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Archive for November 2008

Yummy food

November 28th, 2008 — 12:44pm

Happy day after Thanksgiving!

thanksgiving food

I have a small kitchen and very few pots and pans, so I had to cook everything in shifts, but that was fine because I didn’t have a set time that everything had to be finished by, as long as there was plenty of nice food to heat up for the next few meals. I started the turkey at about 9am, and while it roasted I made the cranberry sauce and prepared two apple pies and two pans of stuffing. When the turkey was done, I popped the pies and stuffing into the oven and set a timer so I remembered to take the stuffing out after half an hour. While all that baked, I fixed the green beans and pearl onions (I’d peeled the onions yesterday), and then I made the mashed potatoes and gravy, and by then Dan was up and we had a nice Thanksgiving feast together. Everything turned out great! Oddly, the pies turned out runny, which is strange because I made them the same way I always do, but they taste wonderful!

Dan and I had a second dinner later, and then Henry had a plate when he got home, and now we’ll have more for lunch today! I made another batch of cranberry sauce this morning ’cause you can just never have too much fresh cranberry sauce.

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Happy almost-Thanksgiving!

November 26th, 2008 — 9:41am

Gah, I feel rotten about not doing a real post for so long. Everything is fine here, I’ve just been busy and tired. I’ve been waking up way too early every morning for the last week or two. I wish I could get enough sleep EVER. Wouldn’t that be nice? Um, let’s see… Henry’s best friend in the whole world, Fargo, came to stay with us for a few days and the boys had tremendous fun together as usual; I am working the second short side of the edging of Kathy’s lace stole; Chloe and I have scanned all of Grandpa’s slides from 1940 through 1959 (approx. 2200 photos) and are ready for 1960 (see the Jacobs Galleries); I have almost all the ingredients I need for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow, except for a few fresh veggies which I’ll go get as soon as I post this; Rockola is performing The White Album on Friday and Saturday and I volunteered to make sleeping-caps for the band to wear during “Goodnight” so I need to get fabric for those this morning; Henry’s in the show so I need to make sure he practices all his parts today; and I need to clean the house.

I’ve got pictures to post but they’re still in the camera and I don’t want to take the time to fire up aperture, etc. right now.

It’s only going to be Dan and me here on Thanksgiving, but I’m cooking a nice feast anyway because it’s fun and because Chloe might come by in the evening and Kirsten and Marcos will be here on Friday, so everyone can eat the leftovers :) I’m thawing some nice Trader Joe rolls and a piecrust now, and will bake an apple pie today (probably, if I have time) and then do everything else tomorrow while I watch Christmas movies and Dan plays WoW. It’ll be cozy!

Speaking of WoW, I am having so much fun with Wrath of the Lich King! I haven’t had all that much time to play so I’m still in the Howling Tundra area and just hit level 71 last night, and trained for my Swift Flight Form, yay me. The new quests are so fun and imaginative, the new terrain is just beautiful, and I love the friendly little Inuit-Walrus people! Too cute. Good job, Blizzard!

Ok, off to the store for green beans and pearl onions and broccoli and wine.

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The Book of Art for Young People, Chapter 10

November 24th, 2008 — 7:52am

The Book of Art for Young People, by Agnes Ethel Conway and Sir Martin Conway
First published in 1909. Read by Kara Shallenberg.

Chapter 10: Peter de Hoogh and Cuyp


All his subjects are of the domestic Dutch life of the seventeenth century, but the arrangement in rooms, passages, courtyards, and enclosed gardens admitted of much variation. We never feel that the range of subjects is limited, for the light transforms each into a scene of that poetic beauty which it was Peter de Hoogh’s great gift to discern, enjoy, and record.

Here are the paintings discussed in this chapter:

An Interior
An Interior (by de Hoogh)

Landscape (by Cuyp)

Come back next Monday for chapter 11!

(Impatient? Get the entire audio book for free here:

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The Book of Art for Young People, Chapter 9

November 17th, 2008 — 7:48am

The Book of Art for Young People, by Agnes Ethel Conway and Sir Martin Conway
First published in 1909. Read by Kara Shallenberg.

Chapter 9: Rembrandt


More than any artist that had gone before him, Rembrandt was fascinated by the problem of light. The brightest patch of white on a canvas will look black if you hold it up against the sky. How, then, can the fire of sunshine be depicted at all?

Here is the painting discussed in this chapter:

A Man in Armour
A Man in Armour (br Rembrandt)

Come back next Monday for chapter 10!

(Impatient? Get the entire audio book for free here:

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Christmas “up north”

November 15th, 2008 — 11:55am

When I was five or so, we moved to a tiny little ramshackle house on the side of a mountain on 75 acres in the middle of NOWHERE in Calaveras County, California. The nearest town (though it was hardly more than a wide spot in the road) was Mountain Ranch, which had a post office, an antique store, and a general store, “Senders”, which had its name spelled out in bent rebar on the front of the building. I discovered a box of slides from what must have been our first Christmas “up north”, probably 1974 or 1975. Still waiting for confirmation on the year.

ken, kirsten, kara, kathy

That’s Ken on the left, then little Kirsten, then me holding what I think was my very first Breyer model horse, then Kathy with such a beautiful smile!

I gave away my 30-some Breyer horses years ago, but I think I still have the appaloosa in a box. I loved him so.

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fun in the mail

November 15th, 2008 — 11:11am

About a week ago I got two packages in the mail on the very same day.


One was from knitpicks and contained two balls of Telemark, which will become a gift for a friend. The other was from Lisa at and contained two wonderful paperback reprints of classic children’s books! If you haven’t been to mainlesson, go there. Lisa scans and OCRs public-domain children’s books, formats them nicely for reading online, and also sells inexpensive, high-quality reprints of the books!

I recorded “Poems Every Child Should Know” for librivox last year, so it’s wonderful to have a real paper version now. And Shell Crandall and I are recording The Story of Mankind as a duet, each of us reading every other chapter. It’s a spectacular book. I’m enjoying it immensely, and I recommend it very highly. It’s surprisingly modern and extremely readable, having been published in 1922 — just before the public domain cut-off (Jan 1, 1923) — and it won the first Newberry Medal in 1923. Homeschoolers! Buy a copy and read it out loud to your kids, or wait a couple months until Shell and I are finished and we’ll do the reading aloud for you, and your kids can follow along with the text :)

Here are links to both books on
The Story of Mankind
Poems Every Child Should Know

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November 15th, 2008 — 10:55am

Chloe and I spent hours and hours scanning Grandpa’s color slides this week. The 1955 box was missing all the most exciting slides (birthdays, Christmases, etc.) but we found most of them in envelopes in these giant random boxes of photos and things that Mom is storing in my garage. So now 1955 is much more complete. We finished 1956 earlier this week, and scanned 1957 last night, as well!

From 1955, here’s my Grandma Jean standing with the family’s new Plymouth 8 Belvedere. What a car!


From 1956, here’s my mom’s 11th birthday party (Mom’s in the front row, dark blue dress). Yes, the shiny walls are metal; the family lived in a Lustron:

sal's birthday 1956

And from 1957, my uncle working on his stroller. He was the cutest baby!

scott under stroller

Also, last night Chloe and I worked hard to puzzle out which names go with which faces in some of the group photos. We’d heard about Dickie-boy, Gloomal, and Dadie, for example, but didn’t know what they looked like! We snipped individual portraits out of the group photos to post on our family tree, and it looks much better now. Sorry, if you’re not part of our family you can’t see our tree, but you can start your own, and it’s free! If you are part of our family and you need an invitation to our tree, let me know.

Neat trick — go to the “preferences” tab at the bottom of the geni family tree. Click “photos only” and admire our good-looking family!

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Hey Alexandre!

November 11th, 2008 — 10:03am

Hey Alexandre in Brazil, I finished the sentences yesterday! I got some funny bounce messages from my email server, so I hope you got everything. It’s unusual that I haven’t heard from you… hope everything is ok. Good luck with the demo!

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The Book of Art for Young People, Chapter 8

November 10th, 2008 — 7:42am

The Book of Art for Young People, by Agnes Ethel Conway and Sir Martin Conway
First published in 1909. Read by Kara Shallenberg.

Chapter 8: The Renaissance in the North


In a drawing which Dürer made of himself in the looking-glass at the age of thirteen, we see a thoughtful little face gazing out upon the world with questioning eyes. Already the delicacy of the lines is striking, and the hair so beautifully finished that we can anticipate the later artist whose pictures are remarkable for so surprising a wealth of detail.

Here is the painting discussed in this chapter:

Edward, Prince of Wales
Edward, Prince of Wales (by Holbein)

Come back next Monday for chapter 9!

(Impatient? Get the entire audio book for free here:

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LibriVox Q&A on

November 5th, 2008 — 10:18pm

Really thoughtful Q&A session with our founder, Hugh McGuire:

Is there any distinction between “amateur” and “professional” on LibriVox? How do you define quality in a volunteer effort? Does quality even matter in this case?

No, there is no distinction really. Everyone is encouraged to join us. We have a wide range of quality, from truly exceptional (in a traditional sense), to good, to not so great. Our goal, however, is to record the books, and to make a platform that allows anyone to contribute to the effort. We ask no questions, require no auditions, make no judgments about style or technique, and are happy for every single audio file someone chooses to contribute to the project.

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Election 2008

November 5th, 2008 — 11:05am

President - Election Center 2008 - Elections & Politics from

Wow. I can honestly say that I’m proud to be an American. Good job, voters! Now let’s put the campaign behind us, shake hands, and move forward!

On the other hand, Prop 8 seems to have passed, striking a blow against human dignity and equality. Sigh.

We watched the results with Bob and Chloe, coloring in our electoral college maps as the results came in. It was a thrilling evening!

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November 4th, 2008 — 3:03pm

Dan went along with Henry, Chloe, Celia, and Celia’s little cousins on Halloween and got some great photos! Here’s my favorite, but there are lots more — click to see the whole gallery.


We’re still munching our way through the giant bag of candy that Henry brought home :)


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November 3rd, 2008 — 4:23pm

Tomorrow is voting day and I’m all excited. For the first time in my 20 years as a voter I feel enthusiastic and hopeful that things might change for the better. Please don’t forget to vote! Do you have your voter pamphlet handy? Do you know where your polling place is? Have you researched the proposals and measures, and marked your pamphlet so you don’t have to remember whether it’s “yes” or “no” when you’re standing in the voting booth tomorrow?

Remember the people who have fought and died so that others would have the right to vote. Just 100 years ago our great-grandmothers weren’t allowed to vote! Make them proud.

I suggest that you vote for Obama for President, but even if you vote for the other guy we’ll still be friends :) Follow your conscience.


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The Book of Art for Young People, Chapter 7

November 3rd, 2008 — 7:33am

The Book of Art for Young People, by Agnes Ethel Conway and Sir Martin Conway
First published in 1909. Read by Kara Shallenberg.

Chapter 7: The Renaissance in Venice


Like Raphael, Giorgione was precocious, but unlike him he painted in a style of his own that from the very beginning owed little to any one else. He saw beauty in his own way, and was not impelled to see it differently by coming into contact with other artists, however great.

While painting in the rest of Italy was becoming mannered and sentimental, lacking in power and originality, Tintoret in Venice was creating masterpieces with a very fury of invention and a corresponding swiftness of hand.

Here are the paintings discussed in this chapter:

The Golden Age
The Golden Age (by Giorgione)

Saint George Destroying the Dragon
Saint George Destroying the Dragon (by Tintoret)

Come back next Monday for chapter 8!

(Impatient? Get the entire audio book for free here:

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