Sunday, February 24, 2008

The terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day…

May Bee bit a man in the park today. (She’s never bitten ANYONE, EVER!!)

While he was trying to staunchstanch…stop the bleeding with a tissue, he asked me to dinner.

(I declined.)

As we continued to talk (and monitor his blood loss), he asked if I’d like to go up in his airplane. He has a pilot’s license and often flies to the MetroPlex on business.

(I declined again…although with a little hesitation this time. I’m just through with men, but he was being so nice about May Bee, insisting it was HIS fault for pointing right in her face and scaring her. He absolutely refused all of my apologies! And he was being so TOUGH about being bitten…that must have really hurt, but he was not showing any pain.)

Oh, and earlier that day, before May Bee went all medieval on innocent citizens in the park, I’d had to clean up Misha’s TWO accidents. The worst kind. (Misha’s new name? Diarrhea Dog.)

Karen and the girls all shared a big laugh as they watched me try to pick up vast amounts of um…semi-solids with old grocery bags. (Molly was bent double, leaning on her mother, as she belly-laughed. It was actually pretty funny, and I would have been laughing, too, if I hadn’t been busy retching.)

After taking The Sickie back to Mike’s so she could foul HIS backyard, May Bee and I headed back to the park to do another mile and a half (that’s when the Carnage and Flirtation began).

And now? I just took ibuprofen and am getting in bed with a heating pad…even though I should be working on tomorrow’s presentation I’ll be conducting LIVE via the district’s Distance Learning TV carts!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Meet TED.

I joined TED. It rocks.

My only complaint? It wouldn't let me add "bad German" or "rusty German" as a second language on the Create Profile page; the computer only recognized the word GERMAN. If I start getting email next week from like-minded thinkers auf Deutschland, Kirsten musst mich helfen. (Yeah, those are probably not even words...I might have just written that Kirsten will need to "help toast my pickles"...)

Here's a terrific, moving example of why you should check out TED:

And a terrific, rollicking, passionate example of why you should check out TED:

Thursday, February 21, 2008

At the risk...

...of sounding like a broken record, you will REALLY enjoy Michael Pollan's books. Not only was The Omnivore's Dilemma named one of the best 10 science books of 2006 by the New York Times (it’s a personal favorite), but his new one, In Defense of Food, is terrific, too.

Before this book goes back to the public library, here are a few samples of Pollan's informative, persuasive, masterful writing:

“…as a general rule it's a whole lot easier to slap a health claim on a box of sugary cereal than on a raw potato or a carrot, with the perverse result that the most healthful foods in the supermarket sit there quietly in the produce section, silent as stroke victims, while a few aisles over in Cereal the Cocoa Puffs and Lucky Charms are screaming their newfound 'whole-grain goodness' to the rafters.”

“We all know that lucky soul who can eat prodigious quantities of fattening food without ever gaining weight. Some populations can metabolize sugars better than others. Depending on your evolutionary heritage, you may or may not be able to digest the lactose in milk…The specific ecology in your intestines helps determine how efficiently you digest what you eat, so that the same 100 calories of food may yield more or less food energy depending on the proportion of Firmicutes and Bacteroides resident in your gut…So there is nothing very machinelike about the human eater, and to think of food as simply fuel is to completely misconstrue it. It’s worth keeping in mind too that curiously, the human digestive tract has roughly as many neurons as your spinal column. We don’t know exactly yet what they’re up to, but their existence suggests that much more is going on in digestion than simply the breakdown of foods into chemicals.”

“An American born in 2000 has a 1 in 3 chance of developing diabetes in his lifetime; the risk is even greater for a Hispanic American or African American. A diagnosis of diabetes subtracts…years from one’s life and living with the condition incurs medical costs of $13,000 a year…This is a global pandemic in the making…Diabetes is well on its way to becoming normalized in the West—recognized as a whole new demographic and so a major marketing opportunity. Apparently it is easier, or at least a lot more profitable, to change a disease of civilization into a lifestyle than it is to change the way that civilization eats.”

“The rise in obesity in America began around 1980, exactly when a flood of cheap calories started coming off American farms…American farmers produced 600 more calories per person per day in 2000 than they did in 1980. But some calories got cheaper than others: Since 1980, the price of sweeteners and added fats (most of them derived, respectively, from subsidized corn and subsidized soybeans) dropped 20 percent, while the price of fresh fruits and vegetables increased by 40 percent. It is the cheaper and less healthful of these two kinds of calories on which Americans have been gorging.”

Last one, I promise!

“In 1960, Americans spent 17.5 percent of their income on food and 5.2 percent of national income on health care. Since then, those numbers have flipped. Spending on food has fallen to 9.9 percent, while spending on health care has climbed to 16 percent of national income. I have to think that by spending a little more on healthier food, we could reduce the amount we have to spend on health care.”

Pick up a Pollan book on eBay, at your local library, at your independent bookseller, or even Amazon, if you must--wherever you get it, you won’t be disappointed!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

And six shall be the number of the counting...

Have you heard about the six-word memoir? Apparently, the online journal Smith asked its readers to summarize their lives in just six words; writers both famous and not-so-famous responded, and a collection of 832 submissions has been published in a book called Not Quite What I Was Planning.

You can read AND hear AND see more about these mini-autobiographies at …be sure to check out the Photo Gallery!

Apparently, the inspiration for the project was Ernest Hemingway’s six-word story: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” ( Whether or not this Papa Hemingway story is true or not, that’s a masterful story, poignant in its brevity.)

Anyway, the project got me thinking…what would you choose for your six-word life story? You don’t need to share them, but it’s fun--and sort of revealing--to come up with your own Life Sentence.

Here are just a few of my favorites from the THOUSANDS on the Smith web site:

“Retired teacher, miss June, July, and August.”

“There is life beyond the cubicle.”

“Missed today while planning for tomorrow.”

“Fell in love 1978. Still am!”

“Constantly running away from the race.”

“Family. God has blessed me greatly.”

“Stopped drinking. Son born. Very happy. ”

“Leaped before I looked. No regrets. ”

“Morning person, loves dogs and fiction” (No, this one's NOT mine!)

“served God daily, flunked school badly”

“Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda, not too late! ”

“On my planet
I'm a genius”

“I will always love Angela Zacierka. ”

“i am broken; grace is glue. ”

USMC, AA, widower, God still smiles. ”

“Youth wasted, adulthood stunted, aging grandly”

“Each one teach one. Everyone benefits. ”

“Big heart but small carbon footprint. ”

“Life is a limited time offer.”

“Life- too long for six words” (This one is from Ms. Young’s class, who apparently had her students participate.)

“so much chocolate, so little time...... ”

“God found me on Hell's highway”

“Living for who died for me.”

“Can't we all just get along? ”

“took a lickin, kept on tickin”

So here’s to getting along, enjoying chocolate, teaching one another, aging grandly, serving God, gettin’ up after every lickin’, leaving small carbon footprints, and packing a lot of life into our six-word memoirs!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mom!

"...Richer than I you could never be...
I had a mother who read to me."
--Strickland Gillilan, humorist & poet (1869-1954)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Me, too, Kirsten.

My friend Kirsten & I both took the 24 personality quiz and turned out to be the same character! (Yo, Kirsten--apparently, we may "eventually turn evil." Perhaps we should start practicing our diabolical laughs now so we'll have them down pat...)

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


This is weird, but it seems like every time I come to Austin for a conference, something BIG is happening on the news (the Columbia space tragedy, the Pope's funeral, etc.)--and last night was Super Tuesday across the nation...and Fat Tuesday in Austin and New Orleans! (I watched about half an hour or so of election results before crashing into bed, still a little weak from being so sick on Sunday and Monday. Bethany went to a soccer game and had fun, even though her team lost.)

Speaking of Bethany, she just made a delicious vegetarian feast of broccoli with lime juice, squash topped with cheese, and buttered/toasted Whole Foods bread on the hotel stovetop burner, and now we're cuddling up in bed with some good books! (Heavenly!)

And tomorrow--Falisha joins us!! The three of us have tickets for tomorrow night's "Eighties Power Ballads Sing-Along" at the Alamo on Sixth Street! Fun, fun...well, you know...FUN!

The conference is a blast, too. Every class so far has been a winner! Oh, one great site a presenter named Patrick Crispen shared with us? GOOG411.

One silly site he shared? NetDisaster. (Mr. Crispen, from California, made a kid "vomit" on the U.T. web site...pretty daring when speaking to an Austin audience in a giant ballroom! OTOH, he had just unleashed a chainsaw on A&M so I guess that helped him get away with it.)

Oh, and one of my all-time favorite sites, The Institute of Official Cheer, was included on his handout! (One time, years ago, Karen and I toured The Gobbler Motel & Supper Club--"The Grooviest Motel in Wisconsin"--on this site and laughed until we WEPT!)

Having fun...and hoping May Bee is behaving herself,

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Sunday, February 03, 2008

It's gonna be okay.

No matter the surname of our next President--Obama, Clinton, McCain, Romney, or my personal favorite, HUCKABEE--it's all going to be okay.

President McCain? Cool! He's a hero and a maverick and he never, ever quits. His mom is great, too.

President Obama? Great! In fact, one of my all-time favorite words is "hope." I may vote for him myself! (Oh, and wouldn't it be nice to have children in the White House again?)

President Clinton? Hmm. My least-favorite option, but still okay. She's a woman (finally!), she's a committed Christian, and Karen will finally have health insurance. (Yeah, Hillary married an idiot, but lots of us have done that and lived to tell the tale.)

President Romney? Fine. The man can run stuff, that's for sure, and he's committed to faith and family. How refreshing.

President Huckabee? The author of From Hope to Higher Ground? A girl can dream! In fact, I agree with him on nearly every issue (the environment, how abortion stops a beating human heart, the economy, fair taxation, the importance of integrity, and the epidemic of American obesity...especially among our children--our FUTURE!), and his appearance on The Daily Show proves he can hold his own with poise and good humor.

No matter who wins...the Lord still reigns, reading and dog-walking are still fun and free, being a librarian is still the perfect job, Bethany and Falisha are still dear and beautiful, May Bee still loves her mommy, and my family is still WONDERFUL!

Blessed and HOPEful,

Saturday, February 02, 2008

A Day of Mourning for All Taste Buds...

My favorite salad dressing of all time is vanishing; it’s no longer available at HEB or at Central Market in Fort Worth! If you never had a chance to try the Classic Greek with Imported Olive Oil by New England Inn Recipes brand, your taste buds have been robbed of the most enjoyable salad dressing of all time.

(The spices? Just right. Addictive, even. The sugar? Almost none…1 gram…just how I like it!)

The ingredient list exactly as it appears on the label: Vegetable oil (Soybean and/or Canola, Extra Virgin Olive Oil), Cider Vinegar, Water, Salt, Garlic, Contains 2% or less of Monosodium Glutamate (to enhance flavor), Spices, Propylene Glycol Alginate and Xanthan Gum (thickeners), Calcium Disodium EDTA to preserve freshness, Beta Carotene (color).

Now how am I going to reproduce THAT flavor at home? “Spices” hardly lets me know which ones, and where am I supposed to find calcium disodium or propylene glycol alginate? I don’t think HEB even has an algae aisle.

Well, all I can do now is contact Crowley & Shay’s Gourmet Foods, P.O. Box 849, Marlborough, MA, 01752 or call 1.800.318.3140 (on a Monday through Friday, 9-5 Eastern) to find out where this particular dressing is still available in Texas…or to see how much it is to order a case at a time!

Afraid that this dressing has gone the way of other great products from my past (Addams' Sour Apple gum and Gee! Your Hair Smells Terrific shampoo),