Sunday, August 31, 2008

Give us this (week) our daily (white) bread

Behold, white bread rising.

So, I make our own bread, right? Cuz I'm a touch obsessed about things like taste and quality, and avoiding HFCS and mystery ingredients that I can't pronounce...Anyway, as I was mixing up this week's bread batch late this afternoon, I made an oops. I'd intended to make a light whole-wheat, but...somehow completely forgot to add the whole wheat flour. (It probably didn't help that I'd just got up from a nap and was a mite groggy.) Instead, I went on auto-pilot and added cup after cup after cup of white flour. Like, 14 cups worth. By the time I realized it, it was too late to fix. Oops.

Oh well. This'll be a nice treat for lunch sandwiches for work -- and school. School. How is it possible that this is the last day of August, that the girls go back to school on Tuesday, that summer's essentially done?!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Dog owners, read this

If you have a Four Paws Pimple Ball with Bell (Item #20227-001, UPC Code 0 4566320227 9), throw it away. Now. It can cause serious injury or death.

In Chai's case, it resulted in the loss of his tongue.

(Warning: the videos are hard to watch. That poor dog.)

We don't have any Four Paws products in our house -- Bailey prefers a non-Four Paws squeaky toy over anything and everything else, and she only plays with that one sporadically -- so saying that I'm going to boycott the company until they get this resolved is meaningless, really. But if I was looking for pet toys, I wouldn't buy their products. Anyway, I sent an email to Allen Simon, Four Paws' CEO, urging him to pull this product from the market and make restitution to Chai's owners for his medical care. If you'd like to do the same, the email addy is:

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Guest Blogger: Morgan

Inanimate or living?
by Morgan S.

These two pictures of my American girl doll before and after I went to sleep form a question.

This was Kit before I went to sleep.

This is Kit after I woke up. Her hair is different!

Is this doll Toy Story coming to life? Or is it just silly and the dog walked on Kit's head? We're not so sure ourselves. "Inanimate or living?" YOU decide!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

*blank stare*

My allergies are kicking in and I'm sneezing like mad. Tomorrow I have to go in for a minor outpatient procedure/treatment, first in a series*. The GI ick continues, although much better than it was before. What the hell ride am I on? Whatever it is, I want to get off. NOW.

On a happier note, our 14 & 1/2-year-old blender, a wedding gift, died in the middle of making banana-mango smoothies yesterday. OK, that wasn't very happy; that was really frustrating. (And messy.) Here's the happy part: today I got a new one. New kitchen toy. Whoot.

*It's nothing serious, so don't be concerned. And no, I am not going to tell you what it is, because that's entirely TMI.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

So, China's Thumbelinas win gymnastics gold...

...but questions remain about the gymnasts' ages.

I haven't seen the team competition yet (we've DVRing the Olympics, watching the bits we're especially interested in and fast forwarding through the rest, and we're behind by about a day [and yes, I know that "DVR" isn't a verb]), but I will say this: when I was 12, I was 4'11" and weighed 78 pounds. When I was 16, I'd reached my full height of 5'4" and weighed about 115 pounds*. That's purely anecdotal and means nothing, of course. But reading about these girls' (they are not women, no no no) heights and weights, and comparing them to their American counterparts...Huh.

I really wish the IOC had done its job and investigated this.

*and thought I was fat. Good grief.

Look, I'm a manga character!

Ha ha ha. This was fun. Plus, Manga-me has boobage. Nifty.

All the cool kids are doing it, so go here to make yourself into a manga character. (Boobage not required.)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Hint of fall today

It's August, but it doesn't feel like summer. It's rainy and cool. A few leaves have fallen. I'm wearing a sweatshirt. We won't going to the pool or for a bike ride today. Instead, we'll stay in and bake bread, and play games and watch TV. This always happens in August: a day or patch of days that carry a tang of autumn. Summer will bounce back -- it always does -- but today I'm remembering how short our warm season really is up here.

Monday, August 11, 2008

I really didn't want to write this post

For the last month or so, I've been having some GI issues. I doubt that it's anything too serious -- we've ruled out food allergies, food poisoning, bugs, viruses, etc.; my white blood cell count is normal; blood pressure and pulse are good; weight's good; my overall physical condition is, as my doctor put it, "fantastic" -- but it is persistent and annoying and, to be honest, a little bit debilitating at times.

Once things settle down, I'm going to go get 'scoped so we have a better idea of what might be going on, but since we don't know for sure...Well, the long story made short is that on my doctor's advice, I won't be running the marathon. I'll be there the morning of, and I'll start off with the rest of the field, but I won't be running the whole thing. (Maybe half.)

I was very upset when he told me this two weeks ago, but I've slowly come around to his reasoning. We don't know what's going on. It's probably fine. But I have to admit that training's been a struggle for the last month, and that my energy levels aren't where they should be. And it's not like he told me to stop running altogether: he said he didn't think that continuing to train for the marathon would be wise at this point.

If this wasn't me, if this was a friend who'd been having some health issues and whose doctor had told her he didn't think it was wise to do this, and she asked me what I thought, what would I say to her? Of course I'd tell her to listen to her doctor. Once I looked at it from that perspective, it was easy to make the decision.

And of course, there's always next year. It's not like this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, after all.

But I am disappointed.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Lots of pictures

Wednesday we left for a little camping trip on the St. Croix River. This is one of the areas I consider "ours" -- we did a lot of camping there pre-kids and a fair amount post-kids -- but we haven't made it out there the last few years. It felt awfully good to be back.

Thursday morning sunrise, by Pete (who thinks that he doesn't take good pictures! Ha!)

Thursday happened to be my birthday. At my request, we celebrated by spending the day on the river in a canoe. It was perfect.

(There's no good way to take a picture of four people when they're all in a canoe, I'm afraid.)

On a side note, I am delighted, for the girls have finally discovered and are enthralled by Harry Potter. (Pay no attention to Morgan's Spy Kids. She didn't want to bring the bigger book on the river.) They're gobbling them up as fast as they can, and we've already had several deeply satisfying discussions about books 1, 2, and 3. Huzzah!

Friday we went fishing in one of the small river channels. Morgan caught her first fish within 20 minutes

(it's so small that we really should have thrown it back, but she didn't want to; I guess we're going to have it mounted -- don't laugh!) and another two little ones right after that (she was OK throwing those back in). After the third fish almost touched her leg on its way back into the river (ewwww!) she decided fishing was grand fun, and she was done.

Emma and I stayed out there for hours, but Morgan -- who, for the record, wouldn't have anything to do with putting the bait on her hook, getting the fish off the hook, or handling the fish at all -- had apparently nabbed all the luck, for poor Emma caught nothing but nibbles. Given that Emma was putting bait on the hook all by herself and had no issues with handling the fish, she thought that was more than a bit unfair, but overall stayed fairly cheerful about it. She and I are going fishing on Sunday, though.

And Monday, and Tuesday, and every other day until she finally catches a fish. That's all right. I like fishing. I actually feel sort of bad that we haven't taken the kids fishing before, even though we live right by a river. It's weird, but it's just not something I think to do. Lame, I know. Well, that's about to change, because Emma's caught the fishing bug bad.

I'd have loved to have stayed through Sunday, but we had to pack it up and head for home Friday afternoon, because there was something Super Cool going on Saturday morning (today) that we absolutely had to be here for, no ifs, ands, or buts about it...

Emma taking off.

Flying!! See, a few weeks ago, I saw a blurb in the newspaper about the Young Eagles program and promptly signed the girls up for today's session. Oh wow, that was amazing -- and I was just on the ground taking pictures. If you've got kids between the ages of 8 - 17, you should really check out this program. The pilots were awesome and the planes were phenomenal. The girls' flights ended several hours ago, and they're still bouncing around.

I'm afraid I have no plane knowledge whatsoever, so forgive my ignorance about makes, models, and stuff.

Emma got "the red plane."

Morgan was in "the yellow plane."


Into the wild blue yonder -- literally! It's kind of weird, watching your kid zoom off into the sky...

Emma coming in.

I know her face is hard to see in this one, but she was SO excited, I had to post this one. And I love the pilot's grin.

Emma, our little chatterbox, was stunned speechless for about 10 minutes after she got out of the plane. I've never seen her like that before: she literally couldn't talk. She's flown before, but that's been on big commercial jets, nothing like this. A whole new world just exploded into being for her.

Morgan didn't wave coming in, or even smile. We were a little worried that maybe she'd been frightened out of her gourd -- but no. (Turned out that she had a control panel in front of her that she was focusing on.) She loved it. She's usually the quieter of the two (this isn't saying much as they're both talkers), but she came off that plane babbling a mile a minute and quivering with excitement. I don't know that it was quite as earth-shaking as Emma's experience -- the kid wants to be a pilot, and not when she grows up, but now -- but that was totally WICKED! (Who knows what movie that's from?)

They're officially Young Eagles now. Awesome, girls.

We sat around watching the planes coming in and out for a while after, and someone came out and took our picture, because these are new benches and they were pleased as punch that people were actually sitting on the benches and watching the planes take off and land. Tee hee.

(There are a ton of Chapter 54 Young Eagles pictures -- taken by the Chapter 54 folks, not yours truly -- from today's session here, if you're interested.)

And then we went out for breakfast, and then headed home, and that was the end to our super-fantastic mini-vacation. Now we have to go mow the lawn. Pooh.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Vanished posts, and reservations

Dana Torres (Robert Maxwell)

In my last entry, I said the next post was going to be about the female body. Well, I did write it, and I thought I posted it, but...huh. Doesn't seem to be there, now does it?

Let me, there is too much. Let me sum up. (Bonus point to whoever can tell me what movie that's from.) Basically, it stemmed from this New York Times Well entry comparing 5-time Olympian and 41-year-old Dana Torres (she of the amazing abs) to 80-year-old Estelle Parsons

Estelle Parsons (Sara Krulwich/The New York Times)

an actress who, while not in Olympic form, is in pretty amazing shape.

I took exception to the statement that "Ms. Torres and her 'phenomenally ripped' belly have become the 'physical ideal for mothers, women at or approaching middle age, and just women in general.'" Oh, bother. Like this is remotely realistic for most of us poor schlups who don't have at least $100,000 a year for coaches, masseuses, chiropractors, nannies, and the like. I much prefer Ms. Parsons' appproach, because first, that IS realistic. Anyone who claims she can't find at least 30 minutes a day for exercise either needs to reevaluate what she's doing or is flat-out lying. (Parents with newborns and/or multiples get a free pass on this one.) And second, an Olympian, I'm not. Most of us aren't. Most of us won't be. But when I'm 80, I sure would like to be healthy and fit -- and that is something I can strive for.

And then there's 62-year-old Helen Mirren...

This picture's all over the Internet, but I got this one at

Um. Wow. I have no idea what she's doing to keep in shape, but clearly, it's working. Wow!

Dang it, the post-that-didn't-post was a lot better than this summary. Anyway, what do you think? Would you rather be a Dara or an Estelle? Or Helen? (Hubba, hubba.)

# # #

Pete and I biking happily along during last year's 3-Speed Tour

In other news, I just got the last available room at the Bridgewaters Bed & Breakfast for next year's 3-Speed Tour. Hate me. =D