Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Ooooh! Chocolate!

For years, I have been driving by a psychic reading sign and have never stopped in. So, today, on a lark, Lydia and I stopped in. There was a Christmas special...... $10.00 for a palm reading! SCORE!

So, from what I can remember because the woman spoke SO QUICKLY:

1. I am good hearted
2. I am free hearted (what??)
3. I am going to spend six months out of state for my career.
4. I will have a big move and change of residence next year.
5. There is one minor illness in my family but everyone else is healthy and will remain so for the near future.
6. I am very independent and make decisions based on that.
7. I will have a kid in the next two years.
8. I will have two kids.
9. Some other stuff.
10. I'm ten dollars poorer than I was this morning. :)

I hope everyone else is enjoying a holiday treat as special as mine!

I am currently in Madison, Wisconsin, enjoying a nice glass of wine, chatting with my sister and her boyfriend and listening to the puppies exhaust eachother with no effort on my part at all!

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Mozart Effect

I am currently in Glenview, Illinois with my family. The Christmas lights here are beautiful. This morning, in sitting with my step-dad while he is recovering from a recent surgery, I was handed the following very excellent joke, which I delight in sharing with you:

A new report now says that the Mozart effect is a fraud. For you hip urban professionals: no. Playing Mozart for your designer baby will not improve his IQ or help him get into that exclusive pre-school. He'll just have to be admitted to Harvard some other way.

Of course, we're all better off for listening to Mozart purely for the pleasure of it. However, one wonders that if playing Mozart sonatas for little Hillary or Jason could boost their intelligence, what would happen if other composers were played in their developmental time?? (I am inclined to think that rather than simply to make your child more precocious, listening to Mozart may instill in your childhood a love of simplicity and a leaning toward dramatic flourishes).

BEETHOVEN EFFECT: Child is prone to loud outbursts followed by moments of exquisite intelligence.

BRAHMS EFFECT: the child is able to speak eloquently and will be on a new subject before you have even realized the subject is changing. However, he may be quite a while before he is ready to let go of the apron strings.

WAGNER EFFECT: Child becomes a megalomaniac. May eventually marry his sister.

BRUCKNER EFFECT: Child speaks very slowly and repeats himself frequently. Gains reputation for profundity. (Goes on and on!)

LISZT EFFECT: Child speaks rapidly and extravagantly, but never really says anything important.

MAHLER EFFECT: Child continually screams - at great length and volume - that he's dying.

STRAVINSKY EFFECT: Child is prone to savage, guttural and profane outbursts that often lead to fighting and pandemonium in the preschool.

SCHOENBERG EFFECT: Child never repeats a word until he's used all the other words in his vocabulary. Sometimes talks backwards. Eventually, people stop listening to him. Child blames them for their inability to understand him.

IVES EFFECT: Child develops a remarkable ability to carry on several separate conversations at once.

BABBITT EFFECT: Child gibbers nonsense all the time. Eventually, people stop listening to him. Child doesn't care becaue all his playmates think he's cool.

GLASS EFFECT: Child tends to repeat himself over and over and oever and over and over and over and over and over and over.

RILEY EFFECT: Child may take forever to get to his point and will have a propensity to micromanage everything.

...... and then of course there is the Cage effect - the child says nothing at all for 4 minutes and 33 seconds. Preferred by nine out of ten classroom teachers!

I changed a bunch for those of you who may have encountered this before.

In other news: my step-dad is recovering well, Kansas and Missouri haven't changed a bit since the last time I saw them, and Paris Hilton is practically a nun.

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Sunday, December 10, 2006


Every year it seems, Hollywood produces a romantic comedy full of top billed actors in mediocre roles that revolves around the holiday season. Last year wasn't it one with Sarah Jessica Parker and Claire Danes? Anyway, we just saw the movie Holiday with Jack Black, Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, and Jude Law. It was okay. It was VERY cliche. (I typically am not fond of ANY of these actors, but they didn't hurt to watch this time!)

I normally wouldn't drag my husband to a movie like this (actually, I would typically try my best to avoid any theater experience, but we are on a bit of a movie seeing roll here), but I was intrigued by the idea of house swapping. THAT was the hook. And it worked!

So, if anyone is interested, I have a beautiful three bedroom house in Colorado Springs and am currently looking to vacation in the following places: Cairo, Barcelona, London, Toronto, Seattle, Chicago, and New York. Must be a non-smoker, must feed my puppy.

Saturday, December 09, 2006


I am currently too busy eating to blog.

I love coming up with new recipes when cooking for myself with little to no food in the house! (Oh my gosh.... this is so good!)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

I never saw the truth hanging from the door

Starbucks has its own satellite radio. I don't know what to make of this. I clearly haven't sat at a starbucks long enough in recent history to hear the woman announce it. And I'm torn.

I like small business. Non-chain restaurants. Places that make a town unique. (Come visit Colorado Springs for a sampling of every chain restaurant known to this country - and nothing else). I am opposed to corporations that tout us into frequenting them by their recognizablitiy and ubiquity.

And I was sitting there, finishing the book The Omnivore's Dilemma which advocates thoughtful eating and consumption (things I think Starbucks diminishes in us) and so was really feeling the resentment.

However, not only did Starbucks satellite delight me with artists like Nick Drake, Bob Dylan and Simon and Garfunkel, but they were not playing Christmas music! The were LULLING me! And I enjoyed it. Sigh.

This is my puppy who wants nothing more than to be cuddled all day.

And yet, In other news:

I will no longer be using the phrase "word to the wise." Though I am told it is derived from the Latin phrase which translates "a word to the wise is enough," (which makes way more sense), nobody uses it that way and so I have struck it from my list of accessible phrases I might be heard to use.

AND Lindsay Lohan is still a loser. Or so I read.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Can we just send an e-vite?

First of all, I would like to wish all my dedicated readers a happy Buxtehude Pizza Tuesday! I celebrated with a nice Simi Cabernet and a pretty good pizza. Now, those of you that watch and enjoy Gilmore Girls (I know you’re out there) and read my blog (okay, the word “few” may be overstating it) probably missed my comments on last weeks episode. And for that, I apologize. From what I remember, Christopher is a “likeable” guy!

But when it comes to this week: my top ten Gilmore Girls thoughts:

1. I think “Man’s Inhumanity to Man” is a great theme for a party! Isn’t that what parties are about anyway? What would you serve as appetizers? Although I guess “Everyone Leaves by 8:30” would be more my kind of party.

2. TJ does the Survivor Challenges??? I’ve seen this show a mere one or two times…. But never thought of THAT!

3. If there is a food and wine tasting….. I’m THERE!

4. Kirk is an absolute asshole this season!

5. Snarkiness? Really? FANTASTIC. Who is going to keep MY snarkiness in check though?!

6. Boys make things more confusing, more complicated and more complex as they age. The three C’s! Remember that girls!

7. AND Venus and a bowl of soup are still too similar. They’re both sort of ROUND. I think more like…. Venus and a kick in the shin.

8. My husband thinks Christopher should know better to not get into a fight with Luke. I think it was charming. In the Christmas spirit!

9. I delete number 9. It was about Emily and Lorelei and marriage. Emily is punctilious. But sweet.

10. I hate these girls afterwards. Is this a “great” idea of the CWs?! Bring back the WB I say! Less commentary! More hurricanes and drug overdoses!

I would have probably enjoyed the episode more if not for my lack of pizza sauce.

Unequivocally showing my age

I hold parent/teacher conferences twice a year to make sure I have adults to talk to. They are going very well this week.

It is already dark, and I have yet to start teaching today. I'm ready for dinner and a glass of wine and to let my attention wander. I'm ready to be entertained by the television and to go to bed.

This was the view out my kitchen window of the sky once the sun had set.

Monday, December 04, 2006

The Omnivore's Dilemma

I have been reading this book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan for the past couple of months (it has been slow going!) but I’m LOVING it.

I have learned so much about the significance of corn in our daily lives, the political implications and reasons behind how agriculture has developed over the past 70 years, and also the shocking effects this has had on what we used to understand as the food chain.

In the chapter “The Processing Plant: Making Complex Foods,” I felt so betrayed by the one industry that is supposed to be supporting our intrinsic needs (food)…. NOT changing them and USING us as a way to merely dispose of product and make money!

And we all know fast food is bad for us…… but I never realized how unnatural it is and how what we have been doing with the food industry is changing the circle of life!! There was an amazing breakdown done in the book about the carbon composition in a fast food meal and exactly what percentage of each item came from CORN.

I shop at Whole Foods/Wild Oats and used to buy Horizon milk (until I found a local dairy) and I thought it was a good (albeit expensive) way of eating well and supporting small farmers without having to think about it. However, Pollan discusses the quandary of buying organic from places like these (big organic) in a chapter which is a bit devastating. Organic does not necessarily mean natural at all. Cows being fed corn instead of grass which makes them uncomfortable and ILL is not natural. (Even grass fed sometimes only means for the first part of life). Food being flown 3,000 miles to be consumed is not always good for the planet. I mean, I'm glad that antibiotics and pesticides aren't being pumped into the soil, but the issue of cows being fed corn instead of grass seems to be such a bigger issue ...... messing with the food chain like that..... that the fact that what makes Horizon milk organic is that the cows are fed organic corn seems ridiculous.

In an incredible chapter, Pollan discusses how raising cows, chickens, larvae, grasses and bacteria all together the way one farmer he spent some time with does, and how it prevents the need for antibiotics, wormers, paraciticides, and fertilizers. This farmer sounded so promising about the future of healthy and natural eating. If everyone would read this book, or pay attention to their effects on the world around them, that may be possible. But there are so many other important issues that people fail to notice. I just don't see this being one that tops the list of radical changes.

This is definitely NOT a modern day version of The Jungle though there is a chapter titled The Slaughter. But from chapters on corn, to beef, to chicken, to mushrooms…… this book is insightful, poignant, and informative. I have learned so much about the food industry and how it relates to us through economics, politics, health and even sense of well being.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Stranger Than Fiction

In this movie, an IRS tax auditor named Harold is living his tedious life focused on such mundane minutiae that he doesn’t realize his discontent until he taps into a narration of his life as it happens in his head. Suspicious and in disbelief, he pursues this mystery which leads him to work with a literary theorist, humorously and tenderly played by Dustin Hoffman. As it turns out, Harold is the main character in a book being written by a chain-smoking misanthropic author played by Emma Thompson who is notorious for killing off her characters.

I enjoyed this movie’s lighthearted perspective and unique characters. Going to the movies today wasn’t as bad as usual with this unexpected success of a movie as well as the tuna sandwich and godiva I had packed.

As an aside:

Bright Copper Kettles

Snow alternates between being a cold, icy burden that endangers drivers and gives homeowners heart attacks as they struggle to clear their driveways and being that magical, glistening wonder that softens the daylight noises and brightens the nighttime sky.

We have had both this week. And today, as I gazed out my bedroom window, since I don’t have to leave the house this morning, I was able to appreciate the single digit overnight temperatures because the trees in the backyard had become these delicate sparkly icicles.

I’m glad it is Sunday. I’m glad it has snowed. But I look forward to the week as I start to receive packages in the mail of items I’ve ordered for my family for Christmas. Whether they are for me or not….. I LOVE PACKAGES!

I hope has the leisure and focus to be able to appreciate December as it usually disappears before we know it!