Tuesday, November 18, 2008

on my way

All righty, I'm off.  You all have great Thanksgivings!

This might help.  

Monday, November 17, 2008

nothing rotten here

In our please-let-it-become-annual tradition of spending Thanksgivings out of the country, we're headed off to Copenhagen! And London! And Edinburgh!  

The first half of the trip is ostensibly for business; for Pete there is no "ostensible" about it, but I will support him in his career by visiting billions of cool museums (and is it just me, or does the way Danish look make you giggle too?) and wandering beautiful streets and maybe going on the world's highest carousel.

Erase that "maybe."  After checking out youtube, wild horses couldn't keep me away.  

Mmm tasty!

Speaking of tasty, we celebrated Thanksgiving early, just in case the U.K. doesn't have turkeys, or in case the European-sized oven proves an insurmountable obstacle. You never know.

Le Menu de Thanksgiving chez petey and lars et avec Ruthie and Amberpherivia:

Turkey, cooked with the revolutionary new Cooks Illustrated method where you cook it in pieces, and not in one gigantic carcass.  I highly recommend it--white meat stayed juicy, dark meat was salmonella-free.  It also made the best gravy I have ever et.
- Brussels sprouts with pistachios (sooo good, I swear. Recipe here.)
- Bacon and apple stuffing; Cooks Illustrated hit another home run.
- Green beans with tarragon and lime.  Yup, C. I. again. Didn't love this recipe, though it was a fun twist on a traditional classic.
- Light-as-a-dream hot rolls to die for, via Shirley Corriher in her incredible Cookwise.  Can't say enough about this fantastic book.
- Sweet potatoes courtesy of Amberpher, emphasis on the Amber.  Everyone loved em, except me, but I'm deeply prejudiced and think yams, like mosquitos and the 495/I-270 interchange, were a giant cosmic mistake.
- Pumpkin pie from le freezer. Life is too short to mess with pie crusts.
- Melt-in-your-mouth chocolate cupcakes, adapted from this great recipe posted on Chocolate & Zucchini.  I didn't quite get the cooking time right, but it didn't matter.  This was still bliss.  It may be my favorite cupcake recipe of all time, and I've tried a few.  The texture's awesome, it's simple to whip up, and it tastes like all your wildest dreams come true.  The cake's rich enough that all it needed was a dollop of whipping cream on top.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

counting the gray hairs

So I've been getting some odd catalogues lately. (Not as odd as the ones we got when we first moved in though: I feel like I know A LOT about the previous owners.) Yesterday's catalogue, though, has ensured that I will spend the rest of my life here dodging the mailman.

Can you tell by the name?  How about the subtitle, "Support, Comfort, Independence"?Apparently some consumer algorithm's been tracking my spending habits at yarn stores, and concluded that I really am over 80 and in need of all kinds of orthopedic aids.

But it makes for interesting reading; Support Plus has an array of ingenious products and even more ingenious copy-writing.  Here's some of the best: a phone speaker headlined "Don't Miss the Joy of Friendly and Loving Phone Conversation!"  Aww, sweet.  I'm reminded of the awesome seminary video The Mailbox -- I'm trying desperately but unsuccessfully to find it online, first time youtube has ever failed me, but it's all about this lovely old lady who lives alone and spends her WHOLE DAY waiting for the mail. She never gets any letters, ever, because her grandchildren are ungrateful little slobs, and on one lonely trek to the mailbox she ends up slipping on the ice and dies cold and alone and is eaten by wolves.  Or maybe I dreamt that part. 

 Anyway, good movie, and that lovely old lady would've ADORED this catalogue.  And Friendly and Loving Phone Conversation could've brightened her lonely days.

Another attention-grabber promises you can FINALLY "Overcome the Difficulties of Cutting Toenails!"  As we all know, "getting to the toenail cutting position is hard enough. This clipper multiplies your hand strength and helps prevent injury. Very well made."  Toenail cutting injuries? I think I just came up with a great new House episode.

I also heart the $4.95 non-slip rubber doorknob sleeve, with, get this, anti-microbial protection.  I'm adding this to my Thanksgiving litany: I'm grateful to be able to turn doorknobs on my own.   Even if they ARE covered in microbes.

OK, just found a super excellent product and just in time for the holidays: you can "Maintain Independence & Hygeine" with a Self Wipe Toliet Aid.  It's "helpful and discreet, for people who have difficulty performing self-hygiene when using the toilet."  Hee.  White elephant gift, anyone?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

you're interrupting my sleeping time

Good freaking gravy. This is crazy cool.

christmastime in the suburbs

The sudden cold weather makes everything feel like Christmas--it's too early but I'm ready for hall-decking.

This wreath would be fantastic, no?

And for decking out oneself, look at these Australian lovelies:

Sweet rose pendant here, outback-boulder inspired earrings here.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

vogon poetry

Oh dear, I have been a baaad blogger. It's cause I WANT to blog about my trip to the Middle East, because it was fabulous and I must remember it 4evah, but when I sit down to actually write it, I feel so . . . daunted.

So today I'll tell you some work stories instead. Nice, manageable work stories.

One of the best things about my ESL job is I get to teach whatever I want, however I want. There's no one breathing over my shoulder and no one fighting me for control. HOWever, we recently hired an extra teacher. I'll call him Dr. Bob (he insists on the "Dr.").

Dr. Bob's teaching role in our organization was supposed to be fairly limited, and he and I were not supposed to interact. But in a brilliant display of the principle "Say It Loud and Long Enough and You'll Get Whatever You Want," he ended up worming his way into ALL the classes as a co-teacher. So MY CLASSES, my precious precious classes, got invaded by Attila the Hun.

Now Dr. Bob looks great on paper (that blasted "Dr." ) but in the classroom, he's a barbarian. He hollers at the students, he takes 45 minute smoke breaks, he irritates the stuffing out of me, and, worst of all, he doesn't teach anything. His idea of teaching is spending a couple of hours reading out loud poems he's composed. The problem is 1) they're crappy poems and 2) he's reading them to students who are BARELY LITERATE. This helps them learn what, exactly?

Actually, I take that back. Learning to suffer obnoxious people without employing throttling is definitely a useful job skill (and apparently one I have yet to learn). But Dr. Bob certainly isn't helping with the English teaching. In fact, he seems to think he's one of the students. When I ask a question like "OK, class, how do we spell 'pencil'?" he waves his hand wildly in the air and shouts "P - E - N- C - I - L!" and grins at me, apparently waiting for congratulations. He's just lucky the P - E - N - C - I - L doesn't find its way up his nose.

Juuuuust kidding. I would never advocate violence. But I certainly do advocate going to one's boss (and going back, and going back again) and trying to get Dr. Bob fired. Apparently I've learned something from him after all, because if you say it loud enough and long enough, sometimes you do get what you want. I just found out Dr. Bob is outta here.

It's just in time, too. He's spent all week interrupting me in the middle of teaching (who DOES that?) and trying to sell me a self-written, self-published children's book, telling me it would be a great ($30!!) holiday present. There are no children I hate that much.

So here's to freedom from Dr. Bob, and freedom from his hideous poetry.