Sunday, July 29, 2007


Yesterday was a perfect summer day. Andrew got up early and played golf (which was perfect because he got to play golf and I got to sleep in) and then we went to the beach. There we feasted on tomatoes and bread (these tomatoes were so yummy that they didn't need things like salt and pepper or aioli to make them taste better) and iced tea and deviled eggs. Then we played in the surf, took a nap in the sun, and came home.

The only un-perfect thing was that Andrew got sunburn on his belly-button. (Let that be a lesson: when they tell you to apply sunscreen everywhere, they mean everywhere.

Now I'm off to conferences. I'll probably be be out of touch for the next two weeks, but don't feel bad - when I return I'm sure I'll be full of fascinating tales of curriculum development and implications for classroom activties.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A pinata how-to guide

My dad turned 60 this year, and I decided that to celebrate this
occasion we required pinatas. Motorcycle and bulldozer pinatas, to be
precise. So, in case you too wish to make machinery-shaped pinatas, I
provide this handy how-to guide.

1. Tape a bunch of balloons into a shape that vaguely resembles your
chosen vehicle.

2. Prepare your supplies. (Useful Internet tip that may be true: use
several tablespoons of salt when making the paste to prevent the
fomration of mold.)

3. Apply strips to the balloons. It is impossible to do this without
becoming covered in paste, so wear something easily washable.

(Useful tip that should have been on the Internet: keep your balloons
away from sharp, pointy plants.)

4. Place the proto-pinatas next to a dehumidifer.

5. Repeat steps 2-4 several times.

6. Paint.

7. Convince your boyfriend to spend the evening adding construction
paper to approximate the vehicle of your choice.

8. Hang, and beat repeatedly with a stick.

Whistle while you work

Ahhhh, the book was lovely. I'm just so sorry it's all over. Although I won't miss the sobs that wracked my body for two days as I mourned so many dead characters. I understand that it required death to show what a big, important book the Order of the Phoenix was but did we need so many? As all my acquaintances know, I am prone to tears in the best of times (Who cries over Kleenex commercials? Why, I do. Talk about creating a market for your product.)and this certainly did me in.

But on to happier thoughts. I have been busting my butt this week. It's the week before everything happens to me, and I'm busy getting ready. And by everything, I mean that next week I attend a conference, give two talks, schmooze for four days, oh and I'm moving. Of course, when I say I'm moving, I really mean that my stuff is being moved, because I won't even be in the state while it's happening. But don't think I've just left all the work for Andrew. I've been packing for three weeks, and gosh darn it, I guarantee I'll be leaving that house gully packed up and ready to be transported.

Enough of the complaining - I'm grateful that I get a full night's sleep every night (unlike my acquaintances who just had babies), I'm happy that I'll be living in a new place, with Andrew, soon. And I'm looking forward to my conferences being done in two weeks.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

No news is good news

Starting this morning, I have imposed a media blackout. Well, it's really more of a media brownout. I am one of the legion of Harry Potter fans who detests spoilers. Since a few copies have already escaped, I'm only consuming media that I'm reasonably sure will not tell me anything I don't want to know. Before today's events, I would have assumed that avoiding HP websites and television would be sufficient. But since the newspaper The Baltimore Sun published spoilers (this may be just a rumor, but as I won't look at any news sites, I can't confirm), I've decided I need to be extra careful until my copy arrives on Saturday.

So, adieu to NPR and the Washington Post. Goodbye to surfing the Web (maybe I'll actually get some work done). I'll see you all again once I emerge from my book on Sunday morning.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


I went to a Star Trek convention in Baltimore this weekend, with Andrew and the friend who went with us to the Vegas convention last year. It was great fun and a lot less tiring that the four-day marathon that was Vegas. The highlight for me was Nichelle Nichols (whom you may know as Lieutenant Uhura): she told lots of stories evoking the era when starlets would jetset around Europe, as well as explaining the work she did to encourage NASA to add gender and racial diversity to their astronaut pool. (When they originally asked for her help, they said it would be best if she could find an African-American woman, because then they could check off all the diversity boxes at once.)

Now, laugh as you may about Star Trek conventions, one thing that is really cool about them is the variety of people you see there. I'm not just talking about seeing grandmas, or people with different colored skin. I'm talking about people who don't know what hairstyle has been in fashion ever. People who were several standard deviations away from even the geeks in high school - these were the people who sat alone at lunch. But at Star Trek conventions we're all friends. We all share a passion for this crazy thing, and we're all having a blast. And that's pretty cool.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Partying hearty in the Buckeye state

I'm back! The vacation was great, which maybe you could tell, because I was too relaxed to care that I hadn't posted in over a week. Life at the new house, situated in the middle of nowhere as it is, is quite easy-going. It's not much of a stretch to say that we sat around and watched the corn grow. There was great excitement during one supper when it started pouring rain through a mainly sunny sky and we spotted a double rainbow. And I spent lot of time watching the hummingbirds that buzzed around the back porch while I'd sit out there reading.

The party was a great success. I think about 30 or 40 people showed up, and everyone feasted on Mexican food that my mother had spent days and days preparing. I hadn't realized the similarities between Mexican and Indian preparation techniques: every sauce that I helped her prepare began by roasting flavorings (in this case mainly garlic and various peppers) then pureeing them into a paste that formed the basis of the sauce.

I forgot to take pictures at the party, although I snagged a few of the cutest party attendees. Here's Andrew with Molly, the cat who adopted my parents and shows her gratitude for being allowed to sleep in the shop by bringing freshly-killed birds and mice to my clearly hungry parents.

And here's Kyla, clutching her toy of choice, an empty soda bottle. I can't imagine why she's looking so surprised - maybe she's astounded that my parents run a household with just one cat, instead of the four they have at her house?

Monday, July 09, 2007

Cornish Pasties

Renee Michelle divulges the secrets to making authentic high quality Cornish pasties.  

Disclaimer: Beware, this video contains explicit meat images and references.