2.28.2009

dirty low-life scum

Some bottom-feeding lowlife has somehow acquired/forged a copy of my credit card and just spent $211 at Giant Food and another $178 at Toys-R-Us. We don't even have Giant Food on my side of the country.

Fortunately I keep a close eye on credit card activity and have canceled the card. As the fraudulent charges were made in the last two hours, I have the thin satisfaction of imagining the dirty scum getting declined at the next check-out stand. But that is all that will happen, they will just be declined.

I want ill-tempered German Shepherds to burst out from underneath the till and pin the toad-faced buggers to the ground whilst onlookers boo and hiss and pummel them with rotten eggs and slimy old produce and then cheer as grouchy policemen with halitosis haul the thieves off to jail, where the heat is off and the food is maggoty.

That's what I want.

But what will happen is that the clerk will say, "I'm sorry Mrs. Chandler, your card didn't go through." and the Fake Mrs. Chandler will mutter something about credit limit and so forth and look confused and then find a way to get out of the store. That's all.

One more reason to have low credit limits on one's card. If I hadn't caught it, they could have charged 10 grand before maxing it out. I'm having the new cards set to a very low limit and continuing with my daily balance check.

~Suzanne

:: read the rest of dirty low-life scum

The ZooKeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman

I bought this book for my sister but it got damaged so I didn't give it to her but kept it for myself. (Turns out she had read it anyway).

I'm adding to to my (yet unpublished) list of books necessary for understanding WWII. It is the real story of the zookeeper in Warsaw Poland during the German occupation.


Diane Ackerman writes beautifully. If she decided to write the life-cycle of slugs, I'd read it and enjoy it; she is that talented. You may recognize her from A Natural History of the Senses.

She has carefully researched and documented the lives of Jan and his wife Antonina as they care for the animals, and later the people, that are in their care.

I find it fascinating that Diane Ackerman has not put words into her characters' mouths. In all cases, when a person in the story speaks, Diane has used documented quotes from letters, journals, and personal accounts. I can hardly fathom the work it took to rebuild the story from written archives and then to present it in such a readable manner.

~Suzanne

:: read the rest of The ZooKeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman

2.26.2009

No Snow NO! Go Snow GO! NO SNOW. GO SNOW. oh no! It's BLOW SNOW!

Okay, so over a foot of snow fell in about eight hours and it is still falling and now the wind is picking up so all the neighbor's snow, all 20 acres of it, is skeedaddling into my front yard, from whence it will melt (we assume) and flood my basement again.

~Suzanne

:: read the rest of No Snow NO! Go Snow GO! NO SNOW. GO SNOW. oh no! It's BLOW SNOW!

2.23.2009

magical castles

So Dandy is day-dreaming of a magical castle and he is narrating the dream to us.

Dandy: So we walk in and we know it's magical right away.
Chickadee: How?
Dandy: Mom's fingers stop hurting and M&Ms are falling from the ceiling.


He is such a sweetie. Mom's fingers came first.

~Suzanne

:: read the rest of magical castles

2.22.2009

We are All Socialists Now: I's in your government, stealing your freedoms

For a long time now, I have assumed that the problem was that the American people had not noticed the Socialist take-over. Then I saw this:




So the problem is not that Americans haven't noticed. It's worse. We apparently don't care.

One of my high-school friends sent this to me today. I'm still working on verifying the quote sources (do you know where the quoted passages came from?), but I wanted to share it with you in the meantime. The biographical content is straight from Wikipedia.

Norman Matton Thomas (November 20, 1884 - December 19, 1968) was a leading American socialist, pacifist, and six-time presidential candidate for the Socialist Party of America. He was ordained as a Presbyterian minister in 1911. As a candidate for President of the U. S., Norman Thomas said, in a 1944 epoch speech:

The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism. But, under the name of "liberalism", they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program, until one day America will be a socialist nation, without knowing how it happened.

He went on to say:

I no longer need to run as a Presidential Candidate for the Socialist Party. The Democratic Party has adopted our platform.

I have friends and family who support the Democrats and I am sure that they have no idea what it is they are actually supporting. It all sounds so charitable and nice on the surface, but it tyranny underneath.

~Suzanne

:: read the rest of We are All Socialists Now: I's in your government, stealing your freedoms

2.21.2009

25 random things

As promised, the 25 random things:


1. I am an INTJ. I am married to an ISFP.
2. I really dislike scrapbooking; this is a problem as I am supposed to make LifeBooks for my kids and they are sure to be maladjusted adults if I don't get going on this.
3. I've flown all the way around the world - west-bound.
4. People think I am more competent and confident than I really am. I just don't put myself forward unless I know what I am doing.
5. I hate TV. Blech.
6. I have a manuscript-in-progress.
7. Now that we have a wii, I may get to work on my manuscript.
8. I was blessed with really good people for parents. I love to spend time with them.
9. I like to cook and bake.
10. I have significant arthritis in my hands which is interfering with #9 more than my family realizes.
11. I've never been pregnant.
12. I have two kids.
13. I don't gamble or smoke.
14. I drink wine or dark beer and very rarely, a martini.
15. I really like technological wonderments: iRobot, iTouch, etc.
16. I'm a dusty house-keeper. This drives my husband nuts.
17. I teach community college English classes online and often in my PJs.
18. We bought our wedding rings at a gold mine in Wales.
19. I own 2 power drills of my own and know how to use them, but I don't sew. In fact, I am rather sewaphobic.
20. I call my husband My Gift from a Generous God.
21. We have six house-pets.
22. I really enjoy learning new software.
23. I do most of my shopping on-line, except for groceries.
24. I keep a blog: :: Adventures In Daily Living ::
25. I'm a homebody. It would take weeks at home for me to get cabin fever.


~Suzanne

:: read the rest of 25 random things

2.19.2009

grouchy!

From the announcement page of my on-line class.



Asking me to find a way to improve your grade after you have ignored the usual route of earning a grade is not going to work. If your grade matters, consider coming to class and doing the assignments.



Can you tell that I'm a little frustrated with my class?
~Suzanne

:: read the rest of grouchy!

2.18.2009

Why I like the Christian Science Monitor

I'm not quite sure what Christian Scientists believe, and I'm feeling too grouchy and over-whelmed to go self-educate, but I do know that they neither hate nor deny God and that they believe that religious activities have a healthy place in our lives, and that is much more than I can say for some other news sources.

Today's edition of The Christian Science Monitor included:

  • a great story about man vs the burglars and the man won.
  • only 2 ads -- one for bird books from Audubon and one for PeaceCorps.
  • an article on Facebook and the ubiquitous 25 Random Things post (I'll cut-and-paste 25 Things into another post in case you aren't on Facebook. And speaking of which, I have to know you in RL to know you in Facebook, so don't be said if I don't friend you, except for Richard Starkey. I made an exception for him so my husband would think I am cool.)
  • a cute picture of a pygmy rabbit and an interesting article on conservation efforts.
  • a timely article on biofuels
  • and an article on No-Knead bread which seemed awfully familiar. Oh that's right. I posted about it last spring: no-knead uber-yummy bread. And I thought ours (top) was much prettier:


  • A recipe for brioche that I will try
  • And a really nice article about a good man named Mr. Putnam.

Those were all the articles that caught my eye. There were also articles about US in Afghanistan, the Stimulus from THE ONE, Sudan and Dafur, Detroit auto-sellers, Turkey, World Poverty policies, Iran, the Balkans, Obama's challenging economic dilemma, Micro-Finance, and a handful of mini-articles.

World news.
National news.
And some good news -- not prettied up glossy sentimental news, just an article in each edition about someone who would be nice to have as a neighbor.

And no sleazy articles about hooking-up or manscaping or other things I really don't want to think about.


~Suzanne

:: read the rest of Why I like the Christian Science Monitor

2.17.2009

lexapro withdrawal update

Happy to report that both my husband and I think that the last few days have been a bit better, so I may be through the worst of it. I still have a racing heart feeling, and a constantly tipsy feeling, and sporadic vertigo.

~Suzanne

:: read the rest of lexapro withdrawal update

2.16.2009

The "C" word

Warning, this post is all about the "C" word.

I'm working on my very brief introductory comments for my World Lit class as we enter a unit on "Class, Race, and Ethnicity".

Here is my working draft. Your comments are very much wanted.


I've always found it rather amusing that we are a culture which will discuss, promote, and visually present most any sexual behavior or detail and yet can hardly manage to acknowledge class, much less discuss it.

Many factors contribute to class: income, education, boundaries of what is considered appropriate for public behavior, civility or the absence thereof, syntax and diction, race, ethnicity, geography of address, religious participation or absence thereof, education level and occupation of parents and siblings, wardrobe choices, height/weight ratio, hair & grooming choices, body alternations, and [what else, gentle reader?].

All of these factors contribute to class or social standing via an intricate and highly-personalized formula. Factors that weigh heavily in my book my be irrelevant in yours and visa versa, yet we all (even if we won't admit it nor discuss it) use class categorizations to help us navigate our contact with others.

In this unit we will be reading a variety of selections that hold up to our attention class concerns [ blah blah blah ].

Along with whatever else you have to say, please think about, and let me know what details matter to you in assessing class.

:: read the rest of The "C" word

2.13.2009

Friday Poetry for Friday the 13th on Valentine's Weekend. What else but My Last Duchess?

Hmmm, something romantic and creepy seems in order today, and Robert Browning's My Last Duchess, though skimpy on love, more than covers the bases for dramatic and macabre.

My Last Duchess

That's my last duchess painted on the wall,
Looking as if she were alive. I call
That piece a wonder, now; Fra Pandolf's hands
Worked busily a day, and there she stands.
Will't please you sit and look at her? I said
"Fra Pandolf" by design, for never read
Strangers like you that pictured countenance,
That depth and passion of its earnest glance,
But to myself they turned (since none puts by
The curtain drawn for you, but I)
And seemed as they would ask me, if they durst,
How such a glance came there; so not the first
Are you to turn and ask thus. Sir, 't was not
Her husband's presence only, called that spot
Of joy into the Duchess' cheek: perhaps
Fra Pandolf chanced to say "Her mantle laps
Over my lady's wrist too much" or "Paint
Must never hope to reproduce the faint
Half-flush that dies along her throat:" such stuff
Was courtesy, she thought, and cause enough
For calling up that spot of joy. She had
A heart - how shall I say? - too soon made glad,
Too easily impressed: she liked whate'er
She looked on, and her looks went everywhere.
Sir, 't was all one! My favour at her breast,
The dropping of the daylight in the West,
The bough of cherries some officious fool
Broke in the orchard for her, the white mule
She rode with round the terrace -all and each
Would draw from her alike the approving speech,
Or blush,at least. She thanked men - good! but thanked
Somehow - I know not how - as if she ranked
My gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name
With anybody's gift. Who'd stoop to blame
This sort of trifling? Even had you skill
In speech - (which I have not) - to make your will
Quite clear to such a one, and say, "Just this
Or that in you disgusts me; here you miss
Or there exceed the mark"- and if she let
Herself be lessoned so, nor plainly set
Her wits to yours, forsooth, and made excuse
- E'en then would be some stooping; and I choose
Never to stoop. Oh sir, she smiled, no doubt,
Whene'er I passed her; but who passed without
Much the same smile? This grew; I gave commands;
Then all smiles stopped together. There she stands
As if alive. Will 't please you rise? We'll meet
The company below, then. I repeat,
The Count your master's known munificence
Is ample warrant that no just pretence
Of mine for dowry will be disallowed;
Though his fair daughter's self, as I avowed
At starting is my object. Nay, we'll go
Together down, sir. Notice Neptune, though,
Taming a sea-horse, thought a rarity,
Which Claus of Innsbruck cast in bronze for me.





Here is the coding if you want a button with a link to this week's round-up.





:: this post is part of the Friday Poetry roundup hosted by Kelly at BIG A little a.






~Suzanne

:: read the rest of Friday Poetry for Friday the 13th on Valentine's Weekend. What else but My Last Duchess?

2.12.2009

JS-Kit comments

I installed JS-Kit comments and am medium happy with it. It has some issues I would like solved, but I just discovered an ability that I love. If I subscribe to my comment feed (if I have comments sent to my email box), I can directly reply to that comment from my email, which involves far fewer clicks. This pleases me to no end.

~Suzanne

:: read the rest of JS-Kit comments

perspective


Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


~Suzanne

:: read the rest of perspective

2.11.2009

works for me: keeping my iTouch organized

If you don't have an iTouch or iPhone and are annoyed by people who do, just skip this post.

I want to share a trick with you for keeping your iTouch apps organized.

Move all but one of your apps off of your front page. Then, as you use them, move them one-by-one back to the front. This keeps the front page restricted to your most-used apps, the ones you click on every day, usually multiple times.

When the first page is starting to get full, do the same process on the second page or use pages 2-6 for categories of apps.

Here are my lean essentials-only first page and my second holding the the second-stringer apps: things I use a couple times a week.




Page 3 is for my toys and page 4 is for kid toys home-schooling applications.



Pages 5 & 6 are the third stringer apps -- things I want to have, but don't use very often.



Remember, you don't have to fill a page. A half-full page is much easier to scan. Was that helpful? or am I really pathetic?

~Suzanne

My other Works for Me posts.
Technorati

:: read the rest of works for me: keeping my iTouch organized

2.10.2009

crazy she makes me

I am so ANGRY. I shouldn't blog while angry, but GRRRRRR

My darling daughter just revealed to me she does not argue and sass and backtalk her science teacher at our co-op, nor her gymnastics teacher, nor her art teacher. Why not? Cause she doesn't like to get in trouble in front of other kids, she reports.

So, she recognizes what is unacceptable and controls it for these other people, but dishes it out at home.

Because the consequences in public (humiliation) matter. And the consequences at home (scoldings) don't. So obviously I have to up the consequences at home. What would be fitting? I'm too ticked off, and too Lexapro-tweaked to judge.

~Suzanne

:: read the rest of crazy she makes me

coming off of lexapro: withdrawal symptoms.

After my crazy monkeys darling children came to live with us and my darling father paralyzed himself and my husband worked 7-days-a-week 14-hours-a-day for 3 weeks, I went onto an anti-depressant. It seemed reasonable at the time.

About nine months later I developed (very quickly) arthritis in my hands such that I can't do all that I want to do. I was 44 at the time with no family history of such early arthritis.

My doctor said NOTHING about the possible connection between these two. I've seen the same doc since I was 17 years old. I fired her this morning.

When I was sick last week, I inadvertently missed 5 days of my 10mg-a-day Lexapro. I accidentally went cold-turkey.

Here are my Lexapro withdrawal symptoms. No I don't imagine that you, regular reader, are interested; I'm posting it for the google-people.

  • wobbly-headedness. I feel constantly as if I have had 1/2 glass too much champagne. This isn't as fun as it might sound.
  • nausea and the inability to feel full.
  • thirsty. all. the. time.
  • inability to fall asleep or feel sleepy at the proper time of day.
  • uber-constricted pupils. Little specks of black.
  • aggressive hunger attacks. DO NOT get between me and the snack.
  • cold-flashes. Body temperature plummets and I can't get warm again.
  • crabbiness. I'm giving myself lots of time-outs.
  • racing heart, as if I have had too much caffeine.
I'm seeing my new doctor on Wednesday to see if there is anything to be done for me. It's sad to leave my old doctor and her staff behind. It's more sad to look at my gnarled hands.

They are bad enough that friends look at them and say "Oh My God!" and I don't scold them for cussing, as I am grateful that they are calling God's attention to them, just in case He would like to intervene. And they hurt. Oh, do they hurt.

~Suzanne

:: read the rest of coming off of lexapro: withdrawal symptoms.

2.09.2009

Black-Eyed Pea Soup

This soup is delicious, nutritious, easy, and thrifty. What's not to love about that?


Black-Eyed Pea Soup

Soak a package of black-eyed peas overnight. Rinse well.

In the bottom of your soup pot, brown and crumble:
  • 3/4 to 1 lb hamburger

Add the black-eyed peas and enough water to cover them. Bring to boil and then let simmer for 2-3 hours. Then add:

  • 1 package of frozen spinach
  • 1 Tb sugar
  • 2-3 Tb white vinegar
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Serve with a dollop of sour cream on top and cornbread and green salad on the side.

~Suzanne

:: read the rest of Black-Eyed Pea Soup

2.06.2009

cool people

On my list of cool people are busy professionals who take time to write and send individual Valentine's cards to their very young cousins. When I grow up, I want to be cool like her.

~Suzanne

:: read the rest of cool people

2.04.2009

works for me: natural free-range beef

As part of my efforts to Animal-Vegetable-Miracle-ize my family, I've been trying to buy food from non-industrial sources. You read about my egg happiness, now it's time for the beef report.

I've bought beef from a couple of different places in the last couple of years. One of my favorites, Prairie Springs Ranch, offers beef from free-range grass-fed beef.


At Prairie Springs Ranch, we raise beef the old-fashioned way. Our animals are born here, nurse on their mothers for 6-9 months, are then weaned to a diet of pasture grass and hay that we grow here. We don’t use pesticides on our pastures. We don’t use any growth stimulating hormones, and our animals are not pumped full of antibiotics to keep them healthy. We do not butcher sick animals. Our animals aren’t exposed to other animals that may have diseases.

Every fall the healthy grass-fed animals are processed to bring to your table. The beef is instantly frozen to maintain freshness and shelf-life.
We are not certified organic, mainly because we want to keep the cost of health affordable to families: we try to keep our prices comparable to that of grocery stores for regular beef, while providing a superior product, the simple, old fashioned way.

Grass-fed beef is usually leaner than grain fed beef. Our first batch of ground beef was tested to contain 5% fat, a level seemingly un-obtainable in grocery stores. We like to add a bit of olive oil when we are cooking to keep it from sticking to the pan!

One of the most pleasant benefits of grass-fed beef is flavor!! Grass-fed beef tastes sweet, and smells rich while cooking.

I love that the steers get normal lives, hang out with their moms, graze outside and so forth. They have all good days, but one.

All that good food and clean conscience and buy-local-goodness for 1.99 a pound for an assortment which included: 6 roasts, 39 pounds of hamburger, and 19 other packages -- mostly of steaks and a couple of stew meat and soup bones. Works for me!

~Suzanne



My other Works for Me posts.

:: read the rest of works for me: natural free-range beef

2.02.2009

dog love

We just got home from the funeral for the little girl who died last Tuesday. On the way home, we dropped by the cemetery which is at the end of our road.

A nice old Irish Setter met us at the cemetery gate, walked us over to the grave and sat down next to it. We just stayed for a minute or two and then left. As we drove off, the Setter was still there.

It wasn't their dog; it was just a neighborhood dog keeping watch.

~Suzanne

:: read the rest of dog love

180

hope for America



DIY Chicken Coop!


me! me! me!


Here I chatter about books, parenting, election 2008, recipes, teaching college writing, and the adventures of getting settled in with our two freshly (Fall 06) adopted school-age children from Russia. This blog is chapter two; chapter one is posted at Jamie & Suzanne go to Russia. I live in the City of Subdued Excitement, Cascadia, Land of the Free.

I am the wife of a man I call My Gift from a Generous God. I am mama to two lovely children, Dandy and Chickadee that became ours in September 2006 in a court-room in Siberia. I am the daughter of two people whom I love and admire. One of them, my dad, is a new (Dec 06) paraplegic.

In my previous life (B.C. - before children), I was a college English teacher, specializing in composition and ESL composition.

:: click here to read my 8 things meme

cookery


recent successes

future endeavors


parenting


adoption


older child adoption


home-schooling


top 10 posts


visitors


credits


This blog started life as hackosphere's neo and has been heavily tweaked and widgetized by Suzanne :: I got all the coding for the peek-a-boo posts over at hackosphere :: All my pretty little icons came from famfamfam :: The coding for the rotating banners came from Vince Liu :: The very cool tabbed sidebar widgets are thanks to the very cool hoctro :: The fun "Feeling Lucky?" toy -- which is currently disabled -- came from phydeaux3 (fido 3?) :: The pretty label cloud also came from phydeaux3 :: The elegant and easy to install related posts widget came from Jackbook :: I got all the social bookmarking icons nicely packaged for me at the aptly named Social Bookmarking Script Generator :: The 3 column footer came from Technodia :: The pretty sliding photo galleries are from CSSplay :: The recent comments widget is from Hackosphere::

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