Monday, August 31, 2009

Will Travel--Need DVDs

So, I leave in less than two weeks for the next UK trip. Last time, I purchased some cheap DVDs to take with me and watch on my laptop. Did I mention the movies were cheap? I don't think I can handle another Jessica Simpson movie, so I think I'll go a different route this time.

I just this moment started thinking I might fork over the cash for a couple of seasons of a TV series. Since I don't have cable, there are many things I haven't seen. One possibility: Buffy.

Other suggestions? I like funny. I like clever. A bonus would be if it's something that I might like but that my husband might not. Then I'm not cheating on him, TV-wise. Here is a short list of TV shows I like that might help you advise me (these are also about the only good TV shows I've seen, either on one of my three channels or through Netflix).

West Wing (first two seasons)
Burn Notice
Entourage (how can it be both offensive and endearing?)
Law and Order: Criminal Intent

You should keep in mind that I'll be by myself, stuck in airports, up with insomnia, missing my family, and feeling as if I should be studying*, so it needs to be something extremely diverting.

*All of the other parts of the trip will be great.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Brits v. Yanks: Shuttle Edition

Okay, so BBC World News just came on our local PBS station, and it started with footage of the space shuttle launch. My husband has his degree in aero engineering, so, of course, we thought the footage was very cool. But then, a reporter started voicing over the footage with an interview with an American professor (I don't remember his affiliation), and the professor proceeded to talk about how the shuttle and the space station are a waste of money, and they haven't taught us anything, blah, blah, blah.

Now, I know that a lot of people feel this way, but come on. When we're watching the launch? Really, that's the person you interview? It reminded me of a fellow American friend who was in the UK (Sheffield, I believe) for the Challenger disaster. He was watching the launch in a bar, and he said that when the Challenger exploded, the Brits in the bar laughed. He was very pissed off.

Anyway, do the Brits have a "thing" about the space shuttle? Anybody know?

Also, I have told my husband that the BBC World News that we get here on PBS each evening at 5:00pm seems very different from the BBC News that I see when I'm in the UK. The version I see in the UK seems much more tabloid-ish and kind of cheesy. The one we see here in the evenings has different hosts and seems to focus on international politics. It's sophisticated and informative. However, I think tonight's late-night version is the kind I usually see in the UK. The lead stories? The shuttle (properly disparaged), the girl found in the rapist's backyard in California, and Michael Jackson's death. Of course much of our news led with the same stories, I'm sure (esp. CNN, MSNBC, etc.), but I just think it's interesting that there seems to be more that one "BBC World News." Am I wrong about this?

P.S. I made banana pudding pie yesterday. The husband loves it. The kids only want the nilla wafers.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Cat Who Liked Potato Soup

Okay. I just finished story time with the kids, and for the second night in a row, we read The Cat Who Liked Potato Soup. It's not a new book, and we've read it plenty of times before. But it's been a while. And you know what? Tonight, the book just about made me cry. The writing is sharp. The illustrations are both beautiful and charming. And the characterization is just fantastic. I love this book.

Have you read it?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Homemade--Cool or Lame?

So, the other night, I wore my new poncho. I wore it out to get some dinner (while I finished reading my book group book) and then I wore it to book group. When I sat down at the restaurant, my server came right over and said, "Oh, did you make that?" When I said, "yes," she told me that she could tell right away that I had made it--that she can always spot handmade things. She gushed over it and said that is was elegant. I was very proud.

But it got me thinking. I can remember when homemade was definitely not as good as store bought. That homemade meant "lame." When I put my poncho on, I imagined (read: fantasized about) people coming up to me and saying, "Oh, I love your poncho, where did you get it?" And then I'd say that I made it and they would say, "You made that? No way!" But I hadn't really envisioned the compliments starting with, "Did you make that? I can totally tell that you made it."

Now, these days, I think homemade--or "hand made"--stuff is really cool, but is that because there is a revolution afoot and everyone thinks hand made things are cool? Or is it just because I'm getting old and matronly and nostalgic for the "olden" days when I was five and my mom made dresses for me that I just loved? Or is it just because I've been reading too much Little House on the Prairie to the kids?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Bug Patrol

As someone who has a garden (albeit a tiny, fledgling one), I feel very lucky that I have a son who loves bugs and tiny creatures to such a great degree that one of his favorite activities is looking for caterpillars and inchworms on my bok choy, peas, etc. In fact, he and his friend have talked of starting a business called Organic Bug Patrol. People will hire them and pay them to look for (and remove) pests in gardens. The conflict comes when the boy's friend wants to keep the bugs to feed to her chickens, whereas the boy wants to put them in a jar to watch them pupate.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


So yesterday we took the boy to get his cast cut off. When the doctor put the cast on, he said that when he took it off, he'd want to send the boy for follow up x-rays, seeing as how the boy ran around on a broken let for at least four months, a fact which suggests that the absence of pain wouldn't be much of an indicator for us.

But when the doctor took the cast off, he just said, "Okay, see ya, you're good to go!" That kind of thing. I asked about getting a follow up x-ray and he said, "Naaa." It all happened so fast, that we just kind of nodded and collected our things and said thanks and left.

But then later we realized that we really didn't feel at all sure that the leg was healed (seeing as how we never knew it was broken and seeing as how the boy didn't give the leg much rest during our month-long Colorado adventure). So, today, I am proud to say, I called the office and told the assistant what the doctor had said when he put the cast on and that we'd really feel better with some follow up. She ordered the x-rays, and we'll go to the hospital tomorrow to get them done. Which is especially good since, yesterday, the boy started to run across the yard and then collapsed in pain. It seems that perhaps his achilles seized up on him after spending five weeks in a cast doing nothing but chillaxing.

You may be thinking, "Okay, but why is she 'proud' of herself?" Well, I'm proud because I'm a people pleaser who accepts figures of authority. And, in this case, I focused on the well being of my child, authority be damned! Yay, me.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Jiggity Jig

I did not buy a pig, but I am home again. Which is nice. Mostly. Being on the road for a month makes coming home feel good, but a little bit boring and slightly overwhelming because of all of the stuff in the house. But I do look forward to stocking the house with groceries, and I'm hoping my husband will replace all of the burned out lightbulbs.

The garden is lush. I missed the bok choy, but I can feed a few of the remaining leaves to the lizard (who is extremely fat, by the way. She is definitely going on a diet). On the other hand, the lettuce is just coming up, and the peas and beans haven't fruited yet. The tomato plants are raging. I even have little rogue volunteer tomato plants coming up in strange places, which is especially strange since I didn't use seeds. But while the plants are huge, I'm not sure we'll have enough heat to really get ripe tomatoes.

Okay, soon I will post pictures of the bazillion knitting projects I completed on the road, and soon I'll be catching up with the posts of my blog peeps. I'm way behind . . .

I'm way behind with many things, to tell the truth.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Fish for Dinner

I felt very DIY a few days ago, back in South Fork*, when we went fishing and I caught two Rainbow Trout, and I cooked them up for dinner. How self-reliant am I?! Oh, and my husband cleaned them, so it was definitely a family effort. Perhaps I should focus on family-reliance rather than self-reliance.

Also, I finished knitting the girl's bunny, and yesterday in the car, driving from Salt Lake to Reno, I finished a poncho! It's beautiful, even if I do say so myself. (Pictures to follow.) I don't know why I can knit in the car even though I can't read in the car, but it has been a great way to pass the time on the road. And I'm getting better! Anybody need a scarf?

So we've been on the road trip for three weeks now, and we've got one more stop to see cousins north of San Fran. We were sad to leave Colorado because we had such a fantastic time, and we just love it there. And we took the kids on their first family float trip! Since my husband used to be a hard core river kayaker, his friends are all river expert with tons of gear, so we didn't have to go with a guide company (his friends are guides and safety runners). Instead, we got together with another family and some friends, and had a fantastic float, picnic, paddle, etc. Now that's living.

On top of it all, we have decided where we'd like to be able to buy a small piece of land on which we can place a yurt. Time to start saving the cash! Ha.

But today we are chillaxing** outside of Reno, visiting the hotel pool, and maybe finding another activity or maybe just watching a movie. Tomorrow it's on to see more family. Then home! Can't wait to get home to see how the garden is doing, see friends, catch up with my blog peeps, and get to work on the dissertation. Dissertation? Dissertation? What dissertation? Oh, that dissertation. The one on which I need to work before I make my next trip to Wales in mid-September. And then there's the sabbatical project to work on . . .

*Funny story: While we were in South Fork, we came across National Lampoon's Vacation while we were surfing the cable channels. We settled on it for a while, and what do you know? The Griswolds visit South Fork! They stay at Kamp Komfort, which is still there and which, in the movie, is noted for it's stinky tents and festering pool. This was even funnier to me considering my post of July 21. Speaking of cable, we don't have it at home, so we've done some binging. Anybody else just love House Hunters International?

**Thanks to the TSB for the new vocab word.