"Ninja Parade Slips through Town Unnoticed Once Again"

(via The Onion)

Update: I fixed the link. Let's see how long it takes before the ninjas change it again...


The Boy Who Sees without Eyes

...a documentary about Ben Underwood, a boy who had his eyes removed (cancer) at age two. He is the only person in the world ever really to have used echolocation to replace eyesight. That we know of. Because Daredevil, you know, wasn't a real guy.

The Cycle

...of Steven Brust's Taltos series.

(via Steven Brust)


HIV Neutralized?

It sounds like researchers have found a way to negate the effects of HIV in human beings. Not a vaccine, not a cure -- but a way of eradicating the symptoms.


(via Neatorama)


Musical Interlude: The Shins

Phantom Limb.

This is one of those songs you listen to and go, "I should find out who sings that." Sometimes this feeling comes about when the song is really good or you can't get it out of your head. Sometimes it's because it has interesting lyrics but you can't really catch all of them. Aha! This song is both together, sweet-tuned pop with this fascinating melody you can barely keep up with. And then the lyrics...

So I looked them up:
So, when they tap our mundane heads,
To zombie-walk in our stead,
This town seems hardly worth our time,
And we'll no longer memorize or rhyme,
Too far along in our climb,
Stepping over what now towers to the sky,
With no connection.
After reading them three or four times through and watching the video (a school play? three school plays? If so, what do Joan of Arc, the Donner Party, and Cortez have to do with each other?) I can say with confidence the song might be about the tingling feeling you get from living in a stifling place (small town? suburb?), as if your whole life were a phantom limb that had been removed. Maybe. Probably the most poetic song lyrics I've seen in a long time. I say seen--I have a hard time doing anything but wiggling and humming when I hear the song.

And, because I can't find my Imogen Head CD and will take whatever comes up next on YouTube: Let go.

Ooh, and here's a chick that sounds like a cross between Enya and Imogen Heap: Emmy Rossum. A duet with Dolly Parton, "When Love is New." She can keep up, which is saying something. Apparently, she's done a lot of acting. I've never heard of her before...

Word of the Day.

nosism (NO-siz-em) noun

The use of 'we' in referring to oneself.

[From Latin nos (we).]

As it's often used by editors, it's also known as the "editorial we".
It's also called "the royal we" owing to its frequent use by royalty.
Mark Twain once said, "Only kings, presidents, editors, and people
with tapeworms have the right to use the editorial 'we'."

-Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)


Joke of the Day.

Pure D. Wrong:

I rear-ended a car this morning. So there we are alongside the road and slowly the driver gets out of the car...and you know how you just-get-sooo-stressed and life-stuff seems to get funny?

Yeah,well, I could NOT believe it...he was a DWARF! He storms over to my car, looks up at me and says, "I AM NOT HAPPY!"

So, I look down at him and say, "Well, which one are you then?"

...and that's when the fight started.

Word of the Day.

lexiphanes (lex-SIF-uh-neez) noun

One who uses words pretentiously.

[From Greek lexiphanes (phrase monger), from lexis (word or phrase) + -phaneia
(to show).]

-Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)


Chocolate Reviews: Dagoba New Moon & 3400 Phinney, Coconut Curry

Dagoba Organic Chocolate, New Moon (74%)

Decent. Nicely balanced between fruity (not a specific fruit, just fruity) and loamy/earthy tastes. After the lavender and xocolatl, though, I was expecting to be seriously impressed. Nope. It was good, but I'd rather have the lavender and eat Green & Black's dark chocolate instead. Better than Godiva by a good bit, though.

3400 Phinney Chocolate Factory, Coconut Curry Milk Chocolate

Um, huh?

My mouth was confused. Confundicated. Wha? Mild milk chocolate -- it could have been the stuff they make cheap Easter rabbits out of, for all I could tell, with the curry that was mixed with it. Unlike the Dagoba Xocolatl (chile powder and nibs) bar, the curry totally overwhelmed the chocolate. I ate it, but my palate felt dizzy. What can I say? I was playing WoW, and you just nibble on anything in reach, if you're not careful. I guess if you were feeling edgy, you might be all right with this, but I was disappointed. They have a Chai flavor...maybe I'll try that instead.


Recipe: Roasted Chicken Chili

Ah, chicken chili. Usually my reaction to it is, "this would be better with pork." I saw yet another lowfat recipe for chicken chili today...bleah, move on...


What if I made a non-lowfat chicken chili recipe? And worked on making it not bland, without covering up on the lack of flavor by upping the spiciness? An interesting challenge. Here's the result, which is currently in the process of making my stomach growl while I wait for the flavors to meld a bit.

4 chicken thighs (skin on)
5-6 cloves of garlic, peeled and rough ends trimmed
chipotle powder (you could use a very small amount of any powdered chili pepper; use cayenne rather than chili powder, which is full of stuff that doesn't need to be roasted)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Put the thighs and garlic on a sided, heavy-bottomed pan. Sprinkle the thighs with salt and (lightly) chili powder. Pour just a bit of olive oil over the garlic, to keep it from burning while the chicken releases its juices. Roast until the juices in the center run clear, about 20 minutes. If you roast the chicken significantly ahead of time, pour the juices out of the pan and reserve.

1/2 white onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 anaheim pepper, seeded and chopped
1 T olive oil
2 cans high-quality chopped tomatoes
Thyme (5-6 sprigs or a teaspoon or so of dried)
1 can pinto beans or the bean of your choice

Saute the onion, garlic, and pepper lightly in the olive oil over medium heat. As soon as the onions turn translucent (you'll be underdoing this a bit), add the tomatoes in their juice and the thyme. As soon as the chili comes to a simmer, reduce the heat to low.

As soon as the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the skin and shred the chicken into small chunks. Chop the garlic into same. Add the chicken, garlic, the pan juices, and as much of the brown gunk as you can scrape out of the pan to the chili.

Add the beans (if you like thinner chili, make sure you rinse them before add them). Make sure the heat is low and let the chili simmer. You could adjust the seasoning with salt or extra chili pepper, but it seems pretty good so far.

Serve the chili with any vegetables you want to add that shouldn't be mushy -- I'm doing cilantro and red pepper. I really wanted an avocado, but I just went shopping today, and the consistently underripe 'cados at Super Target are always hard as rocks, and I didn't feel like driving to the Mexican greengrocer today, because it was snowing and I wanted a nap. Oh, and cornchitos, which is apparently De-speak for non-tortilla Frito-style corn chips. And non-lowfat sour cream.


Pissed off.

An atheist lists the reasons she's angry at Christians, because a lot of Christians, as Christians are jerks or worse.

Okay, Christians: even Christ got angry on occaision. Wouldn't Christ get angry at some of this stuff?

I'm angry -- enraged -- at the priests who molest children and tell them it's God's will. I'm enraged at the Catholic Church that consciously, deliberately, repeatedly, for years, acted to protect priests who molested children, and consciously and deliberately acted to keep it a secret, placing the Church's reputation as a higher priority than, for fuck's sake, children not being molested. And I'm enraged that the Church is now trying to argue, in court, that protecting child-molesting priests from prosecution, and shuffling those priests from diocese to diocese so they can molest kids in a whole new community that doesn't yet suspect them, is a Constitutionally protected form of free religious expression.


And I'm angry that Jerry Falwell blamed 9/11 on pagans, abortionists, feminists, gays and lesbians, the ACLU, and the People For the American Way. I'm angry that the theology of a wrathful God exacting revenge against pagans and abortionists by sending radical Muslims to blow up a building full of secretaries and investment bankers... this was a theology held by a powerful, widely-respected religious leader with millions of followers.


I'm angry that huge swaths of public policy in this country -- not just on same-sex marriage, but on abortion and stem-cell research and sex education in schools -- are being based, not on evidence of which policies do and don't work and what is and isn't true about the world, but on religious texts written hundreds or thousands of years ago, and on their own personal feelings about how those texts should be interpreted, with no supporting evidence whatsoever -- and no apparent concept of why any evidence should be needed.

I maintain that Christianity would be a great religion if it weren't for two things:
  1. The insistence that somehow the Old Testament trumps the New
  2. Hypocrites
Too bad the inevitable direction of organized religion is to crawl in bed with hypocrites. And too bad I read so much :)

(via ***Dave)

Recipe: Hour Soup.

I was trying to figure out a name for this recipe...it's kind of a fusion between Thai & Chinese versions of hot & sour soup, but what a terrible name for a recipe, right? "Fusion Hot & Sour Thai & Chinese Soup." So I fused the words "hot" and "sour" together...also reflects approximate prep time, so why not?

I wasn't brave enough to add eggs; it just sounded wrong when I made it. Maybe it's because the Thai version doesn't have eggs and is so much less RICH than the Chinese version. I didn't have any lemongrass on hand, so I threw in a bag of Thai Chai and a bag of Ginger Lemongrass tea. For more authenticity, you could crush a stalk of lemongrass and throw in three or four kaffir lime leaves instead. But I was winging it.

1 1/2 c. uncooked shrimp (I used tail-on).

Thaw shrimp if necessary; remove tails and reserve.

1 box chicken broth (1 qt; use homemade if you have it*)
1 pt. water
8-10 tiny thai chilis (I have a bag of frozen ones; they keep forever if you can find them) or crushed red pepper to taste (say, 3-4 of the chilis you put in kung pao chicken)
1" ginger, sliced into chunks
3 green onions (I have problems with them going bad, so I've started throwing them in the freezer for soup when they start getting brown)
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
2 Thai chai tea bag (or regular chai, or any tea containing lemongrass, or a combination, or 1 lemongrass stalk and 3-4 kaffir lime leaves, which is what you would add to real Thai soup)
Shrimp tails

Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for at least 20 minutes. Strain and discard solids.

1 box mushrooms, sliced into strips
2 carrots, sliced
1 stalk celery, sliced
2 T. turbindo/natural sugar (I would say use white sugar over regular brown, or maybe mirin instead)
1 T. sesame oil
2 T. soy sauce
1 t. powdered, dried ginger
1 lime, peel grated into soup and juice squeezed into soup through
filter (to catch seeds)

Return to a boil, then simmer until the carrots are nearly done.

1 box silken tofu, diced
1/4 c. chopped cilantro

Add the tofu, cilantro, and shrimp and cook until the shrimp have turned pink all the way through. Remove from heat. Serve with thai hot sauce (or similar) on the side.

*I need to start marking chicken carcasses "Soup Corpse" or something similar, don't I?


November is the Month of Busy.

So I signed up for the fall PPWC Writers Workshop today...it's on November 3rd.


Here's my brain, totally fried and running in circles. "Big step! Big step! Are you ready for this? Are you able to handle this? Do you deserve this?"

Well, you know, if writers were totally secure people, we wouldn't need to get published, wouldn't need attention, wouldn't need to show off in front of other people, wouldn't need to be writers...which means a continuous state of seppuku* for not being a good enough writer, for not having more blog hits, for stacking up rejections, etc.

The truth of November and NaNoWriMo has sunk in; I am now totally slacking off, which has the added benefit of being able to toss aside the Alien Blue revisions, which I didn't mind as much as the YA revisions, but still, they're revisions. Ha! I begin your revisions so I may gleefully avoid them!

Hm...I say slacking off, but what I mean is coping with Ray's birthday and Halloween and parent-teacher conferences and eleventy bajillion documents and and and...

*Only to be avoided on days in which one receives checks. Or PayPal notices. Either is good.


Book Review: Territory

by Emma Bull.

Here are the reasons I can't be objective about this book:

1. Freedom and Necessity (co-written by Stephen Brust) is one of my favorite books ever; the two writers are irrevocably tied in my brain now, so everything Emma Bull writes gets subconsciously compared to Stephen Brust. And I really like Stephen Brust, but he's written, oh, twenty books or so, and Emma Bull has written maybe four.

2. The issues Ms. Bull seems to be dealing with in her writing (as a writer, not themes, I mean) are the ones I've been dealing with lately. (I'm not even going to try to figure out whether that's coincidence or transference.) So while I pick her stuff apart, I'm really trying to figure out how to make it work in my writing.

That being said, somebody should make sure she keeps writing and publishing. With more experience and confidence, she could do some brilliant, fun stuff.

Territory is the story of Tombstone, with magic. -- It isn't just the story of Tombstone; it's the story of Wyatt Earp and co. under the influence of the movie Tombstone (1993), with magic. And if you didn't like that movie, what is wrong with you?

The additional characters are handled believably and seamlessly. The magic is balanced well -- it doesn't throw the story off, but adds a new perspective. The writing is clear and vivid.


Why are the main characters even involved in the story? They "get swept up" into the story using writerly tricks and further pulled in just because. They don't have any real stakes (not until later, anyway). Why (I'm not giving anything away here, trust me) do they fall in love? Because of chemistry? Why is their story so important? Why is it included at all? What's at stake, in the end? What's important? What does it all meeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaan?

It's almost as if the author came up with this brilliant pitch, and then panicked in trying to come up with a way to pull it off. And nobody told her to cut closer to the bone, to find out what would make the characters weep and bleed. For example: the main character is pulled into the story when an old friend of his casts a spell to draw him into town. Why is the old friend there? He just happens to be there, having been kicked out of San Francisco. The main character is pulled into town when someone tries to steal his horse, and he shoots him -- but nothing really bad happens to the main character because of it, he never has to pay for it, even emotionally, really, even though he says he feels bad. These things, they happen because the author needs them to happen, because otherwise, there wouldn't have been a story. Maybe it's just a way of saying that everything in Tombstone happened because chance made it happen, but that's a boring moral to put on such an interesting idea. You see?

It's a good story...but it could have been a masterpiece had the author dug a little deeper, made the characters go through their darkest moments, make their most painful choices, and pay the costs -- sometimes all out of proportion.

And then, the ending cuts off early. Too early; everything she's been leading you to believe you will be able to see carried out -- pfft. Some writers can carry this off. I try to do this on occaision. But it doesn't work without some very complex setting up of a second plot within the supposedly-main plot, with the second plot being the real plot, so it doesn't matter if the first plot ends or not. But because the known characters -- the Earps and Doc Holliday -- have so much more at stake than the main characters, I felt cheated. The main characters' storyline doesn't even pay off! Auuuugggghhhh!

But like I said, here's me, not being objective. The book was well worth reading, and it's not the author's fault I can't see it more clearly :)

Book Review: Briar Rose

by Jane Yolen.

(Another one of Terry Windling's Fairy Tale Series.)

Instead of giving any details about her past (even her real name), a girl's grandmother always tells the slightly-altered story of Briar Rose (or Sleeping Beauty) whenever anyone asks about her past. The girl is a grown woman when the grandmother dies, first extracting a promise that she find the castle where the grandmother had slept a hundred years...

I don't want to give away too much; the plot unwinds like a really good detective novel, with the central mystery being how history affects the people you love and, by extention, you. The plotting is great, stringing you along, doling out information at exactly the right moments. I initially wondered why the granddaughter got so much attention, why the story wasn't about the grandmother, who has a much more interesting story, but that's not what the story was about...

So let me just say the grandmother arrived in the U.S. after WWII and leave it at that. I recommend it, although I doubt I'll read it as often as I have other books in the series -- but then, Schindler's List was a great movie that I'll never see again, either.

Chocolate Review: Godiva vs. Choxie

So I had my first bar of Godiva chocolate the other day. (I think I've had a couple of truffles before, but that's not the same thing -- you taste the filling more than you do the chocolate.) Out of all the different bars of chocolate I've eaten, you'd think I would have run across one earlier. As it turns out, department stores and chain bookstores sell Godiva...but World Market and good grocery stores don't, in general.

Um...it was okay. Rich, but a little waxy-tasting, rather than buttery-tasting. Definitely not "creamy" as was claimed on the shiny gold packaging. No snap when broken. At first I thought I didn't care for it all that much because it's so hyped. But if so, why don't more places carry it? I mean, more places where you might be able to compare it to something really good, like Schaffen Barger?

Choxie: Single Origin Chocolate Thin, 49% Venezuela Cacao
You know where you get Choxie? Target. Their thins were on sale last night, so I picked up a bunch. This was about the same intensity as the Godiva, the same level of richness, but blessed with a friendly buttery texture that made me want to wander around licking the smudges off my hands (so I did). Nothing subtle for taste, just an easy crowd pleaser: this is what Godiva was shooting for, and ended up with "well, it's better than Hershey's" instead.

So when you're in the mood for Godiva, get this instead. It's better, cheaper, and easier to find. Neither one is the grand heights of chocolate essence, but the Choxie accomplishes what it sets out to do, while the Godiva makes you feel like the packaging is the best part of your purchase.


Elastic Band

My aunt Carol sends me...


Sweeney Todd Preview!

Click here for the 'orrible vision!

What Kind of Reader Are You?

This is one of the best kinds of personality tests, the kind that tells you something you already know.

As predicted by BD, I am a dedicated reader, scoring almost 100% on the "obsessive-compulsive bookworm" and "literate good citizen" ranges, about 50% on the "book snob" range, very low on the "fad reader" range, and the range for "non-reader" seems to be entirely skewed to the left. (The graph didn't show up well, so I axed it.)


Recipe: Steamed Pork Bun Dim Sum

(a.k.a., Char Siu Bao)

If you want the real recipe for Char Siu Bao (or at least, a "realer" one than the one that follows), click here. But if you want to use up leftovers, and you have no patience with bread dough (or you're just in a lazy mood), see below.

2 c. cooked pork roast, diced to 1/4"
1/2 c. (or less) char siu sauce (or bbq sauce with a little soy sauce stirred in)
3 pkgs. refrigerated dough for dinner rolls (the little ones, about 30)

Fill a medium-sized sauce pan with 1/4-1/2" water and insert a vegetable steamer. Spray the steamer with baking/cooking spray, cover, and set to a boil over medium-high heat.

Mix the BBQ sauce into the pork; make sure the pork is relatively dry so the sauce doesn't explode out of the buns.

Flatten one of the dough rolls in the palm of your hand and put 1T or so of filling in the center. Squish the dough around the ball, leaving a puckering kiss shape behind (I pinched them into half-circles, then squished them into a more rounded shape). Repeat with the rest of the rolls.

Place four of the buns in the steamer insert, leaving lots of space between them. Cover and steam until the dough is cooked, about 3-4 minutes. Spray the steamer with more baking spray and refill water as necessary.

Ray says, "These are the best ever!"

I say, "Death to leftovers. AAAUUUUGGGHHH!"


Shortpacked: Batman is Good at Everything.

Randy sent me a Shortpacked cartoon. It struck me as especially funny, so I started reading the series from the beginning. I'm up to here.

Ooo! Ooo!


Traveling Light.

No, no, I'm not headed anywhere. But I love this site, One Bag. Just in case...


Messing around...

Lee took the picture in Dallas last April. YT cropped.


In the spirit of not sitting around doing nothing until November and NaNoWriMo, I am editing Alien Blue again, this time using the techniques I picked up during the for-hire YA. Already, I'm figuring out why things weren't working and what I could do to fix them.

Still hard to make myself sit still and do it, but not as gut-wrenching as it was last time. For now? Anyway, I'm plugging along, digging through stuff, cutting it down to size, when I run into Dinah. I had to smile. I'm going to say it's a good sign. I hate to edit, but I'm putting up with it because I get to spend more time with the characters. And I like the main character, but he talks too much.

Her eyes are big, her nose is straight, and her chin is tiny and sharp. She's got this big forehead, but not so big that it looks like it was going to make her head tip over, if you see what I mean. She has little tits, and it looks like her butt had been pulled off a different model and stuck onto her waist by some shortsighted dollmaker. Which is to say she has a cheerfully big butt. She'd stuffed it into a pair of ugly khaki pants with the cuffs wrapped up tight and tucked into her hiking boots. She had a white t-shirt that still smelled like raw girl left out in the sunshine a little too long.

But what I love about her, the thing that struck me on first sight, was her mouth. Not her lips, her mouth. All the time she was walking up to me in the bar, she was talking to herself. There was this ongoing conversation going on, and nobody was going to know about it but her and the little voices in her head, I guess. And while she talked to herself, her hands twitched at her sides, as if she were subvocalizing hand gestures to keep pace with her one-sided conversation. And that wasn't all. She would talk out of one side of her mouth, mumble mumble mumble, and it was the other side of her mouth that answered here, mimble mimble mimble.

Maybe it wouldn't have struck most people, but it exactly fit my requirements for an ideal spouse--good ass, a little nutty, and a good conversationalist (not to mention able to entertain herself if necessary).

Seasons Change...

I've hit whatever point it is in the year where my body says, "Autumn. Time to be depressed."

Fortunately, I'm not eighteen any more, and I'm finally figuring out how to cope with these seasonal downs, although not how to enjoy them. I'm writing down what I know now, in the hopes that I can come back here on bad days and go, "Oh...that's what I'm supposed to be doing."

1) Switch to decaf. I swear, lowering my caffeine intake has been one of the best things I've done for my health since I got out of college. It's hard to sort out how you're actually feeling when you have to battle the ups and downs of your addiction.

That being said...

2) Drink more coffee. Eat more chocolate. It seems to be more than just the caffeine (tea doesn't seem to work, except the kind with goji berry in it, but that was both a different kind of feeling and too much so), but I have no idea what. Take your birth control on time. Take sinus medicine if you even suspect that might be part of the problem.

3) Turn the lights on as soon as it's not blindingly bright. Don't wait for dusk. If a room isn't bathed in bright sunlight, turn the lights on. You're not saving energy by turning off the lights if you're going to make yourself depressed.

4) Eat. Even if you don't want to eat. You don't have to eat things that are good for you. Eat a piece of candy if that's what you can put up with. You won't be hungry. Just eat. And drink some water, after all that coffee. Tuna fish is good for you, it has seratonin. Make sure you have something you can fix quickly, like tomato soup, that you can feed yourself and the kid at the bare minimum.

5) Do something. Cleaning house is good. Put everything away. Throw away garbage. Mail bills. File loose pieces of paper, even if it is just stuffing them in the closet of doom. Finish things that need to be finished. Do the laundry. Just keep moving.

6) If you have the day off, perform basic hygiene. It does matter if you brushed your teeth, even if everyone else is out of the house. Put on clean clothes, even if the ones you wore yesterday aren't dirty. Bathe. Shave your legs. Put on lotion. Wear a bra. (It's okay not to wear a bra if you're feeling mischievious. But not if you're depressed.)

7) Always tell your spouse and your kids. Do not be ashamed. If you do not tell them, you will probably give them the impression they're the ones who are hurting you. The first step to not being depressed is to admit you're depressed; doing this under your breath doesn't count, because within a few moments, you will try to convince yourself you're just being paranoid, and you're not really depressed. So which is worse? Paranoia or depression? (I know this should be step #1, but it's hard to start at the beginning sometimes.)

8) If you are depressed, you do not have to be the mom or the hero or the wonderwife. Ask for help. The people you love will cope.

9) Spend some time on yourself. Find a book that you love and that you've read a bajillion times, and reread it. Listen to music that you can wear like a second skin. Then...dare yourself to do something more challenging. A project that you want to get done. Writing. (Blogging.) Achieve something. Once you've achieved something, you can bugger off; this is usually the point at which I'm fine.

10) If that doesn't work, though: yoga, meditation, backrubs, taking a walk...do something physical. (You should be doing physical exercise on a regular basis anyway, but do extra or at least some, if you're not.)

11) If that doesn't work, cry. Don't work yourself up to be crying about something, just cry.

Let's see how this works...ask me in, um, March.


Techno Tuba

The most entertaining tuba player since Martin Mull, Oystein Baadsvik, turns his tuba into a the ancestral instrument of an ancient, forgotten tribe of gnomes, the Technochantoechorati.

(via Neatorama)


Here's me, hoping this particular fad is over: back when we lived in Iowa, people would buy all this crap with "What Would Jesus Do" all over it. Duh...Jesus, temple, tossing out moneylenders? Ring a bell? Probably not so big on the Jesus watch bands, you know?

Oh, and some of the kids wore these plastic band bracelets with WWJD? stamped on them, and whenever they committed some sin or other, they'd snap themselves. I'm pretty sure that wasn't part of the deal either, giving yourself welts in the name of love.

But enough of my bitching. Check out this comic from Sinfest, which is much funnier.


Chocolate Review: Dagoba

I have now tried two Dagoba flavors:

Xocolatl and Lavender Blueberry.

The xocolatl, full of chilis and other spices, was almost more than I could take. Intense, bold chocolate that viciously managed to hold up against the powerful chilis. I could eat maybe two bites before I had to call off until next time...but I finished the whole bar, nose running and eyes tearing up at times. Other chili-flavored chocolates I've tried haven't been too terribly remarkable, which is pretty remarkable in and of itself.

The lavender blueberry smells like an attack of bath salts, with fresh lavender that climbs up your nose and creeps around in your nose hairs, which sounds disgusting, but anybody who likes pungent smells like horseradish will tell you that's exactly where the smell should go. The chocolate is less bold and more creamy, complementing rather than duelling it out with the lavender. The blueberry crops up as a small surprise now and then, and you realize that part of what you've been tasting all along is the blueberries, a smooth kind of taste-bridge between the chocolate and the lavender.

The reason I haven't tasted the "plain" chocolate flavors yet is that I picked up the other two kinds and immediately had my nose vote for me. As good as these two were, I'm sure I'll work my way around to the regular kind eventually.


Ray lost her first tooth! She brought it home in a tiny, tooth-sized treasure chest. I'm so ecstatic!

...On another Ray note, she's unhappy because they're stopping naps for kindergarten. She looks totally washed out, even though she went to bed at nine last night. So I'm feeding her supper and sending her off for a "nap."

She usually only takes naps if she's sick or having a mondo growth spurt. She has a bit of a cold, but nothing unusual. Lord help me if she hits the next pants size before next year, because everybody's getting rid of their uniforms.