Random (but not really)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Trick Or Treat!

We’ve lived here for 8 years, and today we got our first (and so far only) trick-or-treater.

We’ll ignore the fact that her parents had to drive half an hour to bring her, and just enjoy how adorable she is.

Hannah the Leopard

Hannah the Lepoard

Hannah the Lepoard

Hannah the Lepoard

Hannah the Lepoard

Written by Michelle at 8:41 pm      Comments (9)  Permalink
Categories: Holidays,House & Garden,Photos,West Virginia  

Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday Cat Blogging

Kit and Kat

What do you mean Grandmom doesn’t want us on her chair?!

Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (1)  Permalink
Categories: Cats,Photos  

Thursday, October 29, 2009

What I’ve Been Reading

Sometimes I get in the mood for a specific type of book. Recently, it’s been mysteries. But not cozies. Sorry cozy authors. My grandmother may love you, but you’re generally not my thing. I’d much rather have blood and guts and action. Kinda like the opposite of my life.

Anyway.

In my search for something I like, I stumbled upon Dana Stabenow‘s Kate Shugak series.

I’d read anthologies edited by Dana Stabenow, but had no idea she wrote mysteries, so when I stumbled across A Taint in the Blood I decided to pick it up and see if I liked it.

I did.

Kate Shugak lives in “The Park” in Alaska. Earlier in the series apparently she lived in Anchorage working for law enforcement, but at the point I wandered into the series she’d moved back to Niniltna and was working occasional investigations as her services were needed.

She’s a strong and independent woman who decides what she wants and goes after it. My favorite kind of heroine. She’s got flaws, and she recognizes this fact, but doesn’t let that keep her from being herself.

She’s also not afraid to bend the law in her search for justice. That always makes for an interesting moral dilemma when well done.

The secondary characters are also well done–they are distinct personalities, and I can usually tell by the dialog which characters are which. Always a strength in any book.

Now I’ve got a thing about series. I don’t often like to go backwards in a series (unless the series is written in such a way that book order is immaterial) and seeing that there were Bad Things in Kate’s past made me even more reluctant to go back in the series. However, after having read forward as far as I could, I decided to go back to just after the Very Bad Thing and work my way forward. That worked out quite well, except for the fact that I am now, once again, out of Kate Shugak books to read.

Grandmom hasn’t read any of these books yet, and I’m not sure if she will or not. There is boinking–although not a lot, and it’s not an all consuming part of the story. I think she might like them though; we’ll have to see.

The other nice thing about this series is that you can easily pick up any book and start the series. Kate does grow and change through the series, but you are given enough background that you don’t get lost without knowledge of what has gone previously. Again, another sign of good writing.

I have no idea how her portrayal of Alaska is–Dana Stabenow obviously loves where she lives–and I almost don’t want to know, because the mysteries are thoroughly enjoyable, and if they’re not as good as I hope, I don’t think I want to know.

Kate Shugak: Midnight Come Again (2000), The Singing of the Dead (2001), A Fine and Bitter Snow (2002), A Grave Denied (2003), A Taint in the Blood (2004), A Deeper Sleep (2007)

Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Books & Reading  

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Something in the Water? Something in the Food?

Came across a very disturbing article today. Girls as young as 11 are being diagnosed with breast cancer. How surprising is this? According to the article, “Only about 7 percent of breast cancer cases occur in patients under the age of 40.”

That’s a really small incidence rate for a very large percentage of the population.

The cases mentioned in the article occurred in girls with no family history of breast cancer. Often women with the BRCA1 or 2 genes develop breast cancer earlier than most women, but by earlier, that means their 20s and 30s, not before they have even reached puberty.

The article does not speculate as to the possible cases of these cases of breast cancer in young girls, but one has to wonder whether whether the chemicals in our food and water (hormones used to affect milk in cows jump immediately to mind) are leading to this affect.

Is there any direct evidence linking chemicals and hormones in the diet to reduced age and puberty and increased incidence of breast cancer? No. But we don’t seem to have any direct causal evidence, which would lead me–if I were a mother–to try and avoid these chemicals in my home and in the diet of my children.

But I’m not writing to point fingers. I’m writing because this is something that parents need to be aware of. If you have daughters–or know someone with daughters–please share this information with them.

Written by Michelle at 6:03 pm      Comments (1)  Permalink
Categories: Science, Health & Nature  

What Time Is It?

It’s word association time!!!!!

Today’s word: carriage

Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (26)  Permalink
Categories: Non-Sequiturs  

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

You Keep Using That Search Term

I do not think it means what you think it means.

female big brust picture
I’m not sure how Steven Brust would feel about that.

james madison admitted states to union
All by himself?

I just realized that my web host is only saving the top twenty search terms. Why on earth would I want just the top twenty? The weird ones appear only once.

Written by Michelle at 9:55 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Computers & Technology,Non-Sequiturs  

Michelle Is Silly

Everyone needs a little silliness in their lives.

Michelle_is_silly_1

Michelle_is_silly_2

Written by Michelle at 11:03 am      Comments (7)  Permalink
Categories: Non-Sequiturs,Photos  

Tasty Tuesday: Cinnamon Rolls

I love cinnamon rolls. Of course, I love them with walnuts and cream cheese icing, which are Right Out for Grandmom, so we I made plain ones.

Which are still really good.

Cinnamon Rolls
Dough:
3 1/2 cups white wheat flour
2 tsp yeast
3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp dry milk
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg plus water to make one cup liquid
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp softened butter
Filling:
1/4 cup softened butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon (3 tsp if you tbsp doesn’t fit in the jar)
Icing:
2 tbsp half and half
1 cup confectioners sugar

Cinnamon Rolls

I wasn’t thrilled with the way the dough was made. If I make it again I believe I’d proof the yeast as part of the process. As it was the directions had you simply mix everything together to form a smooth soft dough. Next time I’d proof the yeast in part of the water, then add in the remainder of the ingredients together.

Place the dough in a large greased bowl, over, and then allow to rise for at least an hour. Mine rose for closer to two hours, since I had other things going on.

Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls

Make the filling. I didn’t follow the directions at all here. Instead, I beat the butter, sugar, and cinnamon with the paddle attachment of my mixer, until I had a soft uniform spread.

Cinnamon Rolls

Once the dough has risen, roll it out into a rectangle.

Cinnamon Rolls

Spread the filling over the rolled out dough, leaving a strip of dough on the far end uncovered.

Cinnamon Rolls

Roll the dough to make a log.

Cinnamon Rolls

Move the dough to a cutting board (I destroyed a rolling mat once when I forgot to do this) and then slice the dough with a serrated knife.

Cinnamon Rolls

Place the rolls in a greased pan. I used a stoneware pan here and made the full batch, however, I usually grease two 8″ round cake pans, and place one in the freezer for later.

Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls

Since I wanted to rolls for breakfast, I then covered the rolls in plastic wrap and then foil, and placed them in the refrigerator overnight.

Place the rolls in a warm oven that is off to allow them to rise for about an hour, or longer, as needed.

Cinnamon Rolls

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Cinnamon Rolls

Cool for about ten minutes, than cover with icing.

Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls

Eat!

Cinnamon Rolls

Recipe is modified from The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion

Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Food,Photos  

Monday, October 26, 2009

That’s What You Think Is Offensive?

A post of Eric’s lead me to MSNBC’s “Most Offensive Costumes of 2009” and although one or two of them may have qualified as offensive, I thought most of them were actually hilarious.

I mean, a Bernie Madoff costume? That’s not offensive, that’s hilarious!

This on the other hand, is both offensive and hilarious. (NOTE: If you aren’t a WVU fan, you probably won’t get the joke. Also, totally safe for work.)
(more…)

Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (5)  Permalink
Categories: Holidays,West Virginia  

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sunday Flower Pr0n

We’ve apparently had the right amount of rain and perfect temperatures here for fall color in my yard.

Fall foliage

Burning bush and sugar maple.

Fall foliage

Sugar maple–my favorite tree in our yard.

Written by Michelle at 10:05 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: House & Garden,Photos  
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