We're moving today. The phone number should remain the same, but you won't be able to reach us until some time tomorrow. I won't be able to access e-mail from home until we get set up in a couple of weeks, so I won't be online until Monday.

Later :)


Hot chocolate.

Now this, I have to try:

Mayan Hot Chocolate

2 cups boiling water
1 chile pepper, cut in half, seeds removed (with gloves)
5 cups light cream or whole or nonfat milk
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 to 2 cinnamon sticks
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate or 3 tablets Mexican chocolate, cut into 1/4"pieces
2 tablespoons sugar or honey, or to taste
l tablespoon almonds or hazelnuts, ground extra fine
Whipped cream

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add chile pepper to boiling water. Cook until liquid is reduced to 1 cup. Remove chile pepper; strain water and set aside.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine cream or milk, vanilla bean and cinnamon stick until bubbles appear around the edge. Reduce heat to low; add chocolate and sugar or honey; whisk occasionally until chocolate is melted and sugar dissolves. Turn off heat; remove vanilla bean and cinnamon stick. Add chile-infused water, a little at a time, tasting to make sure the flavor isn't too strong. If chocolate is too thick, thin with a little more milk.

Serve in small cups and offer ground almonds or hazelnuts and whipped cream.

Site includes information about the history of chocolate.
Question of the Day.


The question of this morning was, "Where's the best place to get new men's size eight, low-top Chuck Taylor converse shoes in black (but with the regular soles)?"

With shipping and including Ebay, the answer still seems to be at any local Famous Footwear outlet, for thirty bucks. Everyone that wants to sell them more cheaply also wants to charge you more than it could possibly cost to ship a pair of shoes, unless it's by private courier or overnight airmail, which they weren't.

I don't want to collect them! I just can't get the same type of soles anywhere else!

Dang it. The internet gods wiped this out last night.*


I had so much fun messing with the Chinese Dictionary question that I decided to write down a dozen or so other no-so-personally-pressing questions and see what I could find on the net.

Yesterday's question: What's Yom Kippur?

It's the Jewish Day of Atonement. Basically, everyone gets together and apologizes for their sins over the past year before they're written down in the books of judgement forever. (If it isn't covered by sunset of Yom Kippur, too bad.) Not only do individuals apologize for their individual acts, but their acts as a community and as Jewish people all together.

Other items I had no clue about:

You can convert to Judism; Sammy Davis Jr. did.

Schmaltz is rendered chicken fat.

Jews have a greater sense of community than most cultures:

"When a Jew does something illegal, immoral or shameful, we all feel the shame, and we all feel that it reflects on us. As Jews, many of us were embarrassed by the Monica Lewinsky scandal, because Lewinsky is a Jew. We were shocked when Israeli Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin was killed by a Jew, unable to believe that one Jew would ever kill another.

"And when a Jew accomplishes something significant, we all feel proud. A perfect example of Jews (even completely secular ones) delighting in the accomplishments of our fellow Jews is the perennial popularity of Adam Sandler's Chanukkah songs, listing famous people who are Jewish. We all take pride in scientists like Albert Einstein or political leaders like Joe Lieberman (we don't all agree with his politics or his religious views, but we were all proud to see him on a national ticket). And is there a Jew who doesn't know (or at least feel pride upon learning) that Sandy Koufax declined to pitch in a World Series game that fell on Yom Kippur?"
--Tracey R Rich


How does a Chinese dictionary work?

You know, I've wondered about this for years. I still don't know. But here are some notes from my online meandering in search of the answer:

On-line Chinese Tools contains a number of interesting links, including "Get a Chinese Name."

Ray's is Kong Rui su, "Sharp Revive."
Lee's is Kuang Ling en, "Soul Charity."
Mine is Kong Dao ning, "Way Peaceful."

More later...


The characters are organized by brush strokes. See here for a Chinese character dictionary.



I got the QC job. The boss was surprised that I was on pins an needles. "We knew for a couple of weeks," he said. "We're just waiting for HR to catch up."

And the apartment is a go.

And the procedures are done. The chica in charge of them called me to thank me for having them done on time, ready to go, and well done. They still need to be reviewed by the work directors, but my first 350-page opus is going to be used, picked apart, and read. And you know what? I'm proud of the length, because it wasn't 150 pages longer. I've learned a lot from her so far, very cool stuff. None of the sadness of finishing a work of fiction, that's for sure.

I don't plan to coast though my last few weeks in my department -- too much to do. But I do plan to relax about it. Ahhhhhhh.....

P.S. Plus, my horoscope said tonight would be a good night for a romantic interlude.


Story updates.

I haven't accomplished much on the story in the last two months, but the last couple of weeks have been interesting.

I'm going through each character and working out more of the details, more of the plot on an individual basis. First, I go through the story and write down everything I run into for that character. Second, I write an informal bio sheet for the character. It delights me to discover so much about the characters, just from the things I wrote about them. "Aha! This person knew what was about to happen!" "Aha! This person didn't!"

So far, one of my bad guys has been motivated by a sense of order, another by sheer loneliness, and a third by self-centered immaturity. Loneliness is a terrible thing. I think the main bad girly has the same problem, that.



The same people who didn't hire me for either a tech writing or a newsletter/communications position volunteered me to work on a departmental newsletter. "Can't think of anybody else who could do it," they said.

Still waiting on the new QC job.



This is an article who was unable, for a week, to get a D&E abortion (dialation and extraction). She was bleeding. The baby was nineteen weeks old. And dead.

via ***Dave.

I'm proud to have had my daughter in a country where abortion is legal. On those days when I hate being a parent, I can never say, "I wish you had never happened." She will never be something that happened to me, because I looked at her and said yes.
Word of the Day.


"People who live on the opposite side of the globe and, of course, whose
feet are directly opposite to ours." --Rev. John Boag's Imperial Lexicon...of every word usually employed in
science, literature, and art, c 1850

--From Jeffrey Kacirk, Forgotten English Daily Calendar 2004.

The coffee shop was frikken deserted on Sunday night. Deserted. Lots of other places for these to bobos to sit than six feet away from me.

Girl: About twenty two, works at a pet store, long brown hair.
Boy: Just turned thirty, still going to school, looks and sounds like a younger, taller version of Wallace Shawn.

Girl: I watched the Spielberg biography last night.

Boy: Me too! You know, I haven't been able to watch ET since I saw it the first time.

Girl: When was that?

Boy: I was about seven or eight.

Girl: I know what you mean. That movie was so scary! You just felt trapped.

Boy: I had nightmares for years.

Girl: I've never been able to watch some of his movies. I've seen scenes from some of them, and I just can't do it.

Boy: Like Schindler's List.

Girl: What's that other one called? Amistad?

Boy: Me either.

Girl: That Spielberg, he makes some powerful films.

Ray's sitting on my lap. One cookie says to the other cookie (both of which have a big, semi-circular bite of them):

Cookie 1: What happened to your head?

Cookie 2: That one eat me.

Cookie 1: Spiders!

Cookie 2: Aaugh!


Just let yourself fit in.

This is one of those more introspective posts.

I've been reading The French Lieutenant's Woman. The setting is Victorian England. Anyway, there's a scene where Sarah, the epononymous character, reveals that she slept with the French Lieutenant and why:

She was a governess for two children whose mother was her own age. She liked the woman, liked the children, but every day she was reminded that she would never be able to have what that woman had--a home, a husband, children, respectability. She was too poor to marry someone with money, and too educated to marry someone who was poor.

The French Lieutenant flirted with her while he was recuperating from a wound, and invited her to meet him in another town. He hinted that he'd marry her. When she found him, she realized in a flash that 1) he'd never marry her, and 2) good thing, too. She slept with him anyway.

Why? She knew she'd always be an outcast no matter what she did, but she'd have to live by the rules if she didn't want other people to think she was an outcast. She slept with the French Lieutenant in order to take away the illusion. It didn't really work, but that's another part of the story.

When I read it, it was like a piece of the puzzle clicked. In school I was the ugly duckling. In Chamberlain, my parents were farmers and we were poor. I was shy and smart and lonely most of the time. In Flandreau, my parents were newcomers in a small town that respected tradition over pretty much everything else. I was still shy and smart and lonely most of the time.

Then I got contacts and had my senior pictures taken. All of a sudden, I had a boyfriend; people I'd had crushes on followed me around. People literally opened doors for me. Aha! There's something beautiful to be had and seen. But I was still shy and smart and lonely most of the time, only it was worse, becuase I had to pretend that I wasn't any of those things.

I went to college. I quit wearing contacts most of the time. I stomped around whenever people offered to hold doors for me. I wore whatever I wanted -- I had a bright striped gauze skirt that would spin up to my waist. I hung up on a guy who just wanted a date. I was still shy and smart and lonely most of the time, but it didn't hurt. And the people I knew were people I wanted to know, people who wanted to know me not just because I was another outcast.

Ay, one day a 'friend' of mine asked me why I didn't let myself be beautiful. I couldn't explain it, but I hated her for asking. It makes more sense now. I didn't want to lie anymore. It didn't end up being a final solution, but that's another part of the story.


Oh Raaaaaaaaaandyyyyyyyyyy...

Arch-swindler Moist Van Lipwig never believed his confidence crimes were hanging offenses -- until he found himself with a noose tightly around his neck, dropping through a trapdoor, and falling into . . . a government job?

By all rights, Moist should have met his maker. Instead, it's Lord Vetinari, supreme ruler of Ankh-Morpork, who promptly offers him a job as Postmaster.
-- Going Postal: A Novel of Discworld, by Terry Pratchett.

Out October 5th.
Dang it.

As Lee left for work, I told him I was going to do some calling around about places to live.

"Don't sign anything without letting me see it first," he said.

Damn it. The first one I looked at is just what I want.
The difference between poetry and prose.

I've been trying to figure this one out for years. One of my playwriting profs asked me this one, since I was trying to write both.

The tentative answer of the day:

Prose is clear, communicative writing.
Poetry is clear, communicative writing under extreme conditions.

--I never really liked rhymed poetry, but the conditions I put on my free verse were just as harsh, even though most of the time I wasn't lucky enough to figure out exactly what those conventions were afterwards.

Our 8-year anniversary of dating was July 15th. Our six-year wedding anniversary is Sept. 26. Here's the best love poem I've ever written, just after I started dating Lee:

#when you jump you fall#

when you jump you fall. that all i
know. you fall as far you you're high
off the ground, and then it's over. i
kept my eyes open the whole time.

every time. i tense up when i see
the bottom. everything shatters. i
know how to pick up the pieces. right
from the first i've always known.

when you jump you fall. you always
grow from the things that hurt you.
nothing else works. nothing else gets
through the skin. that's why you

jump. nothing else makes you look
and see what you've become. nothing
else makes going on important at all.
when you're falling you're in heaven.

i'm not afraid. i climbed so high i could
see sunrise and sunset overlap under me.
you look startled. the distance. it's too
far to clear it both ways. i'm ready, i

say, only i've already let go.

when you jump you fall. that's all i
know. why doesn't it hurt yet, you
say. i don't know. these mysteries.
the wind is so thick when i'm with

you. so hard to keep from catching sky
between my fingers. i just don't know.
so hard to keep flinching from the blows
that never come. i just don't know.
Email update.

I took a Gmail invite from Doyce recently, and have changed my email address. Worry not! Thanks to Doyce's savoir faire, the old address is forwarding to the new address. If you'd like the new address, email me at the old address or leave a comment here, and I'll send you the new address.

Re: Gmail:
1 spam. 1 week. Any questions?


In other birthday news,

Ray and I went to a birthday party for a little girl that Ray plays with. Now here I have to figure out what I want to say. Every time Ray runs around with this kid, I pity her and feel proud of the way we're raising Ray.

After all the presents were unwrapped and the balloons were popped, the ice cream cake had been eaten and the relatives had wandered off, the little girl stopped screaming "mine!" every time Ray touched something and sat down with her to play. They colored and tried to blow bubbles. I took them out to the park. We had time to go down the slide a couple of times, and then we had to walk back.

On the way back, the little girl said, "We went down the slide five times."
I said, "We have to remember that we need to go down all the slides next time. And push each other on the swings."
She said, "Okay."

On the slide, Ray tried to push her way past this girl on the stairs. I told her to say she was sorry, and she did. The other girl said, "That's okay," and they went up the stairs together.

People shouldn't read the horoscope for the month they were born, but the month they were conceived. This would make Lee, birthday Sept 1, a Capricorn:

Between North and South Korea is a long, narrow strip of land called the DMZ. Designed to be a buffer zone where all human activity is prohibited, it has accidentally become a nature preserve beloved by white-naped cranes. The area is a paradise for the birds because it has an abundance of undisturbed marshland and is free of predators. Luckily, the cranes are so lightweight that they're in no danger of detonating the many land mines buried throughout the 370-square-mile area. Everything I just described is an apt metaphor for a situation or state of mind that's now available for your use, Capricorn.

--He's also quitting smoking. Via Free Will Astrology.


Experienced Orangutan Wanted.

Terry Pratchett at the Hugos.

via BoingBoing.


Holy crap.

A picture of Hurricane Frances approaching Florida.