Expended Gray Matter Area

A place to discuss anything that might come to mind about dogs, agility, restaurants, international business, travel, or frankly a day or two of stream of consciousness. Who wants to live in a box anyway?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Planning the Christmas cookie list

I just finished the Thanksgiving holiday baking but I'm ready for more.  I don't do a lot of baking throughout the year, but the end of the year has me wanting to bake.  I've already made truffles and peanut butter balls, not to mention chocolate covered walnuts for Thanksgiving - and made a second batch of the last two because they went so fast that some family members did not get any.  But, it is now time for the second round of baking.  I already know I want to try my hand at making lollipops - but that just didn't seem enough to celebrate the holiday.  It also gives me something to share with friends.

A cookie a week through the end of December doesn't sound that bad -- but I was thinking about doing the twelve days of cookies.  I'm not sure I will do it in this order, but here is the list of cookies I could make:

1 - Spritzer
2 - No Bake
3 - Chocolate Chip
4 - Snickerdoodles
5 - Sugar
6 - Pumpkin Chocolate Chip
7 - White Chocolate Macadamia
8 - Gingerbread
9 - Pizzelles
10 - Pepparkakor
11 - Shortbread
12 - Oatmeal

Wish me luck. By the end of this I may be wanting more -- or I may be done until next Christmas.  We'll see.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Christmas 2008

I had the Christmas spirit for about a week and then lost it. It left and I can't find it again. If you see it, please let it know I would like it to visit again.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas baking

I usually bake quite a lot of things for the holidays, but this year I'm not feeling so up for it. Our pup, Quinn had to be put down recently as he had Stage V Lymphoma. It was in his bone marrow and he was in pain. What it really sad, it is that two weeks ago he was fine. No symptoms. The diagnosis was totally unexpected. It makes it that much more devastating.

Perhaps I should bake though. He usually was at my feet while I was doing things around the kitchen. Perhaps doing so this year would be in honor of him.

Fudge, cookies, bars, pretzels, cinnamon rolls, and much more. Perhaps I'll reduce the number of items, but I'll still do something.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

The Twelve Days of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
A new car loan for a hybrid

On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
2 new lenses

On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
3 broken appliances

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
4 minute backrubs

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
5 dirty rooms

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
6 puppies farting

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
7 broken dishes

On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
8 muddy paw prints

On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
9 am wake up

On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
10 pairs of earrings

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
11 bags of candy

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
12 bottles of water

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The North Pole is Sinking! (AKA Sinking Santa)

Here is a draft of the poem I was writing (with help from my 7 year old daughter who is learning about rhyming words and loves Santa):

Driving cars, burning fuel
Large carbon footprints are the rule
We have to wonder what we were thinking
To melt the ice caps – the North Pole is sinking!

The post office was the first to go
Underneath the massive ice flow
A blink of the eye and the office was gone
Leaving no trace of children's letters on the lawn.

Santa didn't understand the loss
The elves were freaked out and crazy ideas they toss
The reindeer seemed to take it in stride
As it was still 6 months til their Christmas ride.

The next to go was the Candy Shop
It sunk under with a loud POP
Ribbon candy was all that was left
Leaving many quite bereft.

At this point Santa did research
All night long his glasses perch
Upon a nose, not quite so cold
As summer's days of yonder old.

The reindeers' stable sank quite fast
They had hoped it would have been last
They had to bunk in the elves dorm
The North Pole looked nothing like the norm.

All the while the workshop would flood
The sump pump turned out to be a dud
Against several inches of water that came
Nothing would ever be the same.

Santa decided that he must move
The cause of the sinking he couldn't prove
He noted the hole in the ozone layer
An Inconvenient Truth he watched from the Al Gore sayer.

The answer he dreaded he finally understood
The people of Earth were the cause was not so good.

Should he give presents to those who wasted resource
Or only to those who showed remorse.
The lumps of coal to others did not seem fit.
For it causes problems when it was lit.

Global warming was melting his home
His ground was unstable to support the secret dome.
All would fall through into icy depths below
No way to reverse what was started years ago.

Santa's decision was difficult to make
Upon its finality all he did wake.
“Pack your bags, your toys, and your tools
Pack everything that hasn't sunk into the icy pools!”

All did run to pack up their meager things
They packed their homes, the workshops and the sleigh with wings.
The gathered at the North Pole town center quick
In their hearts they felt quite sick.

Leaving this home they had lived for years gone by
Even before the reindeer did fly
Some did cry at this sad time of loss
As Santa gave his decision – he was the boss.

Where they would move to avoid the floods
Avoid icebergs, volcanoes and muds.
One place after another, off the list they came.
For fear of future flooding – they were all the same.

“An island would quickly sink
As ocean levels rise above the brink.
Coastal land would also fail
Perhaps we should just make a boat and sail”

One elf did step forward with pause
As he was about to give advice to the Claus.
“A mountaintop might be best
For us to settle – be above the rest!”

“Mt. Everest is the highest peak on this Earth
So many people give it wide enough berth.
If we move there, little would alter
We need to move now before our reserve should falter.”

“On top of the world we have been and will be
North Pole or highest peak – as far as the eye could see.”
The elf stepped back after speaking his mind
Others looked at him with pity – but at least they were kind.

Santa did stop to give the information a thought
He needed to tread lightly or a war could be fought.
No one had true claim to the North Pole.
He rarely saw animals, let alone a human soul.

Those in Nepal may take offense
They may not like his presents and mints
“I think we'll be fine if we take a care
Be quiet and unknown to all that are there.”

“We'll set up a P.O. Box with address unknown
And keep up the Christmas routes that are currently flown.”

“It's a grand idea, my little elf.
I'm surprised I didn't think of it by myself.
We'll leave immediately by Reindeer Express
I know this is sad and brings lots of stress.”

“Line up in pairs, all with a moving buddy
The last in line will be me – the big old fuddy-duddy
The first at Mt. Everest should build the dome
To keep everything secret in our new home.”

“Once all has arrived and we are at peace
We'll notify the world through a press release.
Santa has moved due to their energy greed
Taking so much more than their true need.”

“Ask them to reflect and change their ways
I've lost so much – although not my sleighs.
I will be coming on Christmas Eve
With new toys and ideas up my sleeve.”

When Christmas did dawn as Santa had stated
A hybrid car was found that on CORN was sated.
Fossil fuel was not left for the naughty - but alarm
A simple reminder note on protecting the planet from harm.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

When should a driver honk at another driver?

I've had drivers:

1) honk at me when I'm at a red light when I would be turning right.

Usually, there is a small break in the traffic that they think I should have pressed my car into. What I want to say to them is - I'm the driver of my vehicle and am thus responsible for the safety of those in my car and those around me. I know how my vehicle will react (slowly or quickly) when I press the gas pedal). Additionally, I have a different vantage point from where they are and SO I ultimately get to make the decision on when to move forward.

2) honk at me when I was waiting for change from a fast food drive-thru,

No point to this honking at all. I will still want my change back before I leave.

3) honk at me when I'm at a red light when I would be turning left.

Uh. Duh. The light is red. It would be ILLEGAL to turn. If you are in that big a hurry, go around me to take the turn. You get the ticket, not me.

4) honk at me when I was at a red light and the light JUST turned green and I was already moving forward.

If you are in that big a hurry, you should have left 5 minutes earlier. I'm already moving, so get a grip.

Honking should only be used when there is a danger that you want to make another driver aware of (ie they are backing out and will hit you unless you honk to let them know they are coming close to kissing your bumper). Unfortunately it has started to be used as a method of screaming at another driver... and frankly it is another version of road rage.

Back from Vacation

After two weeks abroad, I am very happy to be home. I love traveling, but everybody needs a homebase. We moved far too often from house to house to hotel to apartment... even country to country. I liked Scotland a lot more than England. Not to say I didn't like England, but I found the majority of the people there to be rude. The people in Scotland were far friendlier. I'd live there. However, while I know we had wonderful weather while we were there, I know it isn't the norm. And... would I be able to deal with liquid sunshine? I'm living in a state that has 300 days of sunshine a year. Do I want to leave that? Perhaps for awhile but I would always want to return home again.

Hmm.. Perhaps that's why the people in London are the way they are. They have permanent SAD. Perhaps the UK Government should buy everyone a natural light lamp for their homes and offices. And accounting for the Scottish friendliness when dealing with the same realities of environment? The architecture there is goregous and would put a smile on anyone's face. Yes - I know England has it's own beautiful architecture, but the hustle and bustle of the city and the greater number of people make it virtually impossible to actually enjoy it.

I would love to go back to Scotland and do research on the clans and their histories, including their tartans, mottos, and heraldry. It's really interestng.

As for the books I chose to read while away? I took the new Harry Potter - and didn't touch it (shame on me since I carted that heavy thing all over the place). I did read two books: The Mercy of Thin Air (set in 1920's New Orleans) and Pemberley, a Pride and Prejudice continuation.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Vacation reading material

I'm trying to decide what to bring with me on my vacation. I usually try to bring two books and swap them as I get to a point where I can't read the genre anymore. I was debating about bringing a book on Lean Thinking or Six Sigma, but that feels like work. I would be interested in other types of business (particularly international business) books though. The second book I need to find could be a Science Fantasy book. I like Poul Anderson, Piers Anthony and Mercedes Lackey. I need to do some research on amazon.com to see if I can find a story that I would enjoy. I've taken a non-fiction book or two before (non-business related). I enjoyed reading about the origin of holidays, the most influencial fictional characters and a discussion of women's rights in the workplace. I don't know what else I should read though. I love Pride & Prejudice, history books, and the relation of historical cultures to modern themes. I guess I could read a biography, but the only ones that come mind are people I have no interest in finding out about.

I need a website that tells me what I should read. The NY Times and other newspapers show the books that people are buying, but it doesn't really tell whether it is something worthy of the time spent to read it. I'm sure I'll have Harry Potter number 7 read before I go on vacation, and besides the book will be too heavy to travel easily.

Perhaps I should use the time to write my own stories... when I'm not sleeping that is. Perhaps I should let my brain take a vacation too and just watch the movies they will have on the plane -- NOT.