Saturday, December 05, 2009

Oh, Canada!

So no word about Germany. I know. It's been how long? It's still a possibility; they're just dithering I guess. In the meantime, the kids and I have done the Pimsleur short course in German and are now fully capable of asking the location of Goethe street or the Opera Square, and ordering both beer AND wine, and saying whether we want to drink it in the restaurant, at my place, or at your place. ^_^

So much has happened since my last feeble attempt at blogging. Global Warming Global Climate Change Climategate, some dude being inappropriate on TV, Dubai going tango uniform, and the impending collapse of the American economy. Makes you wonder where would be a stable place to land. Perhaps some farmland with a decent growing season in the boondocks? Perhaps Canada?

A few weeks go, we went on a jaunt into Canada to get the new Marianas Trench CD. Can I just say this? Oreos. Mmmmmmm! Canadian Oreos don't have all the hydrogenated crap that the US Oreos do, and boy are they yummy. Oh, and Mars bars. :) Actually, the crackers and other snacks are also fantastically garbage-free (relatively speaking.) So here are some pics. I'll save the best for last.

Still in Detroit -- Joe Louis arm sculpture. It probably has a name, but I don't know what it is.

Tunnel to Canada!!! The kids always hoot with delight when we pass signs that say "Tunnel to Canada." It just sounds like a funny concept if you regard "tunnel" as a verb. :-) The traffic going to Canada was fine, the route back was JAMMED.

Bridge to USA. The traffic going our way was fine, the stuff coming out was JAMMED. Boy did we choose the right way to leave and re-enter!

Our mission was a success. We picked up Masterpiece Theatre at Best Buy (for way less than that), and then saw that ALL of the Dr. Who DVDs (new ones) were not only in stock, but HALF OFF!! So that got expensive, but was well worth it, considering we're all complete Who geeks. ^_^ We were forced to pick up an old Peter Davison one, too (Sluggie's fave old Dr.) And, yes, we got a bunch of snacks. Best of all, though, how could I see these and not buy a packet?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Casanova Frankenstein

It is aliiiiiiiiiiiive!

Life has been really busy, as you've probably guessed by my absence. Big changes are afoot. We're still waiting to find out about Germany, but the decision is supposed to be made at the end of this month.

I'm still stunned by what a glorious summer we're having, and enjoying every minute, though (to the children's minor chagrin) we are still doing some schooling (Homeschool Lite ^_^ ) so they don't turn into puddingheads.

We watched Mystery Men this weekend, which was a riot and, IMO one of those heretofore unappreciated gems in manner of The Princess Bride (as Bridget Jones might put it.) I mean seriously, a guy who can only go invisible when no one's looking? And a guy who can shovel better than anyone else? Too funny! The title of this post is a reference to the villain in the film, who I was sure was James Woods, but turned out to be Geoffrey Rush. Be forewarned, though, you have to be able to deal with fart humour to appreciate this one. (You already knew I never claimed to be sophisticated.)

I'm reading the second book of the Thursday Next series - VERY funny - and listening to Atonement - great so far! I was listening to Atlas Shrugged, too, but the digital download expired (well it's a little over 52 hours long and you only get it for 2 weeks) and I had to go back on the waiting list. I've read that book so many times that my original copy fell apart, yet it's always even better than I remember it. Maybe it's better just to return to the hard copy anyway, since I have another audiobook to listen to. The reader of Atlas drove me slightly batty. I looked him up and he's "the Golden Voice" of audiobooks or something like that, but he reads (this one at least) like he's preaching a sermon and it makes me a little crazy. I figured out, though, that if I put him on 1.5 speed, it's less crazy-making, PLUS it goes faster, so I can fit more in. ^_^

I'm also working on a new book while finishing up rewrites of the first. This one's completely and utterly different, so it's a refreshing change for me.

To top it off, I wanted to share this amazing vid. It gives me goosebumps every time. Especially when the whale sharks come looming out of the gloom to glide silently by. Here's a link to the creator's other Youtubes.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

An Inauspicious Day

In Chinese philosophy/theology, there are days that are auspicious for certain endeavours, and other days that are less so. Today, March 19th, is a particularly inauspicious day for our family, as it's the day my father died, as well as the day that MuNKi choked last yr, requiring the Heimlich to save his life (thank you, Erica!)

Today we played hooky from TKD in the morning, because we were so behind in everything else due to extensive yard work this week. (A result of the gorgeous weather.) After I decided not to take the kids, I realised what day it was, and silently breathed a sigh of relief for the avoidance of whatever driving disaster we may have ended up in had we gone. We agreed that my dad would have highly approved of our schedule-breaking hooky behaviour.

MuNKi went off to take part in a BIG presentation at work, dressed (as we would later realise) in one of my dad's suits. He ate his lunch with full supervision in the office and did not choke even once.

I took the kids to the library for volunteering as usual for Thursdays, but when I saw Grumpy Newspaper Man in the Teen section, I got worried about the Littles, who were in the kid section. Usually Grumpy Newspaper Man stays in his wing chair by the fireplace, thus leaving my Littles free of his candy-giving, worriesome-question-asking behaviours. Today, noting that he was on the prowl, and also taking note of the date, I uprooted from the teen section (where you can plug your laptop in) and took my laptop over by the Littles in the Kid Section, passing GNMan on the way. He was already interacting with some tiny kids, but their dad was there, so I felt comfortable moving on to my own crew.

I got hold of MuNKi upon arriving home, and determined that he was still alive (he was supposed to call me after lunch, but is notoriously bad about remembering to call me back, ever, LOL!) and not too long thereafter, he arrived home safe and sound.

We played hooky from night class and sparring, too. I just wasn't in the mood, which isn't really like me, but what can I say? I felt guilty, but it passed (all too quickly, as Mr. Bennet would say.)

And that was March 19th. There's an hour and 5 minutes remaining. I think we'll make it. In the meantime, a weirdly coincidental song that found my sister today:

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


"You can tell we're geeks because we're composing Dr. Who episodes in Latin."

"Are you still employed?"

"Mater in horto herbum ingneus."


"Gavin Rossdale!" (*gasp*)

"My calves are sore!"

"It's Wednesday!" (exultant sigh of happiness)

"It really does look like a body."

"I got a great Bigfoot picture through the smoke."

"My calves are sore!"

"I still have a job."

"Which one of these is Jimmy Hoffa?" (there was a weird correspondence between a newly resurrected newspaper/headline/photo and our family's running joke)

"The Master!" (*swoon*)

"Eheu! Dominus ad est!"

"My calves are sore!"

"Euge, more like!"

"Where are the binoculars?!?!"

"Why is the rice purple?"

"The world's biggest land animal!"

"Lara, put fwoaty cwoaffee beens in tha potatuh coolah!"

"I'm sharpening my wit."

"Want some of my nutritious slop?"

"I'm covered in chocolate."

Thursday, March 12, 2009


I should have known it was coming. Last time I got all antsy and decluttery, MuNKi got activated to full time Air Force, and we ended up moving across the country. This time, MuNKi got laid off.

Here's how the day went:

Morning: MuNKi goes to work. I remember that this is Layoff Day (30% ends up going) and try to decide whether I hope he makes it through or not, since "not" will push us onward to more exciting things. ^_^ (I know. I can be reckless.)

10:00 am: I take the kids to morning classes at TKD. I tell the Master that MuNKi might be getting laid off today.

12:00 pmish: We head home. I call MuNKi to see if he remembered to fax my sworn statment of Absolute Being (or whatever) to CA so I can get an official copy of my birth certificate. The phone picks up and there's silence. I try again and get a recording - not his. A few mins later Mollusc tries and then informs me "I think he said he was in the process of being laid off. It was hard to hear him."

12:45ish: I open my compter and see that MuNKi has messaged me that he's been cut. I'm strangely untroubled.

1:15ish: Friends come to hang out for a bit. (We took their son home from TKD with us so the kids could play) We talk about the job thing and toy with the idea of going to live in Hobbit Holes in Wales.

2:30: MuNKi (no, I'm NOT implying that he's a jerk, LOL!) arrives home with his box of stuff. Someone has given him the contact info of the competition's director. Heh.

3:00ish: I take the Bigs to the Library for their volunteering hour.

3:20: MuNKi arrives with the Littles, who apparently wanted to come after all. He informes me that he's gotten a call from a different company in Muskegon or somewhere across the state with a job offer. Upon hearing that it's across the state, the dude says he thinks he has stuff in Detroit, too and says he'll call back.

3:30ish: The Bigs want to know what "grades" they're in. We don't have "grades"; we just do whatever's challenging in different subjects. I give random numbers that are hopefully close. It turns out that the children's librarian is nominating them for the town's Teen Service award for their volunteering work.

4:00ish: we head home and the phone starts ringing off the wall. I can't begin to count how many calls came and from whom, though I know there were people from 2 companies calling: MuNKi's employer's company and the company with whom they are doing their best business.

4:45ish: The Director of Engineering calls MuNKi to say "Oops. It was a mistake. We need you after all."

I guess it's good to know you're needed. But do we trust the company to keep him on? Ha!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

How's it Bean?

One of my friends pointed me at MAKE magazine's podcasts about making Bean Bots. Since then, I've managed to get my hands on this book. (And hey, is Hrynkiw a hockey name or what?) I forsee a trip to Radio Shack in our future. Also the dismemberment and parts-scavenging of those no-longer working CD and tape players we have lying around.

Tomorrow is Holy Wednesday again, and BG is coming over to see if we can make her laptop work. Most likely, we'll end up sitting around finding weird stuff online and trashing Dell. BG has her very own blog now, so if you want to laugh, go check it out. Because it's funny, I mean. Hopefully she won't abuse it to dish dirt on me. ^_^

Monday, March 09, 2009


There's a little boy I know who I suspect is being abused. I'm not certain, but I just have this feeling. Today when I saw him, he had a major shiner. His eye was swollen almost shut. He wouldn't talk to me about it. Not one word. He told the other little boy who was there that it had "happened while he was sleeping." His mom said his brother did it. His four year old brother.

A few weeks ago, it was bruises underneath both eyes.

Maybe there's an explanation. I know abusers like to stay away from visible areas. At least if they're not too drunk. Maybe his brother really did do something, and then it swelled when he was asleep. God knows I don't want to get CPS involved if there really isn't an issue. But I'm going to be watching him. Very carefully.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

My Kingdom for a (Wooden) Horse

We recently finished The Children's Homer by Padraic Colum. I had originally thought that the kids would find it semi-dry, especially in light of the somewhat archaic prose, but each reading brought clamouring for more. They were truly bummed when it ended. Now I'm looking for supplementary materials, so if anyone knows of any great books or films, let me know. I've checked out Troy from the library, but have no deslusions as to its suitability for children. Still, I'll preview it and see. Prawnie made a lovely painting of the sea nymph who helped Odysseus, and Fishy made a fun diorama out of Sculpey that has Polyphemus the Cyclops and his cave, one of his big sheep, and Odysseus with his wine skin and sharp stick (for putting out Polyphemus's eye.) Maybe someday I'll be able to post a pic. In the meantime, I won't attempt to describe it with 1,000 words, lucky for you.

I'm about to embark on another math book spree - Alg II for Mollusc to accompany her Geometry, and the 4th grade book for Dags. I can't believe it. Realli. I was talking with friends about Geometry's application beyond the actual class, and we were all hard-pressed to come up with any times we've actually used it. Even playing pool is more Physics than Geometry. Perhaps it's a time filler so that kids can get ready to embrace the headier concepts of higher level Algebra and Trigonometry. Surely there are useful principles, but beyond those that can be taught in about 1 week, I'm not sure what they are. So I think that doing Alg II concurrently with Geometry will be good. Less chance to forget how to do "real math" and all that.

We got our passport photos done on Saturday, and now all we need for our apps is proof that I was born. Here's hoping that the lovely state of California isn't so broke that it takes my $ but can't afford the postage to send out my birth certificate.

Penultimately, while I'm wasting your time with the trivia of my life, I finally downloaded some songs from the net. MuNKi* was able to get a Linux-friendly downlad app installed. I am now the proud owner of Coldplay's Viva La Vida (song, not album), Gavin Rossdale's Love Remains the Same, O.A.R.'s Shattered, and Blue October's Calling You and Into the Ocean. I need to look for Peter Gabriel's cover of The Book of Love next.

And finally, I have about 7 books going, but the one I'm reading the most is The Hindi Bindi Club, by Monica Pradhan, which is fantastic. It also makes me terribly hungry for good Indian food. Fortunately, there are recipes at the end of each chapter.

If you made it this far, tell me what you're listening to and/or reading. Please! :)

*Is this a sonic screwdriver which I see before me? Hur hur hur!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Nothing much

When I started blogging again, I had visions of making this more of a photo blog. Unfortunately, the computer I use for storing (and then uploading) photos is toast on a stick right now, so that's going to have to wait.

So today you get:

* no pictures

* no wine recommendations (because, seriously, what are the odds you're going to be able to find the same ones in your area, regardless of how good they are? Hell, I can't even find the Sacred Stone that was so great at the same store where I originally bought it.)

* no description of my super amazing electrono-gizmophone, because I don't have a cell phone, nor do I want one

* no MuNKi link.

OK so, I lied about that last one.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009


It's been cold as a welldigger's, er, bum, as they say, which fosters long periods of indoorness. I'm doing the one-step-back and two-steps-forward routine in my re-writes, which, I suppose, is good and helps flow and continuity and all that. At least I hope so.

I find myself envisioning the future with more surety and clarity. That I will get this novel published seems more a "when" than an "if" now.

I have some questions for myself, and I'll ask the same of any who care to reply:

1) What would you be doing differently if nothing stood in your way, whether time, money, geography or reality?

2) What, if anything, stands in your way?

3) What, if anything, are you doing about it?

I find that answering these questions is a bit like making my Life Goals List. It's intimidating to think on a scale like that. It feels pretentious, and silly, and scary all at once. For instance, admitting that someday I would love to have written a successful episode or two of Dr. Who or some other science fiction show sounds both childish and vainglorious. When I think of some of the things to put on my List (because, yes, I was scared and left holes in it "for later") I find myself erecting barriers in my own mind: "What a lofty goal. Don't be ridiculous." No one else needs to stop me when I think like that, because I'm pretty darned good at stopping myself.

But as I strain against convention and safety and expectations, I feel my horizons broadening. I feel avenues of possibility opening, and I become aware that even if no road exists, I have the abilities to pave my own way.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Wednesday Eve

Ahhhhh. Wednesday eve. Tomorrow is my Holy Day. My Day of No Commitments.

No doubt I'll be in the throes of rewrites, but perhaps I shall also make more soap. Shall I tell you about my last batch? I had Sweetgrass, which is a fantastic fragrance, amazingly similar to the real item. In case you're not familiar with sweetgrass, here's what Wiki has to say about it. Lovely stuff. I have a braid of it that I can never resist sniffing, and so I was forced to buy some when I saw it at Brambleberry.

I had visions of making a batch of pure sweetgrass scented soap for my mom and myself, and then selling leftovers at the co-op. But I didn't have enough of the oil, and honestly, what fun is soaping if you can't do some experimental mixing? So I mixed it with Black Tea, and that was really lovely. But I was still a little low on fragrance, so then I added chammomile, and I kinda wish I hadn't, though it still smells good. Live and learn. Such are the ups and downs of soapmaking. You have to be part chemist and part perfumer, and what doesn't work out, I hear you can grate and use in the washing machine.

For those of you interested in the books I mentioned on Facebook, I will be weeding out more tomorrow, so fear not; the list will be ready soon. For those of you who aren't on FB, LMK if you want a list of the books I'm getting rid of, free for the cost of shipping.

I've had the extreme pleasure of introducing my kids to Dr. Who recently. I've been a fan since 5 BCE (the 5th Dr, before Christopher Eccleston) and CE was their first Dr. Tonight I saw what is one of my all time favourite scenes. But now we are in mourning because we're out of episodes. At least ones that we can get our grimy mitts on.

And while we're on geeky admissions, Mollusc has informed me that today was Square Root Day. I'm not going to make any ROM bus or tuber jokes. I'll just say I hope you had a fair one.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Life Marches On

Here's the thing: if I'm going to do something it needs to be now. I don't want to wake up and find myself 65 years old and still waiting for the next adventure to begin. "Eventually."

I come from a line of nomadic people, though you wouldn't know it to look at them. They don't keep camels or anything, I mean, or live in stick huts. Anymore. But they were globetrotters. I don't think that I realised until I was nearing adulthood that some people actually stayed in the same country, or even state, as their extended family. Forever.

Six years is the longest I've ever spent in one house, and now I find myself coming up on a six year mark once again and feeling suffocated. I love it here. I love the friends I've made. I love the things we do. I love the beauty of Michigan. I love my life. But to be honest, I'm itching to go again. I have wanderlust. I don't know if I'll ever be able to settle in one place "for the rest of my life." It just sounds so. . . final.

There's a chance we could go to Germany for 12-18 mos, which would be terrific, but it wouldn't be for a year or so yet. And if that falls through, my feet are still yearning for new soil -- another continent.

In the macrocosm of my life, I'm preparing for big changes, while in the microcosm, I keep on keeping on as it were -- making soap and selling it at the co-op, doing rewrites on the novel that I finally finished(!!), taking and teaching Tae Kwon Do classes, and homeschooling the kids. I plan my garden and hope there's no point this time. I pare down our books to what I would only be willing to cart across the ocean, and still find new ones to buy. I get passport applications and maps of the UK and Germany, and I think of painting the kids' rooms. It makes my head spin, to be honest. I feel like I'm straining against a giant rubber band, drawn back after each lunge, but still aching to cut myself free.