Saturday, November 27, 2010

How About That!

I was going through some old pictures this afternoon, and discovered that my kid was apparently channeling Cindy Lou Who in 2005!

Complete with two missing upper front teeth...and yes, that year she went around singing the 'All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth' song. I love how she's got her feet positioned in this picture. :)

This was taken Christmas Eve, the excitment and 'I've been SUCH a good girl!' vibes were palpable.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Did I Forget Anything?!

I can never escape that 'I've forgotten something SO basic, people will laugh at me' feeling when gearing up for Thanksgiving.

Today I'm making two pies, one pecan and one pumpkin.

Tomorrow I'm making:
Roast turkey with sausage/walnut stuffing
Mashed potatoes
Sweet potatoes
Green bean/mushroom casserole
Cranberry sauce (THAT'S what I forgot! Back to the store...)
Relish tray: pickles, black olives, green olives

The nuts & Applets & Cotlets will be for us to snack on, I'm also making some blanched & toasted almonds tonight. I'm thinking or getting a port wine/nut cheese ball & crackers to set out too, along with some cut-up apples to keep people out of the kitchen and the Hell out from under foot.

Just for fun, I loaded all of tomorrow's food on the kitchen island for a photo op:

Holy cats, what a mountain of food! Birdzilla weighs in at a little over 15 pounds. They had some truly gigantic turkeys at the store, but I didn't need some 25 pound monster squatting in my oven and bending the rack. This one will likely take 4-5 hours to cook as it is.

Breakfast goodies, including lovely fresh eggs from our girls.

J. requested some mixed nuts to snack on, not ALL of these will be used in the stuffing, which will be a sausage/walnut type. The gravy I got to augment the REAL gravy I'll make from the pan drippings, we all love giblet gravy so I want to be sure there is plenty.

Pie makin's! One pecan (my mom's recipe) and one pumpkin, with homemade whipped cream.

I'm a big believer in Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners being special--as homemade & from scratch, made with the best ingredients, as I can get it. This will be the kid's first time helping me stuff & roast a turkey, she's all excited...we'll see what she thinks when I tell her to grab a big ol' handfull of moist bread and ram it up a dead turkey's nether region. :)

Ah, new life experiences--!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Revenge of the Giant Meat-Eating Rabbits!

This one is just what it says: The Revenge of the Giant Meat-Eating Rabbit! With a title like that, you know you can't go too wrong. This is actually a sequel to a story she wrote about a year ago for an assignment when she was in grade school. And yeah, we DO watch a lot of wonderfully bad 50's sci-fi around here. He's even licking his chops in anticipation!

AAGGH! Run, he's on a rampage! You can easily tell this because his eyes have turned red. Also he's clutching a car and stomping a building flat. Giant meat-eating rabbits are nothing if not prim and proper however, he still has his tighty whiteys on!

Ahh, a school! Yum, he's rubbing his hands together in glee as he envisions a school sandwich!

He proceeds to snack on the building.  The 'S' and 'H' are the first to go...

Oh no, he's got Dr. Grant, the school principal! And she's 'spicier than a pepper'! He knows this, because he's doing the 'Pepsi challenge' thing between the two.

The kid and her buddy know what to do, and promptly go to the school blacksmith shop (?) and forge some weapons!

...which proves to be a gun.

Despite herself, the kid kinda thinks the giant rabbit is cute, while her buddy has somehow managed to get himself eaten, and is lamenting his stupidity.


However, a scolding and a smart smack on the nose brings him right into line, thank God. Sorry about that missing tooth there, buddy.

This was the last page, sadly.

And Another!

This one features Bug, one of her favorite hens.

Recently, Bug had to live in the house while healing from a serious wound which needed to be kept clean and dirt-free, so she was kind of a pain. Here she is leaping fom the couch to a dresser.

Yeah 'jump up on things & knock 'em down' was her thing, it got annoying. Bug was like the proverbial bull in a china shop. Self-satisfied chicken smirk included.

Note couch, including people, tied to a chicken, who is blissfully unaware of it and has, once again, jumped up on the damned furniture. The kid & her two friends were playing Halo (note the grunt on the TV screen and her dropped XBox controller), while her father and I have now entered and naturally stampede to the conclusion that someone has taken the couch yet left the television.

Next the kid tries something different, involving handcuffs. Undeterred, Bug still manages to leap onto the furniture, dragging the kid along. She's saying 'I'm in trouble, aren't I?' while I pull a facepalm.

Scream until you have an aneurism, while Bug smirks in a smug manner...

Finally, finally, her friend Bunny shows up to save the day, speaking fluent Chicken!

See? All you had to do was ask nicely!

...aaaannd Bug is, once again, perched on something.

The joke here is, the kid draws one of these little seal-type circles on the back of every book she makes, usually with the little character grinning, waving, and looking happy instead of gazing with frustrated disgust at a chicken.

More Kid Art!

Oh Lordy, the kid has been drawing again...

She has THE wildest imagination, and while her drawings aren't neat, they ARE fun. She whips them out in about 2 minutes--when I've asked her to slow down and draw more neatly, the results aren't nearly as good. So I decided to shut the Hell up and let her be her own artist.

So, for your enjoyment, here are a couple of her most recent 'books'--usually 5-6 pages drawn on front & back and stapled together.

The first features characters from her current favorite XBox360 game, 'Overlord II'. I'll translate/explain the action when necessary.

The Overlord is being chased by a mutated minion in the Wastelands, oh no!

He placates the angry mutant with a snack--another hapless minion. But with love!

Followed up with flowers! Awww...note the still-twitching minion hanging out of the mutant's mouth.

Another gift! And what does every mutated minion secretly desire? Why, a cobra in a box, of course! Applause from the half-eaten minion, even!

Afterwards the Overlord dons his...tuxedo and they go on a rampage through one of the towns...

...and end back at the Netherworld tower, where mutated minions happily play catch with the cobra, and Giblet pats his favorite minion on the head.

Yeah, I dunno, either. *L*

Saturday, November 20, 2010


I almost forgot, here is a pic of the finished kusudama ball I made from old map paper, strung on green cording and hanging in my front window with the others.

Origami Spirals!

I've been making more spirals lately, AND using up some of the other craft bits & pieces I have laying around, namely colored wire and beads!

The beads I've picked up over the years here and there...I have a big weakness for anything shiny, especially freakin' beads. I'm like a damned magpie. The colored wire I got at a yard sale a few years back with the intention of making jewelry...and discovered when I got it home and went to try it, that it was too thin & flimsy for that. So it's been in my gigantic Rubbermaid tub o' craft crap since, biding it's time until it can be used.

So here are a few of the beaded, wired spirals! Yay for actually following through on one of the oft-cried-out Crafter's Mantras (come on, sing along, you all know this one): I know I Can Use This Someday, Somewhere!

Most of these are a mixture of origami paper, scrapbook paper and recycled gift wrap, the large one is made from 3 inch paper, the rest 2 inch paper...

All origami paper: Yuzen Washi Chiyogami, a fabric-y type with gold accents.

A pearlized origami paper on the left, glow-in-the-dark on the upper right, harmony varigated origami paper on the lower right:

All of these are a mixture of origami/non-origami papers:

The metallic cord loops are so they can be hung. I've made a few more since these pictures were taken, I'm concentrating on Christmas-y papers & quotes since all will be left in public for random strangers to find as part of my ongoing 'Found Origami' project.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Fun With Cuniform!

In school right now she is studying ancient Mesopotamia & Sumer, so tonight the kid had a fun homework assignment: Write her name in cuniform on a sheet of paper, and the kids were told they could stain, mutilate and otherwise abuse the paper to 'age' it.

So she and I talked about how worn paper gets it's look, and I had an old envelope I'd been using for scratch paper on my desk anyway--written on in several colors, folded messily, worn, torn & stained, etc. So she did the same to her paper--folded & refolded it, dogeared the edges & tore the folded creases a bit--she really had fun crumpling it up and defacing a homework assignment for a change.

So after she wrote her name in ink, we soaked the paper in vinegar (makes the paper crisp up in the oven) & a bit of soy sauce, then rubbed it down with a wet teabag leaving clumps of loose tea here and there for nice dark spots. Then she stained it with red food color in spots, spotted it with ketchup for darker stains and after coating the bottom of a coffee cup with more soy sauce, left it resting on the paper to simulate a good ol' fashioned coffee cup ring. After leaving the entire mess to sit for about 20 minutes, we blotted it dry with paper towels and baked it in the oven at 200 degrees for about 6 minutes, which dried it out nicely--and it didn't stick to the cookie sheet, thank God.

After it cooled, I used a BBQ lighter to scorch the edges of the paper, which turned out to be a cool trick to brown & curl the paper. It DID catch fire once, but she was dying for a burned corner anyway so she loved it.

It came out looking pretty good. I think the best part was the extra 'note' we wrote in the upper right hand corner in cuniform...

...it said, 'Call Mummy'.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Lesser Aspects Of Education

So last night I was folding origami spirals while the kid played Overlord II on the XBox.

She's running around a town as the Overlord character, followed by a group of minions--basically, imps from Hell. They get into the town square, where the minions run around and bust shit up, which is, after all, their calling in life.

Suddenly she notices.

"Hey, that green one is drinking!"

I tell her yes, you have to keep your minions away from the booze unless you want them to...

"EEEYYOOO, he's peeing!"

I grin, because I've played the game and know what comes after the peei--

"NOW HE'S BARFING!" She's incredulous, things like this don't happen in video games. "He's barfing on that red one!" She's practically rolling on the floor laughing.

She's fascinated, and now watches her minions more closely. Shortly she sees one mooning a hapless villager, which in turn leads to me having to explain the term 'mooning'. *cue kid incredulity/delight/hilarity/disgust*

She's tickled by the whole thing in the end, and runs her minions around to booze it up & moon anyone who stands still long enough. I have to admit, when I first started playing the game, when one of the minions (who in some parts of the game ride wolves or spiders) would call out 'giddyap!' I thought they were commenting on my less-than-stellar game play and yelling, 'Idiot!'

I wouldn't have put it past the game designers.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Awesome Find...

...this guy, Jaime Mantzel! He lives on his own land in the woods, built his own sawmill rather than buy wood and is currently building a giant robot. Also, he has world views that mirror my own nearly identically, and thinks the same thing I do: if you need something done, do it yourself. If you don't know how, learn about it--and in so doing it will lead to more things and you'll always keep learning. My dad used to tell us, 'If you don't know how to do something, someone, somewhere has written a book on it.' Of course, this was in the days before the Internet, but it's something I still tell my 11 year old daughter. Also the way he just kinda digs around his house/shop and finds stuff to reuse/repurpose is exactly what I do, hah!

I really recommend that you sit down and watch a few of his videos, you'll be hooked. If the guy ran for President tomorrow I'd vote for him. His energy is infectious. I wish he'd travel around to middle schools and give this exact same talk, he'd absolutey electrify those kids to get off their asses and attack the world's problems. He reminds me of one of my older sisters and her husband. When we were kids, they would swoop down and take us out for the day, or even just a few hours. Where to? Didn't matter, where EVER you went with them you'd have an awesome adventure, a no holds barred, high-energy time that would stimulate your brain and creativeness, and was a blast to boot. We thought they were amazing and in addition to our parents, were a huge influence on forming a 'get it done and HAVE FUN!' mindset for us. They lived in Idaho out in the woods in a house they had just gone and built themselves...did they know how? No. Did that matter? No. They got it done. They were everyone's favorite people no matter where they went.

Jaime reminds me a lot of them. It's nice to see someone younger than me that has a true 'Get it done' attitude without that overreaching fear of defeat, laziness, apathy, ennui and timidity that is SO prevelant these days.

Damn...! Awesome, there's hope for the world yet.

Friday, November 5, 2010


...went my car today, a very final sound.

While driving this afternoon, slowed way down to turn right...


And my car, a VERY large 1969 Plymouth Fury III convertible, gets punted about 10 feet, accompanied by a horrendous noise. Then dies & rolls to a stop around the corner I was turning.

My glasses are gone, and since I'm blind as a bat without them, the first thing I have to do is find them. I had the top down, so God knows where they went. Pry myself out of the car and commence feeling around for them. Another driver stops and offers to help, he finally finds my glasses in the back seat. Now that I can see, here is what I find:

Neither the trunk nor the passenger side door will open, and it's pretty clear that the frame is tweaked. The hood opens, but with resistance and groans, although the engine looks OK. The top, which had been down, still closes but does not line up to latch properly, everything is shifted towards the passenger side. It still drives so I got it home, but it moans & groans and doesn't feel safe.

I think my car is toast. :(

The girl who hit me was moving at a pretty good clip. Her car suffered damage to it's right front and would not restart, so she had it towed. A cop was driving by so he stopped and took a report, the girl did not seem hurt at all. I was hurting but not enough to go to the hospital.

Tonight I've got mondo pain & pretty good bruising starting to develop all up & down my left side...and my neck hurts, naturally.

Luckily I've got a spare car, a '75 Pontiac I picked up to use while the Plymouth was undergoing restoration. I was just about ready to get the body work & paint done on the Plymouth, maybe next month. Now I've got to wait & see what the body shop says and see if the Plymouth is too broken to fix. And this after I sank all that money and time into getting the engine rebuilt and a bunch of other stuff fixed on it...

Bleah. And ouch.