December 2006 Archives

help erin find a job!

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I know there are a good number of folks in the Rochester area who read my blog, not all of whom I know well. So this is for all of you...

My stepdaughter is looking for a job here in the area. She's been working for a local restaurant since she arrived in town, but it's a less than ideal work environment, and I'd really like to help her find someplace better.

She has significant experience in food service, having left an excellent job as head bartender at a large country club in the Birmingham area. But she also has strong retail background (she managed a music store in Alabama), and she worked for me for several years as office manager for my internet training and consulting firm.

She's also incredibly smart, enthusiastic, and personable. She'd be an asset to any organization that was lucky enough to hire her.

Leave a comment here, or send me email at mamamusings { at } gmail { dot } com if you'd like a copy of her resume.


not the best way to lose the christmas cookie weight


It's been a long, long time since I've been this sick. It started early yesterday morning, and right now is the first time since Tuesday night then that I've left my bedroom, sat upright, or looked at a book or a screen of any kind. I'm still not ready to tackle solid food...I've been subsisting on Gatorade since yesterday afternoon.

It could have been worse, though. I could have gotten the stomach bug from hell on Christmas Day, or even the day after (which is reserved for my annual shopping trip with Alex). More of us could have been sick at once. And on the bright side, the popsicle that I had at 3pm yesterday was without a doubt the sweetest and most delicious thing I've ever tasted. Like mana from heaven.

Time to invest in a large stash of hand santizer, I think, because I really really don't want to see anyone else in my family go through this.

omg! omg! omg!

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I couldn't believe it when I opened the box. A Canon EOS 30D?!?!
Time to take a photography class, I think!

have yourself a merry little christmas!

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IMAGE_077Being back in Rochester for Christmas this year is a Good Thing. We have a real tree again, instead of the artificial one we settled for in Seattle. We visited Weez's house tonight for a Christmas eve open house that featured wonderful food prepared by her mom, and we'll see her and her family again tomorrow when they stop by our Christmas Day open house. This year our holidays are all the brighter because Erin's living with us, and it means there's that many more presents under the tree. Tomorrow I'll post pictures of the aftermath :)

Right now I'm in the midst of a baking extravaganza. Cookies and brownies and biscotti, oh my! It smells wonderful. I've got Big Bad Voodoo Daddy's "Rockabilly Christmas" playing, which always makes me happy. (One of the things I didn't put in the "five things you probably didn't know about me"--because so many people know it already--is that I love Christmas music.)

May your holidays be happy and warm and filled with friends and family and food and love!

five things you may not know about me


Joe McCarthy tagged me with the "five things you don't know about me" meme, which I thought I'd safely avoided. :)

The problem, of course, is that depending on who "you" are, there are different things that "you" may or may not know about me. None of this is likely to be a surprise to my mother or my husband, for example. So I guess I'm really writing this for the people who know me mostly through my blog...

  1. I hate green vegetables. I never outgrew this aspect of picky eating. I eat a wide variety of meat, fish, dairy, grains, and fruit. I eat a wide range of cuisines. But I don't eat green vegetables (unless there's absolutely, positively, no way to avoid them without being rude). No salad. No vegetable soup. There are a few exceptions to this--Linda Stone made it her personal mission to change this while I lived in Seattle, and she pulled it off by roasting asparagus and thin-sliced zucchini. I actually enjoyed those, but not enough to add them to a regular rotation. I do eat potatoes and corn, and in the world of green foods I do like Jalapeno peppers and pesto.
  2. I lived in Malta when I was 13. My father, a political scientist, took a sabbatical leave to study the electoral system in Malta, and we all went with him. Thirteen, in case you don't know, is not an age that takes well to change, and I was not at all happy to leave my friends behind for an isolated Mediterranean island. There was no internet back then, and international phone calls were outrageously expensive, so I was cut off from my friends the whole time we were there. Since the only schools on the island that used English were the Catholic schools, I have the distinction of being one of the few Jews I've ever met who can say a Hail Mary or recite the Lord's Prayer in milliseconds (we had to say one or the other of these each time a nun entered the classroom). After a few months of Catholic School I threw one of the few tantrums of my life, which resulted in my leaving the school and getting a tutor for math (the only subject where I wasn't already ahead of grade level). In an amusing twist, one of the members of my World of Warcraft guild is Maltese, and knows quite a few young women who attended that same Academy of the Sacred Heart!
  3. I met Gerald, my husband, on FidoNet--which gives me Old Skool geek credentials far surpassing that of most current Internet users. The specific "echo" we were on was the New Age echo, which will baffle most people who know us, as neither of us is exactly a stereotypical New Ager. When I asked him early on what on earth he was doing on that Echo, his answer was "Waiting for you." 'Nuff said.
  4. I didn't change my name the first time I married, but I did the second time--mostly because there really is a Lawley, Alabama, and it really is named after Gerald's ancestors. His mom lives just over the border from Lawley, in Randolph. I loved the idea that my kids would be able to point to a place on the map that was named after their family, since so few people in the US have that kind of deep connection to place.
  5. In high school, I was a member of the Pantherettes--a dance/pom-pom squad that performed at football games. Senior year I was co-captain of the squad, and the other co-captain's mother was our coach...which create somewhat of a power imbalance. After a few months of being completely ignored or overridden on all decisions, I finally lost my temper with the whole group, hurled obscenities at them as I left the gym, and went home and burned every single one of the hundreds of stupid white tissue paper flowers that I'd been making for our homecoming float. I look back on that as one of my finer adolescent moments.

So there you have it. Five things you may not have known about me, complete with colorful details.

And....Weez! Kathleen! Dorothea! Jenny! Adam I choose you! ( carry on the meme, natch)

videos that made me laugh today

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A comedian rants about the cello part in Pachelbel's Canon. Fabulous.

And, if you haven't already seen this (and according to the New York Times, that would make you unusual), the uncensored version of the Justin Timberlake "Dick in a Box" video from Saturday Night Live:

Ho, ho, ho!

beating back the beast

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One of the most-read posts on mamamusings is control freak, my discussion of my slide into--and recovery from--depression.

After I wrote it, the outpouring of support--both publicly and privately--were nothing short of astounding to me. It helped me to realize how important blogs are in helping us to see the world through the eyes of others. First-person accounting, particularly from a voice you've come to trust and love, is a powerful tool for education.

Even though I don't need to read someone else's words to understand what depression is, and how it can make someone feel, I'm still always grateful when I find an eloquent description of the disease. Partly because it spreads the message a little further, partly because it reminds me of where I've been, and of how important it is for me not to go back there.

Dervala's writing always pulls me in. She's a consummate storyteller, always painting extraordinary pictures with her posts. Today's post was no exception. The difference was that instead of detailing one of her trips to Southeast Asia, or South America, or Brooklyn, or the Haight, she talked about her own depression.

Like rheumatoid arthritis, depression turns your own body against itself. It chews not on your cartilage, but on your brain cells and your sense of reality. It’s as seductive as a wife-beater, shutting out other voices to turn itself into your only friend. The only one who tells the truth about the bleakness of the world. All your energy goes towards getting through whatever stands in your way—struggling, slogging, pushing, through work and small talk and getting food—whatever it is you have to get through until you can be alone again with the voice who can be trusted.

Beautifully and bravely written.

With luck (and an occasional round of medication), I'll never need to take more than a vicarious journey through that dark countryside again.

grading as a text adventure

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Oh, this is so wonderful!!!

From eye of a cat's LiveJournal:

>look at stack
It's not getting any smaller.

>pick up essay
You lift one essay off the pile.

>read essay
With trepidation, you lift aside the cover sheet. Suddenly, 
the world around you  seems to melt away...

You are in a maze of twisty little paragraphs, all alike. 
The path ahead of you is littered with sentence 
fragments, left broken and twitching at your feet as 
their pathetic spaniel eyes implore you to put them 
out of their misery. Dangling modifiers loop happily 
through the branches overhead. In the distance, that 
sound of undergraduate feet has turned into a heavy, 
erratic thwump - swoop - THWUMP you recognise 
immediately - it's a badly-indented long quotation, 
and it's coming  closer.

Go there. Read it. What a treasure!

(Thanks, Steve!)

crazy week


It's the first week of the quarter, I'm teaching a class I've never taught before and another that needed serious overhaul, I have class tonight until 10pm, and I've got a flight to Seattle tomorrow morning at 6:30am.

Stressed? Oh yeah.

Looking forward to the trip, but wishing I had a bit more space between teaching and traveling tonight.

beautiful new appliances!


Last week, my husband went down to visit his mother in Alabama. While he was there, he admired her beautiful new stove and washer/dryer. The result? She bought a set for us.

Yes, that's right. A new washer, a new dryer, a new stove.

And not cheap ones, either. Really, really beautiful items.

The washer and dryer are the Whirlpool Duet HT set, which are high-efficiency units that use significantly less water, power, and detergent than usual units. They're also huge, which makes it easier to laundry for a family of five.

stove.gif The stove, which I picked out tonight at Sears, has me so excited about baking again. It's a Kenmore electric range with a true convection oven (and automatic conversion of time/temp from standard ovens to convection), a glass cooktop with five burners (one high-power unit that boils things super-fast, a warming spot, two regular size burners, and an expandable burner that can adjust to the pot size), and a warming tray, ideal for when one food item is done before others, or one family member gets home later than the rest.

The convection oven made it more expensive, but I did a good bit of research last night, and it really seems as though it's worth it. This article in particularly was pretty convincing, as was the significantly higher baking rating that Consumer Reports gave the "true" convection ovens it reviewed. And I bought a unit that (a) was on sale at Sears, and (b) I managed to get an extra $100 discount on.

So I'm feeling pretty grateful tonight for my mother-in-law's extraordinary generosity. These are gifts that will get years and years and years of use, that will cut our energy bills, and will result in better food on our tables. That's quite a gift!

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