mama was rearranging the nest lining. Soon she settled back down over them with a ginger back-and-forth rocking motion and I haven't seen them since. Cam A looks down on top of the nest, Cam B shows us the front of the nest. Cam B also sways with the wind, bleah. Gorgeous and what stern browlines! NPR has a lovely still showing all four. Omg I just saw mama feeding them teeny shreds of (fish?). Go fuzzballs!

Red in Tooth
Zing caught and eventually killed a baby bunny on Sunday. I feel guilt that I didn't go out and finish the job quicker. Next time perhaps. Snickers helped us out by consuming the evidence later. Zing so far is uninterested in the small furry ones as food. Several years ago I think she did eat a bird. In this house I believe her predation has been entirely rodents.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Muffin Attack

Glory Be
After reading Beth's recipe for Morning Glory Muffins I decided I must have them forthwith. I used a mishmash of ingredients: grated carrots, zucchini and apple. I chopped up some almonds and dried cranberries for the nuts/dried fruit elements, skipped the coconut. Used quick oats instead of oatbran. Triumph! I had three muffins for dinner and I would do it again. I think I'll buy some pecans to go in the next round. It made 18 muffins. I took them out of the oven after 25 minutes and they were perfect.

Further muffin recipe perusing at Smitten has me convinced that I should make a loaf of carrot cake with a cider glaze and some lemon raspberry muffins.

Glaze me
Cider glaze instructions: Simmer 1 cup apple cider until reduced by half (recipe says 10 min). Add 2 T butter, dash of cinnamon, pinch of salt and 1/2 cup powdered sugar. Stir in more powdered sugar if needed to get desired thickness.

After my three muffins I settled down on the couch and nodded off. In order to concentrate the snooziness I moved into the bedroom to join my husband in his post workday nap. But that was only semi successful: he woke up and I couldn't. At a certain point I was trying to keep one eye open and talk to him. He told me to just get ready for bed already. I slept through til my alarm and woke up with a sore throat. My left tonsil is swollen and ouchy. I would like to blame my fatigue on stupid DST but perhaps there is also a virus involved.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Post Hooky

Two days off in the middle of the week was a good idea. But it left me wanting more. Only two hours, fifty minutes and one more day til the proper weekend now. That sounds okay.

We hit the lesser roller rink with a few extra 8th graders. Everyone had a good time. No injuries beyond the traditional blister. All of us were worn out and drooped after we got home. A good day out.

Wedded bliss
Monday evening's wedding was lovely. It was the nicest pagan ceremony I've been to. The pies were good and the cake was primo. We got 20 sided dice as favors. Awww. The crowd started to evaporate after a couple of hours and I felt bad that we left before the music and dance really got going. But that's a teetotal wedding on a Monday night for you. I hope the sweethearts will use our gift money to pay bills rather than feed wildlife (that was their idea of a wedding registry). First pay your bills and eat. Then wildlife.

Bun opted to get her hair cut, about six inches off the back which brings it to shoulder blade length. Looks nice, a little more spiff. Today she had a friend mom bleach and dye 2" at the ends a dark pink. I look forward to seeing her when I get home.

I've been reading about iron deficiency and supplements. I started thinking about it after reading* that ice chewing can sometimes be linked to low iron. K is our chief ice chewer and I often caution her about sparing her teeth. Our midwife friend Magnolia said she is often monitoring iron levels for pregnant people. She gave me an info sheet on iron amounts in common foods and the recommended daily target amount. I'm going to do some more reading and get K started on it. She has some other symptoms that might be low iron too. She is fiercely against getting her blood tested. Of course. I figure we could supplement for a month and see what happens.

*Read it in Because I Said So! by Ken Jennings. A great book for skimming. It made me laugh out loud multiple times.

Monday, March 14, 2016


Rain Report
Light rain before the party but nothing terrible. Nod was able to get his firepit fired up for the celebration. It misted on the fire circle off and on but not enough to discourage anyone.

Yesterday the fun began. In late afternoon a large cloud darkened the sky. Large individual drops started: splat, splot, splatsplat. Half an hour later we had thunder rumbles and then the heavens opened. Very satisfying.

I wasn't really in the mood to partay and feel some failure here. But the event made Nod happy in so many ways. So that's a win.

My horse fortune teller was semi successful. The humidity made the horse face droop by the end of the evening. Bioneighbor helped distribute them. I had a great time setting it up.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Straight from the

Celeb oblig
I woke up 1ish worrying about birthday presents for Nod. The girls have come through with cards etc. I am going to stop at the hardware store and pick up some birthday seeds (plus look for my hollyhocks!) on the way home. Hardware stores are full of wonderful things, maybe inspiration will strike. Got my inner teenager squared away and the room tidied last night. Only one more small patch of stuff on the floor remains.

More thoughts on cooking up a fortune telling horse head. I have a roll of printing calculator tape. I am going to write my fortunes on that and perforate between each one and have it spool out of the horse's mouth. Ha! In the interest of largeness and stability I am going to make it more 2d rather than 3d. I have some carousel horse head sketches and wish I was home with my scissors and cardboard right now.

Wandering off
Can't get excited about exercise this week. I wonder if it's just looming party or spring or what. Inconveniently I started a 'challenge' online and am supposed to be getting out 4 times a week. Perhaps the act of committing to that flipped a switch in my head. 

Finished Dandy Gilver #1. I liked the end less than the rest of it but overall B+. Was briefly stymied with the two questions the reader is left with at the end. I saw the killer question right off but the other question was eluding me. I've decided now what I think the answer was but I don't think there were many clues given. Not going to re-read for that. Onward. I have a novel set in Vietnam and a book about the ravens in the Tower of London. 


Old White Audience
Just read this review of Hamilton and am chuckling over the quote: "according to The Broadway League, the trade association for the Broadway theater industry, nearly 8 in 10 people who saw Broadway shows in 2014-2015 were white and in their mid-40s. (That's more diverse and a decade younger than NPR's audience, for the record.)" No wonder Zombie Car Talk shambles on every weekend.  

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Will my current project succeed?

I'm scheming about a fortune-telling horse for the party. Or at least a horse head. Maybe you put your hand inside the mouth to get your fortune... I'm creating 50 fortunes in honor of Nod's sesquicentennial. Then I need to look at the Elgin marbles a while and build the cardboard horse head to be our Oracle.

Boom! boomboom! Boom! Boom! That's the sound of the blooming and leafing around me. I swear I could see noticeable leaf progress on one tree I passed on the way to my office and then saw again on the way home. Forsythia, daffodils, etc. I bought seeds at the school event last night: zinnia, cosmos, sunflowers and cat grass. I really wanted hollyhocks but couldn't find any. Maybe the hardware store will come through on that front.

Housecleaning tonight for me and Friday for the kids since no school. K's room is blindingly clear and nice. L's is passable last I looked. Mine needs work. Nod specifically requested that I get everything off the top of the dressers. It's where I've been storing my short and long sleeve tops for months. I won't have a bigger dresser to put things in. But I am reminding myself that progress is possible. I can always whisk away a box of stuff I'm not using to the basement for a quick fix. Steering away from petulant and toward effective.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Approaching the L

Caucusing was half jolly, half tedious but a beautiful day to be out on the school field with lots of other dems. I wonder if I'll ever do it again. I am a herd animal. But that doesn't mean I enjoy the feedlot especially. Nod completely lost his good humor by the end. At least we can say we saw the elephant donkey.

Our celebration of my husband's fiftieth year on the planet approaches. Other terms for a fiftieth that I plan to use liberally:  semicentennial, quinquagenary, golden jubilee. He's got some pretty lights strung up over the back patio and that's a lovely sign of spring even before the party starts.

I'm trying to use lists and delegation for housecleaning, shopping, party prep. Nod told me that he wanted to re-organize the basement before the party. I choked and said I could not commit to that. I need a month's target window for that sort of last resort chore. I will do a certain amount of scurrying but I'm going to try and enjoy myself at the party too.

Going to a wedding on pi day. There's a potluck reception so we needed to decide what kind of pie we will bring. I'd like to bring something substantial, like a lasagne rather than a fruit pie. I know lasagne isn't a pie but... Okay what I'm saying is that I'd like to eat lasagne at the reception. So maybe I'll just rename it.

I'm reading After the Armistice Ball by McPherson. This is Dandy Gilver #1. I read the fifth book a while back and it didn't gel for me. But this one! So charming! Our narrator is such a human mix of good intentions, appetites, snap judgments and tiny regrets. It deserves a pullquote. Maybe later.

Worky quagmire is raising its head. I'm working on being responsive and documenting what I do. I want to be clear about what I can do and what I can't.  

Friday, March 4, 2016

Whoop it up

Bernie sighting downtown yesterday afternoon, reported by oldest's friend. Our 6th grader said one classmate was super excited to go see him last night. "Why would I want to go see him?! My friends are acting like he's a pop star." Yup. We went to the 8th grade choral/orchestra/band concert last night instead of Bern-ing. Orchestra must be hard because they had about 2 parts tuneful to 3 parts offkey moaning. I know all three girls who play bass -- they provided a rock solid foundation. Choir and band were great.

My thyme in the front took hold and is perking up after winter. The cilantro will probably pop up at some point. I'd really like to get the mint established. I'd rather have lots of mint taking over than the moonflowers. Prediction: I'll be pulling up a lot of moonflower sprouts. I asked Nod about gardening last night. He sighed and it sounds as though he feels guilty about it instead of inspired. No guilt, babe, the garden doesn't ask for that.

Annual finger stick for the state showed a good cholesterol number that I liked! It was almost in the good category! Intend to jog some more.

Time to clean up the house before next weekend's celebration of fifty years of my husband. We're going to try and be smart about this and plan ahead. We'll see how we do with that. There's also a big cartoon horse to build out of cardboard...

Wednesday, March 2, 2016


Just read this at the 538 Politics site about Hillary's primary wins on Tuesday:
Her worst performance was in Oklahoma, where 71 percent of black voters in the Democratic primary chose her. 
That'd be some decisive results right there.

Makes me think that we may all be enjoying a black history year as Luvvie calls for. Welcome to Melanin March!

I am going to stand up for Bernie on Saturday. Along with some of my local, hippie, blue-spot-in-the-red-state neighbors. Then in November I'll be pleased to vote for the first woman president.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016


Described myself as feeling optimistic last week. It is holding. Despite the coming Trump nomination. I didn't expect him to do this much work to get this far. I hear Scott Adams predicted he'd be the nominee last August. Pretty good future telling. So much for my pooh-poohing Euro fears about Trump last spring. My foresight is terrible. I should have known that any country that elected GWB is ripe for Trumping. I trust that Hillary has a big stick to whack him with if we don't all go Bernie. I'm going to go to my first Dem caucus on Saturday.

I had a parental questionable decision moment this weekend. Had to apologize to the chief teenager the next day. She spent last night in a motel in capitalcity for the middle school Model UN competition. Coming home with glory.

New sheets! for both kids' beds! I can achieve this goal today.

Nod lost his work phone on Sunday evening. I'm still thinking it will turn up but maybe a shrub ate it.

I rejected two novels this morning and have started a third. Martha Grimes' Richard Jury mysteries were meeting my needs but Hotel Paradise just lost me. It's set in an unspecified south in an unspecified decade but there was a beeper and then kid corrective shoes and old lady hair and clothes styles from the first third of the 20th century. So I give up. Tried The Devil's Detective and I think the writing is quite good but I don't really want to spend an entire book in hell. Am working on Wool right now. So far so good.

We have yellow crocus up and tulip and daffodil leaves showing. It is pitiably dry here. Where are my spring mists and showers?