Thursday, August 27, 2009


I have been taking pictures of the beautiful things I see with my shiny new iPhone. Tonight when we left the library, I noticed the beautiful flowers.

On our way to the library, I had to buckle in our books because they were so heavy the car thought they were a person. We returned just over half of what we had checked out - 23/47! We only checked out another 12. (And yes Mom, the car was stopped when I took the picture. We were at a stop sign.)

I think today is a great day to start over on number 89. Take a picture a day for 365 days & post them on our blog! (1/365)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Crockpot Cooking

We've started a lunch club at work. So far we have had some pretty great lunches! Today is my day. I made RR's Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs with Angel Hair Pasta and an Oreo Pie dessert from a box.

I cooked it in my crockpot and doubled the recipe. There is no more room in my crockpot.

I let the meatballs cook for 3 hours on high. I am off to check on them now!

update: They were not done, in fact, they had to cook for another 2.5 hours! Apparently, it is very bad to over-fill your crockpot. Note to self, don't do that.


I have only 2 disks left to go on Team of Rivals. We just took Richmond and the Confederate Government has fled. In part, I am sad because I know that Lincoln is going to die soon and Stanton is going to torture the conspirators even knowing everything he needs to know. But I am relieved to hear the end of fighting. This war was really quite terrible and we paid a large toll for the sin of slavery.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Shiny New iPhone

This weekend, I finally bought my iPhone! I am very excited and am trying to figure out how to blog from my phone. Looks like, I might have to blog by email. . . though it would be nice if there was a free app.

In the meantime, I've really been enjoying listening to Team of Rivals. I am just past the Gettysburg address. I have really been struck by how unprofessional the Union Generals seemed at times. McClellan so far has struck me as the worst. Based on the letters she has chosen to quote, he seems like a complete asshat.

I also previously didn't know that West Virginia ceded from Virgina during the war.

All of these little facts I've been learning make me wonder what did I learn in school about either American history or the civil war?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I do not have a pitchfork, but I know where I can get one. . .

Jon Stewart had an excellent idea for dealing with health insurance companies. He suggested we "baby-bell'em, trust bust" them. Then he suggested we villify them and chase them with pitchforks. I like that. I don't have a pitchfork, but I bet I can get one at the hardware store in town. I was going to link to just that last blurb but the whole show last night was very funny, so here you go.

End of Life Counseling

Submitted VIA Senator Contact Forms found at for all three Senators.

Dear Senator Grassley:

I am not from Iowa so I am sure my opinion means little to you. However, I was quite concerned about your statement regarding end of life counseling. I do not know if you have had a close family member or friend use hospice services at the end of their life. I have, twice, my father and my grandfather. By the time my father was in hospice, he suffered from severe dementia. When my grandfather entered hospice, he still had a sharp mind, it was his body that was failing him.

End of life counseling provided my grandfather and our family the opportunity to discuss which medical treatments he wanted, which were too painful or pointless, who would take care of him when, and what kind of treatment/assistance with pain he could/would be given. You say that he needed this counseling 20 years before his death. I could not disagree more. While you are right that we all should take the time to discuss our end of life wishes with our families, we do not know the manner or the time in which we will leave this earth. If my grandfather had had this counseling twenty years prior, it would have been useless. The pain medication he received was "new". Twenty years prior to his death, I was an infant. You see, I moved in with my grandparents to help take care of him. The treatment options he needed to consider were also not yet discovered.

I would like to thank you for reminding people to talk to their families about end of life issues. But I would ask you to please not heat up the rhetoric on an issue as important as this one by confusing people with statements like the ones you made regarding this vital service.

Finally, I would like to know your basis for telling people they should be concerned about a government program which would "determine[] if you're going to pull the plug on grandma." I agree wholeheartedly that if such a program were to be proposed, it should be opposed. But no one is proposing such a thing. Why would you intentionally frighten citizens with talk like this?



cc: Senators Levin & Stabenow

The NY Times

Obviously, I read often. I usually stick to the opinion pieces, the political reporting, sometimes the book and film stuff. I don't read much about what is going on in the city, because I do not care what is happening in NYC. I do not care about what is trendy in the city or what the hip and happening are doing. I live in the mid-west. Articles like this one are why people hate New Yorkers and the NYTimes.'s Sadie describes the article as "remarkably nasty." Even after reading that little description I was stunned and very put off by the nastiness of the article. More than put off, I was disgusted by her disgust. I am annoyed enough to have a hard time writing anything more than Who the f-bomb does this woman think she is?

Don't get me wrong, I love snarky as much as the next person. I mean, I love Go Fug Yourself, and those ladies tend to have no mercy. In fact, I just spent the last ten minutes staring at over the horrible choices made at the Nick Teen Choice Awards (and I wasn't even taking into account Miley Cyrus). Between Ms. Wilson's "It took me a long time to find a size 2 among the racks." and her To this end, it has the most obese mannequins I have ever seen. They probably need special insulin-based epoxy injections just to make their limbs stay on. It’s like a headless wax museum devoted entirely to the cast of 'Roseanne.'" I think it has been a while since I intentionally read something so self-involved and condesending.

DOJ Attorney Firings - Newly Reviewed Documents reports that documents
"released by the House Judiciary Committee after a protracted fight over access to White House records and testimony, offer a detailed portrait of a nearly two-year effort, from early 2005 to 2007, by senior White House officials, including Mr. Rove, to dismiss some prosecutors for what appear to be political reasons."
Okay, not surprising.
"Bush administration officials have publicly suggested that Mr. Iglesias was dismissed because of a subpar performance and absences from the office — he was a Navy reservist."
What?! Are you serious right now? He worked for the Department of Justice for the United States of America. He missed work because he was a Navy reservist for the United States of America. And this was a problem?? I thought we were engaged in two wars and were taking stop-gap measures. Plus, I gotta say, the federal government is the last one I expected to get worked up about reservists missing work to go to reserve activities.

Another point about this that burns me is the constant Republican & Bush Administration tacit of accusing dissenters (or anyone who disagreed with them) of "hating America." When Democrats and peace activists opposed the war, they didn't support the troops. Yet, here they are citing the "missing of work" by a reservist away from work for reservist activities as a reason to fire this person. This is supporting the troops in what way exactly?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Google Ads

I love it when google ads misinterpret me. I am obsessed with her, I don't actually like her, and there is NO way I'd give her PAC, her campaign, or her any money.


I've already confessed my love of Palin's hair and my obsession with her. Last Friday, she posted the following on her facebook page:
“The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their ‘level of productivity in society’ whether they are worthy of health care.”

Seriously, Governor? You know, it is really all I can do to keep this civil and not call you names like the Queen of Crazy (which is how I first started this entry). You do make it quite difficult to refrain. . . But instead, I will remind you what you said at your official resignation. . . "quit making shit up." Try on some of your own advice for a change.

Healther Skelter

I heart Jon Stewart.

98. Amy – Donate 400,000 grains of rice (1,710/400,000).

Another 500 grains down. And I moved up a few levels.

What is cooking?

You may recall that when I posted a link to Michael Pollan's Article Out of the Kitchen, Onto the Couch, I said I'd talk about it later. It is later.

Tonight, I cooked dinner. Well, I think I cooked dinner. But after reading his article, I'm not sure I cooked dinner. I dumped canned tomatoes (crushed and diced) over garlic and diced onions (frozen & pre-chopped) that I had sauteed in a dash of olive oil. I stirred in a generous amount of McCormick's Italian Herb Seasoning (comes in a grinder, just bought it tonight, quite tasty). I heated a loaf of Italian bread I bought this evening. I put the sauce mixture over some penne that I ?cooked? and on top of that I put chicken breast seasoned with the above seasoning and grilled on my Foreman Grill. Quite tasty. I also enjoyed a half or so bottle of Grand Traverse Sweet Harvest Riesling.* (See Above) I also put a good amount of pre-grated Parmesan cheese on the top, of course, it wasn't even real parmesan, it was Kraft parm, not the real stuff from northern Italy.

(I am really hoping that as this project continues, I get better at taking pictures. . . )

So is this cooking? According to the article, the definition of cooking by a food-market research firm, The NDP Group, is "[t]o cook from scratch . . . means to prepare a main dish that requires some degree of 'assembly of elements.'" Well, I definitely did that tonight. I made a tomato based sauce, a simple sauce, but a good sauce. I seasoned and grilled my chicken and then put it on top of the pasta and pasta sauce. But what I did also sounds a lot like what happens on he rather dismissively described as the "dump and stir" programs. In the article, he used the phrase, "from scratch" a few times. How far back in the process do I need to go for my cooking to count as "from scratch"? What if I made my own pasta, something I have always wanted to do, and canned my own tomatoes? Could I then use the pre-mixed seasonings in the grinder? I would call that cooking from scratch. But then, I called what I did tonight, cooking. Oh, and delicious.

I know I am over thinking this, but I do think the subject is a very important one. I agree with the basic premise of the article, which, I think is we need to do more traditional cooking at home. Why? Because when we do, we spend more time together as family, we eat healthier, and the time we spend together is more meaningful. I find the time I spend teaching my daughter to cook is fun, we connect, we communicate more than we do at restaurants. But, sometimes, I enjoy a good meal out.

*Honey, this does not count as drinking alone. It was wine with dinner, alone. Totally different.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Tonight's other accomplishment - Setting up & Figuring Out the Bowflex

Before my Mom left for up north, she set up the Bowflex in my basement. I haven't used it yet. In fact, before tonight, I didn't know how to use it. Well, tonight I spent some time with the manual and am happy to say, I think I can use the Bowflex. Now I just need a routine.

45. Get bowflex set up.

98. Donate 400,000 grains of rice (1,210/400,000).

I love, I can feel smart, 'cause I know lots of words, AND "donate" to a cause without actually donating. (written like a true scholar).

Tonight, I learned a new word. I love this word!

misology = hatred of reason

If I am going to meet this goal, I really need to step up the efforts. Tonight, I only added another 200 grains of rice.

Things about which I have mixed feelings

(1) Overtime. Pro: Normal wages X 1.5; Con: B worked 66 hours this week. This resulted in me seeing him today and today only. This caused sadness. It also caused a delay in the move. A minor delay, but a delay nonetheless. Of course, 26 hours of overtime will be a nice bonus to his check. Looks like normal weeks will only be 50-58 hours for now.

Things that piss me off

(1) Billboard trucks. That's right billboard trucks. I snapped a quick pick of this one in town as I was leaving work. It is the most ridiculous, wasteful idea I have seen in a while. They have been around the city for a few years now. They usually pop up in the spring and again in August when the students return to campus. If they were on trucks that were doing other things, that would be cool. If they were on trucks that were solar-powered or in some way "green", that would be tolerable. But this just pisses me off. Every time I see one, I think, oh look, another place I won't shop at. Sadly, the company on this one is the place in town where you can get a Pandora bracelet and charms. Looks like, I'll have to try one of the other area cities or shop online. 'Cause this is unacceptable. I feel an angry letter coming on . . .

Last Week

Last week, I was off at a retreat for work. It was a nice break from the usual. Wednesday, we had lunch at a restaurant on beautiful Torch Lake. My pictures really do not do the lake justice.

Monday, August 3, 2009

RIAA & Other Asshats

I just finished an article which quotes the RIAA attorney as saying
"We reject the view," he writes in a letter to the top legal advisor at the Copyright Office, "that copyright owners and their licensees are required to provide consumers with perpetual access to creative works. No other product or service providers are held to such lofty standards. No one expects computers or other electronics devices to work properly in perpetuity, and there is no reason that any particular mode of distributing copyrighted works should be required to do so."
Seriously? I don't have to repurchase my books. I expect to be able to keep reading it. I don't have to repurchase a photograph, I expect it to stay on my wall and for me to keep looking at it. I don't have to repurchase my cd's or my dad's old records. They keep playing on the devices they were intended to play on. Music industry, this DRM business was your idea, not mine. You don't like it? You find a way around it, you make it so that my product still works. I didn't buy the item because I wanted a DRM product, I want the stupid song. It is thinking like this that is causing the music industry to have the financial problems they say they are having. They have the last ones to the e-table and the most difficult to work with at said table.

Oh yeah, Mr. RIAA Lawyer, this shit is why people don't like us.

Link to arstechnica article came to my attention via Dear Author.

Myths about the Civil War & Abe Lincoln

I have been listening to Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin. It is really a good book and the reader is doing a great job. I remember always hearing that (1) the civil war wasn't really about slavery, it was about economics, and (2) Lincoln wasn't really against slaverly. I'm not sure where exactly I've heard these theories. Actually, those are both wrong. Lincoln was very much against slavery and his biological parents were both anti-slavery. And there was much, much contenious debate for decades prior to the civil war over the slavery question. The primary issue of contention was whether slavery could be allowed in the new states.

It is really a great book because she uses a good deal of source material to tell us about Lincoln's path to the White House and about the lives and histories of his cabinet members who had been his political rivals for the White House. I am only on Disk 9 of 36, but I am really enjoying it and learning quite a bit.