146: Nativity

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Beater Blade

Alas, my lovely rubber-scraping mixer beater blade.

is no match for these chocolate chip cookies.

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147: Pirate Fashion Doll

My mom is working on a project which involves “rehabilitating” 11.5″ fashion dolls for my niece.

One of the aforementioned dolls came home the other day with what appears to be a canine-digital mutilation.

They considered hiding the considerable defect in a plaster cast when I mentioned that the fashion doll’s arm was solid, and they could perform an amputation and replace the missing limb with a hook.  A few minutes later, Pirate Barbie was out of a speedy surgical recovery and sporting a new prosthesis.

I think it’s a bit over-sized, but it was what the prosthetic clinic had in stock.

This evening, my mother came out, again holding the newly minted Pirate Barbie, and said she thought her new update gave the doll a more sinister quality:

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148: Laundromat

I’m sitting in a laundromat for the first time in close to 20 years.  My very first appliance (not counting my dorm fridge) was a washing machine that Smith (my grad school roommate) and I purchased my first year of graduate school.  An old friend of mine, who used to work in a laundromat, swears by laundromats for huge and/or overwhelming loads of clothing.  In this case, I have a boatload of bedding and no dryer, so I figured that the laundromat was in my future (now my present).

That’s the “six load” machine.  It’s $6 and will take 60#.  (Oooh — it might be the machine of the beast).

I’ve got two comforters and five standard pillows in it.  I suspect I could have added more, but I really wanted room for good cleaning to happen.  I have two duvet covers, five pillowcases and five pillow covers in a “regular” machine ($1.50), and another “body” pillow in a second “regular” machine (also $1.50, but that pillow is green, and I’m bleaching the hell out of everything else).  Hmm.  There’s a pillow in the six loader that I don’t think it going to get, er, white again.  It keeps rolling past the window and making me twitch.

We may, shortly, be declaring pillow bankruptcy and starting again by replacing them . . . if this hot hot wash and super hot drying doesn’t pan out.  (Die dustmites, die!)

Ooh — there goes the extra rinsing . . . yeah . . . that pillow is not reverting to white.  It’s just not happening.

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149: Diva Mangia

Okay — if you’re a girl, somewhere between 10 and 50, and you don’t already have a diva cup, then you need to get one forthwith.

I thought I had lost mine at a conference in OH. All sorts of horrible thoughts went through my mind — I’d left it in the shower and the poor housekeeper had to deal with it; it dropped out of my bag on the plane; someone in baggage handling stole it — the whole gamut . . .

As it turns out, I don’t seem to have left it in OH at all. It appears, given the jagged tears now visible in it, that it was stolen from my bag (set on the laundry room floor to facilitate doing, well, you know, laundry) by someone with big teeth, a keen sense of smell, and a penchant for anything resembling meat.

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150: Endodontistry in Spokane

This is my endodontist.
And this is why my endodontist is badder than your endodontist.

(And yes, that’s a lion).

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151: Bookshelf

What I’m reading right now:

For the Adolescent Literature Seminar:

For the Mom’s Book Group (which is weird, it being such an adolescent lit book . . .):

Picked up just for kicks:

(Okay, this is a weird book to pick up “for kicks,” but I read a lot of social science/ sociology books for fun, so there you have it . . . which will have to suffice to also explain the next one).

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152: Blessed are the Dumbfucks

There’s an article in the NY Times about a former judge who is going to bat for a young man named Qing Hong Wu, who got into trouble a few years back, reformed, and is now being tossed out of the US as a “criminal alien.”

The judge and the juvenile had grown up on the same mean streets, 40 years apart. And in fall 1996, they faced each other in a New York court where children are prosecuted as adults, but sentenced like candidates for redemption.

The teenager, a gifted student, was pleading guilty to a string of muggings committed at 15 with an eclectic crew in Manhattan’s Chinatown. The judge, who remembered the pitfalls of Little Italy in the 1950s, urged him to use his sentence — three to nine years in a reformatory — as a chance to turn his life around.

“If you do that, I am here to stand behind you,” the judge, Michael A. Corriero, promised. The youth, Qing Hong Wu, vowed to change.

Mr. Wu kept his word. He was a model inmate, earning release after three years. He became the main support of his immigrant mother, studying and working his way up from data entry clerk to vice president for Internet technology at a national company.

But almost 15 years after his crimes, by applying for citizenship, Mr. Wu, 29, came to the attention of immigration authorities in a parallel law enforcement system that makes no allowances for rehabilitation. He was abruptly locked up in November as a “criminal alien,” subject to mandatory deportation to China — the nation he left at 5, when his family immigrated legally to the United States.

Now Judge Corriero, 67, retired from the bench, is trying to keep his side of the bargain.

A college friend had posted the article to his FB page, and another responded, “nothing provokes my righteous anger like a lack of compassion. which i realize sounds paradoxical…”

There’s a scene in Christopher Moore’s Lamb where Joshua (the Jesus character) and his best friend, Biff (the narrator) are working out an early draft of the Sermon on the Mount. Joshua is advocating for “Blessed are the dumbfucks” (though they seem only to be getting fruit baskets), and Biff is calling to edit out the dumbfucks . . .
“How many is that?”
“Not enough. We need one more. How about the dumbfucks?”
“No, Josh, not the dumbfucks. You’ve done enough for the dumbfucks. Nathaniel, Thomas –”
“Blessed are the dumbfucks for they, uh — I don’t know–they shall never be disappointed.”
“No, I’m drawing the line at dumbfucks. Come on, Josh, why can’t we have any powerful guys on our team? Why do we have to have the meek, and the poor, the oppressed, and the pissed on? Why can’t we, for once, have blessed aret he big powerful rich guys with swords?”
“Because they don’t need us.”
“Okay, but no ‘Blessed are the dumbfucks.'”
“Who, then?”
“How about the wankers? I can think of five or six disciples who would be really blessed.”
“No wankers. I’ve got it. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake.”
“Okay, better. What are you going to give them?”
“A fruit basket.”
“You can’t give the meek the whole earth and these guys a fruit basket.”
“Give them the kingdom of heaven.”
“The poor in spirit got that.”
“Everybody gets some.”
“Okay, then, “share the Kingdom of Heaven.”” I wrote it down.
“We could give the fruit basket to the dumbfucks.”
“Sorry, I just feel for them.”
“You feel for everyone, Josh. It’s your job.”
“Oh yeah. I forgot.”

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153: GOOG-411

I use 1-800-GOOG-411 all the time . . . and, in general, I really like it.

One coda, though.

I tend to speak like a computer to it, because it has difficulty understanding

GOOG-411: What City and State?
Jen: Spokane, Washington.
GOOG-411: Leavenworth, Kansas, thank you. What listing?
Jen: Go Back.
GOOG-411: Say just the city and state.
Jen: Spokane, Washington.
GOOG-411: Spo-cane, Washington, thank you. Say the listing.

GOOG-411: What City and State?
Jen: Core-duh-lane (Coeur d’Alene), Idaho.
GOOG-411: Say just the city and state.
Jen: Core-duh-lane (Coeur d’Alene), Idaho.
GOOG-411: Say just the city and state.
Jen: Core-DEE-AH-lean, Idaho.
GOOG-411: Core-dee-ah-lean, Idaho, thank you. Say the listing.
Jen: Rung-gii (Runge, rhyming it with “fung-fee” as it’s pronounced) Furniture.
GOOG 411: No listing. Say the business name or category.
Jen: Run-juh (rhyming it with “grunge”) Furniture.
GOOG 411: Run-jah Furniture, on south 4th Street . . .

Don’t get me started on Spok-can (Spokane) being wrongly rhymed with “insane” . . .

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154: Begging for More

Last year I started an Adolescent Literature Seminar. My main reason was to give Farmerteen a “class” of kids to discuss literature with . . . so I roped in a bunch of homeschoolers and former homeschoolers to give it a try.

This was no slouch of a seminar. I put the kids through the paces.

Last “semester” we read a novel every two weeks. We read Lord of the Flies, The Chocolate War, All Quiet on the Western Front, The Great Gatsby, Of Mice and Men, and The Grapes of Wrath.

12 weeks.
6 novels.
11-14 year olds.

At the end, they told me they hated all the books we read.
Then they asked when we were starting up again (this was early Dec. 2009).
When I told them February of 2010, they looked at me in despair.
What? We have to wait until February?

I told them I was confused . . . I thought they just told me that they hated everything we read.
We did. They told me confidently. But we can’t wait to start discussing more books we hate.

I didn’t figure I’d actually like working with this age group.
I can’t tell you how proud I am of them, and how much I’m loving it.

Next up:

The Lottery
To Kill a Mockingbird
The Catcher in the Rye
The Body (Stephen King novella)
The Giver
Animal Farm
Fahrenheit 451

And for the summer? Shakespeare!

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