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Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Saturday, March 31, 2007

Buy a friend a book for no good reason

You love your friends, right? Yeah, me too. Love them to death. They're true blue buddies and sometimes it's important to get your buddies a little something for no good reason. Not a birthday or an anniversary or a get well present. An "I love being your friend" present. Since all my friends are, like me, voracious readers, there's nothing like a good read for a good friend.

Well, here’s the deal: Debra Hamel, writer, book reviewer and blogger, started a book giveway contest at Buy A Friend A Book. BAFAB Weeks come four times a year, in the first weeks of January, April, July, and October. What’s it about? It’s about promoting books. It’s about getting people excited about reading. It’s about buying someone a book for no good reason.

Which is why I'm participating in Buy a Friend A Book. Because I love sharing books with my friends anyhow, and to me, a book is about as special and personal a present as you can get. I've already picked out the book I'm going to give my friend, but I'd like to send a reader a book, too. One lucky reader, that leaves a comment telling me what kind of book they like to read. One reader that wants a book for no good reason. That must be you! So leave me a comment, tell me what your favorite book is, what you live to read, what you absolutely hate (me, I can't abide science fiction and fantasy books), and if you're the person chosen, I'll send you a book. What could be easier?

I'm also going to put up my Amazon wish list, so if you want to reciprocate and buy me a book, you're more than welcome to see what I'm hoping to read soon. There's a ton of really great books on there, so if you need suggestions of what you like to read, you might want to start from there. Plus...cookbooks! So many cookbooks. I think I might have mentioned I am a kitchen slut (thanks, Neener) and will read any cookbook I can get my hands on. Ummm... if only I could hire a cook to make the food!

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This week in pictures

Here's the happenings around the house this week. Nice and peaceful most of the time. Of course we were all sicker than can be, but...


The Girl makes the best freaking oatmeal cookies. I don't know why her cookies taste better than anyone elses. She uses the recipe on the top of the Quaker box. But they are sooooo good.


The day dinner snuck up on me and I had nothing planned. Or, to be more truthful, one of the days dinner snuck up on me and I had nothing planned. I have to use up the hametz, so tortelini it was. Julienned peppers, some curry powder, and some green beans. Pretty, fast, and healthy!


The Boy has a pair just like this in his room. Look, it's halloween!



He isn't all hormones and sulking rage. I can make him laugh like anything. And I kissed him right in the queue at the grocery store today. Heh. Such a shana punim!



Have you met our neighbor? You got me. I have no idea. But he's there all year round. I find him charming.



Ooooo, I love you. I LOVE you. Now can I sleep on your pillow?


No, I can't? OK, then I'll just settle down here on the folded comforter. You won't really need to be unfolding it, will you? Meow!

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Friday is Stop Cyberbullying Day

Andy Carvin has started a new movement to stop internet bullying. This isn't limited to blogs, but to all of the net; in forums, on listsevs, on mailing lists, and on Usenet. Bad behavior isn't limited to the blogging world, nor did they invent it. But it does exist in the blogosphere. Who can forget Trainwrecks, the cyberbullying site galore? Yes, it's gone, but other such trash buckets have sprouted up in it's place, and will continue to do so as long as people think it's funny to embarass and insult other bloggers.

In honor of Kathy Sierra, the Blogher community has joined forces with Andy today and declared that Friday should be Stop Cyberbullying Day. I'm totally behind this movement. I read the account of bullying and intimidation that was made public by Kathy herself. It was a courageous attempt at letting the world know that what happens on the Internet doesn’t stay on the Internet. This community is not one that is going to allow intimidation and scare tactics to overrun its halls. We will stand up for our rights to live without fear of cowards who hide behind anonymity.

I have been a victim myself on more than one occasion, and by Blogher members themselves. Not just a Trainwreck attack, but a concerted effort to attack me continually in a bullying fashion by encouraging their friends to join in the 'fun'. People that behave like this do so because they are insecure and feel threatened when they are disagreed with. I know that from my first of many psychology courses. It's common knowledge that people who get off on bullying are the people who feel the worst about themselves. It's easier to attack than it is to stand back and try to accept people's differences.

Most of my regular readers know that I've been on the internet almost since it's inception. I've seen some extremely ugly cases of cyberbullying over the years, on Usenet, on forums, and yes, in blog comments. In pretty much every case, the person that is the ringleader bully is the person who spends more time complaining about their own misfortunes than actually seeing anything positive in the world. Yes, it's easy to be a negative nelly, but when that attitude colors your entire perception of the world, then it easily leads to attacking people that aren't particularly supportive of your continual complaining.

According to the DesignMeme site, there are 8 different ways to fight cyberbullying. I've include several of her suggestions below:

Take it Seriously

1. Contact the Police
If you are receiving threats of violence, are being made to feel unsafe, or believe a law has been broken—call the police. Don’t believe that “it’s only the internet” and somehow not part of the “real” world. Kathy Sierra did the right thing when she contacted the authorities. Better safe than sorry.

2. Even if it’s not illegal it could still be breaking the rules
While you might at first think that since an abusive comment isn’t “illegal” you have no recourse, don’t forget that the various services we use online each have their own additional rules and regulations. Most companies providing web-hosting, email, and internet access have terms of use that extend beyond what is or is not allowed by law. It may be legal to make certain statements under free-speech laws, but many web hosting providers are more restrictive.

Know Your Enemy

3. WHOIS responsible for this?
If you find bullying content on a website with it’s own unique domain, such as meankids.org, you can use the service at WHOIS.net to lookup information on where a website is hosted. This will usually provide you with the name of the web hosting provider, and you can visit their site to find theirs terms of service and contact info to report any abuse of their service.

4. WHOIS the people in your neighbourhood?
In addition to finding more info on a URL, you can also lookup where an IP address is originating. An IP address is like a digital fingerprint—it’s traceable back to a specific computer. While a user could enter someone else’s (or a ficticious) name, email, or website URL with a comment on your blog, their IP address is recorded automatically. Doing an IP lookup will show you the organization that owns the address (the Internet Service Provider), and often the email address to contact to report abuse of their service. Be sure to include both the IP address and time the comment was posted. In wordpress, the admin panel section for managing comments posted to your blog includes a link from each recorded IP address to the WHOIS search.

Shut them down

5. Bullying Blog Buster
Blogger’s Terms of Service states:

“Member agrees not to transmit through the Service any unlawful, harassing, libelous, abusive, threatening, or harmful material of any kind or nature.”

As well as:

“You agree that Pyra (Blogger/Google), in its sole discretion, may terminate your password, BlogSpot Site, use of the Service or use of any other Pyra service, and remove and discard any Content within the Service, for any reason, including, without limitation, for lack of use or if Pyra believes that you have violated or acted inconsistently with the letter or spirit of the TOS (Terms of Service).”

If you find a bullying blog, use the Blogger Problem Reporting Form to let them know about it.

You can similarly report abuse on Myspace.com for any content that is “offensive, illegal or violate the rights, harm, or threaten the safety of any person.”

6. You don’t have mail
If you’re receiving abusive email from a cyberbully, in addition to contacting authorities you can contact the email service provider and have their account supsended. Free email services usually include Terms of Service as well. Gmail states that:

“You shall not, shall not agree to, and shall not authorize or encourage any third party to: (i) use the Service to upload, transmit or otherwise distribute any content that is unlawful, defamatory, harassing, abusive, fraudulent, obscene, contains viruses, or is otherwise objectionable as reasonably determined by Google.”

If you receive email from a gmail account that is harassing and/or abusive, you can report it to them. Other free email providers like Yahoo! and Hotmail have similar policies, and methods to report problems.


I have actually done the top three, and am responsible for putting a cyberbully who also participated in mail fraud into jail. I'm not proud of this, but this person was so persistant and her actions so vicious that the only way to stop her was to get the authorities involved. Because this person forged my signature onto forms for items sent across state lines, the FBI got involved, and once they took over, she was toast.

This is a great place for educators to begin learning about fighting cyberbullying. Unfortunately, being a cyberbully isn't just for adults anymore. Now more and more children are learning that they can post inflammatory photos and posts about kids they want to pick on. Both MySpace and FaceBook are places where this can happen, although FaceBook is nowhere near as dangerous as MySpace, which is barely regulated.

I urge each and every one of you to join in the movement to stop cyberbullying. If you feel the need to gang up on someone, take a step back and think of the damage you might be doing. Every poster is a human with feelings. If you don't like them, don't attack them. You can disagree with issues all you want, but when you start focussing on the person themselves, that's going over the line.

Unfortunately, some people don't understand the difference and feel that every disagreement on content alone is a personal dig. For those people, get tougher skin. But if someone starts calling you names and says things that are not only unkind, but irrelevant to the topic, that's a person to avoid in the future. If someone is serious about attacking your integrity and your person, stop them in their tracks. You don't need that kind of tsuris.

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Oh good God, have you SEEN Karl Rove rap?

Oh my Lord. This is so scary. But really really funny. Remember last year's correspondent's dinner, when Steven Colbert literally skewered the Bush administration? Last night, Karl Rove decided to rap at the dinner. Not only was there a new jibjab out singing about the media that was debuted at the dinner. Yeah, that was good. But Karl Rove rapping? There just are no words.

Not yet up on YouTube, so check out this site and this site where there is a video clip. It's must see TV. Karl Rove: Whitest white boy evah! What an embarassment. I haven't laughed this hard in days.

And you know what? Bush was pretty funny, too.

Man, this is the stuff bloggers live for!

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LOST Discussion Thursday

AAAH! BILLY DEE WILLIAMS! BILLY DEE WILLIAMS!

Using Billy Dee Williams could ONLY be a reference to Jimmy Kimmel's use of him in Lost comedy bits. Bravo Lost!!! YAY Jimmy!!

I thought that Episode was OK. Nowhere near as good as last week, but not the crappy episodes at the beginning of the season. I loved seeing Maggie Grace again just to hear her bellowing at her poor brother. Man, that girl can play bitchy! Loved the Zeligness of the flashbacks but, shucks, I was really looking forward to some Sun evilness. I hate the way they make the coming attractions look totally different then they really are.

I thought they did a good job intermixing Nikki and Paulo in the original footage of the crash scene. I loved when Nikki mentioned in her flashback that guest stars never stay around. I know most of the show was just a wink here and a wink there, but it was still good.

But the again, I waited all freaking week to see how Lockes father got teleported by Scotty to the island, and instead, we get an episode totally irrelivant about Nikki, Paulo, and diamonds. Not that it wasn't entertaining, it was, but I was so into seeing a bit more.

When Sawyer tossed those diamonds, I gasped audibly. I'd have kept the diamonds, and cashed in big time. It'd be my payment for living in that shithole. Or digging them back up while the group slept to get the diamonds back. :-)

I'm one of those who bitch about sticking to the primary plot of the mysterious island but I liked this episode probably because the flash-backs wereconcerned with events on Craphole Island not pointless stuff that happened years back in the real world. I don't know how many took it this way, but I thought they were tweaking all those who unceasingly piss and moan about not getting *answers* to all the mysteries. We learned all we needed to know about Nikki and Paolo, all summed up in an Edgar Allen Poe like short story.

They also managed to throw us a few bones in the process. The Lostaways are also starting to talk to each other. Sun can really throw a punch. I enjoyed seeing all those dead characters again. And, the one thing that I thought was a particularly sloppy flaw turned out to be a clue to the story's outcome. Namely, if Nikki's dead, how's she having flashbacks?

I wonder if some fans now feel like apologizing for their negative reaction to the introduction of Nikki and Paolo at the beginning of the season. I still don't understand how they're iconic, as the producers suggested. Heck, I think Engine-sucked-guy is a more iconic figure. If anything, Nikki and Paulo are even *worse* than anyone thought, because they're murderers (joining Lost's Murderers' Row).

How does that make them iconic characters? We've already got several con men (Sawyer, Cooper, Ben) and a bunch of murderers.

"While even Lindelof acknowledges that Nikki and Paulo are 'universally despised' by fans, that's going to change, he vows: 'We had a plan when we introduced them, and we didn't get to fully execute that plan. But when the plan is executed, Nikki and Paulo will be iconic characters on the show.' Source: Entertainment Weekly " http://www.spoilerfix.com/lost.php


It seems to me that Lindelof is suggesting they will become important and enduring symbols of the show. But unless the plan has not been fully executed, Nikki and Paulo are not icons, and I see no reason for the fans' opinion of them to change. They did bad stuff, they kept secrets, they (apparently) ended up dead. That's par for the course on this show. The only difference is, we got the Reader's Digest condensed version with N & P. Everything was compressed into one episode.

I did like the amusing "power lines" - "Paulo lies" - "paralyzed" bit, and the Medusa spider for its mythological connection, but I thought Boone and Shannon were totally underutilized. At least Arzt had a purpose in the episode.

And when are these people gonna learn to listen to the dog? Vincent was clearly saying "They're alive!" when he pulled off the blanket. Sheesh. And admit it, how many of you were expecting a hand to come thrusting out of the sand ala Thriller? I did! It was a great hoot that the people were buried alive. Oops. I just wonder why I should care. Unless Paolo and Nikki get out of the sand alive, and do something else equally perverse, why should we really care about them? They weren't there long enough for Sawyer to even remember their names, never mind come up with good nicknames for them. Probably the most uninteresting characters so far. However I loved how they worked these characters into the flashbacks with Boone and Shannon and everyone else.

Paolo and Nikki certainly took finding a mysterious hatch in stride! It seemed ridiculous that they didn't say a word to anyone about Eko's brother's plane or the hatch they found. You think they just might have mentioned something, but no.

Even if if was an unlikely place to find their bag, underground and all, why not report back about what they found? I mean before Paolo stashed the diamonds in the toilet tank? To do otherwise would have ground the episode to a halt, I guess. But it seemed unrealistic, even for Lost. I enjoyed the way this episode was high-paced and never let up.

In one of Expose's flashbacks - did I hear right- Shannon dissed Boone by implying he was flirting with Paolo? In a season one episode didn't she refer to Locke as Boone's "new boyfriend?" What's up with these remarks? Was Boone's character meant to be a switch hitter, or was Shannon just being her usually bitchy self?

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

When life stagnates

The Boy is still sick. I'm not well, but I'm no longer deathly ill. I am, however, extremely hungry for something sweet, which is a good sign. Or a bad sign. Depending upon, you know, whether or not I want to eat sweets and start that downhill ride again. Which I kinda do and kinda don't.

Yesterday I spent the entire day working, doing errands, and trying what to do about this nagging problem. You see, I have a home health aide that comes in once a week to clean, and help with certain chores. We had one woman for a year and I liked her a lot, but asked for a replacement when she became somewhat unreliable due to car troubles. I felt badly, but we got this second woman who cooked the most amazing good. We LOVED her cooking, her cleaning wasn't great. But they fired her. I am not sure why, probably because this was her second job and she didn't take it that seriously.

Then the agency we use didn't really have anyone, so we had a bunch of replacement people, none of whom lasted for more than a couple of week. At one point, the State (who pays for this) intervened with the agency, who blamed all the different people coming and going on me. I set the State straight, and tried to talk to the agency, but that's difficult for a variety of reasons.

Anyhow, we got yet another new person who we've had for a month. She sucks. I mean it, she was here Tuesday for 4 freaking hours and she did virtually nothing. She did not clean the kitchen counters or sink. She did not wash the wood floors throughout the entire downstairs. She did not clean either the coffee table or side tables in the living room, nor did she clean the kitchen table, which could have used a decent wiping down. She barely dusted. She didn't vacuum either of the rugs. She didn't clean my room at all, nor did she change my sheets. She did clean the bathrooms, but marginally. 4 hours. Honestly, I couldn't see any change at all between when she got her and when she left. I had to ask her to clean the microwave, because she had skipped it 3 weeks in a row. And she complained because there were dishes left in the sink (the Girl was sick and didn't do them). Not that she washed one of them, because she didn't. But she complained about it. Ummm, that's her JOB.

So, I have to call the agency and complain. Which I really do not want to do. But the week before she was so sick she did hardly anything, and this week she did nothing. The Girl said that she caught her twice sitting on the sofa. Twice.

I feel like a demanding bitch. I feel like one of those sitcom jokes, "We just can't get any decent help these days." But it's seemingly true. We had one substitute that was FABULOUS. She was a whirlwind. The house has never been cleaner. But she doesn't have a car, and I often need prescription pickup or shopping help, so the aides have to drive. Plus they don't want to walk the 1/4 mile from the T to my house.

What to do? What to do? The options are: switch agencies, which might or might not be advantageous. Or keep the same agency and try to deal with the pretty crappy leadership and their inability to keep decent help.

I know that these women are paid poorly. Most of them are recent emigres from various places in Africa. They have minimal English skills. Many don't know how to ask for cleaning supplies when I run out. And frankly, I don't keep the best tally of what we have since I don't clean much myself. I've gone through two vacuums because the women don't know how to use them. One broke several things and never told me. I came upon a broken chocolate pot that was my great grandmothers from England. I was NOT happy about this.

I don't want to whinge on about this. I just feel like I need to get it all out before I take action. Blech!

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Monday, March 26, 2007

This Day project tomorrow


I am one of hundreds of women who volunteered to keep a day diary tomorrow, March 27, for an upcoming book called This Day in the Life of Working Women. Starting at midnight, I'll be writing down a record of my day. I'm going to blog much of the day, but I'll probably leave out the most sordid bit, and of course the totally mundane (went to pee...again!). Because I've got some personal things mixed in with the actually working day, this might be either boring or actually really interesting, depending on your perspective. The last time I did something like this, for Sheryl's monthly post, I felt like I led the most boring life in America, but other people reacted differently. Who knew?

Please come along for a day filled with errands, blogging, mommying, and maybe even some cooking.

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

New questions regarding Gardner Museum robbery

Tonight, while all of us were competing for worst cough of 2007, we were all splayed out on the sofa watching PBS for lack of anything else that took more effort, and there was a show called Stolen on Independent Lens about the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum robbery that took place on St. Patrick's Day in 1990. Although 12 works of art were stolen, the most important paintings were three Rembrants, including his only seascape, and one Vermeer. The art works have never been recovered, and the robbery remains unsolved. This was the largest art heist in the history of the United States, according to the FBI, who have valued the art works as up to $300 million.


I've read a few theories about the theft, including those that pointed to the Genovese crime family in NY and Harvard University in Cambridge, but according to Stolen, Boston's own James "Whitey" Bulger was a probable suspect in the art theft. Whitey, who is number 4 on the FBIs most wanted list (right under Osama bin Laden), and is responsible for up to 18 murders as his head of the Winter Hill Gang crime family in Boston, is certainly an interesting suspect. Linking Bulger with the IRA isn't a big stretch, as art detective Harold Smith discovers by following leads from Boston to the UK to France in order to try and solve this crime. Together with Scotland Yard art theft expert Dick Ellis, Smith trys to unravel the false leads, con artists, police informants and underworld crime figure's stories to determine where the stolen works could be located. Unfortunately, Smith died after 50 years of skin cancer before he could solve this crime.

According to CNN:

"The early investigation led authorities down several paths, from the Boston mafia to the IRA.

Some theories suggest that a robbery of this magnitude couldn't have been pulled off without the "blessing" of local organized crime figures, suggesting James "Whitey" Bulger, head of Boston's Irish mob, has some knowledge of the robbery or the paintings' whereabouts.

Bulger, who has been on the run since 1995 after a disgraced FBI agent tipped him off that he was about to be indicted for racketeering and extortion, had acted as a government informant for two decades. At the same time, he rose through the ranks of Boston's Winter Hill Gang. He was added to the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list in 2000 and there is a $1 million reward for information leading to his capture.

The IRA was also a focus of the initial investigation.

The organization itself (which is dedicated to ending British rule in Northern Ireland and was considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department until two years ago), has a history of involvement with "art theft on a big scale," according to art investigator Harold Smith, who in retirement has made the Gardner heist his personal crusade.

In 1974 an IRA gang robbed, Russborough House, a private estate near Dublin that houses major works of art, of 19 paintings, including a Vermeer, a Goya and two Gainsboroughs. The works, which were pried from their frames with screwdrivers, were later used in an attempt to barter for the transfer of four of the group's imprisoned members.

The art, however, was recovered less than two days later. Since that heist, the estate has been targeted for art theft on three other occasions."

Bulger, who has been on the lam since December of 1994, has alluded worldwide capture despite a $1,000,000 reward offered by the FBI for his capture. It is reputed that those in the crime family that do know of his whereabouts are too afraid of him to ever reveal any information helping the feds in capturing Bulger. I wouldn't doubt it.

Some conspiracy thinkers believe that there is a Harvard connection, which involves both of the Bulger brothers (Billy was a former Boston politician and disgraced head of University of Massachusetts), Bump Hadley (a Harvard Graduate and former director of the museum), many Harvard big shots and art dealers in the US and Paris. There is supposedly a stipulation in Isabella Gardner's will that if any of the paintings fail to hang in their original places in the museum, the rest of the collection should be sold at auction in Paris and the proceeds given to Harvard U. Many people would make fortunes if this were to come true. There is another known stipulation in her will that says that nothing new may be incorporated into the collection, and that it is to remain 'as is' so that all the stolen works are represented by their empty frames (the paintings were unfortunately cut out of the frames during the robbery, which presents serious problems in restoring the paintings to their former glory) hanging in the exact places where the works of art always hung. This theory is pretty far fetched to me. Harvard has enough money to not need any more...ever.

The most credible theory, and the one believed by most investigators, is the IRA/ Irish Mob/ Whitey Bulger connection. Many believe that Bulger took the works to Ireland, where he offered them to the IRA. The last Bulger sighting was in London in 2000. He supposedly was turned away by the IRA and fled to South America taking his valuable "art collection" with him.

I feel like I missed out on this whole Bulger/Gardner Museum relationship. But it makes so much sense. No other credible theories exist, and after all this time, with such a large reward, one would think some information would surface, but none has.

Sad, because although I've seen the missing art, my children have not. I wish they could see the Vermeer and Rembrants returned to their former home for us all to see again.

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Saturday, March 24, 2007

Welcome to our TB ward--Updated

Well, it's been a fun filled day today! Absolutely NO vomit. Isn't that fantastic? Although everyone stayed home today to try and catch some Zzzzzz's, there was a general request for a quick trip to the library to pick up some emergency DVDs. I so didn't want to go, but I was talked into it by the Girl, who has a tendancy towards wanting to get her way.

We stopped at Walgreens to drop off a prescription, and while we were there I saw the quintessential Fabulous Mom coming out of the store. She had on her Seven Jeans, a nice short jacket with peplum over a skin tight black and white striped top with silver lurex. Ooo, shiney! She was carrying the Big Louis Vuitton bag. The really big one. On her left arm were not one, not two, but three separate tennis bracelets. This was Ms Sparkling! On her other wrist were several large gold bracelets. She had a headlight for an engagement ring. And what was she driving? A Beemer. Nothing I love more than someone that just runs with the stereotype!

As we were walking up the path to the library entrance, both the Girl and I started coughing. First she coughed, then I coughed, then she, then I. There was a woman walking right in front of us who literally clung to the railing and waiting for us to pass her. She had a look of horror on her face. We totally cracked up. Maybe you had to be there but it was really funny.

We found our DVDs, and I must report that we got Season 2 of 24, which kept us busy all evening. Man, nothing like Jack Bauer when you're feeling poorly. I stopped downstairs and got out a few books to read, and a cookbook that I'd been hankering after for months, the King Arthur Whole Grain Baking book. I'm going to be copying down a lot of recipes out of that mother. It's huge. But yum. Three ginger pancakes? Who could go wrong with that recipe?

We went home after the Girl started wimpering in the elevator that she wanted to go home, and then two different friends brought over food for us. One brought over a big lasagne, and the other juice, ginger ale, bananas, and applesauce. Nice! It was good to chat with people from the outside world, and it was even better to have dinner all made for us. What a treat.

Still coughing, but at least I have plenty of company.

(Update) Spoke to quickly about the lack of vomit. At least this time he made the toilet. That's progress!

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It's delightful, It's delicious, It's.... (Now with recipe)

Absolutely beautiful weather. Warm and breezy. The snow is gone. GONE. I feel a sense of renewal. Even with whining children who feel crappy I feel like there is going to be summer, and lots of warm days inbetween. Isn't spring just the best?

I made cinnamon buns last night. Because Passover is looming, I'm trying to use up all the hamatz I can. Yesterday afternoon I made a chocolate-orange pound cake. It was fabulous. And then I got the hankering for some old fashioned cinnamon buns. They took hours to make because they have to rise twice, but I used a lot of the whole wheat pastry flour up, and now we have a nice healthy-esque snack to eat for the weekend. Just call me Betty Crocker. I do love to bake. Unfortunately, I also love the results, but I think a home baked treat is a lot better than a bag of Doritos, right? Come on folks, encourage me.

The big Boston Craft Fair is coming up. We won't be able to go this year because it's right before Passover and it happens to be the weekend I have to turn over the kitchen, but I've been looking at all the different artists, and have put a bunch of the links on my stylehive badge. Go take a look. I've only got a small amount of what is actually going to be on display. If you're in the Boston area, I encourage you to check out this show. It's filled with amazing crafts; local, national, and international.

See, nary a complaint!

For the cinnamon bun recipe, go here. You'll also find plenty of great recipes there.

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Friday, March 23, 2007

Blogging on Blogging. How quaint! (Updated)

The last few days I've sort of, well, lost interest in reading other people's blogs. I've got a bazillion blogs in my bloglines reader, and I'm skipping through all those bolded blog names like I'm in a hurry to get through the list before my bladder bursts.

Truth is, I'm finding that so many bloggers experiencing the winter doldrums at the same time makes Margalit a depressed blogger. I've read so many "I'm sick, the kids are sick, the dog is sick, the roof is leaking, my plumber sucks, I can't sell my house, I can't find a house to buy, I'm too fat to fit into my clothes, food is my enemy, I hate taking medication, I need medication, my doctor is a moron, my husband is a moron, my professor is a moron, the entire world is filled with morons" posts I'm about to keel over and cry uncle.

OK, I get it. The world is sucky right now. It is for me, it is for you, it is for everyone. Those of us in the USA are getting our collective asses kicked by a government so corrupt you can't even believe they have the nerve to show their faces. Oh, I forgot, they're above the law.

We're fighting a war that is doing nothing other than wearing us down, making us all sad and depressed and feeling hopeless.

Our planet is getting hotter, the polar ice caps and melting, and nobody wants to take any steps to remedy the situation. Because, 'the scientists are lying' according to the government of oil producers and greedy landowners.

We need good news. We need something positive that will get our collective egos in gear and make us feel better about ourselves and the world around us.

We do not need more celebrity mistakes, more family tragedies on the news, no more missing children and dead mothers and boyfriends with guns. It's enough of that crap. We need to have something to hold onto. Something that is going to make us joyous. Something that will being back good vibes. We need hope. We desperately need hope.

But until something appears on the horizon to give us hope, let's all call a complaining truce. Do you think we can do it? How about some positive things going on in our lives? Maybe just for a week. A week of happy, funny, upbeat stuff. No complaints. No sadness. Looking for the glass half full, for once. I'm not asking for Pollyanna. Just think of the positive feelings you get when you hear or read good news. Why not try, for just a week, to spread that forward to our readers. If each of us said nice positive things, thought happy thoughts, reached out and looked inward for what makes us content, what makes us happy, what brings us joy, and then share that, wouldn't that be fun for a change?

I'm going to try it. I encourage others to do so as well. Tell me if you post something positive and I'll link to it!

And oh, have a great weekend!

(Update) I screwed myself. I now have to put a positive spin on two huge pools of vomit on my living room floor. OK... um, I just washed the floor twice and it looks sparkling clean! (Even if it still stinks to high heaven.) Because... it's another weekend with two sick kids. Yippee. Isn't life awesome?

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Varied thoughts with bullets

So many things to talk about, so little time. I took the Boy to 'the specialist' today and got the good news and the not so good news. One of his medications is indeed changing his growth pattern, just as I suspected. But it's a necessary med and we can't really do without it. So it's off to the psychpharm to try and figure out how to adjust...again.

Many other things going on, none bloggable, so here's a bunch of things on my mind. Have fun!
  • Putting John Papelbon back in the bullpen? As a closer? I think it's a good thing.
  • Open windows, finally. Definately a good thing.
  • Just ewwwwwwww.
  • The doctor says the Boy will be about 6'4" tall when fully grown! Yikes.
  • The Girl wants to take Woodworking next year as her elective. Say hello to new furniture!
  • I am officially sick of oatmeal. Heart Healthy? Yes, but enough is enough.
  • Bush promises to fight supoenas. What's he hiding? What's he afraid of? Hmmmm?
  • Harvard's most famous dropout to receive degree at long last. Congratulations Bill Gates.
  • Stamps going up to 41 cents? Couldn't it for once be an even number? Sucks.
  • Why not rename the Automile "BochMile"?
  • Passover shopping. Oh my, save me from the insanity!
  • But, Passover Coke. Ooooo, it's such a good thing!
  • Do you read this? She's a frugal genius.
  • Now this is a wedding cake. Oh it looks so good!
  • Gray's Anatomy or real life?
  • Required reading for anyone that has any contact with doctors. This means you!
  • Like to think about childhood immunizations? Think the medical profession is whacked and doesn't respect the alternate opinion? Read this.
  • A Red Sox fan? This is a MUST READ. And if you're just a baseball fan, but not necessarily a fan of the Nation, check out Curt Shilling's blog. It's new, it's real, and its addictive.

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LOST Discussion Thursday

That was the finest hour of Lost all season! You couldn't blink for a second. This episode now ranks as the best episode this season so far, in my opinion. And the preview for next week looks like this season is about to get real good (although, they've deceived before with the preview). But, is the "box concept" for real, or was Lockes dad kidnapped? What do y'all think?

I was thinking that Locke's father must have been kidnapped, but if something paranormal is happening on that island, why not this too? I think Ben is A LOT smarter than anyone gives him credit for, but how could he have manipulated all the events leading to Locke blowing up the sub? That seems supernatural, even for Ben. And why would Ben need Lockes dad to find out info about Locke? If he had enough info to find Lockes dad in the first place, he would have had all the info he needed anyway.

Ben needed someone to blow up the sub, and Locke appeared. Ben didn't do anything but encourage him indirectly, by trying to talk him out of it. Who said Ben needed Locke's dad to find out about Locke? He obviously wanted him for something, but not necessarily to get Locke's info. I do think Locke blew it up, because obviously Ben was never going to let Jack and Juliet leave the island. Even if Locke had meant to try to pull something more devious, it would be just like Ben to have rigged the sub anyway. He appears to be angry at Julia for leaving and wouldn't mind blowing up Julia and Jack and getting rid of the problem together.

Ben did tell Locke that Jack was leaving in the sub in 1 hour then Locke left for the sub. So did it really take Locke an hour to get to the sub and plant the C4? Because when he was leaving the sub was when Jack and crew came rolling up. Locke was soaked when we saw him. If he was planning on putting the C4 on the exterior of the sub, why get in to begin with? Also, when he did get in the sub he seemed pretty familiar with the setup, i.e. he knew right where the light and switch to turn it on was located, he went right up to it.

From how Ben was talking it sounded like he wasn't planning on Locke showing up so he would have to let Jack and Julliette go. Sayid and Locke know that the Others still have Libby's boat. The Others would have to hold on to it seeing the submarine is gone. Locke still has to have a reason other then not getting off the island for blowning up the boat. Although he wants to stay in the first 6 episodes he was the leader planning on getting his friends back, now he wants to help Ben keep the Others on the island. Locke too must know about Libby's boat.

Last week I had asked if Locke, Kate, and Sayid would go back and get reinforcements or forge ahead and risk capture. I know. I know. it was a stupid question. Who needs reinforcements when you 've got the Three Muskateers? Plus Frenchie Danielle. I guess she still has time to redeem herself and act like the cavalry, though. That last scene, with her seeing Alex was really well done. It is so obvious (thru casting) that Alex is her daughter, and now Alex knows that her real mother is out there and Ben isn't her real dad.

The scene where Locke is first placed in his wheelchair by the orderly was very effective, until that sappy violin music kicked in! The scene where Locke is pushed through the window was also well done. Guy-falling-from heights shots tend to look cheesey. This one didn't. Does it match the shot of the guy falling past Hurley's accountant's window? I thought they dragged out the final scene so long that anyone who has been watching LOST for any length of time must have know who was behind the door. Locke's last line, "Dad?" was very unnecessary. A bit too predictable, but it could be ramped up next week. I'm reserving judgement.

It's also becoming more and more likely that Locke's father will be revealed to be the original "Sawyer" who conned James Ford's parents. Will Locke let Sawyer do the honors of offing this guy? Is putting Anthony Cooper at Locke's mercy a test? Is this really the smoke
monster in disguise again? Is he a "monster in a box?" Stay tuned!

Tonite we saw the ultimate "daddy issue" on Lost: Cooper murdered the young man who would have been his stepson; and he assaulted and attempted to murder his bio son as well.
We've seen lots of different "daddy issues" on Lost, but this was the ultimate.

I think the fact that Locke's paralysis was real (and in the current state of the medical arts, permanent), and that the island really has cured him instantaneously somehow, is creative enough. Thank goodness we did NOT get some lame "rational" explanation like Locke's paralysis was imaginary or Locke's paralysis was misdiagnosed. He really did break his spine falling several stories, and yet it instantly healed the moment he ended up on the island. Poor Ben, expecting that his situation would follow Locke's.

I was afraid they were going to explain it away by having him fake it for the disability benefits. I'm sure that was the intent of the writers, to make us believe that might be the answer, was the reason for that opening scene. A total red herring. Good for the writers to try and throw us off course. Nice touch that this seems to be the one thing that seems to be a mystery even to Ben.

Isn't it established that people can steer a boat off the island if they know the direction to the exit? Planes still come to drop the supplies now and then. Even it is tricky, people knowing exactly the coordinates can come and go by boats or planes. I don't like the new rule they just made up that the submarine is the last resorts for the exit. Destroying it and no one can
ever leave. Before what Ben called the anomaly, which was caused by Desmond turning the failsafe key, it was possible to come and go from the island. After that, as Ben explained, and Mikhail mentioned, the homing device no longer worked. We do not know yet whether the supply planes can come any longer; presumably not. But you'd think with GPS, they could find the island. It can't be THAT hidden. There must be some coordinates written down, even if there is no longer a homing beacon. They could use a seaplane and just try and find the dock where the sub resided. I dunno, this seems fishy to me.

I think the point might be is that they don't want to leave but if they did they know they can. Keep in mind they survived the purge by Dharma so they are staking their claim and don't want to give the island back to Dharma that easily. The Others also have Libby's boat as well as thoses boat's they used when leaving the Hydra. Since Patch's said he was taken their by a sub so getting to the island would still be a mystery to the rest of the Others. Also with the
sonar down they can't find their way back according to Ben. Ben is a liar and since Walt is going ot show up later in the season they would be a way back for someone that left.

Is Lost island in different dimension where time advances much more slowly? Last time when we saw the actor who plays Walt, he was too old for the role and the producers had to use camera trick to hide his age/height. He must be a fully grown-up after three years in real time while the character only aged 80 days in the island.

Locke's Dad

The con was that Cooper pretended to care about Locke. He set Locke up in such a way that John *wanted* to donate his kidney. Once Cooper had the kidney, he was finished with Locke. It was never his intent to have a caring father-son relationship with him, although he is Locke's biological father.

I can't remember if this was discussed before or not - is there any chance that Locke's dad is the guy who conned Saywer's family? That seems to be where they're headed. I'm kind of surprised that TPTB are going with connections that were predicted by so many viewers, like the Jack-Claire sibling relationship. It seems too predictable and too easy. But the alias "Seward" sounds similar to "Sawyer," and Cooper is now conveniently on the island, where his victim(s) can exact revenge.


Questions:

  • Did any body notice that jack has a big red tattoo on his left arm?
  • So how long has Locke's father been on the island?
  • Is that how Ben got all the background on Locke?
  • Do you think Ben not only realizes that Locke has special powers, but he wants to harness those powers for his own selfish gain? Like maybe making Locke a figurehead leader?
  • Jin... do you think she's really playing on the other team? And who dies? She wouldn't kill of Sun, would she?
  • How come the Dharma Project is still feeding the Others? They must know that there are no more Dharma's left, or are the Others really the Dharma people. I really wish they would explain this already.
  • The map on the wall in Ben's room. Is this a celestral map? I kept trying to get a closer look during that scene. It does appear to show constellations. I have to wonder what the significance of this map is.
  • Also, take a look at Locke's tray table. Does anyone know if the border is made up of famous cattle brands, or are those symbols something else? I note the circles made by the glass, the plate, and the lasso; along with the stars (sheriff's badge and spur). For someone born and brought up on an island, it seems a bit odd to be a fan of cattle brands and cowboys.

Great Lines

Ben: Let me put it in a way you'll understand. Picture a box, you know something about boxes don't you John? Somewhere on this island there is a very large box what ever you imagine, whatever you wanted to be in it when you opened that box there it would be. What would you say about that John?

Locke had some good lines. Asking Ben if he had anything to eat sounded like his answer to Ben's "Got milk?" shtick from season 2.

Locke: I'd say I hope that box is big enough to imagine yourself up a new sub.

Locke: Where do you get your electricity?
Ben: We have these two giant hamsters running around on a big wheel.

Ben: My daughter hates me right now....

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Another Road Trip?

The Boy has been begging for a road trip this summer. Now he knows that I love a road trip like nothing else. I think they're a blast, and my kids, being excellent travelers their entire lives (I KNOW! What luck, because they suck at home!), are up for some adventure. Since nobody will be going to camp this summer, and we've got an endless amount of time all summer to go somewhere and do something, a road trip would normally seem like a great idea.

Except for the lack of a vehicle. Ahem.

I do not believe my car could make it to Rhode Island, which is about an hour away. It is ancient, it has absolutely no upkeep because it is rarely if ever driven, and then there is that little thing about cost. Um, yeah.

But a road trip feels so right. So attractive. So beckoning. So I've been thinking of ways to make it happen. I'd like to take them to the beach in North Carolina. That would mean NY, Philly, Baltimore, DC, Williamsburg, and then the beach. Of course, we could have to go to baseball games along the way, because that is what we do. Not that any of this is financially plausable, but a girl can dream, right?

Zip Car might be one option. Camping could be another one, which I could almost tolerate if I got one of those air mattresses that not only blows up a mattress, but also a box spring as well. And chairs. You know, car camping. We have camping stuff. I could do it. I used to love to camp. So that would be pretty inexpensive, right? Just food and the cost of admission at ballparks, and of course Williamsburg and Busch Gardens. We cannot forget the quick trip to "Europe" at Busch Gardens. I haven't been there in years, but they have ridiculous roller coasters which both of my kids adore. I like to sit and read a book on a bench and pretend that roller coasters are safe.

Plus, there's Kings Dominion, which brags of 12 roller coasters and thrill rides, the most on the east coast. We can't miss that, can we? Gulp. Actually, I'd like to do the white water canyon thing. That's one of the items on my List of Things To Do Before I Bite the Bullet.

I think if we do decide to do it, we'll be doing a lot of cleaning out of the junque and listing stuff on ebay. I'd like to get rid of a ton of crapola, and about 5 years worth of kids clothing. I think we could easily finance the trip if everyone was willing to pitch in.

So what do you want to bet we stay home all summer?

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

May 21 is Single Parents Day

Tomorrow is Single Parents Day. Heck, I'm a single parent and I had no clue we seem to have our own day. Well, yippee. I think single parents do deserve a little bit of special recognition for a thankless job called parenting. OK, mostly thankless. Occasionally I do get some acknowledgement of my efforts from my kids. Occasionally.

If you know a single parent, or are the child of a single parent, look here for some kind of corny acknowledgements you can pass along by email. Because everyone loves an appreciation note. Hint hint.

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When good inventions go sour

I feel like Jerry Seinfeld.

What is it with fitted sheets? The idea of them is great. You have this sheet that cradles your mattress corners and keeps the sheet down no matter what kind of playground your bed becomes. But, are they the best idea ever? Or even a clever idea when you try to fit them into your not so spacious linen closet. I think not.

Perhaps it is just me. But I cannot, for the life of me, fold a fitted sheet nice and flat. I am perhaps more persnickety than most about folding items. I like everything just like in the laundry detergent advertisements, folded perfectly neatly with nary a wrinkle in sight. Everything the same size, everything in the same direction. For I am slightly OCD when it comes to folding.

Which makes the fitted sheet my bugaboo. Oh, I know how to fold them. I know you grab the corners and stuff them all together neatly, making a pocket of the top quarter. I know you're supposed to smooth down all the folded edges and then fold the sheet up just like you would a flat sheet.

But, what I know, and what I see in my linen closet are two separate things. Fitted sheets do not lie neatly in the closet. They are lumpy. They hardly ever fold into a nice pretty package. They have funny bulges and look somewhat mutant. They annoy me.

In the grand schema of things, you know, like we're starting year 5 of the biggest waste of taxpayer money in the history of the United States, and for what, folding a fitted sheet seems like a silly thing to moan about. But they bug me, those lumpy sheets in my otherwise pristine linen closet.

This morning, as I attempted to fold a lovely blue and white polka-dotted flannel sheet, I got more and more frustrated. It is residue from attending a vigil in the cold, standing with candles burning in little paper cups, sadly thinking about the latest casualty the Commonwealth lost this past Sunday in Iraq. A 20 year old man/boy from Lowell. Someone who was home 8 short days ago visiting his parents. Someone who went back to that joke of a war and lost his life. It angers me beyond just about anything I can think of, and I'm taking it out on my fitted sheets.

Displaced anger is something that every parent of a teenager knows intimately. It is the way of the teen, to come home angry and frustrated and take it out on their parents, their siblings, and in some cases, the furniture. I have displaced anger. I am furious with our leadership in this country. I am so sick of Condy Smugface telling us that staying the course is the right thing to do. I am beyond repulsed at the Shrub, a moron so pathetic he cannot string 5 words together into a cohesive sentence, refusing to listen to the people that did not elect him...twice. I am irritated that every penny of the country's sad coffers is going to this ridiculous exercise in futility, and meanwhile our former great nation cannot afford to provide health care to it's citizens, maternity care for it's mothers, a decent education for it's children, and a safety net for it's most fragile citizens.

Something is terribly wrong, and I'm taking it out on my sheets. I blame my sheets because I cannot smooth out the wrinkles this nation is flagrantly displaying. I can't get that lumpy Bush and his cabal of crazies out of office, no matter how many times I fluff and fold. This is making me crazy.

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Monday, March 19, 2007

What's for dinner tonight?

I'm still sick. I though I was getting better, but no. My head is about to explode and I'm definately going to need some real antibiotics to get this sinus infection out of my poor aching head.

What does a person need who has a terrible headache, a stuffy nose, and a constant cough? You guessed it. A big giant vat of chicken soup. Filled with aromatic veggies, big chunks of chicken, and bow tie egg noodles. Doesn't it look fabulously good if you're feeling under the weather?


What's for dessert, you ask? How about a nice apple-strawberry crisp? Topped with an oatmeal crispy crunchy crust and underneath? Bubbling granny smith apples and fresh strawberries. Only, somebody (and that would be mostly me) ate the vanilla ice cream that should be topping the crisp. Hey, I had a sore throat. Ice cream is about all I wanted to eat. So sue me!

----
Tomorrow starts day on of the MCAS tests. I hate those tests with every fibre of my being. I think standardized tests are ridiculous. But in order to graduate from high school in my fair commonwealth, you must pass the MCAS. No exceptions. Every kid in 10th grade is required to pass the stupid test.

----

I have called a specialist at Children's Hospital on 3 separate occasions to make an appointment for the Boy. I have gotten the run around, been lied to by his receptionist, and still have been unable to make an appointment. The receptionist refuses to return phone calls, is never at her desk, and if you DO catch her at her desk, she says that she doesn't schedule appointments and transfers you to some godforsaken outpost in Albania that tells you that no, you have to speak to the receptionist to make appointments. The receptionist that conveniently will not answer the phone again. Bitch.

----

I am about to undertake a very serious decluttering task. Please send plenty of vibes my way. I am.... going to clean out.... the..... hall closet. The closet that everything and it's brother has been tossed into for the past 3 years. Ahem. I am doing this because I believe that a pair of shoes I would like to wear again in this lifetime are hidden under the rubble. In order to find the shoes, I must start clearing out the crap. Wish me luck.

----

Oh, and happy Spring to all of you NOT around here. It's snowing here. Yeah. I'm just lovin' it.

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Come book shopping with me

This post is especially for Carmi, who I am trying to entice to go book shopping with me when he comes to visit. But I had to go anyhow, needing something the Girl and I can read together.

So let me introduce you to the worlds greatest bookstore. Yes, I know, you think the independant bookseller in your town is the best. But it's not. Honestly, I've bookshopped all over the world, and nothing, but nothing compares to my local bookseller, New England Mobile Book Fair. Weird name, huh? It's certainly not mobile, nor is it a fair. But it IS the most astounding place to shop for books you're ever seen. And it isn't like anything else anywhere. So are you ready to come shopping? There are a lot of photos here, so sit back, get a cuppa, and let's get started!

This is the outside of the Book Fair. It doesn't look much like a book store, does it? It's a warehouse. A big huge warehouse, packed to the rafters with books. This side of the bookstore is all currently published titles. Pretty much every currently published title. Are you getting excited yet?



The left side of the Book Fair is just for remaindered books. Those books that didn't sell or came out in softcover as so are marked way down. There are rooms and rooms filled with remainders by topic.


Here are some of the remaindered book rooms. This first photo is the main hallway of the remaindered section. Just look at all those books. Much of them are the Judaic collection, sports, and aeronautics. Odd combination, huh?



This is the Children's remainders room. It has many shelves like this aisle, filled to the brim with adorable books. Many of the titles are multicultural and they also have a lot of history books from all over the world.



See that there are books here for kids of all ages. The average price? Oh, a couple of bucks each. Now you know why my kids had yards and yards of books when they were little.

Board books!



Remainders of cooking and crafts. My favorite section!


More Remainders. There are some tables with Women's Books, books on Acting, Design, Travel, History, Classics, Fiction, Non-Fiction. You name it, you'll find a cheap book on the topic. There is an entire section of Judaic books, and some of them are hard to find Talmudic references.


OK, enough of the Remainders. Let's walk back to the main section of the store. You can see the doorway up ahead.


Let's go to the other side of the store. First you pass all the current hardbacks displayed right by the front of the store. There's fiction, non-fiction, and all kids of other fun books piled up here.


We're going to walk past the kid's shelved section and into the Girl's favorite part of the store. Look at all the holiday books here, right in front of the kid's section.


This is the kid's interactive books and games section. All the craft books, card games, toys, and other cool books are found in this room. Can you see why a kid would love to browse in here for an hour or two. We call this room tantrum central. You can't believe how many tantrums we have seen in this room over the years! We always find something here we want to try.


If you have a crafty kid, this is the best section. Plus, great birthday presents to be found here. Note the lack of Disney tie-ins!


Moving onward, we're heading to the meat of the store. Here are the popular paperbacks. You see the boxes on the floor? That's where they pile all the popular stuff. They don't bother to shelve it. They do shelve the paperback trades, though.



Look at how you find the books. Everything is filed by publisher. You look up on the various computers scattered around the store the title or author of the book you're looking for. Or you can ask one of the many very friendly and helpful store clerks.


Once you find the publisher, you look at the head of each row of books, until you find the row you need.


Then you walk down the aisles and look alphabetically by author for the books.


See, these are all the Rauld Dahl books.


They also have books by age groups. These are the teen books. You often find something you don't expect here!


Do you like Graphic Novels? They have shelves and shelves of them.


Hard to believe it, but they even have a section for the pink books. Chick lit.


Do you plan on traveling anywhere? Check out just some of the travel section. Phew!


Time to check out. You probably can't see, but the nice folks always have bowls of candy right by the cash registers. I always get a Tootsie Roll, but my kids go for the Hershey's minis or Kisses. Sometimes they have butterscotch.


Now admit it, you've never seen a bookstore like the New England Mobile Book fair, have you? One of the reasons why I couldn't really live anywhere else but Boston is this store. For a voracious reader like me, having a book store that carries pretty much every book in current publication plus all those millions of remaindered titles... well this is heaven on earth.

I know what I forgot to tell you. Do you cook? Do you buy cookbooks online? NEMBF is also Jessica's Biscuits. So you can just imagine the remaindered cookbooks. To die for!

You're a tad bit jealous, aren't you? Oh, did I mention we can walk here? And that every book in the store is at least 20% off the list price, with books on sale for up to 40% off. Oh, and that a frequent buyer has to make only 10 $30+ purchases to get a free $20 gift certificate. Yeah. Heh.

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Saturday, March 17, 2007

Mr Mailman, wrong house!

I got the funniest (at least to me) advertisement in the mail today. The outside had an old black and white photo of a old car containing mom and dad in the front seat and two kids in the back, labeled 1963--summer vacation. The tagline was "Remember carefree summers in the Catskills?"

Um, no, I don't. In 1963 I was 3000 miles west in Los Angeles and we certainly didn't summer in the Catskills. We summered in British Colombia and Marblehead, MA. The Catskills, shudder, were never on my parents radar.

Inside the card unfolds into three parts. The one on the left says, "Give them the feeling again at Chestnut Park." in headlines, and goes on with this copy, "Remember when going to the Catskills with your family was the highlight of your summer? You'd go to came, meet new friends, and play all day, while your parents had a great time playing bingo, seeing Las Vegas stle shows, and enjoying all the could eat, every meal of the day. WOULDN'T IT BE NICE IF YOUR PARENTS COULD RELIVE THOSE DAYS?"

Well, my father is dead, and my mother spent one summer in the Catskills when she was a teenager at a Yiddish speaking camp, and I'm very sure she has no plans to ever return. So no, we won't be reliving those days that never happened for our family.

Then we move on to the middle panel, the sales pitch. This is where I started laughing out loud. I wish I knew who their ad agency was, because evidentally they reside on Mars. Check out this copy. "At Chestnut Park, they can! With three kosher meals served in our elegant dining room, a full calendar of trips, activities and events, and a Jewish lifestyle, every day feels like a day in the Catskills. Our assisted living community has all the touches of your favorite resort, with a library, beauty salon, fitness center, country kitchen and outdoor patios and gazebos. with our convenient location in (extremely busy local known as a student hangout for BU/BC students), housekeeping and linen service, and assistance with activities of daily living, we make life easier for everyone who lives here."

OK, this is like a mixed metaphore gone horribly wrong. Are we on vacation in the Catskills, or are we in an assisted living community where we need help with our daily tasks? You be the judge.

What I want to know is, how did they find sandwich generation Jewish me in the first place? And why would they even assume that the Catskills would be a selling point for me. Shecky Green is gonna make me want mom and dad to spend their final days in a loud, college student infested neighborhood? I don't think so.

What a totally weird concept this was. Especially since I'm more of a candidate for assisted living than my mother these days. But the assumption that all Jewish people spent summers in the Catskills, and that this is what they would want as their final home... well, that's just odd.

I do have to admit that another assisted living place that advertises on TV late at night does look a lot more attractive. It's got an indoor pool and a shopping center and all the buildings are connected by glass walkways so you never have to go outside in bad weather. Kinda like Montreal. Now that would be welcome, especially the day after a blizzard when the world is slushy and kinda gross. But I'm not moving into assisted living any time soon. Besides, what are kids for if not to help their parents in their dotage, right?

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This just in!

A comment on a blog that I read religiously, and so should you, made it to the Wall Street Journal. I'm so ferklempt!

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Venturing outside in the blizzard

The Boy and I decided that we needed to get some fresh air and check out the snow tonight. We got all dressed up in coats and scarves and hats and gloves and lord only knows what else. Once we were appropriately covered in multiple layers, out we went into the snow.

Well, you can see that it's still snowing really hard. Although the flakes look huge on the photos, they're actually the small biting type, but they're piling up fast. I tried to take a photo of the back of the house, but...well... I'm totally freaked out by this photo in which my house has disappeared. Honestly, it's really there. Heck, I'm in it right now. But it isn't in the photo.



Here's the Boy looking particularly fetching in his penguin pajama pants and full winter regalia. "I'm too lazy to put on pants", he says.



We walked down the driveway a bit but it got dark and kind of scary so we ambled back up just in time to see the snow plow take on the street behind us. Back and forth the plow went, trying to get all the snow piled up along our back stone wall. By tomorrow it will be higher than the back wall.



The boy tried to write "Hi" in the snow, but it didn't come out all that great in the photo he took. He tried.



We had a lot of fun, but it was cold and snowing to beat the band, so we decided to end our little foray into the wilderness of our yard.

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When the weather outside is frightful

Whomever came up with "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow" ought to be shot. Really. We were having such a great winter. Less than 6 inches of snow the whole freaking season. It was fabulous. Yeah, there was the bitter cold for a few weeks, but the warm weather overall? That was delightful. On Wednesday I was out in a t-shirt. Today, not so much.



I woke up and it was gray, but the snow hadn't started yet, so I stupidly decided that it was not going to snow at all. Because I didn't want it to and you know, what I want, I should get. Ahem. But curses, it started to lightly snow right around noon, and by 3 the roads were covered and the hill was obliterated. I watched one neighbor slide her way down the hill on foot, which was pretty funny. And then I realized that she was walking down because her friend picking her up wouldn't get up the hill. Goody... that means we're stranded.

Mr Plow Guy came around 4 and did his usual barely adequate job of plowing the hill. Barely adequate because it is still snowing. So anything he does now will only be blotted out with more of the white stuff, which is coming down fast and furious. Already the driveway is covered again.


But look at our sledding hill. Just look. We finally have enough snow to go down the hill. More is falling every minute. It's gonna be fun!



Open invitation. If you live near me and need a place to sled, come on by. We even have extra sleds. And a mogul. Only one, but it's fun to go down.

Just bring your own hot chocolate. And a cup for me.

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Knights Ridge Georgia?

Tonight, ABC premiered a mid-season replacement show called October Road. I was interested in watching it because in the promos, they showed a Welcome to Knights Ridge Massachusetts sign, so I wondered just what town in MA they might be filming in. I hadn't heard of any new TV pilot filming around Boston, but it could have been Western MA by the looks of the promo.



Yeah, well... evidentally the producers of this show think that Massachusetts looks Just Like Decatur Georgia. I don't think so. From the first shot of the houses, I was thinking, "Something looks wrong." It looked more like upstate NY or a midwestern town than Ma. Some of the houses were plausable, other ones just looked wrong. The stone fences were wrong. The trees were wrong. There was a dogwood blooming at the same time as azaleas and rhododendrons. That was wrong. The sidewalks looked wrong. The trees looked wrong. Even the long shot of the road into 'town' looked totally wrong.

There was a scene at the local college, and that really was odd. It didn't look like any of the Western MA colleges I know of, it certainly wasn't Williams or BC or BU. In fact, I couldn't think of any college in MA that looked like this school. I wonder why? Perhaps because it was actually Agnes State College in Decatur GA.

I hate when they do this. Why not just place the series in Georgia so at least it looks authentic. Or film it in MA. It looks like the series could easily have been shot in Northampton, which offers pretty much everything seen in the pilot. Seedyesque bar? Yup. Local coffee shop. Yeah, plenty of those. A college? Does Smith College ring a bell? Lots of grups? Plenty of those around. So why not film there?

I guess I should be thankful they didn't shoot in Vancouver, that Canadian city that becomes 'every American city'. The Canadian film board must be doing something really right, because Vancouver rakes in most of the film dough that American has left by the wayside.

Oh, you wondered about the show? Meh. Better than Men in Northern Exposure Trees. But that's not saying much, is it? It could turn into yet another WB/CB melodrama, or it could actually become somewhat more interesting. I'm not a huge fan of the small town drama, having little experience with small towns. I'm not getting excited about this one, though.

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LOST Discussion Thursday

It appears that we're getting back into the swing of things. We've got some new relationships to ponder, some questions that rise anew, and some actual questions that are solved! Solved. I never thought I'd hear myself say that, but yup, it's true.


The big surprise of the episode? Clair and Jack....half siblings. Claire finds out when she and her mom were in a bad car accident, and Jack's Dad comes to visit Claire's Mom in the hospital. where she is in a coma and appears to be brain dead. Nasty Sister of Mom turns out to be the screamy Mimi who sent Jack's Dad away last year in the Ana Lucia flashback. He meets Claire in the hospital but they never find out anything about each other. Claire apparently never knew his name, it doesn't seem as though she is likely to find out she is Jack's half sister. Unless Jack has a picture, or the all-knowing Others tell her. Or he's not really "dead".

Still, the revelation was not a great surprise to me nor did it seem particularly relevant to anything to do with the story. More interesting to me was Claire's confession to her comatose mother that she was sorry she told her mother she hated her and wished she was dead, and that she caused the accident. Does Claire also have the power to make things happen by wishing them?

Anyway, now that we know that Claire and Jack are half-siblings, let's go back to the first season -- the diary. Didn't the writer have something to say about a brother? In fact, is anything that was written in that diary beginning to make sense as we move along in the story?

I didn't read all the diaries. I'm wondering if anyone is keeping up. The first season diary was written by Janelle Granger. The second season diary was written by Chris Dobson. His brother apparently died on the plane. It seems that the producers weren't too thrilled about what was going on with the diaries. I thought Janelle's diary was very interesting, and I think there were certain clues given about the nature of the Losties. The second diary was strange. It was going along well, and suddenly I had the impression that they handed it to someone on the street and said, "Here, make up an ending for this."

You can read about the diaries here:
http://www.lostpedia.com/wiki/Diary

Locke kills Patches (Mikhail) by pushing him into the barrier fence around the barracks compound. Not a pretty death, btw. Locke is really starting to get to me. I know that he killed Mikhail because he wanted to hide something from his background. From Mikhail's speech, it sounds like he recognized Locke dimly from somewhere. That's why Locke had him bumped off. Locke has never told anyone about his pre-crash life as a cripple except Boone, and Boone is dead as a doornail and isn't talking. Mikhail did seem about to reveal why he remembered Locke as "a different man" when Danielle interrupted, but Locke seemed to want to get rid of Mikhail even before that. Locke obviously has some scheme going on but I don't think it has much to do with his having been in a wheelchair.

Did Rose see Locke in the wheelchair at the airport? I can't remember. She referred to how fast his legs healed, but I only remember that in reference to his injury from the blast door.

Will Locke will have to do away with Rose as well? Like I said, I don't really think Mikhail's possible knowledge of Locke's having been in a wheelchair is what caused Locke to push him into the pylons. Although I'm not sure Locke really thought the alarm system was lethal. It's more like the question of how Locke got in a wheelchair in the first place. (Yes, the biggest mystery of all Lost mysteries.) Mikhail may have known Locke even that far back, around the time of Locke's last flashback we saw.

OK, so let's move on to Jack. The last scene, as the Losties discover that they've arrived at the barracks compound (and wasn't the look on their faces priceless as they see the guy on the bike riding up the path?), shows Jack playing football. With the Tom of the Others. While laughing. And having fun. What the F? What happened to Jack? How come he is buddy buddy with the Others now? Is it merely brainwashing? Is he acting? Now, don't forget when they were leaving the small island Jack convinced Ben that he needs a doctor to help him heal in exchange for sparing Julliet so he must be stuck there and is assembling in their society. He does appear to chummy with Tom.

Extras:

For anyone who has been to http://spoilerslost.blogspot.com/ , and
read the synopsis of "Par Avion," you might also want to check out
these links:

http://www.pantheon.org/articles/s/symplegades.html
http://www.pantheon.org/articles/s/sirens.html
http://www.pantheon.org/articles/o/orpheus.html

Remember the dove from "Fire + Water." Bloody rock god, indeed.

Two more interesting bits from "Par Avion":

Charlie is holding a box of DHARMA Charms cereal:
http://gallery.lost-media.com/displayimage.php?pid=89049&fullsize=1

Either the writers were joking that he's as short as a leprechaun, or they were making a statement about the charms of Orpheus: "The music of Orpheus could charm people, even angry people and wild beasts. Orpheus with his Lyre could charm even rocks and streams. It
is said that the oak trees growing along the coast of Thrace migrated there to better hear the songs of Orpheus." http://domeofthesky.com/clicks/lyr.html

Also note the word plays on "liar" and lyre" when used in connection with Charlie.

Sun and Claire place Aaron on a t-shirt that reads "Bondi Beach," which seems to be making a statement about the plot: "'Bondi' or 'Boondi' is an Aboriginal word meaning 'water breaking over rocks' or 'noise of water breaking over rocks.' The Australian Museum records that Bondi means "place where a flight of nullas took place.'" Of course, Bondi Beach is a famous and crowded beach in Sydney. So maybe it's just a beach towel.

http://gallery.lost-media.com/displayimage.php?pid=89460&fullsize=1
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bondi_Beach


Sawyer is reading _The Fountainhead_ now. I wonder if that *other* Ayn Rand book is on the island. :)

"Howard Roark is the hero of the novel, whom Rand portrays as a paragon of Objectivist ideals (though, when the novel was published the term Objectivism had not yet been coined). He is an aspiring architect with a unique, uncompromising creative vision, which contrasts sharply with the staid and uninspired conventions of the architectural establishment. Roark takes pleasure in the act of creation, but is constantly opposed by 'the hostility of second-hand souls' and those unwilling or afraid to recognize his creative ability. Roark serves as the basic mold from which the protagonists of Rand's other great novel, _Atlas Shrugged_, are cast. Roark is the paragon of a successful man as visualized by Rand."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fountainhead

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