Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Great Indoors

I've been holed up in my house since Monday afternoon with my New Laptop. I've turned into a housebound computer nerd for a whole week. There's a card table set up in front of our couch--blankets, pillows, books, crumbs, a sock, my cell phone and a speaker for blasting Pandora radio are strewn about around the laptop. The Rock asked if I was setting up camp there. Then he took my picture. Probably to document the fuzzy growth that will occur as I turn from a semi useful person into a stubble ridden, flabby, unearthly pale person with an aversion to natural light. I'll start to look like a character from the Twilight Movie--without help from makeup.

Speaking of Pandora, have you tried it? I have. I've been playing it almost non-stop for a few days. The Rock has used it a few times too. I didn't have to buy the songs I like, but they keep playing them. Woot.

So, while I've been sitting here at my...Desk, The Rock was just admiring our new sleeping bags. He lifted one above his head and commented how light it is. It's rated to 10 degrees and it's amazing because both he and I grew up using junky sleeping bags that probably didn't even get a rating. And they weighed a lot more than these do.

He let the sleeping bag droop over his head just as I said, "We're gonna roast in those." (since we'll probably Never go camping when it's that cold outside). He gives me a blank look and says, "I didn't hear you...too much insulation over my ears."
Wise guy.
--Lu

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Old Pueblo Rides Again

Thanks to everyone in Tucson who made our trip there this weekend THE BEST. I came back to the FP so stinkin' tired, but happy happy happy. Here's just a little of the goodness I experienced:

1. Callie's hip hop dance to the funked out version of Pirates of the Carribean. [wow. I checked out some of the side videos--Lord of the Rings hip hop...wow.]

2. Sabra's hair styling prowess. Who knew blond, fuscia and brown hair could look so GOOD! Rockstar good, that is.

3. Richard for telling The Rock that yes he was welcome to stay at Richard's house. The Rock could take his pick of sleeping arrangement: on the comfy couch, on the not so comfy floor, or in the Spacious Bathroom...

4. Usandthings for entertaining me for a few hours, and for making up the guest bed so I could take an hour long nap at 10 in the morning. You saved me!

5. Richard for finding the gila monster and for entertaining us the whole hike!

video

6. Tucson for having this guy in the wild:
(I took that picture! Isn't he/she beautiful?!)

7. Jamie for coming home early to host a party for us.

8. Jani and Brian for introducing me to mint oreos. (I'm sending you my bill for addiction counseling)

9. Dave and Killen for being their Best Selves (aside from Killen's attempt to avoid traffic tickets. Grr. Take that thing off your license plate already, Killen), and Tyler for "crashing" the party he was totally invited to. I love you guys!

10. Em for stopping by in spite of the Arizona Snowball fight residue all over her.

11. Jamie and Abbie for watching That One Movie (and Abbie for not laughing too hard) and Jamie for staying up way way way past her bedtime.

12. Megan and Matthias for being cool people with some wicked cooking skillz

13. The Tarbots for saving us from starvation on our trip back to the FP.

Sigh. I had an amazing time. And I know there are many many more people I should be thanking here. I'm counting my blessings for knowing such caring and fun and funny people. Thanks Everyone for making this a great vacation for us. --Lu

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!


Today is Lu's birthday in the FP!
Sing her a song! Make her a cake! Read her a book!
Send her a picture of your Aunt Merl!

Moo

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Nice Weather

When the weather turns all nice and sweet like it is today it makes me feel so HAPPY! I'm not hunched over, shivering in the biting wind. It makes the world seem so wonderful and free! Add to that my impromptu apple cobbler and you've got the makings of a beautiful spring evening.

I frequent the FP library so much that the librarian doesn't need my card anymore. And she said I could make recommendations for books they should buy. I practically did a little dance right there in the library. Wow. Where do I start?! --Lu

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Happy Jogger

I've had a rotten case of the sniffles the past three days and I'm happy to finally be returning to my old self.

I didn't sleep very well the first night because I was fighting off a fever-- my upper body was threatening to erupt in flames while my feet were pretending to be on a expdeition to the arctic. After a few hours, my feet ached with cold, and instead of sleeping I was furiously trying to devise some sort of warming device that was not a potato (because we don't have any in stock right now). Just as I had concluded that ziplock bags full of hot water probably weren't a good idea, The Rock woke up and graciously agreed to let me put my feet on him until they thawed. He's a saint I tell you.

In spite of my sickly state, I did go to the gym on Tuesday and again today. I thought I had the gym mastered. Take a book, sit on a stationary bike and pedal until the book runs out. The FP threw a wrench in my method by having flat screen tvs in front of every stationary bike, elliptical, stair stepper and treadmill. I tried to ignore the tvs. But they keep playing those cable tv shows that I'm so easily engrossed in. Those shows are the reason I can't have cable tv of my very own. I would be lost to the world.

So, I finally took control of the tv situation. I work out in the middle of the day (one of the perks of being unemployed). That way, there's usually no one else in the gym and I can commandeer three tvs (or more) at once. I hop on a treadmill and enjoy home improvement shows to my heart's content. It's almost as good as tivo.

Then, on Tuesday as I was trying the psych-yourself-out-of-being-sick workout method (it didn't work) I discovered The Food Network. I watched the barefoot contessa whip up a traditional jewish meal while I slaved away on the treadmill. Not only was I jogging, I was enjoying it! Now, that's something that doesn't happen everyday.

Except, now...it does. The food network and I are the best workout partner EVER. And, I got a great Rugelach recipe to boot. I went home and made it. It's not my standard recipe--way more involved than a quick chocolate chip cookie. It looks like my workouts and my cooking skills are bulking up. --Lu



Wednesday, April 15, 2009

New Post

Check out my latest post on lufoodstorage.

And courtesy of Moo the NPR fiend, some new music.

--Lu

[Editor's note: there are links in this post, but for some reason they are "hidden." Click on "lufoodstorage" and "new music" ]

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Buggy Ride

My friend here in the FP is the proud (and I mean Very Proud) owner of a Ranger. (imagine a golf cart mixed with a quad and you've got a Ranger). She loves four wheeling and she has been saving and hoping and wishing for this Ranger for a Long Time.

I, on the other hand, didn't even know what a Ranger was. I had no particular inclination for or agianst Rangers at first. When I saw it sitting in her driveway, I got a little bit excited. When she offered to take me for a ride, I got even more excited. My enthusiasm dimmed a little when L's son started begging to go on a Buggy Ride--I had been hoping to go out in the Ranger. It turns out that in L's family they nicknamed Rangers "Buggys." So when they talk about going on a Buggy Ride--they don't mean a horse drawn carraige (although, that would be a novel experience for me too).

So, Friday was the appointed day for a Buggy Ride. I was pumped because the weather was BEAUTIFUL. Blue skies, fluffy-puffy clouds, spring breeze, just-cool-enough weather. It was going to be awesome. L buckled her 4 year old twins into the back seat and I took the passenger seat. We headed out of town carefree and ready to get our fill of the Great Outdoors. We headed toward a destination an hour and a half away. Long Buggy Rides are a Good Thing in L's book.

And I was fully prepared to make the same mark in my book. That is, until the weather changed. The wind picked up, the clouds went from a hundred fluffy sheep to One Ginormous Monster of Doom. Then the dust started pelting us in the face--exfoliation at its finest, and most painful.

The four year olds didn't have jackets, so they huddled together under a blanket that seemed to fly off of them every 30 seconds. Eventually, I drove the Buggy while L sat in back to keep the blanket on the twins. That was fine until my left hand went numb from the cold, so I moved to the back and L started driving. About this time we saw some deer--a lot of deer. Running, leaping--gracefully maneuvering places I wouldn't find footing on at a slow walk. But, the thrill of seeing the deer didn't keep out the wind chill.

It was a miserable trip. Beautiful, but miserable. Both L and I were grateful that the rain stayed behind us, that the twins didn't really complain and didn't cry at all (they were AMAZING!). For a good portion of the return trip, both of them were totally covered by the blanket. It made it look like I was relaxing in the back seat with a blanket all to myself. When we stopped to give a man in a pickup truck directions, I tried to see if he did a double take when two little hats popped out from under the blanket.

When we hit pavement at the edge of town I hollered a WooHoo! L made some hot cocoa as soon as we stepped in her house, and I drank two cups full.

During that long trip home, I couldn't help thinking as the wind blew all of my warmth away and my hands turned numb and I shivered and shivered (a) how miserable I was; and (b) how in the middle of July, when the sun was scorching me , I'd think back with fondness on the cool breeze of this Buggy Ride. --Lu

The buggy at the beginning. Note the sunny disposition.

L driving the buggy, racing the storm (her hood and jacket are puffed completely out by the wind)

Me and the blanket, relaxin in the back seat.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Fly by Night

This book was NOT what I expected at all. I've been avoiding it because I thought the plot was about censorship (a logical assumption from the cover of the book), and I've had my fill of the censorship discussion already.

Turns out, the cover is misleading--at least in the assumptions it caused me to draw. (and the idea that "you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover" is ridiculous...why else would that "Banned" banner appear if not to catch my attention and lead me to judge the book. Someone in marketing should see to removing that "Banned" logo before it keeps other people from reading the book, not because it's "banned" but because they don't want to suffer through yet another sermon on censorship. It totally skewed my perception of the book in a Very Non Flattering way. I realize that children might find the "banned" logo inviting, but are they the ones with purchasing power when it comes to children's books? Sigh. I know. I know. Librarians (who are quite Taken with the censorship battle) do have purchasing power. So maybe this edition was lobbied at them. (and, no, I really don't know the details of marketing books or who has how much purchasing power--my ignorance should have kept me from ranting about this issue, but...it didn't.)

Although the fictional society censors books, that is an appendage to the plot. It's really the story of a society in conflict: a mad duke is in charge of a city, his sister and several guilds are trying to control him--and in the thick of it is Mosca, a 12ish year old runaway. Mosca loves words and can read (a rarity among the common people) and she is employed as a spy. She seems to have a knack for involving herself in the impending war, making allies and enemies on every side.

The plot is a combination of Dickensian twists (and characters) and a sort of Lemony Snicket love of words (without the repetition and slow pace).

The inventive names and places held my attention until the plot had revealed that this was a story I would enjoy. Names such as: Eponymous Clent, Hopewood Pertellis, Goodman Grenoble of Keeping Knots out of Moustachios.

Despite the silly names and some far-fetched coincidences, the book has a serious and intriguing question at the heart of the plot: how do people respond to power? Religious beliefs, superstition, fear of past political cruelty, ignorance, greed, nobility, morality...the panoply of emotions and rationales that guide people in the real world, guide the characters. Also hidden behind the fanciful names and thrilling plot twists is the question of the validity of religion. When does religion become tradition without belief? Is religion really necessary when it can be twisted to justify evil purposes?

I think that I wouldn't have followed the political intrigue had I read this as a 10 year old, and I might have misunderstood the "attack" on religion. As an adult, I appreciated the intrigue and tension of a society in flux. I agreed with the underlying message that people should attempt to Do Something in such situations instead of ignoring the impending doom in favor of pretending that their comfortable life will continue as usual. I'm not certain of the ultimate message the author intended to send about religion and it doesn't really matter to me. I appreciated the challenging questions the book raised about religion because religion is used to justify heinous crimes. Religion is used as simply tradition or as an attempt at comfort without belief or faith in the ultimate message.

I've decided that this book was well worth the time I spent reading it. It was entertaining, thought provoking and ...I really did enjoy the inventive character names.

[note: in looking for information about the author's other books, I found this: her description of learning to ride a motorcycle. It's quite entertaining. I also discovered that one of her other books is called Verdegris Deep in the UK and Well Witched in the US. I wish we had gotten the Verdegris title.] --Lu

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Snakey

Last night we were talking to an elementary school teacher. This person, Mr. R, said that he was having a great day because he had found his king snake. "It's been five days since he disappeared, so I thought he was long gone."

You might wonder how the snake disappeared in the first place. Mr. R explained that he has a memory that is "two inches long" so when he was cleaning the king snake's cage and decided to crack the lid open to get rid of some of the extra condensation inside the cage, it probably wasn't the best idea. He thought he'd come back in an hour and put the lid down. Twenty-four hours later, he remembered, and discovered that the snake had taken the opportunity to escape. Because the cage is inside his classroom (ACK!) he frantically searched the room. He even had a friend come and move the furniture around. He looked everywhere. It seemed that the snake was gone.

On day five, Mr. R decided to clean "the rat's nest" (the corner of the room where he dumps any paperwork he's not ready to deal with when it's handed to him). At the bottom of the pile...was the snake, looking up at him.

--Lu