Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Portents of a Cold Winter

When grandparents are far, we revel in the warmth that others shower on us and our girls. When they give us handmade presents, we bask in the love they send in a special way. But perhaps they just knew that it will be an unusually cold winter for us. Or that little girls need colorful tents and forts as they spend many hours indoors.

From the hands of an adopted Grandma and Aunt (don't we call all of them nice folks, aunts and uncles?) Wanda, crocheted blankets with signs of spring: yellow tulips.

And from Anda's sister, not ever called Lola, and forever called Tita Femme, granny square blankets in colors that complement the receivers' personalities.

Thank you for your wonderful works and gifts!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Happy Santa Lucia Day!

It was a cold morning (--the heater broke and we didn't have heat through the night!) Yes, it was very cold, and the Parents were hiding in layers of blankets and a comforter. Then lo! Two barefoot Daughters dressed in white, walked in the room to warm us up with mugs of hot drinks and a big plate of cranberry bread. They were aglow --mostly from the big smiles they sported, as the candles on their wreaths were made of paper, because this year, they finally pulled off a Santa Lucia morning breakfast. All on their own.

Next year, they hope to walk in singing this song --

Now 'neath the silver moon ocean is glowing.
O'er the calm waters soft winds are blowing.
Where balmy breezes blow, all things invite us,
And as we gently row, all things delight us.

Hark! How the sailors' cry joyously echoes nigh:
"Santa Lucia, Santa Lucia!"

Since they're part Italian, maybe they'll learn it in Italian instead! Their Grand-Nana would have been proud.

DDR: Blow by Blow

Some of you know my tweets. Some of you don't. Well, now you will. Here's a rundown on yesterday's work-out, because you, my readers, demanded to know!

  • Working out. DDR Ultramix2. Excuse me? B? on Jet World? I DON'T THINK SO. Bumped that puppy up to an A. Now, movin' on!

  • You know, as much as I like to rag on it & it is ripped, there's nothing like Red Octane dance pads. Parallel Floaters on anything else? No.

  • Diamond Jealousy: C? No: A! Guilty: B? No: A! Done. I guess I haven't played DDR Ultra2 in a (long) while.

  • What is this, an old game save? Helpless C⇒A. Yes, please, and done.

  • You know what I hate? I hate FCing a song in practice mode but not in score mode. Well, who is better? The song or me? Me. Waverer A⇒AA.

  • Of course, they just have to put Real right next to R5: two 40+ kcal songs in a row. Like'm both, but I think Real is my favourite today.

  • Well, that was the frist time I ever FCed Era ... in practice mode. Let's try score mode. And, yes, 'frist' is for realz, yo. A 'net meme.

  • Oorah Kiruv Rechokim! (um: how do you spell that in Hebrew?) Yup: first time ... aced that Era in score mode.

  • DDR done: 173#; ~600 kcal (recorded, more like more than 800 kcal). More leftovers eaten. Back to work.

(okay, seriously! Nobody has written Oorah Kiruv Rechokim in Hebrew on the 'net? But they've written Shemhamphorasch in Hebrew? The word itself (שם המפורש) and what the word actually is? All seventy-two words of it? But not the Oorah? What's with that?)

Rules for Pancake Breakfasts

Rule#1 of protein powder enhanced pancake batter: cook it all; do NOT store in the ref for the next day (ewww! green!)

Rule#2 of protein powder enhanced pancake batter: when it calls for buttermilk, use BUTTERMILK, not just plain old 2% milk! (ewww! flat!)

Rule#3 of protein powder enhanced pancake batter: DON'T make rules while cooking (ewww! burnt!)

Rule#4 of protein powder enhanced pancake batter: Don't recook the sausage-i ("Papa! The cooked ones are too peppery!")

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Squaring the Rectangle

Some of you know that I am a mathematical philosopher, so you may be surprised at the title. After all, all squares are rectangles.

But some rectangles are not squares, ... but they can be made thus, and here's how.

Let's take a rectangle that's 8½" x 11".

If you fold it in half one way, you have a rectangle that's 8½" x 5½".

Turn the rectangle so it's "standing tall." Fold the top right corner down to the center left side. You now have a quadrilateral. Fold the top left side down to the left center, joining where the top right corner was folded, you now, again have a rectangle, but now it's 5½" x 2¼".

This fold, by the way, is called the "I love you" fold, and many letters of love are sent folded this way.

Now, seal that love closed for your beloved by folding the bottom half up into the triangular lip. You now have a 2¼"x2¼" square from an 8½"x11" rectangle.

How do you make a rectangle into a square? It's neither instant nor easy, but, the recipe is simple: just add love to a piece of letter writing paper, and then seal that love in.

Letter to EM on St. Nick's day

Dear EM,

Happy St. Nicholas day! I hope you enjoyed yours. By your huge smiles as I opened the presents you and Li'l Iz gave me, it looked like you did.

But do you know what was my favourite present of the bunch? My favourite present ws not for me, but the one you gave to Mama. Remeber it? It was the heart of hearts that showed that you do love her.

I see that it's heard for you sometimes, trying to do the things you'd like to do, trying to be the person you are. Just remember no matter how difficult things or times become, we love you. Mama and Papa love you, and we are so happy to receive your love in return.

It is hard doing what you do and being who you are, but remember and know that we love you, and we are very proud of you: what you do and who you are.

Keep being you and discovering who you are.

Because we love you.

Doug (that's "Papa" to you, Miss EM)

Letter to Li'l Iz on St. Nick's day

My dear Li'l Iz,

Happy St. Nicholas Day! I hope you enjoyed your St. Nicholas day this year. Thank you for the presents. It was very sweet of you and Até to wrap them for me.

This letter is my St. Nicholas Day present back for you. And, this past year, you've come quite a long way. What, with all the learning and adventures you've had, the travel to the Philippines and Connecticut and Amhert, the performances you've put on with Até, ... and now dancing with Nuns! Wow!

As much as you've done this past year, this coming year is filled with much more: much more promise, and activity. I hope this new year will be as adventurous and as exciting as this past year.

But I hope something more than that for you: I hope it's better than tat. I hope that this new year is so much better than what you hoped, so much so that you are just wowed by it.

That's what I hope for you.

All my love,

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

It's THAT Time of the Year

Because her godparents wanted to know, I casually asked Lizzie what type of gifts she'd like to receive for Christmas.

Lizzie replied, as casually too, "Oh, you know, dolls, toys, whatever... (paused here) ... or $5."

Hmm, that seemed too easy. So I asked what she'd do with the money.

"Of course, I'll put it in my purse. So when you need money, I can give you some."

Of course.

So there, dear godparents. $5 to help her Mama will be perfect :-)

(O.K. If the photo gives you any indication as to her preferences, a $5 Starbucks card will reward her with her favorite bagel and chocolate milk breakfast. Until such time when she can pay for her own expensive habits!)

Thanks for asking.