Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What's in a name?

We've all know a gal or two named April, May, or June... but I just read a news article which quoted a woman (at least I think it is a woman) with the first name of Januari. I can see it now, the future towards which we are working in the field of early childhood education: a classroom in which children learn the months of the year by having their friends stand in a line and sing about their names! I think it's possible -- we could totally bring back ancient Roman names like "Augustus" or "Septimius" to help the cause. And why not add a silent "h" to Marc? It's going to make the Apples and Moseses of the world a tad jealous.

Friday, October 24, 2008

We wish you a Merry Halloween!

Yesterday, on a quiet sunny day in Rice Village, the Christmas season arrived like an unexpected guest in the middle of the night. Sure, the debris from Hurricane Ike (September 13th), may still be piled up at the end of your driveway, but why not forget your woes and those of the nation by shopping early?

Here is a picture of me with the "Wild Boar of Florence (and/or Rice Village)." This statue is a replica of one in Italy, into which visitors throw coins that go to charities. Here in Houston, your pennies help the Houston Zoo.

Garrett and I were startled when we went shopping on October 22nd to see Christmas decorations at the front of every store. We were especially startled at Michaels, where we were searching for fake spider webs for Garrett's Halloween costume. A sales associate told us that they were all out of fake spider webs, and instead offered us fake Christmas snow as a substitute. Um, no thanks.

I knew the seasons were changing this morning, when the temperature fell to about 60 degrees and the wind was blowing mightily. A four-year-old on the playground shrieked, "I'm freezing like I'm in Alaska!!!" I didn't have the heart to tell her what "real cold" feels like, or the courage to ask her if she could also see Russia from the top of the jungle gym.

Autumn celebrations: I passed my first Texas educator certification test in special education, and Garrett passed his first midterm as a PhD student with a score of 98%. The kids are alright!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Just when you thought it was safe to put away your hurricane stash of bottled water

Tonight during dinner, between the appetizer and the main course, the water stopped running. I think maybe the stock market fell... right onto our water main. Either that or the city of Houston is ripping up our street like the "liberal elite media" is ripping on Sarah Palin -- viciously and sadistically with comical results. So tonight we forego such leisuretime activities as washing the dishes, bathing, and frolicking through the fire hydrants in favor of laborious tasks such as studying for midterms and blogging. Shutting off the water... It's the mavericky thing to do!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

'Tis the season... for pie

I recently got the urge to bake something tasty from scratch, so I e-mailed my dad to ask for his input on how exactly one turns a pumpkin into a pumpkin pie. He wrote:

If you are thinking about reducing a fresh pumpkin into pumpkin pie filling, here are the steps:
1) Buy a big, beautiful pumpkin.
2) Carve a very cute face -- not to fierce to frighten the little kids.
3) After Halloween, take the pumpkin and place it in a very sturdy bag.
4) Take the bag and put it in your garbage.
5) Get on your bike and go to your local supermarket.
6) In the canned vegetable section, look for Libby's Pumpkin Pie Filling.
7) Open the can very carefully without destroying the recipe on the label.
8) Follow directions on the label.
9) While at the supermarket, buy Pillsbury fresh pie crusts in the refrigerated food section.

Alternate recipe:
Follow steps 1-5.
6) Visit the bakery section or the frozen pie section and buy one.

This is an old family recipe and you have permission to share it with others.

Thanks, Pops!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Houston, we have some smog

Just when you thought it was safe to stop worrying about hurricanes, another environmental whammy strikes southeastern Texas! Houston is now the second city in the country (after Los Angeles) to be labeled by the EPA as having a severe smog problem.

I have yet to notice smog driving to or from work each day, but I try to avoid the many massive highways that encircle the city. (I'm pretty sure that Houston commuters also rank second in the nation for highest blood pressure levels.)

The city now has an additional NINE years to meet federal health standards from ELEVEN years ago. I'm not the one studying math in this household, but it doesn't make sense to me!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The truth stings

We recently asked university maintenance services to examine the air conditioning unit in our bedroom. It has been smelling a bit odd, and when we looked closely at the inside we saw dark spots that we suspected might be mold. Today a couple guys came by for an inspection and a cleaning. While they did not find mold in the unit, guess what surprising item they DID find?
a) Sarah Palin's missing cue card
b) a pot of gold
c) an economic bailout plan
d) a wasps' nest
Extra credit if you can guess where they put it after they found it!