Friday, May 30, 2008

More Training for the Triathlon

The littlest Geek has his very first Triathlon tomorrow. The last training run was last night. His older brother participated in the bike riding portion and managed to hit every mud puddle.

He insisted I take this picture.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Get used to it: It's a geek world

I knew if I lived long enough, I would finally be cool. Read this very informative and ACCURATE article here .

It contains the difference between a nerd and a geek (you knew there was one right?)
"A geek possesses a certain passion for specialized knowledge but also a high degree of cultural awareness and poise that a nerd lacks."

And, " If Holden Caulfield was the sensitive loner from the age of nerd oppression then Harry Potter was the magical leader in the age of GEEK EMPOWERMENT."*
*emphasis totally mine

And here's another quote, "They've [geeks, of course] have created a new definition of what it means to be cool, a definition that leaves out the talents of the jocks and the MBA types."*
*No offense to the jocks and MBA types, but you've had your day.

People find my blog searching for geeks all the time. Okay the actual search is "disco era geek", "geek birthday cake" (?), "geeky laugh", "geek mother present" etc. and they don't stick around too long, but that is because they are overcome with the amount of coolness they find here.

Somebody needs to go find those girls that wouldn't me eat lunch with me in the school cafeteria in seventh grade and tell them ... hmmmm.. What would a cool kid say? Oh yeah, NOTHING, they don't even exist in my cool cool world.*

*Please let me have my delusions, they are all I've got.

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Answer to - Guess the Safety Violation

Here is the picture from Wednesday.

Look above the cylinder. Yes that sign says EXIT. Emergency exits are for use in emergencies (I know, you would think that was obvious).

So picture this, a fire occurs in the building and the employees rush to evacuate. But FIRST, let move the large cylinder blocking the FIRE DOOR!

Many times Safety is just common sense!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Dinner at the Geek House

I had a birthday this week and I am feeling a bit old. They say to keep your brain sharp you should practice mental games. So today I am going to see if I can remember the last thirteen things I had for dinner.

Last night - I had jello, homemade jello with sour cherry juice. yum (Okay, my mom took me out for a huge lunch and I ate so much I wasn't hungry until nine o'clock.)

Tuesday - A big ice cream sundae with butterscotch, hot fudge, whipped cream, cashews and a Cherry on top. Shut up it was my birthday. The family had beefy stew.

Monday - Enchilada Casserole con Crock Cooker

Sunday - (oh man this could be embarrassing, it was just me and my youngest at home all weekend do I really want to admit how much junk I ate.) Okay honesty it is. I was cutting up some steak for a freezer meal for later this week and kept some out. I fried it up and ate it with some cream cheese wontons I "accidentally" bought in the grocery store. The steak was yummy, the wontons were icky.

Saturday - I was a bit better. I took some lettuce from my garden and made a chef salad with left over cooked chicken etc.

Friday - Pizza. I bought some premade dough at Trader Joes. The youngest had his GFCF pizza.

Thursday - Dijon Chicken

Wednesday - Beefy Bean Burritos

Tuesday - Chicken Pollo Loco

Monday - Pepper Steak

Sunday - Mother's Day! I had pork steaks (a St. Louis tradition) and all the fixin's, yummy.

Saturday...... I think grilled chicken?

Friday.... Pizza and chicken wing night for the boys, and I ate ....

I guess I might as well admit it - I am old. (((((sob)))))

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Time to Play - Guess the Safety Violation

This is a picture I took.

Is that one too easy? How about this one.
The one below is from somewhere in India.
(According to the unreliable source I took it from.)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Some of My Favorite Things

In No Particular Order

1. The song "My Favorite Things". It was one of the first songs I sang as a solo in the Grade School Solo and Ensemble Contest.

2. Bavarian Chocolate Coffee - This is my newest addiction, I would take a picture but I am currently out of it and shortly leaving to buy more.

3. My favorite coffe mug - It is the perfect size and has the perfectly shaped lip. It is best when filled with Bavarian Chocolate coffee.

My niece gave me this as a present for being in her wedding.

4. Gardening

5. Eating Food Fresh From the Garden

6. Winning Contests

7. Getting gifts in the mail

8. Reading

9. Cooking

10. Eating

One thing I don't like is early morning phone calls from my son's school. No good can ever come from that.

Monday, May 19, 2008

I am Friends With a Real Life Published Author

Meet my friend Esther

She has published a book of her poetry .

Esther worked in the same department as I did when I began my first job as an engineer. The fact that Esther was working in an engineering department might not seem unusual until you remember the times. At this time, women were just beginning to enter this field. Although there were several female engineers that were hired the same year I was, the oldest female engineer in the department was only four year older. Esther was an Engineering Technician and a role model for us although I know she would never think of herself as one. I think she just thought of herself as mother who worked to support her children. Esther demonstrated that you could be professional, intelligent -- and female. This was not easy in the male dominated aerospace industry in the Eighties. oh I could write a book!

She embraced her role of mother in the office also. We happily let her adopt us and she would peel apples and slice them for us, and kept her bottom drawer full of snacks and peanut butter and crackers. Her mother made beautiful quilts and I was lucky (and greatful) to receive one as a gift. My son now uses that quilt on his bed. Esther's family was strong in their faith and sometime it gives great pleasure in thinking that maybe as her mother stitched this quilt, maybe she was praying, and perhaps those prayers now surround my son as he sleeps.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Come and Visit My Garden

Welcome to my garden. I almost have everything planted.

Here is my lettuce, I have already had my first salad. It was yummy!

Please pay no attention to the surrounding yard (swamp). Weather forecasters say it might stop raining someday or maybe we should start building an ark.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Ten Things I Do Well

The Tuesday Ten subject is to write ten things that I do well. It was tough to do, I could tell you ten things I do wrong much faster (without help from my family, thank you very much.) But I love a challenge, so here’s what I have come up with.

1. I read very fast.

2. I can multitask and concentrate on many things at one time, watch TV, play sudoku…

3. I can hyperfocus. This worked well for me when I was an engineering student, I could immerse myself into a problem set and emerge hours later. I can still find that zone sometimes. Once I was working on a new lecture series so I went to the office for some quiet. Mr. Geek called to check on me, I am doing fine and getting a lot done so I said I probably will work for another hour so the family should eat dinner without me. I hung up the phone, continued my work when the phone rang. (How does he expect me to get any work done if he keeps calling me, I thought) “What?!” I asked exasperated. “Are you coming home tonight?” he asked. "What?! What time is it?" Four hours had passed. Whoa.

4. I like to tell real world examples of engineering principles. I swear this can be a good thing, especially when I am teaching.

Now in the world of food and cooking:

5. I am not afraid to try new and different recipes. I tried a new recipe for Mother’s Day that even I thought was a bit out there. People went back for seconds, it was yummy.

6. I am not afraid to eat new foods. My favorite part of Grad school was the Christmas parties in which everyone brought food to share. Most of the grad students were from China or India and there were several from the MidEast and Southeast Asia (Vietnam and Thailand). It was a huge international buffet. At first everyone hung back a bit afraid of the unfamiliar food and not wanting to offend anyone, but before long everyone was just asking, “What is this?” and jumping in. There are dishes I have eaten there that I am still trying to duplicate.

7. I enjoy making a dinner out of leftovers and things in the house. I may not be as good as these guys:

8. Per my son, I make the best brownies and hamburger pie.

9. I rock at American Idol on the Wii. I got 100% on My Heart Will Go On on EXPERT! I expect a call from Simon, Randy and Paula any day now.


Wow this is tough. In a desperate bid for attention and positive reinforcement (and leaving myself wide open for criticism) I am going to leave the last one open for now for discussion in the comments. Come on, you know you want to say something.

Ten On Tuesday

Monday, May 12, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

I hope all of you moms out there had a really happy Mother's Day! Here is a note from my youngest son. Transalation:Happy's Mothers Day Mom. If we didn't have you we wouldn't have a Mother's Day. But that won't happen I know and Mom, Happy Mother's Day. I'm glad God made Mother's Day to get (give?) Mom's love.

And PRESENTS, I got PRESENTS!! American Idol for Wii! And by the way, Simon LOVES me! He thinks I might be the next BIG THING!

I also received this on mother's day. Although it was not technically a present, I think it represents mother's day the best. These plants are Lily of the Valley. They originated in my Grandmother's garden. My mom moved some to her garden and my sisters' gardens. Now I will be able to grow these same flowers.

What an awesome tradition from mother to daughter.

Friday, May 9, 2008

More GROSS Things

Yesterday I told you some thing that I found gross on a global scale. Today I would like to share (overshare?) some weird things I think are gross on a personal level.

Dried Mud on My Fingers - If I am working in the mud and mud gets on my hands it's no big, but if that mud dries and then I accidentally rub my fingers together, EEEEWWW! I get chills just thinking about it.

During the scene in Ghost where Demi Moore and Patrick Swazi are making the clay pot together and then they begin rubbing there hands all other each other, without washing the mud off. And you know by the time they are done at least some of that mud will be dried and then he might touch her again and the sound of dried mud scraping against dried mud. (Silent GASP) Can you feel my horror!??

The Sound of Styrofoam rubbing on Styrofoam - If you have ever bought a cheap Styrofoam cooler, there is a squeak when you place the lid on tightly. (squirming just imagining it.)

The Smell of Wintergreen - It is everywhere, Ben-Gay and worse Wint-O- Green Lifesavers. The smell reminds me of the smell of Pepto-Bismal. My mom believed Pepto-Bismal cured everything, so if we were feeling sick she gave us a spoonful of that pink smelly stuff. At which point I would usually upchuck it, almost immediately, once in the kitchen sink (I know TMI). To this day that smell brings about an involuntary gag reflex.

Sunday at church they were giving Wint-O-Green Lifesavers to all the children (attached to a card that probably said something profound, how do I know I ran from them) and I spent the morning moving to pockets of fresh air as I could find them.

Okay now your turn, I know you all have some weird and unusual things that gross you out--Fess Up!!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Thirteen GROSS Things

The ThursdayThirteen subject today is GROSS. I can’t think of anything more gross and disgusting than an industrial accident that could have be prevented. At the end of each semester that I teach, I require the students to choose an accident to write a paper on and present in class. There is always much wailing and gnashing of teeth when I announce this, but after the presentations most of the students realize that it was the best part of the semester (and then they throw roses and cash at my feet.)

Here are thirteen of the presentations this semester.

Minamata – It is difficult to call this an accident. This is a case of a corporation dumping untreated chemical waste(knowingly and mostly legal) that was loaded with heavy metals most notably mercury into the Minamata Bay. The company continued this dumping for decades and only stopped when the chemical process no longer required mercury. The result was the mercury poisoning of generations of Japanese fishermen and their families.

DeBruce Grain Elevator Explosion – Grain Elevators are all over rural US and don’t appear to be dangerous, but grain dust explosion are powerful and deadly.

Praxair – This accident happened in St. Louis a few hot summers ago. The scene of compressed gas cylinders flying though the air made for memorable television news coverage.

Mexico City Explosion – In 1985, horribly large LPG (propane and butane) explosions incinerated hundreds of nearby residents in their sleep.

Texas City Disaster - This is the Granddaddy of all US disasters. It happened just after WWII when a large ship containing ammonium nitrate (used in the OK City bombing) exploded killing the crew, the firefighters and several hundred onlookers

BP America Refinery Explosion - A much more recent explosion in Texas City in 2005, that proves that the need for safety education is needed more than ever. The list of things that had to go wrong for this accident to occur is astounding and yet it happened.

Boston Molasses Flood – Although this incident that happened nearly 90 years ago, there are some scary similarities to recent accidents. It starts off sounding like a joke, what is slower than molasses in January. Well this molasses wave traveled 35 miles per hour and was responsible for 21 deaths and hundreds of injuries.

Exxon Valdez – THE environmental disaster of this generation.

Ixtoc Oil Spill – The largest (no scratch that) second largest oil spill in the world after the Gulf War release, it lasted months.

Mayak Nuclear Disaster – The world’s second largest nuclear disaster after Chernobyl, it occurred during the cold war and information is only now being released.

Three Mile Island – This accident is considered to have stopped the nuclear power industry in the US.

Seveso – This was a large release of Dioxin in Italy.

Jilin Chemical Plant Explosion - The details of this explosion have never been released. The spill of toxic chemicals that flowed down river and into neighboring countries was hard to hide.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Tuesday Ten - Ten Things I Have Planted

After a weekend of very weird weather (Saturday we wore hats and gloves to the soccer game, Sunday, we wore shorts and sandals) I finally was able to put some stuff into the ground. Here is what I have planted so far. (I added the Latin name to just in case some really smart gardener accidentally stumbles upon this site through google and would like to offer me some free advice.)


Sweet Basil - Ocimum basilicum

Provence Lavender - lavandula intermedia

Fernleaf dill - Anethum graveolens

Rosemary - Rosmarinus officinalis

Chamomile - Chamaemelum nobile


Tomato - Beefsteak

Pepper - Sweet Bell (Red)

Squash - Burpee's hybrid zucchini I planted these as seeds within the lettuce bed. My goal is that as the lettuce crop ends, (Lettuce grown in the hot summer is yucky.) the zucchini will be mature enough to cover the garden. I just have to get the timing right. Then next September, I can pull out the zucchini and plant another crop of lettuce.


Marigold - Happy Day Mix I love marigolds because they flower all summer long, reseed themselves, are virtually indestructible and best yet -- repel rabbits. Yippee.

Dianthus "Neon Star" - Clavelina

Monday, May 5, 2008

I Won I Won I Won!

After entering every contest I come across in bloggerspace (and losing) I checked back in at Kim Stagliano's blog and I saw "ROBIN IS THE WINNER" . The winner! WOOHOOO!
(Hush I don't get out much.)

Just days later this arrives.

A book just for me!

And even a personal note from Kim.

I can't wait to start reading.

Must. grade. papers. before. starting. new. book.

I'll review it as soon as I can.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Herb Garden

Yesterday as I planned I went to the store to buy some herb and plants for my garden. this is what I bought.

But this morning when I went to plant them, the sky looked like this.

I was veryvery sad.

So I thought I would take this opportunity to tell you all of a book that changed my life. Really it was life changing. Okay maybe it only changed the way I garden, but it changed it in such a way that the role of gardening changed in my life forever. (too over the top?)

See all my life I have enjoyed gardening, sorta kinda. I enjoy picking out the seeds. I enjoy planning where to plant everything. I enjoy watching the first seeds sprout. I enjoy biting into a fresh tomato right from the garden.

Pretty much everything else sucked. I hated digging up the soil. The soil in this part of the country is a loamy silty clay capable only of growing spectacular weeds. Every year I would dig up the garden, add bag after bag of mulch, peat, top soil etc. By mid July, I would have a spectacular crop of weeds, and by then it was too dog-gone hot to really care. Next year I'd start over, and amazingly the ground had "absorbed" the peat and topsoil and turned back into clay, hard packed clay ugh!

Then I found this book in the bargain section of Borders (cue angels singing).

The 20-Minute Vegetable Gardener - Gourmet Gardening for the Rest of Us.

Twenty minutes a day, exactly the amount of time I wanted to spend!!

The biggest trick is starting with raised beds. This necessitates a larger outlay of time and materials the first year, BUT it will pay off year after year. Digging up the garden at the beginning of the season takes minutes. Because you can control the water and nutrients, you can plant the crop more dense, that means more good plants means less room for weeds. Fewer weeds means less weeding, yippee!

And that my friends, is the beginning of my gardening adventure. Now each year I experiment with different types of lettuce, tomatoes and herbs. Sometimes I add a row of carrots just to watch the look on the kids faces as they pull them from the ground. For kids who may have only seen carrots in the store finding them underground is as good as a magic trick.

And maybe tomorrow, I will continue with actual planting... (rain is good but enough already)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

My Herb Garden

It looks like we may have finally gotten the last frost this week. To celebrate the ending of winter (finally) and the beginning of May, I am going to start planting my herb garden.

This is what I plan to grow.

1. Oregano - This is a hardy perennial that I don't think I could kill if I tried. (My kind of plant!)

2. Sage - This also came back this year. It doesn't always and with all the snow this winter it was a nice surprise.

3. Basil - My favorite herb of all time. Trust me once you have eaten fresh basil you will crave it in your pasta sauce, on your pizza, in a salad. yum

4. Rosemary - My second favorite herb. In the summer I love to cook a whole chicken with rosemary on the grill. MMmmm, add some grilled new potatoes and asparagus, maybe corn on the cob and .... I just need a moment....

5. Thyme - Good in the baked chicken and soups.

6. Marjoram - We have GREAT pasta sauce all summer.

7. Thai Basil - All basil is not the same. I grew this for the first time last summer and enjoyed this in curry.

8. Cilantro - A controversial herb in the Geek house. I love it, Mr Geek hates it.

9. Chamomile - Not only does this make good tea, but it have pretty white flowers

10. Lavender - Sometime I grow plants just because I like to. I have never used lavender for anything, but I like having the option.

11. Parsley - Two reason - First I love fresh parsley, but even better Swallowtail butterfly caterpillars love parsley. Each year we try to capture one of these caterpillars and watch it turn into a butterfly right in out kitchen. (I'll take pictures.)

That leaves two opening for impulse buys at the store. I will fill them in when I decide.

Any suggestion?