After reading Th's Search Engine Report, I decided to see what has been bringing people to my blog lately. In the last 30 days, my most popular post has been Feast of the Fabulous Wild Men. Unfortunately, my post about Hogmanay has not brought any hits, at least in the last 30 days. This proves that traditional Scottish holidays are out, and random nonsensical holidays are in.
I am a little sad about this trend, mostly because Hogmanay is right up there with St. Patrick's Day and Thanksgiving, on my list of favorite holidays. I really like Hogmanay for a couple of reasons. Mostly, I think it's because I really like the idea of starting a new year with a clean break from everything that might have been bad in the previous year, and while New Year's has the same idea, Hogmanay just seems more cool, and traditional, and a little bit old worldish. And, I guess I might be a bit of a clean freak because it just seems like a good idea to follow the traditional Scottish "redding of the house". And I also love the "first footing" tradition, because really, who wouldn't want to welcome a tall, dark, handsome stranger bearing who will bringing gifts of shortcake and smoked salmon into your home? Well, shortcake and smoked salmon are the gifts that I would recommend, because many a mickle makes a muckle.
Monday, December 31, 2007
Saturday, December 22, 2007
As Christmas Day approaches, I find myself in mortal terror for my cell phone. Not of my cell phone, mind you, for my cell phone. You see, for the last two years, on Christmas Day, I have in one way or another killed my cell phone.
It will be really sad if I lose another phone this year. Very sad because I haven't made any preparations for being out of communication for a month or so... again. But, since these type of things usually occur in threes, I just have a bad feeling.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Stress-Free Family Holiday Month
Every year my grandma wants a Christmas list from each of her grandchildren. If we don't provide one for her we are considered "bad grandchildren" because we will be causing her stress and frustration during what could have been an easy list-oriented shopping trip.
Last year I was the golden grandchild for a happy week because I was the first to provide a complete list, of mostly books, which meant that she would only have to go to one store, and she could get discount points from that store. But, then, there were problems. My books were not regular-on-the-shelf-books, so I quickly became the not-golden grandchild.
This year, I have had a really hard time coming up with a list for her. I thought it might be easy, because I do have an Amazon wish list, but Grandma doesn't do Amazon. This is where a great deal of the problems came from last year; I wanted books that I found on Amazon, that aren't regular bookstore shelf books. My parents aren't Amazon people either, and therefore, weren't much help for Grandma, so I have just realized that I have no reason to keep an Amazon wish list, except for me to have a list of random things for me to remember to maybe buy for myself someday.
Anyway, this year I felt guilty for even providing a list, even though Grandma asked for one, because this year she is helping me with my Multiple Sclerosis treatment costs. That is such significant help that I really don't feel that I deserve an additional Christmas present on top of that. But, since she said she still wants a list, I sat and thought about what I want for Christmas.
Well, my ideal Christmas list would include: the ability to have no more side effects to the Rebif. Specifically, no more morning sickness-type-smell-stomach-issues. No more nausea at the smell of celery, broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, avocados, and spinach. No more dark circles under my eyes, and no more people asking me if I had a bad night, every day. No more dead in my tracks fatigue. No more achy in my every joint. No more forgetfulness. No more uncontrollable crying when children sing Christmas carols. No more hiding in my apartment because I can't eat anything normal and because I need at least ten to twelve hours of sleep almost every night and did I mention that I still have dark circles under my eyes and I would like those to go away before Christmas? Yeah. That would just about cover everything that I really want for Christmas. (Except for maybe a phone call from Edgy ne' Christian. That would be nice too.)
Unfortunately, Grandma can't do anything about any of that. Yes, so the last three days I have been trying to come up with things to put on a list for Grandma. And tonight, I did give her a spotty list. But, I feel stressed about that list. None of the books are books that I am dying to read. All of the kitchen things are things that I could live without. I feel like a spoiled selfish little brat, especially since this post is about family stress, and really if this is the only family stress that I have to deal with, I recognize that I'm pretty damn lucky.
We can chat about my mother later.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
St. Andrew's Eve
St. Andrew's Eve is an exciting day, or night, actually, because vampires can walk freely. I haven't been able to find a reason why, except that the legend seems to be Romanian.
So, in order to avoid the walking vampires, we are supposed to rub garlic on our hair and our window and door frames. Also, if a vampire talks to us, specifically asking us if we have eaten garlic, we shouldn't answer him... or her. I think this advice is good. If someone asks you if you have eaten garlic, it would be fair to asses the question as either rude or vampiresque. If it's not a vampire it would have been more polite if they had just offered gum or a mint.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day
Almonds and chocolate, you can't do much wrong with that combination. But, if it's not quite your favorite combination, or not what you have around your house left over from Halloween, and you still need a little snack to help deal with the post election day blues, here is a little article that will analyze your personality by candy choice.
Bittersweet? Maybe. But only because the two candies that I passed out for Halloween Bit O'Honey, and Twix say that I have split personalities. Hrump. Maybe it would be better to just keep it simple with chocolate covered nuts.
Anyway, enjoy your sucranalysis!
TRICK OR TREAT: What does your candy say about you? Analysis says Butterfinger givers might be slippery; Snickers givers are dependable.
Steve Almond's candy-giver analysis:
• Three 3 Musketeers: Does well in groups but is somewhat pompous. Prone to fancy costumes and arcane weapons. Wears hats in public that are ill-advised.
History: Created in 1932 by Mars, the candy bar got its name because it originally had three pieces in one packet: vanilla, strawberry and chocolate.
Calorie count: The Fun Size (17 grams) has 71 calories.
• Almond Joy: I'm going to put aside my aversion to coconut in praising these folks as happy-go-lucky.
History: Introduced in 1946 by the Peter Paul Candy Manufacturing Co. in New Haven, Conn. It's a companion to the Mounds bar, which arrived in 1920.
Calorie count: The snack size (19 grams) has 91 calories.
• Bit-O-Honey: They have contradictory personalities, hoping to express generosity but also having the passive-aggressive desire to damage the fillings of trick-or-treaters.
History: The honey-flavored taffy was first manufactured in 1924 by the Schutter-Johnson Co. of Chicago. It is now made by Nestle.
Calorie count: The snack size (7 grams) has 26 calories.
• Butterfinger: Evasive, slippery, not necessarily to be trusted.
History: Invented in 1923 by the Curtiss Candy Co. of Chicago. The crunchy bar wrapped in chocolate is now made by Nestle.
Calorie count: The Fun Size (21 grams) has 100 calories.
• Candy Corn: Purely deluded people. They don't get that candy shouldn't attempt to imitate other food groups, particularly corn.
History: Invented in the 1880s, it was first manufactured commercially by the Wunderle Candy Co. in Philadelphia and by the turn of the century at the Herman Goelitz Candy Co. in Cincinnati.
Calorie count: A serving of 22 pieces (40 grams) has 140 calories.
• Good & Plenty: Optimistic, perhaps overly so. A little bit of Weimar energy. Strong advocate of gay rights; acquainted with the bitterness at the center of most lives.
History: The licorice candy was first produced in 1893 by the Quaker City Confectionery Co. in Philadelphia and is considered the oldest branded candy in the country.
Calorie count: A serving of 33 pieces (39 grams) has 140 calories, or 4.2 calories per piece.
• Reese's Peanut Butter Cups: Generous souls. Those who understand the salty in life, as well as the sweet.
History: Created by Harry Burnett Reese in the 1920s. Reese was a former dairy employee of Milton Hershey, founder of the Hershey Co. In 1963, the Reese candy company was sold to Hershey for $23.5 million.
Calorie count: A one-cup package (17 grams) has 88 calories.
• Snickers: Just going with the crowd, the safe candy choice, guaranteed to please the masses. Not ambitious, but dependable.
History: Created in 1930 by Mars, Snickers bars sold for a nickel. The Fun Size was introduced in 1968.
Calorie count: The Fun Size (15 grams) has 72 calories.
• Twix: Both brittle and supple in social situations; sort of trapped between personality types.
History: A Mars product, caramel-and-cookie Twix bars were created in the United Kingdom in 1967 but weren't sold in the United States until 1979.
Calorie count: The Fun Size (15 grams) has 80 calories.
• Twizzlers: Sickos. Truly demented. Plastic people living plastic lives.
History: The Twizzlers brand was introduced in 1929. The red licorice strips are manufactured by Y&S Candies, a company established in 1845 that is now a Hershey subsidiary.
Calorie count: One package (70 grams) has 240 calories.(Houston Chron.com October 29, 2007)
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
I Love Nachos Day
If you don't go to a movie just to sit back and eat some cheesy nachos today, at least check out this website which is full of fun nacho poetry.
And if nacho poetry inspires the creative cook in you, then you should check out this website which has lots of fun and new nacho ideas, including nachos with almonds and nachos with apples. Lots of nacho fun for everyone!
Yeah for Nachos!
Thursday, November 1, 2007
On November 1st in 1913 Notre Dame introduced the first forward pass in a game against Army at West Point. Notre Dame scored 35 points to Army's 13. In honor of this ground breaking game, I am naming November 1st I Can Move Forward Day.
The reasons for I Can Move Forward Day are personal. Basically, I have had a very emotionally difficult six weeks. Normally, my gut reaction to this type of personal stress is to want to crawl under the covers and hide until someone makes me come out. Fortunately, I seem to have grown up a bit because I can't do that this time, because hiding is isn't productive nor is it healthy.
I had spent the last three days writing out the details of what had happened over the last six weeks, but I have decided not to post what I wrote for a few reasons. First, it doesn't really fit the scope of my blog; second, it felt whiney, even though there were a few cleverly phrased parts; and third, I'm shy, and I don't feel like sharing all of it. But, I am going to share some of it, and hopefully it won't feel like the whiney parts.
Anyway, the core of my stress is that I found out that my Multiple Sclerosis has progressed. I have progressed from Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis to Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis. Because of this progression, I am going to have to increase the dosage of one of my medications, (Interferon Beta 1-A going from brand name Avonex 30 mcg once a week to Rebif 44 mcg three times a week). This increase could effect my ability to work full time, which would effect my insurance, which would effect my ability to get treatment... and so on, and so on.
I haven't really noticed an increase in my disability, but the MRI that I had in August showed that I have 26 lesions on my brain. Last year I had 12. The year before that I had 7, and the year before that I had 5. Basically, the lesions are places where the brain doesn't work any more because my immune system has attacked my nervous system and the cells that have been attacked form scar tissue through a process called demyelination.
So, my brain has so many holes it's like Swiss cheese. (Which means it's normal that I loose my keys every other day and lock myself out of my apartment at midnight on a Sunday night, and when people notice that I am being a bit of an airhead I can just say, "It's okay, I have 26 holes in my brain!") But, the way that my doctor gave me this information was not good. (Let's just say, doctors should read their patient files before they go into the exam room so they don't say things like, "Well, at least you've already have had your children, so you don't have to worry about pregnancy on these medications" and "Maybe we should save the rest of this conversation until your husband can be here.") Then, the same week that I got all this news, my brother was in a major car accident. So, that week wasn't a good week.
But that was in September, and I have had all of October to get used to the idea of new treatment, and today, the first day of November, is a good day for a fresh start. I had my follow-up appointment with my doctor. The doctor had me schedule a follow-up because the one in September was so emotional he wanted to give me time to come to terms with all the new information. Today's appointment was mostly setting up all the technical stuff for my new treatment. I have to have a home health nurse come in to show me how to do everything the right way. I had to get all the right insurance preauthorizations. I have to sign over the title of my car and my non-existent first-born for every monthly co-pay... but, I actually feel okay about this new first step. The positive thing is, even though my MRI looks really bad-- bad enough for the doctors to be really, really concerned, I am functioning fairly well, and I feel pretty good, most days. In fact, I think that most of my not feeling good is due to side effects of my medications that are supposed to be stopping the progression of the Multiple Sclerosis. Which is why I have had such a difficult time deciding to increase the dosage of those medications.
After today's appointment, I feel really positive about moving forward (and it doesn't hurt that the needle is significantly smaller for the Rebif) not dwelling on all of this negative stuff I have had in my head these last six weeks. I haven't ever seen a football game without at least one forward pass (at least I can't remember a significant one). Even with a strong running game, the best offense needs to mix things up with a few passes, and everyone loves to see a completed long-reach-for-it-and-run-for-the-end-zone pass. Perhaps, this new medication will be one of those passes where I can hear the footsteps of the defense right on me, and the end zone is just right there when the ball just comes over my shoulder into my hands... you know, just perfect.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Mischief Night sounds like an innocent enough holiday, because, at least to me, the word mischief conjures up child-like revels... like sneaking cookies out of the cookie jar. But, despite it's innocent sounding name, Mischief Night is is a holiday that easily can get out of hand.
For example, on October 30, 1938, Orson Welles aired his infamous radio play "War of the Worlds" which caused quite a bit of mischief. Many people listening to the program panicked, believing that the broadcast was a news report rather than a radio drama. If you want to read a script of the broadcast you can read it here. If you want to listen to the original broadcast go here. I remember listening to the full broadcast in junior high. I should probably go listen again for an adult perspective.
For an example from my own life-time, in 1991, in Camden, New Jersey over 130 fires were set by roaming teenagers which resulted in a teenager curfew in 1992 during which only 30 fires were set. ("The Mischievous History of Devil's Night" Washingtonpost.com) Personally, I think 30 teenager-set arsons in one night are still too many.
So remember, whatever you do tonight, whatever mischief you might be up to, remember that someone out there might be up to a little bit more.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
National Mole Day
Remember how much fun it was to celebrate Pi Day? Now, take a deep breath and remember back to high school chemistry. Do you remember that number that we all had to remember to calculate the atomic mass of the molecule? That's okay, I didn't remember either. It's 6.02 x 1023, aka Avogadro's Number.
Anyway, from 6:02 am to 6:02 pm, it is okay to celebrate National Mole Day. And, if you aren't up at 6:02 am to celebrate, I won't tell anyone. :)
Some of the suggestions for celebrating National Mole Day are, eating 6.02 cookies, a scavenger hunt using the chemical make-up of the items you want, or eat mole-themed food like guaca-mole! Mmm, guacamole!
Friday, October 12, 2007
According to The Perpetual Almanack of Folklore, a west wind on October 12th means that there will be a mild winter.
Currently in Provo, the wind conditions are: Wind Speed: 5 mph / 7 km/h / 2.1 m/s Wind Dir: 50° (NE), but Pleasant Grove's wind conditions are: Wind Speed: 0.1 mph / 0.1 km/h / 0.0 m/s Wind Dir: 201° (SSW). So, with both north-east and south-south-west winds, I'm guessing that the jury is still out about this winter's weather in Utah County.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Take Your Teddy Bear to Work Day!
Quick! Before everyone goes home, send a memo out to all your coworkers, and have everyone bring a friend to work tomorrow. Or, just sneak your teddy in and have him there for your own amusement. Either way, it should make at least five minutes bear-able.
Sorry. Couldn't help it.
Monday, October 8, 2007
According to my Forgotten English Calendar of Vanishing Vocabulary and Folklore, today is the traditional Monday, during the midterm week of nineteenth-century Scottish universities, where "fathers were allowed to bring sacks of oatmeal to sustain their sons for the term's duration" (Forgotten English Calendar of Vanishing Vocabulary and Folklore).
Now, a while it may seem like the average Scottish university student had a very boring and bland meal plan, with a sack of oatmeal at midterms, it turns out that oatmeal is quite versatile. Check out this recipe for Oatmeal Soup. It seems that oatmeal was so versatile for the college student diet that the modern equivalent would be a midterm care package of of Top Ramen.
Or perhaps it was a nicer gesture than that. I honestly wouldn't have been very happy to get a care package of Top Ramen when I was in college, even if it was from home.
And speaking of college days, I visited the ol' alma mater this morning and was pleasantly surprised (not!) by one of the librarians on campus while I was making a periodical donation. We were chatting about the new library addition and how much the library has changed from when I attended school pre-1999 when it was just a hole in the ground that caused major student/pedestrian traffic problems. She asked me "You graduated in '99?" with a semi-shocked look on her face. I responded in the affirmative. She then said, and I am not lying, joking or exaggerating: "You can't tell; you look just like a normal person."
Well, thank you ma'am, I appreciate the compliment, because, you know, we who graduated in that other century, we slowly turn into cod once we are out of the fishbowl of BYU.
That's not what I said.
I just said "thank you," because I am sure she meant to say, "You look just like a normal student."
Yeah right. I know I don't look like a student any more. They don't ask me if I am a student at the Visitor Parking. That is a sure sign that I no longer look young.
And, can I just say, that even though I work every day in Provo, I have not visited campus probably in about a year, and I had no idea how huge the new Alumni Building is?! It's shockingly huge. And maybe it just seems so big because nothing was really there before, or maybe because the building style just doesn't seem to fit the rest of campus. I don't know, it just didn't feel right, and I want to protest the building. It shouldn't be for alumni. It's too big. The biggest, nicest (arguably) building on campus should serve the students, not to stroke the already usually inflated egos of the donating alumni.
Okay. Wow. That was an opinion. I guess I am glad that my blog is not well read.
Anyway, for another tangent, on my way back to the office, I listened to the lyrics for "I Can't Drive 55." I actually listened to the lyrics, probably for the first time, from an adult point of view, and I have a totally different opinion of the song. I used to think it was just a rebel rock song, but now I think that it is a legitimate complaint against a policy change.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
blogging about the weather, but I must note that since it is currently snowing, in September, and since it did snow in May, it seems that the bit of weather folklore that I blogged about previously, might have a ring of truth to it. So, if it thunders in May, we all should be prepared for a short summer.
Although, I would also like to note that, while short, the Summer of 2007 also boasted the hottest month ever on record for Salt Lake City. So, here in Utah, if we have a short summer, it will be an intense summer, apparently.
I don't really like that. I am a mild weather sort of girl. Even though I prefer cooler weather, I have been shocked by the snow today. I mean, I thought I was okay knowing that the weather was going to be cooler today, even though it was 80 degrees yesterday. I was prepared for cold this morning when I left for the day. I was outside all morning cheering at soccer games and helping dig holes for trees through wind and rain. But, now it's snowing.
Snowing. In September. And everything about it seems wrong.
But, it's not my fault.
Monday, September 24, 2007
Sometimes, I think that I am such a nerd that all the cool kids are playing jokes on me, and they are just laughing and laughing.
Saturday night, for example, I was driving home from a friend's house after midnight, and I had been away from my home for only twelve hours. In the twelve hours that I was gone, someone had removed the traffic light has always been at the end my street and had placed it at the brand new intersection one block up. Now, the intersection for my street is naked.
I was so confused. When I am tired, I drive by landmarks not by logic. I turn at the first light, and I do not make sure that I have driven .6 miles from the freeway exit. I got so lost that I almost curled up in a corn field and fell asleep because I was so confused, because I knew that I was so near my house, and yet it was so freakishly Twilight Zoney, and I was so tired and I just wanted to go to bed.
Well, today I had to work until ninefreakingthirtyatnight and I have to get up at fourfreakingthirtyinthemorning for a meeting. Yep. I had forgotten all about the new traffic light placement and got lost all over again.
Why, why, why do the cool kids have to torment me so much? Did they really have to move the light? Couldn't they have just added the new one and then we could have had two? Because really, the connecting street that I am supposed to just see does not have one single lamppost on it, and it is dark out in them there corn fields. Are you cool kids trying to push me over the edge? Are you trying to pull out my last thread of sanity? Because I am that close to tying up my shoelaces and throwing my shoes over the powerline and going off to live in Spectre forever.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Tolkien Week September 16th-22nd and Hobbit Day September 22nd
If you need a new reason to celebrate Hobbit Day, do it because maybe there is a little bit of Hobbit inside of you!
One of the most puzzling discoveries in human evolution was the unearthing four years ago of the so-called "Hobbit" — a three-foot tall human-like creature with a brain the size of a grapefruit.
The Hobbit skeleton caused a split among anthropologists. Some scientists have said the Hobbit, found in Indonesia, is a weird human ancestor that somehow survived until some 12,000 to 20,000 years ago, living unnoticed as modern humans took over the world. Others have said it is a modern human with a condition resembling the genetic disease microcephaly.
But new evidence suggests that the hobbit really was a primitive form of human never seen before.
Researcher Matthew Tocheri, who studies wrist bones at the Smithsonian Institution, was shocked when he saw the wrist bones of the Hobbit.
"I opened up the container and I pulled out the bones and, wow, I couldn't believe it. I was like — is somebody putting me on? These are completely primitive," says Tocheri.
Tocheri says his knees were shaking with excitement. If the Hobbit was simply a diseased modern human, or even a human cousin like a Neanderthal, it would have human-like wrist bones. But the wrist bones looked more like those of an ape. Nobody had noticed the difference because the identification requires expertise in the tiny bones of the wrist.
Tocheri spent a year studying three of the Hobbit's wrist bones at the Smithsonian. He says all three of the wrist bones support the idea that it is not a diseased modern human.
"In great apes and other primates, the trapezoid looks like a pyramidal wedge, but in modern humans and Neanderthals, it looks like a boot," says Tocheri.
Another anthropologist who worked with Tocheri, William Jungers at Stony Brook University in New York, agrees. He says if these new findings hold up, it could change scientists' view of human evolution.
"I think we have grossly underestimated the complexity of human evolution and I think there are other surprises like this in store," says Jungers.
The new interpretation has not entirely resolved the dispute. Skeptics say hundreds of genetic diseases could affect the size and shape of human bones.
Although partial remains of other Hobbits have surfaced at the same site, they say it could have been an isolated colony of inbred people who shared the same genetic abnormalities.
But Matthew Tocheri says he thinks the Hobbit is an ancient ancestor and the ultimate survivor.
"Just looking at them and seeing and how primitive they were, I almost felt a certain feeling of success for the Hobbit. They made it, they made it into modern times, they've completely baffled us because they did it," says Tocheri.
Regardless of whether the Hobbits are our ancestors or simply abnormal humans, they clearly defied steep odds to survive.
Tocheri's research will appear in the Sept. 21 issue of Science. (Case Grows for 'Hobbit' as Human Ancestor by Christopher Joyce NPR )
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
International Talk Like a Pirate Day
Shiver me timbers! Even when I'm not especially feelin' like blogging, I can't forget Talk Like a Pirate Day. 'Specially when websites like TreeHugger remember it! So go check out t' real reason why we have global warmin'- fewer pirates! And if you need help puttin' your writin' into pirate talk, check out this English-to-Pirate translator. Happy piratin'! Arrrgh!
Friday, September 14, 2007
National Cream Filled Donut Day
The cream filling to my day of public records and open meeting law training, was the comment "if I had to live in and work for the City of (where Absent works) for twenty years, I would sue them too."
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Defy Superstition Day
There is an old superstition about cutting your hair. Cut it on Monday, you cut it for health; cut it on Tuesday, you cut it for wealth; cut it on Wednesday, you cut it for news; cut it on Thursday, a new pair of shoes; cut it on Friday, you cut it for sorrow; cut it on Saturday, see your true love tomorrow; cut it on Sunday, the devil will be with you all the week.
And, according to another superstition, you should always burn or bury your cut hair, because if an enemy took it they could use it to do you harm, or a bird could pick up the leavings and weave them too tightly in a nest thus giving you a headache until the nest falls apart. Not a happy thought.
I am not in a very reckless mood, so I am not very up for defying superstitions, because it turns out that walking under a ladder can end up badly for more than one reason. But, if you get your hair cut today, a Thursday, the worst that can happen is that you won't get a pair of new shoes. Which, don't get me wrong, would be sad, but not tragic, mind you.
So, everyone, go out and get you haircut today! But don't forget to sweep up the trimmings and dispose of them correctly!
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Chocolate Milkshake Day
One of my favorite memories from my childhood is going to Yaw's with my great-grandmother for the thick chocolate milkshakes that came in two glasses and the hamburgers with the special sauce with two types of pickles. Yum Yum!!
Yeah. Yaw's closed in 1982, so we can't go there anymore. And, it was in Portland, and I don't live there any more.
Regardless, I still can look for a the perfect chocolate milkshake on Chocolate Milkshake Day. In fact, I can't think of one good reason not to begin a quest for the perfect chocolate milkshake on Chocolate Milkshake Day. So everyone should go out there and quest for the perfect chocolate milkshake too! I think that my great-grandmother would approve. Let's create a nationwide run on chocolate milkshakes!
Monday, September 10, 2007
Every year, during the seventh month of the lunar calendar, many Taiwanese citizens — both young and old — give offerings to the souls of the dead who, according to traditional beliefs, return to roam the world of the living. The Ghost Festival has become a surprisingly large source of air pollution due the massive amounts of paper money burned throughout the month.Makes me wonder what kind of effect the Fourth of July has on air quality.
Posted by Erin aka- absent-minded secretary at Monday, September 10, 2007
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
Self Improvement Month
This morning I had high hopes for the day. I was all rested from my three day weekend and ready to tackle all the problems waiting on my desk. I had a plan for my too-much-paper-on-my-desk problem. I had high hopes for task accomplishments. I had mental escape routes for all foreseeable emergencies that might happen over the course of the week. I had not prepared for the thirty-second-non-argument-with-pleases-and-thank-yous-that-would-push-Absent-into-an-evil-evil-mood-for-no-good-reason.
I wish that I had a dog so that I could claim that my dog is sick so I could go home today. Scratch that. I probably wouldn't be able to go home for a sick dog. Because, how would I know my dog was sick? Canine ESP?
If, I were really good, and wanted to work really hard on this self improvement thing, I would probably say that after lunch I can start with another blank slate- just as if it were a new day.
But, I don't want to. I feel like being Alexander today.
Oh, well. Tomorrow is another day.
Posted by Erin aka- absent-minded secretary at Tuesday, September 04, 2007
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Moon of the Hungry Ghosts
The full moon of the 7th lunar month of the Chinese year, is called the Moon of the Hungry Ghosts. According to Chinese tradition, at this full moon, ghosts enter the sunlit world from the world of Nine Darknesses. We, of the living world, in order to placate the dead, must make offerings of lit paper boats and lit floating lanterns which are set out on water to give comfort and direction to wayward spirits.
After the moonlit tribute, most spirits will then choose to visit their former homes for the comfort and the company of their loved ones and loved places. The more tempestuous spirits will roam the streets, seeking revenge on those who have wronged them in life and in death.
To avoid the revengeful spirits, we must have ready offerings of ginger candy, sugar cane, and rice wine. We all must go get ours now before supplies run out.
You will be able to tell if a spirit has visited your home if you notice an odor of smoky vanilla, white sandalwood, ho wood, green tea, white grapefruit, musk or aloe.
It is has been such a pretty moon this month to have such a responsibility. Poor Hungry Ghosts.
Monday, August 27, 2007
Just Because Day
Just because it takes at least a week and a half to normalize from a week and a half of vacation.
When I got home from airport via the Blog Party on Saturday night a week ago, I discovered that The Ants had moved into my apartment while I was gone. The Ants where everywhere. I was not happy with this, and bought poison for them. Now, nine days later, The Ants have mostly moved out. It took them as long to move out as the had to move in. Just because, The Ants are not entirely gone, I still don't feel like it is my apartment yet.
Just because I am a very clumsy person, both by nature, and by disease.
Saturday, while I was getting ready for a birthday party where I was to dress up as a nerd from the eighties (not much of a boost for my ego by the way) I stepped on a piece of broken glass in my kitchen. And when I stepped on the glass I jumped very clumsily backwards and twisted my shoulder in a way that it probably I could not replicate, but it probably looked a bit like a move that we all have seen Shaggy do when running away from ghosts. Anyway, the glass was deep in my foot, and when I tried to get it out, a piece of it broke off deep in the blood goo of my foot. So, I went to the emergency clinic, because I wasn't making the mess any cleaner. They got all the glass out and told me to ice my shoulder for the next few days and stay off my foot as much as possible. And, so I missed the 80's party, just because I wasn't in the mood any more.
And just because when I worry about things I can't control, I tend to lose control of things I should control.
Sunday night I had a good conversation with Edgy about things that kept me concerned and concentrated. But, while I was talking with my brain focued on him, my body was cleaning my kitchen, loading dishes in the dishwasher, getting the garbage ready to take out. And after the conversation had ended, I distinctly remember thinking about which pocket to stick my keys in so I could go check my mail, I had to worry about pocket because I also had to carry my cell phones, since I am on call for work this week. I needed to check my mail, which now hasn't been checked in two and a half weeks, because I haven't had any garbage to take out, because I have been limiting the food in my house just because of The Ants. I am sure my mailperson hates me. Just because the mailboxes are so far away from my actual apartment and from where I park; it's just not convenient to check the mail unless I am taking out the garbage.
So, anyway, after the garbage was dumped in the Dumpster, (see I can be cool and capitalize Dumpster just like it is all through Eclipse) I walk over to the mailbox and wait... no keys. Um. Problem! I hobbled good-foot-over-bad-foot back to my apartment and yes, I did lock the door. Why? Just because.
But, all is well just because I have Good Friend who said she didn't mind phone calls in the middle of the night, and who drove my extra key down to my apartment to let me in. And she brought freezer apricot jam for me and and for me to bring to Edgy. Why did she bring me and Edgy apricot jam? Just because.
And all is doubly well because I have Edgy, who text messaged me during the lockout to keep me company, just because he is cool like that.
So, through all the not-so-good just becauses, it's pretty good that I have some good friends- just because.
Monday, August 20, 2007
The Feast Day of St. Philbert
I was really glad to read about The Feast Day St. Philbert, because I learned why Oregonians call Hazelnuts Filberts.
As a child when I was driving around the orchards of the Willamette Valley with my mom, she would point out the rows and rows of low and gnarled trees and say, "Those are the filbert orchards. In the United States, Filbert trees only are grown in Oregon. Some people call filberts hazelnuts. People that call them hazelnuts aren't from Oregon."
This made me feel awkward. Now, I have a bit of pride for my Oregon pioneers who had come across the Oregon Trail and settled in the Willamette Valley, but if everyone else in the world called them hazelnuts, maybe that meant that we Oregonians were a little bit backward. I mean really, why filberts? Filbert doesn't even have the word nut in it? We were trying to hide the yummy goodness that is the filbert away from the rest of the world? Because really, if you didn't know that a filbert was a nut, and some one offered you one, you would think that they were offering you a beloved pet to eat?
Anyway, I was always curious as to why these seemed to be a great hazelnut debate.
According to School of the Seasons, St. Philbert was a French saint, and Hazelnut Trees are ready to harvest around the time of the Feast Day of St. Philbert, (which is on August 20th according the the School of the Seasons, and on August 22nd according to other sites) and so his name has been lent to the nut in areas with strong French influences.
Oregon doesn't really have a strong French influence. So, I did some more research.
Soupsong.com stated that
Frenchman David Gernot arrived in Oregon in the 17th century with European hazel trees and a personal mission. When he stumbled into the beautiful Willamette Valley, he was reminded of his home in the Loire valley. Without hesitation, he staked out his home and planted the first of his 50-tree grove. Other planters followed and by the early 1900s, hazelnut orchards had taken root in Oregon, where their nuts are produced commercially to this day.
Now, there are lots of different ways to eat a filbert.
If you are not if you are not afraid of cracking your teeth, you can eat them straight from the shell.
You can grind them up and put them in cookies and cakes.
Or you can cover them in chocolate, and then they are just perfect. If you are looking for Chocolate Covered Hazelnuts, Edgy has some, straight from Oregon.
Oh, and I have some too, but I am not sure if I am nice enough to share.
Friday, August 17, 2007
#2 Pencil Day
On #2 Pencil Day, we should all stop for a moment to be glad that we aren't taking tests with #2 Pencils any more.
And then we all should go play in the sand with Baby Niece.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
If you have already read Edgy's post, you are aware that we are in the midst of planning a Harry Potter Non-Sleepover Party for tonight.
Now, like all good sleepover parties, we must have good munchies, and since this will be a theme party, we are having Harry Potter munchies. Now, because I can get a bit carried away with celebratory themes, I have tried to limit myself to an amount of food that can reasonable be eaten in the amount of time it takes to read one book. For example, I only made ten chocolate frogs. Because, as of now, only Edgy and I will be at the Harry Potter Non-Sleepover Party, and I think that five frogs each will be plenty. But, I still have chocolate left, so I might make more. We'll see how much time I have left.
I also have finished six peppermint toads. And while I didn't have high expectations for them, I am quite happy with them now.
I have been trying Butter Beer recipes for about three months, and I think I have finally perfected a formula. It has all the qualities of butter beer, except it isn't warm and it doesn't make house elves, or anyone else, drunk.
1 tsp Torani Ginger Spice Syrup
3 Tbls Torani Butterscotch Syrup
1 12 oz can Club Soda
Edgy asked for Pumpkin Pasties. I am all for making them, but I am not sure how I want to go about it. It seems, since we are first introduced to them on Hogwarts Express, that they could be sweet or savory. You know, like a little bit of lunch to satisfy until the big feast.
The pasty is traditionally a Cornish meat pie, carried by the tin miners for their lunch. It is meat, onions, and potatoes wrapped up in pastry without any gravy, and only salt and pepper. It's one of my family's recipes that has lasted crossing the ocean from Cornwall to Virginia, to Michigan, to Oregon. So, I almost want to hold to the tradition that pasty is a meal, not a dessert.
But, Edgy always imagined them sweet, and all the pumpkin pasty recipes that I have found have been more like pumpkin pie with a top pie crust. I am thinking about experimenting with phyllo dough.
I am also thinking about getting more creative and doing a kind of pumpkin/meat pasty, to be a little bit closer to the Cornish tradition of pasty, just replacing the sliced potatoes with sliced pumpkin... and maybe more seasonings. But, I would have to be able to find fresh pumpkins. And so I need to get shopping so I can fully explore my options.
There are lots of other foods to choose from. In the Harry Potter books, they mention food all the time. Like, Roast beef, milk, roast chicken, ham, tea, fried sausages, stew, pumpkin juice, hamburger casserole, casserole, tripe, pork chops, shepherd's pie, Cornish pasties, lamb chops, sausages, bacon and steak, steak and kidney pudding, steak and kidney pie, black pudding, rock cakes, bath buns, chicken and ham sandwiches, bread, marshmallows, lemon drops, crumpets, baked pumpkin, roast potatoes, jacket potatoes, boiled potatoes, mashed potatoes, chicken drumsticks, homemade bread, chips, Yorkshire pudding, peas, sprouts, carrots, gravy, ketchup, custard tart, apple pie, treacle tart, chocolate eclairs, jam doughnuts, trifle, strawberries, and rice pudding, bouillabaisse, blancmange, porridge, rolls, orange juice, kippers, eggs and bacon, toast, jam, corn flakes, turkey, chipolatas, gravy, cranberry sauce, turkey sandwiches Christmas pudding, eggnog, trifle, Christmas cake, Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans, Drooble's Best Blowing Gum, treacle fudge, chocolate frogs, pumpkin pasties, cauldron cakes, Liquorice Wands, Pepper Imps, chocolate balls full of strawberry mousse and clotted cream, Sugar Quills, tooth flossing string mints, Jelly Slugs, mince pie, brittle, nougat, coconut ice, ton tongue toffees, Fizzing Whizbees, ice mice, peppermint toads, blood flavoured lollipops, Cockroach Cluster, fudge flies, Acid Pops, sherbet balls, pumpkin tart, Butterbeer, Red Currant Rum, Gillywater, Mulled Mead, Firewhisky, and elderflower wine. And I am sure that I have missed a bunch.
I had plans to make chocolate wands, but now I can't find a reference to chocolate wands, only licorice wands. And I don't think I can get very creative with licorice wands, so, I have decided to focus my efforts on the pumpkin pasties.
Although pancakes are never mentioned, I have a very good recipe for pumpkin pancakes, so we are having pumpkin pancakes for breakfast tomorrow morning.
Pumpkin Pecan Pancakes
2 cups all purpose flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups solid pack pumpkin
1 cup milk
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 oz. chopped pecans (optional)
Sift dry ingredients and set aside. Using a large bowl, combine
pumpkin, eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and stir
until blended; stir in pecans just before ready to cook.
Pumpkin pancakes with sausages, almost more excited than the book! Yum! Yum!
Saturday, July 14, 2007
When is a post not a post?
When it looks like a, well, when it looks phallic.
Some Keizer residents are saying their city has installed posts that have an unnerving resemblance to male genitalia. (Statesman Journal: "Keizer posts require delicate maneuvering")
BUT WAIT, here's the best part. Hoping to avoid the expense of tearing out and replacing the offending knobs, city officials are now considering adding a metal collar just below each head and joining the shafts together with chains. Because that de-sexualizes them completely. (Boing Boing: "Concrete cocks terrorize Oregon town")
This is the little town I grew up in. This is the little town I loved. It hurts my heart to see such ridiculousness coming from my little hometown.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Sir Kenelm Digby, according to my Forgotten English Calendar, was a "colorful English writer" and was interested in the "six follies of science:" which included: "the squaring of the circle, perpetual motion, the philosopher's stone, magic, astrology, and the elixir of life."
Honestly, I have never heard of Kenelm Digby. But, he sounds like a wizard. If he was, he probably would want his birthday celebrated in a wizardly way. You know, like going to go watch the new Harry Potter movie.
If you missed your opportunity to attend a midnight showing of the movie, where you can see half of the audience dressed up like various Harry Potter characters, you really missed out. Okay, you really didn't. You got a good night's sleep, and are well rested for work and you didn't have to deal with the interruptions of cheering and clapping and woot-wooing at every few minutes. I was most bothered by some weird cheering when one of the characters that we are supposed to like died. Hello? Even if you didn't read the book, weren't y'all paying attention to who that was? Harry hugged him, like, five times in the movie; that means he's a good guy.
Anyway, I thought that this was a pretty good adaptation of the book, even if it felt a bit rushed. It was interesting to me that they did not explain anything. They assumed the audience knew the story, knew the characters. I liked that. If you hadn't read the books you might have wondered, "Hey, why does that woman with the pink hair get to fly around with Harry so much?" It would have just taken a few seconds of dialogue to explain, but it wouldn't have added anything to the forward motion of the plot. But, since she was an important character, she would have been missed by HP fans. I'm glad Tonks was there, but, I'm glad they didn't spend unnecessary time explaining that she is an auror.
Even with the rushing, I think they got all the important characters, plot elements, and themes covered. I liked that this really wasn't a children's story any more. It's the beginning of a dark time for Harry and his friends and the colors in the film and play of light present that mood well. The editing and story-flow was a little choppy, but I hope there will be an extended version that will smooth that out a bit. Umbridge was perfect. Bellatrix was perfect. I even liked how they worked with Snape's character.
Yes, I can recommend the new Harry Potter movie, and I don't really recommend the other ones. Except for the third one. It will be a good Sir Kenelm Digby's Birthday Day activity for you.
Sunday, July 8, 2007
For the last week, I have been dog-sitting Edgy's dog, Puppy. And now I want to take her home with me. My mom also want me to take her home with me. I want to take her home with me, because she is very good company, and I think that I am getting tired of living by myself. My mom want me to take Puppy home with me, because she thinks that I am cranky if I am tired, and likes that Puppy makes me go to bed. Yeah, Puppy decides when it is bedtime, and makes me go to bed.
I also have decided that I want to move to downtown Salt Lake City. I have decided it is much more fun to live in a ethnically diverse and richly cultural area, at least an area that is more ethnically diverse and cultural than the area that I live now. It's just neat to see dread locks and goths and non-white people, and Churches that aren't Mormon while walking on a simple morning walk. That doesn't happen in Pleasant Grove, where I live, or in Provo, where I work. Yeah for diversity!
Anyway, I've been having lots of fun with Puppy. I have tried to discover how much fur I can brush off of her, given unlimited amounts of time. I stopped after two hours. My black t-shirt no-longer looked black, and there were still loose hairs. I was trying to help her loose a layer of her fur coat because it is unbelievably hot here in Utah, and no relieve is in sight. But, now, Edgy's living room rug has a lot of dog hair on it, and I can't find the vacuum... but I haven't looked too hard. Sorry, Edgy, you are going to have to vacuum when you come home.
Tonight, while I was packing up to go back home in the morning, Puppy knows something is up. She stole one of my flip flops, and ran out into the dark back yard. Now, normally, this would not have been a big deal, because they were four dollar flip flops, but, they were the only footwear I had brought, and I didn't fancy the thought of limping alongside Puppy on her morning walk with only one flip flop. So, I ran outside after her. I couldn't see her for a while, but I did, she was there, running full force at me, and she head butted me! Right on my shin! That will leave a mark. Well, we chased each other around the yard for about a half and hour, and I eventually found my flip flop, so all is well.
Now, she is calling me to bed, with short brisk barks, so I had better get going, mostly because I am not done packing up my stuff yet. I am especially not done packing if I am to sneak her home to live with me.... just kidding Edgy!
Friday, June 29, 2007
Today I was tagged by Soccer Dad, which is kind of a good thing because I don't think I have ever really been tagged before, and I was beginning to think that I wasn't a real blogger because I haven't ever been tagged. And, well, I have read blogs where bloggers have said "everyone reading this should consider themselves tagged," but really, I don't consider myself tagged, because I really feel like an uninvited party guest unless I get a formal invitation to participate in things like that.
Anyway, if you want to find out more about who tagged me, and you really should, because he is a very good read, and because he lists me as a humor blog, which boosts my ego, so you should go here. Soccer Dad once described me as:
"the exact opposite of me in a number of ways - She's blue in a red state from the western end of I-70 and I'm red in a blue state at the eastern end of I-70."My favorite recent post of Soccer Dad's is this one which talks about Harry Potter plot development.
Well, anyway, I guess I should get to the point, and to the tag.
The Rules are:Each player lists 8 facts/habits about themselves. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed. At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.
So, my eight things:
- At 32 years old, I am the youngest person at my place of employment by fifteen years, and one example of the generation gap is, I am the only employee that uses email for memos, and it drives me crazy-nuts to get a paper memo. (All that wasted paper!) So, at least three times a week, I grind my teeth because of memos.
- I feel like I am the type of person that should like puzzles. I mean, I can sit for hours trying out all sorts of different shades of a colors for a color block on a tri-fold pamphlet and think that I had a successful day. Which seems like the same kind of activity as a puzzle. But, it's not. Two minutes of a puzzle and I am done. It's like someone already had something done, and then decided to mess it all up. Why do that?
- I love to read cookbooks and recipes on the internet, but I rarely actually follow a recipe.
- I love white water river rafting, and if I could have a summer vacation college student-style again, I would be a river raft guide.
- I used to mock women who wore flip-flops with dresses or other professional clothing. But, now I wear them too. I know, I hang my head in shame.
- I drove a car in college that was held together by wire, chewing gum, and faith. I still miss that car, and my newest car, a station wagon, is a tribute to that car.
- I have curtains and a rod that I bought almost a year ago to put in my bedroom and I haven't hung them because I am not quite sure how. When I do figure them out, I am going to re-arrange everything in my room around the curtains.
- I apply for a new job every time my boss goes out of town. He is gone next week, and will be gone again in August.
And now I need to get back to work, but I will be taging my eight bloggers soon!
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Monday, June 18, 2007
Sometimes, when I listen to Green Day, I get tired. Because seriously, how long can people be expected to sustain that much anger? And don't they ever get tired of being so angry?
But some days, Green Day is just the right amount of angry to make me not tired any more.
Posted by Erin aka- absent-minded secretary at Monday, June 18, 2007
Sunday, June 17, 2007
I have blogged in the past about the importance of Midsummer, but, that was a year ago, and perhaps you have forgotten everything that needs to be done to get ready. It's actually not much, just clean house, gather wood for bonfires, take naps now so you can stay up late on a weeknight... but anyway here is a short list of traditions that you can try. If you aren't afraid to go out to play with all the fairies, that is.
- Traditionally, you are supposed to stay up to midnight on the night before solstice, the 20th, to welcome the day of sunlight, and then the night of Solstice burn fires to say good-bye to the sun.
- If you don't want to burn bonfires, you can just burn herbs at midnight to appease Odin.
- Also, at midnight, you are supposed to run naked into the nearest body of water to ensure good fortune for the coming year. I, personally, will now be avoiding all bodies of water at midnight, especially the community pool.
- Wash all your linen, beat all your rugs, and make everything fresh to keep the fairies out.
- Dew gathered on Midsummer's Night can heal sicknesses.
- Water gathered on Midsummer's Night will have magical properties.
- Leaves gathered on Midsummer's Night and used as bandages relieve pain.
- Midsummer is supposed to be a favorable time to find a boyfriend/girlfriend. If you know who you want, and you need to make them want you, you are supposed to roll around on their property naked in the light of the midsummer moon. (Just don't let them or any of their family members catch you because "midsummer" is not a legal defense for trespass.)
- An unmarried girl is supposed to fast on Midsummer Eve and at midnight set her table with a clean cloth, bread, cheese and ale, then leave her yard door open and wait. The boy she will marry, or his spirit, will come in and feast with her.
- If you don't know who you want to marry, according to Nordic tradition, if you place wildflowers under your pillows on Midsummer Eve you will dream of your future mate. Some traditions say you must gather nine flowers, some say you must gather them in silence, and some say that one of the flowers must be gathered from a churchyard. You might want to do all three requirements to make it work. I haven't yet tried the churchyard flowers yet. Somehow, it just seems like stealing to me.
- Also, on Midsummer's Eve a single woman should write the letters of the alphabet on pieces of paper. Then she must place them face down in water. On Midsummer's morning her true love's initial should be facing up. I think that this tradition could be a unisex tradition.
- But, all you guys out there, you must crawl under a blackberry bush on Midsummer's Day to catch a glimpse of your future mate's shadow. I am not sure how a glimpse of a shadow will help much, but then, dreams and initials don't help all that much either.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
Today at work I saw something that I have never seen before. Yes, that banana up there, someone left it as a present for me and my coworkers. Well, probably not really for us; they probably just didn't know what to do with a giant banana.
Anyway, now we have a big banana. A very big banana. And this is not a Photoshopped banana, because as you can see, there is a reflection of the banana in the water on the pavement, which also proves that the photo was taken today because it is very wet in Utah today. (Sorry Edgy).
Anyway, if you get forwarded an email with that photo, and the words:
For lunch I only had a little pasta with olive oil and parmesan, and a salad, and perhaps a banana.just you know that email was created at the desk of the Absent-minded Secretary!
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
Birds Stop Singing
Yesterday, when I was researching Birds Stop Singing, the only information I could find about this day stated:
"In some early medieval calendars, this is listed as the date the Birds Stop Singing." (School of the Seasons)But, Birds Stop Singing Day wasn't noted in any of my book-type resources, (the Calendar of Vanishing Vocabulary and Folklore for 2007, The Perpetual Almanack of Folklore, The Encyclopedia of Things that Never Were, The Faber Book of Useful Verse, or The Dance of Time: The Origins of the Calendar A Miscellany of History and Myth) nor on any of my online resources, which other than School of the Seasons areCalendar of the Month, Fun Holidays, Holiday Insights, Nova Roma, Old Farmer's Almanac, and Sky News, (by the way, tomorrow will be the best day to view Jupiter and its moons). So, I was about to give up on Birds Stop Singing Day. It was a nice idea, but, it seem to be a non-provable holiday.
But, this morning as I was getting ready for work, and I was listening to the news, and the weatherman said that the birds wouldn't be singing today because the wind would be blowing rather strongly over most of the state for the majority of the day.
So, apparently, the medieval calendarists knew what they were calendering.
On a personal note, today, fifteen years ago, I graduated from high school. Yep, I am really that old. So, I am wearing blue and white today, my Alma Matter's colors, and I am also wearing the pearl necklace that my grandmother gave me to wear at the graduation ceremony.
Also, this is the fifteen year anniversary of Game 2 of the NBA Playoffs, the Portland Trailblazers against the Chicago Bulls. Portland won in overtime. One of the best games ever. Everyone at my graduation, speakers included, listened to the game on their Walkmans. Anyone who didn't bring a Walkman was updated of the score at regular intervals from the podium. Clyde "the Glide" Drexler fowled out during the fourth quarter. And that is what I remember most about my high school graduation.
Monday, June 4, 2007
A rusalka is a fish-woman from slavic mythology, with the dark ghostly-sexual undertones like a succubus. Rusalka are women or children who have died violently before their time. These woman or children have been jilted by their lovers, or have been born out of wedlock and have been murdered by those most dear to them, or have committed suicide. They are dangerous mostly to men, and like to seduce men by singing to them, then wrapping their arms around them to then pull them under the water to drown them.
While rusalka are dangerous, they do serve some good. They have some control over the fertility of the living things near them and some control over the regular passing of the seasons. As we all want the lands around us to be fertile, (and maybe because even we want to be fertile) and maybe because of the freaky global warming seasonal issues we should want to have a few rusalka around.
Rusalka Week, the first full week of June, is the most active time for the rusalka. Rusalka will be more active than usual, and we all should take caution. Because the rusalka are in their situation because of false love, they will lure others to the same state. Be careful of any feelings of love that begin during Rusalka Week. These feelings are not true love but a "love sickness" spell cast by a nearby rusalka. During Rusalka Week:
- You should not should go swimming; you could be dragged to a watery grave by a rusalka.
- Women who wish to be protected from love sickness should not spin, weave, wash their hair, or sleep during the day.
- Men who wish to be protected from love sickness should wear a garland of walnuts and garlic.
I am sorry to say, I have washed my hair today. I guess I washed all my protection away. Sigh.
Friday, June 1, 2007
Leave the Office Early Day
Now, I know that most of you are thinking that since it already is a short work week, why on earth would it be okay to leave the office early. Well, last night we had a blue moon. If you believe that things go all crazy-like during a full moon, then surely, two full moons in one month is a good excuse to leave the office early.
Some people believe that a holiday weekend makes the work week feel longer and more torturous, rather than shorter. If you are one of those people, again, you should go home early.
And finally, there are some people who didn't have a holiday weekend because they worked on home improvement type activities all weekend. And those people should most definitely go home early.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
End of the Middle Ages Day
May 29, 1453 is considered by many historians to be the end of the Middle Ages, (and therefore the Beginning of the Renaissance), and because of this, some people decided it would be good to celebrate the End of the Middle Ages, and some even call it a good day to give gifts.
On this day the city of Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Empire after being under siege for almost two months. So, why is this specific turning point significant? Because of the fall of Constantinople, the Byzantine (Greek) scholars migrated away from Constantinople which had been their political center. This scattering encouraged studies of Greek culture outside of the Byzantine Empire and began a revival of learning based on classical Greek sources, which began the Renaissance.
So, how do we celebrate the end of the Middle Ages? Well, one of my favorite ways to celebrate is with food. I found quite a few recipes here, and here, and here. I would probably try to think of more ways to celebrate, but my lunch break is over, so I should get back to work in the next few minutes.
So, in which ever way you celebrate, even if you just read a bit about the Fall of Constantinople, have a wonderful End of the Middle Ages Day.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
It seems that my life is in jeopardy since I quoted an old bit of Devonshire weather folklore.
Thunder in MayIn my own defense, I would like to state that it is not my fault it is snowing in Park City, Utah. It is, however, the fault of a Devonshire man named Frankin, because apparently, New England Puritans weren't the only people who frequently sold their souls to the Devil. According to The Perpetual Almanack of Folklore:
Frightens the Summer away.
"Sharp frosts which sometimes occur about this time are the revenge of one Frankin, a beer-brewer put out of business by competition from cider. He therefore vowed his soul to the Devil in return for frost on each of the three 'Frankin's Days' around May the twenty-first, hoping that these would kill the apple-blossom and ruin the cider crop (Kightly 82).So, Edgy, the reason why it snowed today? Because hops bloom in August.
Monday, May 21, 2007
To: Almanac Readers
From: Absent-minded Secretary
Date: May 21, 2007
Subject: National Memo Day
As it is currently National Memo Day, it has been proposed that all communication to and from the Almanac be in the form of a memo. If there are any questions regarding this change of policy, please direct them to Absent-minded Secretary via a memo.
Friday, May 18, 2007
Friday, May 11, 2007
Twilight Zone Day
For Twilight Zone Day, I would like to present real lawn furniture. The furniture created for the greenest of treehuggers.
To me, it looks like there is something scary hiding underneath the lawn ...
for the right moment...
Posted by Erin aka- absent-minded secretary at Friday, May 11, 2007
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Clean Up Your Room Day
Today is Clean Up Your Room Day, and what perfect timing it is for clean up your room day, because today is the first day of spring. In Absent-minded Almanac world, spring has not sprung until the first time I hear the song "Dreams" while I am driving in my car with the windows down. Last night while I was driving north on I-15 with my windows down, on my way to celebrate Day Four of the Week of Edgy, I heard the song. Anyway, now it's spring, and now we can begin spring cleaning.
I believe that to do anything correctly, I must first read about how other people do the same thing, because, who knows, I could have been cleaning my room the wrong way my whole life! I mean, when I clean my room I usually begin with dusting the bookshelves. Then, after I have read two books that I had forgotten that I haven't read, I remember that I was going to clean my room... last week. So, maybe there is a more efficient way to clean one's room.
The first place to look when you want to learn how to do something is Wikihow.com. Now, Wikihow does have several entries about how to clean and organize, but I was drawn to an entry titled How to Clean Your Room. This article has a very interesting suggestion for all of us who are procrastinators by nature.
Pretend that mutant aliens are coming and if the room is not clean in (insert time) you are doomed.I had never thought of this approach before. I thought that I was being creative when I was seven and I made my younger brothers take turns being Cinderella while I was the evil step-mother so I wouldn't have to clean. Yes, I was one of those mean older sisters.
While I would like to be able to tell you that I am going to try the "Alien Deadline for Room Cleaning" tonight, I must be honest. I will probably just sit on my couch and watch The Office while eating cancer causing microwave popcorn.
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
Monday, May 7, 2007
Day of Edgy
"There are three hundred and sixty-four days when you might get un-birthday presents ... and only one for birthday presents..." -Lewis Carroll
Happy Birthday Edgy! May you get one new book for each of the candles on your birthday cake!
Thursday, May 3, 2007
According to The Perpetual Almanack of Folklore, May the 3rd is "Avoiding Day." This is a very unlucky day because it is believed that this is the day the bad angels were kicked out of heaven. These fallen angels are allowed to haunt the earth on this day which makes it a very bad day to do things, and we should avoid starting anything.
So, the pile on my desk, I have a reason for ignoring it today.
Posted by Erin aka- absent-minded secretary at Thursday, May 03, 2007
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Feast Day of St. Expeditus
St. Expeditus (while no longer recognized by the Catholic Church) is the patron saint against procrastination, for urgent causes, prompt solutions, merchants, navigators, computer programmers, and e-commerce. According to legend, St. Expeditus was a Roman soldier who converted to Christianity. On the day when Expeditus made the decision to become a Christian, the Devil took the form of a crow and told St. Expeditus his conversion could wait until the next day. Expeditus stomped on the bird, and shouted "I'll be a Christian today!"
It is possible that Expeditus did not exist. Some historians speculate that the idea of the saint may have stemmed from a misunderstanding that occurred when Parisian nuns received a crate of relics from Rome labeled for "expedited" delivery and mistakenly thought the label referred to the name of a saint.
I feel as if I should have some sort of bond with St. Expeditus because I am a procrastinator, and perhaps when I pray under my breath for things to work out, maybe he is listening and watching over me. If I were Catholic, that is.
I am a very bad procrastinator. I haven't blogged about National Drop Everything And Read Day (April 12th), National Library Worker's Day (April 17th), or National Library Week (April 15th-21st). I meant to blog about D.E.A.R., and then I really meant to blog about D.E.A.R. after reading Neel's post about Library Week (by the way, if you don't already read Neel, you really ought to. He will give you the best information about how to attend movies before they are released on his advance movie screening guide.)
Well, I guess I still haven't really blogged about D.E.A.R. or Library Week, so I guess that St. Expeditus isn't helping me today.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Reading Harry Potter books always makes me hungry. In book IV, which I am reading because it is the assigned book for April as part of Edgy's Book Club, J.K Rowling has twice mentioned beef casserole. Now I want stroganoff, or tater tot casserole anything pumpkin, and maybe some butterbeer.
Posted by Erin aka- absent-minded secretary at Sunday, April 15, 2007
Friday, April 13, 2007
On this date in 1844, the New York Sun printed a story of the first transatlantic flight, which took only three days in Mr. Monck Mason's flying machine. But, how can that be? The Wright brothers didn't fly the first successful airplane until 1903... which was 59 years previous to 1844, right?
Yes right. The story "The Atlantic Crossed in Three Days in Mr.Monck Mason's Flying Machine!" was written by Edgar Allan Poe, and became known as "The Balloon Hoax."
Gotta love Edgar!
Posted by Erin aka- absent-minded secretary at Friday, April 13, 2007
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Somewhere about this time in April is the festival of Cerealia. Cerealia is a 5-8 day celebration of the Roman goddess Ceres. Ceres is the goddess of growing plants,(there is a statue of Ceres on the dome of the Vermont State House building, to remind us of the importance of agriculture to Vermont's economy and history), grains (hence the word cereal) and motherly love (her Greek name is Demeter, and her daughter is Kore a.k.a Persephone).
To celebrate Cerealia traditionally, you should make a spelt cake, and offer it to Ceres, but that recipe doesn't sound very yummy, and she might not like it. You could fancy-up a spelt cake with apples or chocolate, to eat all by yourself, which could be fun. Or you could be like me and just eat cereal. You know how they say you shouldn't grocery shop when you are hungry? Yeah, well, I just bought five huge boxes of cereal, for the one of me. Apparently, I like the idea of cereal when I am hungry.
I guess I had better go buy some milk too.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Poetry & the Creative Mind Day
If you like poetry, you should celebrate Poetry & the Creative Mind Day. If you want to celebrate poems longer than one day, you should know that April is National Poetry Month. If you are having a hard time forcing yourself to be creative, Poets.org gives us some ideas with their 30 Ways to Celebrate page. My favorite ideas are "Take a Poem Out to Lunch", "Get out the Sidewalk Chalk and Commit a Poem to Pavement", and "Put Some Poetry in an Unexpected Place".
Today at lunch I tried to recite a poem, any poem, and my brain just froze. Out of all the poems from all the poets that I had been required to memorize for a grade, or even those that have just became part of my subconscious from reading over and over again over the years... it's like they weren't there. I couldn't remember any of my Frost, or Parker, or Dickinson, or Lewis, or Yeats; the only poem that I remembered enough to recite was Shel Silverstein's "I Cannot Go To School Today", which probably means that I shouldn't be at work today. You know, because I have the measles and the mumps, a gash and rash and purple bumps...