Friday, February 29, 2008


My mind is absolutely abuzz with craft projects these days - intriguing new things to knit, fantastic ideas for sewing children's dresses out of t-shirts and converting old t-shirts into shopping bags, intriguing new toys to sew and the play kitchen we've been planning for K (which I think we're finally ready to get moving on - we just need to make a trip to Ikea and to Michael's and do a little work clearing out space in the basement for workspace).

By the time I was done with everything I wanted to do, I would probably find that approximately three centuries had gone by, so I need to pick and choose a bit. The play kitchen is a priority, although if it doesn't get done until June, it will be an ideal birthday gift. The dresses are also a priority since they're key to my plan to advance potty training by putting K in skirts with nothing underneath (once she will consent to sit on the toilet again, sigh. It used to be the bees knees, but after one good pee success, she's decided the toilet seat is electrified. I need to find a good bribe). After that, it's a bit of a tossup. I keep telling myself that I shouldn't be thinking about sewing diapers when we're trying to focus on the toilet, but they would be useful for the next (theoretical) baby. I would like to make myself some cloth pads, but it's starting to look like unless things improve soon, I'm not going to be having periods that often (sigh. It's not even worth talking about). Cloth shopping bags would be nice, so that may be next on the list.

So many ideas, so little time.


Phrases I don't understand, part one of a series:
"She has a mind of her own."
Well, yes, my daughter is in fact an independent human being with a functioning brain that allows her to have feelings and desires and the ability to express them. You were expecting a robot child who bends herself to your every suggestion, perhaps?

What this statement is meant to express, as far as I can tell, is that the child in question has very definite ideas of what she wants and isn't shy about expressing them. This, of course, described 95 percent of the two-year-olds I know, but for some reason it's more remarkable when it's a girl. Because girls must be meek and pliable, and bend to the wills of the males around them. I guess my daughter isn't a proper girl.



We were watching Daily Show tonight, and Jon Stewart was commenting that it's such a shame that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have to be running against each other, and that we have to make such a hard choice. And it occurred to B and me at the same time how absolutely fantastic they would be as president and prime minister, if only we had that type of government - Barack for the personality and inspiration, Hillary for the nitty gritty policy work.

As B put it, "It would cause a Liberal geekgasm!"

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Call for creativity

If you were going to start a cloth diaper store, what would you call it?

Words I'm hoping to avoid: bum, hiney, buns (or bunz *shudder*), or pretty much anything indicative of the gluteus maximus.

Monday, February 25, 2008


Beware: somewhat whiny content ahead

I haven't been posting much because I've been feeling quiet lately, mostly because I've been feeling like I was run over by a truck. Around the middle of this week, I passed from merely being in a funk to feeling dreadfully concerned that I was moving into seriously clinically depressed because I could barely get myself to move. Then by Friday, I started feeling headachy and body achy and icky intestinal yuck and generally fluish. Oh. I'm just sick.

I did have ample reasons to think it could be depression though:

*Sonya is still missing and her absence is a constant minor ache. We have flyers up, we've talked to the neighbors, we've visited shelters (and if you want a recipe for depression, spending your Saturday afternoon visiting an animal shelter is a good start. I suppose there are more depressing places, like a hospice, children's cancer ward or abattoir, but animal shelters are high up there). Nothing. I can't give up the hope every time I turn into our driveway that she'll be waiting at the back door. We miss her terribly.

*It's February, the shortest and paradoxically longest and most dismal month of the year. Does that really need any more explanation?

*I'm at the stage of grief where I still feel it a lot, but I don't get much support or public acknowledgement unless I go out of my way to ask for it. And since if there's anything more depressing than grief, it's having to go around with a visible raincloud over your head, I don't like to do that. So instead I'm walking around with a half-healed gaping wound, but I'm expected to function completely normally.

*I have no social life.

*I was going to add 22 days of charting my temperature and no signs of ovulation (for reference sake, a normal cycle usually has you ovulating around day 14), but I started to get signs this morning, so I'm cautiously hopeful. Still, ovulating on day 24 doesn't qualify this as a normal cycle, so I'm still fretting about that. And my experience is that I can have signs of imminent ovulation but not actually have it happen, so I'm withholding judgment until the entire cycle is completed.

So you see why I could be concerned that my inability to get out of bed in the morning could be psychological. Added into the mix is the fact that I've been gaining weight and feeling tired for the past several months, which could either be a sign of my thyroid finally crapping out on me or that the change I made in my PCOS meds last fall wasn't a good one. Neither one is especially welcome, although at least they're both treatable. I have a doctor's appointment on Tuesday, so results on this issue are pending.

I think I'm ready for spring to come. I could use some sunlight and nice weather for going outdoors.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Baby animals

When my brother was a toddler, in the manner of most toddlers he had certain favorite books that my mother was required to read over and over again. Two of the most notable were I Am a Bunny and Baby Animals, which my mother could quote for years afterwards. My mother gave us I Am a Bunny for K's first Christmas, but while there are any number of picture books called Baby Animals, she was never able to find the one we loved so much.

But we found it tonight. It's by Gyo Fujikawa, an artist we really like - her board book Babies is one of K's favorites, and I spent many hours as a child reading Oh, What a Busy Day, which is now sitting on K's bookshelf.

It's a wonderful thing sharing the beloved books of my childhood with daughter, even at such a young age. K absolutely loved Baby Animals, and I'm looking forward to having Mom read it to her the next time we're home.


K has been driving us crazy in the sleep department lately. I prefer "refuse to go to sleep at bedtime and instead wreak havoc in her room and run around upstairs for hours" to "wake up in the middle of the night and keep us awake by wiggling around in bed with us," because the first at least lets me get uninterrupted sleep. But it still drives us around the bend.

The lack of sleep, I think, is due to the huge mental leaps she's been making lately. Just in the past week, we've seen a big improvement in language. She's more intelligible and uses more complete words and sentences. For months, she's been coming up to me with things she wanted opened and demanding "Op! Op!" This week, she suddenly started coming out with a very clear "Open!"

She's also becoming more social. She's starting playing with other children she meets on the playground - real playing with interaction, instead of parallel play. She's also become more outgoing with adults. She waves and says "Hi" and "Bye" to stragers without prompting, which often leaves a trail of bodies of people she killed with her cuteness in her wake. At the same time, she can still be quite shy when people focus their full attention on her. Often, she has to dive behind her stroller or my leg when someone talks to her, periodically peeking her head back out until she's more comfortable. This is also insanely cute.

Despite the sleep issues, being K's mother is pretty fun these days. I won't say that her newly developed snotty teenage attitude where she has to deliberately do the things I tell her not to as well as doing things just to bug us is particularly fun, but overall she's pretty neat kid to have.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Snow day

It never ceases to amaze me how two inches of snow can send a city into complete chaos. We woke up this morning to what is considered a light snowfall where I grew up. But instead of cars happily driving along a freshly plowed road, we had to fight our way through messy, dangerous roads that hadn't been plowed yet at 9am. My boss's kids' schools were closed, the Philadelphia schools closed at noon today (although I don't know why they didn't just close schools to begin with, since the roads were considerably safer by the time schools closed than they were when everyone would have been going to school) and the roads were snarled. Even Roosevelt Boulevard, a twelve lane road that's the main artery of the Northeast, hadn't been plowed in our part of the city. For this we pay a city income tax that's double what the State income tax is?

Daycare was also closed, although sadly both of our libraries were not. So K came to work with me and we left early so she could take her nap at home. She usually does pretty well entertaining herself at the library - she colored, visited her favorite elephant statue and read it a story, and spent a long time playing with a large jar full of teeny tiny beads. We had only one force-10 meltdown. I had no objection to her playing with the gluestick, but I didn't care for her using it on the Easter decorations I spent the majority of last Friday cutting out.

Even after she calmed down and I was able to convince her to glue some scraps of paper I quickly cut out for her, she couldn't keep her mind off of those decorations, which I had put on a cabinet out of her reach. At one point, she started dragging a chair towards them, clearly intending to try to climb up to get them. Only she got caught up on a power cord, and said pathetically to me, "Help, I'm stuck."

So she was asking me to help her move a chair so she could do something I had expressly forbidden her from doing. Nice try, kid. Clearly she needs to work on her subterfuge skills.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Two soups recipes

17 Bean Soup

One bag Trader Joe's 17 Beans and Barley (or just about any 16 oz bag of mixed beans will do. Heck, if you're violently opposed to bean miscegenation, just about any bag of dry beans is fine. I think navy beans would work particularly well. But mixed beans are more interesting, in the great tradition of the American melting pot)
4 leeks, roots and greens chopped off, split lengthwise and chopped into half inch pieces (I used this many leeks because that's how many I had. You could also use two leeks and then something like a bell pepper and a cup of chopped celery or onion)
6 cups beef or vegetable broth (I used beef. I need to find an East Coast source for the vegatable broth I used to use. Using vegetable broth can be a dicey proposition depending on the ingredients, but this brand is yummy, and it even uses leeks so it would match this soup well)
One cup carrot, chopped
4 oz pancetta, diced
(if your grocery store's deli isn't fancy-pants enough to carry pancetta, regular plain-jane bacon would work)
One can diced tomatoes
1 T oregano
1 1/2 tsp basil

Soak the beans overnight in cold water. Drain and rinse the beans, then put in a pot and cover with broth.

Sautee the pancetta in a frying pan until a fair amount of fat is rendered out (I wound up adding some olive oil to the pan as well), then add the leeks and carrots. Sautee until the vegetables are soft, then add to the soup, along with tomatoes. Simmer on the stove for an hour (or until the beans are cooked), or cook in a slow cooker for 6-8 hours on low or 4 hours on high. Serve with parmesan cheese sprinkled on top

Calories: 280 Fat: 5 g Carbohydrates: 40 g Fiber: 12 g Protein: 17 g

Hamburger soup (adapted from the Sunset Crockpot Cookbook, circa roughly 1968)

16 oz cooked pasta (the original recipe calls for macaroni, but I say throw aside the shackles of conventional bourgeois pasta shapes and go for the gusto! Use a penne or get really saucy with a three color rotini. Also: as a diet tip, Barilla Plus pasta has a ton of extra fiber and protein, yet by some dark and unholy magic still tastes like normal pasta. And they did it without adding tons of soy, which made me a little too excited when I found that out. Hey, you spend a year religiously avoiding soy while breastfeeding and you too will know that pathetic joy)
1 pound ground beef or turkey
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup onions, chopped
4 cups beef broth
(and here we get to where I made the main changes. The original recipe called for a packet of onion soup mix, which is how you can tell this is a cookbook from the 60s, when it was apparently just too hard to chop an onion and pour in some broth. Also, without the soup mix, you might miss getting your year's allowance of sodium)
1 can tomato soup
1 tsp oregano
(I tend to be quite profligate with oregano, so I'm sure I use more than this)
1/4 tsp season salt
1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Brown the ground meat, although that's not strictly necessary and you can just crumble it into the pot. Add everything except cheese and pasta to the pot, simmer for half an hour (until meat is cooked and vegetables are soft) or put in slow cooker for 6 hours on low or 3 on high. Add pasta and cheese and cook for another 15 minutes.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Valentine's Day

Today was a bit ho-hum for what's supposed to be a romantic holiday. I had planned to do cheese fondue and bought a special dessert from Trader Joe's (every Christmas, they have Oreo-style cookies with bits of candy cane in them that are truly divine. Sadly, they disappear after Christmas, but they've now added them to a cheesecake. I anticipate it will be akin to a minor deity).

Instead, we got caught up in errands and traffic, and I realized that by the time we got home, went back out to Target for fuel for the fondue pot fuel (which, as it later turned out, they didn't have, the Philistines) and got back, it would be 7:30 and our toddler would have gnawed one of our hands off at the wrist. So we went out for Mexican instead and we'll have our fondue tomorrow, followed by the funeral when the cheesecake kills us dead from the deliciousness.

Right now we're watching the 2005 Pride and Prejudice. We decided we wanted something light and romantic, where everybody winds up together in the end, and our Netflix discs today were Peter's Friends, Becoming Jane and Northanger Abbey. Northanger Abbey fits the criteria, but we've watched it more than once recently so that was out. And the other two... Oy. They're both excellent movies (or at least I hear Becoming Jane is since we haven't watched it yet), but "hopeless lifelong unrequited love" and "diagnosed with AIDS" weren't exactly what we had in mind for the evening. A quick scan of our movie collection showed that our romantic comedy section is almost completed dominated by Hugh Grant starring in Richard Curtis movies, which we've watched 1000 times. My suggestion that Hero could be seen as a romantic comedy if you squint at it from a somewhat deranged point of view was instantly vetoed.

Which left us with the Kiera Knightley Pride and Prejudice, which we've watched, but not that often and not recently, and timely, since we watched the mini-series last weekend and it will give us the opportunity to compare them. Watching it again, I'm struck by three things: 1, it's a much more visual film. As magnificent as the view of Colin Firth diving into a pond without a shirt is, the newer film clearly had a much better director who really took advantage of his medium to tell his story visually. 2, it picks up on a lot of subtle character interaction. The action still focuses on the main protagonists, but it also takes moments to pick up on the reactions of the minor characters, who tend to be slighted in Austen. 3, the costumer avoided putting the actresses in pastel empire-waist gowns as much as possible. I can't say I disagree with the decision. It may be entirely in period for women to go around looking like they forgot to get dressed and went out in their nightgowns, but that doesn't mean it's a good look for most of them.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Work notes, part II

Talking to one of my co-workers yesterday, I found out that she has also had problems with Mr. Charming. This made me feel a lot better, because R is about the sweetest and most self-effacing person you could ever hope to meet, to the point that if you stepped on her foot, she would apologize for inconsiderately putting her foot in your way. So if he makes her mad, I clearly wasn't overreacting. In fact, we were both relieved to hear that the other had had such bad experiences with him, because it meant it wasn't us, it was him. Much like my boss was happy a couple weeks ago when I was there to witness an ambush from one of our battier ladies over a sign they want to put up. As she said, "I'm glad you're here to say that she's crazy, because after a while I begin to wonder if it's me."


I've never been a visual person. I'm not the sort to do much decoration for holidays - in fact, I don't think we've done any decorating for Christmas at all the past couple years since we were moving or planning on moving. One of the reasons I wasn't interested in going into public libraries while I was in library school was that I hated the thought of having to do displays.

And yet, I'm sitting here on a day that I'm not actually working, looking for Easter decorations online and wracking my brain to figure out what display I can put up after Easter is over. In the past four months, I've spent quite a bit of time cutting out and putting up Halloween pumpkins and skeletons, Thanksgiving turkeys, snowflakes, Valentine's hearts. I've been gnashing my teeth over the fact that a month as short as February has so many potential displays to put up - Valentine's Day, African American history month, Lunar new year and President's Day (I went with Valentine's Day and African American history month, partly because I could recycle so much of the Martin Luther King Day display).

I find this unleashing of my inner kindergarten teacher who I didn't even realize was there very bemusing. I'm glad that this is an area of my job that it turns out I can do well despite my natural inclinations, and I've gotten a lot of compliments, which is nice to hear. There are so many things to do at that job and so few working hours to do them in, it can feel like I'm never making a noticeable dent. But at least it gets noticed when I make the library look purty.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Work notes

As I said previously, B's promotion wasn't the financial windfall you might expect because of a fluke in the raise system here. You get stepped up in income each year you work for the city, but was told that when he was promoted, he was starting his year over again. So while he got a raise, it was only $300 more than his pay would have been if he had just waited two months for the end of the year and his automatic raise, without all of the extra work and responsibility. We were Unimpressed.

So imagine our surprise when his paycheck this week was a great deal larger than normal - he had gotten his step raise after all. Yippee! Combined with receiving the $1000 bonus the city offers for making it through his first year, we're feeling unexpectedly flush.


Note to self: when someone asks you, "Have I given you my tirade on x?" always say "yes." Otherwise you may be subjected to a tirade that manages to be condescending, insulting and belittle your education and everything you're attempting to do at work. All from a so-called Friend of the museum.

I really should have known better. I did, in fact, know better and I was mentally screaming at myself even as I said it. But I've been able to paste a smile in my face and listen all manner of nonsense, so I didn't think it could possibly be that bad. The fact that he had just been making fun of our circulation statistics probably should have been my first clue.

It wasn't what he had to say - I can understand the mindset that doesn't like to see books weeded, and while I found his idea that you could attract retirees to the library that would like to check old books out of the library out of nostalgia wildly unrealistic (for one thing, nobody's checked some of those books out in 30 years - where are the people who are magically going to be interested in them now?), that alone I could have listened to and instantly dismissed. The fact that he was attempting to justify keeping a children's book on satellites from 1957 put him firmly in the realm of ignorable wingnuttery.

But comparing weeding old, unread books to burning the library at Alexandria? Besides being a completely histrionic comparison, I don't particularly care for the role that particular metaphor casts me in. Given that I'm a staunch free-speech and anti-censorship activist, I don't find being called a book burner offensive at all. Really. And snide passive aggressive lines like "You can find it in that book on the shelf over there - if you haven't weeded it" don't exactly float my boat either. Ditto sneering at the terrible state of modern library science education, given that I worked pretty hard for two years to get that degree that's apparently worthless. And to end it all with the condescending, dismissive "You let me know how that works out for you-" Aargh!

I despise being condescended to.


However, the people who actually matter - my immediate boss and the higher-up from the Park Commission who's in charge of us - like what I'm doing. As a result, I discovered last week that I'm actually going to get a real budget for the children's collection. Apparently not being senile they see the value of having books on technology that postdate the advent of the personal computer and the moon landing. Just think, soon we could have books in the children's section that were written in this century. Whee!

Friday, February 8, 2008


B works on Wednesday nights, so I hemmed and hawed for a while, then decided to take K with me to the Ash Wendesday service at church last night. It wasn't ideal, since our church doesn't offer a nursery, but I finally came to the conclusion that if our church is truly open and affirming, they should be welcoming to their fellow child of God, even at an evening service, and if it really bothers them, maybe they should pony up with the child care.

K did as well as you can hope from a two-year-old at bedtime at a Taize-style service with lots of periods of silence. I did have to take her shoes off so she wouldn't make noise when she kicked and things got a little dicey when she insisted on taking a cup of communion grape juice and I wouldn't let her get any more. But I saved the day by pulling out the bottle of milk we had with us and serving her shots of milk in the tiny communion cup. I also had to whisk her to the narthex a couple times, but at least I didn't have to do the red-faced parental march of humiliation, hauling of a screaming child out of the church. More importantly, she was quiet enough that I was able to get something out of the service.

We had the choice of being anointed with healing oil or given the burden of ashes. I chose the oil and decided that it would be my mission for Lent: healing myself, mentally and physically. Obviously that's not something that can happen fully in seven weeks, but I can take the opportunity of a season of discipline and reflection to try to break some of the bad patterns I tend to fall into. So my two goals for Lent are to go to church every Sunday I'm not working to try to reconnect spiritually and to work on my diet to help myself physically. Since most of how I eat isn't that different than the low glycemic load diet, dieting will largely mean trying to give up the twin monkeys of Cherry Coke and Wawa chai that have taken up permanent residence on my back. I can't count the number of times I've tried to give up Coke, so we'll see if I have any success this time.


We saw my cousin and her five-week-old baby today. Oh goodness, newborn babies don't weight anything, at least when you've been toting a 30 pound toddler around. The baby was just about the same size K was when she was born. Oh, how I want a baby again.

Forgot a book in the January roundup

The Glycemic Load Diet by Rob Thompson
Or perhaps a better title, Low Carb Diets for Wusses. This book makes the excellent point that most low-carb diets are based on the glycemic index, which measures how much blood sugar rises after eating 50 grams of available carbohydrates (fiber would be an example of unavailable carbohydrates). However, this can result in absurd results because testing based on an arbitrary amount often has no relation to how much people typically eat in a serving. For instance, carrots are often forbidden on low-carb diets. But the amount of water and fiber in carrots meant that to get 50 available grams of carbohydrates, they had to feed the test subjects eight pounds of carrot. Glycemic load takes portion size into account, so carrots come out much more reasonably, unless you want to eat twenty pounds at one sitting (and at that point, I think you'll have bigger problems than just blood sugar spikes).

This certainly seems like a much more reasonable diet than your average low-carb diet. There's nothing really specifically forbidden. There isn't any nonsense of forbidding perfectly healthy foods like fruits and vegetables. You can even have a spoondful of sugar in your tea or coffee, since he points out that the glycemic load of a small amount of sugar isn't that high. The big boogeyman in this diet isn't all carbohydrates, but starch, as found in potatoes, rice and wheat. But even those aren't completely forbidden. His general rule of thumb is that you save them for after you've eaten other foods so a full stomach slows the metabolism of the starch, and that you eat about 1/4 as much. Also, do exercise like walking or biking 20-30 minutes every other day to activate the slow twitch muscles that help reduce insulin resistance. As diets go, particularly the kind that singles out particular foods as evil, that's pretty darn reasonable. It's still a diet, with all of the issues those entail (deprivation, assigning moral values to foods, etc.), but at least it's not the kind where all is lost if you dare let a morsel of bread pass your lips because you'll no longer be in ketosis.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Well finally

Cycle day 2.

For the first time in two years and three and a half since I had a regular period. You know, I haven't missed this one tiny bit. But it's a necessary evil, and hopefully a sign my body is working as needed.

Now the charting starts. I hadn't planned on signing up with the ubiquitous Fertility Friend, but the printable chart I found online doesn't have temperatures going below 97.5, and my temperature yesterday morning was 96.8. Once again the limitations of paper-based technology reveals itself.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Lost cat

This afternoon, after putting K down for her nap, I went into my bedroom and noticed there was a cat hiding under the covers. "Oh, that must be where Sonya's been hiding," I thought, not realizing until that moment I hadn't seen her all morning. And then Olwen appeared from under the covers and I realized that I hadn't seen Sonya at all yesterday. Fridays are busy days for us, since we usually both work, and cats being cats, it's entirely possible to go an entire evening without seeing one because they've decided to find some nice corner to take a snooze. But a quick search revealed that we couldn't find her anywhere in the house.

On Thursday, the handyman was here, replacing the screen door out back. K and I were leaving to meet B for lunch and went out back to get in the car. The handyman asked if he should move his van and if I could unlock the back door. I did so and went to put K in her carseat while the handyman moved his van. Walking back around the car to get in, I caught Olwen trying to slip out of the open door and closed it after shoving her back in. I should have looked around to see if Sonya was out. I should have gone over to the handyman to ask him to make sure the cats didn't get out. But we were running horribly late, so I left. And when I got back, K was late for her nap, so I forgot to do a cat check like I had meant to. And as a result, I think she's been gone since Thursday and we didn't notice until this morning.

We looked around the neighborhood and checked a local shelter with no luck. I made a flyer up, which we'll post after replacing our printer ink cartridge so the picture doesn't come out only in yellow. On the plus side, we didn't see any dead cats at the side of the road. And the weather hasn't been warm, but it's been above freezing. But I can't stop thinking about the horrible driving rain we got all day Friday.

In case it's not clear, we feel absolutely horrible about this and sick at the thought of losing her. Sonya is a very sweet, very gentle, incredibly dumb cat. I love both of our cats and couldn't imagine losing either of them, but I feel so much worse about the thought of Sonya out on her own in the wild, because Olwen at least is an alpha cat who doesn't take any guff from other animals. Sonya is a gigantic floppy love-cat who loves nothing better than to loll around on our laps and get her tummy scritched. I have no confidence in her ability to defend herself or be smart enough to protect herself from cars. And she's the one out there, alone in the cold.

January books

I fell way behind (and eventually gave up) on keeping track of books last year during the getting-back-from-vacation, having-houseguests, insanely-busy-leadup-to-Halloween August to October, but I'm ready to give it the old college try again this year.

The Little House series:
Little House in the Big Woods
Little House on the Prairie
On the Banks of Plum Creek
On the Shores of Silver Lake
The Long Winter
Little Town on the Prairie
These Happy Golden Years
by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Yes, I'm missing The First Four Years. I never liked it as much. As I said before, it's always fascinating re-reading books as an adult. One thing that struck me as a parent is what a different attitude towards children they had then: be seen and not heard. Don't cry or show extreme emotion. Don't be selfish, which translates into giving away the last rags on your back and having very little right to personal possessions. Even when I was a child, I thought it was horribly unjust that Laura was forced to give her only doll away, and it appalls me even more as a parent.

And yet people grew up to be functional adults capable of loving relationships, despite being raised in a philosophy vastly different than modern sensibilities. Puts some perspective on the sometimes histrionic arguments people have about the "right" way to raise children.

The China Bride by Mary Jo Putney
I blush to include this, but hey, every once in a while a good steamy romance hits the spot, especially on a cold winter night. And that's all I have to say on the subject.

Castle Waiting by Linda Medley
I can't say enough good things about this wonderful graphic novel, a must-read for anyone who likes fairy tales. It's a lively and sweet story that starts out in Sleeping Beauty but goes far beyond that.

Friday, February 1, 2008


Philadelphia is number five on Forbes' list of America's most miserable cities! I'm so proud. And not terribly surprised.*

I can tell you're jealous. After all, not everyone has a scientifically determined number to measure precisely how miserable they are (648, in case you were wondering).

*I'm not exactly falling over in shock over the fact that Detroit and Flint were numbers one and three on the list either.