Category Archives: General silliness

Inherited Bookishness

Warning: book-related geekery ahead!

Today SillyBilly and I had a book-lovin’ afternoon. First we watched this video of a modern book bindery that a fellow EFA member mentioned on our group discussion board (double click to open this one):

This contrasted nicely with another video we watched a few months ago, on hot metal printing circa 1947:

We were amazed to see the differences: the technology, from stamping each letter into metal, lining them all up in order by hand, and pressing them into a copper plate, to an almost fully automated, computer-controlled assembly line. And the similarities: it’s still just paper, cardboard, and glue.

This inspired SillyBilly to continue working on his book, which received its table of contents and first page today:

The Haunted Mansion
The Haunted Mansion

Table of Contents
By D. Hunt
(Table of Contents)
1) The Powerful Goo
(2-7 still untitled)
7 Chapters!
To Mama from D.

There was a dark, dark forest and there was a colony of ghosts. There was a very special rock that was powerful that the ghosts…

(I don’t know what’s coming next…. I’ll keep you all informed.)

I love that dark, dark, forest. It’s hard to see, but the red thing is the eerie glow of a ghost’s eyes.

Later at dinner I was describing the modern bindery video to Anthropapa and Napoleona. Evidently it caught her imagination too, because after dinner I heard them playing with books: SillyBilly was making little machine sounds (whssshhht! ffffft!) as he slid books down the tilted footrest of our recliner, while Napoleona “inspected” the books as they came down, checking for proper pagination and end paper gluing.

Imitation at its finest! Videos might not be a strictly approved Waldorf activity, but I love what kind of art and play it inspired today.

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Filed under art, Books, editing, General silliness, Napoleona, play, SillyBilly, Writing

Foreign Languages

I love learning languages. Most of them have leaked out of my brain by now through disuse, but I’ve studied a few. This is what I’ve accomplished so far:

English: mother tongue, duh.
Spanish: 3 years in high school
Latin: 1 year in high school
French, German: a few weeks here and there
Italian: 3 years in college, just missed minoring in it
Russian: a few phrases that cannot be shared on a family-oriented blog

I’d love to learn German next. Because my grandmother was German, because it’s interesting, because I could read Steiner in the original. But then I found this commentary by Mark Twain that gives me pause:

Now here is a sentence from a popular and excellent German novel — with a slight parenthesis in it. I will make a perfectly literal translation, and throw in the parenthesis-marks and some hyphens for the assistance of the reader — though in the original there are no parenthesis-marks or hyphens, and the reader is left to flounder through to the remote verb the best way he can:

“But when he, upon the street, the (in-satin-and-silk-covered-now -very-unconstrained-after-the–newest-fashioned-dressed) government counselor’s wife met,” etc., etc.

Wenn er aber auf der Strasse der in Sammt und Seide gehüllten jetzt sehr ungenirt nach der neusten Mode gekleideten Regierungsräthin begegnet.

That is from The Old Mamselle’s Secret, by Mrs. Marlitt. And that sentence is constructed upon the most approved German model. You observe how far that verb is from the reader’s base of operations; well, in a German newspaper they put their verb away over on the next page; and I have heard that sometimes after stringing along the exciting preliminaries and parentheses for a column or two, they get in a hurry and have to go to press without getting to the verb at all. Of course, then, the reader is left in a very exhausted and ignorant state.

Of course, I don’t think I actually have the time or energy to learn a new language, but a girl can dream, right?

(PS: To Papa Bradstein, who recently tagged me for the Infernal Eight Things Meme…not enough brain cells available for that right now. I’ll come back to it. Even though NaBloPoMo is NoMo.)

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Targeted Marketing Fun

An old friend of mine is involved in software research that involves targeting shopping and dining suggestions to your cell phone, based on data accumulated from your text messages, GPS, coordinates, and so on. I got to thinking about those ubiquitous Google ads in the sidebar of my email screens. This is what came up the other day while I was writing an email to the raw milk group I coordinate:

Meat = Animal Cruelty
Watch the video the meat industry doesn’t want you to see.
http://www.ChooseVeg.com
(Um, we’re not eating the cows, just milking them.)

Raw Grass-fed Cheese
Artisan cheese high in CLA from the raw milk of cows on pasture.
http://www.grassfedtraditions.com
(Do they feed grass to the cheese?)

Cattle Grazing Research
Free Video/CD/DVD on grazing research with proven solutions.
http://www.beefgraze.com
(Thanks, but we’ve got no actual cows.)

Thick Premium Bully Stick
Processed in an Official Certified USDA Facility. 100% all natural.
http://www.digitpet.com
(This was the weirdest one: I had never heard of these items. Now I wish I never had.)

Cow Sense Software
The premier cattle management information system. Free Trial!
http://www.midwestmicro.com
(Personally, I prefer nonsensical cattle.)

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Filed under computers, General silliness

A Message from the Bard

I promised Anthropapa that in the interest of familial harmony, I would not use the computer tonight. Not, as you might think, in order to have a nice chat, some nice smooching, or anything like that. No, it’s so I can hem some of his pants.

So, instead of finishing up the long post I wrote last night, I thought I’d share what my iGoogle “Shakespearean Insult” generator gave me this morning:

[Thou] hath more hair than wit, and more faults than hairs, and more wealth than faults.
-Taken from: The Two Gentlemen of Verona

It’s eerie how well that describes me today, except for that wealth bit. More hair than wit…was that the world’s first blonde joke?

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Why I’m a Big Editing Geek…

Because I laugh my tuchus off sometimes while reading the Q&A entries on the online Chicago Manual of Style:

Q. Is it ever possible to put a period after other punctuation as in: He had asked, “Will she go?.”

A. It’s definitely possible, but it would be wrong.

Q. For those who make a hobby of cruising garage sales, are they going “garage sale-ing,” “garage saling,” or “garage saleing?” Or are they not permitted this usage?

A. Oh, my. Is garage saleing anything like parasailing? The mind boggles. As you suspected, this phrase would not survive the red pencil at Chicago. (Why can’t you just go to garage sales?) I can tell you that suffixes like “ing” don’t normally take a hyphen. After that, you’re on your own.

Q. If Susan has a master’s degree in publishing, does Betty have master’s degrees in publishing and literature?

A. I have no idea, but I can tell you that the question is styled correctly.

Q. At the annual meeting of our local PBK chapter, dispute on the pronunciation of “archival” arose: whether the stress falls on the first or the second syllable. Give us your wisdom. I will pass it on in the column I write weekly in a local paper about any subject that pops into my head.

A. As a style guide for writers, CMOS must resist the temptation to weigh in on an issue of pronunciation. We are editors, absorbed in our manuscripts. We can go for days without even speaking. I suggest you consult the linguists who write dictionaries for this purpose. (I’m sorry this won’t give you anything to put in your column, but thanks for your help with mine.)

And thank you to you witty CMOS editors for helping with mine!

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Filed under editing, freelancing, General silliness

Halloween Lantern Walk


Another autumn, another Waldorf Lantern Walk.

To elaborate for those of my 6-7 loyal readers who aren’t familiar with the Waldorf world — Halloween is no exception to our general avoidance of commercialized holiday celebrations.

There is no trick-or-treating. There is no candy.

There are costumes, and darkness and light, and a small treat at the end. (Biodynamic raisins, this year.) It’s a bit of Halloween, a bit of Martinmas, all rolled into one.

At Rudolf Steiner College and Sunbridge College (the two largest Waldorf teacher training colleges in the US), the students, faculty, and staff create a beautiful Halloween experience for the children of the community. On campus grounds they create scenes from fairy tales, pirate adventures, undersea realms, water fairies, and other imaginative pictures for the children. Years ago, RSC also had a “Perilous Path” for older children, complete with goblins jumping out at those brave enough to walk the path (the children only need say “I am the light!” for the goblins to be dispelled).

Many of the scenes are enacted in silence; some are stories abridged to a few scenes, while others are simply tableaux. In this way, the children’s imaginations are inspired. For the youngest ones, just being out after dark, walking along a dimly lit path, is magical!

The college students also get a taste of the work and joy of creating a community festival, similar to what many of them will do once they are teachers at Waldorf schools.

For several years Anthropapa and I participated in Lantern Walks. One year we were the King and Queen of the Undersea Realm, complete with a quite fishy song Anthropapa wrote for us to sing! “Come dance with us, come swim with us, under the sea so blue…” With our fellow students, we swathed a small classroom in blue and green cloth, draped a stack of folding tables for our royal dais, and strewed the room with ocean creatures made of paper and cloth. One student with metalworking skills made us crowns and a trident!

For the last two years, the Lantern Walk has gone right through our backyard…so our jack-o’lanterns are part of the overall decor, and the kids had the thrill of watching some friends put up an enormous (full-size) tepee next door! Our yard is also graced with a small fire ring as a result of the Rumpelstiltskin story taking up residence there last year. But the best part is that tonight from 5:45-8 pm, we had to turn all the lights out in our house. That meant candles, and lots of them. Even pooping before bedtime in the dark!

This year’s favorites, according to SillyBilly and Napoleona: Snow White & Rose Red (complete with Bear!); the Witch and Wizard Stirring Their Potions; and the Pirates Digging Up Treasure, Fighting Over Treasure, And Then Making Up And Sharing The Treasure.

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Filed under Family, General silliness, waldorf education

I couldn’t resist…

funny cat pictures & lolcats - imvisible corn on da cob

You can all thank Charlotte for this. I haven’t laughed that hard in….well, I don’t know. Maybe never.

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Twittery post

Seems like short-attention-span land around here. Or maybe I’m just saving up all the thoughtful, meaningful posts for NaBloPoMo. Bwahahahaha…I’ll never tell!

* * *

It’s raining here right now….we needed that. Though I’m sure the mold levels will now officially go through the roof, it’s getting cooler and the leaves are really turning beautifully now.

Earlier today I was working by an open window when I heard a bunch of kids walking back to the Waldorf school from the playing field nearby…they were lustily singing “Doe, a Deer.” Sweet.

SillyBilly evidently knows how to open his bedroom window. The one that looks out over the one-story drop down to the concrete outside the basement door. After some nausea- and tears-inducing freakouts (on my part), I think we’ve imparted to him that it’s not OK to open the window. And I think he doesn’t understand how to work the little tabs that pop out to stop the window from raising more than 3 inches. But I’m sure he’ll get that one of these days…

We got out the down comforter from storage and put it on the bed last night. Mmmmm, snuggly. Now if it would only cool down again to merit it!

Imaginative play triumph #4,239: yesterday the kids were making “second breakfast” with their wooden play kitchen after we finished real breakfast. My dear little hobbits! And today, Napoleona was going around the house putting small, colored wooden blocks here and there, saying that they were candles…”cool ones, Mama, the ones that only burn you a little bit, for one day. The burning hot ones are for Christmas time. These are for Halloween night.”

We splurged on going out to dinner tonight. Turkish food, yum. I am constantly amazed and grateful at the kids’ ability to eat just about anything. We had baba ganoush, tomato/cucumber salad (Çoban Salatası) with shredded feta cheese, lamb kebab, and tiny dumplings (Mantı) in yogurt and tomato sauce, with rice pudding and caramelized milk pudding (Kazandibi) for dessert!

Still trying to figure out why the kids have been kinda whacked out the last few days. Perhaps it’s just tiredness from the vacation…evidently they have been taking big naps at daycare. Or maybe it’s their souls that are tired, from being driven all over creation and being away from home for so long, as Anthropapa suggested to me tonight. We’ll have to spend some time outside in the fresh air tomorrow.

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Filed under Family, Food, General silliness, life, Parenting

Stops and Starts

Tomorrow morning we’re going on our insanely long road trip from NYC to Augusta, GA, with a “side trip” to Florida — that’s about 2200 miles (3500 km for my overseas readership). With two kids.

The last two days have been composed of not enough sleep and way too many errands. Grammy’s here to play with and take care of the kids, who are totally amped up by her arrival and who haven’t been sleeping as much as usual.

The last two days have also been peppered with odd experiences while running said errands. I thought I’d share them with my loyal 8-9 readers, just to give you all a taste of a day in the life of a suburban American mom.

The Department of Motor Vehicles

I realized on Thursday that it would probably be wise to re-register the car before our trip, since I had let the registration lapse. The first challenge was finding the DMV, which for some reason in this county is not in the most populous area. In fact it’s in an area with many winding streets, and road construction that forced me off my Google-mapped route into unknown territory. After driving around fairly cluelessly for 5 minutes I got directions at a gas station.

This DMV functions differently than the ones I remember from California. Here, you have to first stand in the “Information” line (nowhere is that posted on any signs, just like many other things here, they just expect you to know these things), from whence you will be given your alphanumeric receipt. Multiple screens flash these codes to let people know when their turn will come, as well as being announced over an intercom. Very efficient, I guess.

I was glad of it however, when I suddenly realized that the title to the car only had Anthropapa’s name on it, and I couldn’t remember if the registration had only his name or mine as well. I did not relish the thought of filling out a long form, waiting God knows how long, and then being told to go away and try again another time.

The Information Line

The harried woman behind the counter listened to my question about the title, and told me she could look up the registration for me. I handed her the title and she tapped the numbers into her computer.

Then she sat and gazed at the screen for the longest time.

Then she typed in some more numbers, or possibly some letters. More gazing ensued.

Then she finally said that my name was there too, so she thought I could update the registration without Anthropapa’s drivers license. She handed me my receipt.

To my utter shock, my number came up and was announced immediately. And I mean that I had only walked about 20 feet before I saw my number flash up there. I actually gasped, right there in the DMV. I had never before made it up to the counter at the DMV in under 30 minutes.

Window Number 8

I explained my predicament again to a slightly less harried woman. I feel that I have to describe this woman in some detail due to her interesting distinguishing features.

She was wearing sunglasses, evidently to shield her from the harsh glare of the fluorescent lighting. She appeared to have had a skin graft over the end of her nose and her upper lip. She had a delightful Jamaican accent, which made me think that at any moment she would tell me that my car was in fact registered to John Smallberries.

After taking the title and pecking around on her computer, the nice Jamaican lady then laid this one on me:

“I can’t find your car. What’s the licence plate number?”

I stammered something about having to go check but that I could remember the first three letters. Luckily, she found the car, told me the license plate number, and said that I could register the car all by my bitty self. Which I did, after filling out the form and paying the nice Jamaican lady $55. (Not a bribe, the actual registration fee for the next 2 years.)

Total time in the DMV? A mind-boggling 30 minutes. That’s got to be some kind of record.

It’s the Thought That Counts

When I went back out to the car, I thought to myself, why assume that Anthropapa will handle putting the registration sticker on the window (the logic being that all things car-ish are his domain)? I’ll take care of it myself, and won’t he think I’m so kind for thinking of it?

Now’s the time to ‘fess up that we do not in fact have a car per se, we have a good old fashioned gas-guzzing minivan. And this particular minivan has one of those protruding snouts that creates a very acute angle between the windshield and the dashboard. I was able to wedge a few fingers in there where — somehow — Anthropapa had put the last registration sticker. The sun was beating down on me through the glass, and I was feeling very thirsty, cranky, and tired.

Let’s just say that I was able to pick off a 1×2 mm square piece of the old sticker, and shoved the new registration sticker into the glove compartment.

Expect light posting next week (as if there’s been heavy posting lately), depending on whether Great-grandpa Fred’s got Internet access and whether anything interesting happens. There have been rumors of fishing rods for the kids and way too many relatives in attendance, so who knows what might happen!

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Filed under General silliness, life

Two Things

Another night, more fried brain cells. The rest of the week will probably have to be a non-work-related-Internet-free zone. Most of my 7 loyal readers have seen and/or done this one already, so no tags today.


Two Names You Go By:

  1. Mama
  2. Pookie (my mother only, thank you!)

Two Things You Are Wearing Right Now:

  1. blue tie-dye t-shirt
  2. abalone shell hair clip (no, I’m not actually a hippie, but I play one occasionally)

Two Things You Would Want (or have) in a Relationship:

  1. trust
  2. laughter

Two of Your Favorite Things to Do:

  1. waste time on Facebook/blogging
  2. knitting and crocheting

Two Things You Want Very Badly At The Moment:

  1. someone to wash the dishes and do the laundry
  2. five more days added to this week before my latest project is due

Two Longest Car Rides:

  1. from Los Angeles to Corvallis, Oregon (900 miles, when I was a baby and again at 7 years old)
  2. from New York City to Augusta, Georgia (800 miles, coming up at the beginning of next month!)

Two Favorite Holidays:

  1. Christmas/Hannukah
  2. Halloween

Two Favorite Beverages:

  1. coffee
  2. homemade kefir

Two Things About Me You May Not Have Known:

  1. I can read Italian fairly well.
  2. I can’t swim and have no desire to.

Two Jobs I Have Had in My Life:

  1. library page
  2. running a bag-sealing machine in an electronics parts factory

Two Movies I Would Watch Over and Over:

  1. Amadeus
  2. White (Trois Couleurs)

Two Places I Have lived:

  1. Pollock Pines, CA
  2. Newport Beach, CA

Two of My Favorite Foods:

  1. sushi
  2. bacon

Two Places I’d Rather Be Right Now:

  1. Vienna
  2. a cruise ship with Waldorf-style child care!

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Filed under General silliness, Memes