Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Here's the deal: Now that it's almost May, the end of the school year will come on with great, hurtling force, so my already-sporadic blogging may well become even more so. I will do my best--truth be told, I'll probably need to post just to keep sanity.

In the meantime, as promised, a random assortment of pictures:

This was what I came down to on my birthday from my dear husband.

Our new indoor-outdoor rug--made completely from recycled plastic bottles! Not kidding--it ROCKS.

The greenie decided to get bags to separate glass from paper from metal. Unfortunately, the trash collectors made off with the orange one, even though I'd put our address on there. They probably just THREW IT AWAY, TOO.

Ohhhh, gracious--this was my sister and BIL's Christmas present to us-- pancake making apparatus!

Banana pancakes! Yeah!

Raisin bread for Grandma--when you turn 95, you get whatever you want. This was what she wanted. :-)

me, Grandma, my aunt Deborah

Oh, and our anniversary dinner--thanks for the help, Yum! We decided instead of going out, we'd cook something we don't usually, so I made stuffing to put in our yummy grilled quail.

Preparing the quail

...grilled with a bit of olive oil and rosemary

...and jumbo shrimp, baby! Oh yes, and a salad, but that wasn't quite picture-worthy

I am an extremely lucky person.


"Real" post coming soon, probably with a lot of pictures. In the meantime, a colleague sent me this e-mail today and, in this constantly upgrading world, I wanted to share it and hear your thoughts:

Introducing the new Bio-Optic Organized Knowledge device, trade named: BOOK

BOOK is a revolutionary breakthrough in technology: no wires, no electric circuits, no batteries, nothing to be connected or switched on. It's so easy to use, even a child can operate it.

Compact and portable, it can be used anywhere -- even sitting in an armchair by the fire -- yet it is powerful enough to hold as much information as a CD-ROM disc. Here's how it works:

BOOK is constructed of sequentially numbered sheets of paper (recyclable), each capable of holding thousands of bits of information. The pages are locked together with a custom-fit device called a binder, which keeps the sheets in their correct sequence.

Opaque Paper Technology (OPT) allows manufacturers to use both sides of the sheet, doubling the information density and cutting costs. Experts are divided on the prospects for further increases in information density; for now, BOOKs with more information simply use more pages.

Each sheet is scanned optically, registering information directly into your brain. A flick of the finger takes you to the next sheet. BOOK may be taken up at any time and used merely by opening it.

Unlike other display devices, BOOK never crashes or requires rebooting, and it can even be dropped on the floor or stepped on without damage. However, it can become unusable if immersed in water for a significant period of time. The "browse" feature allows you to move instantly to any sheet and move forward or backward as you wish. Many come with an "index" feature, which pinpoints the exact location of selected information for instant retrieval.

An optional "BOOKmark" accessory allows you to open BOOK to the exact place you left it in a previous session -- even if the BOOK has been closed. BOOKmarks fit universal design standards; thus, a single BOOKmark can be used in BOOKs by various manufacturers. Conversely, numerous BOOKmarkers can be used in a single BOOK if the user wants to store numerous views at once. The number is limited only by the number of pages in the BOOK.

You can also make personal notes next to BOOK text entries with an optional programming tool, the Portable Erasable Nib Cryptic Intercommunication Language Stylus (PENCILS).

Portable, durable, and affordable, BOOK is being hailed as a precursor of a new entertainment wave. Also, BOOK's appeal seems so certain that thousands of content creators have committed to the platform and investors are reportedly flocking. Look for a flood of new titles soon.

Monday, April 19, 2010

another way to take away from productivity

If you haven't checked out this blog yet, do so immediately for laughs. You really need the audio for the full effect.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Banana Bread

Brownish bananas lead me to find this recipe, in case you need one. Apparently it's from Cooking Light 2003 and it's quite tasty. I didn't use a cup of sugar; in my mind, bananas have quite a bit of sugar in them. I used a heaping 1/2 cup. I also only had vanilla yogurt, so I used that and added 1/4 t vanilla extract.


Banana Bread
MAKES: 14 servings CRISPY RATING: The best recipe I've found.

Ingredients 2 Cups All-purpose Flour
3/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup Light Butter, softened
2 Large Eggs
1 1/2 Cups Mashed Bananas, about 3 bananas
1/3 Cup Plain Low-fat Yogurt
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1. Preheat oven to 350°. 2. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt, stirring with a whisk. 3. Place sugar and butter in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended, about 1 minute. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add banana, yogurt, and vanilla; beat until blended. 4. Add flour mixture; beat at low speed just until moist. 5. Spoon batter into an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

Per Serving: 171 Calories; 3g Fat (14.0% calories from fat); 3g Protein; 34g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 33mg Cholesterol; 176mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 1/2 Fruit; 0 Non-Fat Milk; 1/2 Fat; 1 Other Carbohydrates

Sunday, April 11, 2010


The only reason I follow Twitter is because I sometimes run across gems such as this one, linked by The Bloggess:

Instructions Book by Neil Gaiman

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Movies, TV, Books

Just a random assortment of suggestions and non-suggestions. Basically, it's Saturday morning and I'm avoiding cleaning my house and grading. You're welcome.


Last Night in Twisted Riverby John Irving

Is it all right that I'm giving this review and I'm not done with the book? Because I already love it. This may have something to do with the fact that, as a rule, I love John Irving's novels. He's sucked me in right away (although it does begin with a lot of history of the logging industry)--he'll have you going along, thinking, "OK, good plot, memorable characters..." and WHAM! He throws a curve-ball at you. Let me put it this way: I've read ahead in about four places because I can't wait to see what's next.

Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie

Admittedly, I am also not too far through this novel (that I'm reading for my book club. Whoops. J, you've probably finished it AND made copious notes. But you are a human dynamo), but I'm enjoying the lack of completely linear writing. The narrator interjects himself a lot, working two intertwined plots at the same time. I happen to like that. I find his writing here very lyrical in spots. Hopefully it will continue. I'm going to hear Rushdie speak next Friday, so that should be fascinating.

I suppose I should add the caveat that I may like Midnight's Children so much because most of what I've read for our book club I (and others) have not enjoyed, so perhaps part of my feeling toward this book involves sheer relief, but I don't think that's entirely why I recommend it.

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

I'm reading this one as my summer reading book for the students, and I find it riveting. It's a collection of short stories all based in one small town in Maine, and they're all intertwined. The main character, Olive, is a retired schoolteacher who's a bit crusty, a bit domineering--I alternate between utterly disliking her and feeling sorry for her as the author drops more and more bits of Olive's life into the stories. It won the Pulitzer Prize, and I can see why.

The cool part is that this year we had the students come in and recommend books (an idea both obvious and innovative), and I believe a few kids recommended this one. Thought-provoking and at times bitterly sad, Olive Kitteridge also has its bright spots. I've truly enjoyed it. Plus it's not terribly long, so it's one you can keep on your bedside table and read a story a night.


If you haven't gotten into LOST yet, well, I don't understand why not. Rent the DVDs and watch it from the beginning and see if you don't get hooked. In a sea of crime and doctor dramas, it has a sometimes confusing but never boring storyline.

I never thought I'd feel sympathy for a serial killer, but we love the Showtime series Dexter. I warn you, it's extremely dark and sometimes unnerving, but we think the acting is great and the plot often blackly humorous. Lots of blood, though (obviously), and lots of swearing, so if that's not something you like, don't go for it. Tell you what--if you could get through and enjoy the movie Fargo, I think it has that same air about it. These are also on DVD.

I just got into Modern Family after hearing three people (whose opinions I trust) rave about it within as many days. We watched it the other night and laughed a lot. I think someone finally hit on a combination of families that are exaggerated in just the right way and got away from the "dumb-husband/shrewish, acerbically witty wife" combo that's been around since The Honeymooners. And I think Ed O'Neill has gotten funnier as he's gotten older-- he's improved on his timing. Honestly, some of it was so hilarious because it seemed familiar.

  • I don't have much here except to write that apparently the movie Crank 2: High Voltage
    is, according to my husband, "the worst movie I've ever watched all the way through," and he's let himself watch some real stinkers. He said it felt as though a fourteen year-old boy had written the script: bad one-liners, explosions, fast cars, sex, scantily clad women, and bad guys...all to a soundtrack that featured lots of electric guitar. But worse.
I have become convinced that the reason I like the movie Meet Joe Black as much as I do is solely because of the soundtrack by Thomas Newman, who's done the music for American Beauty, Finding Nemo, The Shawshank Redemption, Road to Perdition, and others. I just love how hauntingly beautiful it is. Otherwise, it's not that terrific a movie.

Baz Luhrman's Romeo + Juliet confuses 9th graders because they can't reconcile Elizabethan English with modern scenarios. The men need to be in doublets and tights (although the codpieces are a bit much), not gang-wear, for them to get it.

Honestly, I haven't seen anything in the theater lately, so let me know what's good.

So there's my two cents. Do with it what you will. I'm off to clean and bake cinnamon-raisin bread with my mom for my grandma's 95th birthday tomorrow.