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Princess Fiona
This is Princess Fiona. We got her from McDonald's 3 years? 4 years? anyway, a few years back. Our grandson was so enamoured of her 3 stock phrases that he wrote them on our whiteboard.*
This is the whiteboard.
Yesterday morning, Princess Fiona started to speak spontaneously. At first, I blamed the cat. He didn't normally make any loud sounds, and never before uttered a "hiieeeaaa!", but I was alone in the room except for the cat. About twenty minutes later, though, I heard "hi, honey!" as John walked towards the office. Since it was said in Princess Fiona's voice, I realized she was the one making the sounds. A bit later, as I was reading the latest on the Arizona shooter, she commented "you've gotta be kidding me!"
Why did Princess Fiona start making random comments? She's just been sitting on the shelf in our office, quietly, for years. John theorized it's because her battery is running out. Why oh why would a battery running out of juice cause random spurts of comments? especially since you're supposed to move her arm to make her talk? There was no one in the office with me, except the cat, who was nowhere near the shelf? Is one of the ghosts here animating her? Inquiring minds want to know, but aren't really sure they'll like the answer.

*The whiteboard was supposed to be a large to-do list, but turned into a place for the kids to write us messages that we never erase.
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Day Two: Nine things about yourself.

1. I am a coffee snob.
2. I am turning into a localvore.
3. My left leg is 1 cm longer than my right.
4. My favorite color is shiny.
5. When I'm bored, I change my hair color.
6. Glee is my current favorite TV show.
7. I read all the time. No really. I do.
8. I know the harmony part for nearly everything that was on the radio between 1965 and 1995.
9. My eyes are green and brown. A ring of green, a ring of brown. There is no form that allows you to choose two colors for eye color. has the meme info if you're confused. My goal is to do this every day. We'll see if I make it.
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I am thankful this Thanksgiving Day for:
(in alphabetical order)

Amish turkeys
Apples from Eddy's Farm
Bacon from D. W. Whittaker's
Local foods
Theramics heating pads
West Side Market

and this picture.

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When we heard that Neil Gaiman would be doing a convention-type thingy at the House on the Rock, one of our favorite roadside attractions, we decided we must attend. When we heard that there would be a costume contest, and the winners would get to Ride The Carousel, we decided we must try. It's been my dream since I first saw that huge, bizarre, magical thing to ride it.

Well, we didn't get to ride the carousel. The rest of the story, with pics if LJ and Flickr play nice. )

That, and the over-long ride home, were the only disappointments of the weekend. Even John leaving his laptop's power cord at home wasn't a disaster - we found a computer place that fixed us right up. I knew we'd be okay when I saw the license plate on the SUV out front.
An Ogre
Our room at the House on the Rock Resort turn out to be a 2 bedroom suite. We checked in, dropped the bags, and headed to the House on the Rock.
HOTR Welcome Center
If you've never been there, I can't possibly describe it fully. The house itself is sort of a bachelor pad built in a Frank Lloyd Wright style via the Flintstones, and filled with stained glass and Tiffany lampshades and bizarre collectibles from around the world. But that's only one part. After this crazy visionary built his house (on land he didn't even own) he started building warehouses to hold his weird collections, which include 19th century automatons, more creepy dolls than you can count, an entire street of early American shops, Burma Shave signs, lighters, ceramic and porcelain knickknacks, a multi-story mini-carousel with even more creepy dolls, two Esmerelda fortune teller machines, and I'm only scratching the surface here.
Then there's the carousel.
The Carousel
Friday night was a reading/Q&A by Neil, and Saturday night was the costume contest and Banquet of the Gods. Saturday during the day was a scavenger hunt through the area, and here's where I really fell in love with the town of Spring Green. Everyone we met there, whether they were a part of the weekend's festivities or not, were unfailingly friendly, nice, helpful, and artsy. If it wasn't even colder than Cleveland in the winter, I'd move there tomorrow.
On Sunday morning, we had our signing with Neil. We got to the table, I told John to move in closer so I could get the picture of Neil signing for John. John doesn't take direction well, so it took a bit to get him where I wanted him, while Neil looked more an more exasperated. How exasperated?  See for yourself.
Neil is exasperated

Now, I'm pretty sure the way technology is working today that these pictures will not show up in this post. If not, you can see these and more (including our costumes and a video) at my Flickr page:

The weekend was magical, and I learned much:
  • the new Challengers get 28 mpg with a V6, and have 260 hp standard
  • it is possible to go south and north while traveling east
  • Muscoda is the home of the Morel Mushroom festival
  • Culver's Butterburgers are second only to In-N-Out (and not by much) as the best fast food ever
  • in the Wyoming Valley, in the 1800s, blacks and whites farmed together
  • Neil Gaiman's fans run the gamut from suburban families to old hippes to earnest students and everything in between
  • Arena is the home of CoJack cheese
Finally, I have cheese curds in the fridge, and intend on deep frying some of them soon.
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Recently my conscience has been prodding me to become a localvore. Luckily for me, I live in a city where it's pretty easy to eat really well on locally produced food.
Cleveland's West Side Market has become a regular stop for me, and I've been able to enjoy some great meals.
Take good old pot roast. )
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Earlier today I zombified people for fun and charity. Eventually there will be a video posted in the Flickr set, too, but I'm tired and it won't be today. But here's pics:
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Once again, time passes quickly, and the remains of the garden attest to this. The blackberries are almost done, but I was able to harvest two quarts, the first for jam and the second for a berry buckle. There was probably another quart that went right into our mouths. The beans continue to produce enough for a side dish for us every two weeks, and baby carrots are being harvested. The cucumbers are affected by the heat, as are the ungodly thirsting tomatoes in the Topsy-Turvies. Days of 90+ degrees have taken their toll. But the pumpkins don't seem to care.
The pumpkins travelled over their bed, through the one next to them, dropped a pumpkin under the Topsy-Turvy pole, and reached out. They tried to capture the cars in the parking lot, and settled for the peach tree. They've got a terrible case of powdery mildew, but it's not stopping them. We're afraid they may be triffid-pumpkins.

I also did makeup for the Flight Nurse Academy Mass Casualty Training out in Hunting Valley. I've missed battering people for fun. To spare the squeamish, pics are back here. )
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Found in Northwest Ohio.
Two misspellings on one line.

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Mostly because I promised myself I would document this...
Beans are still coming, cucumbers are getting bigger, I've harvested a half-pint of black raspberries with more on the way, and the topsy-turvy tomatoes are starting to fruit. The second bed, front in the picture blow, has lots of vining going on. Cukes, cantaloupe, and pumpkins:

Oh, the pumpkins! A view from the other side. The pumpkins from hell have overgrown their patch and taken over the spinach/lettuce space. It's reaching out for the topsy-turvy pole, I think. I hope we have bunches of pumpkins to show for it.

And, lastly, the topsy-turvy tomatoes. There are some little green tomatoes on one plant. John has moved them around, so I'm not sure which is the Brandywine and which is the Roma. Time will tell.
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We got home from our July 4th trip to Port Clinton to find the first beans of the season!
They will be lightly steamed, then lightly buttered, then happily consumed.
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Today I saw a rainbow, then I got Chinese food from Golden Gate.
Life is good.
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garden at midsummer

As of Midsummer - strawberries done but sending out lots of runners, peas were delicious!, carrots are growing, green, wax, and burgundy beans have blossoms, cukes, both pickling and eating, are starting to blossom, pumpkins have gone berserk, spinach and greens are done. there's a baby tomato on one of the topsy-turvy plants, and the blackberry bush is loaded with green fruit and still is blossoming away!
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The Garden, Early June, 2010
My garden. In the first bed, there's strawbeeries, done for the season, alas, and peas, which I can't wait for!; in the second bed, assorted beans, cukes, both pickling & regular, canalopes & pumpkins. The third bed holds spinach and the most productive crop of spring greens I've ever had. I pick, and it's back to being full the next day. Amazing. And then there's the topsy-turvy post, with heirloom romas and brandywines, and basil on top. The blackberry bush at the end of the strip is pleasantly full of blossoms and little green berries. I'm looking forward to pies and preserves.
I wish I had more room - I'd plant an herb garden, and rows and rows of corn, and more tomatoes, and more of everything I can preserve or freeze. And I want a chest freezer, too. And a goat and some chickens. And a farm hand to take care of it all, because who am I kidding, I don't even really weed the little bit I've got now. Oh, but there are dreams, and maybe I'll win the lottery.
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The American Gods weekend at House on the Rock over Halloween has a costume contest, with Neil Gaiman picking the winners, who get to ride!!! the Carousel!!!!!! So I want to win.
For my costume, I want a goth/cyber/steampunky kind of long ballroom skirt with lots of pockets. I know nothing like that exists, but I will happily make one. The trouble is, there is very little budget for materials, and I was hoping for vinyl. Or black leather. Or something else really cool.
The only stuff I have here is too small to take apart for re-use. Then I thought, why not see if anyone out in LJ Land has old unwanted vinyl or leather or whatever clothes.
Please! Let me have your unwanted stuff! I don't care what shape it's in - if it has the inevitable rips or cigarette burns or odd unidenitiable stain - I just need a lot of material, and it's costuming after all.
I would be happy to pay something toward your effort in cleaning out the back of the closet, and I'll pay shipping, of course. (We all have PayPal, no?) Just email me at my user at gmail, and we can exchange details.

Any rebroadcasting of my plea would be greatfully accepted with prayers sent up to the god[dess](-s) of your choosing.

tl;dr summary: I'll pay you something for your old ripped and unusable club and evening stuff.
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Personal Responsibility.

All the world needs to stop being so fucked up is for the humans out there to take personal responsibility for their lives.

Personal responsibility, people: if you wait until the last minute to ask me a big-ass favor, and I am unable to drop everything to do it, the failure to complete your task is not my fault, it's yours.
Another example: You do something stupid and get yelled at. Your feelings being hurt does not means that your stupid is cancelled out and the authority person is at fault because your feelings were hurt. If you don't want to be called out for doing stupid things, don't do stupid things. Simple. And it's personal responsibility again.

We get the paper every morning. Every morning, I get upset at the number of "crimes" and "social problems" reported that are really, at the core, a failure of personal responsibility. Kids dying because their parents neglect and abuse them? Not a social problem so much as a failure of the parents to take personal responsibility for the lives they brought into the world. The fact that this happens so much becomes a social problem, but at root is that personal responsibility thing. Hey a lot of us had kids early, or unexpectedly, but if you can't handle it, don't have the baby. Or don't keep it. Acknowledging the fact that you can't handle parenthood is actually taking personal responsibility.
Last week, I saw an article highlighting the sorrow and fury of a mother whose daughter was killed by a train. The 14 year old was walking on the train tracks listening to an iPod, and didn't hear the train. Mom says it's the railroad's fault. Sorry, Mom, but no. It's your daughter's fault, for failing to follow simple safety rules. If she didn't know it was dangerous to walk on train tracks, let alone do it with the music so loud she couldn't hear the train coming, then it's Mom's fault, too. Take responsibility for the stupid, tragic mistake rather than suing the railroad.

If you are wondering if you are taking enough personal responsibility for your life, and how you can improve and make the world a better place, start by watching Glee tonight.* Pay attention to the petty high school squabbles acted out by the adults as well as the kids. Laugh nervously or raucously as you recognize yourself or friends. And sit back and enjoy the music. Really enjoy it. Let go of your worry and stress and thoughts of to-do lists and work undone, and let the music fill you with joy. And glee. Because feeding your soul is also a personal responsibility.

This post is brought to you by the letters PMS and the flavors chocolate and coffee.

*If you're reading this on a day other than Tuesday, April 13th, don't worry; back episodes are available online and on DVD.


Dec. 21st, 2009 07:04 pm
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Due to two fatal crashes in ten months, and HP being kind enough to give us credit, we are the proud owners of a new HP desktop* running Windows 7.
For being a Microsoft OS less than 2 months old, it's way more stable than Vista (I know, bad comparison) and very pretty, in a Mac-for-the-masses way.
Not only do I not hate it, I kinda like it. It might be love; too early to tell. It hasn't broken my heart yet.
I still want my flying car, tho.

*running a quad-core Athalon. Very very speedy.


Nov. 26th, 2009 12:16 pm
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Today, as the kitchen is literally falling apart, and the turkey is still partially frozen, and I'm totally disgusted that I can't pick up the damned turkey by myself, I'm stopping to count my blessings.*
I am so thankful for my husband, who puts up with my moods and misgivings and helps me while trying to cheer me up, even when I'm screaming and crying about ovens and turkeys and cupboard doors.
I am thankful for my daughter, who makes me proud, and thankful that she didn't take after her father more.
I am thankful for friends, far and near, close and distant, who remind me I'm not alone.
I am thankful that I still have eyesight and hearing and smell; that I can walk and talk and sometimes even use my brain to think; that I'm not suffering from worse than what I've been given.
I am thankful for the Internet, which keeps me entertained and enriched and connected and learning.
I am thankful for the cat, who is a good cat, all said and done.
I am thankful for CSU, which gave me the opportunity to find my passions, become a published scholar, and set me on the road as an independent filmmaker.
I am thankful that the world hasn't blown itself up yet.

*Mostly so I don't take a shotgun to the kitchen.
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A garage fell on my car. Really. "Act of God" is what the landlord's insurance says; Progressive is working on it for us. We got a rental while they fixed the scratched and dented rear quarter, a Toyota RAV4. It gave both of us backaches, and drove like a truck. But it had a cool passenger-side top-of-the-dashboard hideaway that worked with a big button to open and close it. I'm so glad to have the Subaru back. It's a perfect car - sports car handling and power, 25-28 mpg, holds drums (or building supplies, or bikes, or Xmas trees) easily. And heated leather seats with lumbar support FTW.
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Yes, 5 exclamation points. Because Neil Gaiman is coming to Cleveland & I will go to stare at him and listen to him read.
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Back and almost recovered from NADWCON 2009. Remember when we went to Vegas last winter and it snowed and shut down the city? Well, our weather luck is holding – Tempe’s long-overdue summer monsoons happened the day before we arrived. 100+ degrees, then torrential rain, followed by sprinkles and hot, repeat on Saturday. Friday was just hot and humid – damn, I wanted dry heat! By Monday, thankfully, the weather was back to being just hot with not a cloud in the sky.>



More con stuff and us on YouTube!  )


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