Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Want to write a novel but don't have the time? November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). The goal is to write a crummy first draft that can be revised later: 50,000 words of fictional prose, no revision allowed. (That works out to about 1,667 words per day.)

If you want to participate you can sign up on the NaNoWriMo web site. There you can find a support group and record the number of words you write each day. Apparently there are local chapters and writers get together to encourage each other. My friend Jim tells me 128 people from the Flint, MI area have signed up!

This sounds like so much fun! I hope to do this sometime but right now, with severe, chronic tendonitis that is aggravated by typing, I don't dare. Some of my colleagues have signed up so I'll be encouraging them and tracking their progress on a chart on my web site (with a hard copy posted on my office door). I'm using Excel sheet and, unfortunately, it won't let me make the thermometer chart my colleagues requested (like the United Way uses) so we may have to settle for a mere bar chart.

Good luck Jim, Jan, Dave, and Janelle! Write, write, write!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

My Jack-o-Lantern

I had fun making a jack-o-lantern using a Pumpkin Masters pattern. It shows up better without the flash. Here it is sitting in my Halloween village:

Which Holiday?

Today is Sat., Oct. 27; just three more days until Halloween. I ran to the store to get a new pumpkin goop-scooper so I could carve a jack-o-lantern tonight with my friends. Imagine my surprise when Wal-Mart and Family Dollar had practically no Halloween stuff left -- they were too busy putting out Christmas stuff!

For goodness sake, can't they at least wait until Thanksgiving?

If you need last-minute pumpkin-carving supplies, try your local Kroger. They, too, were putting out Christmas stuff, but at least they haven't yet forsaken Halloween!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Death of Trick-or-Treat?

What the heck is going on in Davison? This week's Davison Index advertised trick-or-treating downtown (Friday, Oct. 26. from 4 to 6 p.m.). On Halloween night kids can attend "Safe Night" at the high school gym from 6 to 8:30 p.m. and the local churches usually have "Trunk or Treat" (where kids trick-or-treat from car to car) at the Methodist Church.

When did trick-or-treating become so dangerous that we need "safe" alternatives? In Davison, no less. You can't get much safer! We don't get trick-or-treaters at our apartment so I go to my friends' house in the Manford Heights subdivision. I get the joy of handing out candy while they take their kids out trick-or-treating. We usually have 200-300 trick-or-treaters, cops are highly visibly all over the city, and I have never heard of any thing bad happening -- and I have lived in Davison most of my life. That's 40+ years of safe Halloweens, a good record by anyone's standards.

So why do parents feel they need "safe" alternatives in Davison? Don't they remember the safe, scary fun they had as kids running through the neighborhood on a dark Halloween night? Don't they want their kids to experience that special, magical feeling that only belongs to Halloween? On what other occasion can kids dress up in any costume they want, run from door to door, and get candy to boot? I know it's a different world today and parents need to protect their kids, but they can protect them by trick-or-treating with them (from a safe distance if the kids a too old to want mom or dad to tag along). That way the kids get the best of both worlds: they have a fun and safe Halloween without giving up trick-or-treating.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Candy Corn Temptation

Normally, I don't like very sweet treats but there is one kind of candy I can not resist: candy corn. Those little orange, yellow, and white corn-shaped pieces and the little pumpkins call to me from every store I enter. There are bags and bags of the stuff as far as the eye can see and, worse yet, it's all on sale!

The problem, you see, is that I can't eat a piece or two and be satisfied. I can eat one Reese's miniature peanutbutter cup or one petit four and not want more. With candy corn, I can't stop. I've never eaten a whole bag at once or made myself sick, but you get the idea. One year someone put a container of those little pumpkins on top of the microwave at work, which is right outside my office door. Every time I went in or out I had a candy corn pumpkin -- and I gained 5 pounds!

Ideally, I want a few pieces, then I need to give the bag to someone else to take away where I'll never see it again. Unfortunately, I know very few people who love candy corn as much as I do, so I don't have anyone to foist it off on.

Next Wed. is Halloween which I love and am looking forward to, but I dread the temptation of next Thurs. when all the leftover candy corn shows up at work, on top of the microwave, just outside my office door...

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Dumbledore is Gay

Saturday, October 20 on the news everywhere: J.K. Rowling Reveals 'Harry Potter' Character Dumbledore Is Gay.

I must admit my reactions were the same as Jo's regarding fan fiction and Christian groups who think the books lead to kids practicing witchcraft, but I also wonder if Sir Ian McKellan is now sorry he turned down the role.

My two cents: the fact that Dumbledore's great love also turned into his greatest rival (whom he had to defeat) makes his character even more tragic.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Currently On My iPod

Inspired by the "Currently Reading..." and "Currently Listening To..." lists on Jason Fisher's blog, Lingwë - Musings of a Fish, I decided to add a similar list to my own blog. In the right column below my profile you can now see what's "Currently On My iPod."

Adding the list was actually much easier than I thought it would be! I was using html, making a table to align the pictures next to the appropriate text, etc. and it just wasn't working until I e-mailed Jason for help. He sent me the html and I was surprised. Instead of setting it up like a web page, all I needed to do was include the embedded link to the picture and the text. D'oh! Thanks, Jase. :)

I have so little time for audio books now that it takes me forever to get a book, so I probably won't update this list often, but I like the idea of including it on my blog.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Golden Retriever Nurses Stray Kitten

Isn't this the sweetest dog in the world?

In the news yesterday: Honey the golden retriever nurses stray kitten: Dog starts lactating to nourish Precious after feline is brought into home

IMAGE: Honey and Precious
Scott Mason / AP file
Precious, right, a 6-week-old kitten, gets a meal from Honey,
a 7-year-old golden retriever, Oct. 2 in Stephens City, Va.

STEPHENS CITY, Va. - A stray kitten has found a new mother in a golden retriever, who began producing milk for the little feline after hearing its cries.

Honey hadn't given birth in 18 months, but after her owner, Jimmy Martin, brought home the kitten, she suddenly found herself playing mom.

"She started licking her and loving her. Within a couple of days, Honey started naturally lactating," said Kathy Martin, Jimmy's wife. "The kitten took right to her, and she started nursing her."

Jimmy Martin noticed the kitten, which the family dubbed Precious, about six weeks ago, when she ran in front of his concrete truck. After following her and realizing there was no mother cat in sight, he took her home.

The kitten refused to drink from a bottle, and Jimmy's mother, Ruth Martin, feared Precious would die.

The family initially tried to keep Precious and Honey apart, fearing the dog would play too roughly with the little gray-striped kitten. But Honey was elated at Precious' presence, wagging her tail and prancing all over the house trying to sneak a peek at her. Eventually, the family let Honey approach Precious, and the dog immediately took to her.

The Martins said they told a veterinarian about Honey and Precious and learned that interspecies nursing does happen on rare occasion.

Precious now sometimes plays with dog bones, and Honey lets Precious gnaw on her like a puppy would.

"She thinks she's a dog," Kathy Martin said. "She's really fit right in."

Sunday, October 14, 2007

William Tell Momisms by Anita Renfroe

I may be the last person on the planet to see this clip of Anita Renfroe on You Tube but it's one of the funniest things I've ever heard. She sums up everything a mom says in one day in a three-minute song set to the tune of the William Tell Overture! These hysterically funny, very clever lyrics rival even Weird Al. I laughed until I cried when I heard my parents' words ("You're grounded until your 36") as well as more up-to-date versions ("Your iPod's my iPod if you don't listen up") in these lyrics. Bravo, Anita!

Squidoo has a nice article about Anita as well as the lyrics but why not visit Anita's web site and buy a CD or book?

Actually, the lyrics are so funny I'm going to post them here so you can follow along with the video clip.

Lyrics to William Tell Momisms

Get up now
Get up now
Get up out of bed
Wash your face
Brush your teeth
Comb your sleepy head
Here's your clothes
And your shoes
Hear the words I said
Get up now
Get up and make your bed

Are you hot?
Are you cold?
Are you wearing that?
Where's your books and your lunch and your homework at?
Grab your coat and your gloves and your scarf and hat
Don't forget you got to feed the cat

Eat your breakfast
The experts tell us it's the most important meal of all
Take your vitamins so you will grow up one day to be big and tall
Please remember the orthodontist will be seeing you at three today?
Don't forget your piano lesson is this afternoon
So you must play
Don't shovel
Chew slowly
But hurry
The bus is here
Be careful
Come back here
Did you wash behind your ears?

Play outside
Don't play rough
Would you just play fair?
Be polite
Make a friend
Don't forget to share
Work it out
Wait your turn
Never take a dare
Get along
Don't make me come down there

Clean your room
Fold your clothes
Put your stuff away
Make your bed
Do it now
Do we have all day?
Were you born in a barn?
Would you like some hay?
Can you even hear a word I say?

Answer the phone
Get Off the phone
Don't sit so close
Turn it down
No texting at the table
No more computer time tonight
Your iPod's my iPod if you don't listen up

Where you going and with whom and what time do you think you're coming home?
Saying thank you, please, excuse me
Makes you welcome everywhere you roam
You'll appreciate my wisdom
Someday when you're older and you're grown
Can't wait 'til you have a couple little children of your own
You'll thank me for the counsel I gave you so willingly
But right now
I thank you NOT to roll your eyes at me

Close your mouth when you chew
Would appreciate
Take a bite
Maybe two
Of the stuff you hate
Use your fork
Do not you burp
Or I'll set you straight
Eat the food I put upon your plate

Get an A, Get the door
Don't get smart with me
Get a Grip
Get in here I'll count to 3
Get a job
Get a life
Get a PhD
Get a dose of reality

I don't care who started it
You're grounded until your 36
Get your story straight
And tell the truth for once for heaven's sake
And if all your friends jumped off a cliff
Would you jump too?

If I've said it once, I've said at least a thousand times before that
You're too old to act this way
It must be your father's DNA
Look at me when I am talking
Stand up straighter when you walk
A place for everything
And everything must be in place
Stop crying or I'll give you something real to cry about

Brush your teeth
Wash your face
Get your PJs on
Get in bed
Get a hug
Say a prayer with Mom
Don't forget
I love you
And tomorrow we will do this all again because a mom's work never ends
You don't need the reason why
I said so
I said so
I said so
I said so
I'm the Mom
The mom
The mom
The mom
The mom

Wolverine Turnaround

Do you hear "Hail to the Victors" playing somewhere? You should because the Michigan Wolverines have done quite a turnaround since the beginning of the season. Yesterday they beat Purdue 48 to 21. Whew! Unfortunately, the game was only televised on stations we don't have, so I didn't get to see the game.

The University of Michigan NCAA News site and The Big Ten Network: Michigan seem to be good places to follow the latest Wolverine football news.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Pumpkin Festival 2007

The Davison Pumpkin Festival is this weekend. The Davison Index and the City of Davison web sites both include a schedule of activities.

I love Pumpkin Fest but won't be able to go this year because we already have other plans for Saturday. We won't miss the fish fry at St. John's, however! The food is always good. It's so crowded we usually get our dinners to go and they give us so much we always have leftovers.

Looks like nice (but strangely warm) weather is in store for the weekend, I just wish I could be there to enjoy it!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Funny Warning Sign

My friend Laurie and I were so amused by this sign on the microwave in the breakfast area at the Davison Comfort Inn (where we attended the "Stitchalot Weekend" last week) that we took a picture of it.

Apparently a simple warning was not enough. We can only guess that kids are heating up the hard boiled eggs from the breakfast bar without adult supervision.

If you are having trouble reading it, it says:

Do not put eggs in microwave

They make a huge noise when they explode

Someone will come running

to see what happened

I thought my students (especially those in technical writing) would appreciate this wordy but funny warning sign.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Stitchalot Weekend

Stitches 'n' Things hosted a "Stitchalot Weekend" at the Davison Comfort Inn this weekend. It's like grown-up camp for stitchers. I went with my friends Sue and Laurie. We live so close we didn't stay at the hotel but 45 other stitchers came from all over the state (one even came from out of state) to spend the week.

When we got to the hotel Friday afternoon we were given goodie bags. Each was a huge fabric tote bag with the Stitches 'n' Things logo (not a cheap paper bag!). Inside we found two bottles of water, drink mix to add to the water, a chocolate truffle, cross-stitch fabric (mine is a pretty pewter gray), a 25% off coupon good until 12/31 at Stitches 'n' Things, an "I Stitchalot" Colorforms-type sticker, and a list of info about the weekend.

There was only one class; the rest of the weekend was just time to stitch on your projects, visit with others, and see their projects (which is always inspiring). Also, there was a mini-store set up in one of the rooms where everything was 20% off (and much closer than driving to Stitches 'n' Things in Fenton).

The class on needle felting was held twice on Saturday. My friends and I attended the afternoon session. In two hours we learned the basic techniques and made these cute snowman pins:

I needed to grade papers, etc., Sunday so I only attended Friday and Saturday but I'm very glad I went. I got a lot done on a project from last Christmas that I am determined to finish before this Christmas! I really enjoyed the class and am looking forward to Camp Stitchalot in Feb., which will include three classes by different cross-stitch designers and should be lots of fun. I'll post a link when the class info when it's posted on the Stitches 'n' Things site.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Banned Books Week

I was so upset about Flower, I almost forgot that September 29–October 6, 2007 is the American Library Association's Banned Books Week. Visit the web site and read some banned books.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Scream Theatre

From Stephanie Roach, just in time for Halloween...

Flint City Theatre
presents the return
from the dead
of our
haunted story hour
Oct 19, 20, 26, 27 8pm
The Good Beans Café
Tickets $7, available Oct 1

a Halloween event
for grown ups!
That's right,
adult themes
and language.
Don't miss it!

Update: Oct. 5
Hear a Scream Theater clip on You Tube!