September 29, 2009

Civil discourse

According to The Onion last week, Friday, 9/25, was supposed to mark the nadir of western civilization. A few sources identified in the article agreed with me that there's probably lower yet to go.... I don't say this because I'm hopeful for humanity, but rather because I believe we have farther to fall into complete and utter disgrace. I think today's "Cornered" nails this sentiment:


February 1, 2009

January thaw

Apparently, 1979 was the last year that we did not have what weather-shamans call a January thaw....the 1-2 days in January where the temperature gets above 32 degrees. We barely pulled it out this year; the high yesterday, January 31st, was 45 degrees. I'm not complaining about the warmth and sunshine. Not one bit. But I was kinda hoping to be able to break that 30 year trend just once.

Today is supposed to be around 46. And then? 12. Again, not complaining about the warmth. But do we really have to go directly to 12 from 46? That somehow seems even crueler than not getting a January thaw at all.

August 29, 2008

Fun with Fonts

April 10, 2008

Depending on the day....

I just changed a couple of variables (there were some answers that stayed the same no matter what). I really had a hard time deciding between two choices on the "dream car" question, and none of the Saturday morning options were quite right. I feel like I identify with the German Shepherd Dog description more than the Golden, but I don't necessarily mind being a little Remy-girl....

What dog breed are you? I'm a Golden Retriever! Find out at
"Golden Retriever
The Charmer

Laid-back, sociable and well-groomed, you've got your own hip little pack of groupies who just love to be around you. You have a brain inside that adorable little head of yours, though you use it mostly to organize your hectic social calendar. You never poop out at parties, and since you're popular with ladies and men, as well as children and adults, you dish out your wit, charm and luck to whomever is close enough to bask in it. The top dog likes you and wants to be your best friend, despite the fact that he doesn't really know what the heck you do. No one does, in fact, but everyone loves you all the same. A true foodie, you’ve got your keen ears fine-tuned to make sure you don't miss out on the opening of a trendy new place to nosh. But your youthful days of being able to wolf down food 24-7 are wagging behind you, meaning you've got to watch what you eat so you don’t pull a Brando and outgrow your coats."


What dog breed are you? I'm a German Shepherd! Find out at
"German Shepherd
The Perfectionist

Doggedly dedicated to getting the job done, you don't let silly little distractions get in the way of putting in a full day's work. And after you come home, chowing down on a little grub and taking a little catnap is all it takes to get you up and at 'em for round two, whatever that may entail. Your dogma emphasizes the importance of hard work, and you swim laps around your dog-paddling, time-wasting co-workers. Your cleverness leads to you often being entrusted with some pretty important tasks, which you are always more than happy to sink your canines into. You really dig being outdoors and love a bit of exercise, but you draw the line at the ridiculous stuff, choosing a game of beach volleyball over Pilates in the park any day."

Continue reading "Depending on the day...." »

March 5, 2008

Why, Etsy, Why?

When winter is dragging on, and the world outside is drab and drear, why do you showcase black/white/grey items on your main page?


December 1, 2007

To "use" or "utilize" / That is the question

My professor in my sophomore Intro to Lit course was a great believer in cutting out wordiness and over-blown language. While I am still prone to wordiness and abuses of language, one lesson rooted itself so firmly in my brain that it has become a personal foible: I cringe in near-pain when I hear people use (!) longer words when a shorter, plainer word would do. Don't get me wrong; I love language. There are people who can use long, possibly pretentious language, and make it beautiful. But I really don't like the word "utilize" in place of "use." There are appropriate times for "utilize;" I really like this summary from in it's definition of "utilize":

Usage Note: A number of critics have remarked that utilize is an unnecessary substitute for use. It is true that many occurrences of utilize could be replaced by use with no loss to anything but pretentiousness, for example, in sentences such as 'They utilized questionable methods in their analysis' or 'We hope that many commuters will continue to utilize mass transit after the bridge has reopened.' But utilize can mean 'to find a profitable or practical use for.' Thus the sentence 'The teachers were unable to use the new computers' might mean only that the teachers were unable to operate the computers, whereas 'The teachers were unable to utilize the new computers' suggests that the teachers could not find ways to employ the computers in instruction.

I have similar objections to the word "colorway," as I have mentioned before. A friend refered me to a definition from wikipedia (I don't know exactly where):

"In visual arts, colorway or colourway is the scheme of two or more colors in which a design is available.

Colorway is describing the set of colors. A tweed that is basically blue with flecks of green and purple is a different colorway than a tweed that is basically blue with flecks of gold and orange. But they are both generally the same color."

The word does show up in this discussion of color in the "Yarn" entry:

"Yarn may be used undyed, or may be colored with natural or artificial dyes. Most yarns have a single uniform hue, but there is also a wide selection of variegated yarns:

  • heathered or tweed: yarn with flecks of different colored fiber
  • ombre: variegated yarn with light and dark shades of a single hue
  • multi-colored: variegated yarn with two or more distinct hues (a "parrot colorway" might have green, yellow and red)
  • self-striping: yarn dyed with lengths of color that will automatically create stripes in a knitted or crocheted object
  • marled: yarn made from strands of different-colored yarn twisted together, sometimes in closely-related hues"

but I still don't like it, I still think it's pretentious, and I still think using existing words like "multi-colored" or even just "color" works just fine.

November 28, 2007

Campus Guardians

I recently wandered around to some of the buildings near mine over the lunch hour. We have a few gargoyles, chimeras, and other interesting folks/critters adorning some of the buildings around campus.

So this evening when I opened my browser (my home page is the U of M home page), I found it rather amusing that the gargoyles were also featured there. Here is the text:

"Eye in the sky
One of four gargoyles--or chimeras--watches over the Twin Cities campus from the roof of Folwell Hall. The eight-foot-tall creatures adorned Folwell when the building first opened in 1907, then disappeared a few years later. The U had replicas made from looking at historical photos. This month marks the end of an 18-month restoration project on the exterior of Folwell, the grande dame of campus buildings. The U's 2008 Capital Request seeks funds for interior upgrades."

The picture won't be there long, because the webpage is a "dynamic Web 2.0 (?)" webpage that cycles information so that visitors to the site won't get bored. Or something. But if you get there in the next day or two, you'll probably see the gargoyle picture they chose.

This is my picture, more or less of the same critter:


Here is a series of these gargoyles on Folwell Hall (as always, click the pictures for larger images). I think they look more like dragons, myself. There are four of them, two on each long side of the building:

20071116-DSC_0029.jpg 20071116-DSC_0031.jpg 20071116-DSC_0032.jpg 20071116-DSC_0033.jpg
20071116-DSC_0034.jpg 20071116-DSC_0057.jpg

(It's pretty bad when the light starts failing at the end of a noon-ish lunch hour....)

Then there are the faces around the building. When you look through these pictures, it should come as no surprise that this building houses the language departments, the cultural studies departments, the ancient and near eastern religions departments, etc.:

20071116-DSC_0038.jpg 20071116-DSC_0044.jpg

20071116-DSC_0035.jpg 20071116-DSC_0036.jpg 20071116-DSC_0037.jpg 20071116-DSC_0039.jpg 20071116-DSC_0040.jpg 20071116-DSC_0041.jpg 20071116-DSC_0042.jpg 20071116-DSC_0043.jpg

More later...I haven't finished Folwell Hall, let alone shown my favorite campus gargoyle....

September 24, 2007

Funny + Wrong = Naked Penguins

Had to chuckle at today's "Mother Goose and Grimm":


September 2, 2007

"It has a pink cover"

Overheard today at Borders.

Romeo and Juliet (Folger Shakespeare Library)

The Cast
Them--played by 4 young teenagers that I pegged for jr. high when they walked in; 2 boys and 2 girls, one girl is the main speaker
Her--the sales clerk at the info computer

Them: I'm looking for a book called "Romeo and Juliet?" [Yes, it really was a question.]
Her: Are you looking for the play?
Them: I don't know, but it has a pink cover.

I hear the gears grinding in Her's brain as she ponders how to respond to Them.

Her: 9th grade English?
Them: yes...I looked it up and it has a pink cover.
Her: Let's look it this it? The play by Shakespeare?
Them: Yeah, that's it. That's the one with the pink cover.

Poor teacher. She'll never know what hit her when classes start on Tuesday.

August 28, 2007



Tonight is the a Welcome reception for our students. This kitteh seems to have the right attitude...

August 27, 2007

Puppy and Kitty Love

Puppies that sing to whistling

and kitties that rahn-engineer their own playstations

who can resist? I could watch both of these over and over and over again!

More great critter pictures here. I've seen some of these ones before elsewhere, but there are definitely some good ones.

April 27, 2007

In what world is this appropriate?

All I can say is "eww." Here's the headline (and link to the article) from yesterday's Baltimore Sun: "Author banned after nudity remark." When a 10 year-old girl asked author Richard Stack to autograph her forehead, he said he would if she climbed on a lunch table and took off her clothes.

His argument: I responded to her request with something equally ludicrous. "I am confident everyone there connected with my visit knows that nothing improper was intended."

It doesn't matter if "nothing improper was intended." You just don't make remarks like that to or about children! Period! If you're an author and you don't autograph body parts, just say so. Say, "I'm sorry, but I only autograph paper or printed materials."

I definitely know about saying the first thing that pops into my head, and I've definitely gotten myself into awkward situations because of that. But jeez-o-pete!

March 30, 2006

Payton is not a "small horse"...

A lot of people at "church" tell me that I don't have a dog, I have a small horse. Here is proof they are incorrect. This is a small horse. Granted, the small horse is doing the patented "Great Dane Lean" maneuver, and granted, Payton and I share kisses like picture #2, but he is an actual dog. (More wonderfully addicting cute pictures can be found at Cute Overload--just don't blame me for the new vocabulary words of "prosh" and "anerable".....)

On the other hand, check out Ginne Saunders' recent DaDane and find the picture of MACH DESERTWOOD'S LV MR BOJANGLES, CDX, RN, and then you might be able to come back to tell me that I'm full of it, and I really do have a small horse. :-)

March 24, 2006

Fun with your iPod

I would never do this, because I don't want other people who read my blog to mock me for my music tastes...because mock they will! :-) Yes, you know who you are. Besides, it might be hard to answer some of these questions with what could come up in my list: "How does the world see me?" Concerto in E Minor by Mendelssohn. Just doesn't seem to work too well....

But it is interesting nonetheless. For a much better example than I can provide, see Wax and Feathers

So what you do is put your iPod or music player on shuffle and answer the questions below with the songs in the order that they are played.

How does the world see me?

Will I have a happy life?

What do my friends really think of me?

Do people secretly lust after me?

How can I make myself happy?

What should I do with my life?

Will I ever have children?

What is some good advice for me?

How will I be remembered?

What is my signature dance song?

What do I think my current theme song is?

What song will play at my funeral?

What type of men do I like?

What is my day going to be like?

March 2, 2006

It takes practice, I guess

You know how groups of military personnel in training always seem to have a leader chanting to which the masses respond? Apparently being that leader takes practice. I kid you not: I just saw two [ROTC] guys in the [Armory] gym--one practicing his chanting ("left, right, left, right, left, left...darn...I always forget that last right...." ;-) ) and the other telling him what to chant.

December 14, 2005


I've been complaining since we've been here about the lack of a real winter, particularly with snow. Every time the weather forecast has been for more than 2 inches of snow, they scale it back. But we're actually getting snow now. We got 2-3 inches (the official report is 3-4, but I'm not convinced) overnight, and it's supposed to continue snowing all day today and into tomorrow. I'm going to try to get the kids to the park tonight...they LOVE snow.

October 6, 2005

I'm a 34

Others see you as sensible, cautious, careful & practical. They see you as clever, gifted, or talented, but modest. Not a person who makes friends too quickly or easily, but someone who's extremely loyal to friends you do make and who expect the same loyalty in return. Those who really get to know you realize it takes a lot to shake your trust in your friends, but equally that it takes you a long time to get over if that trust is ever broken.

I've done this before (hasn't everyone?), but thought I'd post it here for posterity rather than sending it to everyone in the world. I'm relatively certain it's mostly BS, and almost everyone will fall between the range of 30-50, but I do feel that my score accurately reflects how I think of myself as well. I am almost always willing to give those in whom I have trust the benefit of the doubt, but there are a few people I consider friends whom I will never really trust completely. Tismo chides me for holding grudges on a regular basis; but if I didn't, I wouldn't be me, right?


Answers are for who you are now...... not who you were in the past. Have pen or pencil and paper ready. This is a real test given by the Human Relations Dept. at many of the major corporations today. It helps them get better insight concerning their employees and prospective employees. It's only 10 Simple questions, so...grab a pencil and paper, keeping track of your letter answers to each question.



1. When do you feel your best?
a) in the morning
b) during the afternoon &and early evening
c) late at night

2. You usually walk...
a) fairly fast, with long steps
b) fairly fast, with little steps
c) less fast head up, looking the world in the face
d) less fast, head down
e) very slowly

3. When talking to people you..
a) stand with your arms folded
b) have your hands clasped
c) have one or both your hands on your hips
d) touch or push the person to whom you are talking
e) play with your ear, touch your chin, or smooth your hair

4. When relaxing, you sit with..
a) your knees bent with your legs neatly side by side
b) your legs crossed
c) your legs stretched out or straight
d) one leg curled under you

5. When something really amuses you, you react with...
a) big appreciated laugh
b) a laugh, but not a loud one
c) a quiet chuckle
d) a sheepish smile

6. When you go to a party or social gathering you...
a) make a loud entrance so everyone notices you
b) make a quiet entrance, looking around for someone you know
c) make the quietest entr! ance, trying to stay unnoticed

7. You're working very hard, concentrating hard, and you're interrupted......
a) welcome the break
b) feel extremely irritated
c) vary between these two extremes

8. Which of the following colors do you like most?
a) Red or orange
b) black
c) yellow or light blue
d) green
e) dark blue or purple
f) white
g) brown or gray

9. When you are in bed at night, in those last few moments before going to sleep you are..
a) stretched out on your back
b) stretched out ! face down on your stomach
c) on your side, slightly curled
d) with your head on one arm
e) with your head under the covers

10. You often dream that you are...
a) falling
b) fighting or struggling
c) searching for something or somebody
d) flying or floating
e) you usually have dreamless sleep
f) your dreams are always pleasant

1. (a) 2 (b) 4 (c) 6
2. (a) 6 (b) 4 (c) 7 (d) 2 (e) 1
3. (a) 4 (b) 2 (c) 5 (d) 7 (e) 6
4. (a) 4 (b) 6 (c) 2 (d) 1
5. (a) 6 (b) 4 (c) 3 (d) 5 (e) 2
6. (a) 6 (b) 4 (c) 2
7. (a) 6 (b)! 2 (c) 4
8. (a) 6 (b) 7 (c) 5 (d) 4 (e) 3 (f) 2 (g) 1
9. (a) 7 (b) 6 (c) 4 (d) 2 (e) 1
10. (a) 4 (b) 2 (c) 3 (d) 5 (e) 6 (f) 1

Now add up the total number of points.

OVER 60 POINTS: Others see you as someone they should "handle with care." You're seen as vain, self-centered, and who is extremely dominant. Others may admire you, wishing they could be more like you, but don't always trust you, hesitating to become too deeply involved with you.

51 TO 60 POINTS: Others see you as an exciting, highly volatile, rather impulsive personality; a natural leader, who's quick to make decisions, though not always the right ones. They see you as bold and adventuresome, someone who will try anything once; someone who takes chances and enjoys an adventure. They enjoy being in your company because of the excitement you radiate.

41 TO 50 POINTS: Others see you as fresh, lively, charming, amusing, practical, and always interesting; someone who's constantly in the center of attention, but sufficiently well-balanced not to let it go to their head. They also see you as kind, considerate, and understanding; someone who'll always cheer them up and help them out.

31 TO 40 POINTS: Others see you as sensible, cautious, careful & practical. They see you as clever, gifted, or talented, but modest. Not a person who makes friends too quickly or easily, but someone who's extremely loyal to friends you do make and who expect the same loyalty in return. Those who really get to know you realize it takes a lot to shake your trust In your friends, but equally that it takes you a long time to get over if that trust is ever broken.

21 TO 30 POINTS: Your friends see you as painstaking and fussy. They see you as very cautious, extremely careful, a slow and steady plodder. It would really surprise them if you ever did something impulsively or on the spur of the moment, expecting you to examine everything carefully from every angle and then, usually decide against it. They think this reaction is caused partly by your careful nature.

UNDER 21 POINTS: People think you are shy, ner! vous, and indecisive, someone who needs looking after, who always wants someone else to make the decisions & who doesn't want to get involved with anyone or anything! They see you as a worrier who always sees problems that don't exist. Some people think you're boring. Only those who know you well know that you aren't.

September 12, 2005

Stone Arch Bridge

My friend Dan found a picture of the stone arch bridge on Flickr that is just lovely. I need to bike over there sometime this fall to see if I can get a nice shot like this or something.

August 31, 2005

Hurricane Katrina

Ok, just so everyone knows, I am very sympathetic to those in Mississippi and Louisiana who have been affected by the hurricane and breaking levees. I can't imagine the thought of having to leave my home for a minimum of 12 to 16 weeks. And then coming back to whatever might be left.

But I think this statement by Mississippi's governor, "I can only imagine that this is what Hiroshima looked like 60 years ago," said Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour after touring the destruction by air Tuesday," (link to the whole article) qualifies as an amendment to Godwin's Law.

I can sympathize with the sentiment that there is a massive amount of destruction here. But there's an essential difference, that doesn't seem to warrant this type of comparison: the hurricane was a natural force. The bomb that destroyed Hiroshima was a man-made force that was actually a choice to use. Unless there are nuclear reactors around that are ready to explode, the aftermath of a hurricane really shouldn't be compared to the aftermath of an atom bomb.

August 25, 2005

more fun with language

I have a speech impediment. I don't think it's a formal or official impediment in that I could see a therapist to improve. In the wonderful manner of all such self-diagnoses, I believe I know what's wrong with me:

irritable vowel.gif

Seriously, though, I think too fast for my tongue to catch up, causing me to stumble on my words and/or stutter. Stop it, brain! Slow down, for dog's sake, and let me catch up!

August 23, 2005

fun with language


I love it!

July 28, 2005

Westward Journey Nickels


Has anyone seen one of the nickels in the US Mint's Westward Journey series? Apparently they were released in 2004 and 2005 with the normal nickel returning in 2006. But unlike the state quarter program, these seem to have received no press.

July 15, 2005

Fun for All

It's got fashion! It's got dining! It's got entertainment! And best of all, it's got DOGS! Check out James Lileks's Institute of Official Cheer for a wonderful waste of a few hours. (Thanks, Lori, for giving me yet one more place to visit--darn you for finding cool sites on the INTERNET!!)

Humidity "How-To"

I just read weatherunderground's discussion of what the dewpoint temperature is and how it relates to the relative humidity (which I knew it did, but didn't remember how).

Now, check out the statistics for right now:

Updated: 6:53 AM CDT on July 15, 2005
Observed at
Temperature 74 F / 23 C
Humidity 85%
Dew Point 69 F / 21 C

Yeechh! Thankfully we're leaving for the dry air of Wyoming tomorrow, and won't have to suffer through this for a whole week. Though I've already told everyone here that I'll be checking the weather while we're gone, and if it looks like we'll be coming back to this stuff, I'm just staying there.

Backup Bear

A friend of ours has recently had this experience: Phil and Jodi, this bear's for you!

backup bear.gif


One of my daily online comics, Catharsis referenced my favorite TV show this morning. "What Show's the Hat From? Do You Know?"--it's from Joss Whedon's short-lived yet incredibly cool Firefly, which is the basis for the upcoming movie Serenity.

Unless the heat has completely addled my mind, this is a replica of the hat Jayne receives from his mother in the episode where Mal and Zoe receive a package of a much different'll just have to watch to find out more. ;-)

June 24, 2005


Rumor has it that the Jim Henson Company is creating a sequel to The Dark Crystal. Anyone else heard about this? (if you click on the link, beware of the nasty pop-up Fantastic Four trailer....)

June 23, 2005

Stop and think


I saw a cell phone version of this yesterday. I was walking over to Andy and Becka's, and crossed the street at a four-way stop in front of a guy talking on his cell phone. I expected to hear him go as soon as I had passed in front of him, at the very least by the time I reached the other sidewalk. I glanced back, and he was still just sitting there, blithely gabbing away on his phone, cars lining up behind him. Sometimes "stop and think" can be a problem, especially when it's "stop and yak." :-)

Road Rules

Tips for Biking in Minnesota (really Minneapolis)

1. Don't. If the weather doesn't get you, the drivers/pedestrians will.

2. If you must bike, follow the rules of the road. Don't ride on sidewalks (unless that's the short cut through campus ;-) , or there is no other safe way to ride). Use turn signals. Don't cut your fellow bikers off (cars either, for that matter).

3. Ride on the streets (cars are required to let us do so) and obey traffic signals (if you don't, you give the rest of us a bad name). Don't expect preferential treatment. At a four-way stop (I know, a Great Minnesota Standoff), take your turn as though you were a car.

4. Don't ride stupidly. Yes, bikes have more flexibility than cars in tight spots. That doesn't mean we get to do whatever we want just because we can.

Tips for Driving Around Bikes


2. Drive. Don't hover in my blind spot...I know you're there. I'm probably more aware of my surroundings than you are.

3. You don't need to either speed by me as though you don't even know I'm there or creep around me giving me 3 cars' widths of space. Just drive.

4. Don't give me preferential treatment. I follow the same road rules you do.

5. If you are stopped in a bike path, move.

6. If you are doing something stupid, don't.

May 2, 2005



Meggiecat, one of my favorite blogs, found a great site for bird pictures:

Ohio Birds: A Photo Collection

I just love this cardinal picture. The site's name for the picture is "cardinal_seed_mouth," so apparently she's eating. But how often do you get to see the insides of birds' mouths? If you go to the site, you can click on the picture and get different sizes and different resolutions. Tres cool!

Another good bird site is the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. They're the ones who have been producing the stuffed singing birds that I'm liking so much right now.

April 18, 2005

If only the Post Office would

I just stumbled upon a really cool "creative postcard club" site. Haven't read too much in depth, but it appears the premise is to create a postcard based on the given theme. One of the topics was Seasonal Postal Stamps. I'd LOVE to see some of these as real stamps--they're really nice looking images.

April 11, 2005

Activities for Charity

This spring I will be participating in two charity events:

1) the 31st Walk for Animals on Saturday, April 30

2) the 10th Allianz Life MS 60/30 Bike Tour on Saturday, May 7

Yes, these two events are 1 week apart, and yes, I am crazy. But I figure that a 5 mile walk won't hurt any of us--I will be taking the kids.

Andy and I had so much fun doing the 30 mile bike tour last year, that we're ready to try the 60 miler. We'll see how that goes, especially since it's only a few weeks away.

Anyway, if any of you would like to support me in either of these efforts, I'd be happy to accept your donations. The minimum suggested pledge amount for the Walk for Animals is $75, and there is no suggested amount for the bike tour.

P.S. If anyone is scouting for birthday presents for me, a pledge for the Walk for Animals would be wonderful.

animal walk.bmp

April 8, 2005

Living Wills

I bet Teri Shiavo would be mortified if she knew how many people knew her name and why. Someone on one of my mailing lists found this new version of a living will. I think I'm going to sign it and get it notarized....


I, _______________________ (fill in the
blank), being of sound mind and body, do not wish to be kept alive
indefinitely by artificial means.

Under no circumstances should my fate be put in the hands of peckerwood
politicians who couldn't pass ninth-grade biology if their lives depended
on it.

If a reasonable amount of time passes and I fail to sit up and ask for a
cold beer, it should be presumed that I won't ever get better. When such a
determination is reached, I hereby instruct my spouse, children, parents
and attending physicians to pull the plug, reel in the tubes and call it a

Under no circumstances shall the members of the Legislature enact a special
law to keep me on life-support machinery. It is my wish that these
boneheads mind their own damned business, and pay attention instead to the
health, education and future of the millions of Americans who aren't in a
permanent coma.

Under no circumstances shall any politicians butt into my case. I don't
care how many fundamentalist votes they're trying to scrounge for their run
for the presidency in 2008; it is my wish that they play politics with
someone else's life and leave me alone to die in peace.

I don't care if a million religious zealots send e-mails to legislators in
which they pretend to care about me. I don't know these people, and I
certainly haven't authorized them to preach and crusade on my behalf. They
should mind their own business, too!

If any of my family goes against my wishes and turns my case into a
political cause, I hereby promise to come back from the grave and make his
or her existence a living hell.




April 6, 2005

Who Are You?

Here's a fun little quiz, especially given my particular groups of friends....

I'm a Librarian.

Are you a Records Manager, a Librarian or an Archivist ?
brought to you by Quizilla

April 5, 2005

Things vets do

spay neuter fish.bmp

I don't mean to offend anyone, but in my world, "vet" refers to veterinarians. There's a saying in DVM land that "real doctors treat more than one species." Tonight in Mini Vet School, we learned the truth of that.

One of the graduates of the University of Minnesota's College of Veterinary Medicine is the vet for Underwater Adventures at the "mall from hell," otherwise known as the Mall of America. He reported that their trout were dying because they were not spawning, and their eggs were essentially killing them.

So this vet and the director of surgery at the U of M teaching hospital and veterinary medical center, Dr. Bruce Novo, spayed the trout. Dr. Novo was our speaker tonight, and he showed us pictures of the fish surgery.

There is a substance that apparently will anesthetize fish, so they put a little of that in some water and ran it over the gills in much the same way doctors would put breathing tubes in mammals. They monitored the heart rate, and when the fish went too far into sleep, they'd run some fresh water in to dilute the anesthetic.

The pictures were very interesting, because the regular ovaries were miniscule next to the egg filled ovaries. You could really see why the eggs had to come out.

Apparently this had never been written about before, so you can run to your nearest copy of Exotic DVM and find the article Kizer, A; Novo, R Ovariectomy in Rainbow Trout for Prevention of Postovulatory Stasis 5.1 p.27 to read more about it.

April 1, 2005


I know it's April Fool's Day, but there's a very odd coincidence here...

Foxtrot by Bill Amend

Get Fuzzy by Darby Conley

March 26, 2005

Another Random Book Passage

Mom sent us Dogs Never Lie About Love : Reflections on the Emotional World of Dogs for the vernal equinox. I just happened to randomly open it this morning ( plans for posting intended) to this passage, which I think is very interesting:

"Take the case of a human being. If I promise my daughter that I will walk with her in an hour and then tell her later that something has come up and I cannot go, she may display some of the same features as did the dogs, allowing me to read disappointment in her face and in her body language. The only difference between her response and that of the dogs is possibly the degree of expression. She can hide her feelings, the dogs cannot" (108).

We've been rewatching Firefly, and one of the characters had been repeatedly experimented upon by the bad guys. I don't know whether the science is true, but her doctor brother discovers that they removed her amygdala which means that she can't push her emotions to the back of her mind like others can.

So does this mean that dogs are so emotive because they don't have amygdalas or their amygdalas are less capable of handling repressed emotions than humans?

March 25, 2005

Why I got out of Academia


I'm pretty particular about my tools of the trade. I fall in love with certain types of pens or pencils (probably keyboards, too, for that matter), and can't function if they change.

More seriously, though, this is probably my biggest problem with writing, or any artistic endeavor. I have these wonderful ideas (or dreams), but when I actually sit down to write them or draw them, they never come out the way I wanted them to. Many people consider this the process of creation, but I've alwasy thought of it as plain old mush.


Rhymes_with_Orange 3-24.gif

Now, I'm obsessed with dogs. All of my friends understand this. However, dog weddings are not my thing. Puns and plays on words, on the other hand....

Maybe because I'm too opposed to the whole breeding concept in general.


Oops. Did I say that out loud? ;-)

Internet Hot Spots

Fast_Track 3-24.gif

If you had heard some of our conversations in Sanibel, you'd know why this was so funny. I forgot to post my appointment schedule before I left for vacation, so Sunday we checked with the island's visitor center to find out if there were any places with public internet access. That is, after rejecting someone's proposal that we drive around with the laptop open looking for hot spots (and no, the someone wasn't actually my own husband....).

February 16, 2005

Children's Theater

We have season tickets this year to the Children's Theater company, primarily because they were including the award winning Frog & Toad and an adaptation of The Hobbit. But it's been a truly wonderful season. We started with a muscial adaptation of Hansel & Gretel and Go, Dogs, Go!: The Musical. Both were a lot of fun.

Last night was Brooklyn Bridge, the one play I knew nothing about.


Sasha is a 5th grade latch-key kid living in an apartment just by the Brooklyn Bridge. She has a New York research paper due tomorrow, and can't find a pen in order to write her essay. While looking for a pen, she encounters some of the other tenants in her apartment building, who help her realize the importance of the Bridge beyond just facts.

Parts of the play seemed a little sophisticated for the younger children in the audience, but it was very well done overall. I especially appreciated Sasha's frustrations about writer's block. Everyone asked her if the lack of a pen was the real reason she wasn't writing anything:

"Why haven't you started writing?"
"I don't have a pen."
"What's the real reason?"
"I don't have a pen."
"What's the real reason?"
"I don't have a pen!"
"What's the really real reason?"
"I don't know what's important and what are just facts."

I've been there. I can do all the research in the world and still not know how to tell the story.

Continue reading "Children's Theater" »

Call the ASPCA....or was that the ASPCS?

Poor Andy. All we ever do is pick on him.



But to be fair, Scott suffers from the same HDTV urges that most men seem to have these days. HD, plasma, does it really matter? Sure, I appreciate the space saving grace of the new skinny, hang-on-the-wall televisions. But our 36" tube TV is still doing quite well, and shows movies as big and as clearly as I ever need it to. Besides, would anyone really want to watch Fear Factor in high definition?

February 15, 2005

For John and Andy

John just recently posted about his Tivo obsession, so this one's for him (although Andy might also try to make the same point to his wife....):


Then, because Andy thinks we always pick on him:


January 24, 2005

It really did snow

For those of you monitoring my snow laments, it really did snow! Enough to be respectable, even!

vert house.jpg

This is our house from across the street. I've also added a couple of additional photos--just what I could get from one morning's worth of photo shoot. Nothing Exciting, but enough to see the snow.

Another View of the House

Looking North up the Street (the wall in the lower right is our new retaining wall)

January 21, 2005

Well, at least it's snowing now...

The prediction has gone up yet again, now 5-7 inches. And for a state like Minnesota, which almost never sees snow, that's a lot!

But I'm still not holding my breath. Yes, it is snowing outside, and yes, there is some accumulation, but it's those little tiny pellet-like flakes that leave things icy but don't lead to a lot of accumulation. I'm still looking for those nice big fluffy flakes that make good snowballs and snowmen.

January 20, 2005

This version of winter isn't so bad either


I like hibernating in winter. But hibernating just isn't as much fun when there's no snow on the ground.

No snow from yesterday, but now they're upping the ante, and we're supposed to get 3-4 [!!!] inches maybe tomorrow and Saturday. And you people who have been saying, "I don't want the snow because I have to shovel it," can you hear the world's smallest violin playing? I have to shovel the stuff too. I actually enjoy it, especially when I can throw snow on the dogs.

January 19, 2005

Storm of the Century

Yes, we're gearing up for a big one. This is supposed to be the biggest storm of the season! We had better go to the store to stock up before we get all of the snow we're supposed to get! They're predicting a whole 1-2 inches! Whatever will we do!! How are we supposed to manage with that much snow! Why am I at work? Why haven't they closed the U?

Yes, I'm a little snow deprived.

January 11, 2005



We finally got some snow last night, though only 1/2 an inch or so. I miss REAL snow. Every time we go home to Wyoming, people who don't know where we live exclaim, "Minnesota. But it's so snowy and cold there." Yeah, but you people at home get REAL winters still.

This week promises to end on a frigid note, and we all know that it can be too cold for snow. So we'll have to enjoy it while it lasts.

The Evolution of . . .


Andy, I think this cartoon resolves your discussion dilemma from a little while ago, doesn't it? ;-)

Seriously, though, Andy is right. It seems to be a little ridiculous to remain silent in the face of ignorance, lest the ignorant one assume you agree. Fortunately, tact has never been one of my strong suits, so if I disagree with you, you will know it. Of course, this opens the door for comments along the lines of, "You're blind if you think that!" and other gems which have come from a group of my friends through the years, and it also opens the door for hurt feelings amont friends. But I guess in the long run, I feel that my friends are better off knowing where I stand than assuming I tacitly agree with them because I didn't say something.

January 6, 2005

Why pets are better than kids

Viewing/reading discretion advised for both link and my comments... ;-) unless you own kids or pets, in which case you'll understand....

Is that chocolate on your hands?

As my friend John put it, "Hey, at least the pets can't wipe it on the walls..."

Even as Remy was puking and eating at 3:00 am, I was thinking about how at least I wouldn't have to wash her. And, in certain situations, they clean up after themselves. Just ask my mom, with Kodi and Lena! ;-)

January 5, 2005

Little cat feet


This has always been one of my favorites....and Arlo provides the whole poem called "Fog."

December 17, 2004

Secret Mail

The authors of two blogs I've been reading are involved in a fun little project called "Secret Mail." Shermanilla started it with this entry. Then one of her friends, Underblog, also received some secret mail.

We have received some secret mail since we've been in the new house, but it wasn't nearly as fun as these were. More mysterious, maybe, but not as fun. We came home from work one day to find a tire on our porch. A tire. Or, should I say more appropriately, a wheel. It has all the parts. We think it was left for the home's previous owners--they hadn't planned to move, and didn't get around to telling everyone immediately. But it's still on our porch after a little over two years. UPS uses it to hide packages behind, and I've used it as a description of our house before. Now, I forget that it's even there. Oh, poor, neglected wheel.

Shopping online

is so much fun.


I can leisurely browse without having sales clerks stressed because everyone wants something RIGHT NOW. I was in Office Max last weekend and every single clerk looked at me then asked someone else if they could help. And those customers DIDN'T need help, yet I couldn't find anyone to show me where the batteries were. Batteries. Office Max has one tiny little end cap of batteries. Then I couldn't get anyone to help me determine which of the two identical yet slightly different batteries matched the one I had from Remy's toy.

Who wants the holiday shopping experience?


No, I love shopping online. I can do it in my sweats (which I know from personal experience do not go over well with sales clerks in malls), while staying warm and avoiding Minnesota drivers in an overcrowded mall.

December 15, 2004

Sweet little nothings


Christmas is one of my favorite times of year, in large part because it's one time I can get away with giving people things. I love to give gifts. That's just who I am. (I'll be the first person to admit that I love to buy things just for me, or that I'll buy two of something so I can have it also.)

My mother's side of the family has drawn names for years now as a way to only have to buy a "big present" or two for one person. Stockings are still up for grabs from Santa, though. But I've never been a big believer in the "one gift" idea. My mother accused me over the weekend of being upset if I only get one gift--that's not it at all. I'm more likely to give several things rather than just one, because I am just impulsive that way. (My "nephew," Aidan, will never run out of books because I keep finding more that he just has to read--the poor kid is only a year and a half.)

Is it wrong to break a "no gifts" pact? I'm really not expecting anything in return. I just happen to see things at certain times that are appropriate for certain people.

December 8, 2004

Stop, it hurts!!

Like when your friends keep making you laugh even when your tummy hurts too much because you've been laughing so much to begin with:


November 8, 2004


Other fun things we saw on our trip:

1) The silver semi-trailer, all enclosed (not like the cattle trailers you sometimes see on the innerstate) with the small sign under the back doors: CAUTION: SHOW CHICKENS. That amused us for a little while--I was picturing Gonzo and his truck of chickens from The Muppet Movie for a while.

2)The URL on the back of the pickup topper: The site itself isn't very interesting--it's a window cleaning company called Fish Window Cleaning. But when all we saw was the URL, it created some more fun imaginary pictures. Do they clean the windows in the little castles in some aquariums? Do they clean aquariums so the fish can see better?


The aurora borealis was out last night. Becka and I were about 30 miles south of the Cities when we saw them. I had been kind of watching this strange patch of clouds or streaky windshield when they suddenly turned green. We pulled over at the very next exit (along with 3 or 4 other cars) to stand and watch. Green shimmery, waving, fading in and out. Then there was a red streak that kept growing longer and longer and finally ended with a star-burst design right over our heads. We were probably pulled over between 5 & 10 minutes. I told Becka to call Andy to see if they could see them too. Apparently the whole (or at least many) D & D gang went to the Good Earth for dinner. When Becka called, they were in the middle of eating. Scott was a responsible citizen and stayed at the table while the others went out to see the lights. They couldn't see the red, but did have a chance to see the green.

I must admit, though, that the northern lights can be a little distracting when you're trying to drive, especially in city traffic on 35W heading north on Sunday night. :-)

This picture from today's Minneapolis Star Tribune is a little more brilliant than the ones we saw, but they were pretty nonetheless:

northern lights

October 10, 2004

Oh, so been there...times 2


Just see my entry on the bathroom remodel if you don't believe me....

"9 Chickweed Lane"

I know I don't have a better alternative, but if I could, I would definitely abolish the grading system we currently use. Who am I to say whether someone is an A, B, C, etc. student? I can tell you if someone consistently gets answers wrong, or cannot express him/herself in a coherent manner, but letter grades themselves are rather meaningless. I feel even more strongly about it in terms of literature classes. I don't necessarily care that my students read the assignment--yes, it does make participation in class better if they have--but part of my job is also to help teach them how to read literature. I model in class, and they can illustrate their knowledge on the pop quizzes I give, but it isn't necessarily that important if they know exactly when Thoreau wrote Walden. Especially if it is information they can easily find.

Yet what alternatives are there? If I don't assign a letter grade, which ultimately can determine what graduate schools/jobs/professional programs students get into, will they voluntarily attend my class, just because it's "good for them?" And if there isn't a letter grade attached, even if attendance is mandatory, will they actually do the work? Ultimately, the only things that end up being important in most classes these days are those things that will be on the exams or other graded assignments.

September 28, 2004

Brush up your Shakespeare

After seeing De-lovely about Cole Porter, I've had a hankering to see Kiss Me, Kate again. I don't have a copy of the movie, but fortunately, Becka and Andy have the CD soundtrack. So I'm listening to that now.

Then, this morning's "Get Fuzzy" cartoon added to the mood:

fuzzy shakespeare.gif

Of course, I adore "Get Fuzzy." (As an aside, I just found this "Get Fuzzy" quiz:
Which 'Get Fuzzy' Character Are You?.) And I love Shakespeare. How much better can it get?

September 3, 2004

There's a certain logic to it

My step-mother sent me this little "funny for the day" explaining the meaning of life:

On the first day God created the cow. God said, "You must go to the field with the farmer all day long and suffer under the sun, have calves and give milk to support the farmer. I will give you a life span of sixty years." The cow said, "That's kind of a tough life you want me to live for sixty years. Let me have twenty and I'll give back the other forty."

And God agreed.

On the second day God created the dog. God said, "Sit all day by the door of your house and bark at anyone who comes in or walks past. I will give you a life span of twenty years." The dog said, "That's too long to be barking. Give me ten years and I'll give you back the other ten."

So God agreed (sigh).

On the third day God created the monkey. God said, "Entertain people, do monkey tricks, make them laugh. I'll give you a twenty year life span." The monkey said, "How boring, monkey tricks for twenty years? I don't think so. Dog gave you back ten, so that's what I'll do too, okay?"

And God agreed, again.

On the fourth day God created man.. God said, "Eat, sleep, play, have sex, enjoy. Do nothing, just enjoy, enjoy. I'll give you twenty years." Man said, "What? Only twenty years? No way! Tell you what. I'll take my twenty, and the forty the cow gave back, and the ten the dog gave back and the ten the monkey gave back, that makes eighty, okay?"

"Okay," said God. "You've got a deal."

So that is why the first twenty years we eat, sleep, play, have sex,enjoy, and do nothing. For the next forty years we slave in the sun to support our family. For the next ten years we do monkey tricks to entertain the grandchildren And for the last ten years we sit on the front porch and bark at everyone.

Life has now been explained.

While the logical flaws are numerous, there's a perverse irony to this little tale...