Sunday, December 30, 2007

Lover of a life of leisure.

Raise your hand if you feel like you need to go on a juice fast.

(I'm raising mine.)

Nothing is more boring than moaning about how you've been eating a bunch of junk (well, not junk, but a surfeit of delicious baked goods and assorted holiday foods) and you're fat, right? So I won't, though it's kind of interesting to me to have these meaty pads atop my hipbones. Let's just say that I'm looking forward to the clean slate feeling of January 1, when leaves are turned over and raw vegetables are consumed and gym activities are undertaken with renewed vigor and the Christmas chocolate is out of the house AT LAST.

We got the last of the opera singers (I think, at least those who can legally get married) married off last night, in a very lovely and Christmassy service at which I predictably cried. There is plenty of evidence of the karaoke reception in my photostream. A really gratifying moment was when I was singing "Always" with my friend Andrew and there was a group slow dance out on the dance floor (thank you, my friends). It was also gratifying whenever the Brit danced with me, both jokingly and for serious, because I do love to shake it like a polaroid picture. I shook it so hard that my neck hurts today, in fact.

This has been a leisurely little holiday season, I tell you what. It's going to be shocking to go back to a regular schedule after days of reading entire books and evenings of family fondue night and playing Apples to Apples Junior with Henry, who is sounding out all the words on the cards like a pro. I gave him The Electric Company for Christmas and he is as into it as I'd hoped--I mean it's perfect for him aesthetically and pedagogically. Apparently he asked his dad to give him some skin the other day, so he is learning already.

We saw "No Country for Old Men" today, which was crazy and incredible. Highly recommended.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Cookies.

I actually got off my heinie and did some share-worthy holiday baking this year. I can't believe I've never given you the following cookie recipe before, since I make these every Christmas, but I have made a halfhearted search of all my archives and can't find it. So here you go. Vegans, I strongly suggest that you try to veganize this recipe. It's the bomb.

Cranberry Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies
1/2 c plus 6 T butter
2/3 c sugar
1 c brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 T vanilla
2 t orange zest (about one orange's worth. Don't skip this.)
1/2 t salt
3/4 t baking soda
2 c flour
1 c quick oats
1 c dried cranberries
1 c dark/bittersweet chocolate chunks
1/2 c walnuts (optional, but so very tasty)

Cream butter and sugars together. Beat in egg and vanilla and orange zest. Mix flour, salt, and baking soda together in a separate bowl. Add this mixture to the wet ingredients. Fold in remainder. Drop little wads onto a parchment-papered cookie sheet and bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes.

The original recipe actually calls for 3/4 c of coconut and an extra 1/2 c each of cranberries and chocolate. While this is theoretically delicious, the dough gets unwieldy really quickly, and the measurements I've given yielded an extremely chunky and delicious batch.

I also made these cocoa-fudge cookies from Cooking Light, with some alterations. The original recipe is fine, especially with a teaspoon of cinnamon and some cayenne for that Mexican hot chocolate flava, but it has some fiddly measurements in it (7 tablespoons? really?), so I think the one below is better. It is also super, super easy. Vegans, I strongly suggest you veganize these too. Seems like it would be easy--no egg, less butter than most cookie recipes, and the strong flavors of cocoa and mint to mask any substitution-related flavors.

Mint Brownie Cookies
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 c butter (you're going to melt this, so it doesn't need to be softened)
1 c unsweetened cocoa
1/2 c white sugar
1/2 c packed brown sugar
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2-3/4 c Andes mints. Did you know they make Andes chips? This was an exciting discovery, since I foolishly assumed I would have to unwrap a lot of mints to make these cookies.

Melt the butter in the microwave or on the stovetop at low heat. Whisk in the cocoa powder and the sugars, right in the same bowl or pan. Stir in yogurt and vanilla. Mix remaining dry ingredients in a separate bowl, and then add them to the chocolate mixture. Stir in Andes mints (or other peppermint candy, if you like). Both times I've made these, the dough was very sticky--don't be alarmed by this. Drop little plops of dough onto a baking sheet, press some extra mints or chocolate chips onto the top if you like (I like), and bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. DO NOT OVERBAKE.

I made some gingerbread cookies too, with candied ginger and everything, but they weren't anything to write home about (though that didn't stop me from eating them for breakfast). My mom's are much better.

I feel like a total doughball right now, by the way. Thanks cookies!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

365.

I am contemplating posting to this here blog every day in 2008 (there's even a site where you can sign up to do it). I'm not into making sweeping resolutions anymore, because the personal growth stuff is renewable and ongoing, but this one seems manageable. I made only one last year--Cheeto-free in 2007--and I am glad to say that I stuck to it, eschewing even Cheeto-like pretenders (with a minor slip-up when we were up north a few weeks ago and the Brit was boasting that the organic cheese curls were a cut above. I tried them.). I think it's a good idea to make a single resolution that you know you can keep.

Some other things are afoot, but they're boring things about taking vitamins every day, flossing more frequently (perhaps daily?), and orienting my diet vegan-ward.

On a totally unrelated note, I found this amazing website today--it's the Library of Congress collection of posters from the WPA Federal Art Project. You can browse by subject and see a stellar array of prints--silkscreens, lithographs, and woodcuts--publicizing things like conservation and public health initiatives and planned housing and theatrical productions. Beautiful design and typefaces. There were a LOT of posters about syphilis. Check out these conservation posters:
Please Keep The Park Clean.

Let Them Grow.

National Parks Preserve Wild Life.

And one about nurturing the young:
Still true today.

Someday I am going to get deep into WPA research for some reason, I can just feel it.

On another unrelated note, the Brit bought me the earrings from this post. They are even fresher in person. (You should see his eyes bug out of his head when he's playing WoW.)
Benazir Bhutto is dead.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Yule.

This was the whitest Christmas we've had in years. We're now in our second consecutive snow emergency so that the plows can do their thing, and my car is sitting outside waiting to be scooped out for the third time. Whatever other effects the snow has, it sure does make things cozy. At one point during the Harry Potter binge I was on the couch under a fleece blanket with the cat on my chest (almost suffocating me, PS, but in a cuddly way) and the book and the Brit handing me some tea and the snow falling softly and I exclaimed about how cozy things were about to get. Oh cozy.

Christmas was cozy too, and also hilarious. My grandpa, for example, had told my mom that he wasn't "going to mess around with money this year. Everyone's getting meat." Like meat is so much less messy than slim paper banknotes. Plus I was convinced he would forget that I don't eat meat, but then my meatbox had lovely salmon in it.

Also, the kids got a number of costumes for Christmas, so that when we showed up on the Eve, Henry was already dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow and we had to hand over Jude's Troy Bolton costume almost immediately to even things out. Then they swapped costumes. Then Henry got a lab coat, which suits him perfectly. He has, as you may know, abandoned magic for science.

Please note that this is a progression that took western civilization hundreds of years to make, and Henry made it in a year.

Then Jude got a Spiderman costume. He takes any opportunity to whip off his clothes, and sometimes he was just running around in his underoos. It was festive. And Willa has started smiling and cooing. And my brother is home, and we both got teary-eyed when we hugged hello. And then he gave me this for Christmas:
Teen Magazine August 1970.

I love giving the presents. Among other things, I gave the Brit World of Warcraft, which I am now installing on an external drive so that he can run it on his work computer. I imagine that when I get back from work tomorrow he's going to be on the couch all greasy and wild-eyed with maybe a pizza box next to him and his laptop illuminating his face. He claims he's taking me down with him, but I have a resolution about my dusty thesis and there are a number of other things, such as the Print Gocco machine I shall be buying with a wonderful gift certificate from my folks, that require my attention.

We wrapped up Christmas day at an Irish bar in St Paul, where a pair of musicians kicked out the reels and jigs and my sister Em and I welled up with pride when they sang about the County Down, and the Brit bonded with my brother and I listened to Hob's old friends talk about their doings while I nursed my Guinness and my laryngitis, and then two young men tag-teamed the bagpipes. Today I slept until noon.

I wouldn't be surprised to see tumbleweeds blowing across the hall at the office tomorrow, but I'm going there anyway.

Work it on out.

In keeping with my previous post about undertaking tasks with a good attitude, here's a niblet from Kahlil Gibran:
Work is love made visible.

And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.

For if you bake bread with indifference, you bake a bitter bread that feeds but half man’s hunger.

And if you grudge the crushing of the grapes, your grudge distills a poison in the wine.

And if you sing though as angels, and love not the singing, you muffle man’s ears to the voices of the day and the voices of the night.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Fa ra ra ra ra, ra ra ra raaaa.

Christmas 42.
pirate nativity

I spent Saturday and Sunday reading the last two Harry Potter books for the first time. It was as heavenly as it sounds. By somehow remaining unfanatic in recent years, I'd avoided all spoilers and thus had the pure enjoyment of discovering the action right in sequence (all through the most productive hours of the day, which is one of my great pleasures). Since I am still dealing with laryngitis, this was perfect recovery activity and a great run-up to the actual holidays. Give it up for vacation!

As a result of my reading, my thoughts have been full of the YA fantasy tropes I've noticed over the years (I am part nerd, but you knew this already).

1. The hero isn't the smartest or the best. The hero is fundamentally ordinary, incredibly human, and achieves greatness because he or she chooses the right friends. (This is true in Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, His Dark Materials, The Prydain Chronicles, The Dark is Rising, etc.)

2. The hero's origins ultimately are not important. Blood family might play a role, but more often the hero is an orphan. The friends that the hero collects on his or her journey are pivotal. The message seems to be that family is crucial but created. Ties of friendship and loyalty always trump accidents of birth.

3. Evil is never eliminated but the good never, ever stop fighting it, no matter how hard it is or how hopeless it seems.

4. A wise white-bearded man guides and mentors the hero (without ever giving the hero any real answers). It's the Merlin archetype and it seems to be inescapable. (A notable subversion happens in His Dark Materials, but those books are more explicitly about religion and the man with the white beard is notably absent for most of the series.) I'm sure the Merlin archetype came from somewhere else, too, but I haven't read back that far.

5. The end of enchantment is another big one, though obviously it's not part of Harry Potter, since magic is sort of like the matrix in those books. In most other fantasy series, though--finite series, where things are tied up at the end--a big theme is that magic withdraws and the passages between worlds close up. Why? Because those who are left behind, the ordinary who answered the call to be extraordinary and do extraordinary things, now know and understand their own capacity. And they must also do the hard work themselves because no one else will do it for them.

I like these themes very much and they're part of the reason I keep reading these kinds of books. They are also very apropos during this season of celebration, which has at its foundation this one idea no matter which traditions you observe:

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Merry Christmas everybody! Take care of your friends and fight evil.

Christmas 32.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Safety first.

Everyone is clearly keeping a low profile today. This is even true of those of us who actually went to work and may or may not be getting things done. I just wanted to share with you some of the things I encountered in a legitimate work-related search for vintage safety posters.








This is a campaign whose time has come, again.




(Which led me to this, some parts funnier than others.)


(I saved this to my hard drive as "Russian Safety.")


Yep, Ronald Reagan. My question is: why does this ad from the 80s look like it's from the 50s? Were they being retro even then?



Plus this guy:

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Money for nothin.

Dear Minnesotans, did you know that you can donate $50 ($100 for marrieds) to the DFL and get it refunded right back to you through the state's Political Contribution Refund program? Here's a link to a secure site where you can donate. Full disclosure: this refund is actually available if you donate to any Minnesota political party, candidate for state office, or candidates for the Minnesota Legislature (as long as they've signed an agreement with the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board to observe state campaign spending limits). Here's some more information on how it works.

Traditionally, Republicans have been better at both donating and claiming the refund. If you're a Dem who's been on the fence about donating or who doesn't have the scratch, this is a really easy way to support the party or candidate of your choice. The only catch: you have to donate by December 31, 2007.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Shut it up, just shut up, shut up.

Shutting up really is interesting, man, even if it's forced. I don't think I'm huge talker anyway, depending on the company, but you know, what if you had to think carefully about every single thing you said because your speaking resources were so limited and delicate? It really cuts back on the driving-related swearing, I can tell you that. This all kind of makes me want to go on a silent retreat. But without the sneezing, fatigue, coughing, sore throat, and (unrelated) backache that seizes every time I cough or sneeze.

On the plus side, there are bagels and schmearing materials in the kitchen here at work (and I didn't bring lunch).

On the other plus side, here's my sister Em's response to my health-related complaints and feeling old:
Sorry you feel so shitty. I was just emailing back and forth with a couple of my friends about 2008 resolutions and concluded that our goals are totally old people goals. Like one of Sarah's was "stick to The Budget" and the other Sarah’s was "less dairy more yoga" and Elizabeth’s was "7 healthy bowel movements per week" mine had something to do with my retirement fund.

Then I said if we were really old our lists would look actually more ambitious but stupid and would include like:

• take cruise
• audition for broadway musical
• asian cooking class
• sky dive
• make love to a woman
• learn the computer

So I know what you mean about feeling old.
If you are bored at any point today, Free Rice is only like the best game ever, I mean if you're a vocab jerk like me (not that you would necessarily glean that fact from my recent entries). I am determined to get up past level 48. (Update: I hit 50. These are the things that make me feel good.)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Balls.

You deserve to be reminded of this classic. Please notice how none of them are laughing during the performance, in contrast to every Adam Sandler sketch ever mounted on SNL.


Okay, I promise I'm going to stop embedding stuff for awhile. I have laryngitis, so I should really be banking all of my non-talking and funneling it into original blog content until I get my voice back. Today I am on total vocal rest, which means I am not going to say anything to anyone, and I will try to do the same tomorrow. I did a bit of talking yesterday while we were around the house and out and about--but I really shouldn't have talked at all. The Brit and I were tooling around at the Mall of Eternal Damnation for awhile yesterday, and instituted a voice-sparing thumbs-up/thumbs-down response system that he was getting a big kick out of. "This will probably be good for our relationship," he said.

"What, you mean if I don't talk so much?" I snorted. It's true that when you can barely speak, you think a lot harder about what is worth saying. So I'll just give him some laryngitis once I'm recovered and then we'll be all set.

Lovers of jewelry that can appear to be either classy or hippie/new-agey depending on your own personal style: I have been skulking around this ebay store today. I can't vouch for any of it, but the seller's feedback is 100% positive and it looks like you can get amazing deals on sterling silver and semi-precious stone jewelry. All of the auctions start at $0.95.

I can vouch for these cocoa-fudge cookies, which I made yesterday. They are super-easy, eggless (though not dairy-less), and rather delicious, like a flattened brownie. I doubled the recipe and added a teaspoon of cinnamon and they came out great, except for the sheet I baked too long.

The Christmas tree now only has ornaments starting about 30 inches off the ground. It's only a mild deterrent for the cat. I think he starts to feel jungle-istic when there's a tree (even a fake one from IKEA) around.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

17 times.

For Beyonce lovers/haters, allow me to present you with this wonderful video:



Last night the Brit said I looked like a Cossack from Tron, which I translated as ethno-futuristic. Sadly, I did not photograph my outfit.

I kept myself up all night coughing up my lungs and today I have no voice.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Check it twice.

Here's some art you should buy for your kids' rooms.


By Order of the Management prints by johnwgolden. He has lots of good dog prints, too.


Giraffe print by OrangeWillow. The zebra is also quite fine.


"Wishing tree" by amyleong, who has many dreamy fairytale-esque illustrations.


"The giant suburban bear monster visits NYC" print or really anything by matteart.


"Kiss the Mushroom" print by BirdNerd. I've been eyeballing her collage prints forever and finally bought some for Willa, thus prompting this whole list.


Bunny wall stickers from elly nelly. There are lots of grown-up wall decals in this shop, too.

Also, feel free to buy me some earrings from orno. Like maybe these? I've been coveting them for like a year.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tasty morsels.

Here are some things that are really filling my hole.
-My new laptop battery arrived in the mail yesterday and behold, it works! There was a sketchy moment when it seemed not to talk to my power cord, but that moment has passed and I am back online FULL TIME.
-This Peppermint Chocolate VitaSoy, which I am drinking hot. Tis delicious.
-These four fluffy little dogs walking a dude through the snow on Sunday. They were too far away to identify, but they were the type of dog that's moppish and low to the ground and they were beside themselves to be a in a field of snow. They actually made me laugh out loud. There aren't many things more physically joyful than dogs in snow, in my opinion.
-Christmas shopping on the internet with my sister. We've been going back and forth for days via email while we're at work, sorting out the gift-giving and sending links and swapping ideas and placing orders. Living in the future is so awesome.
-Hearing "Talking in Your Sleep" on the radio just now. Aw, heck, you can hear it too:

-The fact that Whole Foods now has crunchy organic versions of your favorite trashy kids' cereals, including Peanut Butter Cap'n Crunch. I can't remember what it's called, but hipster parents everywhere are sure to rejoice.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Messaged.

Here's what my sister Em had to say about the movie Atonement:
I'd recommend it, even though I really dislike war movies and Keira Knightley is just running around like a ravaged skeleton.
Emailing my sister at work is a perk of being in an office all day.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

I have a lot of feelings.

Here's a dirty little secret about me: I cry in church like all the time. I don't mean full on ugly snotface--more like unbidden streaming eyes and random upwellings of emotion. I try to hold it back, too, but I'm pretty sure I'm not fooling anybody, and I'm certainly not fooling myself. I may present a kind of analytical or well thought out front, but I am an emotional reactor. This is just one reason I would be a terrible therapist, doctor, or politician--or minister, for that matter. Just trying to be a decent human being is hard enough without also having to hold it together for the benefit of those you're trying to serve.

Anyway, I wonder what would happen if I started letting go a little bit more. There's one woman at church whose emotions are very close to the surface and she gets moved by just about everything. It's very endearing, and it just happens to be one of her noticeable characteristics. I'm pretty sure it's one of mine, too--but I've spent most of my life trying to keep people from noticing it, and like I said: I'm not fooling anyone.

The church-weepiness has been pretty ongoing ever since I got this gig 9 years ago. I kept thinking it would pass, that I would get used to being in a place where I could reliably expect to be moved by ideas, but the weepiness never has gone away. Sometimes it's brought on by nothing more than having a moment to sit in silence and think about the people I love who are far away from me or struggling with something. Sometimes it's the little electric shock of self-recognition when a reading or a sermon seems to illuminate the exact thing that's been on my mind.

I've been thinking a lot about service lately, about the things you do as part of your daily life to help the people around you, or to keep the household running, or whatever, and how easy it is for me to devolve into resentment and martyrdom about the stupidest things. I have often taken on tasks that it seems no one else wants to do just so that they get done, but I always take them on with a sense of exasperation and probably a little moral superiority, like for example when I would volunteer to play unglamorous positions in sports as a kid because no one would be goalie or catcher. It wasn't generally because I was so into the team. It was more like I needed to demonstrate that I was more responsible than everyone else.

Anyway, it's occurred to me more than once recently that if I'm going to serve--if I'm going to take on seemingly unrewarding tasks, or just step in and do what needs doing, I should do it with joy. I know this is easier said than done. But I am going to try.

This day has been kind of a rollercoaster. My alarm didn't go off, but I woke up in enough time to get to rehearsal. The service was long, but I still had time to walk to the co-op for coffee. I got to meet up with four friends I haven't seen in months and months for brunch, but I discovered en route that my wallet was missing. I'd only been to the co-op and church and you figure hippies and Unitarians aren't going to pick your pockets, so I didn't panic; still, losing a wallet is mighty inconvenient.

When I got home after the 2.5 hour brunch, I found that a neighbor I've never met had posted a note on the door. "Please call me," it said, in neat, deliberate, old-lady cursive. "I think it's important, about a billfold?" Some folks had found my wallet on the ground and reverse-searched my neighbors after they figured out that my number's unlisted. I got a call from my angelic wallet-finders in the middle of writing this entry, actually, and scooted back over to St Paul to retrieve it. I brought them a poinsettia. Turns out we have friends in common and they're coming to my concert next week. The woman hugged me when I left, and I got in the car and laughed and cried, a little hysterical and a lot relieved about how the world is sometimes exactly the way it is supposed to be.

Is it worth running constant ornament interference with the cat just to have a Christmas tree? He's tipped it over once, extracted no fewer than three baubles just while I've been writing this entry, and keeps carrying his favorite string over to the tree and hiding out with it. It would be a lot cuter if it weren't infuriating.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Have yourself a hairy little fishnut.

I sort of feel like I'm hallucinating, between the alkyd-based primer I've been slapping on the basement paneling, the spicy coconut-noodle soup I'm currently slurping, and fucking Celtic Woman on PBS. Why is Celtic Woman on like EVERY DAY? With the hideous pastel fishtail prom pageant dresses and the gagworthy arrangements of Christmas songs and the breathy breathy singing and the fiddling elf who scampers around the stage?

We put up the fake tree and the holiday flair last night. I should spend the rest of the day filling the house with delicious baking smells and crafts, just to complete the picture. I realized yesterday when I was talking about potpourri with the Brit (he wants some and I spent about 15 minutes sniffing all of the specimens at Target, with no winners) that I have been imagining something like two cozy housebound weeks of crafting and snow and hot beverages and, perhaps, making my very own potpourri--but this imagining is a relic from childhood and won't actually be happening over the holidays. Particularly since I'm having a hard time getting anything extracurricular done these days--e.g. crafty stuff, shop updates, thrift shopping.

It's zero degrees today. A good day to stay in and do projects.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Little things mean a lot.

One of my sister's friends recently asked Jude what his favorite part about having Willa here is and he sweetly replied "Her teeny, tiny vagina."

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The apple of my eye.

I was just emailing the Brit about how freaking good this honeycrisp apple is, and here's what he wrote back:
That makes me think: perhaps of all foods, the gulf between a mediocre apple and a good one is the most broad. Because when you buy Carl Buddig, you know you're getting mediocre ham from the get-go. An apple reveals all at the moment you bite in, and no branding can confirm what it will deliver. That's why this honeycrisp genus is such a leap forward. Always crisp, always sweet, always meeting those high expectations so often undermined by the mealy Galas of yore...
And until I get my new laptop battery, this is how posting is probably going to be: short, surreptitious, and largely stolen from other writers.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Hojoto-ho.

Okay, I've failed on posting every day in December, already. But here's what happened: I had a gig all weekend, and it snowed and snowed with 35 mph gusts of wind slicing our faces as we tromped up the main street to get some pizza. These kinds of things leave you with only enough energy to order "Superbad" from Movies! On! Demand! and tool out in the hotel room. The movie was totally worth the $12 tacked onto my hotel bill.

Then the other thing I've been doing is rereading Watership Down, in a lovely soft old paperback that migrated over here from England and used to belong to someone called Fiona. So I have been thinking about rabbits a lot. And life lessons.

It was a good weekend, full of great conversations and high-quality relaxing. And the music, mustn't forget that--that was pretty good too. It's been ages since I've heard a performance of The Messiah, so the piece has remained pretty fresh for me. It's also incredibly exhilarating to be onstage when everyone stands up for the Hallelujah chorus. There are lots of pieces in the classical canon that have been overused and abused in many ways and have become a total cliche, but I tell you what, this abuse does not rob the music of its power. I like to think, par example, about being in the theater the first time anyone ever played that Ride of the Valkyries bit from Die Walküre. I mean wouldn't you have lost your shit? Shock AND awe. Beethoven 9 is like that too. The orchestra conductor at my undergrad institution was so worked up for her first rehearsal of Beethoven 9 that she stabbed herself up the nose with her baton on the first upbeat (for non-musicians: that is the very first cue before anyone has even played a note and everyone is waiting with bated breath for things to start). "I seem to have injured myself," she said, and went off to the bathroom. (I am pleased to report that this anecdote is still funny to me, over 10 years later.)

So anyway, there I was, buoyed up by the collective energy of about 1500 people, which was really nice.

It snowed here too and today I found that I had made the mental shift to winter, shloooop, just like that. One day you're a mittened pansy moaning about 40 degrees and the next day you're slopping hatless through a parking lot with big boots on and your cold face is just par for the course. There's still a bunch of shoveling to do and I'm going to put it off for 8 or 9 hours so I can read some more about rabbits.

Oh, and guess what, I can even tie this entry up neatly thanks to my selectively photographic memory: one year when I was in highschool, there was a commercial for a local energy company (I think) that featured the classic fat horned opera lady busting into your house and singing "Welcome to winter / In Minnesota / Here is your FUEL bill / Ha ha ha HAAAAAA!" to the tune of Ride of the Valkyries. I think of that still. How sad for the more important concepts that evade me.