Saturday, October 11, 2008

Brief wrap-up of the Utah trip

Also known as 1935.4 miles in under 10 days.

My husband and I took a beautiful trip to Utah at the beginning of September. And for all of my friends who aren't on Facebook and haven't seen any of the pictures, here's a sampling. Amusing stories to come later (and given how often I update this, it could be a lot later).

Zion National Park

The view from the Angel's Landing Trail.

The horrifying Angel's Landing trail.

Bryce Canyon National Park

More hoodoos

Hoodoos seen from below.

Grosvenor Arch in Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument (Can you find the person?)

Capitol Reef National Park

Natural Bridges National Monument

Monument Valley

Needles district of Canyonlands National Park

Arches National Park

Delicate Arch at Arches

Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands National Park

Why I love Georgia, part 5

Subtitled: Your educational system at work

So, I'm sitting at a traffic light two days ago and happen to glance over at the used car dealership on my right. (It's a LONG light, I have to find something to do.) Most of the cars sitting there have the usual model year and price written on the windshield. But sitting right in the middle of the row, facing the main street, is a minivan with something a little different. On its window, and this is as exact replica--at least as far as blogger will allow me, it says "7 pasanier." Now, if you closed one eye, squinted the other, and tilted your head at a 34 degree angle, you could barely make out where someone had tried to write the letter "g" over the "i." But it still came off looking like and "i." I've looked it up, and it does not appear to be the word "passenger" in any currently spoken language. Apparently the ability to spell fairly easy words is not a requirement to work at a used car lot (or in many other professions, from what I've seen). Yes, this is just one sign of how great a Georgia education is.

Monday, July 7, 2008


So, I go through these phases from time to time where I get all domestic. I'm not even sure what brings them on, and eventually they tend to go away. But I've been on one since about April. It all started while I was checking out some of my old links and ran across a recipe for "No-Knead" bread on the Vegan Feast Kitchen blog. Now, I love bread. Especially homemade bread. But I hate kneading. So this was right up my alley. Of course, being me, I decided to modify the recipe the first time I tried it. It came out fine, but not great. For my second attempt, I thought I'd follow the exact recipe, and this is what I ended up with. Very yummy.

My next attempt, I added some whole wheat flour. Still good, but not quite as pretty.

For my fourth attempt (not pictured due to tragedy), I tried a slightly different recipe with a secret ingredient. Ok, it's not so secret. It's beer. This loaf turned out the best, but there were some technical issues. The recipes suggested baking it on parchment paper. So I did as directed. BAD idea. We had to hack off the bottom crust to eat it. But it was still yummylicious.

But then it got hot. And having the oven on at 450 for any length of time just lost its charm. So I moved on to ice cream. (I can actually partially blame this on the library. I had been considering buying an ice cream maker, but hadn't actually done it. Until the day I was browsing the library and ran across the homemade ice cream book.) Darling hubbie thought plum would be a good first flavor, and there just happened to be a recipe for that.

Yes, it really is that shade of pink. And it is unbelievable! Over the weekend, I made Super Lemon ice cream. Also very good. Sorry, no picture. It's just the palest yellow.

And once we eat the rather large collection of ice cream in our freezer, I'll be making more (thank you Kroger for the sale on Ben & Jerry's).

I have also started sewing again, but that can be a subject for another day.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Irony in Action

So, I was driving in a pretty nice area of Lawrenceville today and saw this marvelous sign. One of those small ones on the metal posts that you stick in the ground. It was obviously hand made. The background was some sort of white board, with lettering on it. But let me describe the letters. They were black, and appeared to be stenciled. And I say appeared, because I'm not sure how you can stencil something and make it look so bad. The letters' edges were all blurry and drippy. And, of course, the letters in each word weren't exactly what you would call lined up.

Here's the irony. The sign said "We write professional business plans" with a phone number. Well, I don't really have any intention of starting my own business soon, but if I ever do, they will not be writing my plan. Your sign looks like an 8-year-old did it with a can of spray paint. Who's going to write the plan? Your goldfish? No thank you.

On an only vaguely related note (that being signs), I do have a favorite sign that I see (far too often) in my neighborhood. And these people at least put up the cash to get them professionally printed. The sign is for "Who's the Daddy? DNA testing." Cracks me up every time I see it.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Why I love Georgia, part 4

Anyone who works in Georgia knows that the child welfare system is seriously messed up. Words can't even describe it. But now we're hearing that, in at least one major county, there appear to be quotas on how many children can be removed from their homes and placed in foster care. Exceed your quota, and your job could be at risk. The state's former Child Advocate has come forward in the local paper (after the death of a toddler who was left in her biological home), talking about the unbelievable mismanagement of the very system that is supposed to keep our children safe.

It's only the tip of the iceberg, folks.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Too Many Books, continued

I went to the library today and am happy to report that I took back a bunch of paperbacks that I'm just not going to read any time soon, and I only checked out 8 items. The two items I had on hold (one a DVD), 3 other movies, a book on CD for in the car, and two non-fiction books. I probably would have ended up with far more, but I had to park illegally due to some random festival in downtown Stone Mountain today. I figure that I'm at the library often enough to count as an unofficial library staff member as far as parking goes:)

My cat is a bigger freak than your cat, Part III

I suppose that technically this is a continuation of Part I, but oh well.

Thrasher will, apparently, drink chocolate soy milk if he is thirsty enough. Enough said.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Too Many Books?

Does anyone know if there is a 12-step program for libraries? More specifically, library use? Because I think I might need one of those. Now, in all fairness to me, being addicted to books is probably a lot better for me than being addicted to a lot of other things. Alcohol, gambling, chocolate (really, I'm NOT addicted), collecting troll dolls, etc. But I do seem to have a serious problem.

I needed to go to the library yesterday to pick up some items on hold for me. Three items, to be precise, and only two of them were books (the other being a "Learn Chinese in Your Car" CD set). My original plan was to go to the library, approach front desk, return the items that needed returned, pick up the items being held, and leave. And I had every intention of doing just that. I often have every intention of just picking up items on hold and leaving. It never happens. Never. I mean, maybe once, but probably never.

Shortly before I left for the library, I decided I'd let myself look at the new book shelf and then pick up my held items. Nothing else. How much damage can I do in the new book section?

A lot.

Now, everyone should keep in mind that I have hundreds of books at home that I own, any number of which haven't been read. I also have this shelf known as the "read me and get rid of me shelf," mostly made up of books people have loaned to me or from the paperback exchange at the library (another REALLY bad thing for my little problem). And I still had four other books checked out. But I'm a mature, fairly rational person. I can handle the new book section.

Um, not so much. Seven books later (not including those on hold for me), I'm starting to doubt the realism of my plan. Now, I did manage to find two books on the shelf that are on my To-Be-Read list (another issue in itself). One of which I could not believe was on the shelf (The World Without Us). At this point, I literally have to drag myself away from the new book shelf without looking at everything there.

But as I'm walking out, I go by the books on tape. And I remember talking to one of the foster parents that I visit that I really should have picked up a book on tape the last time I was at the library since I can spend 15 hours or more a week in my car, driving all over the place. So I grab a book on tape. And then I go to the desk and check everything out, including my three items on hold. Luckily for me, I had put my stuff to return in a bag, so I have some way to carry all of this stuff out of the library. And yes, not being able to sanely carry all of my books out of the library is a frequent, common problem with me.

So I sit here now with 14 books checked out (not including those paperbacks mentioned before), one book on tape, one Learn Chinese CD set, and a movie. And not nearly enough hours in my days.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Why I love Georgia, part 3

Every year, I get the thrill of taking my car to a service station or stand-alone "Emissions Inspection Station" to get my emissions tested (so I then get the joy or renewing my registration and paying annual tax on my ten-year-old car). I don't have any problem with doing the test. The air here sucks. I'll do what I can to not contribute more to the problem. Anyway, I drive in and they connect fancy computer equipment up to various parts of my car. And the computer does it's magic and talks to the computer in my car and figures out how much nasty stuff my car is spewing into the air. And then I hand over $25 and get my certificate, printed on form-feed paper by a dot matrix printer! Where on earth do they even find paper for these things any more? It just doesn't make sense to me. A fancy computerized system to do the test, and they can't even manage a cheap ink jet? I have no doubt there is some big warehouse in central Georgia or somewhere just full to the brim with the planet's last boxes of form-feed paper.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Providence Canyon

A couple weeks ago, my husband and I decided to take a day off from work and get out of the city. An urge brought on in part by him having a rental car that he had no problem putting miles on. So we decided to head south to a little place called Providence Canyon. Providence Canyon is located southwest of Columbus near a little town called Lumpkin. (Tip for travelers--eat in Columbus because the choices in Lumpkin are very limited.) This park has been on my "must-see" list for a long time, so I couldn't wait.

A little history about the park. Providence Canyon became a state park in 1971 to preserve what has become known at Georgia's Little Grand Canyon. The canyons are very young from a geological perspective. The canyons were formed by erosion due to poor farming practices started in the 1800s. By 1850, there were ditches 3- to 5-feet deep across the land. Now, some of the canyons are up to 150 feet deep. Several times over the years, attempts were made to slow or stop the erosion (including the planting of Kudzu). Most of these have been pretty unsuccessful. Recent plantings have slowed the erosion, but the ranger told us that the park still loses 3 to 5 feet from the canyon tops each year (which can be easily seen by changes in the fencing at the top of the canyon).

Some other factoids. Today's park covers 1,108 acres with 16 canyons (more outside the park are visible on the drive in). There are at least 43 different shades of soil visible in the canyons. And the park has the largest natural collection of the rare Plumleaf Azaelea, which blooms from July to September (not the one pictured here).

And a few more pictures.

(Totally unrelated, but for anybody who is keeping track. Yes, I have purchased several more pairs of socks. Don't ask me how many, because I don't know for sure.)

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Normal? You decide

I like socks. But not just any socks. The stranger, the better. I seek them out. And yes, it does make dressing a challenge. What really goes with Elmo socks? Or neon striped socks? Or polka dots? And it's even more of a challenge when you realize that many of my pants and skirts are also strange colors, if not strange patterns. (Yes, I have more than one pair of purple pants. I can't help it.) And please keep in mind when looking at my collection that I took these pictures in November, so there are several more pairs of socks now. And when I say several, that probably means at least 6. No more than 8. Or maybe 12. Here are the "light" ones.

And then there are the "dark" ones. The polka dots are some of my favorites, even though I'm not a huge fan of knee socks.

And here is the Christmas collection, plus the super fuzzy, roam around the house socks. Plus one pair I nearly missed when taking the pictures.

And then my favorites. The Halloween collection. (Technically the purple argyle-ish knee socks in the "dark" collection came in a Halloween set, but those get every day wear.)

It keeps my coworkers and my acupuncturist amused. Well, and me. What more can I say?

So if you're ever out and see that great pair of socks, you know where to send them!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Feels like winter

Every once in a while, it does snow in Atlanta. The cat was not amused.