Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

So, I had grand plans for Sylvia this evening. We were going to go trick-or-treating and then head out to visit some old neighbors, maybe even go find some of Sylvia's friends (or rather, the women who sit Sylvia and their children). Unfortunately, I chose to give Sylvia some fruit snacks from her loot before we went out. Sylvia choked and puked up everything she'd eaten beforehand. Yum.

We stayed home after that.

For those of you who missed her, she was a pretty cute bug. See evidence below.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pumpkins, dinosaurs, and stripes

Sylvia loves dinosaurs, growling at her dinosaur books when we read them to her.

I took these pictures of Sylvia in a stinkin' cute outfit last Wednesday at my friend's neighborhood potluck.

And this picture just the other morning while Sylvia played with our pumpkin.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Why I read books

Last night Derrick and I watched the final episode of Defying Gravity. The last one EVER. And I'm sad because there are so many unanswered questions, so many unfinished plot-lines, and no hope for any real conclusion. Yet again, I've found a show I like, and, just like with Kings it's been canceled after the first season. Grr.

Which brings me to why I read books. Books don't typically get canceled after the first season. Sure, if you're an unproven author they may only let you write the first book of a (planned in your head) trilogy or series, but usually that lets/forces you to wrap up significant plot arcs by the end. In TV, not so much. If a show doesn't get ratings, it's gone. I understand--producing a TV show is far more expensive than printing a book, but especially with the current move toward longer character and plot arcs, even multi-season plot arcs, it's really annoying to get involved in a show and then see it canceled just as things get good.

James D. Parriott, will you please quit TV and start writing books? Can I be your ghost-writer?

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Unemployment is at highs our nation hasn't seen in decades--largely because banks made bad decisions that were motivated by greed and obtaining the largest bonus possible. So what are bankers doing now? Paying themselves huge bonuses. How, do you ask, can they justify paying themselves so handsomely? And less than a year after a close brush with a second Great Depression that was only avoided because taxpayers ponied up the cash to keep these bankers in the black?

“We have to tolerate the inequality as a way to achieve greater prosperity and opportunity for all,” says Brian Griffiths.

I had thought trickle down economics had been discredited by this point. Really, trickle down economics and unfettered capitalism lead ultimately to feudalism--something only the princes and princesses want and the rest of us surely want to avoid. I admit, I'm not sure I like the idea of the government going in and telling people what they can and can't be paid, but I do think the government should do something about this incredibly brazen greed--through taxation. Let them get paid half a million dollars on average for gambling with others' money--and let the US government take, say, 60 or 70% of anything over 100,000. Let some of that largess flow back to the people who are ultimately producing it instead of letting it simply be funneled into the pockets of the people who just think they own it.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Blogs or facebook?

One of my old college roommates had her second child, a daughter, on the 2nd (and is she ever cute!). I've been checking her blog pretty frequently for the past couple of weeks, waiting for an announcement. Turns out, she announced on facebook, not on her blog.

Another former roommate (whose son is about a month younger than Sylvia) also has a blog that I check frequently, but again, she apparently updates her facebook page and lets her blog pretty much languish. Turns out, a lot of my old college friends are on facebook and either don't have or rarely update blogs.

I, on the other hand, update my blog about every three days and really only look at facebook when someone adds me as a friend or sends me something.

Thinking about my online behavior compared to that of my friends, is the divergence evidence that I prefer the format that allows me to write longer, less twitter-like updates on my life? Does that mean I'm more contemplative, or simply less busy? I see the advantage of writing quick, pithy updates pretty much constantly--the time commitment is low and you probably present a more organic, perhaps truer picture of the flow of your life. Am I less interested in interaction (though I do love comments!), preferring the format that allows me to navel gaze without so much commentary? Blogs do seem to require much more effort, especially if (like me) comment verification is turned on. Or, is this a timing/generational difference? Did I just get into blogging before facebook (being at one of the second generation schools rather than a first generation school like so many of my old college friends), so now that's just what I do, and just what they do? Perhaps this is just evidence that I'm slow to take up the newest, coolest technology, preferring instead to stay with the familiar, comfortable technology. I am, after all, a bit of a fuddy duddy in my old age.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


The end of our gardening season is here. Tonight it's supposed to reach freezing, which will almost certainly kill our tomatoes and peppers and most of our herbs. Probably the brussel sprouts will survive a light frost, as will the lettuce and a few of our other hardy veggies, but the gardening season is pretty much over. I'm going to miss it. I've loved having fresh veggies, loved having an excuse to go outside and dig in the dirt. I've loved watching Sylvia wander through the garden, letting her pick peas and beans to snack on earlier in the season, lately more tomatillos and tomatoes and the occasional pepper. It's fun to watch her reaction to the different fresh foods--some she eats, some she spits out; she never stops picking them and trying them, no matter how unpleasant the first taste! It's obvious she knows which parts of the plant are meant to be eaten, which is amazing given she's so young. That knowledge must be somehow ingrained in the human psyche by eons of evolution. In the Pleistocene would my small daughter have helped me picking fruits in the forest, or gathering legumes from the edges of the savanna? Do the plants take advantage of our proclivities, or do we take note of theirs?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Houston, we have liftoff

Yep, she's walking. Real, honest to goodness toddling, forward movement included. The pictures don't really do it justice, but you can see the joy in her features as she masters a new set of movements.

This evening we stayed for dinner with some friends who live at Purdue Village (mostly grad-student housing). Sylvia wasn't interested in eating, of course, wanting only to play with me. The most interesting activity for her was holding my hands and walking after the other kids who were playing. At the time I was a little annoyed since I was hungry and more interested in talking to adults than in following small children around. Tonight, watching Sylvia take those small, tentative steps I felt a pang of sadness, knowing the days she'll want to hold my hands, the days she'll want my help, the days she'll need my support, are few and are rushing past.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


My neighbor wanted some family pictures. Her son wanted to do nothing but run (it's been a long, rainy week and he's spent most of it inside), but even so, I think we managed to get a few good ones.

Derrick's newest creation

Derrick made himself a cabinet for his hand tools. It came together impressively fast and and looks like it's going to be sturdy and functional.

It's 36 inches on each side, meaning it opens up to be 72 inches of storage space.

Since we have a small, curious child who is interested in shiny, pointy things, Derrick put a lock on the cabinet. There's just one problem. See it?

How about now?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Spicy spit

Tomorrow is my ward's chili cook-off, for which I'm planning on making a pot of chili. Adventurous soul that I am, I'm making a chili that pays homage to moles--meaning basically I'm taking a bunch of dried chili peppers, toasting them on a skillet, and then re-hydrating them. Perhaps my decision making skills are a little impaired by the lateness of the evening (it is about 1 am, after all) but I thought it would be a good idea to roast all the chilis--including a couple of habanero chilis.

You know, the second hottest chilis on Earth.

Toasting the other chilis aerosolizes their capsaicin, which not infrequently leaves one choking and sneezing. Hapaneros, being about 10,000 times hotter, are also about 10,000 times worse. The spit in the back of my throat tastes spicy from breathing in the vapors from 30 seconds of toasting. Man, this had better be some darn good chili.