Monday, December 26, 2011

They Made Cheese out of What?

Just spent a wonderful week in Florida hitting all of the amusement parks that one family could possible take in a five day period, following by a fun-filled family Christmas at our house with the extended family. (Can you say "tired"?)

So, it's time to get back to reality and visit my poor, lonely blog. Tempted as I am to write Disney Randoms or Christmas Randoms, I'll be settling for Cheese Randoms because I just ran across a European delicacy -- mozzarella cheese made from cat's milk.

Several things hit my brain when I first heard about this:

1) How do they get the cats to submit to milking? Surely, these people have met cats. Or, are the cats heavily sedated?

2) Who thought -- "Hey, why don't we make cheese out of cat's milk?" Some say that it was the idea of Franco Latitante from the Italian village of Rosenato.

3) What other mammals had they already tried to milk before turning to a house cat? Cows, horses, goats, yaks -- these I understand, but house cats?

I'm really hoping that someone will chime in here and tell me that this is just a joke. Until then, I'm going to be suspicious of any mozzarella cheese offered to me . . .

Happy New Year everyone!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Antifreeze in her Veins

What critter can freeze for several years, thaw out and walk away? No, not your mean Aunt Helga.

A Siberian Salamander.

These critters can survive deep freezes of up to -50 degrees. (It's 50 degrees above zero today, and I'm cold. I can't even imagine -50. Okay, so maybe I'm a major cold weather wimp.)

The Siberian Salamander is able to create "antifreeze" chemicals in its blood. The exact mechanism through which it does so is not known, but other animals use glucose, glycerol and related compounds to protect themselves in a similar way.

As you might guess, these little animals are found primarily in Siberia, but they can also be found in in northern Kazakhstan and Mongolia, northeastern China, on the Korean Peninsula, and on Hokkaidō, Japan, in the Kushiro Shitsugen National Park. They are thought to have come from Korea originally.

Knowing that they are found in such places doesn't make me want to visit those places any time soon -- at least not in the winter!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Things Learned the Hard Way

If you get into your car and something smells like a really rotten banana, there's usually only ONE explanation . . .

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Last weekend, my youngest daughter (also known as the Super Flying Coconut) and I heard a talk about owls by a member of the Audubon Society. In particular, we learned about the Great Horned Owl, the Barred Owl, and the Eastern Screech Owl. The little fella in the photo is an Eastern Screech Owl.

Of course, this means that I learned a few new randoms about owls.

1. The Barred Owl has a call that sounds like "Who-Who-Who-Cooks-For-You. Who-Who-Who-Cooks-For-Y'all."

2. Owls have four toes. They use them to grasp branches, generally by placing two toes forward and two toes backward, but they can rotate one toe to the front to use to snatch up prey.

3. Owls' ears are not level. One ear is higher than the other. This allows them to judge the distance of moving objects.

4. Snowy owls are diurnal and migrate to avoid the long, dark winters up north. They can be found near southern airports during the winter. Some think this reminds them of the flat, barren land of their homes.

5. The Great Horned Owl is known as the "Tiger of the Sky" because it has no natural predators once it's in flight.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Nothing Trivial about Texas

The Texas Rangers are playing the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series. Yes, I know. Nothing new about that. But I thought some of the trivia about Texas shared on last night's game was interesting.

For example, Texas has more airports than any other state. (I didn't know that, but it makes sense. We need them to get from one part of the state to another in less than a day.)

In honor of the Texas Rangers, here are a few other randoms about Texas:

1. Texas spans 801 miles from its southern tip to its northern state line.

2. The Amarillo airport has the 3rd longest runway in the world and is designated as an alternate landing site for the space shuttle.

3. While Texas was a Republic, its northern panhandle extended all the way into southern Wyoming.

4. The Texas state capitol building is the largest of all the states. It spans 8.5 acres and has almost 500 rooms.

5. The largest county in Texas is Brewster County, which covers 6,233 square miles. That's more square miles than Connecticut.

So, when we say things are bigger in Texas, we really mean it.

Monday, October 17, 2011


So, last week, I mentioned the number of earthquakes in the world each year. Did you know that the moon has quakes too? Not surprisingly, they are called "moonquakes."

Buzz Aldrin planted a seismometer in the Sea of Tranquility while he was there. (Hmmm, that explains one of the little black boxes. My roommate from college always wondered about those, but I digress.)

According to NASA, there are at least four different kinds of moonquakes: (1) deep moonquakes, which are about 700 km below the surface, apparently caused by tides; (2) those that register vibrations from the impact of meteorites; (3) thermal quakes, believed to be caused by the expansion of the frigid crust when the morning sun first hits a spot after two weeks of deep-freeze lunar night; and (4) shallow moonquakes occurring only 20 or 30 kilometers below the surface.

Their equipment has even registered a 5.5 magnitude quake, which is strong enough to move heavy furniture and crack plaster on earth, according to NASA. Some scientists would like to deploy a series of seismometers around the moon to conduct a better study of moonquakes. That would give NASA a better idea of which parts of the moon are more stable so that they'd know where the best possible lunar base locations could be.

Too bad scientists didn't have a chance to do that before all those people moved to California.

Monday, October 10, 2011

What's Shaking?

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, there have been 3,678 earthquakes in the United States during 2011 as of October 10th. The USGS estimates that there are several million earthquakes worldwide each year, but many go undetected because of their remote locations or lack of magnitude.

The USGS also detects about 50 mine blasts each business day and maintains a separate explosion list -- just to keep the two straight.

No earthquake of a magnitude 3.5 or greater has occurred in my beloved State of Texas in the past thirty years. Now, if you want to talk about hurricanes, we've got you covered.

To check out real time earthquake activity, hop over to the USGS website:

Monday, September 26, 2011

You want me to ride what?

Okay, I think it's a bit crazy to ride a bobsled down a bobsled track. It's definitely crazy to ride a luge or a skeleton sled down a bobsled track. But a wok?

Apparently so.

After a bet on a German TV show, some folks set up the World Wok Racing Championship, which involves one person or four person teams sliding down an Olympic bobsled track on modified Chinese woks. The competitors wear heavy gear similar to hockey uniforms and ladles (yes, cooking ladles) on their feet.

And, if that doesn't sound crazy enough, a single rider has gotten up to 91.70 kmh (or 56.98 mph). A four-person team managed to get to a speed of 114.3 kmh (or 71.02 mph).

If either of my kids ask to borrow the wok any time soon, the answer is definitely "no."

Monday, September 19, 2011

Fried What?

Here in Texas, we like to do everything "bigger and better." Apparently, we like to do things more . . . "creatively" too.

At the recent Texas State Fair, the race was on to see who could come up with the most creative food at the fair. This year's winner -- fried bubble gum. Only, it wasn't really fried bubble gum. It was "fried puffy marshmallows infused with pink bubble gum extract," but that just doesn't sound as catchy as "fried bubble gum."

My only question is: Can you get that on a stick? If not, then it just shouldn't be fair food.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


"When we do the best we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another."

-- Helen Keller

Sunday, September 11, 2011

We Remember

Ten years ago, I was returning a video at Blockbuster before work when I heard the news about the first plane crashing into the Twin Towers. Such a mundane thing for what started as such a mundane day.

The pain that I, along with the rest of our nation, felt in the days, weeks, and months that followed was anything but mundane. May this anniversary day be a day of peace.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Rock Snot

It's ooey. It's gooey. It's heading for a rock near you.


You don't believe me? Check out this photo from the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources:

Scientifically know as Didymosphenia geminata and often called "didymo," this diatom, which is a kind of single-celled algae, can form large mats on the bottom of lakes, streams, and rivers. It's not dangerous to humans, but can kill fish and threaten rivers and streams by smothering native algae and and aquatic insects.

It's easy to transport and can multiply rapidly. In fact, it can multiple in a single drop of water. Apparently, it's on the march again, clinging to the bottoms of felt-soled fishing boots. Maryland has banned such boots, and other states plan to follow in short order.

Here are a few more randoms about this little menace:

1. Didymo are unique for their silica (SiO2) cell walls.

2. They live primarily in cool temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere.

3. If you knowingly transport didymo in New Zealand, you could face up to 5 years in prison.

So, get out your gigantic hankies, and avoid that goo on the rocks.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Harry Potter

I only recently saw HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PT. II. I waited until my eldest child returned from camp to see it with her. I'd just re-read the book, which means that many of the scenes and plot lines from the book were fresh on my brain. My daughter with her encyclopedic memory was just as fresh with the details. That meant we spent way too much time whispering in the back of the theater about differences between the book and the movie.

That said, we loved the movie.

In honor of the latest HARRY POTTER, here are a few wizarding world randoms:

1. So many fans visit King’s Cross station, where Harry and his friends catch the Hogwarts Express, to take pictures of platforms 9 and 10 that the station management erected a sign that says “Platform 9 ¾.”

2. There's a picture of Gandalf the Grey in the Professor Dumbledore's study in HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS.

3. The Hogwarts school motto is "Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus," which is Latin for “Never Tickle a Sleeping Dragon.”

You can find plenty more Harry Potter trivia on the web -- if you have a few hours to kill.

Monday, August 8, 2011


This weekend, I heard about a new craze -- owling.

Apparently, "planking" is so two months ago, that a new trend is in. (For those of you who are as clueless about "planking" as I was -- it involves lying flat on your face as straight as you possible can (i.e., in a plank position) and having someone take a picture of you).

Eh -- don't try it, you'll be far too out of style. Try owling instead. Owling involves crouching in a perched position, generally in an unusual place like the top of a refrigerator or a statue, and staring off into the distance, in imitation of a perched owl, and having someone take a picture of you.

Want to see how it's done? Check this out =>
And, if you decide to try it out yourself, post your photo on-line.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give."

-- Norman MacFinan

Monday, July 11, 2011

Texas Rangers

Recently, my family visited the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum. No, not the baseball team. The original Texas Rangers, members of the oldest law enforcement agency in the United States.

There's something mythical about them. Tough. Intelligent. Courageous. Not that other law enforcement officials aren't. There's just something special about the Texas Rangers. So much so that at my college graduation, I could barely focus on what the President of the United States was saying during our commencement address because a Texas Ranger was on protection duty right in front of my spot, and we were all talking and whispering about the Ranger.

But I digress. Shocking, I know.

You can read more about the Texas Rangers on the Hall of Fame and Museum website.

One of my favorite bits of trivia that I learned from our visit is that the famous Texas Ranger star badge is made (to this day) from a 50 pesos coin.

Another favorite, is the origin of the saying "One riot, one Ranger." I think that this same saying can be found in John Flanagan's RANGER'S APPRENTICE series. Might just have to re-read that.

Well, it's time to hit the trails . . .

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Birthday, America!

The Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays. In honor of our nation's birthday, here are a few randoms:

1. There are 27 grievances against the King of England listed in the Declaration of Independence.

2. There are 56 signatures on the Declaration of Independence.

3. The final text of the Declaration was approved on July 4, 1776, but it's unclear when the Declaration was actually signed. It may not have been signed until August, and some historians suggest that the last signature was obtain in January 1777.

4. Calvin Coolidge was born on the Fourth of July.

5. Both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died on the Fourth.

Have a wonderful and safe Fourth!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Dogs, Dogs, Dogs

There are cat people, and there are dog people. I'm a dog person, which is a bit of a problem because I'm allergic to them. Well, to their dander. I'm also allergic to cats, but that's not so much of a problem, because I don't actually have a cat. I do, however, have a dog. In honor of my allergy-inducing canine friend, here are a few doggy randoms:

1. All dogs are descendants of a weasel-like critter called the Miacis which lived in trees and dens. The Miacis later evolved into the Tomarctus, which was a forbear of the genus Canus. The genus Canus includes dogs, wolves, and jackals.

2. Dogs have three eyelids. The third lid, called a nictitating membrane or “haw,” lubricates and protects the eye.

3. The dog on the Cracker Jacks box is named Bingo.

4. Dogs can hear sounds from four times farther away than humans.

5. The majority of experts believe that humans domesticated dogs before donkeys, horses, sheep, goats, cattle, cats, or chickens.

Have a doggone good week.

Friday, June 17, 2011


It's inspirational to learn about people who go on to great success after overcoming something that might otherwise make an individual abandon a goal. For example, Agatha Christie (one of my all-time favorite writers) suffered from dysgraphia.

Dysgraphia is a neurobiological learning disability that impairs an individual's ability to remember and learn the sequence of motor muscle movements necessary to write numbers and letters. This meant that Ms. Christie was unable to write legibly and had to dictate all of her books. So, even though she is credited with writing 93 books and 17 plays over her lifetime, she didn't actually "write" them. (Uhm, does that actually make her a dictator?)

Anyway, her success is proof that a "set-back" doesn't really have to be a wall. It's more of an rock in the path.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


It's inspirational to learn about people who go on to great success after overcoming something that might otherwise make an individual abandon a goal. For example, Agatha Christie (one of my all-time favorite writers) suffered from dysgraphia.

Dysgraphia is a neurobiological learning disability that impairs an individual's ability to remember and learn the sequence of motor muscle movements necessary to write numbers and letters. This meant that Ms. Christie was unable to write legibly and had to dictate all of her books. So, even though she is credited with writing 93 books and 17 plays over her lifetime, she didn't actually "write" them. (Uhm, does that actually make her a dictator?)

Anyway, her success is proof that a "set-back" doesn't really have to be a wall. It's more of an rock in the path.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Lions, and Tigers, and Bears! Oh my!

During our recent family vacation, we made a stopover to the Fort Worth Zoo, which truly deserves its fabulous reputation. While there, we learned quite a number of random things, which, of course, I will now inflict upon you:

1. Elephants have a tusk preference just like humans have a hand preference. So, elephants will either be left-tusked or right-tusked.

2. Only four of the seventeen varieties of penguins actually live in cold climates. (By the way, there is some debate over the number of penguin species, with claims of between 17 and 20.)

3. All existing white tigers have been bred in captivity and are descendants of a tiger named Mohan, who was captured as a cub in India in 1951.

4. Only bald eagles who have been rescued may be housed in zoos.

5. The Fort Worth Zoo was founded in 1909 with one lion, two bear cubs, a peacock, a coyote, an alligator, and a few rabbits.

Well worth the visit if you're ever in the Forth Worth area.

Monday, June 6, 2011


I've realized lately that there are things that I never thought I'd say, but have said as a parent. Recently, that included, "Get your booger off of your sister."

Not really something I'd ever expected to say to another human being, but there it is. (I've also had to warn the same child to "Stop flinging boogers at your sister." Are you sensing a theme here?)

Other things that I never expected to say, but have:

1. "Yes, you can jump on the bed."

2. "If that makes you throw up, I'm not going to clean it up."

3. "Yes, you can go play in the street."

4. "Did you get a hickey from a one-toothed vampire?"

and finally,

5. "Pull your bottoms up." (This is a command issued to the three-year-old who was mooning the congregation at church.)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

"A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself."

- Joseph Campbell

Monday, May 16, 2011

Tegu for You?

Yesterday, my family and I took a trip to the local zoo. Seems like everyone one else in the Houston area had the same idea, but I digress . . .

We were very excited to see the new African Forest exhibit, especially the chimpanzees. They were definitely worth the visit all by themselves, coming up to the glass of their enclosure and interacting with the crowd.

But on the way through the zoo, we stopped to visit with a docent, who had a Tegu Lizard in tow. Or, rather, the Tegu Lizard had her in tow. Not being up on my lizards, I'd never heard of one before.

The docent allowed us to stroke the Tegu. It was much like petting a cowboy boot.

In honor of the tolerant lizard, here are a few randoms about his relatives:

1. They are a South American lizard.

2. They come in three basic varieties -- red, black and white, and black.

3. A fully grown male will reach three to three-and-a-half feet and weigh about eight pounds.

4. Their hides are used to make purses and wallets.

5. They are often kept as pets.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Internet Access

So, over the past two weeks, I've had issues with Internet access. In other words, for days at a time, I haven't had any.

That's made more than a few things difficult. For example, how could I write on this blog without Internet access? And, I couldn't telecommute for work. The horror. Weird how dependent I am on the Internet.

So, in honor of my little dependency, here are a few Internet Randoms:

1. In 1969, the Department of Defense commissioned ARPANET to do research on internetworking, and the first four computers were connected. ARPANET ceased to exist in 1990.

2. The first four computers on the ARPANET were: (a) a Xerox DSS 7 at UCLA Network Measurements Center; (b) a NIC - SDS940 at Stanford Research Institute; (c) an IBM 360/75 at UCSB; and (d) a DEC PDP-10 at the University of Utah.

3. Ray Tomlinson is credited with sending the world's first e-mail.

4. John Paul II was the first pope to send an e-mail.

5. Queen Elizabeth II sent the first royal e-mail in 1976.

Friday, May 6, 2011


A man can fail many times, but he isn't a failure until he begins to blame someone else.

-- John Burroughs

Monday, May 2, 2011


Even if it's a little thing, do something for those who need help,something for which you get no pay but the privilege of doing it.

-- Albert Schweitzer

Friday, April 22, 2011


Recently, I had allergy testing done. The results are in, and the answer is: Yup, you're still allergic to the world.

The good news is: Chocolate is no longer on my food allergy list.

The bad news is: Wheat, eggs, corn, and rice are on the list. That pretty much does away with anything fun to eat that isn't chocolate. Maybe I shouldn't have wished so hard for the chocolate allergy to change.

Just in case you feel a sneeze coming on, let's share a few allergy randoms:

1. Every day, people breathe in about two heaping tablespoons of particles such as pollen, dust, mold, and bacteria.

2. More people are allergic to cow's milk than any other food.

3. About 400 B.C., Hippocrates studied "asthma," which means "I gasp for breath."

4. The term "allergy" was coined by an Austrian physician named Clemons von Pirquet to indicate a "state of altered reactivity resulting from the introduction of a foreign substance or agent into the body."

5. In 1966, Drs. Kimishige and Teruko Ishizaka discovered that an immunoglobulin (now called Immunoglobulin E) in the blood causes allergic reactions.

Ah-choo. Anyone got a tissue? I think that my Immunoglobulin E count is up.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Kuk Sool Won

My daughters and my hubby are learning a Korean martial art called Kuk Sool Won. It is a very comprehensive system, and my eldest child is learning useful things like how to dislocate an elbow and how to break various body parts. Just letting any young men out there who might want to date her know this in advance. The whole family has been inspired lately by the story of Choon-Ok Jade Harmon, the highest ranking female in Kuk Sool Won. She has come a long way from her humble birth in Korea to opening her own Kuk Sool school and obtaining her ninth degree black belt. Her compelling story is told with the help Ana-Maria Rodriguez (who is also a Kuk Sool student, and if I'm not mistaken, a black belt) in THE IRON BUTTERFLY. In honor of this story of courage and determination, here are a few Kuk Sool randoms: 1. Kuk Sool Won is a blending of three traditional Korean martial arts -- SahDoh MuSool, BoolKyo MuSool, and KoongJoong MuSool -- by Grand Master In-hyuk Suh. 2. "Kuk Sa Nim" is the title for the Grand Master, who is a tenth degree black belt. 3. The world headquarters for the World Kuk Sool Association is in Tomball, Texas.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Tax Day

Tax Day is April 18th this year instead of the usual April 15th. This is a nice break for my hubby, whose birthday is April 15th.

(Mind you, April 15th is also the date Lincoln died and the Titanic sank, but we generally consider it a good day because that's the hubby's birthday.)

In honor of Tax Day, here are a few tax randoms:

1. President Abraham Lincoln created the first personal income tax to finance the Civil War.

2. The Sixteenth Amendment was added to the U.S. Constitution to make personal income taxation lawful.

3. The U.S. Tax Code contains over 7 million words. The Bible has roughly 773,000 words, and the Gettysburg Address has only 269.

4. There are currently more IRS agents than there are U.S. troops in Iraq.

5. The IRS maintains its own tax trivia page.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Random Youth

So it seems that I've infected my eldest daughter with a case of the randoms. Over the past few weeks, she's shared the following (out of the blue, mind you):

1. There are more Subway restaurants than McDonalds in the world.

2. The Sky Mall magazine is the germiest part of a plane.

3. We obtained Oregon from the United Kingdom in 1846.

What do you think? Do I have another randomite, or what?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


"Hard things are put in our way, not to stop us, but to call out our courage and strength."

-- Anonymous

Monday, March 21, 2011

Bad News

Sigh. It seems like all that I've been getting lately is bad news, so I've been especially slow to blog. I'll spare you the litany, and just stick with some randoms about bad news.

Apparently, we humans have more brain activity when confronted with bad news than with good news -- according to Psychology Today. There is a demonstrable surge of electrical activity in the brain when subjected to negative stimuli as compared to positive stimuli. Seems to help us survive when presented with danger.

According to Psychology Today, this laps over to our intimate relationships, and in at least one study, this has been shown to affect marital bliss. Couples that fight a lot can still be happily married, so long as they can balance the negativity from the fighting with sufficient positivity, and that happiness ratio appears to be 5 to 1. So, as long as a couple has five times as much positive interaction and feeling as negative, the couple tends to be stable and content.

Hmmm. Does this mean that I can step on my husband's toes once as long as I hug him five times?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Daylight Savings Time Again


The first Monday after the beginning of Spring Daylight Savings Time is the sleepiest day of the year around my house. We just don't do "springing forward" very well, and this time, my eldest daughter is on a trip to Washington, D.C., so she gets a double time change.

Sigh, but at least we're not alone in our sleep deprivation. Much of the rest of the world is waking up to a new schedule this week too.

Daylight saving time is called "summer time" in Britain, and "Sommerzeit" in Germany, while Italy uses "ora legale" or "legal time."

Notice how I slipped in "daylight saving time" instead of "daylight savings time?" Technically, we should be calling this period "daylight saving time" because the present participle "saving" is used as an adjective.

But, truly, I'm a bit too sleepy to get it right today.

Happy napping!

Thursday, February 24, 2011


"You were born an original. Don't die a copy."

-- John Mason

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Happy Birthday, Lamar!


LAMAR is the brainchild of author, Crystal Allen. Lamar is a funny, smart-alecky, and lovable young man -- even if he does manage to do something particularly rotten. For more info on this young man, visit Crystal's webpage:

Some randoms about Lamar:

1. One of Lamar's favorite sayings is "Holy Crackers and Cream Cheese!"

2. Lamar's hero is a bowler by the name of Bubba Sanders.

3. Lamar's best friend is Sergio Reyes.

For more randoms, you'll just have to read the book.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Happy Belated Birthday, HAUNTED

A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending a birthday party for a book, HAUNTED, by the wonderful and talented Joy Preble. HAUNTED is the sequel to DREAMING ANASTASIA, a book I downloaded onto my iPad and loved so much that I didn't put it down until I'd finished it!

So, check out Joy's own blog entry on her book birthday:

And then go buy both of her books!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day

Ah, love is in the air. And in the vase. Today is a day for cards and flowers. It's a day of symbolism and meaning, and the color of those flowers in the vase is meant to convey something.

Red roses for love.
Yellow roses for friendship.
Pink roses for friendship too.
White roses for a secret crush.
Lavender roses for love at first sight.
Red carnations for admiration.
White carnations for pure love.

Yes, it's Valentine's Day. And, in my house, it's a day to celebrate something especially wonderful. It's my oldest daughter's birthday.

Happy Birthday to the best Valentine's Day present ever. We love you!

Friday, February 4, 2011

No Show Snow Day

So, the kids had a Snow Day today. My hubby's office closed early yesterday and is closed all day today. My office was closed, but we telecommuted.

The only problem is that the snow was a 'no show.' How do we have a Snow Day with no snow? It's really a No Show Snow Day.

My friends from the north are laughing about the fact that we drained the City of Houston of people yesterday in anticipation of our big Snow Day.

See, we don't get them very often. Once every five years really. And, well, not today. But when we do have them, we have to make them really big events and go home to make hot chocolate and wish for warmer weather -- like the high of 72 degrees we had earlier in the week.

Today was really an Ice Day. Still cold, but more dangerous. So, even though my northern friends are laughing at how dainty we are, I'm not taking my non-four-wheel drive mini-van out until the ice is gone.

Snow drifts? Just something in our imagination here.

But, maybe, just maybe, one of my friends from up north will send a couple of pictures so that I can see snow on my No Show Snow Day.

Monday, January 31, 2011

A Hard Freeze

As I write this, a weather warning has been posted for my area about a possible Hard Freeze tonight with a possible Hard Freeze tomorrow night. To the folks up north, this means nothing other than -- It's winter, what do you expect?

But down here in the sunny South, we're not even sure what the weatherman means when he (or she) says that we're going to have a Hard Freeze.

So, I had to look it up. For my neighbors, that means temperatures below 25 degrees are possible for two hours or more tonight.

So what? some might ask. The "so what" is that this is the kind of freeze that destroys seasonal vegetation. Fortunately, I can't grow anything but silk plants, so this won't cause any major damage to my gardening efforts, but there are real crops out there that might suffer.

We get these so rarely that I'll probably have to look the term up again during the next Hard Freeze warning.

'Til then, I'm off to make sure that the heater is on after today's high of 72 degrees.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Dinner Conversation

Last night, the fam had dinner out. Before the food arrived, the five-year-old was drawing a picture on the back of her menu, when her dad asked a question.

Dad: "Will you draw me a Pegasus?"

FYO: "Yes, but I have to finish my drawing first."

Dad: "Do you even know what a Pegasus is?"

FYO: "It's a mythological creature with wings that looks like a pony."

Dad: " . . . "

Dad then turns to the seventh grader, and they launch into a conversation about federalism and the split of power between the federal and state governments.

What am I doing during all of this?

Making pretty patterns with the sugar and artificial sweetener packets.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Words to Live By

"A positive attitude may not solve all of your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort."

-- Herm Albright

Friday, January 7, 2011

Words, Words, Words

Why doesn't "four" rhyme with "our" or "hour"?

Why don't we spell "seven" "s-e-a-v-e-n" so that it looks like "heaven"?

And, who the heck came up with the spelling for "eight"?

Monday, January 3, 2011

A New Year, A Year Older

I was born in a town so small that, even though I wasn't born on New Year's Day, I was the New Year's Baby. I have newspaper clippings to prove it. Somewhere. Okay, maybe I've seen the newspaper clippings, and could probably dig them up to show you, but am not positive where they are right now.

So, with each New Year, I get older too. Which means that I have something in common with Koreans -- I'm just a day late. They count themselves older with each New Year, and in fact, they count the time in the womb as one year, so a newborn baby is one year-old at birth. That means that a baby born on December 31st will be two years old on January 1st.

I'm not going to tell you how old I am, but if you ask my youngest child, she'll be glad to do so.

Happy New Year!