Thursday, September 30, 2010

museum day

last saturday was smithsonian magazine's museum day, and i know i wrote you about being excited about it.

so i called up the crashcos to see if they wanted to go and he had something to do, but she was free. now, when it comes to museum going, i'm not very fussy. i have been to great museums and i have been to sucky museums and the truth of it is that i just like museums. i like to look at stuff. if i get to play with stuff, that's even better. and i'm toasty with science museums or history museums or art museums or what-have-you, so i pretty much let mrs. c pick where to go.

so she printed us us a ticket to the lake champlain maritime museum and off we went.

you might think that having looked at a map and being somewhat familiar with the territory we might be able to find a thing as big as the maritime museum, but you'd be wrong.

my plan, such as it was, was to have a look at the map and then drive down there and look for signs. a thing as big as the maritime museum must have a sign or two?

well, it does, but only at oddly-spaced and inappropriate intervals. for instance, you might not have been planning on turning down a particular road but you see a sign to the museum and so you follow that road but then a few miles on when you get to the next intersection, there's no indication which of the plausible choices you ought to take.

and it goes like that. so we had a lovely tour of panton, bridport, and their environs. it's pretty country and we were in good spirits.

once at the museum we had a good time looking at boats and reading history and we got to go aboard the philadelphia II, which is a replica of the original philadelphia that was run aground in the battle of valcour island in 1776.


of course i took pictures, so here's my slideshow:

 and if that diving helmet looks fun, here's a little video of the pump that supplies it with air.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


i'm still busier than a...

nevermind.  i'm busy. projects, you know? plus it's almost october and i have crammed all my doctor appointments into this week and i have to use up the perishable stuff in the kitchen and i'm still working on a design project and blah, blah...

today i made some little muffins. actually i made a batch today and a batch yesterday. they are very sweet and no matter what cr says, they are not suitable for breakfast. they are dessert foods. or maybe snacks.

i got the recipe here. they're easy to make, and pretty quick.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

take a tour

so i was going to tell you about saturday's adventure at the maritime museum, but that involves loading up some photos. or i was going to tell you about those brownies or those muffins (more photos) or some projects i'm working on, but it turned out i was too busy working on them to write to you about them, so i'll clean a cool thing off my desktop.

take a really cool virtual tour of the sistine chapel, or of st. peter's basilica. once you get the hang of working the controls, you can swoop around in there awesomely.

Monday, September 27, 2010

because you can

i have so much stuff piling up to tell you about! i'll try to keep it to one thing at a time, though.

yesterday was our local walk to defeat ALS. short version: my only connection to the disease is that it's important to cr, and that's enough for me.

so we were talking about how i could help with this year's walk and i got it into my head to do a simple project of picking some keywords to put on some nice colorful signs and let people write short notes to hang on strings, like prayer flags.

of course because of MY disease (for which, to my knowledge, there are no walks) i can't just make a few brightly colored signs that look nice, but i have to launch into a full-blown art project and make these seven illustrated panels and i really don't know how much time each one took to produce but i know i worked on them for a week (nevermind i was down with a bad cold, which we may or may not talk about later) and on one day only i spent maybe fourteen hours on it.

worth every moment, though. later on i'll post for you the pictures of them and the process of making them, but for today i'll just offer you an observation and some images.

when you go to events for diabetes or cancer or something like that, everyone there knows someone who has died from the illness or may die from it or will die from it, but some of the people walking around can wear the crown of SURVIVOR.

nobody wears a title like that at the ALS walk; nobody survives it. you don't know if you're going to have months or maybe a few years but you don't have more than that and for now there's no escaping the inevitable conclusion.

it's hard not to notice the teams who come to walk in support of or in honor of somebody they love, but then somewhere between the printing of the t-shirts and the walk, their effort becomes in memory of.

it's easier not to notice, as an outsider, the people at the walk who look pretty good now but won't be walking next year. it's harder to miss the people who don't look so good now and you know they won't be there next year.

so when they talk about hope at the ALS walk, it is a different kind of hope than at some other events.

we raised a lot of money; not by the standards of a very famous organization that maybe does a lot of good work but also spends a lot of its budget marketing itself. you donate money to the ALS association and it means that somebody is going to get services that will make a big difference in their drastically foreshortened life. somebody is going to have a place to stay when they come to the clinic. it will make a big difference to somebody.

here's my slideshow.

2010 ALS walk

Friday, September 24, 2010

haec est dies

Its National Punctuation Day and everybody is celebrating!  Every day must have it's own celebration i'm sure but i am particularly fond of punctuation. Grammar Girl is celebrating, as are the folks, over at National Punctuation Day. And i know i have linked you here before but here is a very fine rant on the use of the apostrophe. That i enjoy.

Because i have a very busy day today i haven't got alot of time, to write a clever post about punctuation so i will leave you with this simple tip; you may not use a "comma" to link "independent clauses" unless you also employ a conjunction (but, you may wish to use the comma to separate out parenthetical items.)

Sorry i haven't got something more clever for you today: but its the thought that count's. Isn't it.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

mark your calendars!

i know i'm not giving you a lot of notice with this one, but all you people living in the US and possibly our friendly neighbors may be interested to know that tomorrow, 24 september 2010, is NATIONAL PUNCTUATION DAY!

i wish i could tell you that i have never interrupted an intimate moment with a commentary on the correct use of the semicolon, but i would be lying.

i also celebrate national grammar day (march fourth), but it's a long way off on the calendar. i only mention it so you will have time to buy me lovely gifts.

also this weekend is smithsonian magazine museum day, on which many museums nationwide are FREE if you print up your participating ticket. you should at least go and check which of your local museums are free on saturday.

here's what's available near me.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


i don't park in front of my garage.

under terms of the association, each of us has three legal parking places: the driveway, the garage, and the spot in front of the garage. each of us, if we exceed the three legal parking places assigned to us, may park in the big parking lots at either end of the complex.

if i'm not parked in the driveway, i'm parked IN the garage, not in front of it. since moving the car in and out of the garage or even loading bikes and boats and such takes much less time than the stationary activity of being parked on that little bit of real estate, it appears my neighbors are sometimes confused as to whether or not i'm using that little piece of ground.

even if i'm NOT using that little territory, though, it's still MINE.

more than a few times recently, however, my neighbors have either been parked directly in front of my garage or parked so carelessly in their spaces as to take up enough of mine to make the actual passage of my car in or out of the garage impossible.

just because it looks like i'm not using the space most of the time doesn't mean i don't need it. i do not care if you have more than three vehicles and have exceeded your allotted parking, nor do i care if you have so much stuff that your garage is filled with it. you can walk to the parking lot.

...which is, by the way, very near my garage.

anyway, yesterday morning when i wanted to use my garage one of my neighbors was parked directly in front of it. when i came home last night to find him still parked there, i did the only thing i knew how to do: i parked him in.

yes, i did.

and when he came to apologize i was asleep. sick and asleep. and he was very nice. and he had been up all day and night at work. at a job for which he wears scrubs and carries shears and tape in his pockets.

so. i have asserted my territorial rights.

and i have been less kind than i might have been.

the sad thing is that i probably will not learn much from this.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


want to look at some cool maps you can play with?

here's a map of where people commute to burlington, VT from.

if you want to see where they commute from to get to other places, click the "change" button and enter a zipcode of your choice.

it's super interactive mapping fun, which if you are a map nerd like me will keep you busy for half a day.

Monday, September 20, 2010

here's a toy for you to play with.

it's not that i have nothing to say; it's just that i have a LOT on my plate. there was a movie project and a graphic design project for the church and i'm making stereograms for a friend's nephew and niece for their confirmation and i have a press release to write and a song i'm working on and i'm behind in clocking photos and you get the general idea.

it's a lot better than having too much time and no ideas, no art to make and nothing useful to do with it.

so instead of telling you about the fabulous brownies i made, i will just give you a link to a really fun little online paint toy that you can use in your projects, of which you probably have too many.

have fun with it.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


i think at some point i promised to write you about the teeny little quiches, and i'm surprised it's taken this long because a) they are very, very good, and b) i just like to say the words: teeny little quiches. these words should be said, if you are saying them, very quickly and strung together like all one word: teenylittlequiches.

i found the recipe for them here and even though i had ever made quiche of any kind before, it seemed easy enough and i was attracted to the idea that they might be made and frozen, since as a single person it's often impractical to make a lot of things that i'll only have to eat up long before i get sick of it, unless i'm having company.

i was also driven by the prospect of an upcoming potluck, a dinner guest who doesn't eat much but likes lots of flavors, and a camping trip for which i often supply a lot of the pre-made meals.

into the pan
i ended up making two batches because i couldn't decide on fillings and because, hey, they're supposed to freeze well, so why not?

i also did not stick to the recipe, and modified it to suit my intended fillings, which may be a risky thing to do with not only a recipe one has not tried, but a whole class of food one has never made before, btu it turned out just fine in the end and nobody need have worried.

for my first batch i used less zucchini than the recipe called for and substituted some lightly cooked rainbow chard that i got from the farmers' market (remind me to write about that when i've nothing else going on), and i only meant to test ONE when they came out of the oven, but these things are FABULOUS!

for my second batch i struck out entirely on my own with the filling, and went with wild mushrooms (i catch them myself), rainbow chard, and some spiffy purple carrots from the farmers' market.

and out of the oven
they look pretty and taste good and they DO freeze well, so if you're very nice to me and you come to my house i may let you have some.

Friday, September 17, 2010

think you're alone?

hmmm... doodly-ooodly...

what? are you still here?

checking your facebook? don't let me stop you.

disclosure: i do not have a facebook account.

that's not entirely true; i have a mostly unused facebook account under a fictitious name in case i have to try to contact someone without a proper webpage that only has facebook for some reason, like a certain library i'm not going to mention because other than that it's a nice library and apparently they haven't heard that there are perfectly good hosting services that do nonprofits for free.

at least that's the only reason i can think of why a public institution would forego a standard webpage and use facebook only.

ok, so i'm enough of a media whore to keep a blog. i have a website with a podcast and everything and if for some reason you want to read me, i'm toasty with that, but i'm not soliciting followers or friends and i don't twitter and i don't facebook (when did that become a verb?).

i have nothing against twitter, but i just don't see that i have much to say in under 140 characters that other people would enjoy having foisted on them on a regular basis. at least here you have to come read me; i don't thrust myself into your phone at my every whim.

and facebook! well, facebook is just evil, in my estimation. need evidence? sure. i won't bother with a crisp little rant about it, but i'll just leave you with some fun links:

it's like watching a bad road accident
a fun little infographic that explains a LOT
and the scariest of all.  enter "probation officer" in the search field if you're not sure where to start.

have a nice day.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

the bike fairy

so i was over at this geocache and there was not only a truckload of people, but there was a bike locked to the post at the cache, so i not only have an audience, but i might be mistaken for a bike thief.

it's a bike that clearly somebody uses for commuting, and the chain and pulley wheels and derailleurs are not just dirty, but full of grease and grit and i figure if i'm in for a penny, i might as well be in for a pound.

now other people, when hunting geocaches, try to look all unobtrusive and sneaky like, but not me. i have have gone on record as saying that the best way to arouse suspicion is to try to appear un-suspicious looking.

of course i also have to park RIGHT UP NEXT TO THE CACHE,  so here's my funky little diagram:

[ ]  [.] [ ] [ ]
[ ] [.]     [ ] [ ]
          this is where i have to park.

[ ] = empty vehicle
[.] = occupied vehicle
o = post to which bike is chained, and where cache is located

so i pull up into the convenient empty slot, get out of my car, and scope out the post with the bike chained to it. there's a kind of hostile looking guy in the pickup truck next to the pole, or maybe i'm just imagining that he's hostile looking because he has a "maine terrorist hunting license" sticker right on his driver's side window, so i'm looking at it when i get out of my car.

then since i don't feel like exposing the cache location with hostile man (his new superhero name) right there, i do the only thing a right-thinking person would do: i open up my tailgate and take out a soft rag and a can of boeing T-9 and i begin to clean up the rear derailleur, chain, and pulley wheels of the bike.

it takes me a while, and i go back to my car a couple of times and while this is happening hostile man apparently gets sick of me being there. perhaps i am interfering with his sitting and doing nothing, but in a great show of fury or impatience he fires his truck into motion and while i am moving between my car and his truck he takes off at a speed not safe for parking lots, as if he is in a very big hurry to get to someplace important to which he is late and i have been standing in his way.

it turns out that the "someplace important" is another parking place two aisles over, where he sits and does nothing again. after a while he gets out and gets himself a cup of coffee. this takes him a long time, but he does it in as hostile a fashion as possible, which is difficult, since now he has to project this hostility at me from a farther distance.

i'm still busy cleaning that derailleur and chain and pulley wheels, and they are a greasy, gritty mess, so much of a mess that i don't notice at first that the pulley wheels aren't solid. they have that much gunk in them.

i go back to my car and take out a nice clean sheet of paper and a pen and with my greasy hands i write a note to bike guy:

dear bike guy,

i was here to do something else and while i was here i cleaned and lubed your chain, your pulley wheels, your rear derailleur and some of your gears. i didn't have my brushes or other tools with me so it isn't perfect, but it's a good start. i used a high quality low-density lube on everything, so you'll probably want to toss on something heavier grade to keep the road dirt out later on.

i signed it

the bike fairy.

somewhere during the process (once hostile man had finally quit glaring at me in his rearview mirrors and driven off at full speed), i found the cache and cleaned up my stuff, leaving the note for bike guy.

later on someone asked me: what if he didn't want his bike cleaned?

well then, he can't catch up to me.

i'm gone.

Monday, September 13, 2010


today i went to play disc golf at boom field in saco.

boom field.

i just like to say it.

it was nice and then some other stuff happened that maybe i'll tell you about later.

who am i kidding? of course i'll tell you about it later.

and there will be pictures.

but i just wanted another excuse today to say "boom field".


Sunday, September 12, 2010

sunburn on my feet

i got sunburn on my feet! not a bad one, mind you, but i went over to parson's beach and played a long time in the sand (pictures later) and since my feet are one of the only parts of me that never see daylight (i am a sock-wearing person, even in summer), it was interesting to see my feet slightly pink right up to the place where my socks usually stop.


well, that's about it. i spent a while nearly totally devoid of thought. it was nice.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

ground and sky

maybe i had some other things to say; i don't remember.

i have a room with an ocean view, though, and the weather is exceptionally pleasant.

tonight after supper we went over to wells beach and we just happened to see an overhead flyby of the international space station. that is just cool.

Friday, September 10, 2010

simple plans

right, ok.

i'm sick to death of terry jones (get your own blasted link for that fruitcake) and i'm sick of all the anti-islamic crap in this country and europe (do you HEAR me, france?). even the nicest, kindest, little christian ladies are spouting some of the most stunning examples of bigotry and islamophobia i've ever heard.

want to know how to stop the shrinking of your churches? want to know how to keep young people from being islamified or atheized?


i am sick to death of the daily dose of who died today in the wars and i'm sick of articles like this.

want to know how to stop the cycle of violence and by the way slow the radicalization of muslims / africans / basques / catholics / gays / poor people?


i am REALLY sick of hearing people whining about how bad the economy is and how nobody knows what to do about it without putting it all on the backs of poor people or children or the mentally ill or crippled.

here's my handy four-point plan for reviving the economy.

1) STOP THE WAR. it's the single most expensive thing going on. it's not necessary, and the cost of caring for all the mangled veterans (which we are morally obligated to do) grows larger every day. this cost will only increase over the next 40 years even if no more of those guys get hurt after today.

2) LEGALIZE MARIJUANA. you heard me; legalize it. and tax it. while we're at it, lessen the penalties for possession or use of other drugs, which brings me to the third point:

3) STOP BUILDING PRISONS. these things are expensive. let's quit sending nonviolent offenders to prison for long sentences in what can only be called the world's most efficient trade schools. kids go in there green and come out professional criminals. let's put that money into education and jobs programs. out-and-out gifts, if we have to do it. everybody's got money for punishment, but not for prevention. dumbasses. prevention is more cost-effective.


there. i'm done for now. tonight i'm going dancing. tomorrow i'm going on a little vacation. later on i will tell you about what's going on in my kitchen or on the golf course or some sunny little thing, but not today.

today i'm mary sunshine.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

sticky rice

this is what it looks like when i make it.
ok, so this isn't news.

it's kind of old, i think, but i have been making coconut sticky rice.

the short version of today's story is that i am a nutjob and there was crying and two appointments and a lot of social awkwardness but that in the end i made some mango coconut sticky rice, which made me feel better.

i make it a lot ever since i found the recipe here, and it's easy so you can make it, too.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

adirondack slideshow

later on maybe i'll tell you more and show you less, but if you want to see the pictures from our camping trip, you can see them here, at the usual place.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

overheard at a natural history museum

i'm back from my fabulous labor day vacation with the crashcos and i'm sure that as time progresses that story will come out in a variety of locations.

for now what i'm giving you is a short movie i made at xtranormal, which is an interesting little animated moviemaking toy that's free with add-ons you can pay for .

the link to it has been sitting on my desk for a while, and i've been waiting for an opportunity to use it and see how that goes before i tell you about it. i like it pretty much, and i think i will maybe use it to play a little with conversations i have overheard.

this conversation took place after a presentation with the captive otters at an unnamed (here, at least) natural history museum. through the entire presentation the young man giving it kept talking about how only CAPTIVE otters need enrichment in order to stimulate their brains like their wild counterparts.

maybe i should also mention that the natural history museum does not capture wild otters but only has rehabilitated otters that are for some reason or another unsuitable for release.

here's my movie.

you can watch it on youtube if you like.

Friday, September 03, 2010

labor day

traditionally i go to montreal for labor day. i started doing this years and years ago, and then at some point the crashcos started coming along and sometimes we'd meet up with friends there and then we were talking about maybe going to nova scotia instead and then it came out that what mrs. crashco really wants to do is go kayaking in the adirondacks, so that's what we're going to do.

you can see where we're going here.

meantime i'd like to clear off my desk, so here's a fun little linkdump of things that are science-y and pretty to look at.

more about color names by gender
global economic analysis

Thursday, September 02, 2010

my grandfather always said

recently i was standing around after church and this guy (old enough to be my grandfather) comes up and says that my hair looks a lot better now that i've let it grow out. the implication, clearly, is that it is too butch as short as i like it.

my grandfather always used to tell me "if you don't do something with your hair, you'll never catch a man." why THIS guy who is not my grandfather feels he has a right to comment on how i should be wearing my hair is beyond me, but some people just think they have the right.

i will refer you (again) to this blog.

the thing about my grandfather saying it is that he was my grandfather and not just some old guy who thinks it's his business to instruct me, so i had to stand and be polite to my grandfather about it.

if you don't do something with your hair you'll never catch a man.

the funny thing is that when my grandfather was alive, i used to wear my hair long, all the way down to my butt, and back then it was red (yes, i was a natural redhead). for parties i used to like to roll it up and over my forehead and weave in baby's breath. very cute.

if you don't do something with your hair you'll never catch a man.

once a long time ago i ran a personal ad:

my grandfather always said if i didn't do something with my hair i'd never catch a man. call if you want to be the punch line to that joke.

i won an award with that one. really. the paper that ran it has a weekly contest for best personal ad, and i won that week. and i almost got a really scary moment.

i'm at an appointment and my case manager says "that was yours? i almost called for a date!" and there was this long terrified pause before we both said "wow. THAT would have been awkward."

i STILL haven't done anything acceptable with my hair. in october i'm getting it shaved off again. i might not catch a man that way, and it might not even be the cutest way for me to wear my hair, but it is the length at which i am comfortable wearing it, and since i spend more time wearing it than i spend looking at it, that's what's important to me.

plus when it's really short, it's fuzzy and kind of comforting to run my hand across it when i'm stressed.

and i save a lot of money on shampoo.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

prize time!

we just had the award potluck for this race series. prizes are handed out on the basis of attendance and since i'm there every week (for like eleven years running or something like that) i go up to the prize table pretty early on in the proceedings.

i'm kind of nuts about bags. is that a girly thing? i love shoes and i confess i love bags. one of the best thing about taking up any new activity is the possibility that i will need new shoes to wear or a new bag in which to carry equipment.

so i got this bag. in the plush plaid version.

i gave it to cr, because let's face it, i have four hydration packs already in various sizes, plus one more i don't yet use that still has its tags on it, and although it is awesome to win a cool bag, it is even more awesome to win a cool bag to give as a gift.

cr wasn't sure i should give her such a thing, but i was all, like, dude. there's NOTHING on that prize table i don't already have three of. and she says, maybe for my birthday or for christmas.

she hasn't yet caught on to the way the natives here give gifts: it's wednesday. here. hope you like it.


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