Sunday, September 28, 2008

Where Have All the Good Puddles Gone?

A crisp Autumn cool has settled into the morning air and I'm wistfully reminiscing about bare feet on warm grass. But today was a day for dry socks in rain boots. Is it just me or are the days racing by faster than ever? Halloween will be here in no time.

Little Sprout is so excited to wear his new rain boots. The first photo is of him splashing in the one pathetic puddle we found today after a short morning drizzle. The photo below is of us looking (in vain) for more challenging puddles to jump.

It's hard to bear when you're ready and eager to splash to your heart's content, but the clouds won't cooperate. Better luck tomorrow, Little Sprout!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Little Sprout in a Big Truck

Last week I posted a photo of Little Sprout negotiating for snacks at breakfast, and a photo of him in front of his Grandpa's truck during a recent visit. Here he is behind the wheel.

He was encouraged to explore Grandpa's truck, pushing buttons, turning knobs, playing with levers and the steering wheel — it was a toddler's dream come true!

After that visit, Little Sprout's focus on trucks has doubled, possibly even tripled. He points out trucks everywhere, calling them all "daddy's truck." I think he means to say "Grandpa's truck."

It is intriguing to see him label objects around him, using the words he knows when he can't yet say the words for the concept he understands. How long will it take for his vocabulary to catch up with his cognitive development?

And given the spiraling cost of gasoline — will he be able to drive a truck when he's old enough or will gasoline-powered engines have gone the way of eight-track tapes and Betamax recorders?

That's right. Eight-tracks and Beta. Let that sink in for a minute. When was the last time you saw an eight-track tape? Did you or anyone you know own a Betamax recorder? I'm just sayin'...

By the time Little Sprout can say, "Fill 'er up," those words may have no more meaning than the broadcast phrase "film at 11."

Is levity endemic to Australia?

Megan (a.k.a. Flergs) is a digital scrapbooking designer down under whose blogs I follow. She posted this recently after receiving it in her e-mail inbox. The comments about the drop bear and hippo racing had me laughing out loud.

This bit of levity looks like it has been flitting about the Internet for a while. Supposedly, the questions below were posted to an Australian Tourism Website and the answers are the actual responses by the website officials, who obviously have a sense of humor.

Australian Tourism
These were posted on an Australian Tourism Website and the answers are the actualresponses by the website officials.
Q: Does it ever get windy in Australia? I have never seen it rain on TV, how do the plants grow? (UK)
A: We import all plants fully grown and then just sit around watching them die.
Q: Will I be able to see kangaroos in the street? (USA)
A: Depends how much you've been drinking.

Q: I want to walk from Perth to Sydney - can I follow the railroad tracks? (Sweden)
A: Sure, it's only three thousand miles, take lots of water.

Q: Are there any ATMs (cash machines) in Australia? Can you send me a list of them in Brisbane, Cairns, Townsville and Hervey Bay? (UK)
A: What did your last slave die of?

Q: Can you give me some information about hippo racing in Australia ? (USA)
A: Africa is the big triangle shaped continent south of Europe. Australia is that big island in the middle of the Pacific which does not ... oh forget it. Sure, the hippo racing is every Tuesday night in Kings Cross. Come naked.

Q: Which direction is North in Australia? (USA)
A: Face south and then turn 180 degrees. Contact us when you get here and we'll send the rest of the directions.

Q: Can I bring cutlery into Australia? (UK)
A: Why? Just use your fingers like we do.

Q: Can you send me the Vienna Boys' Choir schedule? (USA)
A: Austria is that quaint little country bordering Germany, which is ... oh forget it. Sure, the Vienna Boys Choir plays every Tuesday night in Kings Cross, straight after the hippo races. Come naked.

Q: Are there supermarkets in Sydney and is milk available all year round? (Germany)
A: No, we are a peaceful civilization of vegan hunter/gatherers. Milk is illegal.

Q: Please send a list of all doctors in Australia who can dispense rattlesnake serum. (USA)
A: Rattlesnakes live in America which is where YOU come from. All Australian snakes are perfectly harmless, can be safely handled and make good pets.

Q: I have a question about a famous animal in Australia, but I forget its name. It's a kind of bear and lives in trees. (USA)
A: It's called a Drop Bear. They are so called because they drop out of Gum trees and eat the brains of anyone walking underneath them. You can scare them off by spraying yourself with human urine before you go out walking.

Q: I have developed a new product that is the fountain of youth. Can you tell me where I can sell it in Australia? (USA)
A: Anywhere significant numbers of Americans gather.

Q: Can you tell me the regions in Tasmania where the female population is smaller than the male population? (Italy)
A: Yes, gay night clubs.

Q: Do you celebrate Christmas in Australia? (France)
A: Only at Christmas.

Q: Will I be able to speak English most places I go? (USA)
A: Yes, but you'll have to learn it first.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Mother's (not Mudder's) Milk,
Would You Do It?

Pardon the Firefly reference, but I couldn't help but share this offbeat bit of foodie news gleaned from Dean at Varmint Bites. Thanks, Dean, for the sharing your thoughts.

Dean links to it in his post as well, but here is the original article from the British newspaper, The Telegraph.

Farscape Comics coming in November

Before my Firefly addiction, I was (still am) an ardent fan of the TV show Farscape.

CBR has an article on the Farscape comic books being written by Rockne O'Bannon. The first four-issue miniseries, starting in November, is being described as a direct sequel to The Peacekeeper Wars.

I'm so ready to delve back into that whole frelling universe.

ADDENDUM: More comic book cover art photos at GamerTell. Also read [SFX].

Friday, September 19, 2008

Talk Like a Pirate Day 2008

Aargh and abast ye, me hearties! The call o' the sea be strong. If ye be longin' t' feel the swells beneath ye, grab some grog (or a lusty wench) an' let loose with a hearty, "Yo Ho!"

For the past few seasons one o' me mates has sent me e-cards commemoratin' this fine day. The photo above is a screen shot of this year's card. Of course I run up the Jolly Roger and blast a bit o' buccanneer shot right back. I'd be nothin' but a bilge rat and bastard daughter of a biscuit eater if I didn't.

Aye now, if ye be likin' me light-hearted lingo, this privateer be goin' on the account to have me lookin' like a lily-livered sprog. He even beat me to me best site o' reference. Aye, ye'll be wantin' to share some grog wit' 'im. Savvy?

Lookin' to get ye a proper swashbucklin' epithet?

My pirate name is:

Deadeye Constance Bonney

Every pirate lives for something different. For some, it's the open sea. For others (the masochists), it's the food. For you, it's definitely the fighting. You can be a little bit unpredictable, but a pirate's life is far from full of certainties, so that fits in pretty well. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from
part of the network
Thanks to Dread Pirate Kidd for posting her pirate name, and that scurvy art. Good on ye, mate!

Smooth sailin' an' fair winds t' ye! Aaarrrggh!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Tastiest Mistake I Ever Made

Until yesterday I was one of maybe two remaining people in the blogosphere who hadn't tried the blueberry crumb bars recipe posted on Smitten Kitchen.

I still, however dubiously, fall into the category, but I willingly join the ranks of the crumb bar faithful. Depending on how you look at it, either my technicality wouldn't hold up in foodie court or my error was so egregious as to get me laughed out of foodie court. That and the crumbs around my mouth give me away...

This dessert worked it's tender, fruity wiles on me. Did I mention it's a failed recipe? Failed because mine weren't so much crumb bars as one big, tasty crumble. But it was the tastiest mistake I ever made.

Long story short -- I forgot to put the egg in the crumbly crust/topping. Of course I spied the untouched egg on my counter -- right next to the mixer -- after I had the dessert assembled and ready to put in the oven. D'oh!

After kicking myself the entire time it was baking, I pulled out the 9x13 pan with the intention of inspecting it and tossing it in the trash.

One taste saved the pan from the trash bin. It was heavenly. Really, really (--as in, Oh Sweet Mercy, this is good!) heavenly.

I say WAS because there is precious little of it left.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Little Sprout Photos

Once again, it's very late and my brain has stubbornly decided not to cooperate. But I wanted to get a few photos of Little Sprout posted before it shut down altogether.

These were taken a week ago during a short visit by his Grandma and Grandpa. It just so happened that his Uncle dropped by to see him that very same day.

Little Sprout
is big enough to climb onto all the chairs around the house, which opens up many new opportunities for him. Here he is asking to eat flavor-blasted goldfish for breakfast.

When I told him no, he offered me one of his Playskool Wheel Pal trains (a bribe?). Sigh! I have my hands full. That's for sure.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Fall in Love With a New Fall Look

Summer seems to be rolling up its beach blanket and calling it a season. So I've been playing around with my banner again. What do you think of the new look?

I kept thinking about the gorgeous, vibrant purples in last year's Autumn leaves, and how Halloween will be here before you can say, "Boo!"

Before I knew it, I had come up with this banner plus a great idea on how to update it for Halloween.

This past week was "relatively" eventful. My parents and brother-in-law arrived for a visit on the same day! Even though they only live four (4) miles from each other, they drove from opposite directions on the eastern seaboard to spend some time with Little Sprout.

Needless to say we ate, we talked, and we teased my mom about making Little Sprout cry.

The poor, little guy. He was poised to fling food from the tray of his high chair when Grammy said, "Don't do it..." (or something innocuous to that effect - I don't think she actually told him no.) And out came the boo-boo lip. Then the full-on tears. It was his most dramatic meltdown to date. Talk about working a room!

He was over stimulated by a culmination of new faces (even if they were family) and changes to his toddler routine. It happens. We got him calmed down and everything smoothed over.

Overall it was a nice visit and we took a bunch of new photos that I will get posted up in the next day or so. Now I've got to go drag this tired body off to bed, so I can keep up with tomorrow's toddler adventures.

G'night, everybody. A toute à l'heure.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A Charlie Brown Farewell --
R.I.P. Bill Melendez

Curious how I had been thinking about Charlie Brown all day.

Because he was on my mind, I worked Charlie Brown references in to my cold-brewed iced coffee post earlier today. (Old college and writing pals will tell you I'm notorious for bizarre thought trains. Anyone else I have had a conversation with will more than likely be able to cite a colorful example upon request.)

Even curiouser, I dug out my collection of Charlie Brown DVDs and VHS tapes to play for Little Sprout today. He loved the fact that Snoopy was a beagle. He sat entranced through It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown [although he did run away scared at the part where WWI flying ace Snoopy dog-fights with the Red Baron in his Sopwith Camel (his dog house)] and You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown. He asked for more when they were over.

What greater compliment is there than a child's delight at Pinnochio or Fantasia? Little Sprout bonded with Pinnochio at the tender age of 16 months. It was his first Disney movie.

But Mr. Melendez's legacy doesn't end there. He also worked at Warner Bros. making Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig and Daffy Duck shorts. So remember him well when you hear that signature Loony Tunes sign-off, "Th-th-th-that's all folks!"

The Associated Press published this entertainment news brief:
'Peanuts' animator Bill Melendez dies at 91
as well as an online obituary (scroll to the bottom):
Obituaries in the News - Bill Melendez

I never met Mr. Melendez, but there is no question that he was truly one of the great Hollywood animators. He molded my childhood and left a lasting impression with his "Peanuts" specials. I, for one, will remember him fondly every time I hear Snoopy's "voice."

Thank you for all of the wonderful "Peanuts" specials, commercials and animated features you made, Mr. Melendez. Your prodigious animation legacy will live on in every child's (or child-at-heart's) smile. We'll miss you.

Note: A photo of Mr. Melendez is included in the evening edition of The Washington Post.

A Charlie Brown Moment

AAAAAAUGH! I feel cheated.

Think of the Charlie Brown football gag. This 36-second video clip from the "Peanuts" Classic, It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown illustrates nicely:


Instead of Lucy pulling away the football, however, imagine me pulling it away at a crucial moment. Yes, it's an arrogant analogy if I'm both Lucy and Charlie Brown. Let's move on.

A few of you are aware of my latest blog addiction, namely Smitten Kitchen. For a week now, I've been wanting to make Ms. Smitten's cold-brewed iced coffee. Did I mention I don't even drink coffee? But this coffee sounds so delicious, I just have to try it. So I drag the coffee maker out of the storage cupboard and prepare to brew up some decaf.

Calamity! While filling the pot with water, the tempered glass shatters. I stand there for a minute in stunned silence. Then I remember Ms. Smitten remarking on the difference between cold-brewing and just letting hot coffee cool off.

And just like that my calamity turns into a boon. Aside from having to replace the glass pot, I'm back on the cool joe track. (Get the Snoopy reference? Cool Joe...Joe Cool.)

Decaf grounds mixed with water, sitting at room temperature for the suggested 12 hours. Check.

By tomorrow morning I will be chomping at the bit to strain, pour over ice, add some flavored creamer and sample. Aren't you impressed with the photo? That glass lasted a whole five minutes untouched while I snapped a few digital photos -- that's restraint, baby!

You want to see what the end result looks like? Check out this Marine wife's blog: Our Life as a Military Family

I'm already dreaming of sipping this indulgent drink while knitting. At least until the calories catch up with me.