31 October 2009

A Mover and A Shaker

Perhaps my favorite Halloween party (of my grown-up costume party years) was the year my little sister and I dressed as a 'mover' and a 'shaker' in college. As the 'shaker', I pulled my hair into a ponytail, wore all black, and pinned a rather large white letter 'S' to my sweater: little sis wore a ballcap and all yellow with a black-and-red "Ryder" sign pinned to her back. (As I recall, she wore very cute red flats, too.) We were awarded 'Most Clever' costume. And lots of free beverages.

Good times.

Wish I had a photo.

Today's conundrum: How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll tootsie-pop?

Future conundrum: If we only use them one night each year, how many years will the lights last that we use for the notorious 'red eyes' on Halloween?

Thanks for perusing this blog; blog you again soon!

30 October 2009


I had a phone call last night from the lovely Mary at the Learned Owl bookshop: Wolf Hall had arrived. Finally.

If you don't hear from me for a few days... Actually, given my blog frequency, that might not alarm you. Regardless, I will be reading.

Today's conundrum: When big-box retailers go up against online giants - and collectively confound MainStreet shops, is price-fixing a question of economics or laissez-faire? Check out these articles from the Wall Street Journal and the Plain Dealer for some interesting points-of-view.

Future conundrum: How will you support the 3/50 Project?

Thanks for perusing this blog; blog you again soon!

29 October 2009

It's October and all is well.

In light of current events, here is a re-post of an earlier tIO post, originally dated 26 March 2006. Enjoy. And Go Yankees.

So where was I?

Oh, yes. Football. Well, I'm over football now, FYI. You see, at heart, I am a true baseball fanatic. I prefer baseball to any other sport - even Aussie Rules. Even tennis. Even (insert sport here).

Spring has sprung, officially, and they are training hard in Florida. They haven't started Johnny yet, and I haven't fully accepted him yet either. Oh, now wait. I can hear you all cringing, and writhing on the floor in anguish that someone else has declared themselves a Yankee fan. I'll have you all know that I have been since birth, as my father is and deemed it so for me. Yes - I have lusted in my heart for other teams (the '85 Royals or the Mets - gasp - of the Lee Mazzilli era). I have never strayed, however, from my first loves: Ron, Bucky, Dave, Reggie, Tino, and Donny Baseball.

I could go on and on, but will stop short and state that one of the happiest days of my life was the day I experienced first-hand a Yankee victory parade through the Canyon. Having spent my entire life in Indians/Reds/Tigers/Cubs/WhiteSox-country, I was finally able to scream myself silly in a frenzied, jubilant celebration of 
MY team's victory. Moreover, I shared this altered state with 1/2 million others. Sheer bliss.

So, welcome, Spring! Let's line the base paths, dust the plate, and kick the rubber. I'm stretched and ready. And, may the Yankees pennant soar high once again in October.

Today's conundrum: What happens if you build a new stadium and it quickly becomes known as a 'hitters' park'?

Future conundrum: What would you do for a Klondike bar?

Thanks for perusing this blog; blog you again soon!

26 October 2009

It's a Banner Day!

I'm starting something new on tIO: banner days.

What are "Banner Days", you ask?

Let's start from the very beginning (don't sing it without me). The definition of 'banner', from the Merriam-Webster online:

banner \ˈba-nər\ Etymology: Middle English banere, from Anglo-French, of Germanic origin; akin to Gothic bandwo sign; probably akin to Greek phainein to show

'Banner' is a NOUN 

Date: 13th century
1 a : a piece of cloth attached by one edge to a staff and used by a leader (as a monarch or feudal lord) as his standard b : flag c : an ensign displaying a distinctive or symbolic device or legend; especially : one presented as an award of honor or distinction
2 : a headline in large type running across a newspaper page
3 : a strip of cloth on which a sign is painted s stretched across the street>
4 : a name, slogan, or goal associated with a particular group or ideology —often used withunder
5 : an advertisement graphic that runs usually across the top of a web page

'Banner' is an ADJECTIVE

Date: 1840
1 : prominent in support of a political party
2 : distinguished from all others especially in excellence

'Banner' is a VERB

Date: 1889
1 : to furnish with a banner
2 : to print (as a news story) under a banner usually on the front page

I firmly believe in banners. They are heralds: markers of identity and camaraderie. They symbolise loyalty and confidence. Joy in declaration; signifiers in defeat. Predictably, one of my favorite lyrics from a song (an alma mater actually) extols the banner: "Unfurl your banner into the sky, hurray, hurray, hurray!" Simply put, banners are optimistic. Inveterately, so. And as such, this blogger has decided to have some "banner days". Starting with today. And starting with this:

A lovely local-to-me shop. (I love it when they're local!) The proprietors, Angie and Tyson Lamielle, are out-of-the-box thinkers who create seriously wonderful art and not-too-serious hand-crafted home decor. Check out their blog:
http://cantonboxcompany.blogspot.com/ and/or follow them on Twitter. And here's the banner in their etsy shop that caught my eye.

I'm off and running now. Make it a banner day, kids!

Thanks for perusing this blog; blog you again soon!

25 October 2009

For the love of physics, will someone burn that book?

I am considering selling some of my textbooks from college, so I did a little research on how to go about it and what my books might fetch.

Guess what I found out?

They aren't very valuable, if they have resale potential at all.

On an extremely positive note, however, textbooks are now being reviewed. (Another "Huzzah!" for the internet - and technology in general.) And guess what? My nightmare-inducing, "we-will-use-this-textbook-no-matter-how-much-you-protest" Mathematical Methods for Physicists is lambasted in the reviews. Hah! [Yes, yes, I was a physics major as an undergraduate. I also majored in psychology, if that appeases. Probably not.]


The "Methods" book was the bane of my emotional life as a physics major. I would literally cry over my papers when I reached page 8 of a proof only to find out that a) no answers were provided in the book and 2) I had made an error "somewhere along the line" and needed to "rework the entire problem", according to the helpful-but-equally-unnerved grad assistant. To rub salt in the proverbial wound, about half-way through the semester, we found out (from a friend-of-a-friend at another university) that there was more than one way to skin Schrodinger's cat. And our book didn't mention it.

Yet we were compelled to use it: it was co-authored by the illustrious Professor Emeritus, who popped-in from time-to-time to lecture, and edited by a current professor, who was the instructor. While an honor to study with the source, I kept thinking: "Couldn't we just have him to tea once a week?" and "Isn't the lecture series dedicated to and named for him?" and "Could he possibly stop smiling at us as if this is all very amusing?" Eventually we students concluded (and had confirmed) that the book was written for the authors as a challenge to themselves and for other 'practising theoretical physicists' as a reference encyclopaedia. Indeed. At least we knew the truth. And the book served its purpose for our puerile, undergraduate minds as well; it was an impetus to drink.

One of the online reviews ends with this: "
If ((this book)) is going to be your first introductory text to these topics and if you are not supported by very good lectures I can only say that may God have mercy on your soul."

He did mine: my course load the following year was in French, genetics, religion, and Shakespeare. I did finish the "Methods" class, though; and throughout the second semester, I was better prepared for the long hours of homework that would inevitably dissolve into a bedtime routine of washing the streaks of tears from my face and falling into bed exhausted. And, after (mumbles incoherently) years, discovering these reviews reminds me that we weren't alone in our frustration. In fact, the reviews just might put an end to my recurring nightmares of forgetting how to solve the Taylor expansion, showing up to class unprepared for an exam, and walking up to turn it in only to discover that I am stark naked. And not with my 'pre-babies' body.


In reality, it was torture. But I now know that the professors were putting us through our paces, hoping to leave us with an appreciation for the material and a sense of accomplishment. We were taught with enthusiasm about the subject we all loved, an infectious trait that rarely escaped me and always kept me coming back to class. Most importantly, though, they were kind: they always graded on a curve and a 24/100 was an 'A'.

PS: Obviously, I still have the book. But now I have these comforting words, too: "...this book is truly quite poor. Oh, it certainly looks very boss on one's shelf, and those tastefully formatted integral equations bursting with funny symbols and Greek letters really turn the grandchildren's heads. But this book is utterly useless for teaching mathematics. ... Relegate ((this book)) to doorstop duty: it will perform admirably."

Today's conundrum: If Schrodinger's cat climbs a tree in the woods, does anyone care? And why isn't it in its box?

Future conundrum: Who wrote the book of love?

Thanks for perusing this blog; blog you again soon!

19 October 2009

Birkenstocks, Balenciaga, and the ankle that tore them apart

It was a sunny day today in my part of the world. Cool, but sunny.

But I didn't need sunglasses to see through the brightness: I needed them to hide from anyone whose opinion I value and possibly know, respect, or admire.

I wore these today:

with these:

Yes, we all know about my broken ankle and the related "fall-out"; and that, due to these issues, I am "urged" to wear the Birks 24/7. But the secret is ... they're comfortable - in more ways than one. In fact, I haven't been without a pair of 38/Arizona/taupe suede sandals since 1989. Why should I be? They make me happy. And they're comfortable.

They say nothing of my style, however, and that is their great short-coming. My dream shoes are the Balenciaga gladiator boots from S/S 08: I think I actually gasped when I saw them for the first time. Here they are as modelled by the lovely Jennifer Connelly:

Some may argue that Birks ARE a style, on their own. Needing no justification or alarming accoutrements or Spanx undergarments to flatter. Just a good brushing and spot-cleaning to stay looking neat and tidy. They even float! And they're comfortable.

But, to me, Birks will always be just a little bit uncouth. You cannot, despite many earnest attempts, 'dress-them-up'. Or wear them without looking a touch unkempt. Especially with skirts, my garment of choice. In fact, wearing them with skirts (regardless the hem-length) raises more eyebrows than if I choose to wear shorts, trousers, jeans, capris, or culottes. I wear them and hear myself silently shouting: "YOU LOOK LIKE YOU DON'T CARE AND YOU DO!" As I've grown older, the shouting has become more insistent. But so has the soft, sweet voice crooning the need for comfort. And they're comfortable.

I can foresee a phase when I both won't wear Birks - and won't want to wear them: the day my oldest leaves for college I will place my 38/Arizona/taupe suedes on a shelf for a few years, until my youngest graduates. For right now, however, I choose to keep them on my feet or next to the bed. Because right now they're a necessity. They also provide me with some unfettered humor. And they're comfortable.

I was told tonight by a good friend that, had she seen me today, she would have forgiven me: "It was cold!" And had I seen her I would have been hoping that either she wouldn't notice or would kid me about them in her cheerful, 'life's-too-short' way. But I know she would have accepted the truth when I told her: "I need to be comfortable. And they're comfortable."

Today's conundrum: "British Racing Green" or "You Don't Know Jacques"?

Future conundrum: Will there be something to replace titanium in repairing broken bones? When? Will it be better?

Thanks for perusing this blog; blog you again soon!

17 October 2009

My New BFF: Lonny!

I am giggling like a schoolgirl.

I just met 
Lonny, and I am smitten! (Thank you, Kelly - of the wonderful High Street Market - and Betsy, talented designer at "Manor Drive Sweatshop", for the introduction! X)

So, who is Lonny, you ask? Not who, lovelies; Lonny is a what. A jewel in the form of an online design magazine, conceived of and edited by Michelle Adams and Patrick Cline.

After a solid two hours of clicking through its 'pages',
here is a top-line summary of Issue #1:

Firstly: it's online - but I can print the pages I love (which means I'll be buying a lot more ink cartridges).

Secondly: the premiere issue includes Kate Townsend-Simpson, Eddie Ross, Ron Marvin, Carolina Irving, Grace Bonney, Laurent Girard and Leonora Mahle, and Deborah Needleman. Um... hello!

Thirdly: it's 195 pages! And the click-throughs! Oh, the click-throughs. To nearly every item and on every advert. (Yes, adverts - from online-only shops as well as traditional bricks-and-mortar outlets.)

Finally: it's thoughtfully produced and edited. And though it will require me to prop my laptop on the treadmill handles, I can manage. For now. Until it's released on Kindle (hint, hint).

As someone who has been lamenting the (un)timely passing of her favorite magazines - Blueprint, Domino, House&Garden, Southern Accents, to name a few, the business acumen and industry instincts behind Lonny just might have the moxie and savvy to recreate (and lead) the mag market in the 21st Century. And it's pretty!

So don't wait! Click through up there or 
here to the lovely Lonny - the fresh-faced, gorgeously-produced, web-based love note to design.

LYLAS, Lonny!

Today's conundrum: Why can't I choose exactly which 712 channels I want on my cable package? Isn't the technology available for that yet?

Future conundrum: Is it true that the more we try to be individuals, the more alike we become?

Thanks for perusing this blog; blog you again soon!

16 October 2009

It's tea time.

Would anyone care to join me for a cuppa? And some cake?
I put the kettle on. Can you smell the 

steeping? And the cinnamon and sugar topping crisping on the cake while it's baking? See this wonderful blog by Maris Callahan, 
"In Good Taste", for an amazing recipe featuring this:

Oh, dear. I still have 25 minutes to wait.

Today's conundrum: What happens when you move from the big city to the flyover and you can't just walk a couple of blocks for lemongrass, sultanas, or white peach puree?

Future conundrum: What if we all planted a fruit tree in our back gardens?

Thanks for perusing this blog; blog you again soon!

15 October 2009

Splish splash splosh

I have about 17 minutes until I have to jump back in the car to do the 'Thursday-night-swim-lesson-shuffle'. Six finishes his lesson at 5:55pm; Eight begins his at 6:00pm.

I am usually as joyful about this as someone unpaid to watch paint dry. And realising this always makes me feel guilty. The pool deck is usually crowded, usually smelly, and unusually loud. I hate to go to the pool to 'chat' to the other moms. I hate to just sit there, or flick through a magazine. I would rather be in the water taking a lesson, too. Or home cleaning, frankly. Bad Mommy. (Or 'Good Mommy', if you consider the bit about the cleaning.)

So, instead, I subject my children to an early supper (usually at 4-ish) and then run back-and-forth to the pool 1/4 mile away three times. I am a child. I told the boys: "on Thursday afternoons, Mommy feels like Constance Contraire" - one of the characters in our favorite book series, 
The Mysterious Benedict Society.

I am dressed as an adult; perhaps I should comport myself as one. But I don't feel like it right now. [stamps foot]

The silver-lining is, of course, that they love it. And so did I...when my mom dropped me off at the pool those many years ago to "go home and clean".

Today's conundrum: When will Wolf Hall actually be released?

Future conundrum: Is it right to cringe when I see an(other) actress-as-cover-model on W? Or on any fashion mag actually?

Thanks for perusing this blog; blog you again soon!


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