Monthly Archives: January 2009

German: the language of love

So, the other day, I was helping Andrew study for his first German vocab quiz. He kept saying the article die (sounds like dee) as die (as in roll the die or die, irregular verbs, die!). He couldn’t remember the word for table (der Tisch)

I was helping him with pronunciation when Andrew commented: “Wow, you sound just like my German teacher.”

Six long, arduous years studying German. Vindication. At last! It was so worth it.

After a while, Bob called him over and whispered something in Andrew’s ear. Andrew’s eyes went wide, he held a hand over his mouth to keep in the giggle.

“Go tell that to Mommy,” Bob said.

Andrew marched over and said, “Ich liebe dich.” Then, “What? What did I say?”

He was still laughing because he’s twelve and anything that sounds even remotely off color delights twelve-year-old boys.

I told him: “You just said, ‘I love you.'”

So he said it again. And again. And Bob observed: “German, it’s such a beautiful language.”

I gave Andrew my sage advice for pronouncing German words: “When two vowels go walking, the last one does the talking.” That’s worth at least two years of German right there.

Andrew was suitably unimpressed. So I added, “Inch by inch, Russian’s a cinch, yard by yard, Russian is hard.”

“Ich liebe dich,” was all he said.

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Filed under Getting Schooled, Kids

Fortunately it’s only his second day

I found this on the little sticky note widget on my computer this morning:

guton morgan mami how’s the das buch

Yes, Andrew is taking German this quarter. Fortunately it’s only his second day.

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Filed under Kids

Over at JaNo today

I have a quick writing update over at JaNo today. Come for the updates, stay for the vintage Star Wars pencil cases.

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Filed under Writing

Unintended consequence of the baking club

So today during her allotted TV time, Miss B decided not to watch cartoons, or the Disney channel, but surfed on by those to watch …

The Food Network.

She was enthralled. An entire channel where they cook! It was a baking club! On TV!

She watched a couple of shows. One was with some beefcake guy. I want to say he had an Australian accent, but I’m not sure about that. He did have the tight T-shirt to show off his gym-sculpted pecs and biceps, oh, and this faux hawk looking hairstyle. Tommy, Jimmy, somebody? I don’t know.

Whatever. The woman he was professing to help with her dinner party looked like she wanted to smack him upside the head at one point. But the fondue they were making looked pretty good. The next show, some woman claimed we could cook an entire meal in thirty minutes. Sure we could.

The second she popped some kind of exotic peppers into this recessed grill type thing in her stove, she lost me. One, if it’s not in my fridge, it’s not happening in thirty minutes. Two, dude, that stove thing. I can’t find it on Google, so I’m pretty sure we’re talking science fiction. Kyra, however, loved it.

Hey, if she’s destined to be a foodie, more power to her. She can start cooking dinner. I think we can all agree that’s a win/win situation for everyone involved.

Thanks to the little Coming Next feature, I knew we were threatened with would be treated to Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee. Fortunately, true disaster was forestalled. Miss B decided to go play pretend and forgot about the Food Network for the time being.

I mean, you’ve seen this show, right? Even I know this isn’t cooking. Below is the (in)famous Kwanzaa cake. She doesn’t sprinkle it with corn nuts in this version, but I know I’ve seen that. Corn nuts! On a cake!

Oh, the humanity.

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Filed under Cooking (disasters), Video

Books 2008: Autographs and Ritas

autograph

Somehow during 2008 I managed to collect all these autographed books without really trying. And of course, Andrew and I got to meet John Green last year. I was going to post this earlier, but I was missing a book for the photo I wanted to take. So we ended up looking for … wait for it … Looking For Alaska.

It’s difficult to tell in the photo, but we probably should’ve bought two copiess of Looking for Alaska, one to keep in pristine condition and the other for Andrew to tote around in his backpack.

So. Books. Made of Awesome. Also awesome is when you get free books in the mail. This year, I get to judge the Ritas (and I totally forgot to sign up to judge the Golden Heart, but considering my schedule, it’s probably just as well).

But that’s about all I can say. I don’t think I can even mention the categories I’m judging at this point–it’s all very super secret double probation. But I will say I have an interesting variety.

Some updates:

This year, a new entry will be added to encyclopedias everywhere. When you look up “installation guide factory,” there will be a picture of me huddled over my laptop at work.

I am still managing to write despite this. I’m nobody’s speed demon (but then, I never write that way), but I’m up to 15,000 words in Dating on the Dork Side. Hey, I’ll take it.

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Filed under Books, Misc

You never know where you might end up

So I was procrastinating doing a little web surfing this morning when I discovered that an essay I wrote a few years back ended up in the syllabus for a creative writing course. To be more specific, it was the Kidd Tutorial at the University of Oregon creative writing program.

I have since been revised out of the course. But I was there, or rather, my essay, Learning to Lie Still, was there, under the lesson topic: THE WRITER IN THE WORLD: as witness, mirror, canary.

Of course, the “half-empty” side of me immediately thought: Hm, maybe I’m the negative example for that particular topic. You know, Personal Essay: You’re Doing It Wrong. Still, to put a positive spin on that scenario, I would still be providing many, many writers a valuable service, no?

Still, I “shared” a lesson with Susan Sontag, Eudora Welty, and Alice Walker, so no matter what anyone said or thought about my meager little essay, I’m completely psyched to have ended up there, if only once.

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Filed under Getting Schooled, Writing

And it’s all true!

I was going to blog about my perfectly lovely week, where quite possibly I spent more time commuting in my car than I did sleeping in my bed. Instead, I give you this video which is far, far funnier than anything I can come up with.

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Filed under Reading & Writing, Video

In which the baking club meets

The first two meetings of the Baking Club went very well. You might have noticed the link in the Twitter feed to The Pioneer Woman’s Spicy Molasses Cookies. The kids were skeptical at first, seeing as neither chocolate chips nor frosting was involved.

They changed their minds when they got their hands on the dough. We had a lot of fun rolling the cookies into balls then chasing them around in the sugar. Then, after they baked, we all couldn’t stop eating them. I wouldn’t say they were gone in sixty seconds, but they did vanish in less than twenty four hours.

Last night, we had girls-only Baking Club. Andrew went off to earn his Boy Scout Soil and Water Conservation badge and Miss B and I stayed home to make cupcakes.

Now, earlier, she bought a cupcake kit with her Borders gift card. However, when I went grocery shopping, I managed to purchase a cake mix (just in case), but no baking powder for the from-scratch variety. (Hey, I’m a quick bread/drop cookie kind of gal; I almost never use baking powder, so don’t have any on hand. That thump you hear is all the foodies hitting the floor in a dead faint.)

So, next week perhaps we’ll tackle from scratch. Hey, it’s an object lesson. First, we see what a cake mix provides; next, we’ll break down all the component parts and mix it ourselves. Dude, I didn’t even plan it like that.

The cupcakes were a hit with one and all. We ended up with twenty. Then, one mysteriously disappeared. It wasn’t Miss B. She was too busy creating our likenesses with frosting, pink sugar, and those little candy red hots. The boys weren’t home yet. The cat was asleep. The culprit?

The dog, in stealth mode (and believe me, she doesn’t do stealth all that well), nabbed it, and just it, leaving its brethren intact, if a bit shaken.

Andrew had one when he came home, then doubled back for seconds.

“Are they good?” I asked.

“Cha yeah!” he said, accompanied with an eye roll.

This can be loosely translated as: “Why yes, mother, they are excellent.”

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Filed under Cooking (disasters), Kids

Weekend update

You may have noticed the Geek Girl Twitter in the sidebar. Really. Geeky. I know.

I’m up to 8,278 words for Dating on the Dork Side.

I’m now in a baking club, membership: 2–me and Miss B. Anticipate an increase in cooking disasters.

I have a riveting post on the tale of our synthetic fur blankets, an in depth compare and contrast, if you will. I know you can’t wait, but you have to. It will be worth it. Trust me.

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Filed under Misc

The geek girl’s guide to creating a collage

Since a couple of people have asked, I decided to do a quick rundown of how to create a collage using Microsoft PowerPoint. It’s not fancy; it’s not really artistic (but then neither am I–fancy or artistic).

I’m using PowerPoint 2007 at the moment. If you have an earlier version, the directions may differ slightly.

  1. Open PowerPoint. You can use the default slide that appears as your starting point.
  2. Delete the title and subtitle text boxes.
  3. Right click on the slide.
  4. Select Format Background.
  5. Select Picture or texture fill.

From here, you can select one of the texture fills that come with PowerPoint or select your own wallpaper or image file as the background. For one collage I made, I used an actual photo of swimming pool water.

To continue:

  1. If the background is too dark, adjust to transparency to lighten it.
  2. Select Insert –>Picture to add images* to your collage.
  3. Once it’s complete, save the collage as its own image. Select Save As … and in the Save as type: field, select an image file type, such as JPEG.

You’ll receive message asking if you want to save only the current slide or all the slides in the presentation. Select current slide.

Now you have a wondrous image file of your collage that you can post on your blog or use as your desktop wallpaper as inspiration.

*I use royalty-free stock photography for many of my images. One of my favorite places to search is istockphoto.com. Dollar downloads: doesn’t get much better than that.

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Filed under Writing