Laughing at myself

Why am I laughing at myself? Well, if you remember from all my whining, last winter was bitterly cold. And gosh, my car just never seemed to warm up on my way to and from work. I resorted to wearing big ol’ winter boots any time the temperature dipped below +15F. When I had my car in for its annual oil change (synthetic oil, plus I don’t drive very much) last week, I asked about the heat. Turns out that the thermostat was stuck open. One new thermostat later and my car is toasty warm again. D’oh! Why didn’t I take it in last winter?!

Ali’s having a recipe contest and is looking for recipes containing cranberries or sweet potatoes. Write a blog post with such a recipe, or leave her a comment with a recipe or a link to a recipe by midnight CST, November 28, and you could win some gorgeous skeins of Blue Sky Alpaca yarn.

Don’t forget your Black Friday Bingo card before you go shopping on the day after Thanksgiving! Actually, if you’re braving the madness, make sure you do your homework first so that you actually get deals and don’t just get caught up in it all.

CursingMama has some great information on how the online world makes her “real” world better.

Hmm – this could be either Chaos or May… Oh oh. Eeek! This must never happen.

If you read romances, you can find out where you fall on the Romance Apologia Scale. Hee hee – this is my favorite question from it: “Is that a naked man on the cover of your book? 1. Is it? I hadn’t noticed. A friend recommended it to me.” Suuuuuuuuure. Uh-huh. 😉

Reading Update
Get a Clue by Jill Shavis. Completely non-paranormal trashy romance. Heavy on the trash. So-so.
The Undead Next Door (Love at Stake, Book 4) by Kerrelyn Sparks. This one read like it was hard work to write. That’s not really a good thing.
The Rogue Hunter (Argeneau Vampires, Book 10) by Lynsay Sands. Sexy vampires at a lake cottage two hours north of Toronto – and possibly the first ever instance of a vampire jet-skiing/sea-doing.
Mysteria Lane by MaryJanice Davidson, Susan Grant, P.C. Cast, and Gena Showalter. Unsurprisingly, this is the sequel to Mysteria (the mythical Colorado town, which “was ‘accidentally’ founded by a random act of demonic kindness”).
Satisfaction by Marianne Stillings. Another completely non-paranormal book of romantic suspense. Not bad. Not great.
Flirting With Danger by Suzanne Enoch. Now this is how romantic suspense should be! Here’s hoping that the sequels (Billionaires Prefer Blondes and Don’t Look Down) are as good. Please note that Enoch seems to write mostly historical romances, if you’re looking for her books. Not my cup of tea, those.
Blood Lite: A Collection of Nerve-Jangling Tales with a Humorous Bite by the Horror Writers Association. The story by Jim Butcher (a Harry Dresden tale) was my favorite. The stories by Charlaine Harries, Sherrilyn Kenyon, and Kelley Armstrong were ok, although not part of their “worlds.” Many of the others were disappointing. Please note that a familiarity with the Cthulhu Mythos might help with several of the stories.
Howling at the Moon (Tales of an Urban Werewolf, Book 1) by Karen MacInerney. The surprisingly good story of a fashionista auditor who was born a werewolf. Poor thing – when she transforms, her back legs are all bare from her shaving them as a human…

Happy Thanksgiving to those of you in the US! (And happy regular old rest of the week and weekend to everyone else.) SoC will be taking a long holiday weekend – back on Monday!

“Mmmm… I hope Mom brings home a turkey for us to catch and eat! I bet that’d be real tasty.” -Mayhem

Giving thanks

Hopefully things will get back to what passes for normal around here now, but no promises!

Time to extend much-belated thanks for some lovely birthday gifts gifts I received. A few days before my birthday, Jeanne and Deb came over to celebrate with me. Jeanne brought along an extremely tasty flourless chocolate cake she baked for the festivities.

Chaos menaced my guests.

“Hand over that tissue paper, lady, if you know what’s good for you!” -Chaos

Mayhem was a bit more subtle.

“I wonder how much wrapping paper and tape I can eat before Mom notices?” -Mayhem

(Hmm, no pictures of Jeanne, as she was taking pictures of me. And no pictures of me because I look absolutely demented in every single one of them.)

Deb gave me a toasty, autumnal skein of Misty Alpaca sock yarn, It Itches, adorable non-skid pawprints for the bottom of socks or slippers, and a very fun scissors case (with scissors even!). Thank you, Deb – and no, you aren’t going to be re-gifted with the yarn on your birthday. 😛

“Excellent! A scissors with a carrying strap. I’ve been looking for one of these.” -Mayhem

From Jeanne, a knitting pinup calendar (hmm, probably not suitable for my cube at work), the Yarn Harlot’s page-by-day knitting calendar (hopefully more suitable for work), a cat lady birthday card (inside it says “After a while you stop counting”), and more luscious sock yarn. (Yes, Jeanne, I know there’s something else. It was very tempting and harder to photograph. We’ll get there.)

Jeanne also gave me an adorable pocket needle gauge, which Mayhem really, really likes. I’ll probably have to hide it if I ever want to see it again. Thanks, Jeanne!

“I’ll keep a close eye on it, Mom! Nothing will happen to it. I promise! Hee hee hee.” -Mayhem

And although they couldn’t be here in person, the paos were with us in spirit. They sent my beloved dark chocolate covered rice cakes, a chocolate coffee stirrer, a great card (“Women invented chocolate. Men invented calories.”), more gorgeous sock yarn, and a test that I’m supposed to administer to the kitties. Thanks, mrspao and pao!

“I can watch this yarn for you, too, Mom! Hee hee hee.” -Mayhem

A burro and a very cute tummy

Since the computer is mostly, but not completely set up (I am able to post from it again!), I’m afraid I’m going to have to post the burro photo (Black Hills, September 2004, as the burro sticks its head through my car window to see what might be edible) as threatened, along with an exceptionally cute picture of Mayhem’s tummy in an attempt to distract you from the lack of any content whatsoever. Whew!

“Hmm, I wonder what a BMW tastes like?” -Burro

“What the heck are you doing now, Mom?!” -Mayhem

I’ve got Friday on my mind… wait, it IS Friday?!

Pass the soy mocha, will ya? It’s been a heckuva week.

Me, January 2001, hungover in some random cafe in the New Orleans Garden District…

“Mom?! Mom?? I feel all weird. Maybe I’ve been working too hard. Or I’m melting.” -Mayhem

Have a relaxing and recuperative weekend, all! Let’s hope I have my other notebook computer all set up again before Monday, or I’ll have to break out the burro photo…

Well, crap. I guess I’ll have to break out a recipe.

Yes, my project on my other notebook computer continues. I got an official backup (a very unimpressive 22 hours to backup 125 gb – ack!) and am in the process of doing some simple “copy all of the good stuff on to the portable hard drive for redundancy and simplicity.” Theoretically simple, at least. At one point, Vista 64 informed me that it would take 38,000 days to copy 50 gb. *blink blink* Um… Iz hatez Vista. And if there were drivers for virtually any other OS for that notebook, I’d probably be test driving a new OS right now. Anyway. Wish me luck, since I’ll soon (hopefully) be reinstalling Vista 64 to see if that improves things. I’ve seen the BSOD more times in the past month than in my life prior to using Vista 64.

Onward! Here’s one of my gluten-free recipes that I haven’t posted before. Mmmm… snickerdoodles…

1 c butter
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 c sugar
2 tsp cream of tartar
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt
2 3/4 c GF flour mix (I used 1/4 c tapioca flour, 1 1/4 c sweet rice flour, and 1 1/4 c rice flour at the time, but Bob’s Red Mill GF Flour Blend would probably work well)

Beat together butter, sugar, and eggs. Stir dry ingredients together and slowly add to butter mixture. Chill dough. Roll into walnut-sized balls, then roll in a mixture of 2 T sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon. Place 2″ apart on parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake at 350°F until barely browned but still soft, approximately 10-12 minutes.

Let’s see what I have in my uploaded but not used photo folder. *sound of rummaging* How about some scenery pictures from mid-October?

Ah, a lovely guardian fruit basket, protecting the inhabitants from… scurvy?

I’m fond of this house and its boulder scaping. Personally, I think they should just have eliminated the grass entirely and gone with a boulder field.

Whoops – some Halloween decoration pictures I forgot to post…

Here’s a detail from the house above. Embiggen for full effect!

*more rummaging* Aw, look at Mayhem enjoying the sun back in… September 2007.

“Sunshine on my toes makes me happy! Sunshine in my eyes makes me blink!” -Mayhem

Look! Over there! And there! And there, too!

To donate to a good cause (to help defray a little girl’s medical expenses) and for the chance to win a very nice sock yarn prize package in doing so, go read about Pennies for Bella and donate before December 5.

Well, since the photos of the things that I want to blog about are all on my main laptop, which I’m backing up in one of the slowest backup processes ever, I’ll have to see what I can scrape up here…

Looking for non-gift card gift ideas? Or inexpensive electronic gifts you can make?

Obsidian Kitten has a great post of cool cat-themed items. Beware – I ended up buying a whack of holiday cards because of her post!

O noes!

Here’s an article with one writer’s thoughts on why lolcats resonate with so many of us.

Hmm. The Gap is selling argyle-patterned Electra cruiser bikes for the holidays. Might go nicely with your Starbucks cabled mug (I couldn’t find that mug in their online store, so have linked to a lovely example).

How megapixels are like cupcakes. Sort of.

What a cool bookcare… although I doubt how useful it actually is.

Check out Book View Cafe, which is an intriguing (and free) online publishing venture from such authors as Ursule K. Le Guin, Vonda N. McIntyre, Laura Anne Gilman, and more.

Take a peek into an authentic 19th-century vampire killing kit.

Reading Update
Mysteria by MaryJanice Davidson, Susan Grant, P.C. Cast, and Gena Showalter. This was a fun collection about the Colorado town of Mysteria (very near Denver), which “was ‘accidentally’ founded by a random act of demonic kindness.”
Edge of the Moon (Moon Series, Book 2), Moon Swept (Witching Moon and Crimson Moon, Moon Series Books 3-4), and New Moon (Moon Series, Book 6) by Rebecca York. I’m not reading these werewolf books in perfect order, which gets a little confusing, since the series is about various brothers and cousins.
Demon Bound (The Guardians, Book 7) by Meljean Brook. A solid read – you’ll enjoy it if you’ve enjoyed the rest of the series.
How to Marry a Millionaire Vampire, Vamps and the City, and Be Still My Vampire Heart (Love at Stake, Books 1-3) by Kerrelyn Sparks. How could I resist the cheesy titles?! If you like the light’n’fluffy tone of Erin McCarthy’s Vegas Vampires series, give this series a try.
Espresso Shot (Coffeehouse Mystery #7) by Cleo Coyle. This cozy mystery series is set in a lovely Greenwich Village coffeehouse. Not paranormal at all, yet still recommended. 😉

A puzzle – where do speed bumps go for the winter? (Please note that this was from mid-October – we no longer have any leaves!)

“Quick! I just saw those speedbumps headed thataway! Hee hee.” -Chaos

Wee woolly notebooks

Aw, thank you all so much for your birthday wishes! I took the day off from work and did mostly nothing. It was wonderful.

I can’t say that I did absolutely nothing, as I finished two notebook covers for gifts. Last week, I mentioned that I thought the Jitterbug I received from Jane would be perfect, but after swatching, I changed my mind. Instead, I picked up some Malabrigo (color Intenso), which worked perfectly. I’m contemplating felting these a little, particularly the larger one, to help them fit more snugly.

“No stripes. Boring!” -Mayhem, stretchily

A few weeks ago, I purchased a small collapsible light tent. I like the initial photos, but I definitely need to pull a brighter light source out of the closet. And maybe attempt to steam the tent smooth?! Anyway, the following picture was taken in the light tent, with a plain old 60-watt incandescent light outside the tent but sans flash (versus the flash picture above). What do you think?

Welcome, Sparkly Flamingo!

Nicole’s giving away a copy of A.J. Menden’s new book, Phenomenal Girl 5. Leave her a comment before Thanksgiving for your chance to win.

Want a chance to win one of three gorgeous quilts? Enter by 7 pm EST, November 17.

Get Rich Slowly has a great list of gifts you can make yourself this holiday season. Check out their list(s) of recession-proof jobs from earlier this week. I also found that “The Irritation Threshold and Lifestyle Inflation” definitely gave me things to think about. (Trek’s post today ties in nicely and has some great ideas for living a more moderate life..)

Loved the fail cake FAIL.

Does seeing how many unread posts you have in Google Reader overwhelm you sometimes? You can change that so you just see which blogs have new posts and not how many new posts they have.

If you use Firefox, what sort of personalization have you done with themes and extensions? I’m using the Red Cats (Blue Flavor) theme. My absolute favorite extension is Stop Autoplay, which prevents embedded music and video from playing automatically when you follow a link; instead, you see a little play button and can decide when and if to press it. (Especially handy if you’re browsing at work!) I’m also fond of DictionarySearch, which allows you to highlight and right-click on a word to go look up its definition.

Here’s an amusing article about writers and their cats.

Thanks to Rebecca (who is getting better after her surgery, albeit slowly) for alerting me to these tips on how to tell if your cat is plotting to kill you. O noes!

Many thanks to Cheryl for providing May’s new favorite toy!

“I’ve got you now, my pretty! Well, hopefully I do. Unless you get away again.” -Mayhem

Have a great weekend, everyone!