The Lady Speaks

Saturday Potluck

The weekly round-up of cool and interesting blogs found while cruising the cyber-space highway:

Shack Life Quarterly — A food and travel blog with fabulous recipes. [[Yes, I do adore recipe blogs. Why do you ask? – Jenn]]

Melissa’s Easy Chocolate Cake:

This is a seriously easy cake. I think it took me almost as long to lick the bowl out afterwards as it did to make the cake. For anyone who thinks they can’t make a cake, give this one a try. Don’t be put off by the vinegar, it really does work in this cake.

Out of My Head — [insert descriptive label here.] I couldn’t really come up with a short sentence/phrase to describe this blog; it’s so wonderfully varied. Just go read it. All of it!

A Magic Carpet Ride of Her Life:

In 1986, I met an amazing woman named Julia Palmer. For her, books were magical carpet rides to all the wonders of life. And she devoted most of her adult years to bringing their powerful magic to the children of New York City.

[snip]

When she was in her 40s, she volunteered to help public school children with their reading, throwing her boundless passion into helping them get the same joy from books she did. She was delighted to see faces light up when she brought children books they actually cared about, rather than the meaningless ones they were being forced to read. “See Sally run.” “Why in God’s name would they care about Sally?” Julia asked. Kids who hated reading before became avid readers. Julia had found her life’s mission.

From this, she became a zealous advocate for literacy and for books that really matter to kids. She decided that all children deserved access to good books and “the world of ideas.” And, so, determined to make a difference, she raised a few thousand dollars, outfitted a yellow van with paperback books of her choosing, named the van Buttercup, and started her bookmobile lending library service.

A Piece of Peace — Fighting cancer, defying labels.

Blue Photography Meditation:

I’ve had a peaceful blue meditation today and wanted to share it with you here today.

I realize that it’s possible to post too many posts in a day but some days (rarely) I can’t help myself and post more than one. I’ve heard that if people are subscribed to a blog feed reader or email and they get too many posts listed they may unsubscribe. I know people are busy but at the same time it’s good to take some time for ourselves during the day; take time to just stop, sit, lie down, breathe and relax.

Love & Hate Mail — Hire a ghost writer to write your letters!

Your Underwear Ruined My Life:

I have been a customer of your lingerie line for many years. From the high-waisted full-coverage of the eighties to the micro-thong of the late nineties, to the low-rider boy-shorts of today, I’ve been with you all the way. I even had a pair of circa 1995 Rios – not a lot of people can say that! Over the years I’ve been highly satisfied with the quality of your product, and I’ve encouraged friends to support your store as well.

However, I recently had a tragic underwear malfunction which is changing my opinion of Bizniz Intimates. I don’t know if you were asleep at the wheel, or if you intentionally pimped out inferior undergarments to the public, but the fact remains: the elastic in that thong was woefully inadequate.

Christmas Jokes — It’s never too early for Christmas jokes!

Funny Jokes – Not A Martha Stewart Christmas:

To All Our Family and Friends:

Just a note to let you know we are hoping to see you Thanksgiving Day. But…. Martha Stewart will not be dining with us this Thanksgiving. I’m telling you in advance, so don’t act surprised.

Since Ms. Stewart won’t be coming, I’ve made a few small changes:

Our sidewalk will not be lined with homemade, paper bag luminaries. After a trial run, it was decided that no matter how cleverly done, rows of flaming lunch sacks do not have the desired welcoming effect.

Once inside, our guests will note that the entry hall is not decorated with the swags of Indian corn and fall foliage I had planned to make. Instead, I’ve gotten the kids involved in the decorating by having them track in colorful autumn leaves from the front yard. The mud was their idea.

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September 22, 2007 Posted by | Blogs, Just For Fun | Leave a comment

Protest Today, Wherever You Are

blackribbon1.jpg
Sign The Pledge
Join the Iraq Moratorium

September 21, 2007 Posted by | America, Blogs, Government, Iraq, Middle East, Pentagon, Protest, War, White House | Leave a comment

Saturday Potluck

I found some really cool blogs while dipping and diving around the tubes this week:

New York Hack — A female cabbie in NYC who’s written a book: Hack: How I Learned To Stop Worrying About What To Do With My Life and Started Driving a Yellow Cab

The Best Night Ever:

I had an amazing night on Tuesday. So many people came out and the store sold out of my book! The whole thing was pretty damn special. A few cabbies came out, one regular passenger was in attendance, lots of friends and family, and even a bunch of people I didn’t know showed up. The room was packed, all the chairs were filled, and there were crowds of people standing in the aisles! It was probably one of the best nights of my life so far.

Blue Kitchen — A fantastic food blog that even the folks who can’t boil water will enjoy.

A Few Simple Ingredients Take Center Stage:

This particular soup came out of a failed attempt at a promising sounding recipe that just didn’t deliver. I’ve talked in the past about my overflowing, unkempt binders of recipes. As often happens, I was flipping through them looking for one recipe when I found another, for Tomato Bean Soup with Pasta. I love cannellini beans and I thought they would have more of a starring role in this soup. But the recipe turned out to be too busy, with too many ingredients all vying for attention—the white beans that caught my interest originally and tomatoes and pasta and either swiss chard or kale. In the end, the results were only okay, with no one flavor asserting itself.

Emergency Nursing Notes — Nursing from a male perspective.

Empowering Nurses:

Regardless of how good we may feel about the work we do, hospital nurses work in bureaucratic organizations which sometimes make our work and how we feel about it difficult.

Recently, I have been involved in a process at our hospital to improve the quality of nursing services. Oddly enough, however, no interest is expressed in improving the autonomy of nurses.

Although the nursing staff constitutes the largest group of employees at the hospital and generates the overwhelming majority of direct patient care hours (approximately 95%), we are not empowered by administration or the board of directors to conceive of ourselves as a organizational entity that may have interests and concerns that do not mirror the organization’s as a whole. Hence, we are permitted minimal self-determination.

Secret Scotland — Cyber-tour of “secret, hidden, or otherwise notable Points of Interest in Scotland” with it’s own Wiki. Mostly former military installations, but still interesting.

Corrugated Iron Buildings:

Following the recent offer for sale of a Corrugated Iron house, it was interesting to learn more about these old structures.

They come in many forms, and it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to learn that the Portable Buildings, as they were known at the time, were available in a wide range of configurations, ranging from simple houses, all the way to dance halls and churches.

Dating back to their beginnings in the 1820s, their name/description is possibly a little confusing, and even unfair, as the Corrugated Iron referred to in their build is not the flimsy, general purpose steel sheeting we recognise today, but was then actually Wrought Iron, galvanised to resist the weather, relatively cheap, and able to produce a quickly assembled structure.

the (okay, not quite) daily word — Learn something (almost) every day!

curium:

cu·ri·um: A silvery metallic synthetic radioactive transuranic element. Its longest lived isotope is Cm 247 with a half-life of 16.4 million years. Atomic number 96; melting point (estimated) 1,350°C; valence 3. According to information found on the Wiki site, “Curium was first synthesized at the University of California, Berkeley by Glenn T. Seaborg, Ralph A. James, and Albert Ghiorso in 1944.”

September 15, 2007 Posted by | Blogs, Just For Fun | Leave a comment

Saturday Potluck

I thought life was supposed to be less hectic once the kids are gone? Hah!

I’ll spare y’all the details and condense it to: “work, work, deal with bureaucrats, work, deal with bureaucrats some more, work, 2-hour drive to a football game and back again.” Before we start, I just wanna say: We won!

Or rather the team did – I just yelled and clapped a lot. Oh – and I learned a cool new cheer – led by guys, no less. Someday I’m going to write a post about a buncha herd … a whole lot of old guys yelling “helpful” instructions to the team, doing cheers better than the cheerleaders, and overall, having the time of their lives – except for when they played, naturally. Except that a few … a lot of them, I happen to know, only went on the field at half-time. (Yes, folks, some of those band geeks grow up to become bleacher-bound, wannabe football coaches. But they know everything there is to know about football, especially when the other team is ahead, really. The only thing worse than listening to them tell the kids how to play is listening to the former cheerleaders telling them how to play. *shudder*)

Anyway … on with the round-up of cool blogs found while wandering the toobz:

Feel like an insider! Behind the scenes of Farm Aid at Farm Aid: Around the Kitchen Table

From Wendy tells you who does what

For those of you who know Farm Aid, you know that the 11 of us who work in the office all year helping farmers, raising money and stuffing t-shirts are the same folks who organize the Farm Aid concert.

Every September we shed our mild mannered non-profit alter egos and become rockstar concert producers (well at least we pretend to!).

Each staff member has concert responsibilities, as well as our regular non-profit charitable work. It’s kind of cool but can be overwhelming. All week staff divided their time between our office in Massachusetts and the concert site in NYC. Now, staff are already at the venue- working out of mobile trailers- their trusty laptops at their sides.

For those living in caves until recently: more about Farm Aid and more about the concert.

An interesting and educational site for those who are – like me – following their own pathway to the Divine – – Love, Hope, and Life

From Duality and the Divine

Duality, although a useful concept for comparison and for manipulation of energies, becomes unnecessary when we wish to work with the Divine Current as a whole. Duality is the surface of understanding, while Divine Oneness is the core.

The two halves of a duality are like two sides of a coin; they appear to be opposites, and yet they are only different manifestations of the same Divine energy. When we learn to recognize them as different manifestations of the Divine, we don’t lose the concept of duality but we gain another level of understanding; the understanding that everything works together, instead of struggling for balance.[…]

Working with relatives, living in Tennessee and … ummm, having fun? DeMarCaTionVille

From Smoke-Free Tenn, Toilet Seat and Super Hero Talk:

“What do you mean they can’t smoke?” Mr. Dad bellowed after I reminded him the smoke-free Tennessee law goes into effect October 1st and would apply to his employees/workplace.

“What if I say they can smoke?” He asked.

“Well, you’d be in violation of the law and subject to a fine… or imprisonment if they allow me to testify against you.”

“Seriously?”

“Seriously on the laws or seriously `would I testify against you?’ Yes and yes, if they offered me a deal, reward or free soda with purchase of sandwich from McDonald’s.”

“I thought the law just applied to restaurants – and you’re still upset about that whole toilet seat thing, aren’t you? I told you I was sorry about that.”

“The smoke-free laws apply to all public places including the workplace with three or more employees. There are a a few exceptions – but none that apply to you. And it’s not just the toilet seat thing. If you’re locked-up, it would be easier for me to date.” I explained.

September 8, 2007 Posted by | America, Blogs, Just For Fun | 1 Comment

Riverbend Breaks Her Silence

After more than four months, Riverbend has posted again.

Two months ago, the suitcases were packed. My lone, large suitcase sat in my bedroom for nearly six weeks, so full of clothes and personal items, that it took me, E. and our six year old neighbor to zip it closed.

Packing that suitcase was one of the more difficult things I’ve had to do. It was Mission Impossible: Your mission, R., should you choose to accept it is to go through the items you’ve accumulated over nearly three decades and decide which ones you cannot do without. The difficulty of your mission, R., is that you must contain these items in a space totaling 1 m by 0.7 m by 0.4 m. This, of course, includes the clothes you will be wearing for the next months, as well as any personal memorabilia- photos, diaries, stuffed animals, CDs and the like.

[snip]

[…] Most importantly, we were all equal. Sunnis and Shia, Arabs and Kurds… we were all equal in front of the Syrian border personnel.

We were all refugees- rich or poor. And refugees all look the same- there’s a unique expression you’ll find on their faces- relief, mixed with sorrow, tinged with apprehension. The faces almost all look the same.

September 7, 2007 Posted by | Blogs, Iraq, Middle East, War, Women | 1 Comment

Saturday Potluck

What a weekend this will be. I’m going from being a two-child household to being an empty-nester … all in one shot.

Not only did the girl child move – filling far more bags for Goodwill and more trash cans in the process than ever expected from a girl who, upon learning I’d sorted her clothes and culled them to a measly 21 different outfits, replied, “But, Mom! That’s only three weeks!” (She was 8.) – but the eldest son has moved out as well.

Not just moved out, but moved into an itsy-bitsy two room (or possibly two-bedroom, details not being his strong suit)  3rd-floor walk-up with his on-again off-again girlfriend.  Both of them went out and spent money on “things for the apartment.” He rented a 32″ plasma-screen TV; she bought a new down-filled comforter with matching sheets, pillow shams, and dust ruffle. Both are angry at the other for wasting money, especially since they now have no food and no money. She’s also mad that he wasn’t paying attention when she asked him how something looked. He’s mad that she’s hanging curtains while he (and friends) are hauling her furniture up two flights of steep and extremely narrow stairs in a building old enough to have been God’s first apartment.

Yeah, this has all the earmarks of a Bush-style “success.”

On the plus side, no one’s pregnant and, after Monday, I’ll have two new housemates who will actually pay their share of the rent and utilities – and pay it on time. Not to mention they’ll probably keep their rooms clean. Woot!

So, while I celebrate my newfound freedom scrub the bathrooms and vacuum the cobwebs so my new roomies don’t run screaming, y’all read this week’s round-up of interesting blogs, remembering that I dodged all those trucks along the Internet toobz just for you. Don’t you feel special now?

The Book Bitches — Copy protected or something, so no quote. But, definitely a fun read for those who love romance novels and smart-ass bitchy women.

Word on the Street

I’ve always wanted to tell stories. As a child, most of my friends played hide-and-go-seek. I read Harriet the Spy. Inspired by Harriet, I would walk around the neighborhood with my Lisa Frank notebook and ask my neighbors if they had any news to share. As an 11-year-old, this was my idea of spying. Intrigued by my inquisitiveness (and the binoculars I wore around my neck) my 74-year-old neighbor, Mrs. Irish, would update me on her children’s lives. Mr. and Mrs. Graham always filled me in on how many cars had sped down the street. Mr. Moore updated me on Esmerelda, the stray cat that often brought mice to his doorstep. Though not exactly breaking news, their stories gave me the opportunity to do what I loved: write and report. My neighborhood was my beat, the place where I searched for people and ideas, the place where I realized how many stories are left untold.  Read it all.

Manslations

So, there’s this thing called the Internet. You might remember it from “that thing you logged into to read this, right now.” Ring any bells? Hello?

Anyway, like every other piece of technology, people have found various ways to use this “internet” to do sex to one other. (I’m sure that ten minutes after they invented the telegraph, there was a guy tapping out dirty messages in Morse Code and whacking off with the other hand.Read the whole thing.

August 25, 2007 Posted by | Blogs, Just For Fun | 6 Comments

Saturday Potluck

This is late, but better than never – right? It’s funny, but three days off work and I had less computer time than normal. (Normal in the very-liberalest meaning of the word. Normal isn’t exactly something we do around here…) Things are hectic as the school year approaches, but even more so this year, since prepping for school also means getting the daughter and her possessions ready for the Big Move to the ex’s, as well as getting her enrolled in her new school.

Yep, the fabulous Miss M. is moving.

Ever do something you know is the right thing, but feel absolutely rotten about it? Yeah, it sucks.

For the first time in 15+ years, I will not be the one to check in before going to bed just to make sure she’s still breathing. (No, first-time parents, you never outgrow that.) For the first time in 15 years, I won’t be the one she calls out to after a really bad dream, or the first one to hear about her problems, or the first one to see her report card. (Well, that last one wasn’t really such a thrill the last couple years… which is why she’s moving.)

Anyways, before I end up locking myself in a closet so I can sob in my pillow, here’s this week’s (slightly shorter) round-up of interesting blogs:

I love books — any kind of books — and I love recommendations from other readers, especially when they tell you which ones aren’t even worth buying on the super-bargain discount rack.

The Avid Reader

A friend of mine came to visit a couple of weeks ago; in an effort to lighten his luggage for his trip to Europe, he left Imogen Edwards-Jones’ book behind. I think he was trying to get back at me; previously, I left him this horrible book about gay vampires to read. Either that, or we just have very different taste because I found Air Babylonto be one of the most annoying and shallow books that I have read in a long time. Sure, it had some amusing parts, but it was just so over-the-top that I had to put it down every few chapters and read something else to cleanse my mind of this drivel.

Because we all need a good laugh… Your Daily Fun Dose

From Funny Church Bulletins:

1. Don’t let worry kill you — let the church help.
2. Thursday night – Potluck supper. Prayer and medication to follow.
3. There are some questions that can’t be answered by Google.
4. Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our church and community.
5. For those of you who have children and don’t know it, we have a nursery downstairs.
6. The rosebud on the alter this morning is to announce the birth of David Alan Belzer, the sin of Rev. and Mrs. Julius Belzer.
7. This afternoon there will be a meeting in the South and North ends of the church. Children will be baptized at both ends.

Saving the best for last… I found Crystal’s blog a couple nights ago and haven’t stopped laughing since.

Boobs, Injuries, and Dr. Pepper

I got home yesterday and noticed that it was unusually warm in the house. Since I have it in my head that turning the thermostat down makes the fornits work harder to make ice cubes to cool the rooms or some such thing, I went to set it to sub-zero. And found that it wasn’t working.

I wasn’t immediately alarmed. Our unit is like that jukebox in Happy Days – you literally have to punch the shit out of it sometimes to wake it up and remind it that IT’S A HUNDRED AND SIX OUTSIDE. WORK, YOU FUCKING CLAPTRAP.

After I punched and cursed and threatened and cried and none of that worked, I went to find Chris.

“Air’s not working, babe.” Again, I wasn’t alarmed. Chris is the redneck McGyver. He’s McGyver with copious buttcrack. I’ve personally seen this man take a hair net and some mustard to successfully patch a hole in the roof. There is nothing he can’t fix.

His eyes widened and he began chanting, “Dead dogs. Dead,” as he walked out the door.

You have to read the whole thing. Oh, and please check out the March 30th post, Filed Under: Parents 1, Smart-Ass, Teenage Son, 0

Omilordie! That one’s so funny, I almost snorted a taco right into my sinuses as I — almost literally — fell out of my chair laughing.

August 18, 2007 Posted by | America, Blogs, Just For Fun | 1 Comment

For Felicity

I never thought I’d say this, but I think I’ve actually found a company whose customer service is WORSE than Penelec and Verizon: Charter Communications.

Thankfully, they aren’t anyone I’m stuck doing business with, but Felicity of The Hangover Journals does, and she’s being royally f*cked over by them:

I’m going to reiterate everything that’s happened with me and Charter in this post so I have it all neatly in writing somewhere. […] You know I never ask for links, but I’m asking now. I want this to get around. I want this article to be on the front page of a google search for Charter Communications. I am beyond anger and into a sort of deep, shaking, silent rage.

At some point during the first week of August, Charter turned my internet off. I called them the morning of August 3 to straighten this out. They claimed that my internet had been turned off because I had not paid my bill since May, when I moved. In actual fact, they had been siphoning $55 out of my bank account each month. When I pointed this out, they at first accused me of getting internet at two houses and then said, well, alright, we screwed up and we’ll credit your account at the new house with all the money that we have removed. So that was an hour on the phone and some screaming and one would have thought, well, perils of modern life and all that, right, but it’s over.

Wrong. It was not over. Charter would proceed to turn my internet off again for the same reason on Sunday, August 5: another hour long phone call, same resolution.

And again on Friday, August 10: another hour long phone call with bonus screaming which took place on Sunday, August 12 and ended up with them –

Turning it off again an hour later. On Monday, August 13 I called again and spoke for, yeah, about an hour, with a supervisor named Monica who assured me over and over that it was all taken care of now.

And it was until last night, when they turned it off again and I am even now summoning up my courage to call the assholes again.

Felicity’s asking for links to her post, with the goal of making it the number one site when folks search Google for Charter. Spread the word.

August 17, 2007 Posted by | America, Blogs, Business, Charter Communications | Leave a comment

Saturday Potluck

UPDATE – 8/15/07:

I didn’t know it at the time, but this was my 500th post! How cool!

– – –

Yep, the name’s definitely grown on me. I guess I’ll keep it. Here’s this week’s round-up of newly-discovered, interesting blogs – with quotes from each:

Dying Man’s Daily Journal

I am a 54 year old male and my doctors have told me I am dying. It is my hope that by sharing my experiences, I can encourage others faced with the same situation. I hope to also help the families of those individuals to have an understanding of the process and deal with the fear or dread of being around the dying. I am not a doctor, not a man of the clergy, I am not a therapist. I am just me, Bill Howdle, I am merely sharing my thoughts and ideas. I write of death and dying, understand this is my personal prospective, based on what I am encountering.

Rebels Are We

My only question after reading this is, why aren’t bridges falling down all over Massachusetts?

Like A Spaniard Learn colloquial Spanish

Many Spanish idioms have an identical counterpart in English. Here are two:

“Estar en el septimo cielo” means “To be in seventh heaven”

“Mover cielo y tierra” translates to “To move heaven and earth”

Let’s Play Math

Can your students solve this problem?

There are 20% more girls than boys in the senior class. What percent of the seniors are girls?

This is from a discussion of the semantics of percent problems and why students have trouble with them, going on over at MathNotations. (Follow-up post here.) Our pre-algebra class just finished a chapter on percents, so I thought Chickenfoot might have a chance at this one. Nope! He leapt without thought to the conclusion that 60% of the class must be girls. After I explained the significance of the word “than”, he solved the follow-up problem just fine.

And, for those who either have the world’s worst boss or want to be stunned by just how rotten some bosses can be, check out the My Bad Boss Contest at WorkingAmerica.org

August 11, 2007 Posted by | Blogs, Just For Fun | 8 Comments

Saturday Potluck

Okay, the name’s growing on me…

What’s Your Walk Score?

My town scored a not-bad 60 out of 100, but – unfortunately – “teh Google” has a few things in the wrong places. One school appears to be only 1 mile from my house. In fact, it’s nearly 3 miles away.

It also marks the high school’s football field (and track, and soccer, and other stuff) as a pond! *smirk* There’s a lot I could say, considering the football team is a joke, but I’ll settle on: Guess that’s what they get for calling it the “Lockhart Bowl”

Things I Learned Today

Learn interestesting facts like:

The failed Gunpowder Plot (Guy Fawkes almost setting off barrels of gunpowder under the House of Lords in 1605) involved 18 barrels of gunpowder, which would have not only reduced The House of Lords to rubble, it would have killed everyone within 100 meters, and broken all the stained glass windows in Westminster Abbey.

The Leaky Brain

Just plain fun to read, especially the post on how to cage free drinks on airplanes! Also, be sure to check out the “Team of the Week” feature.

The Little Pink Clubhouse

Another one of those cool folks I met through FDL, Strategerie is a romance author, currently working on selling her first novel. She’s also the President-for-Life (and then some) of the PJF Fan Club. (Don’t worry, you’ll understand once you get there.)

August 4, 2007 Posted by | Blogs, Just For Fun | Leave a comment