Tuesday, November 30, 2010

RTT: I also suck at NaNoWriMo


Well, random up, or rant up, I guess...

NaNoWriMo: I got a total of 4,740 words.  I started out okay, then after-work and school activities got away from me.  It is a poor, poor showing.  I also got bogged down in the I have to look something up to make sure it is right.  Hazard of a historian I guess.  So research prone.  That was what I wanted to avoid.

I think I need to start over again.  Maybe in January, when things have died down?  I have a fun story idea, maybe I need to map it out better first and then take another month to monitor the situation.

It does have me worried about my goal to go on RAGBRAI in 2012.  I need to complete something.  I need to attain a goal.  Though, I am getting back on track with the exercise.  I was at the gym again yesterday.  This time, I used the stationary bike to its full advantange and worked up a sweat.  Thirty minutes hardly hurts my bottom any more, so I need to carve out more time sitting on that seat, while I am looking for a good road bike.  I really do intend to next summer to do some biking to work, 22 miles of it.

I have a former work colleague who has a fit and food blog.  She has a giveaway for Stonyfield yogurt coupons.  Go get yourself a chance to win.  I miss having her around, because it was great to talk about the museum field in general and the challenges and triumphs the field faces.  This month, I got to be chaperone mom at her museum with my daughter.  I gave her a report about my thoughts and some other parent thoughts.  Overall, it was a pretty good experience.  I shared some ways I thought it could become outstanding, but also commiserated with the fact that budgets are tight and staff is limited, making our ability to impact the visitors' experience limited at best.  But we keep on, keeping on, knowing that we will touch some people a little bit every once in a while.

My family Thanksgiving was early this year, the weekend before.  My brother and his girlfriend and mom and dad came here.  I made the meal all organic, for my mom, who is trying to cut down on the chemical influences in her life.  Except the turkey, which was all natural.  The guy at Whole Foods said the only difference between the two (besides the jump in price) was that organic means they've built a berm around the farm to guarantee no pesticide run off.  Mom was fine that I didn't bother going that far.  I was just hoping that maybe the farm was located away from others with pesticides.  We were willing to take that chance.  I was really proud with the results and I got it planned and everything came out on time and done.  I made rolls from scratch (I found even organic yeast), pumpkin pie straight from roasted pumpkins, my own pie crust, stuffing, potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole (ok, the French fried onions were not organic either).  It really came out pretty well.  My bro and girlfriend brought a squash casserole that may as well have been dessert.  She cut the sugar to 1/2 cup, but it was still pretty sweet.  I skipped the sweet potato casserole that is very similar to it.  The only thing missing was my sister and her family.  I did so miss them.

In case you're wondering, going all organic for the meal was about twice to three times as much in cost as it would be for all our cheap processed stuff.  Cheapness of food should make you think twice.  I know I have made a personal decision to quit buying non cage free eggs at the least.  On the other hand, we like to save money in our house, so I can't totally ditch the cheap stuff.  I can make better choices, no HFCS, avoid artificial sweetners, no trans-fat, make things from scratch more often.  My kids are learning as well.  It's a slow process and we are not perfect, but perhaps in the future this will lead companies to producing items with better ingredients and healthier lives for farm animals.  I need to keep working on it.

I hosted another Thanksgiving for friends here in town.  I sort of blew it on the turkey this time because I was up late the night before watching America's Test Kitchen.  I love that show, but neither the turkey, nor the tweaks that I did to my grandma's pumpkin pie came out really well.  The pie was fine, but my grandmother's method tasted better than I what I got.  The only thing I did do better was make the pie crust crispier and flakier and not soggy on the bottom.  The key is to keep all your ingredients really cold, whatever pie ingredients you prefer to use, then let the pie dough sit in the frig and get cold for 30 minutes, roll it out with minimal handling and pre-bake it (15 min at 400 covered with foil, 10 min at 400 without foil).  Make sure it and your pie filling are both warm, combine them, then bake again at 400 without foil for 10 minutes, turn down to 350 for 20-30 minutes.

Hope you are recovering from the overabundance of food.  We are eating leftovers for days.  I need to throw some stuff out before it goes bad.  Americans truly have plenty of food and choices.  Enough random, go see Keely.

Monday, November 29, 2010

I suck at Cyber Monday

We're in the market for a flat screen TV, with some money saved up, we thought this would be the year for door busters for one we might want.  No dice.  Not a single really good savings or really good TV deals in any of the ads.  What gives?  No big deal.  I figured, what the heck, I'll check on-line deals.  On-line prices seemed to beat in store prices, as suggested by Consumer Reports.  And it was true, much of what we looked at pre-sales were cheaper than the non-sales in the stores.  So we figured we'd keep looking.  But I haven't seen a lot of deals anyway.

Had the day off today.  Yay!  Dropped the kids off at school, drove over to the gym and exercised.  I got home about 8:45 am and just caught the tail end of Cyber Monday deals on ABC Good Morning America.  I went back a few minutes in the DVR because I had just missed most of the segment.  First item up?  A 47" Vizio with 120hz flat screen for $599!  You saw that $599!  Augh, I said.  I had to get dressed and take my son to his orthodontic appointment in a town 30 minutes away.  No matter.  Emailed the link to the hubby (because we never make a buy over $100 without consulting the other).  He voicemailed me while we were in the appointment.  Sure it's bigger than what we really wanted (40-42") but one heck of a deal.  I was no where near a computer.  Drove son back to school, went to get a sandwich.

Got a plate for my sandwich.

Took it in the computer room.

Opened the window I had saved on my computer with the Amazon TV deal in it.




Thought I found something comparable in the 42" size at $499.



And won't ship until after Christmas.

That's what I get for not jumping on an opportunity.

Maybe I should wait until after Christmas?  When they want to get rid of overstock?

You watch, there won't be anything I want then, either.  I have to be a reasonable consumer with research and making sure the item meets all my demands.

I have a feeling shopping for a good road bike is also going to be painful.

I have yet to see a good holiday deal on the things I want for the family's holidays.  Maybe it means it is not in our best interest to get these items.

Happy shopping.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thursday Goodness

If Alaska can return to sanity, there may be hope yet for the rest of the United States.  Murkowski may be a Republican, but she is closer to the middle than the Tea Party candidate, Joe Miller.  Please, let's get back to the middle and work together.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thursday Goodness

We're just too cute.  I had to share the Wild Child family.

This was taken in September, but I have it on my desktop at work and look at it every day.  I like Willa's expression the best.  It is the most recent one I have of all of us together.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Geeks Grow Up

Remember some of the geeky actors in the 80s.  They really grew up, filled in and became hunks.

Remember Anthony Michael Hall?


Don’t you like the way he grew up?


And how about Can’t Buy Me Love nerd, Patrick Dempsey?

He was cute, but sooo geeky.


And now we see him as Dr. McDreamy.


Aging isn’t so bad for gentlemen, is it?


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thursday Goodness

A thought for all my friends who were hoping we were moving forward.  Yes, we were sad that things seemed to move backwards.  But now, as what happened in Clinton's admin, the onus is on the Republican House.  Can they really fix things?  Can they really get things done?  We shall see.  My guess is they will screw up royally, the Dems will look better and the fickleness that is the American electorate will swing back the other way in two years having gotten frustrated on the fact that two years is too long for them to wait for anything to be fixed.

Besides, the Republicans led the way in overspending money on a war that I felt was not justified.  (I remember praying that we wouldn't attack Iraq without the support of the UN.  Ah, no such luck).  So fair enough that they get to lead the way in cleaning up their mess.  Should be interesting as they try to not raise taxes, spend more money on war and try to take away Medicare when they can't find anything else to cut in the budget.

Someone else told me that Reagan, their precious Reagan, spent us into debt to get us out of a recession.  Correct me if I'm wrong.  That someone was listening to NPR, which I think is pretty careful with its sources.  They really just can't learn from the past.  Maybe this time more people will start to see the light.

We can only hope.  There always is hope.

BTW, I got into an FB argument with some die hard conservative.  He doesn't want to be forced to buy health care.  When I pointed out that we are required by all states to carry car insurance, he said owning a car was a privilege, living (with or without health care) is a right.  I did not carry the argument on because I was so frustrated.  If living is a right, then shouldn't healthy living be a right for everyone?  Meaning shouldn't we all have access to basic health care without going into debt?  Or do we have a right to have our lives saved in an ER and other patients then carry the cost of what we couldn't afford because we didn't have the insurance to pay for it?  I just don't get it.  Why isn't one's health and keeping it in good health a right?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Halloween Candy Mystery

The candy sits out in the open on the counter.

And it's not all gone yet? How can that be?

A picture for Wardrobe Wednesday. You can see the detail in the upper part of the dress. Notice the Drink Me bottle.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Random Tuesday: Post 251, White Queen, Voting, NaNoWriMo

How can I already be at 251 posts? I guess it has been over two years. I am not even really keeping track anymore.

Here's something I made for Halloween. Well, two somethings, my daughter's costume and my costume:

The White Queen with Alice.  I had a pattern for Alice, I only sort of had a pattern for the White Queen.  Actually, the only pattern pieces i used were for the bodice, then I made up the rest.  I'm crazy like that.

Let's compare:

Little apron thingy, check, puffy side sleeves with transparent shoulder stuff, check, bodice with lace at bottom and in front, check, pearl like beads around shoulder line, check.  Big pouffy skirt, check.
Not bad given what I had to work with.

(Did I mention that the finising work on this was not done until 5:30 am on October 31st?
Yeah, you got that right, it was an ALL NIGHTER!  Sigh, I actually miss the all nighters.  It's quiet, no one bugs me and I can catch up on my dvr recorded shows.  Not that I remember much of them, because it was 3, 4 or 5 am in the moring.)

Better than what I could buy:

Those in the US, did you vote today?  I don't care what your vote is, but don't sit there and be lazy, get out and vote.  Every little bit matters and counts.  Some of these elections are going to be decided by the thousands, or hundreds even.  You better make your voice heard, or don't complain about what is or is not happening.

I put in my 1667 words last night in my first attempt at NaNoWriMo.  Go me.  Some others I think have taken on the challenge of NaBloWriMo.  Go you.  I'll keep you posted, maybe during the weekly random.

Go see Keely for more random.